I was honoured yesterday with your lordship’s card, with the notification of the additional honour of my being elected an honourary member of the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland;(415) a grace, my lord, that I receive with the respect and gratitude due to so valuable a distinction; and for which I must beg leave, through your lordship’s favour, to offer my most sincere and humble thanks to that learned and respectable Society. My very particular thanks are still due to your lordship, who, in remembrance of ancient partiality, have been pleased, at the hazard of your own judgment, to favour an old humble servant, who can only receive honour from, but can reflect none on, the Society into which your lordship and your associates have condescended to adopt him. In my best days, my lord, I never could pretend to more than having flitted over some flowers of knowledge. Now worn out and near the end of my course, I can Only be a broken monument to prove that the Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland are zealous to preserve even the least valuable remains of a former age, and to recompense all who have contributed their mite towards illustrating our common island. I am, etc.
(414) Now first printed.
(415) The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Scotland had been formed at Edinburgh in the preceding December, when the Earl of Buchan was elected president.-E.
I was very intimate, Sir, with the last Lord Finlater when he was Lord Deskford. We became acquainted at Rome on our travels, and though during his illness and long residence in Scotland, we had no intercourse, I had the honour of seeing him sometimes during his last visit to England; but I am an entire stranger to the anecdote relative to my father and Sir William Windham. I have asked my brother, who was much more conversant in the scenes of that time, for I was abroad when Sir William died, and returned to England but about six months before my father’s retirement, so that having been at school and at Cambridge, or in my infancy, during Sir Robert’s administration, the little I retain from him was picked up in the last three years of his life, which is an answer, Sir, to your inquiries why, among other reasons, I have always declined writing his life; for I could in reality say but little on my own knowledge; and yet should have the air of being good authority, at least better than I should truly be. My brother, Sir Edward, who is eleven years older than I am, never heard of your anecdote. I may add, that latterly I lived in great intimacy with the Marchioness of Blandford, Sir William’s widow, who died but a year and a half ago at Sheepe, here in my neighbourhood; and with Lady Suffolk, who could not but be well acquainted with the history of those times from her long residence at court, and with whom, for the last five or six years