Page images
PDF
EPUB

BATTLES OF SHETTLESTONE.

man, with a smaller family to provide for than his brother-in-|| mens, nothing better than those that every smart law, he could look to the future with more confidence, and take lad writes during some part of his school life, and Alexander Campbell, now well stricken in years, and the father // wisely learns. At the Grammar School, he became

an enthusiastic admirer of Greek; and a passion of a very numerous family, the test by which his moral character was to be tried was not more sudden than it was severe.

Yet for the Greek orators and poets distinguished him he submitted to it with equanimity, or even cheerfulness; and during life. He does not appear to have engaged made such efforts as his age and circunstances allowed for im- | often in the warlike pursuits of the school ; and when proving the very scanty residue which had been saved from the he entered on this field, his efforts were unsuccessful, wreck of luis former ailluence. In these efforts he was ably seconded by his wife, whose natural strength and energy of charac

as appears from his defeat and wounds at one of the ter were strikingly developed by the new cares and anxieties in many which she was now involved; of the prudence with which, as a wife and a mother, she conducted her domestic affairs during the

“I had always deemed it a heinous sin to engage in stonelong struggle that ensued, there is the must pleasing and authentic battles, although they were favourite diversions among the testimony. To her, indeed, much of tlie high merit of having Glasgow urchins. But one day there was an expedition supported and educated her family upon an income, that in the fitted out, with slings and round stones, against the boys of present day would barely suffice to purchase the common neces.

Shetilestone, an adjoining village. A spirit of evil seduced saries of life, is unquestionably due. Among her contemporary

me to join in it ; alihough tbe grounds of hostility, it must relatives, she had always been considered as a person of much

be confessed, were scarcely more rational than those of

most international wars. I paid dearly, however, for my taste and refinement. She was well educated for the age and

folly. We were soundly licked, and, from tbe shortness of sphere in which she moved, with considerable family pride, as

my limbs, being one of the last in retreat, I got so sorely the daughter and wife of a Campbell, and with much of a fond || pelted that I could not walk home. Some of the bigger mother's ambition to sec her young family make their way in Glasgow boys brought me to my father's house; there they that respectable station of life to which they were born. She gravely stated that we had been walking quictly in the Was passionately fond of music, particularly sacred music, and

Shettlestone road, when a parcel of blackguards came sudsang many of the popular melodies of Scotland with taste and denly out and attacked us, without the least provocation ! effect. With the traditional songs of the Highlands, particularly | A carter, however, who had let me be put into his empty cart, Argyleshire, she was intimately acquainted ; and from her example the weavers of Shettlestone had ovly come out to protect their

gave a totally different statement of the affair; namely, that it seems probable the love of song was early imbibed and culti- || tender offspring from our slings and stones! Nor was this vated by her children.

enough; the arcb-fiend had another victory over me, which “From the moment that the aspects of domestic concerns had | 1 felt more than my bruised bones-namely, in my being changed, all the better features of Mrs. Campbell's character ap- exposed before my venerable father, who had always prided peared in strong relief ; every indulgence which previous afiluence himself on my love of truth, for a tacit admission of what had rendered habitual and graceful in the station she then occupied, my Glasgow seniors in the combat had given as the true state

ment.' The fate of this expedition was what his compauwas firmly, conscientiously, abandoned. In her family arrange- ious called a 'settler;' a long armistice succeeded, and the ments, a system of rigid economy was so established, that no un.

Poet was not again 'summoned to witness any fray,' for reasonable expense on one occasion might increase the difficulties at least six weeks. The scars and bruises which, as it of the next. ‘She was,' to use the words applied to her by all || afterwards appeared, he had received in this inglorious rcwho knew her intimately during these years of trials, 'an ad- treat, were so severe as to occasion bis being laid up for mirable manager, a clever woman. It is pleasing to add, that some time in his own room.' her unwearied exertions to prepare her children, by a good solid The wounded lad commenced to write verses under education, for a respectable entrance on the duties of life, were

his affliction, and succeeded better than on any precrowned with success; and, during the last years of her long life,

vious trial. afforded her matter for great thankfulness, and procured for lier

At this time, although not more than great comforts."

thirteen to fourteen years of age, he translated Dr. Beattie adds to this statement a long account

Greek with great facility. The poet's family were of Mr. Campbell's family, who bore up against the ca

educated into a strict love of truth--their household lamities that ruined their fortune with great fortitude.

was regulated on religious principles, and the example It is remarkable that several of his brothers, at different || placed before them was most advantageous; but these periods, succeeded in realizing considerable property in

influences were insufficient to preserve the poet youth their mercantile pursuits in the colonies and in the from an untoward occurrence, and his biographer has United States, which were always lost by some misfor

disclosed the ridiculous consequences attendant on tune. The family consisted of eight sons and three

A SERIES OF FICTIONS. daughters; and the second or family chapter in the paign, young Campbell did not confine himself so closely to

“In the midst of all his preparations for the college cambiography concludes thus:

his books as not take his full share in all the ploys—good "All this talented family-parents, brothers, and sisters-it | bad, or indifferent-in which the other spirited boys of the was the poet's destiny to survive; and to find himself at last in

school were but too diligently engaged. He appears, indeed, the very position which he has so feelingly described

to have eschewed all further intercourse with the Shettle

stone weavers, or their tender offspring;' and to have taken “A brotherless hermit, the last of his race.'

no further interest, personally at least, in any of the 'stone Thomas Campbell was born on the 27th July, 1777, || battles that were subsequently fought, in the vain hope of

retrieving their disasters. In this non-intervention, his and died at Boulogne on the 15th June, 1814, in his father's commands were peremptory. But he had also 67th year. He appears never to have enjoyed a robust reasoned coolly, no doubt, when laid up with his wounds, constitution, and even at an early age he was sent from || resolved in future to confine himself to the theory. He

on the evil cousequences of such international warfare, and Glasgow on account of his health—a practice now fol- | therefore contented himself with Homer's descriptions, lowed for some weeks of each summer by all, or nearly where there was certainly all the sublimity of battles, all, the families of that city by whom the expenditure sudden irruption had given so unexpected a turn to the can be afforded.

The house of the Campbells was in fortunes of his class. They were a formidable tribe ; for the High Street of Glasgow, not now a healthy locality; || although worsted and routed, their retreat-like that of and there is no reason to suppose that it was better then. and besides, there might not be always, as in the recent At school, Campbell was distinguished by application engagement, an empty cart for the benefit of the wounded. rather than genius; although, at an early age, he || further skirmishing, he was unbappily not proof against wrote verses, of which his biographer gives speci-| temptations at home, which convinced him in the end that political intrigue is sometimes even worse than open war- a sworn associate, and now, probably, the only survivor, of fare. The trap was set by a wily hand; and, as that hand that juvenile party of which the young poet was the acyas a brother's, Thomas never suspected that the well-knowledged leader. In the school, at that time, as Mr. known waggery of Daniel was to be played off upon himself. Stevenson informs me, there was a good deal of skirmishing

My mother," says be, bad a cousin, an old bedrid lady. Among the tyros of the different forms; and, being an Engof the name of Simpson, about whose frail life she felt great lish boy, he had now and then to vindicate the honour of his apxiety; but, being herself a martyr to rheumatism, she country by personal conflicts with the ‘Scotch callants,' was unable to visit her personally. She therefore sent, every who could not forgive the 'murder of Sir William Wallace!' day, either my brother or myself, a distance of nearly two But whenever there appeared anything like unfairness, miles, to inquire . How Mrs. Simpson had rested last night, | Campbell was always at hand to take his part, telling the and how she felt herself this morning! One day,' he con- ' boy-belligerents' that generosity to strangers was a Scotch ținues, that I was sent to fetch the bulletin, which would || viriue, practised by Wallace himself. . Besides,' he added, have kept me from a nice party that was to go out for the rather haughtily, it was a shame in them to speak of his gathering of blackberries, I compiained, with tears in my English friend as if he were no better than one of themeres, to my brother Daniel, about this deil of an auld wife, selves. If this remonstrance failed to restore peace, or to that would neither die nor get better.'Tut, man,' said my establish the war on an equal footing, Campbell's arm was crafty brother, can't you just do as I do?" • And what's at the service of his friend. He was no cool spectator of that? Why, just say that she's better, or worse, without these bickerings: whenever there was apparent wrong, he taking the trouble of going so far to inquire?' This seemed insisted upon redress, aud in all such cases of petty aggresa piece of excellent advice; but a philosopher under 13 sion he took part with the injured. May we not consider could see clearly that some untoward event might throw these litile traits as the market indication of that generous discredit upon the bulletin. Daniel, however, with his spirit, which, after the lapse of a few years, was to awaken usual gravity, proved to demonstration that there was no public sympathy in behalf of Poland, and to associate the risk whatever in the plan, or why should he have car. name of Campbeli with the friends of the oppressed in every ried it on so long?' 'Well, thought I, there was some

country ?" thing in that.' It would certainly be a great siving of time,' said Daniel. I said I tbought it would; so having

“ The boy is father to the man ;” and Dr. Beattie adopted the plan as a great means of saving time, may be right in ascribing the poet's future interest in the we continued to report in this manner for weeks and Polish cause to the same reason which induced the months; and finding that a bad bulletin only sent us back earlier next morning, we agreed that the old lady

boy to raise his arm for the English scholar. The tenshould get better.' These favourable reports of her dency to write verses still continued; and it is curious dear cousin's health were very gratifying to Mrs. Campbell. to notice their gradual improvement, although as yet No suspicion whatever attached to the bulletins, as they were reported every morning :-Mrs. Simpson's kind com

they promised none of those excellencies that afterwards pliments to mamma;

has had a better night, and is going made Campbell the best and most polished of our lyric on very nicely. And thus the poet and his brother took

poets. alvantage of every nice party that was made up, either for picking 'blackberries,' or any other ploy of equal interest

COLLEGE LIFE. and importance. But the pleasing deception could not last He entered Glasgow University in October, 1791, much longer; truth, that hail becn so ingeniously defrauded, was about to make reprisals upon the young culprits. This, having distinguished himself in all the classes of the too, was at the very moment when they were starting to Grammar School, now thc IIigh School of Glasgow. spend a long day in the country. • But wac's me,' says Dr. Beattie says that, cven while a student, the poet Campbell, “ on that very morning on which we had the audacity to announce that Mrs. Simpson was quite re

was not characterised by the virtue of close application. covered,' there comes to our father a letter, as broad and “While a mere boy, Campbell appears to have had the long as a brick, with cross-bones and a grinning death's-enviable tact of looking into a book, and extracting head upon its seal, and indited thus:-'Sir, - Whereas, Mrs. Jane Simpson, relict of the late Mr. Andrew Simpson, mer.

from it whatever was valuable. He took the cream, chant in Glasgow, died on Wednesday, the 4th instant, you and left what remained for the perusal of less fastidious are hereby requested to attend her funeral on Monday next, readers.” This faculty is not, however, calculated to at ten o'clock, A.m.'

* Never was evidence more conclusive. Both the culprits do more than make a superficial scholar; and Campbell would have gladly confessed the trick, and implored pardon, was one of the first Greek scholars of the day. In his but they were speechless; and in as much consternation as if the grimly ghost of Mrs. Simpson herself had delivered the

first year at college, he gained three prizes; and it may fatal message. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell looked at the letter, be added that even these prizes were not easily obtheo at their two hopeful sons, and then at one another; but tained at Glasgow University by any young lad of such were their grief and astonishment that neither of them fourteen years of age. for sotne minutes could utter a word.

** At last,' says the poet, my mother's grief for the death His college career was brilliant, but might have been of her respected cousin vented itself in cuffiug our cars. more so, if he had not been, as he states, “obliged But I was far less pained by her blows than by a few words il by his necessities to give elementary instruction to advise all fathers who would have their children to love their younger lads;" and thus “his powers of instruction mernory, to follow bis example.''

were exhausted in teaching when he ought to have Although the preceding anecdote says little for been learning.” Dr. Beattie believes that this proCampbell's honour as a boy, or even his respect for cess of instructing others “led” a more solid foundahis paren s and their friends, yet he was, notwith- tion for his own fame; but its general tendency is standing these appearances, a generous lad—and at to fag and discourage the young teacher, who is thus school, when broils arose, he generally avoided them, compelled to do double duty. While prosecuting or took t he weakest side. The little anecdote which vigorously his classical studies, we find him pursuing we copy will remind many persons of their own school. his poctical fancies, and working his upward way in boy days; when it was an article of scholastic faith, the path that was to lead him to celebrity. The folthat our countrymen were superior in all qualities lowing anecdote regarding the oundation of his whatever, but especially in those of a pugnacious popular ballad, “Lord Ullin's Daughter,” is interestcharacter. The anecdote is quite characteristic of ing :the sad results which were sown by

“Among the notes illustrativo of this period, and kindly NATIONAL ANIMOSITIES.

furnished to me by one of his earliest friends, I find that

Campbell was still very constant in his addresses to the " Amongst his favourite comrades were several who after- Muses, and furnished a little poem, which he bad printed, wards distinguished themselves as men of science and com- in the ballad form, and distributed among his fellow-students, mercial enterprise. One of the latter was Ralph Stevenson, • When he was preparing this for the press,' says a friend,

ܙܕ

VOL. XVI.NO. CLXXXI,

ness.

he came to my lodging with the manuscript, and we looked || although not in the warmest terms, and it is not it over, with a view to correct whatever might require surprising, but annoying, to find that this Greek bawbre ballad ;' and, from its resemblance in scenery and scholar and poet could not spell and write the English subject, to Lord Ullin's Daughter,' it was probably the language with propriety. In 1793, while yet only in first form of that ballad, which he afterwards so beautifull his fifteenth year, he occasionally attended at a solirecast, while residing in the Ilighlands. began with these lines :

citor's office in Glasgow; but he never liked the busiLoud shricked ofar the angry sprite

The general opinion that the study of law is That rode upon the storm of night,

inconsistent with the practice of poetry and the purAnd loud the waves were heard to roar That lashed on Morven's rocky shore'

suit of literature, was confirmed in the experiences of which, if compared with those in the ballad published, we Campbell. His case did not constitute the rule, but sball find the resemblance sufficiently striking to warrant such a conjecturc

rather was, in our opinion, the exception. There are • By this the storm grew loud apace ;

many splendid illustrations of the facility with which law The water-wraith was slirieking,'&c."

and literature may draw together. The names of Jeffrey

and Brougham will occur readily to every reader, as At that period, 1791, a number of literary clubs examples of the intimate connection that may exist were formed amongst the students at the Glasgow | between the daily routine of legal duties and eminence University, and Campbell felt the warm interest | in general literature. Sir Walter Scott was a lawyer; of youth in their debates. The oratorical displays and many of his novels evince a keen intimacy withi of the evening were often prolonged till midnight, the absurdities and technicalities of Scottish law forms. and yet they produced . comparatively few ora

Samuel Warren, the author of "Now and Then," and tors. With the exception of theological students, of other stirring narratives, is a barrister of considerable whom Glasgow has always had a large share, the pro- || standing, and author also of “The Moral, Social, and fessional duties of these young men, in their subse- | Professional Duties of Attorneys,"one of the best books quent life, were not calculated to promote the prac- l of the past year. Some of the most promising volumes tice and study of eloquence; and we are not aware

of last year are written by lawyers. Mr. Whiteside's that any of them acquired celebrity in that field. The work on Italy acquired a high standing, immediately cause and objects of Campbell's first Greek poem is lits publication. The author of “Nimrod,” the best poem thus narrated :

of 1848, in our language, is a Scottish W.S., practising " It was during the same term at college, and in the in Edinburgh. We should, however, have merely to Greck class which young Campbell attended with so much acknowledged credit to himself, that another little incident run up a catalogue of names and works, if we were occurred, which brought his poetical talent before the Pro-called on to prove the union between legal and literary fessor in a rather pleasing and interesting light. Some studies, although the opposite opinion has become nounced as about to take place in itie city; and being of a very proverbial, and barristers who are bold enough to attractive description, the leaders in ihe Greek class were publish verses in their own name, like the clever Were sadly puzzled how they should memorialize’ the author of "Nibley Green," deem it advisable to preProfessor, so as to make sure of his indulgence. The face them with an apology. show' was expected to be even much finer than was at The duties of the solicitor's office did not suit Campfirst imaginedl; and yet, was to be “all Homer and no holiday.!" In this dilemina, young Campbell tacitly took bell. He made no progress with law works; and we upon himself the office of junior counsel'in Greek for the think his biographer, in the following verses, needWhole class, and soon made himself master of the case.' | lessly at a loss to kuow the more congenial pursuits Next morning, when the students had all assembled, much chagrined at the little success that had attended their deli

to which he retreated. The last part of our extract berations, the Professor took his seat as usual.

explains them: “On opening a Greek text-book that lay on his desk, he observed a neatly-folded manuscript, respectfully addressed

“During the summer of this year; or, at least, for seve. to himself, and humbly praying, &c., as all petitioners | ral weeks after prize-day, Campbell appears to have spent do. He took it up, turned it over, as if to throw it aside ; | the greater portion of his time in the office of a solicitor, or but, seeing that it was written in poetry, he was struck with writer, in Glasgow, a relation by his mother's side, and to the novelty, and at length read it over with much apparent

have actually commenced the duties of an apprenticeship attention. His class-tellows knew nothing of what was This gentleman was the late Mr. Alexander Campbell; but going on ; but young Campbell was literally trembling for

as he informed my correspondent, the young poet came to the fate of his first piece,' and the holiday! And while his office only on trial, and, disliking the business on better he watched with intense anxiety the rather equivocal smile acquaintance, soon left the office and returned to more conthat played about the Professor's lips, during the perusal, genial pursuits.' What these pursuits were, does not exhis fears 100 clearly suggested that it was in contempt of actly appear; but that he was diligent in his preparation the petitioner! lle even thought he could distinctly for the ensuing session at college, and in almost daily cor

trace

respondence with the muses, is abundantly evident by the The day's disaster in his morning face !

translations and original poems which he struck off in the

course of the autumn. "In a few minutes, however, he was agrecably surprised “Among the miscellaneous pieces, was one inspired by to hear his name pronounced in the presence of the whole the most atrocious event of the day-an event 'over which elass, with a very handsome compliment attached to it, and he wept at the time, and the mere recollection of which, followed by the far more captivating announcement, that after the lapse of forty years, still made bim shudder.'. It the holiday was granted !'

Granted !- The word was

was the following poem on Marie Antoinette. It excited electric : the students returned hasty and boisterous thanks, much attention on both sides of the green ;' met the pub. and, rushing forth to the inarket-place, spent a 'glorious lic sympathy so universally felt at the time, and afterwards holiday,' with the young Tyrtâeus at their head.

appeared in one of the leading Glasgow papers : " From the date of this petition, young Campbell was honoured with marked attention by Professor Young, whose

"VERSES ON THE QUEEN of France. approbation, in this instance, siimulated him to such in

"*" Behold! where Gallia's captive queen, creased diligence in his study of Greek, that he soon gave

With steady eye, and look serone, proofs of his proficiency by those elegant translations which

In life's last awful-awful scene, still maintain their place among his published poems.

Slow leaves her sad captivity, In the next session he entered the Logic class, and

** " Hark! the shrill horn, that rends the sky, was commended for his exercises by Professor Jardine,

Bespeaks the ready murder nigh;

[ocr errors]

on

The long parade of death I spy,

« Déchirant à l'envi leur propre république ; And leare my lone captivity!

Lions contre lions; parents contre parents, "Farewell. ye mansions of despair !

Combattent follement pour le choix des tyrans ! Scenes of my sad sequestered care ;

“Of the great events which were now hastening to their The balm of bleeding woe is near

consummation, and forcing the public mind into the most Adieu, my lone captivity!

painful apprehensions as to their results upon the whole "* To purer mansions in the sky,

fabric of civilised society, Campbell, though comparatively Fair hope directs my grief-worn eye ;

a tyro in the school of politics, was, nevertheless, a keen and Where sorrow's child no more shall sigh,

attentire observer. By this time,' he says, 'the French Amid her lonc captivity!

Revolution had everywhere lighted up the contending spirits

of democracy and aristocracy; and being, in my own opinion, "Adieu, ye babes, whose infant bloom,

a competent judge of politics, I became a democrat. "I read Bencath oppression's lawless doom,

Burke on the French Revolution, of course ; but, unable to Pines in the solitary gloom

follow his subtleties, or to appreciate his merits, I took the Of undeserr'd captivity!

word of my brother democrats that he was a sophist. No “0, power benign, that rul'st on high !

doubt my principles--if I may so call my puerile opinions

got a check from the atrocities of the French Jacobins; and Cast down, cast down a pitying eye!

my hatred hung balanced between them and the allied inShed consolation from the sky,

vaders of France, who brought forth all the evil energies of To soothe the sad captivity!

that kingdom, and eventually created the salamander Na"Now virtue's sure reward to prove,

poleon. But although I wept at hearing of the execution of I seek empyreal realms above,

Louis, and the fate of his Queen and the Dauphin, with the To meet my long departed love

same sincere regret as I now read them in the page of hisAdieu, my lone captivity!

tory, I was, nevertheless, boy as I certainly was-possessed,

even then, with an opinion which I have retained through During his third session at college, the future poet life, namely, that the French massacres, and, above all, the made, according to the late Dr. Duncan, of Ruthwell

, I death of Louis, were signal calamities to the friends of peaco

and liberty in England, and were equally sigual advantages who was his fellow student, several enemies by the to its bitter enemies. severity of his satirical effusions; but many of them "" It was in those years that the Scottish Reformers, Muir, were the cause of amusement rather than anger. | Gerald, and others, were transported to Botany Bay:--Muir, Glasgow University has been long a haunt of Irish although he had never uttered a sentence in favour of re

form stronger than William Pitt himself had uttered ; and students; but the new colleges, we expect, will do Gerald for acts which, in the opinion of sound English lawmuch to retain these winter absentees at home. Theyers, sell short of sedition. I did not even then approve of Belfast College, founded, in some

Gerald's modo of agitating the reform question in Scotland measures,

by means of a Scottish convention ; but I hail heard & classes already formed, is likely to be efficient and magnificent acconnt of his talents and accomplishments; popular. In 1793, however, the new Irish Colleges and I longed insufferably to see him ; but the question was,

how to get to Edinburgh. were not even talked of, and then, as now, the stu

“While this gravely considering the ways and means, it dents from Ulster formed a large party at Glasgow. | immediately occurred to me that I had an uncle's widow in One morning Campbell “ perpetrated å libel on ola Edinburgh-a kind-hearted elderly lady, who had seen me Ireland," beginning thus :

at Glasgow, and said that she would be glad to receive me

at her house, if I should ever come to the Scottish metro. “L'os, Hiberni, collocatis,

polis. I watched my mother's molia tempora fundi-for Summum bonum in--potatoes ;"

she had them, good woman-and eagerly catching the pro

pitious moment, I said, “Oh, mamma, bow I long to see and it answered his purpose, for all he wanted was a Edinburgh: If I had but three shillings, I could walk there seat nearer to the stove, and as the Irish ran to read in one day, sleep two nights, and be two days at my aunt

Campbell's, and walk back in another day!" To my dethe attack on themselves rather than on their country, | lightful surprise she answered, “No, my bairn; I will give he attained his object.

you what will carry you to Edinburgh and bring you back; We come now to the first intimation respecting way in one day" —that was twenty-two miles. “Here,” said

you must promise me not to walk more than half the political matters; and it is a very interesting passage, || she, "are five shillings for you in all; two shillings will confirming the views that we have steadily expressed serve you to go, and two to return; for a bed at the half

She then gave me-I regarding the conduct of the Scottish political martyrs, I shall never forget the beautiful coin !-a King William and and the unjust severity of the proceedings by which Mary crown-piece. I was dumb with gratitude ; but sallythey were victimised :

ing out to the streets, I saw at the first bookseller's shop a

print of Elijah fed by the ravens. Now, I bad often heard "Early in the spring of this year, and in acknowledg. my poor mother saying confidentially to our worthy neighment of bis exemplary conduct, Campbell obtained a few bour, Mrs. Hamilton--whose strawberries I had piltereddays' leave of absence from College. He had just completed that in case of my father's death, and he was a very old man, the first sketch of a prize poem, and laid it aside for inture she knew not what would become of her. "But,” she used consideration. Another object had taken strong possession to add, " let me not despair

, for Elijah was fed by the ravens.” of his mind; and the holidays, just granted, encouraged the Wheu'l presented her with the picture, I said nothing of its hope of his being enabled to realise a pleasing and long- tacit allusion to the possibility of my being one day her supcherished object of ambition. This was a visit to Ediu-l porter; but she was much affected, and eridently felt a strong burgh, during a timo of great political excitement, when || presentiment.' llis mother's presentiment had its literal the trial of Muir, Gerald, and others, for high treason, was fulfilment; every rearer will mark and feel the beauty of a expected to take place. At this trial Campbell was present; passage to which no commentary can do justice. • Next and no circumstance of his life erer made so powerful an inorning,' continues Campbell, “I took my way to Edinburgh impression on his mind as what he beard and saw on that with four shillings and sixpence in my pocket. I witnessed occasion. The whole scene within the Parliament-house-|| Joseph Gerald's trial, and it was an era in my life. Hitherto the judges on the bench-the prisoners at the bar-their I had never known what public eloquence was, and I am Jooks—their eloquence--their indignant repudiation of the sure the Justiciary Scotch Lords did not help me to a concharges brought against them-their solemn appeals to the ception of it--speaking, as they did, bad arguments in broad jury—their sentence-their solemn protest and despair-all Scotch. But the Lord Advocate's speech was good-ind scerned to haunt his imagination in after life, like a reality speeches of Laing and Gillies were better; and Gerald's which nothing could efface. In detailing the circumstance Speech annihilated the remembrance of all the eloquence which preceded the poet's visit to the capital, I have again that had ever been heard within the walls of that house. Ho recourse to bis own manuscript, in which I find some domes- | quieted the judges, in spite of their indecent interruptions of tic traits of an interesting nature.

It commenc:s with a him, and produced a silence in which you might have heard short sketch of the political aspect of the country at this a pin fall to the ground. At the close of his defence stirring period, particularly of France, the wretched condi- he said, And now, gentlemen of the jury-ow that I have tion of which Boileau had so briefly but admirably predicted:-|| to take leave of you for ever, let me remind you that nerey

[ocr errors]

motto:

is no small part of the duty of jurymen ; that the man who || fellows were preparing for boly orders- theology, with all sbits his heart on the claims of the unfortunate, on him the 'weighty matters of the law,' ccclesiastical history, and the gates of mercy will be shut; and for him the Saviour of || logic, were ibe leading studies of the session. Having a the world shall bave died in vain.” At this finish I was warm friendship for those young men, living much in their anored, and turning to a stranger beside me, apparently a company, and sharing their sentimenis, it is probable that tradesman, I said to him, “By heavens, Sir, ihat is a great he at length embraced similar views; and, for some time, man!" "Yes, Sir," he answered ; " he is not only a great at least, steadily persevered in regulating his studies by man himself, but he makes every other man feel great who theirs. Circumstances, however, of a domestic or personal listens to him.""

nature, appear to have altered his purpose; but these are so " This visit to Edinburgh, and above all, the trial he had indistinctly remembered, or so doubtfully stated, tbat I witnessed in the Parliainent-house-the strong political cannot take upon me to repeat them with any degree of exciteinent evinced by the spectators—the dignitied de- || contidence. meanour, and glowing eloquence of the prisoner Gerald- “ His prospects of Church patronage could never have made an impression on young Campbell's mind that never been very encouraging. His family connections, on both left him. li may be supposed, inded, to have had no little sides of the house, were chiefly engaged in commerce; and influence in strengthening and confirming those early prin- when he looked towards Kirnan, the home of his foreciples, the strict observance of wbich, on all subseqnent fathers,' and thought of days when the staunch old occasions, gave bim that title of political consistency to lairds of that ilk' would have sold their last acre to have which he so religiously adhered.

place such a kinsman in tbe pulpit, the case was cheerless; "Full of his subject, he returned home to his father's || roofiess and wild' was their abode ; and under the green house, and to the prosecution of bis studies, with that in- sward of Kilmichael kirkyard lay the last heritors' who creased thirst for distinction which bad already marked his could have lent him a helping hand. All this passed progress, and was now conducting him to the summit of through his mind. But then it was suid ‘his talents would literary fame."

easily accomplish what family influence could not.' Talents

be certainly had-talents of the first order-but of what The sympathy of a young man, possessed of com. avail

avail were these? manding talents, unassociated with those political

"Haud facile emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat

Res angusta doni.' opinions for which Muir, Gerald, and their companions Many other such arguments were employed; but they were punished; educated in the strictest circles of went merely to show that, if he aspired io Church prefer. Scotch burgher life, always peaceable, decorous, and astical: study Calvin, compose homilies, read Mosheim,

ment, he must give much more attention to things 'Ecclesiloyal to the dynasty; and under the influence of pro-follow in the steps of those noble ancestors, who, at the fessors who were satisfied with the order of things then peril of their lives and property, had ever clung fast to the

interest of their mother Kirk; and take his own words for a existing in this country—the sympathy even of a young man, in these circumstances, and with the ac

“"Be strong as the rock of the ocean that stems

A thousand wild waves on the shore.' quirements and endowments of Thomas Campbell, What effect this friendly exhortation produced on the mind was a testimonial, and even a vindication, which posterity of Campbell is not known.” will not disregard. The trial made a deep impression The confession that talents of the first order were on one auditor who had walked to and from Ediuburgh,

of no avail, is humiliating, when made in reference to not for the exclusive purpose of being present, but an institution where talents are apparently indispensawith a view to that amongst other objects. His ble for success, and where drones can do more mis. character was changed. He became more sedate from chief than in any other profession whatever, by merely that glimpse of the world's work. One agitator was doing nothing. made by the trial, and Dr. Beattie says that subse- Medicine and surgery formed the next suggestion; quently, “after the business of the day was over, he but then they required a greater outlay than the poet's would call a few of his comrades together, and read financial condition would permit; and, after attending them lectures on the miserable prospects of society- | - some preliminary lectures,” this idea also was abauthe corrupt state of modern legislation—the glories of doned. IIc then entered the counting-house of a the ancient republics—and the wisdom of Solon and merchant, where he remained for some time, still Lycurgus."

hankering after the Church, whose pulpits were closed During his sessions at college, Campbell's studies against him by the Act of 1711-studying Hebrew in were directed towards the Church; but his biographer, || bis leisure hours, and writing religious poetry. unconsciously, we suppose, demonstrates the bad work- At the close of the third session, Campbell carried ing of Church patronage in these days; which probably three prizes; but more pecuniary losses having been kept one man out of the Scottish pulpit, whose encountered by his family, he was induced to seek genius and energy, if they had been directed into that employment; and found it in the Hebrides.

His channel , would undoubtedly have placed him, in point journey to Mull

, where he was to act as tutor to of success and utility, on a level with its brightest or- the family of Mrs. Campbell of Sunipol, was made overnaments. In 1794, however, the party who subse land; and partly, from want of any

other conveyance, quently opened up the question of patronage, and the on foot. The state of the Highlands, at that com- . circumstances that induced a relaxation of its rigour, || paratively recent period, is shown pretty clearly in had not been developed. The want of any hope of the following extract :efficient patronage changed the current of Campbell's

• At last, after crossing Cowal, and reaching Inverary, life. His father, who was a strictly religious man, we regained a spot of comparative civilization, where there probably urged perseverance ; but the opposite coun

was a high road with milestones. On that road, I remember, sel appears to have prevailed, and the poet remained pony was left grazing on the road side, whilst Red Jacket

we came up with a little boy, in a postman's dress, whose a layman.

himself was quietly playing at marbles with some other boys.

• You little rascall we said to him, are you the post-boy, “Down to this period of his academical career, Campbell and thus playing away your time?' • Na!'sir,' he answered, appears to have studied with a view to the Church. Among I'm no the post-I'm only an express!' the most intimate of his associates was Hamilton Paul, whose talents were of a high order—a grave philosopher, but a lively

At Mull he found a famine of paper, and apologises poet. In the congenial society of this worthy compeer, and in 1795 to a friend for the irregularity of his corresthat of a kindred spirit, the late Rev. Dr. Finlayson, with || pondence, by saying "there is no paper in Mull.”. whom he afterwards travelled to Mull, he spent many pleasant, as well as profitable, hours. And as both his class- || He remained only five months in the island, and re

« PreviousContinue »