STEWART, Alexander II (1746-1831), of Ards, Letterkenny, co. Donegal.
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Family and Education
b. 26 Mar. 1746, 2nd s. of Alexander Stewart, MP [I], of Mount Stewart, co. Down by his cos. Mary, da. of John Cowan of Londonderry. educ. Glasgow Univ. 1761. m. 2 Oct. 1791, Lady Mary Moore, da. of Charles, 1st Mq. of Drogheda [I], 2s. 2da.
MP [I] 1800.
Sheriff, co. Donegal 1791-2.
Stewart was the younger brother of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, Castlereagh’s father, on whose interest he sat for a month in the Irish parliament for county Derry in 1800 before transferring to Lord Clifden’s borough of Thomastown. In September 1800 he was spoken of as a likely parliamentary candidate for Donegal, where he had resided for 18 years.1 Nothing came of this, and when Stewart was returned for county Derry in 1814 it was as a family stopgap, a replacement for his nephew Charles William Stewart. He retained the seat only until the dissolution, when he was replaced by his son Alexander Robert who had meanwhile come of age.
Stewart, conscious of what he called ‘the family interest entrusted to my care’,2 was governed by Castlereagh in his conduct. He supported government silently and although the viceroy, approving his return in 1814, was assured that Stewart was ‘a most staunch-Protestant’, he voted for the Catholic claims, to which his nephew was favourable, on 21 May 1816. In February 1816 his excuse to the chief secretary for his absence was that Castlereagh had told him that he need not attend till ‘pretty late in the session’ and that he awaited his nephew’s instructions. He was present in June 1816, perhaps for the last time. In November 1817 he wrote of ‘the uniform support which I gave to government, so long as my health permitted my attendance, without any interested view to myself’, and this in a letter to the chief secretary complaining that his requests for county patronage were being ignored. His plea was reinforced by his nephew Charles, but in February 1818, still in poor health, he renewed his complaints of neglect and failure in his applications.3 He was clearly relieved to retire. Stewart died in August 1831.