Gardiner, James

, a brave officer of the army, and not less celebrated for his piety, was born at Carriden, in Linlithgow shire, in Scotland, Jan. 10, 1687-8. He was the son of captain Patrick Gardiner, of the family of Torwoodhead, by Mrs. Mary Hodge, of the family of GladsKiitir. His family was military, his father, his uncle by the mother’s side, and his elder brother, all fell in battle. He was educated at the school of Linlithgow, but was soon removed from it, owing to his early zeal to follow his father’s profession. At the age of fourteen he had an ensign’s commission in the Dutch service, in which he | continued until 1702; when he received the same from queen Anne, and being present at the battle of Ramillies, in his nineteenth year, was severely wounded and taken prisoner by the French. He was carried to a convent, where he resided until his wound was cured; and soon after was exchanged. In 1706 he obtained the rank of lieutenant, and after several intermediate promotions, was appointed major of a regiment commanded by the earl of Stair, in whose family he resided for several years. In January 1730, he was advanced to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the same regiment, in which he continued until April 1743, when he received a colonel’s commission over a regiment of dragoons. During the rebellion in Scotland, in 1745, his regiment being in that country, and the rebel army advancing to Edinburgh, he was ordered to march with the utmost expedition to D unbar, which he didj and that hasty retreat, with the news soon afterwards received of the surrender of Edinburgh to the rebels, struck a visible panic into the forces he commanded. This affected his gallant mind so much, that on the Thursday before the battle of Preston-pans, he intimated to an officer of considerable rank, that he expected the event would be as it proved; and to a person who visited him, he said, “I cannot influence the conduct of others as I could wish; but I have one life to sacrifice to my country’s safety, and I shall not spare it.” On Friday Sept. 20th, the day before the fatal battle, when the whole army was drawn up, about noon, the colonel rode through the ranks of his regiment, and addressed them in an animated manner, to exert themselves with courage in defence of their country. They seemed much affected by his address, and expressed a very ardent desire of attacking the enemy immediately, a desire in which he, and another gallant officer of distinguished rank, would have gratified them, had it been in their power, but their ardour and their advice were overruled by the strange conduct of the commander-in-chief, sir John Cope, and therefore all that colonel Gardiner could do, was to spend the remainder of the day in making as good a disposition as the circumstances would allow. He continued all night under arms, wrapped Mp in his cloak, and sheltered under a rick of barley which happened to be in the field. By break of day the army was roused by the noise of the approach of the rebels; and the attack was made before sun -rise. As soon as the enemy came | within gun-shot, they commenced a furious fire; and the dragoons which constituted the left wing immediately fled. The colonel at the beginning of the attack, which lasted but a few minutes, received a ball in his left breast, which made him give a sudden spring in his saddle; upon which his servant, who had led the horse, would have persuaded him to, retreat; but he said it was only a flesh-wound, and fought on, though he presently after received a shot in his right thigh. The colonel was for a few moments supported by his men, and particularly by about fifteen dragoons, who stood by him to 'the last; but after a faint fire, the regiment in general was seized with a panic; and though their colonel and some other brave officers did what they could to rally them, they at lust took to a precipitate flight. Just in the moment when colonel Gardiner seemed to be making a pause to deliberate what duty required him to do in such a circumstance, he saw a party of the foot fighting bravely near him, without an officer to lead them, on which he rode up to them immediately, and cried out aloud, “Fire on, my lads, and fear nothing.” As he had uttered these words, a Highlander advanced towards him with a scythe fastened to a long pole, with which he gave him such a deep wound in his right arm, that his sword dropped from his band, and several others coming about him at the same time, while he was thus dreadfully entangled with that savage weapon, he was dragged from his horse. The moment he fell, another Highlander gave him a stroke either with a broad -sword, or a Lochaber axe, on the hinder part of the head, which was the mortal blow. All that his faithful servant, John Forster, who furnished this account, saw further at this time, was, that as his hat was falling olf, he took it in his left hand, waved it as a signal for him to retreat, and added, which were the last words he ever heard him speak, “Take care of yourself.” The servant immediately fled to a mill, about two miles distant, where he changed his dress, and disguised like a miller’s servant, returned with a cart about two hours after the engagement. He found his master not dnly plundered of his watch and other things of value, but even stripped of his upper garments and boots. He was, however, still breathing, and from appearances, not altogether insensible. In this condition he was conveyed to the church of Tranent, and from that to the clergyman’s house, where he expired about eleven o’clock in the | forenoon, Saturday Sept. 21, 1745. The rebels entered his house before he was carried off from the field, and plundered it. His remains were interred on the Tuesday following, Sept. 24, at the parish church of Tranent. Even his enemies spoke honourably of him, and seemed to join in lamenting the fall of so brave and so worthy a man. Nor was it for bravery only that colonel Gardiner was distinguished. He was perhaps one of the most pious men of his age and country. He was, says his biographer, in the most amazing manner, without any religious opportunity, or peculiar advantage, deliverance, or affliction, reclaimed on a sudden, in the vigour of life and health, from a life of licentiousness, not only to a steady course of regularity and virtue, but to high devotion, and strict, though unaffected sanctity of manners. All this is amply illustrated in Dr. Doddridge’s well-known life of this gallant hero, whose death was as much a loss, as the cause of it, the battle of Preston-pans, was a disgrace to his country.

In July 1726, Col. Gardiner married lady Frances Erskine, daughter to David fourth earl of Buchan, by whom he had thirteen children, five only of which survived their father, two sons and three daughters. 1


Doddridge’s Life of Colonel Gardiner, and Funeral Sermon on him.