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Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
The Right Hon. the Earl of Moira, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Scotland


Francis second Earl of Moira in Ireland, and afterwards Marquis of Hastings in England, was born December 9, 1754. After finishing his education at Oxford, he made a short tour on the Continent, then entered the army as an Ensign in the 15th regiment of foot, September, 1771. Three years subsequently he obtained a lieutenancy in the 5th foot, with which regiment he embarked for America, and was present at the battle of Bunker's Hill.

The promotion of his lordship was subsequently rapid. He obtained a company in the G3rd; was next appointed Aide-de-Camp to Sir Henry Clinton; and, in 1778, was made Adjutant-General of the British Army in America, with the rank of Lieut.-Colonel. He was present at the battles of Brooklyn and White Plains; at the attacks of Fort Washington and Fort Clinton ; and was actively employed in the retreat of the British from Philadelphia to New York, as well as in the engagement which followed at Monmouth, and at the siege of Charleston. He commanded the left wing at the battle of Camden; and, having been left with a small force to defend the frontiers of South Carolina, he performed one of the most brilliant achievements of the war, by attacking and defeating the vastly superior forces under General Green, at Hobkirkhill. A short time prior to the termination of hostilities in America, he was, in consequence of severe illness, compelled to quit the army. The vessel in which he sailed for Britain was captured and carried into Brest; but his lordship was almost immediately relieved.

On his arrival in England he was well received by his Sovereign. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel, appointed one of his Majesty's Aides-de-Camp, and created (5th March, 1783), an English Peer by the title of Baron Rawdon of Rawdon. On the King's illness, having formed an intimacy with his late Majesty George IV., then Prince of Wales, he became a zealous adherent of his Royal Highness, and was the mover of the amendment in favour of the Prince in the House of Lords. He was equally intimate with the Duke of York, and acted as his second in the duel with Colonel Lennox.

In 1791, Lord Rawdon succeeded to the bulk of the property of his maternal uncle, the Earl of Huntingdon, while his mother obtained the barony of Hastings, and the other baronies in fee possessed by her brother.

In 1793, he succeeded his father as second Earl of Moira. The same year he obtained the rank of Major-General, and was appointed Commander-in-Chief of an army intended to co-operate with the Royalists in Britanny; but before any effective movement could be made the Republicans had triumphed.

The Earl was despatched, in 1794, with ten thousand men to relieve the Duke of York, then retreating through Holland, and nearly surrounded with hostile forces. This difficult task he successfully accomplished. On returning to England, he was appointed to a command at Southampton. Politics now became his chief study. He was regular in his parliamentary duties; and, being generally in the opposition, became very popular. One of his speeches, delivered in the House of Lords in 1797, on the threatening aspect of affairs in Ireland, excited considerable interest, and was afterwards printed and circulated throughout the country. The year following, several members of the House of Commons having met to consider the practicability of forming a new administration, on the principle of excluding all who had rendered themselves obnoxious on either side, his lordship was proposed as the leader. The scheme, however, was abandoned.

The Earl, having been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Scotland in 1803, arrived at Dumbreck's Hotel, St. Andrew Square, on the 24th October of that year, accompanied by Sir William Keir, one of his Aides-de-Camp, and afterwards took up his residence in Queen Street.

In 1804, his lordship was married, by Dr. Porteous, the Bishop of London, to Flora Muir Campbell (in her own right), Countess of Loudon. The ceremony took place at the house of Lady Perth, Grosvenor Square, London. The Prince of Wales gave the bride away.

The appointment of the Earl to the Command in Scotland gave a new impulse to the warlike spirit of the volunteers. The following graphic sketch of the stirring era occurs in "Lockhart's Life of Scott:"—

"Edinburgh was converted into a camp: independently of a large garrison of regular troops, nearly ten thousand fencibles and volunteers were almost constantly under arms. The lawyer wore his uniform under his gown; the shopkeeper measured out his wares in scarlet; in short, the citizens, of all classes, made more use for several months of the military than of any other dress; and the new Commander-in-Chief consulted equally his own gratification and theirs by devising a succession of manoeuvres, which presented a vivid image of the art of war, conducted on a large and scientific scale. In the sham battles and sham sieges of 1805, Craigmillar, Preston, Gilmerton, the Cross-causeway, and other formidable positions in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, were the scenes of many a dashing assault and resolute defence; and, occasionally, the spirits of the mock-combatants—English and Scotch, or Lowland and Highland—became so much excited that there was some difficulty in preventing the rough mockery of warfare from passing into its realities. The Highlanders, in particular, were very hard to be dealt with; and once, at least, Lord Moira was forced to alter, at the eleventh hour, his programme of battle, because a battalion of kilted fencibles could not, or would not, understand that it was their duty to be beat."

At one of the King's birth-day assemblages, which were then numerously attended, in the Parliament House, on the health of the Commander-in-Chief being given, Lord Moira addressed the meeting, congratulating them on the spirit and unanimity which pervaded the country, and concluded by proposing the following toast—"May that man never enjoy the land o' cakes, who is not willing to shed his blood in defence of it." During his stay at Edinburgh, his lordship was highly popular; and much gaiety prevailed. The Countess was the first, north of the Tweed, to introduce those laconic invitation cards, now common enough. Their concise style—"The Countess of Loudon and Moira at home"—astonished and puzzled several of the good folks of Edinburgh to whom they were forwarded. The following notice of one of the entertainments we find in a journal of the day—

"On Friday evening (June 14, 1805) the Countess of Loudon and Moira gave a grand fete at Duddingstone House, to above three hundred of the nobility and gentry in and about the city—among whom were, the Duke of Buccleuch, Earl of Errol, Earl of Dalhousie, Earl of Roden, Lord Elcho, Count Piper, Sir John Stuart, Sir William Forbes, Sir Alexander Purves, Sir James Hall, Countess of Errol, Countess Dowager of Dalhousie, Lady Charlotte Campbell, Lady Elizabeth Bawdon, Lady Helen Hall, Lady Stuart, Lady Fettes, Admiral Vashon, and a great number of the naval and military gentlemen, most of the Judges, etc. The saloon was elegantly fitted up with festoons of flowers, and embellished with an emblematical naval pillar, on which were the names of Hoive, Duncan, St. Vincent, and Nelson. The dancing commenced at ten o'clock, and was continued with great spirit till near two in the morning, when the company sat down to a most elegant supper, in four different rooms, where they were served with a profusion of the best wines, and a most superb desert. After supper, the dancing recommenced with redoubled vigour, and was continued till an hour after sunrising."

In 1806, when the Opposition came into power, Lord Moira was appointed Master-General of the Ordnance. In 1810, he was nominated Governor of the Charter-house. The Earl being generally popular, and having zealously exerted himself in favour of the Prince of Wales, when the parliamentary inquiry into his financial embarrassments was going on, he thus stood high in the favour of the Regent. Accordingly, on the assassination of Mr. Percival, in 1812, he was empowered by his Royal Highness to form a new Ministry. With this view Lord Grey, Grenville, Erskine, etc., were consulted by his lordship; but, as is well known, the proposed arrangements came to nothing.

Soon after this the Prince Regent conferred the order of the Garter on the Earl; and, in 1813, his lordship was appointed Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of British India. He remained nine years in the East; and, daring that period, brought two important wars to a satisfactory conclusion, and managed affairs with the utmost credit to himself and advantage to the country. As a reward for his services, he was created (on the 7th December 1816) Viscount Loudon, Earl of Rawdon, and Marquis of Hastings, and twice received the thanks of the Court of Directors of the East India Company, as well as of both Houses of Parliament. In consequence of ill-health, the Earl was recalled, at his own desire, in 1822. He returned to England, but without having enriched himself by his long residence in a country which had proved a source of wealth to his predecessor. During the summer of 1823, his lordship and family paid a short visit to London Castle, their residence in Ayrshire, from which they had been absent for many years. On this auspicious occasion considerable interest was excited in the neighbourhood; and a party of the Ayrshire Cavalry, with the Kilmarnock Volunteers, marched out in military array to pay their respects to the Earl on his arrival. The following extract from a letter to the Editor of the Free Press, upon occasion of his lordship's visit, is too interesting to be omitted:—

'• Never having seen that renowned warrior and statesman, the Marquis of Hastings, and being in the neighbourhood of Loudon Castle, we were exceedingly anxious to behold with our own eyes the man who has done so much for his country and his friends, and so little for himself. Being provided at Kilmarnock with a 'guid-gaun' vehicle, we set out; and it was not very long until the turrets of the Castle were, with delight, beheld by us, towering above the mighty oak and elm of many hundred years' standing, and the ' bounie woods ;md braes," so justly celebrated by Tanuahill. We were at the village of Galston by nine o'clock, and learned with much pleasure that the Marquis and family were going to Newmilns to hear a sermon in the parish church. From Galston to Newmilns it is two miles ; a road level and enchanting, and overshadowed by lofty trees ; on the left, the Castle, with its beautiful avenues and pleasure-grounds; on the right, the Water of Irvine. On the same side, at the end of this road, and before entering Newmilns, is the Mill, rendered classic from having given birth to Ramsay's celebrated song of 'The Lass o' Patie's Mill, so bonnie, blythe, and gay.' Newmilns is a small, neat clean town; the new part of it divided from the old by the Water of Irvine, communicating by two bridges. It lies in a beautiful vale, surrounded by braes covered with rich planting. At the extremity of the vale, four miles east, is Loudon Hill, 'round as my shield.' We drove to the residence of Mr. Loudon, the chief magistrate, at the east end of the town, where we had an Ayrshire breakfast in all its glory, and a hearty welcome. At eleven the bell summoned us to church. When we arrived at the church-door, the Marquis's family and suite were just at hand, in two carriages and a gig. In the first were the Marquis, Marchioness, and four daughters. The other contained my young Lord Kawdon; and the factor, Mr. Hamilton, was in the gig. Every eye was eager to see them alight; and it was done with that ease and becoming dignity inherent in true nobility. In passing the plate of collection, the poor were not neglected. It is said that the Castle is beset every day with poor persons from thirty miles round, none of whom are allowed to depart without a good aumis. Before we entered the church, the noble family were all seated in the gallery, in front of the pulpit, being the family seat, which is formed of a large enclosed compartment. We were in the gallery, right of the pulpit, and had a good view. His lordship is seventy-one years of age; and although he has been in camp and field in all sorts of climate, is stout and healthy. His bold, dark countenance, with frame erect, gives a most complete idea of the warrior; and he possesses all that suavity and dignity of manner, with a countenance beaming with intelligence, which are so characteristic of the statesman, warrior, and philanthropist. He was very plainly dressed— dark-green coat, coloured vest, and dark cassimere trousers. On his breast hung a gold insignia of one of his many Orders. The Marchioness is aged forty-six, and seems to have suffered little from the scorching climate—looks well, and in excellent health. She has all the lady in her appearance—modest, dignified, kind, and affectionate. The young ladies may be characterised in the same way. Lady Flora is a young lady of most amiable disposition, mild, and attractive manners. They have more the cast of the Marquis's countenance, particularly in the upper part of the face. The young lord, aged twenty, is a most promising young man—no fudge nor frippery about him, aping outlandish airs with an ostentatious consciousness of his high station in life. His person is tall, handsome, good-looking; and his manners most amiable, with every appearance to possess the virtues of his father. During the sermon, they all paid the most profound attention, and seemed deeply impressed with the force of the truths propounded by the Rev. Dr. Laurie, who discharged his duty much to our satisfaction. He has a good delivery and address, joined with sound sense, and is a sincere lover of the truths of the gospel, which he delivers in a plain, neat, and impressive manner. We remarked that the Marchioness was most attentive to the Doctor's discourse, examining every text which was alluded to in the course of the lecture. During the prayer, she and the Marquis seemed much affected when the Doctor very delicately alluded to the noble family then present. We were much pleased with the appearance of all the hearers in the church—a healthy, sober, and good-looking people— all well dressed, with a. deportment suitable to the house of God."

The Earl remained only a short time at Loudon Castle, having been appointed Governor of Malta in 1824. This situation he filled for nearly two years, much to the satisfaction of the Maltese, when, in consequence of a fall from his horse, he was seized with a dangerous illness, and was, attended by his family, conveyed in a weak state on board the Revenge sloop-of-war. The Earl grew rapidly worse, and died on the 28th November, 1826. It was rumoured at the time that, iu a letter found after his death, his lordship had desired his right hand to be cut off and preserved until the death of the Marchioness, then to be interred in the same coffin with her ladyship. His remains were interred at Malta.

The Earl of Moira was tall, and rather of a spare figure. As a cavalry officer he looked uncommonly well. His manners were dignified, yet affable. He was well learned in the history and constitution of his country; and that his talents were of the highest order is evinced by his successful government of India. He was of a kindly and affectionate disposition—his munificence unbounded ; so much so, that to his extreme liberality may be attributed the embarrassments under which he is understood to have laboured throughout the latter part of his life.


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