Letters from The Rev. Hugh Young of Laurieston 1828 - 1834
Transcribed and contributed by Bruce P. Shields email@example.com
It gives me very great pleasure to think that you are still within the pale of the visible church, and though seldom, yet have access to the ordinances of divine grace. It is an unspeakable blessing to be under the pastoral care of an intelligent, faithful and pious minister. You mention that you have a pretty strong society in your neighborhood, and have got a place of worship. I hope the time is not far distant when you may be able to command a more plentiful supply of Gospel ordinances. I have no doubt your thoughts will often be towards the land of your fathers, where so many and dear relatives are left behind, and the circumstance of leaving one of your little ones in this land ( even though the soul had fled to another state) will be a stronger tie than any to bind to the place from whence you have gone. I have frequently dwelt with admiration on the circumstances in the Divine administration connected with your departure. By a bereaving dispensation of Providence, you were detained a number of days behind your time, all that period the vessel was detained in port by contrary winds. You reached the ship, and she was permitted immediately to sail. One was to be left behind. Yet Providence seemed to approve of the departure of the rest of the family. with relation to your friends in Scotland, as far as I know they are all much in the same circumstances as when you left the country. I have had no intercourse with any of the Shieldses. I have heard of no change among them. I sent your last letter to Airshire that they might all see it, and I received in return in a letter from Francis a statement of the particulars in which their letter was different from mine. Our good old mother is still alive, she is no doubt weaker, but not so much changed in the course of the last twelve months as might have been anticipated. I have not seen her for several months, I intended fully to have visited her this week before writing, but could not obtain it. Francis writes me, she is much in her usual way. When I saw her she was quite happy and contented, she spoke much of the kindness of the family to her. The care and kindness both of Francis and his wife seemed not only in reality but even in her own estimation fully to keep pace with her growing infirmities. It is certainly a great comfort to us all to see an aged mother so well attended to at a period when she is unable to take care of herself. It is the duty of you and all of us to be solicitous about her spiritual welfare, and that the consolation of the Gospel may abound as she advances to her departure, but you need not be anxious about her temporal support. Her own litle substance is not yet exhausted, and tho' it were provision would be made for her. I have heard of no particular troubles being in any of the families of our connections during the past year and they all possess the same habitations. I have heard of no births, and there have been no deaths to my knowledge, in the connections.
John Young, Second son to William of Hill-- was married a few weeks ago to Jean Lawson's youngest sister. I have heard it said that he, and our brother Andrew of Carleith, and some others are speaking of following your example and crossing the Atlantic, but as to the truth of it I can say nothing. With regard to ourselves here we are much as we were. Anna was safely delivered of a daughter on the 29th of Dec. She had an excellent recovery and the child which is named Jane is a very stout thriving baby. It is just six years since I came here with my staff in my hand and I am already a hand. Margaret is still very stout, she has never been put to school, but can now read the Testament with considerable ease, she is now nearly five years of age. Alexr is not so stout of his age as Margaret but is quite healthy. He is three and a half and has only yet got his letters. Christian is a very little child, but is quite healthy, and is now speaking almost everything. The Congregation is much the same, we had a considerable accession last year, but there have been a number of deaths this winter among us and a number of our young people have gone to manufacturing towns in search of Employment. Mr. Reid some time ago left his few adherents at Newtonstewart, and came to Glasgow to reside with his family. He preaches there occasionally to a few who attend him. I am sorry to say that the church has not been without her troubles since you left Scotland. Mr. Osbourne is just now under a deed of suspension, and has not preached since harvest last. He had been intoxicated at Castle Douglas on the evening of Reltonhill fair, and seen by many in that state, and on investigation it was found that on several occasions he had been the worse of Liquor. A Synod was called in November to consider his case. The Suspension laid upon by the Southern presbytery was continued till the next meeting of Synod on the last Thursday of April, the Presbytery are to deal with him in the mean time. And it will depend upon their report whether he again be restored. I have heard favorable report of his conduct during the winter. "Great men are not always wise." The circumstances of the country are considerably improved since you left it. There was a most abundant crop all over Scotland last year. Meal is just now plenty at a shilling the peck, and other things in proportion, with the exception of Butcher meat which is still high. The manufacturies are all going briskly throughout the country, weaving is greatly improved, and so the rest. I believe those who wish employment may find it. ____ is not yet _____ about Edinburgh and the east of Scotland, the distress there was longer being felt and is longer of being removed. I have lately heard of several hundreds of tradesmen and labourers who cannot yet find employment. But many of these I presume are not natives of the country.
Our seed time commenced this season with the beginning of the present month and is nearly finished in the Kerses. [=Carses, rich bottomland beside the Forth] I believe little has yet been sown in the high grounds. We had a pretty heavy fall of snow last week, which has now nearly disappeared. To describe the Political aspect of the country at present would require volumes. There have of late been many changes in the ministry. Lord Willington is now prime minister. War with Turkey seems now to be certain. The nations of Europe seem as to take an interest, but how they will arrange themselves is perhaps Beyond the skill of the most profound Politician to say. I trust among all the cares in which you must necessarily be involved, you do not neglect the religious instruction of your young family; which in your circumstances must in a great measure devolve upon yourselves. A very important charge is committed unto you. I have good confidence that you are neither altogether unable, nor will you be unwilling to discharge your obligations in the matter. The blessing of God only can crown your labours with success, and for that we are to pray. It is probable we shall never meet in this world, but let us labour to enter into the rest which remains for the people of God, and if we obtain this through faith in the Redeemer, we shall one day meet never to part. My paper is nearly filled so I must say adieu. I had a letter from Brother James lately, he is well and his business is still in a prosperous state. His son Alexander is studying divinity this winter at Glasgow, I have not heard what he intends to do during summer. Mr. Stevenson from Kilmarnock has been ordained at Stirling, and Mr. Ferguson at Kilburnie -- there are six young men about to be licensed to preach the gospel.
I hope you will write again as soon as you obtain a favourable opportunity. I hope I shall alway hear of you and your family as long as I live at least once a year. I send by Mr. Turnbull a copy of the Sermon preached at Mr. Stevenson's ordination, when you have read it you may present it with my respects to your minister. All here write in most sincere wishes for every good to attend you in this world, and for your felicity hereafter. I am Your affectionate Brother, Hugh Young.
I have a Thursday evening class at which there is a little boy the very image of your Alexander. I frequently look at him and think of your family. The other evening he gave me a penny for a little Catechism which reminded me of the story of the Lauriston pennies. H.Y. I trust Agnes and your little Robert are doing well.
Hugh Young to Alexander Shields 3/29/1830
As my letter did not reach you it is probable you may never yet have got a particular account of the circumstances connected with the death of our much respected Mother. It was awefully sudden, affording a most striking and solemn lesson of the uncertainty of life and of the necessity of habitually living in readiness for death. It took place on the 16th of July , 1828. She had been in her usual way, frail but enjoying some health. Brother James who is now no more (and of whose death with the circumstances of it you have heard particularly from his Son Alexander) had arrived just the night before. The family had taken breakfast of which she participated in her usual way, after which she expressed a desire to lean a little on her bed, and rose from the table for this purpose. He glass, however, was run; she dropped into the arms of the person who was nearest to her and expired. I had not even the melancholy satisfaction of attending at the funeral, being from home at the time and only got notice of her death on the day of her burial. - I think we may conclude, that she is one of those who have entered into rest, through the merits of the redeemer. - And it is our duty not "To sorrow as those who have not hope, but to strive to be followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." In a few years we shall all be numbered with the dead.
In this family we have enjoyed a great measure of health. During a part of the year 1828 my own health was rather in a precarious state. I had frequent and I suppose rather violent attacks of colic, but during the last year I was remarkably well. Anna, my partner in life, has scarcely ever had a complaint, except at the birth of the children, and even then has in general been in a moderate way. The children also are very healthy. For all which we have great cause of thankfulness. Our family has rapidly increased. We have now five children, four daughters and one son. Margaret, Alexr, Christian, Jane and Anna Carslaw -the youngest who is now about seven months old is named after her mother, and being the first that Mr. Carslaw (who is now ordained at Airdrie in place of Mr. Haliday deceast) baptised, she was according to an old Scotish custom named after him also - None of them have yet been sent to school, but Marg.t and Alex.r are getting forward with their education in a fair way at home - Their mother takes the principal charge, as I am often from home. Marg.t now reads English very well, and has commenced the study of Geography that she may find out upon the maps where all her friends dwell - she has a great facility at committing to memory. Though not yet seven years old, she can repeat about Ninety of the Psalms of David, with a great many other pieces both in prose and verse - and several catechisms - Alex.r is only commencing these exercises, and of course we cannot say much about him, he can now read the testament tolerably well -
With relation to our other relations I have not much to Communicate. I wrote a few days ago to Francis who is still at Lilylone to write me particularly respecting all friends, that I might be able to inform you. No answer has yet come to hand. I shall keep this open till the latest hour to see if any word arrives. I presume they are all well, and I have heard of no particular changes among them.
Alex.r Young went to England a few months after the death of his father. He went to a Mr. Thomas Jamieson, Esquire, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne. I suppose he intends to direct his attentions to Mercantile pursuits. His Father must have left him a considerable sum of money, although I do not know how much, I should suppose not less than a thousand pounds.- I have not heard from him since I sent him your letter, probably he may have written to you ere this time. Were I as free as he is, and had I as much in my power, I would probably see you in your own home in the New Year, but in my circumstances that is out of the question.
Our church has of late been rather prosperous, at least outwardly. With the exception of Mr. Haliday of Airdrie, a young minister of great promise, there has been no death among the ministers since you left Scotland. In addition to those formerly ordained during the last season, Mr. John Carslaw (a descendent of the family of Lochgoin [see John Howie, author of Scots Worthies, 1775 reissued 1902 by W.H. Carslaw of Glasgow]) has been ordained at Airdrie. Mr. James McGill has been ordained at Hightae, a part of the Quarrelwood Congregation - and Mr. Thomas Martin has been ordained at Strathmigle in the County of Fife. All of whom are very excellent preachers, and their congregations are likely to prosper. - A Mr. Neilson has at present three calls. One from Rothsay in the Island of Bute; one from the town of Ayr where a Congregation has lately been formed, and one from New Cumnock. It is not yet known which he will accept. There are several other preachers at present itinerating among the vacancies, and there are several young men who are well reported on the eve of obtaining license. A Mr. Scott, a very acceptable preacher, left this country last year for America; probably you may have already heard of him. Old Mr. Reid is still in life, and I believe occasionally preaching to a few at Glasgow. The congregation under my charge continues much as it was in respect of numbers. We have had considerable accessions, but Death, desertion, Emigration, and defection have nearly equalled them.
On Sabbath eight days I commenced the Ninth year of my ministry. During the eight years I have laboured here I find that one third of the original number of the Congregation are numbered with the dead. Upwards of thirty families have been visited by Death, a number of these families have had two and a few three such visits. And every family in the Congregation with the exception of three or four, have during the same period been once or oftener in the garb of mourning.- Can any thing more strongly urge the necessity of "having our loins girded and our lamps burning and to be waiting for the coming of our Lord." I trust you are still enjoying some measure of the ordinances of grace, that your society is growing, and that the time may not be distant when your supply may be regular. I am happy to think that even now you are under the charge of an able and faithful labourer. To Mr. Milligan your minister remember me most cordially. I wish him much success in the Gospel.
I trust, Dear Friends, though you are far separated from us on the surface of the globe that you do not forget us at the throne of grace. And I think that I can safely say that no day has passed since you parted from us, on which I have not bourne you on my mind in the family and Closet --
Last year our country was much agitated for a time with what was called the Catholic question. And you must have heard that a bill passed both houses of Parliament by which Roman Catholics are now admitted into all places of power and trust in the nation with only a very few exceptions- Our Synod passed a series of very spirited resolutions on the subject; I wish that I had an opportunity of sending you a copy of them. This last season has been one of almost unparalleled distress in almost every department throughout the county. Many have been without employment, and even those who had it, could scarcely procure a bare subsistence. Some, who have the means, are emigrating, and many more would I have no doubt were it in their power. This county seems to be fast sinking, at least for the present, and I sometimes wish for the sake of my young family that I had a few acres and a little home on the west of the Atlantic - I trust I shall be enabled to place my confidence in Him "who fixes the bounds of your habitation" and to commit my little ones all to Him who has said, "Your bread shall be given you and your water shall be sure." May I hope that you are living in daily communion with God, and that you are doing what you can to make your Dear young family acquainted with him, enjoin upon them the necessity of habitually perusing the Bible. Lead them early and as frequently as possible to public worship; teach them to pray and endeavour to convince them of the necessity of Divine direction to keep them from the evils of the world.--
Tell them all from Uncle Hugh to set God ever before them, to make his glory their great aim in all they do, and they will no doubt find that in keeping of Gods Commandments there is a great reward. They who truely seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. In a former letter you mentioned what they were all doing. If they are spared they soon be a grand assistance to you - Put them in mind that when I parted with you at Galston and gave each of them a shilling, that I took a promise of them to be obedient children, and kind to their parents. There is a little boy in this village the very image of your Alexander at the time I last saw him. I often look at him, and even feel of attachment to him because he brings you all before my mind. The Apocrypha controversy which was agitated before you left the country is still carried on with great keenness. Dr. Andrew Thomson of Edinburgh and Robert Haldane, Esquire, are the great Champions on the side of pure Bible circulation, the Apologists of the London Committee have nearly all one after another been driven off the field. --There has been a considerable agitation of late particularly in the west of Scotland respecting the formation of Temperance Societies. We learn they have done great things in America.--
The price of provisions has been very moderate for a considerable time past, which has been a great blessing to the poor, in the present state of trade. Oatmeal has during winter been thirteen and fourteen pence and other necessaries in proportion We had exceedingly stormy weather for a few weeks, (after however a very nice winter). The labour was considered as far behind, but an excellent seed time has now commenced, and the Farmers are very busy -- There is still no letter from
Airshire and I am now under the necessity of shutting up my letter. I hope you will not be long in writing, and be sure to write once a year whether you hear from us or not, and I shall try and do the same -- or at any rate when a favourable opportunity offers. You have all our best wishes, and though we may never meet in this world to see each other in the body, we may hold intercourse daily at the throne of Grace, Let us do so, that we may indulge the good hope f meeting at last in the kingdom of our Father who is in heaven. All here send their love to you an the children. And I am, Dear Friends, Yours Affectionately, Hugh
There is still great distress in this country arising chiefly from a scarcity of Employment, and the low rate of wages, and I hear of hundreds emigrating weekly. I trust as you are all advancing in days and years you are also growing in the saving knowledge of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and while laboriously employed in cultivating the Soil, you are not forgetting the keeping of each his own vineyard. I said something to the children in my other letter, and shall not address them particularly here. I have good hope you will not neglect your duty to them. I have made up a small package including a few trifling things for the children, and though they have been used they are capable of being read. I hope you will have an opportunity of writing us by the end of the Season. How you are getting on, and if you are likely to make a comfortable living in the New Country. Last week, Mr. James Symington, brother to the two ministers and who has been a preacher for some time, died; he was very promising.
All here unite in kind love to you all, and wishing you every good. I am, Dear Friends, your affectionately,
The congregation continues much as it was; we find the people generally kind to us. We have saved no money and we have contracted no debt. It is a great thought to us how we are to get our family educated and brought up on so small an income, but God is a rich provider. I lately met in Glasgow with our Sister Helen. She was seeing her son Hugh Hamilton who was attending College for the second season, and is a very promising young man. She said that our relations there as far as she knew were all well. They still live at Back Hareshaw. James Hamilton had an addition to his family sometime ago. They still live at Rough Hizy, but he was looking for another farm. Helen said that [ ]es and Christian had sent a parcel by Hugh Woodburn, I think she spoke of a gown of our dear mother-- and wondered you did not say you had received it. Of brother Andrew I know almost nothing. I saw him last summer at Darvel only a very short time. He has never made out his visit to us here. He lives at the same place. They then had all of them health.
Brother Francis is still at Lilyloan. I believe he has no lease, but holds the farm from year to year. They had a little daughter lately. The infant was not thriving for some time, but I believe now is better. Meadowfoot family are well and prospering, none of the daughters are yet married. William and his family, Alexander and his wife, and Janet of Darvel were well lately. John Young (William's son who lost his wife last year is about to be married again to a daughter of John [ ], and he has taken a farm in Kilbride. Some time ago I gave notice to Francis of Mr. Moodie's going out to America, and desired him to collect all the information he could get to send to you. Mr. Rogerson whom I saw last week said Francis had nothing in particular to communicate, but that friends are all well; and all situated as they were. I have never yet had a letter from Alex.r Young since he went to England, but I heard of him very lately: he is well, acting as overseer of Mr. Jamieson's Estate. He said he was to be on a visit to his friends in the present month. I sent him a copy of your letter, but have heard nothing of the bible. I wrote him lately a very smart letter, and I shall say something more to him when I get an opportunity. I have sent according to your order six small common Psalm books and a Dozen of Catechism. Mr. Moodie has the account for which you will pay him. I would also have sent the Bible to my dear sister, but was not very sure whether she wanted one for taking to church or one for the house. If you give me a more particular description and should another opportunity offer, I shall send one at another time.
I have sent as a present a common school Testament to little Robert. Tell him to be a good boy, and to make good use of it; and if I hear good account of him, I may send him something another time. Tell the rest I do not forget them though I am not sending anything to them. I remember them always in my prayers and I hope to be remembered by them. I was happy to learn that you had been getting sermon pretty frequently and had the prospect of it among you. I hope that prospect has by this time been realized. Mr. Milligan, it appears, had a laborious season of it.
Our Synod met last week in Edinburgh. It was determined that Mr. Andrew Symington should not visit the church in America for this season, as his visit might be of more service by another year. We propose as soon as a proper person can be got, to send out a Missionary to Canada. The Synod has already collected about a hundred and twenty pounds for that purpose. Mr. Osburn is again charged with repeated and aggravated cases of drunkenness; he has declined the Authority of the Presbytery, and is preaching to a number of his people as formerly. A Committee of Synod along with the Southern Presbytery has been appointed to take evidence in his case, and there is every likelihood that he will be deposed.
In the course of the last year our church has enjoyed prosperity. Several new congregations have obtained ministers, several preachers have received license to preach the gospel, and there are still as many openings in the way of forming new congregations as to afford constant employment to them all. Old Mr. Reid is still alive and I believe preaching occasionally at Glasgow to a very few. Old Mr. Mason has had a shock of palsy and has in great measure given up preaching. His congregation are in the way of calling one to be help [i.e. assistant minister].
I need not speak to you of the political movements that are going on. You will no doubt have read the Newspapers as well as we. Our own country is participating of the Spirit of [Franchise?] and Reform in the Commons' House of Parliament is the [cry at every turn?] There has been [much talk] these [latter] days [of a] Dissolution of Parliament, and at the present time all is bustle with new elections. We shall enjoy peace, and the country as to employment has been rather in a more prosperous state for the last year, but there is a present great agitation, and I fear if the Reform Bill is not carried through when the New Parliament assembles that the country will be involved in civil war. I often wish we were all in America, and if I were as fine as some of our relatives I would soon cross the Atlantic; but with me that is impossible I think. The movements now making in various parts of the world were [tremendous portents of?] destruction of all systems of [oppression?] and of iniquity, and the [raising of the] interests of the church of our Lord in Heaven [for a banner?] "The nations are shaking away the Desire of all nations/ and fill His house with Glory."[Loose paraphrase of Haggai 2:7] We have imitated you in America, and now make a very considerable movement in favour of temperance. The subject has been taken up in almost every village in the country. Many ministers of all denominations have given countenance to these societies, and it is now generally granted that much good has been done. As for myself, I have not used ardent Spirit now for nearly a twelvemonth, and I enjoy better health and appetite than when I was sometimes accepting of a Dram from my people.
A person is just waiting to take this to Glasgow. My time is out. I have wrote in great haste. You must excuse me. I shall expect to hear from you as usual about the end of the year. I wish you all the blessing of God, which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow. Let us never forget that one thing is needful, and that it will avail us nothing to gain the whole world and lose our souls.
Dear Alexander, I have said nothing of your relations, nor made particular enquiry after them of late because I thought they would be writing themselves. I saw them at Darvel in June last. Give my comfort to
Mr. Milligan. All here wrote in kind love to you and our Dear sister and you family, and I am, Dear Brother and Sister, Yours most
truely, Hugh Young.
In this family we have had a considerable measure of affliction since I wrote you last. Last summer Anna and all the children were affected with influenza which was very general in this country; and some of them were not only ill but long under it and in harvest the whole six children were seized with a kind of spurious small pox. Margaret and little Janet were very ill. These Pox however did not continue so long as the ordinary natural pox and they have left very few marks behind them. In the month of June last I was seized with a pain in my breast (brought on I believe by over exertion) which has been very troublesome to me. I still feel it when I sit long, or make great exertions in speaking. We have however been all hitherto mercifully preserved and are at present all quite well, and are not without our comforts. Margaret is now well advanced with her education and makes a fine scholar. Alexander is also at school and is doing tolerably well. Christina and Jane read a little at home. Anna Carslaw and Janet are in their natural state as far as education is concerned. They are all healthy thriving children.
In the congregation there has been almost no change for the last twelve months: a few have joined with us, and some are dead. Time have been exceedingly bad and the managers have scarcely been able to make good their engagements to us, but we hope times will improve and they will then make up any little present deficiency. I was in Airshire in the end of January, at that time friends as far as I could learn were all well. Hugh Woodburn in Glen had been very poorly, but was in the way of recovery. I saw the most of my own relations who seemed all comfortable. Frances still possesses Lillyloan, but has got no lease of it. Meadowfoot continues to prosper as formerly. Two of his daughters were married last year: Janet who was first married got a young man of the name of Dunlop, a native of the Parish of Fenwick, he now possesses the Farm of Ardochrigg; Beth is married to Gavin Paterson Son to George Paterson late of Yont the Croft. They occupy the farm of Underhill, the property of his Uncle Laird Alsten. William Hamilton continues as Back Hairshaw, James Hamilton is leaving Rough hazy and has taken a short lease of the Easter Snaib on which I am told there is now built a very excellent two story house. And Andrew our Brother has taken the Farm of Rough hazy.
These as far as I have learned are all the changes which have taken place among our relatives in that quarter during the past year. I heard nothing of Auld Sandy, as we used to call him, but I saw William of Hill: he and his family prosper. His son John has married a second time and has taken a farm in the Parish of East Kilbride. Alex.r the Doctor has taken out the degree of Physician, and is now practicing in Edinburgh.
I had a letter a few days ago from Alexander Young in England; none of his friends in Scotland had heard from him for a long time, and were very angry with him. He makes an apology and says that nothing was farther from his mind than to turn his back upon his relations in Scotland. He states that he is now about to commence house keeping, having taken a farm containing 430 acres of good arable and rich pasture land. The farm is called Chat hill, and lies nine miles northeast of Alnwick in Bambro road. He states that according to a custom which prevails in the country the neighbors had given him a day's ploughing. On the 21st. Ult. he had 115 ploughs, which had ploughed nearly as many acres, and he had the promise of as many more as would plough nearly all his fallow ground and save him from buying horses till after May day. He enquires kindly for you and desires to be kindly remembered. I think he intends to be married soon. I quote the following from his letter: "Have you heard lately from Aunt Shields and family? I hope it does not repent them what they have done. When you write them, give them my kindest respects, and say that if they succeed as well as I wish them, they will make a tolerable feu, not only in this world, but in the world to come. Let them know that I have taken a farm, and say moreover, that if it be the will of Providence to spare me long, I will in all probability take to myself a wife too." He says nothing of the character or circumstances of the person whom he intends to marry, nor have I any means of knowing anything of her. I shall probably learn in due time. I trust he has acted wisely in engaging with so large a farm. He is now of age and should be able to judge for himself.
We have had a very mild winter, and during the month of February a great deal was sown in
the Renses. This country at present is in a very unsettled state. The bill for parliamentary Reform is not yet passed, nor is it yet known what may be its fate in the house of Lords. It was to be read a third time and I suppose passed in the house of Commons on Monday last. Should it be rejected a second time in the upper house, I fear greater disturbances in this land than we have ever seen. I sometimes wish for the sake of my young family that I were with you in the New World. I learned you did not get the minister whom you ca... you yet succeeded. Or does
Mr. Milligan still continue to favour you withal his labours? I hope you are attending to the duty of Social Christian fellowship, and particularly to the duty of Instructing your rising family.
Should you have written before this reaches you, I hope you will write again in return for this. And if you have not sent off your promised
favour, be so good as to do it soon. Let us know how you all get on, and how you continue to like the New World. When you see Mr.
Milligan, or should you see Mr. Scott, remember me to them. All here unite in sending their kind love to Uncle and Aunt and Cousins. And with best wishes I am your very affectionate brother, .
Margaret Young. (Margaret is ashamed of this specimine of her writing. She did it last night when half asleep. o A
Mr. MacLachlan, brother to the minister at
Remalcolm, has accepted a call to Castle
Douglas--a part of Mr.
Osbourne's Congregation who adhere to the Synod. H.Y.
In this family we are at present all in the enjoyment of health. God has been pleased in his holy providence, not only to spare us all hitherto, but he has added to our number. On the First Sabbath of December last Anna was safely delivered of Twin daughters who with the mother have hitherto done well. The mother is nursing them both, and they are fine thriving babies. The one is called Mary and the other Helen. Our family now consists of Seven daughters and one Son, which is rather peculiar, but it is the wise arrangement of Him who does all things well, and I am perfectly satisfied. The four oldest are getting on with their education and are all promising. With so throng a family to support on a small income, you will readily see we must have our difficulties, but we are as yet free of debt which is an important matter, and if spared some of them will in a few years be able to do something for themselves.
The congregation continues much as it was, we are not losing and I cannot say we are gaining very largely; many of our young people go to large towns in search of employment, and death is also visiting us from time to time. I do not think that religion is thriving generally in this part of the country at present, and as our Discipline is more strict than the most, we need not look for great accessions. I trust the time to favour Zion is at hand and that the Lord will appear in his glory in building up his church. The times are eventful, the nations are shaking, may we not hope that "The Lord will appear in his temple and fill his house with Glory
Of our relations in Airshire perhaps the best I can say is to give you the substance of a letter which I had lately from Francis. He sympathises with us on account of the trouble in our family ( I had written him that the six older children all had Chincough [whooping cough]. They are now happily all recovered). He rejoices with us on the large accession to our family, and trusts that the meat will be sent with mouth, and old saying the truth of which he says we have all hitherto had occasion to acknowledge. He says we and friends are all in ordinary health. Sister Christian had a Son lately and has named him for his Uncle the Minister. William Hamilton and Helen are to see you at Laurieston soon. Old John Jamieson is still alive but very frail and mostly confined to bed." There is more in the letter but nothing that would interest you. Perhaps you have not heard of the death of Hugh Hamilton, Helen's third son. He was a Student of very considerable promise, and of a most amiable disposition, but fell into decline, and after long trouble and very considerable suffering died giving very clear evidence of an interest in the Redeemer. His father wrote me a letter after his death giving a very full and particular account of his religious exercises, with which I was much gratified.
The Choler has now completely left this country. It did not visit this village, but there were a number of cases and deaths in the neighbourhood. One of my people died of it. I saw him a few hours before his death. It was altogether a most mysterious trouble.
During the past year there have been changes in our Church in Scotland. I think I mentioned formerly the death of Mr. Mason and the older Mr. Rowatt; Young Mr. Rowatt of Whitham has also been removed from the scene of his usefulness on earth. He died in the month of November last-- or end of October -- he was a very laborious minister and promised to be very useful. But it pleased the wise disposer of all things to take him away in the morning of his public life. Some young men have been added to the list of preachers, and a Mr. Graham was ordained in August last at Wishawtown. Old Mr. Reid Late of Newtonstewart is still alive and I believe preaches occasionally.
We have been sorry to learn that some divisions and animosities have arisen in the Church in America, and that some of the ministers have been changing their sentiments which is likely to lead to a division in the Synod. I hope matters will not be carried so far, and that after the heat of controversy has been cooled a little that the matters in dispute may yet be adjusted. Dr. Symington of Paisley has abandoned the thought of visiting America at least for a time. His own congregation was rather unwilling to part with him so long. But the want of harmony in the American Synod I believe was the chief cause of his declining the mission.
I need not write of the state of the political world as you will no doubt have access to Newspapers, and know the signs of the times as well as we. How are you getting on? How is Sister Agnes? And how are all the children? I hope they are all good scholars now, and well acquainted with their Catechisms and their bibles. Have you got a minister yet, or what are your prospects in that way? Write soon and write always once a year. All here send their kind love to you all and from myself accept of sincere wishes for your every good. I am you affectionate Brother, Hugh Young.
Dr. Alexander Young is practising in Edinburgh and I believe succeeding pretty well. The other
Alexander Young goes on farming his large tenement in Northumberland. My
Fatherinlaw, Old Mr. MacCollum, died in the end of last year aged 83.
Hugh Young to Alex Shields from Laurieston,
April 29th, 1834
I was in Airshire last week and saw the greater part of our near relations. They are all healthy and seem to be prospering in the world. On Friday last I solemnized the marriage of Jean, fourth daughter of Brother John of Meadowfoot. She has got for her husband James Young Esquire of Greenfield, seemingly a very fine young man. She is thought to have been very fortunate. They have every prospect of comfort. I wrote hurriedly last year, and did not particularly notice your previous letter to me. I believe I have received all your letters, and I think you have hitherto received all I have sent to you with the exception of the one I wrote immediately after the death of our Dear Mother.
I was much pleased with what your young people severally wrote to me, and had I an opportunity would give them each a "Lauriston Babee" for their trouble. I shall be very glad to receive a letter of a similar kind from you again, and if spared till my young people are a little more advanced I shall make them do the same to you. Just two days after I wrote you last year, our Dear Little Helen the youngest of the Twins and of the family, was seized with severe trouble, and on the Second day of her illness was removed from us by death. It was the doing of him who does all things in righteousness, and it was our duty to submit. Mary the other twin is a fine thriving child; she is now a year and five months old.
The rest are all well at present so far as we know. Little Jane went a year ago to the Highlands with her Aunt, and is there still, Margaret was at home during winter assisting her mother, but is now at School. So also are Alex.r & Christian. Mrs. Young had a Misfortune in the family way sometime ago and is not yet altogether recovered from the effects of it. She is however going about and is able to look after her household affairs. As for myself, I may say I have enjoyed ordinary health. I have had ailments but upon the whole have much cause of thankfulness. With my throng family, and small income I have considerable difficulty in getting on. The people however are many of them kind to us, and with self denial and very strict economy we have yet kept free of debt.
In the congregation things go on in their usual way; we are not making much increase in members, neither are we losing. Our principles are not popular in these times, nor will our discipline be submitted to, in times when the power of religion seems to be but little experienced. Appearances in this country at present both in the Civil and Ecclesiastical world seem to indicate that some important and aweful crisis is not far distant. Our political reform has not been followed with that prosperity and contentment that was expected. Ruinous combinations among workmen to raise the price of labour are everywhere formed. Masters also are combining, and what the issue may be I know not. There is one never failing ground of consolation to the Christian: "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
In the religious world there is also great agitation in this country at present. A very numerous party composed of all Infidels-- Socinian Newlight Seceders and some others are making every effort for the downfall of all established religion, maintaining that civil magistracy has nothing to do with the Church. The nations are shaking. I trust all is making room for better days. The Redeemer is over all, and will make all things to accomplish his own purpose in due time. I feel obliged to you for
Mr. Scott's pamphlets, I had seen the one of them before. I am exceedingly sorry at the state of our church in America. I have seen also the minutes of the American Synod for some time past. I think the pro re nata meeting acted precipitately and with considerable irregularity; at the same time I rejoice to think that there are yet many among you who are staunch to the Covenanted Cause. Your Liberal Doctors have certainly gone away very far from the principles of the Reformers on the Subject of civil government. I hope they may yet see their error. I have hear that ______ Master intends to visit this country and to be present at our Synod next term. I would much rather that he had staid at home. I hope his Newlight views shall receive little countenance from the members of our Synod should he come and I know a number of our ministers who will not allow him to preach in their pulpits while he holds the sentiments which he has avowed. I have not heard of his arrival in the country and as the Synod is now so near, I rather think he may have changed his mind.
I had a letter very lately from Alex.r Young from England, he was very unwell for a long time during winter, in putting some grain into his mouth an awn went under his tongue and forced its way to the Jacket of the jaw bone where it could not be extracted. It afterward forced its way to near the ear where a healing ensued and it came out. He is now well. Still Unmarried, and I believe prospering. He has a hundred and thirty acres of growing wheat which he says looks well. Markets are very low with us, which will be aginst him. I pay at present 28 shillings a load for meal.
Dr. Alex.r Young left Edinburgh last year and has returned to
Airshire; I fear he wants stability and perseverance to succeed anywhere, although he is allowed to be very clever in his profession. I was sorry to hear when west that a Sister of the Dr's one of brother
William's daughters was with child to a man of no great character. Our Sister
Janet is still living in Darvel. She is now considerably fallen off. Adieu again.
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