Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 79 In 1794, while second in command of the forces in Scotland, in consequence of a mutiny in the Breadalbane Regiment of Fencibles, then stationed at Glasgow,' General Leslie, Colonel Montgomerie (afterwards Earl of Eglinton), and Sir James Stewart, left Edinburgh to take charge of the troops collected for the purpose of compelling the mutineers to surrender. By the judicious management, however, of Lord Adam Gordon, then Commander-in-Chief, an appeal to force was avoided by the voluntary surrender of four of the ringleaders, who were marched to Edinburgh Castle as prisoners, under a strong guard of their own regiment. General Leslie and Adjutant M'Lean of the Fencibles, having accompanied the party a short way out of town, they were assailed on their return by a number of riotous people, who accused them of being active in sending away the prisoners. The mob rapidly increased, stones and other missiles were thrown, by one of which General Leslie was knocked down, and he and the Adjutant were compelled to take shelter in a house, from which they were at last rescued by the Lord Provost, with a posse of peaceofficers and a company of the Fencibles. On his way back to Edinburgh, the General was seized with a dangerous illness, and died at Beechwood House, about three miles west of the city, on the 27th December 1794. General Leslie married in 1760 a daughter of Walter Tullidelph of Tullidelph, in Forfarshire, who died the year following, leaving a daughter, Mary Anne, who was married in 1787 to John Rutherford, Esq. of Edgerstown, in Roxburghshire. The General resided in St. Andriw Square. No, CXCVIII. DR. JAMES HAMILTON, SENIOR. DK HAMILTOwNa s for many years one of the ornaments of Edinburgh. His grandfather, the Rev. William Hamilton, was a branch of the family of Preston, and held the honourable station of Principal of the University in the earlier part of last century j and his father, Dr. Robert Hamilton, afterwards made a distinguished figure as Professor of Divinity.' 1 The mutiny, which occurred on the 1st December 1794, originated in the rescue of a soldier who had been confined in the guard-house for some military offence. The party afterwarda would neither give up the prisoner nor those who had been conspicuoas in effecting his release. The prisoneis, seven in number, were tried by a court-martial, held in the Castle, at which Colonel Moutgomerie presided. Sentence of death was recorded against all of them save two, but one only, Alexander Sutherland, sutfered. * It may be mentioned, to the honour of the last-named gentleman, and as indicative of that uprightness and independence, which were afterwards conspicuous in his son, that he led the way to the abolition of pluralities in the Church, by spontaneously relinquishing his parochial charge of Lady Yeater's, on being appointed Professor of Divinity-a distinction which was conferred on him without solicitation. The clergyman of a neighbouring pariah had withheld the privilege of baptism from a child, the conduct of the The others were ordered to the West Indies and to America. Another instance of the same qualities of mind is thus related.
Volume 9 Page 106
  Enlarge Enlarge  
80 B I 0 GRAPH I C A L S I< ETCH E S. . The subject of our engraving was born in 1749. He was educated at the High School ; and, after taking his degree at the University, he spent several years on the Continent. The respect in which his family had long been held conspired with his own merit to secure for Dr. Hamilton an encouraging reception on his return to his native city. At an early age he was elected one of the Physicians to the Royal Infirmary; and he afterwards obtained, in succession, the same office in George Heriot's-the Merchant Maiden-and the Trades' Maiden Hospitals. For upwards of fifty years he continued actively to superintend these benevolent institutions-in the two first of which his portrait is preserved, in respect for the zeal with which he discharged the trust reposed in him. A field of extensive usefulness was thus opened to Dr. Hamilton, which he cultivated with unremitting assiduity j and while he followed the bent of his nature in promoting, by every act of kindness, the comfort of t,hose committed to his care, he accumulated a mass of experience which enabled him, at a later period, to give to the world his well-known work, entitled " Observations on the Utility and Administration of Purgative Medicine in several Diseases "-one of the most elegant professional works which has ever issued from the pressa work which may be regarded as a model, whether we consider its practical value, or the conciseness, the perspicuity, and the modesty of its style. The eighth edition, " Revised and Improved by the Author, with a Chapter on Cold Bathing, considered in its Purgative Effect," was published in 1836. The kindliness of Dr. Hamilton's disposition could not fail to procure for him the affectionate regard of the. numerous children, and of the sick poor, under his professional charge j and hence he acquired an honoured notoriety among all classes of our citizens, more general perhaps than ever fell to the lot of any other individual. Dr. Hamilton's appearance was so remarkable that it attracted the notice of the most casual observer. His upright gait, his elastic step, and his dress of the old scliool, have not yet faded from our recollection. His character presented a rare union of the amiable with the sterner virtues. His demeanour was highly polished, with more of what is termed manner-though never passing the bounds of the strictest propriety-than is now generally met with. Another prominent trait in Dr. Hamilton was the simplicity and sincerity of his mind. Himself a stranger to the remotest feeling of meanness or duplicity, he could ill conceal his abhorrence of these vices, when he discovered them in others ; but while he possessed an uncommon power of discriminating character, this was not accompanied by a suspicious disposition-it merely aided him in selecting those with whom he might indulge in social intercourse ; and with father having given rise to a suspicion that he was not qualified to discharge the solemn obligation imposed by that ordinance. A protracted discussion took place, which promised no satisfactory termination. The Professor retired unobserved ; and, after holding a private conversation tith the parent, he baptized the child, and returned to his brethren, whose debate was thus abruptly closed. The case was brought before the Presbytery.
Volume 9 Page 107
  Enlarge Enlarge