The Art of Fair Isle Knitting

The Scottish-Irish Pub and Hearth Cookbook

Sir John Moore,
page 2 of 5

new aristocratic quarter. His house was No. 42 on the western side, now covered by the South-Western Railway station. It was in this district that young Moore spent his early days, going down frequently past the end of Allan Dreghorn’s great mansion fronting the Clyde, to sail a mimic fleet upon the clear river, or to guddle for trout in its waters. During the day he attended the grammar school in Greyfriars Wynd, opposite the old college, now East Ingram Street. Dr. Moore seems to have been most careful of the lad’s education, for he afterwards boarded him with a clergyman in Switzerland, that he might become more familiar with French and German. At the early age of fifteen he was appointed an ensign in the 51st regiment. But the boy-soldier was not allowed to have even the taste of active service at this time. A strange and sudden turn of fortune nearly bore him from it altogether. Dr. Moore had been engaged to become the travelling tutor to the young Duke of Hamilton. But the mother of the young duke was an imperious lady, accustomed to have her way. She had been Elizabeth Gunning, the daughter of a poor Irish squire, remarkable for her beauty. The Duke of Hamilton fell in love with her at a masquerade, and in his eagerness to be married would not allow the parson to wait for a proper ring, but made him use the ring of a bed-curtain in the service.* After the marriage she became still more famous. When she was presented at court, people mounted on tables and chairs to see her, and when she was journeying to Scotland, a great many sat up all night at an inn in Yorkshire, to see her get into her post-chaise next morning. As soon as this imperious duchess, in making the arrangements with Dr. Moore, saw the young ensign, a handsome youth, she was so much pleased with his good sense and graceful manners, that she entreated that he also might accompany the young duke. She had her way, of course, and the trio set out together. They visited France, Switzerland, Italy, and the German States. Everywhere admitted into the best society, the young soldier attracted notice. The Emperor Joseph made him a tempting offer to leave the British army and enter the Austrian service. Moore loved his country as well as its service, and declined this flattering proposal, and others of a similar nature. When he returned home he joined the 2nd regiment, to which he had meanwhile been promoted as a lieutenant. In the four years that followed he had become a captain, and also paymaster to the regiment. At this stage he gave a signal manifestation of his good sense and courage. We see the love of thoroughness that characterised him. He was not well up in accounts. Realising his deficiency, he obtained leave of absence, and entered the counting house of a Glasgow friend as an amateur clerk. There he continued till he was able to discharge efficiently the duty. As captain, he had service for a short time in North America. He next held a seat in the House of Commons for six years, but like most soldiers and sailors made no great mark in that sphere. In 1790 he obtained a lieutenant-colonelcy when he resigned his seat, and joined his battalion. He had now the opportunity of service on the field. He was sent to assist General Paoli in driving out the French from Corsica. He next served under Sir Ralph Abercromby in the West Indies, in Holland, and in the East. At the battle of Aboukir he was severely wounded

* The Duke of Hamilton, by whom she had two sons, James George and Douglas, who became the seventh and eighth dukes, died in 1758, and in the following year she married John, fifth Duke of Argyll, by whom she was the mother of George the sixth and John the seventh dukes. “So this poor Irish girl, whose only fortune was her face, was the wife of two dukes and the mother of four.”


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