William MacAlister Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling
|Also Known As:||"Sir William Alexander 7th Baron of Menstry", "Sir William Alexander", "1st Earl of Stirling", "1st Earl of Sterling"|
|Birthplace:||Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, Scotland|
|Death:||Died in London, England|
|Place of Burial:||London, UK|
Son of Alexander Alexander, 6th Baron of Menstrie and Marion Couttie, of Gartavertane
|Occupation:||1st Earl of Stirling, Scottish courtier, statesman, and poet who founded and colonized the region of Nova Scotia in Canada., Earl of Stirling, Lord of Stirling|
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Sir William Alexander
http://www.archive.org/stream/memorialsofearlo02rogeuoft/memorialsofearlo02rogeuoft_djvu.txt Chapter XXV. note to Curators and other interested persons; 'This link below,provides citation to 8 children of Sir William Alexander and Lady Janet ErskineThe link also provides chronological order to these 8, proven children's births, as well as pertinent marriages, and other information.
Note that the entire Alexander line prior to William b. 1749 is terribly terribly weak. But it is just barely plausible, so I am keeping it for now as I try to get better info.
William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (c. 1570, Menstrie, Clackmannanshire – 12 September 1640) was a Scotsman who was an early developer of Scottish colonisation of Nova Scotia.
Lord Alexander of Tullibody and Viscount Stirling
Extraordinary Judge of the Court of Session
When a young man he was appointed tutor to the Earl of Argyll and accompanied him abroad. At a later date he received the place of gentleman usher to Prince Charles, son of James VI of Scotland, and continued in favour at court after the king became James I of England. He attained reputation as a poet and writer of rhymed tragedies, and assisted the king in preparing the metrical version known as "The Psalms of King David, translated by King James," and published by authority of Charles I. He was knighted in 1614. In 1621 King James I granted him a royal charter appointing him governor of a vast territory in North America which was erected into a lordship and barony of Nova Scotia (New Scotland); the area now known as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and part of the northern United States. The creation of Baronets of Nova Scotia was used to settle the plantation of the new province.
He was appointed Secretary for Scotland in 1626 and held that office for the rest of his life. In 1630, King Charles rewarded his service by creating him Viscount of Stirling and in 1633 he became Earl of Stirling.
Lord Stirling’s efforts at colonisation were less successful, at least in monetary terms. He briefly established a Scottish settlement at Annapolis Royal, led by his son William Alexander (the younger). However the effort cost him most of his fortune, and when the maritimes were returned to France in 1632, it was lost. He spent his later years with limited means, and died in London on September 12, 1640. However Alexander's settlement provided the basis for British claims to Nova Scotia and the other Maritime Provinces and his baronets provided the Coat of arms of Nova Scotia and Flag of Nova Scotia which are still in use today.
Stirling also wrote closet dramas: classical tragedies titled Croesus, Darius, The Alexandrean, and Julius Caesar. His plays were published in several editions (1604, 1607, 1616, 1637).
The Canadian Coast Guard has named the CCGS Sir William Alexander in his honour
ALEXANDER, WILLIAM, Earl of Stirling, remembered in the land of his birth as a scholar, poet, courtier, and the favourite of James I and Charles I of England in their dealings with Scotland; and on this side of the Atlantic as the putative founder of a new Scotland under the aegis of both monarchs; b. c. 1577; d. 1640. Though his colonizing interest is the chief concern of cisatlantic readers, it cannot be understood without reference to his poetical works, which brought him first to royal notice and subsequently to royal favour and collaboration.
William Alexander was born in the village of Menstrie. He received a thorough classical education in the grammar school of Stirling, under Dr. Thomas Buchanan, nephew of George Buchanan, tutor of James VI of Scotland; and probably attended the University of Glasgow. He made “the grand tour” (France, Spain, Italy, and Holland) at the end of the century, as the companion of his kinsman, the seventh Earl of Argyle, who later introduced him to court.
Before going to court in London he had made some reputation as a poet, with his Tragedie of Darius, published at Edinburgh in 1603 and dedicated to James VI. This was reprinted in London in 1604, together with another tragedy, Croesus. Both reflect his classical education and foreshadow the main character of his poetical works. (Aurora, a sonnet sequence, published in the same year was obviously an earlier work; and A Paraenesis to the Prince was obviously a bid for royal favour.) These were followed in 1605 by The Alexandrean Tragedy; and in 1607 by a collected edition of his tragedies, including Julius Caesar, written in the interval. In this edition the author is described as a gentleman of the Prince’s Privy Chamber.
In this year, 1607, he was granted the rights to the mines and minerals in the barony of Menstrie; and he shared equally with his father-in-law an annuity of £200. (He had married in 1601 Janet, daughter of Sir William Erskine, a relative of the Earl of Mar, who in due course bore him ten children, seven sons and three daughters; and while he was climbing the ladder of fame Providence concealed from him the fact that a grandchild eight years of age was to enjoy for a few months only the heritage of an empty title by primogeniture.) In 1608, he and a relative were made agents for collecting debts due the Crown in Scotland from 1547 to 1588, on a 50 per cent basis; he was knighted in 1609.
In 1612 he wrote An Elegie on the Death of Prince Henrie and was appointed gentleman usher in the household of Prince Charles. Two years later, he published Doomes-Day, or, The Great day of the Lords Judgement, his last poetical work of importance. He had already won on his previous works and, from this date, would continue to win the warm praise of contemporary writers, above all that of Drummond of Hawthornden. Moreover, he had been chosen by King James as collaborator in translating The Psalms of King David.
It was, therefore, as a well-known literary figure, having close associations with both England and Scotland, that he was appointed in 1614 master of requests for Scotland – whose chief duty was to ward off needy Scots from the English court – and, in 1615, a member of the Scottish Privy Council, the highest advisory authority on Scottish affairs. It was in these two positions that he was most intimately associated with King James and, having won his complete confidence, was enabled to obtain his ardent support for his colonial adventures.
During his residence at court, though as a poet Sir William still maintained the futility of human ambition, nonetheless he mingled with those who were promoting the expansion of England overseas, became aware of Scotland’s lack of any part in it, and, as a patriotic Scot, began to dream of making a name for himself by diverting the constant stream of Scottish manhood from the continental wars into a colony that should bear the name of Scotland.
He first approached Capt. John Mason, governor of Newfoundland, 1615–21, and author of A briefe discourse of the New-found-land for aid in getting room for a plantation there. Through Mason’s influence he obtained a grant of the northwestern part of that island, from the Bay of Placentia to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but, although he named it Alexandria, he made no use of it, because of a grander vision that emerged from the suggestion of Governor Mason that he consult Ferdinando Gorges, treasurer of the recently formed Council of New England. (In 1620 the London and Plymouth companies, which in 1606 were granted the territory between latitudes 34° and 45° N under the name of Virginia, were reorganized and the northern part, extended to 48º, was granted to the Council of New England.)
Acting on Mason’s advice, Alexander persuaded King James that the only way to get Scots to emigrate was to give them a new Scotland comparable to New France and New England; and the king conveyed the royal wish to the Council of New England and obtained from the latter the surrender of all their territory north of the Sainte-Croix. Thereupon the king immediately instructed the Scottish Privy Council to prepare a grant of this territory for Sir William Alexander. The grant was signed on 10 Sept. 1621 (o.s.), making Sir William, on paper at least, lord proprietor of what are now known as the three Atlantic Provinces and the Gaspé peninsula – to be called for all time New Scotland or Nova Scotia.
Unfortunately, this grant included the territory that had been claimed and nominally occupied by the French as Acadia. The much neglected Charles de Biencourt and a little band of Frenchmen and their Indian allies were the unofficial representatives of French claims in the entire area; this same band under Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour was to play an important role in the later revival of French claims and in the final failure of Sir William’s colonizing projects. Meanwhile in the six years during which his title was practically unchallenged, notwithstanding the continued favour of King James and his son Charles, Alexander was unable to plant permanently a single colonist in his far-flung domain.
This is perhaps not a matter of surprise when one considers his previous lack of experience with practical affairs, the difficulty of combining the roles of a dreamer and a man of action, and the magnitude of the task which he had undertaken single-handed; for he alone had to remould the Scottish national outlook and create a favourable public opinion, whereas the promoters of Virginia, New England, and Newfoundland were numerous and had the English nation behind them.
Though Sir William lacked experience he did not lack either courage or tenacity. In 1622 he hired a ship in London and sent it to Kirkcudbright to pick up settlers and supplies; but it was delayed by the reluctance of artisans to enlist and the scarcity of supplies, encountered bad weather near Cape Breton, left the colonists in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and returned to London for more supplies. In 1623 he sent out another ship to pick up the colonists, but this party found that some of them had died, that others were out fishing, and that too few remained to found a colony. However, ten of these decided to go along with the ship to locate a fit site for a future settlement. They explored as far as Cap Nègre, landed at Port-Joli and Port-au-Mouton, formed a favourable opinion of the natural beauty and resources of the country, but returned to Newfoundland, whence they took passage to England with some of the West Country fishermen, leaving the ship to get its own load of fish. The remainder of the original party apparently became absorbed in the population of Newfoundland.
The net gain of Sir William’s first venture, at an alleged cost of £6,000, was a rather vague but flowery description of New Scotland, which he embodied in his pamphlet An encouragement to colonies, published in 1624 and accompanied by a map on which he sprinkled a number of Scottish names. Thus the Sainte-Croix becomes the Tweed; the Saint John, the Clyde; and the whole is divided into two provinces Alexandria and Caledonia.
In this pamphlet he traces colonization from Abraham through the Greeks and Romans to the Spanish, French, and British, recounts the experience of his first venture, paints a glowing picture of its advantages to gentry and commoner, merchant and missionary, and concludes with an appeal to the king to further the project by making it appear a work of his own and thereby encouraging public “helps, such as hath beene had in other parts, for the like cause” – an obvious reference to the help given by the king to the plantation of Ulster, by the creation of knight-baronets, which brought £225,000 to the royal exchequer.
In response to this appeal, King James informed the Privy Council of Scotland that he had decided to confer the dignity of knight-baronet upon any worthy Scot who would undertake to furnish a number of settlers in return for a portion of New Scotland and instructed the council to prepare a proclamation to that effect. This they did on 30 Nov. 1624, offering a barony and the title of knight-baronet in return for setting forth six men fully armed, clothed, and provisioned for two years, within a year and a day after accepting the honour, at the cost of 2,000 merks and 1,000 merks to Sir William for resigning his interest in the barony. As there was no response to this offer, on 23 March 1624/25 the king wrote the council offering the baronies for a cash payment of 3,000 merks to Sir William, who would use the 2,000 merks for furnishing the settlers. Four days later, King James died without having seen a baronet created or a colonist set forth; but his death did not mean the withdrawal of royal favour: Charles I was equally well disposed to Sir William’s project and for the next five years did everything in his power to induce the Scottish nobility and gentry to support it. By the end of May 1625 he had created eight baronets on the cash basis, with land three miles wide and six long, and on 12 July he renewed the charter of 1621 with additional provisions for a total of 150 baronets and for the incorporation of Nova Scotia into the kingdom of Scotland, in order that Sir William and the baronets could take seisin of their distant lands in the castle of Edinburgh without the necessity of going to Nova Scotia.
Despite the promising beginning, the response to the new charter was very disappointing. There was opposition on the part of the lesser barons to the special privileges offered to the knight-baronets. To meet this Charles demoted the secretary of state for Scotland, who had approved the protest of the lesser barons, and appointed Sir William in his stead. But by 25 July 1626 only 28 baronets had been created and, even if Sir William had received the full sum of 3,000 merks for each, he would have had only £4,666 13s. 4d. to finance his projected colony, considerably less than the £6,000 that he had already expended on the first attempt, for which he had a warrant from King James, still unpaid.
Accordingly, on 25 July 1626 King Charles authorized a committee of the council to meet frequently at stated times to see that the petitioners for the dignity of knight-baronet had satisfied Alexander and that he was prepared to surrender the lands specified, and to award the dignity forthwith. In the same commission the king awarded armorial bearings to the province. (It is from this commission that Nova Scotia derives its flag and present coat of arms.)
As only one baronet had responded by 3 March 1626/27, Charles wrote the council again to speed up matters and stated that unless the full number of baronets were created Sir William would be utterly undone, as he had already spent more on the two ships he was preparing than he had received.
The story of later creations may be summarized thus. Despite repeated urgings only 14 came forward in 1627, 21 in 1628, 7 in 1629, and even after the special badge was offered (27 Nov. 1629), 11 in 1630, and 4 in 1631. That is, 85 baronies only had been disposed of from 1625 to 1631 when Sir William was ordered to give up his colony at Port-Royal to the French and the creation of knight-baronets had degenerated into a scheme of raising money by the sale of titles. In fact 25 baronets were created between 1633 and 1637 after Port-Royal had been surrendered.
Until 1627, Sir William had to contend only with the problems of finance and the reluctance of the Scots to emigrate. But in the spring of that year he had to meet the competition of the powerful Compagnie des Cent-Associés, which Cardinal Richelieu had organized in Paris to control the destinies of New France and to challenge Sir William’s claims to Nova Scotia. The outbreak of war between France and England also brought new adventurers into the field, notably the Kirke brothers, whose brilliant achievements now threatened to supplant Alexander for the time being in the public eye. In 1628, after threatening Quebec, the Kirkes captured the supply ships of the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France near Gaspé, brought Claude de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, who was returning to Acadia after seeking help for the French against the British, a prisoner to England, and applied to the king for a grant of the monopoly of trade in Canada, under the Crown of England.
Meantime in February 1627/28 Sir William, whose eldest son, William, was already in command of an expedition towards New Scotland, had induced the king to direct that all prize money collected in Scotland should be turned over to him and to grant him the lordship of Canada – an area of 50 leagues on each side of the St. Lawrence from its mouth to the mythical South Sea. He opposed the application of the Kirke brothers and, supported by the Privy Council of Scotland, obtained a compromise whereby the rival interests were united and agreed to operate under the crowns of England and Scotland. Accordingly, on 4 Feb. 1628/29 a commission was issued to Sir William Alexander the younger and others for a monopoly of the trade of the St. Lawrence, with power to confiscate the goods and ships of any interlopers, to make prizes of all French or Spanish ships, and to displant the French (Royal letters, 47).
It was under this commission that the Kirkes took the fort and trading post of Quebec and brought Champlain and other Frenchmen prisoners to England. It was under the same commission that Sir William the younger helped Sir James Stewart, Lord Ochiltree, to plant a short-lived colony at Baleine in Cape Breton – it was uprooted two months later by Charles Daniel – and that under the guidance of Claude de La Tour he planted a colony at Port-Royal (now Annapolis Royal, N.S.), which had a precarious existence until 1632.
The younger Sir William decided to remain in Port-Royal over the winter of 1629–30 and to send home his ships for supplies and reinforcement and Claude de La Tour with a draft agreement for his father to sign, whereby Claude and his son Charles were to receive a large barony (from Yarmouth to Lunenberg) in exchange for their allegiance and assistance. He also sent home the Indian chief Segipt and his wife and son to do homage to King Charles.
During the winter of 1629–30 Sir William managed to get together supplies and reinforcements for his colony, confirmed the agreement with Claude de La Tour, who married a Scottish lady, made him a knight-baronet, and sent him back in May with a patent for his son Charles. However, his own son, returning in the autumn of 1630, had to report that 30 of the 70 colonists had died during the winter, that Charles de La Tour had refused to accept the title of knight-baronet, and that Claude de La Tour had therefore lost face with both those whom he brought and the original settlers at Port-Royal. He in turn found his father deep in a struggle to resist the surrender of Nova Scotia to France in accordance with the Treaty of Susa, 23 April 1629, by which the British and French had agreed on mutual restoration of all territory and shipping taken subsequent to that date. Negotiations dragged on for two years. The British admitted that Quebec had been taken since that treaty but maintained that Port-Royal had been settled in unoccupied territory to which they had good title by discovery, strengthened by the charter of Virginia, the conquest of Argall, the charters of 1621 and 1625, and the homage of the Indian chief. The French insisted that both Quebec and Port-Royal be restored to their original condition or the possessor would have an unfair advantage in negotiation. Finally, King Charles, in dire financial straits, at outs with his Parliament, and lured by the prospect of receiving the half of his wife’s dowry still unpaid by the French, agreed to instruct Sir William to withdraw his colonists with their effects and to destroy the fort and other habitations.
Though these instructions were drafted in 1631, they were not given to the French for submission to the colonists at Port-Royal until a year later, owing to the king’s insistence that the marriage portion must first be paid to his banker. They sounded the death knell of Sir William’s colonizing efforts (notwithstanding his later association with the Council of New England) and his hope of solvency, for by the end of 1632 the colony had been withdrawn and the king’s warrant for £10,000 in compensation for his losses had been dishonoured. The monopoly of minting copper coins in Scotland, given at the time, failed to restore his finances. He died so heavily in debt that his creditors surrounded his death-bed in London, and denied him a peaceful burial in the church of Stirling.
He had enjoyed royal favour to the end so far as the bestowal of titles was concerned (Viscount Stirling, Lord Alexander of Tullibody, 1630; Earl of Stirling, 1633; and Earl of Dovan [Devon], 1639), but this favour did not extend to saving his colony when put in the balance with the queen’s marriage portion. On the other hand his close association with Charles in his attempt to foist episcopacy upon Scotland cost him the affection of many Scots who were neither his debtors nor his creditors.
As to his chief colonial venture, although two centuries were to elapse before unassisted Scottish emigration made New Scotland a reality, it cannot be regarded as a complete failure so long as the name Nova Scotia survives, and its citizens treasure their armorial achievement and their flag.
Why do I bother:
The First Nova Scotian" It is generally believed that Williamreceived his first formal ed
ucation at the grammar school in Stirlingwhere he would have had strict rules and a
strident round of studies conditioned by dominant church teaching. Histeacher was probably Thomas Buchanan nephew of the celebrated scholarand historian George Buchanan who had been tutor to Prince James, sonof Mary Queen of Scots and future king of Scotland and England.With it's ornamental interiors and its magnificent hall and chapel,
Stirling Castle was a Renaissance Palace.
After being crowned king, James VI of Scotland made Stirling hishome, so during Alexander's early years the city was place of pomp,pageantry and international influence. Early Scots were encouraged toread, write and speak classical Latin, study Greek and Roman cultures.
In Scotland's zealot, John Knox, fundamentalism gave rise to thatunique form of church worship and government, ScottishPresbyterianism. Although enrollment records of the period arelost, it is certain he attended Glasgow University as the fact ismentioned in several contemporary sources. He later took a particularinterest in the welfare of that
university and all but one of his sons attended Glasgow University.Also references that he attended Leyden, the Dutch University.
At some point he formed a friendship with Alexander Hume, a Pariseducated Scottish lawyer who later turned to theology and became aminister in the parish of Logie. Hume was also a writer and may haveacted as mentor to young Alexander. Writers such as Philip Sidney,Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe , William Shakespeare, and BenJohnson probably influenced young Alexander who was reputed to havebegun composing poetry in Stirling at age fifteen and aspired to bepart of the Elizabethan literary Renaissance.
As a young man in his early twenties, having gained a reputationas one both scholarly and talented, he was chosen by Campbell cousinsto accompany their son, the seventh Earl of Argyle on the customaryeducational Grand Tour of Europe taken by many sons of nobility. Hissojourn through France, Italy and Spain prompted his Celtic soul intocomposing passionate love poems, earning him a reputation as asonneteer. Once back home in Scotland Alexander turned his hand towriting plays in the Senecan form for which he gained quite areputation.
In 1598 his erstwhile traveling companion, the Earl of Argyleinvested Alexander with additional land in Menstrie "in considerationof among other things, services rendered to the Earl in foreignnations and at home" Alexander's intellectual and creativeabilities were much admired by the Scottish King James VI and hewelcomed young Alexander to his court in Edinburgh. He was given theinfluential position of tutor to Prince Henry, the King's eldest sonand heir to the throne. When King James VI of Scotland moved onto themore powerful English throne as James I in 1603 Alexander followed.London with its thriving literary scene seemed to prompt him to writeand publish his major works.
The young Prince James, son of Mary Queen of Scots, became king atage 13 months when his mother was dethroned. While still a boy Jameswas placed under the guardianship of the Erskines, hereditary keepersof Stirling Castle and the family William Alexander would later marryinto. After a palace coup in 1581 in which the palace was invaded andthe King
imprisoned, Alexander wrote his first prose piece entitled " A ShortDiscourse of the Good Ends of Providence in the Late Attempt Againsthis Majesty's Person, exhorting the King to pursue the perpetrators ofhis imprisonment, a group of radical Protestants and disgruntlednobles. Soon after his return to "Scotland from abroad he successfullywooded the
young , musically talented and aristocratic Janet Erskine whose familyhad been keepers of Stirling Castle and protectors of princes of therealm. They married in 1601. She mothered seven sons and 3 daughtersand outlived him after 40 years of married life. Alexander turnedto play writing. From his education abroad, he imitated in theme andstructure the classical playwrights of the past, particularly theRoman Seneca. His first published play appeared in 1603 the year JamesVi
moved south to become James I of England. Entitled the Tragedy ofDaraius,
which told the tale of the Persian King and dealt with trials oftribulations
of kings in general. This work was dedicated to James.
Following his appointment as tutor to Prince Henry he wrote atract
entitled A Paraenesis to the Prince, a poem of 84 verses including awarning
that misbehaving princes can be dethroned. Prince Henry died ofpneumonia in
In 1604 Alexander published another Greek-style poetic drama,entitled Cro
esus. Again the theme dealt with the tragedy that befalls those whoput their
faith in vane ambition, the pursuit of power and banal accumulation of
material wealth. In 1605 he published The Alexandrean about Alexanderthe
Great. and in 1607 a play about Julius Caesar which one source statesmay
have provided Shakespeare with a line of dialogue for his play.
By 1612 Alexander also busy with commercial and state matters andas
Gentleman to the Privy Chamber of Prince Henry he wrote his longestpoetic
composition, some 11,000 lines entitled Dooms-day or The Great Day ofthe
Lord's Judgment, a Biblical epic which extends from the Creation tothe Book
of Revelation. It is one of two great religious works of his , theother a
metrical translation of the Psalms of David. His translation of thePsalms so
shocked the Presbyterian clergy of Scotland by its secular languagethat
Alexander was looked upon as a heathen and traitor.
By 1616 he finished (deceased )Sir Philips's masterpiece, Arcadia.His
tract entitled An Encouragement to Colonies was published a few yearsafter
he received his Nova Scotia land charter from the King in 1621.Heavily in
debt after giving much of his own personal fortune besides his timeand
attention, Alexander went into deep background chronicling earlyhistory of
colonization. The motivation was that in North America they couldbuild a New
One last time he retired to Sterling Castle and wrote andpublished,
Recreations with the Muses
Alexander's poetry and plays were in keeping with literary stylesof the
times and dealt with themes both international and universal. In 1603the
Scottish tongue was almost non-existent. He could converse and writein both
Latin and English.
In 1607 the King granted Alexander the right to mine minerals andmetals
of all types in his home barony of Menstrie and 1/10th to go to theroyal
coffers. In 1611 Alexander applied for and received an additionalroyal grant
to set up a silver refinery in the area.. He was later given the rightto
mine gold and silver at Crawford Muir in Lanarkshire and at Hilderstonin
Linlithgowshire which later failed.
In 1608 Alexander was knighted by the King. When Prince Henry diedin
1612 William composed An Elegy on the Death of Prince Henry and wasappointed
aide and tutor to Prince Charles, Henry's younger brother. In 1615Alexander
was appointed to office of Master of Requests for Scotland. In 1614he was
appointed to Scottish Privy Council, the highest advisory body onScottish
affairs short of Parliament.
In 1621 he became one of the Lords of the Articles who prepared billsfor
submission to Parliament.
Captain John Mason who had been running a successful fishingoperation
out of Newfoundland, on returning to England in 1620, published ABrief
Discourse on Newfoundland which may have sparked Sir Alexander'sinterest who
had had earlier dealings with Mason. Alexander invited Mason to ameeting at
his Covent Garden residence in London. where Alexander "declared his
affection to Plantation and wished the Captain to be the means toprocure him
a girth of the planters thereof for a portion of the land waithin."In
consequence of this meeting, the land west of Placentia Bay was givento
Alexander which he gave the name Alexandria. Alexander was describedby
Scottish historian Charles Rogers as "fertile in device and expert in
execution and of an unswerving tenacity of purpose"
The territory of New Scotland embraced Nova Scotia and also NewBrunswick,
Prince Edward Island, part of Quebec and Man. Alexander's settlementwas
financed solely from his own coffers. A warrant for Alexander'scharter was
issued at Windsor Castle on Sept 10 1621 and on Sept 29th the charteritself
passed under the great Seal. His unique charter gave the 54 year oldpoet,
playwright and courtier powers unequaled by any other colony inEurope or
the new world. King James made him virtual King of a vast new domain.
Alexander was his own Lord of the Admiralty, Chief Justice andMinister of
Trade and Chief of the Exchequer.
The first settlers despite provision problems and shortfall ofwilling
immigrants set sail for New Scotland in June 1622 arriving in themiddle of
September at St John's harbor to meet one of the coldest winters inyears. A
second ship, St Luke embarked to the new world and surveyed the land.To help
Alexander King James charged the cost to the royal exchequer, but itwas
never paid out. He never recovered from his financial misfortunes. Tospark
more interest in colonization he wrote the highly interestingdocument, An
Encouragement to Colonies issued in London in 1624. Also, Alexanderproposed
the creation of an order of Baronets of Nova Scotia. Each baron wouldbe at
least 16,000 acres. Each baronet would have to send "6 suffience menfor two
years". By July of 1627 only about 35 Baronets had been conferred andmany
had not paid their money down.
Alexander's oldest son William had by now graduated from Glasgow
University, presented at court and knighted and was ready to commandthis
next expedition. However hostilities with France and Spain made theopen seas
too dangerous . War with France also began in 1627. Finally on March26 1628
William Alexander jr. in command of four vessels left London forScotland (He
was now known as Lord William Alexander) and 60-70 settlers leftDunbarton
for Canada. Young Alexander returned in triumph to England. Churchrecords in
Stirling indicated that when Lord Wm returned he gave the poor ofStirling 58
A new patent was issued in the name of Lord William Alexander.The
Alexanders were at this point perhaps the most powerful landholders inthe
whole of North America. However Charlesfort, established by LordWilliam fell
to the French by 1632 by the Treaty of St Germaine. The area now iscalled
Sir Williams's final years were filled with tragedy. September 1637his
second son Anthony an architect and Kings Master of Works and Head ofAll
Masons died. A few months later Lord William died, his Nova Scotiaproject in
ruins and no hope of financial compensation. Ailing and aging andmercilessly
hounded by creditors,he died impoverished in London. Sept. 1640, andwas
buried in a family crypt in High Church of Stirling. Few of his fellow
Scotsmen paid him homage. His wife Janet applied and lived on a Crown
pension in her remaining years. Sir William was considered by some an
opportunist, others a traitor and many an impractical idealist andfailure.
THE FIRST NOVA SCOTIAN " William Alexander was likely born in1567 or soon afterwards, the only son of Alexander Alexander and hiswife Marion. Birth records of the parish of Logie, of which Menstriewas part have been lost. Little or nothing is known of his earliestyears spent in Menstrie Castle. When his father died in 1581 he andhis two sisters were left in charge of his grand uncle, JamesAlexander , a well-placed Burgess of Sterling
Helen " Alexander Alexander Baron of Menstrey who was the fatherof William Alexander, Earl of Stirling wife Marion
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1. Title: THE ALEXANDER FAMILY IN EUROPE Complied from the "House of Alexander."
by Elizabeth Auction Arnold 1880
Author: Elizabeth Auction Arnold 1880
Publication: Indiana State Genealogy Library
Text: The following are five pages of Family information I came across inthe Indiana State Genealo
gy Library about a year ago when I firststarted myresearch on the Alexander Name. I have found that what weall are looking for are clues to help us do our research. I found thisinformation was of no help to me , Just not the right branch of theAlexander Tree. However, As I follow the search on the AlexanderSurname on the Web. I though the following may give some clues toothers. This Information may be the most common information known byevery one or there may be a gem or two for someone. I have tried toretype it just the way it was on the five sheets I found in a lousefile in a Filing Cabinet. I have no other information on who puttogether the five pages other than the information on the pages.By the Way My Branch of the Alexander Tree is out of Rowan & BurkeCounty NC though Wayne Coun
ty IN and Preble County OH to Ralls CountyMO and on to California.Alexander Names, Such as James, William,Samuel, Clements F, Clementine V. Clarence S, Martin, Oscar Monroe,Herman Sigel, Keith Monroe. If anyone has information on any of thesenames in the Counties and StatesPlease pass it along.
THE ALEXANDER FAMILY IN EUROPE
Complied from the "House of Alexander."
by Elizabeth Auction Arnold 1880
I. #4568 Robert Bruce married
- 4569 Lady Isabella, daughter of
- 5303 Donald, Earl of Mar (1306-1329)
II. #4556 Princess Mary Bruce, who married
- 4555 Walter, the Steward of Scotland.,
III.#4548 Robert II King of Scotland 1316-1390) who married
- 4549 Lady Elizabeth Muir (1316-1390)
IV. #4540 Princess Catherine Stuart,b 1330 who married
- 4539 Sir David Lindsay Earl of Crawford
V. #4527 Lady Margery Lindsay, b 1380 who married
- 4526 Sir William Douglas of Lochleven b 1387 d, 1421
VI.#4519 Sir Henry Douglas, b abt 1400 who Married
- 4520 Lady Elizabeth Erskine,
VII.#4502 Sir Robert Douglas, b abt 1440 who married
- 4503 Margaret Belfour
VIII.#4497 Lord Thomas Douglas, B 1465 who married
- 4498 Lady Elizabeth Boyd dau. of
- 4507 Arch.Boyd.
IX.#4344 Lady Elizabeth Douglas, b 1505 d 1545
who married abt June 1530
Start of Alexander Line
- 4343 XI. Alexander Alexander, Baron of Menstrie,(1529)b 1472 d 1555
- 5344 William Alexander b 1540
- 4459 Elizabeth Forgesand
Or #5343 Elizbeth Forbes
- 5345 Alexander Alexander Baron of Menstre b abt 1570
- 4345 William Alexander Baron of Menstre (1544)m
- 4460 Elizabeth Coutts
- 3467 William Alexander b 1567 d 1639 Earl of Sterling
- 3996 Janet Erskin
- 3460 John Alexande b 1601 m
- 4381 Elizabeth Green
- 3483 Archibald Alexander, B. of Menstrie, born 1620 Married
- 3464 ELIZABETH MACKAY/McKAY,
Known Issue: (Not in order of birth),
- 4628 Strong,
- 4627 William, b abt 1530
- 5177 Joseph, b abt 1640
- 5178 John, b abt 1642
- 5179 Archibald, and
- 5189 James.b abt 1646
-------------------- Sir, Earl of Stirling. Poet. William Alexander was a Scot and had no title when he publishe d his four closet dramas.
Politician and minor poet. Alexander was born in the Clackmannanshire village of Menstrie, br ought up in Stirling and educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Leiden. He was the autho r of the lengthy 'Doomesday', a series of tragedies and was closely acquainted with the poe t William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585 - 1649). He was a member of the court of King James V I (1566 - 1625). In 1621 he was granted lands in Canada, which he worked hard to colonise an d named Nova Scotia or New Scotland. From 1626 he served as Secretary of State for Scotland . In 1631, he was made sole printer of King James' version of the Psalms. He was knighted (16 09), created a Viscount (1633) and Earl of Stirling (1639), although suffering bankruptcy i n his later years, died in London in poverty. Educated at the Stirling GrammarSchool, Glasgo w University and on the continent at Leyden. He accompanied the 7th Earl of Argyll in a tou r of Europe where he acquired some French and Italian. In his early days William Alexander wa s an intimate of Alexander Hume and later formed a close friendship with Drummond of Hawthorn den. He had literary aspirations and published A Short Discourse on the Gowrie Conspiracy i n 1600. This was followed by four tragedies: Croesus, Darius, The Alexandrean and Julius Caes ar, 1603-07, bound up as The Monarchicke Tragedies in 1604and 1607. His poems, A Paraenesis t o the Prince and Aurora appeared in1604, and of his later works the best-known is the length y Doomesday(1614). In 1627 he was granted the privilege, for 21 years, of imprinting The Psal ms of King David, translated into metre by his lateMajesty James I, though mostly by Willia m himself. A revised version of much of his work was issued as Recreations with the Muses i n 1637.From the Earl of Argyll, William Alexander had a charter of the landsand barony of Men strie in 1605, having nine years earlier been infeft by him of the 'five pund' land of the Ma ins of Menstrie. This association with powerful Lord of Argyll and his poetical and othertale nts brought him into great favor at Court, where he became Gentleman of the Privy Chamber Ext raordinary to Prince Henry by 1607,and he was soon knighted. In March 1613 he, with two other s, was granted the right of working the silver mine at Hilderston, county,Linlithgow. By kin g James I of England, he was made Master of Requestsin 1614 and attended Parliament as such u ntil his death. He became Burgess of Edinburgh in 1617, and Lord of the Articles in 1621. I n that year he was given by charter a grant of the whole territory of Nova Scotia for the pur pose of colonization and was appointed hereditary Lieutenant General thereof by land and by s ea. In November1624 he was empowered by king James to divide that land into 100 tracts, late r increased to 150, and to sell each, together with the rank of Baronet. He was abroad on th e King's special service in 1624-5 when he attended the great jubilee in Rome. From king Char les I he obtained a renewed grant, or novodamus, of the barony of Nova Scotiaand, in Februar y 1627, a charter of the lordship of Canada, all ratified by the Scots Parliament in 1630 an d 1633. He was also granted the Admiralty jurisdiction of Nova Scotia in 1627 and certain lan ds of Largs, county Ayr in 1629, where the town was erected into a freeburgh of barony as a t rading port for his lands in the new world. Sir William was made Secretary of State for Scotl and in 1625 and Principal Secretary from 1627 until his death, as well as Commissioner for Su rrenders and Teinds, and for the discovery of Papists. He was also a member of the Scots Coun cil of War, Commissioner of the Exchequer and Councillor of the Association for the Fishing.I n September 1630 William was created Viscount of Stirling and Lord Alexander of Tullibody, an d subsequently on the coronation in Scotland of Charles Iin June 1633, Earl of Stirling, Visc ount of Canada, and Lord Alexander of Tullibody, each title to be inheritable by his heirs ma le of the name of Alexander. In 1631 he was made Commissioner to superintend the coining of c opper farthings, as well as penny and twopenny pieces called 'turners.' He became a Councillo r for New England in 1633 and Commissioner for Foreign Plantations the next year. He was Join t Master of the Minerals (with his son John) in 1635. He accompanied the king to the north i n theFirst Bishops' War and signed the Treaty of Berwick in 1639, and received a grant out o f the rent paid by the beaver makers. In 1601 he had married Janet, daughter of Sir William E rskine the Commendator of the Bishopric of Glasgow and known as the Parson of Campsie.They ha d four sons,William,Anthony,Henry and John but the fortunes of Lord and Lady Stirling began t o decline in 1632, when the English made peace with the French and surrendered to them, unde r the Treaty of St.Germain-en-Laye, the whole of Nova Scotia and Canada, the grant toWillia m not withstanding. Nevertheless Lord Stirling continued to allocate both lands and Baronetci es in Nova Scotia until 1638, makingover to his many creditors the moneys 'to be procured' fr om this source. Back in 1631 the Exchequer had given him a note for £10,000 for the satisfact ion of his losses in New Scotland, but neither this money nor the proceeds of the sales of la nds and titles was ever paid.The Earl Stirling died insolvent in February 1639 at his house i n Covent Garden and was buried 12 April 1640 in Bowie's Aisle. Stirling Church.Lord Stirling' s biographer, T. H. McGrail, says "Sir William Alexander adventured bravely, served faithfull y, and lived his life intensely.If all his tremendous designs accomplished little or nothing , if the story of each of his enterprises is a record of eventual defeat, it is because he wa s rendered impotent by the hiatus between conception and execution, between the dream and th e reality."Lord Stirling's first son and heir apparent, William Alexander, was born about 160 4. He was admitted to Glasgow University in 1618, and in 1623 his father was trying to obtai n some preferment for him in his Majesty's service. He was made Commissioner, with Sir John S cot of Scotstarvet, to act for his father in Scotland in the business of the Nova Scotia Plan tationin1626, and he was knighted that year at Whitehall. He became Burgessof Glasgow in 1627 . The following year he sailed for Nova Scotia and planted a colony there at Fort Royal, form erly the French Port Royal,in September, returning to Scotland in November, 1629. The next ye ar,as Commissioner to make a voyage to the gulf and river of Canada for the sole trade of ski ns,furs and hides, he wintered in Nova Scotia,arriving back at Dover in October 1630.Willia m was styled Master of Stirling, 1630-33, and Lord Alexander from1633. He was Councillor fo r New England from that year and served on many important committees. InApril 1635 he receive d a large grant of lands in New England, to becalled the County of Canada, including Long Isl and--to be called the Isle of Stirling--which he colonized. Between his two voyages, He marri ed Margaret, first daughter of Claud Hamilton, Lord Paisley. They had five children. Beside s a son William, there were four daughters.Catharine married, as his 2nd wife, Walter Sandila nds, 6th LordTorphichen, leaving two daughters; Jean was living in 1644; Margaret married, a s his 2nd wife, Sir Robert Sinclair, 1st Baronet of Longformacus, leaving two daughters; an d Lucy, said to have married Edward Harrington, Page of Honour to the Prince of Orange in 163 0.Lord Alexander died at the age of 34 of a fever, caused by the hardships he had suffered i n Nova Scotia, 18 May 1638 in London and was buried in Bowie's Aisle, Stirling Church. His wi dow died in January 1660, aged 49, and was buried in the Douglas vault in St.Bride's Church , Douglas.William Alexander, the only son and heir of Lord Alexander and Margaret, his wife , was born about 1632. He succeeded his grandfather as the 2nd Earl of Stirling in 1639 but d ied the following year. His uncle, Henry Alexander, was the 3rd but 1st surviving son of th e 1st Earl, and thus the heir male in May 1640. The older uncle, Sir Anthony Alexander, Maste r of Works, had married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Henry Wardlaw, Baronet of Pitreavie, but d ied, without children and before his father the1st Earl, 17 September1637 in London. Of the y ounger fourth uncle,John, we shall hear later.Henry's aunt Jean was wife of Hugh, 2nd Viscoun t Montgomery of the Great Ardes, and lived at Mount Alexander House, near Comber, county Dow n inIreland. She was living in 1656 and is believed to have been buried in the Montgomery vau lt at Newtown.Henry Alexander, the heir, was admitted to Glasgow University in 1625. In 163 4 he was granted, with three others, the sole right to export goods to Africa for 31 years. H e was Burgess of Stirling and Edinburgh in 1636 and Agent for the Convention of Royal Burghs. Henry succeeded to the Scots peerage as 3rd Earl of Stirling in 1640 but to none of the pater nal estates in Scotland,having declined service when charged by his father's creditors durin g an appraisal. He was living inEngland in 1641 and, as a delinquent,was assessed by Parliame nt at £1,000in 1645, increased to £2,000 inNovember 1646. In 1637 he had married Mary,3rd an d youngest daughter and co heir of Sir Peter Vanlore, Baronet of Tilehurst, Berkshire. They h ad one son, Henry. The 3rd Earl of Stirling died before 11 June 1649.His widow Mary married , before 13 April 1654, John Blount, Lieutenant Colonel of the King's Regiment of Horse, an d she died before 27 June1660
Scotts " Scotts " William ALEXANDER Sir. b. C. 1567 d. 21 FEB 1639/40 m. 03 JAN 1601 #39 96 J anet Erskine Lee Parker 1. William ALEXANDER Sir. b. C. 1567, Stirling?,m.03 JAN 1601, in Sc otland, Janet Erskine, b. Scotland, (daughter of William ERSKINE and Unk. 279) d. Alive in M ay 1 649. William died 21 FEB 1639/40, Covent Garden, London, England., buried: 12 APR 1640,S tirling,Scotland.
He died a bankruptcy, In London, on 12 February 1640. Menstrie Castle still survives.
Quotes by Sir William Alexander (Source: A Father's Book, 1997)
"Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignatio n as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all al one. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring."
"Yet with great toil all that I can attain By long experience, and in learned schools, Is fo r to know my knowledge is but vain, And those that think them wise, are greatest fools." -------------------- William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (c. 1570, Menstrie, Clackmannanshire – 12 September 1640) was a Scotsman who was an early developer of Scottish colonisation of Port Royal, Nova Scotia and Long Island, New York. He was the son of Alexander Alexander of Menstrie and Marion, daughter of an Allan Couttie.
Early lifeWhen a young man he was appointed tutor to the Earl of Argyll and accompanied him abroad. At a later date he received the place of gentleman usher to Prince Charles, son of James VI of Scotland, and continued in favour at court after the king became Charles I of England. He attained reputation as a poet and writer of rhymed tragedies, and assisted the king in preparing the metrical version known as "The Psalms of King David, translated by King James," and published by authority of Charles I. He was knighted in 1614.
Nova Scotia In 1621 King James I granted him a royal charter appointing him mayor of a vast territory which was enlarged into a lordship and barony of Nova Scotia (New Scotland); the area now known as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and part of the northern United States. The creation of Baronets of Nova Scotia was used to settle the plantation of the new province.
He was appointed Secretary for Scotland in 1626 and held that office for the rest of his life.
Lord Stirling’s efforts at colonisation were less successful, at least in monetary terms. He briefly established a Scottish settlement at Port Royal, Nova Scotia, led by his son William Alexander (the younger). However the effort cost him most of his fortune, and when the region—now Canada's three Maritime Provinces and the state of Maine-- was returned to France in 1632, it was lost. He spent his later years with limited means, and died in London on 12 September 1640. However Alexander's settlement provided the basis for British claims to Nova Scotia and his baronets provided the Coat of arms of Nova Scotia and Flag of Nova Scotia which are still in use today.
Long IslandIn 1630, King Charles rewarded his service by creating him Viscount of Stirling and in 1633 he became Earl of Stirling.
On 22 April 1636 Charles told that the Plymouth Colony which had laid claim to the Long Island but had not settled it give the island to Alexander. Through his agent James Farret (who personally received Shelter Island and Robins Island) in turn sold most of the eastern island to the New Haven Colony and Connecticut Colony.
Farret arrived in New Amsterdam in 1637 to present his claim of English sovereignty and was arrested and sent to prison in Holland where he escaped. English attempted to settle at Cow Bay at what today is Port Washington, New York in 1640 but were arrested and released after saying they were mistaken about the title. Following Alexander's death in 1640 eastern Long Island was quickly settled by the English while the western portion waited 40 years until the Dutch left.
AuthorStirling also wrote closet dramas: classical tragedies titled Croesus, Darius, The Alexandrean, and Julius Caesar. His plays were published in several editions (1604, 1607, 1616, 1637).
FamilyAccording to Memorials of the Earl of Stirling and of the house of Alexander, Charles Rogers, Edinburgh, W. Paterson, 1877, pages 38, 253 and 254, John Alexander, the 4th son of William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, was born about 1612, and died 1641 in Scotland. John was matriculated a student in the University of Glasgow in 1630 (Reg. Col. Glasg.) He was roughly 18 years old at that point.
About 1633/1634, John Alexander married Agnes, the only daughter of Robert Graham of Gartmore, Perthshire. Agnes was married to John when her father died in 1634 and was described in estate documents as "lawful dochter of . . . Robert Graham of Gartmoir, and with consent of John Alexander, lawful son to ane noble and potent erle, William, Erle of Stirling, Lord Alexander, her spouse." Agnes Graham Alexander died some time prior to 23 January 1636, when her husband, John Alexander, was "invested in that portion of the lands of Gartmore which had passed to her at her father's death." There is no evidence that John Alexander married for a second time after the death of Agnes Graham Alexander.
Agnes Graham Alexander had a brother Gilbert Graham who also inherited a portion of Gartmore, on the death of their father Robert Graham. Gilbert died in 1641 without children or siblings to inherit. As a result, his niece "Janet Alexander, only daughter of John Alexander and the deceased Agnes Graham" received her uncle's share in the lands of Gartmore (Sheriff Court Book, Stirling). If John and Agnes Graham Alexander had other children, they were dead by 1641, otherwise they would have inherited from their Uncle Gilbert along with Janet Alexander.
"On the 20th April 1635, [John Alexander] was, conjointly with his father, appointed Master of Minerals and Metals in Scotland (Reg. Mag. Sig., vol. iv., p. 60, Paper Register). He was afterwards nominated General of the Mint, an office which yielded his successor £500 per annum, with perquisites (Reg. Mag. Sig, lib. iv., No. 237)." John served as General of the Mint until 1641, shortly before his death in Scotland.
A number unrelated Alexander families in North American, with immigrant ancestors who appeared in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina in the 17th century, all claim to be descended from John Alexander, son of William Alexander, Earl of Stirling. In fact, none are.
HonoursThe Canadian Coast Guard has named the CCGS Sir William Alexander in his honour
Sir William Alexander's Timeline
Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
Sterling, Menstrie, Scotland
Sterling, Menstrie, Scotland
Sterling, Menstrie, Scotland
Stirling, Stirling, UK
January 3, 1601
Menstrie,Parish Logie Clakmannshire,Sterling,Scotland
Sterling, Menstrie, Scotland
Menstrie, Sterling, Scotland
Sterling, Menstrie, Scotland