John Dalrymple Stair, 2d earl of

Stair, John Dalrymple, 2d earl of, 1673–1747, Scottish general and diplomat; son of the 1st earl of Stair. He began a military career in the Netherlands, but on his father's death returned home and was elected (1707) one of 16 Scottish representative peers in the newly united Parliament of Great Britain. Becoming an assistant to the 1st duke of Marlborough in Flanders, he was sent (1709) as envoy to Augustus II of Poland. For his military achievements he was made (1710) general, but he fell from royal favor along with his friend Marlborough. At the accession of George I, Stair was sent as envoy to Paris, where from 1715 to 1720 his network of spies effectively thwarted the intrigues of the Jacobites. He was vice admiral of Scotland (1720–33) but lost the office because of his opposition to Robert Walpole's Excise Bill (1733). After Walpole fell from office in 1742, the earl was created field marshal and commanded the so-called pragmatic army in Flanders and Germany.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies