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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 463 The late Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck wrote a song, in 1817, commemorating the leading members of the Duddingston Society of Curlers. He thus introduces Mr. Millar :- “ To the kirk we maun bow, sae we needna be sour, For there, I how, stands our best pillar : But gif 0’ keen curlers ye’re wantin’ the Jmw, For Jour ye maun look to a-MILLBrc.” His fondness for this game inspired Mr. Millar himself, and he wrote an excellent Fang to the air-“ The Laird 0’ Cockpen.” It was printed at the time as a single leaf, but it may be found, somewhat curtailed, in a volume on curling, entitled “ Memorabilia Curliania Mabenensia,” printed at Dumfries, 1830, 8vo. We are not aware of any other composition by this gentleman, who was truly considered by his friends as a most agreeable companion and a keen curler.” Mr. Millar died at Meadowsale, near Strathaven, on the 17th August 1824. IT.-The late SIR WALTER SCOTT, Bart., of whom as the world is already in possession of so much, no apology will be requisite for the brevity of our notice. By way of pointing out the locality, we may state that he was born on the 15th August 1771, in a house (removed to make way for the University buildings) which stood at the head of the College Wynd,’ partly in what is now North College Street, near the spot where a wooden erection has been formed for exhibiting the skeleton of a whale belonging to the College Museum (now removed). His father, Mr. Walter Scott, Writer to the Signet, resided in the third $at, the two under floors being occupied by Mr. Keith, grandfather to the late Sir Alexander Keith, Knight-Marischal of Scotland. The author of “Marmion” became an advocate in 1792; but, as is well known, he never made.any figure as a barrister. His fame and emoluments were destined to be gleaned in another field ; and though he failed in securing the golden harvest he had reaped, the triumph of his genius is now beyond the reach of cavil or the chance of accident. Sir Walter is classed in the Print as one of the advocates who (‘ plead without wigs ;” but prior to the date of the Engraving (1811) he had been appointed one of the Principal Clerks of Session-an appointment, which precluded practice at the bar. Sir Walter Scott died at Abbotsford on the 21st September 1832. This might well have been the most appropriate site for the monument erected to the memory of Sir Walter, had the improvements at one time contemplated by the Commissioners for the University buildings been carried into effect. The plan comprehended the removal of all those tenements between Bailie Grieve’s ehop, corner of Adam Square (running in a straight line through that large self-contained home, middle of the Horse Wynd, built and formerly inhabited by the Earl of Galloway, and subsequently by Mr. Paton, the publisher of the first edition of this work), and the centre of @le Square ; thus leaving a considerable open space round the College, The monument, occupying the natd spot of the Great Magician of the North, and immediately fronting the centre of the north parallel of the buildingfl, would have added greatly to the b u t y aa well aa the intereat of the scene.
Volume 9 Page 618
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464 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. V.-ROBERT CORBET, the late Solicitor of Teinds, was born in Dumfries, of which town his father was for some time Provost. He passed advocate in 1777; and was appointed Solicitor of Teinds in 1816. This office he held till his demise in 1833, when he was succeeded by Sir William Hamilton. Mr. Corbet was for many years a very successful and popular pleader, especially before the General Assembly, where he was much employed, and for some time had almost the whole practice there. He is thus alluded to in the “ Faculty Garland,” 1785. ‘‘ The chief thing, said Corbet- Oh ! I cannot absorb it- Illiterate fellows to’ask in ; I’m afraid we shall see People take our degree, With no other knowledge than Erskine.”l He was a strong-built, vigorous man, with a large excrescence, or wen, on one side of his face. Corbet made what is termed a mes-alliance, but there was no issue of the marriage. VI,-GEORGE JOSEF‘H BELL, Professor of the Law of Scotland in the University of Edinburgh, was the son of the Rev, William Bell, one of the Episcopal ministers of Edinburgh. Mr. Bell was admitted to the bar in 1791. He early turned his attention to the study of the Mercantile Law -a part of the Scottish Jurisprudence at that time almost unregarded ; and, in the year 1800, he published his Commentaries on the Mercantile Law, especially considered in relation to the subject of Bankruptcy. This work passed through five editions, and is regarded as by far the most valuable and complete treatise on the subject. In 1822 he was chosen by the Faculty of Advocates, in whom the right of nomination is vested, subject to the approval of the Magistrates and Town-Council of Edinburgh, to fill the chair of Scottish Law in the University, then vacant by the promotion of Mr. Baron Hume to the Exchequer. About the year 1828 he published Outlines of his Lectures, at first merely intended as a text-book for the students of his class, but which, under the title of “ Principles of the Law .of Scotland,” proceeded through several editions, and became one of the most useful practical books on . the law of this country. In 1822 Mr. Bell was appointed a member of the Commission for Inquiring into Scottish Judicial Proceedings. He was selected by his colleagues to draw up their Report j and soon after he was called up to London in order to assist the committee of the House of Lords in framing the bill. He was subsequently named a member of another commission, appointed to examine into, and simplify the mode of proceeding in the Court of Session. The report of the gentlemen who formed this Commission was the groundwork of what is termed the Scottish Judicature Act (prepared by Mr. Bell), by which many important This was written in consequence of certain discussions on the Faculty of Advocates, as to preventing unqualified and objectionable persons from being admitted members.
Volume 9 Page 619
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