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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 45 to the window, when, 10 ! the '' battalion " turned out to be Lord Binning (afterwards Earl of Haddington) who was receiving military instructions from the redoubtable Sergeant-Major. On one occasion, when at drill, Gould called out to the regiment" Steady, gentlemen, steady ; a soldier is a mere machine. He must not move-he must not speak-and, as for thinking, no ! no !-no man under the rank of a field-officer is allowed to think !" In short, what between his broad humour and absurd pomposity, the gentlemen privates of the regiment bore from him what they would not have submitted to from the Lieutenant-Colonel or any of the officers. When the regiment was reduced in 1814, his full-pay was continued to him for life-a benefit he did not long enjoy. Until the day of his death he always wore his full-dress regimentals. Gould's notions of military discipline are best given in his own words. No. CLXXXVI. MR. BENJAMIN BELL, SURGEON. THIS eminent surgeon was a native of Dumfriesshire,l where his progenitors possessed the estate of Blackett House for several centuries. This property having devolved to him on the death of his grandfather, he gave a remarkable instance of disinterested generosity, by disposing of it, and applying the proceeds in educating himself and the younger branches of the family-fourteen in nnmber. The judgment displayed in this step continued to characterise Mr. Bell through life ; and few instances are on record in which a sacrifice so liberal has been followed by a more complete reward. Having received an excellent classical education under Dr. Chapman, Rector of the grammar-school at Dumfries, Mr. Bell became the apprentice of Mr. Hill, a much esteemed surgeon there ; and, by the ardour with which he discharged his duties, speedily acquired the confidence and friendship of his master. In 1766 he repaired to the University of Edinburgh; and, while he eagerly embraced the numerous opportunities of improvement afforded by the eminent Professors of the day, he commended himself to their regard by his uncommon assiduity, and laid the foundation of that celebrity which he afterwards attained. In 1770, Mr, Bell was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons; and, after devoting two years to study in London and Paris, he returned to Edinburgh, and commenced business about the close of 1772. He entered into public life with no adventitious support, having scarcely any friends in Edinburgh, His father, Mr. George Bell, had in early life been engaged in the Levant trade ; but, haring met with serious losses, and been made prisoner by the Spaniards, he retired to a farm in Eskdale, belonging to the Duke of Bucclench, where he lived to an advanced age.
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