James Duff, 2nd Earl Fife
(29 September 1729 – 1809) was a Scottish Earl, Baron and Minister of Parliament.
James Duff was second son of William Duff, 1st Earl Fife
William Duff, 1st Earl Fife was a Scottish peer.The son of William Duff of Dipple, in 1719 he married Janet Ogilvie, daughter of James Ogilvy, 4th Earl of Findlater. She died in 1720 and in 1723 he married Jean Grant, daughter of Sir James Grant, Bt...
, and Jean Grant (daughter of Sir James Grant of Pluscardine, Baron of Luss & Grant), his fathers second wife. His father, son of William Duff
William Duff is the name of:* William Duff, 1st Earl Fife , Scottish peer* William Duff , historically influential Scottish writer on genius and creativity* William E...
of Dipple, co. Banff, was M.P. for Banffshire 1727–34, was created Lord Braco in the peerage of Ireland 28 July 1735, and was advanced to the dignity of Earl of Fife and Viscount Macduff, also in the peerage of Ireland, by patent dated 26 April 1759, on proving his descent from Macduff, Earl of Fife.
In 1754 he became Member of Parliament for Banffshire
Banffshire was a constituency of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1708 to 1800, and of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1983...
, and was re-elected in 1761, 1768, 1774, and 1780, and in the parliament of 1784 represented the Elginshire
Elginshire, in Scotland, was a county constituency of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832...
until 1790. He gave the Banff town of Macduff its name, having changed it from Doune in 1783. He extended the town and built a harbour at a cost of £5,000 ensuring economic prosperity.
Duff was one of the most powerful and influential men in Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Morayshire due to his massive estate. Due to his political commitments in Westminster, the running of the Estate was largely left to his factors - in particular William Rose of Ballivant. For his service to Duff, Rose was awarded many political favours. First, Duff gave Rose a vote in three different constituencies (Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Morayshire), he appointed him the first Provost of Macduff, and latterly the Sheriff Clerk of Banffshire.
He was created a British peer by the title of Baron Fife, 19 February 1790. He held the appointment of lord-lieutenant of county Banff.
He succeeded his father in the title and estates in September 1763, and devoted himself to the improvement of the property, which he largely increased by the purchase of land in the north of Scotland. He was twice awarded the gold medal of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, for his plantations, with which he covered fourteen thousand acres. He offered the farmers on his estate every inducement to cultivate their land on the most approved principles, and himself set the example by instituting near each of his seats a model farm, where agriculture and cattle-breeding were carried on under his personal supervision. In 1782 and 1783, when all crops failed, he allowed his highland tenants a reduction of twenty per cent. on their rents, and disposed of grain to the poor considerably below the market price, importing several cargoes from England, which he sold at a loss of £3,000.
James Duff married on 5 June 1759, Lady Dorothea Sinclair, only child of Alexander, ninth earl of Caithness
Earl of Caithness is a title that has been created several times in the Peerage of Scotland, and has a very complex history. Its first grant, in the modern sense as to have been counted in strict lists of peerages, is now generally held to have taken place in favor of Maol Íosa V, Earl of...
, but he had no issue, and his British peerage became extinct on his death. He was succeeded in his Irish earldom by his next brother, Alexander. However he had three children by his mother's personal maid, Margaret Adam of Keith, all of whom were born before his marriage to Sinclair.
He died at his house in Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...
, London, 24 January 1809, and was buried in the mausoleum at Duff House
Duff House is a Georgian house in Banff, Scotland.Within the Deveron Valley lies Duff House, designed by William Adam, built between 1735 and 1740, and widely thought to be one of Britain's finest Georgian houses. Duff House was built for William Duff of Braco, who became Earl Fife in 1759.The...