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The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk
Chapter XII - 1764-1766 AGE, 42-44


IT was in February this year, I think, that Mrs. Carlyle, being perfectly recovered, and I accompanied her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Home, to Glasgow, to see their son Walter, who was in quarters there with his regiment, the 7th Foot. Dr. Wight had by that time got into his house in the College, and had got his youngest sister to keep his house, who was remarkably handsome, had very good parts, with the frank and open manner of the Dumfriesians. Her brother did not disappoint her turn for social entertainment, for he loved company, and the house was not without them almost any day. Here we and our friends were handsomely entertained, as well as at Mrs. Dreghorn's, where we lodged; and at her brother's, Mr. Bogle's, who never relaxed in his attachment to me. Walter Home, then only a lieutenant, whose chum was a Mr. Mainwarring, a very agreeable man, had made himself very respectable in Glasgow, to which he was well entitled, as much from his superior sense and knowledge as from his social turn. John Home, by one of his benevolent mistakes, had put him about James Stuart, Lord Bute's second son, whom he was engaged to attend daily while he lived with Dr. Robertson in Edinburgh.

At this time Henry Dundas, the most strenuous advocate for the law of the land respecting presentations, and the ablest and steadiest friend to Dr. Robertson and his party that ever appeared in my time, became a member of Assembly. He constantly attended the Assembly before and after he was Solicitor-General, though when he rose to be Lord Advocate and member of Parliament he was sometimes detained in London till after the meeting of Assembly. He was more than a match for the few lawyers who took the opposite side, and even for Crosbie, who was playing a game, and Dr. Dick, who was by far the ablest clergyman in opposition. ["On the other side was Dr. Dick, one of the most powerful speakers in point of eloquence and impression that had ever appeared in that, or any other, popular assembly."—Henry Mackenzie's Life of Home.] I am not certain whether Henry Dundas did not excel more as a barrister than he did as a judge in a popular assembly—in the first, by his entering so warmly into the interest of his client as totally to forget himself, and to adopt all the feelings, sentiments, and interests of his employer; in the second, by a fair and candid statement of the question, and followed it by strong and open reasoning in support of his opinion. For a few years at this period there was a great struggle in the General Assembly against the measures supported and carried through by Robertson and his friends, and we had to combat the last exertions of the party who had supported popular calls ; and it must be confessed that their efforts were vigorous. They contrived to bring in overtures from year to year, in which they proposed to consult the country, in the belief that the result would be such a general opinion over the kingdom as would oblige the General Assembly to renew their application for the abolition of patronage, or at least for some more lenient exercise of it. Those endeavours were encouraged by a new schism in the Church, which was laid by a Mr. Baine, minister of Paisley, which in a few years produced a numerous body of new seceders called the Presbytery of Relief, who had no fault to anything but presentations. This faction was supported for several years by a strange adventurer, a Mr. William Alexander, the second son of the provost of that name, who of all the men I have known had the strongest propensity to plotting, with the finest talents for such a business. As his attempts to speak in the Assembly were unsuccessful, and drew nothing on him but ridicule, he actually wrote to Dr. Blair (I have seen the letter), offering him a thousand pounds if he could teach him the art of speaking in public. As Blair was Professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres, he thought he was the most likely person to comply with his request but he had not observed that Dr. Blair never spoke in public himself, but from the pulpit, from whence he might have gathered that the knowledge of rhetoric was different from the practice.

It was in this year that Dr. Drysdale was translated from Kirkliston to Edinburgh after a long struggle with the popular body, the General Session of Edinburgh, who, with the Town Council, had for many years elected all the ministers. The Magistrates and Council reassumed their right of presentation in this case, and after much litigation established it, much for the peace of the city. During the contest, which was violent, my- friend Dr. Jardine rode out to me, and requested me to draw up a paper in their defence, which I did on his furnishing me with the facts, and published under the title of Faction Detected. This I mention, because Mr. Robertson, the Procurator, asked me once if it was not of his father's composing, for so it had been said to him. But I told him the fact, and at the same time gave him the reasons of dissent from a sentence of the Commission in 1751 or '52, which had been originally drawn by Dr. Robertson, though corrected and enlarged by a committee. This pamphlet had so much effect that the opposition employed their first hand, Dr. Dick, to write an answer to it; and yet neither the provost, nor any of the magistrates, nor Drysdale himself, ever thanked me for it. Dr. Jardine perhaps never told his father-in-law, Drummond, and I never asked him about it. Lindsay, who was restless, for whom John Home had obtained Lochmaben, now got Kirkliston, and Lord Bute sent Dicky Brown to Lochmaben, for which he had no thanks from the neighbourhood, for though Lindsay's temper was not very congruous to his brethren and neighbours, yet he was a gentleman, whereas the other was the contrary, and sometimes deranged.

In the end of summer I went again with Mrs. Carlyle to Harrogate, as her health was not good, and as the [change], if not the waters, might be good for her. I got an open chaise with two horses—one before the other, and the servant on the first. As many of the roads through which we went were not at all improved, we found this an excellent way of travelling. We visited our friends in the Merse and in the north of England by the way, and stayed some days at Newcastle. As Mr. Blackett and his lady were going soon to Ripon to visit his mother, they agreed to come on for a week to Harrogate, after which we would return with them by York, where Mrs. Carlyle had never been.

The assizes were at Newcastle while we were there, and Alexander Wedderburn was attending as a counsellor. [The reader need hardly be reminded that the Alexander Wedderburn so frequently mentioned became Lord Chancellor Loughborough.—J. H. B.] He had been there the preceding year, but had not a cause. Mr. —, an old counsellor, who had left London and settled at Leeds, had become acquainted with him, and had discovered the superiority of his talents. He got him two or three briefs this circuit, and his appearances were such as insured him future success. This very gentleman pointed out his first lady to him, with whom he got £Io,000. When the assizes were over he dined with us at Mr. Blackett's, where his talent for conversation not being equal to that at the bar, being stiff and pompous, he made not such an impression on the company as they expected. The appearance of self-conceit always disgusts the ladies. He came to Harrogate during the first days of our residence there and stayed two nights, when Mrs. Carlyle had some difficulty in getting him a partner.

It will not be improper hereto state, that on a future occasion I had the good fortune to save a man for that time from the gallows. There was a man of the name of Robertson, who lived near Belford, who was accused of having stolen a heifer, and killed it at his own house. The heifer had belonged to a person several miles distant from Belford, and was killed and skinned before it was seen by anybody ; but the proof on its marks, and the colour of its skin, made it very like the one amissing. The man had no advocate, and being put on the boards, was asked by the judge (Yates) if he had any defence to make. He answered, that he was in use of going annually to Dunse fair, where he generally bought a beast or two for his own use, and this was one he had got there. The judge summed up the evidence and charged the jury, observing in his conclusion, that the only defence the man made was, that he bought the heifer at Dunse fair. Now it having been proved that this heifer was of English breed, which could not be bought at Dunse, that defence would go for nothing. I was amazed at the ignorance of the judge, and the carelessness of the grand jury, and said to Colonel Dickson of Belford that the judge had gone quite wrong in his charge. He answered that Robertson was a great rascal, and deserved to be hanged. I answered that might be true, but that he ought not to suffer for the ignorance of the judge or jury, for he knew as well as I did that cattle of Northumberland were to be bought at Dunse fair —nay, that half the cattle in Berwickshire were of that breed, so that if he would not explain this to the judge, I would. I at last prevailed with him to go round and whisper the judge, who, calling in the jury, retracted what he had said. He sent them out again, and in a few minutes they returned and gave in their verdict, "Not guilty." I am afraid such mistakes must frequently happen in England, in spite of the perfection of their laws.

When we arrived at Harrogate, the Dragon was not full, and the first person we saw was the late General Clerk, whom, though younger by at least a year than me, I had known at college, and had sometimes met when I was last in London. This was a very singular man, of a very ingenious and active intellect, though he had broke short in his education by entering at an early age into the army; and having by nature a copious elocution, he threw out his notions, which were often new, with a force and rapidity which stunned you more than they convinced. He applied his warlike ideas to colloquial intercourse, and attacked your opinions as he would do a redoubt or a castle, not by sap and mine, but by open storm. I must confess, that of all the men who had so much understanding, he was the most disagreeable person to converse with whom I ever knew. The worst of him was that he was not contented with a patient hearing, nor even with the common marks of assentation, such as yes, or certainly, or to be sure, or nodding the head, as Charles Townshend, and William Robertson, and other great talkers were; you must contradict him, and wrangle with him, or you had no peace. Elibank had something of the same humour, but he was better bred. Clerk was truly the greatest siccatore in the world. Like some of the locusts that blast the vegetable world, and shrivel to dust everything that is green, he was of the caterpillar kind, who have a particular species of food, on which alone they fasten, and leave the rest untouched. I unluckily happened to be the only person of that species at this time in the Dragon whom he knew, and he fastened on me like a leech. Mrs. Carlyle and I breakfasted at a table by ourselves, not caring to join with anybody, as we expected our friends from Newcastle. In vain I hinted this to him as an excuse for not asking him to breakfast. That, he said, he never did, as he wished to be independent. On the third day, however, after our arrival, having been much taken with Mrs. Carlyle's manner of conversing, and her not being alarmed at his paradoxes, but only laughing at them, he ordered his tea-table to be set down close by hers, and kept up a noisy palaver which attracted the attention of the whole room; and had it not been for the lady's entire possession of herself, and her being a general favourite of the Company who were there, might have let loose the tongue of scandal. He told me that he expected Adam Ferguson from Edinburgh immediately, who was to take the two brothers of Lord Grenville, who were with Dr. Robertson at Edinburgh, under his care, and that he looked every day for his arrival. Ferguson had told me this before, and I now ardently wished for his coming. In about four or five days Ferguson came, and most happily relieved me from my post of fatigue ; for when everybody went a riding or walking in the forenoon, the first of which he could not do, as he had no horse,—would you believe it? he patiently walked backwards and forwards within sight of the door, so that I could not possibly escape him, and was obliged to submit to my destiny, which was to walk and wrangle with him for three hours together. About the fourth evening I had a little relief by the arrival of two gentlemen, whom, as we met driving to the inn in such a carriage as mine, as we were walking on the heath, Clerk, having stopped and spoken to them, returned to me and said that we were now lucky, for those were hands of the first water. They were Hall, Esq., the author of Crazy Tales; and the famous Colonel Lee, commonly called Savage Lee. [The Crazy Tales were published in 1762 anonymously. They appear (1795) in the collected works of John Hall Stevenson, who died in 1785. Charles Lee was afterwards celebrated as the rival of Washington for the command of the American army. He was one of the reputed authors of Junius.—J. H. B.] As Clerk expected Ferguson, and Charles, and Robert Grenville, we had agreed to keep at the foot of one of the tables that we might have them near us; and he requested me to remain in the same position, as the two newly-arrived would be glad to sit by us. I acquiesced, and found the first a highly-accomplished and well-bred gentleman; not so the second, but he might have been endured had it not been for the perpetual jarrings between Clerk and him, which, if it had not been for the mild and courteous manner of his companion Hall, must have ended in a quarrel; for the moment after the ladies rose from table, which was very soon, the two soldiers fell a wrangling and fighting like pugilists, which made their company very disagreeable.

In a day or two Ferguson arrived, which effectually took Clerk off me, except at our meal-time, which I could now endure, as his fire was divided. Before Ferguson came, the house began to be crowded, and lie was put into a very bad lodging-room, near where the fiddlers slept, and very noisy. On the third day he was seized with a fever, of which he was very impatient, and said it was entirely owing to his bad room. I brought Mrs. Carlyle to him, who thought him very feverish. I went to the landlady to procure him a better room, and when Kilrington, the M.D. from Ripon, who attended the house daily, arrived before dinner, I carried him to him, who prescribed nothing but rest and sack whey. After two days more, Kilrington, who saw him twice a-day, told me to go to him, for lie was better. I sat with him a few minutes, and as the dinner-bell rang, I left him, saying I would send Clerk after dinner. "God forbid," said he, in a voice of despair, "as you regard my life." This explosion left me no room to doubt what was the true cause of his fever. In two days more he was able to join us.

Soon after this there was a party made out which amused us much. The Laird of M'Leod, with his wife and daughter, afterwards Lady Pringle, arrived after dinner; and as we were their only acquaintance, and they had arrived after dinner, we waited on them to tea in their parlour, when they asked us [to a concert] they were to have there an hour or two later, which was to be private, but we might bring one or two of our friends. We attended accordingly, and took Messrs. Hall and Lee and two ladies with us. Miss M'Leod was at this time in the prime of her beauty, and a few months past sixteen. She was truly very striking and attractive. When the Savage saw her, he seemed astonished with her beauty; when she sang a Scottish song, he was delighted; but when she finished with an Italian song of the first order, he was ravished, and fell into a silly amazement, how a young lady from the barbarous coast of the Isle of Skye could possibly be such a mistress of the Italian music and Italian tongue. He spake not another word all that night or the next morning, when he had several opportunities of drinking deeper in the Cyprian goblet ; but when he saw them preparing to leave us after dinner, the conquered hero could not stand the mortifying event, but retired from the company, and was seen no more that night. The fit lasted for several days, and he bore the raillery of Hall and Clerk with a meekness which proved the strength of his passion. M'Leod had only looked in at Harrogate to observe the state of gaming there; but as he found nothing higher than a guinea whist-table, he thought to stay would be losing time, and made the best of his way to a town about forty miles off, where there were races to begin next day.

Mrs. Carlyle had never been at any watering-place before, and, considering that she was only twenty-four, she conducted herself with surprising propriety, many proofs of which I had, to my great delight—one proof was, the great joy that appeared when she won the chief prize in a lottery which was drawn for the amusement of the company. There was another lady from the south, of popular manners, a Mrs. Maxwell, who had the good wishes of a few of the ladies; but our party beat hers both in numbers and sincere attachment.

Our friends, the Blacketts, had now been for some days at Ripon with his mother, a fine hospitable old lady, the daughter of Mr. Wise of the Priory at Warwick. By a message they invited us to dine there next day, and desired us to bespeak their lodging, as they were to come to Harrogate with us. This we accordingly did, and rassed a very agreeable day with the old lady and our friends. She had a fine haunch of venison for us from Studley Park, besides many other good things. Ripon is a delightful village to live at, not merely on account of the good provisions for the table and a plentiful country, but because there is a dean and chapter, and generally excellent musicians. The dean and prebendary are well endowed, and they and their families furnish a good society. The Blacketts returned with us to Harrogate, and we passed our time very pleasantly. On the last night Clerk and Hall asked me in the evening to go to the Queen's Head to see some of our acquaintance there, and to shun our own ball. We went accordingly, and met with a ball there, of which we tired, and that we might be quiet, went to the Granby, where there was no ball, and where there was excellent claret. As Lee had refused to come abroad that evening, Hall was at liberty, and so, taking Kilrington the doctor with us as a fourth hand, we went there to supper, when Hall and Clerk fell a-debating so tediously and so warmly about Lord Bute's character and fitness for the place of minister, that we did not return to the Dragon till six in the morning. I was diverted to see how Clerk, who generally took part against Lord Bute, that night became his zealous friend, and not only contended that his being a Scotchman was no bar, but that his talents were equal to any high situation. Hall allowed him private virtues, but no public ability.

This conference was very tiresome, and lasted too late for me, who was to set out soon next morning. Ferguson's young gentlemen were not yet arrived, and he remained a week longer without being able to shake off his dear friend Clerk, who had procured for him the charge of those boys, and who, through his friendship to Lady Warwick, took a fatherly charge of them.

Our company got to York before dinner, where we stayed most part of next day, and got to Newcastle in two days, and in a few days more arrived at home. Blackett's horse was very heavy, and my tandem far outran them. When we came home, we found our children in perfect health, which was a great delight to us, and proved the fidelity of Jenny's nurse, with whom we had trusted them both.

Ambassador Keith had returned home, and having a handsome pension settled on him, he lived handsomely for some time in Edinburgh, and after a while at Hermitage, on Leith Links. He was a man, though without wit and humour, yet of good sense and much knowledge of the world. He had been absent from Scotland for twenty-two years as private secretary to Mareschal Lord Stair, Envoy at Holland, and Ambassador at Vienna and Petersburg. He complained that the society of Edinburgh was altered much for the worse. Most of his old companions were dead. The Scottish lairds did not now make it a part of their education to pass two years at least abroad, if they had but £300 per annum, from whence they returned polished in their manners; and that portion of them who had good sense, with their minds enlarged and their manners improved. They found themselves now better employed in remaining at home, and cultivating their fields; but they were less qualified for conversation, and could talk of nothing but of dung and of bullocks. The lawyers had contented themselves with studying law at home. The medical tribe had now the best school of physic in Europe established in Edinburgh, and a rising infirmary, which promised the students an ample field of practice, so that very few of that profession went now to Leyden or Paris. Keith complained of the dulness of the society, in which he was confirmed by his son, afterwards Sir Robert Murray Keith, who had come down to stay for three months, but returned by the end of one, not finding the state of society to his mind. The Ambassador had recourse to our order, who had, till lately, never been thought good company; so that finding Blair and Robertson and Jardine and myself, to whom he afterwards added Ferguson, good company for him, he appointed us ambassador's chaplains, and required an attendance at least once a week to dinner at his house, and was to return our visits when we asked him. He was soon chosen a member of the Poker Club, which was entirely to his taste. Baron Mure and Lord Elliock were also much in his society, especially the first, who having been intimate with Lord Bute during the ten years lie resided in Bute, previous to 1745, was, after serving in Parliament for some years for Renfrewshire, promoted to the place of Baron of Exchequer. When Milton's infirmities made him retire from business, Baron Mure was the man who was thought fit to supply his place, after Lord Bute's brother, who tried it for one season, but finding his being sub-minister not agreeable to the country, and very irksome to himself, he prudently declined it, when Mure became the confidential man of business, for which he was perfectly well qualified; for though his manner was blunt and unattractive, yet as, at the same time, he was unassuming, of excellent understanding and great ability for business, he continued to be much trusted and advised with as long as he lived. [William Mure of Caldwell, Baron of the Exchequer, held a high social place among the men of letters of that day in Scotland; he was the intimate friend and the correspondent of David Hume. His correspondence is contained in "the Caldwell Papers," edited for the Bannatyne Club by his descendant, the late distinguished scholar and author, Colonel lure.—J. H. B.] Elliock was an excellent scholar, and a man of agreeable conversation, having many curious anecdotes in his store, and to his other fund, had the good fortune to be well acquainted with Frederick the Great of Prussia, when he retired into Holland from his father's tyranny, and visited him at least once by invitation, after he came to the throne. [James Veitch, advocate, was raised to the bench in 1760, when he took the title of Lord Elliock. He enjoyed a reputation in his day, from the circumstance, alluded to in the text, of Frederic the Great having taken a fancy to him, and conferred on him the rank of Correspondent.—J. H. B.]

This was the year, too, when Dr. John Gregory, my Leyden friend, came to settle in Edinburgh, a widower, with three sons and three daughters. He soon came to be perfectly known here, and got into very good business. Dr. Rutherford, Professor of the Practice of Physic, beginning to fail, and being afraid of Cullen becoming his successor, whom he held to be an heretic, he readily entered into a compact with Gregory, whom he esteemed orthodox in the medical faith, and resigned his class to him. In a year or two that doctor died, when Cullen and Gregory, agreeable to previous settlement, taught the two classes the theory and practice by turns, changing every session. I got Gregory elected into the Poker, but though very desirous at first, yet he did not avail himself of it, but desisted after twice attending, afraid, I suppose, of disgusting some of the ladies he paid court to by falling in sometimes there with David Hume, whom they did not know for the innocent good soul which he really was. Professor Ferguson told me not long ago that he was present the second time Dr. Gregory attended the Poker, when, enlarging on his favourite topic, the superiority of the female sex, he was so laughed at and run down that he never returned.

Gregory had met with Old Montague [Edward Montagu. He was much older than his celebrated wife. His interest lay in agriculture and mathematics, while his wealth was largely derived from coal mines in Northumberland.] at the Royal Society in London, who was fond of all mathematicians, and had made himself master of his mind. Montague introduced him to his wife, a fine woman, who was a candidate for glory in every branch of literature but that of her husband, and its connections and dependencies. She was a faded beauty, a wit, a critic, an author of some fame, and a friend and coadjutor of Lord Lyttleton. She had some parts and knowledge, and might have been admired by the first order of minds, had she not been greedy of more praise than she was entitled to. She came here for a fortnight, from her residence near Newcastle, to visit Gregory, who took care to show her off; but she did not take here, for she despised the women, and disgusted the men with her affectation. Old Edinburgh was not a climate for the success of impostures. Lord Kames, who was at first catched with her Parnassian coquetry, said at last that he believed she had as much learning as a well-educated college lad here of sixteen. I could have forgiven her for her pretensions to literary fame, had she not loudly put in her claim to the praise and true devotion of the heart, which belongs to genuine feelings and deeds, in which she was remarkably deficient. We saw her often in the neighbourhood of Newcastle, and in that town, where there was no audience for such an actress as she was, her natural character was displayed, which was that of an active manager of her affairs, a crafty chaperon, and a keen pursuer of her interest, not to be outdone by the sharpest coal-dealer on Tyne; but in this capacity she was not displeasing, for she was not acting a part. Mrs. Montague was highly delighted with "Sister Peg," which Ferguson had written, and congratulated Mrs. Carlyle on having a husband whose conversation must be a constant source of entertainment. She did not advert to it, that in domestic life the scene did not always lie in the drawing-room.

We had a sight of the celebrated poet Gray at Dr. Gregory's, who passing through Edinburgh to the Highlands with my friend Major Lyon for his conductor, six or seven of us assembled to meet him, and were disappointed. But this eminent poet had not justice done him, for he was much worn out with his journey, and, by retiring soon after supper, proved that he had been taken at a time when he was not fit to be shown off.

(1765.)—Early in March this year I lost my worthy father, at seventy-five years of age. He had been for some years declining, and of late had strong symptoms of dropsy, a disease of worn-out constitutions; for though seemingly robust and very active, he had been afflicted all his life with sundry disorders of an alarming nature, such as an universal rheumatism, and spasms in his stomach at regular hours every night for three months together. He died with the utmost calmness and resignation, and ordered all his affairs with a prudence and foresight that were surprising, amidst frequent effusions of the most fervent piety. Though long expected, I felt this a severe blow, as every man of common feelings must do—the loss of a respectable parent. The sincere grief of his parish, and the unaffected regret of all who knew him, raised pleasing sensations in the minds of his family. I had withdrawn my wife from this afflicting scene, by letting her yield to the importunity of her sister, and go to Newcastle in the beginning of March. This ascendance which her sister had on her affections accounted perfectly for our not growing rich, as some of our free-judging neighbours alleged we must certainly be doing; for though our income was tolerable, yet these frequent visits to the south—not less than twice in a year—put it only in our power to pay our accounts at the end of the year. I went to Newcastle before the end of April to bring my wife home, on which or some such occasion we brought with us Dr. Gregory's two daughters, Dolly and Anne, very fine girls, who had been staying with Mrs. Montague. As there were none of my father's family now alive but my sister Bell, who was the youngest, and Sarah, who was one or two years older, and unmarried, my father had the satisfaction that my mother would be independent, but advised her to come close to me, which she did at the Michaelmas term.

Lord Prestongrange, the patron of the parish, who was my father's friend and old companion at college, was generous to my mother, by giving her a grant of the glebe, which was partly sown, and a considerable part of the vacant stipend, to which she was not entitled. The two next successors to my father died in four years, so that his place was not well filled up, nor the regret of the parishioners lessened for his loss, till Dr. Joseph M'Cormick succeeded in 1768 or '69.

In the General Assembly this year there was a strong push made to bring in an overture to all the presbyteries of the Church to inquire into the causes of schism, etc., from whence those in opposition to patronages believed there would come such a report as would found and justify a fresh application to the Legislature for their abolition. It was thought best on our side not directly to oppose this motion, but to propose a committee of Assembly rather than agree to the transmission, which was agreed to, and a large committee appointed, who, strange to tell, in spite of all their zeal, met only once, and did nothing, though they had full power, and made no report to next Assembly. [The reader will recognise in these and subsequent passages some interesting incidents of the great contest, which, beginning with the Patronage Act of 1710, threw off two dissenting bodies—the Secession and the Relief—in the eighteenth century, and ended in the construction of the Free Church in 1843. The nature of the proceedings will be understood by keeping in view that the "overture," or opening of a measure (a term taken by the Parliament of Scotland from French practice), required, in conformity with one of the fundamental regulations of ecclesiastical procedure in Scotland, called the "Barrier Act," to be transmitted to the local presbyteries for adoption by a majority before being passed and carried into effect by the General Assembly.—J. H. B.]

It was in the months of August and September this year that Dr. Wight and I made our tour round the north, where neither of us had ever been, from whence we derived much amusement and satisfaction. We went on horseback by Queensferry, Perth, Dundee, Arbroath, etc. We stayed four days and nights at Aberdeen on account of Dr. Wight's horse having been lamed in crossing the ferry at Montrose; but we passed our time very agreeably between the houses of our friends Drs. Campbell and Gerard. [Dr. George Campbell, Principal of Aberdeen University and author of A Dissertation on Miracles in answer to Hume's Philosophy of Rhetoric. Dr. Gerard, Professor of Divinity in King's College, Aberdeen, author of An Essay on Taste, etc.]

When I returned—for Wight went to Dumfries from Edinburgh—I found the children well, but their mother suffering from a very severe rheumatism in her teeth, owing to their being cleaned too much. A fresh call from Newcastle carried Mrs. Carlyle there again in the beginning of November. I did not go with her, but went for her at the end of the year, and carried a Miss Wilkie with me from Ingram's, and a Rev. Mr. Forbes, who married a grand-aunt of Mrs. Carlyle's.

(1766.)—I have not mentioned some visits we had from our friends in Newcastle, nor do I exactly [remember] the dates of their coming. He soon tired, and had always business to carry him back. Not so his lady, who loved our society better than that of Newcastle. In April I made a tour with Mary to Berwick, Langton, and Fogo, for her health, and to visit our friends.

John Home was now always in London from October till May, when Lord Bute parted with him, for most part to come to the General Assembly, as, being Lord Conservator, he was now a constant member, and, though no great debater, gave us a speech now and then.

In the Assembly this year there was the last grand effort of our opponents to carry through their Schism Overture, as it was called, as it proposed to make an inquiry into the causes and growth of schism. On the day before it came before the Assembly we had dined at Nicholson's. Before we parted, Jardine told me that he had examined the list of the Assembly with care, and that we should carry the question—that it would be nearly at par till we came as far on the roll as Lochmaben, but that after that we should have it hollow. I have mentioned this on account of what happened next day, which was Friday the 29th.

There was a very long debate, so that the vote was not called till past seven o'clock. Jardine, who had for some time complained of breathlessness, had seated himself on a high bench near the east door of the Assembly House, there being at that time no galleries erected. He had, not half an hour before, had a communication with some ladies near him in the church gallery, who had sent him a bottle of wine, of which he took one glass. The calling of the roll began, and when it had passed the presbytery of Lochmaben, he gave a significant look with his eye to me, who was sitting below the throne, as much as to say, "Now the day's our own." I had turned to the left to whisper to John Home, who was next me, the sign I had got; before I could look round again, Jardine had tumbled from his seat, and, being a man of six feet two inches, and of large bones, had borne down all those on the two benches below him, and fallen to the ground. He was immediately carried out to the passage, and the roll-calling stopped. Various reports carne from the door, but, anxious to know the truth, I stepped behind the Moderator's chair and over the green table, and with difficulty made the door through a very crowded house. When I came there, I found him lying stretched on the pavement of the passage with many people about him, among the rest his friend and mine, James Russel the surgeon. With some difficulty I got near him, and whispered was it not a faint? "No, no," replied he, "it is all over." I returned to the house, and, resuming my place, gave out that there were hopes of his recovery. This composed the house, and the calling of the roll went on, when it was carried to reject the overture by a great majority. This was a deadly blow to the enemies of presentations, for they had mustered all their strength, and had been strenuous in debate. Henry Dundas, however, had now come to our aid, who was himself a match for all their lay forces, as Robertson and a few friends were for all the bands of clergy. I was not a member. A party of us had been engaged to dine with Mr. Dundas, but could not now go, as Dr. Jardine was a near relation of his lady, who was delivered of her first child that night.

Robertson was much dejected, as he had good reason. I immediately proposed to him and J. Home to send for a post-chaise and carry them out to Musselburgh, which was done directly, and which relieved us from all troublesome company. This death of Jardine was not only a breach in our society which we long felt, as John Jardine was one of the pleasantest of the whole, who played delightfully on the unbounded curiosity and dupish simplicity of David Hume, but was a great support to Robertson and our friends in the management of ecclesiastical affairs, as he was the son-in-law of Provost Drummond, and kept him steady, who had been bred in the bosom of the Highflyers. And having had the management of the burgh of Lochmaben for Charles Erskine of Tinwald at twenty-nine years of age, he acquired early that address and dexterity in managing men which could easily be applied to Edinburgh politics, though they were on a much greater scale. In politics he was artful, in other affairs quite trusty. [Dr. John Jardine, minister of the Tron Church parish, was born in Dumfriesshire in 1716. He was an active leader in the church courts, and intimate with the great literary circle of Edinburgh; but the only things he is known to have written are contributions to the short-lived Edinburgh Review, commenced in 1755.-J. H. B.]

As Jardine, however, had one-third of the deanery, Robertson availed himself of the vacancy to obtain it for Dr. Drysdale, whose wife was one of the Adams' and Robertsons' cousin-german. This attached Drysdale more to him, and made him apply assiduously to the correspondence with the distant clergy, which opened up to him a view of the clerkship of the Church, which he afterwards obtained.

I said that the Schism Overture which we defeated was the last blow that was aimed at patronage, for whatever attempts were afterwards made were feeble and ineffective. There still remained, however, in the Assembly's instructions to their Commission, an article which was a constant reproach to the General Assembly—viz., That they should watch for a convenient opportunity of applying to the King and Parliament for redress from the grievance of patronage. This was too much, at a time when almost every clerical member of Assembly had been settled by a presentation. This, however, was not left out till Dr. Robertson had retired from the conduct of our affairs, when, in the Assembly 1784, I got it proposed by some of the elders, when, after some debate, it was carried to leave it out by a great majority. Next year there was a feeble attempt to restore the article in the Instructions, but this did not even raise a debate, and we heard no more of it.


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