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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 437 11.-ROBERT BELL, Procurator for the Kirk, was the second son of the late Benjamin Eell, an eminent surgeon in Edinburgh, of whom a portrait and memoir has already appeared in this Work. He passed advocate in 1804, and is known.as the author of a (( Report of a case of Legitimacy under a Putative Marriage, tried before the Second Division of the Court of Session in February 1811.” Edinburgh, 1825, 8vo. He was a member of the Bannatyne, Maitland, and Abbotsford ’Clubs, to the former of which he contributed “An Account of the Siege of the Castle of Edinburgh in 1689,” printed from the original manuscript in the library of the Faculty of Advocates. He married Miss ROSSd, aughter of Colonel Andrew ROSSo, f the 31st Foot, and by her, who died in 1832, had a son and daughter surviving. The former joined the Facultyof Advocates; and the latter was married, 12th September 1835, to James Moncreiff, Esq., advocate,’ eldest son of the late Lord Moncreiff. Mr. Bell had a great taste for the fine arts. 111.-MATHEW ROSS, of Candie, son of a Deputy-Clerk of Session, was admitted advocate in 1772, and chosen Dean of Faculty in 1808. He died in 1823 unmarried. He was a good lawyer, and had considerable practice, chiefly as a chamber counsel. Mr. Ross was a man of mild and unassuming manners ; and he is believed to have refused a seat on the bench from diffidence in his ability to discharge the duties of that office. Naturally of a thoughtful habit, matters of very small importance frequently provoked the most serious deliberation. Having been requested on one occasion to add his signature, in his official capacity, to a circular letter, after writing his name he laid the sheet down on his desk, and closing his eyes appeared for some time to be engaged in profound meditation, Mr. Gibb, one of the depute-librarians, at length remarked, that all he had to do was to add (( D. F.” after his name. ‘( That is the very thing I was thinking of,” said Mr. ROSS“,w hether to make it D. F. or Dean of Faculty!” Mr. Ross was very diminutive in size, had a florid countenance, blue eyes, and was well made. In his advanced years he presented the appearance of a nice, tidy, little, old “ gentleman.” He left a considerable fortune, 1V.-EDWARD M‘CORMICK, Sheriff-Depute of Ayrshire, was the son of Samuel MCormick, Esq., General Examiner of Excise in Scotland. He was born in 1745, and admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1772. His practice at the bar was respectable, and he was remarkable for the precision and correctness of his statements. He succeeded Lord Craig as Sheriff of Ayr j and, for upwards of twenty years that he held that office, gave such satisfaction as a judge, that, on his death in 1814, the county gave various proofs of the high of Redcastle, Inveimess-shire, and lately connected with the Sun newspaper; the third, Robert Dundas, married a Mr. North, an officer in one of the regiments stationed in New South Walea, with whom Mrs. Burnett and her son sailed for that colony. For an intareating account of the late Lord Moncreiff (who died in l85l), George Ckmstoun, and Clerk of El&, see Cockhrn’a me of JefTey. Now the Right Hon. Lord MoncreiB of Tulliebola, Lord Justice-clerk.
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438 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. estimation in which his character was held. In 1812 he received the additional appointment of Solicitor of Teinds. Mr. M'Cormick was remarkable for benevolence of disposition, gentlemanly appearance, and deportment. He married, on the 6th April 1786, Miss Joanna Hamilton of Grange (Ayrshire), by whom he had four sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Samuel, after serving some time as an Advocate-Depute, was promoted to the Sheriffship of Bute, which office he held until his death, which occurred in 1834. Another son was a lieutenant in the East India Company's service, and died at the age of twenty. His two daughters only survived. V.-GEORGE CRANSTOUN, afterwards LORD COREROUSE. This admirable judge was a son of the Hon. George Cranstoun of Longworton. He was originally designed for the military profession. He passed advocate in 179 3 ; was appointed one of the Depute-Advocates in 1805 ; chosen Dean of Faculty in 1823 ; and elevated to the bench, on the death of Lord Hermand, in 1826, from which he retired in 1839, and was succeeded by Lord Murray. His lordship is known as the author of the "Diamond Beetle Case," an amusing but not overcharged caricature of the judicial style of several judges of a bygone era. An excellent Greek scholar, Mr. Cranstoun, on that account, was a great favourite with Lord Monboddo, who used to declare that " Cranstoun was the only scholar in all Scotland!" The scholars, in Lord Monboddo's opinion, being all on the other side of the Tweed. While on the bench Lord Corehouse was the beau-ideal of a judge ; placid and calm, he listened with patience to the long-winded orations which it was too often his fate to hear, although he endeavoured as much as he could, with propriety, to keep counsel to the proper merits of their case. A first-rate lawyer, especially in all feudal questions, his opinions were uniformly listened to with the deepest respect. VI.-JOHN CLERK, afterwards LORD ELDIN. This well-known and able lawyer was the eldest son of John Clerk, Esq. of Eldin, sixth son of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, and author of a celebrated work on Naval Tactics. He was born in April 1757, and educated with the view of proceeding to India; but the expectations of his friends having been disappointed by the occurrence of certain political changes, his attention was turned to the legal profession. After completing his apprenticeship as a Writer to the Signet, and having practised for a year or two as an accountant, he qualified himself for the bar, and was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1785. Possessed of the most promising intellectual requisites, Mr. Clerk speedily rose to distinction ; and it is said that at one period he had nearly one-half of all the business of the Court upon his hands. His style of pleading was " distinguished by strong sense, acuteness, and the most profound reasoning, His sole object being to convince, his mode of stating the argument was brief, simple, and clear. His eloquence was a constant appeal to legal reason, in the masterly exposition of which thewhole collected force of his intellect was displayed.
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