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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CCXIV, THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF EGLINTON, WHEN MAJOR OF LORD FREDERICK CAMPBELL’S REGIMENT OF FENCIBLES. 185 HUGHM ONTWMERIEtw, elfth Earl of Eglinton, was the eldest son of Alexander Montgomerie of Coilsfield.’ He was born about the year 1740, and entered the army so early as 1755, as an ensign in Lieutenant-General Skelton’s Regiment of Foot. He served in America during the greater part of the Seven Years’ War, where he acquired the reputatioh of a brave soldier, and was fourteen years Captain of a company of the First or Royal Regiment of Foot.’ At the breaking out of hostilities with France, in 1778, he was appointed Major in Lord Frederick Campbell’s Regiment of Fencibles? which was raised in the counties of Argyle, Bute, Dumbarton, Renfrew, Lanark, and Ayr, and of which Lord Frederick was Colonel. In 1780, at the general election, the Major was chosen Member of Parliament for the county of Ayr, in opposition to Sir Adam Fergusson of IGlkerran, 1 A branch of the house of Eglinton, descended from Alexander, the sixth Earl, better known by the expressive appellation of Graysteel. He was of the Seton family (one of the most ancient and widely connected in Scotland), but in consequence of his mother Mafgaret being the heiress of line of the Montgomeries, Earl Hugh (whom he succeeded) executed an entail in his favour ; and, having taken the name of Montgomerie, he was (through the influence of hi8 uncle, the Earl of Dunfermline, who was Lord Chancellor, and of Lord Binning, afterwards Earl of Melrose and Haddington), allowed the earldom by James the First. In the civil wars he supported the popular party, but was greatly opposed to the execution of Charles the First, He died 7th January 1661, aged seventy-three. The subject of this menioir was descended from Colonel James Montgomerie, fourth son of Earl Alexander. 9 His lordship told mauy interesting anecdotes of the American campaign-among others, the following of Sir Ralph Ahercromby. That celebrated commander was leading an assault, at which his lordship was present, upon an American fort, when, as they approached, the enemy suddenly opened a tremendous fire on the assailants, who, for a moment were confounded, and stood still. Sir Ralph marched on unmoved ; but not hearing the tramp of the column behind, he turned round as the smoke of the stunning volley was clearing away, aud pointing to the fort with his sword, exclaimed-“ What ! am I to take the place myself?” The response was a hearty cheer, and a furious rush updn the enemy, by which the fort was carried. At the same onset the gallant commander was followed by a tall captain and a short lieutenant, both of the name of M‘Donald. The former waa unfortunately shot in the breast ; and he reeled back upon the latter to measure himself with the earth, and finish his career of glory. The brave lieutenant, who had not observed the fatal cause of this retrograde movement, and fearing the courage of his clansman had given way, seized him by the coat, and in a half whisper cried in his em-“ Remember your name is M‘Donald.” This regiment was raised under the joint influence of the Argyle and Eglinton families, the latter having the nomination of officers for two companies-of one of which the last Earl of Glencairn (on whose death Burns wrote the “ Bard‘s Lament ”) was appointed Captain.
Volume 9 Page 168
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