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Hope, Alexander (1769-1837) (DNB00)


HOPE, Sir ALEXANDER (1769–1837), of Craighall, N.B., general, born on 9 Dec. 1769, was second son of John Hope, second earl of Hopetoun, by his third wife, the Lady Elizabeth, second daughter of Alexander Leslie, fifth earl of Leven and Melville. He was educated at home, and with his elder half-brother John, afterwards the fourth earl [see Hope, John, fourth Earl of Hopetoun], travelled on the continent in charge of their tutor, Dr. John Gillies (1747–1836) [q. v.]. In 1786 he was appointed ensign in the 63rd foot, became lieutenant in the 64th foot two years later, and in 1791 raised an independent company, which was drafted. On 20 July in the same year Hope was appointed a lieutenant and captain 1st foot-guards. He was one of the officers selected for the light companies when light infantry companies were first added to the regiment in 1793. He served in Flanders in 1794 as brigade-major of the guards, under Major-general Gerard Lake [q. v.], and afterwards as aide-de-camp to Major-general Sir Ralph Abercromby [q. v.]. In the same year he became major in the 81st foot, and lieutenant-colonel in the 2nd battalion of the 90th foot, whence he exchanged in December to the 14th foot. He was still with the retreating army in Holland, and having joined the 14th, commanded it in the attack from Buren on Gueldermasen on 8 Jan. 1795. He was dangerously wounded there, a ball, deep lodged in the shoulder, destroying the arm and causing permanent lameness, and he received a pension. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of Tynemouth and Cliff Fort in 1797, and lieutenant-governor of Edinburgh Castle in 1798. He was brigade-major and assistant adjutant-general of the eastern district in 1798–9. He became a brigadier-general in 1807, and major-general in 1808. When General Le Marchant went out to the Peninsula in 1812, Hope, who was then deputy quartermaster-general at the horse guards, under Sir Robert Brownrigg [q. v.], was appointed governor of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in Le Marchant's place. In January 1813 he was despatched on a special mission to Sweden, to report on the military force available for co-operation in Germany (Forsyth, Napoleon at St. Helena, i. 104). His letters to Hudson Lowe, who was sent to the north of Europe at the same time, are in Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 20111, f. 15, and 20191, ff. 210, 217. In 1819 Hope exchanged back from the Royal Military College to the lieutenant-governorship of Edinburgh Castle. He became lieutenant-governor of Chelsea Hospital in 1826, and after being colonel in succession of the 5th West India and 74th regiments, became colonel of the 14th foot in 1835.

Hope, who was a staunch supporter of Pitt, sat in parliament for Dumfries in 1796, and for Linlithgowshire from 1802 to 1834. He died a full general and G.C.B. on 19 May 1837. He married, on 23 Oct. 1805, Georgina Alicia, daughter of George Brown of Ellistown, by whom he had five sons and a daughter. On 30 June 1824 the university of Oxford conferred on him the honorary degree of D.C.L. on the same day that his eldest son, John Thomas Hope, of Christ Church (who died lieutenant-colonel of the Fifeshire militia in 1835), recited his Newdigate prize poem on the ‘Arch of Titus.’ James Robert Hope-Scott of Abbotsford [q. v.] was his third son.

It has been stated that Hope held rank in the Austrian army (Ornsby, Life of J. R. Hope-Scott, 1884, i. 6–8, 59–60). No register of the personnel of the Austrian army (Army List) was kept at the Austrian war office before 1820; but the archives of the financial department contain no mention of any officer of the name as serving between 1773 and 1840. A portrait of Hope by Sir Thomas Lawrence is in the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

[Foster's Peerage under ‘Hopetoun;’ Hamilton's Grenadier Guards, ii. 275, 295; Cannon's Hist. Records 14th Foot; Gent. Mag. new ser. viii. 423. The biographical details given by Philippart, Royal Military Calendar, 1820, and by Cannon are incorrect, as well as meagre.]

H. M. C.