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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL ‘SKETCHES, 179 worship-were thrown open to him to lecture in, and every rank and condition rivalled each other who should show him the greatest hospitality and kindness. He was much more popular in that country than he had been even in England. The attempt at delivering lectures on any branch of philosophy was a very great novelty, but especially from a person who had not the use of eyes. The following paragraph respecting him sppeaked in an American newspaper of that day :-‘‘ The celebrated Dr. Moyes, though blind, delivered a lecture upon optics, delineating the properties of light and shade,” etc. It therefore seems that he did not confine his lectures strictly to chemistry when abroad. His American tour is understood to have been a very profitable speculation. ’ On his return to his native country he took a house in Edinburgh, where he resided for some time. Before he went to America he had projected to make a tour through Ireland, but was prevented. In 1790, he crossed the channel and arrived in Belfast. He visited all the principal towns in the island, and remained a few months in Dublin, and was highly gratified with the reception he met. He now determined to take up his residence at Manchester, and there spend the remainder of his life.’ This remarkable character was rather tall in his person, and of a swarthy complexion, His temper was cheerful, and his conversation interesting. He was remarkably abstemious. He had a natural dislike to animal food of every description, and tasted no ardent spirits nor fermented liquors. He bequeathed his fortune, which was considerable, to his brother: and died on the 10th of August 1807, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. After his return from Duhliq, Dr. Moyes delivered a lecture in Edinburgh, on the 14th of April 1795, for the benefit of the “ Industrious Blind” employed at the Asylum. His audience consisted principally of the higher classes, and it was calculated that there could be no less than eleven hundred individuals present. The exact amount of the sum collected is not stated, but it is understood to have been very large. “ It is scarcely necessary to add,” says a notice of this lecture, “that the Doctor’s observations on the best means of preserving the blessings of health were received with every mark of that unfeigned satisfaction which sound philosophy, expressed with all the elegance and energy of language, never fails to produce in enlightened minds, especially when directed to the purposes of utility and benevolence.” * He was one of the Episcopal clergymen of St. Paul’s Chapel, then in the Cowgate. He is alluded to in that wicked poem, the “Town Eclogue”-Edinburgh, 1804-written by the Rev. Williani Aureol Hay Drummond. The Cowgate Chapel, from the eloquent discourses of that amiable clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Alison, was usually crowded whenever he preached. In allusion ta this, Hay says, “ But things are better, where each Sabbath dny Gay fashion’s coaches crowd the Chapel’s way, Save when Old Moses’ dreary, drowsy drone, Makes maidens titter, and Sir William [Forbes] groan.” The poet says, with what truth we know not, that “Moses” (Mr. Moyes), in treating of the happiness of the life to come, observed that one great benefitpras, “An easy introduction to the acquaintance of those very respectable persons the angels.”
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’I 80 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. LXXVI. SIR WILLIAM FORBES OF PITSLIGO, BANKER IN EDINBURGH. THE words of the engraving, ‘‘ The good shall mourn a brother-all a friend,” were never more appropriately applied than in allusion to the character of Sir William Forbes. In the language of the Rev. Mr. Alison, there was no person of the age “ who so fully united in himself the same assemblage of the most estimable qualities of our nature ; the same firmness of piety, with the same tenderness of charity; the same ardour of public spirit, with the same disdain of individual interest; the same activity in business, with the same generosity in its conduct ; the same independence towards the powerful, and the same humanity towards the lowly ; the same dignity in public life, with the same gentleness in private society.” SIR WILLIAMF ORBEwSa s born at Edinburgh on the 5th of April 1739. He was descended (both paternally and maternally) from the ancient family of Monymusk, and by his paternal grandmother from the Lords Pitsligo. His father, who was bred to the bar, died when Sir William was only four years of age. His mother, thus left with two infant sons, and very slender means of support, retired among her friends in Aberdeenshire. His younger brother did not long survive. Though nurtured in rather straitened circumstances, Sir William by no means lacked an excellent education, which he received under the superintendence of his guardians-Lord Forbes, his uncle; Lord Pitsligo, his maternal uncle; Mr. Morrison of Bogny, and Mr. Urquhart of Meldrum-among whom he was trained to the habits and ideas of good society; but it was principally to the sedulous care of his widowed mother, who instilled into his young mind the sentiments of rectitude and virtue, that, as he frequently in after life declared, he “owed every thing,” Both his parents belonged to the Scottish Episcopal Church, to which communion Sir William remained during his life a steady and liberal adherent. In 1753 Lady Forbes returned to Edinburgh, with the view of choosing some profession for her son, who had now attained his fourteenth year. Fortunately, through the influence of a friend, Mr. Farquharson of Haughton, he was taken into the banking-house of Messrs. Coutts, and bound apprentice to the business the following year. Sir William’s term of servitude lasted for seven years, on the expiry of which he acted for two years more in the capacity of a clerk in the establishment. During this time he continued to reside with his mother, and felt much satisfac
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