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The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk
Chapter X - 1758-1759 AGE, 36-37


IT was in the month of August this summer that Robertson and I passed two days at Minto with Sir Gilbert Elliot, who was very open and communicative. About the middle of October I rode to Inverary, being invited by the Milton family, who always were with the Duke of Argyle, and who generally remained there till near the end of the year. I got the first night to my friend Robin Bogle's, at Shettleston, near Glasgow, where I found him very happy with his wife and family. He was an honest, gentlemanly man, but had been very dissipated before his marriage. From Glasgow I went all night to Roseneath, where, in a small house near the castle, lived my friend, Miss Jean Campbell of Carrick, with her mother, who was a sister of General John Campbell of Mamore, afterwards Duke of Argyle, and father of the present Duke. Next day, after passing Loch Long, I went over Argyle's Bowling-Green, called so on account of the roughness of the road. As my horses were not frosted, and the ice was strong, I had to walk about six miles. This made me late in getting to St. Catherine's, directly opposite to Inverary. I wished very much to get across the loch, as it was but six in the evening ; but the mistress of the house, wishing to detain me and my servant and horses all night, pretended that the boatmen were out of the way and the oars a-seeking, and that I could not get across that night. This vexed me, as it was a miserable house to sleep in ; however, I called for a mutchkin of whisky, and prevailed with the good woman to taste it without water. As she became so familiar as to ask where I was when I was at home, I told her I was a schoolfellow of M`Callum More, and was much disappointed at not crossing the lake, as I had letters of importance to deliver to his Grace. She stared, and said I was a stalwart carl of such an age: my grisly undressed hair favoured this deception. I added that, if I could cross the loch, I intended to leave my servant and horses all night to her care, to come round by the head of the loch in the morning; but if I could not cross, I must venture to ride the nine miles round, dark as it was. She took another sip of the whisky, and then left the room. In five minutes she returned and told me that the boatmen had appeared and were seeking for their oars, and would be ready in a few minutes. This was good news to me, as I knew the inn at Inverary to be pretty good, as I had been there two nights when I went to their country, in 1754, with Jamie Cheap of Sauchie. I was very soon summoned to the boat, and after recommending my man, John M'Lachlan, to the care of the landlady, I bid her farewell. We got very soon over, the night being calm, and the distance not much more than two miles.

I did not go that night to the Duke's house, as I knew I could not have a bed there (as he had not yet got into the Castle), but I went in the morning, and was very politely received, not only by the Milton family, but by the Duke and his two cousins, the present Duke, and his brother Lord Frederick, who were there. His Grace told me immediately that Miss Fletcher had made him expect my visit, and that he was sorry he could not offer me lodging, but that he would hope to see me every day to breakfast, dinner, and supper.

It would be quite superfluous to say anything here of the character of Archibald, Duke of Argyle, as the character of that illustrious person, both as a statesman and an accomplished gentleman and scholar, is perfectly known. I was told that he was a great humorist at Inverary, and that you could neither drink his health nor ask him how he did without disobliging; but this was exaggerated. To be sure, he waved ceremony very much, and took no trouble at table, and would not let himself be waited for, and came in when he pleased, and sat down on the chair that was left, which was neither at the head nor foot of the table. But he cured me of all constraint the first day, for in his first or second glass of wine he drank my health and welcomed me to Inverary, and hoped that as long as I stayed, which he wished to be all the week at least, I would think myself at home. Though he never drank to me again, I was much more gratified by his directing much of his conversation to me. His colloquial talent was very remarkable, for he never harangued or was tedious, but listened to you in your turn. We sat down every day fifteen or sixteen to dinner; for besides his two cousins and the Fletcher family, there were always seven or eight Argyleshire gentlemen, or factors on the estate, at dinner. The Duke had the talent of conversing with his guests so as to distinguish men of knowledge and talents without neglecting those who valued themselves more on their birth and their rent-rolls than on personal merit. After the ladies were withdrawn and he had drunk his bottle of claret, he retired to an easy-chair set hard by the fireplace: drawing a black silk nightcap over his eyes, he slept, or seemed to sleep, for an hour and a half. In the mean time, Sandie M'Millan, who was toast-master, pushed about the bottle, and a more noisy or regardless company could hardly be. Milton retired soon after the ladies, and about six o'clock M'Millan and the gentlemen drew off (for at that time dinner was always served at two o'clock), when the ladies returned, and his Grace awoke and called for his tea, which he made himself at a little table apart from that of the company. Tea being over, he played two rubbers at sixpenny whist, as he did in London. He had always some of the ladies of his party, while the rest amused themselves at another table. Supper was served soon after nine, and there being nobody left but those with whom he was familiar, he drank another bottle of claret, and could not be got to go to bed till one in the morning. Jack Campbell of Stonefield, [John Campbell of Stonefield was raised to the Bench as a judge in 1763, and took the title of Lord Stonefield. He married Lady Grace Stuart, fourth daughter of James, second Earl of Bute, and sister of John, third Earl.] who had lately married his niece, Lady Grace Stuart, came to us on the second day. I may add that the provisions for the table were at least equal to the conversation; for we had sea and river fish in perfection, the best beef and mutton and fowls and wild game and venison of both kinds in abundance. The wines, too, were excellent.

I stayed over Sunday and preached to his Grace, who always attended the church at Inverary. The ladies told me that I had pleased his Grace, which gratified me not a little, as without him no preferment could be obtained in Scotland.

The Duke had a great collection of fine stories, which he told so neatly, and so frequently repeated them without variation, as to make one believe that he had wrote them down. He had been in the battle of Sheriffmuir, and was slightly wounded in his foot, which made him always halt a little. He would have been an admirable soldier, as he had every talent and qualification necessary to arrive at the height of that profession; but his brother John, Duke of Argyle, [The one was, properly speaking, a hero; the other altogether a man of the world. The Duke [John] thought Lord Islay [Duke Archibald] undignified and time serving: Lord Islay thought the Duke wrongheaded and romantic. Yet both were assuredly superior men." Lady Louisa Stuart's Memoir of John, Duke of Argyle.] having gone before him with a great and rising reputation, he was advised to take the line of a statesman. I may add here, that when he died in spring 1762, it was found that he had marked my name down in his private notebook for Principal of the College of Glasgow, a body in whose prosperity he was much interested, as he had been educated there, and had said to Andrew Fletcher junior, to whom he showed the note, that it would be very hard if he and I between us could not manage that troublesome society. This took no effect, for the Duke died a year or two before Principal Campbell, when Lord Bute had all the power ; so that when the vacancy happened in the end of 1761, or beginning of '62, Professor Leechman was preferred to it, who was the friend, and had been the tutor, of Ir. Baron Mure.

I slept all night at Levenside, as I had promised to Stonefield, and got home the second day after.

In the end of this year, 1758, I was tempted, by the illiberal outcry that was raised against the Minister, William Pitt, on the failure of General Bligh, on the affair of St. Cas, on the French coast, to write the pamphlet, "Plain Reasons for Removing the Right Honourable William Pitt from His Majesty's Councils for ever, by O. M. Haberdasher;" which was published in London in the beginning of 1759, and had a great run. I had wrote it in the ironical style of Dean Swift, like that about burning the tragedy of Douglas, and thought I had succeeded pretty well. Besides panegyric on that great man, who had raised us from a very low state of political depression, not only in the eyes of all Europe, but in our own opinion, to make rapid progress to the highest state of national glory in which ever we had been,—it contained likewise much satire against the Minister who had reduced us so low.

After I returned from Inverary, I visited my friend Mrs. Wedderburn, whom, to my great grief, I found low and dejected. The Captain had been obliged to join his regiment in the West Indies in the spring, where there was much fighting, and she had not heard of him for some time. She was brought to bed of a daughter early in December, and died of a fever at that time, universally regretted, and never to be forgotten by those who were intimately acquainted with her.

Thus ended a year of greater variety than any in my life; for though I had been in London before, and had rode to Edinburgh likewise on horseback, yet I had not till then seen such a variety of characters, nor had I acquired such a talent for observation, nor possessed a line for sounding the depths of the human character commensurate to that purpose as I now had. On this tour I had seen great variety of characters, with many of whom having been very intimate, the defect was in myself if I had not been able to sound all the depths and shallows through which I passed.

In this year, 1759, in the beginning of which I enjoyed the success of my ironical pamphlet in defence of William Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, I was encouraged to take my pen again occasionally, when anything should occur that suited it. Two or three years after this period, our neighbourhood was enriched by the residence of a very valuable man, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Campbell of Finab, a man of the first-rate understanding and ability. He had been in the Duke of Cumberland's war, and was captain of grenadiers in the 42nd regiment, but had been much disgusted with the Duke of Cumberland, and not having good health, he left the army, I think, with major's rank; and some time thereafter having bought the estate of Drumore, he came to live there with his family. As he had been at college with me, and in the same class, and having had a boyish intimacy together, it was not difficult to renew my acquaintance, and to make it more intimate. He was very sociable, and liked golf, the sport in which I excelled and took much pleasure. [A note in the original MS. of the Autobiography states that "Dr. Carlyle was captain of the golfers at Musselburgh."] The Colonel had read very little, but he had taken a more comprehensive view of men and affairs than almost any person I ever knew. Adam Ferguson and he had been very intimate, and had a mutual regard for each other. This gentleman was truly a great addition to our society. He had been member of Parliament for Argyleshire, and was Receiver-General of the Customs for many years before his death. He left no son but Lieutenant-General Alexander Campbell of Monzie, the heir of his father's sagacity and talents, with more experience in war.

There was nothing very material before the General Assembly of this year, unless it was an explanation and extension of the Act against simoniacal practices, which had become necessary on account of some recent transactions. Dr. Robertson had been translated to Edinburgh this year, but did not yet take any particular charge of the affairs of the Church, because, not being yet Principal, he could not be a member of Assembly every year, as he afterwards was.

My father had gone to London in the month of March, to visit his daughter, Mrs. Dickson, and I had rode with him to Berwick. He was very much pleased and amused at London, where, besides his daughter and her infant, his first grandchild, he had his sisters, Paterson and Lyon, still alive, which gave him great satisfaction. As he had never been in London before, he enjoyed it very much, though now in his seventieth year. But being fresh and vigorous, and remarkably cheerful, he was a very great 'favourite with all his new acquaintances. But as he would needs ride down in midsummer, and had been unlucky in the purchase of a horse, which was very hard set, and still more so in his choice of a companion—one of his daughter's disappointed lovers, who paid no regard to his age in the length of his day's journey—he was so much overheated that, as my mother alleged, the fever never afterwards left him, which concluded his life in the year 1765 on the 8th of March. A more kind and affectionate parent and relation or more benevolent neighbour, or more faithful pastor, never existed.

It was near the end of summer this year that Charles Townshend and Lady Dalkeith, with her daughter, Lady Frances Scott, [Married in 1783, Archibald, Lord Douglas, and died in 1817.] then above eight years of age [came to Dalkeith], and remained there for two months. As they had two public days in the week, according to the ancient mode of the family, they drew a great deal of company to the house; and as I was considered as chaplain in ordinary to the family, the minister of Dalkeith for the time being not much in favour, I was very frequently there. Charles Townshend was a rising statesman, who aspired at the highest offices. A project he conceived after he came here much increased our intimacy: this was to offer himself a candidate for the seat in Parliament for the city of Edinburgh. The state of the city at that time made it not improbable that he might succeed. A Mr. Forrester, a counsellor-at-law, of Irish birth, and quite a stranger here, had been recommended by Baron Maule to the Duke of Argyle, to whom he was known, and to Lord Milton. Forrester was by no means popular in Edinburgh, and Charles Townshend had bewitched Lord Milton with his seducing tongue, which made him more sanguine in his project. He discovered that I had much to say with the Baron and his lady, whom he cajolled and flattered excessively.

He took me for his confidant and adviser in this business. I had many conferences with him on the subject, and endeavoured to convince him that if he was not master of his wife's uncle, the Duke of Argyle, as he pretended to have his own uncle, the Duke of Newcastle, ["Charles Townshend has turned his artillery upon himself : He says 'Silly fellow for silly fellow, I don't see why it is not as well to be governed by my uncle with a blue ribband, as by my cousin with a green one.'"—Walpole to Chute.] he would never succeed; for though Milton seemed to govern Argyle in most things, which was necessary for the support of his credit as well as for the Duke's ease, yet there were points in which Milton could not stir a step without the Duke, and in my opinion this was one of them. On this he fell into a passion, and exclaimed that I was so crusty as never to be of his opinion, and to oppose him in everything. On this I laughed full in his face, took to my hat, and said that if this was the way in which he chose to treat his friend and adviser, it was time I were gone, for I could be of no use to him. He calmed on this, and asked my reason for thinking as I did. I answered that the Member of Parliament for the city of Edinburgh was of great consequence, as whoever held that was sure of the political government of the country, and without it no man would be of any consequence ; that his lady, being the Duke's niece, was against him; for as in political business no regard was paid to blood, that very circumstance was hostile to his design; for it was not to be supposed that the Duke of Argyle would allow a young nobleman from the south, who had made himself a man of importance in the north by having obtained the guardianship of the heir of one of our greatest families in his minority, to take the capital of Scotland by a coup-de-main, and thereby undermine or subvert his political interest, for without his viceroyalty in Scotland, His Grace was of no importance in the State. I added that it was impossible to conceive that the Duke would be so blind as not to see that a young man of his aspiring temper and superior talents would [not] think of making himself member for Edinburgh, merely to show his address in political canvassing, to lay himself at the feet of his wife's uncle. This, with much more that I represented to him, seemed to open his eyes; yet he still went on, for he could not desist from the pleasure of the courtship, though he had little prospect of success.

He came at last to be contented with the glory of driving Forrester off the field, which was not difficult to do; for when Charles had the freedom of the city presented to him, and a dinner given him on the occasion, he lessened the candidate so much in their eyes by his fine vein of ridicule, that the dislike of the Town Council was increased to aversion. But Charles, while he effected one part of his purpose, failed in another ; for though he drove away his rival, he gained no ground for himself. He was imprudent and loose-tongued enough to ridicule the good old King George II., which, though it was not unusual among young noblemen, and indeed wits of all ranks, yet could not be endured by the citizens of Edinburgh, who, seeing their King far off and darkly, were shocked with the freedoms that were used with him. Besides this, Milton, who had been dazzled at first by Charles's shining talents and elegant flattery, began to grow cold, and drew off. He had sounded the uncle, and found in him a strong jealousy of the nephew, mixed with some contempt, the effect of which discovery was the gradual alienation of Milton, who had really been enamoured of Charles, and perhaps secretly thought he could manage him, if he had success, with more absolute sway than he did the Duke of Argyle.

After Charles returned to England he did not for some time desist, and I had much correspondence with him on the subject; some of his letters I have still, but I kept no copies of my own, which I have since regretted, as they were wrote with anxiety and exertion. When I was in London in 1770, there was a gentleman who pressed me to pay a visit to Lady Townshend, his mother, who having many letters of mine to her son, was desirous to see me ; but not choosing to be introduced anywhere by that gentleman, I missed the opportunity of recovering my letters, which I have since understood are barnt, with all Charles's correspondence. The end of all was that Forrester having retreated from the field, having no friend but Baron Maule, and a caveat being entered against Charles Townshend, the good town of Edinburgh were glad to take an insignificant citizen for their member. [The citizen was the Lord Provost, the Rt. Hon. George Lind.]

While Mr. Townshend was here, we had him chosen a member of the Select Society in one sitting (against the rules), that we might hear him speak, which he accordingly did at the next meeting, and was answered by Lord Elibank and Dr. Dick, who were superior to him in argument and knowledge of the subject. Like a meteor, Charles dazzled for a moment, but the brilliancy soon faded away, and left no very strong impression, so that when he returned to England at the end of two months, he had stayed long enough here.

I must not forget, however, to mention an anecdote or two of him, which will explain his character more. Nothing could excel the liveliness of his parts, nor the facility with which he made other people's thoughts his own in a moment.

I called on him one morning at Dalkeith, when he said I had come most apropos, if not engaged, for that he was going to ride to Edinburgh to make some calls; and his wife being engaged to dine with the Duchess of Gordon, he would be very glad of a small party in a tavern. I agreed, and we rode to Edinburgh together. When we drew near that city, he begged me to ride on and bespeak a small dinner at a tavern, and get a friend or two if I could to join us, as he must turn to the left to call on some people who lived in that direction. I went to town directly, and luckily found Home and Ferguson in Kincaid's shop, [Kincaid the bookseller. His shop was that formerly occupied by Allan Ramsay, in the eastmost tenement of the Luckenbooths.] and secured them, and sent a cady [Caddie—a messenger.] to Robertson to ask him to meet us at the Cross Keys soon after two o'clock, who likewise came. During dinner, and for almost an hour after, Charles, who seemed to be fatigued with his morning visits, spoke not a single word, and we four went on with our kind of conversation, without adverting to Mr. Townshend's absence. After he had drunk a pint of claret, he seemed to awaken from his reverie, and then silenced us all with a torrent of colloquial eloquence, which was highly entertaining, for he gave us all our own ideas over again, embodied in the finest language, and delivered in the most impressive manner. When he parted from us, my friends remarked upon his excellence in this talent, in which Robertson agreed with them, without, perhaps, being conscious that he was the most able proficient in that art.

It was in the second week of August when the school at Musselburgh was publicly examined, and when the magistrates gave what was called the Solan Goose Feast. I took this opportunity of inviting Mr. Townshend to visit the school, and to dine with the magistrates, as he was tutor to His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, the lord superior of the town. Mr. Townshend sent them a fine haunch of venison, and Mr. Cardonnel, who was magistrate at this time, took care to assemble a brilliant company of men of letters to meet Mr. Townshend, among whom were Home, Robertson, Ferguson, and William Wilkie. [As to Cardonnel, see above, p. 228. In the Wilkie who figures in the scene the reader will recognise the great Greek scholar, and author of the Epigoniad.—J. H. B.] There was a numerous company, and the best dinner they could make. Cardonnel, in his anxiety to have the venison properly roasted, had directed the cook to put a paste round it; but she not having given it time enough, it came up to the table half raw, to the great disappointment of the company, but chiefly of a Colonel Parr, whose serious affliction made the rest of the company quite easy on the occasion, for he literally wept and shed bitter tears, and whined out what an unfortunate fellow he was, that the only haunch of venison he had met with in Scotland, and the only one he had any chance of seeing while here, should be served up raw ! This set the whole table in a roar of laughter, and reconciled them to their fate. After a little time, the Colonel recovered from his disaster by the use of the gridiron to the venison, and having got up his spirits with half-a-dozen glasses of good claret, began to talk away with some effect ; for excepting his effeminacy about venison, he was not a bad fellow.

He was unlucky, however, in one of his topics; for, Wilkie having begun to open, Parr, addressing himself to him, said something rude about the professors of St. Andrews (of which university Wilkie had very recently been chosen a member), and wished they would keep their students and professors within their walls, for that his corps had lately enlisted one of them, whowas not only the most awkward beast, but the most unruly and debauched rascal that ever wore a red coat. Wilkie, who was indignant on this attack, and a very great master of horse-play raillery, and in scolding feared neither man nor woman, replied with witty and successful tartness, which, however, did not silence the Colonel; when the company took sides, and there ensued a brawling conversation, which lasted too long. Mr. Townshend had interposed, with an intention to support Wilkie against his countryman; but Wilkie, being heated, mistook him, and after two or three brushes on each side, silenced him as he had done the Colonel; and the report afterwards went that Wilkie had completely foiled the English champion at his own weapons—wit and raillery. [Sir Robert Liston in a letter to Henry Mackenzie says: "He [Wilkie] talked indeed a great deal, and loved disquisition and debate; but there was nothing overbearing or offensive, or even stiff in his manner of urging his arguments; on the contrary he was always calm, placid, perfectly master of his temper—and often lively, jocular, and full of merriment."] But this was a mistake, for Mr. Townshend had not the least desire to enter the lists with Wilkie, but whispered to me, who sat next to him, that as Wilkie grew brutal, he would put an end to the contest by making no answer. A silence ensued, which Cardonnel, one of the best toast-masters, took advantage of by giving us three bumpers in less than two minutes; all contest for victory was at an end, and the company united again. Townshend said to me afterwards, when he came to take his carriage at my house, that he had never met with a man who approached so near the two extremes of a god and a brute as Wilkie did.

Soon after this, Mr. Townshend, and the Countess and her daughter Lady Frances Scott, set out for London. This was a very clever child, whose humour and playfulness Mr. Townshend's good-nature had to encourage and protect against maternal discipline carried too far. He continued to protect and instruct her, and frequently employed her as his amanuensis, as she has frequently told me since; and added, that if he had not died when she was only sixteen, he would have made her a politician.

In the middle of September this year I went to Dumfries to meet my friends, as I usually did, and to accompany my friend Dr. Wight, who had come from Dublin to Dumfries, and forward to Musselburgh to visit me. While Wight was here, we supped one night in Edinburgh with the celebrated Dr. Franklin at Dr. Robertson's house, then at the head of the Cowgate, where he had come at Whitsunday, after his being translated to Edinburgh. Dr. Franklin had his son with him; and besides Wight and me, there were David Hume, Dr. Cullen, Adam Smith, and two or three more. Wight and Franklin had met and breakfasted together in the inn at [ ] without learning one another's names, but they were more than half acquainted when they met here. Wight, who could talk at random on all sciences without being very deeply skilled in any, took it into his head to be very eloquent on chemistry, a course of which he had attended in Dublin ; and perceiving that he diverted the company, particularly Franklin, who was a silent man, he kept it up with Cullen, then prof essor of that science, who had imprudently committed himself with him, for the greatest part of the evening, to the infinite diversion of the company, who took great delight in seeing the great Professor foiled in his own science by a novice. Franklin's son was open and communicative, and pleased the company better than his father ; and some of us observed indications of that decided difference of opinion between father and son which, in the American war, alienated them altogether.

On our journey he [Dr. Wight] told me that he was heartily tired of his situation as a dissenting clergyman, and of the manner of life in Dublin, which, though social and convivial to the last degree, yet led to nothing, and gave him no heartfelt satisfaction, there being but a very few indeed with whom he could unite in truly confidential friendship. As I knew that the University of Glasgow were resolved to vacate Mr. Ruat's professorship if he remained much longer abroad, and as I happened likewise to know that he would not return during the life of Lord Hope, who was in a slow decline, I formed the plan of obtaining his professorship, which was that of History, and in the gift of the Crown, for Dr. Wight, and I set about it to secure it immediately. This was easily done, for I had access to His Grace the Duke of Queensberry, not only by writing to him myself, but by interesting John M'Kie Ross in the business, with whom both Wight and I were related, and also by means of Sir Gilbert Elliot we could secure Lord Bute; while I, through Lord Milton, could gain the consent of the Duke of Argyle. I had favourable answers from everybody, and had no doubt of getting the place if it was vacated.

Before I left Dumfries, I was witness to an extraordinary riot which took place there on Michaelmas, the day of the election of their magistrates. Provost Bell had been two years dead, and the party which lie had established in power, when he brought them over to their natural protector, the good Duke of Queensberry, being desirous to preserve their influence, did not think they could do better than to raise John Dickson, that Provost's nephew, to be their chief magistrate. As this man was at present Convener of the Trades, who are powerful in Dumfries, and was popular among them, he thought his ambition would be easily gratified. But there were sundry objections to this measure. Andrew Crosbie, advocate, the son of a Provost of that name who had been a private supporter of Provost Bell, in opposition to the party of the Tories, thought this a proper time to attempt an overturn of the present magistrates and managers, and put his own friends in their room, who would either be directed by Crosbie's maternal uncle, Lord Tinwald, then Justice-Clerk, and far advanced in years, or gain the credit and advantage of governing the town under the Duke of Queensberry. As Crosbie was a clever fellow, and young and adventurous, and a good inflammatory speaker, he soon raised the commons of the town almost to a pitch of madness against Dickson. [Andrew Crosbie was a distinguished advocate, in great practice ; but little is now known of him except a few convivial anecdotes. (A sketch of Crosbie's career will be found in Ramsay's Scotland and Scotsmen of the Eighteenth Century.) He is supposed to be the prototype of Pleydel in Guy Mannering.—J. H. B.] On the day of election, which happened to be on Saturday, they rose in a tumultuous manner, and took possession of the stair leading up to the Town Hall, and would not allow the election to proceed. But, supposing no election could take place after the day was elapsed, when twelve o'clock struck they allowed the magistrates and Council to depart. They came down separately and by backways to the George Inn, where Dr. Wight and I were waiting to see the issue of this day's riot. Dickson had married a sister of Night's for his second wife. We waited in an adjacent room till the election was over, and then joined them for half an hour, to drink the health of the new Provost.

The Deputy-Sheriff Kirkpatrick had come down from his house, ten or twelve miles off, with several country gentlemen, but there being no soldiers in the town, had not attempted to disperse the mob by any other method than remonstrance. This affair ended in a very expensive lawsuit, and Dickson's right to be provost was established. Wight was on his return to Dublin, and I on mine home; so I took leave of my friends on Monday, that I might see our grandfather, who by that time had an assistant.

On Tuesday morning, October 2, on my return from this visit to Dumfries, I got to Moffat, where I knew John Home was, as he usually passed two or three weeks every season there. He introduced me to M'Pherson in the bowling-green, as I have narrated in a letter to the Highland Society. He was good-looking, of a large size, with very thick legs, to hide which he generally wore boots, though not then the fashion. He appeared to me proud and reserved, and shunned dining with us on some pretence. I knew him intimately afterwards. [The letter referred to is in the Report of the Highland Society on the authenticity of the Poems of Ossian, p. 66. he states that Macpherson showed some unfinished fragments, and continues—"Mr. Home had been highly delighted with them; and when he showed them to me, I was perfectly astonished at the poetical genius displayed in them. We agreed that it was a precious discovery, and that as soon as possible it should be published to the world."—J. H. B.

The Duke of Argyle made his usual visit to Argyle-shire in October, and stopped for a week or two at Brunstane, Lord Milton's, as he now seldom occupied his lodging in the Abbey, not caring to be troubled with too many visitors from the city of Edinburgh. I was sent for to him, and passed a very agreeable day. He rallied me on my friend Charles Townshend's attempt to steal the city of Edinburgh, and said he was not a very dutiful nephew. His Grace knew perfectly my intimacy with him, and so did not push the conversation.

It was after this that I was persuaded by William Johnstone, advocate, now Sir William Pulteney, and Adam Ferguson, to write what was called the Militia Pamphlet, under the signature of "A Freeholder of Ayrshire," which I chose, because that was said to be the only shire in Scotland out of which there had not issued a single rebel in 1745. [The pamphlet here referred to is called The Question relating to a Scots Militia considered, in a Letter to the Lords and Gentlemen who have concerted the form of law for that establishment.—By a Freeholder. The Act which placed the militia of England nearly in its present position, had been passed by the exertions of the author's friend, Charles Townshend, in 1757. When a proposal for extending the system to Scotland was suggested, ministers were afraid to arm the people among whom the insurrection of 1745 had occurred, and the feud between Jacobite and Revolutionist was still fresh. It is curious that, for a reason almost identical, Ireland has been excepted from the Volunteer organisation of a century later. It was not until 1793 that the Militia Acts were extended to Scotland.—J. H. B,] After an hour's conversation with the two gentlemen I have mentioned, I undertook to write the pamphlet, and finished it in a fortnight, and carried it to Johnstone, who was highly pleased with it, and, after showing it to Ferguson, had it transcribed by his own clerk, and then shown to Robertson, who believed it to be of John-stone's writing, as he had told him that the author's name was to be concealed. Robertson was well pleased, though he took no great concern about those kind of writings, and added a short paragraph in page [ ], which he laughingly alleged was the cause of its success, for great and unexpected success it certainly had; for it hit the tone of the country at that time, which being irritated at the line which was drawn between Scotland and England with respect to militia, was very desirous to have application made for it in the approaching session of Parliament. Much honour was done to this pamphlet, for the Honourable George, now Marquis Townshend, [First Marquis Townshend, uncle of Charles Townshend.] had it republished at London, with a preface of his own writing, as a Provost Ferguson of Ayr had done here. I had likewise a very flattering note from Sir Gilbert Elliot, who moved for the Scotch militia in the next session of Parliament, for he wrote me that he had only spoken the substance of my pamphlet in the House, and had got more praise for it from friends than for any speech lie had formerly made; but this did not happen till spring 1760, when a bill having been ordered and brought in, was rejected. Robert Dundas, then Lord Advocate, opposed it keenly, and it was said in party publications that this speech was the price paid for his being made President immediately after. But my belief is, that as political principles were formed in the school of the disciples and followers of Sir Robert Walpole, whose ostensible motive, if not his governing one, was a fear of the family of Stuart, Dundas sincerely thought that arming Scotland was dangerous, though he rested his argument chiefly on a less unpopular topic—viz. that a militia would ruin our rising manufactures. Ferguson had published a very superior militia pamphlet in London a year or two before, in which all the genuine principles of that kind of national defence were clearly unfolded. The parties here were so warm at this time that it was necessary to conceal the names of authors, to which I had an additional motive, from a hint of Dr. Cullen's; for, supping one night with him, Dr. Wight being only in company, after praising the pamphlet, he added that he did not know the author, and was glad of it, for he who occasionally saw so many of the superior orders, could assure us that those pamphlets, which were ascribed to clergymen, had raised a spirit of envy and jealousy of the clergy, which it would not be easy to stand. As, since the days of the f action about the tragedy of Douglas, three or four of us were supposed to be the authors of all the pamphlets which raised public attention, we sheltered ourselves in the crowd; and it was a good while before the real writers were found out.


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