Early life and family
Blackwood was born in 1755, the second son of Sir John Blackwood, 2nd Baronet and Dorcas Stevenson, daughter and co-heiress of James Stevenson. His mother was quite wealthy as her father eventually became the sole heir to estates held by James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Clanbrassil, whose male line had died out with his son. In 1799, James' father died, leaving him to inherit the baronetcy as his elder brother, Robert Blackwood, had been killed in 1785 in a fall from his horse. Although commonly referred to as Anglo-Irish, the Blackwoods are a Scottish family.
In 1800, his mother was created Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye of Ballyleidy and Killyeagh in the Peerage of Ireland, with remainder to her heirs male. After her death in 1807, he succeeded her as the 2nd Baron Dufferin and Claneboye.
Blackwood was a Member of the Parliament of Ireland for Killyleagh in County Down from 1788 until the Irish Parliament was abolished with the Act of Union in 1801. In compensation for his seat being disenfranchised, he received £15,000 from the crown (equivalent to £931,000 in 2019).
He was later elected to the British House of Commons, serving as Member of Parliament for the Cornish constituency of Helston from 1807 to 1812, and for Aldeburgh in Suffolk from 1812 to 1818. He then sat in the House of Lords as a representative peer for Ireland from 1820 to 1836.
Marriage and death
After a period of illness, Lord Dufferin died on 8 August 1836 at his home, Ballyleidy, age 81. He had been under treatment by Sir Henry Halford in London and then spent a week at the home of his brother-in-law, Thomas Skeffington, 2nd Viscount Ferrard, in County Louth. He died two days after returning home. He was succeeded in the titles by his younger brother Hans. Lady Blackwood died on 28 March 1865 aged 93.
- Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 1195. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
- "Death of Lord Dufferin". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 16 August 1836. p. 5.
- Debrett, John (1836). Debrett's Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland. p. 567. Retrieved 17 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Hansard 1803���2005: contributions in Parliament by James Blackwood
|Parliament of Ireland|
Sir John Blackwood, 2nd Bt
| Member of Parliament for Killyleagh
With: Sir John Blackwood, 2nd Bt 1788–1790, 1798–1799
Hon. Robert Ward 1790–1798
Hans Blackwood 1799–1800
Daniel Mussenden 1800–1801
Parliament of the United Kingdom
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
John St Aubyn
| Member of Parliament for Helston
With: John St Aubyn
Sir John Aubrey, Bt
| Member of Parliament for Aldeburgh
With: Andrew Strahan
The Earl of Roden
| Representative peer for Ireland
The Viscount Hawarden
|Peerage of Ireland|
| Baron Dufferin and Claneboye
|Baronetage of Ireland|