Gordon, Alexander, second Duke of Gordon 1678?-1728, son of George, first duke of Gordon [qv.], and Lady Elizabeth Howard, eldest surviving daughter of the sixth Duke of Norfolk, was born about 1678. He was educated in the catholic faith and retained the family attachment to the Stuarts. On 31 Aug. 1715, on the eve of the rebellion, while he was yet Marquis of Huntly, an Act for encouraging loyalty in Scotland received the royal assent. The design was to obtain security for the good behaviour of suspected persons, and summonses were issued to Huntly and others to repair to Edinburgh and give bail for their allegiance to the government, under pain of a year's imprisonment and other penalties. Huntly failed to appear, and proclaimed the Chevalier St. George at Gordon Castle. On 6 Oct., with three hundred horsemen and two thousand foot, he joined the Pretender's standard at Perth, and was at the battle of Sheriffmuir, after which he returned to his home at Gordon Castle. The Earl of Sutherland was employed during the winter in suppressing the rebellion in the northern districts. On 12 Feb. 1716 a company of his men took possession of Gordon Castle, and to him Huntly capitulated. He was brought to Edinburgh in April and imprisoned in the castle, but no further proceedings were taken against him, and he, with some others, obtained pardon in regard of having quitted the rebels in time.
During his father's lifetime Huntly went abroad and visited several European courts, where he was cordially welcomed. He formed a special friendship with the king of Prussia and the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He married Lady Henrietta Mordaunt, second daughter of Charles, earl of Peterborough and Monmouth, and his eldest son was named Cosmo in honour of the grand duke. At the death of his father, George Gordon, first duke [qv.], in 1716, the marquis became second Duke of Gordon, and afterwards took up his permanent residence at Gordon Castle. He continued to correspond with the king of Prussia and the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The king sent him a full-length portrait of himself in the Prussian dress. The grand duke sent his bust in white marble, and a silver font for the christening of his godson, the young Marquis of Huntly, together with a fine suit of steel armour gilt. Pope Clement XII sent his portrait, with other valuable presents. Gordon had also been honourably treated at the court of the Prince of Anspach, father of Queen Caroline, and for him the queen always had a great regard. The duke lived chiefly at home, maintaining a princely style. He was handsome in appearance, kindly in disposition, liberal to his tenants, and generous to the poor. He died on 28 Nov. 1728. The duchess died at Prestonhall, near Edinburgh, 11 Oct. 1760. Her family of four sons and seven daughters were trained by her in the protestant faith, for which in 1735 she had a pension of 1,000l. from the government. General Lord Adam Gordon, fourth son, is separately noticed.
Douglas's Peerage, p. 654
Gordon's Hist. of the Family of Gordon, ii. 265
Gordon's Concise Hist. of the House of Gordon
Rae's Hist. of the Rebellion
Pennant's Tour in Scotland, pp. 142-143.
Contributor: J. T. [James Tait]