Alexander began his career as a poet but went on to establish himself as a courtier. The exact date of when he made this transition is unclear but he was knighted in 1608/9, suggesting that by this time he had gained entry to James VI and I?s court in England. With his career going well, Alexander developed an interest in colonising the New World and, in particular, what is now Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Alexander sent several expeditions across the Atlantic and, despite having the full backing of James, they in essence failed as France had already claimed the territory. In 1626 he was appointed Scottish Secretary of State. Four years later, King Charles created him Viscount Stirling and in 1633 he became Earl of Stirling and Viscount of Canada.