Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

lessons from Dr. Robison, his friend, Mr. Shaw, , Scotch parishes ; and Mr. Chalmers believed was acting as assistant to the Rev. Mr. Elliot, that he might occupy this time advantageousminister of Cavers--a parish in Roxburghshire, ly at Cavers, but he was unwilling to incur lying along the southern banks of the Teviot, a few miles below Hawick. Having the prospect fore accepted Mr. Shaw's proposal to reside

the expense of taking up house, and thereof removal, by the promise of a presentation to the neighboring parish of Roberton, Mr. Shaw with him at the manse of Roberton ; thus thought of his college friend as his successor, and commencing his career as a non-resident. endeavored to interest in his favor Mr. Douglas, Some objections were made to the arrangethe chief resident landholder in, and patron of, ment, but it was ultimately completed ; and the parish of Cavers. It seems,' says Mr. Chal at pages 54, 55, we meet the following piece mers, in a letter to Mr. Shaw, dated at Edinburgh, of worldly wisdom :June 1st, 1801 ; it seems that you had mentioned me to Mr. Douglas. He asked Leyden about me, who carried me to his house on Thursday

“ Having secured a majority of votes among the last, where I dined. Not a single word, however, Prosessors at St. Andrews in favor of his presenpassed upon the subject, and I am quite uncertain tation to Kilmany, Mr. Chalmers joined Mr. Shaw as to his intentions. You must now see, my dear at Roberton. sir, the impropriety of my taking any step without the knowledge of Mr. Douglas; and that my

•• Roberton, January 13, 1802. business at present is to remain passive till some- “Dear Father,—The people in this country are thing more transpire upon the subject. I have kind and hospitable in the extreme. You cannot left my direction with Mr. Leyden, and wait for conceive the kindness both Mr. Shaw and myself any proposals from Mr. Douglas that may occur.' have experienced from the farmers around, in

" This letter was grounded as a misapprehen- sending us peats, hay, straw, &c. Parochial exsion. It had not been to Mr. Douglas, as patron aminations are quite common in this country. I of the parish, that Mr. Shaw had applied: the as-begin that duty on Monday fortnight, and, as the sistantship in this case did not involve the suc- parish is extensive, it will take me upward of a cession; it was by the minister that the appoint- fortnight to accomplish it. The mode is to divide ment was to be made, and it was froin him only the parish into a number of small districts, in each that any proposal could emanate. Mr. Shaw sug- of which you are accommodated with lodgings, gested that Mr. Chalmers should come without &c., in one or other of the farmer's houses. I am delay and preach at Cavers, that by his becoming now quite free from sore throat, and the people in favorably known to the parishioners, Mr. Elliot Cavers have not lost a Sunday since my arrival. might be induced to appoint him as his assistant." They are quite satisfied with my non-residence.

I am yours affectionately.'” Mr. Chalmers had apparently mistaken the nature of the appointment, and taken a mere It should be mentioned that Kilmany beassistantship for the better appointment of came vacant in consequence of Dr. Wilson's assistant and successor. The worst position death, only by the translation of Mr. Cook of the two was not, at the time, unacceptable to the Chair of Church History; and thus to a young man who desired to be indepen- the interval to be filled up was longer than dent, and was, to some extent, burdensome usual. on his family. After several negotiations, he In the autumn of 1802, Mr. Chalmers left arrived at the determination to regard this Cavers, and spent the winter as a mathemasouthern parish as an intermediate place, tical teacher in St. Andrews. The session having first secured something better in Fife- did not pass without some bickerings between shire. The parish of Kilmany had become him and the Professors, and it closed in a vacant while the negotiations regarding Ca- storm. Their opinions and practice did not vers were in progress. This vacancy was correspond exactly with those of the indefacaused by the death of Dr. Wilson, the Protigable teacher, who, whatever might have sessor of Ecclesiastical History in the Univer- been his views regarding religion, was at sity of St. Andrews. The presentation was least a most industrious and zealous-even a in the gift of the Professors; and they, to highflying-mathematician. After the close spare themselves from discussion, had agreed of the session his ordination to Kilmany was to exercise the right of presentation to par- fixed, and his father urged him to devote ishes in the gift of the body, alternately. some time for reflection on the serious nature The fortunate Professor at the time was Dr. of the responsibilities that he was to assume ; Adamson, who had the Civil History Chair, but Mr. Chalmers objected to this course, and was a distant relative of Mr. Chalmers, arguing that if he had not his mind in a right for whose benefit he determined to exercise condition before that time, it was “ vain to his privilege. Some time elapses often be think that the extraordinary effort of a few tween a vacancy and a new presentation in days will very essentially contribute to pre

a

paration or to improvement.” Dr. Hanna | ish duties, five days in the week of unintersays correctly, "The truth was, that in the rupted leisure for the prosecution of any greatest and most affecting of all subjects, science in which his taste may dispose him the ground of a common understanding did to engage.” It was well for himself, for his not as yet exist between father and son ;" church, and his country, that Mr. Chalmers but of the former, he adds, “it but remained was defeated both in chemistry and mathefor him, in faith and with prayer, to await matics. In 1805 he became a volunteer in the time (and he lived to see it, and was glad) | the Fifeshire corps, and succeeded in acquirwhen he should not only become intelligible, ing an intense distaste for the French revobut secure the completest and profoundest lution, and the aggrandizing schemes of Nasympathy." The ordination at Kilmany oc- poleon Bonaparte. curred on the 12th of May, 1803. The Toward the end of December, 1806, his parish is small; the population were few, brother George, who had been an officer in a and occupied in agricultural affairs; the situ- British privateer, died. The sailor's faith and ation was retired, and the manse was in bad principles were more in accordance with his faorder. The minister had calculated on re- ther's than the minister's ; but the death of taining his

mathematical assistantship ;" | the naval brother had some influence on the and when disappointed in that respect, he clerical, and other bereavements that folestablished private classes next winter in St. lowed rapidly, passed not without effecting a Andrews, and had another season's bicker- change in his character. Of this first death ing with the Professors, from causes in for many years in the Anstruther family, Dr. which he seems to have been wrong and Hanna says—" It was the first death of a they were right, even if they were right near relation which Thomas had witnessed, from a bad motive. In course of the col- and the deep impression which it made was lege season he became much absorbed in the first step toward his own true and thorthe business of his class ; and, not satisfied ough conversion unto God.” with mathematics, he added chemistry also Dr. Chalmers made bis first visit to Lonto the information which the young parish don in the spring of 1807. He desired to minister of Kilmany was prepared to give to form a connection with the publishing circles the students of St. Andrews. A rebellious of the metropolis, in which his name was spirit at the time-rebellious at least to the destined to be better known than he could Professors—actuated the minister of Kild then have even anticipated. He traveled by many; and it is remarkable that his Presby- Liverpool, and kept an interesting journal by tery determined to bring his conduct under the way. In Liverpool, where he had many their review, with an intention of censuring friends and relatives, and with which he was his proceedings, “although for years his previously acquainted, he stopped for some predecessor had been permitted unchecked time, and performed some official duty. The and uncensured to do the very thing for allusion, at the close of the following extract which he was to be condenined.'

The mem

to his lady critic, is amusing :bers of Presbytery who brought forward the case were right in this instance, however long morning, and arrived in Liverpool at six in the

April 19th.-Left Lancaster at seven in the they may have been wrong before ; but the

evening. affair was quashed after a discussion, long April 20th.–Went with a party from Mr. and exciting for those times, and in which MacCorgnodale's to the Botanic Garden. Mr. Chalmers appeared as the strenuous de- I christened his daughter at three o'clock, and we fender of pluralities. When, subsequently, sat down to dinner at four. Mr. Yates, and a son he renewed his chemical lectures at St. An- of Dr. Currie's, were of the party. The former drews, the Presbytery agreed to insert on

assailed me with an application to preach for him, their minutes an opinion of Dr. Martin's, that circumstance which I dislike exceedingly, from

which I have had the simplicity to consent to, a the practice is improper, and ought to be the extreme awkwardness of my provincial dialect. discontinued. He became a candidate for Mr. Currie is a merchant of this place, combines the Chair of Natural Philosophy in St. An- liberalism and fashion, is an admirer of the Edindrews, and was unsuccessful. Subsequently, burgh school, and carries in his manner a great he was a candidate for the Professorship of deal of the chastened amenity of a cultivated temMathematics in Edinburgh, and was defeated. per. They are both warm admirers of Mr. StewThis contest, however, drew from him his art

, a circumstance in which I took the liberty of

differing from them. I lament the provincialisms first publication, written for the purpose of of my tone and conversation, but must study to proving that a Scotch parochial minister had, get over it by a proper union of confidence and "after the satisfactory discharge of his par- 1 humility.

66

a

“ Tuesday, April 21st.--Accompanied a party would have been instructive. Some of them to a pottery about a mile and half up the river. are inserted in this volume, and we confess Was delighted with the elegance and simplicity that if more of them exist we should like of the process (which is most minutely and gra- them all. Blenheim is a thoroughly public phically described].. Went to the School for the Blind, a truly admirable institution.

place. It is almost public property, so conThey have an hour fór music—the effect was in the nected is it with some of the brightest of highest degree interesting, and the allusion to military achievements in our history. Mr. their own situation most pathetic. Dined in Mr. Chalmers being then a clerical soldier—a MacCorquodale’s. The only gentleman was a Mr. Duncan MacCorquodale, a military gentle spirit to Blenheim ; and the house built by

volunteer of Fife—was drawn by a kindred man, of an appearance rather unfashionable, but accompanied with a most interesting modesty. the nation, like the estate bought for the To such as these I feel attached by an impulse great Marlborough, delighted him much :the most kindly and benevolent, and cannot but spurn at the heartless formality of those who Thursday, April 30.--Left Birmingham for could triumph in the timidity of the inexperienced. Woodstock, at seven in the morning, where I arOh, how I like the untrained originality of nature ! rived at four in the afternoon. There was only Oh, how I dislike the trammels of a cold, lifeless, another passenger in the coach, and he was inand insipid formality!

side---a sensible, discreet, cultivated man, whom “ Friday, April 24th.--I spent the forenoon with I afterward learned to be a Fellow of Oxford, Dr. Traill, a chemical lecturer and practitioner, and who had evidently a little of the rust and emwith a great deal of ardor and philosophic sim- barrassment of a learned profession. I parted plicity. He showed me his chemical apparatus. with him at Woodstock. I was immediately conThe most interesting was-1. An apparatus for ducted by a person from the inn to the gate of decomposing water (minutely described and dia- Blenheimn. For a particular account see Guide, gramed); 2. A glass apparatus for decomposing which seems to be written with great taste and water by galvanism (the form of two vessels | power of description. The pleasure I felt was drawn, and the manner of using them detailed). heightened by a variety of circumstances which

Saturday, April 25th.—Walked to the Botanic supplied associations of grandeur. In addition to Garden, and spent two hours in it. Found it of the stateliness of actual display, I had the recolthis form and dimension. [Here follow plan and lection of its origin, the immortality of its first measurements, with notices of its rarest plants.] owner, the proud monument of national glory, the

Sunday, April 26th.--Preached in the fore prospect not of a house or scene, or a neighbornoon for Mr. Kirkpatrick, on the comforts of reli- hood, but the memorial of those events which had gion, and in the afternoon on drunkenness, the figured on the high theatre of war and of politics, former with far more effect and impression than and given a turn to the history of the world. The the latter. In the afternoon we met at three statue of Louis XIV., placed upon the south front, o'clock, after dinner, which has the effect of mak- and taken from the walls of Tournay, gives an ing both a drowsy preacher and a drowsy au- air of magnificence far beyond the mere power dience. Mrs. H. evidently reluctant in her testi- of form or of magnitude. It is great not as a vismony of approbation–disposed to overrate the de- ible object, but great as a trophy, great as it ficiencies of manner and pronunciation; and asleep serves to illustrate the glory of England, and the in the afternoon."

prowess of the first of warriors. I spent two

hours in the garden. Never spot more lovelyHe visited all the lions of Liverpool, and

never scene so fair and captivating. I lost mythe last was the “Union Guineaman,” a ves

self in an Elysium of delight, and wept with persel going out of dock to the African trade, as

fect rapture. My favorite view was down the

river, from the ground above the fountain. The the name would imply. In his journal he setting sun gleamed on the gilded orbs of Blensays:

heim ; through the dark verdure of trees were

seen peeps of water, and spots of grassy sunshine ; “We had the music of benevolence to drown all the inurmurs of the waterfall beneath soothed the relentings of nature, and ladies waved their every anxiety within me; the bell of the village handkerchiefs from the shore to sanctify what clock sent its music across the lake on my left. I was infamous, and deck the splendid villany of the sat motionless, and my mind slumbered in a revtrade."

ery of enchantment.”

The period is not long since the people of From Woodstock Mr. Chalmers walked to this country bought and carried slaves on Oxford, on May Day of 1807; and an old their own account, and they should not now journal belonging to an old gentleman of the be very uncharitable toward their neighbors present day, places the chances of forty years whose conversion has been doomed to occur most palpably before the men of the current some half century after their own change. year. Ministers do not walk long journeys Mr. Chalmers' “ notes by the way,” through now ; but some time previously Mr. Chalmers

T the heart of England, at any time of his life, I had walked from Edinburgh to Liverpool. The idea of Dr. Chalmers walking up to , vate chapel, where, at half-past eight, I was graLiverpool would have amused, if it had not tified with the entrance of their Majesties and the startled, the younger class of his admirers in Princess Elizabeth. His manner is devotional recent times. Men do not now walk, and and unaffected. I heard them all repeat the serthey do not, therefore, know the country so

vice most distinctly; and was much pleased with well as their traveling ancestors; but the The view of Twickenham was most charming.

their frank, easy, and benevolent appearance. advantage is now, that more people travel Pope's house was among the delightful residences than in 1807.

that we gazed on with rapture from the opposite Another extract shows the contrast in side. The river was enshrined with pleasuretraveling :

boats, and the gay London parties walking and

drinking tea on both sides gave cheerfulness and May 3.--Left Oxford at seven in the inorning, vicinity to the metropolis, pollutes all our rural

animation to the prospect. The idea, however, of and landed in Ludgate Hill about seven in the evening.”

impressions of this fascinating scene—takes off

all the pure interest which the idea of simplicity Some parts of Mr. Chalmers' life in London vices, profligacy, and corruptions of civilized life.

confers, and mingles with original nature the present singular contrasts with his subsequent We ascended Richmond Hill; eyed with rapture principles. His great purpose is served by their the country before us; saw in the rich scene that disclosure. His life illustrated two different presented itself the wealth of the first city in the modes of thought and action, and he wished world, spreading its embellishments over the the illustrations to be known and read. We neighborhood. Took a boat to Kew, when we take, in the first place, the work of two or

passed Nesworth, and had a charming sail down three Sabbaths from his journal. They mark and reached Walworth by eleven in the evening.”

ihe river. From Kew, we coached it to town, the progress of society in opinion and thought on the observance question :

These pictures of London in the olden

time, as forty years are long ago, have a “ Sunday, Nov. 3.—Walked on London Bridge, round the Tower, along Cornhill and Cheapside that London has, in the direction indicated,

ornhill and Cheapside strange interest now to those who remember ner, we sallied out to Westminster Bridge, St. trebled or quadrupled all the signs of wealth James's Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and magnificence since 1807. and returned by Oxford Street and Blackfriars On his return to Scotland, the minister of Bridge. Astonished at the display; the dress, Kilmany walked a part of the way, and we the carriages, and company, gave a high idea of subjoin his account of another Sabbath-day's the wealth and extravagance of London.”

journey : We need not say that London has now a

May 31.-Started at seven, and walked to finer display of wealth than in 1807; but we Bishopwearmouth. The country, possesses no doubt whether the Sunday exhibitions of that great decisive features. The bridge over the period were not greater than at the present Wear is an astonishing piece of workmanship. day.

I got under it in a boat, and made my observations From the next extract, we do not learn [a minute description of the bridge is given): that the Scotch parish minister considered Falling in with a man who drove a post-office gig,

rode to South Shields. Crossed over to North attendance on public worship necessary, un- Shields for twopence, in a sculler. From North less in an incidental way, while in London :

Shields I proceeded to Tynemouth, with which I

was delighted; the east fragment of the Abbey is “ Sunday, May 10th.--The badness of the day particularly beautiful. Sailed up the river to prevented us from prosecuting any of our schemes. Newcastle." Walked out before dinner to Dulwich village, where we had the full view of the country, enriched We have allowed our remarks to extend and adorned by the neighborhood of the metropolis. After dinner, a round by Oxford-street.

too far on the early portion of this volume ; We returned by Blackfriars, when, en passant, we

but it is that part of Dr. Chalmers' life with had an opportunity of hearing the delightful music which the public are least acquainted. At in Rowland Hill's, and the roaring enthusiasm of Kilmany, his theological opinions underwent another preacher, whose sect was founded by a a complete change. He entered the parish female mystic--Joanna Southcote.”

as a moderate minister of the old school, and On the following Sunday he did, indeed, was, we may charitably hope, an unfavorattend chapel, probably with some desire tó able specimen of his class. At his ordination,

to see the king :

although described by an old minister as “a

lad o' pregnant pairts,” he did not consider “Sunday, May 17.-Went to the King's pri- | any special preparation for his charge neces

[ocr errors]

6

sary. After he had been for some time min- They were anxious that he should be ister of the parish, he was ashamed to engage brought to occupy the Tron Church, then in the duty of family prayer when any of his vacant. His character and his talents were parishioners spent an evening at the manse. then partially known; and the election created His first winter as parochial minister was much excitement in Glasgow, and considerable passed in teaching chemistry and mathema interest in all parts of the country. The surtics, at a distance of eight to ten miles from viving member of the family, through whose his church. His first speech in an ecclesi- agency chiefly Mr. Chalmers was proposed astical court was in defence of his own plu- for this vacancy, informed us that, subsequent ralities and non-residence. His first publica- to his appointment, and when the genius of tion was written to prove that a parish the great orator was acknowledged and apminister has five days of leisure weekly after preciated, some of his Glasgow friends, the satisfactory discharge of his official duties. anxious that he might not be drawn to EdinHis first visit to London was attended by a burgh, proposed to erect a suitable house, course of what he afterward regarded as and convey it to him as his personal property. apparent Sabbath-breaking. His ffrst efforts He thanked them for the kindness of the into get into the universities were directed tention, and requested a few days to consider to the secular Chairs of Chemistry and Ma- their proposal. At the end of the specified thematics. His first address to the General time, he informed them that he could not acAssembly was a clever pleading for aug- cept the house they proposed to build, bemented stipends. His first struggle with the cause none of his co-presbyters had glebe law courts was for one chauldron more. houses, and he feared that the distinction

We cannot wonder that Kilmany, its quiet might impair his usefulness amongst them. manse, and humble population, were endeared Even at that time he contemplated the acceptto this great man.

There a revolution most ance of a professional chair, and urged that complete was accomplished in the purposes he would be more useful at the fountain-head for which he lived. There he adopted new than working in the stream. He was transprinciples, learned to weigh all things as he lated from the Tron to St. John's parish in had never done before, and, in the emphatic Glasgow, but he never accepted a parochial language that he would have used, "was appointment out of that city, He became born again.” The domestic bereavements Professor of Moral Philosophy in St. Andrews, that contributed to this great change occurred and ultimately attained his great sphere of at Kilmany. He formed there other domestic usefulness as Theological Professor in Edinrelations that endured until his death. He burgh. came to the parish a clever, worldly, scheming The first volume closes with 1814-the scholar; and he left it with a nobler mind, presentation to the Tron parish, and the combetter stored with knowledge, matured by mencement of Dr. Chalmers' busy life. All experience, rich in spiritual wisdom, and with his great literary and theological works date all its powers devoted to the work which he subsequent to that year. At Kilmany, he did not comprehend when he undertook its had been prepared and armed for the conflict performance. The first volume closes with he was doomed to sustain, and the work he the negotiations for his removal to Glasgow, was purposed to do; he left it to enter on a and his election by the Town Council as min- life of anxiety, excitement, and labor, destined ister of the Tron parish. The transfer to never to close on earth—he left it to comGlasgow was not particularly advantageous, mence a career of great and almost unrivaled in a pecuniary view, and he had long ceased moral influence and power. The revolution to consider emolument a matter of chief mo accomplished in his mind at Kilmany was dement in such transactions. His election, by signed to extend over Scotland. The small the Glasgow Town Council in 1814, was Fifeshire parish is therefore classic ground effected only after a severe struggle. The in Scotch literature and theology. In it the Evangelical party were beginning to acquire leader in that 30 years' war of moral and reinfluence in the Church at the time; but they ligious principles was schooled and trained were very generally spoken against. Society to his task. His biographer skillfully lays out had not pronounced in their favor, and the before us, from journals and letters, the grabrands of extravagance and fanaticism rested dual process of change accomplished there. upon them. Mr. Chalmers had preached a No violent emotions marked that period. funeral sermon in his own neighborhood, The convictions regarding faith and practice and some gentlemen belonging to Glasgow that grew up in his mind formed a gradual, attended the service.

and not a rapid, conversion, Dr. Hanna has

« VorigeDoorgaan »