Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


240 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHEd. Such is a sketch of the first era of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers. They were not, however, allowed to remain long unembodied. The peace which had been proclaimed with great ceremony at the cross of Edinburgh on the 4th of May 1802 lasted something less than a year, when the threatening aspect of affairs again roused the scarcely tranquil feelings of the country. The great preparations made by the Emperor Napoleon to invade this country were met by a corresponding effort on the part of the British Government, which was supported bp the united energies of the whole people. In few places was the spirit of the country more signally displayed than in Edinburgh. Upwards of four thousand volunteers were enrolled ; and notwithstanding the great sacrifice of time which the proper training to arms required, all men seemed actuated with one spirit, and cheerfully and without complaint submitted to the tedious process of military instruction, aware of the importance of order and discipline against an enemy whose bravery was unquestioned, and who had given so many proofs of great military skill and enterprise. On the 30th September 1803 the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers resumed their warlike banners. On this occasion the regiment was augmented to a thousand rank and file; and, in conformity with the general orders previously issued, their dress was changed to scarlet with blue facings. Notwithstanding the " mighty note of preparation," the military operations which followed this new enrolment were happily not of a more sanguinary nature than those of the former. With the exception of forming guard occasionally when a fire occurred in the city, the duties of the Volunteers were confined to the usual routine of drills, field-days, and reviews-and these they continued to perform year after year with unabating zeal. In 1806, when new regulations urere issued limiting the allowance to volunteer corps, the First Regiment stood unaffected by them. The circumstance seemed rather to stimulate their patriotism. " I wish to remind you," said their Lieut.-Colonel, addressing them one day while on parade, " that we did not take up arms to please any minister, or set of ministers, but to defend our land from foreign and domestic enemies." One of their great field-days occurred on his Majesty's birth-day, 1807, when the Lieutenant-Colonel, the Right Honourable Charles Hope (then Lord Justice Clerk), was presented with a valuable sabre, of superb and exquisite workmanship, in testimony of their regard for him as an officer and a gentleman. The sword was presented by Thomas Martin, Esq., sergeant of grenadiers, in name of the noncommissioned officers and 'privates. In the year 1820, during the disturbances of the west, the Edinburgh Volunteers garrisoned the Castle, to enable the regular troops stationed there to proceed to G1asgow.l It was then, aa many professional gentlemen were w a ~pr eached by the Rev. Principal Baird (their chaplain), from Isaiah ii. 3, 4. "he Lord Provost and the Magistratea were present in their robes, and the congregation was very respectahla and genteeL A liberal collection, amounting to upwards of $111, was made for the industrious poor and destitute sick." The c o y volunteered, if necessary, to leave Edinburgh, and co-operate with the regular troops, and one night remained actually under marching orders.
Volume 8 Page 337
  Enlarge Enlarge  
Volume 8 Page 338
  Enlarge Enlarge