Sue Young Histories

James Edward Alexander 1803 – 1885

July 02, 2010

Major General Sir James Edward Alexander KStJ 1803 – 1885 was a British soldier, traveller and author,

Alexander was a Member of the Management Committee of the London Homeopathic Hospital, and he left a legacy of £500 to the Homeopathic Convalescent Home in Eastbourne,

Alexander’s daughter was also a sponsor of homeopathy,

From The first legacy received for the Homeopathic Convalescent Home in Eastbourne was bequeathed to it while yet the scheme was in an undeveloped stage. General Sir James Alexander, K.C.B. for many years a firm homeopathist and member of the Board of Management of the London Homeopathic Hospital, bequeathed in 1887 the sum of £500 to form the first investment for its maintenance. This good example has been emulated by many friends since.

From Born in Clackmannanshire, James Edward Alexander was the eldest son of Edward Alexander and his second wife, daughter of John Glas. He received his training in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

In 1820, he joined the British East India Company’s army, transferring into the British Army in 1825.

As aide-de-camp to the British envoy to Persia, he witnessed fighting during the war between Persia and Russia in 1826 and in 1829 was present in the Balkans during the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829. From 1832 to 1834, he witnessed the Miguelete War in Portugal and in 1835 took part in the 6th Cape Frontier War in South Africa as aide-de-camp and private secretary to Benjamin d’Urban.

He was the son-in-law of Charles Collier Michell, having married in Cape Town on 25 October 1837 his daughter Eveline Marie, born 16 April 1821.

In 1838, he was made a Knight Bachelor for his services. From 1841, he served in Canada, among others in the staff of William Rowan. During the Crimean War, he commanded the 14th Regiment of Foot as lieutenant-colonel in the Siege of Sevastopol in 1855 and held an important command during the M?ori War in New Zealand in 1862.

He retired from active service in 1877 and in 1881 was given the honorary rank of general.

On behalf of the Royal Geographical Society, he conducted an exploring expedition into Namaqualand and Damaraland, lasting from 8 September 1836 to 21 September 1837, in the course of which he collected rock specimens, pelts of rare animals, birdskins, weapons and implements from the Herero and Nama, as well as drawing maps of the region and making a first list of Herero words.

Subsequently Arrowsmith made use of his data to draw a map accompanying his book on the expedition. Alexander Bay on the Orange River mouth, is named after him.

In 1877, he was largely responsible for the preservation and transfer of Cleopatra’s Needle to England.