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Join these in Burke, and add his wisdom lack'd
LORD DUNDONALD'S MEMOIRS. The work now under our notice, as an officer of our navy may be said although as yet fragmentary and in- to have terminated with the brilliant complete, cannot be regarded other- exploit in the Basque Roads, in April wise than as a most valuable contri- 1809, to the whole credit of which he bution to the historical literature of is entitled. Why it so terminated, Britain. The noble author, now in we shall presently see : in the mean his eighty-fifth year, yet still retain- time let us attend to the personal ing, as is evident from the style of history before us. this volume, much of that activity, Lord Dundonald, like a true Scot, enthusiasm, and indomitable spirit devotes an introductory chapter to which marked the earlier part of his an account of his pedigree, which we career, won for himself, about the certainly should have passed over commencement of this century, in without notice-pedigrees being of the naval service of his country, so little interest to any save those imhigh a name, that subsequent his- mediately connected—but for a most torians have not hesitated to class extraordinary blunder on the part of Lord Cochrane in the same rank as his Lordship. It may appear someNelson and Collingwood. Viewed what impertinent to take exception from one point, we must necessarily to any man's statement as to his admit that such an estimate savours ancestry; but in this case Lord Dunof exaggeration; because, in military donald ought to thank us for freeing and naval warfare, success must al- him from the discredit of being deways be held as the grand test of scended from one of the veriest knaves merit. A great and decisive victory, mentioned in Scottish history - to and, still more, a succession of deci- wit, Robert Cochrane, called The sive victories, will elevate the man Mason, favourite of James III., who who has achieved them to a higher was hanged over the bridge at Lauplace of estimation, and secure for der. We by no means intend to aver him a more enduring fame, than can that the mere fact of having been be accorded to the warrior whose hanged should operate against the reputation has been founded on a memory of an ancestor ; for in the series of brilliant exploits under-old days such a catastrophe was anytaken on a smaller scale. But if thing but uncommon, and inferred we set aside the important element no positive disgrace. But this Roof opportunity, and restrict ourselves bert Cochrane was essentially a bad to an examination of the conduct and fellow, an insolent upstart, and a ability which have been displayed in wicked counsellor of his king. The the lesser as well as the greater in- following is his character, as drawn stances—if we are content to hold by old Lindsay of Pitscottie, the that the merit of a deed depends not very best historian of that period : so much upon its magnitude as upon “Whatever was done in court or the perfectness of its execution-we council with the king, nothing was cannot venture to detract from the done or concluded but by him; nor high meed of praise which eminent no man durst say that his proceedprofessional men have agreed to ac- ings were wicked or evil, or unprocord to Cochrane. As a captain, and fitable for the commonweal, but he in command only of a frigate (the would have his indignation, and far - famed Impérieuse), he distin- cause punish him for the same. He guished himself beyond any other had such credence of the king, that seaman of his time; but he never he gave him leave to strike money had command of a squadron in the of his own, as if he had been a prince. British service, and his active career And when the people would have
The Autobiography of a Seaman. By THOMAS, Texto EARL OF DUNDONALD, G.C.B., Admiral of the Red, Rear Admiral of the Fleet, &c. &c. Volume First. Bentley : Loudou.
refused the said money, which was tion of a certain William de Cochcalled a Cochran-plack, and said to rane of that Ilk, who obtained a him that it would be cried down, charter from Robert II., dated 1389. he answered and said, That day he "He was succeeded,” says Crawfurd, would be hanged that they were cried “by Robert his son, who resigned his down. Which shortly thereafter fell estates in favour of Allan his son, out as he prophesied, as ye shall hear. anno 1456." Then he speaks of a For this Cochran had such authority deed dated four years previously, in in court, and credence of the king, which this Allan appears as a witthat no man got credence or audi- ness, “ in which deed he is designed ence of the king, but by his moyen. Allanus Cochran Armiger, his father So all that would esteem him, or being then alive, and to whom he flatter him, or give him gear, their succeeded before the 1480.” Upon matters were dressed according to this hint-for there is not another their own pleasure, whether it were scrap of evidence to fortify his posijust or unjust, or against the com- tion-Lord Dundonald identifies Romonweal ; all was alike unto him. bert, the son of William de Cochrane, For he cared not for the welfare of and father of Allan Cochrane of that the realm, or the honour, so that he Ilk, with the mason Cochrane, who might have his own singular profit was hanged at the bridge of Lauder! and estimation in court."
Now, it is nowhere alleged that Lord Dundonald tries to make out Cochrane the mason was either marthat this Cochrane, whom he calls his ried, or left issue, or had a patrimoancestor, was not only a man of good nial estate ; but Lord Dundonald, family, but a magnificent architect eccentrically, and as it appears to us and a wise statesman, being, says he, unaccountably desirous to have this " to James something like what Wol- man as an ancestor, has constructed sey subsequently was to Henry VIII.” a little romance, wishing us to beThat is a mere delusion. Cochrane lieve that Robert Cochrane of that began life in a very humble way in- Ilk resigned his estates in 1456 to deed, and no historian has said other- his son, "for no other purpose than wise. Pitscottie is minute as to this to devote himself to the study and point: "He might be example to all practice of architecture, in which, as simple mean persons not to climb so an art, Scotland was, at that time, high, and intend great things in court behind other nations !” We have as he did. For, at his beginning, he both heard of and known instances was but prentice to a mason; and, of Scottish lairds who, in consewithin few years, he became very quence of a disastrous taste for ingynous in that craft, and bigged architecture, did ultimately divest many stone houses with his hands themselves of their acres, the stone in the realm of Scotland. And be- having, according to the common cause he was cunning in craft, not phrase, fairly eaten up the earth; long after, the king made him mas- but it is a new thing to us to be told ter-mason, and, after this, Cochran of a gentleman resigning his land, clamb so' high, higher and higher, in order that he might labour at a till he came to this fine, as is re- quarry! Even Cincinnatus, though hearsed."
he preferred the plough to the dictaThe way in which this Cochrane torship, stuck valorously to his heris brought into the Dundonald pedi- editary acre. Besides this, it never gree is very amusing, and may be a seems to have occurred to Lord Dunlesson to future Oldbucks. We may donald to inquire how it happened premise that the Cochranes of that that if Cochrane, who, as he asserts, Ilk, whom Lord Dundonald repre- had been created Earl of Mar, had sents through a female, were an an- left a son called Allan, that son did cient baronial family in the shire of not succeed to the dignity. But it Renfrew, and held considerable pos- is of no use insisting further upon a sessions there, long before they were mere heraldic delusion, which is quite ennobled by Charles II. In giving apparent from the fact that, by Lord their descent, Crawfurd, our most Dundonald's own admission, on the accurate peerage writer, makes men- authority of Crawfurd, Allan succeeded Robert before 1480, whereas bued with like spirit, and in intimate Cochrane the mason was not hanged
communication with these distinguished until the month of July 1482. We men, he emulated their example with submit that Lord Dundonald should no mean success, as the philosophical feel deeply indebted to us for having
records of that period testify. But whilst delivered him from such a progenitor.
they prudently confined their attention
to their laboratories, my father's sanWe might, if so minded, be a
guine expectations of retrieving the little critical upon his construction family estates by his discoveries led him of the deeds of later Cochranes, who to embark in a multitude of manufacturdid not, as a sept, exhibit any re- ing projects. The motive was excellent; markable adherence to hereditary but his pecuniary means being incomprinciple, but changed sides as cir- mensurate with the magnitude of his cumstances suggested, quite as freely transactions, its object was frustrated, as many other members of the Scot- and our remaining patrimony melted tish aristocracy. We need not, how
like the flux in his crucibles; his scienever, go into such matters. Suffice
tific knowledge, as often happens, being it to say that the Cochranes were
unaccompanied by the self-knowledge
which would have taught him that he losers in the political game in which
was not, either by habit or inclination, they had embarked rather largely, 'a man of business.' Many who were so and that the father of the present knew how to profit by his inventions Earl found himself in the disagree- without the trouble of discovery, whilst able position of the holder of an their originator was occupied in deveancient title, without the adequate loping new practical facts to be turned means of supporting it. In that to their advantage, and his consequent aspect he was not singular. Poor loss." Lord Balmerino declared in the Tower that he had been driven into
The truth is, that old Lord Dunthe Rebellion of 1745 from absolute donald was a man of much ingenuity, lack of the means of subsistence; and but of little practical sense. No man we have heard old people say that
was more quick at descrying where they remembered a Lord Kirkcud
an improvement could be made, but bright, who, keeping a glover's shop he was never able to turn his dis
He in Edinburgh, voted regularly, with- coveries to profitable account. out protest, at the elections of the had, to use a common but exceedingly Peers in Holyrood, and supplied expressive phrase, too many irons in each of his brother nobles in the the fire. At one and the same time, way of trade, before the opening of he was occupied with no fewer than the solemn ceremony.
six schemes of chemical manufacture,
any one of which might have proved “Of our once extensive ancestral do successful had he abandoned the mains," says Lord Dundonald, “I never others, but an ultra-sanguine temperinherited a foot. In the course of a ament incited him to push them on century, and before the title descended
simultaneously, an undertaking utto our branch, nearly the whole of the terly beyond the reach of his capital family estates had been alienated by
or credit. Also, though his inventive losses incurred ation of the Stuarts, rebellion against does not appear to have possessed
support of one gener powers were of the highest order, he another, and mortgages, or other equally that faculty of calm ratiocination destructive process—the consequence of both. A remnant may latterly have
which, from an accidental phenomefallen into other hands from my father's non, can extricate a great principle, negligence in not looking after it; and and proceed onwards to its applicahis unentailed estates were absorbed by tion. Of this the following is a reextensive scientific pursuits, afterwards to markable instance :be noticed ; so that my outset in life was that of heir to a peerage, without “One of my father's scientific achieveother expectations than those arising ments must not be passed over. Cavenfrom my own exertions.
dish had some time previously ascertained “My father's day was that of Caven- the existence of hydrogen. Priestley had dish, Black, Priestley, Watt, and others, become acquainted with its inflammable now become historical as the forerun- character; but the Earl of Dundonald ners of modern practical science. Imn- may fairly lay claim to the practical apin the
plication of its illuminating power in a rical devices - and the scheme was carburetted form.
doubtless remitted to the judgment “In prosecution of his coal-tar patent, of the masters of the dockyards, my father went to reside at the family whose interest, in the days when jobestate of Culross Abbey, the better to bery was undoubtedly triumphant, superintend the works on his own col. did not lie in the way of preservation lieries, as well as others on the adjoining estates of Valleyfield and Kincardine. of the floating material. Finding In addition to these works, an experi- that the Admiralty would do nomental tar-kiln was erected near the thing for him, old Lord Dundonald Abbey, and here the coal-gas became went down to Limehouse, and tried accidentally employed in illumination. to induce a large private shipbuilder Having noticed the inflammable nature to use his composition, warranting it of a vapour arising during the distilla
as effectual against the worm. He tion of tar, the Earl, by way of experi- might as well have entreated a tailor ment, fitted a gun-barrel to the
eduction to vend a new species of garment calpipe leading from the condenser. On culated to last for a lifetime. “My applying fire to the muzzle, a vivid light Lord,” said the man of planks, blazed forth across the waters of the live by repairing ships as well as by tained, distinctly visible on the opposite building them,
and the worm is our shore.
best friend. Rather than use your Strangely enough, though quick in preparation, I would cover ships' botappreciating a new fact, Lord Dundonald toms with honey to attract worms !" lightly passed over the only practical His Lordship belonged to the desproduct which might have realised his potic section of fathers, who consider expectations of retrieving the dilapi- themselves entitled to exercise abdated fortunes of our house; considering solute dominion over their sons, and tar and coke to constitute the legitimate not only to regulate their education, objects of his experiments, and regarding but to fix their future calling. Even the illuminating property of gas merely as a curious natural phenomenon. Like
now we not unfrequently meet with Columbus, he had the egg before him, instances of such ill-advised and but, unlike Columbus, he did not hit up calamitous dictation, but during last on the right method of setting it on end” century the doctrine of patria potes
tas was almost universally received There is some humour in another and practically applied. The prinanecdote of old Lord Dundonald, ciple of tyranny being admitted, the which we find in this portion of the exercise of it became almost intolerwork. His Lordship’s experiments able. No prepossessions, tendencies, in the manufacture of coal-tar were or natural inclinations were to be remade principally with the view of garded : the destiny of the son lay having that substance applied to the power of the father. The lad ontward coating of ships, as a pre- who sighed for a pair of colours was ventive of the ravages of the worm ; condemned to study for the law. copper-sheathing not having been The studious youth who wished to then invented, but the clumsy expe- cultivate the muse, was clapped into dient adopted of driving in large- uniform and despatched to a foreign headed iron nails, which made a battle-field. Remonstrance was disship’s bottom appear like a gigantic regarded, and disobedience branded hob-nailed shoe. He applied to as a crime to be visited by severance the Admiralty of the period to have from family ties in this world, and his process properly tested, and, if certain perdition in the next. Young found efficient, adopted, but without Cochrane was a heaven-born sailor. effect; for then, as now, the peculiar He rioted in the breezes of the ocean constitution of that Board, which the as the war-horse scents the battle. country has thought fit to sanction His favourite heroes were Drake, and and maintain, notwithstanding the Blake, and grand old Sir Andrew thousand proofs of its incompetency, Wood of Largo, the unconquered was against innovation - a term Admiral of Scotland, who maintained which, we are sorry to think, has so gloriously and well the supremacy been held to include many whole- of the northern seas. His dreams some improvements as well as empi- were of the quarterdeck and the