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MEMOIRS OF LORD VISCOUNT DUNCAN.
hoftilities necessary, so long muft it be necessary to procure able and gallant leaders of the contest, in order to ensure success. A survey of history, joined with the dictates of common sense, thews the propriety of this observation. But in various ages, and in different nations, the qualities of a leader vary with the circumstances in which he may be placed. It is, how. ever, on all hands, agreed that there are certain qualifications in the general of an army, or in the commander of a feet, which are deemed indispensible. A sound and vigorous understanding, an humane and generous at. tention to those committed to his subjection, a profound knowledge either of military or of nautical affairs, together with an ardent desire to promote the interests of his country, are traits of character requisite to so exalted a station. We may, indeed, behold individuals of this class in whom these qualities are not centered. But the truly eminent man, he, to whom his country will look up with expectation, nor look in vain, must rise above the ordinary herd of mortals. Beloved and refa pected, he will atchieve deeds of high renown. His ability and inclination will go hand in hand. In a fituation where others would probably do nothing, his exertions would be the greatest, and thus he himself encirYoL IY.
cling his own brow with laurels, would hand down his name to distant generations.
To these reflections we were led by the subject of the present memoir, which though scanty will, we trust, afford some just idea of this illustrious character. In this our Miscellany, we are anxious to bring forward a sketch of the hero whose portrait decorates our present Number. His name has been long known to Britions. His actions will endear him to posterity. Of the justice or injustice of the war in which we are engaged, we say nothing. But it must be acknowledged by every candid man, that whilft hoftilities continue to laft, the law of self-prefervation dictates strenuous exertion against the foe. This exertion Lord Duncan has effected, and to our best thanks is he entitled for his eminent services.
We have endeavoured to procure the particulars of this great man's life, but we have not been to successful as we could have wished. No account hath been laid before the Public from which ample materials might have been derived. One short sketch respecting him, was given in a print of respectability at the time of his Jate victory over the Dutch on the coast of Holland. It has all the marks of authenticity, and may be depended upon for the truth of its facts. We accordingly present it to our readers, assured that it will give them a degree of satisfaction.
“Lord Visccunt Duncan is a younger son of the very ancient and respectable family of Lundie, in the county of Perth, in Scotland. By the death of his elder bro. ther, the late Colonel Duncan, of Lundie, about 15 months ago, the gallant Admiral became possessed of the family estate, worth about one thousand per annum. He married a paternal fister of the present Lord Advocate of Scotland, and niece to Mr. Secretary Dundas, by whom he has a family of several children. His eldest fon is a promising young man, of an amiable difpofition, and at present a student at the University; Miss Jane Duncan is very young, and beginning to
make her appearance in the gay circles. The beauty and elegance of her person will undoubtedly give her a diftinguished place in the fashionable world, unless that sweetnefs of temper and gentleness of manners which the pofseffes, lhall induce her to prefer the innocent happiness of private life to the splendour of a court, and the admiration of a ball-room.
• The Admiral is fixty four years of age; his countenance is agreeable and commanding, he is above fix feet high, and his person is well proportioned. His manners are simple, easy, and obliging, equally free from affectation and roughness, the natural expression of unfeigned goodness of heart. His life has been spent in the service of his country, and on every occafion he has maintained the character of a British officer. When a captain, and at that time reckoned the handfomeft officer in the navy, his assistance was required by the civil power to quell some insurrection at Portí mouth. The brave "Commander, at the head of his crew, with his sword in his hand, convinced the mob that he had spirit and firmness to enforce obedience if they were determined to refift. His frankness and generosity spared that alternative, he joked them into good hu. mour, and they separated in peace.
“ The unpleasant station which has fallen to his lot during this war, certainly pointed him out as a peculiar object of royal favour. When the alarming mutiny at the Nore deprived him of the greater part of his feet, and he had hardly a thip left that he could trust, to except his own, the gallant Admiral caused the Venerable to be put clofe in with the Texel, and two frigates to be placed in the Offing to make signals. By this means he manæuvred the Dutch till he got a reinforcement. They would not venture out, thinking he was come to reconnoitre, and that the frigates were stationed to communicate between him and his feet ; but in every instance he has discovered great discernment and professional knowledge.
“ After having provoked the Dutch to give him battle, till he was tired and disgusted, he conceived they had some other object in view, and that his keeping his ftation would prevent the very thing he most ardently desired. He gave out that he was under the necessity of returning home to refir. Some of his flect did certainly stand in need of repairs, and the probability of this circumstance, after having been so long at sea, gave that credibility to the report which was necessary to induce the wary' Dutch to commence their intended expedition. His feint of coming into port to refit, was so thoroughly believed to be real, that several of his officers and men who had gone on fhore, were left behind when he failed, after having received intelligence of the Dutch fleet be. ing at sea. The determined courage of the Dutch in the scene of action, called forth all the bravery of the British seamen, and it was certainly the best disputed grand engagement that has been fought during the
Such are the merits of Lord Duncan, that the Em. peror
of Russia hath noticed and rewarded them. The following letter was sent him by that potentate, and is expressive of the regard he entertained for his services :
« ADMIRAL DUNCAN, " In conficeration of the talents which you have displayed during your military career; the honourable and distinguished manner in which you acquitted yourself in the command which you had over my squadron, destined to combat, conjointly with yours, the enemies of your country, and the zeal which you have manifefted for the well being of my subjects, as well officers as seamen, I have created you Chevalier of my Imperial Order of St. Alexander Newsky, the Insignia of which accompany this for your investiture. I fatter mytelf that the justice which I now render you will be received by you as a striking proof of my high consideration and good wishes. I pray God to have you in his holy and particular keeping.
(Signed) PAUL.” Peterhoff, July 19, -1797.