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Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
Major Campbell, of the Thirty-fifth Regiment


Campbell was a native of the "East-neuk of Fife," where his father possessed an estate which yielded, some eighty years ago, a very comfortable income of nearly £500 per annum; but the wholesale hospitality maintained by the laird, and an extravagant indulgence in the luxury of foreign wines, which were then landed without molestation at all the little bays on the east coast of Scotland, at last brought the "mailing" to the hammer. Claret could then be had for £15 a hhd.

Mr. Campbell entered the army, and shared in all the harassing campaigns of the first American war, in which he had been frequently and severely wounded. While on service there, it is said he received an injury which totally altered the original form of the most prominent feature in his countenance, having received a blow in the face with a musket from a soldier of his own regiment, whom he had been reprimanding. According to Kay's MS., the man was immediately tried by a court-martial, and condemned to be shot; but the Major stayed the execution of the sentence, and subsequently applied for and obtained a free pardon for the offender.

Although this anecdote is by no means inconsistent with the amiable character of Major Campbell, it is rendered somewhat apocryphal by the fact that he was too much beloved by the soldiers of his company, who rejoiced in his eccentricities, to be injured by any of them.

Major Campbell was a gentleman of very peculiar manners. His speech, like the Baron of Bradwardine's, was usually interlarded with scraps of Latin. He had studied at St Andrews,—a circumstance which he delighted to refer to. A very slight and casual allusion instantly furnished him with an opportunity for introducing his favourite remark—"at the College of St Andrews, where I was taught languages, sciences, and various sorts of particulars, my dear." My dear he used indiscriminately in addressing persons of whatever rank—whether General O'Hara, the stern governor, or a drum-boy.

At Gibraltar, on one occasion, the General ordered a regiment, which had newly arrived to replace another about to embark on different service, to be inspected by several of the field-officers—each private to step six paces in front of the line for that purpose. The corps thus to be scrutinized was a battalion of the Scots Brigade, which had been raised in Edinburgh in 1794, by the late Lieut-General Ferrier, and of such a diminutive size were the men, that they were called " the Garvies " by the inhabitants. Major Campbell was one of the inspectors, and he patiently endured the tedious process of overhauling this very indifferent sample of his countrymen, till at length one peculiarly coarse-visaged, short, cross-made, elderly little fellow stepped out his six paces. Unable longer to contain himself, and ruuniug up to the soldier, he stooped to the level of the ill-favoured " militaire," then grinning, or rather girning in his face, he bawled out—"Well, doubly d------n me! (his usual exclamation), but you are an ugly b------! my dear." Then turning to a fellow-officer (Lieut.-General Ainslie) who stood by—"He seems conglomerated, my dear; from con and glomeo, as we used to say at St Andrews, my dear."

Major Campbell remained with his regiment until a very old man, and so worn out that he could not poise his sword without the assistance of both his hands.

He married Miss Macalister, sister to Lieut.-Colonel Macalister, 85th regiment, by whom he had one son, Henry Fletcher.

Our hero, died more than forty years since. His son was an officer in the same regiment, and having retired, married a sister of Sir Charles Turner, of Abberley, near Witherley, in Yorkshire, by whom he obtained a handsome fortune. He died some thirty years ago.


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