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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 283 his journey with the greater facility, on application by the Society to the Board of Customs, the Prince of Walea brig, Captain John Campbell, was ordered to be in readiness at Oban for his use. In this vessel Dr. Kemp navigated with safety the dangerous creeks and sounds of the Western Isles-went round the point of Ardnamurchan, which stretches far into the western ocean, and is constantly beat by a turbulent sea-and visited all the islands of the Hebrides. This extensive tour he accomplished in three months ; and, on his return, presented a very excellent Report to the Society, not only as to the state of the schools and missions in general, but as to the cause of the destitution experienced in many of the districts, and the means by which it might be alleviated. The views entertained on the various topics embraced by the Report, and the remedial measures which it pressed on the attention of the Society, were at once liberal and enlightened, and displayed a thorough acquaintance with the capacities of the people and the resources of the country. Wherever he went during his Highland tours he was exceedingly well received, and obtained the ready co-operation of all whose influence could possibly be of service. Even in those remote islands, where the Reformation had never penetrated, and where Roman Catholicism maintained undisputed sway, the Secretary had the singular address to procure the aid and friendship of the clergy of that persuasion. While visiting the peasantry, it was no uncommon thing for him to be accompanied by the priest of the district, whose influence was highly necessary in breaking down the common prejudice against sending their children to the schools of a Protestant association. First to a Miss Simpson, by whom he had a son and daughter; secondly, to Lady Mary Anne Carnegie (who died in 1798), daughter of the sixth Earl of Northesk; and, thirdly, to Lady Elizabeth Hope, daughter of John second Earl of Hopetoun. His son (who was a manufacturer) married a daughter of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Sheriff-depute of Dumbartonshire-a connection which unhappily gave rise to proceedings of a rather singular nature.’ Old Sir James, becoming jealous of his own lady and Dr. Kemp, actually raised an action of divorce against her, which, of course, equally affected the character of the Doctor ; and, if successful, would have subjected him in heavy damages. While this novel case of litigation was pending in Court, death very suddenly stepped in to give it the quietus, by removing the two principal actors in the drama, within a few days of each other. The deaths of Sir James and the Doctor are thus recorded in the newspaper obituaries for 1805 :-“April 18. At Weirbank House, nearMelrose, of a stroke of palsy, aged sixty, the Rev. John Kemp; D.D., Dr. Kemp possessed very conciliatory and engaging manners. Dr. Kemp was three times married. In the “ Town Eclogue,” the author (a clergyman) speaking of this marriage and Dr. Kemp’s alleged familiarity with Lady Colquhoun, says- “ To a weaver’s arms consigns the high born Miss ; Then greets the mother with a holy kiss.” The remainder of the attack is so scurrilous that we refrain from inserting it.
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284 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. one of the ministers of the Tolbooth Church, Edinburgh, and Secretary to the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge $-and on the 23d, “At Edinburgh, Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart., Sheriffdepute of Dumbartonshire.” He subsequently occupied a house connected with the hall of the Society to which he was secretary (formerly Baron Maule’s residence), at the Netherbow, and afterwards used by the Messrs. Craig as a hat manufactory. Dr. Kemp resided for several years in Ramsay Garden, Castle Hill. No. CXVI. THE MOST NOBLE THE MARQUIS OF GRAHAM, AND THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF BUCHAN. THIS Print refers to the close of the war in 1782, when the fear of invasion from the menacing attitude of the French nation created so much unnecessary alarm. At this period the above-mentioned noblemen zealously came forward to rouse the spirit of their countrymen. They are represented as they appeared in the “ garb of old Gaul,” beating up for a volunteer body called the Caledonian Band.’ Several meetings had been held, and a vast number of citizens’ names enrolled ; the Marquis had also been elected colonel, and the Earl lieutenant- colonel, besides the appointment of a number of inferior officers ; but before the commissions arrived from his Majesty, the preliminaries of peace had been signed. The Caledonian Band, like its prototype, the Edinburgh Defensive Band, was thereafter converted into a body of freemasons-of which the Earl of Buchan was made master, and afterwards the Hon. Archibald Fraser of Lovat, whose father was beheaded in 1746. Perhaps few local matters ever excited greater interest in Edinburgh than the probable issue of this unhappy law-suit. Dr. Kemp was characterised as a second Dr. Cantwell by one party, and as the most injured man breathing by the other. Even the reality of his death became matter of dispute ; for it was affirmed1and believed by not a few of his adversaries, that his demise was a fiction, got up for the purpose of stifling investigation ; and it was positively asserted, that, more than a year afterwards, he had been seen in Holland in the very best health and spirits. That this rumour, however, was unfounded, may be presumed from the fact, which wm well known, of his having been struck with palsy some time prior to his death. Therefore, admitting the fiction of his demise, and that he was seen in Holland in the best heaZth and sphits, it falls to be shown by what means such a miraculous recovery had been effected. But the point is, we think, set at rest by direct testimony ; for we are informed by a friend that the late Mr. Charles Watson, undertaker, father of Dr. Watson of Burntisland, who was one of Dr. Kemp’s elders, and a person whose word may be relied on, declared to him that he assisted in putting Dr. Kemp’s body into the coffin, and in screwing down the top of it. This corps was drilled by Mr. John Lamond, as adjutant, brother of the Dean of Guild of Edinburgh.
Volume 8 Page 398
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