TOWER, Alexander (bef.1760-1813), of Ferryhill and Logie, Aberdeen.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 1760, 1st. s. of John Tower, convener of the incorporated trades of Aberdeen, sometime of St. Croix.1 unm.
Lt.-col. commdt. Aberdeen vols. 1804, 5 regt. Aberdeen militia 1809.
Joshua Wilson recorded that Tower (whom he called Dr Towers) ‘acquired a fortune in the Dutch West Indies’. In fact his wealth derived from the Danish possession of St. Croix, where he possessed a moiety of two estates, the Hermitage and Strawberry Hill; and to the Danish Lutheran Church of the Christian Heart and the Danish Hospital, St. Croix, he bequeathed 50 pieces of eight. The nature and extent of his activities there are obscure. In his will he referred to a dead brother John Tower of St. Croix and Aberdeen, ‘companion of my youth’ and in later years his business partner. Two other brothers were merchants in Aberdeen and London and a third a surgeon on the island of St. Thomas. Tower’s estates in Scotland were concentrated in the neighbourhood of his native city of Aberdeen, with which his family had long and extensive connexions. There is no record of his having married and at his death the bulk of his estate passed to his brothers and sisters and their children.2
On the hustings at Berwick in 1806, Tower, described to General Hay as ‘a shocking fellow’ who ‘must be cut whenever he makes his appearance in the North’, admitted that he owned 50 slaves, but claimed to be an abolitionist. He gave silent support to the Grenville ministry and was believed to have voted for Brand’s motion, 9 Apr. 1807.3 Like many others he found it difficult to maintain a permanent interest at Berwick and did not go to a poll in 1807. He complained to Viscount Howick that the cry of ‘No Popery’ had been raised against him and that he had been duped into forming a coalition with the already unpopular Sir John Callander by the agent of Alexander Allan*. But, as he admitted, his failure arose ‘principally from my not knowing that early personal presence was necessary there to secure the lower order of burgesses’. Disappointed at Berwick, he was disposed to look elsewhere and wrote to Howick, 18 May 1807:
I fear it is now too late to look for a borough. If however a seat in Parliament could be obtained on moderate terms I would most willingly accept of it. My situation in life puts it in my power to do these things without the smallest inconveniency, being perfectly independent, and requiring nothing of ministers for myself or any family connexion I have got.4
He did not however contest any other seats and died in Clarges Street, Piccadilly, 20 Feb. 1813.5