Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GRANT, Anne, author, born in Glasgow, Scotland, 21 February, 1755; died in Edinburgh, 7 November, 1838. Her father. Duncan MacVicar, was an officer in a Highland regiment, her mother a member of the family of Stewart, of Invernahyle, Argyllshire. In 1758 Mrs. MacVicar and her daughter came to this country, and settled at Claverack on the Hudson, where her husband was stationed with his regiment. Here Anne was taught to read by her mother, and learned to speak Dutch. In 1760 Captain MacVicar conducted his company through the wilderness to Oswego, accompanied by his wife and child. In the summer of 1762 her talents attracted the attention of Madame Schuyler, with whom she resided in Albany for several years. Soon after the conquest of Canada, MacViear resigned from the army and became a settler in Vermont, where he received a grant of land from the British government, to which he made large additions by purchase from his brother officers. His career of prosperity was interrupted by impaired health and low spirits, and in 1768 he decided to return to his native land. Anne accompanied her parents, and at the age of thirteen left the New World never to see it again. Unfortunately for MacVicar and " the young American heiress," he took his departure from the country without disposing of his property, which, soon after, upon the beginning of the war, was confiscated by the new republican government. I[e was. therefore, compelled to depend chieflyupon his limited pay as barrack-master of Fort Augustus in Inverness-shire, to which position he had been appointed in 1773, and his daughter was no longer looked upon as an heiress. Her residence there terminated in 1779 with her marriage to the Reverend James Grant, the military chaplain and an accomplished scholar, when they removed to the parish of Laggan, to which he had been appointed. Her lines had fallen in pleasant places. In the simple life of a Highland parish, many happy years passed in Laggan. In 1801 Mr. Grant died, leaving his widow with eight children dependent upon her own exertions. Her poems, written during a series of years, were collected in an octavo volume in 1803, and through the aid of the celebrated Duchess of Gordon three thousand subscribers were obtained. This was followed in 1806 by her " Letters from the Noun-talus." Through the efforts of Miss Lowell, of Boston, and a few other ladies, an American edition of this work was published in that City, and the profits, amounting to three hundred pounds, remitted to Mrs. Grant. Her best-known work, begun at the age of fifty-two, and issued in London in 1808, is entitled "Memoirs of an American Lady." It is a charming picture of New York colonial life, and one that was greatly admired by Sir Walter Scott and Robert Southey, who said the description of the breaking up of the ice in the upper Hudson was "quite Homeric." A second edition of the memoir of Mrs. Schuyler appeared in 1809, and was reprinted the same year in Boston and New York. Other editions were issued in the latter City in 1836 and 1846, while a third edition was published in London in 1817. The previous American editions being out of print,, another appeared in 1876, accompanied by a fine steel portrait of Mrs. Grant, and a memoir written by her godson, the senior editor of this work, to whom she gave her husband's name. Mrs. Grant removed in 1810 from Stirling, where she had resided since her husband's death, to Edinburgh, which continued to be her home for twenty-eight years. The year following she published " Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders," a work full of enthusiasm for the people among whom she so long resided. So conspicuous was her pre-eminence in her beautiful translations of Highland poetry and her thorough knowledge of the people, that the earlier volumes of the Waverley novels were frequently attributed to her pen. " Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen," a metrical poem, appeared in 1814, followed by her last literary production, entitled " Popular Models and Impressive Warnings for the Sons and Daughters of Industry," which was published in 1815. During the interval of twenty-three years between the appearance of her last volume and her death, Mrs. Grant's literary labors were no longer necessary for her support, as she was in receipt of a pension of £100 from the British government, in consideration of her literary talents, which, with the profits of her writ-lugs, the emolument from her pupils, and several legacies from friends, rendered her life free from pecumary cares. Among the latter was one of $5,000, as a mark of affectionate veneration for her character, from John Lowell, Jr., of Boston, who became acquainted with Mrs. Grant during a residence of several years in Edinburgh. Her house in Manor place was frequented by Scott, Francis Jeffrey. Henry Mackenzie, and other magnates of the Scottish literary world; and few Americans of distinction visited Edinburgh without being welcomed by Mrs. Grant, usually designated "of Laggan," to distinguish her from her friend and contemporary, Mrs. Grant of Carron. To the closing year of her long life she continued to correspond with Mrs. Alexander Hamilton and many other American friends. She was buried beneath the shadows of the stately castle of Edinburgh, and near her resting-place, in what is known as the Auld West Kirk, is the grave of Thomas De Quincey. Her letters, with a memoir by her only son, John Peter Grant, appeared in 3 vols. (London, 1844; revised edition, 1845 and 1853). Mr. Grant died in 1870, leaving a widow and four children, two of whom are sons, in the service of the British government. The accompanying portrait is copied from a miniature made at the age of threescore and ten, while an earlier one, painted by Sir John Watson Gordon for Mrs. Douglas Cruger, of New York, was by her heirs presented in 1876 to her daughter-in-law, Mrs. John P. Grant, of Edinburgh. See "The Poets and Poetry of Scotland" (New York, 1876).Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM
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