Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character
Edward Bannerman Ramsay

Part 7 out of 8

by a culprit who had been caught in the act of smuggling, and was
threatened with a heavy fine. The culprit was a staunch Seceder, and
owned a small farm. Mr. Leslie, with an old-fashioned zeal for the
Established Church, said to him, "The king will come in the cadger's
road some day. Ye wadna come to the parish kirk, though it were to save
your life, wad ye? Come noo, an' I'se mak ye a' richt!" Next Sabbath the
seceding smuggler appeared in the parish kirk, and as the paupers were
receiving parochial allowance, Mr. Leslie slipped a shilling into the
smuggler's hand. When the J.P. Court was held, Mr. Leslie was present,
when a fine was proposed to be exacted from the smuggler. "Fine!" said
Mr. Leslie; "he's mair need o' something to get duds to his back. He's
are o' my _poor roll_; I gie'd him a shilling just last Sabbath."

A worthy old Seceder used to ride from Gargunnock to Bucklyvie every
Sabbath to attend the Burgher kirk. One day as he rode past the parish
kirk of Kippen, the elder at the plate accosted him, "I'm sure, John,
it's no like the thing to see you ridin' in sic a doon-pour o' rain sae
far by to thae Seceders. Ye ken the mercifu' man is mercifu' to his
beast. Could ye no step in by?" "Weel," said John, "I wadna care sae
muckle about stablin' my beast inside, but it's anither thing mysel'
gain' in."

The Rev. Dr. George Lawson of Selkirk acted for many years as
theological tutor to the Secession Church. One day, on entering the
Divinity Hall, he overheard a student remark that the professor's wig
was uncombed. That same student, on that very day, had occasion to
preach a sermon before the Doctor, for which he received a bit of severe
criticism, the sting of which was in its tail: "You said my wig wasna
kaimed this mornin', my lad, but I think I've redd your head to you."

The Rev. John Heugh of Stirling was one day admonishing one of his
people of the sin of intemperance: "Man, John, you should never drink
except when you're dry." "Weel, sir," quoth John, "that's what I'm aye
doin', for I am never slocken'd."

The Rev. Mr. M---- of Bathgate came up to a street-paviour one day, and
addressed him, "Eh, John, what's this you're at?" "Oh! I'm mending the
ways o' Bathgate!" "Ah, John, I've long been trying to mend the ways o'
Bathgate, an' they're no weel yet." "Weel, Mr. M., if you had tried my
plan, and come doon to your _knees_, ye wad maybe hae come mair speed!"

There once lived in Cupar a merchant whose store contained supplies of
every character and description, so that he was commonly known by the
sobriquet of Robbie A'Thing. One day a minister, who was well known for
a servile use of MS. in the pulpit, called at the store, asking for a
rope and pin to tether a young calf in the glebe. Robbie at once
informed him that he could not furnish such articles to him. But the
minister, being somewhat importunate, said, "Oh! I thought you were
named Robbie A'Thing from the fact of your keeping all kinds of goods."
"Weel a weel," said Robbie, "I keep a'thing in my shop but calf's
tether-pins and paper sermons for ministers to read."

It was a somewhat whimsical advice, supported by whimsical argument,
which used to be given by an old Scottish minister to young preachers,
when they visited from home, to "sup well at the kail, for if they were
good they were worth the supping, and if not they might be sure there
was not much worth coming _after_ them."

A good many families in and around Dunblane rejoice in the patronymic of
Dochart. This name, which sounds somewhat Irish, is derived from Loch
Dochart, in Perthshire. The M'Gregors having been proscribed, were
subjected to severe penalties, and a group of the clan having been
hunted by their superiors, swam the stream which issues from Loch
Dochart, and in gratitude to the river they afterwards assumed the
family name of Dochart. A young lad of this name, on being sent to
Glasgow College, presented a letter from his minister to Rev. Dr. Heugh
of Glasgow. He gave his name as Dochart, and the name in the letter was
M'Gregor. "Oh," said the Doctor, "I fear there is some mistake about
your identity, the names don't agree." "Weel, sir, that's the way they
spell the name in our country."

The relative whom I have mentioned as supplying so many Scottish
anecdotes had many stories of a parochial functionary whose
eccentricities have, in a great measure, given way before the
assimilating spirit of the times. I mean the old SCOTTISH BEADLE, or
betheral, as he used to be called. Some classes of men are found to have
that nameless but distinguishing characteristic of figure and aspect
which marks out particular occupations and professions of mankind. This
was so much the case in the betheral class, that an old lady, observing
a well-known judge and advocate walking together in the street, remarked
to a friend as they passed by, "Dear me, Lucy, wha are thae twa
_beddle-looking_ bodies?" They were often great originals, and, I
suspect, must have been in past times somewhat given to convivial
habits, from a remark I recollect of the late Baron Clerk Rattray, viz.
that in his younger days he had hardly ever known a perfectly sober
betheral. However this may have been, they were, as a class, remarkable
for quaint humour, and for being shrewd observers of what was going on.
I have heard of an occasion where the betheral made his wit furnish an
apology for his want of sobriety. He had been sent round the parish by
the minister to deliver notices at all the houses, of the catechising
which was to precede the preparation for receiving the communion. On his
return it was quite evident that he had partaken too largely of
refreshment since he had been on his expedition. The minister reproached
him for this improper conduct. The betheral pleaded the pressing
_hospitality_ of the parishioners. The clergyman did not admit the plea,
and added, "Now, John, I go through the parish, and you don't see me
return fou, as you have done." "Ay, minister," rejoined the betheral,
with much complacency, "but then aiblins ye're no sae popular i' the
parish as me."

My relative used to tell of one of these officials receiving, with much
ceremony, a brother betheral, from a neighbouring parish, who had come
with the minister thereof for the purpose of preaching on some special
occasion. After service, the betheral of the stranger clergyman felt
proud of the performance of the appointed duty, and said in a triumphant
tone to his friend, "I think oor minister did weel; ay, he gars the
stour flee oot o' the cushion." To which the other rejoined, with a calm
feeling of superiority, "Stour oot o' the cushion! hout, our minister,
sin' he cam wi' us, has dung the guts oot o' twa Bibles." Another
description I have heard of an energetic preacher more forcible than
delicate--"Eh, oor minister had a great power o' watter, for he grat,
and spat, and swat like mischeef." An obliging anonymous correspondent
has sent me a story of a functionary of this class whose pride was
centred not so much in the performance of the minister as of the
precentor. He states that he remembers an old beadle of the church which
was called "Haddo's Hole," and sometimes the "Little Kirk," in
Edinburgh, whose son occasionally officiated as precentor. He was not
very well qualified for the duty, but the father had a high opinion of
his son's vocal powers. In those days there was always service in the
church on the Tuesday evenings; and when the father was asked on such
occasions, "Who's to preach to-night?" his self-complacent reply used to
be, "I divna ken wha's till preach, but my son's for till precent." The
following is a more correct version of a betheral story than one which
occupied this page in the last edition. The beadle had been asked to
recommend a person for the same office, and his answer was, "If ye had
wanted twa or three bits o' elder bodies, I cud hae gotten them for ye
as easily as penny baps oot of Mr. Rowan's shop," pointing to a baker's
shop opposite to where the colloquy took place; "or even if ye had
wanted a minister, I might hae helpit ye to get ane; but as for a gude
_beadle_, that's about the maist difficult thing I ken o' just now."

Perhaps the following may seem to illustrate the self-importance of the
betheral tribe. The Rev. Dr. Hugh Blair was one Sunday absent from his
pulpit, and next morning meeting his beadle in the street he inquired
how matters went in the High Church on Sabbath. "'Deed, I dare say no
very weel," was the answer; "I wasna there ony mair than yoursell."

Mr. Turnbull of Dundee kindly sends me an excellent anecdote of the
"Betheral" type, which illustrates the _esprit de corps_ of the
betherelian mind. The late Dr. Robertson of Glasgow had, while in the
parish of Mains, a quaint old church attendant of the name of Walter
Nicoll, commonly called "Watty Nuckle," whom he invited to come and
visit him after he had been removed to Glasgow. Watty accordingly
ventured on the (to him) terrible journey, and was received by the
Doctor with great kindness. The Doctor, amongst other sights, took him
to see the Cathedral church, and showed him all through it, and after
they were coming away the Doctor asked Watty what he thought of it, and
if it was not better than the Mains church. Watty shook his head, and
said, "Aweel, sir, you see she's bigger; but she has nae laft, and she's
sair fashed wi' thae pillars."

On the same subject of beadle peculiarities, I have received from Mrs.
Mearns of Kineff Manse an exquisitely characteristic illustration of
beadle _professional_ habits being made to bear upon the tender
passion:--A certain beadle had fancied the manse housemaid, but at a
loss for an opportunity to declare himself, one day--a Sunday--when his
duties were ended, he looked sheepish, and said, "Mary, wad _ye_ tak a
turn, Mary?" He led her to the churchyard, and pointing with his finger,
got out, "My fowk lie there, Mary; wad ye like to lie there?" The
_grave_ hint was taken, and she became his wife, but does not yet
lie _there_.

Here is another good example of betheral refinement or philosophy.--He
was carefully dressing up a grave, and adjusting the turf upon it. The
clergyman, passing through the churchyard, observed, "That's beautiful
sod, Jeems." "Indeed is't, minister, and I grudge it upon the grave o'
sic a scamp."

This class of functionaries were very free in their remarks upon the
preaching of strangers, who used occasionally to occupy the pulpit of
their church--the city betherals speaking sometimes in a most
condescending manner of clergy from the provincial parishes. As, for
example, a betheral of one of the large churches in Glasgow, criticising
the sermon of a minister from the country who had been preaching in the
city church, characterised it as "gude coorse country wark." A betheral
of one of the churches of St. Giles, Edinburgh, used to call on the
family of Mr. Robert Stevenson, engineer, who was one of the elders. On
one occasion they asked him what had been the text on such a night, when
none of the family had been present. The man of office, confused at the
question, and unwilling to show anything like ignorance, poured forth,
"Weel, ye see, the text last day was just entirely, sirs--yes--the text,
sirs--what was it again?--ou ay, just entirely, ye see it was, 'What
profiteth a man if he lose the world, and gain his own soul?'" Most of
such stories are usually of an old standing. A more recent one has been
told me of a betheral of a royal burgh much decayed from former
importance, and governed by a feeble municipality of old men, who
continued in office, and in fact constituted rather the shadow than the
substance of a corporation. A clergyman from a distance having come to
officiate in the parish church, the betheral, knowing the terms on which
it was usual for the minister officiating to pray for the efficiency of
the local magistracy, quietly cautioned the clergyman before service
that, in regard to the town-council there, it would be quite out of
place for him to pray that they should be a "terror to evil-doers,"
because, as he said, "the puir auld bodies could be nae terror to
onybody." A minister of Easter Anstruther, during the last century, used
to say of the magistrates of Wester Anstruther, that "instead of being a
terror to evil-doers, evil-doers were a terror to them."

The "minister's man" was a functionary well known in many parishes, and
who often evinced much Scottish humour and original character. These men
were (like the betheral) great critics of sermons, and often severe upon
strangers, sometimes with a sly hit at their own minister. One of these,
David, a well-known character, complimenting a young minister who had
preached, told him, "Your introduction, sir, is aye grand; its worth a'
the rest o' the sermon--could ye no mak it a' introduction?"

David's criticisms of his master's sermons were sometimes sharp enough
and shrewd. On one occasion, driving the minister home from a
neighbouring church where he had been preaching, and who, as he thought,
had acquitted himself pretty well, inquired of David what _he_ thought
of it. The subject of discourse had been the escape of the Israelites
from Egypt. So David opened his criticism--"Thocht o't, sir? deed I
thocht nocht o't ava. It was a vara imperfect discourse in ma opinion;
ye did weel eneuch till ye took them through, but where did ye leave
them? just daunerin' o' the sea-shore without a place to gang till. Had
it no been for Pharaoh they had been better on the other side, where
they were comfortably encampit, than daunerin' where ye left them. It's
painful to hear a sermon stoppit afore it's richt ended, just as it is
to hear ane streekit out lang after it's dune. That's ma opinion o' the
sermon ye gied us to-day." "Very freely given, David, very freely given;
drive on a little faster, for I think ye're daunerin' noo yersell."

To another who had gone through a long course of parish official life a
gentleman one day remarked--"John, ye hae been sae lang about the
minister's hand that I dare say ye could preach a sermon yersell now."
To which John modestly replied, "O na, sir, I couldna preach a sermon,
but maybe I could draw an inference." "Well, John," said the gentleman,
humouring the quiet vanity of the beadle, "what inference could ye draw
frae this text, 'A wild ass snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure?'"
(Jer. ii. 24). "Weel, sir, I wad draw this inference, he would snuff a
lang time afore he would fatten upon't." I had an anecdote from a
friend, of a reply from a betheral to the minister _in_ church, which
was quaint and amusing from the shrewd self-importance it indicated in
his own acuteness. The clergyman had been annoyed during the course of
his sermon by the restlessness and occasional whining of a dog, which at
last began to bark outright. He looked out for the beadle, and directed
him very peremptorily, "John, carry that dog out." John, looked up to
the pulpit, and with a very knowing expression, said, "Na, na, sir; I'se
just mak him gae out on his ain four legs." I have another story of
canine misbehaviour in church. A dog was present during the service, and
in the sermon the worthy minister was in the habit of speaking very
loud, and, in fact, when he got warmed with his subject, of shouting
almost at the top of his voice. The dog, who, in the early part, had
been very quiet, became quite excited, as is not uncommon with some dogs
when hearing a noise, and from whinging and whining, as the speaker's
voice rose loud and strong, at last began to bark and howl. The
minister, naturally much annoyed at the interruption, called upon the
betheral to put out the dog, who at once expressed his readiness to obey
the order, but could not resist the temptation to look up to the pulpit,
and to say very significantly, "Ay, ay, sir; but indeed it was yersell
began it." There is a dog story connected with Reminiscences of Glasgow
(see _Chambers's Journal_, March 1855), which is full of meaning. The
bowls of rum-punch which so remarkably characterised the Glasgow dinners
of last century and the early part of the present, it is to be feared
made some of the congregation given to somnolency on the Sundays
following. The members of the town-council often adopted Saturday for
such meetings; accordingly, the Rev. Mr. Thorn, an excellent
clergyman[178], took occasion to mark this propensity with some
acerbity. A dog had been very troublesome, and disturbed the
congregation for some time, when the minister at last gave orders to the
beadle, "Take out that dog; he'd wauken a Glasgow magistrate."

The parochial gravediggers had sometimes a very familiar professional
style of dealing with the solemn subjects connected with their office.
Thus I have heard of a grave-digger pointing out a large human bone to a
lady who was looking at his work, of digging a grave, and asking
her--"D'ye ken wha's bane that is, mem?--that's Jenny Fraser's
hench-bane;" adding with a serious aspect--"a weel-baned family
thae Frasers."

It would be impossible in these Reminiscences to omit the well-known and
often repeated anecdote connected with an eminent divine of our own
country, whose works take a high place in our theological literature.
The story to which I allude was rendered popular throughout the kingdom
some years ago, by the inimitable mode in which it was told, or rather
acted, by the late Charles Matthews. But Matthews was wrong in the
person of whom he related the humorous address. I have assurance of the
parties from a friend, whose father, a distinguished clergyman in the
Scottish Church at the time, had accurate knowledge of the whole
circumstances. The late celebrated Dr. Macknight, a learned and profound
scholar and commentator, was nevertheless, as a preacher, to a great
degree heavy, unrelieved by fancy or imagination; an able writer, but a
dull speaker. His colleague, Dr. Henry, well known as the author of a
History of England, was, on the other hand, a man of great humour, and
could not resist a joke when the temptation came upon him. On one
occasion when coming to church, Dr. Macknight had been caught in a
shower of rain, and entered the vestry soaked with wet. Every means were
used to relieve him from his discomfort; but as the time drew on for
divine service he became much distressed, and ejaculated over and over,
"Oh, I wush that I was dry; do you think I'm dry? do you think I'm dry
eneuch noo?" His jocose colleague could resist no longer, but, patting
him on the shoulder, comforted him with the sly assurance, "Bide a wee,
Doctor, and ye'se be _dry eneuch_ when ye get into the pu'pit."

Another quaint remark of the facetious doctor to his more formal
colleague has been preserved by friends of the family. Dr. Henry, who
with all his pleasantry and abilities, had himself as little popularity
in the pulpit as his coadjutor, had been remarking to Dr. Macknight what
a blessing it was that they were two colleagues in one charge, and
continued dwelling on the subject so long, that Dr. Macknight, not quite
pleased at the frequent reiteration of the remark, said that it
certainly was a great pleasure to himself, but he did not see what great
benefit it might be to the world. "Ah," said Dr. Henry, "an it hadna
been for that, there wad hae been _twa_ toom[179] kirks this day." Lord
Cockburn tells a characteristic anecdote of Dr. Henry's behaviour the
last day of his life. I am indebted to a gentleman, himself also a
distinguished member of the Scottish Church, for an authentic anecdote
of this learned divine, and which occurred whilst Dr. Macknight was the
minister of Maybole. One of his parishioners, a well-known humorous
blacksmith of the parish, who, no doubt, thought that the Doctor's
learned books were rather a waste of time and labour for a country
pastor, was asked if his minister was at home. The Doctor was then busy
bringing out his laborious and valuable work, his _Harmony of the Four
Gospels_. "Na, he's gane to Edinburgh on a verra useless job." On being
asked what this useless work might be which engaged his pastor's time
and attention, he answered, "He's gane to mak four men agree wha ne'er
cast oot." The good-humoured and candid answer of a learned and rather
long-winded preacher of the old school always appeared to me quite
charming. The good man was far from being a popular preacher, and yet he
could not reduce his discourses below the hour and a half. On being
asked, as a gentle hint of their possibly needless length, if he did not
feel _tired_ after preaching so long, he replied, "Na, na, I'm no
tired;" adding, however, with much naivete, "But, Lord, how tired the
fowk whiles are."

The late good kind-hearted Dr. David Dickson was fond of telling a story
of a Scottish termagant of the days before kirk-session discipline had
passed away. A couple were brought before the court, and Janet, the
wife, was charged with violent and undutiful conduct, and with wounding
her husband by throwing a three-legged stool at his head. The minister
rebuked her conduct, and pointed out its grievous character, by
explaining that just as Christ was head of his Church, so the husband
was head of the wife; and therefore in assaulting _him_, she had in fact
injured her own body. "Weel," she replied, "it's come to a fine pass gin
a wife canna kame her ain head;" "Ay, but, Janet," rejoined the
minister, "a three-legged stool is a thief-like bane-kame to scart yer
ain head wi'!"

The following is a dry Scottish case, of a minister's wife quietly
"kaming her husband's head." Mr. Mair, a Scotch minister, was rather
short-tempered, and had a wife named Rebecca, whom for brevity's sake he
addressed as "Becky." He kept a diary, and among other entries, this one
was very frequent--"Becky and I had a rippet, for which I desire to be
humble." A gentleman who had been on a visit to the minister went to
Edinburgh, and told the story to a minister and his wife there; when the
lady replied "Weel, he must have been an excellent man, Mr. Mair. My
husband and I sometimes too have 'rippets,' but catch him if he's
ever humble."

Our object in bringing up and recording anecdotes of this kind is to
elucidate the sort of humour we refer to, and to show it as a humour of
_past_ times. A modern clergyman could hardly adopt the tone and manner
of the older class of ministers--men not less useful and beloved, on
account of their odd Scottish humour, which indeed suited their time.
Could a clergyman, for instance, now come off from the trying position
in which we have heard of a northern minister being placed, and by the
same way through which he extricated himself with much good nature and
quiet sarcasm? A young man, sitting opposite to him in the front of the
gallery, had been up late on the previous night, and had stuffed the
cards with which he had been occupied into his coat pocket. Forgetting
the circumstance, he pulled out his handkerchief, and the cards all flew
about. The minister simply looked at him, and remarked, "Eh, man, your
psalm-buik has been ill bund."

An admirable story of a quiet pulpit rebuke is traditionary in Fife, and
is told of Mr. Shirra, a Seceding minister of Kirkcaldy, a man still
well remembered by some of the older generation for many excellent and
some eccentric qualities. A young officer of a volunteer corps on duty
in the place, very proud of his fresh uniform, had come to Mr. Shirra's
church, and walked about as if looking for a seat, but in fact to show
off his dress, which he saw was attracting attention from some of the
less grave members of the congregation. He came to his place, however,
rather quickly, on Mr. Shirra quietly remonstrating, "O man, will ye sit
doun, and we'll see your new breeks when the kirk's dune." This same Mr.
Shirra was well known from his quaint, and, as it were, parenthetical
comments which he introduced in his reading of Scripture; as, for
example, on reading from the 116th Psalm, "I said in my haste all men
are liars," he quietly observed, "Indeed, Dauvid, my man, an' ye had
been i' this parish ye might hae said it at your leisure."

There was something even still more pungent in the incidental remark of
a good man, in the course of his sermon, who had in a country place
taken to preaching out of doors in the summer afternoons. He used to
collect the people as they were taking air by the side of a stream
outside the village. On one occasion he had unfortunately taken his
place on a bank, and fixed himself on an _ants' nest_. The active habits
of those little creatures soon made the position of the intruder upon
their domain very uncomfortable; and, afraid that his audience might
observe something of this discomfort in his manner, he apologised by the
remark--"Brethren, though I hope I have the word of God in my mouth, I
think the deil himself has gotten into my breeks."

There was often no doubt a sharp conflict of wits when some of these
humorist ministers came into collision with members of their flocks who
were _also_ humorists. Of this nature is the following anecdote, which I
am assured is genuine:--A minister in the north was taking to task one
of his hearers who was a frequent defaulter, and was reproaching him as
a habitual absentee from public worship. The accused vindicated himself
on the plea of a dislike to long sermons. "'Deed, man," said the
reverend monitor, a little nettled at the insinuation thrown out against
himself, "if ye dinna mend, ye may land yersell where ye'll no be
troubled wi' mony sermons either lang or short." "Weel, aiblins sae,"
retorted John, "but _that_ mayna be for want o' ministers."

An answer to another clergyman, Mr. Shireff, parochial minister of St.
Ninian's, is indicative of Scottish and really clever wit. One of the
members of his church was John Henderson or Anderson--a very decent
douce shoemaker--and who left the church and joined the Independents,
who had a meeting in Stirling. Some time afterwards, when Mr. Shireff
met John on the road, he said, "And so, John, I understand you have
become an Independent?" "'Deed, sir," replied John, "that's true." "Oh,
John," said the minister, "I'm sure you ken that a rowin' (rolling)
stane gathers nae fog" (moss). "Ay," said John, "that's true too; but
can ye tell me what guid the fog does to the stane?" Mr. Shireff himself
afterwards became a Baptist. The wit, however, was all in favour of the
minister in the following:--

Dr. Gilchrist, formerly of the East Parish of Greenock, and who died
minister of the Canongate, Edinburgh, received an intimation of one of
his hearers who had been exceedingly irregular in his attendance that he
had taken seats in an Episcopal chapel. One day soon after, he met his
former parishioner, who told him candidly that he had "changed his
religion." "Indeed," said the Doctor quietly; "how's that? I ne'er heard
ye had ony." It was this same Dr. Gilchrist who gave the well-known
quiet but forcible rebuke to a young minister whom he considered rather
conceited and fond of putting forward his own doings, and who was to
officiate in the Doctor's church. He explained to him the mode in which
he usually conducted the service, and stated that he always finished the
prayer before the sermon with the Lord's Prayer. The young minister
demurred at this, and asked if he "might not introduce any other short
prayer?" "Ou ay," was the Doctor's quiet reply, "gif ye can gie us
onything _better_."

There is a story current of a sharp hit at the pretensions of a minister
who required a little set down. The scene was on a Monday by a burn near
Inverness. A stranger is fishing by a burn-side one Monday morning, when
the parish minister accosts him from the other side of the stream
thus:--"Good sport?" "Not very." "I am also an angler," but, pompously,
"I am a _fisher of men_." "Are you always successful?" "Not very." "So I
guessed, as I keeked into your creel[180] yesterday."

At Banchory, on Deeside, some of the criticisms and remarks on sermons
were very quaint and characteristic. My cousin had asked the Leys grieve
what he thought of a young man's preaching, who had been more successful
in appropriating the words than the ideas of Dr. Chalmers. He drily
answered, "Ou, Sir Thomas, just a floorish o' the surface." But the same
hearer bore this unequivocal testimony to another preacher whom he
really admired. He was asked if he did not think the sermon long: "Na, I
should nae hae thocht it lang an' I'd been sitting on thorns."

I think the following is about as good a sample of what we call Scotch
"pawky" as any I know:--A countryman had lost his wife and a favourite
cow on the same day. His friends consoled him for the loss of the wife;
and being highly respectable, several hints and offers were made
towards getting another for him. "Ou ay," he at length replied; "you're
a' keen aneuch to get me anither wife, but no yin o' ye offers to gie me
anither coo."

The following anecdotes, collected from different contributors, are fair
samples of the quaint and original character of Scottish ways and
expressions, now becoming more and more matters of reminiscence:--A poor
man came to his minister for the purpose of intimating his intention of
being married. As he expressed, however, some doubts on the subject, and
seemed to hesitate, the minister asked him if there were any doubts
about his being accepted. No, that was not the difficulty; but he
expressed a fear that it might not be altogether suitable, and he asked
whether, if he were once married, he could not (in case of unsuitability
and unhappiness) get _un_married. The clergyman assured him that it was
impossible; if he married, it must be for better and worse; that he
could not go back upon the step. So thus instructed he went away. After
a time he returned, and said he had made up his mind to try the
experiment, and he came and was married. Ere long he came back very
disconsolate, and declared it would not do at all; that he was quite
miserable, and begged to be unmarried. The minister assured him that was
out of the question, and urged him to put away the notion of anything so
absurd. The man insisted that the marriage could not hold good, for the
wife was "waur than the deevil." The minister demurred, saying that it
was quite impossible. "'Deed, sir," said the poor man, "the Bible tells
ye that if ye resist the deil he flees frae ye, but if ye resist her she
flees _at_ ye."

A faithful minister of the gospel, being one day engaged in visiting
some members of his flock, came to the door of a house where his gentle
tapping could not be heard for the noise of contention within. After
waiting a little he opened the door, and walked in, saying, with an
authoritative voice, "I should like to know who is the head of this
house." "Weel, sir," said the husband and father, "if ye sit doun a wee,
we'll maybe be able to tell ye, for we're just trying to settle
that point."

I have received from my kind correspondent, Rev. Mr. Hogg of Kirkmahoe,
the following most amusing account of a passage-at-arms between a
minister and "minister's man," both of them of the old school. The
minister of a parish in Dumfriesshire had a man who had long and
faithfully served at the manse. During the minister's absence, a
ploughing match came off in the district, and the man, feeling the old
spirit return with the force of former days, wished to enter the lists,
and go in for a prize, which he did, and gained the _fifth_ prize. The
minister, on his return home, and glancing at the local newspaper, saw
the report of the match, and the name of his own man in the prize-list.
Being of a crusty temper, he rang the bell in fury, and summoned John,
when the following colloquy took place:--"John, how is this? who gave
you leave to go to the ploughing-match?" "You were not at hame, sir."
"Well, you should have written to me." "I didn't think it was worth
while, sir, as we had our ain ploughing _forrit_[181]." "That may be;
but why were you not higher in the prize-list? I'm ashamed of you, and
you ought to be ashamed of yourself for being so far behind." John's
patience had given way, and, in his haste he burst forth, "Indeed, I'm
thinking, sir, that if ye were at a _preaching_ match, and
five-and-thirty in the field, ye wadna come in for _onything_, let a-be
for a fift'."

Stories of humorous encounters between ministers and their hearers are
numerous, and though often seasoned with dry and caustic humour, they
never indicate appearance of bitterness or ill-feeling between the
parties. As an example, a clergyman thought his people were making
rather an unconscionable objection to his using a MS. in delivering his
sermon. They urged, "What gars ye tak up your bit papers to the pu'pit?"
He replied that it was best, for really he could not remember his
sermon, and must have his papers. "Weel, weel, minister, then dinna
expect that _we_ can remember them."

Some of these encounters arise out of the old question of sleeping in
church. For example--"I see, James, that you tak a bit nap in the kirk,"
said a minister to one of his people; "can ye no tak a mull with you?
and when you become heavy an extra pinch would keep you up." "Maybe it
wad," said James, "but pit you the sneeshin intil your sermon, minister,
and maybe that'll serve the same purpose." As a specimen of the
matter-of-fact view of religious questions frequently recorded of older
ministers, let me adduce a well-authenticated account of a minister in a
far up-hill parish in Deeside. Returning thanks one Sabbath for the
excellent harvest, he began as usual, "O Lord, we thank thee," etc., and
went on to mention its abundance, and its safe ingathering; but, feeling
anxious to be quite candid and scrupulously truthful, added, "all except
a few sma' bitties at Birse no worth o' mentioning."

A Scotch preacher, a man of large stature, being sent to officiate one
Sunday at a country parish, was accommodated at night, in the manse, in
a very diminutive closet--the usual best bedroom, appropriated to
strangers, being otherwise occupied. "Is this the bedroom?" he said,
starting back in amazement. "'Deed ay, sir, this is the prophets'
chalmer." "It maun be for the _minor_ prophets, then," was the
quiet reply.

Elders of the kirk, no doubt, frequently partook of the original and
humorous character of ministers and others, their contemporaries; and
amusing scenes must have passed, and good Scotch sayings been said,
where they were concerned. Dr. Chalmers used to repeat one of these
sayings of an elder with great delight. The Doctor associated with the
anecdote the name of Lady Glenorchy and the church which she endowed;
but I am assured that the person was Lady Elizabeth Cunninghame, sister
of Archibald, eleventh Earl of Eglinton, and wife of Sir John
Cunninghame, Bart., of Caprington, near Kilmarnock. It seems her
ladyship had, for some reason, taken offence at the proceedings of the
Caprington parochial authorities, and a result of which was that she
ceased putting her usual liberal offering into the plate at the door.
This had gone on for some time, till one of the elders, of less
forbearing character than the others, took his turn at the plate. Lady
Elizabeth as usual passed by without a contribution, but made a formal
courtsey to the elder at the plate, and sailed up the aisle. The good
man was determined not to let her pass so easily, so he quickly followed
her, and urged the remonstrance: "Gie us mair o' your siller and less o'
your mainners, my lady Betty." My kind correspondent, Rev. Mr. Agnew,
supplies me with an amusing pendant to this anecdote:--At a great church
meeting, Dr. Chalmers had told this story with much effect when Lord
Galloway was in the chair. After the meeting, Dr. Chalmers, and many
who had been present, dined at his lordship's hospitable table. After
dinner, when the morning meeting was discussed, Lord Galloway addressed
Dr. Chalmers on the subject of this story and, as if not quite pleased
at its being introduced, said, "Do you know, Doctor, the lady of whom
you told the story of the elder is a near relation of mine?" Dr.
Chalmers, with real or seeming simplicity, answered, "No, my Lord, I did
not; but next time I tell the story I can mention the fact." As a
pendant to the elder's disclaimer of "mainners" on the part of a lady of
rank, I may add an authentic anecdote of a very blunt and unpolished
Kincardineshire laird, expressing the same disclaimer of mainners on the
part of a servant, but in a far rougher form of speech. He had been
talking with a man who came to offer for his service as a butler. But
the laird soon found he was far too grand a gentleman for his service,
and became chafed with his requiring so many things as conditions of
coming; till, on his dismissal, when the man was bowing and scraping to
show how genteel he could be, he lost all patience, and roared out, "Get
out, ye fule; gie us nane o' your mainners here."

Of an eccentric and eloquent professor and divine of a northern Scottish
university, there are numerous and extraordinary traditionary anecdotes.
I have received an account of some of these anecdotes from the kind
communication of an eminent Scottish clergyman, who was himself in early
days his frequent hearer. The stories told of the strange observations
and allusions which he introduced into his pulpit discourses almost
surpass belief. For many reasons, they are not suitable to the nature of
this publication, still less could they be tolerated in any pulpit
administration now, although familiar with his contemporaries. The
remarkable circumstance, however, connected with these eccentricities
was, that he introduced them with the utmost gravity, and oftentimes,
after he had delivered them, pursued his subject with great earnestness
and eloquence, as if he had said nothing uncommon. One saying of the
professor, however, _out_ of the pulpit, is too good to be omitted, and
may be recorded without violation of propriety. He happened to meet at
the house of a lawyer, whom he considered rather a man of _sharp_
practice, and for whom he had no great favour, two of his own
parishioners. The lawyer jocularly and ungraciously put the question;
"Doctor, these are members of your flock; may I ask, do you look upon
them as white sheep or as black sheep?" "I don't know," answered the
professor drily, "whether they are black or white sheep, but I know that
if they are long here they are pretty sure to be fleeced."

It was a pungent answer given by a Free Kirk member who had deserted his
colours and returned to the old faith. A short time after the
Disruption, the Free Church minister chanced to meet him who had then
left him and returned to the Established Church. The minister bluntly
accosted him--"Ay, man, John, an' ye've left us; what micht be your
reason for that? Did ye think it wasna a guid road we was gaun?" "Ou, I
daursay it was a guid eneuch road and a braw road; but, O minister, the
tolls were unco high."

The following story I received from a member of the Penicuik
family:--Dr. Ritchie, who died minister of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, was,
when a young man, tutor to Sir G. Clerk and his brothers. Whilst with
them, the clergyman of the parish became unable, from infirmity and
illness, to do his duty, and Mr. Ritchie was appointed interim
assistant. He was an active young man, and during his residence in the
country had become fond of fishing, and was a good shot. When the
grouse-shooting came round, his pupils happened to be laid up with a
fever, so Mr. Ritchie had all the shooting to himself. One day he walked
over the moor so far that he became quite weary and footsore. On
returning home he went into a cottage, where the good woman received him
kindly, gave him water for his feet, and refreshment. In the course of
conversation, he told her he was acting as assistant minister of the
parish, and he explained how far he had travelled in pursuit of game,
how weary he was, and how completely knocked up he was. "Weel, sir, I
dinna doubt ye maun be sair travelled and tired wi' your walk." And then
she added, with sly reference to his profession, "'Deed, sir, I'm
thinkin' ye micht hae travelled frae Genesis to Revelation and no been
sae forfauchten[182]."

Scotch people in general are, like this old woman, very jealous, as
might be expected, of ministers joining the sportsman to their pastoral
character. A proposal for the appointment of a minister to a particular
parish, who was known in the country as a capital shot, called forth a
rather neat Scottish _pun_, from an old woman of the parish, who
significantly observed, "'Deed, _Kilpaatrick_ would hae been a mair
appropriate place for him." _Paatrick_ is Scotch for partridge.

I cannot do better in regard to the three following anecdotes of the
late Professor Gillespie of St. Andrews, than give them to my readers in
the words with which Dr. Lindsay Alexander kindly communicated them
to me.

"In the _Cornhill Magazine_ for March 1860, in an article on Student
Life in Scotland, there is an anecdote of the late Professor Gillespie
of St. Andrews, which is told in such a way as to miss the point and
humour of the story. The correct version, as I have heard it from the
professor himself, is this: Having employed the village carpenter to put
a frame round a dial at the manse of Cults, where he was a minister, he
received from the man a bill to the following effect:--'To fencing the
_deil_, 5s. 6d.' 'When I paid him,' said the professor, 'I could not
help saying, John, this is rather more than I counted on; but I haven't
a word to say. I get somewhere about two hundred a year for fencing the
_deil_, and I'm afraid I don't do it half so effectually as
you've done.'"

"Whilst I am writing, another of the many stories of the learned and
facetious professor rises in my mind. There was a worthy old woman at
Cults whose place in church was what is commonly called the Lateran; a
kind of small gallery at the top of the pulpit steps. She was a most
regular attender, but as regularly fell asleep during sermon, of which
fault the preacher had sometimes audible intimation. It was observed,
however, that though Janet always slept during her own pastor's
discourse, she could be attentive enough when she pleased, and
especially was she alert when some young preacher occupied the pulpit. A
little piqued, perhaps, at this, Mr. Gillespie said to her one day,
'Janet, I think you hardly behave very respectfully to your own minister
in one respect.' 'Me, sir!' exclaimed Janet, 'I wad like to see ony man,
no tae say woman, by yoursell, say that o' me! what can you mean, sir?'
'Weel, Janet, ye ken when I preach you're almost always fast asleep
before I've well given out my text; but when any of these young men from
St. Andrews preach for me, I see you never sleep a wink. Now, that's
what I call no using me as you should do.' 'Hoot, sir,' was the reply,
'is that a'? I'll sune tell you the reason o' that. When you preach, we
a' ken the word o' God's safe in your hands; but when thae young birkies
tak it in haun, my certie, but it taks us a' to look after them[183].'

"I am tempted to subjoin another. In the Humanity Class, one day, a
youth who was rather fond of showing off his powers of language,
translated Hor. Od. iii., 3, 61, 62, somewhat thus:--'The fortunes of
Troy renascent under sorrowful omen shall be repeated with sad
catastrophe.' 'Catastrophe!' cried the professor. 'Catastrophe, Mr.
----, that's Greek. Give us it in plain English, if you please.' Thus
suddenly pulled down from his high horse, the student effected his
retreat with a rather lame and impotent version. 'Now,' said the
professor, his little sharp eyes twinkling with fun, 'that brings to my
recollection what once happened to a friend of mine, a minister in the
country. Being a scholarly man he was sometimes betrayed into the use of
words in the pulpit which the people were not likely to understand; but
being very conscientious, he never detected himself in this, without
pausing to give the meaning of the word he had used, and sometimes his
extempore explanations of very fine words were a little like what we
have just had from Mr. ----, rather too flat and commonplace. On one
occasion he allowed this very word 'catastrophe' to drop from him, on
which he immediately added, 'that, you know, my friends, means the _end_
of a thing.' Next day, as he was riding through his parish, some
mischievous youth succeeded in fastening a bunch of furze to his
horse's tail--a trick which, had the animal been skittish, might have
exposed the worthy pastor's horsemanship to too severe a trial, but
which happily had no effect whatever on the sober-minded and respectable
quadruped which he bestrode. On, therefore, he quietly jogged, utterly
unconscious of the addition that had been made to his horse's caudal
region, until, as he was passing some cottages, he was arrested by the
shrill voice of an old woman exclaiming, 'Heh, sir! Heh, sir! there's a
whun-buss at your horse's catawstrophe!'"

I have several times adverted to the subject of epigrams. A clever
impromptu of this class has been recorded as given by a judge's lady in
reply to one made by the witty Henry Erskine at a dinner party at Lord
Armadale's. When a bottle of claret was called for, port was brought in
by mistake. A second time claret was sent for, and a second time the
same mistake occurred. Henry Erskine addressed the host in an impromptu,
which was meant as a parody on the well-known Scottish song, "My
Jo, Janet"--

"Kind sir, it's for your courtesie
When I come here to dine, sir,
For the love ye bear to me,
Gie me the claret wine, sir."

To which Mrs. Honeyman retorted--

"Drink the port, the claret's dear,
Erskine, Erskine;
Yell get fou on't, never fear,
My jo, Erskine."

Some of my younger readers may not be familiar with the epigram of John
Home, author of the tragedy of "Douglas." The lines were great
favourites with Sir Walter Scott, who delighted in repeating them. Home
was very partial to claret, and could not bear port. He was exceedingly
indignant when the Government laid a tax upon claret, having previously
long connived at its introduction into Scotland under very mitigated
duties. He embodied his anger in the following epigram:--

"Firm and erect the Caledonian stood,
Old was his mutton, and his claret good;
'Let him drink port,' an English statesman cried--
He drank the poison, and his spirit died."

There is a curious story traditionary in some families connected with
the nobleman who is the subject of it, which, I am assured, is true, and
further, that it has never yet appeared in print. The story is,
therefore, a "Scottish reminiscence," and, as such, deserves a place
here. The Earl of Lauderdale was so ill as to cause great alarm to his
friends, and perplexity to his physicians. One distressing symptom was a
total absence of sleep, and the medical men declared their opinion, that
without sleep being induced he could not recover. His son, a queer
eccentric-looking boy, who was considered not entirely right in his mind
but somewhat "_daft_" and who accordingly had had little attention paid
to his education, was sitting under the table, and cried out, "Sen' for
that preachin' man frae Livingstone, for faither aye sleeps in the
kirk." One of the doctors thought this hint worth attending to. The
experiment of "getting a minister till him" succeeded, and, sleep coming
on, he recovered. The Earl, out of gratitude for this benefit, took more
notice of his son, paid attention to his education, and that boy became
the Duke of Lauderdale, afterwards so famous or infamous in his
country's history.

The following very amusing anecdote, although it belongs more properly
to the division on peculiarities of Scottish phraseology, I give in the
words of a correspondent who received it from the parties with whom it
originated. About twenty years ago, he was paying a visit to a cousin,
married to a Liverpool merchant of some standing. The husband had lately
had a visit from his aged father, who formerly followed the occupation
of farming in Stirlingshire, and who had probably never been out of
Scotland before in his life. The son, finding his father rather _de
trop_ in his office, one day persuaded him to cross the ferry over the
Mersey, and inspect the harvesting, then in full operation, on the
Cheshire side. On landing, he approached a young woman reaping with the
sickle in a field of oats, when the following dialogue ensued:--

_Farmer_.--Lassie, are yer aits muckle bookit[184] th' year?

_Reaper_.--What say'n yo?

_Farmer_.--I was speiring gif yer aits are muckle bookit th' year!

_Reaper_ (in amazement).--I dunnot know what yo' say'n.

_Farmer_ (in equal astonishment).--Gude--safe--us,--do ye no understaan
gude plain English?--are--yer--aits--muckle--bookit?

Reaper decamps to her nearest companion, saying that was a madman, while
he shouted in great wrath, "They were naething else than a set o'
ignorant pock-puddings."

An English tourist visited Arran, and being a keen disciple of Izaak
Walton, was arranging to have a day's good sport. Being told that the
cleg, or horse-fly, would suit his purpose admirably for lure, he
addressed himself to Christy, the Highland servant-girl:--"I say, my
girl, can you get me some horse-flies?" Christy looked stupid, and he
repeated his question. Finding that she did not yet comprehend him, he
exclaimed, "Why, girl, did you never see a horse-fly?" "Naa, sir," said
the girl, "but A wance saw a coo jump ower a preshipice."

The following anecdote is highly illustrative of the thoroughly attached
old family serving-man. A correspondent sends it as told to him by an
old schoolfellow of Sir Walter Scott's at Fraser and Adam's class,
High School:--

One of the lairds of Abercairnie proposed _to go out_, on the occasion
of one of the risings for the Stuarts, in the '15 or '45--but this was
not with the will of his old serving-man, who, when Abercairnie was
pulling on his boots, preparing to go, overturned a kettle of boiling
water upon his legs, so as to disable him from joining his
friends--saying, "Tak that--let them fecht wha like; stay ye at hame and
be laird o' Abercairnie."

A story illustrative of a union of polite courtesy with rough and
violent ebullition of temper common in the old Scottish character, is
well known in the Lothian family. William Henry, fourth Marquis of
Lothian, had for his guest at dinner an old countess to whom he wished
to show particular respect and attention[185]. After a very
complimentary reception, he put on his white gloves to hand her down
stairs, led her up to the upper end of the table, bowed, and retired to
his own place. This I am assured was the usual custom with the chief
lady guest by persons who themselves remember it. After all were seated,
the Marquis addressed the lady, "Madam, may I have the honour and
happiness of helping your ladyship to some fish?" But he got no answer,
for the poor woman was deaf as a post, and did not hear him. After a
pause, but still in the most courteous accents, "Madam, have I your
ladyship's permission to send you some fish?" Then a little quicker, "Is
your Ladyship inclined to take fish?" Very quick, and rather peremptory,
"Madam, do ye choice fish?" At last the thunder burst, to everybody's
consternation, with a loud thump on the table and stamp on the floor:
"Con--found ye, will ye have any fish?" I am afraid the exclamation
might have been even of a more pungent character.

A correspondent has kindly enabled me to add a reminiscence and anecdote
of a type of Scottish character now nearly extinct.--I mean the old
Scottish _military_ officer of the wars of Holland and the Low
Countries. I give them in his own words:--"My father, the late Rev. Dr.
Bethune, minister of Dornoch, was on friendly terms with a fine old
soldier, the late Colonel Alexander Sutherland of Calmaly and Braegrudy,
in Sutherlandshire, who was lieutenant-colonel of the 'Local Militia,'
and who used occasionally, in his word of command, to break out with a
Gaelic phrase to the men, much to the amusement of bystanders. He called
his charger, a high-boned not overfed animal, Cadaver--a play upon
accents, for he was a good classical scholar, and fond of quoting the
Latin poets. But he had no relish nor respect for the 'Modern
languages,' particularly for that of our French neighbours, whom he
looked upon as 'hereditary' enemies! My father and the colonel were both
politicians, as well as scholars. Reading a newspaper article in his
presence one day, my father stopped short, handing the paper to him, and
said, 'Colonel, here is a _French_ quotation, which you can translate
better than I can,' 'No, sir!' said the colonel, 'I never learnt the
language of the scoundrels!!!' The colonel was known as 'Col. Sandy
Sutherland,' and the men always called him _Colonel Sandy_. He was a
splendid specimen of the hale veteran, with a stentorian voice, and the
last queue I remember to have seen."

A correspondent kindly sends me from Aberdeenshire a humorous story,
very much of the same sort as that of Colonel Erskine's servant, who
considerately suggested to his master that "maybe an aith might relieve
him[186]." My correspondent heard the story from the late
Bishop Skinner.

It was among the experiences of his father, Bishop _John_ Skinner. While
making some pastoral visits in the neighbourhood of the town (Aberdeen),
the Bishop took occasion to step into the cottage of two humble
parishioners, a man and his wife, who cultivated a little croft. No one
was within; but as the door was only on the latch, the Bishop knew that
the worthy couple could not be far distant. He therefore stepped in the
direction of the outhouses, and found them both in the barn winnowing
corn, in the primitive way, with "riddles," betwixt two open doors. On
the Bishop making his appearance, the honest man ceased his winnowing
operations, and in the gladness of his heart stepped briskly forward to
welcome his pastor; but in his haste he trod upon the rim of the riddle,
which rebounded with great force against one of his shins. The accident
made him suddenly pull up; and, instead of completing the reception, he
stood vigorously rubbing the injured limb; and, not daring in such a
venerable presence to give vent to the customary strong ejaculations,
kept twisting his face into all sorts of grimaces. As was natural, the
Bishop went forward, uttering the usual formulas of condolence and
sympathy, the patient, meanwhile, continuing his rubbings and his silent
but expressive contortions. At last Janet came to the rescue; and,
clapping the Bishop coaxingly on the back, said, "Noo, Bishop, jist gang
ye yir waas into the hoose, an' we'll follow fan he's had time to curse
a fyllie, an' I'se warran' he'll seen be weel eneuch!"

The following might have been added as examples of the dry humorous
manner in which our countrymen and countrywomen sometimes treat matters
with which they have to deal, even when serious ones:--

An itinerant vendor of wood in Aberdeen having been asked how his wife
was, replied, "Oh, she's fine; I hae taen her tae Banchory;" and on it
being innocently remarked that the change of air would do her good, he
looked up, and, with a half smile, said, "Hoot, she's i' the kirk-yard."

The well-known aversion of the Scotch to hearing _read_ sermons has
often led to amusing occurrences. One pastor, in a country district, who
was much respected by his people, but who, nevertheless, were never
quite reconciled to his _paper_ in the pulpit, found himself on one
occasion in an awkward predicament, from this same paper question. One
Sabbath afternoon, having exhausted both firstly and secondly, he came
to the termination of his discourse; but, unfortunately, the manuscript
was wanting. In vain efforts to seek the missing paper, he repeated
"thirdly and lastly" _ad nauseam_ to his hearers. At last one, cooler
than the others, rose, and nodding to the minister, observed, "'Deed,
sir, If I'm no mista'en, I saw 'thirdly and lastly' fa' ower the poopit
stairs;" evidently enjoying the disappearance of so important a part of
the obnoxious document.

This prejudice was indeed some years since in Scotland quite inveterate.
The following anecdote has been kindly sent to me from _Memoirs of
Charles Young,_ lately published by his son:--

"I have a distinct recollection, one Sunday when I was living at Cults,
and when a stranger was officiating for Dr. Gillespie, observing that he
had not proceeded five minutes with his 'discourse,' before there was a
general commotion and stampedo. The exodus at last became so serious,
that, conceiving something to be wrong, probably a fire in the manse, I
caught the infection, and eagerly inquired of the first person I
encountered in the churchyard what was the matter, and was told, with an
expression of sovereign scorn and disgust--'Losh keep ye, young man! Hae
ye eyes, and see not? Hae ye ears, and hear not? _The man reads!_"

On one occasion, however, even this prejudice gave way before the power
of the most eloquent preacher that Scotland ever heard, or perhaps that
the world ever heard. A shrewd old Fife hearer of sermons had been
objecting, in the usual exaggerated language, against reading sermons in
the pulpit. A gentleman urged the case of Dr. Chalmers, in defence of
the practice. He used his paper in preaching rigidly, and yet with what
an effect he read! All the objector could reply to this was, "Ah, but
it's _fell_[187] reading yon."

The two following are from a correspondent who heard them told by the
late Dr. Barclay the anatomist, well known for his own dry
Scottish humour.

A country laird, at his death, left his property in equal shares to his
two sons, who continued to live very amicably together for many years.
At length one said to the other, "Tam, we're gettin' auld now, you'll
tak a wife, and when I dee you'll get my share o' the grund." "Na, John,
you're the youngest and maist active, you'll tak a wife, and when I dee
you'll get my share." "Od," says John, "Tam, that's jist the way wi' you
when there's ony _fash or trouble_. The deevil a thing you'll do at a'."

A country clergyman, who was not on the most friendly terms with one of
his heritors who resided in Stirling, and who had annoyed the minister
by delay in paying him his teinds (or tithe), found it necessary to make
the laird understand that his proportion of stipend must be paid so soon
as it became due. The payment came next term punctual to the time. When
the messenger was introduced to the minister, he asked who he was,
remarking that he thought he had seen him before. "I am the hangman of
Stirling, sir." "Oh, just so, take a seat till I write you a receipt."
It was evident that the laird had chosen this medium of communication
with the minister as an affront, and to show his spite. The minister,
however, turned the tables upon him, sending back an acknowledgment for
the payment in these terms:--"Received from Mr. ----, by the hands of
the hangman of Stirling, _his doer_[188], the sum of," etc. etc.

The following story of pulpit criticism by a beadle used to be told, I
am assured, by the late Rev. Dr. Andrew Thomson:--

A clergyman in the country had a stranger preaching for him one day, and
meeting his beadle, he said to him, "Well, Saunders, how did you like
the sermon to-day?" "I watna, sir; it was rather ower plain and simple
for me. I like thae sermons best that jumbles the joodgment and
confoonds the sense. Od, sir, I never saw ane that could come up to
yoursell at that."

The epithet "canny" has frequently been applied to our countrymen, not
in a severe or invidious spirit, but as indicating a due regard to
personal interest and safety. In the larger edition of Jamieson (see
edition of 1840) I find there are no fewer than eighteen meanings given
of this word. The following extract from a provincial paper, which has
been sent me, will furnish a good illustration. It is headed, the
"PROPERTY QUALIFICATION," and goes on--"Give a chartist a large estate,
and a copious supply of ready money, and you make a Conservative of him.
He can then see the other side of the moon, which he could never see
before. Once, a determined Radical in Scotland, named Davy Armstrong,
left his native village; and many years afterwards, an old fellow
grumbler met him, and commenced the old song. Davy shook his head. His
friend was astonished, and soon perceived that Davy was no longer a
grumbler, but a rank Tory. Wondering at the change, he was desirous of
knowing the reason. Davy quietly and laconically replied--'I've a coo
(cow) noo.'"

But even still more "canny" was the eye to the main chance in an
Aberdonian fellow-countryman, communicated in the following pleasant
terms from a Nairn correspondent:--"I have just been reading your
delightful 'Reminiscences,' which has brought to my recollection a story
I used to hear my father tell. It was thus:--A countryman in a remote
part of Aberdeenshire having got a newly-coined sovereign in the days
when such a thing was seldom seen in his part of the country, went about
showing it to his friends and neighbours for the charge of one penny
each sight. Evil days, however, unfortunately overtook him, and he was
obliged to part with his loved coin. Soon after, a neighbour called on
him, and asked a sight of his sovereign, at the same time tendering a
penny. 'Ah, man,' says he, 'it's gane; but I'll lat ye see _the cloutie
it was rowt in_ for a bawbee.'"

There was something very simple-minded in the manner in which a
parishioner announced his canny care for his supposed interests when he
became an elder of the kirk. The story is told of a man who had got
himself installed in the eldership, and, in consequence, had for some
time carried round the ladle for the collections. He had accepted the
office of elder because some wag had made him believe that the
remuneration was sixpence each Sunday, with a boll of meal at New Year's
Day. When the time arrived he claimed his meal, but was told he had been
hoaxed. "It may be sae wi' the meal," he said coolly, "but I took care
o' the saxpence mysell."

There was a good deal both of the _pawky_ and the _canny_ in the
following anecdote, which I have from an honoured lady of the south of
Scotland:--"There was an old man who always rode a donkey to his work,
and tethered him while he worked on the roads, or whatever else it might
be. It was suggested to him by my grandfather that he was suspected of
putting it in to feed in the fields at other people's expense. 'Eh,
laird, I could never be tempted to do that, for my cuddy winna eat
onything but nettles and thristles.' One day my grandfather was riding
along the road, when he saw Andrew Leslie at work, and his donkey up to
the knees in one of his clover fields, feeding luxuriously. 'Hollo,
Andrew,' said he; 'I thought you told me your cuddy would eat nothing
but nettles and thistles.' 'Ay,' said he, 'but he misbehaved the day; he
nearly kicket me ower his head, sae I pat him in there just to
_punish_ him.'"

There is a good deal of the same sort of simple character brought out in
the two following. They were sent to me from Golspie, and are original,
as they occurred in my correspondent's own experience. The one is a
capital illustration of thrift, the other of kind feeling for the
friendless, in the Highland character. I give the anecdotes in my
correspondent's own words:--A little boy, some twelve years of age, came
to me one day with the following message: "My mother wants a vomit from
you, sir, and she bade me say if it will not be strong enough, she will
send it back." "Oh, Mr. Begg," said a woman to me, for whom I was
weighing two grains of calomel for a child, "dinna be so mean wi' it; it
is for a poor faitherless bairn."

The following, from a provincial paper, contains a very amusing
recognition of a return which one of the itinerant race considered
himself conscientiously bound to make to his clerical patron for an
alms: "A beggar, while on his rounds one day this week, called on a
clergyman (within two and a half miles of the Cross of Kilmarnock), who,
obeying the biblical injunction of clothing the naked, offered the
beggar an old top-coat. It was immediately rolled up, and the beggar, in
going away with it under his arm, thoughtfully (!) remarked, 'I'll hae
tae gie ye a day's _hearin_' for this na.'"

The natural and self-complacent manner in which the following anecdote
brings out in the Highlander an innate sense of the superiority of
Celtic blood is highly characteristic:--A few years ago, when an English
family were visiting in the Highlands, their attention was directed to a
child crying; on their observing to the mother it was _cross_, she
exclaimed--"Na, na, it's nae cross, for we're baith true Hieland."

The late Mr. Grahame of Garsock, in Strathearn, whose grandson now "is
laird himsel," used to tell, with great _unction_, some thirty years
ago, a story of a neighbour of his own of a still earlier generation,
Drummond of Keltie, who, as it seems, had employed an itinerant tailor
instead of a metropolitan artist. On one occasion a new pair of
inexpressibles had been made for the laird; they were so tight that,
after waxing hot and red in the attempt to try them on, he _let out_
rather savagely at the tailor, who calmly assured him, "It's the fash'n;
it's jist the fash'n." "Eh, ye haveril, is it the fashion for them _no
to go on_?"

An English gentleman writes to me--"We have all heard much of Scotch
caution, and I met once with an instance of it which I think is worth
recording, and which I tell as strictly original. About 1827, I fell
into conversation, on board of a Stirling steamer, with a well-dressed
middle-aged man, who told me he was a soldier of the 42d, going on
leave. He began to relate the campaigns he had gone through, and
mentioned having been at the siege of St. Sebastian.--'Ah! under Sir
Thomas Graham?' 'Yes, sir; he commanded there.' 'Well,' I said, merely
by way of carrying on the _crack_, 'and what do you think of _him_?'
Instead of answering, he scanned me several times from head to foot,
and from foot to head, and then said, in a tone of the most diplomatic
caution, 'Ye'll perhaps be of the name of Grah'm yersel, sir?' There
could hardly be a better example, either of the circumspection of a real
canny Scot, or of the lingering influence of the old patriarchal
feeling, by which 'A name, a word, makes clansmen vassals to
their lord.'"

Now when we linger over these old stories, we seem to live at another
period, and in such reminiscences we converse with a generation
different from our own. Changes are still going on around us. They have
been going on for some time past. The changes are less striking as
society advances, and we find fewer alterations for us to notice.
Probably each generation will have less change to record than the
generation that preceded; still every one who is tolerably advanced in
life must feel that, comparing its beginning and its close, he has
witnessed two epochs, and that in advanced life he looks on a different
world from one which he can remember. To elucidate this fact has been my
present object, and in attempting this task I cannot but feel how
trifling and unsatisfactory my remarks must seem to many who have a more
enlarged and minute acquaintance with Scottish life and manners than I
have. But I shall be encouraged to hope for a favourable, or at least an
indulgent, sentence upon these Reminiscences, if to any of my readers I
shall have opened a fresh insight into the subject of social changes
amongst us. Many causes have their effect upon the habits and customs of
mankind, and of late years such causes have been greatly multiplied in
number and activity. In many persons, and in some who have not
altogether lost their national partialities, there is a general
tendency to merge Scottish usages and Scottish expressions into the
English forms, as being more correct and genteel. The facilities for
moving, not merely from place to place in our own country, but from one
country to another; the spread of knowledge and information by means of
periodical publications and newspapers; and the incredibly low prices at
which literary works are produced, must have great effects. Then there
is the improved taste in art, which, together with literature, has been
taken up by young men who, fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, or more,
would have known no such sources of interest, or indeed who would have
looked upon them as unmanly and effeminate. When first these pursuits
were taken up by our Scottish young men, they excited in the north much
amazement, and, I fear, contempt, as was evinced by a laird of the old
school, who, the first time he saw a young man at the pianoforte, asked,
with evident disgust, "Can the creature _sew_ ony?" evidently putting
the accomplishment of playing the pianoforte and the accomplishment of
the needle in the same category.

The greater facility of producing books, prints, and other articles
which tend to the comfort and embellishment of domestic life, must have
considerable influence upon the habits and tastes of a people. I have
often thought how much effect might be traced to the single circumstance
of the cheap production of pianofortes. An increased facility of
procuring the means of acquaintance with good works of art and
literature acts both as cause and effect. A growing and improved taste
tends to stimulate the _production_ of the best works of art. These, in
return, foster and advance the power of forming a due _estimate_ of art.
In the higher department of music, for example, the cheap rate not only
of _hearing_ compositions of the first class, but of _possessing_ the
works of the most eminent composers, must have had influence upon
thousands. The principal oratorios of Handel may be purchased for as
many shillings each as they cost pounds years ago. Indeed, at that time
the very names of those immortal works were known only to a few who were
skilled to appreciate their high beauties. Now associations are formed
for practising and studying the choral works of the great masters.

We might indeed adduce many more causes which seem to produce changes of
habits, tastes, and associations, amongst our people. For example,
families do not vegetate for years in one retired spot as they used to
do; young men are encouraged to attain accomplishments, and to have
other sources of interest than the field or the bottle. Every one knows,
or may know, everything that is going on through the whole world. There
is a tendency in mankind to lose all that is peculiar, and in nations to
part with all that distinguishes them from each other. We hear of
wonderful changes in habits and customs where change seemed impossible.
In India and Turkey even, peculiarities and prejudices are fading away
under the influence of time. Amongst ourselves, no doubt, one
circumstance tended greatly to call forth, and, as we may say, to
_develop_, the peculiar Scotch humour of which we speak--and that was
the familiarity of intercourse which took place between persons in
different positions of life. This extended even to an occasional
interchange of words between the minister and the members of his flock
during time of service. I have two anecdotes in illustration of this
fact, which I have reason to believe are quite authentic. In the church
of Banchory on Deeside, to which I have referred, a former minister
always preached without book, and being of an absent disposition, he
sometimes forgot the head of discourse on which he was engaged, and got
involved in confusion. On one occasion, being desirous of recalling to
his memory the division of his subject, he called out to one of his
elders, a farmer on the estate of Ley, "Bush (the name of his farm),
Bush, ye're sleeping." "Na, sir, I'm no sleeping--I'm listening." "Weel,
then, what had I begun to say?" "Oh, ye were saying so and so." This was
enough, and supplied the minister with the thread of his discourse; and
he went on. The other anecdote related to the parish of Cumbernauld, the
minister of which was at the time referred to noted for a very
disjointed and rambling style of preaching, without method or
connection. His principal heritor was the Lord Elphinstone of the time,
and unfortunately the minister and the peer were not on good terms, and
always ready to annoy each other by sharp sayings or otherwise. The
minister on one occasion had somewhat in this spirit called upon the
beadle to "wauken my Lord Elphinstone," upon which Lord Elphinstone
said, "I'm no sleeping, minister." "Indeed you were, my lord." He again
disclaimed the sleeping. So as a test the preacher asked him, "What I
had been saying last then?" "Oh, juist wauken Lord Elphinstone." "Ay,
but what did I say before that?" "Indeed," retorted Lord Elphinstone,
"I'll gie ye a guinea if ye'll tell that yersell, minister." We can
hardly imagine the _possibility_ of such scenes now taking place amongst
us in church. It seems as if all men were gradually approximating to a
common type or form in their manners and views of life; oddities are
sunk, prominences are rounded off, sharp features are polished, and all
things are becoming smooth and conventional. The remark, like the
effect, is general, and extends to other countries as well as to our
own. But as we have more recently parted with our peculiarities of
dialect, oddity, and eccentricity, it becomes the more amusing to mark
_our_ participation in this change, because a period of fifty years
shows here a greater contrast than the same period would show in many
other localities.

I have already referred to a custom which prevailed in all the rural
parish churches, and which I remember in my early days at Fettercairn;
the custom I mean, now quite obsolete, of the minister, after
pronouncing the blessing, turning to the heritors, who always occupied
the front seats of the gallery, and making low bows to each family.
Another custom I recollect:--When the text had been given out, it was
usual for the elder branches of the congregation to hand about their
Bibles amongst the younger members, marking the place, and calling their
attention to the passage. During service another handing about was
frequent among the seniors, and that was a circulation of the
sneeshin-mull or snuff-box. Indeed, I have heard of the same practice in
an Episcopal church, and particularly in one case of an ordination,
where the bishop took his pinch of snuff, and handed the mull to go
round amongst the clergy assembled for the solemn occasion within the

Amongst Scottish reminiscences which do not extend beyond our own
recollections we may mention the disappearance of Trinity Church in
Edinburgh, which has taken place within the last quarter of a century.
It was founded by Mary of Gueldres, queen of James II. of Scotland, in
1446, and liberally endowed for a provost, prebendaries, choristers,
etc. It was never completed, but the portions built--viz., choir,
transept, and central tower--were amongst the finest specimens of later
Gothic work in Scotland. The pious founder had placed it at the east end
of what was then the North Loch. She chose her own church for the
resting-place of her remains as a sanctuary of safety and repose. A
railway parliamentary bill, however, overrides founder's intentions and
Episcopal consecrations. Where once stood the beautiful church of the
Holy Trinity, where once the "pealing organ" and the "full-voiced choir"
were daily heard "in service high and anthems clear"--where for 400
years slept the ashes of a Scottish Queen--now resound the noise and
turmoil of a railway station.

But we have another example of the uncertainty of all earthly concerns,
and one which supplies a Scottish reminiscence belonging to the last
seventy years. Wilhelmina, Viscountess Glenorchy, during her lifetime,
built and endowed a church for two ministers, who were provided with
very handsome incomes. She died 17th July 1786, and was buried on the
24th July, aged 44. Her interment took place, by her own direction, in
the church she had founded, immediately in front of the pulpit; and she
fixed upon that spot as a place of security and safety, where her mortal
remains might rest in peace till the morning of the resurrection. But
alas for the uncertainty of all earthly plans and projects for the
future!--the iron road came on its reckless course and swept the church
away. The site was required for the North British Railway, which passed
directly over the spot where Lady Glenorchy had been buried. Her remains
were accordingly disinterred 24th December 1844; and the trustees of the
church, not having yet erected a new one, deposited the body of their
foundress in the vaults beneath St. John's Episcopal Church, and after
resting there for fifteen years, they were, in 1859, removed to the
building which is now Lady Glenorchy's Church.

In our reminiscences of many _changes_ which have taken place during
fifty years in Scottish manners, it might form an interesting section to
record some peculiarities which _remain_. I mean such peculiarities as
yet linger amongst us, and still mark a difference in some of our social
habits from those of England. Some Scottish usages die hard, and are
found still to supply amusement for southern visitors. To give a few
examples, persons still persist among us in calling the head of a
family, or the host, the _landlord_, although he never charged his
guests a halfpenny for the hospitality he exercises. In games, golf and
curling still continue to mark the national character--cricket was long
an exotic amongst us. In many of our educational institutions, however,
it seems now fairly to have taken root. We continue to call our
reception rooms "_public_ rooms," although never used for any but
domestic purposes. Military rank is attached to ladies, as we speak of
Mrs. Lieutenant Fraser, Mrs. Captain Scott, Mrs. Major Smith, Mrs.
Colonel Campbell. On the occasion of a death, we persist in sending
circular notices to all the relatives, whether they know of it or not--a
custom which, together with men wearing weepers at funeral solemnities,
is unknown in England[189]. Announcing a married lady's death under her
maiden name must seem strange to English ears--as, for example, we read
of the demise of Mrs. Jane Dickson, spouse of Thomas Morison. Scottish
cookery retains its ground, and hotch-potch, minced collops, sheep's
head singed, and occasionally haggis, are still marked peculiarities of
the Scottish table. These social differences linger amongst us. But
stronger points are worn away; eccentricities and oddities such as
existed once will not do now. One does not see why eccentricity should
be more developed in one age than in another, but we cannot avoid the
conclusion that the day for real oddities is no more. Professors of
colleges are those in whom one least expects oddity--grave and learned
characters; and yet such _have_ been in former times. We can scarcely
now imagine such professors as we read of in a past generation. Take the
case of no less distinguished a person than Adam Smith, author of the
_Wealth of Nations,_ who went about the streets talking and laughing to
himself in such a manner as to make the market women think he was
deranged; and he told of one himself who ejaculated, as he passed,
"Hech, sirs, and he is weel pat on, too!" expressing surprise that a
decided lunatic, who from his dress appeared to be a gentleman, should
be permitted to walk abroad unattended. Professors still have their
crotchets like other people; but we can scarcely conceive a professor of
our day coming out like Adam Smith, and making fishwives to pass such
observations on his demeanour.

Peculiarities in a people's phraseology may prove more than we are aware
of, and may tend to illustrate circumstances of national _history_. Thus
many words which would be included by Englishmen under the general term
of Scotticisms, bear directly upon the question of a past intercourse
with France, and prove how close at one time must have been the
influence exercised upon general habits in Scotland by that intercourse.
Scoto-Gallic words were quite differently situated from French words and
phrases adopted in England. With us they proceeded from a real
admixture of the two _peoples_. With us they form the ordinary common
language of the country, and that was from a distant period moulded by
French. In England, the educated and upper classes of late years
_adopted_ French words and phrases. With us, some of our French
derivatives are growing obsolete as vulgar, and nearly all are passing
from fashionable society. In England, we find the French-adopted words
rather receiving accessions than going out of use.

Examples of words such as we have referred to, as showing a French
influence and admixture, are familiar to many of my readers. I recollect
some of them in constant use amongst old-fashioned Scottish people, and
those terms, let it be remembered, are unknown in England.

A leg of mutton was always, with old-fashioned Scotch people, a gigot
(Fr. gigot).

The crystal jug or decanter in which water is placed upon the table, was
a caraff (Fr. carafe).

Gooseberries were groserts, or grossarts (Fr. groseille).

Partridges were pertricks,--a word much more formed upon the French
perdrix than the English partridge.

The plate on which a joint or side-dish was placed upon the table was an
ashet (Fr. assiette).

In the old streets of Edinburgh, where the houses are very high, and
where the inhabitants all live in flats, before the introduction of
soil-pipes there was no method of disposing of the foul water of the
household, except by throwing it out of the window into the street. This
operation, dangerous to those outside, was limited to certain hours, and
the well-known cry, which preceded the missile and warned the
passenger, was gardeloo! or, as Smollett writes it, gardy loo (Fr. garge
de l'eau).

Anything troublesome or irksome used to be called, Scottice, fashions
(Fr. facheux, facheuse); to fash one's-self (Fr. se facher).

The small cherry, both black and red, common in gardens, is in Scotland,
never in England, termed gean (Fr. guigne), from Guigne, in Picardy.

The term _dambrod_, which has already supplied materials for a good
story, arises from adopting French terms into Scottish language, as dams
were the pieces with which the game of draughts was played (Fr. dammes).
Brod is board.

A bedgown, or loose female upper garment, is still in many parts of
Scotland termed a jupe (Fr. jupe).

In Kincardineshire the ashes of a blacksmith's furnace had the peculiar
name of smiddy-coom (Fr. ecume, i.e. dross).

Oil, in common Scotch, used always to be ule,--as the uley pot, or uley
cruse (Fr. huile).

Many of my readers are no doubt familiar with the notice taken of these
words by Lord Cockburn, and with the account which he gives of these
Scottish words derived from the French, probably during the time of
Queen Mary's minority, when French troops were quartered in Scotland. I
subjoin a more full list, for which I am indebted to a correspondent,
because the words still lingering amongst us are in themselves the best
REMINISCENCES of former days.

Scotch. English. French.
Serviter Napkin From Serviette.
Gigot (of mutton) ... " Gigot.
Reeforts Radishes " Raiforts.
Grosserts Gooseberries " Groseilles.
Gardyveen Case for holding wine " Garde-vin.
Jupe Part of a woman's dress " Jupe.
Bonnaille A parting glass with a " Bon aller.
friend going on a journey
Gysard Person in a fancy dress " Guise.
Dambrod Draught-board " Dammes.
Pantufles Slippers " Pantoufles.
Haggis Hashed meat " Hachis.
Gou Taste, smell " Gout.
Hogue Tainted " Haut gout.
Grange Granary " Grange.
Mouter Miller's perquisite " Mouture.
Dour Obstinate " Dur.
Douce Mild " Doux.
Dorty Sulky " Durete.
Braw Fine " Brave.
Kimmer Gossip " Commere.
Jalouse Suspect " Jalouser.
Vizzy To aim at, to examine " Viser.
Ruckle Heap (of stones) " Recueil.
Gardy-loo (Notice well known in " Gardez-l'eau.
Dementit Out of patience, deranged " Dementir.
On my verity Assertion of truth " Verite.
By my certy Assertion of truth " Certes.
Aumrie Cupboard " Almoire, in old
Walise Portmanteau " Valise.
Sucker Sugar " Sucre

_Edinburgh Street Cry:_--"Neeps like sucker. Whae'll buy neeps?"

Petticoat-tails Cakes of triangular shapes " Petits gatelles
Ashet Meat-dish " Assiette.
Fashious Troublesome " Facheux.
Prush, Madame[190] Call to a cow to come " Approchez,
forward Madame

I dwell the more minutely on this question of Scottish words, from the
conviction of their being so characteristic of Scottish humour, and
being so distinctive a feature of the older Scottish race. Take away our
Scottish phraseology, and we lose what is our specific distinction from
England. In these expressions, too, there is often a tenderness and
beauty as remarkable as the wit and humour. I have already spoken of the
phrase "Auld-lang-syne," and of other expressions of sentiment, which
may be compared in their Anglican and Scotch form.


[160] After all, the remark may not have been so absurd then as it
appears now. Burns had not been long dead, nor was he then so noted a
character as he is now. The Scotsmen might really have supposed a
Southerner unacquainted with the _fact_ of the poet's death.

[161] Choice.

[162] A vessel.

[163] Juice.

[164] Broth.

[165] Rev. A.K.H. Boyd.

[166] I believe the lady was Mrs. Murray Keith of Ravelston, with whom
Sir Walter had in early life much intercourse.

[167] Disputing or bandying words backwards and forwards.

[168] In Scotland the remains of the deceased person is called the

[169] Laudanum and calomel.

[170] Read from the same book.

[171] Sorely kept under by the turkey-cock.

[172] Close the doors. The old woman was lying in a "box-bed." See _Life
of Robert Chambers_, p. 12.

[173] Empty pocket.

[174] A cough.

[175] Shrivelled.

[176] Confound.

[177] Empty.

[178] It was of this minister, Mr. Thom of Govan, that Sir Walter Scott
remarked "that he had demolished all his own chances of a Glasgow
benefice, by preaching before the town council from a text in Hosea,
'Ephraim's drink is sour.'"

[179] Empty.

[180] Basket for fish.

[181] Well advanced.

[182] Wearied.

[183] I have abundant evidence to prove that a similar answer to that
which Dr. Alexander records to have been made to Mr. Gillespie has been
given on similar occasions by others.

[184] Oats heavy in bulk.

[185] This Marquis of Lothian was aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland
at the battle of Culloden, who sullied his character as a soldier and a
nobleman by the cruelties which he exercised on the vanquished.

[186] Sir H. Moncreiff's _Life of Dr. J. Erskine_.

[187] Extraordinary.

[188] In Scotland it is usual to term the law-agent or man of business
of any person his "doer."

[189] And yet, even as we write, weepers seem to be passing into

[190] This expression was adopted apparently in ridicule of the French
applying the word "Madame" to a cow.


I am very anxious to bear in mind throughout these Reminiscences, and to
keep in view the same feeling for my readers--viz. that such details
regarding the changes which many living have themselves noticed as
taking place in our customs and habits of society in Scotland, should
always suggest the question to the thoughtful and serious mind, Are the
changes which have been observed for _good_? Is the world a better world
than that which we can remember? On some important points changes have
been noticed in the upper classes of Scottish society, which
unquestionably _are_ improvements. For example, the greater attention
paid to observance of Sunday, and to attendance upon public
worship,--the partial disappearance of profane swearing and of excess in
drinking. But then the painful questions arise, Are such beneficial
changes _general_ through the whole body of our countrymen? may not the
vices and follies of one grade of society have found a refuge in those
that are of a lower class? may not new faults have taken their place
where older faults have been abandoned? Of this we are quite sure--no
lover of his country can fail to entertain the anxious wish, that the
change we noticed in regard to drinking and swearing were universal, and
that we had some evidence of its being extended through all classes of
society. We ought certainly to feel grateful when we reflect that, in
many instances which we have noticed, the ways and customs of society
are much improved in common sense, in decency, in delicacy, and
refinement. There are certain modes of life, certain expressions,
eccentricity of conduct, coarseness of speech, books, and plays, which
were in vogue amongst us, even fifty or sixty years ago, which would not
be tolerated in society at the present time. We cannot illustrate this
in a more satisfactory manner than by reference to the acknowledgment of
a very interesting and charming old lady, who died so lately as 1823. In
1821, Mrs. Keith of Ravelstone, grandaunt of Sir Walter Scott, thus
writes in returning to him the work of a female novelist which she had
borrowed from him out of curiosity, and to remind her of "auld lang
syne:"--"Is it not a very odd thing that I, an old woman of eighty and
upwards, sitting alone, feel myself ashamed to read a book which, sixty
years ago, I have heard read aloud for the amusement of large circles,
consisting of the first and most creditable society in London?" There
can be no doubt that at the time referred to by Mrs. Keith, Tristram
Shandy[191], Tom Jones, Humphrey Clinker, etc., were on the drawing-room
tables of ladies whose grandchildren or great-grandchildren never saw
them, or would not acknowledge it if they _had_ seen them. But authors
not inferior to Sterne, Fielding, or Smollett, are now popular, who,
with Charles Dickens, can describe scenes of human life with as much
force and humour, and yet in whose pages nothing will be found which
need offend the taste of the most refined, or shock the feelings of the
most pure. This is a change where there is also great improvement. It
indicates not merely a better moral perception in authors themselves,
but it is itself a homage to the improved spirit of the age. We will
hope that, with an improved exterior, there is improvement in society
_within_. If the feelings shrink from what is coarse in expression, we
may hope that vice has, in some sort, lost attraction. At any rate, from
what we discern around us we hope favourably for the general improvement
of mankind, and of our own beloved country in particular. If Scotland,
in parting with her rich and racy dialect, her odd and eccentric
characters, is to lose something in quaint humour and good stories, we
will hope she may grow and strengthen in _better_ things--good as those
are which she loses. However this may be, I feel quite assured that the
examples which I have now given, of Scottish expressions, Scottish modes
and habits of life, and Scottish anecdotes, which belong in a great
measure to the past, and yet which are remembered as having a place in
the present century, must carry conviction that great changes have taken
place in the Scottish social circle. There were some things belonging to
our country which we must all have desired should be changed. There were
others which we could only see changed with regret and sorrow. The hardy
and simple habits of Scotsmen of many past generations; their industry,
economy, and integrity, which made them take so high a place in the
estimation and the confidence of the people amongst whom they dwelt in
all countries of the world; the intelligence and superior education of
her mechanics and her peasantry, combined with a strict moral and
religious demeanour, fully justified the praise of Burns when he
described the humble though sublime piety of the "Cottar's Saturday
Night," and we can well appreciate the testimony which he bore to the
hallowed power and sacred influences of the devotional exercises of his
boyhood's home, when he penned the immortal words:--

"From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,
That makes her loved at home, revered abroad."

On comparing Scotland past with Scotland present, we cannot evade the
question, Are "scenes like these"--devotional domestic scenes like
these--become less frequent than they were? Do they still hold their
place by the cottar's fireside, or are they becoming only a reminiscence
of what was _once_ a national distinction? Whatever be our religious
opinions, or whatever be our views on questions of ecclesiastical polity
and church order, no Scotsman who desires the happiness and honour of
his country could avoid a deep regret at the very idea of Burns'
"Cottar's Saturday Night" having become a thing of the past; and yet we
must not shrink from inquiry into the true state of the case. I have
asked the opinions of friends both of the Established and the Free
Church, who have met my inquiries in a fair and candid spirit, and, from
the answers I have received, have come to something like the following
conclusion:--I believe such scenes as Burns' "Cottar's Saturday Night"
are still to be met with in all their freshness and all their fervour in
the dwellings of a good religious peasantry; but in some places the
cottar population _itself_ has undergone a great change. Two causes have
combined to produce this effect:--An extensive system of emigration has
thinned the older families of the soil, whilst the practice of bringing
in mere labourers has in many districts made the old family domestic
firesides less numerous. Then, alas! alas! we fear cottar MORALITY has
not been such as to keep up the practice. Reports made to both the
General Assemblies of 1871 on this question were far from being
satisfactory. Dr. Begg, too, in his striking and able pamphlet on the
"Ecclesiastical and Social Evils of Scotland," refers to "symptoms of a
nation's degeneracy which seem multiplying in Scotland;" also to a
"growing amount of heathenism and drunkenness."

With such representations before us regarding a decline of domestic
morality, we cannot expect to see much increase of domestic piety.
Burns, after he had become lowered in moral feelings by those licentious
habits and scenes into which he unfortunately fell after he had left his
father's house, was not hypocrite enough to profess the same love and
interest for the scenes of his innocent and early days. The country
clergy of Scotland have their many difficulties against which they are
to contend; and many obstacles which they have to meet. But let not the
domestic piety of the lowest cottages of the land be lost sight of. The
results of such worship are so blessed upon the inmates, that the
practice should everywhere be urged upon their flocks by the clergy, and
encouraged by all means in their power; and in that view it would, I
think, be desirable to circulate short forms of prayer for family use.
Many such have lately been published; and, whatever difference of
opinion may be entertained as to the comparative merits of extempore or
liturgical prayer for the public worship of the church, there can be no
question that in many instances a form must be very useful, and often
essential at the commencement, at least, of cottage worship. I have
known cases where it has been declined on the plea of inability to
conduct the service.

There are numerous indications that, _on the whole_, a regard for
religion and religious ordinances is not losing ground in Scotland. The
great number of churches--and of handsome churches--that are springing
up, indicate, by their attendance, how much hold the subject has upon
the people. The ample funds raised for charitable and for missionary
objects give good testimony in the cause; and, in regard to the
immediate question before us, one favourable result may be reported on
this subject--the practice and feelings of domestic piety and family
worship have, at any rate, extended in Scotland in an _upward_ direction
of its social life. Beyond all doubt, we may say family worship is more
frequent, as a general practice, in houses of the rich, and also in the
houses of farmers and of superior operatives, than it was some years
ago. The Montrose anecdote about family prayers, told at page 64, could
hardly have place now, and indeed many persons could not understand
the point.

I hope I am not blinded to the defects of my own countrymen, nor am I
determined to resist evidence of any deterioration which may be proved.
But I feel confident that Scotland still stands pre-eminent amongst the
nations for moral and religious qualities. The nucleus of her character
will bear comparison with any. We will cherish hope for the mental tone
of our countrymen being still in the ascendant, and still imbued with
those qualities that make a moral and religious people. We have reason
to know that in many departments of business, Scottish intelligence,
Scottish character, and Scottish services, are still decidedly at a
premium in the market.

But now, before concluding, I am desirous of recording some
Reminiscences upon a phase of Scottish RELIGIOUS history which involves
very important consequences, and which I would not attempt to discuss
without serious consideration. Indeed I have sometimes shrunk from the
discussion at all, as leading to questions of so delicate a nature, and
as involving matters on which there are so many differences of opinion.
I refer to the state of our divisions and alienations of spirit _on
account_ of religion.

The great Disruption, which nearly equally divided the National Church,
and which took place in 1843, is now become a matter of _reminiscence_.
Of those nearly connected with that movement, some were relatives of my
own, and many were friends. Unlike similar religious revolutions, that
which caused the Free Church of Scotland did not turn upon any
difference of opinion on matters either of doctrine or of ecclesiastical
polity. It arose entirely from differences regarding the relation
subsisting between the Church and the State, by which the Church was
established and endowed. The great evil of all such divisions, and the
real cause for regret, lie in the injury they inflict on the cause of
Christian unity and Christian love, and the separation they too often
make between those who ought to be united in spirit, and who have
hitherto been not unfrequently actually joined for years as companions
and friends. The tone which is adopted by publications, which are the
organs of various party opinions amongst us, show how keenly disputants,
once excited, will deal with each other. The differences consequent upon
the Disruption in the Scottish Church called forth great bitterness of
spirit and much mutual recrimination at the time. But it seems to me
that there are indications of a better spirit, and that there is more
tolerance and more forbearance on religious differences amongst Scottish
people generally. I cannot help thinking, however, that at no period of
our ecclesiastical annals was such language made use of, and even
against those of the highest place and authority in the Church, as we
have lately met with in the organs of the extreme Anglican Church party.
It is much to be regretted that earnest and zealous men should have
adopted such a style of discussing religious differences. I cannot help
thinking it is injurious to Christian feelings of love and Christian
kindness. It is really sometimes quite appalling. From the same quarter
I must expect myself severe handling for some of these pages, should
they fall into their way. We cannot but lament, however, when we find
such language used towards each other by those who are believers in a
common Bible, and who are followers and disciples of the same lowly
Saviour, and indeed frequently members of the same Church. Bigotry and
intolerance are not confined to one side or another. They break out
often where least expected. Differences, no doubt, will always exist on
many contested subjects, but I would earnestly pray that all SUCH
differences, amongst ourselves at least, as those which injure the
forbearance and gentleness of the Christian character, should become
"Scottish Reminiscences," whether they are called forth by the
opposition subsisting between Presbyterianism and Episcopacy, or whether
they arise amongst Presbyterians or amongst Episcopalians themselves.

To my apprehension Scotland has recently seen a most painful indication
of the absence of that charity which, according to St. Paul, should
"never fail" amongst a Christian people. The act of two English
Prelates officiating in one of the Established churches has called forth
a storm of indignation as loud and vehement as if in a heathen land they
had fallen down before the image of a heathen deity, and worshipped in a
heathen temple. Then the explanation which has been given by apologists
for these services is not the least remarkable feature of the
transaction. These ministrations have been called "Mission Services,"
and, in so far as I enter into the meaning of the phrase, I would
solemnly and seriously protest against its being made use of in such a
case. "_Mission service_" can only be applied to the case of a
missionary raising his voice "_in partibus infidelium_" or, to say the
least of it, in a land where no Christian church was already planted.
When I think of the piety, the Christian worth, and high character of so
many friends in the Established and other Presbyterian churches in
Scotland, I would again repeat my solemn protestation against such
religious intolerance, and again declare my conviction, that Englishmen
and Scotsmen, so far from looking out for points of difference and
grounds for separation on account of the principles on which their
Churches are established, should endeavour to make the bonds of
religious union as _close_ as possible. I can scarcely express the
gratification I felt on learning from the _Scotsman_, November 20, that
such were the sentiments called forth by this event in the mind of one
of the ablest and most distinguished Prelates of our day. In reference
to the Glengarry services, the Bishop of St. Andrews (Wordsworth) has
declared his opinion, that the "subsequent explanations of those
services seemed to mar the good work by introducing questions of
etiquette, where nothing should have been thought of but the simple
performance of Christian duty by Christian ministers for the benefit of
Christian people[192]."

Such is the judgment expressed by the honoured and learned Bishop of St.
Andrews, whose noble and patriotic exertions to draw the Episcopalians
and the Presbyterians of Scotland closer together in bonds of religious
feelings and religious worship have been spoken of in such terms, and
such words have been applied to his labours in that cause, and to the
administration generally of his own diocese, by one of the very high
English Church papers, as have been to me a cause of deep sorrow and
poignant regret.

As a Scotsman by descent from Presbyterians of high moral and religious
character, and as an Episcopalian by conscientious preference, I would
fain see more of harmony and of confidence between all Scotsmen, not
only as fellow-countrymen, but as fellow-Christians. When I first joined
the Episcopal Church the Edinburgh Episcopal clergy were on most
friendly terms with the leading clergy of the Established Church. Every
consideration was shown to them by such men as Bishop Sandford, Dr.
Morehead, Rev. Archibald Alison, Rev. Mr. Shannon, and others. There was
always service in the Episcopal chapels on the National Church communion
fast-days. No opposition or dislike to Episcopalian clergymen occupying
Presbyterian pulpits was ever avowed as a great principle. Charles
Simeon of Cambridge, and others of the Churches of England and Ireland,
frequently so officiated, and it was considered as natural and suitable.
The learning and high qualities of the Church of England's hierarchy,
were, with few exceptions, held in profound respect. Indeed, during the
last hundred years, and since the days when Episcopacy was attacked
under the term of "black prelacy," I can truly say, the Episcopal order
has received far more severe handling in Episcopal England than it has
received in Presbyterian Scotland. I must think, that in the case of two
churches where the grounds of _resemblance_ are on points of spiritual
importance affecting great truths and doctrines of salvation, and where
the points of _difference_ affect questions more of government and
external order than of salvation, there ought to be on both parts the
desire at least to draw as closely as they can the bonds of Christian
charity and mutual confidence.

I believe it to be very painful to Scotsmen generally, whether of the
Established or the Episcopal Church, that the Presbyterian Church of
Scotland should be spoken of in such terms as have lately been made use
of. Scotsmen feel towards it as to the Church of the country established
by law, just as the Anglican Church is established in England. They feel
towards it as the Church whose ministrations are attended by our
gracious Sovereign when she resides in the northern portion of her
dominions, and in which public thanksgiving was offered to God in the
royal presence for her Majesty's recovery. But more important still,
they feel towards it as a church of which the members are behind no
other communion in the tone and standard of their moral principle and
integrity of conduct. They feel towards it as a church which has nobly
retained her adherence to the principles of the Reformation, and which
has been spared the humiliation of exhibiting any of her clergy
nominally members of a reformed church, and, at the same time, virtually
and at heart adherents to the opinions and practices of the Church of
Rome. English people, in speaking of the Established Church of
Scotland, seem to forget how much Episcopalians are mixed up with their
Presbyterian fellow-countrymen in promoting common charitable and
religious objects. For example, take my own experience: the
administration of a very valuable charitable institution called the
Paterson and Pape Fund, is vested jointly in the incumbent of St.
John's, Edinburgh (Episcopalian), and the two clergymen of St.
Cuthbert's (Established) Church. Even in matters affecting the interests
of our own Church we may find ourselves closely connected. Take the
administration of the late Miss Walker's will, and the carrying out her
munificent bequest to our Church, of which I am a trustee. Of the nine
trustees, two are Episcopalians residing in Scotland, one an
Episcopalian residing in England, and six are Presbyterians residing in
Scotland. The primary object of Miss Walker's settlement is to build and
endow, for divine service, a cathedral church in Edinburgh; the edifice
to cost not less than L40,000. The income arising from the remainder of
her property to be expended for the benefit of the Scottish Episcopal
Church generally. A meeting of trustees was held, November 25, 1871, and
one of the first steps unanimously agreed upon was to appoint the
Bishop-Coadjutor of Edinburgh, who is a trustee, to be chairman of the
meeting. There is no doubt or question of mutual good feeling in the
work, and that our Church feels full and entire confidence in the fair,
honourable, candid, and courteous conduct of the trustees to whom in
this case will be committed weighty matters connected with her

At one of the congresses of the English Church it has been said, and
well said, by Mr. B. Hope, that he and his friends of the High Church
party would join as closely as they could with the members of the
Romish Church who have taken common cause with Dr. Dollinger, "looking
more to points where they agree, and not to points where they differ."
Why should not the same rule be adopted towards brethren who differ from
ourselves so little on points that are vital and eternal? The principle
which I would apply to the circumstances, I think, may be thus stated: I
would join with fellow-Christians in any good works or offices, either
of charity or religion, where I could do so without compromise of my own
principles. On such ground I do not see why we should not realise the
idea already suggested,--viz. that of having an interchange between our
pulpits and the pulpits of the Established and other Presbyterian or
Independent Churches. Such ministerial interchange need not affect the
question of _orders_, nor need it, in fact, touch many other questions
on which differences are concerned.

Of course this should be arranged under due regulation, and with full
precaution taken that the questions discussed shall be confined to
points where there is agreement, and that points of difference should be
left quite in abeyance. Why should we, under proper arrangements, fail
to realise so graceful an exercise of Christian charity? Why should we
lose the many benefits favourable to the advancement of Christian unity
amongst us? An opportunity for practically putting this idea into a
tangible form has occurred from the circumstance of the new chapel in
the University of Glasgow being opened for service, to be conducted by
clergymen of various churches. I gladly avail myself of the opportunity
of testifying my grateful acknowledgments for the courteous and generous
conduct of Dr. Caird, in his efforts to put forward members of our
Church to conduct the services of the College chapel, and also of
expressing my admiration of the power and beauty of his remarks on
Christian unity and on brotherly love[193].

This is with me no new idea; no crude experiment proposed for the
occasion. I have before me a paper which I wrote some years since, and
which I had put into the shape of "An Address to the Bishops," to
sanction such exchange of pulpits, hoping to get some of my clerical
brethren to join in the object of the address. I feel assured much good
would, under God, be the result of such spiritual union. If
congregations would only unite in exchange of such friendly offices of
religious instruction with each other, how often would persons, now
strangers, become better acquainted! I wish the experiment could be
tried, were it only to show how prejudices would be removed; how
misunderstandings would be cleared away; how many better and kinder
feelings would grow out of the closer union on religious questions! Nay,
I would go farther, and express my full conviction, that my own Church
would _gain_ rather than lose in her interests under such a system. Men
would be more disposed to listen with attention, and examine with
candour the arguments we make use of in favour of our Church views. We
should gain more of the sympathy of our countrymen who differ from us,
by a calm expostulation than by bitter invective. Beautifully and wisely
was it written by a sacred pen nearly three thousand years ago, "A soft
answer turneth away wrath."

I have such confidence in the excellence of my own Church, that I
believe to bring persons into closer and kinder connection with our
system would be the more likely way to gain their approval and their
favourable judgment. In nothing do we lose more of the confidence and
estimation of our fellow-countrymen than in the feeling of our being
intolerant and exclusive in our religious opinions. It is curious people
should not see that the arguments addressed in a friendly spirit must
tell more powerfully than the arguments of one who shows his
hostile feeling.

With these feelings on the subject, it may be easily understood with
what pleasure I read, in the _Edinburgh Courant_ of November 10th, a
report of what our Primus (Bishop Eden) said, at the entertainment which
was given on the occasion of the consecration of St. Mary's Church,
Glasgow. In speaking on the question of Union, the Primus said--

"I think I may speak for my Episcopal brethren, when I say
that if the heads, especially of the Established Church of
Scotland--for that is the body that has most power and
influence--if a proposal were made by the leading men in that
Church, in concurrence with those who hold views similar to
themselves--a conference of the representative men of the
different Churches--to consider in a Christian spirit what
our differences are, and what are the points on which we are
agreed, we would be most happy to take part in it. Such a
conference might, in the providence of God, lead to our being
drawn nearer to each other. I believe that then the prayer
which the Bishop of St. Andrews offered up would he the
earlier accomplished, namely, that the Episcopal Churches
might become Reformed, and the Reformed Churches become
Episcopal. If any proposal of this kind could be made, I
believe we would be most ready to accept any invitation to
consider whether the various Churches might not be drawn
nearer to each other." (Great applause.)

The Coadjutor Bishop of Edinburgh in his address, after briefly
referring to some proposals that had been made for union among the
churches in South Africa, went on to say--

"I do say, as one of the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal
Church now, and in reference to what fell from the Primus,
that I most heartily concur in what he said, and I cannot but
feel that, without the slightest breach of the great
fundamental principles of the Church of Christ, there are
many points on which we may be at one with Christians who are
not part of our organic body.

"I believe the proposal made by the Primus would have the
effect of drawing them nearer to us, and be a step forward to
that consummation which we all desire, and which our blessed
Lord prayed--with his last breath--'That we may all be one.'"
(Great applause.)

That two honoured Fathers of our Church, our Primus and my own Bishop,
should have made use of such terms, and that their views should have
been received by _such_ an audience with so much applause, I could have
offered a grateful acknowledgment upon my knees.

But after all, perhaps, it may be said this is an utopian idea, which,
in the present state of religious feelings and ecclesiastical
differences, never can be realised. It were a sufficient answer to the
charge of _utopianism_ brought against such a proposal, to plead that it
was no more than what was sanctioned by the teaching of God's word. In
this case it does not seem to go beyond the requirements of holy
Scripture as set forth in St. Paul's description of charity, and in
other passages which clearly enjoin Christians to act towards each other
in love, and to cultivate, so far as they can, a spirit of mutual
forbearance and of joint action in the sacred cause of preaching the
truth as it is in Jesus. I cannot believe that, were St. Paul on earth,
he would sanction the present state of jealous separation amongst
Christians. Take such separation in connection with the beautiful
sentiment, which we read in Phil. i. 18:--"What then? notwithstanding
every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I
therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

The determination to exclude preaching that is not strictly according to
our own forms seems to me quite inconsistent with the general teaching
of Scripture, more particularly with this apostolic declaration. But I
would bring this question to a practical issue, and we shall find enough
in our own experience to confirm the view I have taken, and to sanction
the arrangement I propose. To bring forward co-operation in the great
and vitally important work of preaching God's word, which has been
already effected between persons holding on some points opinions
different from each other, take first the case of revision of the
English translation of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, as it has
been resolved upon by the authorities of the great Anglican Communion.
They have had no difficulty in finding Nonconformist scholars and
divines whose fitness to be associated with Anglican Churchmen in the
great work of arranging and correcting an authorised version has been
admitted by all. Thus we have Nonconformists and English and Scottish
Episcopalians united in adjusting the terms of the sacred text;--the
text from which all preaching in the English tongue shall in future
derive its authority, and by which all its teaching shall in future be
guided and directed. There is _already_, however, a closer and a more
practical blending of minds on great religious questions much differing
from each other on lesser points. In the field of religious and
devotional literature, many of our church differences are lost sight of.
Episcopalian congregations are constantly in the habit of joining with
much cordiality and earnestness in singing hymns composed by authors
nonconformists with our Church--in fact, of adopting them into their
church service. These compositions form a portion of their worship, and
are employed to illustrate and enforce their own most earnest doctrinal
views and opinions themselves. How entirely are such compositions as the
sacramental hymn, "My God, and is thy table spread," by Doddridge; the
hymn, "When I behold the wondrous cross," by Isaac Watts, associated
with our Church services! Nor are such feelings of adoption confined to
poetical compositions. How many prose productions by non-Episcopalian
authors might be introduced for the delight and benefit of Christian
congregations! How eagerly many such compositions are read by members of
our Church! With what delight would many discourses of this class have
been listened to had they been delivered to Episcopalian congregations!
Where such hymns and such discourses are admissible, the _authors_ of
them might take a part in conducting psalmody and in occupying the
pulpit for preaching to a congregation. If the spirits of such writers
as Doddridge, Watts, and Hall, have been felt to permeate and to
influence the hearts of others who have heard or read their words of
holiness and peace, we may well suppose that God would sanction their
making like impressions, in his own house, upon the hearts of those whom
they meet there face to face. Might they not communicate personally what
they communicate through the press? For example, why should not Robert
Hall have preached his sermons on Infidelity and on the Death of the
Princess of Wales, perhaps the two most magnificent discourses in the
language, in an English Cathedral? Why should not the beautiful
astronomical discourses of Thomas Chalmers have been delivered in St.
Paul's or in St. John's, Edinburgh? For many years, in want of better
materials, the sermons of Dr. Blair were more used in the Church of
England, and more read in private, than any similar compositions. It has
been for years a growing persuasion in my own mind that principles of
Christian love and mutual harmony are too often sacrificed to the desire
of preserving the exact and formal marks of church order, as the Bishop
of St. Andrews so happily expressed it to preserve _etiquette_. Surely
the great law of Christian love would suggest and enforce a union at
least of spirit amongst Christian believers, who cannot join in the
unity of the same organisation. Inability to join in the same form of
church polity and church order need not shut the door to religious
sympathies and religious communion, where there are so many points of
agreement and of mutual interest. The experience of the past will tend
to produce the conviction that there has too often been in our religious
disputes a strong tendency in all Christian denominations to make the
great principle of love, which is a principle to rule in Heaven and for


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