Biography of James Graham 1st Duke of Montrose
James Graham (1682-1742), 4th Marquis and 1st Duke of Montrose, was a landowner and politician who served as the University's Chancellor from 1714 until 1742. In 1726 he allocated a gift of £500 from his friend the Duke of Chandos to the construction of a new library.
Graham became 4th Marquis on his father's death in 1685. He supported the Crown against the Jacobite opposition in Scotland, and Queen Anne rewarded him with the title of High Admiral of Scotland and President of the Council. He was made a Duke in 1707 for his services in securing the union of the English and Scottish parliaments that year, and he was elected to the House of Lords. In 1709 he was made Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland and he amassed other public offices before falling out of favour with the government of the day in the 1730s.
Montrose made catastrophic investment decisions, losing large sums of money in the Darien Scheme, the South Sea Co and the York Buildings Co. His poor financial judgement was accompanied by an unfortunate choice of enemies, and he famously fell out with Rob Roy Macgregor over a business debt and was later forced into an embarrassing climb-down.
Montrose built a home in Glasgow's Drygait and became prominent in the city's public life. He was succeeded as University Chancellor in 1743 by his son William Graham, the 2nd Duke of Montrose.