Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 39 “ Sir George’s friend offered, that if Mr. Macrae would make an ample apology for the expression and the message delivered by his friend to Sir George, he would pledge himself that Sir George would make the servant stop the prosecution, or that he would dismiss him his service. Mr. Macrae did not agree to this, nor did his friend advise it. Every endeavour to conciliate having failed, and two hours having passed without being able to bring the parties to an accommodation, they went to the ground, and having taken their distance, about fourteen yards, they both fired at the same instant, by signal, as had been previously agreed upon. Sir George Ramsay received a wound in his body, of which he died on Friday morning, the 16th. Mr. Macrae and his friend went immediately from the field. Have since heard that Mr. Macrae was slightly wounded in the cheek. We have only to add, that no men ever behaved more like men of honour than they did on the occasion.” There can be little doubt that Captain Macrae in this unfortunate affair was highly blameable ; and so strong was the public feeling against him, that his counsel advised him not to stand a trial, for fear of the result. He therefore fled to France, and for some time took up his residence at the HGtel de la Dauphine in Paris. He was cited upon criminal letters, dated 26th May 1790, to take his trial for murder upon the 26th of July following.’ Sentence of outlawry was pronounced against him on that day for not appearing. This was followed by letters of denunciation, which were duly executed on the 28th of that month, and recorded next day. Previous to his outlawry, he took the precaution to convey his estate to trustees, who subsequently, but in conformity with his instructions, executed an entail of it. Before his exile, he married Miss Maria Cecilia Le Maistre, a lady by whom he had a son and a daughter. This unhappy gentleman died abroad on the 16th January 1820. The action brought by the servant was not finally determined till the month of February 1792, when the Sheriff having awarded damages and expenses, his judgment was brought under review of the Court of Session, and the cause came on before the Inner-House. The Court unanimously remitted the cause simpliciter to the Sheriff-thus affirming his judgment. There wit8 much contradiction in the evidence; and although it was proved that the servant had given a good deal of abusive language to Captain Macrae, yet their Lordships were of opinion that no abusive language whatever could justify the act of beating a man to the effusion of his blood. Some of the Judges indeed thought that there was, in determining the cause, a conjictus legum, and that it fell to be decided-in one way if they took it up, on the laws of the land-and in another, on what are called the laws of honour; but the Lord President observed, that as they were sitting as judges of a court of law, not of chivalry, they were bound to decide by the former. Sir Oeorge Ramsay, although married, left no issue, and was succeeded in his title and estate by his brother William. The indictment runs in name of “Dame Eleanor Fraser, relict of the decessed Sir George Ramsay of Bad, Baronet, and Sir Willism Ramsay of Banff, Baronet, hie brother-german.
Volume 8 Page 51
  Enlarge Enlarge  
40 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Before his flight, Captain Macrae resided at Marionville, a villa near Edinburgh, where he had an apartment fitted up for private theatricals,’ a species of amusement by no means common in Scotland, and for his attachment to which he was greatly censured. A story is told of him while residing there, which does credit to his generosity of disposition. One of his servants having done something in a manner that did not please him, he struck him, whereupon the man muttered that “he durst not strike him so, if he were one of his fellow-servants in the hall.”--“ Oh !’I said the Captain, “ if you are for a boxing-match, I shall give you a fair chance for it ; only you must not strike me in the face.’’ This being agreed upon, down stairs they went, and fought till the Captain owned he had got enough, adding, “You are a bit of good stuff, sirrah; there are five guineas for you.” The servant with great humility remarked, he would be content to be thrashed for as much every day. No. XIV. CAPTAIN PAGE AND CAPTAIN VICARS. THEY were both officers in the 7th Regiment of Foot, which was in Edinburgh in 1786. A statuary once requested, as a great favour, to be allowed to take a model of Captain Vicars, who was allowed to be the handsomest man among 10,000, while the regiment lay at Gibraltar. The lady admiring his figure, is dressed in the costume of that day. ‘‘ PRIVATET HEATRICALS.-The performance of the tragedy of the Grecian Daughter, which took place at Marionville on Friday last (15th January 1790), wa.~ in every respect delightful. Mr. Macrae, in the first part of Dionysius, gave infinite satisfaction. His figure, which is remarkably handsome, and his countenance, at once manly and expressive, every way suited him for that character. He was particularly great in the third act, when descrihing to Philotas the cares that accompany a regal state. Sir John Wrottesley played the part of Philotas with great judgment. Eis voice waa remarkably pleasing. Mr. Kinloch was exceedingly great as Evander, His first scene with Euphrasia was very affecting. Bnt it is impossible to do justice to Mrs. Macrae in the character of Euphrasia ; suffice it to say, that the part was never better performed on any stage, either by a Siddons or a Crawfurd. “ It is difficult to say whether her tragic or her comic powers are most excellent, as in both she gives equal satisfaction. Her perfomnnce of Lady Racket, in Three Weeks after Ham’age, was superior to any thing we have ever seen of the kind. Mr. Hunter, in Sir Charles Racket, was inimitable. His manner waa easy, and perfectly that of a gentleman, and his mode of acting truly natural. Mr. Justice, in Drngget, showed much zeal and comic humour, and gave proofs that he thoroughly undentood the character.”-Edin6grgh Evening Courant, Thursday, 26th January 1790. Mr. Justice supported the part of Melancthon with much propriety.
Volume 8 Page 52
  Enlarge Enlarge