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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


B I OGR AP H I C AI, SRE T C H E S. 37 No. CLXXXIV, JAMES ALEXANDER HALDANE, ESQ., MINISTER OF THE TABERNACLE, LEITH WALK. THIS Portrait, taken at the period of his greatest popularity, represents MR. JAMEASL EXANDERH ALDANaE , gentleman who for more than forty years devoted himself gratuitously, and with exemplary assiduity, to the preaching of the gospel ; and whose proceedings, as well as those of his elder brother, Robert Haldane, Esq. of Airthrey, at one time at least, attracted much interest, not only in Edinburgh, but throughout Scotland. Mr. James Haldane was the posthumous son of Captain James Haldane of Airthrey, and an immediate descendant of the Haldanes of Gleneagles, in Perthshire, one of the most ancient and highly connected baronial families in Scotland. His mother was the daughter of Alexander Duncan, Esq., of Lundie Castle, near Dundee, and the sister of Admiral Lord Yiscount Duncan. He was born on the 14th July 1768, at Dundee, within one fortnight after the death of his father, who was cut off at the early age of thirty-nine, by a sudden illness, in the bloom of manhood. His widow only survived the death of her husband about six years, when her two sons were left under the guardianship of her brothers, Colonel Duncan of Lundie and the Admiral. Both were educated at the High School and College of Edinburgh, and boarded with Dr. Adam, the well-known Rector. At the age of sixteen Mr. James Haldane entered the service of the East India Company as a midshipman, on board the Duke of Jfontrose. He made four voyages to Bengal, Bombay, and China ; and at the age of twenty-five, the earliest period at which the rules of the service permitted him to command a ship, he was appointed to the command of the MeZvVille Castb, previously commanded by Lord Duncan's brother-in-law, Captain Philip Dundas? His life at sea was distinguished by many of those narrow escapes to which a sailor is often exposed. On one occasion, when ordered to go aloft to reef the sails, the man next him was knocked from the yard and drowned in the sea. At another time he fell out of a boat at night, and was only saved by keeping fast hold of the oar with which he had been steering the boat. On It was on board the MeZviZZe Castle, when lying at Gravesend, that hfr. Pitt and Mr. Dundas had dined on that well-known occasion, when Yr. Fox moved the adjournment of the House, and which gave rise to various satirical lampoons about " Palinurus nodding at the helm ;" and also to the caricature in which Mr. Pitt was made to say, on entering the House of Commons-" I do not aee the Speaker, Harry, do you ?" To which Nr. Dundaa replies-" Not see him, Billy-I see two I"
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38 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. another occasion, he had received an appointment as Third Officer of the Foullis Indiaman. He was detained in Scotland longer than he expected, and when he arrived in London the Foullis had sailed. This was a great disappointment ; but it turned out to be a most providential circumstance, as the Foullis was never more heard of, and is supposed to have been burned at sea. Various other incidents of the same kind might be related, which were calculated to make an impression on a reflecting mind, and inspire a sense of the providence of God, and the importance of being prepared for eternity. Immediately after his appointment as Captain of the Jlelville Castle, Captain Haldane married Miss Mary Joass, the only daughter of Alexander Joass, Esq., of Colleinwart, in Banffshire, by Elizabeth, the eldest sister of the celebrated General Sir Ralph Abercromby. The circumstance of his marriage was calculated to foster a desire to remain at home ; but the situation he held as Captain of an East Indiaman was at that period the sure road to fortune, and more especially in the case of Mr. Haldane, who had the double support of his own and his wife’s connections-the former securing to him the patronage of Lord Melville, the President of the Board of Control-and the latter, the patronage of Sir Robert Abercromby, the Governor of Bombay and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in India. During the months Mr. Haldane remained in command of the Jfelville Castle at Spithead, a mutiny took place on board the Dutton, which gave occasion for the display of that daring courage and presence of mind for which he was at all times conspicuous. It was occasioned by the Captain of the Dutton sending a man-of-war’s boat to have several of his men pressed for some real or alleged act of insubordination. The mutiny broke out in the nightshots were fired-and one man was killed. It was under these circumstances that Captain Haldane ordered out his boat, and went alongside the Dutton. The mutineers threatened him with death if he attempted to come on board. The officers and their supporters, on the contrary, invited his assistance. By the exercise of the greatest determination he succeeded in boarding the Dutton, amidst the clamour and menaces of the mutineers, and the cheers of the other party, who now invited him to put himself at their head, and, sword in hand, drive the mutinous crew beneath the hatches. This proposal, however, he declined j and, going forward alone into the midst of the mutineers, he addressed them on the folly of their conduct, and the certain punishment which would follow if they were successful in overcoming their officers. The result was, Chat order was restored without further bloodshed ; and Captain Haldane, who had always been popular as an officer, was on all hands complimented for this service. It was, however, about this time that a great change was effected in the mind of Captain Haldane. The following is his own simple and interesting account, in a letter to one of his messmates :-“I had a book by me which, from prejudice of education, and not from any rational conviction, I called the Word of God. I never got so It was not sudden, but gradual.
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