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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 349 No. CCLXXXVI. LIEUT.-GENERAL VYSE, IN CONMAND OF THE FORCES IN SCOTLAND. RICHARDV YsE-son of Archdeacon Vyse, by his marriage with a daughter of Dr. Richard Smalbroke, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry-was born in 1747. He joined the army at an early period of life, and was for many years a Captain in the Royal Irish Dragoons. In 1784 he was promoted to the Lieut.-Colonelcy of the 1st Dragoon Guards, of which regiment he became Colonel in 1790, and rose to the rank of Major-General in 1794. Under the Duke of York, he served against the Republican forces of France during the campaigns in Flanders, and was present at the affair of Nimeguen in Holland. In 1799 Major-General Vyse, then Colonel of the 29th Light Dragoons, was appointed one of the Major-Generals of the Staff in Scotland, under Sir Ralph Abercromby; on whose departure, in the expedition to Egypt, General Vyse succeeded, as Lieut.-General, to the command of the Forces. In this capacity he acquitted himself with much spirit-highly esteemed by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance, as a thorough gentleman, not more in manners than in high-minded principles and rectitude of conduct. He had the reputation of being an excellent cavalry officer, and was considered a proficient in military matters generally. To the discipline of the troops under his command he paid unremitting attention and was enthusiastic in the exercise of field-manoeuvres and mock- When the Lochiel Highlanders lay in Falkirk, immediately after being raised, they were inspected by General Vyse. Sir Ralph Abercromby being present, Cameron, the Chief of Lochiel, waa no doubt proud to show such a really h e body of men to his father-in-law. Although ostensibly composed of Camerons, there were enrolled in the ranks of the corps not merely Lowlanders, but English and Irish ; and some laughable attempts at fraud, in endeavouring to pass inspection, are remembered ; but, unless disabled, few objections mere made, although Scotsmen in general found a preference. “ From FaUrirk yir honour, this morning.” His brogue betraying him, the General demanded to know how he came over ? “Sure I didn’t come in a wheelbarrow ! ” The rising choler of the iuspecting officer was speedily soothed by the milder tact of Sir Ralph, who, seeing the man a fit recruit, laughed heartily and he rn passed.-It deserves to be mentioned that on this occasion, during his stay in Falkirk, the future hero of Aboukir took up his residence with the son of hia late father’s gardener at Tillibody, Mr. James Walker, a merchant in the town, and long known for hi agricultural skill, aa “ The Stirlingshire Farmer.” Sir Ralph delighted, after dinner, to recall the incidents of their boyhood, when he and Mr. Walker, with their brothers, were at school together. He had previously shown the attachment of former days to a younger brother of Mr,. Walker, during the struggle for liberty between America and the mother countiy. These kindly and benevolent traib easily explain why Sir Ralph Abercromby was persoually so dear to all who knew him. “ Where are yozl from P” said Vyse to an equivocal-looking fellow.
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350 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. engagements. In the prosecution of his duty in this way, he had planned a great military spectacle, in which eight or ten thousand men were to be employed. The contemplated scene of action was the Braid Hills, and the ground adjacent to the villages of Liberton and Gilmerton. The note of preparation for a conflict, on a scale so extended, had excited the ardour of the volunteer soldiery in a proportionable degree j but unfortunately, a few days before the order of battle was to have been given out to the troops, the news arrived in Edinburgh that preliminaries of peace had been entered into, and the battle of the Braid was in consequence abandoned. None were more mortified than the General himself; and so much out of humour was he with the cause of the interruption, that even in his correspondence with Government and the Horse Guards, he would never allow himself to dignify the Peace of Amiens by a higher name than the late cessation of hostilities. In his occasional harangues to the troops, General Vyse affected much the pithy style and spirit of Frederick of Prussia ; but though studiously laconic, he was somewhat partial to pompous language, and not without a turn for dry, caustic humour. When the Pembrokeshire Fencible Cavalry-a corps by no means distinguished for discipline or military appearance-were stationed in this quarter, they were one day reviewed by General Vyse. At the termination of the display the Colonel took his station at the head of his regiment, in expectation of the approbation usually accorded on such occasions. Cantering up to him, the General thus expressed himself :-" Colonel Davies, I have the honour to inform you that I never saw any troops so ill-mounted as your men are, ace3t their horses /''-and, wheeling round, he rode off at a quick pace, lealhg the astonished Colonel to digest the negative compliment as he best could. After the appointment of the Earl of Moira as Commander-in-Chief in Scotland, in 1804, General Vyse continued in the Staff till the following year. He then moved to the command of the Yorkshire district, and fixed his headquarters at Beverley, which he afterwards represented in Parliament. In 1812 he had the Colonelcy of the 3d, or Prince of Wales' Dragoon Guards, with the rank of General in the army. General Vyse married the daughter and heiress of General Sir George Howard, with whom he received a large fortune. He had one son, who was a Lieut.-Colonel in the Life-Guards, and one daughter, who was long Maid of Honour to Queeu Charlotte. The General died at Lichfield, on the 30th of May 1825, in the seventyeighth year of his age,' A sister of General Vyse was married to Dr. Madan, late Bishop of Peterborough, whose first wife was Ldy Cliarlotte Cornwallis, sister of the first Marquis Cornwallis.
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