Abercromby, Ralph (1734-1801)
Abercromby, Sir Ralph, was born at Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, 7th October 1734. Educated at Rugby, from 1752 to 1755 he studied law at Edinburgh and Leipzig, but in 1756 obtained a cornetcy in the Dragoons, and two years later served in the Seven Years' War. From 1774 to 1780 he was M.P. for Clackmannanshire; in 1793 he accompanied the Duke of York to Holland. His conduct throughout that disastrous campaign won him the admiration of the whole army. Made a Knight of the Bath, he was appointed to the chief command of the West Indies Expedition, which he conducted with distinguished success. In 1797 he was sent to command the forces in Ireland; but his remonstrances against the policy of government towards that country occasioned his removal to a similar command in Scotland. In 1799 he was second in command to the Duke of York in the other unhappy expedition to Holland. On his return, he received the command of the expedition to the Mediterranean. The fleet anchored in Aboukir Bay on 2d March 1801; and before mid-day of the 8th, the British troops were in possession of the sandhills which command the shore, having landed in the face of a storm of shot. On the 21st, Menou, the French commander, attempted vainly to surprise the British camp. In the glorious action that ensued, Abercromby was struck by a musket-ball in the thigh; and on the 28th he died on board the flagship. He was buried at Malta, and a monument was erected to him in St Paul's. The peerage conferred on his widow was afterwards enjoyed by his eldest son, with the title of Baron Abercromby. His second son, General Sir John Abercromby (1772-1817), captured Mauritius in 1809. His third son, James (1776-1858), entered parliament in 1807, held the office of Speaker (1835-39), and was then created Baron Dunfermline. He wrote a Memoir of his father's last eight years (1861).
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 7.
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