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ROBERT AIKEN AND DESCENDANTS.
Mrs. Aiken's sister, GRACE HUNTER, married COLONEL MAXWELL, of the 30th Regiment, one of the Cardoness family.
Robert Aiken's eldest son, ANDREW HUNTER AIKEN, to whom Burns addressed his epistle “To a young Friend,” married Mary, eldest daughter of Peter Freeland, merchant, Liverpool, by Miss Blair, of Dunrode, in Kirkcudbrightshire.
JOHN AIKEN, their second son, Captain of an East Indiaman, and afterwards an Indigo planter, married a daughter of General Green, and died in India, leaving two daughters.
GRACE AIKEN, unmarried, died at Ayr, 13th October, 1857, aged 8o.
ANDREW HUNTER AIKEN had issue,
PETER FREELAND AIKEN, an Advocate in Edinburgh, and afterwards a Banker in Bristol, married CONSTANCE ELIZABETH CHETWOOD, only child of Captain Chetwood, heir presumptive of Woodbrook, Queen's County, Ireland, by Eliza, daughter of Colonel Patton, Governor of St. Helena, and has five children and seventeen grandchildren.
CAPTAIN CHETWOOD having died early, JONATHAN CHETWOOD bequeathed Woodbrook to Mrs. Aiken's cousin, EDWARD WILMOT, who took the name of CHETWOOD and married LADY JANET ERSKINE, daughter of the EARL OF MAR.
RICHARD, who married his cousin, Mary Blair, daughter of Captain Blair, of the Dunrode family.
ANDREW died at the age of nineteen.
Mary married GENERAL BARON DE DRIESEN and died in 1826. Her eldest son is now General Baron de Driesen, commanding a Cavalry Brigade in the Russian army, and her three surviving daughters are Alexandrine Baroness de Kaulbars; ELLEN, Baroness de Krüdner (a widow); and Mary, wife of General de Meyer.*
My parents lived in Rodney Street, Liverpool, named after the gallant Admiral in whose fleet the stratagem of breaking the enemy's line was first practised. Mr. John *Abridged from “Dalrymples, of Langlands," by John Shaw, Esq.
DR CURRIE, LIVERPOOL.
Gladstone and Mrs. Gladstone, who lived in the same street were their kind friends, and it was the birth place of his son, the eminent statesman and orator, and scholar, and also of Lord Cardwell. My earliest recollections are of Dr. Currie, the first editor of Burns; for having put two small fingers into the cog wheel of a mangle, my old and faithful nurse carried me off to him to have the wounds dressed, and his kindness in trying to divert my attention with picture books from his library, I still remember. He attended my father when ill of fever, and it was in accordance with his practice that a shower bath was brought into the house, which my eldest sister and I, both very young, made a plaything of—an ark into which we carried our toys, resolved to be happy; till fatal curiosity tempted us to pull the cord, when down came a deluge. Cries of terror brought help, and more laughter than pity for our self-inflicted misery. Rodney Street was then newly built and almost in the country, and I walked through fields to a school, the master of which was unmerciful in the use of the cane and the rod to bigger boys, by whom he was detested; and not without reason, for his abuse of those instruments was such, that he lost all his pupils a few years after I left his school to go to Ayr to be taught at the academy there, with a younger brother, before I was eight years old.*
My grandfather was confined to the house and chiefly to bed, by illness which proved fatal, several months afterwards, and he was attended by his devoted wife and daughter. From the passages already quoted concerning him it may be inferred that the domestic affections flourished under his roof. There is a pleasing union and concord between age and infancy, when the grandsire's love descends unabated in lively sympathy with the fresh feelings and bright hopes and guileless ways of his children's children. He took me to his warm heart as his “ darling Englishman,” and during those last months of his life I spent many hours happily in the bed-chamber of that dying christian, and many
* See Appendix, Note 1.
ROBERT AIKEN'S ILLNESS AND DEATH.
words of kind and wise instruction I heard from his eloquent lips. I remember his teaching me the first psalm, and his impressive comments upon it.
One day the house became a house of mourning, and his daughter told us that his immortal spirit had fled, leaving the lifeless body to be buried, and that we must not fear to look upon the cold, calm, placid face of him we had loved so well. Then she led us into the death chamber, and we were very sorrowful, but not afraid to remain, or to go there again. In a few days we two little boys, as sincere and chief mourners, went with many more to lay in the grave the head of him for whom his departed friend and Scotland's greatest poet had written this epitaph.
“Know thou, O stranger to the fame
“A warmer heart death ne'er made cold.” A granddaughter of Robert Aiken, my eldest sister, had rather a remarkable history. Her ability was beyond her years, and being well educated and accomplished in music, painting and languages, handsome, amiable and agreeable, she early gained the affections of a young and distinguished Russian nobleman, of a German family, who was educated at the court of the King of Prussia, amiable and courteous as well as brave, and of similar tastes and accomplishments with herself. He is referred to in the following extracts, from the published correspondence of Sir. Charles Bell, already mentioned.
“May 21, 1814. “I have received a letter by the Russian General the “Baron Driesen, from the physician of the Emperor “Alexander, conveying his Majesty's command, shall I say, to pay the greatest attention to the Baron." “He has a ball in his thigh bone.”
“I met the Count Lieven and told him I should call “in Sir Everard Home.”
“As the Russian Ambassador strongly recommended
HIS GRANDDAUGHTER MARY.
“the Baron to be taken out of town, he goes to "Hampstead to day, and I shall be obliged to see him “there every day."
July 14. “ The Baron Driesen, Colonel Tawchewsky, Aiken " and the German Doctor dined here.”
“ August 18th.” “Russian, German, French and English, all spoken "at once mingled in strange confusion.”
“When I went down to dinner I found a silver mug on my right hand and another on my left ‘En gage “ de l'amitié de Baron de Driesen.”'
“On some pretence they had got into the room and “placed them on the table.”
“ Aiken whispered to me that he had £ 200 in his “pocket for me, but the general would not let him give
It would, he said, be more respectful to “send a special messenger to-morrow.”
“Such is General Frederick Driesen of the Emperor's "Imperial Guards."
“it to me.
“ Note.- Baron Driesen's aide-de-camp had as great a love for “ Charles Bell as the General had. He wept at parting, and
' waving his hat sobbed out 'Good bye better Bell.”: -Sir C. Bell's Letters to his Brother,
Before leaving England Baron Driesen had made an offer of marriage to Mary Aiken, which was accepted, on the condition that the marriage was to be postponed for two years, during which he went to Russia ; but at the stipulated time he returned with his father to claim his bride. After ten years of most happy married life, she having gone from St. Petersburg to Revel with her husband and children to be refreshed by the breezes of the Baltic during the summer, died immediately after the birth of a daughter-her sixth child, in the prime of life, and was ever deeply lamented by her devoted husband.*
* See Appendix, Note 2.
Miss GRACE AIKEN, the only daughter of Robert Aiken, was born 12th January, 1777, and died 22nd October, 1857. Soon after her death a brief memoir appeared in the Ayr Observer from the pen of the editor or some one in the town or county where she was so well known, from which I take the following extracts :
“To his very extensive circle of acquaintances and “friends Mr. Aiken freely introduced Burns and his “works, and Mr. Gilbert Burns attributed very much “of the early and rapid appreciation shown by the
public for his brother's genius to the facilities of being “known which that gentleman afforded.” “To his
daughter, not only the kind and benevolent nature of “ her father, appears to have descended, but also his
esteem for the poet, for whose memory to the close of “ her long and useful though unobtrusively virtuous career, she cherished feelings of unaffected regard.
Acquainted as she was with all the most eminent “ characters in the West of Scotland for a period ex“tending over fully two generations, it is in connection “ with the memory of our national Poet that her own “memory will perhaps longest survive.” The writer then refers to her having delighted Burns by singing his own songs with fine, melodious voice in her father's house; to her meeting him, as already mentioned, in Dumfries when she gave him an invitation to dine with her aunt, Mrs. Copland, who with her friends were members “ of the best society in Dumfries.”
“And those who remember the charm which “pervaded her address and manner to the very last, “ will, not wonder that when animated by the recol“lection of the thousand little attentions she had re“ceived in her father's house and from her father's friend, “at his hand whose mind entered with all the simplicity “ of the truly great into the feelings of the young, "and could, notwithstanding his manly independence
and conscious strength, be with children a very child “himself, it became quite irresistible.