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XIV.

FEMALE SUFFRAGE.

An intelligent Glasgow bookseller, examined by a committee of the House of Commo declared that 6 the women in the lower class of life have better heads than the men !” I cite the observation for the benefit of the disciples of Mistress Mary Wolstonecraft, though perhaps few persons who have had means of judging in the matter will deny its truth.

Theologicis Acad. Andreanæ, Spiritu Sancto Præside. D. And. Melvino, S. Theol. D. et illius facultatis Decano ou entnou moderante, p. 14. Edinbvrgi, Excudebat Robertus Walde-graue, Typographus Regius, 1599. In enumerating Melville's works Dr M‘Crie (Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 510) has overlooked two rare tracts. 1.“ De Justifi. catione Hominis coram Deo, Theses Theologicæ quas Spiritu S. præside, D. And. Melvino, SS. Theol. Professore, et ejus Facultatis Decano oughtnou moderante, tueri conabitur M. Patricius Geddæus, in scholis theologicis Academiæ Andreanæ, Ad diem xxii Julij. Edinburgi, Excudebat Robertus Walde-graue, Typographus Regius, 1600.” 2. “ Theses Theologicæ de Peccato, quas Spiritu Sancto Præside, D. Andrea Melvino, SS. Theol. Prof. &c. tueri conabor Joannes Scharpius ad d. iii. et iv. Julij in Scholis Theologicis Academiæ Andreanæ Edinburgi, excud. R. Walde-graue, 1600.”

· First Report on Postage, p. 368. Parl. Pap. Sess. 1838, No. 278.

XV.

FUNERAL CUSTOM. An interesting funeral usage has long been observed in an old family in the north of Scotland. When the coffin has been lowered to its resting-place, fire is set to a torch placed beside it, and the doors of the vault are hastily closed, not to be opened until another tenant is given to the tomb.

XVI.

PRIVILEGES OF THE PEERAGE.

BURKE has drawn the character of “peerage-writers" with his usual felicity. “ These gentle historians dip their pens in nothing but the milk of human kindness. They seek no farther for merit than the preamble of a patent or the inscription of a tomb. With them every man created a peer is first a hero ready made. They judge of every man's capacity for office by the offices he has filled ; and the more offices the more ability. Every general-officer with them is a Marlborough, every statesman a Burleigh ; every judge a Murray or a Yorke.

They who, alive, were laughed at or pitied by all their acquaintance, make as good a figure as the best of

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them in the pages of Guillim, Edmondson, and Collins.”

Lord Hailes has left a curious illustration of this passage in his manuscript notes on Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage. “ John, fifth Viscount was a man of great honour and probity,says Sir Robert. Priscæ fidei in Latin,” remarks his annotator,—“ in English, a Jacobite nonjuror. Brigadier Middleton dishonourably obtained his interest in the town of B by drinking the Pretender's health, and used to ask a dispensation from Sir Robert Walpole to preserve an interest so dishonourably procured.”—“Duncan died unmarried,” writes the courtly knight-baronet.-“ He was set aside for being an idiot,” observes the accurate judge. “ Mr Spittal of Leuchit said he was wiser than that notorious fool his younger brother."2

Yet truth will sometimes escape the pens of these flatterers by profession. A writer on the immunities of Scotish lords has deemed it necessary to record a singular attempt to vindicate for nobility the right of keeping a common gambling-house. “ On the 29th of April 1745, the House of Lords having been informed that claims of privilege of

1 Letter to a noble lord on the attacks of the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Lauderdale, 1796. Burke's Works, vol. ii. p. 266, edit. Lond. 1837.

2 Analecta Scotica, vol. i. pp. 160, 161.

peerage were made and insisted on by the Ladies Mordington and Cassilis, in order to intimidate the peace-officers from doing their duty in suppressing the public gaming-houses kept by the said ladies, and a writing under the hand of the Lady Mordington, containing the claim she made of privilege for her officers and servants employed by her in the said gaming-house, having been read,

“ The House • resolved and declared, That no person is entitled to privilege of peerage against any prosecution or proceeding for keeping any public or common gaming-house, or any house, room, or place, for playing at any game or games prohibited by any law now in force.” 1

Another courtly compiler of a peerage has admitted into his folios a kindred anecdote. 6 A curious decision of the Court of Session was given on the 3d July 1662. Lord Coupar, sitting in Parliament, taking out his watch, handed it to Lord Pitsligo, who refusing to restore it, an action was brought for the value. Lord Pitsligo said, that Lord Coupar having put his watch in his hand to see what hour it was, Lord Sinclair putting forth his hand for a sight of the watch, Lord Pitsligo put it into Lord Sinclair's hand, in the presence of Lord Coupar, without contradiction, which must necessarily import his consent. Lord Coupar answered, that they being then sitting in Parliament his silence could not import a consent. The Lords repelled Lord Pitsligo's defence, and found him liable in the value of the watch.”]

1 Robertson's Proceedings relative to the Peerage of Scotland, p. 246. Edinb. 1790.

XVII.

MALLET'S MARGARET'S GHOST.

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Mallet tells us that this beautiful ballad was suggested to him by a fragment quoted in one of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays :

“ When it was grown to dark midnight,

And all were fast asleep,
In came Margaret's grimly ghost,

And stood at William's feet.” « These lines,” he says,

6 naked of ornament and simple as they are, struck my fancy, and, bringing fresh into my mind an unhappy adventure much talked of formerly, gave birth to the poem.” It first appeared in a newspaper about the year 1724, and has been a thousand times reprinted; but none of its editors has elucidated the tragic tale to which it owes its origin. In Hutton's Mathematical Dic

1 Wood's Peerage of Scotland, vol. i. p. 363.

2 The ballad will be found at length in Percy's Reliques, vol. iv. p. 21-24.

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