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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


404 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. effectual mode of procedure, the forces were brought to a halt within a short distance of the enemy’s stronghold ; and by the judicious manner in which the line was extended-reaching from the sea at Hochmatoch to the Gullet-bridge at the Lake, and from the Lake to the Well of Spaw, near Pettycur harbourno elector could possibly escape without inspection. Thus secured against a sortie, after maintaining the position for a day or two, Colonel Erskine,’ and several gentlemen from the west of Fife, accompanied by a small detachment, entered Kinghorn in military array, with flags and other insignia of electioneering warfare displayed. On arriving at the inn, Lucky Skinner, true to her trust, refused to give any information concerning the runaway electors, but endeavoured to appease Colonel Erskine, by inviting him int8 the parlour to taste from the landlady’s bottle-a kindness she invariably extended to strangers of respectable appearance. Somewhat irritated, and wheeling precipitately round, the Colonel was about to retire, when Lucky, 1 Colonel James Francis Erskine waa brother of John the twelfth Earl of Mar, in whom the forfeited title was revived in 1824. He is understood to have spent a vast deal of money in electioneering contests. The first election, connected with the Dunfermline district of burghs, in which he was known to take an active interest, occurred in 1774, when Archibald Campbell, Esq., of Inverneil, successfully opposed Colonel Masterton of Newton, the former member, and friend of Sir Laureiice Dundas. This contest wyas rendered memorable by the unusual bitterness with which it was maintained, and the mutual recrimination indulged in by the parties, even after it had been decided. To such an extent was this carried, that the Fbv. Mr. Thomson, one of the ministers of Dunfermline, actually preached a sermon from the pulpit on the subject, choosing for hi., text Ephesians iv. 25, ‘ I Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour ; for we are members one of another.’, In the course of the sermon he alluded to various circumstances connected with the election, and pointing to particular individuals then seated in the church, accused them of lying. This produced the retort courteous in no measured terms. As a specimen of the unseemly exhibition, we quote the following passages from a report of the discourse published at the time :- The Colonel was a jolly, stout man, and a keen politician. ‘{ - Having thus explained to you, my brethren, the different kinds of lying by which we may hurt either our neighbour or sin against our own souls, will any man pretend to tell me, after being informed by three incontestable evidences, that that man [pointing to a certain person C h congregation] does not lie, who will pretend to maintain that he had not engaged to support Col. Campbell’s interest, when he waa voted into the council by the friends of Col. Campbell alone, and had not a single vote from the other party ? I am convinced that these gentlemen had more wisdom and judgment thau to bring in any man into the council of Dunfermline, unless they had got the most convincing promises that he would stand by them and the interest of COL Campbell ; yet, notwithstanding, he did not so much a3 give them one vote. [Ewe Mr. F. S. rose up and told him he waa telling gross lies a d falsehoods.] There ia another species of lying, with a view to hurt and defame the name and characters of our neighbours, aa for one to say, ‘Such and such a person has got money from Col. Campbell to induce them to support his interest, and that his brother has their receipts for the same ;’ yet that very man, upon being examined aneut such defamatory aasertions, to deny the having said such things. “And you, Rob& Scotland, who have wrote a paper which appeared in the Caledonian Mer- CU~Jg,i ving me the epithet of an old military chaplain. This is a name I glory in, having lived fourteen yenrs in the army, where I was always happy, and well satisfied with my situation. You also term me a blustming bZwn&xb2Lss, which I r,efnse, and will refer to the whole congregation if that cap does not more properly fit your head than mine. “ I have, however, stronger thmga to say than this. Will any man pretend to maintain but that you Zk, by saying that you were a faithful and diligent agent for COL Campbell, when the contrary can be proven by the evidence of three indisputable witnesses ! If you had been a faithful [HeTe Mr. D. S. rose up and told him t k t he was uttere‘ng great lies.]
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 405 persisting in her entreaties, laid hold of his coat-tail, and, in the friendly encounter, left him, a-la Bailie Nicol Jarvie, denuded of a portion of his garment.' Disappointed in procuring authority from a Justice of the Peace (Mr. Rutherford of Ashintully, then resident in Kinghorn), the Colonel and his party attempted to force their way, without the sanction of a warrant, into the apartment occupied by the electors. And now came the " tug of war " in true Donnybrook style. Attacking the house in two divisions, one in front and the other in the rear, part of the assailants gained the head of the inside-stairformed in the old-fashioned manner represented in the Print ; but, being there gallantly met by the defenders, victory for a long $ b e remained doubtful :- I' They fought so well 'twas hard to day Which side was like to get the day." Among the combatants, the most conspicuous figures are those of Colonel agent for Col. Campbell, why were you so often in the camp of the enemy ? A man in the army, if he were found in the enemy's camp, would be shot the next day. Had you acted justly and honestly, and had occasion to be with the enemy of Col. Campbell upon business, you ought to have taken one along with you to prevent suspicion, and to show that you were not doing anything there to hurt COL Campbell's interest. " Further, when'col. Masterton came to town to entertain his friends, why were you anxious to due with him, after it had been resolved among the friends of Col. Campbell that none of them should dine with Col. Masterton ?-and why did yon write that day to Col. Campbell that he needed not come to town until the evening ? By all which his friends thought the canse in great danger of being hurt, had not his coming happily prevented you. [While Mr. T. waa delivering this part of his sermon, R. 8. arose sezrwal times and told Mr. T. that what he wcw saying was gross lies and false calumniq very unbecoming to be spoke from the chair of verity.] If yon acted as a faithful agent to Col. Campbell, why did you insist on having everything carried to your mind, and endeavour to get some of COL Campbell's friends turned out, and those who were his opposites (I will not say his enemies) kept in, and by insisting to bring in those who were either doubtful'or in the opposite interest ? No doubt but it may be frequently his duty to remonstrate, and lay matters properly before his employer j but he ought to leave it entirely to his constituent's prudence to choose what he thinks best.- * * And if the friends of Col. Campbell had not got convincing proofs of your designs to betray their cause, they would not have shut you out from their deliberations when matters came to a crisis, and it was become necessary to have plans formed for conducting the common cause. But I think it has aa much to do with the &pit as your paper had with the Calehtim Mercury; and those that Sin before all ought to be rebuked before all, that others may hear and fear, and do no more so wickedly. Wherefore, refrain from lying, etc." "Immediately after this extraordinary sermon was concluded, and before prayer was begnn, Mr. R S. rose up, and, with an audible voice, told the minister that it would be but fair he should inform the congregation what BRIBE he had got from CoL'Campbell, in order to induce him to utter and propagate such false and injurioua calumnies from the pulpit." [The Meesrs. Scotland brought an action of damagea for defamation against Mr. Thomson, in which they succeeded both here and in the House of Peers. Aa Robert Scotland had, however, not conducted himself 80 correctly aa he ought to have done, the damagea awarded to him were restricted to five poundci sterling, whereas John and David were jointly found entitled to twenty-five pounds. Of come the Rev. gentleman had to pay costs of suit.] This waa Lucky Skinner's own account of the matter. It waa asserted that she cut away the coat-tail ; but this she stoutly denied ; and it must be admitted that such an act of violence would not have been at all in keepiug with her U E Up~r udent and conciliatory policy. It is not the duty of an agent to insist on having everything carried his own way. 'I Perhaps you will say, What business has all this to do with the PULPIT?
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