Alexander Davison

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For other people named Alexander Davison, see Alexander Davison (disambiguation).

Alexander Davison was an English businessman, born on 2 April 1750 in Lanton, Northumberland, England and who died in 1829 in Brighton, England. He was a contemporary and close friend of Admiral Lord Nelson.

Davison's business career began as a merchant in the British colony in Quebec before and during the American Revolutionary War. At his pinnacle he owned various interests from textile factories to shipping. He also worked as a supply agent for the British government procuring coal and other supplies for the military. Additionally his close friendship with Admiral Nelson brought him business as a prize agent after the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Copenhagen.

Imprisoned for fraud in May 1804 as a result of his attempt to bribe the voters in one of England's rotten boroughs of Ilchester. He spent a year inside the King's Bench Prison in London. In 1809 Davison was again tried and found guilty on charges of fraud. This time though the accusations related to his activity as a supply agent for the British government. During these dealings he fraudulently (or at least carelessly) charged the government agency fees for goods supplied from his own factories. These fees were meant to compensate agents for the expense and effort of finding the cheapest supplier for the government's contract but Davison earned them as well as the usual profit margins on the goods he supplied from his factory. He served a sentence of twenty-one months inside Newgate Prison starting in May 1809.

Davison is responsible for several acts that glorified Nelson's public image. These included the creation of a medal commemorating the victory at the Battle of the Nile and the creation of the Nelson Memorial at his estate at Swarland, Northumberland. As a close friend of the Admiral he acted as an intermediary when Nelson's marriage to his wife, Frances Nelson fell apart due in large part to his affair with Emma Hamilton.


Military offices
Preceded by
Joseph Hunt
Treasurer of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Joseph Hunt