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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 96
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 73 The title of Lord Halkerton came by succession to her brother, as that of Earl of Kintore has since fallen to his descendants. Catherine Falconer had the misfortune to lose her husband, when her two boys, John and David, and a daughter, Catherine, were still infants ; and on her, in consequence, the sole charge and tutelage of them devolved. But they suffered in these circumstances less disadvantage than might have been expected ; for their mother was a woman of singular merit, who, though young and handsome, and but slenderly endowed as a widow, devoted herself entirely to the rearing and educating of her children. The principal circumstances of the historian’s life may be learned from his own narrative, published soon after his death. His elder brother, John, preferred the life of a country gentleman, and employed himself for many years, judiciously and successfully, in the improvement of his paternal estates of Ninswells, Hornden, etc., in Berwickshire, which had been in the possession of the family for several generations. In the latter part of his life he gave up his more extensive farming concerns, and went to reside in Edinburgh during half of the year, for the education of his family. In 1740 John Home built a mansion-house at Ninewells, in place of the old one, which had been partly burned. But this was done on a very limited scale, for he was singularly cautious and moderate in all his notions and wishes, even in matters of income-insomuch that, to the end of his life, he never could be induced to follow the example of other landlords, and accept the highest rent that might be got for his lands. In 1764 he acquired, by purchase from Sir James Home, the lands of Fairneycastle, in the adjoining parish of Coldinghame. He had an absolute abhorrence of the contracting of debt of any sort or degree ; and he thus missed the opportunity of at leastone other advantageous purchase of land, on which his friends strongly advised him to venture. In 1751, John Home married Apes Carre, daughter of Robert Carre, Esq., of Caverse, in Roxburghshire, by Helen Riddell, sister of Sir Walter Riddell, of Riddell, an ancient and honourable family in the same shire. Mrs. Home’s only brother had been in possession of Caverse; but died of consumption, unmarried, and in early youth. On that event, an old settlement of entail, in favour of heirs-male, carried off the estate (excepting only the patronage of the Kirk of Bedrule) from Mrs. Home, his only sister, to a more distant male relation, whose posterity have since held and now possess it. John Home was highly esteemed by all who knew him, as an honourable, just, and most conscientious gentleman-a strict observer of truth and of his word-respectful to the ordinances of religion-and one who acquitted himself unexceptionably in all the relations of domestic life. His children, in particular, had reason to be grateful to him for the inestimable benefit of a thorough and liberal education, on which, economical as he was, he spared no expense; as, indeed, he was throughout life uniformly, and even anxiously, provident for their welfare, in everything that might contribute to form their morals or advance their fortune. Possessed as he was of these recommenda- VOL. 11. L
Volume 9 Page 97
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