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He inherited, too, all the daring of the warlike races united in his person, and his professional claims upon the remembrance of his country are not slight.* For he served on board the Defence at Trafalgar, when she captured the St Ildephonso, and carried the prize into Gibraltar. He served on board the Foudroyant, and the Jmperieuse, Lord Cochrane, who, in his Dispatches of 7th January 1807, published in the London Gazette, noticed the Honourable Mr Napier as having distinguished himself among those detached in boats who landed on the French coast and attacked and demolished Fort Roquette the preceding day. He commanded a boat of the Imperieuse which, with another, took at mid-day a privateer mounting eight guns, and having on board fifty-four men, 14th November 1807; in his boat ten,including himself, were wounded, and two killed. He assisted in cutting out of the bay of Almeria, within half gun-shot of upwards of fifty cannon, a French letter of marque of ten guns and fifty men, besides two Spanish brigs of four guns, and a large settee 20th February 1808. He was sent to conduct an unarmed vessel, detained by the Imperieuse, to Gibraltar, but was taken on the passage by a privateer from Mahon, 3d April 1808, and carried into Ivica, where he remained a prisoner for three months. He was released when the Spaniards began to throw off the French yoke, and afterwards assisted in the defence of Fort Trinity, and at the siege of Roses. He was on board the Imperieuse, 12th April 1809, when the Calcutta was taken, —and was again wounded in the attack at Palamos, un
* It ought not to be omitted, that his Lordship was President of
the Astronomical Institution of Edinburgh,—an Institution whose
present prosperity is mainly owing to his enthusiastic exertions.
der the command of Captain Fane of the Cambrian, 14th December 1810. Through this gallant career of his youth he escaped to effect, in his own peaceful and pastoral district, those improvements and amenities by which his name is endeared to Ettrick Forest, and will long be remembered there. After all, it was his fate suddenly to quit his home for that distant land, where, in the service of his country, but under circumstances which it belongs to that page in the history of British policy to record, he died on the 11th of October 1834.
Sir John Menteith Of Rusky, supra, p. 21.
In the Appendix to the Memoirs of Merchiston there is a reply to Mr Tytler's controversial note in his History of Scotland regarding Sir John Menteith, prefaced by the following sentence: "The family of Rusky, the honours of whose eldest coheiress descended to Napier, flowed from Sir John de Menteith, second son to Walter Earl of Menteith, who was third son of Walter, High Steward of Scotland. This lineal ancestor of our Philosopher has been most groundlessly maligned, and to remove an idle calumny from the honourable house of Menteith is to clear history of a blot and a fable." The object of the historical examination being, as said, to remove an idle calumny from the family of Menteith, a coheiress of which family the Inventor of Logarithms unquestionably represented, it matters little to the propriety of its insertion in the Memoirs, whether the Sir John Menteith in question was the lineal ancestor of our Philosopher or not. His lineal ancestor, Walter Menteith of Rusky, Thom, &c. was undoubtedly the son of a Sir John Menteith, for there is a charter " Murdaci Comitis de Menteth, jilins Domini Alexandri Comitis de Menteth terrarum de Thom in Comitat. de Menteth, Waltero de Menteth, filio quondam Domini Johannis de Menteth." Upon a chronological consideration of the matter, nothing is more natural to suppose than that Sir John Menteith, mentioned above as Walter's father, was the Sir John in question. It is not impossible, however, that Crawfurd the Peerage writer may be accurate in saying that Sir John, the father of Walter of Rusky, was the son of Earl Alexander, and consequently the brother, instead of the uncle, of Earl Murdac who grants the charter of Thom to Walter. I was not prepared, however, to accede to this latter theory, for the best edition of the Scottish Peerage (Mr Wood's,) gives the Rusky genealogy as adopted in the Memoirs, which appears to be consistent with chronology, and in the laborious antiquarian history of Stirlingshire, both Mr Nimmo, and the Rev. Mr M'Gregor Stirling who so ably re-edited the work, state without any expression of doubt that Menteith, the maligned, who was the brother of Earl Alexander, was Sir John Menteith of Rusky. Mr Riddell would have conferred an obligation had he substituted a certain and accurate descent while he disproved this. But he has done neither one nor other. He proves that Sir John Menteith, the maligned, was at some period of his long life married to Elyne Mar, whose male issue failed, and upon this solitary fact he triumphs as having utterly annihilated the Rusky genealogy. Without pausing to investigate this matter more closely, which requires illustration, we may venture to remind the author of the Tracts that, although it be not allowable hastily to assume a second marriage for the mere purpose of founding a new genealogy, yet, on the other hand, a received genealogy, founded on the plausible evidence to which we have pointed, is neither destroyed nor disturbed by proving a separate marriage previously unknown. Under the circumstances, the inadmissible assumption is on the part of the authorof the Tracts. Sir John Menteith married Elyne Mar who had no male representative,—ergo, Sir John Menteith (Walter's father) of the same chronology, of the same family, and admitted in the best genealogical histories to be the same man, could not have been the same man, because the presumption is against his having been twice married. Such is Mr Riddell's reasoning on this matter, upon which he grows so merry as to enact the Bachelor Samson Carrasco against the author of the Memoirs, whom he likens to Don Quixote. But he must get a better horse, and new armour, and try it again.