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the Duke of Buccleuch was both a lover and a judge of literature, and devoted to reading the time he could spare from his avocations. This was not so much as he desired; for the active superintendence of his own extensive affairs took up much of his time. As one article, he answered very many letters with his own hand, and never suffered above a post to pass over without a reply, even to those of little consequence; so that this single duty occupied very frequently two hours a-day. But his conversation often turned on literary subjects, and the zeal with which he preserved the ancient ruins and monuments which exist on his estates, showed his attachment to the history and antiquities of his country. In judging of literary composition, he employed that sort of criticism which arises rather from good taste and strong and acute perception of what was true or false, than from a vivacity of imagination. In this particular, his Grace would have formed no inadequate representative of the soundest and best educated part of the reading public, and an author might have formed from his opinion a very accurate conjecture how his work would be received by those whom every writer is most desirous to please. The Duke's own style in epistolary correspondence was easy, playful, and felicitous, or strong, succinct, and expressive, according to the nature of the subject.
In gayer hours, nothing could be so universally pleasing as the cheerfulness and high spirits of the Duke of Buccleuch. He bore his high rank (so embarrassing to some others) as easily and gracefully as he might have worn his sword. He him
self seemed unconscious of its existence; the guests respected without fearing it. He possessed a lightness and playfulness of disposition, much humour, and a turn for raillery, which he had the singular tact to pursue just so far as it was perfectly inoffensive, but never to inflict a moment's confusion or pain. There are periods in each man's life which can never return again; and the friends of this illustrious person will long look back, with vain regret, on the delightful hours spent in his society
In his intercourse with his neighbours, the Duke was frank, hospitable, and social, and ready upon all occasions to aid their views by forming plantations, by exchanging ground, or any similar point of accommodation and courtesy. To the public his purse was ever open, as appears from his Grace's liberal subscriptions to all works of splendour or utility.
We have one trait to add to this portrait-it is the last and the most important. As the Duke of Buccleuch held his high situation for the happiness of those around him, he did not forget by Whom it was committed to him. A portion of his private studies was always devoted to reading Scripture. Public worship was at all proper seasons performed in his family, and his own sense of devotion was humble, ardent, and sincere. A devout believer in the truths of religion, he never, even in the gayest moment, permitted them to be treated with levity in his presence; and to attempt a jest on those subjects, was to incur his serious reproof and displeasure. He has gone to receive the reward of these virtues too early for a country which will
severely feel his loss, for his afflicted family and his sorrowing friends, but not too soon for himself, since it was the unceasing labour of his life to improve to the utmost the large opportunities of benefiting mankind with which his situation invested him. Others of his rank might be more missed in the resorts of splendour and of gaiety frequented by persons of distinction. But the peasant, while he leans on his spade, age sinking to the grave in hopeless indigence, and youth struggling for the means of existence, will long miss the generous and powerful patron, whose aid was never asked in vain when the merit of the petitioner was unques tioned.
OF THE LATE
JOHN LORD SOMERVILLE.
[From the Edinburgh Weekly Journal, Oct. 27, 1819.]
FATE has, during the last twelve months, deprived the Scottish Peerage of some of its noblest names. The three premier Peers, Dukes of Hamilton, Buccleuch, and Lennox, and the Earl of Errol, (eldest of the Scottish Earls,) have been successively removed from the scene. Of these, with the exception of the Duke of Hamilton, there were none whose age prepared their friends for the fatal change. The others were in the prime of life, or little past it; in mature manhood, fitted by experience for council, and not disqualified by age from: active exertion. To this melancholy list we have now to add Lord Somerville's name, ranking among the most ancient of the Scottish Barons by right of birth, and entitled by every personal quality to the deep and affectionate regrets of his countrymen. The following particulars regarding this lamented nobleman have been communicated to us from good authority.
John, the fifteenth Lord Somerville, succeeded to his uncle in 1796. There were circumstances respecting his family property, which may be interesting to the general reader, as well as the antiquary. The original source of the family was from a bold Baron of Somerville, in Normandy, who followed the banner of William the Conqueror to the battle of Hastings. He was rewarded with ample lands, the remnant of which, comprehending Somerville-Aston, in Warwickshire, still considerable, though much dilapidated and encumbered with debt, descended to Somerville the poet, the friend of Shenstone, and the author of The Chase, &c. A younger brother of the warrior of Hastings, and who had also fought in that memorable battle, attended the court of Malcolm Canmore, bearing a falcon on his arm, and had the fortune to become that Prince's Grand Falconer, and to obtain a grant of the lands of Linton, in Roxburghshire, for some gallant exploit, which tradition states to have been the slaying of a huge serpent, appealing for the truth of the tale to a very ancient monument, over a door of the parish church, on which there is certainly a beast engaged with an armed knight, though the shape of the animal resembles a wolf, or bear, more than a snake.
The Somervilles rose to eminence in Scotland, then sunk, and then again emerged into consequence; so that Lord Somerville's immediate ancestor, who retained a part of the ancient family patrimony, was a man of considerable wealth. At this time Somerville the poet was in distress for ready money, which the Scottish Lord Somerville