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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


.BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 197 by some of the more desperate members of the British Convention to seduce the soldiers from their allegiance, or at all events to sow the seeds of discontent among them, but without effect. At Dumfries, where the corps was quartered in 1794, the following curious circumstance occurred :-“ One of the Hopetoun Fencibles, now quartered in that town,” says a newspaper of the day, “ was discovered to be a woman, after having been upwards of eighteen months in the service. The discovery was made by the tailor, when he was trying on the new clothes. It is remarkable that she has concealed her sex so long, considering she always slept with a comrade, and sometimes with two. She went by the name of John Nicolson, but her real name was Jean Clark. Previous to her assuming the character of a soldier, it seems she had accustomed herself to the dress and habits of a man; having been bred to the business of a weaver at Closeburn, and employed as a man-servant at Ecclefechan.” The services of the Hopetoun Fencibles were at first limited to Scotland, but were afterwards extended to England. They remained embodied till 1798, when they were disbanded, after the regular militia had been organised. His lordship afterwards, as Lord Lieutenant of the county of Linlithgow, embodied a yeomanry corps and a regiment of volunteer infantry, both of which were among the first that tendered their services to Government. These he commanded as Colonel, and took a deep interest and a very active part in training them, and rendering them efficient for the public service. During those times of alarm, when the country was threatened by foreign invasion, his influence, his fortune, and his personal exertions were steadily devoted to the public safety; and so much were his services appreciated by the Executive, that he was created a Baron of the United Kingdom in 1809, by the name, style, and title of Baron Hopetoun of Hopetoun. The Earl died at Hopetoun House, on the 29th May 1816, at the advanced age of 75. He married, in 1756, Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Northesk, by whom he had six daughters. They all died prior to himself, except Lady Anne, upon whom the Annandale estates devolved, and who married Admiral Sir William Johnstone. Inheriting from his ancestors high rank and ample fortune, Lord Hopetoun maintained the dignity and noble bearing of the ancient Scotch baron, with the humility of a Christian, esteeming the religious character of his family to be its highest distinction; and he was not more eminent for the regularity of his attendance on all the ordinances of religion, than for the sincerity and reverence with which he engaged in them. He was an indulgent landlord, a most munificent benefactor to the poor, and a friend to all who lived within the limits of his extensive domains. The following lines, written at the period of his death, describe his estimable character in glowing and forcible language :-
Volume 8 Page 277
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