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OF THE LATE
SIR BENJAMIN BRODIE,
I Know but little of my father's family. My paternal grandfather was, I believe, born in Banffshire, somewhere about the year 1710 or 1711. He came to London a very humble adventurer, having, as there was reason to believe, been involved (in those days of Jacobitism) in some political trouble. He married a daughter of Dr. Peter Shaw, a physician, and first cousin of another Dr. Shaw, who was an eminent medical practitioner, and whose daughter married the first Dr. Warren. Dr. Peter Shaw had followed the fortunes of the Stuarts, and, if I am not mistaken, had accompanied King James II. abroad. My grandfather is
described by Dr. Denman, who married one of his daughters, as an army clothier; but he also had some post in the Stamp Office, which fact I have learned from some letters which I have in my possession of my father's to his sisters, addressed under cover to my grandfather to save the postage.
My father scarcely ever spoke of his own family, and what little I know of them is chiefly derived from my unmarried aunt, Margaret Brodie. The supposition that my grandfather had become involved in some political difficulties is rather confirmed by the circumstance of his having married afterwards the daughter of a staunch Jacobite, and by the Jacobite songs which my before-mentioned aunt was accustomed to repeat to us when I was a child. The only relations with whom he kept up any communication were a naval Captain, I believe afterwards Admiral, Brodie, who, as my aunt used to report to us, had two very handsome sons, and Mr. Brodie, of Brodie, who held the office of Lord Lyon. From his connection with the latter, I conclude that we are of the family of Brodie of Brodie. Of his own immediate family I know nothing, except that after his death two of his nephews came to London, apparently knowing nothing ahout him, on the speculation that there'might be something for them to inherit, departing, however, at once on finding that he had left a family, and that there was nothing for them: being never heard of afterwards.
My paternal grandmother had the reputation of being a person of very considerable abilities, and I have formerly seen some of her manuscripts which seemed to prove that this was really the case. My aunt used to boast that we had somehow royal blood in our veins (that of the Plantagenets), an honour which my friend Charles Edward Long has shown to be shared by many thousand persons of various grades, from princes and dukes down to cobblers and carpenters.
My father was educated on the foundation at
the Charterhouse, and afterwards at Worcester
-College, Oxford. As a boy he was patronized
by the first Lord Holland, and passed much of his time at Holland House. On leaving the University he took holy orders, and it seems from some letters of his which I have in my possession, that at one period he held a curacy at Adderbury, in Oxfordshire. He remained there, however, only for a short time, and when Stephen the second Lord Holland purchased an estate and mansion at Winterslow in Wiltshire of one of the Thistlethwayte family, he rented a cottage in the same place in* order that he might be near him. From his letters to his sisters written at this period, it appears that he lived almost constantly with Lord Holland, to whom, as well as his brother Charles James Fox, he was sincerely attached, always speaking of them (especially of the former) even to the last days of his life with the greatest affection.
Lord Holland died in 1774, having directed in his will that my father should have offered to him the presentation of the first of three livings which he had in his gift which should become vacant. The vacancy soon occurred in consequence of the death of the Rev. Dr. Thistlethwayte, the incumbent of Winterslow, and thus my father became the rector of the parish in which he had previously resided.
In the year 1775 my father married one of the daughters of Mr. Collins, of Milford, a banker at Salisbury. They had six children, four sons and two daughters, and I was their fourth child, having been born in the year 1783.
My earliest recollections carry me back to the Rectory at Winterslow. They are still as vivid as ever, and even now my dreams continually present to me these scenes of my early life.
My father was altogether remarkable for his talents and acquirements. He was well acquainted with general literature, and was an excellent Latin and Greek scholar for the period in which he lived, when a critical knowledge of the Greek language was not so far advanced as it is at the present time. He was endowed with a large share of energy and activity; but looking back at this early period of my life, I cannot doubt that he was a disappointed person. In the beginning of his career he had reason to expect that he would rise high in his profession; and there is little doubt that his expectations