ELDEST son of the late William Cunninghame Graham Bontine
of Ardoch, Finlaystone, and Gartmore, and the Hon. Anne Elizabeth, fourth
daughter of Admiral the Hon. Charles Elphinstone Fleeming of Cumbernauld, and
sister of the fourteenth Baron Elphinstone, the late laird of Gartmore claims
descent from the ancient Earls of Menteith, and inherited a large part of the
estates of the old Earls of Glencairn. He also inherits a literary tradition
with the blood of that earlier Robert Graham of Gartmore of the second half of
the eighteenth century, who has been called the last of the Cavalier poets, and
whose fine "Cavalier's Song" was for a time attributed, even by so good a critic
as Sir Walter Scott, to the Great Montrose. It was through the poet's mother,
daughter of the twelfth Earl of Glencairn, that the name of Cunninghame and the
Glencairn estates came into the family.
Mr. Cunninghame Graham was born in 1852, was educated at Harrow, and engaged for a time in cattle farming in the River Plate and Mexico. There he married in 1877 Gabriela, daughter of Don Francisco José de la Balmondieri, who died 8th September, 1906. The deceased lady was author of a life of "Santa Teresa," perhaps the best in our language. Returning to this country he turned his attention to politics. After unsuccessfully contesting North-west Lanarkshire in 1882, he was returned for the northern division of the county four years later, and sat till 1892, but in the latter year was disappointed in his candidature for the Camlachie Division of Glasgow. Perhaps the most exciting incident of his political career was the great Unemployed Demonstration in Trafalgar Square. Upon that occasion he was severely hurt in the melée by a constable's baton, and sent to prison for six weeks. Latterly he has travelled much abroad, chiefly in Morocco, and has made several notable contributions to literature. Besides articles in many periodicals he is the author of "Notes on the District of Menteith," 1895; "Father Archangel of Scotland and Other Essays" (in collaboration with Mrs. Cunninghame Graham), 1896; "Aurora la Cujiñi; Realistic Sketch in Seville," 1898; "Mogreb el Aksa, Journey in Morocco," 1898; "The Ipane," 1899; "Thirteen Stories," 1900; "A Vanished Arcadia," 1901; "Success," 1902; "Life of Hernando de Soto," 1903; and "Faith," 1909. A few years ago Mr. Cunninghame Graham sold Gartmore to Sir Charles W. Cayzer, Bart., and since that time, when not abroad, has been chiefly resident in London. But he retains a rustic abode on his paternal estate of Ardoch near Dumbarton, and is a familiar member of Glasgow Art Club.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)