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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 4: 1815-17
John Gibson Lockhart to Jonathan Christie, 17 April 1816

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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Produced by CATH
Edinburgh, 9 George Street,
April 17, 1816.

My dear Christie,—Your expressions are very vague, touching everything that regards yourself. I think you intend me to conclude that you are leaving Connor, and yet neither the date of your
letter, nor the way in which you talk of returning to Oxford, looks exactly that way. Pray let me know what your plans are. If you have no engagement during the summer, I would fain flatter myself with the hopes of your paying us a visit in Scotland, in which case you will know that few can be more anxious for the pleasure of housing you than myself. I am not to be in Oxford this spring.
Old John gave me leave of absence very graciously, and I had reasons for preferring to pay my last official visit next year rather than now. Traill also, as his sister told me the other night, got leave from John; but as he is at present at Newcastle acting as supercargo to a ship of kelp, she hinted that, should the sale be favourable, he might still make a run to Oxon, where I have no doubt he may easily find a way to dispose of all his seaweed riches.

“We go on here pretty much in the old way. Innes has been made elder, and serves in this General Assembly as representative of the borough of Kintore. Hamilton also was made an elder last Sunday at a village near this town—at least, the ceremony of his taking the vows was performed, for the legality of the process is still doubtful, a protest having been given in against his nomination by an old farmer in the eldership there, on three grounds: 1st, Hamilton having no domiceal within the bounds; 2nd, His being suspected of Episcopalianism; and 3rd, His having no certificate of moral
character, &c. The process of Presbytery, wherein the value of these objections is to be discussed, I shall certainly attend. Hamilton desires to be most affectionately remembered to you. He will write to you soon by his cousin the Freshman, and in the meantime earnestly begs you would write him. By-the-bye, do you not think he might have some chance for a Fellowship? and in God’s name, why don’t you stand yourself? There is no open fama clamosa against your character—electing you would not be considered as a sort of premium on idleness, blasphemy, and contempt (as electing some friends of yours might too justly be); and on the whole, as you can lose no character, either by competition with the three idiots you mention, or by any decision of those who have already lost all pretensions to justice in those matters—and as you may gain so much, Hamilton and I both agree that you will act very wrong if, being on the spot, you do not try.
Taffy, I presume, will no more trouble them with his fat face and his Greek, both of which are too good for them. I met yesterday at dinner with a Cambridge man, Foster, a craniologist, whom I remember your mentioning last summer. He seems totally cracked, but cleverish withal. He is a professed infidel, but certainly has a well-made forehead above his ugly face. He is cousin to Dicky Meade, as he says—and I believe him. I will send you a copy, by the first private hand, of my Essay on the ‘art noble,’—which is now in the
press. If you wish to have any sarcasm against anybody inserted in a note, you are still in time.—Yours, my dear

J. G. Lockhart.

P.S.—As Hamilton is not without some thoughts of standing for a Fellowship you must not whisper to the wind that he is an elder—observe this, and consider the passage as not existing.”