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[367] a Highland wedding. Let me tell you of this on my return. It was one of the richest scenes I ever enjoyed; and I was a kind of Guy Mannering in the whole affair.

I have long wished to write you of Edinburgh and its society, and now find only the fraction of a letter for what several units would hardly suffice. I doubt not that you have already heard something of what I saw there from Hillard. It was a season when everybody was out of town, so that I saw only comparatively a few persons; but they were the élite. Among others, I saw Professor Bell, the venerable author of the work on Commercial Law.1 He came out to Lord Jeffrey's at dinner, though, poor man, he eat nothing, as his physicians had cut him off from dinner: he afterwards came to Sir William Hamilton's, where he eat nothing. I breakfasted with him; and he was so good as to go with me over the courts, and explain to me their different jurisdictions. I assure you a worthier or more warm-hearted old gentleman does not exist in either hemisphere. He is advanced in life,—say seventy,—and, I fear, quite weak, even for his years. He told me that he was the first person in Scotland who imported a copy of Pothier. His works, in a pecuniary sense, I understand, have been losing affairs. He was well acquainted with Kent's ‘Commentaries,’ and inquired after the Chancellor as if for an old friend. I shall not fail to write the Chancellor the agreeable inquiries which have been made with regard to him by Mr. Bell, and also by Pardessus at Paris. You are perhaps aware that Clark, the bookseller, has published a neat volume, containing the commercial parts of Kent's ‘Commentaries;’ but, though he received highly commendatory letters from Lord Denman and Lord Chief-Justice Tindal, the book has not succeeded. On the other hand, your ‘Conflict of Laws’ has entirely succeeded. Of that he published an edition of one thousand copies. Clark is a gentlemanly, intelligent, pushing man. I dined one day in Edinburgh with Fergusson,2 the author of the ‘Consistory Reports,’ who is a bland, noble gentleman, of seventy. He and Bell are both clerks of Session, as Scott was; so that they are entirely comfortable. Robertson, who has written a work on ‘Personal Succession,’3 had it all printed and just ready to be published, when he met your work: being a man of fortune, he determined not to go before the world without the lights derived from you; and accordingly cancelled all his sheets, and rewrote them, embodying the new considerations suggested by the ‘Conflict of Laws.’ They tell strange stories of Fergusson's absence of mind, some of which I hope to remember to tell you when I get home.

As ever, affectionately yours,


1 George Joseph Bell, 1770-1843.

2 James Fergusson, at one time one of the Judges of the Consistory Court of Edinburgh, author of ‘Recent Decisions by the Consistorial Court of Scotland in Actions of Divorce,’ and of ‘A Treatise on the Present State of the Consistorial Law in Scotland, with Reports of Decided Cases.’

3 David Robertson; his work was published at Edinburgh in 1836, and dedicated to Lord Brougham.

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