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Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
Colonel Patrick Crichton, of the Edinburgh Volunteers

The principal figure in this scene at Bruntsfield Links gives an excellent portraiture of Colonel Patrick Crichton, iu the attitude of directing the movements of a body of Volunteers. The stout personage in the back-ground, to the rear of the Colonel, is Captain Coulter, afterwards Lord Provost, who obtained great celebrity for a declaration which he made on one occasion at a civic feast. His health having been drank, he embraced the opportunity, in returning thanks, of placing his martial avocations in opposition to his civic ones, and wound up the harangue by exclaiming—"Although I am in body a stocking-weaver, yet I am in soul a Sheepyo/" (Scipio). He retained the name of Sheepyo ever afterwards.

Colonel Crichton, whose father, Alexander Crichton, carried on the business of coach-building in the Canongate for many years, was a gentleman well-known and very much respected in Edinburgh. He entered the army, and attained the rank of Captain in the 57th Regiment. He served in America during the War of Independence, and distinguished himself so much that he received the public thanks of the Commander of the Forces.

At the close of the war, Captain Crichton retired from the army, and entered into partnership with his father. The firm was subsequently changed to Crichton & Field; and latterly to Crichton, Gall, & Thomson. When the first regiment of Edinburgh Volunteers was formed, on account of his former military services, he was chosen second Major and Captain of the East New Town Company—an honour fully merited, as a great portion of the labour of organisation devolved upon him. He also undertook the formation of the second battalion, raised in 1796, of which he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel. The second battalion had their mess in Henry Young's, Bruntsfield Links, where the Duke of Buccleuch (the Colonel) often dined with them.

About this period Colonel Crichton fought a duel with Mr. Bennet, surgeon in Edinburgh, in which the former was wounded. The ball entered near the left side of the chest, passed through part of the pectoral muscle, and came out behind, near the edge of the blade-bone. The wound was severe, but not dangerous, and he speedily recovered. The duel is said to have originated in this way. Bennet had sent his chaise to the coach-yard of Crichton & Field for the purpose of being repaired. Some altercation on the subject took place betwixt Bennet and Field, and high words ensued. It was with Field that the quarrel commenced, as Crichton was not present during the altercation. Field (an American by birth) challenged Bennet; but the latter declined to meet him, alleging that his rank was not that of a gentleman. Upon this Crichton took the matter upon himself, and offered to fight Bennet—a proposition which was at once acceded to.

When the Local Militia was embodied in 1805, Mr. Crichton was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the 2nd Edinburgh Regiment. In connection with this body several anecdotes are related of the Colonel, very much to his credit as a philanthropist. One instance we must not refrain from mentioning. A person of the name of S------t, one of the fifers of the regiment, having been rendered powerless in one of his sides by a stroke of palsy only a day or two subsequent to his marriage, no sooner was the circumstance made known to the Colonel than he became deeply interested in his favour. Militiamen are not entitled by law to a pension, but trusting to the

peculiarity of his case, Colonel Crichton caused S------t to proceed to London, that he might personally make application to Government. He of course furnished him with means and the necessary recommendations. S------t remained some time in London; and, after much harassing delay, had the mortification to find all his endeavours unavailing. In this dilemma he communicated with Colonel Crichton, who immediately wrote in his behalf to an influential quarter, when a pension was granted without further delay. S------t is still alive, and enjoys the benefit of the Colonel's humane exertions. Mr. Crichton's generosity was the more remarkable, as he had previously been much annoyed with the filer's irregularities and inattention to duty.

Mr. Crichton entered the Town Council in 1794, as one of the Merchant Councillors, and held the office of Treasurer in 1795-6. He died at his own house in Gayfield's Square, on the 14th May, 1823. He was a fine manly-looking person, rather florid in his complexion; exceedingly polite in his manners, and of gentlemanly attainments.

Mr. Crichton was married and had children. One of his sons, Archibald William, had the honour of knighthood conferred on him by George IV. The Colonel's brother, who is still in the Russian service, was physician to the late Emperor Alexander of Russia, by whom he was knighted. Sir Alexander Crichton visited his native country about the year 1834.

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