BUTESHIRE, a county, on the western coast of Scotland, consisting of the isles of Bute, Arran, Inch-Marnock, and Great and Little Cumbray, in the Firth of Clyde; separated on the north from Argyllshire by the straits called the Kyles of Bute, and on the west, from the peninsula of Cantyre, by Kilbrannan Sound. It lies between 55° 26' and 55° 56' (N. Lat.), and 4° 54' and 5° 23' (W. Long.), and comprises an area of about 257 square miles, or 164,480 acres; 3067 inhabited houses, and ninety-seven uninhabited; with a population of 15,740, of whom 7155 are males, and 8585 females. The island of Bute, at a very early period, became the property of Sir John Stuart, a son of Robert II.; it was confirmed to him by his brother, Robert III., and is still the property of his descendants, the Marquesses of Bute. That of Arran was granted by James III. to Sir James Hamilton, whose descendant, the Earl of Arran, was regent of Scotland during the minority of Mary, Queen of Scots; and it now is the property of the Duke of Hamilton. The civil business of the county is transacted at the royal burgh of Rothesay, which is the only town; and under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the county returns a member to the imperial parliament.
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