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School-Days of Eminent Men
Extracted a few Scots from this book by John Timbs


THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON

The combined genius, learning, and physical advantages which obtained for this celebrated Scotchman the title of Admirable, however oft-told, must be briefly related in this work. James Crichton, son of Robert Crichton, of Eliock, who was Lord Advocate to King James VI., was born in Scotland, in the year 1561. The precise place of his birth is not mentioned; but, having acquired the rudiments of education at Edinburgh, he was sent to study philosophy and the sciences at St. Andrew’s, then the most renowned seminary in Scotland, where the illustrious Buchanan was one of his masters. At the early age of fourteen he took his degree of Master of Arts, and was regarded as a prodigy, not only in abilities but actual attainments. He was considered the third reader in the college, and in a short time became complete master of the philosophy and languages of the time, as well as of ten different languages.

It was then the custom for Scotchmen of birth to finish their education abroad, and serve in some foreign army previously to their entering that of their own country. When he was only sixteen or seventeen years old, (the date cannot be fixed,) Crichton’s father sent him to the Continent. He had scarcely arrived in Paris, when he publicly challenged all scholars ana philosophers to a disputation at the college of Navarre, to be carried on in any of the twelve specified languages, “in any science, liberal art, discipline, or faculty, whether practical or theoretic; and, as if to show in how little need he stood of preparation, or how lightly he held his adversaries, he spent the six weeks that elapsed between the challenge and the contest in a continued round of tilting, hunting, and dancing.” On the appointed day, however, he encountered “the gravest philosophers and divines,” when he acquitted himself to the astonishment of all who heard him, and received the public praises of the president, and four of the most eminent professors. Next day he was equally victorious at a tilting match at the Louvre, where, through the enthusiasm of the ladies of the court, and from the versatility of his talents, his youth, the gracefulness of his manners, and the beauty of his person, he was named UAdmirable,

After two years’ service in the army of Henry III., Crichton repaired to Italy, and at Rome repeated in the presence of the pope and cardinals the literary challenge and triumph that had gained him so much honour in Paris. From Rome he went to Venice, and in the university of the neighbouring city of Padua, reaped fresh honours by Latin poetry, scholastic disputation, an exposition of the errors of Aristotle and his and (as a playful wind-up of the day’s labour) a declamation upon the happiness of ignorance. He next, in consequence of the doubts of some incredulous persons, and the reports that he was a literary impostor, gave a public challenge : the contest, which included tne Aristotelian and Platonic philosophies, and the mathematics of the time, was prolonged during three days before an innumerable concourse of people; when Aldus Manu-tius, the celebrated Venetian printer, who was present at this “miraculous encounter,” states Crichton to have proved completely victorious.

Crichton now pursued his travels to the court of Mantua, but to a combat more tragical than those carried on by the tongue or by the pen. Here he met a certain Italian gentleman of a mighty able, nimble, and vigorous body, but by nature fierce, cruel, warlike, and audacious, and superlatively expert and dexterous in the use df his weapon. He had already killed three of the best swordsmen of Mantua; but Crichton, who had studied the sword from his youth, and who had probably improved himself in the use of the rapier in Italy, challenged the bravo: they fought; the young Scotchman was victorious, and the Italian left dead on the spot. At the court of Mantua, too, Crichton wrote Italian comedies, and played the principal parts in them himself, with great success. But he was shortly after assassinated by Vincenzo Gonzaga, son of the Duke of Mantua, it is supposed through jealousy. Thus was Crichton cut off in his twenty-second year, without leaving any proof of his genius except a few Latin verses.

HOW JAMES FERGUSON TAUGHT HIMSELF THE CLASSICS AND ASTRONOMY.

Ferguson has been characterized as literally his own instructor in the very elements of knowledge ; without the assistance either of books or a living teacher. He was born in 1710, in Banffshire, where his father was a day-labourer, but religious and honest. He taught his children to read and write, as they reached the proper age; but James was too impatient to wait till his regular turn came, and after listening to Ins father teaching his elder brother, he would get hold of the book, and try hard to master the lesson which he had thus heard gone over; and, ashamed to let his father know what he was about, he used to apply to an old woman to solve his difficulties. In this way he learned to read tolerably well before his father suspected that he knew his letters.

When about seven or eight years of age, Ferguson, seeing that to raise the fallen roof of his cottage, his father applied to it a beam, resting on a prop, in the manner of a lever, the young philosopher, by experiment with models which he made by a simple turning lathe and a little knife, actually discovered two of the most important elementary truths in mechanics — the lever, and the wheel and axle; ana he afterwards hit upon other discoveries, without either book or teacher to assist him. While tending sheep in the fields, he used to make models of mills, spinning-wheels, &c.; and at night, he used to lie down on his back in the fields, observing the heavenly bodies. “ I used to stretch/’ says he, “ a thread with small beads on it, at arm’s length between my eye and the stars; sliding the beads upon it till they hid such and such stars from my eye, in order to take their apparent distances from one another; and then laying the thread down on a paper, I marked the stars thereon by the beads.” His master encouraged him in these and similar pursuits; and, says Ferguson, “often took the threshing flail out of my hands, and worked himself, while I sat by him in the bam, busy with my compasses, ruler, and pen.” He also tells us how he made an artificial globe from a description in Gordon’s Geographical Grammar; a wooden clock, with the neck of a broken Dottle for the bell; and a timepiece or watch moved by a spring of whalebone. After many years he came to London, became a popular lecturer on astronomy, and had George III., then a boy, among his auditors: Ferguson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and wrote several works valuable for the simplicity and ingenuity of their elucidations.

ROBERT BURNS

Robert Burns, whom his countrymen delight to honour as the Shakspeare of Scotland, was bom in 1759, in the parish of Alloway, near Ayr. His father was a poor farmer, who gave his son what education he could afford. Burns tells us that "though it cost the schoolmaster some thrashings,” he made an excellent English scholar; and by the time he was ten or eleven years of age, he was a critic in substantives, verbs, and particles. In his infant and boyish days, too, he was much with an old woman who resided in the family, and was remarkable for her ignorance, credulity, and superstition. She had the largest collection in the country of tales and songs concerning demons, ghosts, fairies, brownies, witches, kelpies, elf-candles, dead-lights, wraiths, apparitions, cantraips, giants, enchanted towers, dragons, and other trumpery. This cultivated the latent seeds of poetry, but had so strong an effect on Burns’s imagination, that after he had grown to manhood, in his nocturnal rambles he sometimes kept a sharp look-out in suspicious places, and it often took an effort of philosophy to

shake off these idle terrors. He says: “The earliest composition that I recollect taking pleasure in, was the Vision of Mirza, and a hymn of Addison’s, beginning, ‘ How are thy servants blest, O Lord! ’ I particularly remember one stanza, which was music to my boyish ear: —

* For though on dreadful whirls we hung High on the broken wave.*

I met with these pieces in Mason’s English Collection, one of my school-books. The two first books I ever read in private, and which gave me more pleasure than any two books I ever read since, were The Life of Hannibal, and The History of Sir William Wallace. Hannibal gave my young ideas such a turn, that I used to strut in rapture up and down after the recruiting drum and bagpipe, and wish myself tall enough to be a soldier; while the story of Wallace poured a Scottish prejudice into my veins, which will boil along there till the flood-gates of life shut in eternal rest.”

While Bums lived on his father's little farm, he tells us that he was, perhaps, the most ungainly, awkward boy in the parish. He adds of his reading: —

“What I knew of ancient story was gathered from Salmon’s and Guthrie’s Geographical Grammars; and tne ideas I formed of modem manners, literature, and criticism, I got from the Spectator. These* with Pope’s Works, some Plays of Shakspeare, Tull and Dickson on Agriculture, the Pantheon, Locke On the Human Understanding, Stackhouse’s History of the Bible, Justice’s British Gardener's Directory, Bayle’s Lectures, Allan Ramsay’s Works, Taylor’s Scripture Doctrine of Original Sin, A Select Collection of English Songs, and Hervey’s Meditations, had formed the whole of my reading. The Collection of Songs was my vade-mecum. I pored over them driving my cart* or walking to labour, song by song, verse by verse,—carefully noting the true, tender, and sublime, from affectation and fustian. I am convinced I owe to this practice much of my critic craft, such as it is.”

Bums’s father was a man of uncommon intelligence for his station in life, and was anxious that his children should have the best education which their circumstances admitted of. Robert was, therefore, sent in his sixth year to a little school at Alloway Mill, about a mile from their cottage: not long after, his father took a lead in establishing a young teacher, named John Murdoch, in a humble temple of learning, nearer hand, and there Robert and his younger brother, Gilbert, attended for some time. “With him,” says Gilbert, “we learned to read English tolerably well, and to write a little. He taught us, too, the English Grammar. I was too young to profit much from his lessons in grammar, but Robert made some proficiency in it; a circumstance of considerable weight in the unfolding of his genius and character, as he soon became remarkable for the fluency and correctness of his expression, and read the few books that came in his way with much pleasure and improvement; for even then he was a reader when he could get a book.” Gilbert next mentions that The Life of Wallace, which Robert Burns refers to, “ he borrowed from the blacksmith who shod our horses.”

Robert was about seven years of age when (1766) his father left the clay bigging at Alloway, and settled in the small upland farm at Mount Oliphant, about two miles distant. He and his younger brother continued to attend Mr. Murdoch’s school for two years longer, when it was broken up. Murdoch took his leave of the boys, and brought, as a present and memorial, a small compendium of English Grammar, and the tragedy of Titus Andronicus; he began to read the play aloud, but so shocked was the party at some of its incidents, that Robert declared if the play were left, he would bum it; and Murdoch left the comedy of the School for Love in its place.

The hither now instructed his two sons, and other children: there were no boys of their own age in the neighbourhood, and their father was almost their only companion: he conversed with them as though they were men; he taught them from Salmon’s Geographical Grammar the situation and history of the different countries of the world; and from a book-society in Ayr he procured Derham’s Physico and Astro Theology, and Ray’s Wisdom of God in the Creation, to give his sons some idea of astronomy and natural history. Robert read all these books with an avidity and industry scarcely to be equalled. From Stackhouse’s History of the Bible, then lately published in Kilmarnock, Robert collected a competent knowledge of ancient history; “for,” says his brother, “no book was so voluminous as to slacken his industry, or so antiquated as to damp his researches.” About this time a relative inquired at a bookseller’s shop in Ayr for a book to teach Robert to write letters, when, instead of the Complete Letter Writer, he got by mistake a small collection of letters by the most eminent writers, with a few sensible directions for attaining an easy epistolary style, which book proved to Burns of the greatest consequence.

Burns was about thirteen or fourteen, when his father regretting that he and his brother wrote so ill, to remedy this defect sent them to the parish school of Dalrymple, between two and three miles distant, the nearest to them. Murdoch, the boys’ former master, now settled in Ayr, as a teacher of the English language: he sent them Pope’s Works, and some other poetry, the first they had an opportunity of reading, except that in the English Collection, and in the Edinburgh Magazine for 1772. Robert was now sent to Ayr, “ to revise his English grammar with his former teacher,” but he was shortly obliged to return to assist in the harvest. He then learned surveying at the parish school of Kirkoswald. He had learned French of Murdoch, and could soon read and understand any French author in prose. He then attempted to learn Latin, but soon gave it up. Mrs. Paterson, of Ayr, now lent the boys the Spectator, Pope’s Translation of Homer, and several other books that were of use to them.

Thus, although Robert Burns was the child of poverty and toil, there were fortunate circumstances in his position: his parents were excellent persons; his father exerted himself as his instructor, and, cottager as he was, contrived to have something like the benefits of private tuition for his two eldest sons; and the young poet became, comparatively speaking, a well-educated man. His father had remarked, from a very early period, the bright intellect of his elder-born in particular, saying to his wife, “Whoever may live to see it, something extraordinary will come from that boy ”

It was not until his twenty-third year that Burns’s reading was enlarged by the addition of Thomson, Shenstone, Sterne, and Mackenzie. Other standard works soon followed. The great advantage of his learning was, that what books he had, he read and studied thoroughly—his attention was not distracted by a multitude of volumes, and his mind grew up with original and robust vigour; and in the veriest shades of obscurity, he toiled, when a mere youth, to support his virtuous parents and their household; yet all this time he grasped at every opportunity of acquiring knowledge from men and books.

Bums, says Mr. Carruthers, came as a potent auxiliary or fellow-worker with Cowper, in bringing poetry into the channels of truth and nature. There were only two years between the Task and the Cotter’s Saturday Night. No poetry was ever more instantaneously or universally popular among a people than that of Bums in Scotland. There was the humour of Smollett, the pathos and tenderness of Sterne or Richardson, the real life of Fielding, and the description of Thomson — all united in the delineations of Scottish manners and scenery by the Ayrshire ploughman. His masterpiece is Tam o’Shanter: it was so considered by himself, and the judgment has been confirmed by Campbell, Wilson, Montgomery, and by almost every critic.

SIR WALTER SCOTT — HI8 SCHOOLS AND READINGS.

This amiable poet and novelist, whose genius has gladdened almost every country of the civilized world, was born at Edinburgh, in 1771, in a house at the head of the College Wynd. His father was a writer to the Signet; and his mother, the eldest daughter of Dr. Rutherford, was a well-educated gentlewoman, mixed in literary society, and from her superintendence of the early tuition of her son Walter, there is reason to infer that such advantages influenced his habits and taste. In an autobiographical fragment discovered in an old cabinet at Abbotsford, after Sir Walter’s death, he says he was an uncommonly healthy child, but had nearly died in consequence of his first nurse being ill of a consumption. The woman was dismissed, and he was consigned to a healthy peasant, who used to boast of her laddie being what she called a grand gentleman.

When about eighteen months old, after a fever, he lost the power of his right leg, and was ever after lame. Yet, he was a remarkably active boy, dauntless, and full of fun and mischief, or, as he calls himself, in Marmion,

"A self-will’d imp; a grandame’s child.”

He was then sent to the farm-house of Sandy-Knowe, the residence of Scott’s paternal grandfather. One Tibbie Hunter remembered the lame child coming to Sandy-Knowe — and that he was “a sweet-tempered bairn, a darling with all about the house.” The young cwe-milkers delighted to carry him abroad on their backs among the crags; and he was very gleg (quick) at the uptake, and kenned every sheep and lamb by headmark as well as any of them. There is a story of his having been forgotten one day among the knolls when a

thunderstorm came on; and his aunt, suddenly recollecting his situation, and running out to bring him home, is said to have found him lying on his back, clapping his hands at the lightning, and crying out, “ Bonny! Bonny!” at every flash. Scott thus relates his early impressions at Sandy-Knowe :

This was during the heat of the American war, and I remember being as anxious, on my uncle’s weekly visits, (for we heard news at no other time,) to hear of the defeat of Washington, as if I had some deep and personal cause of antipathy to him. I know not how this was combined with a very strong prejudice in favour of the Stuart family, which I had originally imbibed from the song and tales of the Jacobites. This latter political propensity was deeply confirmed by the stories told in my hearing of the cruelties exercised in the executions at Carlisle, and in the Highlands, after the battle of Cul-loden. One or two of our own distant relations had fallen on that occasion, and I remember detesting the name of Cumberland with more than infant hatred. Mr. Curie, farmer, at Yetbyre, had been

Eresent at their execution; and it was, probably, from him that I first eard these tragic tales, which made so great an impression on me. The local information which I conceive had some share in forming my future taste and pursuits, I derived from the old songs and tales which then formed the amusements of a retired country family. My grandmother, in whose youth the old Border depredations were matter of recent tradition, used to tell me many a tale of Watt of Harden, Wight Willie of Aikwood, Jamie Tellfer, of the fair Dodhead, and other heroes—merrymen all of the persuasion and calling of Robin Hood and Little John.....Two or three old books which lay in the window scat were explored for my amusement in the tedious winter days. Automathes and Ramsay’s Tea-table Miscellany were my favourites; although, at a later period, an odd volume of Josephus’s Wars of the Jews divided my partiality.

My kind and affectionate aunt, Miss Janet Scott, whose memory will ever be dear to me, used to read these works to me with admirable patience, and I could repeat long passages by heart. The ballad of Hardyknute I was early master of, to the great annoyance of almost Our only visitor, the worthy clergyman of the parish, Dr. Duncan, who had not patience to have a sober chat interrupted by my shouting forth this ditty. Methinks I see his tall, thin, emaciated figure, his legs cased in clasped gambadoes, and his face of a length that would have rivalled the Knight of La Mancha’s, and hear him exclaiming, "One may as well speak in the mouth of a cannon as where that child is.”

In his fourth year, Scott was taken by his aunt to Bath, in expectation that the waters might prove of some advantage to his lameness, but to little purpose. At Batb, he learned to read at a dame-school, and had an occasional lesson from his aunt; Afterwards, when grown a big boy, he had a few lessons at Edinburgh, but never acquired a just pronunciation, nor could he read with much propriety. At Bath, Scott saw the venerable John Home, author of Douglas; and his uncle, Captain Robert Scott, introduced him to the little amusements which suited his age, and to the theatre. One evening when the play was As You Like It, Scott was so scandalized at the quarrel between Orlando and his brother, that he screamed out, “ A’n’t they brothers?”

Scott now returned to Edinburgh.

“In 1779 (he says), I was sent to the second class of the Grammar School, or High School, of Edinburgh, then taught by Mr. Luke Fraser, a good Latin scholar, and a very worthy man. Our class contained some very excellent scholars.....Boys are uncommonly just in their feelings, and at least equally generous. My lameness, and the efforts which 1 made to supply that disadvantage, by making up in address what I wanted in activity, engaged the latter principle in my favour; and in the winter play-hours, when hard exercise was impossible, my tales used to assemble an admiring audience round Luckie Brown's fireside, and happy was he that could sit next to the inexhaustible narrator. .... But, on the whole, I made a brighter figura in the yard than in the class,.”

Mr.Lockbart notes upon these reminiscences, that a schoolfellow, Mr. Claud Russell, remembers Scott to have once made a great leap in bis class, through the stupidity of some laggard on the dulPs (dolt’s) bench, who being asked, on boggling at cum, “what part of speech is with answered, “a substantive.” The rector, after a moment’s pause, thought it worth while to ask his dux— “Is with ever a substantive?” but all were silent till the query reached Scott, then near the bottom of the class, who instantly responded by quoting a verse from the book of Judges; “And Samson said unto Delilah, if they bind me with seven green with that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and as another man.” Another upward movement, accomplished in a less laudable manner, Scott thus related to Mr. Rogers, the poet:

“There was a boy in my class at school, who stood always at the top, nor could I with all my efforts supplant him. Day came after day, and still he kept his place, do what I would; till at length I observed that when a question was asked him, he always fumbled with his fingers at a particular button on the lower part of his waistcoat. To remove it, therefore, became expedient in my eyes ; and in an evil moment it was removed with a knife. Great was my anxiety to know the success of my measure; and it succeeded too well. When the boy was again questioned, his fingers sought again for the button, but it was not to be found. In his distress, he looked down for it; it was to be seen no more than to be felt. He stood confounded, ard I took possession of his place; nor did he ever recover it, or ever, I believe, suspect who was the author of his wrong. Often in after-life has the sight of him smote me as I passed by him; and often have I resolved to make him some reparation; but it ended in good resolutions.”

The autobiography tells us that Scott’s translations in verse from Horace and Virgil were often approved by Dr. Adam. One of these little pieces, written in a weak boyish scrawl, within pencil-marks still visible, had been carefully preserved by his mother; and was found folded up in a cover inscribed by the old lady—“My Walter’s first lines, 1782.” At Kelso at the age of thirteen, he first read Percy’s Reliques, in an antique garden, under the shade of a huge plane-tree. This work had as great an effect in making him a poet as Spenser had on Cowley, but with Scott the seeds were long in germinating.

In 1780, Scott was placed at the University of Edinburgh, where his studies were as irregular as at the High School.

Mr. Lockhart considers Scott to have underrated his own academical attainments. He had no pretensions to the claim of an extensive, far less of an accurate, Latin scholar; but he could read any Latin author, of any age, so as to catch without difficulty his meaning; and although his favourite Latin poet, as well as historian in later days, was Buchanan, he had preserved, or subsequently acquired, a strong relish for some others of more ancient date, particularly Lucian and Claudian. Of Greek he had forgotten even the alphabet; and, in 1830, having occasion to introduce from some authority on his table two Greek words into his Introduction to Popular Poetry, he sent for Mr. Lockhart, who was in the house, to insert the words in the MS. At an early period, Scott enjoyed the real Tasso and Ariosto; and read Gil Bias in the original, and not much later, he acquired as much Spanish as served for the Guerres Civiles de Granada, Lazarillo de Tonnes, and above all, Don Quixote. He read all these languages in afterlife with about the same facility. Somewhat later he acquired German. In these languages he sought for incidents and images; but for the treasures of diction he was content to dig on British soil.

At the age of seventeen, Scott saw Robert Burns. The poet, while at Professor Ferguson’s one day, was struck by some lines attached to a print of a soldier digging in the snow, and inquired who was the author; none of the old or the learned spoke, when Scott answered, “They are by Langhome.” Burns, fixing his large bright eyes on the boy, and striding up to him, said, “It is no common course of reading taught you this.” “This lad,” said he to the company, “will be heard of yet.”

Scott’s early love of reading was, doubtless, fostered by the circumstance of his lameness. He had just given over the amusements of boyhood, when, to use his own words, “ a long illness threw him back on the kingdom of fiction, as it were by a species of fatality.” He had ruptured a blood-vessel, and motion and speech for a long time were pronounced to be dangerous. For several weeks he was confined to his bed, and almost his sole amusement was reading. He says, “from the circulating libraiy at Edinburgh, founded by the celebrated Allan Ramsay, I believe I read almost all the old romances, old plays, and epic poetry, in that formidable collection, and no doubt was unconsciously amassing materials for the talk in which it has been my lot to he so much employed.”

Sir Walter Scott received his baronetcy from George IV., in 1820.

THOMAS COCHRAN, EARL OF DUN DONALD

This gallant Admiral was born December 14, 1775, Armsfiela, in Lanarkshire. His father was Archibald, ninth Earl of Dundonald; his mother, Annie Gilchrist, daughter of Captain Gilchrist, a distinguished officer of the Royal Navy.

Of the once extensive ancestral domains of his family, Thomas Cochrane never inherited a foot. The family estates had been alienated by losses incurred in support of the Stuarts, except a remnant, which Thomas Cochrane’s father neglected to look after, while his unentailed properly was absorbed by his expensive scientific pursuits so that the outset of his son in life was that of heir to a peerage, without other expectations than those arising from his own exertions. His father, with ten children to provide for, found himself a ruined man; the business died in 1784; and as the domestic fortunes were so then at a low ebb, with great difficulty could the children provided with the means of education — four of them being an age to profit by more ample opportunities. In this emergency, temporary assistance was volunteered by Mr. Holland, the minister of Culross, but family pride prevented 3 acceptance of this offer. The maternal grandmother, Mrs. lchrist, then applied her small income to the exigencies of grandchildren. "By the aid thus opportunely afforded,” as Thomas Cochrane, “a tutor was provided, of whom my Dst vivid recollection is a stinging box on the ear, in reply to piery as to the difference between an interjection and a con-action; this solution of the difficulty effectually repressing other philological inquiry upon my part.” The children ire then temporarily provided with a French tutor, who, wever, relinquished his engagement before his pupils had quired the rudiments of the French language.

Even this inadequate tuition (continues the Autobiography,) is abruptly ended by the Earl taking young Thomas with m to London; his object being to induce the Government to ake use of his coal-tar for protecting the bottoms of inferior ips of war, copper sheathing being then unknown. In this e Earl was foiled; he then turned his attention to his son, 10m he intended for the army, but the boy’s penchant was the sea. His uncle, the Hon. Captain, afterwards Admiral r Alexander Cochrane, had, unknown to the father, entered ie boy’s name on the books of various vessels under his unmand; so that, nominally, he had formed part of the implement of the Vesuvius, Carolina, La Sophie, and Hind; a object, common in those days, being to give the lad a few years’ standing in the service, should it become his profession. Nevertheless, through a relative in the army, a military immission was procured for young Thomas Cochrane; so lat he had simultaneously the honour of being an officer in is Majesty’s 104th regiment, and a nominal seaman on board s uncle’s ship. He was placed under the tuition of an old rgeant; his hair was formally cut and plastered with candle-cease and flour, and tortured to cultivate a queue ; his neck as encased in a leathern collar or stock, and he wore a blue mi-military tunic, with red collar and cuffs; while his father, ho was a determined Whig partisan, insisted on his son’s earning a yellow waistcoat and breeches. This costume drew upon its wearer the ridicule of boys in the streets; and the soldier, upon complaining to his father, and begging him

*The Autobiography of a Seaman, by Thomas, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, G.C.B., vol. i.

to let him go to sea with his uncle, received as a reply a sou cuffing: however, this only served to confirm the lad’s dial of anything military.

At this juncture, his father’s circumstances were imprw by a second marriage. So that Thomas and his brotl Basil, were sent to Mr. Chauvet’s academy in Kensingh square, to perfect their military education. At this excelli school they only remained six months; but, with slightly creased resources, their father resumed his ruinous manuf turing pursuits, so that they were compelled by their narrov circumstances to return to Scotland.

Four years and a half were now wasted without further attempt to secure for the sons any regular training; having studied diligently at Kensington, they were enabled make some progress in self-tuition, their tutor’s acquireme extending only to teaching the rudiments to the young branches of the family. Thomas, knowing that his further career depended on his own efforts, and more than ever determined not to take up his military commission, worked asiduously at the meagre elements of knowledge within his reach and his father, pleased with his progress, and finding his solution in favour of the naval service unalterable, consent that his son’s commission should be cancelled, and that renewed offer of his uncle to receive him on board his frig should be accepted. The difficulty was to equip him for s but with 100/. considerately advanced by the Earl of Hotoun for the purpose, the requisite outfit was procured, an< few days placed him in a position to seek his fortune, u his father’s gold watch as a keepsake — the only patrimony ever inherited; and he joined the Hind, corvette, at Sheerni on the 2/th of June, 1700, at the mature age, for a midshipman, of seventeen years and a half.

Such were the difficulties which beset Lord Cochran boyhood; and such was the indomitable energy and persiverance, by means of which he entered the service he t destined to adorn. He soon gave proofs of his daring charac distinguishing himself in May, 1705, as acting lieutenant the Thetis, commanded by his uncle, when he contribut with the Hussar, to the defeat, on the north coast of America a French squadron of five sail, two of which were capture the narrative of his courageous exploits is a brilliant chap of our naval history, lie was scarcely ever out of service, out of danger; one of his chiefest deeds of heroism being, when he destroyed, by means of five fire-ships, the French fleet, then in the Basque Roads; he went on board one of i explosion ships, containing 1,500 barrels of gunpowder, a performed the hazardous service most effectually. Rewarded and decorations followed; but through the intrepidity of his political line of conduct, he became the victim of party misrepresentation. He subsequently entered foreign service; and eventually was restored to his rank in the navy of Great Britain. He became Earl of Dundonald in 1831, and in 1852 Rear Admiral.

Like his father, Lord Dundonald was a man of inventive genius in the science of naval warfare, in new projectiles, and new methods of blowing up ships. His intrepidity met with but insufficient reward; for no braver man, or greater sailor, ever lived, even in England. He died in his 86th year, and was honoured with burial in Westminster Abbey; having long outlived the calumnies which had beset him. He has left to the world a spirit-stirring narrative of his long and eventful life, for he may be said to have been even cradled in difficulties.


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