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row,* a young English student, then in Edinburgh, an early and intimate acquaintance of Mr Home's) broke his leg in the descent; but Mr Home escaped unhurt, and, eluding the vigilance of the Jacobite party, who, in truth, were neither very active nor rigid in their measures of precaution or of resentment, took up his residence for some time with his relations at Leith, and applied himself to that sort of study which his intended clerical profession required, but always mixed, if not interrupted, by the kind of reading to which his inclination led, that of the historians and classics of Greece and Rome.
His temper was of that warm susceptible kind which is caught with the heroic and the tender, and which is more fitted to delight in the world of sentiment than to succeed in the bustle of ordinary life. This is a disposition of mind well suited to the poetical character, and, accordingly, all his earliest companions agree that Mr Home was from his childhood delighted with the lofty and heroic ideas which embody themselves in the description or narrative of poetry. One of them, nearly a coeval of Mr Home's, our respected and venerable colleague Dr A.Ferguson, says, in a letter to me, that Mr Home's favourite model of a character, on which, indeed, his own was formed, was that of Young Norval, in his tragedy of Douglas, one endowed with chivalrous valour and romantic generosity, eager for glory beyond every other object, and, in the contemplation of future fame, entirely regardless of the present objects of interest or ambition. It was upon this ideal model of excellence that Mr Home's own character was formed, and the same glowing complexion of mind which gave it birth, coloured the sentiments and descriptions of his ordinary discourse; he had a very retentive memory, and was fond of recalling the incidents of past times, and of dramatizing his stories by introducing the names and characters of the persons concerned in them. The same turn of mind threw a certain degree of elevation into his language, and heightened the narrative in which that language was employed; he spoke of himself with a frankness which a man of that disposition is apt to indulge, but with which he sometimes forgot that his audience was not always inclined to sympathize, and thence he was accused of more vanity than in truth belonged to his character. The same warm colouring was employed in the delineation of his friends, to whom, in his estimation, he assigned a rank which others did not always allow. So far did he carry this propensity, that, as Dr Robertson used jokingly to say, he invested them with a sort of supernatural privilege above the ordinary humiliating circumstances of mortality. "He never (said the Doctor) would allow that a friend was sick till he heard of his death." To the same source might be traced the warm eulogium which he was accustomed to bestow on them. "He delighted in bestowing as well as in receiving what is generally termed flattery, (says another of his intimates,) but with him it had all the openness and warmth of truth. He flattered all of us from whom his flattery could gain no favour, fully as much, or, indeed, more willingly, than he did those men of the first consequence and rank with whom the circumstances of his future life associated him, and he received any praise from us with the same genuine feelings of friendship and attachment." There was no false coinage in this currency which he used in his friendly intercourse; whether given or received, it had with him the stamp of perfect candour and sincerity.
* Mr Barrow was the " Genial Youth" mentioned in Collins's Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlands.
Those companions at this early period of his youth were chiefly found among young men employed in the same studies, and destined for the same profession with himself, that of the Church of Scotland.
The clergy of Scotland were at that time one of the most respectable as well as happy orders of the people. With the advantages always of a classical, and sometimes of a polite education, their knowledge was equal or superior to that of any man in their parish. Their influence in those times, be
fore a number of different sectaries had withdrawn themselves from the established church, was great and universal, and their incomes, taken with reference to the value of money, the state of manners, and style of living at that period, were much more adequate to all the purposes of comfort and decent appearance than their stipends of the present day, after all the augmentations which have been granted them. At that period, when the value of land was low, when the proprietors of a parish lived more at home, when there were fewer outlets for their younger sons, and when those younger sons did not so often as they now do bring back great wealth, its attendant pretensions and its attendant luxuries, to their native districts, the clergyman of the parish stood high in the scale of rank among his parishioners, and, as I well remember, was able to maintain a certain style of plain and cordial hospitality, which gave him all the advantages of rational gentleman-like society. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland gave its clergy an opportunity of occasional visits to the metropolis, and of a situation in that truly popular assembly which brought them to a level, and mixed them for a time, with gentlemen of the first rank and respectability in the country. In point of weight and consideration, and, indeed, in the exertion of talent, particularly in that of oratory, they had this obvious advantage over the lay members of that
assembly, that the subjects were chiefly clerical, lying more within the range of their accustomed studies, as well as more within the reach of their particular information, than could be the case with the laymen who sat there along with them. The clergy of Edinburgh, coming thither thus prepared by education and habit, for filling a respectable place in society, found in that city a circle well adapted to perfect their knowledge, to enlarge their minds, and to foster their genius. They mixed more than, I think, they have done at any subsequent period, with the first and most distinguished persons of the place, distinguished, whether for science, literature, or polite manners, and even, as far as the clerical character might innocently allow, with the men of fashion conspicuous for wit and gaiety. In the inexpensive style of the Edinburgh society, at the period to which I allude, when tea was the meal of ceremony for general acquaintance, and a supper of a very moderate number that of more intimate society, there was much more intercourse of mind than in the large parties of modern times, which form, in truth, a sort of public place in a private house. In such places of numerous resort, even if other circumstances allowed, the clergy cannot so easily mix with those who are styled people of fashion. I regret the want of mixture of clerical and lay society for the sake of both parties. To the one it tended to add the