« PreviousContinue »
have been more likely to make fit use, had there been any occasion for it, than the worthy laird with his pocket Horace. The party does not appear to have been encumbered by any Abigail or lady-attendant. From 12 to 14 hours were occupied with each day's travel. At Durham, Mrs. Calderwood gives indisputable evidence that she had never passed the threshold of any place of worship where Christian people kneel when they pray, or think it more decent to stand than to sit when they sing psalms.
June 6, it is recorded—“We dined at Durham, and I went to see the Cathedral ; it is a prodigious bulky building. It was on Sunday, betwixt sermons, and in the piazzas (cloisters) there were several boys playing at ball. I asked the girl that attended me if it was the custom for the boys to play at ball on Sunday ? She said, “They play on other days as well as on Sundays. She called her mother to show me the church, and I suppose, by my questions, the woman took me for a heathen, as I found she did not know of any other mode of worship but her own ; so, that she might not think the bishop's chair defiled by my sitting down in it, I told her I was a Christian, though the way of worship in my country differed from hers. In particular, she stared when I asked what the things were that they kneeled upon, as they appeared to me to be so many Cheshire cheeses. I asked the rents of the lands about Durham, and was told by the landlord they were so dear he had no farm, for they let at 30s. or 4os. per aiker near that toun; that a cow was from £4 to £6 sterling, and they gave (at the best) about eight Scots pints per day. That night we lay at Northallertoun...... I could have little conversation with the people I saw, for though they could have understood me, I did not them, and never heard a more barbarous language, and unlike English as any other lingo. I suppose it is the custom in a publick-house for strangers to roar and bully, for I found when I spoke softly they had all the appearance of being deaf. I think the Cathedral of Durham is the most ridiculous piece of expense I ever saw—to keep up such a pageantry of idle fellows in a country place, where there is nobody either to see or join with them, for there was not place for above 50 folks besides the performers."
Again—"Any of the English folks I got acquainted with I liked very well. They seem to be good-natured and humane ; but still there is a sort of ignorance about them with regard to the rest of the world, and their conversation runs in a very narrow channell. They speak with a great relish of their publick places, and say, with a sort of futter, that they shall to Vauxhall and Ranelagh, but do not seem to enjoy it when there. As for Vauxhall and Ranelagh, I wrote you my oppinion of them before. The first, I think, but a vulgar sort of entertainment, and could not judge myself in genteel company, whiles I heard a man calling, “Take care of your watches and pockets.' I saw the Countess of Coventry at Ranelagh. I think she is a pert, stinking-like hussy, going about with her face up to the sky, that she might see from under her hat, which she had pulled quite over her nose that nobody might see her face. She was in dishabile, and very shabby drest, but was painted over her very jaw-bones.” [The editor of Mrs. Calderwood's “Journal," the late James Dennistoun of Dennistoun, makes no particular mention of this “pert hussy," but it may be well for the reader to keep in mind that the Countess of Coventry, whom the good lady encountered, was none other than Maria, one of the three “ beautiful Miss Gunnings,” married four years previously to George William, sixth Earl. These ladies will come across us again in connection with the Hamilton and Argyll Families.] “I saw only three English Peers, and I think you could not make a tolerable one out of them... I saw very few, either men or women, tolerably handsome... The ladies pass and repass each other with very little appearance of being acquainted, and no company separates or goes from those they come in with, or joins another, and, indeed, they all seem to think there is no great entertainment; but, however, they are there, and that is enough. ... I went one morning to the park in hopes to see the Duke_Culloden' Cumberland, son of George II.-review a troop of the Horse Guards, but he was not there. The Guards were very pretty. Sall Blackwood and Miss Buller were with me; they were afraid to push near for the crowd, but I was resolved to get forward, so pushed in. They were very surly; and one of them asked me where I would be; would I have my toes trode off? Is your toes trode off?' said I. 'No,' said he. "Then give me your place, and I'll take care of my toes. But they are going to fire,' said he. "Then it's time for you to march off,' said I; «for I can stand fire. I wish your troops may do as well. On which he sneaked off, and gave me his place. I paid some visits, and went to see Greenwich Hospital, which is a ridiculous fine thing. The view is very pretty, which you see just as well in a rary-show glass. No wonder the English are transported with a place they can see about them.
“Kensintoun Palace looks better within than without, and there is some very fine marbles, pictures, and mirrors in it. But I could not see the private apartment of the old goodman [George II.] which they say is a great curiosity. There are a small bed with silk curtains, two sattin quilts and no blanket, a hair mattress; a plain wicker basket stands on a table, with a silk night-gown and night-cap on it; a candle with an extinguisher; some billets of wood on each side of the fire. He goes to bed alone, rises, lights his fire and mends it himself, and nobody knows when he rises, which is very early, and is up several hours before he calls anybody. He dines in a small room adjoining, in which there is nothing but very common things. He sometimes, they say, sups with his daughters and their company, and is verry mery, and sings French songs, but at present he is in very low spirits. Now, this appearance of the King's manner of living would not diminish my idea of a king. It rather looks as if he applied to business, and knew these hours were the only ones he could give up to it without having the appearance of a recluse, and that he submitted to the pagantry rather than make it his only business.”
Mrs. Calderwood on English dinners is especially notable as well as quotable :—“As for their victualls they make such a work about, I cannot enter into the taste of them, or rather, I think they have no taste to enter into. The meat is juicy enough, but has so little taste, that, if you shut your eyes, you will not know by either taste or smell what you are eating. The lamb and veall look as if it had been blanched in water. The smell of dinner will never intimate that it is on the table. No such effluvia as beef and cabbage was ever found at London.” [Alas | alas 1] “The fish, I think, have the same fault. As for the salmond, I did not meddle with it, for it cut like cheese. Their turbet is very small by ours, but I do not think it preferable. Their soll is much smaller, and not so much meat on them; they are like the least ever you saw ; were it not that they are long and narrow, I should think them common flounders. Their lobsters come from Norway or Scotland.”
The views of Mrs. Calderwood on the future of Scottish trade may excite a smile among Glasgow merchants and shipbuilders, particularly as coming from the pen of one whose brother was a master in the principles and exposition of political economy :-"Most of the reproaches our country meets with can only be the want of inquiry or reflection. I once thought that Scotland might carry on a greater trade than it does, from its advantageous situation for the sea ; but if they should import, who is to take it off their hands? There is no country behind them to supply who has not the advantage of seaports, which is the case of Holland, who has all Germany to supply; neither have they a great demand at home, like England, which is a great country, and most part of it inland, that must be supplied from the trading towns on the coast. Or to what country can they transport their merchandise, when they have imported more than serves themselves, that cannot be as cheap served by nearer neighbours? They have no East India goods, which are almost the only goods that are demanded by all the world; so that no country which has not one or more of these advantages can ever become a country of great trade.”
ANDREW STUART OF TORRANCE AND
PROMINENT as he was in his day, influential too, and useful withal, Andrew Stuart of Torrance almost requires a process of restoration to be made familiar to present-day readers. To all Scotland, and England too, for the matter of that, he was known in his own time as an accomplished lawyer of indefatigable industry and of undaunted courage, as a politician unswerving to the principles he professed, and, as a member of society, distinguished by birth and education. Andrew Stuart was indeed no common man. He carried two elections for his native county of Lanark; he was Keeper of the Signet, and Commissioner of Trade and Plantations; he fought a duel with a lawyer so eminent as Thurlow, afterwards Lord Chancellor ; and he was an exact historian and antiquary, when neither branch of learning was cultivated with exactness or even with thoughtfulness. But it was in the great “Douglas Cause” he won his spurs, and with this stupendous law-plea his name must remain for ever associated as the supreme working agent in the interest of the infant Duke of Hamilton and his guardians. That he was unsuccessful in the final Court of resort militates nothing against the prudent zeal and weighty knowledge of the agent on whose shoulders the Case against the house of Douglas largely rested. Lord Mansfield himself, “long enough his country's pride," did not quail more under the envenomed attacks of Junius than under the brisk fire of Stuart directed by common sense, and arising from a knowledge of the Case far more profound than his own, Chief-Justice though he was. Although considerable obliquy was incurred in high quarters during the progress of the suit, men like Dunning, Wedderburn, and Adam Ferguson did not fail to do justice to the high honour and the gallant zeal, almost romantic in its self-denial, with which the Hamilton agent carried on the case through its intricate windings and varied fortunes. Second son of Archibald of Torrance (who was the seventh son of Alexander), by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Andrew Myreton of Gogar, Andrew Stuart was educated for the law, and passed as a W.S., or Writer to the Signet, 1759. He early secured official notice, fully as much, however, from his own ability as from the accident of his connection with a branch not far removed from the main stem of the ancient Royal house of Scotland. Having for some years carried through much of the Edinburgh business connected with the Hamilton estates, it was found, on the early and unexpected death of James, sixth Duke, in March, 1758, that Mr. Stuart was named in his settlement as one of the guardians