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Reminiscences of Dollar, Tillicoultry and other Districts adjoining the Ochils
Chapter II - Wilson Family of Bankhead, and Letters from America


WILSON FAMILY OF BANKIIEAD, AND LETTERS FROM AMERICA
DURING THE AMERICAN WAR IN 1812 AND 1813.

IN the old churchyard of the county town of Clackmannan, a tombstone is to be seen not far from the east end of the church, the inscription on which runs as follows:-

1828.
Erected by SARAH WILSON
in memory of
Her dear departed friends,
SARAH MALLOCH, her Grandmother,
died 1st July 1791, aged 73;
ALEXANDER WILSON, her Grandfather,
died 18th April 1806, aged 72;
ANNIE, her Sister, died 20th Feby.
1814, aged 13;
HENRY, her Brother, died 9th Augt.
1828, aged 33;
Also the above
SARAH WILSON, died 24th Dear. 1861, aged 79.

'Come, here Is mouldering dust;
behold and see
what you and I and all ere
long must be.'

This Alexander Wilson and Sarah Malloch are my maternal great-grandfather and great' grandmother.

Standing at the Cross of Clackmannan, and looking up the only street of which the town consists, their house is the first one on the right-hand side, with an outside stone stair.

How many of a family they had I have not been able to learn; but they had one daughter, named Mary, who married a cousin of her own—Adam Wilson, who was laird of the farm of Bankhead, in Fossoway parish. They had a family of nine children—six Sons and three daughters—their names and the years of their birth being as follows:-

Uncle William, the eldest son, emigrated in 1801 to America, and established himself as a market gardener in the city of New York. He died about the year 1833, leaving a large family, none of whom, however, we have ever seen. His eldest son corresponded with my brother in Dollar, and thought at one time of coming over to see us, but never made it out. He died some years ago. We know nothing of his family, or of any of the other members of uncle's family. From three letters of uncle's that have just been put into my hands by my brother in Dollar (written in 1812 and 1813), I find he had been a most intelligent and really good man, and gifted, withal, with a poetical turn of mind of no mean order.

Two of these letters were written to his sister Sarah, and one to his young brother Henry, then only sixteen years of age, and are of general interest, from the fact that they were written during the American war with Britain, and show very clearly the great difficulty there was in carrying on any intercourse or correspondence between the two countries at that time. The following quotations will show this. In a letter to his sister, dated June 1813, he says: 'I am sorry that the war between this country and Britain should interrupt our correspondence, yet I expect to have frequent opportunities by the Cartel ships to write you; and although such letters are all examined by the officers of the Government, and no doubt will be so long as the war continues, yet our correspondence being perfectly inoffensive is no detriment in the least to them. This, and another for Sandy, go by the Cartel ship Robert Burns, from New York to Liverpool. Mr. Gibb in Dunfermline will be able to inform you how to get your letters properly conveyed for the Cartel ships, which are the only chance now by which we can write.' Again, in another letter to his sister, dated December 24th, 1813, he says: 'Your kind letter of last July and the other two, sent by the return of the Robert Burns, I received all safe. May God grant that we may be equally prosperous with the present Cartel.'

And again in the same letter he says: 'I send one letter to Sandy along with this by the Cartel ship Fair American, bound to Liverpool, where she will be allowed to remain but a short time before her return to the United States. It is of no consequence to what port any of the Cartel ships come here; their letters are very speedily forwarded to New York from any port in the Union. There was one, the Minerva, that arrived at Boston not long ago from Leith. It would have been a fine opportunity for Sandy, and I wondered he did not write by her.'

Having been informed by his sister of the death of his mother at Bankhead, Fossoway, those two letters to her, from which I have quoted, are full of expressions of the most intense, glowing love to his dear departed mother, for whom he and all the family seemed to have entertained the deepest love and affection. In one of them he wishes a white marble tombstone to be erected to her memory, with the following inscription, the expense of which was to be entirely borne by himself:—

Sacred
to the memory of
MARY WILSON,
wife of ADAM WILSON, of
Bankhead, of Tullybole,
who departed this life on the
27th day of June 1812, aged 52 years.

This stone is erected by her affectionate children, as a lasting testimony of that sincere regard which they bear for the memory of the beat of mothers.

The last sad tribute they can here bestow for that maternal and affectionate regard invariably manifested by her unsullied bosom for the beat interests of her darling offspring.

'Blessed are the dead who the In the Lord.'

The death of his mother, and a number of their neighbours, at Bankhead about the same time, suggested to him the following lines, which I here give as a specimen of his poetry:-

lately I roamed through yon bonnie green valley,
The fields they were wet with the soft morning dew,
And the sweet native notes of the lark still ascended,
Far on high rose her song as still upward she flew.

'My mind it was cheered by the sweet-smelling verdure
Of all that is fair in kind nature's display,
The full-blown flowers wide their glories expanded,
The rose and the lily bloomed fragrant and gay.

'Green were the boughs of the high towering forest,
Brave emblems of virtue they soared still on high,
Their sweet-smelling odours spread o'er the valley,
Their exalted perfume reached the far-distant sky.

'Though my feet wandered wide to yon far-distant nation,
My soul hovered still o'er the midst of the vale;
Deep, deep in my bosom lay hid the sweet treasure,
Instilled from the fairest, the dearest of all.

'With fond exultation how joyful I tasted
Of these sweets, though far wafted across the wide sea;
But ah! how short-lived are our best earthly treasures,
The beauty of Fossoway blooms no more for me!

The greatest, the fairest of all the green forest—
How stately they flourished, how pleasant they shone!
Are laid low in the dust, in silence they moulder;
The glory of Fossoway is fallen, is gone.

'Where are her cedars that waved on the mountain!
How does her forest look scanty and thin!
O chilly blast, had thou spared but the fairest,
The bonnie white Wy, ho glad had. I been!

Her old goodly timber that still stands unshaken,
Both cheerless and dreary alone now remain;
O soft be the breeze that may ever pass o'er them;
Pleasant and calm be their last setting sun.

'Ye dear tender shoots who are now thus exposed,
Unsheltered to feel the rough tempest's cold blast,
O how I would lock you to this warm bosom,
And hide thee in safety within this fond breast!

'Nor time nor great distance shall e'er dim those features,
Of love and affection my soul ever warms;
It pores o'er the valley with filial raptures,
It lingers; it strays by the dearest of urns.'

In a footnote under this poetry he says: 'Two lines of the first verse allude to the early morning prayers of our worthy mother, and the two next verses to the happy situation of those who lived under the auspicious care of her, and the other worthy friends that are gone?

That this poetical turn of mind was not confined to him alone of the family, may be gathered from the following quotation from the same letter, written immediately after the poetry:-

'In the above verses I have followed the same imagery as that in which my little brother Henry had been traversing. His verses I carefully copied from your letter, and, for a youth of sixteen, I think them well composed.'

From the whole letter to his brother Henry, he shows himself to have been a decided Christian, and the many excellent counsels contained in it, and the language in which they are expressed, would have done credit to any minister. Throughout all the three letters he shows the greatest interest in the temporal and eternal welfare of all his brothers and sisters, and in one of them refers to my father and mother (who were then only about a year married), as 'our brother Gibson and Mary?

The many excellent advices given to his young brother in the letter to him are so suitable for young lads about to start on the business of life, that I think I cannot do better than give a few extracts from it, for the benefit of the rising generation of the present day. Although written seventy years ago (the letter being dated September 20th, 1812), they are as suitable now as they were then. In it he says :-

'You will scarcely remember the man that thus addresses you; yet often, often do I think of the playful scenes you gratified me with in your youngest years. But now that you are grown up, considerations of far more importance will no doubt occupy your thoughts; and as all men continually stand in need of, and are greatly benefited by, serious and sound admonitions, I send you this letter with a sincere desire that it may prove a lasting blessing to you, and that you may not be without a memorandum of a brother who sincerely loves you. Whatever your inclinations may be respecting the occupation you intend to follow, happiness is undoubtedly the grand object of all your wishes; yet perfect happiness cannot be obtained on this side the grave. But there is an inexpressible happiness to be obtained which the "worldly-minded" knows not of,, neither can the world give, or take it away.

'Let me advise you above all things to hold daily and frequent intercourse with your Creator, and endeavour as far as possible to regulate all your conduct according to the good laws of God, so plainly exhibited to you in your Bible. Perhaps you have already gone, or may soon go, to some trade. Then, in a special manner, ought you to be on your guard. Above all things, in your dealings with mankind, observe these two, truth and honesty, by which you will command respect from all who know you; whereas falsehood and covetousness justly incur the contempt of everybody. All kinds of swearing and obscene language sadly demean the man, deprave his every virtue, and sink him below the level of the very brute. Beware, I beseech you, of the friendship of those who indulge in every kind of wickedness and obscenity. You will always find in every place some whose minds naturally rise above the vile and ignominious. Such minds will ever warm to those of similar affections, and the improving intercourse that ensues is truly pleasing and useful.

'The man who spends his life without the society of a virtuous friend can scarcely know what it is to live. Such an one I hope you will always be able to enjoy, and may God ever preserve you from the paths of vice.

'I send this letter, and one to Robert, with a Mr. Murphy, whose family lives in Paisley. He has been here a few months only, and returns in a Cartel ship to Liverpool. . . . He is much pleased with my situation.'

I find the postage of those letters was 2s. 6d., this sum being marked on the back of one of them. (There were no envelopes in those days, nor for many a day after—the letters being written on three sides of a big square sheet of paper, and addressed on the fourth.) It is also written on each of them when they were received, and in every case I find it took about two months for the packet to cross the Atlantic.

What a contrast to all this exists at the present day, and how would my worthy uncle be astonished could he revisit this earthly scene again! Instead of two months, his letters would now reach their destination in some seven or eight days, with unfailing regularity, driven along against, wind and tide and the ocean currents of the Atlantic by that wonderful agent steam, the irresistible force of which was first discovered by James Watt, when he tied down the lid of the kettle, stopped up the spout, and blew away at the fire with the bellows, to see what effect it would have, when he escaped death as if by a miracle, the kettle being shivered to atoms.

And then, instead of looking out for friends by whom to send his letters, and when none could be got, sending them through the post office at a charge of 2s. 6d., we get them despatched daily now for the small sum of 2d. only, by the magnificent fleet of gigantic steamers that now cross the Atlantic.

But how would uncle stare in utter amazement, when told that he could flash a message with lightning speed across the Atlantic to his sister in a few minutes, by a mysterious wire at the bottom of the ocean! Yet those are amongst the great advantages we now enjoy, as compared with his day, and for all of which, and for many other great discoveries since his time, we ought to be truly thankful.

He was the author of a very excellent book on gardening, published by Anderson, Davis, & Co., Chatham Square, New York, in 1828. It is entitled, 'Economy of the Kitchen-Garden, the Orchard, and the Vinery, with Plain Practical Directions for their Management. By William Wilson, nurseryman.' It is a book of two hundred and six pages, and contains a very full treatise of the subject, and must have been invaluable in those early days of the settlement of the country. He had got the copyright of his book secured; and the fact that it was so is made known in the first page,—a short extract from which I here give as follows :-

'Southern District of New York, S.S.

'BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the sixteenth day of October, in the fifty-second year of the Independence of the United States of America, William Wilson, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author and proprietor, in the words following, to wit:-

[Here follows the title, as given above.]

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned. . . . And extending the Benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving, and Etching Historical and other Prints."

'FREDERICK J. BETTS,
'Cleric of the Socthern District of New York.'

It may not be uninteresting to give a copy of the index to the book, as showing what products were principally reared at that time in America. It is as follows -

VEGETABLES.

Asparagus, bean, beet, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, carrot, cucumber, corn salad, cress, endive, egg plant, garlick, hole bean, horseradish, Indian corn, kail, lettuce, leek, melon, New Zealand spinnage, nasturtium, onion, okra, parsnip, parsley, pea, pepper, pumpkin, potato, radish, spinage, squash, sorrel, salsify, shallot, turnip, tomato.

POT AND SWEET HERBS.

Caraway, coriander, sweet basil, summer savory, sage, thyme.

MEDICINAL HERBS.

Balm, calomile, comfrey, catmint, elecampane, bore- hound, hyssop, mint, rue, tansey, wormwood.

FRUIT.

Apple, pear, peach, plum, cherry, apricot, nectarine, quince, gooseberry, currant, raspberry, strawberry, grape vine.

Of the vine, he says the following sorts have been found to succeed tolerably well in America :-

Milen Burgundy, Golden Chasselas, White Chasselas, White Sweet Water, White Muscadine, Morillon Blanc, Black Hamburgh, Tokay, Blue Cartiga, Muscat Violet, Messlier, Austrian Muscadell.

From the introduction to his book I learn that, from a diary he kept regularly for a period of nine years of the results of all his various gardening operations, and from the experience gathered for twenty-seven years of what best suited the soil and climate in the neighbourhood of New York, he had gathered the materials for another and more important work, which was immediately to follow his first one, the title of which was to be 'The New York Horticulturist,' and in which he says would be found 'a distinct arrangement of all the views of importance which I have formed and entertain respecting the practical execution of all the various operations necessary to be performed in the more refined departments of landscape gardening, the pleasure or flower garden, the hothouse, greenhouse, and forcing- frames. But as these subjects are not necessarily much connected with the kitchen garden, it has been thought better to commence with the management of it by itself, the more especially as it is presumed the far greater part of the purchasers will prefer to have it so. The management of fruit trees and grape vines being so nearly allied to that of the kitchen garden, they will be freely treated upon in the present work, as soon as we get our kitchen garden well cropped.'

Of this second work we have, unfortunately, no copy (so far as I know). The copy. of the one from which I have been quoting was made a present of to my father by the author, and is inscribed on the first page, in his own handwriting, as follows :-

Presented to
WILLIAM GIBSON,
by his Brother,
THE AUTHOR.
New York, October 2, 1828.

It is now in the possession of one of my sisters.

As a contrast to those 'floating islands' that now leave Glasgow almost daily to cross the Atlantic, it may not be uninteresting here to refer to the Comet, the first steamer that was started on the Clyde, which was built in 1811, by J. Wood, for Henry Bell. It was only forty-two feet long, eleven feet broad, and five and a half feet deep.

This leviathan steamer was advertised to sail, in a newspaper dated 5th August 1812; and referring as it does to those early days of steam navigation, I here give a copy of it in full

'STEAM PASSAGE BOAT THE COMET, BETWEEN GLASGOW
AND HELENSBURGH, FOR PASSENGERS ONLY.

'The subscriber having at much expense fitted up a handsome vessel to ply upon the Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock, to sail by the power of wind, air, and steam, he intends that the vessel shall leave the Broomielaw on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays about mid-day, or at such hour thereafter as may answer from the state of the tide; and to leave Greenock on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the morning to suit the tide. The elegance, comfort, safety, and speed of this vessel require only to be proved to meet the approbation of the public; and the proprietor is determined to do everything in his power to merit public encouragement. The terms are for the present fixed at 4s. for the best cabin, and 3s. for the second; but beyond these rates nothing is to be allowed to servants or any other persons employed about the vessel. The subscriber continues his establishment at Helens- burgh Baths the same as for ten years past, and a vessel will be in readiness to convey passengers in the Comet from Greenock to Helensburgh. Passengers by the Comet will receive information of the hours of sailing by applying at Mr. Houstan's office, Broomielaw, or Mr. Thomaa Blackney, East Quay Head, Greenock.

'HENRY BELL

Aunt Sarah and Uncle Henry lived in their grandfather's house in Clackmannan, and carried on the little shop in connection with it. Uncle died at the early age of thirty-three, but aunt lived to the long age of seventy-nine.

Uncle Robert, who was a builder, established himself in Paisley, and his eons John, William, and Robert used frequently to visit us in Dollar. They have now emigrated to America.

Uncle Adam (who never was married) lived for long in Dollar, but latterly in Paisley, and died there.

Uncle Alexander emigrated to America, and we never heard where be settled, or what became of him.

Uncle Bruce was drowned in the Caldron Linn. No one saw him fall in; but a stepping-stone that used to be at the top of the upper fall, and by which people got across the Devon, was amissing, and this led to the supposition that he might have fallen in. This, alas! turned out to be too true; for, after a week's searching, his body was got in the lower pool.

Caldron Line

Aunt Annie died in my father's house, at the early age of thirteen. She was a good little girl, and told the friends around her deathbed that if she died on a Sabbath, to be sure she was in heaven. And on a Sabbath, sure enough, she did die.

THE OLD HOME IN DOLLAR.

I come now to the one of the family around whom the greatest interest centres - my dear and loving mother, Mary, who was married to my father on the 26th of April 1811, being then twenty-three years of age, my father being a year younger.

I was told by a Mrs. M'Ilwraith, who lived in Tillicoultry, and who died only a few months ago, aged ninety-five, that she knew my father and mother very well before they were married, and that it was at a marriage in Dollar they first saw each other. Be this as it may, my father was fortunate in getting one of the best of women for his partner in life, and who afterwards proved a most devoted and excellent mother to his large family; and whose memory will, till the day of my death, be deeply enshrined in my inmost heart.

They had twelve of a family, four sons and eight daughters, five of whom (two sons and three daughters) died in infancy. The names of the survivors were as follows six of whom are still living:-

Jane (Jeanie), first Mrs. Peter Daigleish, Stirling. James, married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Mr. William Archibald, Craigfoot, Tillicoultry.

Mary-Ann (Mrs. Archibald, Devonvale, Tilhicoultry, and Cluny Bank, Porres).

William, married Jessie Christie, eldest daughter of Mr. James Prentice, Stirling.

Janet (Mrs. Kirk, Park House, Dollar).

Sarah.

Amelia (Emily) (Mrs. M'Leish, Free Church Manse, Methven).

In my father's house we were most thoroughly drilled in the use of the Scriptures and the Shorter Catechism, having to repeat (question about) the one half of the latter every Sabbath night, my father asking all the questions without a book. This thorough knowledge of the Catechism was at that time, I believe, very general, and was considered essential to salvation; and in almost every household it was looked upon as of equal authority with the Bible. That it should have been so, is, I think, very much to be regretted, as some important things were left out of it that should have been in, and some were given a prominence to that had better have been out.

I trust this old 'Standard' will—like the New Testament—soon be revised, and those glorious truths made known in it (which are not at present), that Christ tasted death for every man (Heb. ii. 9); and that God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. ii. 4). I would like, also, to see added to the already beautiful answer to the fourth question of, 'What is God,' those three precious words, 'God is love' (1 John iv. 8). When referring to this fourth question of the Catechism, I think it would not be out of place here to give a short extract from a very beautiful address I saw lately, on the love of God, and the great mistake many people made regarding it. The great source of the mental anguish of thousands is caused by thinking that they must make God love them by being good. Now God loves us, not because we are good, but because He is our Father. The cross of Christ does not make God love us; it is the outcome and measure of His love to us. He loves all His children—the clumsiest, the dullest, the ugliest, and the worst. His love lies at the back of everything, and we must get upon that as the solid foundation of our religious life, not growing up into that, but growing up out of it.' No poor sin- burdened soul, mourning over the wickedness and depravity of his or her sinful heart, need ever despair when they see the love of their heavenly Father to them, as manifested in the beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke xv. 11). 'When he was yet a great way of,' the father did not wait till he came to him, but ran and met him, fell on his neck, kissed, and embraced his son; showing clearly that God is at all times more willing to receive us, than we are to go to Him.

When referring to this parable, an interesting story I read a few years ago in one of the children's magazines, has been brought to mind, and it may not be out of place to introduce it here. A gentleman's son had lived a very reckless, sinful life; and, after sinking lower and lower in depravity, he was at last forced to join himself to other two or three kindred spirits, and perform through the streets as a coloured minstrel. Stopping in front of a shop door one day, the merchant (a godly man) offered a shilling to this son if he would read aloud to them all a portion of Scripture which he would point out to him. The offer being gladly accepted, the Bible was opened, and Luke xv. 11 having been pointed out to him, he commenced at once to his task. He had not proceeded far, when one of his companions ejaculated, 'That's thee, Jim,' and frequently, as he continued, repeated the exclamation; till at last the poor fellow fairly broke down, and, like the son of whom he had been reading, he resolved there and then that 'he would arise and go to his father,' and confess all his past wickedness; and ask his forgiveness. He did so, and was welcomed back to his friends, and this good merchant's shilling proved the means, in God's hand, of this young prodigal's conversion.

There is no unwillingness on God's part that we should be saved, and we will have ourselves to blame if we are not so. He has provided an all-sufficient Saviour for us, if we will only accept of Him. He says: 'As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from His way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil way, for why will ye die?' (Ezek. xxxiii. 11). And then we have what I look upon as the most precious verse in the whole Bible, John iii. 16, 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' What a precious word that 'Whosoever' is—the poor broken-hearted penitent, the sail-righteous Pharisee, the openly wicked and profane, all are here invited to come, and accept of this all-sufficient Saviour; but we must come, and each for himself or herself, personally, accept of Him, for Jesus says in another place of those who reject Him, 'Ye will not come to me that ye might have life' (John v. 40). How precious is this invitation: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light' (Matt. xi. 28, 29, 30). And again: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me' (Rev. iii. 20).

Let none, then, be afraid of being shut out from the atonement of Jesus, when they read those precious verses.

In personal appearance my father was about the average height (5 ft. 8 or 9 in.), with a full round face; and, for a long time before he died, had got very grey and bald. He was a kind and affectionate parent, and at the same time very strict in maintaining proper discipline in his household.

He always enjoyed a good story, and had a perfect fund of anecdotes himself, few of which, however, I am sorry to say, I can remember. He used to tell a vei1y good one of a Mr. James Stewart, a gentleman boarder of the Rev. Mr. Brown's of Glendevon. Mr. Stewart, as Scotch folks would say, 'had a want,' but at the same time a degree of cleverness about him which at times was very amusing. The Rev. George Graham of Fossoway used to preach occasionally for Mr. Brown, and was in the habit of teasing Mr. Stewart very much, which sadly annoyed him, and he resolved, quietly, that some day he would have his revenge. Well, one Sabbath day, when Mr. Graham was preaching for Mr. Brown, a favourable opportunity occurred. In finishing his sermon he shut the Bible, and said, 'I add no more;' when up started Mr. Stewart in front of the pulpit, and (having an impediment in his speech) bawled out, as loud as he could, in the hearing of the whole congregation, 'A—a—a—gude reason whey, Geordie lad, ye've nae mair to add.' We can easily conceive what 'a chuckle' would run through the congregation, and that Mr. Graham would not, after this, be in the best possible mood for finishing the rest of the service.

Many other amusing stories are told of Mr. Stewart by others, and, while referring to him, I may here give one or two I got from the Rev. John M'Leish, who knew him well. The Rev. John Clark of Blackford like Mr. Graham—frequently preached for Mr. Brown, and he also it seems, had taken a pleasure in teasing Mr. Stewart, and Jamie (as be used to be called) made up his mind that he would some day 'be upsides with him.' Mr. Stewart had made himself very useful in Glendevon Church, and regularly performed all the duties of the church-officer, ringing the bell, and taking the Bible up into the pulpit, etc.; so that it was unnecessary to employ a paid official for these duties. Well, on one occasion, when Mr. Clark was going to officiate, Mr. Stewart got the sermon from him to put into the Bible, that he knew was going to be 'read to the folks that day (reading sermons in those days was not so common as it is now, and was looked upon with great disfavour by the people; it being no uncommon occurrence, when a sermon was read, to see some one rise and go out), and away he marched up to the pulpit with the Bible; and, in order to let the congregation see what they might expect, he opened the Bible, and held it up, first to the one gallery, and then to the other, showing off the minister's manuscript, accompanying it, no doubt, with some knowing 'winks' and grimaces; and while this performance was going on, Mr. Clark— rather sooner than was expected—walked into the church, and 'took in' the whole situation at a glance; when down went the Bible with a thump on the pulpit, and Jamie made 'clean heels' down the pulpit stair, and out of the church, to the great amusement of the whole congregation, and the no little discomfiture of poor Mr. Clark.

It was a habit with Mr. Clark, when preaching, to lift the Bible from the pulpit, and lay it down, first on the one side, and then on the other, which was rather peculiar, and very noticeable. Well, at dinner that day (there being a goodly company present), Mr. Clark thought he would be revenged on Mr. Stewart for the insult he had offered him in the church, and was very severe with his satire upon the poor old man; when, without saying a single word, Mr. Stewart rose from the table, got hold of a big Bible, and, placing it down before him, commenced to turn it over from one side to the other, which fairly 'set the table in a roar,' and completely turned the laugh against his assailant.

When Mr. Stewart was from home he invariably put a half-crown in the plate on Sabbath days; but when at Blackford on one occasion he departed from his usual practice, and put in only a threepenny-bit---Mr. Clark having offended him in some way before going to church. When the collection was about to be counted (Mr. Stewart being present), Mr. Clark turned over the con- tents of the plate from side to side in search of the usual half-crown; and finding—to his great astonishment —only a threepenny-bit instead, he could not conceal his disappointment, and, turning to Mr. Stewart, said, 'What do you think the folks will be crying after you through the streets, but "Threepenny Jamie, Threepenny Jamie"?' when Mr. Stewart very coolly and amusingly replied, 'Will they, though? and what do you think they will cry after you, but "Paper Jock, Paper Jock";' which fairly convulsed the members of session with laughter, and scored another complete triumph for Mr. Stewart. I should think that Mr. Clark would, after this, be glad to let poor Jamie alone.

I will now give just one other anecdote about him, although many others could be told. When at Blackford on one sacramental occasion, Mr. Clark—being rather scarce of elders that day—asked Mr. Stewart if he would stand at the plate at the church door, to which he at once agreed. As usual on these occasions, services were being conducted at a tent in the churchyard, and, the day being fine, the great bulk of the people preferred going to the tent, instead of into the church. The result of this was, that while the plate for the tent congregation was well filled, Jamie's was almost empty; so, watching a favourable opportunity,—when the elder at the tent plate was temporarily absent,—be slipped quietly over to it, carried and emptied it into the church-door plate, and then replaced the empty plate in its old position. We can easily fancy the consternation of the elder when he returned and found his plate empty; and his first thought would, I daresay, be to cry for the police, had there been any such officials in that part of the world. However, after a little calm reflection, he would not, I daresay, be at a great loss to suspect who had been the rogue, when he remembered that Mr. Stewart was there that day.

I recollect Mr. Stewart's appearance very well. He was a man well up in years, and, being slightly paralyzed on one side, had a limp in walking, and stooped considerably to that side.

[George Brown (a son of the Rev. Mr. Brown's with whom Mr. Stewart boarded) was one of my most intimate school companions.]

Photography not having been discovered in my father's day, the only likeness we have of him was taken, in pencil, by one of the candidates for the drawing-master's situation in Dollar Academy, when Mr. Brown was appointed. My father being one of the trustees of the Institution, this candidate wished to show him what he could do; and hence this portrait. I am very sorry we have no likeness whatever of my mother; but, had I been an artist, I think I could take her portrait yet, her features are so indelibly impressed on my memory, although very young when she died. It was on the 29th of August 1828 that this sad event took place, which brought a dark cloud over us all, and brought their married life to a termination after the short sojourn together of only seventeen years.

Although so young when this sad event happened, I have—as already stated—a distinct recollection of her sweet and loving face, and only those who have experienced, like myself, what it is to lose a loving partner in life, can have any idea of the irreparable loss my father sustained in the death of his young wife (she was only forty), and what a loss it must have been to her young family.

This great blow (the greatest, I think, that can befall us poor mortals here below) would weigh on my father's spirits till the day of his death; for however full your house may be, your companion is gone, and nothing on earth can make up for the loss. He nevertheless bore up wonderfully under it, and apparently was always cheerful when in the presence of any one, and enjoyed a quiet meeting of friends very much. But 'the heart knoweth its own bitterness;' and (speaking from my own experience) solitude is found at times to be a great relief, where the pent-up fountain of our grief can flow out freely, unrestrained by the presence of any one. In the words of another, 'Hearts constitute homes, and the 1088 of a beloved wife is the communion of home ended, and the husband left to a solitude that no tears can relieve, no entreaties reverse.' Seven of a family (one more than in my own case) were left with him to mourn over the loss of his partner in life.

Our heavenly Father has wise ends in view in those great trials He sends upon us, and though we cannot see through them now, we shall be able to comprehend them in eternity, and to then realize that 'all things work together for good to those who love the Lord.' Those great bereavements are—amongst other things sent to try our faith, and I think I cannot do better than here introduce one of Spurgeon's beautiful Morning by Morning &ading8 (a precious book), bearing on this subject. It is on October 7, from Num. xi. 11 'Wherefore bast Thou afflicted Thy servant?' 'Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not; the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord's faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father's countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him," is heaven-born faith. The Lord afflicts His servants to glorify Himself, for He is greatly glorified in the graces of His people, which are His own handiwork. When "tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope," the Lord is honoured by these growing virtues. We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the wine-press; nor discover the sweet perfume of the cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified? There are many other comfortable answers to the question with which we opened our brief meditation; let us muse upon it all day long.'

REFORM BILL OF 1832.

Although my father took no active public part in politics, he was thoroughly Liberal in his views, and when the great Reform Bill passed in 1832, was amongst those who rejoiced that this first grand step in the political regeneration of this country was taken. Although very young at the time, I remember well the great rejoicings that took place throughout the length and breadth of the land. There was a great procession at Dollar, with some seven or eight bands of music, and we marched round by Rack-Mill, Dollarbeg, and Blairingone, and home by Vicar's Bridge. A public dance also took place on the Brewer's Knowe.

In case some of my young readers may not know what the Reform Bill was, I may here state that prior to 1832 Scotland had no real representation whatever. The county qualification of Scotland was limited to a peculiar description of property, and was above a hundred times higher than the corresponding qualification in England,—the smallest English county containing as many voters as all the counties of Scotland put together. The condition of the burghs was different from, but not better than, that of the counties. The appointment of members of Parliament in burghs lay with the Town Councils, which were self-elected, and, as a rule, not well qualified for such an important responsibility,--the result being that the representation of the Scottish people in their own House was a mockery and a sham. By the Reform Act of 1832, the county qualifications were an occupancy franchise of £50, and an ownership one of £10; while in burghs the qualification was £10 for the proprietors and tenants. These qualifications continued until 1867, since which date every householder in burghs has a vote; and in counties the ownership qualification has been £5, and that of occupants £14. There can be little doubt, however, that before the present Parliament is dissolved the present household qualification of burghs will have been extended to counties. The country is now in earnest that this change should take place, and no Parliament can long dare to withhold it.

The Reform Bill of 1832 was the first 'knock on the head' our Tory legislators got, and put an end, to a great extent, to the 'class' legislation which had been carried on for so long a period.

The first great contest in the united counties of Clackmannan and Kinross, to represent them in Parliament, after the passing of the Reform Bill, was between the late W. P. Adam's father, Admiral Adam (Liberal), and the present Lord Balfour of Burleigh's father, Mt. Bruce of Kennet (Tory), and resulted in a great victory for the Admiral, who was carried shoulder-high through Dollar.


 


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