James Duff, 4th Earl Fife

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James Duff, 4th Earl of Fife
Born 1776
Died 1857
Nationality British

James Duff, 4th Earl of Fife KT, GCH (6 October 1776 – 9 March 1857), was a Scot who became a Spanish general.


James was the elder son of the Hon. Alexander Duff, who succeeded his brother as third Earl Fife in 1809. He was educated at Edinburgh and was not intended for the army.[1]

On 9 September 1799 he married Mary Caroline Manners (second daughter of daughter of John Manners and Louisa Tollemache, 7th Countess of Dysart), who died on 20 December 1805 without children. Thereupon Duff sought distraction in 1808 by volunteering to join the Spaniards in their war against Napoleon. His assistance was gladly received, especially as he came full of enthusiasm and with a full purse, and he was made a major-general in the Spanish service.[1]

He served with great distinction at the battle of Talavera, where he was severely wounded in trying to rally the Spanish runaways, and was only saved from becoming a prisoner by the gallantry of his lifelong friend, Major (afterwards Lieutenant-general Sir) S. F. Whittingham. In that year, 1809, he became Viscount Macduff on his father's accession to the Irish earldom of Fife, but he still continued to serve in Spain, and was present during the defence of Cadiz against Marshal Victor, and was again severely wounded in the attack on Fort Matagorda in 1810. On 17 April 1811 he succeeded his father as fourth Earl Fife, and as Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, and returned to Britain, after being made for his services a knight of the order of St. Ferdinand. He was elected M.P. for Banffshire in 1818, and made a lord in waiting in the following year.[1]

He was created a peer of the United Kingdom as Lord Fife on 27 April 1827, in which year he was also made a knight of the Thistle. He soon afterwards retired altogether to Scotland, where he lived at Duff House, Banffshire, much beloved by his tenantry and greatly interested in farming and cattle raising, and there he died, aged 80, on 9 March 1857.[1]

He was succeeded by his nephew, James Duff, the elder son of his only brother, General the Hon. Sir Alexander Duff, G.C.H., who was a most distinguished officer, and commanded the 88th regiment, the Connaught Rangers, from 1798 to 1810, serving at its head in Baird's expedition from India to Egypt in 1801, and in the attack on Buenos Ayres in 1806, and who had predeceased the 4th Earl in 1851.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Stephens 1888, p. 129.
  2. Stephens 1888, p. 1130.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephens, Henry Morse (1888). [https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikisource.org%2Fwiki%2FDuff%2C_James_%281776-1857%29_%28DNB00%29 "Duff, James (1776-1857)" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 16. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 129–130.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Endnotes:
    • Whittingham's Life of Sir S. F. Whittingham
    • Gentlemen's Magazine April 1857
    • Royal Military Calendar, ed. 1820, iii. 169. for Sir Alexander Duff's military services

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Abercromby
Member of Parliament for Banffshire
Succeeded by
John Morison
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Duncan
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland
Succeeded by
Sir John Majoribanks, Bt
Honorary titles
Preceded by
In Commission
Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire
Succeeded by
James Duff
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Alexander Duff
Earl Fife
Succeeded by
James Duff
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Fife
2nd creation