An account of the life of Dr Garthshore, and also of his father who was the parish minister at Kirkcudbright for 50 years. Written anonymously as an obituary in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1812.

Dr Maxwell Garthshore, son of Rev. George Garthshore, Kirkcudbright

The writer of the following account of the late Dr. Maxwell Garthshore, had been acquainted with him 40 years. Notwithstanding wide and palpable differences in their characters and pursuits, he affectionately loved the man, and both loved and respected him the more, in proportion to his opportunities of observing him in the various offices of professional and private life, and in the various changes of fortune, from great external prosperity, to some of the heaviest distresses with which a good man can be afflicted. His character was too long and too generally known easily to admit of exaggeration, on the side either of blame or of praise. For half a century he was a practitioner of physic in London, distinguished for the unwearied diligence and truly Christian benevolence with which he exercised his profession. To persons in want his advice was gratuitous, and to all fit objects of bounty, whether known personally to himself, or recommended by his numerous friends. As his circumstances improved, his purse and his house were open to them; and although, in medical men, generosity of proceedings is often ascribed to the mere prudential motive of extending their practice, yet Dr. G's beneficence must have had a nobler origin: it was exercised universally, on occasions not bearing any relation to the line of his profession. Few men ever did more, in proportion to their abilities, for the benefit of their friends and relatives, or made greater sacrifices of money and of time, either to promote their views, or to repair their misfortunes. On an occasion of the latter kind, the writer of this article has known him to bestow in one gratuity a sum exceeding the amount of his whole annual income.

Maxwell Garthshore was born at Kirkcudbright, capital of the county of that name, the 28th October, 1732. On both sides he was descended from antient and respectable families in Galloway. His mother's name was Barbara Gordon; his father was the Rev. George Garthshore, 50 years Minister in Kirkcudbright, and of whom it was the least distinction to have been born a gentleman. [He died the 24th January 1760, aged 72. He was the son of James Garthshore of that ilk; as noticed in the inscription on his monument.] In the early part of the last century, this advantage was shared with many ministers of the Scottish Church, whose stipends, contemptible as they now sound in modern can, then bore an adequate proportion to the necessaries of life and the wants of a family; above all, to the supplies sufficient in those days for educating sons learnedly, and daughters useully. In the country where he lived, Mr. G, acquired very general respect for his sincere piety and unwearied beneficence: this respect was mingled with much love and affection; be was regarded as the patron of the young, and the comforter of the aged. He adhered firmly to the doctrines of the Church to which he belonged, because he believed them to be those of the New Testament; but he lived in amity with men differing from him in opinion; and his leading maxim was, that zeal for Religion ought always to be governed by Religion, that is, by the true Christian spirit of candour, forbearance, and charity. Of this excellent Pastor, three Sermons remain, all of them marked by correctness of taste and unusual purity of style, as well as by great perspicuity and cogency of argumentation. The occasions on which they were pronounced, the topics judiciously introduced into them, and the happy consequences with which one of them at least was immediately attended, are calculated to render these discourses a genuine picture of his mind, and a memorial of his virtues; and the notice of them is essential in this memoir, because Dr. Garthshore always felt and declared that, for any good qualities ascribed to him, he was indebted chiefly to the instruction* and example of his father.

On the 6th July, 1736, Mr. Garthshore preached on the text Philippians ii. 3. "Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory." This discourse, containing an impressive dissuasion from animosity in religious matters, is said, in the title-page, to have been preached at the Moderation of a Call to the Evangelical Ministry in the Church of Buittle, where Mr. John M'Naught, Preacher of the Gospel, was chosen to that sacred office. For understanding these words, most inhabitants of South Britain will need to be informed, that, in the ecclesiastical language of Scotland, to moderate means to preside: he who presides in the General Assembly is called the Moderator; and the moderation of a call is the act of presiding, by appointment of Presbytery, in the congregation of elders, landholders, and other inhabitants, assembled for the election of a minister by majority of votes. This mode of collating to benefices in Scotland; had been superseded by the law of patronage enacted in the reign of Queen Anne; a law, however, so disagreeable to the feelings and religious principles of the people at large, that presentation by a patron commonly excited opposition to the settlement in a part, often the largest part, of the congregation.

To avoid this evil, patrons would frequently wave their right of presenting, and generously leave the parishioners to their own free choice in the appointment of a Minister. But while the grievance of patronage was thus obviated, a wide door was opened for the mischiefs to be apprehended from popular elections; from not only the passions and prejudices and jarring interests of individuals, but from those more baneful, because more extensive and more systematic, machinations of religious and political parties. Each knot and confederacy was active and zealous in abetting its favoured candidate, while all were nearly alike careless about the mean; employed by them for the attainment of their opposite and irreconcilable ends. The collation to benefices came thus to he attended with discord, animosity, calumny, secession, secret intrigue, and sometimes open violence. The settlement of Mr. M'Naught in the above-mentioned parish threatened all these evils in their utmost excess, when, through the persuasive influence of Mr. G, and the sudden change operated by his judicious and affecting discourse, the tumult subsided, perfect tranquillity was restored, and "that which seemed most unlikely to be accomplished in many months, was brought about in a few hours: a call was regularly subscribed, attested in presence of a Committee, sustained and approved by the Presbytery without one dissenuent voice." In his address to the parishioners on this happy result, Mr. G. farther observes, that such an example is calculated to show how much less difficulty than is apprehended by many, there might be in supplying Church vacancies by popular election; and that, were other congregations to be as open to conviction, and as obedient to reason, this would prove the strongest argument with Government to relieve them of the grievances complained of in the law of patronage, which is often a source of discord.

He proceeds, "there is one thing that gave umbrage, and created much difficulty. Some gentlemen, it was alleged, not of our communion, favoured the candidate whom you have chosen, and were instrumental in promoting his call. However specious this objection may appear, I beg leave to recommend to your serious consideration what St. Paul says, when speaking of the qualifications of a Minister. 'Moreover, he must have a good report of them that are without.' Again, 'Walk in wisdom toward them that are without;’ and, 'Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles.'—Of the two remaining Sermons of Mr. Garthshore, one was preached before the Synod of Galloway, and the other before the General Assembly, and published at the desire of his Grace the Lord High Commissioner. They are very excellent discourses in point both of matter and of method, evincing, with complete devotion to the doctrines and discipline of the Scottish Church, that liberality and candour, that purity, humanity, and charity, which form the characteristics of genuine Christianity, under all its denominations.—From the tuition of this excellent father, his son Maxwell received that early domestic education, often more important and more efficacious than any other. It was the peculiar advantage of Scotland that every parish contained a grammar-school, and most of the towns a very good one. In this particular, Kirkcudbright was not deficient. Mr. Garthshore, at the age of 14, was placed with a Surgeon-Apothecary in Edinburgh; where he attended the Medical Classes of the university. The Medical School of Edinburgh already flourished in high celebrity , and the Infirmary was patronized by the public and wealthy individuals, particularly by the munificence of the late John Earl of Hopetoun, afforded resources for practical improvement, which perhaps no similar institution of Europe could at that time- boast. In his 20th year, Mr. G. received a letter from his cousin-german, Mr. Robert Maitland, merchant in London. This letter was written to recommend a young gentleman, Mr. Geo. Buxton, who was going to study Physic at Edinburgh. Mr. Maitland says, that he had heard such favourable accounts of his cousin, as made him desirous of introducing to him his young friend; and that he knew so much to the credit of Mr. Buxton, as made him hope that the acquaintance might be beneficial to both parties: at the same time he desires Mr. G.'s correspondence.

The gentleman who thus wrote was the father of a family, he was strenuously engaged in trade, and then laying the foundation, by his industry, integrity, and sound judgment, for that eminence which he acquired and always maintained as a Merchant. Between him and his young cousin Garthshore a correspondence commenced; and from, this time continued with much advantage to the latter, whose proceedings in the future stages of his life were chiefly influenced or directed by the counsels of his friend. It should seem, however, that Mr. Maitland was not consulted in a measure adopted by his correspondent, when, in his 22d year, he had finished his medical education in Edinburgh. About this time Mr. G. joined the Army, to serve in the capacity of Mate to Surgeon Huck, afterwards Dr. Huck Saunders, in Lord Charles Hay's regiment On this subject Mr. Maitland writes to him in January 1755, then with his regiment at Dundee "He does not blame him," he observes, "for entering into the Army, as the circumstance of having a friend in the regiment made the proposal tempting; but the medical department there, he thinks a very limited sphere for a man of abilities and genius in his profession: that often much time must elapse before preferment is obtained; and even the Surgeoncy to a regiment is but scanty bread." This opinion had its full weight with Mr. G.: he consulted his friend what better was to be done; and in April of the same year, Mr. M. writes to him, "that in a town of England, not large, but pleasant, there is a friend of mine, who, having made money, talks of corning to London; he is a worthy man, and, I believe, has a friendship for me. His reputation is great, and his business, I suppose, profitable; but it is attended, as I learn, with a deal of fatigue in riding about the country.

The gentleman alluded to was Dr. John Fordyce, a medical practitioner at Uppingham in Rutland. With him a negotiation was entered into in the autumn; for relinquishing a lucrative situation, money was expected: here again Mr. M. interposed, smoothing all difficulties; and, in the year 1756. Dr. Garthshore succeeded to Dr. Fordyce at Uppingham. In this place he resided eight years, from 1756 to 1763 inclusive, giving much satisfaction by his activity, assiduity, and successful practice in Physic and Midwifery, in a very extensive range of country. What is called the destiny of most men in life, turns chiefly on the manner in which their time is spent from 20 to 30. During his residence at Uppingham, Dr. G. laid the foundation of many valuable friendships, some of which had a decisive influence on his future proceedings. Among these may be mentioned that of Lord Carbury, of Geo. Brudenell, esq. 40 years Member for the County, of Dr. afterwards Sir George Baker, a name, as his elegant latinity attests, not less eminent as a Scholar than as a Physician; Dr. R. Pulteney, highly distinguished as a Botanist; and perhaps above all, the much respected Dr. Jackson, principal Physician of Stamford, father to Dr. Cyril Jackson, late Dean of Christ Church, but who now prefers literary retirement to that eminent station, to mitres and primacies, which awaited him. His younger brother has not followed the example of "Nulumus epitcopari:" he is the present learned and worthy Bishop of Oxford.

Indeed, from a very early period of life, Dr. G. had the happiness of exciting good will and confidence in men of eminent character. In Lord Charles Hay's regiment he had been professionally connected with Mr. Huck, a gentleman who, through the discerning patronage of Sir John Pringle, a wealthy marriage with the niece of Adm. Sir Charles Saunders, and his own professional merits, acquired much consideration in London as Dr. Huck Saunders. At his death, above 30 years after their acquaintance and intimacy, this gentleman named Dr. Garthshore to be one of the guardians to his daughters; the elder of whom is now Viscountess Melville, and the younger Countess of Westmoreland.

Dr. G.'s devotion to professional duties in Rutland hindered him not from visiting his parents in Galloway. In a visit there, he gained the heart of a young lady, heiress to the estate [Ruscoe] of an antient but small, and now extinct, clan in that part of Scotland. The parties were brought to the same mind, not, however, without hesitation on the part of the Doctor, and consultation with Mr. Robert Maitland of London, his perpetual friend and adviser, and an adviser from whom no lessons were to be learned but those of piety, rectitude, and the most wary conscientious proceedings in all the occurrence of life. In 1759 Dr. G. returned with his bride to Uppingham, in which place his first two sons were born; both died very young, the elder in London, where Mrs. G. the 28th October, 1764, brought him a third son, William, of whom much is to be said. Considerably before this time Dr. Baker had removed to London, where he speedily attained that eminence as a Physician, so well merited by his abilities. This was a great inducement for his friend Garth, as he jocularly called him, to follow. But in this matter also, the opinion of Mr. Maitland was that which weighed most. That gentleman had written to him that the landed estate of £200 per annum, acquired by his marriage, was sufficient to exempt him from the toilsome fatigues of country practice: the Doctor, he fancied, might look towards Edinburgh, where so much of his youth had been spent; but Mr. M. dropped hints of London, as if he wished that that place to obtain the preference. Accordingly, in 1763, Dr. G. removed with his family to London; and, after a short residence in Bedford -street, Covent-garden, settled in St. Martin's-lane, where he continued nearly 50 years. His professional views in coming to London were amply gratified; but here he was soon assailed by a heavy domestic affliction, which I find thus commemorated in a blank page of his Bible. "It pleased Almighty God to take from me to endless happiness, my faithful, affectionate, and excellent wife, the 8th March, 1765, after a tender, inviolable, and comfortable union of fire years and four months." From domestic calamity, Dr. G. sought relief in the practice of his public duties. His natural susceptibility, the instruction of his father, the correspondence of Mr. M. had deeply impressed him with devotion to his Maker, and taught him to consider it as inseparable from good-will and beneficence to men.

Volumes of his Diary lie before me, kept for the whole of his life in London, and amounting to many thousands of close-written pages, in contractions very difficult to decypher. They are medical, miscellaneous, and eminently pious, abounding in daily ejaculations of praise and thanksgiving, with fervent prayers to be kept steady in that course of well-doing, essential to happiness in the present life and in that which is to come. The tone and temper, elevation and energy acquired by this sublime heavenly intercourse, appeared indispensable to this good man, not only as the consolation of sorrow, and the disposer to patience and resignation under the ills of life, but as the spring and principle of unwearied perseverance in active virtue; the diligent, liberal, charitable exercise of the profession to which he was devoted. From this time forward, he continued for nearly half a century cultivating Medicine in all its branches, most attentive to every the improvement in them, Physician to the British Lying-in-hospital, Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, rendering his house an asylum for the poor, as well as a centre of communication for the learned; for his connexion with the higher orders of men never prevented his habitual attentions and services to the less fortunate: in general, to stand in need of his assistance was the surest recommendation to his partiality. Such a character is not indeed the best calculated for nice discrimination, the want of which is an imputation to which Dr. Garthshore was certainly on many occasions liable.

His only son William began now to form the object of much anxious solicitude. From a private school at Hampstead he was sent to Westminster, and soon placed on the foundation. In his turn, he went to Christ-church, Oxford, whore Dean Jackson, for the reasons above given, received him as an hereditary friend; and gradually honoured him with no common share of his attention and confidence. He continued six or seven years a student of Christ-church, making occasional excursions for improvement to France and Germany. When a companion was wanted for Lord Dalkeith in his travels, his grandfather the Duke of Montague applied to Dean Jackson, who had been sub-preceptor to the Prince of Wales when the Duke was Governor. The Dean recommended Mr. Garthshore, who appeared to be well qualified for such an employment by his agreeable manners and address, his improvement in useful knowledge, and the strict propriety of his behaviour. Accompanying Lord Dalkeith, Mr. G. set out on a more extensive tour than those generally undertaken, since it embraced the Northern parts of Europe, particularly Russia. In 1792 he returned to London, in deservedly high credit both with his pupil and with his employers; and very brilliant prospects soon opened to him from such illustrious and powerful connexions. By the Duke of Buccleugh, he was recommended to Government; and held for several years a confidential situation, as Private Secretary, under the late Lord Melville, then Mr. Secretary Dundas. In 1794 he married Miss Jane Chalie, with the expectancy of a handsome fortune: he sat in two Parliaments during the Administration of Mr. Pitt, and was appointed a Lord of Admiralty in that of Mr. Aldington. But of such prosperous fortune how precarious n the tenure! In the course of a few days Mr. G. lost his father-in-law, his wife, and his only child. Shortly afterwards he was himself seized with a mental disorder, of which, after languishing nearly three years, he died the 5th April, 1806.

Under the pressure of such dreadful afflictions, Dr. G. was supported by his habitual piety. When speaking on the subject, his unvaried expression was, "The will of God be done!" He was now in his 74th year: he had been deprived, almost at one blow, of the objects of his affections, his labours, his hopes. Yet, under such calamities, and at so advanced a period of life, instead of plunging into the glooms of lazy despondency, he became more strenuous, if possible, than ordinary, in all those offices of duty and of kindness to which his useful life had been spent. To the last he maintained his gaiety and briskness; and, in company with his friends, was always ready to give way to those innocent sallies of pleasantry, that facetiousness and hilarity, which are the natural fruits of an unblemished life, and of a benevolent disposition. In 1795 he married a second wife; but she died long before him. The day previous to his death the writer of this memoir called at his house, not knowing of his very serious illness. Finding that Dr. G. was confined to his bed, he did not mean to disturb him; but, upon being told by the servant that he had been repeatedly asked after, he walked up stairs to the bed-side. The Doctor made an attempt to receive him with his usual courtesy, but said that he believed himself to be dying: that he died in peace and amity with all mankind. Upon a reply, that few could leave life with better hopes, he exclaimed in the words of Grotius, "Heu vitam perdidi operose nihil agendo;" adding, that he had firm reliance on God's goodness through Christ. As the writer prepared to retire, to make room for his attendants, he called aloud, that he never would forget the friendship between them. Next morning his death was announced by his nephew Dr. Robert Gordon, at raring taken place at half past two on Saturday, the 1st March, 1812.

The preceding pages are intended to afford a picture of his mind. As to his countenance and figure, he bore so striking a resemblance to the first Earl of Chatham, that he was sometimes mistaken for him. This likeness once produced considerable sensation in the House of Commons. Lord Chatham was pointed to in the gallery : all believed him to be there: the person really present was Dr. Garthshore. —He was buried in Bunhill-flelds, at the further end, opposite No. 16, about 10 yards from the wall, where a handsome monument will be erected to his memory. —He died worth about £55,000 and by his will, made only a few days before his death, after the payment of a considerable number of legacies, names, as Residuary Legatee, John Maitland Esq., M.P.

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