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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 277 No. CCLXII. LORD BALMUTO. C u m IRVINBEO SWELLL, ORDB ALMUTOwa, s born in 1742.’ His father, John Boswell of Balmuto, dying when he was a mere infant, the care of his education devolved on his mother, a woman of uncommon mental energy and exemplary piety. She placed him, in his seventh year, with Mr. Barclay at Dalkeith, then a celebrated master, under whose superintendence Henry Dundas, afterwards Lord Melville, was at the time acquiring the rudiments of learning ; and an intimacy was formed between the two school-boys, which continued till the death of Lord Melville in May 1 8 1 1 .’ Mr. Boswell finished his education at Edinburgh College, and passed advocate on the 2d of August 1766. Some years afterwards he went abroad for six months, visiting the court of Versailles, etc. In 1780 he was appointed Sheriff-Depute of Fife and Kinross, and filled that responsible situation during the trying period of 1793-4-5. In 1798 he was raised to the bench, where he continued to sit till January 1822, when he resigned in favour of William Erskine, Lord Kinedder. In March of the same year, his friend and kinsman, Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, was mortally wounded in a duel with James Stuart, Esq., younger of Dunearn, about a mile from Balmuto ; and having been carried there to die, Lord Balmuto received a shock from which he never fully recovered. His lordship died on the 22d of July 1824, in the eighty-third year of his age, and in the full exercise of that benevolence for which he was remarkable. He had that day been out on horseback for many hours. He married, in 1783, Miss Anne Irvine, who, by the death of her brother and grandfather, became heiress of Kingussie. Lord Balmuto left one son and two daughters. His lordship and Lord Hermand were amongst the last specimens of the Scottish judge of the last century. The former, a robust and athletic man, was, during the period he held the situation of Sheriff of Fife, the terror of that usually unmanageable set of persons-the Fife boatmen. He was: fond of His lordship’s father, a writer in Edinburgh, the purchaser of Balmuto, waa a younger brother of Lord Auchinleck, the grandfather of Sir Alexander Boswell. Mr. Barclay was one of the most able and successful teaehers of hk day. The late Lord Chancellor Loughborough, Lord Glencairn, and several others equally distinguished, were also his pupils in early lie. It is not so very long since “Barclay’s scholars,” as they were called, had their last convivial meeting. At their $mt, although forty years had elapsed since the death of their worthy preceptor, it is rather remarkable that no fewer than twenty gentlemen, all moving in the highest ranka of opulence, survived to pay the tribute of grateful respect to his memory.
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278 BI 0 G R A P HI C AL SI< ET CHES. alluding to his inferior office, when holding a higher one, and not unfrequently prefaced his decisions by saying, “When I was Shirra’ of Fife,” a peculiarity noticed in the celebrated Diamond-Beetle Case. He spoke with a strong Scotch accent. He was fond of his joke, and sometimes indulged in it even on the bench. On one occasion a young counsel was addressing him on some not very important point that had arisen in the division of a common, or commonty (according to law phraseology), when having made some bold averment, Balmuto exclaimed-“ That’s a lee, Jemmie.” ‘( My lord ! ” ejaculated the amazed barrister. “ Ay, ay, Jemmie : I see by your face you’re leeing.” (‘ Indeed, my lord, I am not.” “Dinna tell me that ; it’s no in your memorial (brief)- awa wi’ you ;” and, overcome with astonishment and vexation, the discomfited barrister left the bar. Balmuto thereupon chuckled with infinite delight ; and, beckoning to the clerk who attended on the occasion, he said, “Are ye no Rabbie H-’s man 1” “Yes, my lord,” ‘(Was na Jemmie -l eeing 2” “ 0 no, my lord.” “Ye’re quite sure 1” “ 0 yes.” Then just write out what you want, and I’ll sign it ; my faith, but I made Jemmie stare.” So the decision was dictated by the clerk, and duly signed by the judge, who left the bench highly diverted with the fright he had given his young friend. No. CCLXIII. REV. JAMES HALL, D.D., OF TIlE SECESSION CHURCH, EROUGHTON PLACE, EDINBURGH. THROUGHOtUhTe long period of his ministry in this city, few men enjoyed a greater degree of popularity, or were more highly and generally esteemed, than the Rev. gentleman whose Portrait is prefixed. He was born at Cathcart Mill, a few miles west of Glasgow, on the 6th January 1756.’ His ancestors were millers, and had occupied the mill for several generations. His father, James Hall, a man of education and intelligence greatly superior to his rank, was one of the original seceders from the Church of Scotland, and feued the site of the first Secession Church in Glasgow ; and his mother, Isabella Bulloch, whose paternal property lay in the vicinity of Kirkintilloch, presented the Seceders of that place with the ground on which their church is erected. DR. HALL had the misfortune to lose his father at a very early age ; but the pious deportment and acquaintance with Scripture which Characterised his 1 He had three sisters and two brothers, four of whom were older thar. himself. The Rev. Robert Hall, his younger brother, was long a minister in Kelso. His sisters were all married to clergymen of the Secession-Mary, to the Rev. John Lindsay, of Johostoue ; Helen, Rev. Jam- Illoir, of Tarboltoil ; and Isobel, to the llev. Dwid Walker, of Pollockshaws.
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