"In order to arrive at any understanding of the question, it is necessary to revert to the ancestors of the earls of Stirling and their early connection with the house of Stuart.
The family of Alexander traces its descent from Alexander McDonald, a younger son of John, Lord of the Isles, by his marriage with Margaret, daughter of Robert II. of Scotland. The clans of McDonald, McAllister, etc., are of this descent. The seat of the ancient barons is at Meustrie, five miles east of Stirling, in Scotland, at the base of the Ochiel Hills, on a small stream in the shire of Clackmannon. It had been occupied since 1485. Alexander Alexander (which name was a corruption or variation of McAllister) was fifth Baron Meustrie. He died February 10, 1580, leaving a brother, John Alexander, who inherited the estates of Gogar, and a son, William Alexander, who inherited the estates of Meustrie, and was created, in 1633, Earl of Stirling, Viscount Canada, and Lord Alexander of Tullibordie.
William Alexander, sixth Baron and Laird of Meustrie, was a man of education and accomplishments far in advance of most of the Scotchmen of his time.When a young man, he had made the tour of Europe with his cousin, the Earl of Argyle. It was an unparalleled journey to make in those days, and conferred an air of distinction and breeding on the young traveller that could not have been acquired in the fastnesses of his native land. William Alexander had also acquired a reputation as a scholar and a poet, and as he was "a sprightly youth and possessed of elegant manners," he was soon introduced into the highest court circles, where he became a general favorite and the intimate friend of King James VI. of Scotland. The young men had met by chance on a sporting expedition among the cliffs of Ben Cleugh, and the king invited Alexander to Stirling Castle, with the result that the boyish acquaintance ripened into a well-cemented friendship.
James consulted his friend on all occasions, and implicitly followed his advice. It is said that"he esteemed him greatly as a wise and learned man," and his majesty was pleased to prefer him to the "Master of the Requests," and made him a knight.In one of the king’s letters, he calls Sir William Alexander "my well-beloved companion and philosophical friend."The king was somewhat of a pedant, and loved to be considered wise, and he found it convenient to have always at his elbow a well-informed person on whose accuracy and learning he could depend; and his majesty often quoted Sir William Alexander’s opinions as if they were his own, greatly to the amusement of the scholar, who, while recognizing the source of some of the wise sayings of his king, only bowed in humble admiration of the learning of his master, as a good courtier should do.In 1621 the Laird of Meustrie became greatly interested in the exploration and discoveries on the American continent, and he succeeded in inflaming the king’s curiosity about the New World. After some debate, the laird and his master concluded to colonize, and concocted a scheme by which they might enrich themselves with little trouble or expense. By quietly ignoring the claims of other nations of prior discovery, and overlooking as worthless the ownership of the aborigines, they decided that the king of England was sovereign of all of America above the fortieth degree of latitude and below the St. Lawrence River. Under these conditions, James granted to his "well-beloved friend" a royal charter under the great seal, dated at Windsor Castle, September 10, 1621, which gave to the laird of Meustrie all the territory lying to the east of the River St. Croix and south of the St. Lawrence River. Sir William, in return for this large grant of land, undertook to colonize it at his own expense, and accordingly, in March, 1622, the first expedition of settlers left England for the New World. The vessel in which they set sail only succeeded in reaching the shores of Newfoundland, and, after the emigrants had suffered incredible hardships, the enterprise was abandoned. But Alexander by no means relinquished his project, into which the king entered most heartily, and between them they arranged a new plan of colonization, which would accomplish the purpose at no expense to themselves.This was, to divide the country into large tracts that should carry with each estate a title, after the fashion of Holland, where certain demesnes were called "Reddergoeds", the owners of which bore as a title the name of the land. The purchasers of the estates were required to pledge themselves to colonize at their own expense, within a certain period, under pain of the forfeiture of the property, and were to be permitted to select an appropriate title for themselves and their purchase, on the payment of a certain sum of money to Sir William Alexander.
It was under this arrangement that the knights baronets of England were created in April, 1625, by Sir William Alexander, and all the patents were signed by him; and one hundred and fifty baronets were thus created under his own patent, which proves how greedily the bait was seized by the wealthy men of England, who gladly purchased a title that carried with it large grants of land on what they fancied were easy terms. It proved so indeed, as none of the baronets carried out the provisions of the purchase, which were to colonize the new country as soon as possible, and, in consequence, the estates in Nova Scotia reverted to the original grantor, while the gentlemen retained their titles, which was all that they desired to have, and remained residents of their native land. The king and his "philosophical friend" found themselves enriched by the sale of these titles and the land that they had acquired without effort or expense. The first baronets were styled "of Nova Scotia," and the initials N. S. are still to be found in the peerage after the names of the one hundred and fifty first creations.
The affection of the royal family for Sir William Alexander did not cease on the death of James I. His son and successor, Charles I, gave Sir William the privilege of coining small copper money, and also made him secretary of state for Scotland, which office he filled for fifteen years, for which he was created a peer and made Earl of Stirling, a title that was selected by the king himself and bestowed as an especial mark of the royal favor, as it was that of his own hereditary stronghold, the great Scottish castle of Stirling.
In 1628 Alexander had received a fresh grant of territory that covered all the country that lay between the St. Lawrence River and the Delaware River, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
There is in the office of the Herald King of Arms a letter from the king, dated March 15, 1632, addressed to Sir James Balfour, Lyon King of Arms, ordering him to marshal the arms of the lately created Viscount Stirling, and in January 28, 1635, the arms of the earl were again augmented, by order of his majesty. In January, 1634, the laud (or continent) granted to the Earl of Stirling had been most particularly confirmed to him, with the additional specified tract, which, in the words of the original deed (now on file in the Land Office), is as follows:"That part of the Main land in New England, from St. Croix (River) adjoining New Scotland, along the sea-coast to Pemaquid, and so up the river to the Kenebequi, to be henceforth called the County of Canada, also the Island of Matowack or Long Island, to the West of Cape Cod, to be hereafter called Isle of Stirling."
The son of the first earl who bore the title of Viscount Canada pre-deceased his father, and the title was inherited by a young child who did not long survive, but died three months after his grandfather. The title then reverted to Henry, the second son of the first Earl of Stirling, who had married Mary, the daughter of Sir Peter Yanlooe, an alderman of London. The third Earl of Stirling died August 16, 1664, but before his
death he had found his estates in America a most troublesome possession. By his commands, an agent by the name of Forrester, Forest, or Farett, as it is variously spelled, had emigrated to the Isle of Stirling in order to look after the interests of the English proprietor. Under authority from the Earl of Stirling, Major Forrester had sold a considerable amount of property to settlers who had wandered there from other colonies and who were glad to receive what they considered good titles for the land they occupied and already had under cultivation, and also to consider themselves under the protection of England. The Isle of Wight, now known as "Gardiner’s Island," was bought from the Indian owners, but it also received a title from Major Forrester, as agent of the Earl of Stirling. These transactions came to the ears of Governor Stuyvesant, who believed that the land in question belonged to his masters, the States General of Holland, and were under his jurisdiction. The governor therefore quietly sent for Major Forrester, who unsuspiciously went to a conference held at Mana-ha-ta [Manhatten], where he was seized by order of the governor and put on a vessel bound for Holland. The governor, no doubt, thought that he had easily disposed of a troublesome person who was encroaching on his prerogative, but, as it happened, the vessel on which Major Forrester was transported was wrecked on the English coast, and he made his escape from his captors and proceeded to London, where he laid his case before his employer, Lord Stirling, who at once carried his grievances to the ears of the king. It was under thesecircumstances that the Duke of York offered to buy out the rights of the Earl of Stirling, who gladly sold them for the sum of £7,000, and the Duke of York, without going through the formality of putting down the purchase money or acquiring the necessary title-deeds, immediately sent the expedition to seize on the Dutch plantations in the New World. The expedition was quietly planned, and the colonists had hardly received warning of the project before their foes were upon them.
Governor Stuyvesant rushed from Rensselaerswyck to New Amsterdam as speedily as possible, only to find matters beyond his control. He had no defences, no soldiers, no provisions, and no money at his command. The burghers, incited by their vrouwen, declared their intention of capitulating, as they preferred to keep their houses, property, and lives intact, and they saw that there was but little hope of successfully defending their unprotected situation. The governor, however, showed fight, like the brave warrior that he was, and he ordered the guns to be manned and fired on the enemy, but here again he was balked, and this time by the dominie, who laid his hand on the governor’s arm and commanded peace.[ca September 8,1664]. "
Source:"The Goede Vrouw of Mana-ha-ta", Pgs. 121 - 128, by J. Van Rensselaer, Scribner's Sons, NY, 1898.See:http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/pageviewer?frames=1&cite=http%3A%2F%2Fcdl.library.cornell.edu%2Fcgi-bin%2Fmoa%2Fsgml%2Fmoa-idx%3Fnotisid%3DAGV2254&coll=moa&view=text&root=%2Fmoa%2Fmono%2Fvanr0059%2F&tif=00155.TIF&pagenum=121http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/pageviewer?frames=1&cite=http%3A%2F%2Fcdl.library.cornell.edu%2Fcgi-bin%2Fmoa%2Fsgml%2Fmoa-idx%3Fnotisid%3DAGV2254&coll=moa&view=text&root=%2Fmoa%2Fmono%2Fvanr0059%2F&tif=00155.TIF&pagenum=121
and some Alexander family genealogy at http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=joanfranhttp://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=joanfran