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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 383 Dictionary of Decision8 of the Court of Session, vols. iii and iv. 1778. Folio. Plan and Outlines of a Course of Lectures on'Universa1 History, Ancient and Modern, illustrated with Maps of Ancient and Modern Geography, and a Chronological Table. 1782. Afterwards much enlarged, and published under the title of Elements of Qeneral History. Nos. 17, 37, 59, 79, of the Mirror, first publishad in 1779 and 1780; also Nos. 7, 19. 24, 44, 63, 70, 79, of the Lounger, tirst published in 1785 aud 1786. Account of the Life and Writings of Dr. John Grego~y, pretixed to an edition of his works, published at Edinburgh in 1787. History of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, making the First Part of the First Volume of the Transactions of the Royal Society, printed in 1787. Biographical Account of Lord President Dundas, printed in the Second Volume of the Transactions of the Royal Society. Account of some extraordinary Structures on the tops of Hills in the Highlands, with Remarks on the Progress of the Arts among the Ancient Inhabitanta of Scotland. Printed in the Second Volume of the Tnrnsnctions of the Royal Society. Essay on the Principles of Translation, 8vo. Pablished by Cadell, London Second edition, with additions, 1797. 8vo. Critical Examination of Yr. Whitaker's Course of Hmnibal over the Alps. New edition of Derham's Physic+Theology, with large Notes and an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author. Published, January 1789. Ireland ProUting by Example, or the Question whether Scotland haa Gained or Lpst by a Union, ilnally discussed, 1799. Remnrks on the Writings and Qenius of Allan Rameay. Prefixed to a new edition of his works, in 2 vols. 8v0, edited by the lata George Chalmers, Eaq. 1800. 8vo. An Essay on Military Law, and the Practice of C o d - Martial. Edinburgh, 1800. 8vo. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Henry Home, Lord games. 1807. 2 vols. 4h. Republished in three vols. 8vo. Historical and Critical Essay on the Life and Character of Petmch Crown 8vo. Published, 1798. WILLIAM ROBERTSON (LORDR OBERTSONth),e figure next to Lord Woodhouselee, was the eldest son of Dr. Robertson, the eminent Historian and Principal of the University of Edinburgh. He was born in December 1754; and became a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1775. In 1779 he was chosen Procurator of the Church of Scotland, after a keen contest, in which he was opposed by the Hon. Henry Erskine, whose professional eminence is so well known. In 1805, after thirty years' successful practice at the bar, Lord Robertson was promoted to the bench, on the death of David Ross (Lord Ankerville), where he was distinguished not more for his legal talents than for his sagacity and good sense. His appearance is thus described by the author of Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk :- " In his [the Lord Justice Clerk's] Division of the Civil Court, one of his most respected aqsessors is Lord Robertmn, son to the great historian ; nor could I see, without a very peculiar interest, the son of such a man occupying and adorning such a situation, in the midst of a people in whose minds his name must be associated with so niany feelings of gratitude and admiration. " The son of such a man as the Historian of Scotland is well entitled to share in these honourable feelings of hereditary attachment among the people of Scotland ; and he does share in them. Even to me, I must confess, it afforded a very genuine delight, to be allowed to contemplate the features of the father, aq reflected and preserved in the living features of his son. A more careless observer would not, perhaps, be able to trace any very striking resemblance between the face of Lord Robertson and the common portraits of the Historian ; but I could easily do so. In those of the prints which represent him at an early period of hie life, the physiognomy of Robertson is not seen to its best advantage. There is, indeed, an air of calmness and tastefuluess even in them which cannot be overlooked or mistaken ; but it ie in those later portraits, which give the features after they had been divested of their fulness and smoothnesa of outline, and filled with the deeper lines of age and comparative extenuation, that one traces, with most ease and satisfaction, the image of genius, and the impress of reflection. And it is to these lnst portraits that I could perceive the strongest likeness in the general aspect of the Judge, but most of all in his grey and overhanging eye-brows, and eyes, eloquent equally of sagacity of intellect and gentleness of temper."
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384 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Lord Robertson retired from the bench in 1826, in consequence of the infirmity of deafness, which prevented him from discharging his important duties in such an efficient manner as he had hitherto done ; and he spent the remainder of his days in a dignified retirement, enjoying the pleasures afforded by that taste for literature for which he was distinguished amongst those who were best qualified to form an opinion of his merits. Professor Dugald Stewart, in his Life of Principal Robertson, says-" His [the Principal's] eldest son, an eminent lawyer at the Scottish bar, has been only prevented by the engagement of an active profession from sustaining his father's literary name." Lord Robertson died on the 20th of November 1835. He was twice married, but left no children by either of his wives. In the jeu d'esprit called the " Diamond Beetle Case," attributed to George Cranstoun, Esq. (Lord Corehouse), the manner and professional peculiarities of several of the Senators composing the " last sitting " are happily imitated. The involved phraseology of Lord Bannatyne-the predilection for Latin quotation of Lord Meadowbank - the brisk manner of Lord Hermand - the anti-Gallic feeling of Lord Craig -the broad dialect of Lords Polkemmet and Balmuto-and the hesitating manner of Lord Methven-are admirably caricatured. This effusion, humorous without rancour, was much appreciated at the time, and is so characteristic, that we need not apologise for giving it a place here :- '' N 0 TE S TAKEN AT ADVISING THE ACTION OF DEFAMATION AND DAMAGES, ALEXANDECRU NNINGHAMJ,'e weller in Edinburgh, AGAINST JAMERSU SSELLS,*u rgeon there. '' LORDP RESIDENT(S, IRI LAYC A&rPBELL).-Yoiir Lordships have the petition of Alexander Cunningham against Lord Bannatyne's interlocutor. It is a case of defamat,ion and damages for calling the petitioner's Diamond Bdle an Epjptian Louse. You have the Lord Ordinary's distinct interlocutor on pages 29 and 30 of this petition :--'Having considered the Condescendence Mr. Cunningham was a gentleman, who, notwithstanding the aristocratic dislike of the Modern Athenians to persons in trade, was received into the best society. He was understood to be of the Glencairn family, and to have a claim to that dormant earldom. Re was a great friend of Burns, and became possessor, by donation from the Poet's brother, of his punch bowl, of black or Inverary marble, elegantly mounted with silver. Upon his death, in 1814, this interesting relic was offered for sale by private bargain ; but not finding a purchaser, it was sold by auction, on the 20th of January 1816, bythe late John Ballantyne,for eighty guineas, The Ayrshire Club,it is said, were the purchasers. a Afterwards Professor of Clinical Surgery in the University of Edinburgh.
Volume 9 Page 513
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