Duff, James, fourth Earl of Fife 1776-1857, Spanish general, elder son of the Hon. Alexander Duff, who succeeded his brother as third Earl Fife in 1809, was born on 6 Oct. 1776. He was educated at Edinburgh and was not intended for the army. On 9 Sept. 1799 he married Mary Caroline, second daughter of John Manners, who died on 20 Dec. 1805. 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. 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 England, 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, and 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. 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 him in 1851.

     Whittingham's Life of Sir S. F. Whittingham
     Gent. Mag. April 1857
     and for Sir Alexander Duff's services, Royal Military Calendar, ed. 1820, iii. 169.

Contributor: H. M. S. [Henry Morse Stephens]

Published: 1888