Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Annals of Garelochside
Chapter II - The Lennox and Colquhoun Families. Henry Bell and Robert Napier

HAVING thus endeavoured to give a general outline of that portion of the county of Dunbarton which is more especially the subject of this volume, it will be well to mention some details regarding the ancient family of Lennox, to whose representatives at one time the whole of Row and Cardross belonged. The name was originally Leven-ach, a Gaelic term signifying the "field of the Leven." In the plural, Levenachs, was the name given to the extensive possessions of the Earls of the district between the river Leven and the Gareloch, and, in process of time, became shortened into Lennox. It is believed that the founder of the family was Arkyll, a Saxon baron of Northumberland, who also owned large estates in Yorkshire, and who rebelled against William the Conqueror. Along with many other Saxon barons in 1070, he fled to Scotland and received from Malcolm Canmore a large tract of land in the counties of Dunbarton and Stirling. Arkyll married for his second wife a Scottish lady, whose son Alwyn was understood to have been first Earl of Lennox, and to have died in 1160. His son Alwyn being very ycung when his father died, the Earl of Huntington, the brother of William the Lion, was appointed guardian of Alwyn for a long period. His son Aulay got Faslanc, at the upper end of the Gareloch, for his patrimony, and he gave to the monastery of Paisley "the church of Rosneath with all its just pertinents in pure and perpetual alms, the charter having been confirmed to Maldouin, Earl of Lennox, his brother, and by King Alexander II. on 12th March, in the twelfth year of his reign. He also made a donation to that monastery of a salt pit in Rosneath, and of wood for repairs. He also gave to it all the tracts of nets through the whole of Gareloch for catching salmon, and other fish, reserving to himself and to his heirs every fourth salmon taken through these tracts." Maldouin, third Earl, succeeded his father in 1225, and was one of the guarantees on the part of King Alexander III. when the differences between him and Henry III. of England were arranged in 1237. Up to this time the castle of Dunbarton had been the principal messuage of the Earls of Lennox, but, after 1238, when he received a new charter of the earldom, neither the castle, territory, and harbour adjacent remained in the Lennox family. Ever since, the castle has been a royal fortress, and the town of Dunbarton was, in 1222, erected into a free royal burgh with extensive privileges.

Malcolm the fifth Earl was, in 1292, one of the nominees on the part of the elder Bruce in his competition for the Crown of Scotland with Baliol, and, in 1206, he assembled his followers, and with other Scottish leaders, invaded Cumberland and assaulted Carlisle. He was slain at the battle of Halidon Hill on 19th July, 1333. His son Donald, sixth Earl, was one of the nobles present in the parliament at Edinburgh in September, 1337, and he became bound for the payment of the ransom of King David II. He was present at the coronation of Robert II. at Scone, 16th March, 1371, and on the following day swore homage and fealty to him. He died in 1373, and, having no male issue, the direct male line ceased with him. The earldom devolved on his only daughter Margaret, who married her cousin, and nearest heir male of the family, Walter, son of Allan de Fasselane who, in her right, in accordance with the territorial nature of feudal dignities at that period, became seventh Earl of Lennox. In 1385 the Countess Margaret and her husband made a resignation of the dignity in favour of their son Duncan who, in consequence, became Earl of Lennox in his father's lifetime. Duncan had no male issue, and was left a widower, with three daughters, the eldest of whom. Isabella, married in 1391, Murdoch, Duke of Albany, who became Regent of Scotland. The contract of marriage, a very curious document, was signed at the old castle in Inchmurrin on Loch Lomond, which was then the principal residence of the Earls of Lennox, Although his connection with the Duke of Albany made Duncan, Earl of Lennox, one of the most powerful noblemen in the kingdom, yet he thereby incurred the wrath of King James I., who, on his return from his long captivity in England, caused the Earl to be beheaded at Stirling, along with his son-in-law, on 25th May, 1425, when about eighty years of age. His grandson, Walter of the Levenax, was beheaded at Stirling on the previous day, a cruel and unnecessary act, and his widowed mother spent the remainder of her days on Inchmurrin. She was a lady of deep piety and benevolence of character, and spent her life in the exercise of an extensive charity, and, about 1450, founded the Collegiate Church at Dunbarton, to which was attached an almshouse for poor beadsmen.

Both of the Duchess Isabella's sisters appear to have predeceased her, and, at her death, took place what is known as the partition or dismemberment of the Lennox. The celebrated Sir John Stewart, created Lord Darnley about 1460, was served heir to his grandfather, Duncan, Earl of Lennox, in 1473, in the half of the Earldom of Lennox, and in its principal messuage. In 1489 he took arms against the young King, when his fortresses of Crookston and Dunbarton were besieged, the latter by the Earl of Argyll. The castle, which was defended by his four sons, had to surrender, after a siege of six weeks, but be succeeded in making his peace with the King, and obtaining a full pardon for himself and his followers. Owing to a dispute regarding the estates which occurred with the Haldanes of Gleneagles, who claimed to represent the ancient Earls of Lennox, and the arbiters having awarded the former a large part of the property, the territory of the Lennox was now much curtailed of its importance. Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, succeeded his father in 1494, and in 1503 he obtained a grant from James IV. of the sheriffdom of Dunbartonshire, which was united to the earldom, and made hereditary in the family of Lennox. Along with the Earl of Argyll, Lennox led the right wing of the Scottish army at the battle of Flodden, the men under their command being almost entirely raised in the western counties. Both the Earls were slain at that disastrous battle, and John succeeded as Earl of Lennox, playing an important part during the turbulent minority of James V. In 1524 he warmly supported the Queen-mother when she declared he son King James of age, though then only in his thirteenth year. He was a member of the new secret council appointed in 1526, and at the head of a force of 10,000 men marched from Stirling to Edinburgh for the rescue of the King, who was almost a prisoner in the hands of the powerful house of Douglas. The Earl of Arran and the Hamiltons, with a strong army, met Lennox near Linlithgow, and in the battle which ensued the latter was slain in cold blood after being taken prisoner by Hamilton of Finnart. Sir Andrew Wood of Largo found the Earl of Arran weeping over the expiring Lennox, deploring his loss, and exclaiming "The wisest, the best, the bravest man in Scotland has fallen this day."

Matthew, his eldest son, spent the early part of his life in the service of the King of France, and in the wars in Italy, where he greatly distinguished himself. This nobleman also was a chief actor in the stirring events which occurred during the early years of Mary Queen of Scots, and was the rival of Bothwell for the favour of the Queen-dowager. In 1544, an agreement was entered into at Carlisle between Lennox, Glencairn, and Henry VIII., in which the latter promised to Lennox the government of Scotland, and the hand of his niece, the Lady Margaret Douglas, while the two Earls engaged to use every effort to seize and deliver the young Queen with the principal Scottish fortresses, into Henry's hands. Soon afterwards he was married to Lady Margaret, receiving with her lands in England to the annual value of 6800 merks Scots. In 1544 he resided at Carlisle, and in 1545, he negotiated with Donald, Lord of the Isles, and other nobles for an invasion of Scotland, which was however postponed. In consequence, Lennox was found guilty of treason, at a Parliament held at Stirling, and his lands forfeited. After a residence of twenty years in England, he was recalled by Queen Mary in December, 1564, and his forfeiture rescinded. Being the father of the ill-fated Lord Darnley, Queen Mary's husband, and grandfather of James VI., he was, in July, 1570, elected Regent of Scotland. Having called a Parliament to be held at Stirling, in September, 15711, the Queen's party formed a design, planned by Kirkcaldy of Grange, to surprise the Parliament and seize the Regent. The attack, however, failed, but, in the skirmish which ensued, the Earl of Lennox was stabbed in the back by Captain Calder, and died that evening in the Castle of Stirling, where he was interred in the Chapel Royal, and his virtues commemorated in a Latin epitaph by the celebrated George Buchanan.

The Earldom of Lennox, by right of blood relationship, now devolved on King James VI., as heir of his grandfather, and in 1572, this and the Lordship of Darnley, with all the family estates and jurisdictions, were granted to Charles, Lord Darnley's younger brother. He was the father of the unfortunate Lady Arabella Stuart, whose proximity to the throne rendered her the innocent victim of State policy. She died in 1615, aged thirty-eight, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where most of the subsequent Dukes of Lennox of this family were interred. Robert Stuart, son of John Earl of Lennox, succeeded to the title. lie was at one time Provost of the Collegiate Church of Dunbarton, complied with the Reformation, and during his brother's short Regency, was appointed Priorof St. Andrews. The seventh Earl, and first Duke of Lennox of this name, was Esme Stuart, who had been educated in France, and, on his arrival in Scotland in 1579, was made Abbot of Arbroath, besides receiving other honours. He became a special favourite with the King, and was created Duke of Lennox, and appointed Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland. However, the jealousy of the Scottish nobility became so great that the King was constrained to sign an order for the departure of Lennox from Scotland. His son Ludovick, second Duke of Lennox, was distinguished in various ways, and enjoyed the favour of King James, who bestowed on him all the estates and honours held by his father, arid, in addition, created him Duke of Richmond in the English Peerage, in 1623. He was one of the noblemen and barons who entered into a bond at Aberdeen, in March, 1592, for the security of religion, and against the Popish Lords. It is unnecessary to pursue any further the fortunes of the Lennox family, for they became merged in the honours of the Dukes of Richmond, and lost their connection with the important events of Scottish history. This narrative of an ancient Scottish family, for which the author is chiefly indebted to the Scottish Nation, will, it is believed, interest those who visit the shores of the Gareloch, where those estates of the Lords of Lennox were situated, from whence came their early territorial distinction.

In addition to the large holdings of the Lennox family, details of which have been given and will follow further on the following extract from Irving's history of the county will show what a great extent of territory once was comprised within their estate:—"Leaving the barony of Colquhoun, and passing the beautiful property of Glenarbuck, laid out by Gilbert Hamilton, Lord Provost of Glasgow, and since in the possession of different gentlemen, we enter what may be termed the church lands of Kilpatrick, gifted by the pious munificence of the early Earls of Lennox to the Abbey of Paisley. Some time about the end of the twelfth century, Alwyn, the second Earl of Lennox, confirmed to the Church of Kilpatrick a gift of the lands of Cochno, Edinbarnet, Cragentulach, Monachkeneran, Dunteglenan, Cultbuic, and others, and added thereto a grant of his own of the Iands of Cateconon, for the weal of the soul of his sovereign, Alexander II., of his own, and of all his race. In attaching these lands to the Church of Kilpatrick, the donor seems to have freed them from all burdens; for when Earl David, the brother of William the Lion, who held the superiority of the Earldom during the minority of Alwyn's successor, attempted to derive aid from them, as from his other lands, the holders resisted, and he was compelled to depart from his intention. The various possessions appear at this time to have been held, on behalf of the church, by a person named Bede Ferdan, who lived at Monachkeneran, in the great house built of twigs, domo magna fabricata de virgit, and who, with other three individuals, was bound to receive and entertain all pilgrims repairing to the Church of St. Patrick. The lands conferred upon the Church of Kilpatrick formed in after years a fertile subject of dispute, and in one of the feuds which ensued, Bede Ferdan, above referred to, was slain in defending what he considered the rights of the Church. The dispute regarding the church lands originated in the following manner. Earl Maldowen, Alwy n's successor, out of the love he entertained for the monks of Paisley, in whose abbey he had chosen his place of sepulture, granted to them the Church of Kilpatrick and all the lands attached thereto. Maldowen's brother, Dugald, was at this time rector of Kilpatrick, and resisted the right of the monks to those lands which they claimed as ancient pertinents of the Church, and as confirmed to them directly by various charters. The case was tried by papal delegates in 1233, and the proceedings, as recorded in the Register of Paisley, give a clear and remarkable insight into our early ecclesiastical polity. Dugald, in the end, was compelled to yield. The Church, as in 1227, was decreed to belong to the Abbey of Paisley, in propriis uses, and the vicarage was taxed at twelve merks of the alterage, or the tithe of corn, if the alterage was not sufficient. The procurationes due to the bishop were at that time taxed at one reception (hospitium) yearly. The Abbot of Paisley, out of consideration for Dugald, who had thrown himself upon the mercy of the monastery, allowed him to retain the rectorship for his lifetime, and in addition thereto granted him half a carucate of the lands of Cochno. Still the dispute, though decided upon by the papal delegates, was far from being terminated, and the Abbot was more than once obliged to bestow a money equivalent upon those who held land in Kilpatrick, which the monks alleged had been gifted to the monastery. Thus Gilbert, the son of Samuel of Renfrew, obtained sixty silver merks on resigning the lands of Monachkeneran-and Malcolm, the son of Earl Maldowen, received a similar sum, pro bona pacis, on resigning to the monastery the lands of Cochno, Finbelach, and Edinbarnet. About the year 1270, new claimants came forward for the Church lands of Kilpatrick in the person of John de Wardroba, Bernard de Erth, and Norrinus de Monnargand; and in consideration of their title through their wives, grandnieces and heiresses of Dugald the rector, the Abbot paid them 140 merks, and obtained a charter of resignation from each. Three years afterwards Malcom, Earl of Lennox, "before he received the honour of Knighthood," confirmed to the Abbot and monastery of Paisley all the lands which they held in Lennox, including not only those which belonged to the Church of Kilpatrick, but also Drumfower (Duntocher), Renfede, and Drumdynanis, which had been given by his predecessors to the monastery itself. Yet even before the close of the century Robert, Bishop of Glasgow, had to inhibit the Earl's steward, Walter Spreull, and at length the Earl himself, from making a new claim to these lands in a secular court."

The long-descended race, the Colquhouns of Luss, have held lands in the county of Dunbarton as far back as the time of Alexander II., when Umphredus de Kilpatrick obtained a grant of the barony of Colquhoun, and in conformity with custom, assumed the name of his territorial possession. The barony was in the parish of Kilpatrick, and upon a prominent point, the rock of Dunglas, near Bowling, the new proprietor erected a stronghold whose ruins still exist in picturesque decay. Sir Robert Colquhoun, the grandson of the above Umphredus, married the heiress of Luss and became the founder of this ancient family, being succeeded by his son, Sir Humphrey, whose name appears as witness to charters granted by the Earls of Lennox in 1390, 1394, and 1395. His son, Sir John, was governor of Dunbarton Castle during the minority of James II., was slain by a body of Highlanders in 1440, and was succeeded by his grandson, also Sir John, who was Sheriff of Dumbartonshire in 1471. In 1474, he was raised to the dignity of Grand Chamberlain, and was appointed one of the special ambassadors to London, to treat of a marriage between two young members of the royal family of England and Scotland. The King was so much pleased with Sir John in this delicate mission that he made him governor of Dunbarton Castle for life. This was in September 1477, and the next year this brave soldier was killed by a cannon ball at the siege of the Castle of Dunbar.

Sir Humphrey, who succeeded, received in 1480 a remission from the Crown for the relief duties of his lands, in consideration of his father, Sir John, having fallen at Dunbar. Sir Humphrey, who was twice married, first to a daughter of Lord Erskine, secondly to a daughter of Lord Somerville, died in 1493, and was succeeded by his son Sir John, who married into the family of the Darnley Earls of Lennox, thus acquiring the life-rent of some lands of Glenfruin. Sir John also acquired various properties in the Gareloch district, Lettrowalt and Stuckinduff, Finnart, Portincaple, and Rachane. As illustrating some of the local feuds of the period it may be told that, in February 1514, Sir John Colquhoun obtained a summons for ,pulzie against Robert Dennistoun of Colgrain for having harried the Mains of Luss and the mailing of Dumfyn, of certain kye, horses, and sheep, all duly specified and appraised in the summons. His son Humphrey succeeded in 1536, and left a family, of whom the eldest, Sir John, succeeded his father in 1540, and married a daughter of Lord Boyd. Sir John, in 1568, had a remission from the Regent Murray for his absence from the muster at Maxwellheugh. Sir Humphrey succeeded his father in 1575, and left three daughters at his death. He purchased from Robert Graham of Knockbain the coronatorship of the county of Dunbarton, to be held blench of the Crown, for one penny. During one of the feuds which distracted the Lennox country, he was said to have taken refuge in his old Castle of Bannachra, where the treachery of a servant in lighting him up one of the stairs, made him a mark for the arrows of his pursuers, who had sought him in this retreat, and he was killed. [Dr. Macleay, in his memoirs of Rob Roy, gives a different account of the death of the laird of Luss, in which, also, he erroneously alludes to him as having fought the battle of Glenfruin. He says, "Colquhoun of Luss, having been at a great party in Edinburgh, had grossly insulted the Countess of liar. About this same time the laird of Macfarlane, whose lands lay about the north end of Loch Lomond, had, in a foray to the Leven, killed five gentlemen of the name of Buchanan, for which he fled and concealed himself in Athol. He there met Lady liar, who, anxious to revenge the affront formerly given her by the laird of Luss, promised to obtain Macfarlane's pardon if he would despatch Colquhoun. Macfarlane accordingly set off, collected a few of his people, and went by water to Rossdou. He was noticed by Colquhoun, who fled to Bannachra, at a short distance, and concealed himself in a vault. Macfarlane followed, dragging him from his hiding place, and murdered him. It is said his blood still stains the floor in which the deed was perpetrated."] Sir Alexander Colquhoun succeeded in 1592 on the assassination of his brother. The principal event in his life was the fatal conflict in Glenfruin between the Colquhouns and the MacGregors in 1603, which will be described elsewhere. He married, in 1595, Helen, daughter of Buchanan of that ilk, and left a Iarge family. Sir John Colquhoun succeeded, and in 1620 he married Lady Lilias, eldest daughter of the fourth Earl of Montrose, and five years afterwards, was created a Nova Scotia baronet. Criminal proceedings were instituted against Sir John for absconding with the sister of his wife, who had taken up her abode at Rossdhu, after her father's death. He therefore fled the country, and after a time his brother completed an arrangement with the numerous creditors against the estate. Charters were taken out, by which Sir John's eldest son was infeft of the lands in 1647. Sir John was excommunicated by the Presbytery of Luss for his crime; and though he made confession and sought to be reponed, still the sentence was not withdrawn.

Sir John CoIquhoun, son of the preceding, succeeded, and was a zealous adherent of the Royalist party in Scotland, on whose behalf he endured many hardships. Cromwell inflicted a fine of 2000 upon him, subsequently reduced to 666 13s. 4d. He purchased Balloch in 1652 from James, Duke of Lennox, and, by his marriage with Margaret Baillie, acquired the barony of Lochend in Haddingtonshire. As Sir John died without leaving male issue, the estates devolved upon his eldest brother, Sir James, who married Pennel, daughter of William Cunningham of Ballichen, Ireland. Among the Luss papers there is a "Protection," given to him by General Monk in 1655 "to pass with his traveyling traines to London, or other parts in England, and to repair into Scotland without molestation." His son, Sir Humphrey, was one of the representatives for Dunbartonshire in the last Scottish Parliament, and a determined opponent of the Union between England and Scotland. He married Margaret, daughter of Houston of Houston, and had issue a daughter, Anne. In December 1706 Sir Humphrey executed a deed entailing the estate of Luss on his only daughter, and her husband James, son of Ludovick Grant of Grant, and the heirs of the marriage, whom failing, to the heirs male whatsoever of Sir Humphrey. He died in 1718, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, James Grant, who thereupon assumed the name and arms of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss. On his succeeding to the fine estate of Grant, in terms of Sir Humphrey's will, the estate of Luss devolved upon a younger brother Ludovick, who thereupon assumed the name and arms of Sir Ludovick Colquhoun of Luss. He also - succeeded to the Grant estate, when Luss devolved upon the next brother James, who assumed the name and arms of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss. A dispute being likely to arise with the Tullichewan branch of the family regarding the old patent of baronetcy, Sir James was created a baronet of Great Britain in I786. He married Lady Helen, daughter of William, Lord Strathnaver of the family of Earls of Sutherland. In his lifetime the town of Helensburgh was founded, and so named in honour of his wife Lady Helen. Dying in 1786, he was succeeded by his son Sir James, who was Sheriff-Depute of Dunbartonshire, and a principal Clerk of Session, and dying in 1805 was succeeded by his son James, son of Jane—daughter and co-heiress of James Falconer of Monktown. Sir James was, in 1802, elected member of Parliament for Dunbartonshire, and in 1799 married Janet, only surviving daughter, by his first marriage, of Sir John Sinclair, Bart., of Ulbster, the distinguished Scottish patriot. Lady Colquhoun was a lady of great discernment, and of genuine Christian philanthropy, and lived till October 1846. Sir James died in 1836,—leaving three sons,—James who succeeded, and John who married in 1834 Miss Fuller Maitland, and had a large family, amongst them Colonel Alan John Colquhoun, who is heir presumptive to his cousin, the present Sir James. John Colquhoun was a man of fine character, a single-hearted, God-fearing gentleman, whose works, the Moor and the Loch, and the Rod and the Gun, have had a wide circulation. He was born in 1805, and entered the army, first joining the 33rd Regiment, and subsequently the 4th Dragoon Guards. When he left the army, John Colquhoun settled in Edinburgh, where his family were educated, and for a great number of years, until his death in 1885, he conducted evangelistic meetings in the Grassmarket. Possessed of a beautiful simplicity of character, gentle and kindly, as a true soldier of the Cross, there was something in the manly bearing and unaffected urbanity of John Colquhoun which gained him affectionate respect. A prayer of his is recorded, in which he dedicated himself to the service of his Heavenly Father, and rested all his hopes on the merits of a crucified Saviour. A keen observer and lover of nature, while following the wild animals and birds, whose ways and haunts he so graphically described in his books, he charms his readers with the picturesqueness of his narrative. His observations upon the habits and ways of both large and small game, and his accuracy of detail, have gained for his writings a lasting popularity. Tenderly loved by an attached and united family, and esteemed by a wide circle of friends, John Colquhoun passed away in all the strong yet humble assurance of a devout Christian. Another of the family, William, was well known and respected, and lived the greater part of his life at Rossdhu, with his brother, the late Sir James Colquhoun.

Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, who succeeded in 1836, was a man of upright character and unswerving integrity, modest and unassuming in demeanour, who lived and died among his own people. He was an excellent landlord, and did a great deal for his extensive estates, rebuilding almost every farm steading, and many of the cottages. He planted hundreds of acres, and ornamented the policies of Rossdhu by transplanting there great numbers of large trees. Many of these trees thus transplanted were from fifty to sixty years growth, and, in nearly every case, they succeeded. Sir James laid out large sums on drainage, land reclamation, and other improvements. He took a keen interest in agricultural matters, and frequently presided at meetings of agricultural societies. He was a strong Liberal in politics, and represented the county for some years in parliament, but be never took much part in parliamentary proceedings. When the rifle volunteer movement first started in 1859, Sir James took it up warmly, and raised a local corps of riflemen from his own estates. He was an ardent supporter of the Church of Scotland, and held firmly to its standards, including strong views upon the Sabbath observance question. In 1859 he resolved to enforce his rights as a landlord in striving to protect the pier at Garelochhead from being made use of by the notorious Sunday steamer, his servants forcibly resisted the landing of passengers, and he carried the case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. He successfully contended that, as the pier was erected on his own private grounds, and was not a public pier, he had perfect right to make his own regulations for the traffic.

Sir James took a deep interest in Helensburgh, and his measures helped the rising prosperity of the burgh. Any scheme for assisting the water supply, for providing recreation grounds, for municipal improvements, for opening up new roads, was sure of his liberal support. He was a man of sincere and unostentatious piety, but of a most reserved and diffident bearing among strangers, and he cared nothing for the fashionable and social gatherings of the world. Consequently he was rarely seen outside of his own estate, though he was invariably affable and courteous in his circle of familiar friends. His sad death by drowning, in December 1873, caused a great shock in Helensburgh and throughout the Luss estates, where he was well known and beloved. Accompanied by his brother William, Sir James, and four of his servants, had been for some hours deer stalking on Inch Lonaig, one of the islands in Loch Lomond. Returning home with the heavily laden boat, a violent storm arose as they were half way between the island and the shore, and as it was getting dusk, Mr. William Colquhoun, who was rowing in a small boat by himself, suddenly lost sight of the party in a blinding storm. When the gust had blown over, Sir James' boat could not be seen, and, after a long search, it was evident that the stormy waters had engulfed the entire party. The bodies of Sir James and two of his men were found after some days search, and the tragic event was long mourned throughout the neighbourhood of Loch Lomond, for, in the chief of the Colquhouns, the poor lost a generous friend, and his tenantry and dependents a just and liberal landlord.

His son and successor, the present Sir James Colquhoun, inherits his father's character for uprightness, and a desire to forward all measures of usefulness. His singularly modest and retiring disposition prevents him from entering into public life, but his cultured mind and natural sagacity well qualify him for fulfilling the duties of his position. Owing to the peculiar mariner in which the great Luss estates are now placed, being managed by Trustees, Sir James has not the power to carry out further improvements, or to spend large sums in developing the property. Delicacy of health also obliges him to live much in the South of England, but being Lord Lieutenant of Dumbartonshire, he resides part of the year at Rossdhu, and gives scrupulous attention to the duties of his high office. Sir James is characterised by a deep vein of religious fervour, and his published works testify to the evangelical nature of his views upon sacred subjects. Sir James was married in 1875 to Charlotte Mary Douglas, youngest daughter of the late Major William Munro, of the 79th Cameron Highlanders, and grand-daughter of Sir Robert Abercromby, Baronet, of Birkenbog, and has issue two daughters.

The lands and barony of Colquhoun, from which the family derive their name, have passed into other hands and lay on the south-east part of the county, mostly in the parish of Old Kilpatrick. The woods of Colquhoun were often trodden by Robert the Bruce, and in these woods in 1313 he, one day, encountered a carpenter of the name of Roland who, by his timely information, saved the King from being the victim of a stratagem of Sir John Menteith of Rusky, who was about to betray him to the English. On 30th June, 1541, James V., by letters tinder the Privy Sea], granted to John Colquhoun of Luss the duties of the lands and barony of Luss, with the castle, tower and fortalice of Rossdhu, and the lands and "barony of Culquhone," with the manor-place of Dunglass. The old ruin of Dunglass Castle, so picturesquely situated on a headland of the Clyde near Bowlines, was said to have been built in 1380, and was one of the residences of Sir John Colquhoun, Chamberlain of Scotland in 1439, and long continued to be occupied by the family. It used to be of strong military importance, and was garrisoned by the Covenanters to protect themselves against the Marquis of Montrose. General David Leslie, commander in chief of the army of the Committee of Estates, issued his orders in December? 1650, for garrisoning the "House of Dunglas." In 1735 the Commissioners of Supply "recommended some of the free stories out of the old ruinous house of Dunglas, to be used in repairing the quay." At that time it was possessed by the Edmonstones of Duntreath, but has since formed part of the estate of Buchanan of Auchintorlie. The present mansion house, which immediately adjoins the castle, was built by Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, who was treacherously slain by an arrow at his Castle of Bannachra in 1592.

Henry Bell may almost be said to rank with George Stephenson, as a discoverer of the great capabilities of steam, as a motive power, in propelling ships through the water. He was born at the village of Torphichen, in Linlithgowshire, on 7th April, 1766, and was descended from a race of mechanics who, for generations, were known as practical mill wrights and builders, and had been engaged in many public works. After being educated in the parish school, Henry Bell, in 1780, began to learn the trade of a stone mason. Three years afterwards he became an apprentice to his uncle, who was a mill-wright, and on the termination of his agreement, he went to Borrowstounness to learn ship modelling. In 1787 he worked with Mr. James Inglis, engineer, with the view of completing his knowledge of mechanics. From there he went to London, where he was employed by the celebrated Mr. Rennie, and had opportunity of gaining a practical acquaintance with the higher branches of his art. About the year 1790 he returned to Scotland, and is said to have set up as a house carpenter in Glasgow; his name appears, in October 1797, as a member of the Corporation of Wrights in that city. He had ambitious designs in Glasgow, and strove to undertake public works but, from a deficiency of means, or from want of steady application, he never succeeded. One who knew Bell at this time wrote thus of him: "The truth is, Bell had many of the features of the enthusiastic prospector; never calculated means to ends, or looked much farther than the first stages or movements of any scheme. His mind was a chaos of extraordinary projects, the most of which, from his want of accurate, scientific, calculation, he never could carry fully into practice. Owing to an imperfection in even his mechanical skill, he scarcely ever made one part of a model suit the rest, so that many designs, after a great deal of pains and expense were successively abandoned. He was, in short, the hero of a thousand blunders and one success."

The idea of propelling vessels by means of steam early took possession of Henry Bell, and ultimately he brought his ingenious scheme into practice. Towards the close of last century, the Fly-boats, as they were termed, formed the principal means of communication on the Clyde, between Glasgow and Greenock. These boats were constructed by Mr. William Nicol of Greenock, well known as an excellent builder of ships boats for many years. They were about 28 feet keel, about 8 feet beam, 8 tons burden, and wherry rigged. A slight deck, or awning, was erected abaft the main-mast so as to cover in the passengers, who were accommodated on longitudinal benches. Some of them, on a more improved principle, had a contrivance by which part of the deck or awning might be lifted up on hinges, to allow the passengers in fine weather more freedom in enjoying the voyage. A kind of platform ran along the edge of the deck, outside, to allow those navigating the boat to pass from the bow to the stern, where the steersman sat, without troubling the passengers! The boats generally left Greenock with a flowing tide if possible; if the wind was favourable, a passage of four or five hours to Glasgow was considered a great achievement. When the wind and tide were adverse, then it was toilsome work, and the passengers and crew were glad to get out at Dunglas, and wait there for some hours, enjoying a ramble through the picturesque woods and crags in the neighbourhood.

These boats which, to the present generation, may well seem a slow and wearisome mode of progression, were still an improvement upon the packet boats, or wherries, in vogue till then. One of the owners of the boats was Andrew Rennie, town drummer of Greenock, but a man of considerable ingenuity and speculation, and he proposed to his partners to have one built on a different model to be propelled by wheels. Accordingly he got a boat constructed of a greater breadth of beam, to the sides of which he affixed two paddle wheels, to be worked by manual labour. This boat, which came to be known as "Rennie's wheel boat," after making several trips to the Broomielaw, was sold, as it was not found to be any saving of labour to those who propelled it. Henry Bell heard of this plan of the wheel on the boat's side, and applied to Mr. Nicol to build for him a boat about 15 feet keel, with a well, or opening, in the "run," in which he placed a wheel, to be worked by manuaI-power. Finding this single wheel not to answer the purpose intended, he got Mr. Nicol to close up the well, and tried his boat with two wheels, one on each side. He was convinced, after trial, that this was the true way of distributing the propelling power, though of course being wrought by manual labour no great speed could be attained. Hence it was that, after long consideration, he came to the conclusion that, if he could apply steam power to his wheel, the deficiency in propelling power would be amply made up. Another inventive genius, Symington of Greenock, had caused a canal boat to be fitted up with a steam engine, with a brick funnel, which was actually employed on the Forth and Clyde canal in towing vessels, but he did not succeed in adapting steam to the propulsion of boats in open waters.

Henry Bell now resolved to prosecute his steamboat scheme, and induced Messrs. John & Charles Wood of Port-Glasgow, to lay down the keel of the first STEAMBOAT in their building yard in October, 1811: this was the celebrated Comet, and she was launched in June, 1812, being called after the great meteor of the preceding year. The Comet was a wooden boat of 42 feet long, 11 broad, and 5 deep, and 25 tons burden, and was fitted with the long funnel of the early steamers, which did duty for a mast as well. John Robertson of Glasgow made the engine, which was a condensing one of 3 horse power, the crank working below the cylinder, the engine shaft of cast iron, a fly wheel being added to equalise the motion. Originally the vessel was fitted with two pair of paddle wheels, 7 feet in diameter, with spur wheels 3 feet in diameter; so that by means of another spur wheel, placed between these, and geared into them, each pair of paddles rotated at the same speed. However, this arrangement was found to be very inefficient, as one pair of paddles worked in the wash of the other, and there was a loss of power in working through toothed wheels. N r. Robertson, the engineer, tried to dissuade Henry Bell from planning his paddles in this manner, but the latter insisted on trying the experiment, which was not successful. The double wheels were then removed, and Robertson made another engine of 4 horse power, the cylinder 12 inches in diameter. The workshop where this engine was made was in Dempster Street, North Frederick Street, Glasgow; it was a vertical engine. The original model of the Comet is in the possession of Messrs. John Reid & Co. of Port-Glasgow. The boiler of this historic vessel was made by David Napier of Camlachie. [Messrs. Bell and Robertson had seen Symington's boat in the canal, and had discussed the practicability of propelling vessels by machinery. The latter had manufactured a small engine on speculation of three horse power, and this Bell purchased for 165, an additional 27 being promised to other parties for the boiler and fittings. After the success of the venture was assured, the Comet was beached at Ilelensburgh and twenty feet added to her length, an engine of six horse power being substituted. Irving mentions, "the original engine was first sold to Archibald M`Lellan & Sons, coachbuilders, who applied it to some of their machinery ; it afterwards, by the intervention of the maker Robertson, passed into the hands of Mr. Alexander, distiller, Greenock; it bad several other owners after this, but ultimately fell into the possession of Messrs. Gird-wood & Co., engineers, Glasgow, who exhibited it as a curiosity at one of the meetings of the British Association in Glasgow."]

Thus was the first steamboat completed, and it was announced in the Greenock Advertiser of 15th August, 1812, that the COMET would make the passage three times a week between Glasgow, Greenock, and Helensburgh, by the power of "wind, air, and steam." The interest this created was widespread and intense, great crowds of people lined the shores from the Broomielaw downwards to witness her departure and arrival, but of those who gazed on the novel spectacle few realised to themselves the immense revolution which was thus being brought about in the annals of maritime enterprise. Few believed in the ultimate success of the venture, and Bell was looked upon as an enthusiast, while many were even afraid to set foot in his vessel. A traveller, in 1815, records that he sailed in the Comet from Glasgow to Greenock, leaving in the morning, and arriving at Greenock after seven hours passage, three of which, however, had been spent lying on a sandbank at Erskine. Soon after the success of Henry Bell's steamer, the next vessel worked by this novel power was the Elizabeth, of 33 tons burden, 58 feet long, and she also was built by John Wood. But so little apprehension was caused by the advent of the steamboats that wherries were regularly announced to sail from Greenock to Helensburgh and the Gareloch in opposition to the steamers.

It was years before this successful effort at steam navigation that Bell conceived the idea of propelling vessels by other agency than the power of wind. He thus wrote in 1800, "I applied to Lord Melville on purpose to show his lordship and other members of the Admiralty, the practicability and great utility of applying steam to the propelling of vessels against winds and tides, and every obstruction on rivers and seas where there was depth of water." Disappointed in this application he repeated the attempt in 1803, with the same result, notwithstanding the emphatic declaration of Lord Nelson, who, addressing their lordships on the occasion, said, "My Lords, if you do not adopt Mr. Bell's scheme other nations will, and in the end vex every vein of this empire. It will succeed, and you should encourage Mr. Bell." Failing in this country, Bell tried to induce the naval authorities in Europe as well as the United States government to adopt his plan ; he succeeded with the Americans, who were the first to put his scheme into practice, and were followed by other nations.

After his great achievement in successfully navigating the waters of the Clyde by the power of steam, Bell, who had settled in Helens-burgh, continued to prosecute his business of builder and wright. He also embarked upon more speculations in connection with efforts to establish other passenger steamers, but did not make any great success, for }e was ever possessed by a restless desire to try new experiments. He originated various improvements in Helensburgb, of which town he was the first Provost, serving from 1807 till 1810. Latterly he had the management of the Baths Hotel, assisted by his industrious wife, and there be died in November 1830. Efforts were made by his friends to induce the government to award a sum of money to one who had done so much to open up the way to our vast international carrying trade, and whose genius had paved the road for an entire revolution in the navigation of the ocean. But all they could succeed in getting was a paltry dole of 200, as will be seen from the following pathetic letter, written to one who had interested himself in the matter:

"BATHS, HELENSBURGH, 19th June, 1829.

"My DEAR F1UEND,—I write these few lines lyeing on my bed unable to sit up. But the letter you sent me with the remittance of 200 from the Treasury, a gift ordered by the late Mr. Canning, will relieve my mind a little, and enable me to get Mrs. Bell's house finished, and to pay the tradesmen. I was afraid I should not have got this 200, little as it is. The wounds in my legs are rather easier during the last few days, owing to my keeping close to my bed. I will write to you in a day or two more fully.

I am, your old friend,


"Mr. E. MORRIS, London."

For a few years be had enjoyed a pension of 100 a year from the Clyde Trust, for although he had been the pioneer of vast improvements to navigation and commerce, be had reaped none of the rewards of his inventive genius. His funeral took place on the 19th November, when a large company of mourners followed the body of the man who had done so much for steam navigation to its last resting place in the churchyard of Row. In 1839 a stone obelisk in memory of Henry Bell was erected on the highest point of the rock, beside the old castle of Dunglass, just overlooking the scene where his first triumph was gained.

The late Robert Napier of Shandon, who knew well how much his friend. Henry Bell had laboured for the triumph of steam navigation, placed a fine sitting statue of him in Row Churchyard. The expression of the face is well rendered, and gives a good idea of the man, as he was in his later years, which were much clouded with disappointment. A very handsome granite obelisk in memory of Bell also stands in a conspicuous position on the sea esplanade at the foot of James Street, Helensburgh, chiefly erected through the public spirit of the late Sir James Colquhoun and Robert Napier. On the pedestal is the following inscription:—


The following is a copy of the advertisement of the first passenger steamboat which plied on the waters of the Clyde:-

"Steam Passage-boat THE COMET, between Glasgow, Greenock, and Helensburgh, for passengers only.

"The Subscriber having, at much expense, fitted up a handsome vessel to ply upon the River 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. the second; but beyond these rates nothing is to be allowed to servants or any other person employed about the vessel. The subscriber continues his establishment at Helensburgh Baths, the same as for years past, and a vessel will be in readiness to convey passengers in the Comet from Greenock to Heleusburgh. Passengers by the Comet will receive information of the hours of sailing by applying at Mr. Houston's Office, Broomielaw; or Mr. Thomas Blackney's, East Quay Head, Greenock.


"Helensburgh, 5th August, 1812."

For some years the Comet continued to ply on her original route, and also for a short period on the Firth of Forth, and subsequently she traded between Glasgow and Fort William, via the Crinan Canal. On the 7th of December, 1820, she started on her return journey, but on the 12th, at Salachan, the vessel struck on a rock, and had to be beached to enable the necessary repairs to be made. On the 14th the run to Glasgow was resumed, and on the 15th was at Oban, although by that time water was beginning to enter the vessel. On that day the Comet left Oban for Crinan, during a violent snowstorm, and shortly afterwards was driven, near the Dorus Mohr, by the force of the waves and wind on to the rugged point of Craignish, where she parted in two, amidships, at the exact spot where she had been lengthened in 1818. Henry Bell, the owner of the Comet was on board, but he, along with all the crew and passengers, were safely landed. After the unhappy striking of the vessel the afterpart drifted out to sea, and the forward part sunk in deep water. The engines, however, were saved, and incorporated in the machinery of the second Comet of 94 tons, built by James Lang of the Dockyard, Dunbarton, in 1821, which had one engine of 25 horse power. This vessel also was lost off Kempoch Point, Gourock, on 21st October, 1825, by coming into a collision with a steamer, the Ayr, when a lamentable loss of life occurred.

Such was the fate of the little vessel whose success inaugurated a new era in our mercantile marine, with results of wonderful magnitude to all the nations of the world. It is melancholy to reflect bow little was done to smooth the closing years of the man to whose ingenuity and perseverance so much of the triumph of steam navigation was due. With almost prophetic foresight Henry Bell thus spoke in 1812, when the little Comet first sailed on the Clyde. "Wherever there is a river of four feet in depth of water through the world, there will speedily be a steamboat. They will go over the seas to Egypt, to India, to China, to America, Canada, Australia, everywhere, and they will never be forgotten among the nations." No doubt there were not wanting those who sought to take away from Bell the distinction of having been the first to apply steam to the propelling of vessels, and Fulton, the American, has claimed the honour. Dr. Cleland, the Annalist of Glasgow, writes on this subject. "It was not, however, till the beginning of 1812 that steam was successfully applied to vessels in Europe, as an auxiliary to trade. At that period, Mr. Henry Bell, an ingenious, self-taught engineer, and citizen of Glasgow, fitted up, or it may be said without the hazard of impropriety, invented the steam-propelling system, and applied it to his boat the Comet, for, as yet, he knew nothing of the principles which must have been so successfully followed out by Mr. Fulton."

Morris, the friend of Henry Bell, who wrote the only life of the inventor which has ever been published, a brief and unassuming memoir, gives the following memorandum regarding Bell's claims to be the first who introduced steam power, which was drawn up by some of the early Clyde engineers.

"Glasgow, 2nd April, 1825.

"We, the undersigned engineers in Glasgow, having been employed for some time past in making machines for steam vessels on the Clyde, certify that the principles of the machinery and paddles used by Henry Bell in his steamboat the Comet, in 1812, have undergone little or no alteration, notwithstanding several attempts of ingenious persons to improve them. Signed by Hugh and Robert Baird, John Neilson, David and Robert Napier, David M'Arthur, Claud Girdwood & Co., Murdoch & Cross, William M'Andrew, William Watson."

The following appreciative sketch of Henry Bell appeared in the modest Helensburgh Guide, originally published by the late Mr. William Battrum more than thirty years ago, and now out of print. "In person Mr. Bell was about middle size, a stout built fresh complexioned man, hearty and genial in his manner. His features were regular and expressive, impressing a stranger at a glance with a good opinion of him as a shrewd, pawky Scot, an impression which ten minutes conversation stamped as sound. His general knowledge was extensive, and be had a peculiar aptitude for seizing the salient points of any new invention, and making himself master of the subject. He was a great talker, when excited by any favourite hobby, and nothing delighted him more than an intelligent listener, to whom he would descant all night on any of his multifarious plans and schemes. There were always some leading projects in view. The construction of a canal betwixt east and west Tarbet, in Lochfine, was a favourite one. He had also a scheme for the partial drainage of Loch Lomond, and reclamation of the land, about which he had an extensive correspondence with the Duke of Montrose, who did not receive it favourably. The introduction of water to Helensburgh from Glenfruin, be had also in view. The reclamation of waste lands in Scotland, and even the Suez Canal he discussed, and urged its practicability, despite the opinion of many eminent engineers. Of all his plans he was exceedingly sanguine; neither the indifference of others, the want of resources, partial failure, or any of the thousand embarrassments that haunt projectors, daunted him. Whatever the failure or disappointment met, he was always hopeful of ultimate success. With a large measure of Watt's inventive faculty, he possessed in a good degree the energy and knowledge of men which Watt's partner, Boulton, enjoyed. To the many doubts and disbelief of scientific and unscientific men that steam vessels would never accomplish much, Bell's reply was always, 'they will yet traverse the ocean,' and his prophecy, now being fulfilled, living men who heard it will verify."

Any description of the Gareloch would be incomplete which did not give some account of the eminent Robert Napier, who so long resided at his beautiful seat at West Shandon, where his refined taste displayed itself in the accumulated treasures of art he had gathered under his roof, and which he delighted to shew to his friends. He was born at Dunbarton on the 18th June, 1791, being of a family that, for several generations, had resided in the Vale of Leven, now so noted for its Turkey Red dye works. His father, James Napier, was a burgess of the town, and carried on the business of a blacksmith and mill-wright, and his position in the town enabled him to give his son Robert a good practical education in the Grammar School of Dunbarton. Here, in addition to Classics, Mathematics, French, and other branches, he was taught landscape drawing, and afterwards architectural drawing, by a Mr. Trail, a man of taste and culture. The latter was on friendly terms with the Napier family, and fostered young Robert's turn for things artistic. At the age of fifteen, his father took him from school to College, but Robert's brain, even at that early age, was full of mechanical ideas. Apprenticed to his father, he was engaged in smith work till he was twenty years of age, when he entered the office of the eminent lighthouse engineer, Robert Stevenson of Edinburgh, who constructed the Bell Rock lighthouse. On returning to his native town, his father wished Robert to enter into partnership, but the young man had ideas of his own, which were much in advance of the humble, though honourable, trade of a blacksmith. Accordingly, in 1815, he started in the Greyfriars Wynd in Glasgow, as engineer and blacksmith, no doubt having in view the future development of marine architecture. At first, orders came in slowly, although he only worked with the aid of two apprentices. In December, 1818, he married his cousin, Isabella Napier, a lifelong and truly happy union it proved. His father-in-law, John Napier, was a clever and prosperous engineer in Dunbarton, carrying on an iron foundry as well, and was among the first to employ steam power to drive machinery, which he used in boring cannon for Government during the Peninsular War.

In 1821 Robert Napier, along with his cousin David, entered upon the occupancy of the Camlachie foundry, and they undertook several large contracts, one of them being the pipes required by the Glasgow Water Company, when bringing the supply from the upper reaches of the Clyde. Mr. Napier's first land engine was, twenty years ago, in use in Mr. Boak's spinning factory in Dundee. The business grew rapidly, and the firm was constantly employed constructing boilers and land engines, until, at last, Robert Napier's cherished dream was realised when, in 1823, he received an order for a marine engine to propel the small paddle steamer Leven, plying between Glasgow and Dunbarton. So good was the engine that it wore out no less than three different hulls of the vessel, and may now be viewed at the base of the rock of Dunbarton Castle, where it was erected by his two sons as a memorial of their father. Robert Napier was one of the pioneers of steam engines for marine purposes, and he foresaw the great revolution likely to ensue when the vast powers of steam should be fully applied to the propulsion of ships. The idea had occurred to several inventors, vIiller of Dalswinton, and William Symington, as far back as 1788, had endeavoured to enlist the steam engine as a propeller, and, in 1801, Symington built the Charlotte Dundas, for Lord Dundas, for towing barges on the Forth and Clyde canal, but the vessel did not prove a success. Trevithick, in 1805, was experimenting on the Thames with his engine for propelling ships, but it was reserved for Henry Bell, in 1812, to construct the Comet, which was successfully driven through the water by the power of steam. The boiler and engine castings of this famous little vessel were made by David Napier, the engines by John Robertson of Glasgow, and were afterwards presented to South Kensington Museum by Robert Napier. Curiously enough, the cylinder of the Comet, on the break up of the vessel, was placed by Henry Bell on the top of the Baths Hotel at Helensburgh, where he resided, and it did duty for many a long year as a chimney can.

In 1828 Mr. Napier's increasing business necessitated his removal to the famous Vulcan Foundry, and he added to it, in 1835, the larger engine works of Lancefield. So well known had he become, that no shipping company of any standing could be started without first seeking his advice and co-operation. In 1836 he began his connection with the Honourable East India Company, and into one of their steamers, the Bernice, was introduced by his manager, David Elder, variable expansion valves in the engines. The British Queen followed in 1839, a sister ship to the President, for the Atlantic trade. She was of 420 horse power, and surface condensers for her engines were introduced after the method of Samuel Hall of Aberdeen. About this time Mr. Napier built several steam yachts for the well known sportsman, Mr. Assheton Smith, one of which, the Tire King, of 700 tons, attained to the speed of 15 miles an hour, the greatest of any vessel then afloat. This rate of speed was due to Mr. Smith's foresight in building his vessel with fine hollow water lines, instead of those believed to be the best, namely the "cod's head and the mackerel tail," and it formed a distinct epoch in the formation of steamships. In 1839 was started that great enterprise the Cunard Company, when Mr., afterwards Sir Samuel Cunard, projected his Iine of steam ships between New York and Liverpool. The first contract was with Robert Napier, who was to furnish four steamers of 900 tons each, and 300 horse power. This size of vessel Mr. Napier considered too small, and pressed Mr. Cunard to increase it to 1200 tons and 400 horse power. Such was the commencement of that remarkable departure in shipping known as the Cunard Company, and of the original subscribers not one now survives. The Persia and the Scotia, paddle wheel steamers, built by Mr. Napier for the Cunard Company, were famous in their day. The Scotia consumed 160 tons of coal in 24 hours, and could make the voyage from New York to Liverpool in 8 days 22 hours, whereas it took the Britannia, in 1840, no less than 14 days 8 hours to cross the ocean.

Robert Napier constructed many ships of war for the British Government, famous amongst which was the Black Prince, one of the finest war vessels in the navy, besides numerous ironclad warships for others of the great European Powers. From first to last his workmanship elicited the highest encomiums from the naval authorities, and he was the first to throw open his yard to naval officers who sought to gain practical information in the engineering branch of their profession. Foreign governments also took advantage of his liberality in this respect, and his name was an influential and honoured one in naval circles throughout Europe. The last contract which he personally made was in 1865, when he undertook to build the Pereire and Ville de Paris, of the French Transatlantic Mail Service, which, for speed and economy, surpassed all the vessels then in the Atlantic trade. By this time he had amassed a large fortune, and had many honours bestowed upon him, in recognition of the eminent services which be had rendered to marine architecture. The honours and decorations, crosses and medals, showered upon Mr. Napier had no effect in altering the noble simplicity of character and manner which ever was conspicuous in this distinguished man. He was practically the father of steamship building, and all his work was characterised by the highest degree of excellence, often to his own loss and detriment, for he allowed nothing to leave his yard but what would bear the closest inspection. It was an absolute guarantee of the highest order that a ship had been constructed by Mr. Napier's firm, and his certificates were prized by those who received them, as certain to lead to future promotion.

In his beautiful residence at West Shandon the latter years of Mr. Napier's life were passed, after he had retired from active business, and here he gathered together a very fine collection of all sorts of objects of art, including paintings, statues, china, and all varieties of ceramic ware, besides old armour, clocks, watches, glass ornaments, and other curiosities. It was a great delight to the courteous old man to go round with his visitors, and point out the rarer gems of art treasures he possessed, and year by year he bad hosts of visitors of all ranks, for his hospitality was on a lavish scale. The collection contained many choice specimens, which, at its subsequent dispersal in London, were acquired for some of the famous galleries and museums of Europe; but the pleasure of seeing them at Shandon was wonderfully enhanced by the presence of the genial but simple owner. He died on 23rd June, 1876, and his funeral in Dunbarton Church, a few days afterwards, was attended by a great assemblage of his friends, neighbours and his workmen, as well as by men whose names are widely known and honoured in the scientific world.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus