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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


238 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. The Lord Provost, by virtue of his office, was Oolonel of the regiment ; and all the other commissions were conferred by the King on the recommendation of the Volunteers themselves.’ The first review of the Volunteers took place at Bruntsfield Links on the 22d November 1794, when they were inspected by the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord-Lieutenant of the county. On this occasion the spectators were very numerous and highly respectable. Among the nobility and gentry present were -the Duchess of Buccleuch and family, the Earl of Morton, Lord Ancrum, the Lord President, the Lord Advocate, and many of the Lords of Session, On the 6th July 1795, they had another “grand field-day ” at the Links, when the Right Honourable Mr. Secretary Dundas was received as a volunteer into the corps. The same day he gave an elegant entertainment, in Fortune’s Tavern, to the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Council, and to several other gentlemen. As a mark of respect, Mr. Dundas was immediately afterwards requested, by the Lord Provost, in name of the COTS, to accept the station of Captain-Lieutenant, which he declined, but gratefully acknowledged the honour in a highly complimentary letter. The patriotic example of arming in defence of their country which had been shown by the gentlemen of Edinburgh, was speedily followed throughout Scotland. Every district had its band of armed citizens-the discontented became silent, and loyalty was the order of the day- “ We’ll give them a welcome, we’ll give them a grave,” was the prevailing sentiment, should the enemy dare to set a foot on Scottish ground. Burns, in his impassioned song of “ The Dumfries Volunteers,” seems to have thoroughly embodied in it the spirit of the times,- “ Does haughty Gaul invasion threat ? Then let the loons beware, sir : There’s wooden walls upon our seas, And volunteers on shore, sir. The Nith shall rin to Corsincon, And Criffel sink in Solway, Ere we permit a foreign foe On British ground to rally ! ” * * * “ The kettle 0’ the Kirk and State, Perhaps a clout may fail in’t ; But dei1 a foreign tinkler loon Shall ever ca’ a nail in’t. hut for its extreme length, might have been worth transcribing. At that period no less than fiftyfive members of the celebrated “ Cape Club ” were enrolled in the corps. Five old Bovereigm of the Cape were doing duty in one company, and seven knights were officers of the Volunteers. The privates of each company were permitted to name individuals of their number to be their officers ; and it is related, as a curious fact, that several of these officers owed their elevation solely to their being unfit to march, or keep their places in the ranks properly, having been selected by the privates in order that they might get rid of the annoyance of an awkward comrade.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 239 “ Our fathers’ bluid the kettle bought, And wha wad dare to spoil it 4 By heaven ! the sacrilegious dog Shall fuel be to boil it.” In consequence of the alliance of Spain with’ France, a meeting of the Lieutenants of the city, and the officers of the Edinburgh Volunteers, was held on the 14th September 1796, when they resolved,--“ that as this apparent increase of strength on the part of our enemies must give them additional confidence, it is highly necessary to show them that this country ‘is capable of increasing its exertions in proportion to the force brought against it.” Accordingly, an augmentation of their corps being deemed necessary, another battaliod was speedily organised, called the Second Regiment of Edinburgh Volunteers. In 1797, when the French were every day expected to attempt a landing in Ireland, the First Regiment tendered their services to perform the duty of the Castle, in order to allow the withdrawal of the regular troops ; and, in 1801, when the danger seemed more immediately to menace our own shores, the former offer of service was followed up with characteristic spirit. The Lieutenant-Colonel commanding, the Right Honourable Charles Hope (Lord President and Privy Councillor), in his letter to General Vyse, at this alarming crisis, says-“ In the event of an enemy appearing on our coast, we trust that you will be able to provide for the temporary security of Edinburgh Castle by means of its own invalids, and the recruits and convalescents of the numerous corps and detachments in and about Edinburgh ; and that, as we have more to lose than the brave fellows of the other volunteer regiments who have $xtended their services, we trust you will allow us to be the first to share in the danger, as well as in the glory, which we are confident his Majesty’s troops will acquire under your command, if opposed to an invading army.” On the cessation of hostilities in 1802 the Volunteers were disbanded, after eight years of military parade, during which period “they had many a time and oft ” marched to and from the camp at Musselburgh, and, on the sands of Leith, maintained the well-contested bloodless fight. They closed their first period of service on the 6th of May 1802. Early in the forenoon of that day they assembled in Heriot’s Green, where they first obtained their colours ; and, having formed a hollow square, the Lieutenant-Colonel read Lord Hobart’s circular letter, conveying his Majesty’s thanks, and also the thanks of the two Houses of Parliament. He likewise read a resolution of the Town Council of Edinburgh, conveying, in the strongest and most handsome terms, the thanks of the Community to the whole Volunteers of the city ; and a very flattering letter from his excellency Lieut.-General Vyse. The regiment was afterwards marched to the Parliament Square, where, being formed, the colours were delivered to the Magistrates, who lodged them in the Council Chamber, and the corps was dismissed’ Not the least important practical ’benefit reaultiog from the patriotic feeling of the Volunteers, consisted in the frequent collections made among them in aid of the poor of the city. “ On the 3d of January 1797 they assembled in their uniforms at St. Andrew’a Church, where an excellent diecourse
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