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Tiger Duff: India, Madeira and Empire in Eighteenth-Century Scotland by Alistair Mutch




Tiger Duff: India, Madeira and Empire in Eighteenth-Century Scotland

Available Open Access - free to read and free to download from Aberdeen University Press. Link below.



Detailed Description

Mutch, Alistair (2017) Tiger Duff: India, Madeira and Empire in Eighteenth-Century Scotland, Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, pp.234 + xv. ISBN: 978-1-85752-070-5

Available Open Access: https://doi.org/10.57132/book19

Wounded in battle, ringleader of an officers’ mutiny, survivor of a mauling by a tiger, candidate in a Parliamentary by-election – Patrick ‘Tiger’ Duff (1742–1803) had an eventful life. The son of a Speyside tenant farmer, he rose to the rank of General in the East India Company army and retired to a country estate near Turriff. He made a fortune in India, in part because of his family connections with the Gordons of Letterfourie. James and Alexander Gordon were successful wine merchants in Madeira. They not only provided for Patrick’s education, but also employed his brothers James and Robert in the wine trade. In turn, Patrick was able to win business for the partnership amongst the hard-drinking British in India.

Scottish merchants, such as the Gordons, were an important part of the British merchant community in Madeira. Wealth from both sources, the empire of conquest in India and the empire of commerce exemplified by Madeira, flowed back into Scotland and fuelled the process of agricultural improvement.


1 An unlikely alliance
2 From London to Madeira
3 Jacobite interlude
4 To India and back
5 Making money in Madeira
6 Hospitality as business
7 Wine drinkers
8 Suppliers
9 Bengal artillery
10 Back to India
11 The riches of Oudh
12 Turning from west to east
13 The importance of rank
14 ‘Don’t you show this part of the Letter to Mrs Duff
15 Remittances
16 ‘An Object of Paradise’
17 A brief sojourn and a triumphant return
18 Fighting the parchment lairds
19 Disaster strikes
20 Scotland and Empire
A note on sources
Primary sources


Alistair Mutch (b. 1954) is Professor of Information and Learning at Nottingham Trent University. He has published widely on the broader influences on economic activity, notably on the impact of religion. His Religion and National Identity (Edinburgh, 2015) is a study of governance practices in the eighteenth-century Church of Scotland and their influence on secular life. His interest in Tiger Duff, however, arose from childhood holidays on his uncle’s farm of Mains of Carnousie. He retains a strong interest in the history and culture of north-east Scotland, especially in the music of Old Blind Dogs, and visits when he can.