Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 16.djvu/271

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

certain ministers, repudiating his jurisdiction, had persisted in holding. For this offence he was summoned before the privy council, and on 18 July sent to Blackness Castle. He and five others were tried at Linlithgow on 10 Jan. 1606 for treasonably declining the jurisdiction of the council, and being found guilty were banished from the kingdom. Durie, after landing at Bordeaux, proceeded to Holland, where he was admitted first minister of the Scotch church at Leyden, where he died in September 1616. He was one of the most intimate friends of Andrew Melville, who was in banishment at Sedan when Durie was at Leyden. At one time it was rumoured that a pardon had been accorded to Durie, but Melville warned him not to trust the rumour, having grounds for suspecting some foul play. He contributed a commendatory sonnet to James Melville's 'Spirituall Propine,' 1589. By his wife, Elizabeth Ramsay, Durie had five sons (John, Andrew, Eliezer, John, and James), and three daughters. The fourth son John is separately noticed.

[Scott's Fasti, pt. iv. 402, 406, pt. v. 144; Melville's Diary ; Calderwood's History : M'Crie's Life of Melville.]

W. G. B.

DURNFORD, ANTHONY WILLIAM (1830–1879), colonel royal engineers, eldest son of General E. W. Durnford, colonel commandant of the royal engineers, was born on 24 May 1830 at Manor Hamilton, co. Leitrim, Ireland. Educated in Ireland, and afterwards at Düsseldorf in Germany, he entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1846, and obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the royal engineers on 27 June 1848. Having completed the usual course of instruction at Chatham, he, in 1851, proceeded on foreign service to Ceylon, where he remained for five years, and married (15 Sept. 1854) Frances Catherine, youngest daughter of Lieutenant-colonel Tranchell, late of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. In 1855 he was appointed assistant commissioner of roads and civil engineer to the colony in addition to his military duties. On the outbreak of the war with Russia Durnford volunteered for active service and was sent to Malta; here he was detained and was employed as adjutant until early in 1858, when he returned to England, and was promoted to the rank of second captain. A keen soldier and a good disciplinarian Durnford was destined for many years to see no active service, and passed his time until 1871 between home and Mediterranean stations.

At the end of 1871 he went to South Africa, and after little more than a year passed at Cape Town, during which he was promoted to the rank of major, he was sent to Natal. Shortly after his arrival in Natal he accompanied the mission appointed by the governor to take part in the coronation of Cetshwayo as king of the Zulus, and an interest in the native races of South Africa was thus aroused, which was strengthened by a strong attachment he had formed for Bishop Colenso and his family. Towards the end of 1873 the differences between the colonial government and Langalibalele, the chief of the Ama Hlubi tribe, came to a head, and, on being summoned to Pietermaritzburg, Langalibalele made preparation to remove his tribe out of the colony by way of the Drakensberg mountains. This the colonial government determined to prevent by securing the passes, and Durnford was sent on with a detachment of Natal volunteer carabiniers and a party of mounted Basutos to occupy the principal outlet—the Bushman's River Pass—where a large native force was to meet him. The strictest instructions were given him that he was on no account to fire the first shot. The route lay up the Drakensberg by a pass known as the ‘Giant's Castle,’ through a wild and broken country of a very difficult description. On the way Durnford's horse fell over a precipice, dragging him with it. Durnford was caught by a tree and was dragged up again, a dislocated shoulder set, and in spite of the bitterly cold night and his intense sufferings he struggled on and gained the rendezvous, but no native force had arrived to meet him. He formed up his little party across the mouth of the pass, but only to find that the Hlubis were already not only in front but on either flank. On the appearance of threatening bodies of the Ama Hlubi tribe the officer of the volunteer carabiniers reported that he could not depend upon his men, and begged to be allowed to retire. Durnford knew well the danger of retreat under such circumstances, but as his orders and entreaties were alike unavailing, he was reluctantly compelled to comply. As he had anticipated, no sooner did the enemy see them retiring than they opened a brisk fire, killing several of the volunteers, and, crying ‘Shoot down the chief,’ bore down upon Durnford, who was bringing up the rear, and had stopped to mount his native interpreter behind him on his own horse. The interpreter was shot through the head, and two of the Hlubis, running in on either side, seized Durnford's bridle, and, raising their assegais, one pierced his already helpless left arm, and the other wounded him in the side. Before they could strike again he had drawn his revolver and shot them both dead, and, putting spurs to his horse and firing right and left, got through the