CALLANDER, Alexander (1741-92), of Crichton and Preston Hall, Edinburgh and Elphinstone, Haddington

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



1790 - 1 Apr. 1792

Family and Education

b. 20 Aug. 1741, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Alexander Callander of Westerton, Stirling by Margaret, da. of David Ramsay of Lethendy, Perth; bro. of John Callander*. educ. by John Adams and Thomas Young, Falkirk. unm.

Offices Held

Writer E.I. Co. (Bombay) 1759; sen. merchant and resident, Scindy 1771; resident, Jambusar 1776; home after 1782.


Callander was an applicant for a writership in 1758, and spent the next 25 years in the East India Company service in Bombay. He evidently prospered: on his return home he bought extensive landed property in the shires of Edinburgh and Haddington and in 1789 Lawrence Hill reckoned him to be worth £6,000 a year. He invested in East India Company stock.

In 1789, with the support of Henry Dundas and the backing of local ministerialists, he announced his candidature for Aberdeen Burghs, then represented by a Whig. While Hill described him as a man of ‘independent principles’ who would ‘not be led by this ministry’, one of his backers told Pitt that he would prove to be ‘a steady friend’. A liberal infusion of money and promises of local places secured him the decisive vote of Montrose, where the council reneged on an earlier written pledge of support to the sitting Member.1

During his brief career in the House Callander, who voted, as forecast, against the relief of Scotsmen from the Test Act, 10 May 1791, apparently gave silent support to government. On 7 Mar. 1792 the provost of Aberdeen, on a visit to Edinburgh, found to his ‘grief and astonishment’ that he was ‘so reduced by severe illness’ that there was little hope of his recovery. There were plans ‘to try the effects of a warmer climate’, but he died 1 Apr. 1792.2

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. India Office Lib. J/1/3, ff. 178-81; Pol. State of Scotland 1788, p. 170; PRO 30/8/111, f. 135; Ginter, Whig Organization, 126-8.
  • 2. NLS mss 1053, f. 13.