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Significant Scots
David Dale


DALE, DAVID.—This eminent philanthropist was born in Stewarton, Ayrshire, on the 6th of January, 1739. His ancestors are said to have been farmers in that district for several hundred years; but his father, Mr. William Dale, [Mr. William Dale was twice married; by his first marriage he had two sons, David and Hugh; and by his second, one son, the late James Dale, Esq., whose son is now an eminent merchant in Glasgow.] was a grocer and general dealer in the town. David received the education which was usually given at that period in the small towns of Scotland. His first employment was the herding of cattle. He was afterwards apprenticed in Paisley to the weaving business, at this time the most lucrative trade in the country; but it appears that he disliked the sedentary occupation, and on one occasion left his employment abruptly. He afterwards, however, wrought at the weaving trade in Hamilton and the neighbourhood of Cambuslang. He subsequently removed to Glasgow, and became clerk to a silk-mercer. With the assistance of friends he commenced business on his own account in the linen yarn trade, which he carried on for many years, importing large quantities of French yarns from Flanders, which brought him large profits, and laid the foundation of his fortune. [Mr. Dale’s shop was then in the High Street, five doors north of the corner at the Cross. He paid 5 pounds rent, but thinking this an extravagant rent, he sub-let the one-half of it to a watchmaker for fifty shillings. But in 1783, when he was appointed agent for the Royal Bank of Scotland, the watchmaker’s part was turned into the bank office, where the business of that establishment was conducted till about 1790, when it was removed to large premises, south-east corner of St. Andrew’s Square.] Mr. Dale had been about twenty years in business in Glasgow, when Sir Richard Arkwright’s patent inventions for the improvement of cotton-spinning were introduced into England. Sir Richard visited Glasgow in 1783, and was entertained by the bankers, merchants, and manufacturers, at a public dinner, and next day started with Mr. Dale for the purpose of inspecting the waterfalls on the Clyde, with a view to erect works adapted to his improvements. A site was fixed on, and the buildings of the New Lanark cotton-mills were immediately commenced. Arrangements were at the same time made betwixt Sir Richard and Mr. Dale for the use of the patent of the former. Mechanics were sent to England to be instructed in the nature of the machinery and the process of the manufactures; but, in the meanwhile, Arkwright’s patent having been challenged, and the courts of law having decided against its validity, Mr. Dale was thus relieved of all claim for patent right, and the connection betwixt him and Arkwright was consequently dissolved, the business being now entirely his own. Considerable opposition to the erection of these works was offered by the landed proprietors in the neighbourhood, from an unfounded apprehension that the privacy of their demesnes would be invaded by the introduction of a multitude of work-people into that rural district; and, more especially, that fresh burdens would be entailed upon them for the support of the poor. Their forebodings, however, were not realized when the mills were put in operation. The works gave employment to great numbers of peaceable and industrious operatives, who, instead of burdening the land, contributed to enhance its value by consuming its produce. Finding, likewise, that the mills were yielding large returns to the proprietor, many landlords soon evinced a desire to have similar establishments on their own estates. The capabilities of the steam-engine for impelling cotton machinery were not yet known; spinning-mills, therefore, could only be erected profitably where there were powerful waterfalls. Many of the landed proprietors in Scotland availed themselves of Mr. Dale’s practical knowledge and advice as to establishing mills on properties where such facilities existed. He was instrumental in this way in the erection, amongst others, of the extensive mills at Catrine, on the banks of the river Ayr, and at Spinningdale,on the Firth of Dornoch, in Sutherlandshire. In several of the new works he had a pecuniary interest as co-partner. Besides the spinning of cotton-yarn at New Lanark, Mr. Dale was largely concerned in the manufacture of cotton cloth in Glasgow. [Under the firm of Dale, Campbell, Reid, and Dale, viz., Mr. Dale himself, Mr. Campbell, his brother-in-law, Mr. Andrew Reid, and Mr. David Dale, jun., his nephew.] In connection with Mr. George M’Intosh, and Monsieur Papillon, a Frenchman; he established, in 1783, the first works in Scotland for the dyeing of cotton turkey-red. He was a partner in an inkle-factory; also in the Blantyre cotton-mills, and at a later period of his life held a large share in the Stanley cotton-mills.

He continued, meanwhile, his original business of importing Flanders yarn; and, in addition to all these sources of income, when the Royal Bank of Scotland established a branch of its business in Glasgow in 1783, he was appointed its sole agent, an office which he held till within a few years of his death, when, upon its business becoming much extended, an additional agent was named to act jointly with him. The individual who, some thirty or forty years before was a little herd-boy at Stewarton, was now sole proprietor of, or connected as a managing partner with, several of the most extensive mercantile, manufacturing, and banking concerns of the country, the proper conducting of any one of which would have absorbed the entire powers of most other men. Not so, however, with the subject of our memoir; for we find him successfully conducting, with strict commercial integrity, all the important enterprises in which he was embarked, together with others not included in this enumeration; besides devoting time and money to various benevolent schemes, and discharging the onerous duties of a magistrate of the city of Glasgow, to which he was elected, first in 1791, and again in 1794: moreover, every Lords-day, and sometimes on other days, preaching the gospel to a Congregational church, of which he was one of the elders. [The Congregational church here referred to, and the other churches in Scotland and England in connection with it, give the Scripture name of "elder" to that office which most other denominations designate by the title of "minister" or "pastor." In every such church, where circumstances are favourable, there is a plurality of elders, most of whom continue to follow the occupation in which they were engaged previously to being called to office.] Mr. Dale was eminently qualified to sustain the numerous and varied offices which he had thus undertaken; every duty being attended to in its own place and at the proper time, he was never overburdened with work, nor did he ever appear to be in a hurry.

The first erected, and at that time the only mill at New Lanark, was accidentally burned to the ground a few weeks after it had begun to produce spun yarn, for which there was a great demand. When intelligence of this event reached Glasgow, many thought that a stop would be put to all further operations in that quarter. Mr. Dale heard the intelligence with calmness, formed his resolutions, proceeded to the ground to inspect the ruins, and instantly issued orders to re-erect the premises which had been consumed. The new mill was speedily reconstructed, and the manufacture proceeded with fresh energy.

Although comfortable dwellings were erected at the village of New Lanark for the workers, and good wages and constant employment insured, great difficulty was felt in getting the spinning-mill filled with operatives. There was, indeed, no want of unemployed work-people; for the change of commercial relations caused by the first American war, then raging, very much limited the labour demand, and many, especially from the Highland districts, were in consequence emigrating. It arose from prejudice on the part of the people, more particularly in the Lowlands, against all factory labour. Parents would neither work themselves nor allow their children to enter the mills. In this dilemma Mr. Dale offered employment to a number of Highland families who were emigrating from the Hebrides to America, but had been driven by stress of weather into Greenock, and most of them availed themselves of the opening for securing a comfortable livelihood in their native land. The Celts, appearing to have less repugnance to factory labour than their countrymen in the south, agents were sent to the Highlands, who engaged many other families to become workers at New Lanark; but as the mills were at last increased to four, there was still a deficient supply of labour, especially in the department best served by youths, and recourse was had to the poor-houses of Glasgow and Edinburgh, from which orphan and other pauper children were obtained, and whose moral and religious education was combined with their industrial training. From these sources were the workers in the mill and the villagers of New Lanark chiefly drawn, forming a population which, at all periods of its history, has commended itself for decent and orderly behaviour.

After Mr. Dale had been in business several years, but before he had engaged in any of the large concerns now described, he, in September 1777, married Miss Ann Caroline Campbell, daughter of John Campbell, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh. It is not known whether this lady brought him any fortune, but there is reason to suppose that her father’s connection with the Royal Bank of Scotland as a director, led to Mr. Dale’s appointment as agent of that establishment in Glasgow, and thus increased his commercial credit and command of capital. Miss Campbell, who had been brought up in the same religious connection with her husband, was also of one heart and mind with him in all his schemes of benevolence. She was the mother of seven children, whom she trained up in the fear of the Lord. Mrs. Dale died in January, 1791. Mr. Dale did not again marry.

It was, of course, not to be expected that all the undertakings in which Mr. Dale was embarked should prove equally successful. One at least was a total failure. It was generally understood that he lost about 20,000 in sinking a coal-pit in the lands of Barrowfield, the coal never having been reached, owing to the soil being a running quick-sand, which could not be overcome, although the shaft was laid with iron cylinders. Messrs. Robert Tennant and David Tod were his copartners in this unfortunate project; but they together held a comparatively small share. Mr. Dale was, however, eminently successful on the whole, and had acquired a large fortune. In 1799, being then in his sixty-first year, and nearly his fortieth in business, he resolved on freeing himself of at least a portion of his commercial responsibilities. The mills at Lanark had been uniformly prosperous, yielding returns larger perhaps than any other of his concerns; yet, possibly from his being sole proprietor, and in circumstances to relinquish them without delay, he at once disposed of these extensive and valuable works. Mr. Robert Owen, then a young man, residing in Lancashire, was in Glasgow on a visit, and being previously known to Mr. Dale as having, by his talent and persevering industry, raised himself from humble circumstances to be manager of an extensive spinning-mill at Chorlton, he consulted with him as to the propriety of selling the works. The information thus obtained by Mr. Owen convinced him of the profitable nature of the trade, and led him to form a company of English capitalists, who purchased the property at 66,000, and carried on the business for several years, under the firm of the Chorlton Spinning Company, of which Mr. Owen was appointed manager. This situation he held from 1799 to 1827, but not all the time in the same partnership. During the twenty-eight years the mills were under Mr. Owen’s management, they cleared of nett profit about 360,000, after having laid aside a sum nearly equal to 5 per cent. on the paid-up capital. Mr. Owen, sometime after his settlement at New Lanark, married Mr. Dale’s eldest daughter, with whom he received a large portion.

The above-named company continued to work with profit the Lanark mills from 1799 to 1813, when the property again changed ownership. During the copartnery, most of the English partners sold their interest to Glasgow merchants, who consequently held the largest share at the close of the contract. It appears that by this time (1814) the partners and the manager had each resolved to get rid of the other; and both parties were bent on retaining, if possible, possession of the mills. Mr. Owen had now begun to promulgate some of his peculiar theories; and, for the purpose of carrying them into practice, had constructed the spacious and substantial building at New Lanark, still existing, without, it is said, receiving the formal consent of the partners, some of whom disapproved of his schemes. It was resolved, to dispose of the property by public roup; and Mr. Owen, meanwhile, succeeded in forming a new company, which, when the day of sale arrived, became the purchasers, after considerable competition, at the cost of 112,000. When security was required for this large sum, the names of William Allen, Joseph Fox, Robert Owen, Jeremy Bentham, John Walker, and Michael Gibbs, Esquires, were handed in as the partners of the New Lanark Cotton-Mill Company.

The education of the common people was at this period occupying much attention. Joseph Lancaster had introduced his method of instructing large numbers at little expense. His Quaker brethren warmly espoused the cause, which speedily excited universal interest, from the highest to the humblest. Mr. Owen entered heartily into the movement, which he advocated on the platform in Glasgow, and towards which he contributed a thousand pounds to the Glasgow subscription alone out of his private funds. His zeal in the cause no doubt recommended him to the benevolent individuals who became his partners; and it is also to be observed, that he had not yet avowed the infidel principles which were destined to give him such unenviable notoriety in future years. The new copartnery laid down, as the basis of its union, an article rarely to be found in commercial contracts, namely, "That all profits made in the concern beyond five per cent, per annum on the capital invested, shall be laid aside for the religious, educational, and moral improvement of the workers, and of the community at large." And, as appears from the "Memoir of William Allen," provision was made "for the religious education of all the children of the labourers employed in the works, and that nothing should be introduced tending to disparage the Christian religion, or undervalue the authority of the Holy Scriptures; that no books should be introduced into the library until they had first been approved of at a general meeting of the partners; that schools should be established on the best models of the British, or other approved systems, to which the partners might agree; but no religious instruction, or lessons on religion, should be used except the Scriptures, according to the authorized version, or extracts therefrom, without note or comment; and that the children should not be employed in the mills belonging to the partnership until they were of such an age as not to be prejudicial to their health." The pious and benevolent founder of the establishment had, in like manner, provided schools and schoolmasters for the education of the workers and their children, and had maintained these throughout the successive changes in the copartnery.

Mr. Owen, being thus vested with great powers and ample means for the most enlarged benevolence, started, under the auspices of the newly-formed company, on an extensive educational plan, embracing, in addition to the ordinary school instruction, the higher branches of science. He gave lessons in military tactics, and caused the workmen to march in order to and from school and workshop in rank and file to the sound of drum and fife—a sort of training rather alien to the anti-warlike predilections of his Quaker copartners. He attempted also to introduce Socialist principles, and became himself a prominent leader of that party, which had hitherto been scarcely heard of in the country. He contributed largely in money for the purchase of an estate in the neighbouring parish of Motherwell, and to erect on it a huge building, distinguished by the name of New Harmony. In this institution, which soon went to pieces, society was to be reconstituted on Socialist principles, with a community of goods. The partners of Owen were grieved at his folly, and the public shared in their disappointment and regret. William Allen, the Quaker, a man of science and a philanthropist, and who was induced to enter into the co-partnery solely in the hope of doing good to the factory population by his influence, and to the millowners by his example, writes, in 1817— "Robert Owen is in town, and I am much distressed about him. He has blazoned abroad his infidel principles in all the public newspapers, and he wishes to identify me with his plans, which I have resisted in the most positive manner. I am resolved not to remain in the concern of New Lanark, unless it be most narrowly and constantly watched by some one on whom we can thoroughly rely." Mr. Allen had been in correspohdence with Lord Sidmouth, Secretary of State for the Home Department, about the education of the people on the basis of Christianity, and had referred, in that correspondence, to what he and his partners had resolved on doing at New Lanark. The newly-avowed views of Robert Owen having, as he feared, deranged all their plans, he, in these altered circumstances, considered it necessary to apprise the Home Secretary that Owen’s opinions were not those of his partners; that "they not only disavowed, but held them in abhorrence." Three of the partners, namely, W. Allen, Joseph Fox, and Michael Gibbs, visited the works in April, 1818, their "principal object being to discover whether any attempt is making there to weaken the faith of the people in Divine revelation." They made inquiry at the general superintendent of the works, who was reported to them as a steady, religious man; they inquired, also, as opportunity offered, amongst the people, at the parish minister, and at the Dissenting minister in Old Lanark, from one and all of whom they learned that Owen’s infidel sentiments had hitherto made but little progress, and that the morals of the villagers were good. An address from the villagers was presented to the deputation, at a public meeting called for the purpose. In this address the people expressed their gratitude "for the gratuitous education of the children, and the humane treatment which the workers themselves experienced," but no mention is made in it of any "religious instruction, or lessons on religion, from Scripture," having been given. William Allen acknowledged this address in a lengthened speech, in which he says, "Although Joseph Foster and himself are members of the Society of Friends, and Michael Gibbs is a member of the Established Church of England, that while neither were desirous of proselytizing to this or that form of religion, they all were most desirous for the spiritual and temporal good of all the workers, and specially that their children be brought up in the fear of God." He, in name of all the London proprietors, avowed their firm belief in Divine revelation, appealing to the moral change which faith in Christ had produced in all ages, and pressing the blessings of religion upon the acceptance of all who heard him. The visit of this deputation was made avowedly to counteract the baneful effects of Owen’s principles. He was informed of the object of the visit, was present at all the meetings, heard all that was said in opposition to the pernicious doctrines he was covertly promulgating at New Lanark—but maintained a cautious silence. He, nevertheless, pursued his own course, and the consequence was the retirement from the company of those members who had joined it from philanthropic motives, and the abandonment of their admirably-conceived plan of raising up an intelligent, right-principled, and well-conditioned factory population at New Lanark. Mr. Owen continued in connection with the mills till 1827; but during the greater part of his latter years he was occupied in propagating his visionary schemes of infidelity in England and America, in which he spent a princely fortune, derived from the profits of the business. Mr. Owen of late years has resided chiefly in London, and his children in the United States of America. Mrs. Owen did not adopt the infidel principles of her husband; on the contrary, soon after she had ascertained the nature of his sentiments, she openly avowed her faith in the Lord Jesus, connected herself with the church of which her father had been an elder, and adorned her Christian profession till her death in 1832.

But to return to the subject of our memoir. Mr. Dale, in 1782, built for his family residence the spacious mansion at the south-west corner of Charlotte Street, Glasgow, at a cost of 6000, which greatly exceeded his calculations. This tenement, after repeatedly changing owners of late years, and having been occupied as a Roman Catholic nunnery, is now the property of the incorporation of the Eye Infirmary, and is devoted to the purposes of that institution. As a retreat from the bustle of a city life, about the year 1800, when his advancing years required repose, he purchased Rosebank, a small landed property and dwelling-house on the banks of Clyde, about four miles east of Glasgow. He was in his sixty-first year when his connection with the Lanark mills ceased. Having acquired a handsome competency, he resolved on winding up his other business affairs; but the nature of his contracts and co-partneries rendered it impossible to free his estate from responsibility till some years after his death. But whilst gradually withdrawing from other business engagements, he most unaccountably, through the influence of Mr. Owen, became a partner in the Stanley Cotton Mill Company, a connection which caused him much uneasiness during the latter years of his life, and is said to have involved him in a loss of 60,000. Hitherto his career as a merchant only has been described. It remains to delineate those features of his character upon which his reputation as a Christian philanthropist chiefly rests. Mr. Dale in early life appears to have been of a pious turn of mind, and a regular attendant at church. He sought the company of religious people, and became a member of a fellowship prayer-meeting at Paisley during his apprenticeship. He attached himself to the evangelical party in the Established Church. The fellowship-meetings were held in the evenings, and generally in a private house, the exercises consisting of praise, prayer, reading the Word, and Christian conversation. We have no account under what minister of the Church of Scotland Mr. Dale placed himself while at Paisley, Cambuslang, and Hamilton; but we may readily suppose that his residence in the two last-named places, if not selected for that purpose, would at least give him an opportunity of attending on the many evangelical ministers who flocked to that quarter for many years after the revivals of religion which had occurred at Cambuslang shortly before. It was about 1763 when Mr. Dale took up his residences in Glasgow, being then in his twenty-fourth year. He attached himself at one time to the College Church congregation, under the ministry of Dr. Gillies, son-in-law to the well-known Maclaurin, author of the inimitable sermons on "Glorying in the Cross of Christ."

The causes which led Mr. Dale and a few others to secede from the national Church, and unite, as a separate community, under the Congregational order, will now be traced from an old manuscript, and from a pamphlet printed in 1814, entitled, "A Short Account of the Rise and Establishment of the Churches commonly called the Old Scotch Independents." This secession, like every other which has happened during the last 120 years, arose out of the question of church patronage. In general, the contending parties have been the members of the church against the crown or an individual lay-patron; but in this instance the contention lay betwixt the general session of Glasgow and the magistrates and town council of the city. The general session, composed of the ministers and elders of the eight parishes into which the city was then divided, had, prior to 1764-66, held and exercised the right of patronage to all the town churches as vacancies occurred. At this date, however, the right of the general session was challenged by the magistrates and council, and decided by the civil courts in favour of the latter, who have consequently been patrons of all the city churches ever since. The authorities being then, as for many years after, of the moderate party, filled up the first vacancy which occurred—that of the Wynd church—with a minister most obnoxious to the orthodox party. The appointment gave great offence, not only to the parishioners, but to the citizens generally, who valued their religious privileges. Great dissatisfaction was evinced by the orthodox party in the Wynd congregation, which resulted in their erecting a new place of worship in North Albion Street, which was first called "The Chapel of the Scotch Presbyterian Society," but afterwards "The Chapel of Ease." To the erection of this building Mr. Dale was an original subscriber, and voted for Mr. Cruden, the minister who first occupied its pulpit. The building continued to be used as a place of worship in connection with the Church of Scotland, the minister being chosen by the people, till about 1860, when it was sold, and is now occupied as a leather warehouse. In the year 1768, Mr. John Barclay (afterwards known as the leader of a sect which took the name of Bereans), a licentiate of the Church of Scotland, and assistant minister of the parish of Fettercairn, being impressed with the evils of patronage, and lamenting the unscriptural doctrines then taught in many of the pulpits of the parish churches, heard with sympathy of the movement in Glasgow, and visited that city for the purpose of being introduced to Mr. Dale, with whom he had many interviews. His visits were repeated, when Mr. Archibald Paterson, Mr. Matthew Alexander, and others who afterwards became associated with Mr. Dale in the Congregational Church, were present. They were satisfied with the doctrines taught by Mr. Barclay, and were astonished at the boldness with which he denounced all human writings on divine things, and his advocacy of the Word of God as the alone standard of faith. His preaching had the effect of leading these individuals to a more thorough searching of Scripture for light and guidance, which ended in their gradually embracing Congregational principles in church government, and their abandoning the Church of Scotland and the Relief Presbytery. Mr. Dale and others like-minded, to the number of seven, having mutually professed their faith to each other, assembled for some time on the Lord’s-day in a private house for prayer, praise, reading the Word, and mutual exhortation. Their number very soon increased to twenty-five, and many others expressed a desire to attend as hearers; but the place of meeting not being capable of accommodating them all, Mr. Archibald Paterson, one of the original seven, erected, out of his own means,a meeting-house in Greyfriars’ Wynd, seated for about 500 persons. In this place the church assembled till 1836, when, on its getting out of repair, a larger and more commodious building was erected in Oswald Street, where the church continues its meetings.

About the time that Mr. Dale and his friends seceded, Mr. Smith, minister of the parish of Newburn, and Mr. Ferrier, minister of the adjoining parish of Largo, in Fifeshire, also left the Established Church on Congregational principles. There was no concert betwixt the two parties; the movement in Fifeshire seems to have been made known to the party in Glasgow only by the publications of the parties in Fife, giving their reasons of dissent after the secession had taken place; but the statements and doctrines in these publications being in accordance with the views of the Glasgow seceders, led to the opening of a correspondence between them, which resulted in their union. The brethren in Fife had a meeting-house erected at Balchristie. In a short time a congregation was formed, which soon became very numerous, and Mr. Smith and Mr. Ferrier were called to preside over it as elders. The church at Balchristie was prevailed upon to part with Mr. Ferrier, that he might become one of the elders in the church at Glasgow, which also unanimously elected Mr. Dale to be conjoined in office with Mr. Ferrier. He accepted the office with great reluctance, the very thought of its responsibilities having for some time affected his health. In 1769, Mr. Dale entered on the duties of a Christian pastor, which he continued to discharge till his death, thirty-seven years afterwards.

Mr. Dale and his friends discarded, as unscriptural, church government by sessions, presbyteries, and synods, maintaining that all who possessed the qualifications for the ministry, as laid down in the apostolic writings, and who were called by their brethren to the exercise of these gifts, were not only at liberty, but were bound to exercise them for the good of their fellow-creatures, although they had never entered the portals of a college or of a divinity hall. The new views, especially when acted upon by the appointment of Mr. Dale to the ministry, raised a shout of derision; he was hooted and jostled in the streets, and many times forced to take shelter under some friendly roof. The same practices were followed when he and his colleague, Mr. Ferrier, were seen together on the streets; but the latter having been a clergyman in the Established Church, more personal respect was shown to him than to Mr. Dale. Even the meeting-house in which they assembled did not escape the popular dislike; stones and other missiles were hurled against it, till the windows, roof, and other parts of the building were much injured. Nor were these practices discontinued till an action at law for damage was threatened. The ill disposed being thus deterred from doing injury to persons or property, next proceeded to pack the meeting-house with a rabble, that a "row" might be created, especially in the dark evenings of the Lord’s-days. On one occasion their annoyance took a somewhat humorous turn. Mr. Smith, one of the pastors of the church at Balchristie, about this time came on a visit to his friends, Messrs. Dale and Ferrier. It became known that these three individuals would officiate respectively at one or other of the three services on the following Lord’s-day. In the interim, a punning placard, in imitation of a country blacksmith’s sign-board, was posted on the large entrance door, having the following inscription: "Preaching here, by David Dale, Smith and Ferrier." It may be readily supposed that such a ludicrous advertisement would not fail to bring together a rabble for mischief or merriment. Mr. Dale and his friends outlived all this, and it may be here noticed, as an evidence of the fugitive nature of popular censure as well as of popular applause, that he who, in 1769-70, was mobbed in the streets for daring to preach without a presbyterial license, was, little more than twenty years thereafter, conducted to and from the same place of worship by the officers of the city corporation, with all the paraphernalia and pomp of a magisterial procession. In 1791, when Mr. Dale was elected a city magistrate, his brethren on the bench were all staunch churchmen. It was then, and for long afterwards, the practice of the magistrates and other civic functionaries to walk in procession to the parish church, escorted by city officers in uniform, with halberts, and other tokens of authority. Mr. Dale could not, of course, accompany the procession to the parish church, but rather than allow a magistrate to go unescorted to any place of worship, it was arranged that a portion of the city officers should, in livery and with halberts, attend him to and from his own place of worship, and wait on him while there. This it appears he submitted to, though rather inconsistent like with his religious principles.

The church over which Mr. Dale presided, though relieved of hostility from without, was, at no very distant period, tried by the withdrawal from its communion of one after another of its elders, and of many of its most respected members. Mr. Ferrier seceded on Glassite, and soon afterwards, Mr. Robert Moncrieff followed, on Baptist principles. It appears that Baptist principles had agitated the body from a very early period of its history. A pamphlet, the joint production of several of the members, in favour of infant baptism, was published in 1776. In the course of the following year it produced a reply from the pen of Mr. Archibald M’Lean, one of the pastors of the Baptist Church in Edinburgh, entitled, "Believers’ Baptism in opposition to Infant Sprinkling." This reply staggered the faith of many of Mr. Dale’s friends, for one of their own number of that day writes that "many of them left the church and were baptized, and amongst these was the chief compiler of the pamphlet in defence of infant baptism, which he had boasted of as being sufficient to confound all the Baptists in the world." Soon after this, Mr. Robert Moncrieff’s secession from the church took place. This individual, brother of the late Rev. Sir Harry Moncrieff, Bart., who had been educated for the medical profession, which he practised in one of its branches for some time, is described by the writer quoted above as "a young man of considerable knowledge of the Scripture, and has a talent for communicating what he believes in a plain, easy, and agreeable manner, having a great command of language, and fluency of words." With Mr. Moncrieff, many of the members of the church seceded, and joined the Baptists; amongst these was Mrs. Dale, who continued in that communion to the end of her days. Mr. Moncrieff being a popular preacher, nearly all the hearers followed him; the place in which Mr. Dale officiated was in consequence very much deserted, and continued to be so for some time. Although the church thus lost many of its members, with very few exceptions, none appear either to have left, or to have been excluded on account of error in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel; and the church itself has never swerved from the principles which it first professed.

Mr. Dale never appeared in print as an author. He was opposed to the publication of the above-named pamphlet on infant baptism, and succeeded in preventing the appearance of a second, which was written in reply. Although he did not publish his own views to the world, and discouraged others from doing so, he freely availed himself of the pulpit for expounding and vindicating the distinctive principles of his communion. A statement of these principles may here be introduced.

In 1813 a correspondence took place betwixt the churches in Scotland with which Mr. Dale stood connected (which, by this time, had assumed the name of the Old Independent Churches, to distinguish them from the more modern, raised by Messrs. Haldane, Ewing, and others), and the Inghamite churches [The Inghamite churches date their origin from Mr. Benjamin Ingham, who, in 1735, was ordained to the ministry by Dr. Potter, bishop of Oxford. He at first attached himself to John Wesley, and at his request went on a preaching tour to America. On his return, in 1741, he married Lady Margaret Hastings, sister to the Earl of Huntingdon. He founded religious bodies, about sixty in number, chiefly in the midland and northern counties of England, modelled on the plan of the Wesleyan and Moravian societies. They, however, very soon resiled from the peculiarities of Methodism, and adopted principles and practices almost the same as were afterwards adopted by the churches in Scotland. On the two parties discovering this, in 1812, a formal union of Christian brotherhood betwixt the two was formed in 1814.] in England, which, in 1814, produced a union of these two bodies, which still exists. This correspondence was printed; from one of the letters of which, written by the late Mr. James M’Gavin, one of the elders of the church at Paisley, we shall transcribe, what it professes to contain, "a concise abstract of the faith, hope, and practice of these churches."

First, "We receive the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the Word of God; and that these two Testaments (not singly, but as united) are the only rule of faith and practice."

Second, "As taught in these oracles, we profess to believe, that by the first man’s disobedience all are become guilty before God, and are so constituted by the imputation of his one offence, as well as by our own actual transgression against the royal law of God, which requires a perfection of godliness and humanity—hence are naturally under its curse; and that ‘by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified ‘ in his sight."

Third, "That the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God equal with the Father, was ‘born of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them who are under the curse of the law’—that ‘he was made a curse in bearing our sins in his own body’—that ‘sin was imputed to him, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners’—that in the work the Father gave him to do as his righteous servant, he ‘obeyed the law as our surety, and made atonement for sin in his own divine blood’—that in his obedience unto death, ‘he magnified the law, and made it honourable, and brought in an everlasting righteousness’—and our assurance of the truth of this rests in the Father’s raising him from the dead, and giving him glory and honour at his own right hand; thus testifying that he is well pleased, and requires no more offering for sin."

Fourth, "That by the work of the Lord Jesus, all who believe are justified from all things; that we are not justified on account of crediting God’s testimony concerning his Son, but by his righteousness alone; and that it is given on the behalf of Christ to believe; so that faith is truly the channel through which the Divine righteousness is imputed to the ungodly just as they are—guilty criminals—and that on the footing of sovereign mercy, and according to the election of grace, viz., that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he passeth by."

Fifth, "That the Holy Spirit, who is equal with the Father and the Son, is the grand agent in teaching of sin and of righteousness; that his operations, both in conversion and in leading to a life of holiness, are only by the means of the written Word. Almighty power keeps through the faith unto salvation; the perseverance of the saints is thus secured; for whom the Lord loves, he loves unto the end."

Sixth, "Such being our faith, we profess to have our hope for eternal life resting on the one thing needful alone, the sole requisite for justification; and although called to a life of conformity to the image of God’s dear Son, without which no man shall see the Lord, yet this does not in any respect form part of our acceptance before him; it justifies our faith, as being of the operation of God to the praise of his glory."

Seventh, "Our hopes reach forth to the second coming of the Lord from heaven, to change our vile bodies, and fashion them like to his glorious body and so to be ever with the Lord."

Eighth, "We profess to hold our Lord’s good confession, that his kingdom is not of this world (though in part in the world), that a church of Christ is subject to no jurisdiction under heaven, not under law even to those who are members one of another (although by love they are to serve one another), but under law to him who is the head of the body, and sole lawgiver in his own kingdom; and with respect to the subjects of his kingdom, we view infants as comprehended, so we receive such by baptism." And—

Ninth, "We profess to keep the ordinances as they are delivered to us, by (every Lords-day) continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (i.e., in reading, preaching, or exhorting, either by the elders or other male members) in fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers—the prayers also both by the elders and other brethren."

When we turn from the survey of Mr. Dale’s multifarious duties as the pastor of a pretty numerous church, to his active charities as a philanthropist, we are left to wonder how he could find time and strength to go through with the many duties he took in hand. We find him, at an early period, regularly visiting Bridewell, for the purpose of preaching the gospel to the convicts; and his example in this respect was long followed by his colleagues in the church. He every year made excursions to distant parts of the country, visiting and comforting the churches with which he stood connected.

Although Mr. Dale shunned the ostentatious display of benevolence, yet his liberality could not always be hid. The present generation have, at times, had to pay very high prices for the necessaries of life, yet no dread of famine, or even partial scarcity, at least in Scotland, has been entertained for at least half a century. Not so, however, during Mr. Dale’s time; for at that period the poor had occasionally to pay ransom prices for food, and even at these prices it sometimes could not be obtained. In the dearth of 1782, 1791-93, and in 1799, Mr. Dale imported, at his own risk, large quantities of food from Ireland, America, and the continent of Europe. To effect this, he chartered ships for the special purpose. The food thus brought in he retailed to the poor at prime cost, thereby in great measure averting the threatened famine, and preventing a still greater advance in prices.

In addition to the benefits, spiritual and temporal, conferred on his countrymen at home, he engaged with the same ardour in most of the schemes then in operation for extending a knowledge of the gospel of peace in foreign countries, especially those which had for their object the translation and circulation of the Word of God. The proposal to translate the Scriptures into the various languages of our eastern empire, as projected and accomplished by the Baptist Missionary Society, had his hearty support from the outset. Mr. Andrew Fuller, of Kettering, who travelled for the purpose of collecting funds for this object, was kindly received by Mr. Dale, and from him received large contributions for the cause. In Mr. Fuller’s sermon on covetousness, preached sometime after Mr. Dale’s death, and printed in the fourth volume of his works, when enjoining on his hearers who have, to give of their abundance, and to do so liberally, he says, "The poor people of Glasgow used to say of a late great and good man of that city—‘David Dale gives his money by sho’elsful, but God Almighty sho’els it back again." This is nothing more than was predicted by Solomon when he said, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to penury." The printing and circulating of the Word of God without note or comment, proposed as the fundamental law of the British and Foreign Bible Society at its formation in 1804, also met with his cordial approbation; indeed, so much was he pleased with the objects of this noble institution, as to use his influence in the formation of an auxiliary to the parent institution, which was accomplished in July, 1805, being the first auxiliary to the Bible Society. The society then formed continued in operation till 1812, when it merged into the Glasgow Auxiliary, which still exists. On this subject we find, in the first report of that society, the following testimony, page 19:— "Immediately upon the arrival of the tidings that a society had been formed in London, of which the exclusive object was the circulation throughout the whole world of the pure Word of God without note or comment, the late David Dale, Esq., delighted with the grandeur and simplicity of the idea, entered into it, as all who knew him might have expected, with his whole heart. He immediately remitted a subscription worthy of his usual benevolence; he spoke of the institution to others, who instantly caught the same ardour, and expressed it in the same way; and thus, under his auspices, a society was at length formed (a meeting of the friends of the British and Foreign Bible Society having been called for this purpose by public advertisement), which appointed a treasurer, a secretary, and a committee of management, kept regular books, and continued to hold its stated and occasional meetings for several years. In this way Mr. Dale naturally came to be recognized, by the British and Foreign Bible Society, as their treasurer and general agent for Glasgow and the west of Scotland, in which capacity he continued to act till his lamented death."

After the sale of the Lanark mills, till his death six years thereafter, Mr. Dale in great measure retired from business pursuits. During this time he gave an hour or two daily to attendance at the bank, and the winding up of his own private concerns occupied an equal share of his attention; but at no period of his life were his public and private acts of benevolence, or his duties in the pastoral office, more attended to than at this time. For some months before February, 1806, it was seen that his health and strength were failing. About the 1st of March of that year he was confined to bed, and died in peace on the 17th day of the same month, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, in his house, Charlotte Street, Glasgow. In his last illness, he frequently expressed his confidence as resting on the fulness, freeness, and simplicity of the gospel truth which he had for so long a period preached to others. His remains were interred in St. David’s church burying-ground. No sculptured marble marks the place where all that is mortal of this good man reposes. The spot is indicated by a hewn stone built into the east boundary-wall, inclosed by an iron railing, about midway betwixt the south and north corner of the ground, having on it the following plain inscription:—"The burying-ground of David Dale, merchant, Glasgow, 1780." The funeral was attended by the magistrates, clergy, and chief officials of the city, and by a numerous assemblage of private friends, amounting to several hundreds. Mr. Dale was the father of one son, named William, after his grandfather, who died in 1789, when in his seventh year, and five daughters, all of whom survived him. Two of these are now dead; of the remaining three, two are married to clergymen of the Episcopal Church. In person, Mr. Dale was short and corpulent. A small portrait of him, of no great artistical merit, was etched, which, however, is said to be a fair likeness. His name was not given, but the portrait was entitled, "The Benevolent Magistrate." It was copied into "Kay’s Edinburgh Portraits," and also into "Stewart’s Views of Glasgow in Former Times." He was of a cheerful temperament, of easy access, lively and communicative; and, when in the company of friends, he freely relaxed all formal restraints. He had a good musical taste, and in the company of his private friends sung some of the old Scotch songs with great effect, particularly the "Flowers of the Forest," with such intense feelings as to draw tears from his auditory. Without giving offence, he could make a pithy and facetious remark; and without taking any, he could bear a joke by a friend, although the subject of it might be some peculiarity or oddity about himself. He once told a friend that he had slipped on the ice, and "fallen all his length." "Be thankful, sir, it was not all your breadth," was the apt reply.

He never took a prominent part in the keen disputes of the party-politics of his day; but, when it was necessary, he avowed himself to be of the aristocratic party then in power. At this period he had a nephew of his own name whom he put into business in Glasgow. This young man was a democrat, and sometimes attended the meetings of the "Friends of the People." Old Mr. Dale was grievously offended on such occasions at seeing it announced in the newspapers that such meetings were honoured by the presence of David Dale, Esq. The establishment of the branch of the Royal Bank in Glasgow, in 1783, proved to be of great service in promoting the trade of the city, especially in the manufacture of cotton goods, which made rapid progress from that date. Mr. Dale’s management of the bank business was never objected to; he was discriminating and liberal in granting loans to the industrious prudent trader, while he had the firmness to resist the advances of the mere speculator. An anecdote has been preserved illustrative of his feelings and humanity towards an unfortunate individual who had committed forgery. A young man presented a draft for discount, which Mr. Dale considered to be a forged document; he sent for the young man, and in private informed him of his suspicions; the fact was acknowledged: Mr. Dale then pointed out to him the risk he put his life in by such an act, destroyed the bill, that no proof of his guilt should remain, and finding that he had been led to it by pecuniary difficulties, gave him some money, and dismissed him with a suitable admonition. In regard to his usefulness as a preacher of the gospel, the late Dr. Wardlaw used to say of Mr. Dale, that he was a most scriptural and instructive teacher of a Christian church. He had not acquired in early life a knowledge of the languages in which the Scriptures were originally written, but this lack was amply supplied by application in after life. He could read with understanding the Hebrew and Greek; the Old and New Testaments were frequently, perhaps daily, studied by him in these languages. His public discourses were sententious. For several years before his death his pulpit services were listened to by many who came on purpose to hear his preaching.

Various estimates of the fortune which Mr. Dale had realized were made about the period of his death; the probability is that one and all were far wide of the truth. A vast amount of his effects consisted in mill buildings and machinery, which are of a very fluctuating value. A considerable part too was locked up in business concerns in operation, of which he was co-partner, some of which were not closed for many years, and some of these proved to be very unprofitable. The exact, or even estimated amount, was never made known to the public, but it must, at the period referred to, have been very considerable. From the losses sustained in winding up, however, it is generally understood that a large portion was swept away, and that but a comparatively small part came ultimately to his family.

It was a general rule in the last century, in all large concerns, to engage assistants for a lengthened period, generally for ten or twelve years. The salary which, in these days, was small in comparison to what is now given, was fixed at the commencement of the term of servitude, and before the capabilities of the person were known. Mr. Dale followed this plan very generally, and from time to time elevated to higher places of trust those who evinced an aptitude for more onerous duties; but it was remarked at the time that he seldom, if ever, increased the salary in proportion to the greater responsibilities, nor in general would he allow the individual to leave till the end of the engagement, even when his doing so would have improved his circumstances. No doubt in this he acted in strict justice, but not with that generosity which his great benevolence would have led us to expect. His actings in these matters were considered by his best friends as rather sharp dealing; but he was invulnerable when remonstrated with on the subject, and would refer in justification to the usages of trade of that day. Notwithstanding, he never lost the confidence and favour of his old servants, who always spoke of him with the greatest respect. And it has been remarked, that he must have been fortunate in the selection of his confidential servants, as most of them afterwards rose to commercial eminence. It must be confessed that Mr. Dale’s engaging in so many concerns, and pursuing with eagerness such a variety of large business speculations, was scarcely consistent with that moderation in all things which is enjoined on the Christian. It is true he had great business talent, forethought, sagacity, and strict integrity, which gave success to his schemes, and secured to him at an early period great commercial credit—that credit at times serving him in place of capital The very success which followed his earliest enterprises would lead him on to the adoption of others, some of which, as has been shown, proved total failures, causing great loss. Whether from this or from other causes is not now known, but at various periods of his business life he was much reduced in circumstances He used to tell his friends that three times in his life he was thrown back on the world, and on each occasion could scarcely call himself worth anything. This surely was trading on too narrow a margin, too near the verge of bankruptcy, which, had it taken place, would have involved others in injury and suffering, and brought discredit on his Christian character. But with all his shortcomings, David Dale was a great and a good man. He did essential service to the commerce of his country, at a period when it required the impetus of such a mind. He was the friend of the working classes, whom he provided with remunerative occupation, whilst he took delight in educating their children, and training them at his own expense, to habits of intelligence and industry. His unbounded benevolence endeared him to all classes of the people and his Christian character to the church of which he was an ornament. The following tribute to the memory of David Dale, from the pen of Dr Wardlaw, appeared as an obituary notice in the "Glasgow Herald," of March 1806:—"The character of this good man comprehends in it so many points of distinguished excellence, that nothing more than an imperfect outline can here be inserted. He had not in the outset of life enjoyed the advantage of a polished or liberal education, but the want of it was greatly compensated by a large share of natural sagacity and good sense, and extensive and discriminating knowledge of human character, and by a modest, gentle, dignified simplicity of manner, peculiar to himself, and which secured to him the respect and attention of every company, and of men of every rank of life. A zealous promoter of the general industry and manufactures of his country, his schemes of business were extensive and liberal, conducted with singular prudence and perseverance, and, by the blessing of God, were crowned with such abundant success as served to advance his rank in society, and to furnish him with the means of that diffusive benevolence which rendered his life a public blessing, and shed a lustre on his character, rarely exemplified in any age of the world. Impelled by the all-powerful influence of that truth which he firmly believed and publicly taught, constrained by the love and animated by the example of his beloved Master, his ear was never shut to the cry of distress; his private charities were boundless; and every public institution which had for its object the alleviation or prevention of human misery in this world, or in the world to come, received from him the most liberal support and encouragement. For while the leading object of his heaven-born soul was the diffusion of the light of truth in the earth, he gladly embraced every opportunity of becoming, like the patriarch of old, ‘eyes to the blind,’ ‘feet to the lame,’ and to ‘cause the widow’s heart to sing for joy.’ In private life his conduct, actuated by the same principles, was equally exemplary, for he was a kind parent, a generous friend, a wise and faithful counsellor, ‘a lover of hospitality,’ ‘a lover of good men,’ ‘sober, just, holy, temperate;’ and now, having ‘thus occupied with his talents,’ ‘he hath entered into the joy of his Lord.’"

In "The Evening Star," a London paper, of March 22, 1806, appeared a similar eulogium, written by the editor, Dr. Alexander Tilloch, a native of Glasgow, and author of various publications—literary, scientific, and religious. "His life (said this writer) was a life of benevolence and extensive charity, without ostentation, without pride. Indeed, his constant aim was to hide from the eye of man his numberless acts of mercy; even the individuals who were saved from wretchedness and want by his liberality, were often ignorant of the instrument which Providence had raised up for their deliverance. Agreeably to the injunction of the Master whom he served, his alms were done in secret, but they could not be entirely hid. Mr. Dale was the first who erected cotton-mills in Scotland on the plan of Sir Richard Arkwright. His motive for doing so was highly praiseworthy; it was to extend the means of employment for the labouring poor, to introduce habits of industry among the lower orders, and render them useful to their families and the community. Nor was his attention merely confined to the object of finding them bread; he erected and maintained schools, at his own expense, for the education of all the young people employed, and every means which he could devise was used to have them instructed in religious knowledge.

"Mr. Dale was a Dissenter, and for many years one of the pastors of an Independent congregation in Glasgow. In this character he possessed the esteem, the love, and affection of not only the flock over which he presided, but of the clergy and people of every other denomination. In his conversation and uniform practice, he gave a meritorious example of the powerful influence of the Christian precepts, when men live under their influence, in leading them not only to attend with diligence to all the relative duties, making them good husbands, fathers, and neighbours, but loyal and dutiful subjects. Modest and unassuming in his manners, he endeavoured to hide himself from public notice; but ‘a city set on a hill cannot be hid.’ His fellow-citizens, hailing him as a father, and anxious to extend his sphere of useful action, showed their high esteem of this charitable Dissenter—charitable in the true sense of the word—by calling him into the council of the city, and making him one of its magistrates, an office which he discharged with singular diligence and paternal solicitude.

"During many years of the latter period of his life, he was consulted on all important measures, not only in matters relating to the public welfare of the city, but the private concerns of its citizens; nor did he ever refuse his services, for he considered not his life as his own, but as devoted to the welfare of his fellow-creatures." [For this sketch of the life of David Dale, the publishers are indebted to a gentleman of kindred spirit—Andrew Liddell, Esq.]


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