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advantageous terms that can be procured. If they are backward, I surrender every consideration of emolument, and offer it to them on no terms, only that they take the risk and management, and proceed to the execution of it immediately. If this cannot be accomplished, I take my place in a Dundee smack, and come up to London and attempt to negotiate the thing myself. So much am I convinced of what remains to be done, and of the truth and importance of the discussion, that I will rather undertake the journey than not have it settled. The truth is, that the subject of my book is not ephemeral. It contains discussions of permanent importance; and not a person who is profoundly versant in the writings of Dr. Smith who does not see that if my principles are found to be conclusive, they will give a wholly different aspect to the science of political economy. The Farmer's Magazine has belaboured me with twenty pages of abuse.* It is a coarse and ignorant invective."
EXTRACTS FROM WILKIE'S DIARY.
May 27th, 1808.--Had a letter from Mr. Chalmers, authorizing me to dispose of the copyright of his work.
June 8th. Called on Mr. Murray in Fleet Street, who promised to give me an answer respecting Mr. Chalmers's book in a day or two.
June 16th.-Called at Mr. Murray's, and found that he had made no offer for Chalmers's work.
"June 23d. To Miller's after breakfast, but got little encouragement for Chalmers's work.
"June 25th.-Went to Longman and Rees, and proposed that they should purchase Chalmers's work, and was told by them, that till it was noticed by the reviews there was little chance of the book selling.
“June 27th.—Wrote to Chalmers to tell him of my bad success with his work." —Cunningham's Life of Wilkie, vol. i. pp. 175-180.
* In the Number for June 1808, p. 221. A still more abusive notice appeared in the July Number of the Eclectic Review, which closes in these terms:-" Mr. Chalmers's style is flowing and showy. He is warm and declamatory, but excessively diffuse. Instead of regularly pursuing the course of his argument, he sets himself to galloping and frisking round every particular idea of it, till he becomes quite giddy, and wears out the patience of his reader. His command of language is probably a snare to him; for as he seems to be at no loss for words, he is led to mistake fluency of expression for fertility of thought."
"July 23d.-I purpose setting off for London about the middle of August. My great object is to get introduced into some of the literary circles. The great success I have met with in Scotland encourages me to hope that I may meet with proportional success in the greater theatre of the metropolis if I could only get into the way."
But those days which in anticipation he had devoted to literary adventure in the great theatre of the metropolis were to be spent in the retirements of Anstruther, amid the sorrows of the sick-chamber and under the shadow of death. While waiting to hear of the day on which Thomas was to sail for London, James received the following communication from his father:
"ANSTRUTHER, 1st August, 1808.
"I only write to prevent any surprise from the intelligence which I fear I must soon communicate to you. My dear Barbara has within these few days weakened very fast. Till the 27th ult. she went out on horseback every day, and complained of no toil, but was rather refreshed with her ride. On that day she became so weak as since not to have been able to leave her room. There is nothing impossible with God, but to human appearance her dissolution is not far distant. My weakness. overcomes me much. I have every comfort that a parent could have in separation from a beloved child. I behold in her a cheerful submission to the will of God, and a humble confidence in the satisfaction of her great Redeemer. Her situation is not known to the Kilmany family, as the turn in her disorder is since we last wrote to them."
The same fatal malady which had carried George to the grave had seized upon Barbara. No earthly hope was left. Through three dreary weeks of great suffering she had still to struggle. But that great Redeemer upon whose satisfaction.
her confidence had been cast, made clear unto her the path of life; and while she walked through the dark valley, the light of His presence shone brightly and steadily upon her, and neither doubt nor fear having visited her, she passed into the presence of God.
"ANSTRUTHER, 20th August, 1808.
“DEAR JAMES,—Barbara died last night after a most tedious and severe illness. It was the near prospect of this event that restrained my departure for London, which would have taken place some time ago. At present I have no decided intention upon the subject, but will write you soon.-I am, &c.,
WINTER AT WOODSMUIR-FIRST SPEECH IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY-BECOMES A CONTRIBUTOR TO THE EDINBURGH ENCYCLOPÆDIA-EARLY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS-DEATH OF MR. BALLARDIE -SEVERE ILLNESS, AND ITS EFFECTS.
"WHAT a severe winter we have had!—another desperate attack of frost and snow within these few days-the very beer freezing in the bottles." Mr. Chalmers wrote thus to his brother James from his winter quarters at Woodsmuir, a house to which he had removed in the autumn of 1808, and which lying close upon the Fifeshire coast of the Frith of Tay, had been recommended to him by the enlivening prospect which it commanded of Dundee and the shipping of the river. His letter is dated on Thursday, the 8th of February 1809, the very day set apart as a national fast on account of the recent battle of Corunna, and the loss of one of the greatest of British generals. Like every other minister in Scotland, Mr. Chalmers had to open his church for public worship, and to preach a sermon suitable to the occasion. To discharge this duty, he had the cold and snow of a five miles' walk to brave. "I made my way," he says, "through the drift from Woodsmuir to Kilmany. I had none but the villagers to preach to, and I got them convened in my dining-room." And it was to that small shivering group, convened in the damp dining-room of the old and uninhabited manse, that he preached as eloquent a sermon as was delivered that day from the best of
British pulpits, or as was listened to by the most brilliant audience in the land.*
A recent act of the legislature+ had declared that no stipend of any clergyman in Scotland which had been augmented before the passing of this act should be augmented again till after a period of fifteen years; and that no stipend augmented after the passing of the act, should be augmented again till after a period of twenty years. Looking into this statute with an eye made all the keener perhaps in its vision that the time for the augmentation of his own living was drawing on, Mr. Chalmers perceived that owing to the date fixed as that from which the interval between the two augmentations should be calculated, it might be lengthened out in a manner most vexatious to a minister, and so as to defeat the obvious intention of the legislature. This defect in the bill was brought before the Supreme Judicatory of the Church of Scotland by overture from the Presbytery of Cupar. It was in support of this overture that on Thursday, the 25th May 1809, Mr. Chalmers made his maiden speech in the General Assembly. The topic was a sufficiently dry and barren one, fit enough for a good legal pleading, but ill calculated, we should have thought, for eloquence or illustration. The speaker besides laboured under the great disadvantage that the bill, the construction of one of whose leading clauses it was his object to impugn, had already been submitted to the law committee, and been approved of by the leaders of the Church. Nevertheless, a few sentences only had been uttered when the singular ingenuity and eloquence of the pleader arrested the whole house. Vigorous reasoning, genial humour, practical sagacity, large and generous sentiment, all broke out in the fervid and rapidly spoken utterance. "Do you know anything of this man?" said Dr.
*The reader will find this sermon in Dr. Chalmers' Posthumous Works, vol. vi. p. 62. +48th Geo. III.; passed 30th June 1808.