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It was never my intention, in the following volume, to give a more particular account, than will there be found, of the three individuals whom I have chosen as deserving notice for their distinguished excellence during a period of fearful religious and social degeneracy. I had not the materials for doing so; but my brief acquaintance with them was coincident with those "Early Years" to which my recollections carry me back; and these supply abundant sources of reflection, whilst serving to connect the "auld langsyne" with the results of intervening years, and the obligations of that period of life, when the world and its fleeting pursuits are apt to be estimated according to their real worth.
Forty years and more have elapsed since the A 2631B6
death of Dr. Glynn, and it is not likely that there are many at present remaining who had any personal acquaintance with him; but a few, I am happy to know, there are, and to them it will be gratifying to find that the memory of so good a man has not been altogether neglected, or left without some, however brief and imperfect, record.
The propriety of my having anything to say about Sir Walter Scott, is more doubtful. The records of his name are innumerable; and there may be some presumption in my making use of it, rather, it may appear, for purposes which bear less consideration towards him, than to myself. But be it so! It is at most a pardonable vanity which I am indulging; and if I do not earn many thanks from the public, to which I prefer no claim, I shall put my more immediate friends in possession of a few facts connected with an interesting occurrence in my own life. Neither has it been overlooked by me, that the period of Sir Walter's life, to which my recollections alone apply, is that wherein he has been least known; that it is, in fact, the morning of that brilliant day, when every thought was radiant, every word joyous; and when his aspirations were scarcely known to himself otherwise than as the indescribable emotions of conceptive genius. The most agreeable companion imaginable, he was, in a far higher capacity, brave, loyal, and good, at a time when these qualities were of inestimable value; and cold must have been the bosom that did not, in conversation with him, begin to glow with feelings kindred to his own. But I must not here indulge in further anticipation of the scanty matters of my record.
The memoir of my respected friend and instructor, Mr. Abernethy, is more extended, but it is not by any means complete. It would, indeed, have been easy to increase the number of anecdotes told of his eccentric manner of treating his patients, but they were, I have reason to believe, much exaggerated; whereas, his generous disinterestedness towards all who consulted him, and the benevolence which marked his professional conduct towards his hospital patients and pupils, entitle him to more than ordinary forbearance with regard to frailties which had nothing to do with the real colour of his heart. Above all, he is entitled to our utmost praise and gratitude for his unflinching opposition to the anti-religious doctrines of the Materialists, who were not only checked by him in their sceptical career, but, in some instances, we may hope, convinced of their errors.
Happily for England, not only is irreligion no longer fashionable, but quite the contrary. The writings of Tom Payne, and the professed Atheists, have been swept into the same pit with his dishonoured bones; and the smoke which still issues from the crater of infidelity, serves but to keep us on our guard, by showing from whence the desolating eruptions once broke forth. No one, in short, who can carry back his recollections fifty years, will hesitate to pronounce that both the social and religious change is such as to raise