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Without offering one word of comment on this melancholy address, we proceed to an examination of the volumes more particularly under our notice, which, so far as we know, contain the only collection of epitaphs published in Scotland prior to the Union. Of their merits, we cannot speak very highly, but we enable our readers to judge for themselves. The first volume is devoted to the Inscriptions in the church-yards of Edinburgh; and though their “collector and Englisher" was favoured with an exclusive privilege to print and publish, at the expense of the town of Edinburgh, nay more, with the revision of a Leith Bailie and an Edinburgh Deacon, he seems to have performed his task in a slovenly manner. The warrant by which he was created the monopolist of the sepulchral lore of Edinburgh is worthy of preservation, not merely as a specimen of a very unusual assumption of power on the part of a Borough Magistracy, but as evidence of the great interest which was felt by the rulers of the “gude town,” in a publication which the bibliopoles of London scouted, and which the author had very little reason to regard with pleasurable expectations for several years.
Edinburgh. September. 6. 1704. THE WHICH DAY, the Lord Provost, Baillies, Council, and Deacons of Crafts, Ordinar and Extraordinar, being conveened in council, APPOINTS Mr. Hugh Lin, Baillie of Leith, and James Hamilton Deacon of the Chirurgeons in Edinburgh, to revise Mr. Robert Monteith's Book, containing a Collection of the Epitaphs, in the Gray-friars Church Yard, and cause Print the samen, upon the Town's Expenses. And further, RECOMMENDS to the said Mr Robert Monteith, to Collect and Transcribe the whole other Inscriptions, within the several Churches of the Good Town, and suburbs and Print the same, in the said Book, at the sight foresaid. And DISCHARGES all their Printers and other persons, within the Good Town and it's Priviledges, to Print or Sell the samen for the space of Twelve Years; Under the Penalty of Confiscation, of what printted, contrare to this present Act: To be applyed for the Use of the said Mr. Robert. Extracted by
GEORGE HOME.” We wish we had room for the dedication, which immediately follows this warrant, and which is addressed, as might have been expected, to the “Right Honourable the Lord Provost, Baillies, &c. of Edinburgh,” because, amidst some amusing flattery, it contains various sensible observations and advices, and
among other announcements, rather a comfortable one for the inhabitants of a wet climate-that in the author's work, the Lord Provost, &c. may“ travel the burial place, or dormitory, dry-footed, in the most rainy day.” But this precious dedication, as well as the address to the reader and the advertisement which follow, and which are quite characteristic of their author, we must omit.
We begin our extracts, as right loyal collectors, with an inscription (it is not an epitaph, though in a professed collection of epitaphs,) relating to a King of pedants and the
most pedantic of Kings—James the Sixth of Scotland and First of England, and his wife Anne of Denmark,—and which it would be well for all Princes to adopt as a maxim of government. The truth is, though Mr. Robert Monteith, M.A., seems not to have guessed it, that the inscription was placed on one of the gates of Edinburgh (the Netherbow port, as it was called) when it was erected in 1606; and though the rude verse was, no doubt, intended as a compliment to the reigning Princes James and his Queen, it displays more good sense and liberality than is usually found in such compositions-Mr. Monteith has “englished" this inscription so abominably, that we must also quote the original.
“ The Illustrious Inscription, over the Nether-Bow, on the In-side, relating to the Efigies of King James, the 6th. of ever glorious Memory, sometime standing there, and Demolished the time of the Usurpation.
JACOBUS REX. (Anag.) ARIS EXCUBO.
-Ut tutatur Amor.
JACOBUS 6, REX. ANNA REGINA. 1606.” Our next quotation is the epitaph, long since obliterated, of a man of considerable notoriety in Scottish history, the Rev. Alexander Henderson. What is stated to have been inscribed on the “West side” of the monument is the only portion of the original epitaph which was in English, but we shall content ourselves with Mr. Monteith's translation of the Latin on the East, South, and North sides, and for brevity's sake omit the Latin itself.
“ Mr. Alexander Henderson's Monument, in the form of an Obelisk.
“ To the sacred Memory of Mr. Alexander Henderson, Chaplane to the King, Minister at Edinburgh and Primar of the Colledge there; who was a Schollar at St, Andrews Colledge, and a bountiful Enlarger, and Patron thereof: Who was a most diligent defender of the Freedom and Discipline of the Kirk, against the Prelats rageing by fraud and tyranny; a suppressor of superstition, as well as of the under growing Sectaries ; The maintainer and most constant Asserter of Religion, and the purest worship of God: upon which, when he had laid out himself, with all
care and thoughtfulness, and had endured daily labours, both in his own Countrey, and in the neighbouring Kingdom of England, profitable to the Kirk, and glorious to himself, he gave up the Ghost 19 August 1646, and of his age 63.
Look on this Tomb at all;
And duty we may call.
NORTH-SIDE. He was a godly man, and truely great; Illustrious in all manner of Vertue, Piety, Learning and Prudence ; equally beloved by the King & Estates of both Kingdoms; to whom, George Henderson his Nephew, by his Brother, in token of sincere affection, caused erect this Monument: The Defunct himself having left his own memorial in the minds of all good men."
Before leaving this worthy character, we beg to repel the calumnies which have lately been insinuated against his memory; and which have been so often repeated by the thoughtless and the ignorant, that they have scarcely been doubted even by the more honest inquirers in Scottish history. Henderson was the leader of the covenanters for ten years prior to his death in 1646, and during this period their conduct was firm, but conciliatory, free from all turbulence, and devoid even of insult. No greater compliment, we apprehend, can be paid to the merits of Henderson, than by the simple statement of these facts relating to the conduct of men, who, immediately after his death, broke out into open violence and tumult. Henderson had been bred an episcopalian, but he embraced presbyterianism from a conviction of its nearer approach to the Christian discipline of Scripture; and, shortly before his death, he was entrusted with the defence of the presbyterian cause in the conference at Uxbridge with the king's commissioner, and afterwards in a conference with King Charles himself. His death was followed by rumours, that he could not survive the mortification of a defeat at the hands of the king-rumours which assumed that he was, or thought himself, defeated; and by a still more absurd story (published in a pamphlet) that he repented of his conduct, and in his last moments embraced episcopacy, and renounced presbytery. This pamphlet, the General Assembly of the Scottish Church, by an Act passed 7th August, 1648, most satisfactorily refuted, upon the testimony of “ divers Reverend brethren, and particu
Acts of Assembly for 1648, p. 44.
larly of two brethren, who constantly attended him from the time he came home till his breath expired.” In his own last words, too, the worthy divine prays earnestly for a “happy conclusion to the great and wonderful work of Reformation, as presbyterianism was then called. Principal Baillie also contradicts the absurd report in the most positive terms; and of the great merits of the individual the most flattering accounts are given by his opponents in theological controversy, Collier, Burnett, &c.+ Yet sixteen years after his death, the king's Commissioner stooped so low, as to procure an order of Parliament for the "razing of his monument.”+ Such, alas! are the unhappy consequences of civil war!
We now present our readers with an epitaph purely encomiastick : and after the great contest for the office of chief magistrate, which lately agitated Northern Athens, and threatened the peace of her quiet citizens, we trust that an extract will not be the less interesting, because it relates to an Edinburgh Provost. It shall be given in the words of our great“ Englisher,” Mr. Monteith; and as it records all that is known, or that our readers could possibly wish to know, of the worthy Provost, it requires no comment.
“Archibald Tod, by Nativity a Citizen of Edinburgh, ordered what of him was Mortal to be depositat here. He was a Man far from all Guile; and he was Godly, without Pride. Four times he was married; But only, of his first Wife Helen, Daughter to John Jackson a famous Citizen, he left one Daughter alive Katharine, Spouse to David Wilkie an honourable Burgess, and Dean of Gild this present year 1656. But Provost Tod himself, whether in the prosperity of Peace, or adversity of War, was still the same, for his Countrey and this City; And in all Exigences, equally deserved the Magistracy; having been thrice Baillie; twice Dean of Gild, and Counsellor, for 6 lustres, or 30 years. He died much lamented, the 9 February, in the year 1656., and of his Age the 71 Year.
“ Here worthy Provost Tod doth ly,
* Letters and Journals, vol. ii. p. 232.
Woodrow's Church History, vol. i. p. 152.
For two years' Care of late, which more
And thus, in single Dust, would lye.” Our limits do not permit us to indulge in further quotation from the volume before us, otherwise we might be tempted to transcribe the epitaphs of the Regent Murray, Bishops Wisheart and Bothwell, and various others: but we cannot pass over the inscription on Dame Margaret Ross, the daughter of James Lord Ross, which, though founded on a bad pun (RossRose,) contains a very pretty conceit from the pen of an “ Englisher,” obviously superior to Mr Robert Monteith, M.A.
“Though Marble, Porphirie, and Mourning Touch,
With Marks of Grief, a public Loss to show.” Before closing the volume, we may observe, that, besides the lines we have just quoted, the only approach to poetry which we have been able to discover, is to be found in one of four lines, on the monument of Nicol Paterson, (secretary to John, Earl of Rothes, viceroy of Scotland,) who died in 1665. It is as follows:
“For Death itself, for his death, doth repent." We are now ready to introduce to the notice of our readers the second portion of Mr. Monteith's collections, which, as the ample title-page indicates, contains inscriptions from monuments in every quarter of Scotland. The best general account, however, of this volume is to be found in the following prepa
ratory notice :
“ To the Reader, “ This Book presents to you your Ancestors, and you to them; And therefore, in good manners, Sæpe tibi Pater, est sape legendus Avus. Only, you have here, for a small Matter, what cost them great