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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 195 United States had been achieved, he again went abroad ; allured, like hundreds of his countrymen, by the brilliant prospects that then began to dawn. He had previously visited all the States, and published the result of his observations in a now scarce volume, entitled “A View of North America,” etc. The profession of a land-surveyor, in which he now engaged, afforded facilities that were at once made available when Congress determined to proceed with the building of the city. He had submitted his ideas to Washington himself prior to 1799, and they were unanimously adopted by Congress, which decreed that the plan of the city (by a French officer) should be marked out on the ground. The great tide of emigration has long since continued to roll to the far West, and left Washington in the words of Moore- “ That famed metropolis, where fancy sees- Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees ! ’’ Still the propriety of its being fixed where it was is creditable to the sagacity of the individual who proposed it. His name was George Walker, the son of a farmer at Sheardale, in the parish of Dollar, Clackmannanshire ; and having been induced to purchase an extensive tract of land, including the Eastern Capital and great part of the site, he reasonably anticipated that future grandeur of the American metropolis which would have rewarded his enterprise, but which has never been realised. We may close this episode by a quotation from a letter written by Jefferson to Lord Buohan :-“ I feel a pride in the justice which your lordship’s sentiments render to the character of my illustrious countryman- Washington. The moderation of his desires, and the strength of his judgment enabled him to calculate correctly, that the road to that glory which never dies, is to use power for the support of the laws and liberties of our country, not for their destruction ; and his will accordingly survive the wreck of everything now living.” No. CCXL. MAJOR -GENERAL AYTOUN, AND THE DUC D’ANGOULEME. TRIS Sketch, entitled “The Great and the Small,” was ‘published in 1797. The Duc d‘Angouleme, then residing at Holyrood, constantly attended the Saturday drills of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, whose uniform-blue with red facings-very much resembled that of the French National Guards j and
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196 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. the Etching was meant to contrast the athletic Scotsman and the fragile Frenchman, then a youth of twenty-two, and of a somewhat feeble frame. MAJOR-GENERAL ROGER AYTOUN was the eldest son of John Aytoun of Inchdairney, in the county of Fife, and of Isabella, daughter of Robert Lord Rollo. His family represent the ancient house of Aytoun of that Ilk, in Berwickshire. Young Aytoun entered the army as a Cornet of Dragoons. His regiment happened to be quartered in Manchester at the time of the American war ; and so keenly were persons of all ranks infected with the military contagion, that many individuals came forward with private contributions, and offers of personal service, to assist in reducing the rebel colonists to subjection. Amongst others, a regiment of infantry was offered to Government by the city of illanchester ; and Cornet Aytoun, having married a lady of that city, who possessed a coqsiderable property in its neighbourhood, eagerly entered into the recruiting service. He was, as may be seen by the prefixed Etching, a man of remarkable stature, being upwards of six feet four inches in height, and broad and strong in proportion. His winning address and familiar demeanour made him a great favourite among the lower classes, and rendered him peculiarly useful in the service in which he was engaged. Like Frederick of Prussia, he had a great penchant for tall grenadier-looking soldiers; and, in the course of his duty, spared no pains to induce such Anakim to join his standard. One day, having observed a carman of uncommon. proportions, whose legs were at least as strong as the celebrated Paddy Carey’s, Cornet Aytoun accosted him with the usual recruiting phrase. The carman, however, was a very shy bird, and most cautiously kept his hands concealed in his pockets, to avoid the fatal contact of the bounty money. “ I’ll tell thee what it is, Captain,” said he at last, “ I’ze no gurt objection to sarve his Majesty; but I’m dommed if ony man ’lists me, unless he cun lick me first !” “And suppose you w e licked, and soundly too,” asked Aytoun, “will you enlist then?” “That will I,” answered the other ; ‘‘ but mind, he mun gie me a wolloping.” “ You shan’t want that long, my fine fellow,” said Aytoun, peeling on the spot. The carman, though taken considerably aback at this unexpected acceptance of the challenge, followed his example. A ring was made ; and, in less than a quarter of an hour, the carman gave in, owned the superior prowess of the Scot, and actually mounted the cockade. Another circumstance, which occurred about the same time, caused a considerable sensation in Manchester. Cornet Aytoun had been paying a visit a few miles from town, and was returning home alone in a post-chaise. At an unfrequented part of the road, he was stopped by two footpads, who awakened him from an agreeable slumber to the consciousness that a brace of pistols were in dangerous vicinity to his head ; and that his purse, if not his life, was in exceeding jeopardy. Most men would have been startled at this-not so Cornet Aytoun, who, with a sudden sweep of his hand, struck down the pistols, leapt
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