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the North of Scotland” appeared, and, during the second, Lydia Mackenzie Fraser became his wife. The spirit in which this important step was taken may be gathered from the following verses inscribed upon the blank pages of a pocket bible which he presented Miss Fraser on the eve of their marriage :
“Lydia, since ill by sordid gift
Were love like mine express'd,
From him who loves thee best.
Were sure unaptly told
Or soul-ensnaring gold.
“I know 'twas He who formed this heart
Who seeks this heart to guide;
Than all on earth beside-
As long this heart has cleaved;
Were half so well received !
“Full many a change, my only love,
On human life attends;
Th’uncertain vista ends.
Should weal or woe befall,
Lydia, it tells us all.
O, much-beloved, our coming day
To us is all unknown;
Than they who stand alone,
A hundred pounds did not now seem quite so large a sum as Hugh Miller had once imagined, and, to eke out his income, he began to write for the periodicals. The first that came in his way was
“ Wilson's Tales of the Borders,” to which he contributed some of the finest tales that appeared in that popular serial. The remuneration not proving altogether what it ought to have been, the accountant made an offer of his services to Mr. Robert Chambers, and during two years he contributed to his well-known journal, receiving the most liberal remuneration. In his “Schools and Schoolmasters,” Hugh Miller takes occasion to acknowledge the kindness of Mr. Chambers, not merely in his
own case, but expresses the opinion that perhaps no writer of the present day has done so much to encourage struggling talent as that gentleman. This opinion is one which, we believe, will be endorsed by all who know anything of the genial and benevolent nature of that accomplished man. Some local squibs, written in defence of his favourite minister, Mr. Stewart, who had refused to subordinate his sacramental services to the orgies of a coronation-day, procured Hugh Miller a gentle reprimand from the bank authorities in Edinburgh. This attempt at dictation on the part of the bank, in a matter with which they might seem, on the first blush of the thing, to have no concern, we might be disposed to class in the same category with the dictation to Burns by the excise authorities; but a moment's reflection will show, that, without particularly blaming Hugh Miller, with whom, probably, the offence was a sin of ignorance, his superiors were substantially in the right. The Commercial Bank was meant on its establishment to be quite distinct in its character from the then existing banks, which were all of them political engines. Speaking of their directorates, Lord Cockburn says:—“They were made up of respectable men, but without any talent or general knowledge, and the conspicuous sycophants of existing power." Excluding politics from its trade, the Commercial could not well, in consistency with its character, especially at that early period when party feeling ran so high, even seem to violate its fundamental principle. The reprimand, however, we have said was a slight one, and Mr. Ross, his superior in Cromarty, made it still more mild. Gradually, however, was Hugh Miller drawn into the vortex of a controversy unspeakably more important than any merely local squabble. The battle between the Scottish Church and the Imperial Parliament had convulsed Scotland; Hugh Miller caught the contagion, and plunged with all the earnestness and all the energy of his nature into the thick of the combat.
Though under somewhat modified forms, this battle was essentially the same as that in which the Church of Scotland was engaged, almost from her earliest settlement; it is therefore important that we pause here to take a brief retrospect of the conflicts of the Scottish Church.
CHURCH AND STATE.
NOTHING has so much tended to complicate all ecclesiastical movements in Scotland, as the circumstance that the exact relations of the Scottish Kirk have never been accurately defined. The Reformation was consummated during the minority of Mary. When the Scottish queen came from France to Scotland to ascend the throne of her ancestors-apt pupil of the wily Cardinal of Lorraine-she took good care to legalise as little as possible of the doings of the reformers. The voice of the nation was too decidedly in their favour to allow even the queen to set herself in open opposition to what had been done. In these circumstances she very naturally resorted to what is, on almost all occasions, the strategy of the weak—dissembling. When Mary had abdicated the throne, and James VI. reigned in her stead, that amalgam of the pedant and the tyrant, though he blessed God that the Scottish Kirk was the purest kirk in Christendom, did not, on that account, leave it to manage its own affairs. It is
probable the vain-glorious monarch imagined, that for much of its purity it was indebted to the circumstance