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"Poor George is no better. His weakness, his languor, and perspirations have been much increased since he left Kilmany. To you it would be an injustice if I held out delusive hopes, and I state it as my conviction that his lungs are seriously and irrecoverably affected. As to himself, he has all the manly indifference of his profession, is as cheerful as his bodily sufferings will allow, and perfectly resigned under the confident idea that his death is inevitable.-I am, yours affectionately,
The rapid progress of the malady was thus communicated by his father to James:-" November 25.-I sincerely wish I could make my report of my poor George more favourable. He is weaker than when I last wrote you. The doctors, I imagine, have no great hopes of a recovery; but the Physician above all may otherwise appoint concerning him. I would desire to say with your brother, His holy will be done. He seems to be resigned to live or die as God shall see meet. I pray that living or dying he may be the Lord's.
"He was much pleased with your anxious solicitude about him; and said that a letter from you, so far from putting him into any disorder, would give him great satisfaction. He has nothing of peevishness about him—a firm, steady resignation he possesses to a great degree."-" December 15.-Your letter gave George great satisfaction. I have no great heart to write. He is still alive, but unable to help himself in any manner of way; but blessed be God that gives him a sweet submission to His holy will, and a satisfying hope of His mercy in Christ.”
Every evening, at George's own request, one of Newton's sermons was read at his bedside by some member of the family in rotation. It was one of the very books which, a short time previously, Thomas had named and denounced from the
pulpit. Bending over the pulpit, and putting on the books named the strong emphasis of dislike, he had said "Many books are favourites with you, which I am sorry to say are no favourites of mine. When you are reading Newton's Sermons, and Baxter's Saints' Rest, and Doddridge's Rise and Progress, where do Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John go to?" As he now read one of these books to his dying brother, and witnessed the support and consolation which its truths conveyed, strange misgivings must have visited him. He was too close, too acute, too affectionate an observer not to notice that it was something more than the mere "manly indifference of his profession," something more than a mere blind submission to an inevitable fate which imparted such calmness and serene elevation to George's dying hours. He was in his room when those pale and trembling lips were heard to say, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes." Perhaps as the words were uttered, the thought arose that in his own case, as compared with that of his brother, the words might be verified. In company with a weeping household, he bent over the parting scene, and heard the closing testimony given, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." George died on the 16th December 1806. It was the first death of a near relation which Thomas had witnessed; and the deep impression which it made, was the first step towards his own true and thorough conversion unto God.
FIRST VISIT TO LONDON.
A FEW months after George's death, Mr. Chalmers, having occasion to go to Liverpool, received and accepted an invitation to proceed onward, and spend a week or two with his brother James in London. The following extracts from his journal reveal the ardour with which he availed himself of the opportunities by the way which this journey afforded, and the diligence with which, during his first visit to the great metropolis, the work of sight-seeing was prosecuted.
"Edinburgh, April 17th.-Had nearly missed the coach. It broke down at the end of the town, and the accident detained us at least an hour. * Arrived in Carlisle at two in the
April 18th.-Found in the coach from Carlisle this morning, a lady and gentleman from Carlisle. The former disposed to be frank and communicative, but apparently under some control from the gentleman, who had probably prepared her to expect a very vulgar company. He had the tone and the confidence of polished life, but I never in my life witnessed such a want of cordiality, such a cold and repulsive deportment, such a stingy and supercilious air, and so much of that confounded spirit too prevalent among the bucks and fine gentlemen of the age. They give no room to the movements of any kindly or natural impulse, but hedge themselves round by sneers, and attempt to awe you into diffidence by a display of
their knowledge in the polite world. Give intrepidity to weather them out. I sustained my confidence. I upheld the timidity of the company, and had the satisfaction of reducing him at last to civility and complaisance.
April 19th.-Left Lancaster at seven in the morning, and arrived in Liverpool at six in the evening.
"April 20th.-Went with a party from Mr. Maccorquodale's to the Botanic Garden. * * * I christened his daughter at three o'clock, and we sat down to dinner at four. Mr. Yates, and a son of Dr. Currie's, were of the party. The former assailed me with an application to preach for him, which I have had the simplicity to consent to, a circumstance which I dislike exceedingly from the extreme awkwardness of my provincial dialect. Mr. Currie is a merchant of this place, combines liberalism and fashion, is an admirer of the Edinburgh school, and carries in his manner a great deal of the chastened amenity of a cultivated temper. They are both warm admirers of Mr. Stewart, a circumstance in which I took the liberty of differing from them. I lament the provincialisms of my tone and conversation, but must study to get over it by a proper union of confidence and humility.
Tuesday, April 21st.-Accompanied a party to a pottery about a mile and a half up the river. Was delighted with the elegance and simplicity of the process, [which is most minutely and graphically described.] * * * Went to the School for the Blind, a truly admirable institution. *** They have an hour for music—the effect was in the highest degree interesting, and the allusion to their own situation most pathetic. Dined in Mr. Maccorquodale's. The only stranger was a Mr. Duncan Maccorquodale, a military gentleman, of an appearance rather unfashionable, but accompanied with a most interesting modesty. To such as these I feel attached by an impulse the most kindly and benevolent, and cannot but spurn at the heart
less formality of those who would triumph in the timidity of the inexperienced. Oh, how I like the untrained originality of nature! Oh, how I dislike the trammels of a cold lifeless and insipid formality!
"Friday, April 24th.-Spent the forenoon with Dr. Traill, a chemical lecturer and practitioner, with a great deal of ardour and philosophic simplicity. He showed me his chemical apparatus. The most interesting was-1. An apparatus for decomposing water, [minutely described and diagramed;] 2. A glass apparatus for decomposing water by galvanism, [the form of two vessels drawn, and the manner of using them detailed.]
"Saturday, April 25th.-Walked to the Botanic Garden, and spent two hours in it. Found it of this form and dimension. [Here follow plan and measurements, with notices of its rarest plants.*]
"Sunday, April 26th.-Preached in the forenoon for Mr. Kirkpatrick on the comforts of religion, and in the afternoon on drunkenness, the former with far more effect and impression than the latter. In the afternoon we met at three o'clock, after dinner, which has the effect of making both a drowsy preacher and a drowsy audience. Mrs. H. evidently reluctant in her testimony of approbation-disposed to overrate the deficiencies of manner and pronunciation, and asleep in the afternoon.
Monday, April 27th.-Drove out in the curricle with Mr. M'C., from six to nine in the morning. After a charming round of sixteen miles, returned with him to breakfast. ***
Besides the Journal from which the extracts given above have been taken, a separate Botanical Journal was kept during this journey. This Journal has been submitted to the inspection of Professor Balfour, who, from the graphic description given of its general appearance, even where the class and order are not given, had little difficulty in detecting what plant or flower was meant. For about a year, indeed, Botany appears to have been the science which was in the ascendant. His knowledge of it was very rapidly acquired. His attention having been attracted to it at a meeting of Presbytery, he set himself to learn it, and at the very next meeting appeared to be quite familiar with its details.