THESE notes, drawn up by one of the family from old letters laid by and forgotten, many of them nearly illegible, show the character and inner life of forefathers who, as Cowper puts it, " have passed into the skies." Much is now said about heredity, and if we can feel thankful to our ancestors for passing down to us health of body and soundness of mind, may we not also feel grateful for their prayers and blessings, which we are sure will not be lost to our souls.

" God of our fathers, be the God Of their succeeding race—

O spread Thy covering wings around Till all our wanderings cease, And at our Father's loved abode Our souls arrive in peace."

It may be interesting to the three generations now living, to know something of those from whom  they are descended,    An incomplete, but

Notes  on   Family   Letters.

By  AGNES   HENRIETTA  P.,  nee C. C.

Some of the earliest letters are written by Agnes Colquhoun, heiress of Killermont and Garscadden, and wife of John Campbell of Clathick, who must have been a deeply religious woman, from the way in which she writes. One is written to her son Archibald on the occasion of the death of an intimate friend of the family, entreating him to come to God.

Another is a letter of farewell from her to Archibald, written in a shaky, probably a dying hand, and there is also a short will, unsigned, which he executed after her death.

There are several letters referring to the death of her daughter, Margaret (Mrs. J. Campbell), evidently at the birth of a child. One is from Archibald to his father, John Campbell of Clathick, begging him to prepare his mother for the worst news, and there is also one from Ann (Mrs. Murray of Polmaise)  to her mother, written to

correct, genealogy is at the end of this little book in order to help those not well acquainted with their Family Tree to find out their exact place in it.

The compiler will be glad to send any of the original letters from which the following quotations have been taken, to members of the family who would like to see them.

E. A. C. C.

Chartwell, May, 1908.

Notes on Family Letters by Agnes Henrietta Pelly nee Campbell Colquhoun. Chartwell, May 1908.

console her after the event. This bereavement is also referred to by John Coxon, who was an evangelist in Derbyshire, and was for some years helped with money and encouragement in his work by Ann Campbell, both before and after her marriage to Mr. Murray, and also by her father, John Campbell. She seems to have been a very good and charitable woman, and there was much intercourse between Killermont and Polmaise.
It is evident that at this time the family bore the name of Campbell-Clathick, but lived principally at Killermont, going to Clathick sometimes in the summer. Agnes Colquhoun was evidently very strict in her religious views, and was not strong—suffering more or less from nerves and depression—and her family took special care of her, trying to spare her shocks and keep her cheerful.
But though these letters reveal little of the character of her husband, John Campbell of Clathick, a note here about him may be of interest. He was a Glasgow merchant, John Coats, who succeeded to Clathick, his mother, Jean Campbell's, property, and took her name, and " his name is writ large in Glasgow's annals." In 1753 he was a partner in Foulis' Academy, the city's first school of art. He was a member of the Hodge-Podge Club—the brightest and most literary of its class and time in Glasgow. He is thus sung by the Club's Bard :—
" What whistling and singing now grateth our ears, By the music, 'tis Campbell of Clathic appears ; To do good, he in will nor ability fails— I wish he'd leave whistling and mumping his nails ! "
His name appears on the first list of the Chamber of Commerce 1783. He was Provost of the City in 1784. His son Archibald inherited from him his place in the "Thistle," Glasgow's aristocratic bank, a creation of the Virginian dons. We see from all this that he was a worthy father of so distinguished a son as the Lord Advocate— who was not only known in his professional capacity, but noted also for his literary tastes and friendships—with Sir Walter Scott, Wm. Erskine, etc. ; and his correspondence with Canning is on literary matters.
But most of the letters extant refer to the life of Mary Ann Erskine. First, during her engagement to Archibald Campbell ; second, after marriage ; third, during widowhood. We know from the sketch of Lord Kinedder's life (see Appendix No. I), that her parents died while she was still a child, perhaps her mother at her birth, as she calls herself " a child of sorrow," and that the family was educated by charity. Her brilliant eldest brother William, afterwards Lord Kinedder, the intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott, to whom is dedicated the 3rd Canto of " Marmion," soon rose to a good position and lived in 47 Princes Street, where she kept his house and was his constant and loving companion till her marriage. (She was born at Muthill, March 12th, 1774, and married September 19th, 1796.)
There are four letters from Wm. Erskine to Archibald Campbell on the subject of the engagement. From the first one it appears that Archibald had spoken first to her brother, as her natural guardian, before approaching her. In the two next he expresses beautifully his deep sorrow at losing his sister, but his full appreciation of her future husband, whom he considers worthy of her, and accepts as a brother. In the fourth he forwards Walter Scott's letter on the subject (see Appendix No. II), and gives a long quotation from Thomson's letter (Thomson referred to by Walter Scott). From all these sources it appears that Mary Anne was intensely loved and admired for her splendid qualities by her brother and his friends ; in fact, they thought there was no one to equal her, and they had an equally high opinion of Archibald, and were all pleased with the marriage, as he was one of their set. It is in Walter Scott's letter there is a note of pathos.
Mary Anne's letters to her betrothed are modest and simple. She was too shy to address him by name—too shy even to sign her own name at first. He must have proposed at Perth, and then gone off to Ochtertyre, leaving a note, without beginning or signature, for her, with Mr. Paton, at Perth, for she writes her first letter from there in similar form, but beautifully worded. Her idea is that in promising her hand she had given him the highest possible proof of love, and that no words are required. She longs to be dear to his mother, as she is to Mrs. Callender (her adopted mother). In other letters she writes more openly, wishing not to deceive him as to her views and character, and to show him that she does not intend to let him dictate to her in all things. Later on they had a misunderstanding, in which she owns herself partially in the wrong, but insists on his having full confidence in her if the engagement is to go on. In her last letter she speaks of her emotions and fears only that she may not make him happy, signing herself for the last time, " Mary Anne Erskine."
He seems to have written but seldom to her during the engagement, and often under cover to her brother, or even to the latter instead of to herself. The marriage certificate is with these letters. Her style and handwriting are very superior to those of her mother-in-law, Agnes Colquhoun, and are those of a very well educated woman. Tender and sensitive—even oversensitive—reserved during her engagement, she seems to have told her husband everything, and the terms of complete confidence in one another on which she insisted seem to have continued always. They both held strong opinions through life, and did not always agree ; but nothing disturbed the perfection of their love for one another.
The marriage took place in September, and during the spring following she passed some weeks at Killermont, with his parents, while he had to continue his work in Edinburgh. This separation was the cause of the next series of letters, written by Archibald to her, and reveals the full confidence already mentioned.
On arriving in Edinburgh early in May, having left her at Killermont with his parents and Mrs. Callender, he describes how lonely the house is without her, and promises to send her books from the Advocate's Library ; but she was expecting her first child, and he thought the country air and quiet best for her, and also had not yet any suitable house for her near Edinburgh. He had his own establishment and office in the town, but wanted to get a house with fewer stairs for her. His mother was suffering from depression, and he tells Mary Anne how to deal with her, and how to turn her thoughts from herself, by purposely consulting her about her own interesting condition, household arrangements, etc., not because she needed the advice, but in order to cheer her up ! Mrs. Callender will also help, he says. He asks for butter and eggs to be sent to him, and says he has bought a jack and spit to send to Clathick in case his parents wish to go there in the summer.
After this his parents seem to have begun to influence Mary Anne's mind by their very strict religious views, for she must have written and expostulated with him for enjoying himself too much in her absence, dining out, &c. He writes a very loving but very decided letter, absolutely refusing to accede to her request, saying that it is for her good for him to be sociable, and he will not act differently in her absence to what he intends to do when she shall have returned. He warns her strongly against Methodism and a gloomy form of religion, saying that she and her brothers hold different views on these points to his own, and that at present he does not expect to change his. (In a later letter, he reverts to the same subject, saying that he is sure that a cheerful form of religion is most pleasing to God, who wishes us to be happy and is not pleased by long faces.) He was of a strong, optimistic, cheerful temperament (but had a hot temper, probably inherited from his father), true and upright in all his dealings, and actuated by real religious motives^ and while his mother and wife were evidently often troubled about his salvation, he, on his part, was afraid for them—of the Methodistical and Calvinistic form of religion, which he considered likely to lead to depression. As he says, Do they consider that God did not intend us to be happy ? Both he and Mary Anne had perfect confidence in one another, each telling what they considered to be faults in the other and openly expressing their opinions, even when they differed. Mary Anne was, if anything, over sensitive, and apt to misunderstand him when at a distance. As during the engagement there had arisen some slight cloud, so now again, she was much hurt either by the letter before mentioned in which her husband refuses to grant her request, or by some other not preserved, and to have made herself very unhappy over it, for he next writes in great distress, and full of entreaties for forgiveness, saying she had no reason to distress herself, that he had meant nothing harshly and that she was over-sensitive, and blaming himself for not being more careful ; he longs to fly to her to comfort her. To hasten the delivery of the letter, he sends it under cover to Mr. Riddell (his brother-in-law) in Glasgow, and he speaks with gratitude of Mary Anne's care of his mother, and tells her finally about the house he was thinking of taking at Duddiston, and that he is keeping it a secret from his friends. It was one of his strongest principles never to discuss his family affairs with others, and to avoid all gossip.
In the next letter he describes, at her request, a military (volunteer) procession on the King's birthday, which he had viewed from old Mr. Riddell's house at the corner of Princes' and St. Andrew's Streets, and also mentions Sir William Murray marching with seven hundred men from Ochtertyre to Crieff, and ends by telling her tenderly about a swallows' nest, which is being built outside the window of his Office in the house in George Street. He watches the work daily and says, " Each night both swallows—mind that, Mary Anne—both take up their quarters in a very affectionate manner, in the corner where the nest is building." His letters are full of tender words, and often flashes of fun and humour.
People in those days seem to have had to fetch their letters from the post office, as all are directed simply Glasgow, and Sir Walter Scott speaks of sending for the mail three times a week.
On the first of June, Archibald again writes in distress, because she has been ill, and had to stay in bed for a day. He is sure that some imprudence has caused it, and that had he only been with her he could have prevented this attack. He sends her some grapes and a " lilliputian " melon for Mrs. Callender, of which she is only to have "what would do for a sparrow and it must be guarded and fenced round with a coat of mail of pepper." He thinks his father is worried and ill, because all business seems a burden to him. Also advises her about reading and books, saying she must keep up her French, mentions various household arrangements, but has not yet settled on a suitable house.
The next letter is full of plans about the house he has taken at Duddiston, furniture for it, &c. What the servants are to do, &c. The swallows' nest is complete, and he cannot see inside it, but hears happy twitterings. He begins to talk of the arrangements for her journey to Edinburgh. His parents may have gone with the horses to Polmaise, otherwise his father's carriage could take her to Airdrie and another should meet her there. Hozier had ridden from Glasgow to Edinburgh in ten hours. He thinks his mother will be lonely without her and wishes a Mrs. Stevenson to stay a little at Killermont.
After this she must have written and told her husband of some difficulty with his mother and sister, for he writes commending her for her confidence in him, and glad to have been fore-warned as to the situation at Killermont ; and there is a humourous allusion to pastry making, and the form of religion he dislikes so much. Then he minutely describes the new house at Duddiston, so convenient for her in every way because she can have all her rooms on the ground floor. The last is a loving, but firm letter, refusing her request to stay a few days in Edinburgh on her arrival. He very lovingly explains why he knows best in this as in other matters, such as telling Hozier about Duddiston, which news he soon found had leaked out.
These letters reveal a man of great strength of character mingled with "a rare tenderness," his wife says; a sense of humour and strong common sense. A man on whom the whole family could lean, for he made all arrangements for his parents, as well as for his wife, even to the most minute household details.
Mary Anne was evidently low and nervous before the birth of her children ; she writes from Killermont at midnight, Saturday, October 4th, 1800, before the birth of Mary Anne (Mrs. Long) in the following December, anticipating her own death and begging him to marry again for Agnes' sake, and to be a son to Mrs. Callendar. She speaks of many troubles and disappointments during her married life, and seems much depressed. Her letter is full of affection, but she begs him to walk in the paths of righteousness, and criticises his want of toleration for others, and says he too little studies to please by conversation, &c. She wishes more " mind " in his conversation.
The following year she wrote another touching note, before the birth of Elizabeth (Mrs. Boyle), to be read only after her death.
The great estimation in which the Lord Advocate was held in his public capacity is revealed by letters from the Duke of Montrose, Lord Melville, Arthur Wellesley, &c. How while holding the highest legal posts in the country he still maintained his interest in literary matters, is shown by correspondence between him and Canning about publishing, &c, in connection with William Erskine and Sir Walter Scott.
He applied to Lord Sidmouth, Lord Melville, and the Duke of Montrose for the office of Lord Clerk Register, vacant by the death of Lord Fred. Campbell, and obtained it. He wished for the office of Chief Baron, and Lord Melville in a long letter explains why it must be given to another, also why Wm. Erskine was not eligible for some high appointment, on account of the violence of his political opinions, and the Regent's wishes having had to be taken into account.
The reasons given seem to have been satisfactory to the Lord Advocate, though Lord Melville takes exception to some of his jokes !
Lastly there is a letter from him to his son John at school in Edinburgh, when he was in London attending to matters in Parliament— dated April 6th, 1813—about the boy's health and studies, containing messages to his sisters and little William and the promise to bring the latter a toy !
Archibald Campbell took the name of Colquhoun when he succeeded to his mother's property in 1804. He died in 1820, leaving his widow and a family of two sons and six daughters—Helen, the eldest, had died at a year old,* Mary Anne had been married the year before to Walter Long, and the year following Agnes and Helen died, 1821 ; Laura in 1824 and Cornelia Jane June 8, 1827—seven years of sadness for poor Mary Anne—and on September 10th, 1827, her eldest son, John, married the Hon. Henrietta Maria Powys. His mother and sister were not present at the wedding (probably on account of their mourning for Cornelia Jane), but William went to it.
Of all this large family, Elizabeth only was left with her mother. William was mostly with a tutor preparing for Oxford. Between the mother and her two children, John and Elizabeth, there was the closest and most intimate affection, and his marriage, though they loved and delighted in his bride, was a real trial to the mother and sister, as it meant in the first place a separation of some months, which, saddened by many bereavements, was hard to bear. The happy pair went off to Rome for the winter, where J. C. C. had previously been with Mr. Maurice, who afterwards married Jane Powys.
Henrietta, his wife, was not very strong,
* " The Land of the Leal " was written by Lady Nairne, M. A. C.'s intimate friend, to comfort her on the death of the child.
and the change was considered good for them both. He suffered constantly from his digestion, she from fullness of blood to the head. M. A. Colquhoun and Elizabeth remained at Killermont in charge of everything during the master's absence, and a very close correspondence ensued.
When J. C. C. started from Killermont for his wedding he left a flannel jacket behind, and his mother sent it to him by his brother William with a very touching note of farewell and good wishes.
The next letter she wrote, sitting at his own desk, is also very pathetic and full of sorrowful afFection. She fears lest his new happiness should come between him and his God, and so be taken from him, as she considered her own had been. She points out that his great talents mean great responsibilities, and that specially while abroad they must use every opportunity of doing good. She speaks of herself as "a dying and weary widow,'' a burden to Elizabeth, and of her deafness as unfitting her for general conversation. She is grateful to her children for their kindness to her, but thinks herself unfit to form part of her son's domestic circle, and writes evidently in a deeply depressed mood.
But on September 17th Elizabeth wrote saying how much " Mama" had been cheered by his letter, and full of gratitude for this cheerfulness which made so much difference to herself when left alone with her mother. They had had a warm invitation from Eleanor Powys to stay at Bewsy, which they had accepted, and she expresses her great delight in the Powys sisters, especially in Fanny, who reminds her of Laura, " our idol." Then she tells him of doings at Killermont, cutting trees, mentioning the big lime near the house, of her practising the harp, &c. It is a bright sensible letter ; in fact, all her letters show her to have inherited her father's optimistic temperament. October 26th.—M. A. C. writes in a more cheerful mood, still from Killermont. Elizabeth had been ill, but was better and going about on her pony again. The autumn seems to have been very damp, much illness about. James Rutherford, a workman on the estate, had been ill with cholera, and she described the treatment she had used. She evidently cared for all around and gives various details of other workpeople. She had found his minerals were getting damp, and had unpacked and arranged them all in a " chest of drawers"—(the cabinet now at Garscadden). She writes of her delight in the love and happiness of her son and his bride, of their great gifts and responsibilities, and gives advice, such as begging them not to take such long journeys as eighty miles a day. Elizabeth adds a P.S. expressing her great love for Killer-mont, and making cheerful and sensible remarks.
M. A. C. writes the next letter from Henrietta's pleasant room at Bewsy ; tells the last news of Killermont, describing how they had seen the big lime come down while they were at breakfast, how the journey south had been made, and that through travelling she had recovered the use of her limbs. She expresses much appreciation of the Powys sisters, and says that Eleanor, afterwards Lady Naesmyth, has proposed that they should take a London house together in the spring. Her daughter, Mary Anne Long, had written and asked her and Elizabeth to stay at Baynton, so they were going on there soon. She thought it well for the sisters to be together, as she felt she might soon die, and she looks forward to seeing M. A.'s new baby, Flora Henrietta, who weighed 12 lbs. at birth. While at Bewsy she was not well enough to get to church, and regretted she had not made better use of her opportunities while she had them. She gives much advice about diet and health, and begs both her son and his wife to be moderate in indulging their classic tastes and love of nature, that they may not overdo themselves ; and she plans exactly how the servants' work can be best arranged at Killermont next summer on their return, so that by working in with one another they will only need five maids (cook-housekeeper, kitchen maid, house maid, laundry maid, dairy maid). She expresses hopes for William's salvation.
By November 22nd they had reached Baynton and were happily installed there, and Elizabeth writes a happy letter full of thankfulness for new family ties with the Powys family (whom she seems to have first met at Greenwich). She loves Eleanor, with whom she corresponds regularly, specially, and admires her immensely. Having a very humble opinion of herself, she wonders at Eleanor caring for her friendship, but Eleanor, on her side, seems to have fully appreciated it. Elizabeth also again speaks of Fanny's charms, and calls her " Henrietta's pet." She describes the Long family in detail, and is very pleased at Baynton to have her morning quiet for study and reading. She scolds her brother for dragging his poor wife about for five and a half hours sightseeing in. Rome, and sends playful messages and advice to Henrietta about the management of her husband ! " Mama " also adds advice about their health. Willie is preparing for matriculation to go to Oriel, Oxford, and is to come to Baynton for the vacation. Mama is well and able to get out, and has been trying to give advice to Ellen and Mary Anne Erskine, Lord Kinedder's orphan daughters, who refuse to take it and insist upon going to their uncles in India (their mother s brothers).
On November 30th, M. A. C. writes again about the Erskine girls, and says that in spite of their refusal to take her advice she is allowing them £100 per annum. She is so happy and comfortable at Baynton with Mary Anne and her children, and describes them all, but regrets that she can be of no use to them—not even nurse the baby. Catherine (Mrs. Green) is delicate and her mother will have to take her to Bath for an operation. She gives a great deal of advice to both about their health, in various ways, and while rejoicing in their happiness together, hopes that they may make her a grandmother. She is so looking forward to Willie's coming, and begs their prayers before his going to Oxford. Then she discusses practical matters such as tree-planting, the advantages of an English cook-housekeeper, the expenses of a London house, &c, advising him to let Killermont and not worry about expenses.
By January 29th they had heard of Henrietta's new hopes, and M. A. C. writes much sound advice about her health and the care which will be needed on the journey home. She warns J. C. C. against Mr. Maurice's depressing advice, and tells him to fully enjoy the blessings God has given him. She gives news of doings at Killermont, and thinks pathetically of the beauty of the spring there and the flowers she loves so well. She must have loved Killermont intensely, and when banished from it the sight of a " smoke-blue periwinkle " brought tears to her eyes. She now speaks with great satisfaction of William and the joy he had been to her, and when he had left, in the following letter, she describes how much she misses him, even " the sound of his foot" in the room next hers.
Elizabeth wrote part of the January 29th letter, and describes how she and Willy had ridden together, and he had had some snipe shooting. His head had been examined by a phrenologist, who discovered mathematical power in it. They are soon going to London, 31, Nottingham Place, Regent's Park, and Eliza Powys is engaged to be married. The Erskines have sailed for India. This letter also contains much about her religious faith and feelings, and her sentiments on hearing of their hopes of a child.
On February 5 th there is another letter from M. A. C. disapproving of their idea of moving on to Naples because it increases the travelling so greatly, and she gives more advice about great care on the journey. Elizabeth was very delicate, she suffered much from rheumatism and was constantly catching cold, and her health gave her mother some anxiety. M. A. Long, too, had bad throats, and her children were very delicate. A good deal of it was put down to the unhealthy damp situation of Baynton, at the foot of the Downs, not far from Rood Ashton, for they went over there sometimes to visit, and soon the doctor condemned it and they left it.
M. A. C. thought her daughter much improved. She was delighted with some sketches Henrietta had sent her, and seems to have much loved and admired her daughter-in-law, always writing most affectionately about her. She had heard again of the Erskine girls who had been helped by the Drummonds on their journey through France. At this time J. C. C. evidently became ill in body, and consequently depressed in mind, for his mother begins to write letters of strong and wise consolation. Her whole soul seemed wrapped up in her son, whose feelings she could understand from her own experience. She puts aside her own fears and sorrows and pours out of an intensely loving heart the tenderest comfort, the wisest advice she can think of, giving him practical hints about his bodily health, to which she puts down his distress of mind, telling him what a help and satisfaction he has been to her, more so than any one else could be, except her beloved husband ; how happy he should be at the hope of a child, so that there is no need for him to be nervous about his wife.
They discuss the question of letting Killermont, from time to time, and it was finally let to Sir A. Campbell, Garscube, in April, for four months, i.e., July-November, for £100.
On February 29th she writes from the London house, which they had taken with the Powys sisters for some months, so from time to time she gives news also of them. Jane Powys had gone to Miss Mauldsley's. She was a very delicate girl, and they were anxious about her cough, but by the spring her health had improved, she had a good colour and spirits, and was confirmed on April 3rd. Eliza was married to Mr. Adams, and is reported as well and happy and chaperoning her sisters already ! Eleanor's character is much admired by both M. A. C, and Elizabeth, but she is so very learned and superior that (M. A. C.) is glad that J. C. C. had chosen her sister as being more domestic, though not thoroughly satisfied with her knowledge of household linen. She contrasts society in London and Edinburgh, saying what an impression these Powys girls would make in Edinburgh, whereas in London people hardly noticed them.
In two letters she expresses herself very strongly on the subject of William's portion. John seems to have had qualms of conscience that his younger brother was not being fairly treated, and to wish to give him more than Clathick. This made her tell him exactly what his father's feelings on the subject had been, which were as follows : An eldest son should possess the bulk of the property, not that he should be aggrandized, but rather be in a position to help the younger members of the family. That the younger son should have a profession, and that Clathick would be a pleasant place for him to retire to when his work was done, but not sufficient to support him. That he considered the necessity of working so good for a young man, and she adds that she is so glad that she and her husband were poor at first, and that he would not be doing his brother a kindness by giving him more than his father had intended. She expresses herself as openly and decidedly to her son as she had done to her husband, on every subject, whether approving or disapproving his actions, and later on she scolds him quite sharply for lingering longer in Rome than she thought wise ; but her letters are more often full of loving thoughts, and almost every one contains happy plans for the expected babe : either she is preparing clothes for it, or she longs to see it at Killermont, or she makes plans for hardening it, thinking that perhaps children are too much coddled now. She, Elizabeth, and William felt the letting of Killermont very much, and she says, "children not mine will tread my nursery floor," but Elizabeth writes several of her bright cheery letters, telling news, longing for wings to fly to Rome, and trying to comfort and cheer her brother.
William spent the Easter vacation with his mother, and she speaks of her love for him, and hopes that he is now turning out all she could wish. He was only just eighteen at this time. The spring was wonderfully warm and early, and they rejoiced in it.
The doctor at Rome, Dr. Peebles, advised J. C. C. and his wife to stay at Vichy on their way home to take a cure, so his mother and sister planned to join them there, which was a great joy to all, and the last letter is written May 13th, looking forward to the happy meeting at Vichy. It was Wm.'s first term at Oxford, and he felt strange and nervous, but was making a good impression. (He was of a sensitive and retiring disposition, truly religious and a strong supporter of the Free Church. His health was never strong enough to allow him to pursue a profession. He married Louisa Locke, had one son and one daughter, and died at Malta, in 1861.) M. A. C. was very low and weak, but was improving daily in health, and her letter is, as usual, full of comfort and encouragement, and is crossed by Eleanor Powys, who hopes she may be able to accompany them, partly for her sister's sake, and partly because she dreads the separation from "Bessy."
There is a loving birthday letter to J. C. C. from M. A. C, written probably about two years later from C. Crescent, Edinburgh, which speaks of the baby (Archibald), as already going in a little carriage, and as she hears his limbs are weak she begs that his back may be well bathed with salt and water, as she often advises for children. Elizabeth also encloses a note full of news. Wm. was now working in the office in Edinburgh, and regret that she had not always appreciated her, she says a good deal about books and newspapers. The Scotsman is considered one of the best. The weather was raw and cold, and Elizabeth was suffering from rheumatism.
Another letter describes a serious illness of Elizabeth. She seems to be laid up at Killermont, and it also appears to be rheumatic fever from the symptoms. She speaks of her daughter as having been her guide, her human instructor, and says that never mother owed to a daughter what she did to her.
Her last letter to J. C. C. is written from, or near, Rothsay (where she died), and speaks of his "promising boys" (Archibald and Erskine). She apparently sends the note by her daughter-in-law, Henrietta, who with the boys had probably been visiting her, for she speaks of how sad the empty house will be. She had hoped they would have shared it with her, but their plans were changed. She had been much separated from her son since his marriage, and she speaks of their pursuits " far as the poles asunder," but says what a delight he had been to her from his earliest years, and since his father's death her counsellor. Then she wrote a warm appreciation of his wife, " that uncommon Creature of Genius," but owns with saying that in her silly ignorance no one but an angel would have been considered worthy of her son, but now she sees how well fitted she is to be his partner.
She is hopeful of the climate of Rothsay, that the sailing will be good for him, and that he will come and stay some time, later on. This, like several other letters, is written at midnight (Jan. 11th), and is very sorrowful and pathetic. And there is certainly pathos in her last days, for though she was only fifty-nine when she died, she had been old and frail and deaf for some years, and now she must have been very lonely, separated from those she most loved and had so leaned upon—both John and Elizabeth, as well as her husband—for she was a true woman, loving and tender, and longing for some one to cling to ; yet, when her loved ones were in distress, able to put aside her own weakness, pull herself together, and help them in her turn. The whole correspondence shows her to have been not only a devoted wife, but a wise and practical woman, who possessed the absolute confidence of her husband, from the time she captivated him in Edinburgh (as she did many others then), and having promised him her hand, wrote those very coy and charming love-letters, till he was taken from her; and also an absolutely devoted mother, possessing her children's confidence, so that her son John concealed neither ache nor pain from her, and must have told her his most intimate thoughts, even after his marriage.
With such complete confidence between mother and son, the position of a wife must at first have been trying, they both being women of strong opinions and very tenacious of them, and it is no wonder that at first M. A. C. was not satisfied ; but she learnt in time to appreciate the great qualities of the younger woman, and to acknowledge how fully worthy she was of her son.
Though sensitive and easily depressed herself, and having the bad habit, when feeling so, of writing letters at midnight, she was the first to give sound advice on this point to others. Her form of religion, which her husband feared for her, must have conduced to this state of mind. She must have been absolutely candid in expressing her mind, whether for praise or blame, and without any fear of giving offence; she scolded her grown-up son to the end of her life, which scolding he took very well.
M. A. C. died May 15th, 1833, at Rothsay. Henrietta Maria died Jan. 20th, 1870, and her husband, John Campbell Colquhoun, April 17th, 1870. By death these last were not long divided. A. H. P.
A few words will be appropriate here as to the life of the Lord Advocate's son, so often alluded to with deep affection in the foregoing letters, John Campbell Colquhoun. The anxiety and care over him shown in his earlier years was fully carried out later on. He was educated at the High School of Edinburgh, the best educational training that Scotland could then provide. Having become deeply interested in the old classics, and frequently dux in the successive classes of the school, he was then transferred to Oriel, a leading Oxford College of that day, which produced some of the most eminent Statesmen, who began their early training for public life in the debates at the Union. The delicacy which carried off his younger sisters was also to some extent shared by him. Too much daily reading for the final examination in classics at the University was prohibited by his medical man. However, on being told that he might have six hours a day, he readily acquiesced, and attending to his health by proper exercise he secured without difficulty the First Class at which he aimed. From that time his interest in literary pursuits, backed up by a desire to be of what use he could to his country by a Parliamentary career, culminated in his election for his native county of Dumbartonshire in 1832, for which his father had previously sat from 1810 to 1820. He was elected subsequently in the Conservative interest for the Kilmarnock Burghs in 1837. The seat for which he was finally selected, when unable to meet the then advance of the Whig party in those Burghs, was Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1842. His health was throughout these years a difficulty, on account of his inability to cope with the late hours of House of Commons debates and work, but this never prevented him from taking up with zeal and energy the subjects in which he took a special interest. These were especially the interests of education in Scotland, and later also in Ireland, based upon the religion of the Bible as an indispensable foundation.
Further, though a staunch and consistent Episcopalian, the interests and progress of the Established Church of Scotland were always near his heart both in the House of Commons and outside it, where his lot had been appointed for him by the Providence of God. This led later on to most earnest efforts to avert the disruption of that Church in 1842. In both Education and the Church he was closely associated with the great Dr. Chalmers and other educational experts of the day, especially in the West of Scotland. At the same time by frequent necessary residence in the south of England he became acquainted with leading Clergy and Laity who identified themselves with the progress of Protestantism in the south, as being compelled to strive with the growing influence of the section of that Church connected with the Tracts for the Times, which recommended a closer approximation to the Church of Rome.
He was finally compelled to abandon Parliamentary life by an increase of the effects of his earlier delicacy, aggravated by frequent attacks of Roman malarial fever : this had been contracted in the earlier days of his married life spent in Italy, and at Rome itself, on the recommendation of his medical man at that time. During that period he had cultivated his powers as a speaker, and had fully obtained the hearing of a somewhat critical House of Commons on the subjects he could speak upon with effect by personal study of all aspects of the case. He did not, however, take part in the more general matters of public interest, for which his health did not give him the requisite strength. He, therefore, when finally settled at Chartwell in Kent as a principal residence, gave his full powers to objects connected with the interests of the Churches of England and Ireland. These brought him continuous work on the Committees of the Societies which he selected, his services being looked for in conducting business as Chairman in the Committee Room and on the platform of meetings convened to promote their case before the general public. These were the Societies for Irish Church Missions, the Church Association, and the National Club founded as a nucleus in London for those specially interested in these works.
His duties as a landlord were always attended to with a full sense of responsibility, resting upon a basis not merely of official connection, but of personal relationship which won for him the affection of his tenantry.
Some spare time was also utilized in writing for publication short histories of favourite characters of former days connected with religious life, both in this and other European countries. These were put together in small volumes which are good specimens of a cultivated style of writing so much appreciated by readers of the day, viz., Life in Italy in the Olden Time, Wilberforce and his Friends, Scattered Leaves of Biography, Short Sketches of some Notable Lives.
This work was continued without intermission until a life of useful toil was brought to a close in April, 1870. His home had just been deprived, in January of that year, of her who had been his unfailing counsellor and helper in every subject which had engrossed his attention and cultivated his intellect from Oxford days to the close or their married life. She whose character has been dwelt upon in these " Notes " was ever ready to apply her highly trained knowledge in Architectural and Landscape drawing for the depicting of buildings and scenes which attracted them both on frequent journeys abroad for health or recreation.
His Parliamentary as well as later speeches and his literary efforts were made available both to himself and others by the clear hand she wrote to dictation whenever it was required. It was the special disappointment of their concluding years that God's providence deprived her of the power of using the right hand, by a malady involving periods of acute suffering, borne for weeks and even months without a single murmur escaping from her lips. This was due to the simple faith and trust which were the foundation of her life from early days long before her marriage, and which had been shared by her husband throughout the time of their union. J.E.C.C.
Chartwell, May, 1908,
" This delightful sketch was written early in September, 1822, by Hay Donaldson, and remains one of the last exertions of the talents and mental activity of that most superior man.
" The heart that but a short time since dwelt with all the fondness of friendship on the virtues which this paper records, is now cold in the grave : and this short paper serves the twofold melancholy purpose of recording the superior endowments of Mr. Erskine, and standing as the last memorial of his early and attached friend. The talents which the writer dwells upon in another he possessed eminently himself: and of all the abilities which benefit, or the amiable feelings which adorn society, there is not one which he did not bear with him in his progress through a world from which he has been prematurely cut off."—J. C. C.
The premature death of this distinguished and accomplished person, at a time when a long career of honor and usefulness appeared to be opening before him, has created a very deep impression upon the public mind ;—an impression which may give to the following brief and imperfect sketch of his life and character an interest which could not otherwise belong to it.
Lord Kinedder was born in 1769. He was the oldest surviving son of the Reverend William Erskine, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church of Scotland ; who had, during a very long period of years, exercised his functions at the village of Muthil in Perthshire, in the centre of a rich and populous neighbourhood. Mr. Erskine died at a very advanced age, leaving an orphan family of two sons and a daughter. His narrow circumstances rendered it impossible for him to leave them any inheritance of worldly wealth; but he left them rich in the memory of his own virtues. Accordingly several individuals, who had been benefited by his ministrations, and who reverenced his memory, resolved that his children should not be thrown upon the world. They liberally undertook the charge of their education. And the ultimate lot in life of these three orphans proved a noble reward of this liberality. The eldest son became a Supreme Judge. The second is now on his return from India, where he long-filled the distinguished and lucrative situation of Member of the Supreme Council of Prince of Wales's Island. The only daughter became the wife, and is now the widow, of the Right Honble. Archibald Colquhoun of Killermont, who was successively Lord Advocate, and Lord Clerk Register of Scotland.
Lord Kinedder received the more important parts of his education at the University of Glasgow. It is remembered by his companions, that he prosecuted his studies in every department with remarkable assiduity and success. The mathematical sciences, however, never enjoyed much of his favour. He early addicted himself to the pursuits of classical and polite literature. These proved a delightful resource to him through life, and served greatly to lighten even the heaviest toils of professional labour. Being early destined to the Bar, he enjoyed at Glasgow, the benefit of Professor Millar's instructions on general jurisprudence and public law. His studies in the municipal law of his own country, were afterwards more fully assisted by the lectures of the eminent Professor Hume, whose retirement from the Chair of Scottish Law in the University of Edinburgh, has lately been the subject of such general regret.
Lord Kinedder was called to the Bar in 1790. It is too well known to the junior members of that profession, that to be admitted an Advocate is far from being necessarily the commencement of a professional life. Many young men of learning and talents, and who ultimately attain to the highest eminence, are doomed to pass the best years of their lives in a total vacuity of employment. Lord Kinedder's lot was different. A fortunate accident brought him from the beginning into full employment as an Advocate. He had early obtained the notice and friendship of Mr. Robert Mcintosh, an aged lawyer, who at that time was invested with the management of the very important and complicated affairs of the York Building Company. A very important law suit, in which the Company was a party, and which engaged, in an extraordinary degree, the public attention, was then about to be heard in presence of the whole Court. In consequence of indisposition, or some other impediments, the Counsel who was to open the case on the part of the Company, was under the necessity of returning his brief. Mr. Mcintosh had so much confidence in the talents and judgement of his young friend, that he at once offered him this great opportunity of distinguishing himself. Mr. Erskine undertook this perilous duty with the utmost diffidence and hesitation 3 but he performed it in a manner which amply justified the opinion of his patron. His
opening speech on that occasion is remembered to this day, as one of the most splendid and successful first appearances, that ever had been made in a Scottish Court.
From that time, employment flowed in upon the young lawyer ; and during many successive years, he was incessantly engaged in those laborious duties, which constitute the employment of the younger members of the Scottish Bar.
In 1806, when his brother-in-law Mr. Colquhoun was advanced to the dignity of Lord Advocate, Mr. Erskine accepted the office of one of his Advocate Deputes. He was then more advanced in practice than gentlemen usually are, who are appointed to that office for the first time 5 and having, in the course of his varied employment at the Bar, frequently practised in the Supreme Criminal Court, he brought with him to his new office, a perfect familiarity with criminal practice, and a thorough acquaintance with the rules of criminal law, which rendered him eminently useful as a Crown lawyer. Even long after he had ceased to hold that office, his knowledge was frequently at the service of his successors.
Some years before, he had been appointed Principal Commissary of Glasgow, an appointment, however, from which he derived little either of advantage or satisfaction ; as it involved him in a series of disputes and litigations with the inferior officers of his Court, which have hardly been terminated to this day.
After a few years, Mr. Erskine exchanged the office of Advocate depute for that of Sheriff of Orkney and Shetland. The remoteness of these districts did not prevent him from performing his duty towards them most faithfully and conscientiously. In fact he took the deepest interest in the welfare of these Islanders. He frequently visited them; passing many weeks both in Orkney and in Shetland.
He restored a regular system in the administration of justice, which in Orkney at least had begun to be lost sight of. He suggested many local improvements, which were executed under his direction and through his influence Lerwick, the Capital of Shetland, and the important village of Stromness in Orkney, were erected into Burghs ; and at present some very important measures for the improvement of Orkney are under the consideration of the highest authorities,, which his zealous exertions in the last months of his life, were employed in maturing.
About six years since, the sensitive heart of Mr. Erskine was wrung by a most grievous domestic calamity. From this time he appeared more indifferent to the labours of his profession, and more desirous to bestow his time upon an amiable young family, and upon his literary pursuits. About the same period, he was subjected to the mortification of seeing several of his juniors at the Bar, whose pretensions he did not conceive to be higher than his own, advanced to the Bench before him. That preferment had always been the ultimate object of his ambition ; and from the time that his children were left without a mother, he became doubly anxious to obtain it, that, in the regular intervals of his judicial duties, he might be enabled to devote himself to their improvement and society. From that time, therefore, he appeared to lose much of his relish for professional employment, waiting patiently till it should please his Majesty to advance him to that dignified station to which he trusted ultimately to attain.
At length, in the beginning of January last, upon the resignation of his friend Lord Balmuto, he was appointed a Senator of the College of Justice ; and as Junior Judge, permanent Lord Ordinary on the Bills. The duties of that office he performed during the remainder of the winter session, and the whole of the following summer session, in a manner which served to show to the Court, and to the public, how much they have lost by his premature death. As Judge in the Bill Chamber, he allowed parties to have access to him at all times: and when their cases appeared of an urgent kind, he never failed, at the sacrifice of whatever personal convenience, to give them dispatch. Sitting as a Judge in the Outer House, his conduct was distinguished by the most perfect urbanity to lawyers, and practitioners, and by the closest attention to their pleadings.
At the close of the Session, some of his friends observed that his health appeared to be impaired, though the symptoms were of little importance. He went for a few days to his residence in the country. During his absence, a report was propagated, with which the public of Edinburgh is but too familiar, in which, though with no motive of hostility to him (for it seems to have been invented substantively to injure another party), his name was most strangely implicated. A brief investigation traced it to its source, and completely established its utter falsehood. But his nice and delicate sense of the purity of the judicial character, and his dread that his name might be involved in discussions, which whatever might be their issue, must be protracted and disgusting, continually haunted his mind; and, co-operating with previous illness, overwhelmed a constitution not originally robust. On the evening of Sunday the 11th August, he was seized with a nervous fever which in three days, deprived his family of the most affectionate of parents, and society of one of its brightest ornaments.
He died at the early age of fifty-three.
After his death, a paper was found in his own handwriting, purporting to be written in the consciousness of the fatal malady, but while his mind was still entire. In these solemn circumstances, he solemnly declares his innocence, in regard to the calumny of which he has been the victim.
Of Lord Kinedder's character as a man, the leading features were a high sense of honor, and inflexible integrity, and a feeling, sometimes perhaps carried, if that be possible, to excess, of scorn and contempt for whatever was mean or base. Many live to attest the constancy of his friendships. The intimacies he formed when he first became a member of the society of the Bar, generally continued unbroken till, his death, and the circle of those friends, comprehends almost every one of these names, which are now so distinguished in the jurisprudence and the literature of Scotland. It is well known, that, during the greater part of his life, the warmest and most confidential attachment has subsisted between him and an author, whom universal suffrage has long placed at the head of British literature. The beautiful verses, addressed to him by Walter Scott, as a preface to one of the Cantos of Marmion, are a pleasing illustration of the footing upon which these excellent persons have so long lived with each other—Forgiveness of injuries was another distinguishing trait of his character ; he hardly ever was known to harbour resentment even for an hour—The last that shall be mentioned, is an extraordinary degree of shyness and diffidence, in all that concerned his own interest. Though member of a profession, whose honors and rewards are generally disposed of by influence, he never was known to ask a favour for himself. It was otherwise, when he had to solicit for a friend ; then, he was the most persevering and importunate of suitors.
Respecting his professional character, his learning was rather extensive than profound. But if he did not carry about with him on all occasions, that minute acquaintance with the fontes juris and with the authorities of municipal law, which so eminently distinguished some of his brethren, no one knew better where to find whatever information was wanting, on the law of a case; nor, when found, was better able to apply it powerfully and effectively.
The task of preparing written pleadings, was, after a few years of laborious practice, always irksome to him. But his papers rarely bore the marks of the distaste with which they were prepared. They generally consisted of a concise and clear statement of the facts ; in which nothing was omitted that bore upon the issue: but facts, which appeared to him superfluous, were unsparingly rejected. His argument was clearly, concisely, and often elegantly stated ; and his authorities in cases of law were always apt and weighty.
His own inclination, however, led him to prefer the other branch of his profession 5 that of viva voce pleading. As a debater, his elocution was just and correct; his diction was fluent and copious ; often vehement, often eloquent. In cases which particularly affected his own feelings, he has seldom been excelled in pathetic and vigorous declamation. His address to the jury on behalf of Dr. Cahill, tried in 1812, for killing a brother officer in a duel, may yet be remembered as a striking specimen of forensic eloquence.
It has already been mentioned that from the time of his academical education, he devoted himself to the cultivation of Classical and polite literature. To these pursuits he constantly returned, as often as the vacations of the Court, or other occasional intervals of leisure afforded him opportunities. Although he never appeared before the world as an Author, therefore his literary character is not undeserving of a separate notice. The value of his opinion upon literary subjects, was duly appreciated by those distinguished friends, who have added so much lustre to the literary reputation of Edinburgh. His critical judgments were sometimes fastidious, but always correct. His taste was refined by constant exercise in the study of the best ancient and modern authors : and if he could have overcome his constitutional diffidence, and his extreme dislike of subjecting himself to the annoyance of invidious criticism, he might, have taken his place as an original author, with the most eminent of his literary friends.
With the Muses he was not unacquainted. A very brief specimen of his powers as a poet has found its way to the press, and may serve to shew what he might have accomplished in poetry had his leisure and inclination permitted. This is his " Additional stanzas to Collins' Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlanders," which has been pronounced by high authority to be altogether worthy of the beautiful, though defective poem, to which he has attached them. While the authorship of the "Bridal of Triermain " remained a secret, Mr. Erskine enjoyed the almost undivided reputation of its author. That secret has long been disclosed. His connection with it consisted, it is believed, in contributing the preface, and writing the observations upon it in the Quarterly Review.
But no person could be entirely acquainted with the character of Lord Kinedder, who had not frequently seen him in the bosom of his family. It was in that sanctuary of the heart, that his amiable qualities were indeed most conspicuous. It was " his happy lot, that the partner of his affections possessed tastes, and feelings, and talents, exactly congenial with his own," and it was delightful for those, who habitually enjoyed their domestic intercourse to see them at one time indulging in those intellectual gratifications which were so dear to both, and at another devoting themselves to the moral education of a young and promising family. She, alas ! was too soon taken from him. But this bereavement, after the agonies of sorrow had passed away, only bound him the more closely to his children. From that time he felt bat little happiness except in their society, and the reverential and affectionate fondness with which they listened to his counsels, always appeared to bestow as much of enjoyment upon the fond father, as human nature is capable of receiving. But this is a picture upon which it is impossible to dwell, while his afflicted children are still suffering keenly from the stroke of separation.
Letter from Sir Walter Scott to his friend William Erskine on the engagement of his sister Mary Anne to Archibald Campbell of Clathick."ROSEBANK, April 9th, 1796.
" Your very interesting epistle reached me but to-day, as in the ordinary routine we send for our letters only three times a week. Could I have anticipated the nature of the news it contained, I would not only have ransacked the post-house, but I verily believe I would have robbed the mail rather than its delivery should have been postponed an instant. Let me, however, take some credit for my observation, when I inform you that the important arrangement with which you acquaint me did not strike me with all the surprise you may perhaps have expected: in requital the pleasure that it gives me is inexpressible, and it adds to it not a little, that though No. 47 must lose its amiable mistress, she will still remain one of ourselves, and if I know her aright, will be as much the delight of her friends as Mrs. C. as she has been as Miss E. What intercourse I have had with Clathick, though not great, has invariably been such as to entitle him to a very high place in my esteem, and I think I have told you how much I was obliged to him for the very friendly concern he took for my brother in the business of Morthland. But had I no personal knowledge of Mr. Campbell whatever, the excellence of his taste of itself would be sufficient to raise him high in my opinion, and to induce me to believe he possesses a mind formed to make our beloved friend and sister happy. The man who can discern the value of a diamond independent of costly or fashionable setting, will surely be best capable of prizing its inestimable worth when he has made it his own. Tell your sister that my best and my warmest wishes for her welfare and happiness ever will, ever must attend her, and that there are not upon this earth two of her sex besides in whose happiness I feel myself equally interested, and I rejoice to see in the alliance she is about to form, everything which is likely to promote it. I could say very, very much upon this subject, but I know she will understand me as well from these few words as if I had written volumes. For you, my good friend, I certainly do feel a great deal, as I well know the blank in your domestic felicity which this felonious Sheriff is about to occasion, but I also well know the consolation you will find in the reflected happiness of one so deservedly dear to you. You will now also have an opportunity of looking seriously around you for an agreeable companion for life, which I am convinced you never would have done while Mary Anne remained to you; indeed, from possessing her society you have already become so fastidious that it will require no small term of solitude to teach you to be contented with anything less than her equal, and where, my dear Willy, is she to be found ? Your sister and I sat in dark divan, I think the last evening but one that I was with you on this very subject. I little thought then that the period was so very near when you were to be doomed to find that it is not good for a man to be alone. Enough of this for the present. I shall expect to hear from you, were it but two lines, to inform me when I am to be at liberty to adopt my future toast in the round of married ladies, "Mrs. Campbell Clathick." You do me justice in believing my impatience on the subject will be truly energetick. I must have a bottle extraordinary somewhere upon the scarr, and I am just thinking how, in this howling wilderness, I shall find any person worthy of sharing it. Let me hear as soon as settled all your motions and arrangements. What a cursed pity it is that none of them can possibly lye in this direction. I could be excessively foolish just now, as I have been whistling, hallooing, and I verily believe almost crying the whole morning to the utter astonishment of my Uncle and Cousin. Tell Mary Anne how inconceivably mortified I shall be if I do not retain the same interest in her friendship as formerly—that I expect she will deviate from the fashion so far as to give petits soupers as well as routes—that though she must form many acquaintances in the valley yet she is not to forget the mountain. Do you know that amidst all my other motives for exultation I entertain a kind of malicious satisfaction at the mortification of a certain unhallowed ourang-outang who ' presumed to lift his surly eye' towards our gentle friend. Besides all this it will be no small satisfaction to me in the midst of my own uncertainties and dilemmas to think upon the probable happiness of a friend who is dear to me. For
' Dot and carry one ' is certainly gone to F -n. But the pleasant tidings you have sent must be as a rope and six horses to drag me out of this Slough of Despond. Let it be the same to you whenever you think on the deprivation you are about to suffer. Let me end with what, according to the Compleat Letter Writer, ought to have begun my letter. My best compliments of congratulation to our friend, to Mr. Campbell also whenever you tell him I am acquainted with his approaching happiness. When you send the news to Thompson you will certainly almost drive the breath out of him with joy. Once more, God bless all and each of you. Adieu. "WALTER SCOTT."
Addressed, William Erskine, Esq.,
47, Princes Street, Edinburgh.

Note. These pages were scanned and transcribed by OCR, optical character recognition software , so there may be a few errors.

More on the Campbell- Colquhouns here.