« ZurückWeiter »
eidedly religious in early life. He was a man of acute and vigorous intellect, of simple manners, and of unbending integrity : wedded to old forms and customs, — the only valuable effect of which was, his sturdy attachment to the old-fashioned and scriptural notions of the holiness of God's law, and the strictness of its moral sanctions,the fixedness of resolution with which he adhered to what he conceived to be the path of duty in his religious concerns, as well as in his intercourse with the world, displayed in high perfection the tenacem propositi virum. His friends sometimes thought that he carried this temper of mind too far; but he was esteemed and respected by all who knew him, for his pious, upright, benevolent character. The peculiarities of his manner, though numerous, were perfectly inoffensive; and, under a rough exterior, he possessed much kindness of heart. No two brothers could have evinced, generally, dispositions more striking and contrasted than did Thomas and Alexander Waugh. The former had no strong partiality to the barren moors of East Gordon, or to the recollections of Caldron-brae, any further than as these localities afforded support to his numerous children. Two things he loved to see,-
“ The fleecy flocks the hills adorn,
The valleys rich with waving corn."
Imagination formed no element in his mental structure: while to Alexander, on the other hand, the wild heaths, moss-baggs, and gray stones of Gordon, were as Arcadian meads and marble
columns, —- replete with beauty and poetry, and pregnant with “ thoughts more deep than tears !"
His younger brother used to delight in mentioning the following pleasing instance of fraternal affection. On setting out from home, to attend his usual course of study at the University, after receiving all the money that his father judged necessary, Thomas generally followed him to some short distance, under pretence of taking leave, and thus found an opportunity of putting into his hands an additional sum, in order that his mind might be easy in regard to his future means. In adverting to this matter afterwards, in the presence of some of the near relations of the family, he added, that his brother never kept any account of the money thus advanced, considering it to fall under that Scripture rule —“ Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.”
Through the blessing of God on his patient industry and frugal habits, Thomas Waugh was enabled to purchase a farm of considerable value on the banks of the Tweed, where, in the bosom of his family, he died, 8th August, 1820, in the full assurance of faith that he should have boldness to enter into the holiest of all, by the blood of Jesus.
Alexander, who was the youngest of the family, was devoted by his parents, whilst yet a child, to the Christian ministry. With many of the small farmers it was customary, besides educating all their children at the parochial school, to bring up one of their sons to a learned profession. To this honourable parental ambition we are indebted for many of the professors in our different universities, many of our most eminent physicians, and by far the greater part of the clergy, both in and out of the establishment, who flourished in this part of the island during the preceding century. The subject of this memoir continued at the school of his native parish till nearly twelve years of age, occupied in the ordinary exercises of reading, writing, and arithmetic. It deserves to be mentioned, that at every Scottish parochial school a portion of the Bible was then daily read by all the scholars, who were also required to commit accurately to memory the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, often with the quotations from Scripture, or proofs, as they were called, attached to each question. In this most perspicuous and comprehensive summary of divine truth it was imperative on the master regularly to examine all the children every Saturday. Through the watchful and parental superintendence of the presbyteries of the established church, these beneficial regulations are still enforced in most of the parochial schools, each of which is regularly examined by a committee of presbytery every year.
As a preparatory step for the University, Alexander Waugh was removed from Gordon school, at the commencement of 1766, and sent to Earlstoun, a neighbouring parish, the schoolmaster of which had obtained high celebrity as a teacher of Latin and Greek. His parents, for their station of life, were in what might be called easy circumstances; and they expended with .cheerful liberality a very considerable sum during
the subsequent thirteen years, in giving him a more finished education than most young men intended for the ministry were then accustomed to receive.
The village of Earlstoun, where Alexander Waugh prosecuted his education during the greater part of the succeeding five years, (the important five years from twelve to seventeen), lies in the very centre of that romantic region so long and justly celebrated as the Arcadia of Scotland. The hill of Cowdenknowes, famed in many a Doric lay, overhangs the village on one side, whilst on another the ruins of the Rhymer's Tower, associated with so much that is interesting both in history and romance, are still to be seen on the “ pastoral haughs of Leader.” At a short distance, the Tweed, after receiving the subsidiary streams of Ettrick and Gala-water, pursues its stately course through a rich and beautiful country, diversified by the picturesque hills of Eildon, and embellished by the monastic ruins of Melrose and Dryburgh. These, and a hundred other scenes of old renown, to be viewed from the Black Hill of Earlstoun or the neighbouring heights, could not fail to make a vivid impression on the heart and fancy of such a youth as Alexander Waugh; and doubtless contributed, in no ordinary degree, to foster the national enthusiasm which formed so remarkable a trait in his character, as well as to awaken the slumbering powers of that rich poetical imagination which in after-life so often astonished and delighted his auditors, both in his pulpit discourses, and on more familiar occasions. The pleasing account which he has himself left, in his papers, of the scenes of Earlstoun school, will call to the recollection of many of our readers “the incense-breathing morn” of youth, when
“ The sooty blackbird
“January 1, 1766, entered the grammar-school of Earlstoun, in the county of Berwick : John Mill, master. The providence of God directed my worthy father to send me thither, by the good character which the schoolmaster bore, and by its nearness to Gordon. Though the progress we made in the Latin language was slower than what is usually made in the grammar-schools of large towns or cities, yet the simple and innocent manners of the place, the regard to the duties of religion, which was universal, and the wild and pleasing scenery of that part of the country, brought advantages to my heart which in many other places were not to be expected. I cannot recollect the manners of that happy village, and the innocent pursuits of former days, especially when I compare them with the far, far other manners which prevail in London, without sighing and longing for the past. Goldsmith has, in his Deserted Village, touched those days with so happy a pencil, that it needs little more but to change the names, to make his poem a descrip