Alexander Coates

16th Apr 1734 - 2nd Nov 1807


Biography

Merchant and sugar planter in Antigua, died in 1807. Henry Moreton Dyer claimed compensation for several estates in Antigua and one in St Kitts as the receiver of Alexander Coates.

  1. His son Robert aka Romeo Coates became an actor and celebrated 'Amateur of Fashion' and has an entry in the ODNB: "COATES, ROBERT (1772-1848), actor, generally known as Romeo Coates, was born in the island of Antigua in 1772. His father, Alexander Coates, born 16 April 1734, was a merchant and sugar-planter in Antigua, where he showed his patriotism by lending the government 10,000l. to pay the expenses of the encampment necessitated by the threatened attack of the fleets of France and Spain in June 1805. He died in Antigua, 12 Nov. 1807. By his wife, Dorothy, he had nine children, of whom only Robert lived beyond infancy. Coates when about eight years of age was brought to England by his father, and there received a very liberal classical education, after which, returning to his native place, he first showed his taste for the theatre by taking part in some dramatic exhibitions given in celebration of the success of the patriotic movement in 1805. On the death of his father he became the possessor not only of great wealth, but also of a large collection of magnificent diamonds; and, coming back to England, took up his residence at Bath. Here he lived in extraordinary style..." 'Romeo' Coates was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery on 26/02/1848; his address was given as 28 Montague Square and his age as 76.

  2. Alexander Coates' obituary in the Gentleman's Magazine gives details of his £10,000 loan to the Antiguan government in 1805 and further states: "At Antigua, Alexander Coates, esq.; a gentleman who did as much good to that Island as any one had done for a century. Many individuals might have had their estates out of the possession of their families, had he not stept forward and paid the mortgages, and allowed them the privilege of sending the produce of their Sugar Plantations where they pleased. The illiberal mind cannot say a word against such a character, as Mr. Coates might have placed his money in the British Funds, which would have been of much greater advantage, particularly in the time of War. Money lent as his was was worth twelve per cent.; but he had the lawful interest of the Country; and their consigning their crop to whom they whose was an incalculable advantage, and what is unusual on such loans... His Majestry never had a more loyal subject than Mr. Coates; and in this particular he set a most laudable example to his family. Until he was infirm with the gout, he was a tall, portly, and elegant person; his face was most manly, and very commanding... The great wealth of which he died possessed, except a few legacies, which were immediately paid, he nobly and equally bequeathed to his family. His funeral was numerously and respectably attended.”

  3. Legal citing of the 1821 Privy Council case Coates vs. the King shows some inconsistency with the reports of Robert Coates as the only surviving child of Alexander Coates, possibly reconciled if the previous generation had also been called Alexander Coates: "In Coates vs. King, decided in 1821 before the Privy Council, Alexander Coates divided, by will, his real property in Antigua, among his three sons, with power to one of them to dispose, by will, of his share. The son, being possessed of considerable real and personal estates in Antigua, independant of that given by his father’s will, devised in these terms, “All my real estates in Antigua, and all my other real estate, whatsoever and wheresoever;” and it was held that the will did not pass that property, over which he had power.”

Sources

T71/877 Antigua claim nos. (16 (Rigby Estate), 42 (Eliots), 66 (Dark Valley), 92 (George Byam Estate), 125 (Creek Estate), 401 (Rendezvous Bay), T71/879 St Kitts claim no. 658 (The Walk).

  1. Nilanjana Banerji, K. D. Reynolds, ‘Coates, Robert [Romeo Coates] (1772–1848)’, ODNB, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/5729 [accessed 15/07/2013]. Ancestry.com, London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 [database online].

  2. Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 78, Part 2, pp. 1188-1189 (1808).

  3. John Purdon (ed.), The Law Library (Philadelphia, John S. Littell, 1835), Vol. 8 pp. 117-118.

We are grateful to Signe Hoffos for her assistance in compiling this entry.


Further Information

Spouse
Dorothy
Children
9 children including Robert (Romeo) Coates (1772-1848)
Occupation
Merchant and planter

Associated Claims (7)

£278 1S 9D
Other association
£587 9S 10D
Other association
£3,353 12S 4D
Other association
£2,272 8S 4D
Other association
£2,238 2S 3D
Other association
£2,973 15S 11D
Other association
£5,046 11S 3D
Other association