Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


Parliament House.] LORD HERMAND. I73 never fully recovered the shock, and died in July, 1824. George Fergusson, Lord Hermand, succeeded Lord Braxfield in 1799, and was on the Bench during all the political trials connected with the West Country seditions of 1817. He and Lord Newton were great cronies and convivialists ; but the former outlived Newton and all his old lastcentury contemporaries of the Bar, and was the last link between the past and present race of Scottish lawyers. On the Bench he was hasty and sarcastic. He was an enthusiast in the memories of bygone days, and scorned as ?priggishness? the sham decorum of the modem legal character.. He with the strongest broad Scottish accent, and when there was fond of indulging in pungent jokes. He was made a judge in 1798, and officiated as such till 1822. In the March of that year his friend and kinsman Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck was mortally wounded in a duel with James Stuart of Dunearn, about a mile from Balmuto House, whither he was borne, only to die ; and the venerable senator, who was then in his 83rd year, he lugged in the subject, head and shoulders, in the midst of a speech about some dry point oflaw ; nay, getting warmer every moment he spoke of it, he at last fairly plucked the volume from his pocket, and, in spite of all the remonstrances of? his brethren, insisted on reading aloud the whole passage for their edification. He went through the. task with his wonted vivacity, gave great effect to every speech, and most appropriate expression to. every joke. During the whole scene Sir Walter Scott was present-seated, indeed, in his official capacity-close under the judge.?? He died at hislittle estate of Hermand, near Edinburgh, in 1827~ I when in his 80th year. is thus mentioned in ? Peter?s Letters to his Kinsfolk :?-? When ? Guy Mannefmg ? came out the judge was so delighted with the picture of the life of the old Scottish judges in that most charming. novel, that he could talk of nothing else but Pley-- dell, Dandie, and the high jinks, for many weeks. He usually carried one volume of the book about. with him; and one morning, on the Bench, his ~ love for it so completely got the better of him that RUINS IN PARLIAMENT SQUARE AFTER THE GREAT FIRE, IN NOVEMBER, I824
Volume 1 Page 173
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