Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

The Great Historic Families of Scotland
Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch


THIS gallant soldier and skilful general was the greatest man produced by the family of Graham since the illustrious Marquis of Montrose. He was descended in the direct line from Sir William Graham of Kincardine, and Mary Stewart, a daughter of Robert III. Sir William was the ancestor of the Dukes of Montrose, the Earls of Strathern and Menteith, and all the other branches of the ‘gallant Graharns.’ Thomas Graham was the third and only surviving son of Thomas Graham (or Græme, as he spelled his name) of Balgowan, in Perth-shire, by his wife, Lady Christian Hope, a daughter of the first Earl of Hopetoun. He was born in 1748, and received his early education at home, under the tuition first of the Rev. Mr. Fraser, minister of Monedie, and afterwards of the celebrated James Macpherson, the collector and translator of Ossian’s poems. Young Graham was sent to Christchurch, Oxford, in 1766, and in the following year the death of his father put him in possession of a handsome and unencumbered estate. On leaving college, he spent several years on the Continent, where he acquired a thorough knowledge of the French and German languages. On his return to Scotland he devoted himself to the management and improvement of his estate. He enclosed his lands, erected comfortable farmhouses and offices, granted leases to his tenants, encouraged them to provide improved implements of husbandry, and to cultivate on a large scale potatoes and turnips, which had hitherto been regarded as mere garden plants. He also set himself with great care to cultivate improved breeds of horses, cattle, and sheep. He purchased, in 1785, the estate of Lynedoch or Lednoch, situated in a picturesque part of the valley of the Almond, and took great delight in planting trees and oak coppices, and in beautifying the sloping banks which border the course of that stream. From his boyhood upwards, he was fond of horses and dogs, and was distinguished for his skill in all country sports, for which his stalwart and athletic frame eminently fitted him. He rode with the foxhounds, and accompanied the Duke of Athole, who subsequently became his brother-in-law, in grouse-shooting and deer-stalking on the Athole moors. He used to say, in after years, that he owed much of that education of the eye with reference to ground and distances, so useful to a military man, to his deer-hunting at this period of his life in the Forest of Athole.

At the age of twenty-four, Mr. Graham offered himself as a candidate, in the Whig interest, for the representation of the county of Perth, in opposition to the brother of the Duke of Athole, but was defeated by a majority of only six votes. Two years later (1774) he married Mary, second daughter of the ninth Earl Cathcart, a lady of remarkable beauty and accomplishments. Her elder sister, on the same day, became Duchess of Athole. ‘Jane,’ wrote Lord Cathcart, ‘has married, to please herself, John, Duke of Athole, a peer of the realm; Mary has married Thomas Graham of Balgowan, the man of her heart, and a peer among princes.’ The laird of Balgowan was distinguished for his accomplishments as a scholar as well as for his skill in the cultivation of his estate, and with his books, the improvement of his property, his field-sports, and, above all, the society of his lovely and amiable wife, he spent eighteen years in the tranquil and happy condition of a country gentleman, beloved by his neighbours and tenantry, distinguished only as a daring rider and sportsman, and a good classical scholar.

Mr. and Mrs. Graham lived mostly at home, but they occasionally spent a few weeks in Edinburgh and London, and in connection with these visits several interesting anecdotes are told of Mr. Graham’s devotion to his wife and of the manner in which he showed his anxiety to promote her welfare. On one occasion, when the affectionate pair went to Edinburgh to attend a ball, Mrs. Graham discovered, on the morning of the day on which it was to take place, that she had left her jewel-box at Balgowan. Her husband cheered her in these annoying circumstances by reminding her that ‘beauty, when unadorned, is adorned the most,’ and said that she need not expect him to dinner, but that he would return in time for the ball. Without any hint as to his intention, he left the house, threw himself on horseback, and rode back to Balgowan—a distance of forty-five miles, including a ferry. Relays of horses by the way enabled him to reach Edinburgh, bringing Mrs. Graham’s jewel-box, in time for the ball.

An incident which befell Mr. Graham in London gives a strange idea of the state of the metropolis at that time. He was one day driving, with the Duchess of Athole and his wife, from Pall Mall to Grosvenor Square, to attend a party. The carriage was stopped in Park Lane—opposite the Marquis of Hertford’s house—by a highwayman, who, pistol in hand, demanded their money, jewels, and watches, while other two men seized the horses’ heads. Park Lane was then unlighted, and the police were not only inefficient, but not unfrequently in collusion with thieves and housebreakers. Mr. Graham, who was at the opposite side of the carriage, sprang across the ladies to the carriage-door, and collaring the assailant, threw him to the ground. Then, drawing his sword, which at that period formed part of a dress suit, he threatened to run the man through, if his associates holding the horses’ heads attempted to come to his assistance. They immediately fled, and the prostrate highwayman was given into custody.

In the autumn of 1787, Mrs. Graham happened to be on a visit at Blair, to the Duchess of Athole, along with their youngest sister, Miss Cathcart, then in her seventeenth year, when Robert Burns, at that time on a tour in the Highlands, came with a letter of introduction to the Duke. His Grace was from home, but the visitor was cordially welcomed by the Duchess, and the Duke returned before he left Blair. The poet afterwards declared that the two days (September 1st and 2nd) which he spent there, were among the happiest days of his life. In a letter which he wrote from Inverness, on September 5th, to Mr. Walker, afterwards Professor of Humanity, of Glasgow, who was then residing at Blair Athole, enclosing his well-known ‘Humble Petition of Bruar Water,’ the poet says, ‘The "little-angel band "—I declare I prayed for them very sincerely today at the Fall of Fyers. I shall never forget the fine family-piece I saw at Blair: the amiable, the truly noble Duchess, with her smiling little seraph in her lap, at the head of the table; the lovely "olive-plants," as the Hebrew bard finely says, round the happy mother; the beautiful Mrs. Graham; the lovely sweet Miss Cathcart, &c. I wish I had the power of Guido to do them justice.’ [Sad to tell, these three lovely sisters all passed away in the flower of their youth. The Duchess survived Burns’s visit only three years, and Mrs. Graham five. Miss Cathcart, who was singularly amiable as well as beautiful, was cut off at twenty-four. And yet other three members of the Cathcart family lived to a great age.]

In order to induce Burns to visit her and her husband at Lynedoch, Mrs. Graham offered to conduct him to a spot hallowed in Scottish song—the graves of Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, which lie in the bosom of that romantic estate. [Bessie Bell was the daughter of the Laird of Kinnaird, and Mary Gray of the Laird of Lynedoch. An intimate friendship existed between them, and when the plague of 1666 broke out, the two young ladies built themselves a house in a retired and romantic spot, called the Burnbraes, about three-quarters of a mile westward from Lynedoch House, where they resided for some time, and were supplied with food by a young gentleman of Perth, who, it is said, was in love with them both. The disease was unfortunately communicated to them by their lover, and proved fatal. ‘The pest came frae the burrows-toun, and slew them baith thegither.’ They were buried in a sequestered spot called the Dronach Haugh, at the foot of a brae of the same name, upon the banks of the river Almond. The beauty and the fate of these ‘twa bonnie lasses’ are commemorated in an old ballad bearing their name.] He promised to do so, and there is every probability that he performed his promise when he visited Mr. Ramsay of Auchtertyre in the following October. It is not unworthy of mention that Lord Lynedoch had a handsome iron railing placed round these celebrated graves, and caused them to be neatly trimmed, and covered with wild flowers.

No happiness on earth, however, is permanent. Mrs. Graham’s health began to decline, and on the recommendation of her medical adviser she went, in the spring of 1792, to the south of France, along with her husband and sister. But the expedient proved unavailing, and she died on board ship, off the coast near Hyères, on the 26th of June. Her sorrowing husband returned home, and deposited her remains in a mausoleum which he built in the churchyard of Methven, where, after the lapse of upwards of half a century, he was himself laid in the same tomb.

The loss of his wife preyed deeply upon Mr. Graham’s mind, and having in vain sought, by a twelve-month’s foreign travel, to alleviate his great sorrow, though now in the forty-third year of his age, he tried to drown the thought of his irreparable loss amid the toils and dangers of a military life.

Sir Walter Scott, in his ‘Vision of Don Roderick,’ thus touchingly refers to the motive which led the sorrowing husband of Mrs. Graham to devote himself to a military career :—

‘Nor be his praise o’erpast who strove to hide
Beneath the warrior’s vest affection’s wound;
Whose wish Heaven for his country’s weal denied;
Danger and fate he sought, but glory found.
From clime to clime, where’er war’s trumpets sound
The wanderer went; yet Caledonia! still
Thine was his thought in march and tented ground:
He dreamed ‘mid Alpine cliffs of Athole’s hill,
And heard
in Ebro’s roar his Lynedoch’s lovely rill."

[A beautiful whole-length portrait of Mrs. Graham, which was painted by Gainsborough, is regarded as a masterpiece of pictorial art. At her death it was inclosed in a case, and deposited in the back room of a picture-frame maker in London, where it remained unopened during Lord Lynedoch’s lifetime. He was never again able to look upon the ‘counterfeit presentment’ of the face and form so dear to him. This exquisite work of art was presented by his cousin and heir, Robert Graham, Esq., of Redgorton, to the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.]

Mr. Graham joined, as a volunteer, the British troops sent to assist in the defence of Toulon, one of the few places which held out against the French Revolutionary Government. Napoleon Bonaparte, then a lieutenant of artillery, took part in the siege. Graham distinguished himself so greatly by his courage and energy, that Lord Mulgrave (to whom he acted as aide-de-camp), in a general order referring to the repulse of an attack by the French on an important fort, expressed ‘his grateful sense of the friendly and important assistance which he had received in many difficult moments from Mr. Graham, and to add his tribute of praise to the general voice of the British and Piedmontese officers of his column, who saw with so much pleasure and applause the gallant example which Mr. Graham set to the whole column, in the foremost point of every attack.’ On one occasion, when a private soldier was killed, Graham snatched up his musket and took his place at the head of the attacking column. It is worthy of notice that it was at Toulon he first became acquainted with his life-long friend, Rowland Hill, then a captain, who ultimately became Viscount Hill, and commander-in chief of the British army.

On his return to Scotland, Mr. Graham raised, in Perthshire, the first battalion of the 90th regiment (Balgowan’s ‘Grey Breeks,’ as they were called), of which he was appointed lieutenant-colonel in 1794, and nominated Rowland Hill major. Shortly after he was unanimously chosen to represent the county of Perth in Parliament. In 1795 he was stationed with his regiment at Gibraltar; but, soon becoming wearied of the listlessness of garrison duty, he obtained permission to join the Austrian army on the Rhine as British Commissioner. In this capacity he shared in the disastrous campaign of 1796, and afterward assisted Wurmser in the defence of Mantua, when it was invested by the French under General Bonaparte. The garrison was reduced to the greatest extremities from want of provisions, and Colonel Graham undertook the perilous duty of conveying intelligence to the Imperialist General Alvinzi, at Bassano, fifty miles distant, of their desperate situation. Quitting the fortress, wearing a cloak of the country over his uniform, on the 24th of December, amid rain and sleet, he crossed the Mincio, in a boat which was repeatedly stranded in consequence of the darkness. He pursued his way on foot during the night, wading through deep swamps, and crossing numerous watercourses and the river Po, in constant danger of losing his way, or of being shot by the French pickets, and at daybreak he concealed himself till the return of night, when he resumed his journey. After surmounting numerous hardships and perils, he at length reached in safety, on the 4th of January, the headquarters of the Austrian general. But on the 14th the Austrians were defeated, and Mantua, soon after, was forced to surrender.

Colonel Graham now returned to Scotland, but in the autumn of 1797 he rejoined his regiment at Gibraltar. In the following year he took part, under Sir Charles Stuart, in the reduction of Minorca, where he greatly distinguished himself. He then repaired to Sicily, and obtained the warmest acknowledgments of the King and Queen of Naples for his effective exertions on their behalf. In 1798 he was entrusted with the charge of the operations against the important island of Malta, which was at that time in the possession of the French. With the local rank of brigadier-general, he had under his command the 30th and 89th regiments, and some corps embodied under his immediate direction. Owing to the great strength of the place, he was obliged to resort to a blockade, and after being invested for nearly two years, the garrison were compelled by famine to surrender in September, 1800, and the island has ever since remained a portion of the British Empire. Colonel Graham’s services were very shabbily acknowledged by the Government of that day, who reserved their patronage and honours for the officers belonging to their own political party. In the summer of 1801 he proceeded to Egypt, where his regiment (the 90th) had greatly distinguished itself under Sir Ralph Abercromby, but he did not arrive until the campaign had terminated by the capitulation of the French army. He availed himself of the opportunity, however, to make a tour in that country and in Turkey. He spent some time in Constantinople, whence he travelled on horseback to Vienna—a journey which in later years he used to mention as one of the most agreeable rides he had ever enjoyed.

After spending some time in the discharge of his parliamentary duties, and in attending to the improvement of his estates, Colonel Graham was stationed with his regiment in Ireland, and was then sent to the West Indies, where he remained for three years. When the Ministry of ‘All the Talents’ was dismissed in 1807, on account of the favour they had shown for the Roman Catholic claims to equal privileges, Colonel Graham supported their policy, and denounced as hypocrisy the cry of ‘No Popery’ raised by Mr. Perceval. But his approval of the proceedings of the Whig Ministry, and of Roman Catholic emancipation did not find favour with the Perthshire electors—a small body in those days—and on the dissolution of Parliament in May, 1807, Colonel Graham declined to seek re-election, and Lord James Murray was returned without opposition in his stead.

In 1808 Colonel Graham accompanied Sir John Moore as his aide-de-camp to Sweden, and then to Spain. He served with that distinguished officer throughout the whole of his campaign, terminating in the arduous and trying retreat to Corunna, in which Graham’s services were especially valuable to the harassed troops. As Sheridan said in the House of Commons, ‘In the hour of peril Graham was their best adviser; in the hour of disaster Graham was their surest consolation.’ When Sir John Moore received his death-wound at the battle of Corunna, Colonel Graham was at his right hand, and had his left hand on the mane of Sir John’s horse. He at once rode away for medical assistance. Before he returned his dying general missed him, and anxiously asked, ‘Are Colonel Graham and my aides-de-camp safe?‘—one of his last inquiries. The remains of the gallant and noble-minded general were carried first to Colonel Graham’s quarters, and he was one of the select company who witnessed the memorable scene of Moore’s burial on the rampart of the citadel of Corunna.

After his return to England, Colonel Graham was promoted to the rank of major-general, and was appointed, in the summer of 1809, to command a division under the incompetent and indolent Lord Chatham, in the fatal Walcheren expedition. An attack of malaria fever, however, compelled him to return home. On his recovery he was raised to the rank of lieutenant-general, and was sent to Spain, to take command of the British and Portuguese troops in Cadiz, which was at that time closely invested by the French. The British Government attached great importance to the possession of Cadiz, as it was the last stronghold of the patriotic cause in the Peninsula. But, as Sir William Napier remarked, while ‘money, troops, and a fleet—in fine, all things necessary to render Cadiz formidable—were collected, yet to little purpose, because procrastinating jealousy, ostentation, and a thousand absurdities, were the invariable attendants of Spanish armies and government.’

General Graham resolved to make a resolute effort to raise the siege by attacking the rear of the besieging army, and in February, 1811, he sailed from Cadiz with a force of upwards of 4,000 men, accompanied by 7,000 Spanish troops, under General La Pena, to whom, for the sake of unanimity, the chief command was unfortunately conceded. The allied troops assembled at Tarifa, in the Straits of Gibraltar, and, moving northward, they arrived, on the morning of the 5th of March, at the heights of Barossa, which were on the south of Cadiz and of the lines of the besieging army. The cowardice and stupidity of the Spanish general placed the force in imminent peril. By his instructions, General Graham moved down from the position of Barossa to that of the Torre de Bermeja, about half-way to the Santi Petri river, in order to secure the communication across that river. While marching through the wood towards the Barmeja, Graham received notice that the enemy was advancing in force towards the height of Barossa. As that position was the key of that of Santi Petri, Graham immediately countermarched, in order to support the troops left for its defence; but before the British force could get themselves quite disengaged from the wood, he saw to his astonishment the Spanish troops under La Pena abandoning the Barossa hill, which the French left wing was rapidly ascending. At the same time their right wing stood in the plain on the edge of the wood, within cannon-shot. ‘A retreat,’ as he says, ‘in the face of such an enemy, already within reach of the easy communication by the sea-beach, must have involved the whole allied army in all the danger of being attacked during the unavoidable confusion of the different corps arriving on the narrow ridge of the Barmeja at the same time. Trusting,’ as he says, ‘to the known heroism of British troops, regardless of the numbers and position of the enemy,’ General Graham determined on an immediate attack. In the centre a powerful battery of ten guns, under Major Duncan, opened a most destructive fire upon General Laval’s division, which, however, continued to advance in very imposing masses, but was completely defeated by a determined charge of the British left wing; and the eagle of the 8th regiment of light infantry, and a howitzer, were captured. A reserve formed beyond the narrow valley, across which the enemy was closely pursued, next shared the same fate. Meanwhile the right wing was not less successful. General Ruffin’s division, confident of success, met it on the ascent of the hill, and, after a sanguinary conflict, was driven from the heights in confusion, leaving two pieces of cannon in the hands of the victors.

‘No expressions of mine,’ said General Graham, in his despatch to the Earl of Liverpool, ‘could do justice to the conduct of the troops throughout. Nothing less than the almost unparalleled exertions of every officer, the invincible bravery of every soldier, and the most determined devotion to the honour of his Majesty’s arms in all, could have achieved this brilliant success against such a formidable enemy so posted.’

‘The contemptible feebleness of La Pena,’ says Sir William Napier, ‘furnished a surprising contrast to the heroic vigour of Graham, whose attack was an inspiration rather than a resolution— so sure, so sudden was the decision, so swift, so conclusive was the execution.’  [Napier’s History of the Peninsular War, iii. Appendix.]

The French lost about three thousand men in this brilliant action, and six pieces of cannon and an eagle were captured, along with nearly five hundred prisoners, among whom were Generals Ruffin and Rosseau. The loss on the side of the victors was two hundred killed, and upwards of nine hundred were wounded. Had it not been for the imbecility and obstinacy of the Spanish general, the victory might have had the effect of raising the blockade of’ Cadiz. ‘Had the whole body of the Spanish cavalry,’ wrote Graham, ‘with the horse artillery, been rapidly sent by the sea-beach to form on the plain, and to envelop the enemy’s left; had the greatest part of the infantry been marched through the pine wood to the rear of the British force, to turn his right, he must either have retired instantly, or he would have exposed himself to absolute destruction; his cavalry greatly encumbered, his artillery lost, his columns mixed and in confusion; and a general dispersion would have been the inevitable consequence of a close pursuit. But the movement was lost.’

Lord Wellington, in a despatch to General Graham, says ‘I beg to congratulate you and the brave troops under your command on the signal victory which you gained on the 5th instant. I have no doubt whatever that their success would have had the effect of raising the siege of Cadiz, if the Spanish troops had made any effort to assist them; and I am equally certain, from your account of the ground, that if you had not decided with the utmost promptitude to attack the enemy, and if your attack had not been a most vigorous one, the whole allied army would have been lost.’ [The Duke of Wellington’s Despatches, vii. 382.]

The Spanish general, in order to screen himself from merited obloquy, circulated false and calumnious accounts of the battle, which General Graham exposed by publishing in Spanish, as well as in English, his dispatch to Lord Liverpool, along with a letter to the British envoy, in vindication of his conduct. Lord Wellington mentions that La Pena was to be brought to a court-martial, but nothing is known of the result. The Cortez voted to General Graham the title of grandee of the first class; he, however, declined the honour. For his brilliant victory at Barossa he received the thanks of Parliament, in his place as a member of the House of Commons.

Graham shortly after joined the army under Wellington, and was appointed second in command. In January, 1812, he took part in the siege and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo, and Wellington declared that he was much indebted to him for the success of the enterprise. Three months later he and his friend General Hill received the Order of the Bath. A complaint in his eyes, from which he had been suffering for some time, made it necessary for Graham to return home at this juncture. ‘I cannot avoid feeling the utmost concern,’ wrote Wellington to him, ‘that this necessity should have become urgent at this moment, and that I should now be deprived of your valuable assistance.’ At the general election in October, 1812, Sir Thomas Graham contested the county of Perth with Mr. Drummond (afterwards Lord Strathallan), but though he was supported by a number of influential Tories, he lost the election by a majority of seven votes.

His visit to Scotland had the effect of restoring his eyesight, and in May, 1813, he rejoined the army at Frinada, on the frontiers of Portugal, bringing with him the insignia of the Order of the Garter to Lord Wellington. On the 22nd of May the British force quitted Portugal and moved upon Vittoria in three divisions. The left wing, which was commanded by Sir Thomas Graham, had to cross three large rivers—the Douro, the Esla, and the Ebro—and had to force positions of great strength among the passes of the mountains, continually pressing round the right wing of the retiring French army. General Graham took a prominent part in the battle of Vittoria (21st June), when the French were beaten ‘before the town, in the town, about the town, and out of the town;’ and, by carrying the villages of Gamarra and Abecherco at the point of the bayonet, he intercepted the retreat of the enemy by the high road to Bayonne, and compelled them to turn to that leading to Pampeluna. He was shortly after directed to conduct the siege of the strong fortress of St. Sebastian, which was defended with great gallantry and skill by General Rey. The first assault, which took place on the 25th of July, was repulsed with heavy loss, and the siege had in consequence to be raised for a time. It was renewed, however, after the defeat of Soult in the battles of the Pyrenees, and a second attempt to carry the fortress by storm was made on the 31st of August. The breach was found to present almost insuperable obstacles, and the storming party strove in vain to effect a lodgement. In this almost desperate state of the attack, General Graham ordered a heavy fire of artillery to be directed against the curtain, passing only a few feet over the heads of our troops in the breach. This novel expedient was completely successful. Taking advantage of an explosion on the rampart caused by the fire of the guns, which created confusion among the enemy, the assailants gained a footing on the wall, and after a sanguinary struggle, which lasted two hours, forced their way into the town. On the 9th of September the brave Governor Rey surrendered the citadel, and the garrison, reduced to one-third of their number, marched out with the honours of war. The reduction of this important place cost the allies three thousand eight hundred men in killed and wounded.

At the passage of the Bidassoa, which separates France and Spain, General Graham commanded the left wing of the British army, and, after an obstinate conflict, succeeded in establishing his victorious troops on the French territory. But the return of the complaint in his eyes, and the general state of his health, obliged him to resign his command and return home. In return for his eminent services, he now received a third time the thanks of Parliament, and the freedom of the cities of London and Edinburgh was conferred upon him. His health was so far recovered that early in 1814 he was able to take the command of the British forces in Holland, and directed the unsuccessful attempt, March 8th, to carry the strong fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom by a night attack. On the 3rd of May, 1814, he was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Lynedoch of Balgowan; but, in keeping with his disinterested and high-minded character, he declined the grant of £2,000 a year, to himself and to his heirs, which was voted as usual to accompany the title. Other honours, both British and foreign, were heaped upon him. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, of the Spanish Order of St. Ferdinand, and of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword. He was raised to the full rank of general in 1821, was nominated colonel of the 14th Foot in 1826, which in 1834 he exchanged for that of the Royals. He was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow, and in 1829 was appointed Governor of Dumbarton Castle, a post of more honour than profit, as the salary was only £170 a year.

The old age of the gallant veteran was spent among a wide circle of friends, by whom he was held in the highest esteem and honour, and his exploits were celebrated, even during his lifetime, both by the poetic and the historic muse. He took a warm interest in public events, and gave a steady support to the Whig Ministry under Earl Grey, and Lord Melbourne. He travelled frequently on the Continent, and visited not only Italy, Germany, and France, but Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. In the end of the autumn of 1841, only two years before his death, he travelled through France to Genoa and Rome. His riding-horses were sent on to Rome, and he rode frequently in the Campagna. Lord Cockburn gives an interesting sketch in his Journal of the appearance of the gallant veteran, under the date of October 24th, 1837. ‘I dined at Craigcrook,’ he wrote, ‘on the 21st, and at the New Club yesterday, for the first time since he was couched for cataract, with one of the finest specimens of an old gentleman—Lord Lynedoch. He is better even than the Chief Commissioner, in so far as he is a year or two older. At the age of about eighty-eight, his mind and body are both perfectly entire. He is still a great horseman, drives to London night and day in an open carriage, eats and drinks like an ordinary person, hears as well as others; sees well enough, after being operated upon, for all practical purposes, reading included; has the gallantry and politeness of an old soldier; enjoys and enlivens every company, especially where there are ladies, by a plain, manly, sensible, well-bred manner, and a conversation rich in his strong judgment, and with a memory full of the most interesting scenes and people of the last seventy years. Large in bone and feature, his head is finer than Jupiter’s. It is like a grey, solid, war-worn castle. Nor has it only been in the affairs of war that his manly, chivalrous spirit has made him admired and loved. He has always taken a decided part in politics, on the popular side, and is one of the old Whigs, who find nothing good prevailing now but what he fought for and anticipated long ago. He is one of the men who make old age lovely.’  [Journal of Henry Cockburn, i. 149.]

Lord Lynedoch continued to the last his early rising, his active habits, and temperate mode of living, his interest in rural affairs, and in the management and adornment of his estate. Only four weeks before his death he sent down from London to his gardener a number of trees and shrubs, with minute directions where they were to be planted. His hand is still to be traced in every corner of the Lynedoch estate. He died in London on the 18th of December, 1843, in the ninety-sixth year of his age, after a very short illness: indeed, he rose and dressed himself on the day of his death.

In his person Lord Lynedoch was tall, square-shouldered, and erect, his limbs sinewy and remarkably strong. His complexion was dark, with full eyebrows, firm-set lips, and an open, benevolent air. His manners and address were frank, simple, and polished. He was greatly beloved by his friends, and esteemed and trusted by his tenantry and neighbours. He has left a name, as Mr. Abbot, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said, ‘never to be mentioned in our military annals without the strongest expression of respect and admiration.’


 Return to the Great Historic Families of Scotland

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast