Imágenes de páginas


'a clearly defined Christian duty' to contribute towards the support of the clergy. Dissenters recognise this, but to the present generation of Churchmen the idea is strange. I have even heard of a gentleman who apologised for having been mistakenly supposed to take the liberty of so contributing. The appeal must lie to the wealthy, but it need not lie to them exclusively. Annual subscriptions of five shillings would soon tell in the total. But, of course, to the wealthy the appeal must lie especially, and the wealthy at present are those engaged in commerce. It may be pointed out to them that, as the first endowment of the Church came from the new heritage of landowners in England, so the second endowment should come from England's new commercial wealth. Mr. Gladstone, speaking recently on behalf of the St. Asaph branch of this fund, put very pointedly a fact that needs to be remembered—that the commercial classes have actually gained by the very depression of agriculture under which the landowners and the country clergy are at present suffering. From that speech I take leave to quote a few sentences in concluding :

• It is not landlords nowadays in whose hands the great bulk of the wealth of the country is placed. Reference to the return of the Income Tax will show you that the landed income of the country now forms a very small proportion of the total income, not of the nation at large, but of those who must be considered the wealthy classes of the nation. The wealthy classes of the nation have in no respect been injured by the pressure that has come upon the landlords and upon the clergy. On the contrary, the wealthy classes of the nation have largely benefited by that pressure, because they have enjoyed the whole advantage of the cheapness of commodities of the first necessity, which has been such a blessing to the country. ... The wealth of the country lies mainly with the commercial classes, and the commercial classes are aggregated in the great towns. It is in London, in Liverpool, in Manchester, in Leeds, in Birmingham, in the great centres of population, that wealth has been accumulated; and it is upon the laity of those dioceses that we are especially entitled to make a call, and to conjure them to stretch out the hand of Christian bounty, I might almost say of Christian decency, for the purpose of relieving the straits and hard necessities under which the clergy of the rural parishes are now living.'




[If the most commonplace among us were to live to be ninety and to retain the memory of his early days quite unimpaired, his reminiscences could hardly fail to be worth listening to. But how much more is this the case when to the mere accident of longevity is added a shrewd observation of men and manners, a keen sense of humour, and exceptional opportunities of meeting the most illustrious people of the day! The conversation of a really brilliant old gentleman has a bouquet which none of his juniors may hope to rival. Such a delicate aroma of days long past hung about the talk of the late Sir Charles Murray, a man who had met Goethe and Sir Walter Scott, Beckford (the author of 'Vathek'), Rogers, Sydney Smith, and many more of the famous dead of his own and other countries.

There was in him such a marvellous vitality, something so indomitably youthful, that for many years it hardly occurred to those about him to take any special steps for the preservation of all this store of anecdote. It is true that Lady Murray constantly urged him to commit some of his memories to paper, and he would seem always to have entertained a vague project of the kind. When upwards of eighty he actually made a beginning, and filled twenty pages of a blank book with delicate penmanship, recording recollections of childhood and school; but it remains a fragment. His family at last awoke to the fact that if anything was to be preserved steps must be taken. A notebook was started, in which some of the stories that fell from him were collected ; and at the age of eighty-six he was prevailed upon to begin dictating to a niece what was again intended to be a record of his life. Alas! he had an incurable dislike of dictation, and this, too, remains an unfulfilled intention.

It is from these three slender notebooks that the present paper has been compiled, which it is hoped may interest those who have read the leaves from the diaries Sir Charles kept at Court, already published in earlier numbers of the CORNHILL MAGAZINE. -H.O.S.]



'I was born,' he writes, on the 22nd of November, 1806 least so I was informed by my parents; ... but I have a heard that on that day the Thames was on fire, or that “the f of heaven was full of fiery shapes," or that Nature gave an those extraordinary signs by which she is said to mark the b of remarkable men, which I take to be a great omission on part ; nevertheless, I forgive her in consideration of her hay conferred upon me a constitution which has resisted the wear tear of more than eighty years, and thus enabled me to acced the wish of my wife and sons in noting down some of the recol tions of long ago. ...

... His earliest recollections were of a romantic home ca Glenfinart, on the northern shore of Loch Long, in Argyllsh where the inhabitants had but little English and no trous Steamboats were of course unknown, and access to it could o be obtained in such boats as could be found on the Firth of Cly either from Greenock or Roseneath ;' but visitors were not known. One of the earliest things I can recollect, when I wa suppose, six or seven years old, was a visit from a very dear friend of my parents, Samuel Rogers, the poet, who has hims recorded this visit in some pretty lines, since reprinted in “Pleasures of Memory."

A very different visitor, and one who must have been mu more amusing than a poet to a lively little boy, was an old lai who came 'ten or fifteen miles across loch and mountain * Fletcher of Bearnish' he is called in the dictated story, but t manuscript book gives him the more romantic title of Laird Achnashallanoch,' who I suspect had never been much furt! from his home than he was in our glen ; fortunately, as t Highlanders say, he had some English. He arrived just befc luncheon, and as the drawing-room door was opened to add him my mother was playing the harp. Form and sound we equally strange to him, and as she had of course ceased playi to greet him, he asked what it was ; on her explaining it was musical instrument, he asked to hear it. She sat down, but h scarcely played half a dozen bars when he put his great hand her arm, saying, " Thank ye, dinna fash yoursel; I only wanted hear what kind of a noise she made." Soon after this lunche was served, and towards the close a dish of peaches was hand round. The Laird, who had never seen a peach, asked, "Wh kind of an apple is that?” My mother told him it was called


[ocr errors]

peach. "Well,” said he, “I'll take a peach-apple,” and, forthwith seizing one, he bit into it, skin and all; but his teeth encountering the stone, he put it down, saying, “It's a gran' apple, but siccan a pip as it's got ! ”

This and the following anecdote carry us back to a strangely different Scotland from the one we know. Lord Dunmore's family made frequent visits to Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart at Ardgowan, and here “I heard in my youth,' says Sir Charles, one of many curious stories of this Sir John Shaw' (an ancestor of the family of his host). 'He was most eccentric in his appearance and dress, and cared nothing for tidiness in the grounds immediately surrounding his house. One day he invited two gentlemen from Edinburgh to dine with him at Carnock. As was the custom of the time, they appeared before dinner in kneebreeches, silk stockings, and thin shoes. The weather being fine, Sir John invited them to take a turn in the garden. Civilly and thoughtlessly they followed their host, and soon found themselves skipping among nettles and thistles, to the great discomfort of their unfortunate calves. Sir John, who was clad as usual in corduroy breeches and top-boots, said to them, with polite gravity, “Step oot, stepoot, gentlemen, ye'll no hurt my flowers ! ”

When the little Charles came to go to school in the south, first at Wycombe, and afterwards at Eton, the journey had to be made either by coach from Glasgow or Edinburgh (according as the

were at Glenfinart or Dunmore), which took three days and two nights; or by a Leith smack, which the boy naturally much preferred to the coach, in which (unlike most boys) he was not able to sleep. He remembered still in old age the landlord's daughter at Glasgow, who always kissed him, and the

joys of a dish which was the staple diet on board those enchant.: ing Leith passenger smacks, and was known as “lobscouse.' 'Of

course, in winter we were exposed to rough weather, and on one occasion were blown by a heavy westerly gale to the shore of Norway, whence we returned to Leith after an absence of nearly a fortnight. I wrote to my parents to know if I should go on with the smack, or land and take the mail, the verdict, to my grief, being the latter. When I was going over the side the captain shook hands with me, saying, “Well, my young friend, we are sorry you can't go on with us, but I doubt if the owners will be." I had made such a hole in his lohscouse.'


As he grew older he records parties in Edinburgh and vi at Dalmeny to the Lord Rosebery of the day. The “Edinbur Review” was beginning to obtain its celebrity, with little Jeff for its editor. The venerable Dugald Stewart, the greatest me physician of his day, was still in existence, but no longer ce tinued his lectures. Among the wits, the most ready and punge was Harry Erskine ; intelligence came one day into the Court which Erskine was a member that a certain Scottish peer h failed to obtain the Thistle. Harry Erskine wrote two lines a slip of paper, which he threw across the table to a brothe advocate:

• When he heard the thing was settled,
Not being thistled, he was nettled.'

Either his uncle, the Duke of Hamilton, who was heredita Grand Keeper of Holyrood, or his father, Lord Dunmore, who ha apartments in the palace, granted by Queen Anne to an ancesto told him of George IV.'s famous visit, when he arrayed himself i full Highland costume to receive the provost and bailies, an how those loyal citizens, being told they were to “kiss hands kissed their own to the astonished monarch:

* At Lord Rosebery's table we naturally met some of th Edinburgh notables; amongst others, John Scott (Lord Eldon celebrated for his caustic wit and his knowledge of picture: One of the numerous Dundases-well known in the neighbourhoo of Edinburgh-had the preceding year exhibited a collection pictures which he had lately purchased in Germany, previous t their being transferred to his private residence. It happened tha one of the guests at Lord Rosebery's table mentioned his intention of visiting the Continent for the purpose of making some addition to his own collection of paintings, and he asked Lord Eldon if he could give him any suggestions as to where he had better begir his search. Lord Eldon replied, “I think he had better go to Düsseldorf.” “And why to Düsseldorf ? " said the inquirer. “] think you might find something good there, as our friend Dundas went there last year and bought all the d—d trash in the place."

Another house which was a second home to the young man was Hamilton Palace, where he spent many weeks with his uncle and aunt.

* The Duke was a very good specimen of a great noble of the old school, and he retained his pigtail for some years after it

« AnteriorContinuar »