« PreviousContinue »
your whole intercourse with us, making it a source of pleasure to ourselves, and contributing in no small degree to the perfection of the harassing duty in which we have been engaged.
"After much consideration on the most appropriate method of recording these feelings, we have resolved to request that you will do us the favour to sit for your portrait to one of the best artists of the day.
“ We hope this will be preserved in your family as a memorial of the sense entertained of your merits by a number of gentlemen who have acted with you in the execution of a delicate and arduous duty, intimately connected with an important event in the history of our country.-We remain, dear Drummond, your attached friends, “ E. J. LITTLETON.
H. BELLENDEN KER. F. BEAUFORT, R.N.
HENRY W. TANCRED. L. B. ALLEN.
G. B. LENNARD. B. ANSLEY.
W. H. ORD. THOS. B. BIRCH.
JOHN ROMILLY. H. R. BANDRETH.
ROBERT SAUNDERS. J. J. CHAPMAN.
RICHARD SCOTT. R. D. CRAIG.
W. EDWARD TALLENTS.
W. WYLDE." HENRY GAWLER. The portrait was painted by Pickersgill, and presented to Mr Drummond's mother; after his death it was engraved by Cousens; it now hangs in the Court-Room of the Edinburgh University. An engraving of it by Burton is prefixed to this volume.
AND LEITH DISTRICT ELECTIONS ; DRUMMOND'S LAST SCIENTIFIC EMPLOYMENTS ; HIS
As the time for the General Election drew near after the passing of the Reform Bill, Mr Drummond began to take considerable interest in the election proceedings in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood. A contest was impending between Sir George Murray and Lord Ormelie in Perthshire, and thither Mr John Drummond had gone in July, to use his influence in the Comrie and Drummondernoch districts in behalf of Lord Ormelie, the Liberal candidate. In the Leith district preparations were making for a contest between John Archibald Murray, afterwards Sir John (the late Hon. Lord Murray, the most amiable of Scotch Whigs and Lords of Session), and Drummond's old friend, Mr Aitchison of Drummore. In Edinburgh, Mr Abercromby (afterwards Lord Dunfermline), and Mr Francis Jeffrey were looking forward to a struggle with Mr Hunter Blair, a Tory or Conservative, and Mr Aytoun (the Radical, not the poet). In all of these contests brother John, the advocate, was taking a more or less efficient part as a canvasser, and in regard to all of them Mr Drummond corresponded with him from time to time.
These election letters are interesting, as the first revelations of his feelings about human relations other than those of the family. Up to this time the details of practical services and scientific operations are the main burden of his correspondence, so far as not devoted to matters of family concern. The man is seen as son and brother, but not as citizen. He now begins to appears as a citizen, exhibiting a fine moral sense, supported by a spirit of chivalry in the discussion of social rights and obligations.
As to the canvass against Sir George Murray, he writes to his brother :
“I rejoice at any occurrence which calls forth your exertions and brings you into action. But I fairly own to you that I wish your exertions had been directed against another opponent than Sir George Murray. He is in every respect so estimable a man, and so fit to represent a county, especially in a reformed Parliament, that I regret his return being opposed.
Your calmness and good sense will prevent your being betrayed into any rash or unbecoming expression towards your opponents ; but it is right that I should tell you that Sir George Murray is a man universally respected by all parties for his ability, moderation, and fairness, and therefore I hope you will be betrayed into nothing, either in word or deed, that is disrespectful towards him. I don't say this to damp your ardour in the cause in which you are embarked, because I am sure that it would be injured rather than promoted by any conduct which had the appearance of disrespect; I say appearance, because now that I have told you the opinion entertained of Sir George, I feel perfectly satisfied that your canvass for Lord Ormelie will never be conducted in a way offensive to Sir George or his friends."*
If the spirit of this became general, a man might have less scruple in becoming a candidate in a contested election. The prevailing spirit is, unhappily, so Letter to Mr John Drummond, July 12, 1832.
different, that men of keen sensibility are apt to shrink from the attempt to get into Parliament. The issuing of an address to electors is often a signal to the ruffians of the district, educated and uneducated, who are opposed to the candidate, to traduce and slander him, to call in question his honesty and even his religion, so that, after a few weeks, one believing all that is said would as soon vote the man to the gallows as into the House of Commons.
Mr Aitchison of Drummore was represented as being indignant that John Drummond, one of a family which he had befriended, presumed to canvass against him in the Leith district in behalf of John Archibald Murray. This being communicated to Drummond, he defended the course his brother had taken, in the following letter:
“ COUNCIL OFFICE, WAITEHALL, Sept. 14, 1832. “ To William Aitchison, Esq.
“MY DEAR SIR,—Having, after twelve months' severe and anxious toil, brought our labours to a close, I have transmitted to Scotland a copy of our Reports on the Boundaries of the Boroughs of England and Wales, which I request you will do me the favour to accept.
“I send these volumes to you, not with any reference to their political nature, but as I have sent my former papers, as marks of respect and regard for my early friend and benefactor.
“It is but right, however, that I should take the same opportunity of adverting to a circumstance of a less agreeable nature, and one which has occasioned me considerable pain.
“I have heard that the part which my brother has taken with respect to Mr Murray's election has occasioned you much surprise, and that you have expressed much dissatisfaction, perhaps I might say indignation, at his conduct. I sincerely hope, indeed I firmly believe, that this is a very incorrect or a very exaggerated statement.
“I am well aware that any assistance which my brother can render Mr Murray must be of very small amount, and that it is to the disposition evinced by the act that your observations have been directed, if indeed any such have been made. In common justice to him, therefore, and in some measure to myself, I would solicit your attention to a very few observations.
“I am well aware that the political opinions either of my brother or of myself must be a matter of perfect indifference to you; nor would I allude to them at all, but that I cannot help feeling that you are disposed to attribute less influence to such opinions than they usually possess—and, as it appears to me, they ought to possess—over the mind and actions of any man who has sufficient judgment to be able to form an opinion at all, and sufficient honesty and firmness to act according to it. You will, I trust, pardon me for saying that the consequence is, you are, perhaps, apt to suppose that disrespect and ingratitude are manifested in that conduct, which is the result of very different and much more worthy motives.
“The opinions which we hold were not taken up yesterday or to-day ;—they were constantly avowed, so far as is possible to men who hold no public situations—that is, by discussion with their friends and associates; and they were held, too, when they were not the road either to favour or preferment. If they have brought us into connection with men who have ever been the consistent and powerful advocates of such opinions, I think we are bound, in common with every individual who entertains the same opinions, to use our utmost exertions, however feeble these may be, in favour of such men—even if, by so doing, we should have the misfortune to be brought into opposition-I do not say into collision, for I hope and trust that is not necessary—with those with whom we are connected by the dearest ties of relationship or of friendship.
“Mr Murray and myself were engaged last winter in the same political work; we met nearly every day; and, warmly attached as I am to the principles of which he has long been a strenuous supporter, I could not, without forfeiting every feeling of self-respect, hesitate to render, if required, my zealous though feeble assistance to promote his return to Parliament,