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Indirect profits from slavery

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Alexander Allardyce

Alexander Allardyce (c.1743–1801) was born in Aberdeen and sailed as a young man for Jamaica to make his fortune. He invested in cargoes of slaves imported to Jamaica, and eventually made enough money to buy one or more plantations there in St Ann’s Parish.

Allardyce returned to Aberdeen as a wealthy man in the early 1780s. He became Lord Rector of Marischal College and in 1792 was elected as the member of parliament for the Aberdeen Burghs. To commemorate his success, he purchased the lands of Dunnottar, near Stonehaven, which had been forfeited by the Earls Marischal in the 1715 Jacobite rising. He built a substantial mansion there. This has been demolished, but a legacy of his Caribbean wealth survives in the form of Dunnottar Woods, which he originally laid out and planted.

Another reminder of his wealth can be seen in the Kirk of St Nicholas in Aberdeen, where he commissioned the fashionable London sculptor, John Bacon, to erect an elaborate marble sculpture commemorating the death of his first wife, Ann Baxter, in 1787. He himself died in November 1801, aged 58, and was buried in the kirkyard at St Nicholas.

Slaves boil sugar cane juice in large coppers under the watchful eye of a European overseer in Trinidad.
(© The British Library Board)