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The fact that the poor Preacher did not get a commission serves
to show that the Duke could afford to restrict himself to his more
powerful tenants and neighbours, and that he had no difficulty in get-
ting officers. This particular Fencible regiment gave a start to several
well-defined military families, descended from or connected with the
following men who got commissions in it — Charles Gordon, of Ward-
house ; John Gordon, Coynachie ; John Gordon, senr., in Laggan ; and
John Gordon, in Croughly. Another officer of the Fencibles was
William Gordon, in Minmore, who joined them in 1778, and was so
much fascinated by soldiering that he made a bid for a commission in
the company which the youthful Marquis of Huntly raised for the Black
Watch in 1790 : —
I hope your Grace will pardon my presuming to request my earnest desire and ambition
to serve under any of the Noble family, particularly one whose transcendent virtues attract
the love and admiration of all who have the honour to approach his person. If, therefore, the
ensigncy is not promised, I will venture to request of your Grace to be recommended for it.
If men were an object to his lordship, I think I could undertake for the ordinary compliment
[sic]. At least, I am convinced my chance would be as good as any from this quarter, and, could
I assure them that I were to be engaged, I believe I have half a dozen ready to follow me,
whom I have tried in vain on any other footing,
This enthusiasm was not confined to the Duke's Banffshire tenants,
who at this time were more closely associated with him than they were
elsewhere on his vast estates. He got applications from Aberdeenshire,
despite the rivalry of other recruiters. Thus John Gordon, Coynachie,
Gartly, who held a commission in the 8ist Regiment (1777-83) raised
by the Duke's first cousin, the Hon. William Gordon, of Fyvie, much to
his Grace's wrath, welcomed the raising of the Gordon Highlanders as
a chance for entering the regular army. He wrote to the Duke on
February 16, 1794: —
As the raising of the regiment must be an expensive undertaking, if your Grace and
Lord Huntly would entrust me with the paymastership, I would cheerfully do the business for
one half of the emoluments that might arise out of the office. I cannot pretend to be a good
accountant, but shall be answerable for all the accounts of the regiment being kept intact, and
I am certain that I would have your lordship's interest in view as any other that can be
The semi-private character of these levies made the Duke a power-
ful patron, and paved the way for the exercise of the same function with
his political friends in the case of regular regiments already established.
The old system of discriminating patronage, which was responsible for

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