Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Alison, Sir Archibald,; Bart., a political and historical writer, born at Kenley in Shropshire, of which place his father was vicar, in 1792. During his infancy the family returned to Edinburgh, and he was educated at the university there and called to the Scottish bar. He prospered at first, but when the Tories went out in 1830 his chances of promotion fell, and he took to literature with great industry. Besides contributing largely to Blackwood's Magazine and writing a number of volumes on various economical and biographical subjects, he devoted himself mainly to the composition of his History of Europe from the French Revolution to the Fall of Napoleon, a work of immense labour, though inaccurate, dull, and prejudiced. The first two volumes appeared in 1833, and speedily won him the esteem of those sections of the public to whom the French Revolution was nothing but a hideous nightmare and the progress of democracy a fact to be ignored. The lack of judgment and candour is still more visible in the Continuation, which brings the record up to 1852 and was published in 1855. Disraeli said that the object of the work was to show that "Providence is always on the side of the Tories." Peel made Alison sheriff of Lanarkshire in 1834, and he spent the rest of his life in well-regulated toil at Possil House, near Glasgow. In 1845 he was elected Lord Rector of Marischal College, Aberdeen, and in 1851 Rector of Glasgow University. Lord Derby conferred a baronetcy upon him in 1852, and he died in 1867, working almost to the very last. He married in 1825 Miss Elizabeth Tytler, and left several children, of whom General Sir A. Alison is the eldest and most distinguished.