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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 193. Mft. MONCRIEF of Moredun, the venerablelooking old gentleman on the right, entered as a member of the Faculty of Advocates a.t an early age, but he never made a distinguished figure as a lawyer. His temper was naturally distant and reserved ; and, far from seeking those intimacies which usually contribute to bring many a person of inferior ability into practice, he rather shunned than courted society. He was very early promoted to the office of King’s Remembrancer in the Exchequer Court, the duties of which he discharged for many years with fidelity and attention. He was then preferred to the more elevated station of a Baron of the Exchequer, and in this situation fully maintained the character which he had previously acquired for regularity and despatch of business. Baron Moncrief continued all his life a bachelor ; and, although by no means parsimonious, amassed a considerable fortune. He took much pleasure in cultivating the garden at Moredun,’ which, with great labour and expense, he brought to the highest state of perfection. He was for many years most attentive in presenting His Grace the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly with such rarities as his garden afforded. Prior to his removal to Moredun, Mr. Moncrief occupied that self-contained house in the Horse Wynd, next door to the shop of Mr. Paton, carver and gilder. Sir Thomas Moncrief, Baronet, of that Ilk, was the Baron’s nephew, and nearest heir. Mr. Kay, in his MS. notes, mentions that the uncle, being anxious to engage his nephew in a matrimonial alliance of his own choosing, succeeded in completing a match between Sir Thomas and Lady Elizabeth Ramsay, sister of the Earl of Dalhousie. On the celebration of the marriage the Baron was very liberal, and presented all the domestics of Sir Thomas with handsome presents, in honour of the auspicious occasion : but as “ The best laid schemes of men and mice Gang aft agee, ” so in this case the marriage did not realise that domestic felicity which the goodhearted bachelor had so fondly anticipated. It is possible that neither party had consulted their own feelings in the matter ; but, be that as it may, the Baron conceived that the lady had been indifferently treated by his nephew, and he did not hesitate to declare so. At his death-as a substantial proof of his esteem for the one, and his disapprobation of the conduct of the other-he left the lady his estate of Moredun, and all the other property of which he could deprive his heir-at-law. Moredun is in the parish of Liberton, and about three miles from Edinburgh. It is now the property of David Anderson, Esq., of the firm of Sir William Forbes and Company, banken in Edinburgh. The garden, so much the favourite of the Baron, is still cultivated with peculiar care, and does great credit to its present proprietor. 2 c
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194 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. LXXX. REV. GREVILLE EWING. AS the subject of this sketch is still alive, and engaged in public service, propriety forbids our entering into the minuter details of his personal history, He is a native of Edinburgh, where he was born in 1767. Being originally designed for a secular profession, he was, at the usual age, bound apprentice to an engraver. A strong desire, however, to be engaged in the work of the ministry induced him, at the close of his apprenticeship, to relinquish his intended profession and devote himself to study. He accordingly entered the University of Edinburgh, where he passed through the usual curriculum of preparatory discipline ; and, in the year 1792, he was licensed to preach in connection with the National Church by the Presbytery of Hamilton. A few months after this he was ordained, as colleague with Dr. Jones, to the office of minister of Lady Glenorchy’s Chapel, Edinburgh. A deep interest in the cause of missions seems, at an early period of Mr. Ewing’s ministry, to have occupied his mind. At that time such enterprises were to a great degree novelties in this country; and even, by many who wished them well, great doubts were entertained of their ultimate success. By his exertions and writings he contributed much to excite a strong feeling in regard to them in Edinburgh ; nor did he content himself with this, but, fired with a spirit of true disinterested zeal, he determined to devote himself to the work of preaching the gospel to the heathen. For this purpose he united with a party of friends, like-minded with himself, who had formed a plan of going out to India and settling themselves there as teachers of Christianity to the native population. The individuals principally engaged in this undertaking besides Alr. Ewing, were the Rev. David Bogue, D.D., of Gosport; the Rev. William Innes, then one of the ministers of Stirling, now of Edinburgh; and Robert Haldane, Esq. of Airthrey, near Stirling,-by the latter of whom the expenses of the mission were to be defrayed. With the exception of Dr. Bogue, all these gentlemen still survive. The peremptory refusal of the East India Company, after repeated applications and memorials on the subject, to permit their going out, caused the ultimate abandonment of this scheme. Mr. Ewing, however, and his associates, feeling themselves pledged to the missionary cause, and seeing no opening for going abroad, began to exert themselves for the promotion of religion at home. A periodical, under the title of The Missionary Magazine, was started in Edinburgh, of which Mr. Ewing undertook the editorship, the duties of which office he discharged in the most efficient manner for the first three years .
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