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Title: Norman Macleod - Famous Scots Series
Author: Wellwood, John
Language: English
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                                NORMAN
                                MACLEOD



                          FAMOUS SCOTS SERIES


_The following Volumes are now ready_--

  THOMAS CARLYLE. By HECTOR C. MACPHERSON
  ALLAN RAMSAY. By OLIPHANT SMEATON
  HUGH MILLER. By W. KEITH LEASK
  JOHN KNOX. By A. TAYLOR INNES
  ROBERT BURNS. By GABRIEL SETOUN
  THE BALLADISTS. By JOHN GEDDIE
  RICHARD CAMERON. By Professor HERKLESS
  SIR JAMES Y. SIMPSON. By EVE BLANTYRE SIMPSON
  THOMAS CHALMERS. By Professor W. GARDEN BLAIKIE
  JAMES BOSWELL. By W. KEITH LEASK
  TOBIAS SMOLLETT. By OLIPHANT SMEATON
  FLETCHER OF SALTOUN. By G. W. T. OMOND
  THE BLACKWOOD GROUP. By SIR GEORGE DOUGLAS
  NORMAN MACLEOD. By JOHN WELLWOOD



[Illustration: PAGE DECORATIONS]


                                NORMAN
                                MACLEOD

                                  BY

                                 JOHN
                               WELLWOOD

                                FAMOUS
                                SCOTS:
                                SERIES

                             PUBLISHED BY
                           OLIPHANT ANDERSON
                          & FERRIER·EDINBURGH
                              AND LONDON



The designs and ornaments of this volume are by Mr. Joseph Brown, and
the printing from the press of Morrison & Gibb Limited, Edinburgh.



NOTE


My cordial gratitude is due to Mr. William Isbister--’best of
smokers’--for allowing me (and that with so good a spirit) to quote
from the _Memoir of Norman Macleod_. The present piece will not have
been written in vain, as the saying is, if it sends readers to that
entertaining quarry.

I have also to thank Mr. J. C. Erskine, Hope Street, Glasgow (’Be
calm, Erskine’), for furnishing me with certain letters never before
published, specimens of which will be found in the text.

The extracts from the Queen’s books are made with Her Majesty’s
gracious permission.

  J. W.

  MANSE OF DRAINIE, _April_ 1897.



                               CONTENTS


                                                                  PAGE

  INTRODUCTION                                                       9


  CHAPTER I

  DESCENT--BOYHOOD--STUDENT YEARS                                   11


  CHAPTER II

  MINISTER OF LOUDOUN--NON-INTRUSION CONTROVERSY                    28


  CHAPTER III

  AFTER THE BATTLE--MINISTER OF DALKEITH--EMBASSIES--EVANGELICAL
  ALLIANCE--DEATH OF JOHN MACINTOSH                                 47


  CHAPTER IV

  THE BARONY PARISH--MACLEOD AS PASTOR--AS PREACHER--HIS
  SYMPATHY--POSITION IN GLASGOW                                     65


  CHAPTER V

  EDITOR AND AUTHOR                                                 85


  CHAPTER VI

  BALMORAL                                                         102


  CHAPTER VII

  TRAVELS--BROAD CHURCH MOVEMENTS                                  108


  CHAPTER VIII

  INDIA--THE APEX--THE END                                         125



                            NORMAN MACLEOD



INTRODUCTION


If any modern minister has a place, though it were the least, among the
worthies of his nation, he must have been a surprising personality.
When Scottish life was based on Calvinism, and there was a Stuart
deforming the Kirk at the sword’s point, a preacher might rise to be
a leader of the people, if not a virtual ruler in the kingdom. From
Knox to Carstairs the line of famous Scots (such as they are) is black
with Geneva gowns. But for two hundred years the Protestant spirit has
gone all to democracy and the march of intellect, while the clergy have
stood by the vacant symbol, exiled--

  ‘From the dragon-warder’d fountains
    Where the springs of knowledge are,
  From the watchers on the mountains
    And the bright and morning star.’

So the Church has come down in the world. Her affairs are her own, and
subject to journalistic irony; with few exceptions her leaders, for
all the noise they may make in their day and generation, have only
to die to be forgotten. One calls to mind certain men who were not in
holy orders, mere sages or poets, and knows them for the real teachers
of their times. In Norman Macleod the hero as priest reappears, but at
some cost to the clerical tradition. Making little of dogma, and less
of rites, he went deep down into the common heart for his ground of
appeal, and on his lips love, divine and human, was a tale to move the
philosopher and win the crowd. His work in the world was to make men
good after the pattern of Jesus, and to that work he brought a burning
belief, a boundless sympathy, and rare oratorical and literary gifts.
One in the throng at the funeral of this great minister was heard to
say, ‘There goes Norman Macleod. If he had done no more than what he
did for my soul, he would shine as the stars for ever.’ And the like
might have been confessed by thousands; nay, many who never heard his
voice nor saw his face were better for the rumour of such a man. His
name went from the Church to the nation, and over all English-speaking
lands; and with that of Chalmers has endured.



CHAPTER I

1812-1837

DESCENT--BOYHOOD--STUDENT YEARS


Nothing astonished Dr. Johnson so much, when he was roving in the
Hebrides, as to find men who lived in huts and quoted Latin. These
were the ‘gentlemen tacksmen,’ and no more remarkable tenantry was
ever seen on any soil. What they did for agriculture I cannot say; as
much, perhaps, as their destroyers, who made a solitude and called it
sheep: but they had bread to eat and raiment to put on (though they
_might_ sometimes sleep with their feet in the mire), and their praise
is that they sent forth a splendid race to the fields of honour. Their
sons, scant of cash, yet with the air of nobles, thronged the colleges,
nor was there any career in which laurels were not won by men from
the mountains and the isles. Picture some judge or general gazing at
the ruins of a shieling, and then sneer at the old Highland tacksmen.
From this class Norman Macleod was descended. His great-grandfather,
the earliest ancestor of whom we have any record, lived in Skye, at
Swordale, near Dunvegan Castle, about the middle of last century. The
tradition is that he was a good man and the first in his neighbourhood
to introduce family worship. His dearest wish was to see his first-born
a minister of the Church of Scotland. The estate of the Laird of
Macleod was then a sort of feudal Utopia, in which the ruling idea was
the advancement of the youth. There was a conspiracy of education.
After the schoolmaster (a good hand at the classics for certain) came
a college-bred tutor, who was maintained by a number of families in
common. Then the Chief made interest at the University for his lads,
and in the vacations entertained the professors at his castle, where
they met their students as fellow-guests. No wonder so many notable
lines sprang from Skye, if, as was said, these students were all
gentlemen.

Norman Macleod, Swordale’s eldest son, having finished his studies
for the Church, acted for some time as tutor in his native district.
Thus he was at home in _September 1773_, and, being a favourite at
Dunvegan--you understand? Yes, he met Dr. Johnson. ‘And he used to
tell, with great glee, how he found him alone in the drawing-room
before dinner, poring over some volume on the sofa, and how the
doctor, before rising to greet him kindly, dashed to the ground the
volume he had been reading, exclaiming in a loud and angry voice,
“The author is an ass!”’ In the following year this young man was
preferred to a parish which to name is to spring all the romance of
the Highlands,--_Morven_. Upwards of six feet in height, and of a noble
countenance, the stranger from Skye would be welcome as at least ‘a
pretty man’; but was there none, in that land of seers, to foretell
how this minister should reign in Morven, and his son after him, each
for half a century or more, and how he should be the founder of a
clerical dynasty that would last for ever? Norman the First presents a
rare figure in an age in which the clergy were noted for anything but
ecclesiastical zeal. He had all the culture that was going, but did not
prefer Horace to David, nor Virgil to Isaiah, and could hate fanaticism
without reducing religion to a cauld clash of morality. He was the
ideal of a Highland minister, daring the stormy strait and the misty
mountain, swaying the wild Celtic heart by tender or fiery appeals, and
drawing the poor and the troubled to his door from the remotest glens.
The living was of the smallest, but he acted upon the precept, ‘Do what
you can, and leave the rest to God.’ He had a large family of sons and
daughters, and there were various workers and dependents settled on the
glebe. So at Fiunary, above the rocky shore of the Sound of Mull (not
far from the inn where the Lad with the Silver Button had to go from
the fireside to his bed, wading over the shoes), there was a little
community by itself, living a beautiful and wholesome life. The glebe
was a scene of cheerful industry, and, labour done, the bagpipes would
be skirling. In the manse there might be a tutor and a governess, but
the daughters were their own dressmakers, and the sons worked in their
father’s fields. But the chief part of their education was play; they
all rejoiced in the open air, and Morven entered into their blood. The
boys went fishing and sailing, hunted the wild cat and the otter, and
roamed the heather in quest of game. By the winter hearth what singing
of Gaelic songs! The minister himself played the fiddle, and liked to
set his children dancing of a night. In this family religion was no
formal lesson: it was the atmosphere they breathed.

One summer day in the closing year of last century, General Macleod,
chief of the clan, visited the manse of Fiunary, and took away with
him to Dunvegan his young namesake, the minister’s eldest son, Norman
the Second. Nothing could have been more delightful to the boy, who
cared little for study, preferring any day the seas and the hills,
and was already at sixteen a Highland patriot, with his head full of
the legends of that old castle in the shadow of which his ancestors
were born. The reception by the clan, especially the piping of a
Macrimmon, was never to be forgotten. During his stay at Dunvegan,
where he was treated like a son, he met many chiefs, some of them
distinguished soldiers home from the wars. So he returned to Morven
more a Highlander than ever, and with a double measure of the martial
spirit that was then abroad in his native county. He joined the
Argyllshire Fencibles, and rose to the rank of corporal! If this is an
anti-climax, suppose that he was moved less by military ardour than
the love of manly exercises. At all events it was as an athlete that
he chiefly excelled in his youth. The glory of his college days was
that in physical contests he alone could rival John Wilson, who was
to be known as Christopher North. And remembering the influences by
which his character was moulded at home, have we not here the promise
of a fresh type of the Christian priest? After serving for about two
years as assistant at Kilbrandon in Lorn, he became in 1808 minister of
Campbeltown. Hardly was he settled in his place when a little crisis
occurred in which his mettle was revealed. The sacrament of the Lord’s
Supper was at hand, and Macleod thought it necessary to have services
in the open air as well as in the church. His fellow-presbyters, all
but one, refused to assist him in what they regarded as juvenile folly.
Nothing daunted, the young minister had a tent set up, and on the
Sunday morning preached to four thousand. In the church he held five
communion services, while his friend in turn officiated at the tent.
Towards the close, when the church was crammed,--passages, stairs, and
all,--some of the fathers and brethren appeared, but their proposals
of help were declined. In a short time his popularity had become such
that, when there was a rumour of his going away, the dissenters offered
to contribute, equally with his own people, for the augmentation of
his stipend. He was to rise to honour in the Church, and be adored
throughout the Highlands; but long before he died he was effaced by his
son.

At Aros, in Mull, lived Mr. Maxwell, the Duke of Argyll’s chamberlain,
a person of note in his day and place, and a fine man at home. He
traced his descent to a youth who had fled from the Border, all the way
to Kintyre, before the soldiers of Claverhouse; and in his choice of
reading (for one thing) he betrayed the Lowland strain. His daughter
Agnes passed her early girlhood in Knapdale, where she was educated by
old songs and ballads, and the rapture that was on the lonely shore.
For the rest (not to speak of the inevitable finishing in Edinburgh),
imagine Aros such another home school as Fiunary. The two houses stood
facing each other on opposite sides of the Sound, and the minister’s
son--Leander in a boat--married the chamberlain’s daughter.

The eldest child of this pair, the third Norman, who may be called
Norman the Great, was born in Campbeltown on June 3, 1812. From his
earliest years he was remarkable for ardent affections, the eager
interest he took in everything, and the humour and imagination with
which he seized his little world. Talking and telling stories at the
nursery fire, his tongue never lay. When only six he could mimic
various characters of the town; and, later, he had an attic fitted
up, in which he and his companions acted plays. For study he had no
aptitude, and at the burgh school the classics were ill taught; but
he entered with a will into the life of the boyish community, making
passionate friendships, contending with the ‘shore-boys,’--those
raiders of the playground,--and heading expeditions against the
French, and chasing pirates in a punt. But his great delight as a boy
was to visit the vessels at the quay; he would spend hours on board,
learning the name and the use of everything, and consorting with the
sailors,--all in a world of romance. Other savours of life on the ocean
wave he had in society, which abounded in naval officers, some attached
to the revenue cruisers, some ‘half-pays’ who had, perhaps, fought with
Nelson. There also were two or three retired soldiers of distinction,
and as many aristocratic spinsters (drifts from the county), living on
their annuities, and the sheriff with his top-boots and queue. These,
with several old families of the place, and the usual dignitaries of
a burgh, were the quality; and, cut off as they were from the rest of
the world (Campbeltown being then as an ocean isle for isolation),
they make a quaint picture, like a set in some ancient novel. Norman
mixed in this company, and the heroes of the services, and the queer
old maids--he _saw_ them every one, and was glad. Not less did he
mark the fishermen’s sons, with their ‘codlike faces and huge hands
like flat-fish,’ or the fools and beggars that were the heroes of the
streets. This varied and stirring experience, which was of inestimable
account in the making of the man, fell in with the ideal of training
that had been set at Fiunary.

But in Campbeltown the boy could not grow up to be a Highlander after
his father’s heart; so in his twelfth year he was sent to Morven. The
old minister was now gone, and his youngest son was reigning in his
stead. Norman was boarded with the parish schoolmaster, his business
being to learn Gaelic and get acquainted with the peasantry. Many an
evening he spent in some hut,--the floor the bare earth, the ceiling
a roost for hens; around the fire (which was in the middle of the
apartment, the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof) a group would
gather,--the lasses knitting, the lads busking hooks; and, heedless of
the storm, they made the hours fly, telling tales and singing songs of
their land. He gloried in the shore, and was to be seen perched upon a
rock, fishing the deep pools. With his relatives, again (who claimed
him when the school-week was over), he wandered on moor and mountain,
or if they went sailing in the Sound, they would sometimes camp for the
night on some distant island, and see the loveliest dawns.

Here the romance of Norman’s boyhood came to an end; he was to exchange
Morven, not for ships and sailors, but for a far other environment in
the Lowlands. In 1825 his father was presented by the Crown, on the
recommendation of all the principal heritors, to Campsie, a parish in
Stirlingshire, within twelve miles of Glasgow. The minister accepted
the living for the sake of his family, but it cost him some pangs to
leave his congregation. ‘I preached my farewell sermon,’ he says in his
fragment of autobiography, ‘and could I have known beforehand the scene
which I then witnessed, and the feelings that I myself experienced, I
do believe that no inducement could have tempted me to leave them.’ In
his new parish there was a large manufacturing population; yet he might
almost have forgotten that he was not in the Highlands, the rural part
being a mountainous wild, and the manse near that goal of excursions,
Campsie Glen. The church was a wretched little structure, and away in
the country; but the minister set to work, and, after much trouble, had
a new one built in the town. For the sake of his countrymen, of whom
there were many in the parish, he held special services in their native
tongue; and it was during this period of his ministry that he began his
career as a literary apostle to the Gaelic-speaking race.

Of Norman as a boy in Campsie there is nothing to tell, except that
he attended the parish school; nay, and there is a letter in which he
complains, with a twinkle in his eye, of having salmon and legs of
roasted lamb crammed down his throat. ‘O my dear mamma, it is only
now that a fond mother is missed, when dangers and misfortunes assail
us.’ Hardly less meagre is the record of his early college life;
indeed, before we get a full view of the student he is a man, and the
strange thing is not that he was undistinguished in his classes, but
that (so far as appears) he was not even interested in the academic
scene. In 1827, when he entered the University, the old College
of Glasgow--now a railway station--and the old High Street--now a
sanitary thoroughfare--were as they had been in the days of Andrew
Melville,--the one with its hoary walls and turrets, the other with
its picturesque narrows; and in the grounds there was still that ‘sort
of wilderness’ where the duel of the two Osbaldistones was stopped
by Rob Roy. But Norman, the most voluminous of diarists, has no word
of the history or romance of the place; nor of his fellow-students,
though he might have remarked one Tait (already with the grave brows
befitting an archbishop), and a certain youth in homespun, with wild
eyes and flaming hair, George Gilfillan; nor yet of his professors,
among whom at least three were worthy of note,--Sir Daniel Sandford,
the brilliant Grecian and fervid orator, Robert Buchanan, of whom,
under the name of ‘Logic Bob,’ reminiscences may be heard to this day
in manses, and one less distinguished in his place, but likely to
be remembered longest, because he was the friend and biographer of
Burns, Josiah Walker. Macleod was nicknamed ‘the sailor’; he wore the
dress and affected the gait of a Jack tar. For learning, he dabbled
in science and read poetry, especially Shakespeare and Wordsworth. At
home, whither he repaired on the Fridays, he was all fun and frolic,
and carried mimicry so far that he would speak in any character but his
own. ‘Cease your buffoonery,’ his father wrote, and (unkindest cut of
all) ‘I was much pleased with the manner of the Stewart boys.’ But this
humour was an extravagant form of that sympathy which was to make him
great. Good Stewart boys! ‘on’y,’ as Long John says, ‘where are they?’
In after years Macleod bitterly regretted his neglect of scholarship,
feeling himself at a certain disadvantage in an age of intellectual
ferment. But every man to his vocation, and that of Norman Macleod was
the therapeutics of religion. For that he was unconsciously preparing
himself by his absorption in the panorama of existence. He knew he was
to be a minister, but he could never have been the man his country
admired, had his boyish thoughts been focused on his destination, and
not taken up with comrades, and the appearances of life.

Soon he was to hear, in the lectures of Chalmers, a trumpet call.
Having finished the curriculum of Arts, he proceeded in 1831 to the
Divinity Hall at Edinburgh, where, at the feet of the first of Scottish
ministers and men, he awoke to the seriousness and mystery of life, and
anticipated with joy his part in the evangelical crusade. Chalmers,
alike by his teaching and his character, was singularly fitted to be
the spiritual master of Macleod. Almost at once they recognised each
other for kindred natures, and the sympathy of the pupil was repaid by
the professor’s trust.

Another influence at this period went to deepen his religious feelings,
the death of a brother. He had that passionate attachment to relatives
in general which marks the Celt, and between Norman and James there
had been a peculiar bond of affection. On the last occasion of their
meeting, Norman had engaged in prayer (for the first time in company),
and the invalid had said, ‘I am so thankful, mother; Norman will be
a good man.’ The death of James was not only an awful blow at the
moment, it marks an epoch in the other’s life. Immediately after the
bereavement, Norman wrote--’I know not, my own brother, whether you
now see me or not. If you know my heart, you will know my love for
you, and that in passing through this pilgrimage, I shall never forget
you, who accompanied me so far.’ Nor did he ever forget; again and
again, and long years after, he recalled that pale face, and thought of
immortality.

On the recommendation of Chalmers, Macleod had been appointed tutor to
a young English gentleman, the son of Henry Preston, of Moreby Hall,
Yorkshire. In the spring of 1834, at the close of his theological
course at Edinburgh, he went with his pupil to Weimar, carrying letters
for the ducal Court. These were from Lady Vavasour, who had drilled
him ‘how to speak to Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess, sister
to the late Empress of Russia.’ The Court of Weimar! that was indeed
a change. But there and thereabout he was to be for a whole year,
mixing in the very society which, a few years before, had been adorned
by Goethe. ‘There are indeed many advantages for young men here,’
the seer wrote to Carlyle in 1828, ‘especially for those of your own
country. The Double-Court of the reigning Grand Duke and the Hereditary
Family, at which they are always kindly and generously received,
constrains them by this mark of distinction to a refined demeanour at
social entertainments of various kinds.’ Imagine Norman waltzing at
the State balls, dressed in cocked hat and sword, with silk stockings
and buckled shoes, and haunting the gardens, the cafés, the theatres,
and the glorious park ‘where the nightingales never ceased to sing.’
Nevertheless he kept his head, constituting himself mentor (always a
favourite rôle of his) to the young English residents. As he observed
the German laxity he called for a new Luther, though he condemned the
contrary vice of the Church at home, that would measure his piety by
his reading a newspaper on Sunday. He made excursions, one as far as
the Tyrol, in the course of which he visited the picture galleries of
Vienna, Munich, and Dresden. But the great event of his life in Weimar
was his falling in love with the Court beauty,--’La Baronne,’ he calls
her,--which he did in a fashion of poetic worship, worthy of a hero of
romance or song. For years afterwards, let him hear old Weimar tunes
upon the piano, and his heart will overflow with thoughts that he
cannot utter; a German waltz, and his brain will reel.

In the autumn of 1835, after a residence of some months at Moreby Hall,
where he mingled with the local squires, and met certain legislators
fresh from St. Stephen’s, he entered the Divinity Hall at Glasgow. But
he did not now cross the quadrangle as if it were a ship’s deck. For
one thing, he was no longer an idle student, but rose at unearthly
hours to grind, or if he did not, his conscience put in for damages,
which took the form of pages of eloquent remorse. Besides, he was
a great handsome fellow, and, not to speak of his inner life,--so
vitalised by various experience,--he had seen more than most Scottish
students. Add his conversational powers and boundless vivacity, and
he should be something of a lion in college society. He became the
leader of the Tories, and it was in that capacity that he had his first
taste of fame. At the Scottish Universities there falls to be elected
by the students, once in three years, an honorary official called the
Lord Rector. The candidates are usually leaders in the rival political
camps. In Glasgow there seemed to be no chance for a Tory,--men like
Jeffrey, Brougham, Cockburn, and Stanley having carried the day time
out of mind;--but in 1836, under Norman Macleod’s leadership, the Whig
tradition was broken by the triumphant return of Sir Robert Peel. At
the Peel Banquet, which is almost historical, as the rise of the
Tory tide dates from the oration delivered by the honoured guest,
Norman made his first public appearance, replying to the toast of the
Conservative students. ‘I think I can see him now,’ says Principal
Shairp, ‘standing forth prominently conspicuous to the whole vast
assemblage, his dark hair, glossy as a black-cock’s wing, massed over
his forehead, the purple hue of youth on his cheek.’ His speech was
striking, and impressed even Peel. Thus, if the first period of his
college career was obscure, the last ended in a blaze of glory.

The family were now resident in Glasgow (his father having been
translated to St. Columba’s), and in the house a number of young
gentlemen, some of them boarders, pursued their college studies under
Norman’s supervision. The scene of their work was ‘the coffee-room,’
and it was always a great moment when their tutor burst in upon them
from his own den, radiant with life and joy. Among them was John
Macintosh and John Campbell Shairp. Macintosh had come from Edinburgh
with the laurels of first pupil of the New Academy. In Glasgow College
he was at the head of all his classes, and his scholarship was not more
remarkable than his piety. He was the sort of boy that takes all the
prizes, including the prize for good conduct. As for Shairp, there is
no one with a knowledge of the best Scotsmen of the last generation
but reveres and loves the memory of that gifted and high-souled man.
Though Macleod was more impressed by the saintly Macintosh, he found in
Shairp, owing to the wider range of their mutual sympathies, a fitter
companion. They were both Wordsworthians. Macleod could tell how his
enthusiasm had once carried him to Ambleside, how he had seen and
talked with the poet, how the old man had appeared in a brown greatcoat
and a large straw hat, and had read ‘in his deep voice some of his
own imperishable verses.’ The two students, many a night under the
frosty starlight, walking home from the Peel Club (of which Macleod was
president), kept firing at each other quotations from their favourite
bard.

For Wordsworth’s poetry Macleod had been prepared, because its
materials were within his own emotional experience. Passage after
passage only interpreted and defined for him feelings which he had long
known in the presence of wild nature. Of the influences that went to
form his moral constitution not the least marked was that of Highland
scenery. Even amidst the gaieties of Weimar, he would shut his eyes,
and, whistling a Highland tune, see the old hills. The autumn after
he was licensed--1837--the last before his life-work began--was spent
in Morven and Skye. He speaks of ‘passionate hours in the lonely
mountains,’ and, to judge from his journal, his excitement in these
scenes was wonderful, varying from ecstatic delight to solemn awe and
worship. On a peak of the Coolins he burst out singing the Hundredth
Psalm. Along with this must be taken his keen consciousness of the
hereditary associations. During his holiday he preached in ‘the same
pulpit where once stood a revered grandfather and father.’ ‘As I went
to the church,’ he writes, ‘hardly a stone or knoll but spoke of
something which was gone, and past days crowded upon me like the ghosts
of Ossian, and seemed, like them, to ride even on the passing wind
and along the mountain tops. What a marvellous, mysterious world is
this, that I in this pulpit, the third generation, should now, by the
grace of God, be keeping the truth alive on the earth, and telling how
faithful has been the God of our fathers.’



CHAPTER II

1838-1843

LOUDOUN--NON-INTRUSION CONTROVERSY


Just after his return from this tour, Macleod was presented, virtually
at the instance of Chalmers, to the living of Loudoun, in Ayrshire.
On March 5, 1838, he was ordained. From this time onward his private
journal is largely the record of religious introspection. With the
other earnest ministers of that period, he took up the feelings and
the language of the old Puritans. One cannot forget Robertson, on his
appointment to the charge of Ellon, pacing the room for hours in the
silence of the night, ‘and, all unconscious of being overheard, praying
for mercy to pardon his sin and grace to help him in his embassy for
Christ.’ This is good to know, but a little of it goes a long way. When
my brother has entered into his closet and shut the door, I do not wish
to spy upon his spiritual straits, or listen at the keyhole to his
penitential groans. That Macleod, on assuming his first ministerial
charge, deeply felt his responsibility, is clear from his doings as
well as from his diary. The young minister had never doubted the
truth of the religion which, more by example than by precept, had come
down to him from his fathers. And the doctrines of Christianity were
to him not merely true, they were vividly realised in his heart and
imagination. In criticism, at this time, his highest flight was to
name certain antinomies of Calvinism as nuts to crack. On the other
hand, in his frank acceptance of the goodly world, and in his passion
for characters (which was such that he would go scouting for the
ludicrous), he seemed to have more of the humanist than the saintly
temperament. Nothing could have been more alien to him than the plaint
of a latter-day poet--

  ‘Strange the world about me lies,
    Never yet familiar grown,
  Still disturbs me with surprise,
    Haunts me like a face half-known.’

And he had met in Germany, somewhat to his astonishment, men who
danced on a Sunday, and still showed Christian graces; nay, men who
were reverent and pious, though they could not have subscribed to the
Westminster Confession.

The parish of Loudoun is a broad green wooded valley, through which
runs the Irvine Water, celebrated in song. At one end, on a pleasant
slope, the towers of the castle shine out above the trees; at the
other, several miles distant, lie the villages of Newmilns and Darvel,
where the mass of the population resided. The farmers were a sturdy,
pious race, as befitted the descendants of the Covenanters; but in the
weavers Macleod encountered a new and formidable type of sinner. The
eighteenth century had spoken to their fathers; on matters of religion
their authority was Tom Paine; of politics, Robespierre qualified by
Chartism. Thus the minister, whose business, as he conceived it, was
to pilot souls to heaven, had no sooner taken the helm than he found
himself among rocks and breakers. He was little of a politician, and
no priest, which was fortunate, as a formal defence of the Church or
of Toryism against such antagonists would have been the worst tactics;
but, being a _man_, he got hold of many of the weavers in the end.
“Poor souls!” he could say; “how I do love the working classes!” and
that was a note he never lost. Besides the human, he approached them
on the secular ground. On geology, which was then a fine new weapon to
the adversaries of the Church, he gave a course of lectures which made
a sensation, particularly among the hand-loom atheists, many of whom
became communicants.

The moral condition of Newmilns was terrible in the young pastor’s
eyes, and he would sometimes despair, thinking that all his efforts
were in vain. There was in him some touch of the divine yearning, ‘O
Jerusalem, Jerusalem!’ If he woke in the night-time, he communed with
God. Far from flagging, the ambassador for Christ piled agencies on
means, and, as it were, took the place by storm. The church was crowded
to suffocation; he preached on week-days in various parts of the
parish, instituted Sunday schools, prayer meetings, and meetings for
young men; and, for the sake of the poorest of the poor, held services
to which none were admitted who wore good clothes. In the course of
a year he would visit several thousand families, and as in public he
denounced evil-doers in general, in private he singled them out for
rebuke and exhortation.

In his Loudoun ministry there is just perceptible an official smack,
a note of externality; he has not yet entirely freed himself from the
mechanical theory of salvation. For example, he was much taken up
with the work of winning or, if need were, extorting confessions of
repentance and faith from dying unbelievers. There was one with whom
the zealous young ambassador strove hard, all to induce the invalid
to speak. ‘Before I go have you nothing to say?’ The man lifted up
his skeleton hand and panted out--’No, no, noth--nothing.’ At a later
period Macleod would rather have sympathised with the poet, who wanted
no priest--

  ‘--to canvass with official breath
  The future and its viewless things,
  That undiscovered mystery
  Which one who feels death’s winnowing wings
  Must needs read clearer, sure, than he.’

The manse of Loudoun is a little way out of Newmilns, in the direction
of the castle, and overlooking the road; on one side, a pretty garden,
and at the back the glebe, a beautiful brae. In that very house Robert
Burns once spent a night. Coming down in the morning, he was asked
whether he had slept well. ‘I have been praying all night,’ the poet
answered; ‘if you go up to my room you will find my prayers on the
table.’ He had been thinking of the sweet life of the household and all
he might have been. But this tradition did not move Macleod; indeed, at
that time he was unjust to the poet, as what cleric was not? Invited to
take the chair at a Burns Festival in Newmilns, he replied (disloyal
to Wordsworth for once) that he could not, dared not, as a Christian
minister, commemorate such a man.

His life at Loudoun, notwithstanding his professional industry, was
full of brightness and charm. Much of his leisure was passed among his
flowers, or he went into the woods and sat listening to the birds. In
the winter evenings, to his sister Jane, who kept house for him, he
read aloud from the works of Shakespeare, Scott, and, a new writer,
Dickens; and she in turn entertained him with German sonatas and Gaelic
songs. At Loudoun Castle, then inhabited by the Dowager Marchioness of
Hastings, widow of the celebrated Governor-General, he was not only a
welcome guest, but a trusted friend. His conversational gifts might
account for his acceptability at the tables of the great, but he was
never the mere diner-out, still less the nice chaplain. In any company
he would speak, when occasion offered, from the heart to the heart,
and it was at first startling to see the laugh die out of the face
of the big jolly parson, and hear sudden lessons or tales that shook
the inmost soul, and drew the awkward tear. Lady Hastings gave him the
key of a vault in Loudoun Kirk where lay the right hand of her dead
husband, which had been sent from Malta; and, sure enough one morning,
as the Marchioness lay dying, he was summoned to fetch the relic that
it might be buried in her grave.

The ‘coffee-room fellows’ held reunions at Loudoun. Referring to one of
these, Shairp says: ‘We wandered by the side of the Irvine Water, and
under the woods, all about Loudoun Castle, and Norman was, as of old,
the soul of the party. He recurred to his old Glasgow stories, or told
us new ones derived from his brief experience of the Ayrshire people,
in whom, and in their characters, he was already deeply interested. All
day we spent out of doors; and as we lay, in that balmy weather, on
the banks or under the shade of the newly-budding trees, converse more
hearty it would be impossible to conceive.’

Through Shairp (who was now a student of Oxford) he was kept abreast
of the Tractarian movement; not to his peace of mind, for he was
protestant and presbyterian to the core. Once, while staying at Moreby,
he had attended a magnificent confirmation ceremony in York Minster,
but his raptures over the stained windows and ‘the great organ booming
like thunder through the never-ending arches’ suddenly vanished in the
recollection of a sacramental scene which he had witnessed in the
Highlands--’no minster but the wide heaven, no organ but the roar of
the eternal sea, the church with its lonely churchyard and primitive
congregation.’ So far from having any leanings to High Churchism, he
saw no harm in a layman administering the sacrament of the Lord’s
Supper. Another sign is that, Highlander as he was, he had no sympathy
with the Jacobites; he said that Charlie was never his darling, and
spoke of the low cunning and tyrannical spirit of the Stuarts. The
Anglo-Catholic movement he simply abhorred. ‘Well,’ he wrote to Shairp,
‘what think you of Puseyism now? You have read No. 90, of course,--you
have read the article on Transubstantiation,--you have read it! Great
heavens! is this 1841?’ Shairp, who wet his feet in the rising tide,
piped in vain to his friend about the greatness of Newman. Macleod
could not understand a beautiful soul who spent his mornings in
idolatry, a sage of the nineteenth century for whom the only question
was--Anglican Church or Roman?

  Into what hole, Bezonian? speak or die.

Protestantism is more than a creed. Men may rail at the Scarlet
Woman, and yet, in the matter of ecclesiastical claims, be little
Beckets. In the non-intrusion controversy, such as it was in the end,
Macleod’s attitude was partly determined by his dislike of sacerdotal
pretensions. Since the law courts had declared the measures of the
General Assembly illegal, the non-intrusionists intrusionists had set
themselves up against the judges, and in the course of their defiance
were justifying, by word and deed, Milton’s saying, that ‘new presbyter
was just old priest writ large.’ The question was not now of patronage,
but of the Headship of Christ, the crown-rights of the Redeemer;
practically the old quarrel between priests and kings.

As to the necessity of checking the power of the patron there was
not from the first any difference between the two sides. Everybody
recognised that the people, having won political freedom, would have a
voice in the appointment of ministers. To patronage, indeed, the Scots
never consented, were never reconciled; they always looked upon it as
a wrong, they could always say, ‘An enemy hath done this.’ Both Knox
and Melville asserted the right of the people to elect their ministers,
and the Kirk, as often as it had the chance, got rid of patronage. The
evil seemed to be cast out for ever at the Revolution, but in 1712 it
was surreptitiously restored. The Act of Queen Anne, which was nothing
but a Jacobite intrigue, handing over the Kirk to the Pretender’s
friends, was introduced behind the nation’s back, and passed in spite
of the strenuous opposition of the General Assembly. For many years
and in various ways the Kirk tried to get it repealed. In a single
decade there were upwards of fifty disputed settlements before the
courts, and about the middle of the century the dissenters numbered
a hundred thousand. To make matters worse, the party which, under
the name of Moderates, systematically championed the patrons, rose to
absolute power in the Kirk. Before a presentee could be settled he had
to receive the call, a document in his favour signed by the heads of
families: this the Moderates treated as a mere form, and minimised it
more and more till they got quit of it altogether--except the name.
Ministers were inducted with the military at their back. At length,
weary of the struggle, the people gave in, and the descendants of the
Covenanters endured intrusion almost dumbly for twenty years, under
the iron rule of Robertson. As Dr. Chalmers said in his grandiose way:
‘The best, the holiest feelings of our Scottish patriarchs, by lordly
oppressors, sitting in state and judgment, were barbarously scorned.’

After the French Revolution the awakening of man’s spirit, extending
from letters and politics to religion, led in Scotland to the rise
of the Evangelical party. They had lofty notions of ecclesiastical
authority, and manifested their pious zeal in prosecuting men whose
holiness was qualified by originality, such as Macleod Campbell, whom
they incontinently deposed. But, for all that, they were the best of
the clergy, because they were in vital earnest with the highest things.

What was their policy on the question of intrusion? In some way it
should prevent the patron from thrusting in a minister against the
will of the congregation. The General Assembly of 1834, the first
in which the Evangelicals outnumbered the Moderates, conferred
upon the majority of heads of families (being communicants) the
right of vetoing, without assigning reasons, the settlement of a
presentee. Now it is conceivable that one might be eager for reform,
and yet disapprove of the Veto Law. To be sure it was fitted to stop
intrusion, but, as the records of its operation show, it would have
led to another evil, the vetoing of presentees on trivial and absurd
pretexts, rejection for rejection’s sake. Popular election entails
complete responsibility, but when men have to take their ministers
from a patron, and yet can refuse one presentee after another without
saying why, they will be apt to use their licence to make up for their
slavery. This were hardly worth remarking but for the assumption,
conveyed in many an oration, that the policy was as admirable as the
principle which it embodied. Let the non-intrusionists have all the
praise of meeting, in some sort, the just claim of the people.

The General Assembly, however, had gone beyond its powers. Both the
House of Lords and the Court of Session pronounced the Veto Law to be
_ultra vires_, the judges holding that the presbytery was bound to
take on trials any presentee to whom there was no objection on the
ground of morals, scholarship, or doctrine. Notwithstanding this,
the General Assembly stuck to the veto. So there would be rejected
presentees demanding, in accordance with the law, to be taken on
trials, and presbyteries at their wits’ end, pulled one way by the
General Assembly, and another way by the civil Court. The General
Assembly ordered the presbytery of Strathbogie not to take on trials
a certain presentee who had been vetoed. The presbytery obeyed. But
the Court of Session declared the order of the General Assembly to be
illegal. Thereupon the presbytery, by a majority of seven, admitted
the presentee. For that the seven were deposed. And now came the event
which was the cause of the Disruption. The minority in the General
Assembly, failing to see how it could be rebellion to obey the law of
the land, treated the deposition of these men as null and void. The
question then was, which of the two sides was the Church of Scotland?
Parliament, all the time, was trying to reconcile parties by changes in
the law, but as it always insisted on making the presbytery the final
judge of the fitness of presentees, the non-intrusionists would not
hear of legislation.

It was not till near the end of the struggle that the minister of
Loudoun turned his eyes upon the field. The thunder of the captains
and the shouting had been long in his ears without stirring him to
action. He was all in his vocation, the cure of souls,--the mystery
of existence ever for him insurgent, whether he looked on life and
death, or remembered his days upon the hills. ‘I wished,’ he said,
‘to keep out of this _row_, and to do my Master’s work and will in
my dear, dear parish.’ Some clerics are listless in religion; but
when a question of church politics is raised, alert as a horse at
the sound of the trumpet. Macleod hated controversy, and said it
was the worst way of doing good. Of the two parties in the Church he
might have sung, ‘How happy could I be with _neither_!’ In him the
opposing types were blended; he had all the humanism which marked the
one,--the love of letters, the relish of things, the superiority to
clerical prejudice,--with all the zeal of the other for the cause of
the gospel. But, called to choose between extremes, he preferred ‘the
cold gentlemanly Moderate’ to ‘the loud-speaking high professor.’ And
the non-intrusionists were claiming to be the only true Christian
ministers in the land, nay more, the chosen of Heaven. They declared
that they were raised up by God, they called themselves the fitting
instrument of the Lord. They invaded the parishes of the Moderate
clergy, and preached, telling the people that now, for the first time,
the gospel was in their ears. ‘The Lord Jesus Christ,’ they said, ‘will
have left the Church when we go.’ In a pamphlet written by Macleod,
‘A Crack about the Kirk for Kintra Folk,’ which had a large sale,
_Saunders_ observes: ‘I ken mony that are foremost eneuch in this
steer that in my opinion hae little o’ the meekness and gentleness o’
Christ.’ He must have been thinking of the minister who said that ‘the
devil was preparing a cradle in hell for the opposition.’ Everything
in the popular cause was exaggerated. Patronage was ‘earthly, sensual,
devilish’; _vox populi, vox Dei_, and no mistake. The struggle against
the civil courts was ‘one of the most illustrious conflicts for the
spirituality and liberty of the Church of Christ of which any record
can be found either in modern or in ancient times.’ What Macleod could
least endure in the non-intrusionists was their sacerdotal temper. They
insisted on remaining in an Established Church, while flying in the
face of the law by which it was established. The Headship of Christ was
bound up with the resolutions of the General Assembly, and to obey an
order of the Court of Session was to crucify the Lord afresh.

As for patronage, Macleod was probably willing that it should be
abolished altogether, but he could not support the veto in defiance of
the declared law of the Church. ‘I’m desperate keen for gude reform,’
says _Saunders_ again, ‘and would like the folk to hae mair poo’er,
but I would like to get it in a legal way.’ Macleod believed that the
Establishment was necessary for the religious welfare of the country,
and saw nothing that was worth the risk of its existence. Not till it
became evident that the non-intrusionists were bent on destroying the
Church did he join in the conflict. ‘It will be our bounden duty,’ one
of the leaders had said, ‘to use every effort that if we be driven
out, they shall be driven out too; it is our bounden duty to bear this
testimony that the Church ought to be established on the principles
which we are contending for, or that there should be no establishment
in the land at all.’ When things like that were being said, Macleod,
in alarm, plunged into the whole literature of the controversy. The
position he reached was this, that when there was a dispute as to the
privileges granted by the State to the Church, it was for the civil
court to interpret the terms of the contract. He became one of the
Forty, a set of Independents, whose chief distinction is that they
promoted parliamentary legislation for the reform of patronage. While
opposed to the revolutionary policy, they were not Moderates, for they
countenanced some of the acts of the majority. They were as little for
Erastus as for Hildebrand.

A non-intrusionist deputation came to Newmilns. Macleod allowed them
to harangue in the church, but he took care to be present, and when
they invited the auditors to sign certain resolutions, springing up, he
asked the people to wait till they heard from their minister the other
side of the question. ‘The evening came, and the church was crammed
with all sects and parties. I do believe I never had a greater pressure
on my soul than I had before this meeting. I did not so much possess
the subject as the subject possessed me. Between anxiety to do right
and a feeling of degradation that I should be looked upon by even one
Christian brother as inimical to the Church of Scotland, not to speak
of the Church of Christ, I was so overcome that during the singing of
the psalm--

  “Therefore I wish that peace may still
    Within Thy walls remain”--

I wept like a very child. I spoke, however, for three and a half
hours, and not a soul moved!... The result has been most gratifying. Of
ten elders not one has left me. The people are nearly unanimous, or at
all events so attached to me personally that they are about to present
to me a gold watch and an address from all parties.’

About the same time (February 1843) circumstances compelled him to
take action in the presbytery. Along with the Veto Law the Chapel Act
had been passed, giving seats in the church courts to the ministers
of non-territorial charges. The House of Lords had just declared
that also to be illegal, when the Presbytery of Irvine met to elect
commissioners to the General Assembly. The minister of Loudoun happened
to be Moderator. Should he allow the chapel ministers to vote? There
was more in his mind than the law; ‘it was the avowed intention,’ he
says, ‘of the High Church party to get the majority in the Assembly
by means of the _Quoad Sacras_ ... and then, as the Assembly of the
National Church, to dissolve the connection between Church and State,
excommunicating those who might remain.’ Refusing the illegal votes, he
set up a separate presbytery; and here was the first actual split in
the Church.

Of all the members of the General Assembly who witnessed or took part
in the procession from St. Andrew’s Church on May 18, 1843, there were
none more sorrowful than the minister of Loudoun. But ere the day was
over a little indignation came to his relief. ‘How my soul rises
against those men who have left us to rectify their blundering, and
then laugh at our inability to do so!’ Principal Tulloch has said that
the act of secession would always be deemed heroic in the history of
Scotland; but Norman Macleod, who, unlike the other, was an eye-witness
and in the thick of events, wrote in his journal immediately after the
Disruption: ‘The great movements, the grand results, will certainly
be known, and everything has been done in the way most calculated to
tell on posterity (for how many have been acting before its eyes!):
but who in the next century will know or understand the ten thousand
secret influences, the vanity and pride of some, the love of applause,
the fear and terror, of others, and, above all, the seceding mania,
the revolutionary mesmerism, which I have witnessed within these few
days.’ For himself he felt how much easier it would have been to go
than it was to stay. ‘Never,’ he wrote, ‘did I have such a fortnight of
care and anxiety. Never did men engage in a task with more oppression
of spirit than we did, as we tried to preserve the Church for the
benefit of our children’s children. The Assembly was called upon to
perform a work full of difficulty, and to do such unpopular things
as restoring the Strathbogie ministers, rescinding the Veto, etc. We
were hissed by the mob in the galleries, looked coldly on by many
Christians, ridiculed as enemies to the true Church, as lovers of
ourselves, seeking the fleece; and yet what was nearest my own heart
and that of my friends was the wish to preserve the Establishment
for the well-being of Britain. While the “persecuted martyrs of the
Covenant” met amid the huzzas and applauses of the multitude, with
thousands of pounds daily pouring in upon them, and nothing to do
but what was in the highest degree popular; nothing but self-denial,
and a desire to sacrifice name and fame, and all but honour, to my
country, could have kept me in the Assembly. There was one feature of
the Assembly which I shall never forget, and that was the _fever_ of
secession, the restless, nervous desire to fly to the Free Church.’ In
the course of one of his speeches in the rump Assembly he exclaimed:
‘We shall endeavour to extinguish the fire which has been kindled,
and every fire but the light of the glorious gospel, which we shall,
I hope, fan into a brighter flame. And the beautiful spectacle which
was presented to us on Sabbath evening, in the dense crowd assembled
here to ask the blessing of God on our beloved Church, enabled me to
distinguish amid the flames the old motto flashing out, _Nec tamen
consumebatur_. We shall try to bring our ship safe to harbour, and
if we haul down the one flag, “Retract: no, never,” we shall hoist
another, “Despair: no, never.” And if I live to come to this Assembly
an old man, I am confident that a grateful posterity will vindicate our
present position, in endeavouring through good report and bad report to
preserve this great national institution as a blessing to them and to
their children’s children.’

The Free Church was always in his eyes ‘just an outburst of
presbyterian Puseyism,’ and undoubtedly its rise was marked by a
clerical reign of terror. Mr. Skelton testifies: ‘The air of Edinburgh
is generally bitter with Calvinism, and in 1843 it was particularly
inclement. The Free Kirk, having just made a heroic sacrifice, were
naturally rather out of temper. Cakes and ale, consequently, were
quite at a discount. The re-enactment of the old sumptuary laws of
the Puritans began to be talked of again. The national beverage was
interdicted. Young professors could not be permitted to indulge in
promiscuous dancing. The presbytery thundered hoarsely against the
profanation of the Sabbath as practised on Leith Pier, or round
Arthur’s Seat. The slightest sign of independent vitality, intellectual
or religious, was sourly repressed by a party in which the secular
intolerance of the democracy was curiously combined with the spiritual
pretensions of the hierarchy.’ ‘A gloomy fanaticism,’ writes the
father of Norman Macleod, ‘followed the breaking up of the Established
Church, and perhaps in no part of the country did this bitterness exist
more strongly than in the Western Islands. In Skye, especially, it
led to dividing families, and separating man from man, and altogether
engendered strife which I fear it will take years to calm down.’

Although too young, even if he had been fit, to be in the front of the
battle, the minister of Loudoun was notable among the remnant; and
with his repute, besides, as a pastor, it was no wonder that he was
besieged with offers of livings. He refused the first charge of Cupar,
Fife; the Tolbooth and St. John’s, Edinburgh; Campsie, Maybole, St.
Ninian’s. He accepted Dalkeith. Then he learned how much his people
at Loudoun were attached to him. Many whom he had thought rocks sent
forth tears. At the church gate, after his farewell sermon, there was a
mournful crowd; and as he walked home he was waylaid by watchers, who
seized his hand, and invoked upon him the blessing of God.



CHAPTER III

1843-1851

AFTER THE BATTLE--DALKEITH--EMBASSIES--EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE--DEATH OF
JOHN MACINTOSH.


That he should have chosen Dalkeith when he had the chance of going
to Edinburgh has been remarked as strange. ‘I prefer,’ he said in
explanation, ‘a country parish to a town, because the fever and
excitement and the kind of work on Sabbath days and week days in
Edinburgh would do me much harm bodily and spiritually.’ This is not
enough, and indeed, though he did not state them, he confessed that
he had other reasons. As the citadel of a glorying dissent, Edinburgh
would scarcely be inviting to a man of his temperament. And it is clear
that his mind had been stirred to its depths by the secession. At
Dalkeith he would have leisure for reading and reflection, and yet be
close to the headquarters of the Church.

Of all those who remained in the Establishment, none saw more
clearly, or more deeply deplored, the havoc that had been made by the
Disruption, than the minister of Dalkeith. He had started joyously
upon his career, intent on proclaiming the gospel of brotherhood and
love, and, behold, the Church rent asunder, those that were brethren
at daggers drawn, and all over the land, even to the family altar,
embittering divisions! To a mind like his it seemed horrible to stand
for ecclesiastical principles at such cost to the kingdom of God in the
heart. Never for a moment had he any misgivings as to the side which
he had taken in the great controversy. Nay, he thought that, after
all, the Establishment might have been in the end more irrevocably
shattered had the High Church party remained within. He veered between
angry lamentation over the coldness and indifference of the Moderates,
and aversion from the faults of the new zealots--’vanity, pride, and
haughtiness that would serve Mazarin or Richelieu, clothed in Quaker
garb; church ambition and zeal and self-sacrifice that compete with
Loyola; and in the Highlands specimens of fanaticism which Maynooth can
alone equal.’ If the Establishment was a water-bucket, the Free Church
was a firebrand. At the same time he perceived only too well what
was good in the host that followed Chalmers. He was in full sympathy
with them in their devotion to the evangelical cause, and groaned in
spirit to think of forces, supposed to be in the service of the one
Master, divided and hostile, all for what he called old clothes. He
saw the seceders popular and victorious,--theirs all the energy, all
the faith; while the Kirk was not only outwardly broken, but chill and
listless within,--her ministers the old Erastians, or raw recruits
suddenly promoted to posts they were unfit for and looking more to
their stipends than their work. Among other instances of the prevailing
torpor, he noted with particular dismay that the Church gave no sign
when Peel proposed to endow Maynooth. Alone among the Established
clergy he called a meeting and got up a petition against the bill. In
his journal he wrote: ‘I declare solemnly I would leave my manse and
glebe to-morrow if I could rescind that terrible vote for Maynooth. I
cannot find words to express my deep conviction of the infatuation of
the step. And all statesmen for it! Not one man to form a protestant
party, not one! God have mercy on the country!’ On the question of
policy it is probable that he changed his mind, but there is nothing
plainer to the student of his journals than that to the last he had
for Popery, and for every semblance of Popery, a perfect hatred. For
him the Establishment was nothing if not a bulwark of Protestantism.
‘The Church of Scotland,’ he said as late as 1850, ‘is daily going down
hill.’ Yet he felt certain that no voluntary association, for all its
waving of banners and flourish of trumpets, was capable of grappling
with the spiritual needs of the country. How was the National Church
to be revived? The aristocracy had but one thing in view--the landed
interest; Peel was a trimmer; there was nothing in mere numbers. What
was wanted was an _inner work_ in the hearts of clergy and people.
‘If we were right in our souls,’ he wrote, ‘out of this root would
spring the tree and fruit, out of this fountain would well out the
living water.’ Two vows he took, one that he would devote himself to
the reviving of the Church, the other that he would do his utmost to
promote unity and peace among all who loved Christ.

At Dalkeith, for the first time, he came in contact with the submerged
ranks. These he overtook with the help of his congregation, which he
developed into a society of Christian workers. He went about preaching
in the wynds and closes. At various strategic points he opened mission
stations, the walls of which he got hung round with placards of the
Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments, and pictures from the life
of Christ. Many had no clothes to appear in, and when the Duke of
Buccleuch offered to pay for a missionary, the minister showed that
money would be better spent in employing dressmakers and tailors.
Visiting was to him a romantic expedition, such was the interest of
his days among his ‘brothers and sisters.’ There is a little incident
that recalls the characteristic inventions of his tales. ‘On coming
home this evening, I saw a number of boys following and speaking to,
and apparently teasing, a little boy who, with his hands in his pockets
and all in rags, was creeping along close by the wall. He seemed like
a tame caged bird which had got loose, and was pecked at and tormented
by wild birds. I asked the boys who he was. “Eh! he’s a wee boy gaun’
aboot beggin’, wi’out faither or mither.”’ The minister took him to the
manse, and consigned him to the housekeeper to get washed and dressed.
By and by ‘the door was opened, and in marched my poor boy, paraded in
by Jessie,--a beautiful boy, clean as a bead, but with nothing on but
a large beautiful clean shirt, his hair combed and divided; and Jessie
gazing on him with admiration, Mary Ann in the background. The poor boy
hardly opened his lips; he looked round him in bewilderment. “There he
is,” said Jessie; “I am sure ye’re in anither warld the night, my lad.
Were ye ever as clean afore?” “No.” “What will ye dae noo?” “I dinna
ken.” “Will ye gang awa’ and beg the night?” “If ye like.” “No,” said
I, “be off to your bed and sleep.”’

He was led to ponder the social as well as the religious problem
presented by life in the slums. In the events of the year of revolution
he took a keen interest. ‘The Chartists are put down,’ he remarked
scornfully, seeing with Carlyle that the matter would by no means
end with the victory of the special constable. ‘Snug the joiner,’ he
observed, ‘is a man as other men are, having a body finely fashioned
and tempered, which in rags shivers in the cold, while the “special”
goes to his fireside, with triumph draws in his chair, saying,
“The scoundrels are put down.” We demand from them patience while
starving--do we meet their demands for bread? Special! what hast thou
done for thy brother? Ay--don’t stare at me or at thy baton--thy
brother, I say! Hast thou ever troubled thyself about healing his
broken heart as thou hast about giving him a broken head?’ He rejected
the remedies of the politicians--reform of taxation, high wages,
the suffrage,--holding that the only cure lay ‘in the personal and
regular communion of the better with the worse--man with man--until
each Christian, like his Saviour, becomes one with those who are to be
saved.’ Such was the spirit in which he toiled among the poor. In the
east as in the west he at once made a reputation. It was a common thing
for divinity students to walk out from Edinburgh on a frosty Sunday to
see and hear Norman Macleod.

He was no sooner settled in Dalkeith than he began to take part in
the reparation of the ecclesiastical agencies that had been ruined by
the Disruption. Of these the chief was in his eyes the India Mission.
In 1844 he went, as one of a deputation, to the north of Scotland, in
order to organise societies for the furtherance of female education in
Hindostan. This was the first of a long series of religious embassies
which compassed the round earth. Thirty associations were formed, but
he returned from the tour lamenting the general apathy.

The year following he was charged, along with his uncle the minister
of Morven, and another, with a more distinguished errand. In the
Colonies, wherever there were people connected with the Church of
Scotland, the Secession had been felt; shrieks of _Veto, Cæsar,
Headship_, mingled with the strokes of axes in the backwoods. The
deputies were for British North America; their business was to preach,
and to explain the action of the constitutional side in the recent
conflict. To deal with Highland exiles who so fit as the famed Macleods
of Morven? And such an expedition would peculiarly suit Norman,
involving the delight of ships and foreign countries, and having an
object that excited his religious enthusiasm.

On the outward voyage (which was from Liverpool in June) he found in
one of the berths a dying man, and conversed with him about the state
of his soul. The invalid owned that his mother used to speak to him
every day about these things. ‘Poor fellow!’ writes Norman; ‘perhaps it
was in answer to her prayers that in his last hours he had beside him
those who spoke to him the truth’; and ‘I am very thankful that I did
not delay speaking to him,’ was the minister’s thought, as ‘the coffin
slid down and plunged into the ocean.’ But in Macleod the gay and the
grave alternated in a manner that bewildered, if it did not shock, the
pious stranger: one moment he would be in tears with sacred emotion,
the next he was capable of raptures of gladness just for life’s
sake. Nor of his sincerity either way was there ever, on the part
of those who knew him, the shadow of a doubt. In social circles, and
particularly among fellow-voyagers, he was always the dominant spirit,
brimming with genius and good humour, and so expansive and sympathetic
that every one was almost immediately his friend. When the ship reached
its destination, the passengers drank the health of the deputies with
three times three.

At Washington he had an interview with the President, Mr. Polk,--’a
plain man, of short stature, rather dark complexion, large forehead,
and hair erect’. But what he was in search of was a slave-market.
He was directed to a certain private house. ‘With my own eyes,’ he
thought, ‘shall I now see the strange sight--a brother-man for sale.’
Through a large gate, grated with massive iron bars, he was admitted
to a courtyard. On one side, in the cellars of the owner’s dwelling,
was the abode of the men; on the side opposite was a small barrack for
the women. A female carrying a child at once accosted him, beseeching
that if he bought her he would buy her child. ‘Five hundred dollars,’
said the master, puffing his cigar, while an old negress cried from the
outside to the slaves, ‘Keep up your heart, keep up your heart.’ Norman
sickened at the sight. Here was slavery in its most mitigated form,
and yet the impression made upon him ‘by _seeing_ instead of hearing
was overwhelmingly bitter. Men and women,’ he wrote, ‘my brothers and
sisters, bought and sold, without crime--without their consent--slaves
for life--slaves from childhood;--it was enough.’ During the American
war he declared that the British sympathy for the South was to him an
inscrutable mystery.

In the States he was not slow to pick up hints for his future work
from Sunday School Unions and Mission Boards; but that the customs of
a foreign country are not to be inferred from a surface glance, he
learned by an incident which he never forgot. He had mounted the box of
a coach, and was surprised to find the driver seated at his left hand.
‘Just as I had noted the great fact that “all drivers in America sit
on the left side of the box,” I thought I would ask what was gained
by this. “Why, I guess,” replied Jonathan, “I can’t help it; _I’m
left-handed_.”’

In Canada he had the hardest work that had ever fallen to him, speaking
almost every day for two or three hours, and that, perhaps, after a
drive of thirty miles over the worst roads. But, perched on a lumber
waggon, coat and waistcoat discarded, blouse and straw hat on, and in
his mouth a good cigar, he was busy taking in the primeval forest--the
tufted heads of the trees far up in the sky, the sunshine on the
leaves, the sudden appearance of strange fires, the chop-chop-chop of
the pioneer’s axe in the weird silence, and the clearance with its fine
fields, cattle with tinkling bells, and happy children. Sometimes,
joining a group of Highlanders, he would pretend to be an Englishman,
and would quiz them about their savage language till he had roused
their wrath, and then, to their amazement and delight, roll out Gaelic
as good as their own. The ecclesiastical atmosphere was the same as
in the old land. ‘This angry spirit of Churchism,’ he says, ‘which
has disturbed every fireside in Scotland, thunders at the door of
every shanty in the backwoods.’ For himself, in explaining the Church
question, he avoided all personalities, and gave full credit to his
opponents, insomuch that a Free Church preacher who (unknown to the
deputy) attended one of the meetings confessed that he could not find
fault with one expression. Controversy was hardly possible when those
stalwart scions of Fiunary met the exiles face to face; indeed, in most
places it was more a carnival of Celtic sentiment. At Picton in Nova
Scotia the presence of the deputies attracted Highlanders from all
the surrounding country; on a Sunday morning the bay was dotted with
coming boats, and pedestrians, horsemen, and all sorts of vehicles,
streamed into the town. There was a service in the open air. ‘The
tent,’ writes Norman, ‘was on a beautiful green hill, overlooking the
harbour and neighbouring country. When I reached it I beheld the most
touching and magnificent sight. There were (in addition to the crowd
we had left in the church) about four thousand people here assembled!
John had finished a noble Gaelic sermon. He was standing with his
head bare at the head of the white communion table, and was about to
exhort the communicants. There was on either side space for the old
elders, and a mighty mass of earnest listeners beyond. The exhortation
ended, I entered the tent and looked around; I have seen grand and
imposing sights in my life, but this far surpassed them all. As I
gazed on that table, along which were slowly passed the impressive
and familiar symbols of the body broken and blood shed for us all in
every age or clime--as I saw the solemn and reverent attitude of the
communicants, every head bent down to the white board, and watched the
expressions of the weather-beaten, true Highland countenances around
me, and remembered, as I looked for a moment to the mighty forests
which swept on to the far horizon, that all were in a strange land,
that they had no pastors now, that they were as a flock in the lonely
wilderness--as these and ten thousand other thoughts filled my heart,
amidst the most awful silence, broken only by sobs which came from the
Lord’s Table, can you wonder that I hid my face, and “lifted up my
voice and wept”? Oh that my father had been with us! what a welcome he
would have received!’ At various spots he met men from Mull and Morven,
who had known his father and his grandfather, and near Lake Simcoe Dr.
John Macleod found a woman who, the moment he entered her house, burst
into tears. On her plaid she wore a brooch which he recognised; it had
belonged to that noted domestic the henwife of Fiunary, and this was
the henwife’s sister. What sad and solemn partings there were with the
exiles! In one place two old elders put their arms about Norman’s neck,
and imprinted a farewell kiss on his cheek. For him, however, such
scenes opened no new sources of emotion; it was more that at the age of
thirty-three he could say: ‘I have had peeps into real Canadian life:
I have seen the true Indians in their encampment; I have sailed far up
(one hundred and fifty miles above Montreal) the noble Ottawa, and seen
the lumber-men with their canoes and the North-westers on their way
into the interior, some to cut timber, and some to hunt beaver for the
Hudson Bay Company; I have been shaken to atoms over “corduroy” roads,
and seen life in the backwoods; and I have been privileged to preach to
immortal souls, and to defend my poor and calumniated Church from many
aspersions.’

During this visit there came to him rumours of a movement for a
world-wide union of Protestants. His heart leapt up when he beheld a
rainbow in the sky. For two years at least the Evangelical Alliance
was the leading interest of his life. From the preliminary Conference,
held at Birmingham in April 1846, he wrote to his sister about one of
the happiest evenings he had ever spent on earth. ‘What a prayer was
that of Octavius Winslow’s! It stirred my deepest feelings and made the
tears pour down my cheeks.’ There was developed in him a new love for
his ministerial brethren. ‘I felt like a man who had brothers, but
they had been abroad, and he had never seen them before.’ The Alliance
was formed in August at the Freemasons’ Hall, London, in an assembly
composed of a thousand representative Christians from America and the
Colonies, and from almost every country in Europe. The project sprang
from a common desire on the part of certain evangelical men all over
the globe to combine against infidelity and Rome. An annual week of
prayer in various cities throughout the world, in Britain an annual
conference, a general conference once every lustrum in some European
capital, reports from branches on events touching religious liberty:
such were the methods by which these good men proposed to bring about
the golden year. And so vigorous was the Alliance in its youth, that
it negotiated the release of religious prisoners in various lands, and
was the means of abolishing in Turkey the death-penalty for renouncing
Islam. So at least we are told. There was doubtless at first a powerful
tide of Christian sentiment; light there was little or none. ‘When our
Saviour’s eyes,’ said the president, ‘witnessed your entrance into this
room, He witnessed a sight that, since the early days of Christendom,
has not been presented to the eyes of God or man.... And is there not
another class of eyes which may be said to be upon you? Is not the eye
of the Jew upon you? Are not the eyes of the heathen upon you? They
know not yet of your meeting: but upon the result of your meeting
much of their interests may be suspended. But, brethren, there are
other eyes upon us. We have reason to think that no such gathering as
this would take place, and principalities and powers and evil spirits
not be watching for our halting; and we cannot doubt that they would
triumph, if the spirit of love should fail, or the spirit of wisdom
not be granted to us. And out of the Church angels learn lessons of
wisdom (Eph. iii. 10); we cannot then doubt but that the eyes of angels
are directed towards us.’ A few days later he told the Conference that
he had been in the committee-room, and ‘he was persuaded he did not
overstate the case when he said that the world’s interests and the
interests of humanity were trembling in the balance.’ At a point in the
speech of a certain professor the editor interjects, ‘The respected
speaker here paused, evidently overcome by his feelings.’ The orator
‘hoped brethren would pardon him for so unmanly an expression of his
feelings. He was not a man of tears on any other subject but that which
concerned religion and its great interests: but from his childhood he
never could refrain from tears, when his own personal salvation, and
that of others, was at stake. On that subject he confessed he was a
perfect child.’ Did Norman cry, _Hear, hear_? On the contrary, he also
would be _greetin’_. The time came when he not only left the Alliance,
but used the word Evangelical as an epithet of sarcasm and reproach.
Meanwhile, he was one of the chief figures, being a member of the
business committee, a frequent chairman of devotions, and an occasional
debater. What he prized in the meetings was the prevailing love and
harmony; and to sit smoking in a group of Germans, Frenchmen, and
Americans, all united by the bond of a common religion, was delightful
to his peculiar soul. Another good thing he owed to the Alliance--the
privilege of visiting Prussian Poland and Silesia. Along with Mr.
Herschell of London, he was sent to look into certain progressive
movements which had been reported from these countries. By the year
1847 he had seen the working of different ecclesiastical systems, from
the borders of Russia to the Canadian backwoods, and from the Thames
to Lochaber. The result was to deepen his attachment to the Church of
Scotland.

How Norman Macleod was orthodox, and yet might care for religion in
a magnanimous way, not as an ecclesiastic but simply as a Christian,
should now be plain. And in the chosen leisure of Dalkeith, inquiring
after modern knowledge, he grew at least in mental susceptibility.
He came under the influence of his heretical cousin, John Macleod
Campbell, a deep and holy man; and of Thomas Arnold, in certain
respects a kindred soul; and even of Emerson, whom he hailed ‘thou
true man, poet of the backwoods.’ He was getting on. But the advance
was in spirit and feeling, not in religious belief. Here he was still
at one with Macintosh, the friend of his heart. What had become of
the scholar? In 1851 he lay at Tübingen, dying. After his studies at
Glasgow he had gone to Cambridge. There he had led a painfully diligent
and ascetic life. He had thrown in his lot with the non-intrusionists,
and had assisted Dr. Chalmers, his idol, in the experiment at the
West Port. At the manse of Dalkeith he had been a frequent visitor,
but in 1848 he had proceeded to the Continent, never to return. His
correspondence reveals the wonderful affection he had for his old
comrade. He calls him his ‘dearest Norman,’ his ‘beloved Norman,’
whose letters are sweet to him as violets among moss; speaks of his
open-mindedness and loving counsel; salutes him as a friend to whom he
owed many of the happiest hours of his life, much mental development,
and not a few faithful and well-timed warnings--a friend the thought of
whom brightened his future. ‘Think of you? Yes, yearn to see you, dear,
dear Norman.’ When the tidings that Macintosh was dying reached his
friends in Scotland, Macleod immediately set out for Tübingen. He was
detained on the Rhine for twenty-four hours by a thick mist, and, as
it happened, it was two o’clock in the morning when he arrived in the
town. He hurried to the hotel and went at once to the invalid’s door.
There he stood in breathless silence, listening to a hollow cough.
Next day he learned from Mrs. Macintosh that John was sinking fast,
and that he had received his relatives on their arrival with a strange
coldness, as if he hated seeing them. She durst not enter his room
without an invitation. Pondering this mystery, Norman asked himself,
among other questions, was it possible that Satan might thus tempt the
saint ere the final victory of Christ was achieved? He sent a note into
the sick-room, desiring to know at what hour his friend would see him.
The answer was, ‘Come now.’ The student, muffled in coat and plaid, was
seated on a sofa, reading. His eyes flashed under his long black hair
with an ‘intense and painful lustre.’ With loving gestures he welcomed
his friend, and in a scarce audible voice said, ‘I am holding communion
with God,’ and they were both silent. More perplexed than ever, the
visitor went out. Not long afterwards he returned, and told the news
from home, and recalled scenes out of the old days. The mystic,
awakening at last to the world, mentioned an hour at which he would
be glad to have another meeting. So he was brought back completely to
his old self. He had been mentally disturbed by his mother’s arrival,
because, thinking that he might recover, he had wished to conceal his
state from his friends. At Cannstadt, whither he was removed, he would
sit of an evening ‘with closed eyes, and head drooping on his breast,’
listening in silence to old Scottish tunes--’Wandering Willie,’ ‘The
Flowers o’ the Forest,’ ‘The Land o’ the Leal’; and, again, with an air
of absolute confidence, he would whisper his prospect of soon meeting
Chalmers. ‘My spirit,’ wrote Norman, ‘felt no less than awed before
him.’ The companions took farewell of each other on the 11th of March,
and a few hours afterwards the sufferer was dead.

In July Macleod was inducted to the Barony Church, Glasgow. A month
later he was married to Catherine Ann Macintosh, the sister of his
friend.



CHAPTER IV

1851-1860

 THE BARONY PARISH--MACLEOD AS PASTOR--AS PREACHER--HIS
 SYMPATHY--POSITION IN THE CITY.


The minister of the Barony--henceforth for many years commonly called
‘young Norman’ to distinguish him from his father--was a shining
exception to the prevailing type of the Established clergy, if not the
rising hope of those who looked for the rebuilding of the National
Zion. The Free Church, popular from the first, was going on prospering
and to prosper,--her tabernacles set up everywhere cheek by jowl with
the parish kirks. Now was the true gospel heard in the land. As to the
‘bond’ Establishment, inhabited by a godless residuum, seekers of the
fleece, worldlings and slaves, the only wonder was that it kept up
the pretence of being a Church, when it was visibly tottering to its
fall. Gradually the religious public heard of this Norman Macleod, a
minister of the Auld Kirk, who outdid the new evangelists on their own
ground. In the movement for a world-wide federation of Protestants his
enthusiasm went far beyond theirs; he was as much devoted as they were
to the cause of foreign missions; in pulpit unction he surpassed them:
if their voices quivered, his shook; if their eyelashes were wet, his
cheeks streamed with tears.

Than Macleod, when he left Dalkeith, no pastor was ever better equipped
for such a charge as the Barony. The parish consists, along with some
rural territory, of large districts scattered far and wide over the
city, and contained, in 1851, a population of 87,000, for whom, besides
attending to his own vast congregation, the minister had religious
ordinances to provide. Most of the inhabitants belonged to the
working class. Now Macleod had persuasive eloquence and a captivating
personality; to make Christians of the common people, whom he loved for
their virtues and their hardships, had been his ‘one aim, one business,
one desire,’ both in Loudoun and Dalkeith; and the Barony, as a sphere
of ministerial service, presented no problem which his experience had
not prepared him to encounter. The preceding incumbent, when dying,
had recommended him as the one man fitted for the post, and the
congregation, to whom ‘young Norman’ had been known from his Loudoun
days, were eager for his appointment.

The spirit of Macleod’s ministry is partly to be traced to the
influence of Chalmers, and, when he began his work in the Barony, the
celebrated example of his early master in the neighbouring parish of
St. John’s must have been in his mind. These two pastors were equal
in their sincerity, equal in their zeal for the evangelisation of the
masses, equal in their capacity for work. But whereas Chalmers surveyed
the condition of the people like a statesman, and had his principles
and plans of amelioration, Macleod saw mainly the individual, and
thought most of a moral change. Of the social question Chalmers grasped
the economic side, and, in relieving the poor upon a theory, the
science of the thing had as much interest for him as the philanthropy.
Macleod had more love of human nature, a greater patience with persons,
a kindlier eye for the average man. Chalmers had more head, Macleod
more heart; which is not to indicate defect in either, for as Macleod
was one of the shrewdest, so Chalmers was one of the tenderest of
men. The minister of St. John’s, with all his social and religious
enthusiasm, hankered after intellectual pursuits, and was glad to
escape from the Gallowgate of Glasgow to the academic cloisters of St.
Andrews. Macleod, in the maturity of his powers, wanted a world of men.
The pastorate of Chalmers, however, was still a vivid tradition, and
could not fail to instruct and inspire the new minister of the Barony.

Dwelling on the high grounds of the West End Park, Macleod could see
from the back windows Campsie Fells, from the front the forest of
shipping at the Broomielaw. His habit was to rise early, summer and
winter; and it was always a moment of exhilaration, with something
even of romance, when he heard the first blows of labour ringing in
the sleeping city. ‘People talk,’ he wrote, ‘of early morning in the
country, with bleating sheep, singing larks, and purling brooks.
I prefer that roar which greets my ear when a thousand hammers,
thundering on boilers of steam vessels which are to bridge the Atlantic
or Pacific, usher in a new day--the type of a new era. I feel these are
awake with me doing their work, and that the world is rushing on--to
fulfil its mighty destinies, and I must do my work, and fulfil my grand
and glorious end.’ And he thought, with mingled pity and admiration,
of the workers in yard and factory, in forge and mine, and far away
upon the rolling sea. Whether from unbelief or disrespectability, many
working men shunned the churches, and looked askance at ‘the lads in
black.’ Ah! if they only knew, thought Norman, what peace and happiness
would come to their homes by their acceptance of the Saviour. He was
a sort of Walt Whitman in canonicals. But how was he to reach the
masses scattered through his enormous cure? In his hands the Barony
congregation became what every muster of converts was in the days of
the apostles,--a society for Christian work. Worship, meaning ornate
services and the exaltation of the sacraments, is a mediæval invention.
Norman Macleod held that Christianity was instituted for the ritual of
good actions. Indeed, for æsthetic and ceremonial (since there must
be forms) he had too little care. Of the Barony Church a certain
noble lord remarked, ‘I have seen one uglier’; and once Macleod had to
admonish the congregation in these terms: ‘Scripture commands us to
sing, not _grunt_; but if you are so constituted that it is impossible
for you to sing, but only grunt, then it is best to be silent.’ But
here were people who met to engage in practical beneficence, not for
the luxury of sensuous emotion, or the hundredth hearing of a good
advice. ‘A Christian congregation,’ he says, ‘is a body of Christians
who are associated not merely to receive instruction from a minister or
to unite in public worship, but also “to consider one another and to
provoke to love and good works,” and as a society to do good to all as
they have opportunity.... The society of the Christian Church, acting
through its distinct organisations or congregations like an army acting
through its different regiments, is the grand social system which
Christ has ordained not only for the conversion of sinners and the
edification of saints, but also for advancing all that pertains to the
well-being of the community.’

Having made himself personally acquainted with his congregation, he
organised, with the kirk session for the centre, an army of workers, by
whom the religious, educational, and social needs of the parish should
be met. The population was caught in a sort of missionary network.
By means of meetings, for which given agents were responsible, the
minister came in contact with his parishioners in every quarter. He
set up numerous Sunday schools, and himself taught a Bible class.
For four chapels which, on being transferred from the Free Church by
a legal decision, had been left empty, he furnished both pastors and
congregations. In the first ten years of his ministry, from funds
which he collected, six churches were built. He had a large staff of
missionaries. Not content with efforts for the welfare of the Church
within his own parish, he kept his people in constant touch with the
foreign field, and annually raised from the congregation, which was
one of the poorest in the city, large sums for the conversion of the
heathen. Nor was this all. He provided school-buildings for thousands
of children; with evening classes for adults, where husbands and wives
were to be seen at their A B C. He started congregational savings
banks, and (to keep men out of the public-house) refreshment-rooms
attractive with books and amusements; in which things, as in others
more conspicuous, he was a pioneer.

The best organisation would have been of little avail but for the
spirit and life communicated to the workers by their chief. They were
sustained and quickened by his personal influence, which was at once
paternal and commanding, by his catching enthusiasm, by the example
of his own intense and unsparing activity, and, above all, by the
power of his pulpit ministrations. His church was crowded; and here
was no organ, no stained glass, no mystical ceremony. Preaching has in
these days fallen into discredit, insomuch that it is blamed for the
emptiness of churches; and the foolishness of preaching is obvious
enough, since with some ministers Christianity is lost in idolatry of
the Church, and some are more zealous for orthodoxy than for religion,
and others have no creed at all. There would be no outcry against
preaching if the clergy had anything to say. Half a century ago,
before the age of evolution had set in with its irony and sadness, it
was possible to be a great preacher, and yet have nothing to tell but
that ‘old, old story’ which has reconciled millions to their lot on
earth these eighteen hundred years. ‘There is a Father in Heaven who
loves,’ so ran Norman Macleod’s confession of faith, ‘a Brother Saviour
who died for us, a Spirit that helps us to be good, and a Home where
we will all meet at last.’ See him in the pulpit, a man of majestic
presence, and entirely without airs and graces; intense in look and
voice; as natural in his utterance as one conversing with friends; not
an orator conscious of his periods and tones, but an envoy too full of
thrilling tidings to have a thought for self. The effect was great,
sometimes tremendous. Many a man and woman, reaching the open after a
sermon by Norman, found themselves as it were in a different world,
so changed was their moral vision. I have in my eye a certain youth
who, one Sunday, the bells ceasing when he was in the High Street,
and yet a long way from his usual place of worship, strayed into the
Barony. The Doctor himself was in the pulpit--bearded, bronzed, and
dilated to a giant’s girth. The sermon was on God’s love to man; it
was simple, and delivered for the most part in the tones of talk,
yet when that accidental hearer came out upon the streets, the face
of things wore ‘the light that never was on sea or land,’ and at his
heart there was a vague uplifting joy. Not long afterwards, in another
church, that youth heard Macleod again. The preacher had been somewhat
suddenly called upon, and the congregation did not know, till the
afternoon, that the evening service was to be conducted by the minister
of the Barony. Yet the church was crowded in every part, even to the
topmost steps of the pulpit stairs. When the Doctor (emerging from a
door behind) faced the throng, it was with a roving glance, in which
there was something of alarm. For a while he read his sermon, and
here and there you might see some flagging of attention. Suddenly he
raised his head, and began to give an illustration. From that moment
onwards, for three-quarters of an hour, he held the vast audience
bound as with a spell; his utterance waxed rapid and passionate till
it became a torrent, yet less in the manner of oratory than of excited
conversation. There was one overwhelming burst about the goodness of
God in building the beautiful world for our house, its roof the starry
infinite, its cellars stored with coal, and iron, and gold. Dean
Stanley, a fastidious judge, declared of a sermon of Macleod’s that
‘it was all true and very moving’--the _ne plus ultra_ of praise--and
that he did not know ‘the man in the Church of England who could have
preached such a sermon.’ ‘The greatest and most convincing preacher I
ever heard,’ is the confession of Sir Arthur Helps. According to an
Indian critic, his preaching was ‘the perfection of art without art,’
‘he spoke as a man to men, not as a priest to beings of a lower order,’
his effectiveness was due to ‘truth and honesty, guided by faith and
unconsciousness of self, and expressed in manly speech face to face.’
His power in the pulpit seems unparalleled when to such testimonies is
added the success and fame of his discourses to the poor. These were
delivered in the Sunday evenings of winter. None but persons in working
clothes were allowed to pass into the church. It was no uncommon thing
for gentlemen to borrow fustian for the nonce; and they must present
themselves with a slouch, and their hair pulled over their brows,
lest the detective elders should penetrate their disguise. One such
impostor had himself rigged out in ‘the cast-off working dress of a
coach-builder--a dirty coat, a dirty white flannel vest, striped shirt,
and cravat, and Glengarry bonnet.’ ‘I stood,’ he says, ‘waiting among
the crowd of poor men and women that were shivering at the gate, biding
the time. Many of these women were very old and very frail.... Poor
souls! they were earnestly talking about the Doctor and his sayings. I
conversed with several working men who had attended all the series from
the first, three or four years back. I asked one man if they were all
Scotch who attended. He said, “All nations go and hear the Doctor.”
... “A’body likes the Doctor,” said another. One man, a labourer, I
think, in a foundry, said “he kent great lots o’ folk that’s been
blessed by the Doctor, baith Scotch and Irish. I ken an Irish Catholic
that wrought wi’ me, o’ the name o’ Boyd, and he came ae nicht out
o’ curiosity, and he was convertit afore he raise from his seat, and
he’s a staunch Protestant to this day, every bit o’ him, though his
father and mother, and a’ his folks, are sair against him for’t.”’
None of the cushions or books were removed from the seats, and the
witness says that the decorum was as good as at the regular service.
‘In reference to the mother and grandmother of Timothy, the preacher
made a grand stand for character, which made the poor man next to me
strike the floor several times with his feet by way of testifying his
approbation. Had the Doctor’s remarks on the subject been delivered
from a platform, they would have elicited thunders of applause.’ If one
realises the scene from the pews to the pulpit, one can understand from
the following appeal to prodigal sons, commonplace as it is, the effect
of these discourses. ‘Oh, could he only see, and had he a heart to
understand, the misery which his loss has created in the paternal home!
He is bringing down the grey hairs of his father to the grave. The
mother who bore him, and loved him ere he could know of the existence
and unconquerable strength of her affection, has no rest day or night,
thinking of her absent boy, and pouring forth her soul in agonising
prayer, as she would her lifeblood in death, to bring him back to her
heart and home.’

Beyond question Norman Macleod was one of the most sympathetic men
that ever lived; nay, in his generation (if you will) the supreme
sentimentalist of Christendom. He has tears for dogs and cats: of a
horse that he rode in Palestine, one day of killing heat, he says, ‘I
wish he could have known how much I pitied him’; and of the camel,
‘The expression of his soft, heavy, dreamy eyes tells its own tale of
meek submission and patient endurance ever since travelling began in
these deserts. The poor “djemel” bends his neck, and with a halter
round his long nose and several hundredweight on his back paces along
from the Nile to the Euphrates, making up his mind to any amount
of suffering, feeling that if his wrongs could not be redressed by
Abraham, he has no hope from Lord Shaftesbury.’ In the scene of man’s
life his spirit eagerly responded to every challenge. Dull he could
not be, never recovering from the surprises of existence. So, with his
interest in his fellow-creatures, which was both human and religious,
he sometimes found himself in strange situations. Pritchard, the
poisoner, he attended in the prison and accompanied to the scaffold.
He would not give up the worst, and sometimes, beneath false notions,
headlong impulses, and brutal vices, he discovered a heart, and, by the
magic of love and insight, surprised the lurking virtue. The secret
of his influence with the working folk was that he felt no difference
from their social position, but spoke to them on the ground of common
humanity, without affected familiarity or priestly airs. For him class
distinctions vanished in view of the general lot of moral beings. His
experience was that the lower and the upper classes were very much
alike. The poor came to him, but a lady of the Court could say that if
she were in great trouble Dr. Norman Macleod was the person she would
wish to go to.[1] The preacher, then, might see his audience in rags,
and fancy ranks of purple, but his thought would be, ‘O sickness, pain,
and death! what republican levellers are these of us all!’[2] There is
a zeal for the people, a worship of humanity in the abstract, which
brings a cheap glory. The poet who sings of freedom, the politician
with his bill for the establishment of universal happiness, may turn
away in disgust from the first grimy specimen of the suffering race.
Macleod’s sympathy was for the individual there before him, Tom,
Dick, or Harry, whom he claimed as a brother. He knew what touching
affections and fidelities might lie behind the roughest exterior, and
in the worst he still recognised a man. He fraternised with the sons
of toil, shaking the horny fist, weeping on the brawny neck. In many
a working man’s experience, it was a revelation and a turning-point,
when the great genial Doctor, posted at the humble fireside, opened up
the beauty of the Christian life. But often in the lives of the poor he
found an unconscious splendour of virtue that pierced him to the heart.
He saw a sister supporting, by her sole industry, an old father and a
delicate brother, till she just lay down and died. One winter day he
was summoned to the bedside of a working man who had hanged himself,
but, having been cut down in time, was reviving; and the sinner had
excused himself to his wife as follows: ‘Dinna be ower sair on me. It
was for you and my puir bairns I did it. As an able-bodied man, I could
get nae relief from the parish, and I didna like to beg; but I kent if
I was deid they would be obleeged to support my widow and orphans.’
Always, when Macleod told that story, he went into an ecstasy,
shouting, ‘That man was a hero!’

Considering the moral and material plight of the masses, he took up,
first, the question of drinking. At Dalkeith he had written _A Plea
for Temperance_, in which, while recommending total abstinence to all
inebriates, and in certain cases to men of sober habits, he argued
that there was nothing unchristian in the temperate use of alcoholic
beverages. In Glasgow he had the teetotallers down on him for that;
and still more for a speech which he made in the General Assembly,
vindicating the working classes from the charge of drunkenness. The
spectacle of the rich citizen, expert in vintages, raising his glass,
‘the beaded bubbles winking at the brim,’ and denouncing the toilers
for taking their drop of whisky, filled him with scorn. But he warned
men from the public-house; if they must have a dram, they should take
it in the bosom of their family, after saying grace!

For the cure of poverty he looked to no outward nostrum, but to a union
of ranks through the general development of Christian life. He was not
apt to quarrel with existing institutions, putting his trust, like the
mother of ‘wee Davie,’ in ‘acts _out of_ Parliament,’ Yet he could
exclaim, ‘O selfish pride! O society, thou tyrant!’ and when his foot
was on his native heath he was a regular Radical.

 ‘You don’t mean to say that you would turn away those people?’ asked
 Kate with astonishment.

 ‘What people do you mean?’ inquired M’Dougall.

 ‘I mean such people as I have met in Glenconnan--your small tenants
 there!’

 ‘Every man Jack of them! A set of lazy wretches! Why should I be bored
 and troubled with gathering rent from thirty or forty tenants, if I can
 get as much rent from one man, and perhaps a great deal more?’

 ‘But you will thereby lose the privilege, Captain M’Dougall, the noble
 talent given you of making thirty or forty families happy instead of
 one. In my life I never met such people! Yes, I will say such real
 gentlemen and ladies; so sensible and polite; so much at their ease, yet
 so modest; so hospitable, and yet so poor!’

 ‘And so lazy!’ said Duncan; ‘whereas in the colonies, where I have seen
 them, they get on splendidly, and make first-rate settlers.’

 ‘How does it happen that their laziness vanishes then?’ asked Kate.

 ‘Because in the colonies they can always better their condition by
 industry.’

 ‘But why not help them to better their condition at home? why not
 encourage them, and give them a stimulus to labour?’

 ‘Because, Miss Campbell, it would be a confounded bore, and after all it
 would not pay,’ replied M’Dougall....

 ‘But surely, surely,’ she continued, ‘money is not the chief end of
 man.... I can’t argue’ (Kate goes on), ‘but my whole soul tells me that
 this question of sacrificing everything to the god Money is an idolatry
 that must perish; that the only way for a man truly to help himself is
 to help his brother. If I were old M’Donald, I would preach a sermon
 against the lairds and in favour of the people.’

 ‘Might I ask your text, fair preacher?’ inquired M’Dougall, with an
 admiring smile.

 ‘Why,’ said Kate, ‘the text is the only thing about it I am certain
 would be good; and the one I would choose rings in my ears when I hear
 of the overturning of houses, the emptying of glens, and the banishing
 of families who have inhabited them for generations, and to whom every
 rock and stream is a part of their very selves.’

 ‘But the text, the text, my lady?’

 ‘My text would be,’ said Kate, ‘“Is not a man better than a sheep?”’[3]

The descendant of the tacksman was fond of quoting the lines--

  ‘From the dim shieling on the misty island
    Mountains divide us, and a world of seas,
  But still our hearts are true, our hearts are Highland,
    And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.’

Destitution in towns, however, seemed to involve no indictment of the
social structure; there was nothing for it but charity. As one of the
administrators of the Poor Law, Macleod did good work, procuring the
adoption of the boarding-out system; but it was for those whom legal
relief might not reach that his heart bled. ‘There is many a desolate
cry of pain,’ he wrote, ‘smothered within the walls of poor homes,
like that of mariners in a sinking ship, who see no sail within the
wide horizon.’ To aid the deserving poor he declared to be one of the
highest objects that could engage the attention of good men;--one of
the highest, doubtless, but one of the most illusory, for the deserving
poor you shall hardly discover, they put on such a prosperous face. He
canvassed various plans, from New York to Elberfelt; but vain was his
dream of building a bridge between east and west by charity,--the wary
remorse and discount of the Vandals.

The working men of Glasgow more than once testified in a body to the
good he had done them. Silver and gold they had none, they said, but
they would retain for his kindness a lifelong gratitude. When in 1857
his wife was lying as it were at the point of death, ‘hundreds,’ he
wrote, ‘called to read the daily bulletin which I was obliged to put
up. But everywhere it was the same. Free Church people and people of
all Churches called. Men I never spoke to stopped me; cab-drivers,
‘bus-drivers, working men in the streets, asked after her with much
feeling.’ Many a time a surreptitious hand would be thrust into his,
and in a moment gone. All the forenoon his house in Bath Street was
besieged with suppliants of various kinds. For refuge he had a small
study fitted up in the laundry, and there he would be sitting, pen in
hand, pipe in mouth, now joined by a privileged visitor, now summoned
to deal with a conscience or a thumb. His name was oftener heard in
common talk than that of any other man, and was seldom more than
‘Norman.’ Stories about him were current in Glasgow. One day a U.P.
minister was requested to visit a family whom he did not know. Thinking
that they might be new adherents, he went to the house, which was up
three flights of stairs. A man was lying very ill. After praying, the
minister asked if they belonged to his congregation. ‘Oh no,’ said the
wife, ‘we belang to the Barony; but, ye see, this is a catchin’ fivver,
an’ it would never dae to risk _Norman_.’[4]

There was always, however, a religious section not just very sure about
Norman Macleod, he was so unlike a consecrated vessel,--his face never
long enough, the whites of his eyes unseen, the whole show of him
dashed with secularity. He was no saint in the sailor’s definition,
‘a melancholy chap who is all day long singing of psalms.’[5] ‘As for
sadness and gloom,’ he says somewhere, ‘in accepting _all_ things
from our Father, I will pay no such compliment to the devil.’ How he
shocked the Pharisees! and among his chance hosts during lecturing
tours there were simple souls whom his unclerical mirth bewildered.
One such, a country provost, at whose house he had sat talking and
telling stories till two o’clock in the morning, remarked, with a
shake of the head, ‘He’s no’ the man I thocht he was at a’.’ Of his
professional brethren the only type he could not bear was the prim
priest. Once, on the way to a railway station, accompanied by several
of the local presbytery, he had told a Highland story, not omitting
the ‘tamns.’ They had all laughed but one, a celebrated prig, who had
kept his mouth pursed and his eyes on the ground. Macleod whispered
to a neighbour, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be fine to see---- drunk?’ At the
Burns centenary celebration in Glasgow he was the only minister who
appeared, though many had been invited. He did so at the risk of his
reputation, for religious opinion was up against the movement; and,
on the other hand, resolved to mark the evil in the poet’s influence,
he anticipated the howls of the Burns maniacs. He spoke of the noble
protest for the independence and dignity of humanity expressed in the
heroic song, ‘A man’s a man for a’ that,’ and showed what the poet’s
intense sentiment of nationality had done for the Scottish race; but
of the immoral verses, ‘Would God,’ he exclaimed, ‘they were never
written, never printed, and never read!’ Macleod was a man of simple
purity of soul. Challenged once at Stockholm to go to the theatre, he
consented to be one of the party, but no sooner had the ballet begun
than he was observed to be hanging his head, with a pained expression
on his face. Soon he rose and went out. When his friends rejoined him
in the hotel, and one of them chaffed him for leaving the performance,
‘Sir,’ he thundered, ‘are you a father? How would you like to see your
own daughters----?’ Yet if ministers are now amongst the foremost in
proposing the immortal memory, it is largely due to Norman Macleod; and
was it not all in the spirit of Burns, his after activity in hacking at
the links of our Puritan fetters?

‘It’s a queer trade our trade,’ a minister’s wife used to say,
with a melancholy sigh, and she never explained. ‘Fine profession
ours,’ remarked a gay licentiate, ‘if it were not for the preaching
and the visiting.’ Some are no pedestrians, but good pulpiteers,
and _vice versâ_: some avoid Church courts; others glory in them.
Macleod not only attended to all departments of a minister’s work,
but availed himself of every official privilege, if it implied
service to the Church or the community. Early in his Barony period
he became a distinct force in the General Assembly, and that in two
directions,--ecclesiastical liberality, and the India Mission. If the
Establishment, he argued, was to have a future, it must recognise the
tide that was surely breaking down the ecclesiastical barriers which
stood in the way of the secular advance. Hence he advocated, to the
horror of the House, the repeal of the theological tests for university
professors. But it was in connection with the cause of the heathen that
his name rose in the religious world. He preached every year for the
London Missionary Society, and when he spoke in the General Assembly on
the Mission Reports there was always a crowd.



CHAPTER V

EDITOR AND AUTHOR


Pursuing his aim of putting life into the Establishment Macleod had,
in 1849, started a little paper, the _Edinburgh Christian Magazine_,
which may be described as a miniature plan or first sketch of _Good
Words_. Its circulation did not exceed five thousand, but ‘the blue
magazine,’ as it was called, was no mean agent in the revival of the
drooping Church. While yet minister of Dalkeith he was frequently seen
about the office of the publishers, Messrs. Paton & Ritchie, in George
Street, Edinburgh; but after his removal to Glasgow the editorial
instructions were given in correspondence with the head printer, Mr. J.
C. Erskine. That gentleman writes: ‘Usually he was behind time, and I
had consequently to poke him up about the middle of each month. But we
were always on the best of terms, and I always felt honoured as well
as delighted in being associated with so lovable a man and having the
privilege of his acquaintance.’ These are some of the letters, in whole
or part:--

 (1) Erskine,--I have worn crape for two days for you, having made up my
 mind that you were out of print, or in Death’s _Index Expurgatorius_.
 What has become of you? Well, the concern must pay, _but_ the
 proof-sheet must be corrected or the whole article cancelled, as I MUST
 not give the facts from a private letter in _that_ style. Delay the
 publication if you like, but put it right, or let the concern of P. & R.
 perish!

 (2) Erskine,--You know what it is to be done up in sheets, with a second
 volume in the Press. Have patience! I _bind_ myself to be ready by the
 20th, though at present I am a blank sheet.

 (3) [September 1851.] Excellent Erskine, Prince of Printers,--this is
 to intimate my intention of being in Edinburgh on Monday, and visiting
 your den about twelve, or so, when we shall complete all arrangements.
 I think I am in excellent time, and am backing slowly into the old
 rails, when you need rail no more! The matrimonial switch gives a
 wrong turn. The number may be easily discovered which marks _your_
 marriage,--it is full of blunders of the Press! a perfect _type_ of your
 hallucination!--N. McL.

 (4) [Monday, 11 A.M., September 23, 1851.] I shall never transgress more
 if the firm forgive me, and the demons do not seize me and hotpress me.
 As a married man, Erskine, you should know something of the difficulties
 married men have experienced, since the days of the Patriarch of Uz to
 those of Paton & Ritchie, from wives. I will send off more MS. by post
 in the afternoon, and I shall see you on Monday between one and two.
 Don’t throw vitriol on me. Keep the printers off!

The next refers to the birth of his first child:

 (5) My first volume is out on Friday--bound in calf-skin, with
 cloth-_guilt_ on the back and front, and very small type--less than a
 64mo. Author and Publisher doing well. But I do not expect the sale to
 be great for eighteen years. I hope then some great London firm will
 purchase it for a handsome sum. I cannot, however, complain of the
 delivery by the trade as yet! I send you MS. All must be printed, and
 some more beside. Be calm, Erskine.

 (6) Master Erskine!--_You_ should have duly informed the editor of the
 _Christian Magazine_ that you had no sermon, seeing that a parson had
 pledged himself to send one a month ago, and I was under the impression
 that it was ‘all right’ until, coming up tonight from the coast, I
 found all was wrong. I send you--1. A MS. sermon--I cannot read it,
 but perhaps my friend the Interpreter in the printing-office can; 2. A
 printed sermon for a _patch_ in case you are too late. If you print the
 MS. you must _not_ put in the name--just sermon and text. I wrote it at
 a sitting, and it is imperfect--very. I leave this on Monday at 2 for
 the coast. Direct to Shandon, Helensburgh. If you have not enough, make
 up by extracts from the printed sermon.

                    ‘O Erskine, Erskine!
  Had I but served my Parish as I have my Printer,
  It would not thus have left me in my misery!’

The following reply was sent to an invitation to the editor to grace a
social meeting of the workers in the printing-office of Messrs. Paton &
Ritchie:--

 (7) [B.’s Refreshment Rooms, 10th January 1853.] My dear Messrs. P. &
 R.,--I must go to Edinburgh early in February. I cannot afford--so hard
 are my Publishers--to go in January. Besides, feasts without alcohol are
 like grates without coal. The man who, in this weather, can be pleased
 with lemonade and become poetic on ginger-pop, is fit for murder. He
 is wanting in the essential attributes of man. He can have no stomach
 or nerves, and far less heart, while his brains must be vapid as our
 friend’s Paste--he of the punch-bowl, I mean. Let Erskine by all means
 have unalcoholic swipes until his finger-ends distil foam, and his
 eyelids weep pure water. Let every teetotaller, if he pleases, sit all
 night up to his neck in a barrel of water, but do give something to cool
 the poor demons!--Yours truly, Author of ‘A Plea for Temperance.’

The _Christian Magazine_ gave way to _Good Words_, which was started in
1860. His assumption of the editorship proved to be the most important
circumstance in Macleod’s career. Religious papers were the worst
in existence, written by narrow saints, not incapable of theological
malice, and ignorant of the world and of the age. _Good Words_, while
leading men ‘to know and to love God,’ was to represent various
schools of Christian thought, and make a point of human interest and
scientific instruction. He had his eye on the intelligent mechanic,
whom the evangelical prints repelled. The magazine was the mirror of
the editor’s mind, full of spirituality, yet taking in with relish the
outer world. For the most part the religion was manly and bracing, but
there was enough of another kind to suit the feebler souls. And in the
narratives (not to say novels) many a maiden aunt, who thought fiction
in general of the devil, snatched a fearful joy. Poor as the early
numbers were, _Good Words_ was successful from the first, reaching
in two years a circulation of a hundred thousand. But the editor had
to contend with virulent opposition on the part of the awful good.
The stories were positively secular! Then the association of Tulloch
and Stanley, Kingsley and Caird, covered the whole enterprise with
suspicion. If Macleod did not give up these dangerous men he was to
be crushed. And what could be said for a paper, supposed to be fit
for Sunday perusal, which admitted articles in astronomy? Christian
parents should not allow their children to handle on the Lord’s day a
magazine that made so much of pagan luminaries like Jupiter and Mars.
Private remonstrances poured in; the paper was tabooed by religious
societies; the _Record_, an English champion of the faith, kept up for
months a savage attack; and the General Assembly of the Free Church was
overtured to sit upon _Good Words_, which it did, much to the increase
of our circulation. The editor held his ground, only redoubling his
anxiety to keep out ‘every expression that could pain the weakest
Christian.’ Rather than publish a novel of Anthony Trollope’s, in
which the pious characters were all made odious, he paid an indemnity
of £500. Art and morals alike may sneer, but Macleod’s compromise was
well considered and justified in the result. The storm blew over, and
another step was gained for religious freedom. _Good Words_ carried the
name of Norman Macleod over the English-speaking world, and had a vogue
in the remotest Hebrides. Principal Tulloch once met in the mountains a
man who, on learning the traveller’s name, said, ‘I know you from _Good
Words_.’ The numbers were so cherished that households generally had
them bound, and to this day the early volumes are held precious in many
a Scottish home. The sight of one of the old familiar pictures still
sends a thrill through thousands, recalling the quiet Sabbaths of their
childhood, dear old rooms, and faces they shall see no more.’

Before he became the editor of _Good Words_, Macleod had published
little that was of interest outside religious circles. _The Earnest
Student_, doubtless, has considerable merit as a biography, and is
written with a tender grace; but it suffers from the inherent unfitness
of the subject for extended treatment,--an uneventful life and a
character wanting in colour. To say that it deserved a place beside
the _Life of M’Cheyne_, to which it bears a resemblance, would be high
praise. In the mass of his contributions to _Good Words_ there is,
of course, much that need not be criticised. The sermons put one in
mind of the student who, being asked why he was not going in for the
ministry, answered, ‘I don’t want to spoil my style.’ His records of
travel were eagerly read when they appeared, having a certain interest
from the person of the adventurer, with humorous and graphic touches;
but to give permanence of charm to the account of voyages and journeys
requires all the arts of a Kinglake or a Stevenson.

Enough remains to entitle Norman Macleod to a certain recognition
in Scottish letters. Among the ‘Character Sketches’ there are some
striking portraits--_Mr. Joseph Walker_, for instance, the highly
respectable man, who never drank, never cheated, never lied, and
yet ‘could do a very sneaking, mean thing.’ That is a subtle study,
vigorously composed. As a writer of fiction it is remarkable that
Macleod should be forgotten, when work similar to his, only duller,
is boomed over all the earth. His stories, it is true, have a set
religious aim, but that should be no offence in days when the most
belauded fiction is nothing if not didactic, nay, when the novel
is made a pulpit for the promulgation of moral heresy. If art in
fiction is to be strangled, religion may as well be the executioner
as the last indecency. The evangelical tale, no doubt, is usually in
a sense immoral, not only taking mere church piety for the height of
human perfection and setting up as its reward material success, but
deliberately distorting, in the name of Jesus, the truth of nature and
the facts of life. Macleod purposed to write stories which should be
religious, and yet do no violence to reality. And his characters are
plainly genuine, except, perhaps, the hero of his first attempt--_The
Old Lieutenant and his Son_. Ned is to be a sailor and an exemplary
Christian. Fall he does indeed, but not very far, and we know for sure
that the author will set him up again at once, and higher than ever, on
the plane of paragons. A sea-captain may be a good and pious man, but
if, like Ned, he has chosen his profession at the cost of a mother’s
tears, driven by the need of adventure--

  ‘God help me save I take my part
    Of danger on the roaring sea:
  A devil rises in my heart
    Far worse than any death to me’--

there will be in him still some nobility of irrepressible impulse,
some leap of the spirit unawares. Macleod’s usual method, however, is
to take some unregenerate character--a wild tramp, a godless seaman,
an express ecclesiastic--and reform him, not by religious admonition,
but by living influences that seize upon the better feelings. In his
Vanity Fair the evangelists are the affections. Thus in _Billy Buttons_
the captain and crew are humanised by the accident of having upon
their hands, in the middle of the Atlantic, the care of a new-born
infant; the father of Wee Davie is made another being by his wife’s
cry over the little coffin:--’O Willie, forgi’e me, for it’s no’ ma
pairt to speak, but I canna help it enoo, and just, ma bonnie man, just
agree wi’ me that we’ll gi’e oor hearts noo and for ever to oor ain
Saviour, and the Saviour o’ wee Davie’; Jock Hall, the outcast in _The
Starling_, thinking that he hates everybody and that everybody hates
him, is made a new creature through the kindness and encouragement of
an old soldier, who, when the bird cries, _A man’s a man for a’ that_,
drives the lesson home, ‘And ye _are_ a man; cheer up, Jock.’ Macleod’s
good people are no hymn-book pietists, but, like those of Dickens,
gentle and true. And his stories are entertaining, so that the most
bigoted agnostic might put up with the religion for the sake of the
amusement.

The most prevailing quality of Macleod’s fiction is the pathos, and
though one must be a Christian to feel it all, there is much that
no humane reader will be able to resist. To be sure the occasion
is always simple and ordinary, never such, for instance, as the
elaborate decline of a consumptive scholar in his garden-chair; and
the cause of these tears may be only a remark or a gesture. Under the
restrictions of _Good Words_ he could not do his best as a humorist,
yet he permitted himself to be thoroughly Scottish and provoke hearty
laughter. Within a modest range he displays real genius in the
portrayal of character and the rendering of Scottish conversation.

_The Old Lieutenant_, begun in _Good Words_ before he knew it was to be
a story, and continued without sight of an end, is disjointed in the
narrative, and loaded with extraneous matter; but the elder Fleming
is like one of Thackeray’s men, and, of the domestics of the good old
days when the social bond was not cash payment but affection, where,
outside of Scott, will you find a more delightful type than Babby?
When Ned was about to leave home for his first voyage, ‘no one saw the
tears which filled her large eyes, or heard her blowing her little nose
half the night.’ After Ned’s marriage, his father, inviting the young
couple to visit the old home, says simply, ‘I think that Babby will
expect it.’ Babby has a tongue in her head, and is never so eloquent
as when she rails at the new minister. Under the old one she had felt
many a time ‘jist mad at hersel’ that she wasna a better woman.’ ‘But
this chield Dalrymple that’s cam’ among us! Hech, sirs! what a round
black crappit heid he has, like a bull-dog’s, and a body round and fat
like a black pudding; and the cratur gangs struttin’ aboot wi’ his
umbrella under his oxter, crawin’ like a midden cock, wha but him, keep
us a’! an’ pittin’ his neb into every ane’s brose wi’ his impudence.
And syne he rages and rampages in the poopit, wi’ the gowk’s spittle in
his mouth, flytin’ on folk, and abusin’ them for a’ that’s bad, till
my nerves rise, and I could jist cry oot, if it wasna for shame, “Haud
yer tongue, ye spitefu’ cratur!” And again,--“Eh, I was glad ye werena
married by Dalrymple! He routs in the poopit like a bull, and when the
body’s crackin’ wi’ ye, he cheeps, cheeps like a chirted puddock.” “A
what?” asked Kate. “A squeezed tade!” replied Babby; “d’ye no’ ken yer
ain lang’age? And as for his sermons, they’re jist like a dog’s tail,
the langer the sma’er.”’ If Ned is partly made to order, the crew are
real old salts. Their conversation finally recalls Flint’s buccaneers,
as when one (a milder Israel Hands) remarks, ‘But what, suppose I makes
up my mind, do you see, to go ahead, and says, as it were, says I, I’ll
not pray, nor read the Bible, nor give up my grog, nor anything else,
nor be a saint, but a sinner, and sail when I like, and where I like,
and be my own captain--eh?’

Macleod’s best effort in fiction is _The Starling_. Art demands some
abatement of the happy close; there is didactic and explanatory
matter that might well be spared; and the episode of the quack is an
astounding excrescence. But it is a fine and touching story, and shows
that the author possessed the distinctive power of a novelist. The
starling was the pet of a little boy called Charlie. It could say, ‘I’m
Charlie’s bairn,’ and ‘A man’s a man for a’ that,’ and whistle a few
bars of the song, ‘Wha’ll be king but Charlie?’ To feed the bird and
hear it speak and sing was the bairn’s delight. He was the only child
of his parents, a pious and happy couple, the wife young, the husband
a retired sergeant of the army, back at his old trade of shoemaker.
The boy died, and there was the bird still repeating its remarks and
tunes, and daily becoming dearer to the bereaved parents for Charlie’s
sake. One Sunday morning, the starling being dowie, the sergeant hung
out its cage at the door, for the sun was shining and the air sweet.
Immediately the bird began to pour forth its budget; and a crowd of
children gathered about the cage, and the street rang with their
delight. Suddenly appeared the minister! at sight of whom the children
fled, tumbling over one another and screaming in their fright, so that
windows were thrown up, and mothers came flying into the rout, and
there was a terrible ado. The Rev. Daniel Porteous, who was on his way
to church, was scandalised at such a desecration of the Lord’s day.
But what was his horror when he found that the prime offender was the
sergeant, one of his elders? To the good couple, who looked up to Mr.
Porteous with awe, and whose standing in the congregation was their
greatest honour, the minister’s anger was no light matter; the wife
was in distraction, the husband grave and puzzled. The clerical decree
was that the starling should be destroyed. This the sergeant, with all
deference, refused, whereupon the minister went away, uttering vague
threats. But as the poor wife seemed to think it their duty to obey,
her husband said, ‘If you, that kens as weel as me a’ the bird has been
to us, but speak the word, the deed will be allowed by me.’ And he took
down the cage, consenting that the other should put an end to the bird.
‘I’m Charlie’s bairn,’ exclaimed the starling. The wife thought that
the killing should be the man’s work, but you see that she is beginning
to waver, and when her husband lays his hand on the bird, saying, ‘Bid
fareweel to your mistress, Charlie,’ she sprang forward with a cry, and
prevented the deed. The sergeant was suspended from the eldership for
contumacy, and shunned in the village like a leper. But it all comes
right in the end. The motive of the tale would seem to verge on the
ludicrous; a single false or strained note, and the whole thing were
ruined; yet--call it literary skill or the unconscious art of perfect
sympathy--the treatment is such that there is no improbability, and for
the starling--as one might have felt when Marie Antoinette was in the
cart, if it were a question whether some force might not come dashing
up a back street to the rescue, so the reader feels when the fate of
the bird is trembling in the balance. The minister with his scorn of
the feelings and worship of church principles; his sister, who is like
himself, only adding malice; the hypocritical elder who confesses,
‘There’s nane perfect, nane--the fac’ is, I’m no’ perfect masel’’;
above all, the ne’er-do-weel, Jock Hall,--are depicted to the life.

That Macleod’s fiction has particular merits none will deny, though
the critic, making the most of the defects, might say that his stories
fail as wholes. His best achievement is perhaps _The Reminiscences of
a Highland Parish_. This, at any rate, is a book, and it justifies the
saying in _The Old Lieutenant_ about the Highlands:--’In all this kind
of scenery, along with the wild traditions which ghostlike float around
its ancient keeps, and live in the tales of its inhabitants, there is a
glory and a sadness most affecting to the imagination, and suggestive
of a period of romance and song.’ The earlier chapters, describing his
grandfather’s patriarchal home and the open-air education of the boys
and girls of the manse, form a complete and charming piece--the idyll
of Fiunary. There are exciting adventures on the misty hill and in the
furious Sound.

 What a sight it was to see that old man, when the storm was fiercest,
 with his one eye, under its shaggy grey brow, looking to windward,
 sharp, calm, and luminous as a spark: his hand clutching the
 tiller--never speaking a word, and displeased if any other broke the
 silence, except the minister who sat beside him, assigning this post of
 honour as a great favour to Rory during the trying hour. That hour was
 generally when wind and tide met, and gurly grew the sea, whose green
 waves rose with crested heads, hanging against the cloud-rack, and
 sometimes concealing the land; while black sudden squalls, rushing down
 from the glens, struck the foaming billows in fury and smote the boat,
 threatening with a sharp scream to tear the tiny sail in tatters, break
 the mast, or blow out of the water the small dark speck that carried
 the manse treasures. There was one moment of peculiar difficulty and
 concentrated danger when the hand of a master was needed to save them.
 The boat has entered the worst part of the tideway. How ugly it looks!
 Three seas higher than the rest are coming; and you can see the squall
 blowing their white crests into smoke.[6] In a few minutes they will be
 down upon the _Row_. ‘Look out, Ruari!’ whispers the minister. ‘Stand
 by the sheets!’ cries Rory to the boys, who, seated on the ballast,
 gaze on him like statues, watching his face and eagerly listening in
 silence. ‘Ready!’ is their only reply. Down come the seas, rolling,
 rising, breaking; falling, rising again, and looking higher and fiercer
 than ever. The tide is running like a race-horse and the gale meets it;
 and these three seas appear now to rise like huge pyramids of green
 water, dashing their foam up into the sky. The first may be encountered
 and overcome, for the boat has good way upon her; but the others will
 rapidly follow up the thundering charge and shock, and a single false
 movement of the helm by a hair’s breadth will bring down a cataract
 like Niagara, that would shake a frigate, and sink the _Row_ into the
 depths like a stone. The boat meets the first wave, and rises dry over
 it. ‘Slack out the main-sheet, quick, and hold hard: there--steady!’
 commands Rory, in a low, firm voice, and the huge back of the second
 wave is seen breaking to leeward. ‘Haul in, boys, and belay!’ Quick as
 lightning the little craft, having again gathered way, is up in the
 teeth of the wind and soon is spinning over the third topper, not a drop
 of water having come over the lee gunwale. ‘Nobly done, Rory!’ exclaims
 the minister, as he looks back to the fierce tideway which they have
 passed.

But what one least forgets is the figure of the aged pastor taking
farewell of his flock. Blind he was, and lost his bearings in the
pulpit, till the beadle, old Rory, who had accompanied him from Skye
fifty years before, went up and turned him round so as to face the
congregation.

 And then stood up that venerable man, a Saul in height among the people,
 with his pure white hair falling back from his ample forehead over his
 shoulders. Few and loving and earnest were the words he spoke, amidst
 the silence of a passionately devoted people, which was broken only by
 their low sobs when he told them that they should see his face no more.

All Morven is in the book,--scenery from the heather to the waves, life
from the manse to the shieling, mixed with strange old legends and
romantic tales.

Was Norman Macleod a poet? Pre-eminently so, said Principal Shairp,
relying on Wordsworth’s paradox. But that is a broken reed. Expression
is the final cause of poetry, _the form’s the thing_. Now, from
Macleod’s habit of misquoting the finest lines it would seem that his
love for poetry was not a poet’s love. Still in his verse he could
stumble on such rhythm as this--

  ‘Ah, where is he now, in what mansion,
  In what star of the infinite sky?’

and in the conclusion of a piece about a grey-headed father seeing his
children dance, there is a gleam of real poetry--

  ‘But he hears a far-off music
    Guiding all the stately spheres,
  _In his father-heart it echoes_,
    So he claps his hands and cheers.’

The hymn ‘Courage, brothers,’ has a telling ring, though only of
rhetoric; and in a song that had the honour of a place in Maga he has
roughly rendered the spirit and atmosphere of the roaring game. But his
cleverest achievement in rhyme is ‘Captain Frazer’s Nose,’ which we are
told was written during violent pain.

  Oh, if ye’re at Dumbarton fair,
  Gang to the castle when ye’re there,
  And see a sicht baith rich and rare--
      The nose o’ Captain Frazer.

  Unless ye’re blin’ or unco glee’t,
  A mile awa’ ye’re sure to see’t,
  And nearer han’ a man gauns wi’t
      That owns the nose o’ Frazer.

  It’s great in length, it’s great in girth,
  It’s great in grief, it’s great in mirth,
  Tho’ grown wi’ years, ‘twas great at birth--
      It’s greater far than Frazer!

  I’ve heard volcanoes loudly roarin’,
  And Niagara’s waters pourin’;
  But oh, gin ye had heard the snorin’
      Frae the nose o’ Captain Frazer!

  To wauken sleepin’ congregations,
  Or rouse to battle sleepin’ nations,
  Gae wa’ wi’ preachin’s and orations,
      And try the nose o’ Frazer!

  Gif French invaders try to lan’
  Upon our glorious British stran’,
  Fear nocht if ships are no’ at han’,
      But trust the nose o’ Frazer.

  Jist crack that cannon ower the shore,
  Weel rammed wi’ snuff, then let it roar
  Ae Hielan’ sneeze! then never more
      They’ll daur the nose o’ Frazer.

  If that great Nose is ever deid,
  To bury it ye dinna need,
  Nae coffin made o’ wood or leed,
      Could hand the nose o’ Frazer.

  But let it stan’ itsel’ alane,
  Erect, like some big Druid stane,
  That a’ the warl’ may see its bane,
      ‘In memory o’ Frazer!’



CHAPTER VI

BALMORAL


If the cry for vital being--

  ‘Tis life, whereof our nerves are scant,
  More life, and fuller, that I want’--

ever came from Norman Macleod, it was answered only too well; like a
certain prayer for rain, which was interrupted by a ridiculous flood.
Not only were his activities immense and various, but there was always
an expenditure of corresponding emotion; nay, and what in the life of
most men would have been simply an event was in his a crisis, what was
a fleeting image with others was with him an indelible impression.

He was summoned to the unique ordeal of ministering to the
newly-widowed Queen.

About twenty years before, during a visit to the West of Scotland,
Her Majesty had for the first time attended a presbyterian service,
on which occasion the preacher was Norman Macleod, the high priest of
the Highlands and minister of St. Columba’s. His son first appeared
at Balmoral in 1854. The invitation of the minister of Crathie he
had refused (having in hand a special service at the Barony), but was
informed that it had been sent at the instance of Her Majesty. He
preached without any notes a sermon never fully written out, which he
had delivered fifteen times. The Queen wrote in her Journal: ‘We went
to kirk as usual at twelve o’clock. The service was performed by the
Rev. Norman M’Leod of Glasgow, son of Dr. M’Leod, and anything finer
I never heard. The sermon, entirely extempore, was quite admirable:
so simple, and yet so eloquent, and so beautifully argued and put.
The text was from the account of the coming of Nicodemus to Christ by
night, St. John, chapter iii. Mr. M’Leod showed in the sermon how we
_all_ tried to please _self_, and live for _that_, and in so doing
found no rest. Christ had come not only to die for us, but to show us
how we were to live. The second prayer was very touching: his allusions
to us were so simple, saying after his mention of us, “Bless their
children.” It gave me a lump in my throat, as also when he prayed for
“the dying, the wounded, the widow, and the orphans.” Every one came
back delighted: and how satisfactory it is to come back from church
with such feelings! The servants and the Highlanders--_all_--were
equally delighted.’

In the evening he was sitting on a block of granite within the grounds,
when he was aroused by a voice asking whether he was the clergyman who
had preached that day, and found himself in the presence of the Queen
and the Prince Consort. This was his first meeting with Her Majesty,
and it was only for a moment.

On the next occasion, two years later, he dined with the royal family,
and afterwards had some conversation with the Queen; referring to
which he says, ‘I never spoke my mind more frankly to anyone who was
a stranger and not on an equal footing.’ This he did, because he
perceived that Her Majesty was anxious to go to the root and reality of
things, and abhorred all shams. His sermons had a peculiar fascination
for the Queen. Of the recorded estimates of Macleod’s preaching, that
of Victoria, if the warmest, is not the least discerning, and will be a
telling memorial when the sermons are forgotten.

The Prince Consort died at the close of the year 1861. In the May
following, the Queen came to Balmoral. She sent for Norman Macleod.
What a moment! How was he to deal with stricken Majesty--

  ‘Her over all whose realms to their last isle
  The shadow of a loss drew like eclipse,
  Darkening the world’?

It was purely as a minister of religion that he had the honour of his
sovereign’s command. The truth of God, as he believed it, the same
message which a hundred times he had spoken to bereaved wives in the
lowliest homes, that, and nothing other, would he carry to the royal
widow, whom he should regard only as ‘an immortal being, a sister in
humanity.’ Their first meeting was at divine service, and if the
occasion was a trying one to the preacher, it was evidently exciting
to the Queen. ‘Hurried to be ready,’ so runs the royal Journal, ‘for
the service which Dr. Macleod was kindly going to perform. And a little
before ten, I went down with Lenchen and Affie (Alice being still in
bed unwell) to the dining-room, in which I had not yet been.... And
never was service more beautifully, touchingly, simply, and tenderly
performed.... The sermon, entirely extempore, was admirable, all upon
affliction, God’s love, our Saviour’s sufferings, which God would not
spare Him, the blessedness of suffering in bringing us nearer to our
eternal home, where we should all be together, and where our dear ones
were gone on before us.... The children and I were much affected on
coming upstairs.’ After dinner he was summoned to the Queen’s room,
and there, after some conversation about the Prince, he told about
an old woman in the Barony who had lost her husband and several of
her children, and who, on being asked how she had been able to bear
her many sorrows, replied, ‘When _he_ was ta’en it made sic a hole in
my heart that a’ other sorrows gang lichtly through.’ When Macleod
recalled this period, he would express the whole burden of it in the
solemn murmur, ‘_That May_.’ He has written: ‘God enabled me to speak
in public and private to the Queen in such a way as seemed to me to be
the truth, the truth in God’s sight--that which I believed she needed,
though I felt it would be very trying to her spirit to receive it. And
what fills me with deepest thanksgiving is that she has received it,
and written to me such a kind, tender letter of thanks, which shall be
treasured in my heart while I live.’

In the spring of the following year he was for several days a guest
at Windsor. ‘I walked,’ he says, ‘with Lady Augusta to the mausoleum
to meet the Queen. She had the key and opened it herself, undoing
the bolts; and alone we entered, and stood in solemn silence beside
Marochetti’s beautiful statue of the Prince.’

With the royal family he was both a social favourite and a trusted
counsellor. To Prince Alfred, who seemed to be particularly attached
to him, he once gave this advice,--that ‘if he did God’s will, good
and able men would rally round him; otherwise flatterers would truckle
to him and ruin him, while caring only for themselves.’ Both sons and
daughters, when residing on the Continent, had flying visits from this
chaplain. One Monday he left Glasgow for Windsor; thence, on royal
errands, he proceeded to Bonn and Darmstadt; he was back at Windsor on
the Friday: and on the Sunday following, it may be added, he preached
three times in the Barony Church.

The Prince of Wales (with whom he sometimes stayed at Abergeldie) once
put in a plea for short sermons. Said the Doctor, ‘I am a Thomas à
Becket and resent the interference of the State’; and sure enough, at
the first opportunity, he preached for three-quarters of an hour, only
so well that His Royal Highness wished it had been longer. To show how
much he was thought of at Court, it may be mentioned that one day he
was at Inverness to meet the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, the
next (which was a Saturday) at Balmoral, and for half of the following
week with Prince Alfred at Holyrood. But here is the crowning instance:
‘The Queen sat down to spin at a nice Scotch wheel, while I read Robert
Burns to her, _Tam o’ Shanter_ and _A man’s a man for a’ that_, her
favourite.’

Her Majesty never forgot what Dr. Macleod had been to her in the
time of her desolation, but extended her confidence, nor failed to
take an interest in his personal cares. Some of the truest and most
touching words ever written of Norman Macleod are from the pen of Queen
Victoria.



CHAPTER VII

1860-1866

TRAVELS--BROAD CHURCH MOVEMENTS


No minister, whose hands were full at home, ever travelled more or
further, whether as tourist or apostle, than Norman Macleod. At least
once a year on an average he spent time on the Continent. In the summer
of 1860, with a view to preach to the Scottish artisans residing at
certain places in Northern Europe, he started for St. Petersburg.
Elsinore, where he landed in honour of Hamlet, he was disappointed to
find no ‘wild and stormy steep,’ but a quiet little wooden town, full
of fish and sailors. By almost everything in Russia he was disgusted.
There for the first and last time in a foreign country, things failed
to engage his interest. He visited the various churches of the capital,
and notes St. Isaac’s as ‘great in granite, magnificent in malachite,
and hoary in nothing but superstition.’ In the Kazan he saw many flags
that had been taken in war, and never an English one in the collection!
The islands of the Neva pleased him; but the best scene of all was
where he could study Russia and mankind, the bazaar. Of a mammoth, the
skeleton of which he saw in the museum, he remarks, ‘It died before
Adam was born,’ and this in _Good Words_, where there was to be nothing
to pain the weakest Christian! The hotels were ‘filthy, the police
villains, the palaces shams, the natives ugly,’ which strain, quite
exceptional for Macleod, was due to his hatred of the Russian system.
At Moscow, however, he was fairly captivated by the Kremlin. Wherever a
number of his fellow-countrymen could be got together he held services,
and once a woman took his hand, saying, ‘My heart is full, I canna
speak.’

His next visit abroad, two years later, was to Italy, and the change
from St. Petersburg to Venice is marked in the finer tone of the
record. ‘We went in our gondolas about nine at night beneath the
bridge of the Rialto.... Palaces and churches were steeped in the calm
brilliancy of the southern night. There was a silence such as could
not reign in any other city on earth. A whisper, one’s very breathing
might be heard. Every palace was visible as in daylight, and, except
for the forms of dark gondolas which glided past, or a few lights that
like fireflies darted amid the darkness of the mysterious water-streets
which opened into the Grand Canal, the city seemed as if dead.’

In February 1865, accompanied by his brother Donald and the publisher
of _Good Words_, Alexander Strahan, he set out for Palestine. Soon
after leaving Marseilles they encountered a terrific hurricane, which
in all its fury Norman witnessed from the deck. Landed at Malta,
he wandered about in the moonlight till three in the morning, and,
what with forts, streets, palaces, batteries, bright almost as day,
it was like a dream. From Malta onward the voyage was just what the
traveller loved, calm and restful, far beyond the postman’s knock,
which seemed a portent created by fever. According to his custom when
on shipboard, he preached in the forecastle, everything free and easy,
the men sitting about or lying in their hammocks. Alexandria was a new
world, the mysterious East, full of charm and fascination. Whether in
coffee-room or bazaar, all was as a fancy fair got up for the amusement
of strangers. His wonder and awe in sight of the Pyramids may be taken
for granted. He thought to climb to the top, but twenty steps sufficed;
he would not risk a vacancy in the Barony by going one yard further;
so there he sat, getting ‘a whiff of the inexhaustible past,’ as he
looked towards Ethiopia and the sources of the Nile. During the sail
to Jaffa he sat upon a Moslem, taking him for the fore jib, and much
he admired the man’s patience under the pressure of the event. Once in
Palestine, and beholding the abundance of the orange, what a paradise,
he thought, for Sunday school children! See him on the road (a horse
under him) rejoicing that ‘from felt hat downwards he has no trace of
the ecclesiastic.’ He had taken with him (instead of powder and shot)
a musical snuff-box, and when the tent was pitched near a village, it
was great fun to spring the miracle upon the crowd. Listening first
with fear, they took courage by degrees, and ‘it was truly delightful
to see the revolution which those beautiful notes, as they sounded
clear and loud through the Arab skull, produced upon the features of
the listener. The anxious brow was smoothed, the black eye lighted
up, the lips were parted in a broad smile, which revealed the ivory
teeth, and the whole man seemed to become humanised as he murmured with
delight, “Tayēeb, tayēeb” (good, good).’ But his staple resource for
the amusement of the natives was fireworks. Nothing could exceed their
surprise as the squib went whizzing up into the starry night. On the
top of Neby Samwil, ‘every face was turned towards Jerusalem. The eye
and heart caught it at once, as they would a parent’s bier in the empty
chamber of death. The round hill, dotted with trees, the dome beneath,
the few minarets near it,--there were Olivet and Jerusalem! No words
were spoken, no exclamations heard; nor are any explanations needed to
enable the reader to understand our feelings when seeing, for the first
time, the city of the Great King.’ Again, of his entering in, ‘I took
off my hat and blessed God in my heart as my horse’s hoofs clattered
through the gate.’ Both within and without he went exploring, Bible in
hand. The party saw Jordan and the Dead Sea, from Bethlehem proceeded
through Damascus to Samaria, and broke up at Beyrout.

In a hotel at Athens one evening, Principal Tulloch, lying in bed, was
startled by the bursting in of Norman Macleod, ‘as large as life, and
bluff and sunburnt from a tour in Syria.’ To this meeting, at which
the two leaders discussed theology and ecclesiastical affairs till
midnight, were doubtless due in part certain events which make 1865 the
most memorable year in the history of the Church since the Disruption.

By this time it was evident that the Secession had in a manner failed.
As a voluntary institution, indeed, the Free Church was flourishing
in the eye of Europe, but it was not for this that the Candlishes and
the Cunninghams had taken off their coats. The ‘bond’ Establishment
was to perish, and they, on their own terms, were to get possession
of the National Zion. Behold, the Church of Scotland was risen again!
For ten years its destiny had hung in the scales; but in the middle
of the fifties, the most popular preacher in Glasgow was the minister
of the Barony, and the minister of Lady Yester’s, Edinburgh, was the
first pulpit orator in the land. Norman Macleod and John Caird had
convinced the astonished people that within the old walls also the
real gospel ring was to be heard. To these might be added one who, in
a less conspicuous position, by the beauty of his character and the
devotedness of his life, rendered as noble service,--the elder Story of
Roseneath. The rising generation of parish ministers could not fail to
catch the new tone, and if they were spurred on as well by the example
of their dissenting brethren, not a few were giving points to their
instructors. To set the Church upon its feet, once it had shown signs
of recovery, no one did more than Professor James Robertson, who was of
a wonderful zeal and courage, strong in intellect and will, in spirit,
if not in doctrine, liberal,--a man singularly forgotten. He took up
the work of church extension begun by Chalmers, only where the master
had looked to the State the pupil was for nothing but subscriptions.
In a dozen years he had raised more than half a million of money, with
which about a hundred and fifty parishes were erected. But nothing so
much showed that the Church was alive as its activity in the foreign
field. By the old Moderates (although it was a Moderate who founded the
India Mission) the project of converting the heathen had been scouted
as a vagary of fanaticism. That the Church could now bear the test of
interest in dark continents was chiefly due to Macleod. So everywhere
but in the Highlands the word went,--’There’s life in the Auld Kirk
yet.’

Religious activity was one thing; but there was a movement of more
historic import. Evangelicalism, which was a reaction from the
inanimate orthodoxy and the elegant scepticism of the eighteenth
century, had revived religion at some expense to freedom and the
rights of intelligence. The non-intrusionist clergy were to Macaulay
‘a sullen priesthood,’ and Carlyle talked of ‘the Free Kirk and other
rubbish.’ Nor were the leaders of the Establishment more the children
of light; they showed perhaps a worse spirit in their resistance to
every political measure that threatened ecclesiastical privilege.
Zion was to be restored, and all good souls were putting in bricks;
but when intellect and the progressive spirit went into the business,
there began developments that were not in the bargain. The modern note
was first heard in the call for a frank recognition of democracy. Then
an avowed reformer arose in the person of Robert Lee, the minister
of Old Greyfriars, to whom, more than to any other, the form of the
renaissance is due. In the Ten Years’ Conflict this warrior had taken
but little interest, for on all sacerdotal claims he looked down
with a cold contempt. A devout man he was at heart, and if he had a
passion it was for the Scottish Church; but with the clerical mind
he had absolutely nothing in common, bringing to every question an
understanding wholly free from the prejudices of his order. So in
the General Assembly, where for eight years he made a great figure,
he might any day have said in the language of the hymn, ‘I’m but a
stranger here.’ A century before he would have been at home with the
Robertsons and the Blairs. Having little humour or imagination, he
could see nothing in his opponents but ignorance and bigotry. Nor
would he condescend to any tricks of conciliation. Facts and logic
he would give, nothing more. A few savoury phrases, a sanctified
outburst, an expostulation trembling on the apparent verge of a sob
(which is the favourite device of impugned conveners) would have gone
far to mollify the opposition; but nothing of the kind ever came from
the minister of Old Greyfriars. Evangelical he was not, and would not
pretend to be; rather he seemed to take a dry delight in marking the
obscurantism of the cloth. Of missionaries he said: ‘They fancy there
is no Word of God but in the Bible, and show daily that they have no
faculty to find it even there.’ For some reason or other he would not
pray to Christ. Instead of the boasted Endowment Scheme he would have
preferred (thinking of the interests of learning and culture) a few
big prizes. He spoke against ‘fanaticism’ in the approved tone of the
literary Whigs; and when he points out ‘the intellectual errors’ of the
Covenanters, we seem to be listening to Mr. Buckle. In short, he was
a superior person, meeting his opponents with an enlightened sniff.
For all that, Robert Lee was admirable--always just to the intellect,
a hater of humbug in the very citadel, and the most dauntless heart.
He served the Church of Scotland well. Wiser than most of those who
set themselves to undo the effects of the Secession, he perceived that
there was more wrong with the Church than pious works could cure. He
objected to the law of patronage, as inviting disputes; he objected
to the Confession of Faith because, by the advance of thought and
knowledge during two hundred years, much of it had been antiquated;
he objected to the church services, they were so rude and bare. His
design was to bring about reforms in worship, doctrine, and government.
Beginning with the first of these heads, he had an organ introduced
into Old Greyfriars; he caused his congregation to kneel at prayer and
stand to sing; and he used a liturgy. Our forefathers, it is true,
wanted no such forms; a moor, a hillside, was temple enough for them;
and the moral estate summed up in the word _Scotch_, a significant
word in the world these three centuries, is the monument of these
worshippers. The soul of Puritanism was gone, and yet the innovations
raised an ecclesiastical storm. That many were favourable to them was
indeed clear from the first, and Lee had virtually triumphed, when a
new set of leaders, mainly to stop the mouths of the dissenters, came
to the attack, and the whole absurd controversy was renewed. Lee gave
in only so far as to read his prayers from a manuscript, but a watch
was set upon him, for he was suspected of heresy as well; and one day
Dr. Pirie reported to the Assembly with horror that the minister of Old
Greyfriars had, on the previous Sunday, delivered ‘a terrible onslaught
on effectual calling.’ But this was a feeble hunter when compared
with Dr. Muir, who roundly said that the devil was at the bottom of
the whole affair. ‘I don’t wish to be thought a terrorist. I don’t
pretend to be prophetic; but it is most evident to me that the work
that has been begun and carried on so far has been begun and carried
on under the sinister influence of the great enemy of the Church--that
enemy who has always set himself in opposition to the truth as it is in
Jesus, and to the work of conversion--_I mean Satan himself_.’ Owing
to an illness that befell Lee the case was suspended; he died, and
it was never renewed. The persecution of the reformer of worship is
perhaps the meanest passage in the history of the Kirk. The inquisitor
of old, standing for the faith of a thousand years, and his victim,
kissing the New Testament, are tragic figures both; but to read how
Robert Lee was harassed and maligned into his grave, because he would
not pray _extempore_, is like a bad novel--no dignity in the action,
no poetic justice in the catastrophe. All which he contended for he
won. If an Englishman may now witness a presbyterian service, even
in the Highlands, without holding his sides, and in the capital may
almost forget that he is north of the Tweed, the credit, such as it is,
belongs to Lee. But it must not be supposed that in this reformation
there was any aping of Anglicanism. Lee stood by the historic Church of
Scotland, which he thought as good as any in Christendom. The Puseyite
priests he regarded with disdain, dubbing them ‘poor, silly, gullible
mortals.’ And Norman Macleod, speaking as one of Lee’s party, said
explicitly, ‘There never was a greater delusion than to imagine that
the wish to have an organ or a more cultivated form of worship has
anything to do with Episcopacy.’

Macleod had in the main supported Lee from the first, not that he was
an enthusiast for the innovations, though he called them improvements;
but in all such matters he was for ministerial freedom, and, as a
general principle, he held that the Church should be moulded to meet
the wants of the country. In the great debate of 1865 he said: ‘It is
on the broad ground of our calling as a national Church and the liberty
we have as a national Church that I would desire to entertain with
kindness and thoughtfulness all these questions, when we are asked by
any portion of the people to do so.’ The spirit of the General Assembly
seemed to him a far greater evil than its decisions. ‘There is but very
little freedom,’ he sighs.

Before the year was out, striking his own blow for liberty, he was to
provoke such an outcry as had not been heard in the land since 1843.
Scottish religion has always been of a Jewish cast. The Reformers were
nourished on Deuteronomy, and the Covenanters, far from turning the
other cheek also, hewed Ammon hip and thigh. But in our Sabbath, such
as it was of old, and even within living memory, the best evidence that
we are the lost ten tribes is to be found. As late as 1834 the General
Assembly uttered this lament: ‘Multitudes, forgetful of their immortal
interests, are accustomed to wander in the fields.’ The presbytery
of Glasgow, impelled by a public agitation against the running of
trains on Sunday, issued a pastoral letter in which the sanctity of the
Lord’s day was based on the Fourth Commandment. Now this did not suit
the views which the minister of the Barony had for years been putting
before his congregation. He read the pastoral from the pulpit, as in
duty bound, and then tore its argument to tatters. In defence of his
action he delivered before the presbytery a speech which lasted for
nearly four hours. No abstract could give any idea of this harangue,
the effect of which depends on vigorous and racy expression. Christians
had nothing to do with the Sabbath. What could be more absurd than to
talk about the continued obligation of a commandment which no Christian
kept? But the Judaical spirit was preserved. On Sunday Highland
ministers durst not shave, or they shaved on the sly. A certain deacon
had gone to fish in the outer Hebrides. Sunday came; he produced a ham,
and asked that some of it should be cooked for breakfast. The landlord
cut slices till he came to the bone. Further he would not go; to saw on
Sunday was a sin. In Glasgow we got parks for working men--men who rose
at five in the morning, drudged during the day, and came home weary at
night; and we had hitherto practically said to these men, in the name
of the Sabbath of the Lord, ‘Kennel up into your wretched abodes!’
We must not take a cab, or have a hot joint, or let children amuse
themselves in any way,--all because of the Fourth Commandment. We were
told that no man who went in a train on Sunday could have in him the
love of Christ. And how by such teaching morality was corrupted! Some
would go for a walk, believing it to be wrong; others would slink out
by the back door. Yet the strictest Sabbatarians relaxed surprisingly
when they were abroad, as if what was sinful in Glasgow was quite
innocent in Paris. The Decalogue could not be identical with the moral
law, for Christians had changed the day named in the commandment,
whereas the moral law could not be altered even by God. What had we
to do with a covenant made with Israel, a covenant involving both
the past history and the future prospects of the Jewish nation? The
Mosaic economy, Decalogue and all, had been nailed to the cross of
Christ. But who could abrogate a moral duty, or make right and wrong
change places? ‘I should be ashamed not to declare before the world
that one intelligent look by faith of the holy and loving Christ would
crush me to the dust with a sense of sin, which the Decalogue, heard
even from Sinai, could never produce.’ To go to the Jewish law for a
rule of conduct was like going from the sun at noonday to the moon at
night. Nothing could have a properly moral significance, if it was not
contained in the law of life which was in Christ.

The plea for Sunday, which forms the second part of his argument, is
powerful in its way, but it fails to show that the Lord’s day is a
scriptural institution; the question as to what is lawful or unlawful
being left to ‘the common sense, right spirit, and manly principle of
Christians.’

There was an immediate hurricane over all Scotland. Macleod awoke
one morning and found himself infamous. Anathemas were hurled from
almost every pulpit. Every newspaper and many magazines took up the
question. Scores of sermons came out, nearly all for Moses. There were
innumerable squibs,--the cleverest in prose _The Trial of Dr. Norman
Macleod for the Murder of Moses’ Law_, by David Macrae, in verse the
lines by Edmund Robertson which Dr. A. K. H. Boyd has brought to light,
beginning--

  Have you heard of valiant Norman,
    Norman of the ample vest--
  How he fought the Ten Commandments
    In the Synod of the West?

Caricatures appeared in shop windows. His clerical brethren passed
him without recognition, one of them with hisses. ‘I felt at first,’
he wrote, ‘so utterly cut off from every Christian brother, that, had
a chimney-sweep given me his sooty hand, and smiled on me with his
black face, I would have welcomed his salute and blessed him.’ With
the common folk it was probably the word _Decalogue_ that did all the
mischief. What it was they did not exactly know, but it was an awful
thing, the Decalogue, like the Equator; and ‘Norman Macleod was for
daein’ awa’ wi’t,’ as, with scared faces and bated breath, they told
one another in the streets. Sending his speech to the printer--his old
friend Mr. Erskine, who was now settled in Glasgow--he wrote--

 MY DEAR ERSKINE,--Are you mad? If you are too mad to know it, let one of
 your devils tell it to me, and I actually will believe the demon. I am
 mad, and I would like to be in the same cell with you. Cell! It is all
 a _sell_ together! We are sold to Donkeys, and for _them_ we write, and
 so must consider every word, as if it was a thistle for Donkeys to eat!
 Do work off as fast as you can, or the people will believe there is no
 Decalogue, or that I am a devil--like yourself.

Principal Tulloch pronounced the speech ‘noble and remarkable,’ but
Lee (one of whose foibles it was to suppose himself extremely politic)
called it ‘an escapade,’ and regretted the ‘injudicious language,
the unnecessary shock to the pious feelings of many good people.’
This is how he would do it: ‘The observance of the Lord’s day rests
on _no authority of Scripture at all_, but the said observance, when
it can be shown to contribute to the general good of the community
in soul and body, has been sufficiently vindicated.’ Lee delivered
four long sermons on the Sabbath question, apparently without effect.
With Macleod it was one big burst and done with it; an escapade, if
you will, but settling the business, so that the first day of the
week has never been the same since. For some time it was considered
probable that the valiant Norman would be deposed, but, after all,
the presbytery contented itself with an admonition (which he told
them he would show to his son as ‘an ecclesiastical fossil’); and in
the General Assembly, contrary to all expectation, his name was never
mentioned! ‘Most wonderful!’ he says, ‘most unaccountable!’ And so
it was; he had not retracted a syllable, nay more, he had distinctly
stated in the presbytery that he departed from the Confession of Faith.
The Sabbath affair was a skirmish; the battle was to be fought on the
relation of the creed to the Church.

This question was in the hands of Principal Tulloch. In the General
Assembly of 1865, Pirie had declared that the Confession was ‘the truth
of the living God,’ but Tulloch had said, ‘With the spirit of the
seventeenth century the Church of Scotland cannot identify itself.’
A few months later he published an address on _The Study of the
Confession of Faith_, which is a remarkable piece, every word weighed,
and every word in its place. He begins by brushing aside, as utterly
worthless, all such knowledge of the Confession as is confined to the
letter, asserting that, to be properly understood, the Confession
‘must be studied both philosophically and historically.’ The manifesto
of a party, it reflects all the peculiarities which that party had
gathered in the course of a struggle for ascendancy, insomuch that a
historical student, well versed in the Puritan movement, could tell,
by the internal evidence alone, the decade in which the document was
put together, and the men who had the chief hand in the work. Further,
many of the ideas used in the Confession to explain the mysteries
of Christianity were borrowed from the philosophy of the age. The
Confession is the embodiment of the opinions of a certain theological
school, which was peculiarly under the influences and the prejudices of
the period. To claim infallibility for such an instrument is the worst
kind of Popery--’that Popery which degrades the Christian reason while
it fails to nourish the Christian imagination.’

Macleod cheered Tulloch on, breaking into verse--

         ‘Brother, up to the breach
          For Christ’s freedom and truth;
          Let us act as we teach,
  With the wisdom of age and the vigour of youth.
          Heed not their cannon-balls,
          Ask not who stands or falls;
               Grasp the sword
               Of the Lord,
               And Forward!’



CHAPTER VIII

1867-1872

INDIA--THE APEX--THE END


The vision of millions upon millions in the far East worshipping
idols had long haunted Macleod’s imagination, and, with his sense
of apostleship waxing as the years went on, heathendom became more
and more to him a mystery and a horror. The Asiatic was a man: reach
his heart, it was the same as ours, and must open to the religion of
humanity. To Macleod’s stamp of Christian the whole idea of foreign
missions was peculiarly congenial; every enterprise in that field,
whatever Church had the credit, he hailed with enthusiasm. In 1858,
when Angell James was appealing for a hundred missionaries to go to
China, Macleod sent forth, in the _Edinburgh Christian Magazine_, a
voice to the British Churches:--

 Let us say in justice to our own deep conviction as to the momentous
 importance of this subject--to the grandeur of the cause which our
 revered father advocates--to the sense we entertain of the clear and
 imperative duty of the Church of Scotland at this crisis--that we
 bid him God-speed with all our hearts; and express our firm faith
 that these hundred missionaries and many more will soon be in the
 field, _with some contributed by our own Church_, to take part in this
 glorious enterprise about to open for the establishment in China, so
 long enslaved by Satan, of that blessed kingdom which is righteousness,
 peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The Church of Scotland had a footing in India, and it was there that
his interest was fixed. There be rosy thousand-pounders whose eloquent
wails over the dearth of missionaries draw handkerchiefs in the ladies’
gallery, and if the cynic says that the command is not ‘Get others to
go’ but ‘Go _ye_,’ it is good exegesis and a palpable hit. But Macleod
was busy among the heathen at home, and from 1864, when he was made
convener of the India Mission, his mind was possessed with the thought
of an embassy to Hindostan. The Sabbath question arose, and, expecting
ostracism, he gave up his prospect; indeed, a section of the committee,
as he afterwards learned, moved for his resignation. The General
Assembly, however, in 1867, upon advices from Calcutta, requested him
to visit India. ‘How strange and sudden,’ he wrote, ‘that I, who two
years ago was threatened with deposition and made an offscouring by so
many, am this year asked by the Assembly to be their representative in
India!’ Among his acquaintance far and near, high and humble, the news
that Norman Macleod was going to India created a sensation. The Queen
wrote: ‘his life is so valuable that it is a great risk.’ He received
letters from Stanley, Helps, and Max Müller. The presbytery gave him a
dinner, at which the chair was taken by the chief Sabbatarian. Fifty
private friends, including ministers of all denominations, entertained
him at a feast. He in his turn held a luncheon, in the course of
which he perambulated the tables, speaking the befitting word to each
of thirty guests. Portraits of himself, his wife, and his mother,
painted by Macnee, were presented to him; and four hundred working men
gave Mrs. Macleod her husband’s bust in marble. There was a general
feeling that he might never return. ‘Come life or death,’ he said of
his undertaking, ‘I believe it is God’s will.’ For several weeks he
had worked so hard, and gone through so much excitement, that when he
started he was utterly worn out; and throughout the tour, from first to
last, he was afflicted with a swelling of the limbs.

Fortunate he was in having for his fellow-deputy Dr. Watson, the
minister of Dundee, who thought with him on religious matters (though
_pawky_ to the point of genius) and was kin to him in spirit. To hear
these two in the parts of Highland drovers was, by all accounts, the
greatest treat in the world. After a short stay in Paris, where Macleod
preached, and got a collection for the expenses of the deputation, on
the sixth of November they embarked at Marseilles, having chosen the
overland passage. Macleod was charmed with the coast scenery about
Toulon; Corsica and Sardinia reminded him of the Western Highlands;
but in all the Mediterranean there was no sight that affected him so
much as the house of Garibaldi. At Alexandria he learned from his old
dragoman, whom he happened to meet, that travellers, ever since the
advice given in _Eastward_, were examining the backs of horses and
mules before they bought them, so that Meeki, able to cheat no more,
had taken to another trade. Thus Macleod had for certain done one good
thing in his life. On the voyage down the Red Sea, having once preached
for an hour with the thermometer at 90°, he got a warning of what
might be in store for him in India. ‘At the close,’ says Dr. Watson,
‘he was almost dead; his face was flushed, his head ached, his brain
was confused, and when he retired to his cabin the utmost efforts were
required to restore him.’ Old Indians poured jugs of iced water over
his head. Yet, referring to the heat, he could write home, ‘I just thaw
on, laugh and joke, and feel quite happy.’ One morning he got up at
three o’clock, and in ‘a white Damascus camel-hair dressing-gown’ sat
on deck, sneering at the Southern Cross. According to his wont he was
taken up with his fellow-passengers, among whom were soldiers who had
fought in the Mutiny, young officers on their way to Magdala, civilians
who had governed provinces and spent years among the remotest tribes,
politicians, journalists, and adventurers. Unlike his companion, he had
a cabin to himself, and, in the course of the voyage, it was more and
more like a pawnbroker’s shop. One day Watson perceived in the chaos a
decent silk hat with its sides meeting like a trampled tin pan. ‘Man,’
said Norman, by way of explanation, ‘last night I felt something very
pleasant at my feet; I put my feet on it and rested them--I was half
asleep. How very kind, I thought, of the steward to put in an extra
air cushion! and when I looked in the morning, it was my hat.’ In the
bustle of the preparations for landing at Bombay he was heard crying,
‘Steward, did you see my red fez?’ ‘Is it a blue one?’ ‘No!’ roared
Norman, ‘it’s a red one. If you see it, bring it, and if any fellow
won’t give it up, bring his head along with it.’ So Watson writes
to Mrs. Macleod. Macleod, for his part, complaining to Mrs. Watson
of her husband’s inextinguishable laughter, declares, ‘But for my
constant gravity he would ruin the deputation.’ He was presented with
an address, signed by the captain, the officers, and the whole of the
passengers, ‘expressing their grateful sense of the peculiar privilege
they had enjoyed in his society and his ministrations.’

At the first sight of India, a land so full of romantic and mysterious
interest, Macleod as a Briton, and still more as a Christian, was
strangely moved. The working plan of the deputies may be stated in
a dozen words: Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, with a loop of travel at
each. In one city as in another Macleod had much the same round of
triumphs and of toils. He conferred with missionaries of different
Churches; inspected colleges and schools; and, accompanied by the
highest aristocracy, both native and English, delivered sermons and
addresses to enormous crowds. The Brahman worship he took pains
to study, and made a point of quizzing the most cultured Hindoos.
Socially he was treated as if he had been the special commissioner,
not of the General Assembly, but of the Crown. Governors, military
commanders, and bishops gave dinners and receptions in his honour. He
was never well, but the killing fatigue at the centres was relieved
by the trips to inland stations. From Bombay the deputies went to
Poonah and Colgaum, whence returning they visited the caves of Karli.
Sir Alexander Grant--afterwards Principal of Edinburgh University--at
whose house Macleod met a select party of educated natives, has left
this testimony: ‘He talks to them in a large, conciliatory, manly
way, which is a perfect model of missionary style. I had the most
charming talks with him, lasting always till 2 A.M., and his mixture
of poetry, thought, tenderness, manly sense, and humour was to me
perfectly delightful. I had no idea his soul was so great.’ At a
bungalow on the road to Colgaum he had what he calls a dangerous
encounter with a snake. He had wished to see a real cobra, and Dr.
Watson reported that there was one outside basking in the moonshine.
So off went Norman with his Lochaber crook. ‘Slowly and cautiously I
approached, with uplifted staff and beating heart, the spot where the
dragon lay, and saw him, a long grey monster! As the chivalrous St.
George flashed upon my mind, I administered a fearful stroke to the
brute; but from a sense of duty to my wife and children rushed back to
the bungalow in case of any putting forth of venom, which might cause
a vacancy in the Barony, and resolved to delay approaching the worm
till next morning. Now, whatever the cause was, no one, strange to
say, could discover the dead body when morning dawned. A few decayed
branches of a tree were alone discovered near his foul den, and these
had unquestionably been broken by some mighty stroke; but the cobra
was never seen afterwards, dead or alive.... Why my friend laughed so
heartily at my adventure I never could comprehend, and have always
avoided asking him the question.’ Their route to Madras was by sea to
Calicut, and across country by rail from Beypore. In their excursions
from Madras they went two hundred miles, as far as to Bangalore. At
Calcutta, where they arrived about the middle of January, Macleod,
for the first time, received the impression of the imperial power of
the British. Thinking of Government House, he says: ‘I have trod the
gorgeous halls of almost every regal palace in Europe, from Moscow to
Naples, and those of the republican White House at Washington, but with
none of these could I associate such a succession of names as those of
the men who had governed India.’ He got on terms of friendship with
the Governor-General, Lord Lawrence, but a State dinner, given on
account of the deputies, he had to forego. His health was giving way,
as was inevitable from the high pressure at which he had been working
in a burning climate. Nevertheless he went about the business of the
embassy. One day, when he had been three weeks in Calcutta, he spoke
at a morning meeting; held an examination in the General Assembly’s
Institution, and addressed the students in the great hall; was the
chief guest at a luncheon; and in the evening, at the most brilliant
public dinner ever held in the city, delivered a great speech. That
night ‘the bull,’ which had been ‘after him all day,’ caught and tossed
him, and there was a sudden end to his work in India. From a kind of
noble vanity he had, Macleod could never bear to have the appearance of
shirking a task. Next morning, tolerably well with his way of it, he
telegraphed home, ‘Off for the Punjaub’; but at a conference of doctors
it was decided that ‘it would be attended with danger to his life
should he persist in his intention of continuing his tour to Sealkote.’

Before quitting India he took a holiday excursion. He had seen the Red
Indians in their encampment, he had been on the summit of the high
tower at Moscow, he had sat on the Mount of Olives, he had floated in
a raft upon the Danube; and now, behold him threading the lanes of
holy Benares, mounted on an elephant! He saw the marble glories of
Mohammedan Agra, and examined all the famous scenes of the Mutiny,
especially Delhi, where his heart glowed as he remembered Nicholson.
From Delhi he returned direct to Calcutta; whence, on board of an old
man-of-war, in company with Lady Lawrence and her daughter, he sailed
for Egypt. One little incident of the voyage is worth remembrance.
He had been very attentive to the sailors, not only preaching in the
forecastle on Sundays, but at other times reading to them selections
from his sea stories. Now at Aden they had shipped an African boy who
had been taken from a slaver, and when Macleod was about to leave the
vessel, a deputation of the crew approached him, leading the little
negro by the hand. ‘And now, your Reverence,’ said one, ‘I hope you
won’t be offended if we name this here nigger boy _Billy Buttons_.’

Cairo and the Pyramids once more; then home by Malta, Sicily, Naples,
and Rome.

Notwithstanding many predictions, he had come back, and in apparent
vigour; but his health was undermined, India had done for Norman.
Though to a certain section of the clergy he was still an object of
suspicion, his magnificent services could not be denied, and, besides,
in the Indian undertaking--his years and his physique considered--there
was a gallantry, a derring-do, that stirred men’s spirits finely. So,
on his first rising to speak in the General Assembly, after his return,
he received an ovation. His speech, giving the results arrived at by
the deputation, lasted for two hours, and, in an intellectual point
of view, is perhaps the highest of all his works. There is a thorough
grasp of the whole problem of the conversion of the Hindoos, with
splendid ability in the presentation. Of the contest against the system
of caste he says:

 I hesitate not to express the opinion that no such battle has ever
 before been given to the Church of God to fight since history began, and
 that no victory, if gained, will be followed by greater consequences. It
 seems to me as if the spiritual conquest of India was a work reserved
 for these latter days to accomplish, because requiring all the previous
 dear-bought experiences of the Church, and all the preliminary education
 of the world, and that, when accomplished,--as by the help of the living
 Christ it shall,--it will be a very Armageddon: the last great battle
 against every form of unbelief, the last fortress of the enemy stormed,
 the last victory gained as necessary to secure the unimpeded progress
 and the final triumph of the world’s regeneration.

He shows how the evangelising methods with which we are familiar at
home are inapplicable in India. ‘One of the noblest and most devoted
of men, Mr. Bowen of Bombay, whom I heard thus preach, and who has
done so for a quarter of a century, informed me in his own humble,
truthful way,--and his case is not singular except for its patience and
earnestness,--that, as far as he knew, he had never made one single
convert.’ In insisting on education as the first means all authorities
are now at one with him; but his other idea, that in India the various
Christian sects should forget their differences, and aim at a native
Church, which should be independent of Western creeds, is still a
devout imagination.

 Is the grand army to remain broken up into separate divisions, each
 to recruit to its own standard, and to invite the Hindoos to wear our
 respective uniforms, adopt our respective shibboleths, and learn and
 repeat our respective war-cries, and even make caste marks of our wounds
 and scars, which to us are but the sad mementoes of old battles?[7]

He foresaw a time when for idols would be substituted Jesus, the divine
yet human brother; for the Puranas the Bible; for caste Christian
brotherhood; and for weary rite and empty ceremony the peace of God.

The Moderatorship, which is the presidency of the General Assembly,
is the highest office in the Church. The appointment lies with the
members, but in practice the retiring dignitary, on the opening day,
names his successor, who has in fact been chosen six months before at a
secret conclave. Some such arrangement is necessary, as the Moderator
has to wear an antique and elaborate scheme of apparel. Supposing the
General Assembly were to reject the nominee, picture the situation!
There behind the door would be the proud one, giving the last touch
to his ruffles, casting a final glance at his buckled shoes, while
a gentleman in mere coat and trousers was marching to the Chair! On
the whole the college of Moderators has proved an excellent body of
electors, and seldom has it done itself more credit than in promoting
Norman Macleod. In 1869 he was, to be sure, the chief man in the
Church, but the old Moderators were just the persons who would be most
shocked by his view of the first day of the week. In offering to so
recent a culprit the greatest honour which the Church had to bestow,
they showed no little magnanimity, even were the idea of muzzling him
not altogether absent. ‘I should like to be at the head of everything,’
Norman had said in his youth, and though too good a man to sacrifice
any of his moral being to ambition, undoubtedly he was fond of power.
The Moderatorship he at first, both by word and letter, refused,
chiefly on the ground of his desire for freedom in the expression of
his opinions. But of course it was all right!

During the session of the General Assembly the Moderator has an
exciting round of social duties. Every morning he entertains a number
of the clergy and their wives to breakfast, and at the dinners and
receptions in Holyrood Palace he is the principal figure, next to the
representative of the Sovereign. But the great event for the Moderator
is the closing address, which he delivers about midnight to a mixed
crowd. After that comes the most impressive scene of all, when they
stand and sing--

  ‘Pray that Jerusalem may have
    Peace and felicity;
  Let them that love thee and thy peace
    Have still prosperity.’

Speaking of the creed Macleod was so vague (mindful of the old hands
after all) that he might as well have passed the matter off with one of
his favourite quotations--

  ‘I would that my tongue could utter
  The thoughts that arise in me!’

But of his oration there is one part that, were it only known, would
grow in importance the more the cry for disestablishment was heard.
The age, he says, is against, and rightly against, monopolies of every
kind. To defend a State Church on the ground of treaties is idle;
the question is whether it satisfies the nation. Nor does he argue
for the preservation of the Establishment on any such ground as the
need of a placard on the nation’s door, _Religion recognised within_.
Voluntaryism is not only insufficient to meet the spiritual wants of
the country, but involves the dependence of the clergy. On the other
hand, the Church exists for the people, and has no interests apart
from theirs. When it ceases to have the general confidence it loses
its right to the endowments, which are held in trust for the common
good. A national Church should therefore be comprehensive, and that
to the furthest limit compatible with its existence as a Christian
institution. Every ecclesiastical question, whether of government, of
worship, or even of doctrine (provided only that the essential faith
be kept) should be decided with a single eye to the national interest.
Were he living now, Macleod would probably advocate the union of the
presbyterian Churches at any cost to the Establishment except the loss
of the teinds.

He was no sooner released from the General Assembly than he was off to
Berlin, where he fixed missionaries for the aborigines of India. Home
again, he resumed his peregrinations in the country, with ‘a fire in
his bones for a Mission and a Church on the point of perishing.’ Oh it
is wonderful, after his so strenuous day, to see the passion and hurry
with which, in spite of the burden of the flesh, he struggles onward
in the falling of the eve. His religious feelings and aspirations
grew more and more absorbing and intense. As his life seemed not for
long in this world, he thought the more of the next. Education beyond
the grave, progress everlasting, was the favourite conception of his
closing years.

In 1871, having an acute attack of gout, he was ordered by Sir William
Jenner to take the waters at Ems. Towards the end of the year he owned
to himself, for the first time, that he was unequal to his tasks. The
least thing exhausted him, he could not sleep. Early in the following
spring he went to St. Andrews to address the students. ‘We were all
struck,’ wrote his old friend Shairp, then Principal of the University,
‘by his worn and flaccid appearance.... After describing very clearly
and calmly the state of the mission and its weakness for want of both
fit men and sufficient funds, his last words were--“If by the time next
General Assembly arrives neither of these are forthcoming, there is one
who wishes he may find a grave!”’ A few weeks later his infirmities had
so increased that he was compelled to give up the India Mission. One
more effort to rouse the Church he was resolved to make, were it his
last. When in the ensuing General Assembly he rose to speak, the House
was crowded and as still as death; it was clear to all that the warrior
of God would soon enter into rest. His utterance was so rapid as to
beat the reporters, but the speech was said to be the finest he ever
made. The most striking passage is one rounding off his argument that
the Westminster Confession was not for India:--

‘Am I to be silent lest I should be whispered about, or suspected, or
called “dangerous,” “broad,” “latitudinarian,” “atheistic”? So long
as I have a good conscience towards God, and have His sun to shine on
me, and can hear the birds singing, I can walk across the earth with a
joyful and free heart. Let them call me “broad.” I desire to be broad
as the charity of Almighty God, who maketh His sun to shine on the
evil and the good: who hateth no man, and who loveth the poorest Hindoo
more than all their committees or all their Churches. But while I long
for that breadth of charity I desire to be narrow--narrow as God’s
righteousness, which as a sharp sword can separate between eternal
right and eternal wrong.’

On his birthday he wrote to Shairp: ‘As I feel time so rapidly passing,
I take your hand, dear old friend, with a firmer grip.’ That day, by
his express desire, his family were all gathered round him. As husband,
father, brother, son, never man was more devoted. After two weeks of
restlessness and want of sleep, suddenly the end came. About midday on
the sixteenth of June, reclining on the sofa, he uttered a cry. As his
wife sprang to his side, he sighed and passed away.

       *       *       *       *       *

The news that Norman Macleod was dead sent a thrill through the
nation. His funeral was the most imposing ever seen in Glasgow.
At the services, which were held in the Barony Church and in the
Cathedral, ministers of different denominations took part. There
were between three and four thousand in the procession, including
magistrates, sheriffs, and professors, all in their official robes,
and two representatives of royalty. As far as to the outskirts of the
city the route was thronged with spectators. An old woman, blinking
in the brilliant weather, was overheard saying to herself, _Eh, but
Providence has been kind to Norman, gi’en’ him sic a grand day for
his funeral_! He was buried beside his father in Campsie. There are
monuments: a tablet at Loudoun; a statue near the site of the old
Barony Church; and two stained windows at Crathie, the gift of Her
Majesty the Queen.



INDEX


  A

  ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ that’, 82, 107

  Alexandria, Visit to, 110, 128

  Ambleside, 26

  America, British North, 53

  America, Southern States, 55

  Anglo-Catholic Movement, 34

  Argyllshire Fencibles, 15

  Arnold, Thomas, 61

  Aros, 16

  Arthur’s Seat, 45

  Assembly, General, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 42, 84


  B

  Baronne, La, 23

  Barony Church, The, 64, 66, 68

  Becket, Thomas à, 106

  Benares, 132

  _Billy Buttons_, 92, 133

  Bonn, 106

  Broad Church Movement, 139

  Broomielaw, The, 67

  Brougham, Lord, 24

  Buccleuch, Duke of, 50

  Buchanan, Professor--’Logic Bob’, 20

  Burns Centenary, 82

  Burns, Robert, 20, 32, 83


  C

  Caird, Principal, 88, 112

  Calvinism, Scots Life based on, 9, 29, 45

  Campbell, Macleod J., 36, 61

  Campbeltown, Norman the First’s Parish, 15, 17, 18

  Campsie, Parish of, 19, 46

  Cannstadt, 63

  Carlyle, Thomas, 23, 51

  Carstairs, William, 9

  Chalmers, Dr., 21, 48, 62, 63, 66

  Chapel Act, 42

  Character Sketches, 90

  Chartism, 30, 51

  Claverhouse, 16

  Cockburn, Lord, 24

  Coffee-room Reunions, 33

  Columba’s, St., Parish of, 24

  Confession of Faith, Norman’s, 71

  Congregation, Type of Christian, 69

  Coolins, 27

  Corsica, 127

  ‘Courage, Brothers’, 100

  ‘Crack about the Kirk for Kintra Folk’, 39

  Cunningham, Principal, 112

  Cupar-Fife, 46


  D

  Dalkeith, 46, 47, 50, 62, 66

  Darmstadt, 106

  Darvel, 29

  Dead Hand, The, 33

  Death Penalty for renouncing Islam, 59

  Decalogue, The, 121

  Deputation, The Indian, 127, 129

  Dickens, Charles, 32

  Disestablishment, 138

  Disruption, The, 38, 43

  Divinity Hall, Edinburgh, 21
    ----Glasgow, 24

  Dresden, 23

  Ducal Court, Weimar, 22, 23

  Dunvegan Castle, 12
    ----Macleod’s Stay at, 14


  E

  _Earnest Student_, 90

  Ecclesiastical Liberality, 83

  _Edinburgh Christian Magazine_, 85

  Effectual Calling impugned, 116

  Elsinore, 108

  Emerson, R. W., 61

  Erastus, 41

  Erskine, J. C., 85

  Evangelical Alliance, The, 58, 60, 61

  Evangelical Party, The, 36, 37, 60


  F

  Family Worship in Skye, 12

  Fiunary, Manse of, 13
    ----Life at, 14

  ‘Flowers o’ the Forest’, 63

  Free Church, 43, 44, 45, 65, 89, 113, 114

  Freedom, Macleod’s love of, 118

  French Revolution, 36


  G

  Garibaldi, 128

  Geneva Gowns, 9

  Geology, Lectures on, 30

  Gilfillan, George, 20

  Glasgow, High Street, 20
    ----University, 20

  Goethe, 23

  _Good Words_, 85, 87, 88, 90

  Grant, Sir Alexander, 130

  Grunting and Singing, 69


  H

  Hamlet, 108

  Hastings, Dowager Marchioness of, 32, 33

  Headship of Christ, 35, 40

  Hebrides, the Men there, 11

  Helps, Sir Arthur, on Macleod, 73, 126

  Herschell, Mr., of London, 61

  High Churchism, 34, 42

  Highland Tacksmen, 11

  Hildebrand, 41


  I

  _Index Expurgatorius_, 86

  India Mission, The, 52, 83, 126, 129, 139

  Irvine Water, 29, 33

  Italy, Visit to, 109


  J

  Jacobites, 34, 35

  Jaffa, 110

  Jeffrey, Lord 24

  Jerusalem, Visit to, 111

  Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 11
    ----Meeting with Macleod the First, 12

  Judaical Spirit in Scotland, 119


  K

  Kailyard Literature, 90

  Kazan, The, 108

  Kingsley, Charles, 88

  Kintyre, 16

  Knox, John, 9, 35

  Kremlin, The, 109


  L

  Land o’ the Leal, 63

  Lee, Rev. Dr. Robert, 114, 115, 117

  Leith Pier, 45

  Liturgy, Scots Church, 116

  London Missionary Society, 84

  Lord Rector’s Election, 24

  Lords, House of, 37

  Loudoun, Parish of, 28, 29, 31, 46, 66
    ----Work in, 30, 31
    ----Castle, 32, 33

  Love, Norman in, 23


  M

  Malta, Visit to, 110

  Mammoth, Skeleton of, 109

  Maxwell, Duke of Argyll’s Chamberlain, 16

  Maybole, 46

  Maynooth, 49

  Melville, Andrew, 20, 35

  Moderates, The, 36, 37, 39, 41

  Moderator of the Church, 135, 136

  Montreal, 58

  Moreby Hall, Yorkshire, 22

  Morven, Parish of, 13, 14, 18, 26, 57, 99

  Moscow, 109

  Moslem sat upon at Jaffa, 110

  Mull, Sound of, 13, 57

  Müller, Dr. Max, 126

  Munich, 23


  M’

  M’Cheyne’s Life, 90

  Macintosh, John, 25, 26, 61
    ----Catherine Ann, 64

  Macleod, Norman, the First, 12
    A Rare Figure, 13
    His Precepts, 13
    Early Life, 15
    Ordained to Campbeltown, 15
    Communion Services, 15
    His Marriage, 16

  Macleod, Dr. Norman, the Hero as Priest, 10
    Name Revered with that of Chalmers, 10
    His Birth, 16
    Early Life 17
    Fighting the French, 17
    Learns Gaelic, 18
    At Campsie, 19
    At College, 20
    His Studies, 21
    Influence of Chalmers, 21
    Death of his Brother James, 22
    At Weimar, 23
    Falls in Love, 23
    Throws himself into Politics, 24
    Speech at the Peel Banquet, 25
    Tutor in his Father’s House, 26
    His Licence to Preach, 26
    Presented to the Living of Loudoun, 28
    His Battles with Free-Thinking Weavers, 30
    Lectures on Geology, 30
    His Feelings towards Burns, 32
    Feelings towards Ornate Ritual in Worship, 34
    Non-Intrusion Controversy, 37, 38, 39
    Writes a Pamphlet on the Subject, “A Crack aboot the Kirk for Kintra Folk”, 39
    His Speech on the Non-Intrusion Question at Newmilns, 41
    Action over the _Quoad Sacras_, 42
    His Opinion of the Disruption, 43
    Settled at Dalkeith, 46
    His Feelings for the Church, 49
    His Vows for its Revival, 50
    Home Mission Work, 50
    Incident of the Orphan Boy, 51
    The India Mission, 52
    Visits America, 53
    Incident of the Dying Man, 53
    His Sympathetic Nature, 54
    Interview with President Polk, 54
    British Sympathy with Southern States, 55
    Experiences in Canada, 55-58
    Union of Protestants, 58
    Evangelical Alliance, 58
    Interview with Macintosh, 62
    Marriage, 64
    Minister of Barony Parish, 64
    Compared with Chalmers, 67
    Early Rising and its Sights, 68
    Organising Barony Congregation, 69
    Norman’s Confession of Faith, 71
    His Preaching, 72
    Preaching to the Poor, 73
    Sympathy for All, 76
    Norman and Temperance, 77
    Poor Law Administrator, 79
    Plans to Aid Deserving Poor, 80
    His Hold on Working Men of Glasgow, 80
    Shocking the Pharisees, 81
    The Burns Centenary, 82
    At the Theatre at Stockholm, 83
    The Cause of the Heathen, 84
    Editor and Author, 85
    _Good Words_ started, 87
    Experiences as Editor, 88-90
      ----as a Writer of Fiction, 93
    Extracts from _The Starling_, 96, 97
    Description of the Sound, 97
    Norman a Poet, 99
    Preaching at Balmoral, 103
    Consolation to a Stricken Monarch, 104
    Intercourse with Royalty, 106, 107
    Visits Russia, 108
    Visit to Italy, 109
    Alexandria, Malta, and the Pyramids, 110
    Sits upon a Moslem at Jaffa, 110
    Delight in Palestine and Jerusalem, 111
    Dr. Robert Lee’s System of Church Worship, 115, 116
    Macleod Supports it, 117
    Outcry over Sabbath Desecration, 118
    Macleod inveighed against, 121
    Shunned by his Brethren, 122
    The Confession of Faith Controversy, 123
    Macleod and Tulloch, 124
    Visits India, 127, 128
    His Gaiety on the Voyage, 128, 129
    Interest excited by his Visit, 130
    His Visit cut short, 132
    India had done for Norman, 133
    Ovation at the General Assembly, 133
    Moderator, 135, 136
    Gout seizes him, 138
    His Last Great Speech, 139
    The End at last, 140
    Funeral, 140, 141

  Macleod, General, 14
    ----Dr. Donald, 109

  Macleod, Laird of, 12

  Macrimmon, Piping of a, 14


  N

  National Church, The, 49, 50, 65

  Neva, Islands of, 108

  Newmilns, 29

  Nile, 110

  Non-Intrusion Controversy, 34, 35, 37, 39

  ‘Norman’--the pet name, 81


  O

  _Old Lieutenant and his Son_, 79, 91, 93, 97

  Organisation in Barony Church, 70

  Ottawa, The River, 58

  P

  Paine, Tom, 30

  Palestine, Visit to, 110

  Paton & Ritchie, 85

  Patronage, 35, 39

  Peel Club, 26

  Peel, Sir Robert, 24

  Petersburg, St., Visit to, 108

  Pictou, Nova Scotia, 56

  Polk, President, Interview with, 54

  Poor, The, their Love for Macleod, 74

  _Porteous, Rev. Daniel_, 95

  Preaching, his Style, 72

  Preaching under Difficulties, 128

  ‘Presbyterian Puseyism’, 45

  Preston, Henry, 22

  Prince Alfred, 106

  Prince Consort, 104

  Prince of Wales, 106

  Pritchard the Poisoner, 75

  Protestants, Union of, 58

  Prussian Crown Prince and Princess, 107

  Prussian Poland, 61

  Puritans, The 45, 83

  Puseyism, 34

  Pyramids, Visit to, 110


  Q

  Queen, The, 103, 105, 107, 126, 141

  _Quoad Sacra_ Charges and Voting, 2


  R

  _Record, The_, 89

  _Reminiscences of a Highland Parish_, 97

  Revolution, The, 35

  Rialto, The, 109

  Richelieu, 48

  Robertson of Ellon, 28

  Robespierre, 30

  Russia, 61


  S

  Sabbath Observance, 119, 120, 127

  Sacerdotal Temper, 40

  Sacramental Scenes, 33, 56

  St. John’s Church (Edinburgh), 46

  St. Ninian’s, 46

  Sandford, Sir Daniel, 20

  Sardinia, 127

  Scott, Sir Walter, 32

  Session, Court of, 37, 38, 40

  Shaftesbury, Lord, 75

  Shairp, John Campbell, 25, 26, 33, 34, 139, 140

  Shakespeare, 32

  Siberia, 61

  Skye, 12, 26, 45

  Slavery, 54, 55

  Snake Story, A, 130

  ‘Snug the Joiner’, 51

  Special Constables, 51, 52

  Speech, Moderator’s, 137

  Stanley, Dean, 72, 88, 126

  Stanley, Lord, 24

  _Starling, The_, 92, 94

  Stewart Boys, 21

  Strahan, Alexander, Publisher, 109

  Strathbogie Presbytery, 38

  Stuart Dynasty, 34

  Submerged Ranks, 50, 51

  Swordale, 12


  T

  Tait, Archbishop, 20

  _Tam o’ Shanter_, 107

  Temperance, Plea for, 77

  Thackeray, 93

  Theological Tests for University Professors, 84

  Therapeutics of Religion, 21

  Tolbooth Church (Edinburgh), 46

  Tories, 24

  Tract No. 90, 34

  Tractarian Movement, 33

  Transubstantiation, 34

  Tübingen, 62

  Tulloch, Principal, 43, 88, 112, 122, 123

  Trollope, Anthony, 89

  Tyrol, 23


  U

  Universities, 12, 19, 20, 21, 22, 139


  V

  Vavasour, Lady, 22

  Venice, Visit to, 109

  Veto Law, 37, 42

  Vienna, 23


  W

  _Walker, Joseph_, 90

  Walker, Josiah, 20

  ‘Wandering Willie’, 63

  Watson, Dr., of Dundee, 127

  Weavers of Loudoun, 30

  ‘Wee Davie’, 92

  Weimar, 22, 26

  West Port and Chalmers, 62

  Whigs, 24

  Whitman, Walt, 68

  Windsor, 106

  Winslow, Octavius, 58

  Wordsworth, William, 21, 26, 32

  Working Men of Glasgow,  80


  Y

  York Minster, Confirmation at, 33



FAMOUS SCOTS SERIES


_The following Volumes are in preparation:_--

  SIR WALTER SCOTT. By Professor SAINTSBURY.
  GEORGE BUCHANAN. By ROBERT WALLACE, M.P.
  JEFFREY AND THE EDINBURGH REVIEWERS. By Sir HUGH GILZEAN REID.
  ADAM SMITH. By HECTOR C. MACPHERSON.
  KIRKALDY OF GRANGE. By LOUIS BARBE.
  MUNGO PARK. By T. BANKS MACLACHLAN.
  ROBERT FERGUSSON. By A. B. GROSART.
  JAMES THOMSON. By WILLIAM BAYNE.
  DAVID HUME. By Professor CALDERWOOD.
  THOMAS REID. By Professor CAMPBELL FRASER.



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 Of THOMAS CARLYLE, by H. C. MACPHERSON, the _British Weekly_ says:--

 “We congratulate the publishers on the in every way attractive
 appearance of the first volume of their new series. The typography is
 everything that could be wished, and the binding is most tasteful.... We
 heartily congratulate author and publishers on the happy commencement of
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The _Literary World_ says:--

 “One of the very best little books on Carlyle yet written, far
 outweighing in value some more pretentious works with which we are
 familiar.”

The _Scotsman_ says:--

 “As an estimate of the Carlylean philosophy, and of Carlyle’s place
 in literature and his influence in the domains of morals, politics,
 and social ethics, the volume reveals not only care and fairness, but
 insight and a large capacity for original thought and judgment.”

The _Glasgow Daily Record_ says:--

 “Is distinctly creditable to the publishers, and worthy of a national
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The _Educational News_ says:--

 “The book is written in an able, masterly, and painstaking manner.”


 Of ALLAN RAMSAY, by OLIPHANT SMEATON, the _Scotsman_ says:--


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The _People’s Friend_ says:--

 “Presents a very interesting sketch of the life of the poet, as well as
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The _Edinburgh Dispatch_ says:--

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The _Daily Record_ says:--

 “The kindly, vain, and pompous little wig-maker lives for us in Mr.
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The _Glasgow Herald_ says:--

 “A careful and intelligent study.”


 Of HUGH MILLER, by W. KEITH LEASK, the _Expository Times_ says:--

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 also a fine choice of language in making it ours.”

The _Bookseller_ says:--

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The _Daily News_ says:--

 “Leaves on us a very vivid impression.”


 Of JOHN KNOX, by A. TAYLOR INNES, Mr. Hay Fleming, in the _Bookman_,
 says:--

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The _Freeman_ says:--

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The _Speaker_ says:--

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The _Methodist Times_ says:--

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_Youth_ says:--

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 exposition of the special features marking the genius of the poet is
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Of THE BALLADISTS, by JOHN GEDDIE, the _Birmingham Daily Gazette_
says:--

 “As a popular sketch of an intensely popular theme, Mr. Geddie’s
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The _Publishers’ Circular_ says:--

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The _New Age_ says:--

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The _Spectator_ says:--

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 the literary history of Scotland. We do not know of a book in which
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Of RICHARD CAMERON, by Professor HERKLESS, The _Freeman_ says:--

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The _Christian News_ says:--

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The _Dundee Courier_ says:--

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 The vigorous, manly style adopted is exactly suited to the subject, and
 Richard Cameron is presented to the reader in a manner as interesting as
 it is impressive.... Professor Herkless has done remarkably well, and
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 cherished heroes is one that will never fade.”


Of SIR JAMES YOUNG SIMPSON, by EVE BLANTYRE SIMPSON, the _Speaker_
says:--

 “This little book is full of insight and knowledge, and by many
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 a vivid and intimate sense the high qualities and golden deeds which
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The _Daily Chronicle_ says:--

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The _Leeds Mercury_ says:--

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 Oliphant.”

The _Scottish Congregationalist_ says:--

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 and one of the fairest and most discriminating biographies of Boswell
 that have ever appeared.”

The _Dundee Advertiser_ says:--

 “It is the admirable manner in which the very complexity of the man is
 indicated that makes W. Keith Leask’s biography of him one of peculiar
 merit and interest.... It is not only a life of Boswell, but a picture
 of his time--vivid, faithful, impressive.”

The _Morning Leader_ says:--

 “Mr. W. K. Leask has approached the biographer of Johnson in the only
 possible way by which a really interesting book could have been arrived
 at--by way of the open mind.... The defence of Boswell in the concluding
 chapter of his delightful study is one of the finest and most convincing
 passages that have recently appeared in the field of British biography.”


Of TOBIAS SMOLLETT, by OLIPHANT SMEATON, the _Dundee Courier_ says:--

 “It is impossible to read the pages of this little work without being
 struck not only by its historical value, but by the fairness of its
 criticism.”

The _Weekly Scotsman_ says:--

 “The book is written in a crisp and lively style.... The picture of
 the great novelist is complete and lifelike. Not only does Mr. Smeaton
 give a scholarly sketch and estimate of Smollett’s literary career, he
 constantly keeps the reader in conscious touch and sympathy with his
 personality, and produces a portrait of the man as a man which is not
 likely to be readily forgotten.”

The _Newsagent and Booksellers’ Review_ says:--

 “Tobias Smollett was versatile enough to deserve a distinguished place
 in any gallery of gifted Scots, such as the one to which Mr. Smeaton has
 contributed this clever and lifelike portrait.”


Of FLETCHER OF SALTOUN, by W. G. T. OMOND, the _Edinburgh Evening News_
says:--

 “The writer has given us in brief compass the pith of what is known
 about an able and patriotic if somewhat dogmatic and impracticable
 Scotsman who lived in stormy times.... Mr. Omond describes, in a clear,
 terse, vigorous way, the constitution of the Old Scots Parliament, and
 the part taken by Fletcher as a public man in the stormy debates that
 took place prior to the union of the Parliaments in 1707. This part of
 the book gives an admirable summary of the state of Scottish politics
 and of the national feeling at an important period.”

The _Leeds Mercury_ says:--

 “Unmistakably the most interesting and complete story of the life of
 Fletcher of Saltoun that has yet appeared. Mr. Omond has had many
 facilities placed at his disposal, and of these he has made excellent
 use.”

The _Speaker_ says:--

 “Mr. Omond has told the story of Fletcher of Saltoun in this monograph
 with ability and judgment.”


Of THE BLACKWOOD GROUP, by Sir GEORGE DOUGLAS, the _Scotsman_ says:--

 “In brief compass, Sir George Douglas gives us skilfully blended
 together much pleasantly written biography and just and judicious
 criticism.”

The _Weekly Citizen_ says:--

 “It need not be said that to everyone interested in the literature of
 the first half of the century, and especially to every Scotsman so
 interested, ‘The Blackwood Group’ is a phrase abounding in promise.
 And really Sir George Douglas fulfils the promise he tacitly makes in
 his title. He is intimately acquainted not only with the books of the
 different members of the ‘group,’ but also with their environment,
 social and otherwise. Besides, he writes with sympathy as well as
 knowledge.”



FOOTNOTES:

[1] See _More Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands_.

[2] From _A Peep at Russia_.

[3] From _The Old Lieutenant and his Son_.

[4] Other names have been associated with this anecdote, but Norman for
my money.

[5] From _The Old Lieutenant_.

[6] Cf. Tennyson’s line, so much praised by Mr. Swinburne--

‘And stormy crests that smoke against the sky.’


[7] Cf. Professor Max Müller: ‘From what I know of the Hindoos, they
seem to me riper for Christianity than any nation that ever accepted
the gospel. It does not follow that the Christianity of India will be
the Christianity of England; but that the new religion of India will
embrace all the essential elements of Christianity I have no doubt, and
that is surely something worth fighting for.’ (Letter to Norman Macleod
in _Memoir_, vol. ii. p. 257.)



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.





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