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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 148
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112 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CCIX. REV. J A hl E S LAP S 1, I E, MINISTER OF CAMPSIE. FEW memorials have been preserved of the early life of the REV. JhEs LAPSLIE. In his youth he visited the Continent, and was so fortunate, whilst there, as to be introduced to the late Sir James Suttie of Prestongrange, who, being on his travels, employed him as his tutor and companion j and they made '' the grand tour '' together. This connection was a favourable one, as it gave Mr, Lapslie an opportunity of forming the acquaintance of many persons of rank and character, and no doubt was the means of his subsequently obtaining the Crown presentation to the Church of Campsie. The Print by Kay, in which those who remember Mr. Lapslie will recognise a striking likeness, has reference to the trial of Mr. Muir of Huntershill, in whose criminal prosecution he took a prominent and active part, a proceeding far from creditable, the reverend gentleman having, as is rumoured, been previously on terms of familiar intimacy at Huntershill, professing to' be himself actuated by liberal political principles. Whatever truth there may be in this report, there can be no doubt that Mr, Lapslie, so soon as he heard of Muir's apprehension, volunteered his assistance in procuring evidence against him ; and his services being accepted, he became a very useful agent of the Crown. The interference of the incumbent of Campsie, however, was attended by one result, as humiliating as it was unexpected ; for when brought forward as a witness, he was objected to, in consequence of proof having been adduced that he had identified himself with the prosecution-had attended the Sheriffs in their different visits to the parishes of Campsie and Kirkintilloch-and had been present at the precognition of the witnesses, several of whom he had questioned, and had taken notes of what they said. Henry Freeland, when examined, declared that-" During the precognition, Mr. Lapslie also put questions to the witness. He asked him if he had got a college education, which being answered in the negative, Mr. Lapslie said he was a clever fellow ; aid when he saw him write, he said it was a pity such a clever fellow should be a weaver, and that it was in the power of Mr. Honyman (Sheriff of Lanarkshire, and present at the moment) to procure him a birth." Further exposure was prevented by the Lord Advocate agreeing to dispense with his evidence. Alluding to the conduct of Mr. Lapslie, Muir said, in his address to the jury-" I am sorry for the prosecutor's timely precaution ; it prevented me Afterwards Lord Armadale.
Volume 9 Page 149
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