Allardyce, Alexander (DNB01)

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ALLARDYCE, ALEXANDER (1846–1896), author, son of James Allardyce, farmer, was born on 21 Jan. 1846 at Tilly-minit, Gartly, parish of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire. Receiving his first lessons in Latin from his maternal grandmother (Smith, An Aberdeenshire Village Propaganda), he was educated at Rhynie parish school, Aberdeen grammar school, and the university of Aberdeen. In 1868 he became sub-editor of the 'Friend of India' at Serampore, Bengal. Lord Mayo appreciated him so highly that he offered him an assistant-commissionership, but he kept to journalism. He was on the 'Friend of India' till 1875, having apparently at the same time done work for the 'Indian Statesman.' In 1875 he succeeded John Capper as editor of the 'Ceylon Times,' and one of his early experiences of office was tendering an apology to the judicial bench for contempt (London Times, 25 April 1896). Returning to Europe, he was for a time at Berlin and afterwards in London, where he wrote for 'Fraser's Magazine,' the 'Spectator,' and other periodicals. In 1877 he settled at Edinburgh as reader to the house of Messrs. William Blackwood and Sons, and assistant-editor of 'Blackwood's Magazine.' He died at Portobello on 23 April 1896, and was buried in Rhynie parish churchyard, Aberdeenshire.

When comparatively young Allardyce married his cousin, Barbara Anderson, who survived him. There was no family.

Allardyce wrote:

  1. ‘The City of Sunshine,’ 1877; 2nd edit. 1894; a vivacious tale of Indian life and manners.
  2. ‘Memoir of Viscount Keith of Stonehaven Marischal, Admiral of the Red,’ 1882; a trustworthy work.
  3. ‘Balmoral, a Romance of the Queen's Country,’ 1893; a Jacobite tale.
  4. ‘Earlscourt, a Novel of Provincial Life,’ 1894.

In 1888 he edited two works of rare value and interest (each in 2 vols. 8vo): (1) the Ochtertyre MSS. of John Ramsay under the title of ‘Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century,’ and (2) ‘Letters from and to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe’ [q. v.] Allardyce regularly wrote political and literary articles for ‘Blackwood's Magazine,’ and his skill in handling a short story is illustrated in the third series of ‘Tales from Blackwood.’ At the time of his death he was preparing the volume on Aberdeenshire for Messrs. Blackwood's series of county histories.

[Private information; Times, Scotsman, and Aberdeen Free Press of 24 April, and Athenæum of 2 May 1896.]

T. B.