« НазадПродовжити »
and had been zealously instrumental in lity of his character and the weight of supporting the right of patrons in every his personal influence ; and as he was case of disputed settleinent that came seldom returned a member of the General before the church courts. He was Assembly, and often prevented from atchosen moderator of the General Assem- tending the inferior courts by bad health, bly in 1752, on the occasion of the de- he may be regarded as an admired rather position of Mr Gillespie, which was than an efficient leader of the popular branded by the popular party as the most party. . . There were few more vindictive measure that ever had been weighty speakers in the church courts on adopted to overawe opposition to pre- the popular side than Dr Witherspoon, sentations. The overpowering eloquence, minister of Paisley. His manner was however, displayed by Dr Robertson in inanimate and drawling; but the depth the debate on that question, decided his of his judgment, the solidity of his arguunrivalled superiority as a public speaker, ments, and the aptitude with which they and soon secured for that eminent person were illustrated and applied, never failed the position of leader of the General As to produce a strong impression on the sembly. It was at this time suspected Assembly. To singular sagacity he that offended pride and jealousy was the united a large share of sarcastic wit, principal cause of the change of senti- which was displayed in several of his ments avowed by Dr Cuning and some publications, but particularly in the of his adherents."
Ecclesiastical Characteristics-a ludicrous
and acrimonious description of the prin. Carlyle goes over the same ground, ciples, political sentiments, and private and his concluding remarks on Cum characters of many of the moderate ing's qualifications for ecclesiastical clergy. : ..Mr Fairbairn, minileadership give a touch of nature ster of Dumbarton, was remarkable for and practice to the more decorous rough petulant eloquence in attacking statement of his rival. “Dr Patrick
the measures proposed by Dr Robertson, th
and the readiness and vivacity of his reCuming was at this time at the
plies and extemporaneous speeches. But head of the Moderate interest; and, as there was too obvious an intention to had his temper been equal to his make a show of his own superior talents, talents, might have kept it long, for and to secure applause rather than to he had both learning and sagacity, produce conviction, he did not render and very agreeable conversation,
essential service to his associates. The
same reproach attached to most of the with a constitution able to bear the
younger members, distinguished by their conviviality of the times.”—(P. 257.)
zealous declamations on the side of opOf some rivals and opponents of position. A great portion of their Robertson we have the following speeches consisted in a sort of manifesto, sketches :
or declaration of principles, with respect
to ecclesiastical policy, and the best mode “Dr Dick was, beyond all competi- of supplying vacant parishes, which was tion, the ablest antagonist Dr Robertson generally irrelevant to the questions had to contend with during the long under discussion, and tiresome to imperiod of his leadership of the Assembly. partial hearers of every party. And this He was eminently fitted to excel as a was sometimes given with such confident public speaker, by extensive and accu. protestations of their own integrity and rate information on every subject of de- disinterestedness, as seemed to exclude bate, a penetrating discernment, which their opponents from all pretensions to enabled him to perceive what was vulner- the same honourable motives. able in the position of his opponents, a “Mr Crosbie, the advocate, frequently complete knowledge of judicial forms and returned a member of the General Assemprecedents, great fluency aad readiness bly as a ruling elder, was by far the most of elocution, set off with prepossessing respectable and powerful lay champion dignity of address. In his early life he for the popular interest. He was a man was understood to be a friend to the in of the strictest honour, and wise and terests of the Moderate party; and the learned above most of his profession. supposed change of his principles, poli- His zeal, his information, and manly tical and ecclesiastical, was imputed by eloquence, strenuously exerted in suphis adversaries to fretfulness or ille port of the right of the people to elect humour, occasioned by neglect, of which, their own minister, revived the zeal of indeed, he had but too much reason to his party, and reinvigorated their hopes complain. But from whatever cause of success, which had begun to languish arising, it detracted from the respectabi- from the control of the servants of Gov. ernment, and the general disapprobation now in view. By his preference of of the laity of rank and independent for- Hyndman, he had provoked Dick, who tune. Mr Crosbie possessed a vigorous was a far better man, and proved a very constitution ; but, being too much ad- formidable and vigorous opponent ; for dicted to social festivity, he sank into he joined the Wild or High-flying party, intemperate habits, which brought him and by moderating their councils and to his grave at an untimely age.” defending their measures as often as he
could, made them more embarrassing Doubtless Dr Somerville would than if they had been allowed to follow have been the last person in the their own measures.. world to object to a comparison of “Robertson had now Dr Dick as his these passages with the rough ramb- stated opponent, who would have been ling but more genuine remarks pass
very formidable had he not been tied up
by his own principles, which were firm ed by Carlyle on the same men; and
in support of presentations, and by his to give the reader an opportunity of
not having it in his power to be a memcomparing the method of the two ber of Assembly more than once in four autobiographists, we append a few
or five years, on account of the strict of these :
rotation observed by the Presbytery of “ The future life and public character
“Andrew Crosbie, the advocate, was of Dr Witherspoon are perfectly known.
another constant and able opponent of At the time I speak of he was a good scholar, far advanced for his age, very
Dr Robertson and his friends, though
hampered a little by the law of patronsensible and shrewd, but of a disagreeable temper, which was irritated by a
age. His maternal uncle, Lord Tin
wald, the Justice-Clerk, who was his flat voice and awkward manner, which prevented his making an impression on
patron, being dead, he wished to gain his companions of either sex that was at
employment by pleasing the popular
side. Fairbairn, the minister of Dumall adequate to his ability. This defect,
barton, was another opponent-brisk when he was a lad, stuck to him when
and foul-mouthed, who stuck at nothing, he grew up to manhood, and so much
and was endowed with a rude popular roused his envy and jealousy, and made
eloquence; but he was a mere hussar, him take a road to distinction very different from that of his more successful
who had no steady views to direct him.
He was a member of every Assembly, companions. . . . .
and spoke in every cause, but chiefly for "I used sometimes to go with him for
plunder-that is, applause and dinners a day or two to his father's house at
—for he did not seem to care whether he Gifford Hall, where we passed the day
lost or won. Robertson's soothing manin fishing, to be out of reach of his father, who was very sulky and tyranni.
ner prevented his being hard-mouthed
with him.. cal, but who, being much given to glut
: “Andrew Crosbie, advocate, the son tony, fell asleep early, and went always
of a Provost of that name who had been to bed at nine, and, being as fat as a
a private supporter of Provost Bell, in porpoise, was not to be awaked, so that we had three or four hours of liberty
opposition to the party of the Tories,
y thought this a proper time to attempt every night to amuse ourselves with the
an overturn of the present magistrates daughters of the family, and their cou
and managers, and put his own friends sins who resorted to us from the village,
in their room, who would either be when the old man was gone to rest. This John loved of all things ; and this
directed by Crosbie's maternal uncle,
Lord Tinwald, then Justice-Clerk, and sort of company he enjoyed in greater
far advanced in years, or gain the credit perfection when he returned my visits, when we had still more companions of
and advantage of governing the town
under the Duke of Queensberry. As. the fair sex, and no restraint from an
Crosbie was a clever fellow, and young austere father; so that I always con
and adventurous, and a good inflammasidered the austerity of manners and aversion to social joy which he affected
tory speaker, he soon raised the com
mons of the town almost to a pitch of afterwards, as the arts of hypocrisy and
madness against Dickson.” ambition ; for he had a strong and enlightened understanding, far above en
Here follows Dr Somerville's dethusiasm, and a temper that did not seem liable to it. ..
scription of another ecclesiastical
. “The death of Hyndman was a dis- leader, wno, I not justly more aisappointment to Robertson in the man- tinguished, affords, in the strange agement of the Church, which he had texture of his character, a better opportunity for laying on massive the most delightful companion to persons lights and shadows :
of every age and rank. His innate saga
city, his love of convivial festivity and “The singular talents of Dr Webster,
mirth, and the preference which he always his dexterity in business, and his sub
showed, in the choice of his company, for stantial services to his brethren and the
persons who notoriously differed from him public, entitled him to distinguished cele
in theological sentiments and party attach. brity among his contemporaries. He was
ments, occasioned doubts with respect to for more than forty years considered the
the sincerity of his public conduct, and head of the popular party, and admired
staggered the confidence of some of those as one of the ablest speakers in the eccle.
with whom he acted in ecclesiastical siastical courts. He was deficient in liter
affairs. The part he took in the events ature, and applied little of his time to
which happened at Cambuslang, by pubreading or study. Few of his sermons, lishing his belief of their supernatural as I have been informed, were fully writ
character, appeared to many an extrava
shara ten out, and the subjects of them little
gance irreconcilable with the shrewdness varied, being mostly confined to doctrinal
and knowledge of mankind in which he points of orthodoxy, or the fourfold state
surpassed all his party friends, and exof man; but the fluency and copiousness
cited a suspicion of the affectation rather of his expression, and the vivacity and
than the genuine impulse of popular enanimation of his manner and address, ar
thusiasm. rested the attention of the most judicious,
"I am disposed to put confidence in Dr and excited the admiration of the multi
Webster's sincerity. His zeal for religion tude. In the church courts he uniformly
was manifested at an early period of his life, espoused the popular side of the question
by his relinquishing the mercantile busi. under debate. His arguments were spe- ness into which he had entered with high cious rather than cogent, and yet he never
prospects of success, and devoting himself failed to impress his hearers with a high to the laborious and ungainful profession opinion of his strong native good sense of a Scots clergyman; and he gave other and his knowledge of the world. The
proofs of religious earnestness, which it speeches of Dr Webster, too, were en.
were to the last degree uncharitable to livened with such brilliant sallies of wit,
ascribe to artifice." that no public speaker was listened to with greater delight and applause. His We cannot say that this cautiously capacity for financial business, and a pro- guarded certificate of character, with found skill in arithmetical calculation, the accompanying explanation of the rendered him an instrument of extensive
grounds on which it rests, afford a public usefulness. It is a curious fact, that while Dr Webster and Provost Drum
complete refutation of the sharp, and mond were regarded as political adver
certainly by no means guarded, resaries, they consulted and co-operated in marks which Carlyle has left about the promotion of the city interests. I the same man. Nay, however sucheard Dr Webster himself say, that, by cessfully the historian may consider his advice, the Town Council had adopt.
that he has protected the memory ed the measure of appointing a chamber
of Dr Webster against any foolish lain to be constantly and entirely intrusted with the business of the revenue, instead
nonsense which his outspoken conof a treasurer annually elected. By the temporary may have uttered about adoption of this measure, their accounts the great evangelical champion, we have ever since been kept with greater cannot help thinking that what we exactness and fidelity.
have just quoted is merely Dr “The scheme for the benefit of the
Somerville's way of describing the widows of the ministers of the Church of
same character as that which CarScotland was first suggested, and chiefly promoted, by the services of Dr Webster.
lyle handles after the fashion folIn framing the plan, and particularly in
lowing :the detail of calculations, he derived im “ Webster had justly obtained much portant assistance from the Rev. Dr Wal respect amongst the clergy, and all lace, and Mr Maclaurin, Professor of Ma- ranks, indeed, for having established thematics. . . . .
the Widows' Fund; for though Dr WalDr Webster shone above all his con- lace, who was an able mathematician, temporaries in social life; and the pleas- had made the calculations, Webster had antry and gaiety of his conversation, his the merit of carrying the scheme into command of amusing anecdotes, and the execution. Having married a lady of sprightliness of his wit, always good- fashion, who had a fortune of £4000 (an natured and inoffensive, rendered him estate in those days), he kept better company than most of the clergy. His the town's Chamberlain. He had done appearance of great strictness in religion, many private and public injuries to me, to which he was bred under his father, in spite of the support I and my friends who was a very popular minister of the had given him in his cause before the Tolbooth Church, not acting in restraint Synod in May 1752, for which I did not of his convivial humour, he was held to spare him when I had an opportunity, by be excellent company, even by those of treating him with that rough raillery dissolute manners; while, being a five- which the fashion of the times authorbottle man, he could lay them all under ised, which he bore with inimitable the table. This had [brought) on him patience ; and when I rose into some the nickname of Dr Bonum Magnum in consideration, he rather courted than the time of faction ; but never being shunned my company, with the perfect indecently the worse of liquor, and a knowledge of what I thought of him. love of claret to any degree not being reckoned in those days a sin in Scotland, “There were a few of us who, besides all his excesses were pardoned.
the levity of youth and the natural free“When it was discovered that Jardine dom of our manners, had an express deled him, his party became jealous ; and sign to throw contempt on that vile it was no wonder, for he used to under- species of hypocrisy which magnified an mine them by his speeches, and vote indecorum into a crime, and gave an with them to save appearances. But the air of false sanctimony and Jesuitism truly upright and honourable men among to the greatest part of the clergy, and them, such as Drs Erskine and Hunter, was thereby pernicious to rational re&c., could not think of parting with his ligion. In this plan we succeeded, for abilities, which, both in the pulpit and in the midst of our freedom having prethe Assembly, gave some lustre to their served respect and obtained a leading in party. He could pass at once from the the Church, we freed the clergy from many most unbounded jollity to the most fer- unreasonable and hypocritical restraints. vent devotion ; yet I believe that his “I have dwelt longer on Dr Webster hypocrisy was no more than habit than on any other person, because such grounded merely on temper, and that his characters are extremely pernicious, as aptness to pray was as easy and natural to they hold up an example to unprincipled him as to drink a convivial glass. His youth how far they may play fast and familiar saying, however, that it was his loose with professed principles without lot to drink with gentlemen and to vote being entirely undone ; and how far with fools, made too full a discovery of they may proceed in dissipation of manthe laxity of his mind. Indeed, he lived ner without entirely forfeiting the public too long to preserve any respect ; for in good opinion. But let the young clergy his latter years his sole object seemed to observe, that very few indeed are capable be where to find means of inebriety of exhibiting for their protection such which he at last too often effected, for useful talents, or of displaying such his constitution having lost its vigour, he agreeable manners, as Dr Webster did was sent home almost every evening like in compensation for his faults." other drunkards who could not boast of strength. Besides the £4000 he got with his lady, he spent £6000 more,
000, he got We pass at once to the opposite which was left him by Miss Hunter, one
pole of British clerical celebrities, to
n of his pious disciples, which legacy did conclude our extracts with the rival not raise his character. In aid of his sketch of Dr Dodd, more celebrated fortune, when it was nearly drained, he in these days for having been hangwas appointed Collector of the Widows' ed for forgery, than for his brilliant Fund when a Mr Stewart died, who was fashionable discourses. the first, and likewise obtained one of the deaneries from the Crown. When the New Town of Edinburgh came to be
SOMERVILLE'S SKETCH. planned out, he was employed by the magistrates, which gratified his two "The unfortunate Dr Dodd was one strongest desires--his love of business of the most popular preachers, and at. and of conviviality, in both of which he tracted crowded assemblies at the Queen's excelled. The business was all done in Chapel, and the Magdalen in Goodmansthe tavern, where there was a daily fields, where he preached on the Sunday dinner, which cost the town in the evenings. His sentiments were orthodox, course of the year £500, the whole of an occasionally pathetic, but oftener bomadditional revenue which had been dis bastic, and his style turgid. The pertcovered a little while before by Buchan, ness of his address, his apparent self
sufficiency and vanity, and the grossness ville's pleasant little book without of the details which he introduced in his dropping a tribute of praise to the address to the Magdalens, must have been
excellency of its editing. The prealike offensive to most of his hearers."
face being dated at Roxburgh, and
initialed W. L., it is no breach of CARLYLE'S SKETCH.
propriety to speak of the Editor as “Before I began my operations relative the Reverend William Lee, clergyto the window-tax, I witnessed something man of that parish, and son of the Inemorable. It being much the fashion late Principal of the University of
Edinburgh. His notes prove him to the Magdalen Asylum, we went there on
have amply inherited that happy
have am the second Sunday we were in London, and had difficulty to get tolerable seats
combination of varied learning, strict for my sister and wife, the crowd of gen- accuracy, and thorough good taste,for teel people was so great. The preacher which his father was so memorable. was Dr Dodd, a man afterwards too well In a book which carries one on in known. The unfortunate young women a rapid rush of interest, such an were in a latticed gallery, where you could
abundant supply of notes might only see those who chose to be seen. The
have been misplaced—they would preacher's text was, “If a man look on a woman tolust after her,'&c. The textitself
have been liable either to have was shocking, and the sermon was com
been thrown aside, or to be chargeposed with the least possible delicacy, and able with the effect of perpetually was a shocking insult on a sincere pen- tripping up the reader when his itent, and fuel for the warm passions of mind is bent on the interest of the the hypocrites. The fellow was hand
text. Appended, however, to a sort some, and delivered his discourse remarkably well for a reader. When he had
of commonplace book, or collection finished, there were unceasing whispers
of anecdotes and sketches, they of applause, which I could not help con carry out the spirit of the text, tradicting aloud, and condemning the affording in themselves excellent whole institution, as well as the exhibi. reading, and they save the reader tion of the preacher, as contra bonos from going to his authorities to commores, and a disgrace to a Christian city."
plete his knowledge of the subject We cannot part with Dr Somer- under discussion.