Sir Archibald Alison 1st Bart.

29th Dec 1792 - 23rd May 1867

Claimant or beneficiary


Sir Archibald Alison [baronet 1852], son of Rev. Archibald Alison and Dorothea Gregory, who had been the companion  of Elizabeth Montagu, awarded the compensation  for the Bellevue estate in St Vincent as trustee with his brother William Pulteney Alison (q.v.) for his brother-in-law 'Colonel Gerard'.

  1. Alison was a criminal lawyer, historian and High Tory 'political philosopher', the author of numerous books and articles, especially for Blackwood' s Magazine, including an attack on Malthus and liberal political economy in 1840 (Principles of Population and their Connection with Human Happiness), a 10 volume History of Europe during the French Revolution (1833-1842), and an autobiography, Some Account of my Life and Writings: an Autobiography by the late Sir Archibald Alison (largely written in 1851-2, completed in 1862 but published in 1883). Alison was satirised by Disraeli as Mr Wordy in Coningsby.

  2. Sheriff of Lanarkshire [December] 1834, moved to Glasgow February 1835 and lived at Possil House until his death; Rector of Marischal College 1845; Rector of University of Glasgow 1850.'He took a close interest in the American Civil War, as a defender of slavery and partisan of the Confederacy despite his humanitarian instincts'. As Sheriff, he was involved in action against the cotton spinners' strike of 1839, the miners' strike at Airdrie in 1842 and the Chartist 'insurrection' of 1848. 100-150,000 people lined the route of his funeral procession in 1867, according to Blackwood's Magazine. Michie describes him as 'a transitional figure in a transitional age.'

  3.  John Gerard of Rochsoles, Lt Col in East India Company, married Alison's sister Dorothea Montagu in 1810.

  4. Alison married Elizabeth Tytler in Edinburgh 20/03/1825. She was the first cousin of William Fraser Tytler (q.v.). Elizabeth was born 02/10/1799, daughter of Patrick and Isabella nee Erskine, baptised 17/10/1799 in Stirling and died 05/10/1874 in Edinburgh.


T71/892 St Vincent No. 458; Michael Fry, ‘Alison, Sir Archibald, first baronet (1792–1867)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004), [accessed 12/09/2012]; his father, mother and brother are all in the ODNB: Philip Carter 'Alison, Archibald (1757-1839), Scottish Episcopal clergyman and writer on aesthetics'; Norma Clarke 'Gregory [married name Alison], Dorothea (bap. 1754, d. 1830 companion of Elizabeth Montagu'; L.S. Jacyna 'Alison, William Pulteney (1790-1859), physician and social reformer'; Catherine Hall, 'Archibald Alison and Proslavery Discourse' in T.M. Devine (ed.), Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past: The Caribbean Connection Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2015).

  1. Michael Michie, An Enlightenment Tory in Victorian Scotland: the career of Sir Archibald Alison (East Linton, Lothian, Tuckwell Press Limited, 1997); James Maclehose, Memoirs and Portraits of 100 Glasgow men (Glasgow, James MacLehose & Sons, 1886), No. 1, available at the Glasgow Digital Library [accessed 10/09/2012]. There is nothing in Michie on any writing by Alison on colonial slavery and Emancipation, nor indeed on his attitudes to American slavery alluded to in his ODNB entry.

  2. ODNB online: Michael Fry, 'Alison, Sir Archibald, first baronet (1792-1867), historian and lawyer'; Michie, An Enlightenment Tory pp. 64-91 for his activity as Sheriff; p. 198 for his funeral and his 'transitional' nature.

  3. John Burke, A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland (2 vols., London, Henry Colburn, 1863), Vol. 3, supplement pp. 135-6.

  4. GROS OPR Births 490 30 271 Stirling; GROS OPR Marriages 685/1 630 254 Edinburgh; GROS Deaths 1874 685/1 949.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Archibald Allison
Elizabeth Glencairn Tytler
Sir Archibald Alison, Frederick, Isabella (or Ella Frances Catherine) (1832-1806)
Edinburgh [1805-1810 ]
Legal Education
Edinburgh [1810-1814 ]
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (1)

£4,081 18s 10d
Awardee (Trustee)

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1834 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Trustee

Legacies Summary

Historical (3)

History of Europe during the French... 1833-1842 
notes →
Alison's *Oxford DNB* biographer, claims that 'Despite the heavy political baggage, his work offered the first survey of the revolution in English', and that it was very popular: 'several editions...
Principles of Population and Their Connection with Human... 1840 
Some Account of my Life and Writings. An Autobiography by the late Sir Archibald... 1883 

Political (1)

Local Government
office →
1834 -

Relationships (3)


Addresses (1)

Possil House, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Central Scotland, Scotland
Notes →

Rented by Sir Archibald Alison from 1834-1867