[J Manx Museum vol III #45 pp68/9 1935]

Commissions in the Royal Manx Fencibles. 1793 to 1796.

THROUGH the good offices of the Chair- man of the Museum Committee we have been enabled to purchase from a second- hand bookseller in Leicester five original commissions in the Royal Manx Fencibles, 1793 to 1796. They are :-

(1) John Christian, gent., Lieutenant in the Royal Manx Corps of Fencible Men, 29th November, 1793.
(2) George Blissett, gent., Ensign in the 2nd Royal Manx Fencibles, 1st June, 1796.
(3) Thomas Carlos, gent., Ensign in the 2nd Royal Manx Fencibles, 1st June, 1796.
(4) Colin Campbell, gent., Ensign in the 2nd Royal Manx Fencibles, 1st June, 1796.
(5) Robert McCarlie, gent., Ensign in the 2nd Royal -Manx Fencibles, 1st June, 1796.

The last name in the list, Robert McCarlie, was a youth who recorded his adventures in a very special manner in a journal which has been published. A grand-daughter, Miss E. Marianne M'Kerlie, ot Albany, Dumfries, has edited her ancestor's reminiscences in a most interesting fashion, and has given them to the public under the title of ' Two Sons of Galloway.'

Four of the Commissions are signed by the Duke of Portland. Christian's commission is signed by Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, appointing him ' Lieutenant in our Royal Manx 'Corps of Fencible Men commanded by our Right 'Trusty and Right entirely beloved cousin, John, Duke of Atholl, and to take rank in the army ' during the establishment of the said Corps only.'

McCarlie joined the 2nd Royal Manx Fencibles on the 1st June, 1796, after leaving his home in Galloway at the age of eighteen. The regiment was raised in the Isle of Man by Lord Henry Murray, brother of John, Fourth Duke of Athol, who was Governor from 1793 to 1830.

Upon landing at Douglas McCarlie secured lodgings in the house of a Mrs. Bean, at the rate of 12s. per week. Provisions were cheap, and no duty being paid on wines, spirits, tea, living was very reasonable. On Tynwald Day he accompanied some of his new friends to see

a grand spectacle, comprising in all due pomp the Lieutenant-Governor of the Island, the principal officers and the professors of the law, at Mount Pleasant (sic) about twelve miles from :Douglas. The principal persons were on a green mount, where the Laws of the Island were read in Manx according to usual custom, and to a great multitude assembled to witness the ceremony. . Many tents were pitched, and the whole affair had the appearance of a day of great festivity.

From Man he proceeded to Whitby, where he met another member of his regiment, Thomas Carlos, whose commission has also come into the possession of the Manx Museum. McCarlie, incidentally, says that the second in command was a young Manxrnan, Captain William Bacon, ' who was of a hasty and rather ungovernable temper.' From Whitby the regiment marched through York, to Manchester and on to Liverpool en route for Dublin. There is some humour in McCarlie's story, and now and then some comical incidents are recounted. On the passage John Dun became sea-sick, and, says McCarlie, ' the only kind office I could render him was to ' procure him a salt-herring . . . The regiment marched northwards through Monaghan to Derry, the headquarters. The writer was very observant and tells many incidents which at this date certainly appear strange. It looks, too, as if he jotted down in his journal any little tittle tattle which was told him.

I may mention two officers of our Corps who got married in Derry. One of them was an assistant surgeon named La Motte - a veryhandsome man but a great fool. He married, perhaps the prettiest girl in the town. Her parents and friends were, I believe, respectable, but not of high rank.

The other officer who took to himself a wife was Colin Campbell. {His commission has also been purchased by the Manx Museum} Colinn lodged at the house of a smart, smirking widow. She kept a shop and there Colin was often to be seen in great glee joking with the wvidow. Colin's sagacity was not proof tlgainst the smiles of the widow. . .

At last poor Colin was obliged to capitulate and was fairly buckled

The Bacon referred to in the diary of Robert McCarlie was Captain William Bacon, one of the Seafield family. He was Captain of the 2nd Regiment of loyal Manx Fencibles from its commencement in 1796 to 1799, in all of which period companies of the regiment were in Ireland..

Ensign Robert McCarlie became Lieutenant before Christmas in 1797, while he was with the regiment at Strabane. His name is absent frorn the records after August, 1798.

Ensign Thomas Carlos became Lieutenant on 1st January, 1798, and his name ceases from the records after December, 1798.

The name of George Blissett disappears after May, 1798, and that of Colin Campbell after December, 1799. He was out recruiting most of 1799.

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