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The Scottish Nation

COLQUHOUN, an ancient surname in Scotland, borne by a clan whose territory is in Dumbartonshire, and whose badge is the hazel. The principal families of the name are Colquhoun of Colquhoun and Luss, the chief of the clan, a baronet of Scotland and Nova Scotia, created in 1704, and of Great Britain in 1786; Colquhoun of Killermont and Garscadden; Colquhoun of Ardenconnel, and Colquhoun of Glenmallan. There was likewise Colquhoun of Tilliquhoun, a baronet of Scotland and Nova Scotia (1625), but his family is extinct.

      The origin of the name is territorial. One tradition deduces the descent of the first possessor from a younger son of the old earls of Lennox, because of the similitude of their armorial bearings. It is certain that they were anciently vassals of that potent house.

      The immediate ancestor of the family of Luss was Humphry de Kilpatrick, who, in the reign of Alexander the Second, obtained a grant of the lands and barony of Colquhoun, pro servitio unius militis, &c., and in consequence assumed the name of Colquhoun, instead of his own.

      His son, Ingelram de Colquhoun, lived in the reign of Alexander the third. In a charter of Malcolm, fourth earl of Lennox, in favour of Malcolm, son and heir of Sir John de Luss, of the lands of Luss, in 1280, Ingelram de Colquhoun is a witness. His son, Humphry de Colquhoun, is witness in a charter of Malcolm, fifth earl of Lennox, in favour of Sir John de Luss, which was confirmed by Robert the First in 1316. The following remarkable reference to the construction of a house for the Culquhanorum, by order of King Robert Bruce, is extracted from the Compotum Constabularii de Cardross, vol. i., in the accounts of the Great Chamberlains of Scotland, under date 30th July 1329, as quoted by Mr. Tytler in the appendix to the second volume of his History of Scotland: “Item, in construccione cujusdam domus ad opus Culquhanorum Domini Regis ibidem, 10 solidi.” Mr. Tytler in a note says that Culquhanorum is “an obscure word, which occurs nowhere else – conjectured by a learned friend to be ‘keepers of the dogs,’ from the Gaelic root Gillen-au-con – abbreviated, Gillecon, Culquhoun.”

      Sir Robert de Colquhoun, the son of the last mentioned Humphry, in the reign of David Bruce, married the daughter and sole heiress of Humphry de Luss, lord of Luss, head or chief of an ancient family of that name, whose extensive possessions lay in the mountainous but beautiful and picturesque district on the margin of Loch Lomond, and the sixth or seventh in a direct male line from Lalduin, dean of Lennox, who, in the beginning of the twelfth century, received from Alwyn, second earl of Lennox, a charter of the lands of Luss. Sir Robert was afterwards designed dominus de Colquhoun and de Luss, in a charter dated in 1368; since which time the family have borne the designation of Colquhoun of Colquhoun and Luss. He is also witness in a charter of the lands of Auchmar by Walter of Faslane, lord of Lennox, to Walter de Buchanan in 1373. He had three sons, namely Sir Humphry, his heir; Robert, first of the family of Camstraddan, from whom several other families of the name of Colquhoun in Dumbartonshire are descended; and Patrick, who is mentioned in a charter from his brother Sir Humphry to his other brother Robert.

      The eldest son, Sir Humphry, is a witness in two charters by Duncan earl of Lennox in the years 1390, 1394 and 1395. He had two sons and two daughters. Patrick, his younger son, was ancestor of the Colquhouns of Glennis, from whom the Colquhouns of Barrowfield, Piemont, and others were descended. The eldest son, Sir John Colquhoun, was appointed governor of the castle of Dumbarton in the minority of King James the Second. From his activity in punishing the depredations of the Highlanders, who often committed great outrages in the low country of Dumbartonshire, he rendered himself obnoxious to them, and a plot was formed for his destruction. He received a civil message from some of their chiefs, desiring a friendly conference, in order to accommodate all their differences. Suspecting no treachery he went out to meet them but slightly attended, and was immediately attacked by a numerous body of Islanders, under two noted robber-chiefs, Lachlan Maclean and Murdoch Gibson, and slain in Inchmurren, on Loch Lomond, in 1440. By his wife, Jean, daughter of Robert Lord Erskine, he had a son, Malcolm, a youth of great promise, who was one of the hostages for the ransom of King James the First. He died before his father, leaving a son, Sir John, who succeeded his grandfather in 1440. This Sir John Colquhoun was one of the most distinguished men of his age in Scotland, and highly esteemed by King James the third, from whom he got a charter, under the great seal, of several lands in 1462, and in 1463 he had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him. The same year he was appointed clerk register for Scotland, From 1465 to 1469 he held the high office of comptroller of the Exchequer. He was subsequently appointed sheriff principal of Dumbartonshire. In 1465 he got a grant of the lands of Kilmardinny, and in 1472 and in 1473, of Roseneath, Strone, &c. In 1474 he was appointed lord high chamberlain of Scotland, and immediately thereafter was nominated one of the ambassadors extraordinary to the court of England, to negociate a marriage between the prince royal of Scotland, and the princess Cicily, daughter of King Edward the Fourth. By a royal charter dated 17th September 1477 he was constituted governor of the castle of Dumbarton for life. He was killed by a cannon-ball, in defending that fortress against besiegers 1st May 1478. By his wife, daughter of Thomas Lord Boyd, he had two sons and one daughter. His second son, Robert, was bred to the church, and was first rector of Kippen and Luss, and afterwards bishop of Argyle from 1473 to 1499. The daughter, Margaret, married Sir William Murray, seventh baron of Tullibardine (ancestor of th dukes of Athol), and bore to him seventeen sons. His eldest son, Sir Humphry Colquhoun, died in 1493, and was succeeded by his son, Sir John Colquhoun, who received the honour of knighthood from King James the Fourth, and obtained a charter under the great seal of sundry lands and baronies in Dumbartonshire, dated 4th December 1506. On 11th July 1526 he and Patrick Colquhoun his son received a respite for assisting John earl of Lennox in treasonably besieging, taking, and holding the castle of Dumbarton. On 20th July 1535, Patrick Colquhoun and Adam his brother, with twenty-five others, found security to underly the law for intercommuning with and assisting Humphry Galbraith and his accomplices, rebels and “at the horn,” for the slaughter of Stirling of Glorat. Sir John Colquhoun himself would also have been prosecuted for the same, but that he was “proved to be sick,” and he died soon after, as on 15th August 1536 one Walter Macfarlane found caution that he would appear at the next justice-air at Dumbarton and take his trial, for convocation of the lieges in warlike manner, and besetting the way of the widow of Sir John Colquhoun and David Farnely of Colmiston, being for the time in her company, for their slaughter. By his first wife. Margaret Stewart, daughter of John, earl of Lennox, ancestor of the royal family, Sir John Colquhoun had two sons and four daughters; and by his second wife, Margaret, daughter of William Cunningham of Craigends, he had two sons. His eldest son, Sir Humphry Colquhoun, married Lady Catherine Graham, daughter of William first earl of Montrose, and died in 1537. His son, Sir John Colquhoun, married Agnes, daughter of the fourth Lord Boyd, ancestor of the earls of Kilmarnock, by whom, with two daughters, he had three sons, namely, Humphry, John, and Alexander. He died before 1583. His eldest son, Humphry, acquired the heritable coronership of the county of Dumbarton, from Robert Graham of Knockdollian, which was ratified and confirmed by a charter under the great seal in 1583. In July 1592 some of the Macgregors and Macfarlanes came down upon the low country of Dumbartonshire, and committed vast ravages, especially upon the territory of the Colquhouns. At the head of his vassals, and accompanied by several of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood, Sir Humphry Colquhoun attacked the invaders, and after a bloody conflict, which was only put an end to at nightfall, and in which he was worsted, he retired to his strong castle of Bannachrea, but was closely pursued by a party of the Macfarlanes, who broke into his castle and found h im in a vault, where they put him to death under circumstances of extreme atrocity. His next brother, John, seems to have been implicated in this cruel murder, as he was beheaded at Edinburgh for the crime on the last day of November 1592. Sir Humphry married first Lady Jean Cunningham, daughter of Alexander, fifth earl of Glencairn, widow of the earl of Argyle, by whom he had no children, and secondly, Jean, daughter of John Lord Hamilton, by whom he had a daughter. Having no male issue he was succeeded by his younger brother, Alexander.

      This Alexander Colquhoun, third son of Sir John Colquhoun, got a charter under the great seal of the lands of Woltoun, Auchindouarie, &c., in Dumfries-shire, dated 5th February 1597. In his time occurred the bloody clan conflict of Glenfruin, between the Colquhouns and Macgregors, in February 1603, regarding which the popular accounts are so much at variance with the historical facts. The Colquhouns had taken part in the execution of the letters of fire and sword issued by the crown against the Macgregors some years before, and the feud between them had been greatly aggravated by various acts of violence and aggression on both sides. One of these, tradition, mistaking the name of the chief of the Colquhouns, namely, Alexander, for his brother Sir Humphry, murdered eleven years previously in his castle of Bannachrea, relatives as follows. Two of the clan-Gregor were said to have been benighted in the territory of the Colquhouns, and applied at the house of a dependent of the laird of Luss for food and shelter, which were denied them. Retiring to an outhouse they killed a sheep, for which, after they had partaken of it, they offered payment, but instead of its being accepted, they were seized and carried before the chief of the Colquhouns, who ordered them to be instantly executed. To revenge their death the chief of the clan-Gregor, Allester MacGregor of Glenstrae, assembled a force of about four hundred men, and marched towards Luss. The chief of the Colquhouns hastily mustered his retainers, and being joined by the Buchanans and other friendly septs, and by a body of the citizens of Dumbarton, under the command of Tobias Smollett, a magistrate of that town, and an ancestor of the author of Roderick Random, his forces soon amounted to double the number of the Macgregors. Logan, in his History of the Gael, follows the tradition in naming the chief of the Colquhouns Sir Humphry, and Smibert, in his History of the Highland clans, not only adopts this mistake, but goes still farther wrong in making Sir Humphry’s murder take place sometime after the conflict at Glenfruin, and then at the instigation of a man of power whom the laird of Luss had offended, rather than from private motives of enmity on the part of the Macfarlanes, as already narrated. If there is any truth in the story of the execution of the two Macgregors, it must have been done by order of Alexander Colquhoun. But in the dying declaration of Allester Macgregor, who was hanged at Edinburgh with some of the clan, there is nothing said respecting the execution of these two men as the cause of the conflict. The invasion of the Lennox by the Macgregors was but the result of the lasting feud which subsisted between the two clans. The Macgregors and Colquhouns met at Glenfruin, a short distance from Luss, on the day named, and after a fierce contest, the latter were defeated, with one hundred and forth men slain. The Macgregors carried off six hundred head of cattle, eight hundred sheep and goats, two hundred and eighty horses, with the “haill plenishing, goods and geir of Luss.” The fatal field was ever after called by the Highlanders, the vale of Sorrow or Lamentation. After the battle, many of the widows of the slain Colquhouns appeared in deep mourning, before King James the Sixth at Stirling, and exhibiting on spears eleven score bloody shirts belonging to their deceased husbands, demanded vengeance of the Macgregors. The device succeeded. The whole Macgregor race was proscribed and their very name prohibited, and it was not till the year 1774 that the severe penal enactments against them were finally repealed. A curious letter from Alexander Colquhoun, the laird of Colquhoun and Luss, to James the Sixth, has been preserved. It bears date 1606, and shows that Alexander had proceeded actively against the Macfarlanes for their murder of his brother, as well as for many other alleged injuries, including “slaughters, murthers, hariships, thefts, reivings, and oppressions, fire-raising, demolishing of houses, cutting and destroying woods and plantings.” For merely civil compensation the courts had decreed to him sixty-two thousand pounds Scots, a large sum in those days, but the laird of Luss refers his whole injuries, civil and criminal, to the royal consideration. By his wife Helen, daughter of Sir George Buchanan of that ilk, he had five sons and a daughter.

      The eldest son, Sir John, in his father’s lifetime, got a charter under the great seal of the ten pound land of Dunnerbuck, dated 20th February 1602. He was by King Charles the First created a baronet of Nova Scotia by patent dated the last day of August 1625. He adhered firmly to the royal cause during all the time of the civil wars, on which account he suffered many hardships, and, in 1654, was by Cromwell fined two thousand pounds sterling. He married Lady Lillias Graham, daughter of the fourth earl of Montrose, brother of the great marquis, by whom he had three sons and two daughters. His two eldest sons succeeded to the baronetcy. From Alexander, the third son, the Colquhouns of Tillyquhoun were descended.

      Sir John, the second baronet of Luss, married Margaret, daughter and sole heiress of Sir Gideon Baillie of Lochend, in the county of Haddington, and had one son, John, who died unmarried, and four daughters. He was succeeded, in 1676, by his brother, Sir James, third baronet of Luss, who married Penuel, daughter of William Cunningham of Balleichan in Ireland. He had, with one daughter, a son, Sir Humphry, fourth baronet. The latter was a member of the last Scottish parliament, and strenuously opposed and voted against every article of the treaty of union. By his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir Patrick Houston of that ilk, baronet, he had an only daughter, Anne Colquhoun, his sole heiress, who, in 1702, married James Grant of Pluscardine, second son of Ludovick Grant of Grant, immediate younger brother of Brigadier Alexander Grant, heir apparent of the said Ludovick. Having no male issue, Sir Humphry, with the design that his daughter and her husband should succeed him in his whole estate and honours, in 1704 resigned his baronetcy into the hands of her majesty Queen Anne, for a new patent to himself in liferent, and his son-in-law and his heirs therein named in fee, but with this express limitation that he and his heirs so succeeding to that estate and title should be obliged to bear the name and arms of Colquhoun of Luss, &c. It was also specially provided that the estates of Grant and Luss should not be conjoined. Sir Humphry died in 1718, and was succeeded in his estate and honours by James Grant his son-in-law, under the name and designation of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss. He enjoyed that estate and title till the death of his elder brother, Brigadier Alexander Grant, in 1719, when, succeeding to the estate of Grant, he relinquished the name and title of Colquhoun of Luss, and resumed his own, retaining the baronetcy, it being by the last patent vested in his person. He died in 1747. By the said Anne, his wife, he had a numerous family. His eldest son, Humphry Colquhoun, subsequently Humphry Grant of Grant, died unmarried in 1732. The second son, Ludovick, became Sir Ludovick Grant of Grant, baronet, [See GRANT of GRANT, and SEAFIELD, Earl of]; while the third son James succeeded as Sir James Colquhoun of Luss. He is the amiable and very polite gentlemen described by Smollett in his inimitable novel of Humphry Clinker, under the name of “Sir George Colquhoun, a colonel in the Dutch service.” He married Lady Helen Sutherland, daughter of William Lord Strathnaver, son of the nineteenth earl of Sutherland, and by her he had three sons and five daughter. In 1777 he founded the town of Helensburgh on the firth of Clyde, and named it after his wife. To put an end to some disputes which had arisen with regard to the destination of the old patent of the Nova Scotia baronetcy, (John Colquhoun of Tillyquhoun, as the eldest cadet, having, on the death of his cousin-german, Sir Humphry Colquhoun, in 1718, assumed the title as heir male of his grandfather, the patentee,) Sir James was, in 1786, created a baronet of Great Britain. His second youngest daughter, Margaret, married William Baillie, a lord of session under the title of Lord Polkemmet and was the mother of Sir William Baillie, baronet. Sir James died in November 1786.

      His eldest son, Sir James Colquhoun, 2d bart., sheriff-depute of Dumbartonshire, was one of the principal clerks of session. By his wife, Jane, daughter and co-heir of James Falconer, Esq. of Monktown, he had five sons and four daughters. He died in 1805. His eldest son, Sir James, third baronet, was, for some time, M.P. for Dumbartonshire. He married, on 13th June 1799, his cousin Janet, daughter of Sir John Sinclair, baronet, and had three sons and two daughters. Of this lady, who died October 21, 1846, and who was distinguished for her virtues, piety, and benevolence, a memoir by the Rev. James Hamilton, D.D., London, was published in 1849, from which the following portrait is taken:

[portrait of Janet Sinclair Colquhoun]

      Lady Colquhoun was the authoress of the following religious works:

      Hope and Despair, a Narrative founded on fact. 1822.

      Thoughts on the Religious Profession and Defective Practice of the Higher Classes in Scotland. By a Lady. 1823.

      Impressions of the Heart, relative to the Nature and Excellence of Genuine Religion. 1825.

      The Kingdom of God, containing a brief account of its Properties, Trials, Privileges, and Duration. 1836.

      The World’s Religion as contrasted with Genuine Christianity. 1839.

      The eldest son, Sir James Colquhoun, the fourth baronet of the new creation, and the eighth of the old patent, succeeded on his father’s death, 3d Feb. 1836; chief of the Colquhouns of Luss; Lord-lieutenant of Dumbartonshire, and M.P. for that county from 1837 to 1841. He married in June 1843, Jane, daughter of Sir Robert Abercromby of Birkenbog. She died 3d May 1844, leaving one son, James, born in 1844.

      The family mansion, Ross-dhu, is situated on a beautiful peninsula, as the name indicates. As the family possessions all lie between an arm of the sea and an inland lake – Loch Gare and Loch Lomond – the name of Colquhoun, in Scotland pronounced Co-whoon (whence the surname Cowan), or as humorously adverted to by Smollett in his Humphry clinker, Coon is, among other conjectures, supposed to be derived from Col, in old French, a hill, or rather an elevated neck connecting two mountains or detached peaks, and quhon, quoin, or quhoin, (pronounced cune or whoon, in modern Spanish,) an angular wedge, which would correctly describe the nature of the property, being the high wedge-shaped land extending between two mountains at the angle where Loch Gare issues from the Clyde. These possessions may therefore have been so called from the Normans who appear to have accompanied David when, as count, he governed the southern portion of Scotland, or Cumbria, during the reign of Alexander the First, and, as we learn by a curious inquest held in the reign of Alexander the Second, resided in the neighbourhood of Dumbarton. To the possessions of the family of Colquhoun was added in 1852 the estate of Ardincaple, purchased from the duchess dowager of Argyle.


      Robert, a younger son of Sir Robert Colquhoun of that ilk, who married the heiress of Luss, was the first of the Colquhouns of Camstrodden, which estate, with the lands of Achirgahan, he obtained by charter, dated 4th July 1395, from his brother Sir Humphry. Sir James Colquhoun, 2d baronet, purchased that estate from the hereditary proprietor, and reannexed it to the estate of Luss.


      The Killermont line, originally of Garscadden, is a scion of the Camstrodden branch. The lands of Garscadden were acquired about the middle of the seventeenth century, and those of Killermont in the beginning of the eighteenth, being then purchased by Lawrence Colquhoun. Walter Dalziel Colquhoun of Garscadden married the youngest daughter of Sir Ilay Campbell, baronet, lord president of the court of session. John Coates Campbell, Esq., of Killermont, the grandfather of the present representative, had, with four daughters, a son, Archibald Campbell of Clathick, who, on succeeding to the estate of Killermont, took the name of Colquhoun. He became a member of the Scottish bar in 1768. In 1807 he was appointed lord advocate, and in 1816 lord clerk register of Scotland. He married, in 1796, Mary Anne, daughter of the Rev. William Erskine, Episcopalian clergyman at Muthil, Perthshire, and sister of William Erskine, lord Kinnedder, and had two sons and two daughters. He died on the 8th of September 1820. His elder son, John Campbell Colquhoun of Killermont and Garscadden, born 23d January 1803, was returned to parliament in 1832 for the county of Dumbarton, and afterwards sat for the Kilmarnock district of burghs. He married, 1827, Hon. Henrietta maria Powys, eldest daughter of 2d Lord Lilford; issue, two sons. His brother, William Lawrence Colquhoun, is designed of Clathick, Perthshire.


      The estate of Tilliequhon (or as now written Tilliechewan), once belonging to the eldest branch of the Colquhouns, became the property of William Campbell, Esq., merchant, Glasgow.

COLQUHOUN, PATRICK, a metropolitan magistrate, and well-known writer on statistics and criminal jurisprudence, descended from an ancient family, was born at Dumbarton, March 14, 1745. His father, who held the office of registrar of the records of the county of Dumbarton, was nearly related to Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, baronet. He was a class-fellow of Smollett, and died at the early age of forty-four. His son, the subject of this notice, before he had attained his sixteenth year went to Virginia to engage in commercial pursuits. In 1766 he returned home, and settled in Glasgow, where, in 1775, he married a lady of his own name. In January 1782 he was elected Lord Provost of Glasgow; and having devised a plan for a chamber of commerce and manufactures in that city, he obtained a royal charter for it, and became its chairman. He filled several other civic offices with great credit and reputation.

      In November 1789 he removed to London with his family; and having composed several popular treatises on the subject of the Police, he was, in 1792, when seven public offices were established, appointed to one of them, through the influence of his friend Mr. Henry Dundas, afterwards Viscount Melville; and as a police magistrate, he distinguished himself by his activity and application. In 1795 he published a ‘Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis,’ which passed through six large editions. This work procured him, in 1797, the degree of LL.D. from the university of Glasgow. He was also appointed, by the legislature of the Virgin Islands, in the West Indies, agent for the colony of Great Britain. In 1800 appeared his ‘Treatise on the Police of the River Thames,’ containing an historical account of the trade of the port of London, and suggesting means for the protection of property on the river and in the adjacent parts of the metropolis. His plan was afterwards adopted, and a new police-office erected at Wapping. As some acknowledgment of the success of his endeavours to promote the safe navigation of the river Thames, it may be stated that the West India merchants presented him with the sum of five hundred pounds; while the Russia Company voted him a piece of plate to the value of one hundred guineas. Mr. Colquhoun died April 25, 1820, aged seventy-five, having resigned his official situation about two years previous to his decease. By his will he left the sum of two hundred pounds sterling to the ministers and elders of the parish of Dumbarton, the interest of which to be divided yearly among poor people of the name of Colquhoun, in the parishes of Dumbarton, Cardross, Bonhill, and Old Kilpatrick, not receiving parochial aid. His works are:

      Observations on the State of the Cotton Manufacture. 1783. Two other Pamphlets on the same subject. 1788.

      Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis, containing a Detail of the various Crimes and Misdemeanors by which Public and Private Property and Security are at present injured and endangered, and suggesting Remedies for their Prevention. Lond. 1796, 8vo. 6th edit. 1800, 8vo. 8th edit. corrected and enlarged, 1806, 8vo.

      Observations on the Office of a Constable. 1799. 8vo.

      Treatise on the Commerce and Police of the River Thames; containing an Historical View of the Trade of the Port of London, and suggesting means for preventing the depredations therein, by a Legislative System of River Police, with an Account of the Functions of the various Magistrates and Corporations exercising Jurisdiction on the River, and a General View of the Penal and Remedial Statutes connected with the Subject. Lond.; 1800, 8vo.

      Tract upon the Abuse of Public Houses. 1800.

      Treatise on Indigence; exhibiting a General View of the National Resources of Productive Labour, with Propositions for ameliorating the Condition of the Poor, and improving the Moral Habits and increasing the Comforts of the Labouring People, particularly the Rising Generation. Lond. 1806, 8vo.

      A New and Effectual System of Education for the Labouring People, elucidated and explained according to the Plan which has been established for the Religious and Moral Instruction of Children admitted into the Free School, Orchard Street, Westminster. Lond. 1806, 8vo.

      A Treatise on the Wealth, Power, and Resources of the British Empire in every quarter of the World, including the East Indies; the Rise and Progress of the Funding System explained, with Observations on the National Resources for the Beneficial employment of a Redundant Population, and for rewarding the Military and Naval Officers, Soldiers, and Seamen for their Services. Illustrated by copious Statistical Tables on a new plan, and exhibiting a collected view of the different subjects discussed in this work. 2d edit., improved. 1815, 4to.

COLQUHOUN, JOHN, D.D., an eminent minister of the Church of Scotland, was the son of a small farmer on the estate of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, baronet, in Dumbartonshire, where he was born on New Year’s day, 1748. In his boyhood he herded sheep on the Mulea hill, and till thirty years of age plied the shuttle of a handloom weaver. He received the rudiments of education at a neighbouring school under the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge in Scotland, and as an instance of his early desire for religious information, it is related that a perusal of Boston’s Fourfold State having been recommended to him by his teacher, he travelled to Glasgow, (a distance of nearly fifty miles in going and returning,) in order to procure a copy of the work. With the view of studying for the church, he became a student at the university of Glasgow about the year 1768, and remained there for the greater part of ten years. After attending a session at the university of Edinburgh, he was licensed at Glasgow to preach the gospel in August 1780. He soon received a call to the new church, or chapel of ease (now St. John’s church), South Leith, and was ordained its pastor March 22, 1781. From that period, for nearly half-a-century, he continued to discharge the duties of his ministry at Leith with distinguished zeal, his time being exclusively devoted to study and his pastoral office. Not the least interesting and salutary portion of his labours were the weekly conversations held on the Friday evenings at his own house. All who chose to come were welcome, and many students were in the habit of attending to profit by his instructions, and to obtain his advice, ever readily extended, as to the prosecution of their studies. Towards the close of his life, an unhappy misunderstanding took place with his congregation respecting the appointment of an assistant. For several years he had been unable to preach regularly, and appeared for the last time in the pulpit on the forenoon of the 18th November 1826. His death, however, did not take place till the 27th November 1827. He was interred in the churchyard of South Leith, and his funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Jones of Lady Glenorchy’s chapel, Edinburgh.

      The Rev. Dr. James Hamilton of the National Scottish Church, Regent Square, London, in his Memoir of Lady Colquhoun, (pp. 143-144) pays the following well-deserved and appropriate tribute to Dr. Colquhoun’s memory: – “For nearly fifty years he was minister of the New Kirk, Leith; and to his solid and systematic expositions of scripture, hearers resorted not only from the city of Edinburgh but from places as remote as Dalkeith and Newbattle. Besides Boston and the Erskines, his theological models were Witsius and Maestricht, Voetius and Cloppenburg, and his own mind had all the system and precision of a Dutch divine. No modern better merited the title so often bestowed on the Puritans, – ‘a painful preacher of the holy gospel.’ His expositions were ready-made commentaries, and every sermon was a chapter in a forthcoming treatise, whilst his deliberate enunciation, like an audible typography, rendered ample justice to every italic, dot, and hyphen. It would, however, be a great mistake to fancy that he was a mere systematist. Much as they valued his methodical arrangement and exhaustive copiousness, the best of his hearers prized still more his affectionate applications of the truth, and the singular judgment with which he handled questions of conscience. And in the midst of his mild catholicity, to many there was a peculiar charm in his covenanting fervour. Some of them can still remember (this was written in 1849) with what pathos he used to pray that the Most High ‘would revive the credit of a covenanted work of reformation, that he would repair the carved work of the sanctuary, which had been broken down, and build up the breaches of Zion, which are wide as the sea;’ and they can tell how, in concluding an exposition of the Psalms which had lasted seventeen years, he remarked, ‘I have much reason to bless the Lord that I have never, like many of my brethren, been so far left to myself as to use in the public worship of God hymns of human composition.” Dr. Hamilton describes him as having a “fair, soft countenance, surmounted by its sleek, yellow wig.” A portrait of Dr. Colquhoun, taken in 1793, will be found in Kay’s Edinburgh Portraits. He was twice married, but had no children. His works are:

      A Treatise on spiritual Comfort. Edin. 1813.

      On the Law and the Gospel. Edin. 1815.

      On the Covenant of Grace. Edin. 1818.

      A Catechism for the Instruction and Direction of Young Communicants. Edin. 1821.

      On the Covenant of Works. Edin. 1822.

      A View of Saving Faith, from the Sacred Records. Edin. 1824.

      A Collection of the Promises of the Gospel, arranged under their proper heads, with Reflections and Exhortations deduced from them. Edin. 1825.

      A View of Evangelical Repentance, from the Sacred Records. Edin. 1826.

      A Small posthumous volume of ‘Sermons, chiefly on Doctrinal Subjects,’ with a Memoir of the Author, was published by J. and D. Collie, in 1836.

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