BRODIE, Alexander (1748-1818), of Arnhall and The Burn, Kincardine.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



22 Dec. 1785 - 1790
1790 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 3 Mar. 1748, 3rd s. of James Brodie, adv., of Spynie, Elgin by w. Emilia; bro. of James Brodie*. m. 16 Aug. 1793, Elizabeth Margaret, da. of Hon. James Wemyss of Wemyss, Fife, 1da.

Offices Held

Writer, E.I. Co. (Madras) 1773; commissary’s asst. at Vellore 1776; commissary gen. 1779; factor 1780, jun. merchant 1782; returned to England ?1783.


Brodie, a wealthy nabob and close friend of Henry Dundas, had an electoral stake in a number of Scottish constituencies. He stood for Cromarty in 1790, when Nairnshire did not return a Member, but could do no more than use the threat of litigation to force his successful opponent to agree to vacate after four years. He was provided with a seat for Elgin Burghs by Dundas’s intervention with Lord Findlater, who operated an alternating system of nomination with Lord Kintore. He regarded the seat as ‘temporary accommodation’, which he was ready to surrender whenever Dundas wished, but no changes were made in the 1790 Parliament and in 1796 he was again returned for the burghs by Kintore, at Dundas’s request.1

Brodie remained loyal to Dundas, to whom he confessed in 1794 that any political influence he possessed ‘derived from being your protégé’, and was rewarded with a generous share of patronage.2 He either voted with the majority or was absent, supposed hostile, from the division on the Test Act, 10 May 1791, but voted against the abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796, and for the assessed taxes augmentation bill, 4 Jan. 1798. He is not known to have spoken in the House. He told Dundas, 7 Nov. 1794, that he was ‘in many respects a great invalid’ and ‘under severe regimens for the recovery of my sight and the cure of other complaints’; on 7 Nov. 1796 he was given two months’ leave of absence for ‘recovery of his health’.3 Persistent bad health probably made him an infrequent attender and was presumably the reason for his retirement in 1802.

In 1806 Brodie was urged by his brother and Lord Melville to contest Nairnshire against Lord Cawdor’s interest. He was tempted to comply, but a late shift in the electoral situation, which opened the prospect of ‘a personal canvass and exertions of a nature which I am now incapable of making’, caused him to abandon the idea and ‘to court repose as the chief blessing I can now look for’.4

In 1813 Brodie’s daughter married the future 5th Duke of Gordon. Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus later wrote:

She made him very happy, and paid his most pressing debts, that is her father did ... who either for himself or somebody for him had had the good sense to send him with a pen to a counting-house instead of with a sword to the battle-field. He made a really large fortune; he gave with his daughter ... one hundred thousand pounds down, and left her more than another at his death.5

Brodie died 15 Jan. 1818.6

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: D. G. Henry / David R. Fisher


  • 1. SRO GD51/1/198/1/5; 51/1/198/4/5; 51/1/198/23/1, 2.
  • 2. SRO GD51/1/198/17/10; HMC Fortescue, ii. 303-4; Geo. III Corresp. i. 777.
  • 3. SRO GD51/1/198/17/5; CJ, lii. 102.
  • 4. SRO GD51/1/198/12/24.
  • 5. Mems. of a Highland Lady ed. Lady Strachey, 253.
  • 6. Not 15 Jan. 1812 as stated in Namier and Brooke, House of Commons 1754-1790, ii. 120. See Gent. Mag. (1818), i. 92.