Hay, George (d.1758) (DNB00)

HAY, GEORGE, seventh Earl of Kinnoull (d. 1758), was eldest son of Thomas Hay, sixth earl of Kinnoull. While Lord Dupplin he was elected M.P. for Fowey, Cornwall, in 1710, and was in the following year appointed one of the tellers of the exchequer. On 31 Dec. 1711 he was created a peer of Great Britain, with the title of Baron Hay of Pedwardine, Herefordshire, being one of twelve peers specially created by the tory administration of Harley and St. John to secure a majority in the House of Lords on the question of the Utrecht treaty. On 21 Sept. 1715, when the Jacobite rebellion broke out in Scotland, he was suspected of favouring the Pretender, and was placed under arrest in London, with the Earl of Jersey and Lord Lansdowne, but on 24 Jan. following was liberated on bail. He succeeded his father as seventh Earl of Kinnoull in 1719. In 1722 witnesses declared that Kinnoull was privy to the conspiracy of Richard Layer [q. v.], but a motion to examine the witnesses in the House of Lords was negatived. Kinnoull voted in favour of the motion. On 27 Feb. 1724 he was served heir to his father in the lands and barony of Keillor, including Eastern and Western Keillars, Strathevan, and Tulchan in Perthshire. On 24 Nov. 1729 he was served heir to his cousin James, viscount Strathallan, as heir of line special in the barony of Cardeny, chiefly in Perthshire, Balfron, Stirlingshire, and Kirklands of Kilmorith, Argyleshire.

In 1729 he was appointed British ambassador to Constantinople, where he remained till 1737. Two years after his return home he entered on a controversy with the Scottish ecclesiastical courts regarding the presentation of a minister to the parish of Madderty, Perthshire. The earl presented George Blaikie, who was so unacceptable to the parishioners that the presbytery refused to induct. The case was carried by appeal before the commission of the general assembly in Edinburgh, where the objecting parishioners were ably represented by Robert Hawley, weaver, and John Gray, mason. The commission asked Kinnoull to waive hac vice his right of presentation, but this he refused to do (August 1740), from fear of ‘weakening … the right of patronages, and of all those to whom they do by law belong.’ The court instructed the presbytery to induct Blaikie, but while the difficulty was still unsolved Blaikie accepted a call from a congregation in America.

Kinnoull died on 28 July 1758. He married Lady Abigail, daughter of Robert Harley, first earl of Oxford [q. v.] She died 15 July 1750. By her he had four sons and six daughters. His eldest son, Thomas, is separately noticed.

[Scots Magazine; Caledonian Mercury (1740); Records of the Church of Scotland; Register of Sasines in General Register House, Edinburgh; Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, ed. Wood, ii. 48–49.]

J. T.