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The Home Life of Sir David Brewster
Chapter X. Notes of Life from 1830 TO 1836


A thousand glorious actions that might claim
Triumphant laurels and immortal fame,
Confused in crowds of glorious actions lie,
And troops of heroes undistinguished die.

Addison.

But what on earth can long abide in state,
Or who can him assure of happy day?
Sith morning fair may bring foul evening late,
And least mishap the most bliss alter may?
For thousand perils lie in close await
About us daily, to work our decay,
'That none, except the God of heaven him guide,
May them avoid, or remedy provide.

Spenser.

The next few years of the philosopher’s life present some changes and vicissitudes, and many troubles, but were pervaded as usual with the element of assiduous work. Chiefly through his energy and unwearied perseverance a memorable prophecy uttered by Lord Bacon, that for the better development of intelligence and learning there would be established “circuits or visits to divers principal cities of the kingdom,” began to have its fulfilment. The decline of science, and the small encouragement given to scientific men in England, had excited much attention and discussion. Previous to 1826 Sir John Leslie and Professor Playfair had expressed strong opinions ; between that year and 1831, Sir Humphrey Davy, Lord Brougham, Sir John Herschel, Mr. Babbage, Dr. Daubeny, and other men of science, had successively written on the subject, while Mr. Douglas of Cavers, in his Prospects of Britain, devotes an admirable chapter to the “ Decline of Science and the means of its Revival.” Brewster proposed to the world—in a review in the Quarterly of Mr. Babbage’s work, Reflections on the Decline of Science in England, and on some of its Causes—a plan for the remedy of this evil, which he described in the following language : —“ An Association of our nobility, clergy, gentry, and philosophers, can alone draw the attention of the Sovereign and the nation to this blot upon its fame. Our aristocracy will not decline to resume their proud station as the patrons of genius; and our Boyles and Cavendishes, and Montagues and Howards, will not renounce their place^in the scientific annals of England. The prelates of our National Church will not refuse to promote that knowledge which is the foundation of pure religion, and those noble inquiries which elevate the mind and prepare it for its immortal destination ! If this effort fail, we must wait for the revival of better feelings, and deplore our national misfortune in the language of the wise man: ‘I returned, and saw under the sun, that there is neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor. yet favour to men of skill.'" In the course of a few succeeding months Brewster5s plan of a “British Association for the Advancement of Science55 met with general acceptance, and was soon thoroughly matured, the first meeting taking place at York, in September 1831. The arrangements were much like those of succeeding years. It lasted for a week, during which morning meetings were held, at which scientific papers were read and oral communications discussed, upon the branches of science comprised within the different sections ; more popular lectures and exhibitions of interesting objects being generally reserved for the evening. This meeting was a decided success. Fresh vigour and interest in science, mutual sympathy and quickened intelligence, certainly arose from its animated discussions and its free exchanges of thought and discovery. The families in the neighbourhood of York took a great interest in the scientific assembly, and the Archiepiscopal Palace at Bishopthorpe was thrown open to its members.

Dr. Brewster thus writes to his wife :—

“Bishopthorpe, Sept. 30, 1831.

“I sit down at one o’clock in the morning to write you a legible letter, which I fear the one I wrote you yesterday could scarcely be called. I came here to-day to dinner, and was most kindly received by the Archbishop, who made me feel at once that I was at home, lie and the whole of the party here returned to York to hear Mr. Scoresby5s lecture on his new magnetical discoveries. The assemblage of beauty, fashion, and philosophy was really splendid, and after eleven o5elock we returned to the Palace. To-morrow we again go to York after breakfast, and after spending the whole day in the arrangement for a ‘General British Association for the Advancement of Science/ and in hearing many scientific papers, we return to dinner as we have done to-day.

“The success of the meeting has infinitely surpassed all our most sanguine expectations. No fewer than 325 members have enrolled their names, and a zeal for science has been excited which will not soon subside. The next meeting is to be held at Oxford, in June, at the time of the commemoration, and in the Eadcliffe Library or the Theatre. . . . The Archbishop, after reading a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, remarked to me that it was not yet known how the Lords were to act.1 He added that the Archbishop of Canterbury had not made up his own mind, and that he held his proxy, so that it is clear that the Archbishops have not decided against it. Lord Morpeth5s letter stated that several of the Lords were not to vote at all, and it seemed to be the opinion that the Reform Bill would be carried by the neutrality of those who might be expected to oppose it. What a charming and princely spot this is, as much from its ancient and splendid apartments as from the richness and variety of the grounds! The Archbishop has invited fifty or sixty of the philosophers to dine here to-morrow, among whom are Sir T. Brisbane, Thos. Allan, and the rest of our Scotch party. . . . Mr. Vernon Har-court, the soul of our meeting, and one of the most amiable and learned of men, is the eldest son of the Archbishop.”

The York meeting did not pass off, however, without a slight cloud, which threatened to injure the main object of the Association. Lord Milton, the President, in his opening speech, to the surprise of his audience, made himself understood as objecting “to all direct encouragement of science by the State,” characterising such a mode of advancing it as “un-English.” Mr. Vernon Harcourt, however, the Vice-President, replied in the following corrective words :—

“I should undoubtedly be very sorry to see any system of encouragement adopted by which the men of science in England should become servile pensioners of the Ministry ; and no less sorry am I to see them under the present system, when exerting the rarest intellectual faculties in the scientific service of the State, chained down in a needy dependence on a too penurious Government. ... As things stand at present, the deeper, drier, and more exalted a man’s studies are, the drier, lower, and more sparing must be his diet. ... I cannot see any reason why, with proper precaution, men of science should, not be helped to study for the public good, as well as statesmen to act for it. It cannot be wondered at that our philosophers should be unwilling to hear it proclaimed ex cathedra, from the midst of themselves, that there is something illegitimate in the direct encouragement of science, though they are ready enough to own that there is something in it very ‘un-English? ”

It is often said that a meeting of the British Association is merely a pleasant conversational week, which, when over, leaves no practical effect on society. Several purely scientific objects have, however, been carried out. Useful and encouraging reports on the state of different branches of science have been yearly drawn up and circulated. Sums of money from the Association funds have enabled committees and individuals to pursue scientific researches which they could not otherwise have done, and it has successfully recommended to Government from time to time worthy scientific purposes and expeditions, which required grants of money beyond its own means. It cannot be doubted also that rewards of science were much more freely bestowed after this popular agitation. Up to the year 1830, not one title had been conferred upon men of science, but between that time and 1850 twenty philosophers and authors received knighthood; thirty scientific and literary persons received new pensions, and seven members of the British Association, all of high scientific reputation, were appointed to lucrative and honourable posts. It was not only in the origin and objects of the British Association that Brewster strove to advance the long-neglected interests of science. The different footing and the higher position that men of science had occupied in France since the days of Colbert, who with true wisdom brought the light of science to advance and to illuminate the practical work of administration, was ever present to Brewster’s mind in humiliating contrast; for many years he scarcely ever wrote a review, book, or pamphlet without introducing the subject with persistent ingenuity, and in most forcible language. He was always a consistent though moderate Liberal, but he considered the interests of science as no party question; and so fearless and plain-spoken indeed were his attacks, that he was looked upon by both political parties more coldly than might otherwise have been the case. Still he accomplished much that he hoped for. Such burning words as the following could not fail to have effect on the public and official mind :—

“But it is on higher than utilitarian grounds that we would plead the national endowment of science and literature. In ancient times, when knowledge had a limited range, and was but slightly connected with the wants of life, the sage stood even on a higher level than the hero and the lawgiver; and history has preserved his name in her imperishable record when theirs has disappeared from its page. Archimedes lives in the memory of thousands who have forgotten the tyrant of Syracuse and the Roman consul who subdued it. The halo which encircled Galileo under the tortures of the Inquisition extinguishes in its blaze even the names of his tormentors; and Newton’s glory will throw a lustre over the name of England when time has paled the light reflected from her warriors. The renown of military achievements appeals but to the country which they benefit and adorn. It lives but in the obelisk of granite, and illuminates but the vernacular page. Subjugated nations turn from the proud monument that degrades them, and the vanquished warrior spurns the record of his humiliation or his shame. Even the traveller makes a deduction from military glory when he surveys the red track of desolation and of war; and the tears which the widow and the orphan shed, obliterate the inscription which is written in blood.

“How different are our associations with the tablet of marble or the monument of bronze which emblazon the deeds of the philanthropist and the sage! Their paler sunbeam irradiates a wider sphere, and excites a warmer sympathy. No trophies of war are hung in their temple, and no assailing foe desecrates its shrine. In the anthem from that choir, the cry of human suffering never mingles, and in the procession of the intellectual hero ignorance and crime are alone yoked to his car. The achievements of genius, could the wings of light convey them, would be prized in the other worlds of our system—in the other systems of the universe. They are the bequest which man offers to his race, a gift to universal humanity,—at first to civilisation, at last to barbarism.

“Are these the sentiments of the statesmen of England, or have they ever struck a sympathetic chord in the hearts of her people? The hero, and the lawyer, and the minion of corruption, and the truckler to power, have hitherto reaped the rewards of official labour, and usurped the honours which flow from the British Crown. England alone taxes inventors as if they were the enemies of the State; and, till lately, she has disowned her sages and her philosophers, and denied them even the posthumous monument which she used to grant to the poets whom she starved. It is a remarkable event in the history of science, that in 1829, in one year, England should have lost Wollaston, Young, and Davy, three of the most distinguished men that ever adorned the contemporaneous annals of any country. All of them had been Foreign Associates of the Institute of France, all of them Secretaries to the Royal Society, all of them were national benefactors, all of them were carried off by a premature death, all of them died without issue, and all of them have been allowed to moulder in their tombs without any monumental tribute from a grateful country. It is not merely to honour the dead or to gratify the vanity of friends that we crave a becoming memorial from the sympathies of an intellectual community. It is that the living may lay it to heart, that the pure flame of virtue may be kindled in the breasts of our youth, and that our children may learn from the time-crushed obelisk and the crumbling statue that the genius of their fathers will survive even the massive granite and the perennial brass.

“If we have appealed in vain to the sentiment of national honour, to which statesmen are supposed to be alive, we would now urge the higher claims of justice and of feeling. If you are the minister of the Crown, the dispenser of its honours, and the almoner of its bounty, are you not bound by the trust which you hold to place the genius of knowledge on the same level with the genius of legislation and of war, to raise it to the offices which it can fill, and reward it with the honours which it has achieved? If the inventor swells the national treasury, adds to the national resources, strengthens the national defences, and saves the national life, is he not entitled to the same position as those who speak or who fight in the nation’s cause? If mercy is the brightest jewel in the royal diadem, justice is the next; not the justice that condemns, but the justice that recognises national benefits, and rewards national benefactors. If the charge against England, that ‘she is a nation of shopkeepers,’ is justified, as has been alleged, by her disregard of intellectual pre-eminence, we would counsel the ministerial head of the firm to use just weights and keep accurate measures.”

When, after his death, it was stated “that the improved position of men of science in our times is chiefly due to Sir David Brewster”— it was not more than the truth. It may be mentioned here that one of the last business acts of his life was to petition the Premier of the Conservative Government of 1867 in behalf of the widow and children of an early deceased man of science. To those who knew all the circumstances of Brewster’s long conflict in behalf of his peers, it was deeply gratifying that the last act of Lord Derby’s Ministry was a prompt and favourable response, although it never reached the ear that was cold in death before it was received.

The success of the British Association was always dear to Brewster; he attended most of its meetings, at one of which he made his last public appearance, and in connection with the Baconian principle of the “circuits or visits to the principal cities of the kingdom,” I may mention that it is affirmed, and is probably the case, that a casual remark of his on the subject suggested the Evangelical Alliance, which met for the first time at Liverpool in 1845, and has continued its “circuit” ever since. His name is on the original provisional committee of its promoters.

In 1831, the King (William IV.) sent the Hanoverian Order of the Guelph to Dr. Brewster, Mr. Harris Nicolas, and several other eminent men. After their acceptance in society as titled knights, it was discovered that the order conferred no title; and an offer of ordinary knighthood speedily followed—a slender distinction, which Brewster was very indifferent about, and as the fees amounted to .109, which found their way into the pockets of the inferior servants of the Court, he positively declined it. It was still pressed upon him, however, and he was informed that the question of fees would be waived. He therefore consented to go to London, and with his friend, Mr. Nicolas, went to the levee, with the customary words “To be knighted” upon their cards. On presenting them, however, the lord in waiting exclaimed that he knew nothing of it—a previous intimation to him having been forgotten. An awkward moment ensued, but my father said quietly, “Let us move on,” which was answered by the King’s exclamation, “No! no! I know, I know!” Having no sword, he borrowed the Duke of Devonshire’s, and with that performed the usual ceremony. The fees were never demanded. An anecdote was told at the time of some Waterloo officers who, when the bills were sent in for their hardly earned honours, took the accounts to the next levee, and left them on the King’s table.

About this time his busy pen produced a Treatise on Optics, published in Lardner’s Encyclopaedia; he wrote his first short and popular “Life of Sir Isaac Newton,” published in Murray’s Family Library ; and he also wrote a very popular work, vrhick was published in the same series, “Letters on Natural Magic,” suggested by and dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, and forming a useful corrective companion to his volume entitled Lemonology and Witchcraft. Scientific explanation of curious facts, which had hitherto been turned to the uses of superstition, was ever after a favourite subject, and a constant cause of correspondence. All sorts of optical illusions were communicated to him by letter from every quarter, which he patiently considered and answered. Out of these communications and his own observations he collected material for a second volume of Natural Magic, which unfortunately other work always impeded, and it remains unwritten. A review long afterwards, in the North British, of the work on the Occult Sciences by M. Eusebe Salverte, forms a very interesting compendium of his views on this subject.

In this year an accident happened which nearly robbed Sir David of that wonderful and valuable eyesight which lasted to the end of his fourscore and six years. I well remember being waked from sleep in the middle of the night by a loud outcry, and the sight of my father, with outstretched arms, blinded and disfigured, rushing to plunge his head into the first basin of water he could reach. While pursuing his midnight experiments, a chemical substance had exploded right into his face. For many weeks he lay helpless, with bandaged eyes and disabled hands, a severe trial for his active temperament; but, from the following letter, he seems to have cast off the consequences, with that wonderful power of restoration which belonged peculiarly to his constitution.

Some years before he had received a series of remarkably intelligent letters from Rome, with only the signature A, seeking information upon the most abstruse subjects of science. Much struck by these letters, written by a very young man, but full of mature intelligence, Brewster answered them fully and unreservedly, out of the stores of his own treasure-house of scientific knowledge. The anonymous signature continued for some time, and the incognito was not dropped till the writer’s return to Scotland, when it transpired that he was Mr. James Forbes, a younger son of Sir William Forbes, Bart., of Pitsligo. He became a most intimate and frequent correspondent and visitor at Allerly, and thus wrote to Lady Brewster:—

“Greenhill, 8th Jan. 1832.

“My dear Madam,—Your first kind letter was most welcome to me. From it and the one which Mr. Robison received the other day, I was delighted to find that Dr. Brewster is well enough to resume his experiments. I entreat you to prevent his overworking his eyes, and not to suffer those ‘hissing gases’ to which you allude. He must find some other way of performing his experiments. I hope the yellow acid which I begged Dr. Reid to send answered the purpose. We have great reason to be thankful that the accident was not so very much worse, as it might easily have been. A statement of it has reached the newspapers, which is, however, very correct, and I am asked on all hands for the latest news. As Professor Necker of Geneva says, ‘the Doctor’s eyes are not his own property, but belong to the world.’ Graham’s Island has actually disappeared, and so suddenly that I should not be surprised if it made a re-ascension. Dr. Davy wrote me that he thought it was based on clay-slate, which renders this more probable. There are excellent accounts of Sir Walter’s health and comfort at Malta. Sir W. writes that he means to make a poem on Graham’s Island, to the tune of ‘Molly, put the kettle on!’

“I am daily looking with interest for Babbage’s letter which you mention. Trusting to Dr. Brewster’s improvement, I have addressed the accompanying letter to him, though I need hardly say it is equally open to you.—Believe me, with great regard, my dear Madam, yours most sincerely, James D. Forbes.”

Although unable to resist his dearly beloved experiments, the state of my father’s eyes probably required caution in writing, for we do not find so much literary work as usual at this time ; though he seems to have taken a most active part in plans for the improvement of the neighbourhood—the building of a suspension bridge across the Tweed—the arrangements for Sir Walter Scott’s monument, and similar occupations and interests.

His circumstances were extremely embarrassed at this time. Having no private means, no regular profession, no remuneration from his inventions, his greatest literary undertaking having proved a complete failure in a pecuniary sense, and with three sons to send out into the world, his spirits often sank at his prospects. His unfailing friend and college companion, Lord Brougham, offered him a living in the English Church at this time, and he seems seriously to have entertained thoughts of accepting it. He corresponded with the Archbishop of Canterbury on the subject, and the Bishop of Cloyne offered to ordain him, as technical difficulties which existed in England did not apply to Irish ordination. The proposal, however, he ultimately declined, although on what grounds I do not know. In 1833 a door seemed to open out of his difficulties. The Chair of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh became vacant by the death of Sir John Leslie. He offered himself as a candidate, and success would have appeared certain, as all the other candidates withdrew, leaving him without a competitor, except Mr. James Forbes. The contest, however, went on, and was not settled by scientific precedence or European fame; it became a question of family interest and political party, which, after a severe struggle, ended in Mr. Forbes’s appointment. This was perhaps the most severe disappointment of Brewster’s life. Although not caused by any zeal for science on the part of the Town Council of those days, it is satisfactory to remember that the future eminence of the young Professor fully justified the appointment, and more than fulfilled the promise of his youth, while in a few years the broken friendship was cemented, and, both personally and by correspondence, became closer than ever. Their careers curiously touched, as Professor Forbes, with Brewster’s warmest co-operation, succeeded him in the Principalship of St. Andrews, and although many years younger, only survived him a few months.

In the same year he moved with his family to Belleville, the scene of much early enjoyment. By the death of his brother-in-law, his wife’s sister was now the proprietor, and wished for her relatives to cheer her solitary home. The guidance of a heavenly hand we find thankfully recognised in a brief sentence in a letter to his wife:— “You see, my dearest Juliet, how the Almighty provides for us when man cannot and will not, and how our confidence in Him can never be misplaced.” His three years’ residence at Belleville was a distinct and separate episode of his life, and while presenting new experience in many ways, was extremely characteristic. The reform of abuses, which was a passion of his life, came into full play. An extensive, but unremunerative, Highland property, for many years too indulgently superintended, and now under female sway, presented a fair field of reform, and he threw himself into it with all the ardour of his disposition. Farms let to unworthy tenants were speedily purified and filled by better and soberer men ; careless officials were sent to the right-about; and a new reign of order and business habits inaugurated, under which trees were planted, waste ground reclaimed, and a water-course planned and executed. Various abuses in the neighbourhood were also examined into, but of course not without some of the unpopularity which reformers ever encounter, and of which he always had a full share. Sir David, however, awakened a warm and abiding attachment amongst the majority of the Highland tenantry, who anticipated with delight the time, which never came, when he might be their landlord in very deed. They were proud of his scientific fame, which indeed spread far and near. I remember four working men coming a considerable distance from Strathspey, with the petition that they might see the stars through his telescope, while on another occasion a poor man brought his cow a weary long journey over the hills, that the great optician might examine her eyes, and prescribe for her deficiencies of sight; and all, as was ever his wont, were received courteously, and had their questions not only answered, but answered so clearly and patiently, that the subjects were made perfectly intelligible and interesting. He took great interest in the election for the county when his friend Mr. Charles Grant (Lord Glenelg) was returned as Liberal member; one old man whom he had canvassed, and whose knowledge of “Sassenach” was limited, was particularly cordial in his promise of his vote, but when he arrived at the hustings it was with the firm determination to vote for “Sir David,” and nobody else, which he stuck to manfully. In order to qualify himself as a voter, my father had purchased a little cottage in the village of Lynchat, which was occupied one happy summer by his Peeblesshire friends, Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery and their family. With the exception of the Cluny Macphersons at Cluny Castle—then, as now, a centre of cordial hospitality—and one or two resident families, there was little society in winter, but every summer brought an influx of “shooters” and gay “Southrons.” The brilliant coterie of Jane Duchess of Gordon, and the milder influences of Lady Huntly, had passed from Kinrara, but it was rented by Sir George Sitwell and his family. Edward Ellice, M.P., was at Inver-eshie, and at the Doune of Kothiemurchus, instead of its proprietors,— the Grants, who were intimate friends of the Brewsters and Macpher-sons,—the late Duchess of Bedford, with her gay circle of fashion, of statesmen, artists, and lions of all kinds, produced a constant social stir, in which Sir David was frequently called to bear his part, and he retained many lively recollections and anecdotes of the strange scenes and practical jokes of that “ fast” circle. Upon one occasion, he and Lord Brougham, when Lord Chancellor, were visiting at the Doune. Lord Brougham, being indisposed, retired early to rest one evening. An hour or two afterwards the question was raised whether Lord Chancellors carried the Great Seal with them in social visiting. The Duchess declared her intention of ascertaining the fact, and ordered a cake of soft dough to be made. A procession of lords, ladies, and gentlemen was then formed, Sir David carrying a pair of silver candlesticks, and the Duchess bearing a silver salver, on which was placed the dough. The invalid Lord was roused from his first sleep by this strange procession, and a peremptory demand that he should get up and exhibit the Great Seal; he whispered ruefully to Sir David that the first half of this request he could not possibly comply with, but asked him to bring a certain strange-looking box ; when this was done, he gravely sat up,—impressed the seal upon the cake of dough, —the procession retired in order, and the Lord Chancellor returned to his pillow.

He was much interested in all the old tales and legends of the country, and took much pains in excavating a strange hollow, of which many clannish stories were told, but which turned out to be a Piet’s house. The parallel roads of Glenroy, long believed to be the hunting roads of the old kings of Scotland, with the various geological solutions of the ancient mystery, were objects of vivid interest. The weird stories of the glen and forest of Gaick, and the traditions of “Old Borlam,” a Highland laird, with certain Robin-Hood views as to the rights of meum and tuum, who had formerly possessed Belleville, were repeated by him with lively interest;—the cave from which Borlam and his men used to watch for travellers on the old Highland road was always pointed out to visitors,—and he used to give as an example of the primitive state of society in the north, which would scarcely be credited in the south, that he had himself been in society, during his earlier Badenoch life, with Mrs. Mackintosh of Borlam, the brigand’s widow, a stately and witty old lady. One day she had called at Belleville, and took up Lochandhu, a novel just published by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder; “Ay, ay," said she, “and what may this be about?" to the consternation of the Belleville ladies, her husband’s capture and robbery of Sir Hector Munro of Navar, and her own assistance in this, his last exploit, by picking out the initials on the stolen linen, being graphically detailed therein ! On another occasion Sir David had met her at a ball at Kinrara (in 1819), when Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was quite delighted with her quaint racy conversation. When her “ carriage” was announced, one of the Prince’s aides-de-camp stepped forward and offered his arm. She hesitated a moment, and then said, with an air of resignation, “Well, well, I suppose you’ll have to see it/’ He returned in fits of laughter, for the old lady’s carriage was a common cart, with a wisp of straw in the middle for a seat.

A sudden flood of the Spey, as was its wont, came up during one of the summers of my father’s residence at Belleville, over the flat meadows in front of the house, in which are the three small lochs called the Locliandhu, from their strangely dark aspect even under sunny skies. This particular flood scooped out a circular hole of great depth, which has remained ever since filled with water. The contents of the ground had been thrown out, and from their examination and other proofs he considered that there must have been a greater number of successive forests buried there than anywhere else in the known geological world. Exactly thirty years later, when visiting his son at Belleville, the railway cuttings were going on, and he was keenly interested in verifying his former statement.

The glories of the Grampian scenery contributed more than anything to the enjoyment of his residence in Badenoch. The beauties of the Doune, Kinrara, and Aviemore, Loch-an-Eilan, Loch Insh, Loch Laggan, Craigdhu, the Eorest of Gaick, and the magnificent desolation of Glen Feshie, were all vividly enjoyed by him with that innate sense of poetry and art which he so pre-eminently possessed. His old friend, John Thomson, the minister of Duddingston, but better known as a master in Scotish landscape, came to visit him, and was of course taken to see Glen Feshie, with its wild corries and moors, and the giants of the old pine forest. After a deep silence, my father was startled by the exclamation, “Lord God Almighty!” and on looking round he saw the strong man bowed down in a flood of tears, so much had the wild grandeur of the scene and the sense of the One creative hand possessed the soul of the artist. Glen Feshie afterwards formed the subject of one of Thomson’s best pictures.

In 1836, Dr. Brewster and his family left the Highlands, finding a residence there in many respects inconvenient, and after passing some months in Edinburgh they again took up their abode at Allerly.


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