History of the Restoration Movement


Alexander Campbell's
Shipwreck & Journey To Glasgow, Scotland

1808-1809


Beginning At Londonderry, Ireland - October 1, 1808
Shipwreck Off The Coast Of The Isle of Islay, Scotland - October 8, 1808
Trek Across Land To Port Askaig
A Day Climbing Among The Paps Of Jura
Around Coast of Jura Across Channel To Aardpatick
To The Coastal Town Of Tarbet.
Around The Coast of Rothesay To Greenock
Greenock To 4 Carlton Place, Glasgow Home of Greville Ewing - November 3, 1808
To Broad Street, Glasgow
To The University of Glasgow

The Shipwreck

Excerpt From Memoirs Of Alexander Campbell

"On the evening of the 7th October, the ship still riding at anchor in the bay, and no appearance of any threatening danger, a singular circumstance occurred to him. After having attended to family worship and Scripture recitation as usual, he had reclined upon one of the sofas, and was reading aloud to his sister Dorothea in "Boston's Fourfold State." Finding, after some time, that she was becoming drowsy, he ceased reading, and soon afterward himself fell into a somewhat uneasy slumber. At length he started up with evident [99] marks of alarm, and told his mother and sisters that he was confident a great danger was impending, and that he feared they were about to be shipwrecked. He said he had just had a most vivid dream, in which he thought the ship had struck upon a rock, and that the water came rushing in and nearly filled the vessel. He thought he had been making the most strenuous exertions to save the family and secure their luggage; and so strong was the impression made upon his mind that he said, "I will not undress to-night. I will lay my shoes within my reach, and be ready to rise at a moment's warning; and I would advise you all to be prepared for an emergency."

"All having at length retired to their berths, the decks and cabins became quiet, and no noise was heard but the dull sound of the waves as they dashed against the sides of the vessel, the whistling of the wind through the rigging, or the creaking of the cables as the ship began to strain upon them more and more. Finally, about ten o'clock, the wind, veering toward the south, increased rapidly to a severe gale, blowing directly into the bay. In a few moments the passengers were suddenly aroused by a violent shock, accompanied with the crashing sound of breaking timbers and the rushing of water into the main hold of the vessel. Instantly all was commotion and terror. The ship, it appeared, had dragged her anchors, and had been dashed upon a sunken rock, which had penetrated her bottom, while the force of the wind and waves had thrown her almost upon her beam-ends. As the passengers scrambled to the upper deck, they found the captain calling up all hands to cut away the masts. In the confusion, however, but a single axe could be found. With this the sailors commenced to hew at the masts, while some of [100] the passengers who had broadswords assisted with these in cutting away the stays. The masts being at length cut and falling overboard, the ship righted to some extent, fortunately still remaining upon the rock, upon which she seemed to settle more firmly as she gradually filled with water. All the passengers, with whatever baggage they could rescue, were now crowded upon the upper deck, exposed to the fury of the elements, as wave after wave of immense size approached and broke upon the vessel, sweeping the deck and threatening instant destruction. The captain now ordered minute-guns to be fired in token of distress, but such was the noise of winds and waves that it seemed impossible that they could be heard on shore. The situation, indeed, appeared to aIl to be desperate--the violence of the storm continuing, the long and dreary night before them, and no prospect of any human help."

-Memoirs Of Alexander Campbell, Volume 1, by Robert Richardson, pages 99-101

GPS Location Of The Sinking Of The Hibernia
Lock Indaal, Island of Islay, Scotland

55.749482,-6.332772

View Larger Map

Note: Source information on the GPS location of the sinking of the Hibernia during the early hours of October, 8, 1808 in Loch Indaal, Islay, Scotland was verified by The Royal Commission On The Ancient And Historical Monuments of Scotland. See the online record of the shipwreck of the Hibernia at CAHMS.

The Loch of Indaal Location Of The Shipwreck

Loch Indaal Location Of The Wreck Of The Irish Ship Hibernia, October 8, 1808
photo subject to copyright


Reports On The Shipwreck of The Hibernia
-Source: Alexander Campbell, Adventurer In Freedom, by Eva Jean Wrather, c.2005, page 62
photos subject to copyright

Glasgow Herald Report

November 22, 1808 (Glasgow Herald ??)

GREENOCK, Oct 19 ------

The ship Hibernia, of and from Londonderry, for Philadelphia, Jacob James, master, was driven on the rocks near the entrance of Endall, in Islay, in the gale of the 8th instant; and the crew, and 70 passengers, narrowly escaped with their lives, and lost a great part of their property. Several gentlemen and a lady of the number arrived here, on Sunday, in the Tarbert packet, and express in the warmest terms, the gratitude they owe the respectable family of Shawfield, for the kindness and hospitality they experienced from them after the disaster, particularly to Colonel and Lady CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL.

source: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/SCT-ISLAY/2008-03/1207008865

After The Shipwreck

"Alexander concluded to remain for the last boat, and while the others were going ashore, perceiving that there was now but little danger of loss of life, he began to think about the property they had on board. Their trunks and boxes, he found, were floating about between-decks, and among them a large cask in which he had packed the books. He at once determined to save these if possible, but as there was now no tackle or means of hoisting the cask to the upper deck, he managed, with great difficulty and at the imminent risk of his life, to break it open with the axe and throw the books upon the deck. After all, however, he found it was impossible to convey them ashore at that time, and as he left the ship with the last of the passengers, he was reluctantly compelled to leave them to the mercy of the elements. It was now about two o'clock, and the tide was at the ebb; so that the boat ran upon a rock a good distance from land, and Alexander, with the rest, had to wade ashore with no little difficulty and danger through the surf. He immediately sought out his mother and the family, and found them assembled safely upon a large rock, where they all rejoiced together at their merciful deliverance, while the rest of [104] the passengers, gathered around in groups, were congratulating each other with the liveliest demonstrations of joy. The people of the island were extremely kind, supplying food and drink to warm and refresh the benumbed and exhausted, and bringing carts to convey to the village the luggage which was from time to time brought ashore, and which they safely deposited in the store-room of a Mr. Hector Simpson, a merchant of the town."


Islay House
Home of Laird Campbell Of Shawfield
This 24 bedroom manor house is where
the Campbells revived after their shipwreck.
Photo Subject To Copyright
Isle Of Islay

"Every arrangement having been made to secure as much as possible of the property from the wreck, the passengers began to disperse to look for lodgings. Alexander repaired with the family to the nearest and most respectable house he saw, and all were very warmly received by the owner, a widow lady possessed of a respectable fortune, and having a family of grown-up daughters. Her husband had been a clergyman, and was said to have translated from the Gaelic many of the fragments regarded as the poems of Ossian. This lady's maiden name was Campbell; and when it was discovered that her guests were of that name, she, as well as all the rest of the people, seemed to redouble their attentions, for as it now appeared, instead of going to America, they had been thrown directly among the Campbells of Argyleshire, from whom they deduced their lineage. Having, in this hospitable mansion, got themselves warmed, dried and refreshed, along with many others of the passengers they proceeded to the town, which was about two miles off, where they obtained lodgings in the house of a Mr. McAllister. Here they meditated with grateful hearts upon the eventful scenes through which they had just passed, and recalling the premonition given by Alexander, were assured by him that the reality, as it [105] occurred, was precisely what appeared to him in the forewarning. The appearances of things in his fancy had been verified in the facts, and he had done the very things he supposed himself to have done in his singular dream. He was a very firm believer in special providence, and was the more impressed on this occasion as, in his previous history, he had found his presentiments several times strangely verified. With him, these were simply facts which he did not pretend to explain upon natural principles, but regarded as indications of God's watchful care and interest in the affairs of his people. He was busily occupied for some days afterward in obtaining from the wreck, as the weather would permit, such books, clothing and other property as had not been washed overboard or otherwise destroyed, and in drying his books and preparing them to be repacked. Laird Campbell, of Shawfield, chief owner of the island and member of Parliament, observing his books, invited him very cordially to his house, and treated him more like a relative than a stranger. Here he spent many pleasant hours, as well as at the house of Mr. Simpson, whose wife was possessed of much intelligence and piety, and for whom he conceived a very high respect. She was very fond of reading religious books, and seemed to feel a deep interest in the prosperity of Christ's kingdom. Laird Campbell had appointed Mr. Simpson to take charge of the wreck and secure the property of the passengers, to whom he endeavored to render every service in his power. Alexander got acquainted also with a Mr. Fulton, a very godly man, who taught the principal school, and also kept a Sunday-school for the benefit of the people."

"A portion of his time he spent in viewing the island, [106] which is, in some parts, hilly, but contains a considerable amount of arable land, which had been improved by the energetic and skillful management of Laird Campbell. Islay has, indeed, been always noted as the most fertile of all the Hebrides, or Isles of the Gael. These extend along nearly the whole western coast of Scotland, and are about two hundred in number, of which at least thirty of the more southern appertain to Argyleshire. Of these latter, Islay is by far the most important. In former times it was the chief abode of the "Lords of the Isles," who often maintained an authority independent of the Scottish Crown, and the ruins of whose castles and strongholds, situated generally on cliffs overhanging the ocean, are seen at various points, as along the coast of Mull and Ardnamurchan. In the centre of Islay there is a lake about three miles in circumference, called Loch Finlagan, from an island situated in it, in which the great McDonald, King of the Isles, formerly had his residence. Here also was held, we are told, the high court of judicature, consisting of fourteen members, to which there was an appeal from all the courts of the isles, the chief judge receiving, as his fee, the eleventh part of the sum in dispute. The ruins of the ancient edifices, and the traditions of celebrated chieftains who had lived in Islay, as lords of Innisgael,* (*Island of Gael. They also ruled over Ross-shire and other parts of the adjacent mainland) such as "good John of Islay" and "Ronald of the Isles," who, in his castle of Dunnaverty, protected Bruce in his distress, could not but excite a deep interest in the mind of a youthful traveler, himself not unrelated to the people among whom these relics and histories were fondly cherished. [107]"

"On the second Lord's day after the shipwreck, the first having been necessarily occupied in attending to the property at the wreck, he visited early in the morning the Sunday-school taught by Mr. Fulton. The children read the Scriptures, repeated psalms and the catechism, after which Mr. Fulton gave an exposition of some Scripture, sung, prayed and dismissed with a benediction. Afterward, he went to hear the Rev. Mr. McIntosh, the Scots' Church minister of the parish. He seems at this time to have been growing more and more doubtful in regard to the claims of the clergy, and more careful and critical in observing their proceedings. "He was entertained," he remarks, "with a specimen of good old Scotch divinity," and was pleased with the "aspect, pronunciation and gravity of the venerable parson." He preached from the text "Let us come boldly to the throne of grace" in the forenoon, and in the afternoon addressed his audience in Gaelic. At the morning service the laird and his family were present in their pew, situated in the most conspicuous place in the church, and Alexander noticed that the minister made a particular mention of them all in his prayer, with earnest petitions on their behalf. On the following Lord's day they were absent, as the laird was about to take his seat in Parliament, and Alexander noticed that they were equally absent from the prayers of the parson. This made quite a forcible impression on his mind, and, as he remarked afterward in his Christian Baptist, "became a subject of curious reflection."

"I had not, however," he adds, "traveled very far till I found it was a general practice in all parish churches, when the patron was present, to give him a large portion of the opening prayer, but always when absent he was forgotten. Being [108] but just arrived at the period of reflection, and determined to study men as well as things, I became very attentive to the prayers of not only the parish clergy, but of all others. I observed it to be a general rule that when two or three ministers of the same party happened to be present in the same pulpit, whichever one prayed he made particular supplications for his ministering brethren. Thus the parson A prayed very ardently for his brothers, parsons B and C, when they were present; but when B and C were absent, A asked for no blessings for them. I do not know that I ever saw it otherwise in any sect or in any country. I noted this fact in my pocket-book of memorandums, and placed it under the same head with those of the parish ministers for their patrons. I think I headed this chapter, in my juvenile fancy, with the words 'COMPLIMENTARY PRAYERS, or prayers addressed to human beings not yet deified."

"In the same article he goes on to detail a subsequent similar experience. "In process of time," he remarks, "I happened to make a tour with a very devout divine, and as he always spent the night in the house of some of his 'lay brethren,' in offering up his evening sacrifice, or what is more commonly called 'leading in family worship,' he never forgot to pray in an especial manner for his host, earnestly desiring that the family among whom he spent the night might be peculiarly blessed. During fourteen days and nights which I spent in his company, he never once forgot to pray for the proprietor of the house that gave him his supper and bed. In justice to his devotion, I should remark that one evening was spent at an inn, where he asked the liberty of attending upon family worship, and there he also prayed as fervently for his landlord and landlady as if in a private family. In justice to the landlord, too, I should observe that he remitted to him his bill in the morning, with an invitation to give him a call when convenient. * * * * This I also noted down under the head of 'complimentary prayers.'" In order, however, to prevent misunderstanding, he adds: "I would not be understood as censuring the practice of one Christian praying for [109] another when it is by request, or when, from any consideration, it becomes necessary, or of a whole church praying for another church, or for one member or for those that are not members, either in their presence or absence. But this is quite a different thing from those prayers which we call complimentary, which, if not intended as a mere compliment, most certainly appear so in the above instances at least, and in many others which might be adduced. * * * *

"It is usually allowed that it is one of the greatest and best of blessings that we should be admitted to lift up our voices to the throne of the Universe. But if ever there be a moment in a Christian's life when humility and sincerity become him well, this is the moment, when he is speaking to that glorious and mighty One, before whose throne 'seraphs veil their faces and angels prostrate fall.' Our words, assuredly, should be few and well ordered--no pomp of language, no vain parade of words, no compliment to men when we claim the audience of our Almighty Maker."

"He always thought it incongruous for any one leading in prayer with others to offer special petitions for one or more of those who are supposed to unite in the prayer, while he uses at the same time the first person plural, "we ask," "we pray," etc., thus including the person prayed for in the terms employed, while in point of fact he is necessarily excluded from the address offered by others on his behalf. He therefore carefully avoided the practice which he condemned, and neither he nor his father were in the habit of offering up special petitions for any who, at the time, united in the prayer. By both of them, prayer was regarded as a sacred privilege, to be exercised with a very strict regard to the proprieties of the occasion. As to their style, it may be well to observe here, while the subject of prayer is under consideration, that Alexander generally used great plainness and directness of expression, while his [110] thanksgivings and petitions were comprehensive, scriptural and appropriate to the circumstances. His father went more into detail, was more diffuse, and his thoughts, as well as his sentences, were sometimes involved."

"He was disposed to make a rather redundant use of adjectives, both in his prayers and sermons, and when quoting Scripture, as he constantly did in both, he could not in some cases forbear adding epithets, in order, if possible, to enhance the force of the language. Thus, when at the close of his prayer he would sometimes embody in it what is commonly called the Lord's Prayer, instead of the simple words, "thy will be done," he would say, "thy blessed and holy will be done." Again, instead of asking for "mercy" and "grace," he would pray for "sin-pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace." With the exception, however, of those cases in which his feelings led him thus to endeavor to exalt and magnify the Divine perfections, he was careful to quote the exact language of Scripture. Alexander, on the other hand, seemed often to prefer a paraphrase, though he was fond of using a new version if it rendered the sense more clear. Thus, instead of saying, "Lead us not into temptation," he would say "Abandon us not to temptation," instead of "Deliver us from evil," "Deliver us from the Evil One." With regard to the Lord's Prayer, both regarded it as a model rather than a prescribed formula, and thought it, at least in regard to one of its petitions, as being specially designed for the time at which it was given. At that time Christ's kingdom had not yet been fully set upon earth, and there was a propriety then in the petition "thy kingdom come." But when the kingdom had come, and had been publicly set up and established, as recorded in the second chapter of Acts, this petition [111] ceased to be appropriate, at least in its original application. If, then, the expression "thy kingdom come" happened to be used by Thomas Campbell, he was careful to apply it to the second coming of Christ in his kingdom, and to say, "thy kingdom come, in its ultimate fullness and glory;" while Alexander perhaps would say, "May thy kingdom be established in the hearts of the children of men." Both were given to amplification. The father was disposed to enlarge the expression; the son to amplify the thought. The former would enforce by means of epithets and repetition; the latter by extending the idea in connecting it with its antecedents or its results. Both were characterized by fluency, solemnity, fervency and manifest sincerity. In neither was there any tendency to ornate or pompous diction, or to a loud and boisterous delivery. To some, indeed, Alexander's style of prayer might at first appear too composed and calm; but his manner was the natural expression of a high intellectual nature, necessarily undemonstrative, as holding the feelings in abeyance, but not on that account less deep, fervid and sincere. In a word, his manner was reverential without being abject; deliberate, but not frigid; earnest, but not impassioned; while his dignified and solemn bearing, the distinct intonations of his clear and silvery voice, his forcible emphasis, his truly scriptural petitions, his evident realization of his true position, and his self-posed consciousness of the nature of the duty in which he was engaged, all contributed to render his prayers most edifying and impressive. [112]"

CHAPTER VIII.

Journeying--Jura--Iona--Account of Columban--Glasgow--Kind reception by Greville Ewing.

"SPECIAL providences are seldom properly comprehended at the time of their occurrence. Events which are afterward recognized as blessings are, at the time, often thought to be disasters; and seeming blessings are found subsequently to prove the greatest evils. When Simeon was detained in Egypt, the patriarch Jacob said: "Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me." But these apparent privations were only the appointed means through which he himself and his house were to be reunited and preserved. Rachel thought the possession of a child would be the highest joy on earth; but when Benjamin was born, she found occasion to call him Benoni, "son of my sorrow." The shipwreck which Thomas Campbell's family had suffered seemed to be a complete disappointment of all their hopes, as it was an entire frustration of their plans and purposes. But there was an important work for Alexander to accomplish, needing special preparation both of heart and mind; and this seeming calamity was afterward seen to be one of the most important of that train of events by which that preparation was secured. Already had it led him to a final determination as to his proper field of labor; and the [113] circumstances in which it directly involved him were those precisely adapted to qualify and guide him in that future life-work."

"While the family were engaged in securing, drying and packing up whatever portion of their property could be recovered from the wreck, it became an important question with them what course to pursue. Their passage-money had been at once honorably refunded by the owners of the vessel, and by going to some shipping-port they might have renewed their attempt to cross the ocean. But the season was now far advanced, and even if new preparations had been made, which would have required some weeks, Mrs. Campbell and her daughters were unwilling to tempt again so soon the dangers from which they had just escaped. It became evident, therefore, that their embarkation for America would have to be postponed until, at least, the stormy winter months were past, and they thought it best to remain, in the mean while, in some suitable place in Scotland. The selection of such a place was not difficult, for, as Alexander felt an ardent desire to spend some time at the University where his father had been educated, it was at once determined that they would all proceed to Glasgow. From Bowmore, it was necessary to travel about one hundred and thirty miles by land and water in order to reach Glasgow, owing to the somewhat circuitous nature of the route. Accordingly, all things being in readiness, on Monday, October 24, the most of the baggage was forwarded to Greenock by the Bowmore and Greenock packet, the family concluding to go by a more comfortable and direct way. Before starting, Alexander obtained a letter of introduction from Mr. [114] Hector Simpson, merchant, to Mr. William Harley, manufacturer; and one from the Rev. Mr. McIntosh, the parish minister, to Rev. Mr. McKenzie of Glasgow. A conveyance being obtained for his mother and the younger children, with the remainder of the baggage, he sent them forward to Port Askeg, about ten miles distant, on the eastern side of the island, from which place all were to take a boat to Tarbet. He, himself, with a companion, walked down in the evening and found all safely arrived, though his mother and one of his sisters had been greatly endangered by a fall from the vehicle on their way. Port Askeg is a small harbor in the narrow sound between Islay and Jura. Near the edge of the high bluff which here forms the coast of Islay, a large building had been erected for the accommodation of passengers, and from this point a boat sailed, usually twice a week, for Tarbet, about thirty-five miles distant on the way to Glasgow.


Sunrise over the Isle of Jura seen from Port Askaig Islay
Where Alexander Campbell Explored A Day While Waiting To Depart For Tarbet
Photo Subject To Copyright
Southern Hebrides Blog
photo subject to copyright

On the opposite side of the sound lay the island of Jura, whose shore is shelving and less steep than that of Islay, but the interior of the island seemed to present nothing except great mountains and rocky cliffs. Having waited in vain, on the following day, for the packet, which was detained by contrary winds, and finding that on the morning of the 26th there was still no sign of it, Alexander, pleased with the majestic aspect of the mountains of Jura, determined to cross over the sound to visit them. He found the island wild, rude and almost uncultivated, there being but few houses and very little arable land. He ascended some of the lofty peaks called the "Paps of Jura," and was greatly delighted with the bold and romantic scenery presented to his view. Covered mostly with heath, these lofty elevations and rugged slopes furnished a [115] scanty pasturage for a species of coarse-wooled sheep recently introduced with great advantage into the Highlands. He admired greatly the flocks of these animals, so clean and white and marked with black spots upon their foreheads, grazing like herds of deer amidst the wild scenery. He viewed with a degree of awe the precipitous cliffs which presented themselves as he toiled up the steep ascent, and contemplated with delight the rills of limpid water which, issuing near the summits, fell from rock to rock like tiny streams of liquid silver, until they disappeared in the deep and silent glens. Alexander had an excellent appreciation of the beautiful, and especially of the grand, in Nature, and was always pleased with extensive prospects and fine landscapes. In these respects he differed much from his father, who seemed to pay little or no attention to anything of this kind. If he were called to see a fine view, he would readily acquiesce in the admiration of those who had directed his attention to it, but the next moment he would be found engaged in what seemed constantly to occupy his mind--the goodness of God and the salvation of men. Upon Nature around him he seemed ever to look with the eye of a utilitarian, and if directed to the beauty of a flower, would begin to inquire respecting the uses of the plant, and especially if it possessed medical qualities. To cure or alleviate the evils, both physical and spiritual, to which man is subject, to fear God and keep his commandments, seemed to be his whole concern. The æsthetics which claimed his attention were, so to speak, those of the human soul--the beauty of virtue--the charms of godliness and the attributes of the Creator, glorious in holiness and infinite in all his perfections. But [116] Alexander, while he was impressed, perhaps as profoundly as his father, with spiritual excellence and beauty, and the sublime revelations of Deity, seemed to superadd to this, from a wider range of thought and feeling, and his more acute perception of the resemblances of things and of their relations, a considerable taste for the beauties of Nature and of Art. With him, these gave rise, however, to a calm feeling of enjoyment, rather than to enthusiastic admiration, nor was their contemplation usually unmingled with considerations economical and practical. In regard to the strictly imitative arts, as painting and sculpture, his taste had received no culture, and he made no pretensions to a critical judgment. In music, especially sacred music, he took great pleasure, and was visibly affected by it, often calling, when the occasion permitted, for the singing of psalms and hymns, and, though unable to carry the air alone, uniting in the singing with a clear, musical voice and evident enjoyment. In regard to poetry, to which he had already paid considerable attention, his taste was more developed, and his judgment even critical, though he was more disposed to exercise it upon the sentiment, which in poetry is secondary, than upon the expression, which is primary, and much more sensible of defective imagery than of defective rhythm."

"He was, at this time, quite an admirer of the poems of Ossian. Whether or not, with Drs. Blair, Gregory and many other Scotch critics, he believed in the genuineness of these poems, he was at least much taken with the tenderness and sublimity so characteristic of them, and had been at the pains of copying into his common-place book extended extracts from them. As much of the beauty of these poems is derived from local associations, it were easier to imagine than to [117] describe his feelings now, when, upon the summit of one of the lofty peaks of Jura, he found himself amidst the very scenes described by the poet, where "the mountains showed their gray heads," "the blue face of ocean smiled," and "the white wave was seen tumbling round the distant rock." In fancy, he might almost hear the "murmur of the streams of Lora," or see in the distance the "halls of Selma" and the groves of "woody Morven," for it was but a few leagues across the arm of the sea which washes the northern shore of Jura to the isle of Mull, with its towering Bein Vore visible to the distant islands, and but a few miles further to the narrow sound, where, upon the mainland toward the right, a district of Argyleshire still retains the name of Morven, and where, amidst the finest and most romantic natural scenery of the Western Isles, and the ruins of ancient castles upon the rocky cliffs, both history and tradition serve to enhance the enjoyment of the present through the associations of the past."

"But we cannot suppose his thoughts confined to themes of mere scenic or poetic interest or to those of legendary lore, for close to the isle of Mull, off its western coast, lay the isle of Staffa, with its basaltic pillars and its celebrated Cave of Fingal, and directly opposite the opening of this cave, at a distance of some seven miles, the island of Iona, most of all likely to awaken the reflections and to enchain the attention of the youthful and religious student. This, as Dr. Johnson observes, is "that illustrious island which was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be impossible, if it were endeavored, and would be foolish, if it were [118] possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses, whatever makes the past, the distant or the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and from my friends be such frigid philosophy as may conduct us, indifferent and unmoved, over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery or virtue. That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona." Here are still to be seen the ruins of an august monastery and cathedral, and of three royal chapels, with extensive cemeteries, filled with numerous graves of those now unknown, but who, as Dr. Johnson observes, "did not expect to be so soon forgotten." For it is in this hallowed earth, to use the language of Scott, "Where rest from mortal coil the mighty of the isles;" and tradition makes it also the place of sepulture for the kings of Scotland, and even for the monarchs of other lands, brought hither to rest in the consecrated soil of the Holy Isle."

"There is not a more charming or interesting portion of history than that which records the life and labors of Columban, who, in the sixth century, rendered the little island of Iona a brilliant centre of learning and of pure religion amidst the darkness and idolatry that then brooded over Great Britain, when an imperfect and Popish Christianity, mingling itself with the barbarous superstitions of Scandinavian mythology, led Redwald, King of East Anglia, to place a Christian altar by the side of the statue of Woden. Intelligent and noble youths here assembled from various regions; some, like Oswald, to be educated for the discharge of [119] kingly duties; others to be prepared, by a course of discipline and study, usually of eighteen years' duration. to be ordained as missionaries and instructors, not only to enlighten their own country, but to labor in other fields both dangerous and remote. After all the controversies that have been waged in reference to the history of these Culdees of Iona, it is generally admitted that their doctrines and their lives were pure and simple; that they rejected the Romish ceremonies, doctrines and traditions; that, as even Bede admits, though himself indignant at their repudiation of the authority of the Bishop of Rome, "they preached only such works of charity and piety as they could learn from the prophetical, evangelical and apostolic writings;" that they boldly asserted the exclusive authority of the Scriptures, and that their modes of worship and their forms of church government were primitive and simple.1 [120]"

(1 "The labors of that remarkable missionary, Patrick, had prepared the way for those of Columban. Patrick was a Scotchman, born in the fourth century, in the village of Boneven (since called in honor of his memory Kilpatrick), between Dumbarton and Glasgow. He led a wild, thoughtless life till about seventeen, when, with many others, he was carried off to Ireland by pirates, and sold to an Irish chieftain. While herding his cattle he became deeply impressed with religion, and the spirit of devotion glowed within him. Making his escape after six years, he returned home to Scotland; but meditating upon the unenlightened and barbarous state of the people in Ireland, he found no rest in his spirit, but experienced an irresistible desire to carry the message of salvation to those among whom he had passed so many years of his youth. "Whence did I receive," he says, "so great and blessed a gift to know and love God, to leave native land and parents, although many gifts were offered to me with tears if I would remain there? And against my wishes I was forced to offend my relations and many of my well-wishers. But, according to God's guidance,I did not yield to them at all; not by my own power, but it was God who conquered in me, and withstood them all; so that I went to the people of Ireland to publish the gospel to them, and suffered many insults from unbelievers and many persecutions, even unto bonds, resigning my liberty for the good of others [120]

And if I am found worthy, I am ready to give up my life with joy for His name's sake."

He is supposed to have gone to Ireland about 431, and for the rest of his life continued to preach Christ amidst many persecutions and trials throughout Ireland, reclaiming the people from idolatry and barbarism, and establishing monasteries distinguished for strict Christian discipline, for industry, for a knowledge of the Scriptures and the best learning of the age, so that Ireland became, for a time, cruder these influences, the most enlightened country of Europe, and acquired the title of the "Isle of Saints." Patrick himself, afterward, when Popery became fully developed, was canonized and became the tutelar saint of Ireland with the Catholics. Although the devotion and purity of purpose of the eminent men to whom Ireland owed this distinction can hardly be exaggerated, the effects produced by their labors was great, not so much in itself as in contrast with the darkness and degradation that prevailed among the people; and, though their influence undoubtedly enlightened and civilized many, it never pervaded the mass of the population, who remained barbarous and uneducated, and soon afterward fell an easy prey to the superstitions of the Church of Rome. On this point, Southey remarks, in his Life of Wesley: "Melancholy and anomalous as the civil history of Ireland is, its religious history is equally mournful and not less strange. Even at the time when it was called the Island of Saints, and men went forth from its monasteries to be missionaries, not of monachism alone, but of literature and civilization, the mass of the people continued savage, and was something worse than heathen. They accommodated their new religion to their own propensities with a perverted ingenuity at once humorous and detestable, and altogether peculiar to themselves. Thus, when a child was immersed in baptism, it was customary not to dip the right arm, to the intent that he might strike a more deadly and ungracious blow therewith, and under an opinion, no doubt, that the rest of the body would not be responsible, at the resurrection, for anything that had been committed by the unbaptized hand. Thus, too, at the baptism, the father took the wolves for his gossips, and thought that, by this profanation, he was forming an alliance, both for himself and his boy, with the fiercest beasts of the woods. The son of a chief was baptized in milk; water was not thought good enough, and whisky had not then been invented. They used to rob in the beginning of the year, as a point of devotion, for the purpose of laying up a good stock of plunder against Easter; and be whose spoils enabled him to furnish the best entertainment at that time was looked upon as the best Christian." [121]")

"Columban was an Irishman, born in the village of Garten, in county Donegal, about A. D. 565. It was while at the monastery of Bangor, which contained three [121] thousand monks, that Columban became impressed with the earnest desire to go out amidst difficulties and dangers to publish the gospel and to establish Christian discipline among savage nations." "O that God would grant," said he, as quoted by Neander "(since, insignificant as I am, still I am his servant), that he would awaken me out of the sleep of indolence, and so kindle that fire of Divine love that this Divine flame may always burn within me! O that I had the wood with which that fire might be continually nourished, that it might never more be quenched, but always increase within me! O Lord, give me I beseech thee, in the name of Jesus Christ thy Son, my God, that love which can never cease, that will kindle my lamp, but not extinguish it, that it may burn in me and enlighten others. Do thou, O Christ, our dearest Saviour, thyself kindle our lamps, that they may evermore shine in thy temple; that they may receive unquenchable light from thee--the unquenchable light that will enlighten our darkness, and lessen by us the darkness of the world! My Jesus, I pray thee, give thy light to my lamp, that in its light the most holy place may be revealed to me, in which thou dwellest as the eternal Priest, that I may always behold thee, desire thee, look upon thee in love, and long after thee. It belongs to thee to show thyself to us thy supplants, O Saviour full of love, that we may know thee, love thee alone, think of thee alone day and night, that thy love may fill our souls, and that this love so great may never more be quenched by the many waters of this earth; as it is written, 'many waters cannot quench love.'"

"Permission having been granted by the abbot, Columban first fixed upon the island of Iona as a suitable place of retirement and seclusion, and with twelve companions established there a monastery and school, which soon became widely celebrated. Though monastic rules were adopted, and Columban inculcated strict obedience to them as evidence of Christian [122] humility, he seems to have encouraged individual freedom, and to have directed the thoughts of the brotherhood to the greatest attainment of the Christian life--the surrender of the will to God."

"We must willingly surrender," says he, "for Christ's sake, what we love out of Christ. First of all, if it is necessary, our bodily life must be surrendered by martyrdom for Christ. Or, if the opportunity be wanting for such blessedness, the mortification of the will must not fail, so that they who live henceforth live not unto themselves, but unto him who died for them. Let us therefore live to him who, though he died for us, is the life. Let us die unto ourselves, that we may live to Christ. For we cannot live to him, if we do not first die ourselves, that is, our own wills. Let us be Christ's, not our own; we are bought at a dear price, truly so; for the Master gave himself for the servant, the King for his attendants, God for man. What ought we to give in return when the Creator of the universe died for us sinners, who yet were his creatures? Believest thou that it is not necessary to die to sin? Certainly thou must do that. Let us therefore die; let us die for life, since he who is the life, died for the dead; that we maybe able to say with Paul, 'I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, who died for me;' for this is the language of the chosen. No one can die to himself, if Christ does not live in him. But if Christ be in him, he cannot live to himself. Live in Christ, that Christ may live in thee." Such were his sweet lessons in relation to a true union with Christ, nor were his warnings against speculations in religion less remarkable. Speaking against idle subtleties about the Trinity, he says: "Who can speak of the essence of God? How he is everywhere present and invisible, or how he fills heaven and earth and all creatures, according to these words, 'Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord?' Jeremiah xxiii. 24. [123] The universe is full of the Spirit of the Lord. 'Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool.' God therefore is everywhere in his own infinity; everywhere altogether nigh, according to his own testimony of himself. 'Am I not a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?' We therefore seek after God not as one who is far from us, since we can apprehend him in our own inward souls, for he dwells in us as the soul in the body, if we are not dead in the service of sin. If we are susceptible of this, that he is in us, then we are truly made alive by him, as his living members. 'In him,' says the apostle, 'we live and move and have our being.' Who shall search out the Most High according to this his unutterable and inconceivable essence? Who shall fathom the depths of the Godhead? Who shall boast that he knows the infinite God, who fills and surrounds all things; who penetrates all things, and is exalted above all; whom no man has seen as he is? Let no one then venture to inquire into the unsearchable essence of God; only believe, simply but firmly, that God is and will be what he was, since he is the unchangeable God. God is perceived by the pious faith of a pure heart, and not by an impure heart and vain discourse. Art thou disposed to investigate the unutterable with thy subtleties? Then wisdom will be further from thee than it was. Ecclesiastes vii. 24. Dost thou, on the contrary, apprehend him by faith? Then wisdom will stand before thy doors."


The Paps Of Jura
photo subject to copyright

"Thus many of the important things that have distinguished the Lutheran and other great religious reformations were taught and practised in this lonely isle, under the influence of that Divine light which, at sundry times and in various modes, and in different places, has strangely and unexpectedly shone forth amidst the darkness of the nations. This light, however, has long since departed from Iona. When Dr. Johnson visited the island in 1773, he found its fertile but limited area of scarcely three square miles [124] inhabited by a dense but gross and neglected population, without a school for education or a temple for worship, with but two among them who could speak English, and not one who could read or write. But that light of truth has shone forth in turn in other lands, and the youth who now, from the mountains of Jura, gazed upon the surrounding scenes and thought of former times, was himself destined in a few years, like his countryman Columban, to establish, in a secluded valley of the far-off Western World, a religious reformation based exclusively upon the Bible, and embracing the same striking points of personal trust in Christ and opposition to human speculations which characterized the teachings of Columban; and to found there, likewise, a literary institution free from the perverting influences of a sectarian theology, and from which youthful and devoted missionaries have already borne a pure apostolic gospel, even to the shores of California and to the distant regions of Australia. After spending most of the day upon the rugged mountains of Jura, Alexander rambled over other parts of the island, and called at the residence of the proprietor, whose name was Campbell, where he was very kindly and hospitably received. As evening approached, he recrossed the sound and returned to the inn, where, though greatly fatigued, he slept but little during the ensuing night. Next morning, about ten o'clock, the packet arrived, and soon after the family embarked with the other passengers who were waiting, and, sailing down the sound with a side wind, arrived, after a rough passage of twenty-four hours, at Art-Patrick, ten miles from Tarbet. Here, the wind being ahead, they had to cast anchor. Laird Campbell had a very handsome seat at this place, and his family, who [125] were there at this time, learning that some of the ship wrecked passengers had arrived in the packet, and were detained by a contrary wind, very kindly sent a large row-boat to convey them to Tarbet. As the boat was very heavily laden, having in it twenty-four passengers with their luggage, Alexander found it necessary to row without intermission for the whole ten miles, in order to assist its progress. From the place of landing there was a land carriage of two miles across the peninsula of Cantyre, in order to reach the packet. In assisting the passengers out with their luggage, he happened, by a sudden movement of the boat, to be thrown into the water, but got out without any other inconvenience than a complete wetting, which, however, might have proved very injurious had he not possessed a vigorous constitution, for, as there was not a sufficient number of conveyances to take all the passengers and their baggage, he, in courteously giving place to others, was finally obliged to remain himself, wet as he was, with his own baggage, very uncomfortably upon the lone and rocky shore, until a conveyance could return from Tarbet. He often, in after life, referred to the hours thus spent, when, chilled with the ocean breeze, he paced alone the deserted strand, as among the most dreary he ever passed. But the conveyance having at length arrived, he was carried to Tarbet, where he got himself dried, and, having obtained some supper, went to bed and slept soundly."


Tarbet Harbor, Scotland
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"The next day, being the Lord's day, October 30th, he spent chiefly in family duties and in reading, and on the following morning they all set out from "the small, uncouth village of Tarbet," as he styles it, in a packet bound for Greenock. The wind being fair, they made about half the distance in eighteen hours: but the wind [126] now failing, and the captain and sailors becoming drunk, there was a very uncomfortable delay. A Captain Campbell, who was on board with his sisters, growing uneasy, ordered some of the best of the sailors to ferry him ashore. While they were gone the wind rose and was favorable, but having to await the return of the boat, which was long detained, no advantage could be taken of it; and as it soon after failed again, they had to remain in the same position all night. Next morning all the male passengers went ashore, having resolved to walk to Greenock, five miles distant. Here Alexander engaged lodgings, and immediately returned in a boat for his mother and the family; and after much fatigue and trouble, owing chiefly to the drunken captain, succeeded in getting them all with their luggage safe to Greenock. This he found to be a considerable town, with an excellent harbor filled with ships from foreign ports, as the greater part of the commerce of Scotland was carried on from Greenock and from Glasgow Port, three miles above. Here, too, ended the harassing difficulties of their transportation, which contrast so strongly with the speed and comfort now enjoyed through the agency of steam vessels, first introduced upon the Clyde in 1812, little more than three years afterward.(2

(2It was a native of Greenock, James Watt, who, in 1764, while instrument-maker to the University of Glasgow, there first gave to mankind the steam engine as an effective motive power. This noble invention seems to have been first successfully applied to navigation in the United States by John Fitch, upon the Delaware, 12th of October, 1788, in the "Perseverance," which made a trip from Philadelphia to Burlington, and attained a speed of six and one-third miles per hour against the current. Fulton's successful experiment on the Hudson did not occur until 1807. Fitch used paddles moved by steam, but Fulton introduced the paddle wheel, which is said to have been previously invented by Mr. Miller of Dalswinton, Dumfrieshire, Scotland. [127])


Greenock, Scotland, United Kingdom
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"Deeming it advisable to reach Glasgow in advance of his mother and sisters, in order to have suitable lodgings in readiness, Alexander, on the 3d of November, after having made arrangements for the passage of the family, next day, on the fly-boat plying on the Clyde between Greenock and Glasgow, set out on foot for Glasgow, twenty-three miles distant, where he arrived in the afterpart of the day. After obtaining some refreshments at an inn, he concluded to present his letter of introduction to Mr. Ewing, in order to obtain his advice as to a suitable place of lodging. Calling, therefore, at his house, No. 4 Carlton place, he was most kindly received and hospitably entertained. Next morning, having received Mr. Ewing's advice and a note from him to the Rev. Mr. John Mitchel, he called and breakfasted with Mr. Mitchel, who rendered him some assistance in finding lodgings, which were at length obtained in Broad street, Hutchinsontown, ready furnished. Here the family, who arrived safely next morning, were duly installed, designing here to spend the winter, while Alexander would attend the classes at the University, and happy in being once more quietly settled after the dangers, fatigues and trials of the past month. [128]"


Greville Ewing was Alexander Campbell's contact to find housing and settling into the University of Glasgow. Visits in the home of Ewing were frequent over the next ten months by Alexander Campbell. The Building Block at 4 Carlton Place was removed. Today it is the Courthouse. See More On Greville Ewing's Carlton Place Home Here
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-Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, by Robert Richardson, Volume 1, Chapters 7 & 8, pages 104-128.

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