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to you on this subject, and earnestly to press it on your serious consideration."

Of one principle Dr. Macgill was very early convinced, and he uniformly retained and acted on it to the last, and that is, that much of the usefulness and efficacy of a minister's labours in a city depend on the attention which is paid to the physical wants of the people, and on the vigilance of a well-regulated police in watching over the health and morals of the whole community. These considerations led him early to attach himself to the public institutions of the city, and he soon became generally known and respected as their guardian and their guide. His labours on behalf of Prisons, the Infirmary, and the Lunatic Asylum, are well known and were duly appreciated. Of this last, indeed, he may be said to have been the projector and founder ; and his sermon at laying the foundation-stone of the edifice, presents a most gratifying view at once of the soundness of his judgment and the benevolence of his heart.

Soon after his accession to the city there was a period of dearth and of distress through the land which sorely affected the poor and the working classes in large towns. Soup kitchens and other means of alleviating the pressure were resorted to by the benevolent inhabitants of Glasgow; and the various notes which are preserved among Dr. M.'s papers regarding a benevolent institution in the eastern part of the city, of which he seems to have taken the active superintendence, evince at once

the extent of his personal exertions, and the minute accuracy of his accounts of financial expenditure for behoof of a public trust.

There was one class of public institutions in which Dr. M. took a particular interest; I refer to schools. Of the principles he held regarding the education of youth, his admirable sermon on “Qualifications for Teaching,” exhibits a luminous view, and his whole public conduct was a commentary upon

these. The educational establishments of the city ever found in him an active and disinterested friend. He made it a matter not of perfunctory detail, or of mere accident, but of conscientious and responsible duty, to attend sedulously on the examination and management of these useful seminaries, and he always esteemed this as one of the most important parts of ministerial duty in the city of Glasgow. To voluntary teachers also, and their meritorious but ill-requited exertions, he paid marked attention, and be ever cherished the humble aspirations of the unfriended student in the obscurity of private life.

There is one department of ministerial duty to which Dr. M. attached very great importance; the catechising of families, and of young persons in general, connected with the parish and congregation. It was in the autumn of 1816 I had a long conversation with him on this and kindred departments of pastoral duty. The remembrance of it is still fresh upon my mind. We had been a few days together in West Lothian on occasion of the set

tlement of a much-esteemed mutual friend, the Rev. David Fleming of Carriden. Walking one day on the shores of the Forth, the conversation turned on the different parts of pastoral duty, and particularly on the much-neglected exercise of catechising. He approved highly of classes on week-day evenings for the religious instruction of young persons beyond the ordinary age of Sabbath School children; but, while he did so, he gave

it as his opinion, that, the annual examination of the young in the presence of their parents is a matter of high importance in the scale of pastoral duty, and mentioned the result of his own efforts while a minister of Glasgow as highly favourable to such a plan. On my stating to him the difficulty I had felt in bringing together the families of my charge on a week-day evening, he suggested the idea of assembling them together on the Sabbath evenings, observing that in the course of his ministry he had tried both plans, and that in both he had had the satisfaction of thinking that, even with every allowance for variable attendance, few parts of duty had afforded him greater delight, or higher satisfaction in the thought of substantially beneficial results. The suggestions then thrown out by him were immediately adopted; and the plan of congregational and district meetings on Sabbath evening, for catechising the young and addressing the more advanced, has been kept up regularly since that period. It is true, the Sabbath Schools will in a certain degree interfere with the attendance on these meet

the very

best pre

ings, but it is a species of interference with which no minister need be displeased, for he has it at all times in his power either to regulate his hour so as to meet the case, or to follow the young people to the Sabbath School, whose exercises, when properly conducted, cannot fail to prove parative for pulpit instruction.

In 1809 Dr. Macgill published his “ Thoughts on Prisons," a work with which his name will ever be associated, as the able and enlightened coadjutor of Howard, Neild, Gurney, and Fry. It abounds in admirable suggestions; and our amazement rises to the height of a righteous indignation on finding that, in constructing the new prison at Glasgow, the authorities of the county and city, so far from availing themselves of these suggestions, did, in so many instances, absolutely incorporate with its construction the very evils which they were designed to remedy. It was not so, however, in the neighbouring county of Renfrew, when, at a period somewhat later, a new Jail and Bridewell were in progress of erection. Six copies of the “ Remarks” were supplied by the author at the quest of one of the ministers of Paisley,* and circulated among the leading gentlemen of the county, and the official authorities. The subject was pressed on the attention of the architect employed, and the result has been that the county prison at Paisley will yield to none in the country in excellence of construction.


* The late Rev. Jonathan Rankin, Minister of the Middle Parish.

Dr. Macgill was ever intent on carrying his views regarding the physical and moral regime of large cities into practical effect; but like every enlightened philanthropist, he met with little encouragement. The same year which witnessed his efforts in behalf of the jails of Scotland, beheld him in his place in the presbytery of Glasgow contende ing, along with his brethren, for additional means of public worship to meet the growing population of the city; and a plan of systematic parochial education for the parishes. Had these enlightened plans and suggestions been adopted and acted on at the time, the evils of which the succeeding twenty years beheld the rampant maturity, might have been nipped in the bud.f At the distance of ten years after these efforts on the part of Dr. Macgill had been made, a more favourable opportunity seemed to present itself for carrying into practical effect his suggestions both on the subject of prisons, and of education in large towns.

In the General Assembly of 1819, there occurred a circumstance somewhat uncommon. In the Prince Regent's letter there happened to be in


† Of the three additional churches whose erection in the city was strongly recommended by the presbytery of Glasgow in 1809, the one for the Gallowgate was not erected till 1817; and the other two remain still to be reared: so slow are municipal bodies in their

The inunificent exertions of Dr. Chalmers, Mr. Collins, and other excellent men at a later period, deserve the meed of bighest applause ; but they will concur with us in opinion that much precious time has been lost in sinful apathy. We would here recommend Mr. Lorimer's sequel to the New Statistical Account of Glasgow, as well deserving perusal.

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