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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 39 1 and very much respected in Edinburgh, He entered the army when young, and attained the rank of Captain in the 57th Regiment. He served in America during the War of Independence, and distinguished himself SO much that he received the public thanks of the Commander of the Forces. At the close of the war, Captain Crichton retired from the army, and entered into partnership with his father.l When the first Regiment of Edinburgh Volunteers was formed, on account of his former military services, he was chosen second Major and Captain of the East New Town Company-an honour fully merited, as a great portion of the labour of organisation devolved upon him. He also undertook the formation of the second battalion: raised in 1796, c?f which he was appointed Lieut.-Colonel. About this period Colonel Crichton fought a duel with Mr. Bennet,” surgeon in Edinburgh, in which the former was wounded. The ball entered near the left side of the chest, passed through part of the pectoral muscle, and came out behind, near the edge of the blade-bone. The wound was severe but not dangerous, and he speedily recovered. When the Local Militia was embodied in 1805, Mr. Crichton was appointed Lieut.-Colonel Commandant of the second Edinburgh Regiment. In connection with this body several anecdotes are related of the Colonel, very much to his credit as a philanthropist. One instance we must not refrain from mentioning. A person of the name of S-t, one of the fifers of the regiment, having been rendered powerless in one of his sides by a stroke of palsy only a day or two subsequent to his marriage, no sooner was the circumstanee made known to the Colonel than he became deeply interested in his favour. Militiamen are not entitled by law to a pension ; but, trusting to the peculiarity of his case, Colonel Crichton caused S-t to proceed to London, that he might personally make application to Government. He of course furnished him with means, and the necessary recommendations. S-t remained some time in London ; and after much harassing delay, had the mortification to find all his endeavours unavailing. In this dilemma he communicated with Colonel Crichton, who immediately wrote in his behalf to an influential quarter, when a pension was granted without further delay. S-t lived to enjoy the benefit of the Colonel’s humane exertions. Mr. Crichton’s generosity was the more remarkable, as he had previously been much annoyed with the fifer’s irregularities and inattention to auty. The firm was subsequently changed to Crichton and Field ; and latterly to Crichton, Gall, and Thomson. The second battalion had their mess in Henry Young’s, Bruntsfield Links, where the Duke of Buccleuch (the Colonel) often dined with them. a The duel is said to have originated in this way. Bennet had sent his chaise to the coach-yard of Crichton and Field, for the purpose of being repaired. Some altercation on the subject took place betwixt Bennet and Field, and high words ensued. It was with Field that the quarrel commenced, aa Crichton was not present during the altercation. Field (an American by birth) challenged Bennet ; but the latter declined to meet him, alleging that his rank was not that o{ a gentleman. Upon this Crichton took the matter upon himself, and offered to fight Bennet-a proposition which was at once acceded to.
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392 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Mr. Crichton entered the Town Council in 1794, as one of the Merchant Councillors, and held the office of Treasurer in 1795-6. He died at his own house in Gayfield Square, on the 14th of May 1823. He was a fine manlylooking person, rather florid in his complexion ; exceedingly polite in his manners, and of gentlemanly attainments. One of his sons, Archibald William, was knighted by George IV. The Colonel’s brother Alexander ~vm long in the Russian service as physician to the late Emperor Alexander of Russia, who conferred upon him the honour of knighthood. Sir Alexander Crichton visited his native country about the year 1834. Mr. Crichton was married, and had a family. No. CLVI. GEORGE FERGUXSON, LORD HERRSAND. LORDH ERRIAKsDo, well known on the western circuit, was the eighth son of Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran,’ one of the Senators of the College of Justice, under the title of Lord Kilkerran. Mr. Fergusson was admitted advocate in 1765, and practised successfully at the bar for thirty-four year’s, when, on the death of Macqueen of Eraxfield in 1799, he was promoted to the bench, and took his seat by the title of Lord Hermand, from a mall estate of that name which he possessed about sixteen miles west of Edinburgh. He was also appointed a Commissioner of Justiciary in 1808, on the resignation of Lord Dunsinnan j and it is in this capacity that the character of Lord Hermand is best known to the public. His severity of manner on the bench was perhaps more peculiarly suited to the criminal court ; yet as a judge in civil causes, he was eminently honest and upright ; and his opinions were invariably guided by the most scrupulous attention to justice. He was one of the judges in the case of Eaird and JI‘Laren, who were tried at Edinburgh in 18 17, for seditious speeches delivered at a public meeting held near Kilmarnack, and who were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment in the Canongate jail. He was on the bench during almost all the other political trials in the west; and from this circumstance alone is well known as a Justiciary Lord in that part of the country. When at the bar, Lords Hermand and Newton were great “cronies,” and had many convivial meetings together ; but the former outlived all his old lastcentury contemporaries of the bar, and for many years remained alone, as it were, the only connecting link between the past and present race of Scottish lawyers. Sir James married Lady Jean Maitland, the only child of Lord Maitland, eldest son of John Earl of Lauderdale. ’I% scene17 around is highly romantic ; and, by the plantations and improvements of Sir James and his successors, is now an object of much interest to tourists. Kilkerran is situated near to the Water of Girvan, in the parish of Daily.
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