GARDEN, Alexander (1714-85), of Troup, Banff.
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Family and Education
b. 1714, 1st s. of Alexander Garden of Troup, adv., by Jean, da. of Sir Francis Grant, S.C.J., 1st Bt., of Cullen, Banff. educ. Edinburgh; King’s Coll. Aberdeen. unm. suc. fa. 22 July 1740.
Garden inherited an ample fortune and great estates in Banff and Aberdeen. A staunch Hanoverian in the ’45, he acted as liaison between the King’s ships in the Moray Firth and Cumberland’s army on its march to Culloden, and thereafter was elected convener of the county of Banff.1 An astute business man, Garden bought up forfeited estates in Kincardine and Aberdeenshire, increased his fortune to £3,000-£4,000 p.a., but continued to live, without ostentation, at Troup, ‘a most amiable and respected country gentleman’,2 and a considerate landlord, sharing the interest of his brother Lord Gardenstone, S.C.J., in agricultural and social improvement. In 1768 the Aberdeenshire freeholders, many of whom were his kinsmen or intimate friends, returned him apparently unopposed, and continued, despite the rivalry of the Fife and Gordon interests, to support him to the end of his life.
An independent in politics, who is not known to have spoken in the House, he supported Administration on Wilkes and the Middlesex election in 1769, on Brass Crosby, 27 March 1771, and the royal marriage bill, March 1772, but voted against them on the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773, on the Middlesex election, 26 Apr. 1773, and on Grenville’s Act, 25 Feb. 1774. Robinson nevertheless counted him ‘pro’ at the end of the Parliament and expected his re-election. Garden’s personal popularity overcame any opposition contemplated by Lord Fife or the Duke of Gordon. Lord Adam Gordon wrote to a Ross-shire friend, 20 July 1774:3 ‘Troup stands for this county and I think will have no opposer. He is a worthy respectable man and means well.’
In the Parliament of 1774-80 no vote by Garden is recorded. The English Chronicle wrote about him in 1781:
He possesses a very large fortune, and many of the very first connexions in the shire; but it was not to the influence of either of these that he has owed the successive compliment of these repeated representations. The freeholders have long been unanimous in this determination, to prefer honesty to talents, and an old acquaintance, though distinguished for no