Alexander Douglas

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Sir Alexander Douglas (b. Unknown, d. January 1718) was a Burgh and Shire Commissioner of Orkney and Shetland for the Parliament of Scotland and was also the first Member of Parliament to the newly formed Parliament of the United Kingdom.

His father, William was a Burgh and Shire Commissioner for Orkney and Shetland in 1667.


Douglas was of Egilsay, a small Island of Orkney. He was a member of the Parliament of Scotland in 1703 and again between 1705 until the Parliament was dissolved in 1707. His first term in 1703 was declared illegitimate at the 26 June meeting of the Parliament of Scotland, and thus Sir Archibald Stewart of Burray was appointed as the legal Burgh commissioner.

He was made a knight after agreeing to vote in accordance with the 11th Earl of Morton's wishes. He was then elected (or rather, appointed) into the newly established Parliament of Great Britain, representing Orkney and Shetland from 1708 until 1713, with George Douglas, who despite the shared name was not a close relation, taking the seat from then.

He died in 1718.

Political Career

Alexander was an inactive Member of Parliament and there is no known record of him having spoken in a debate. He was described as an 'episcopal Tory' who supported the Tories in almost every vote.

The only recorded vote that he made was in favour of the impeachment of Dr. Henry Sacheverell, although his inclusion on the list of voters has been quiried by George Lockhart.

In 1710, he was appointed to be the collector of bishopric rents in Orkney which paid a salary or pension of 1000 Pound Scots. Alexander did find the cost of attending Westminster to be prohibitive. Douglas was also further promised £200 from the Government to cover the cost of his attendance at Westminster. However, Lord Treasurer Oxford (Robert Harley) failed to provide the promised living expenses.

He was re-elected in 1710, despite local grumblings of the link to the Earl of Morton. As the 1713 election approached, Alexander did not care to stand for re-election. This was music to the ears of the Earl of Morton, who wanted his brother, George, a sitting MP for Lanark Burghs to take up the seat for 'electoral refuge'. The Earl used his influence to ensure that George received the nomination, an action that was questioned by future MP James Moodie.

Parliament of Great Britain
Constituency created Member of Parliament for
Orkney and Shetland

Succeeded by
George Douglas
Members of the Parliament of Great Britain
MPs Alexander Douglas (1707-1713) • George Douglas (1713-1715) • James Moodie (1715-1722) • George Douglas (1722-1730) • Robert Douglas (1730-1747) • John Halyburton (1747-1754) • James Douglas (1754-1768) • Thomas Dundas (1768-1771) • Thomas Dundas (1771-1780) • Robert Baikie (1780-1781) • Charles Dundas (1781-1784) • Thomas Dundas (1784-1790) • John Balfour (1790-1796) • Robert Honyman (1796-1801)