From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

Alexander Balfour, Provost - 27th September 1791

 

ALEXANDER BALFOUR, MERCHANT IN DUNDEE, WAS ADMITTED BURGESS FOR HAVING PAID THREE POUNDS SIX SHILLINGS AND EIGHT PENCE STG. TO JOHN JOBSON, WHEN TREASURER, AND HAVING BEEN A FREE APPRENTICE TO BAILIE JOHN THOMS, MERCHANT, BURGESS OF DUNDEE.

ALEXANDER BALFOUR was born at Kilmany, Fife, in 1765, and came to Dundee in early youth, and entered himself as apprentice to BAILIE JOHN THOMS, one of the leading merchants of that time. In 1780 he entered into partnership with Mr THOMAS BELL as merchant and flaxspinner, and founded the well known firm of BELL & BALFOUR. He entered the Town Council in 1793, and held the office of Dean of Guild on five different occasions (1795 97 99 1801 3), alternating that post with PROVOST JOHN GUILD (vide page 225). He was Bailie in the alternate years from 1794 to 1802, but in consequence of a dispute on the question of church patronage he retired in 1804, and took no part in public affairs for many years.

In 1823 he returned to the Council, and in 1826, 1827, and 1830 he was Provost of Dundee. It was during his term of office that the memorable dispute betwixt the Guildry and the Town Council occurred, which resulted in the disfranchisement of the Burgh, and he and other members of the Council were superseded by order of the Court of Session, and a new Council elected under a Poll Warrant. After the municipal constitution had been re arranged, he again entered the Council and served as a Common Councillor from 1841 to 1844. At the latter date he retired and took no further part in the affairs of the Burgh, devoting all his attention to business, and to several of the charitable institutions in Dundee. He died on 8th November, 1855, in his ninetieth year. His son, HENRY BALFOUR, was admitted Burgess on 25th February, 1818.