The following Sketch of the Life and Character of
Hugh Miller, originally formed a series of articles which appeared in
the Northern Daily Express, tinder the heading, "Sketches of
Working Men." These articles excited considerable interest at the
time of their appearance, and the Compiler of these pages thought it
desirable to give them a form in which they would obtain a wider
circulation and exert a more permanent influence than could be expected
from isolated articles, running through a long series of the numbers of
a local newspaper. He therefore applied to the Proprietor of the
Northern Daily Express for permission to reprint the Sketch in its
To this application Mr. J. H. Rutherford, Manager of
the Express, courteously replied, and stated, that there was no
objection to the compilation of the articles referred to, and the
applicant was at perfect liberty to quote his authority.
It only remains for the Compiler to express his
earnest wish, that the reading of his little book may be as useful to
all into whose hands it may fall, as its compilation has been to him.
Hugh Miller's Parentage—The Story of the Little Doggies-—His Father goes
to Sea— Character of his Father—The Mutiny—Service in the Royal Navy—His
Father's First Marriage and Early Bereavement— The Ship-wreck.
The New Ship—The Second Marriage—Birth of Hugh Miller—An
Apparition—Another Skip-wreck and the Father Drowned—A Second
Supernatural Appearance—Hugh Miller's Widowed Mother—His First
Hugh Miller's Maternal Uncles—Mode of spending Sabbath Evenings—The
Grammar School—Attempts to Learn Latin—The Story-teller.
Hugh Miller Obtains Access to a Good Library—Commences his Geological
Studies—Studies the Art of War—His Naval Pursuits—The Gunpowder Plot.
Reasons for Giving the Foregoing Details— Autumn Journies to the
Highlands—Removal to a New School—Insubordination—Conscientiousness in
the Choice of a Calling—He is Bound Apprentice to a Mason—Enters the
Quarry where he Re-commences the Study of Geology—Character of his
Master—Resolves to Guard against Intemperance.
Hugh Miller's Lessons in the Quarry—Friendship with William Ross—Loyalty
to his Master in Seasons of Adversity—A Night Scene—Mad Bell.
Termination of Hugh Miller's Apprenticeship-Visits Edinburgh—Returns to
Cromarty out of Health—Goes to Inverness in Quest of Work—Amusing
Interview with a Scotch Minister—Publishes his First Volume—Death of
Dawn of Hugh Miller's Literary Fame— Writes his Autobiography—Casual
Interview with his Future Wife—Appointed Accountant in a Commercial
Bank—His Marriage—Continues his Literary Labours—Enters the Arena of
Church Controversy—Letter to Lord Brougham—Appointed Editor of the
Witness—His Independence and Success.
Motives for Entering the Arena of Strife— Donald Roy of Nigg—A
Spirit of the Witness—Geological Papers— His Lecturer—Effect of severe
mental Labour —Moody Apprehensions—Last Contribution to the
Witness—Frightful Symptoms—The Closing Scene.