EDWARD BAXTER, MERCHANT IN DUNDEE, WAS ADMITTED BURGESS BY THE
PRIVILEGE OF HIS FATHER, WILLIAM BAXTER, MERCHANT IN DUNDEE.
EDWARD BAXTER belonged to a family the names of the members of which are recorded in the Lockit Book for four generations before his time. JOHN BAXTER, merchant, was admitted Burgess by the privilege of his father, JOHN BAXTER, weaver, on 13th August, 1777 ; WILLIAM BAXTER, son of the former, was enrolled on 20th May, 1790; and WILLIAM BAXTER of Balgavies, son of the latter and father of EDWARD BAXTER, became a Burgess on 2nd July, 1807. EDWARD was his eldest son, and was born on 3rd April, 1791. In 1813 he entered into partnership with his father as an export merchant, and shortly afterwards he introduced an important alteration in the system of trading pursued in the Burgh. Up till his time exportation was managed entirely from Liverpool and London by factors stationed there; but Mr BAXTER opened communications directly with the foreign houses to whom his goods were sent, and thus not only secured the factors' profits, but materially increased the commerce of Dundee. Having assumed his four sons, EDWARD, DAVID, JOHN, and WILLIAM, as partners,
Mr WILLIAM BAXTER, senior, established a flax spinning mill at Glamis, which was really the first foundation of the extensive concern of BAXTER BROTHERS a firm that has attained world wide celebrity. The success which attended this venture induced the firm. of WILLIAM BAXTER & SON to erect a spinning mill of fifteen horsepower at the Lower Dens in Dundee, which was not only one of the first mills of the kind in the locality, but formed the nucleus of what has since become one of the largest flax spinning mills possessed by one firm in the country. EDWARD BAXTER retired from the firm on 31st August, 1831, and devoted his attention entirely to the export trade. He afterwards took his son, now the Right Hon. W. E. BAXTER of Kincaldrum, into partnership, and he conducted this business up till the close of his life in 1870.
Though engrossed in a business which demanded the closest attention, Mr BAXTER found time to perform his share of public duties. After the reform of the municipal constitution of the Burgh was accomplished he served the town in the capacity of Councillor and Bailie, and was for some time Dean of Guild, and member of the Harbour, Parochial, and Infirmary Boards. In Parliamentary contests he took a prominent part, advocating an advanced policy on the great questions of Free Trade and Education. It was principally through his exertions that the High School was established, for the purpose of providing higher education than had been possible whilst the Grammar School and the Dundee Academy were under the control of the Town Council. Every movement for the amelioration of the working classes was indebted to him for counsel and for practical aid; and he was not less energetic in agitating for the abolition of monopolies and for Burgh reform.
His public benefactions were widely spread and liberal. He subscribed £200 towards the Public Seminaries in 1857, and on 4th January, 1867, he presented the Guildry with railway stock of the value of £2,000, directing that the interest should be devoted towards supplementing the grants to poor pensioners on the funds of that incorporation. When the Albert Institute was proposed, he offered to erect the grand western staircase, at a cost of £1,200, and accomplished his purpose. He remained in active attendance upon business until a few weeks before his death, which took place at his mansion of Kincaldrum on 26th July, 1870, when he had reached his eighty first year.
Mr BAXTER was thrice married, the only children of his first marriage being the Right Hon. WILLIAM EDWARD BAXTER, Member of Parliament for the Montrose Burghs continuously from 1855 till his retirement in 1885; and two daughters, married respectively to Mr GEORGE ARMITSTEAD, late Member of Parliament for Dundee, and to Mr JAMES RAMSAY, Jun., merchant, Dundee.