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SIR RALPH ABERCROMBIE.
THIS brave officer was the son of George Abercrombie, of Tillibodie, in Clackmannanshire, and was born in the year 1733; and after receiving a liberal education, went, by choice, into the army. His first commission was that of cornet, in the third regiment of dragoon guards. In February 1760, he obtained a lieutenancy in the same regiment; in April following, a company in the third regiment of horse; and in this he rose to the rank of major and lieutenant-general. In November 1780, he was included in the list of brevet-colonels, and in 1781 was made colonel of the 103rd. or King's Irish infantry. In September 1787, he was promoted to the rank of major-general. Soon after the late war broke out in 1793, he commanded the advanced guard of the army as lieutenant-general, on the heights of Cateau, and was wounded at Nimeguen. In the unfortunate retreat from Holland, in the year 1794, the guards, as well as the sick, were left under his care. In 1795, he was made knight of the bath, and appointed commander in chief in the West Indies, where he made himself master of the islands of Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent's; and in February 1797, the Spanish island of Trinidad capitulated to him. On his return to England, he was appointed lieutenant governor of the Isle of Wight, and in 1798, removed to the higher office of governor of Fort Augustus and Fort St. George; but, previous to this, he had been made commander in chief in Ireland: being there succeeded by the Marquis Cornwallis, he was removed to the chief command in Scotland, where his conduct gave universal satisfaction.
In the affair of the Helder, Sir Ralph Abercrombie held a principal command under the Duke of York: however, a more favourable enterprise than this soon afforded our hero an opportunity of immortalizing his name. This was the memorable expedition in 1801, to dispossess the French of Egypt. The landing at Aboukir on the 8th of March, the first dispositions, the attack, and the succeeding victories, all demonstrated, that the best qualities of the greatest commanders were united in Sir Ralph Abercrombie. But it was his destiny to fall in the moment of triumph: this was when the French made a second advance on the 21st of March, which was contested with unusual obstinacy, and they were again obliged to retreat. He received a mortal wound in his thigh: this he concealed till the enemy were totally routed, and he fell from his horse; being conveyed from the field of battle to the admiral's ship, he died on the 28th, and was interred under the castle of St. Elmo, in the island of Malta.
This victory, however, raised the British character higher than ever in the eyes of our Mahometan allies. In private life, Sir Ralph was remarkable for the performance of every relative duty. As a testimony of national regard, the House of Commons unanimously voted a monument to his memory in St. Paul's cathedral, and a pension of 20002. was settled on his family. His widow was created Baroness Abercrombie of Aboukir and Tillibodie, with remainder to her heirs male by her late husband.
Sir Ralph left four sons: George, a barrister, heir apparent to the barony; John, a major-general in the army; Alexander, also a major in the army; and James, member of parliament for Midhurst. In fact, he was one of a family distinguished for bravery and talents. His brother, a lieutenant-colonel, was killed at Bunker's hill in 1774. Another, Alexander, one of the Scotch Judges, died in 1795, a man of high reputation in the law, and not less distinguished for his literary taste. He was the author of several papers in the Mirror and Lounger; and Sir Ralph sat in three parliaments for the county of Clackmannan.