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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


170 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Parliament House. the old High School in 1659, and studying law at Leyden, became a member of the Faculty of Advocates on the 5th June, 1668, from which period he began industriously to record the decisions of the Court of Session. He was one of the counsel for the Earl of Argyll in 1681, and four years after was M.P. for West Lothian. To the arbitrary measures of the Scottish Government he offered all constitutional resistance, and for his zeal in support of the Protestant religion was exposed to some trouble and peril in 1686. He firmly opposed the attempt of James VII. to abolish the penal laws against Roman Catholics in Scotland; and in 1692 was offered the post of Lord Advocate, which he bluntly declined, not being allowed to prosecute the perpetrators of the massacre of Glencoe, which has left an indelible stain on the memory of William of Orange. He was regular in his attendance during the debates on the Union, against which he voted and protested; but soon after age and infirmity compelled him to resign his place in the Justiciary Court, and afterwards that on the Bench. He died in 1722, leaving behind him MSS., which are preserved in ten folio and three quarto volumes, many of which have been published more than once. Few senators have left behind them so kindly a memory as Alexander Lockhart, Lord Covington, so called from his estate in Lanarkshire. His paternal grandfather was the celebrated Sir GCorge Lockhart, President of the Court of Session ; his maternal grandfather was the Earl of Eglinton ; and his father was Lockhart of Camwath, author of the Memoirs of Scotland.? He had been at the Bar from 1722, and, when appointed to the Bench, in 1774, had long borne the reputation of being one of the most able lawyers of the age, yet he never realised more than a thousand a-year by his practice. He lived in a somewhat isolated nlansion, near the Parliament Close, which -eventually was used as the Post Office. Lockhart and Fergusson (afterwards Lord Pitfour, in 1764, being rival advocates, were usually pitted against each other in cases of importance. After the battle of Culloden, says Robert Chambers, ? many violently unjust, as well as bloody measures, were resorted to at Carlisle in the disposal of the prisoners, about seventy of whom came to a barbarous death.? Messrs. Lockhart and Fergusson, indignant at the treatment of the poor Highlanders, and the unscrupulous measures of the English authorities to procure convictions, set off for Carlisle, arranging with each other that Lockhart should examine the evidence, while Fergusson pleaded, and addressed the jury- Offering their services, these were gladly accepted by the unfortunates whom defeat had thrown at the mercy of the Government. Each lawyer exerted his abilities with the greatest solicitude, but with little or no effect; national and political rancour inflamed all against the prisoners. The jurors of Carlisle had been so temfied by the passage of the Highland army-orderly and peaceful though it was-that they deemed everything like tartan a perfect proof of guilt ; and they were utterly incapable of discriminating the amount of complicity in any particular prisoner, but sent all who came before them to the human shamblesfor such the place of execution was then namedbefore the Castle-gate. At length one of the tww Scottish advocates fell upon an expedient, which? he deemed might prove effectual, as eloquence had failed. He desired his servant to dress himself in a suit of tartan, and skulk about in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, till he was arrested, and, in the usual fashion, accused of being ?a rebel.? As such the man was found guilty by the English jury, andwould have been condemned had not his master stood forth, and claimed him as his servant, proving beyond all dispute that he had been in immediate attendance on himself during the whole time the Highland army had been in the field. This staggered even the Carlisle jury, and, when aided by a few caustic remarks from the young and indignant advocate, made them a little more cautious in their future proceedings. So high was the estimation in which Lockhart of Covington (who died in 1782) was held as an advocate, that Lord Newton-a senator famous for his extraordinary judicial talents and social eccentricities-when at the Bar wore his gown till it was in tatters; and when, at last, he was compelled to have a new one made, he had a fragment of the neck of the original sewed into it, that he might still boast he wore ?? Covington?s gown.? Lord Newton, famous in the annals of old legal convivialia, died so late as October, 18-11. Covington, coadjutor to Lord Pitfour, always wore his hat when on the Bench, being afflicted with weak eyes. Lords Monboddo and Kames, though both learned senators, are chiefly remembered for their eccentricities, some of which would now be deemed vulgarities. The former, James Burnet, who was raised to the Bench in 1767, once embroiled himself in a law-plea respecting a horse, which belonged to himself. He had committed the animal, when ill,
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Parlirmcnt House.] LORDS MONBODDO, KAMES, AND HAILES 171 ministration of certain medicines ; but the famer went beyond these, and mixed in it a considerable quantity of treacle. As the horse died next morning, Lord Monboddo raised a prosecution for its value, and pleaded his own cause at the Bar. He lost the case, and was so enraged against his brother judges that he never afterwards sat with them on the Bench, but underneath, among the clerks. This case was both a remarkable and illl amusing one, from the mass of Roman law quoted on the occasion. Though hated and despised by his brethren for his oddities, Lord Monboddo was one of the most learned and upright judges of his time. ?His philosophy,? says Sir Walter Scott, ?as is well known, was of a fanciful and somewhat fantastic character ; but his learning was deep, and he possessed a singular power of eloquence, which re- ,,mhded the hearer of the os ro&ndum of the Grove or Academe. Enthusiastically partial to classical habits, his entertainments were always given in the evening, when there was a circulation of excellent Bordeaux, in flasks garlanded with roses, which were also strewed on the table, after the manner Qf Horace.? The best society in Edinburgh was always ?ta be found at his house, St John?s Street, Canongate. His youngest daughter, a lady of amiable disposition and of surpassing beauty, which Burns panegyrised, is praised in one of the papers of the Mirror as, rejecting the most flattering and advantageous opportunities of Settlement in marriage, that she might amuse her father?s loneliness and nurse his old age. He was the earliest patron of one of the best scholars of his time, Professor John Hunter, who was for many years his secretary, and wrote the first and best volume of his lordship?s ? Treatise on the Origin of Languages.? When Lord Monboddo travelled to London he? always did so on hoeeback. On his last journey thither he ?got no farther than Dunbar. His nephew inquiring the Teason of this, ?.?Oh, George,? said he, ? I find I am noo aughty-four,? The manners of Lord Monboddo were as?odd as his personal appearance. He has been described as looking ?more like an .old stuffed monkey dressed in judge?s robes than anything else;? and so convinced is he said to have been of his fantastic theory of human tails that, when a child was born in his house he would watch at the chamber door, in order to see it in its first state, as he had an idea that midwives cut the tails off! He never recoveied the shock of his beautiful in 1790. He kept her portrait covered with black cloth; at this he would often look sadly, without lifting it, and then turn to his volume of Herodotus. He died in 1799. The other eccentric we have referred to was Henry Home, Lord Kames, who was equally distinguished for his literary abilities, his metaphysical subtlety, and wonderful powers of conversation j yet he was strangely accustomed to apply towards his intimates a coarse term which he invariably used, and this peculiarity is well noted by Sir Walter Scott in ?Redgauntlet.? He was raised to the Bench in 1752, and afterwards lived in New Street, in a house then ranking as one of the first in the city, The catalogue of his printed works is a very long one. On retiring from the Bench he took a public farewell of. his brother judges. After a solemn and pathetic speech, and shaking hands all round, as he was quitting the Court, he turned round, and exclaimed, in his familiar manner, ?Fare ye a? weel, ye auld -? here using his customary expression. A day or two b.efore his death he told Dr. Cullen that he earnestly wished to be away,?as he was exceedingly curious to learn the manners of another world ; adding, ? Doctor, as I never could be idle in this world, I shall gladly perform any task that may be imposed upon me in the next? He died in December, 1782, in his 87th year. Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, the annalist of Scotland, was raised to the Bench in 1766. He had studied law at Utrecht, and was distinguished for his strict integrity, unwearied diiigence, and dignity of manner, but he was more conspicuous as a scholar and author than as a senator. His researches were chiefly directed t9 the history and antiquities of his native country; and his literary labours extended over a period of close on forty years. .4t his death, in 1792, an able funeral sermon was preached by the well-known b r . Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk; and, as no will could be found, the heir-male was about to take possession of his estates, to the exclusion of his daughter, but some months after, when she was about to give up Ne% Hailes, and quit the house in New Street, one was found behind a windowshutter, in the latter place, and it secured her iu the possession of all, till her own death, which took place forty years after. Francis Gardner, Lord Gardenstone, appointed in 1764, was one of those ancient heroes of the Bar, who, after a night of hard drinking, would, without having been in bed, or studying a case,
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