Stewart, Alexander (d.1795) (DNB00)

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STEWART, ALEXANDER (d. 1795), of Invernahyle, Jacobite, was the eighth son of Duncan Stewart, seventh of Invernahyle, by a daughter of Campbell of Barcaldine. He was out with his clan, the Stewarts of Appin, both in 1715 and 1745. On the morning of Prestonpans he took part in a brilliant charge, when they stormed and captured a battery of four field-pieces. Invernahyle engaged in single combat Colonel Whitefoord of Ballochmyle, whose life he spared when it was in his hands, on condition of surrender. At Culloden Stewart was wounded, but made his escape. Colonel Whitefoord endeavoured to obtain his pardon from the Duke of Cumberland, and, when that was refused, asked that protection might at least be granted to his houses, wife, children, and property. This also was refused; but Whitefoord having thereupon requested to lay down his commission, it was finally conceded. Search nevertheless was made for Stewart, but he could not be found, and he was afterwards pardoned under the act of indemnity.

Stewart was a client of Sir Walter Scott's father, and his frequent guest in Edinburgh when Scott was a boy. He happened to be in Edinburgh in 1779 when Paul Jones threatened a descent on the city; he was ‘the only person,’ says Lockhart, ‘who seemed to have retained the possession of his cool senses’ at that period of alarm, and offered to the magistrates to collect as many highlanders as would cut off any part of the pirate's crew that might venture into the narrow lanes of the old city (Lockhart, Life of Scott, ed. 1845, p. 39). It was from this old highland warrior that Sir Walter got his earliest lessons in story-telling. His ‘tales,’ Sir Walter relates, ‘were the absolute delight of my childhood. I believe there never was a man who united the ardour of a soldier and tale-teller—a man of “talk,” as they call it in Gaelic—in such an excellent degree, and he was as fond of telling as I was of learning; I became a valiant Jacobite at the age of ten years’ (Familiar Letters, i. 67). At Stewart's request Scott visited him in 1786 or 1787, when he made his first acquaintance with the highlands. Stewart died in 1795. By his wife Katherine, daughter of Robert Stewart, ninth of Appin, he had fifteen children, of whom Dugald succeeded him.

[The Stewarts of Appin, 1880; Lockhart's Life of Scott, chap. v.; Familiar Letters of Sir Walter Scott, 1893.]

T. F. H.