Alexander Asher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alexander Asher
Q.C.
Alexander Asher.jpg
Portrait of Alexander Asher, as published in the Black & White Parliamentary Album, 1895
Member of Parliament
for Elgin Burghs
In office
13 July 1881–27 January 1905
Preceded by M. E. Grant Duff
Succeeded by John Sutherland
Personal details
Born (1834-01-27)27 January 1834
Inveravon, Banffshire
Died 5 August 1905(1905-08-05) (aged 71)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Nationality Scottish
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Caroline Gregan Craufurd
Parents William Asher, Katherine Forbes Gordon
Residence Beechwood, Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Alexander Asher (27 January 1834 – 5 August 1905) was a Scottish politician and lawyer, who was elected as Member of Parliament for the Elgin Burghs constituency from 1881 until his death in 1905. He was also Solicitor General for Scotland on three occasions, and was Dean of the Faculty of Advocates.

Background[edit]

Asher was born at Inveravon, Banffshire, on 27 January 1834. He was the third son of William Asher the parish minister of Inveravon and his wife, Katherine Forbes Gordon. He was educated at Elgin Academy[1] and both King's College, Aberdeen and Edinburgh University.[2] He was awarded honorary degrees of LL.D. by Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities in 1891.[2] In 1870 he married Caroline Julia Gregan Craufurd, the daughter of Rev. C. H. Gregan Craufurd.[3]

Legal career[edit]

Asher was admitted to the Scottish Bar, the Faculty of Advocates in 1861. He was appointed an Advocate Depute in 1870. In December 1881 he took silk, becoming a Queen's Counsel (QC).[4] In 1895, he was unanimously chosen as Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, following the resignation of Charles Pearson when he was appointed as Lord Advocate.[5]

Political career[edit]

At the general election of 1880 Asher was unsuccessful as Liberal candidate for the universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen.[6] In 1881, following the resignation of M. E. Grant Duff from the Elgin Burghs constituency, Asher was chosen to represent the Liberal Party at the Elgin Burghs by-election, 1881. He was elected unopposed on 13 July.[7] He immediately took office in the Liberal Government of William Gladstone as Solicitor General for Scotland, serving until 1885. He was elected unopposed at the General Election 1885, at a by-election on 12 February 1886 after re-acceptance of office as Solicitor General for Scotland and again at the General Election 1886.[8] His second spell as Solicitor General being cut short when the Liberals lost power. He stood again at the United Kingdom general election, 1892, and was re-elected, this time opposed, by a majority of 541.[9] After that election the Liberals were returned to power. Asher took office in that government, again as Solicitor General for Scotland, serving for another two years.

Shortly prior to the 1895 general election, Asher was rumoured to be the Government nominee for the position of Speaker of the House of Commons.[10] Although he was not chosen as the Speaker, he retained his seat with a margin of 1,853 votes against the tally of 1,161 won by C.O. Gordon.[11]

There were rumours that the Conservative Party might put forward a candidate to oppose Asher in the 1900 general election.[12] But as of five days before the election, Asher remained unopposed.[13] John Moffat stepped forward shortly before the election on behalf of the Liberal Unionist Party, but was defeated by Asher, 1187 votes to 1744.[14]

Death[edit]

Asher fell ill while in London as he was leaving the House of Commons from an evening sitting in July 1905. He remained in bed for the following month, and following a worsening of his condition on 31 July, Asher became eager to return home to Scotland.[2] He returned to his home in Murrayfield, Edinburgh on 4 August. He died at his residence the following day. At the time of his death, the media described him as "one of the most eminent advocates from the Scottish bar".[15] He left personal estates in the United Kingdom worth £39,378, of which £17,189 was in Scotland.[16] He left no public bequests, but instead granted legacies to a number of his former servants.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ G. W. T. Omond, ‘Asher, Alexander (1834–1905)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 5 May 2015
  2. ^ a b c "Death of a Liberal M.P.". Cheltenham Chronicle. 12 August 1905. p. 8. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ ‘ASHER, Alexander’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 5 May 2015
  4. ^ ‘ASHER, Alexander’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 5 May 2015
  5. ^ "At a meeting...". Dundee Courier. 26 October 1895. p. 3. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ G. W. T. Omond, ‘Asher, Alexander (1834–1905)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 5 May 2015
  7. ^ "Mr. Alexander Asher (Liberal)". Northampton Mercury. 16 July 1881. p. 3. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1889
  9. ^ "Death of a Liberal M.P.". Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser. 9 August 1905. p. 1. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ "Our London Correspondent". Glasgow Herald. 14 March 1895. p. 7. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  11. ^ "The New Parliament - Yesterday's Results". Pall Mall Gazette. 20 July 1895. p. 4. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ "Elgin Burghs". Aberdeen People's Journal. 22 September 1900. p. 6. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "The Election". The London Standard. 21 September 1900. p. 2. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ "Elgin Burghs". Aberdeen's People's Journal. 20 October 1900. p. 6. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ "Death of Mr Alexander Asher, K.C. M.P.". Derby Daily Telegraph. 7 August 1905. p. 4. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ "Mr. Alexander Asher M.P.". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 25 October 1905. p. 7. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ "The will of Mr. Alexander Asher". Dundee Courier. 11 August 1905. p. 7. Retrieved 5 April 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 

Further reading[edit]

  • G. W. T. Omond, Asher, Alexander (1834–1905), rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 18 Aug 2008

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
M. E. Grant Duff
Member of Parliament for Elgin Burghs
18811905
Succeeded by
John Sutherland
Political offices
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Blair Balfour
Solicitor General for Scotland
1881–1885
Succeeded by
James Robertson
Preceded by
James Robertson
Solicitor General for Scotland
1886
Succeeded by
James Robertson
Preceded by
Andrew Murray
Solicitor General for Scotland
1892–1894
Succeeded by
Thomas Shaw