This account of the life of the agriculturalist, William Craik, from Arbigland, Kirkbean Parish, is taken from the "Farmer's Magazine - A Periodical Work Exclusively Devoted to Agriculture and Rural Affairs," published in Edinburgh in 1811.

Account of William Craik, Esq. of Arbigland.

To record the lives of eminent agriculturists and hand down to posterity the most accurate account that can be collected of their improvements, seems to be a duty incumbent upon those who have the management of agricultural publications. Influenced by these considerations, we have studiously endeavoured to lay before our readers such information as could be procured of those who had benefited agriculture; but, the soil being rather barren, it must be confessed, that little more than a scanty crop has hitherto been obtained. At this time, we present to our readers a few particulars of a gentleman to whom agriculture, in the south-west of Scotland, was beyond doubt considerably indebted,—-though it must be lamented, that it is out of our power to do such justice to that eminent personage as the uncommon merits of his character demand. While an attempt is thus made to do honour to the memory of an able and intelligent man, the living, it is hoped, may receive an useful lesson, and be thereby stimulated to tread in his footsteps.

William Craik of Arbigland, eldest son of Adam Craik esq. by Marion Campbell, daughter of Sir Colin Campbell of Ardkinlass, Bart., was born 26th August, 1703. His father having entered into a second marriage, in 1713, with a Miss Aglianby in Cumberland, it is highly probable that Mr Craik spent many of his younger years with his maternal friends the Campbells, at least it Is certain, that he received a great part of his education at the grammar school of Dumbarton, where he had for his class-fellow the celebrated David Malloch, who afterwards anglicised his name into Mallet. Mr Craik was originally intended for the law, and, in his riper years, was educated accordingly; but, his father having refused to send him to Leyden in Holland, at that time the fashionable school for procuring legal knowledge, he renounced the profession, and settled, in 1726, upon a small farm belonging to the Arbigland estate, called Maxwellfield, which was the first site of his rural operations. In 1733, he married Elizabeth Stewart, only daughter of William Stewart esq. of Shambelly, by whom he had several children, none of whom survived him, except one daughter, Miss Helen Craik, who, speaking comparatively, may be well allowed to possess a full share of her father's abilities. To this lady we are under great obligations, for the assistance given towards drawing up of this account, as will readily be acknowledged by our readers, upon perusal of her letters, given by way of addenda or appendix to this imperfect statement.

Mr Craik, as already said, settled at Maxwellfield in 1726, at which place he remained till 1755, when he removed to a new house which he had built at Arbigland. At the death of his father in 1736, he succeeded to the family estate, then worth, though consisting of many acres, little more than £170 per annum. To improve the estate was his primary object, though, at that time, everything of the kind was obviously a matter of great difficulty. In 1740, he entered keenly into an election dispute; and, from his conduct on that occasion, might afterwards have been member for the Stewartry, had his disposition lain that way. Owing to these circumstances, he procured the friendship of the Duke of Queensberry, the Earl of Selkirk, and Sir George Clerk Maxwell; but his most intimate friend was that uncommon man Lord Kaimes, with whom he became acquainted when at Edinburgh college; -  we say, uncommon man, because such a genius as Lord Kaimes rarely appears upon the stage of human life. His Lordship regularly visited at Arbigland when on the southern circuit -, and, as he continued in habits of intimacy with Mr Craik to his latest breath, very probably received several hints from him relative to agricultural matters, afterwards used in his valuable treatise called ‘The Gentleman Farmer.' Be this as it may, it is certain that Lord Kaimes entertained a high opinion of Mr Craik's judgment. As a proof of this, we are informed, by good authority, that his Lordship, when preparing a second edition of his Elements of Criticism for the press, actually submitted to Mr Craik's examination some alterations intended upon that work; and declared, unless these alterations met with the approbation of Mr Craik, he would not venture to include them. From this fact it may be inferred, that his Lordship would also take the opinion of such a good judge as Mr Craik upon the Gentleman Farmer, before he gave that estimable publication to the world. If Lord Kaimes consulted Mr Craik in matters of literature and taste, it is likely he would also consult him when writing on agriculture, a subject to which Mr Craik had paid so much attention. In our opinion, it was wise and creditable conduct to take the opinion of Mr Craik, he being a man eminently and deservedly considered as possessing great knowledge in an art then imperfectly understood by most people in this country.

But to return from this digression. - Mr Craik, when he entered upon agriculture, found the practice of the district, in which his farm was situated, so miserably bad, that nothing was to be learned at home, but that every kind of information must be procured from other sources. At that time, the husbandry of the Stewartry was confined to the culture of bear and oats, sometimes alternately, but more generally oats followed oats, whilst barley was only taken upon land to which manure had been applied. Summer-fallow, turnips, potatoes, artificial grasses, and all other articles of the leguminous tribe, were then unknown. Wheat; though anciently cultivated to a great extent in the district or province of Galloway, as may be learned from Chalmers's Caledonia, was now only gown here and there, and, at the most, but in small patches. The country was generally in an open-field state, and a great part of it little better than a barren waste. What was worse, the tenantry were destitute of the means of amending matters, being rarely capable of doing more than was required under the ancient system of cultivation. Hence the land was in wretched condition ; the crops raised were trifling, and of small value; the livestock, whether sheep or black cattle, were poor and emaciated, being stunted in growth by a want of winter food, and seldom fully supplied even during the summer months. This was the state of husbandry in the Stewartry when Mr Craik entered upon his agricultural career. To say that he removed all these evils would far exceed the truth, as Hercules himself would have been unable for such a task. That they were gradually lessened by the endeavours of Mr Craik is indisputable. All his contemporaries bear witness in his favour. In fact, he laid a foundation for improvements, which, in process of time, brought about a material change upon the face and agriculture of that district.

In support of the opinion here given, with respect to extent of Mr Craik's improvements, we may cite the authority of Mr Wight, who inspected the husbandry of Galloway in 1777, at the request of the commissioners of the annexed estates.

‘To join in a crowd for doing good, is commendable ; to be among the first to carry on a reformation in any useful art, is meritorious : but, to be the first who stands single to correct prejudices of education, confirmed by long practice, and to introduce a fundamental reformation, is the height of patriotism. Mr Craik of Arbigland is that illustrious person. He possesses the unrivalled honour even of beginning, not to mention of carrying on, a most successful reformation in the agriculture of this country. It is true, he served a severe apprenticeship, as his farm, in its natural state, was not inviting, wild, and ill cultivated, when he undertook it. Providence, indeed, has been kind to him, by an unbounded treasure of sea shells and sleech, both of them at hand, and lime from Whitehaven, at a moderate price.

'Mr Craik, entertaining a high notion of drill-husbandry, attempted Tull's plan of a constant succession of wheat on the same field; and, though that plan was never carried on to greater perfection by any other artist, yet, after persevering for many years, Mr Craik is not ashamed to say, that the plan is more specious than solid. He has accordingly given it up for wheat; but approves of barley in rows nine inches asunder. He has invented, for that purpose, a machine that answers well. But, though Mr Craik has abandoned Tull's plan, he must not go without his reward of praise. He has shown, experimentally, that nine or ten good crops of wheat, at least, may be raised in the same field without dung. Call them but six or seven; How great must be the improvement that this experiment must produce in the rotation of crops! It will, in the first place, secure good crops of wheat for some years ; it will, in the nextplace, with the advantage of dung, be a delicious preparation for grass-seeds, which must thrive wonderfully on ground so thoroughly pulverized ; and, lastly, great store of dung will be reserved for other purposes.
'Mr Craik, skilful in mechanics, has successfully invented or improved many implements of husbandry. Several of them he sent to Mr Crichton, coachmaker in Canongate, Edinburgh, who makes them in perfection.

'Rich pasture-grass I have not seen stocked with the true Galloway kind of cattle. Mr Craik, however, is attempting a further improvement, by a mixture with Bakewell's kind. Whether it will answer, time must try. The surest test of improvement is the rent that can be afforded. To save repetition, I confine myself to one farm, which, before Mr Craik began his improvements paid of rent £35for 130 acres. The whole being well enclosed - every wet spot made dry by under or upper drains - not a stone left to interrupt the plough  mostly in grassland full of manure - excellent houses, &c. ; it is now leased at £150 Sterling, but with very pointed instructions to prevent running out the ground - equally advantageous to the landlord and tenant. I shall only mention one particular, that two years hay, and four years pasture, make always a part of the rotation.'

But the merits of Mr Craik receive still more powerful support from the author of the Galloway Survey, - a gentleman well acquainted with the past and present state of that province, at least of that part of it in which Mr Craik resided. After discussing, at considerable length, the ancient state of husbandry, and describing the numerous defects attendant upon it, he comes to the distinguished personage of whom we are treating. He says - 'A remarkable exception was to he found, at a very early date, in the agriculture of the late Mr Craik of Arbigland, and of a school of farmers who formed themselves on his model. Mr Craik, who died in the year 1798, at the advanced age of 95, was a man of great originality, and uncommon powers of mind. By his own unassisted exertions, he devised and carried into effect, a system of the best husbandry, at a period when nothing similar was to be seen in the neighbouring country, and scarcely in any part of Scotland.

'About the year 1750, he was first led to attend to agriculture by the celebrated publication of Mr Tull. For some years, he continued to follow the practice recommended by that author; and he gave a very full trial to the method of drilling and horse-hoeing wheat continually on the same land. His attention, however, being thus attracted to rural affairs in general, experience convinced him, that there were other improvements in his power, both more urgent and more profitable. Relinquishing the theoretical refinements of Mr Tull, he applied himself to the improvement of his land, by enclosing and draining, by effectual fallows, and the application of calcareous manures. He introduced implements of agriculture of the most approved construction; and, along with these, adopted the practice of ploughing with two horses only. He did not neglect the means of collecting putrescent manure, which he applied to his fallows and fallow crops. He retained the practice of drilling turnips and beans; and introduced these, with the use of sown grasses, in the rotations of husbandry which he prescribed to the tenants on his estate; where, under his vigilant superintendence, a system of excellent agriculture was regularly established, while all the neighbouring country remained under die most barbarous management.'

Though the improvements of Mr Craik were, in a great measure, lost upon the tenantry of his neighbourhood, who, from poverty, were utterly unable to imitate them, they were of much benefit to many gentlemen farmers, with whom, in every district placed under the like circumstances as then prevailed in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, improvements must first commence. The late Earl of Selkirk, father of the present nobleman who enjoys that title, was the steady and tried friend of Mr Craik. By that nobleman, he was countenanced and encouraged on every occasion; and, with a view to introduce improvements upon his own estate, Lord Selkirk gave a farm in the neighbourhood of Kirkcudbright, to a person who had been educated in the school of Mr Craik. Here it may be noticed, that Mr Craik, for many years, was in the habit of taking young men as agricultural pupils; and from the sequel it may appear, that he was well qualified for such an office. His character was firm and determined; his industry steady and persevering. In short, whatever he undertook, that he carried through, no matter who were his opponents; therefore, when he condescended to take the charge of young agriculturists, there can be no doubt but that he would maintain good discipline among his pupils, and cause them to attend with diligence to the several branches of rural education, theoretical or practical, taught under his inspection.

Mr Craik, as already mentioned, was, at an early period, a keen disciple of the celebrated Tull, and endeavoured, for many years, with anxious perseverance, to imitate the plausible and alluring system of husbandry recommended by that gentleman. At last, like every other person who attempted to follow his system, he gave it up ; assigning, as a reason, that ordinary servants were too imperfect for executing the several processes which belonged to it, with that care and attention which the system required. He retained, however, every part of the Tullian husbandry that was really useful. He drilled potatoes, turnips and beans, - articles that may be much better cultivated in the drill, than in the broadcast way. He improved rural implements materially; and was the first who introduced the improved plough, worked by two horses, into that part of the country. The drill machine for sowing corn in rows nine inches asunder, was also much improved by him ; the amendments made being of such merit, that the Society of Arts, &c. in London, thought proper, in 1770, to bestow one of their medals upon him, as a mark of their high approbation. This was the first medal of that celebrated Society which came to Scotland, though, in after years, this northern part of the island has obtained its full share of the liberal rewards annually bestowed by that useful and enlightened Society.

After Mr Craik renounced the Tullian system, he gradually became a convert to the modern, and more approved one, of taking culmiferous and leguminous crops alternately - We do not mean to say, that he strictly adhered to the alternate system ; because his first rule was, not to take above two white crops in succession, which was a good advance toward improvement, at a time when the great majority of cultivators took at least three white crops together, and while many, even in his neighbourhood, cultivated few other articles except bear and oats. The rotation generally prescribed by Mr Craik to his tenants, was, two successive crops of oats after breaking up from grass; next, a complete summer-fallow, or a horse-hoed green crop; and then a crop of corn, such as they chose, accompanied with grass-seeds, viz. 16 lib. of clovers, and 2 bushels of ryegrass. From a respectable gentleman in the Stewartry we learn, that the above was something like the rotation followed by Mr Craik for many years. But, in the latter period of his life, as stated by that gentleman, the opinion of Mr Craik was altogether in favour of a white and green crop, or naked fallow, alternately, - a rotation, to the performance of which one of his tenants was expressly bound. The farm in his own natural possession did not exceed 200 Scotch acres. To the management of it, Mr Craik bestowed the most sedulous attention, not allowing a single weed to remain undestroyed. Every operation was diligently superintended by himself; and so eager was he about harvest work, that he generally took his victuals in the field beside the reapers.

It has already been noticed, that turnips were cultivated in drills by Mr Craik. Indeed, it is generally allowed, that he was the first person who introduced that valuable esculent into the field-husbandry of the south-west districts of Scotland. His method of consuming turnips was as follows. With the large roots he fed bullocks in the stall; and, with the tops and offal, he reared stirks or young cattle; which branch of stock was kept at home through the winter months, instead of being suffered to roam at large, as in former times. He also kept about ten cows, chiefly of the Bakewell kind, whose calves he reared, and afterwards fed for the butcher, when three years of age. His bullocks, when fat, usually weighed 40 stones avoirdupois each. In the early period of his life, he was extensively engaged in the trade of taking cattle to the English markets, having in one year, viz. 1748, sent about seventeen hundred Galloway cattle to the southern counties, which, at that time, were purchased at the average price of £2. 6s. per head.

Mr Craik's talents for improving husbandry implements have been aready noticed. He commonly used the English plough; very probably the one which passes by the name of the Rotherham plough, - a plough which furnished the first hint of the one now generally used over all Scotland. When breaking up stiff clay land, he was in the habit of ripping it, before the small plough was admitted. The implement employed as a ripper resembled, in some particulars, a common plough; but differed from it in this material point, that it had no sock. There were five coulters inserted at the distance of four inches from each other, in a piece of timber fixed transversely upon the beam, of sufficient dimensions to allow the coulters to be placed alternately some inches before each other; The implement had a wheel under the beam before the coulters, and two wheels behind them for its support and to prevent the coulters going too deep. After going over a field with the ripper, drawn by two horses and two oxen (the horses in front), it was then ploughed across the incisions made by the above implement. The design was certainly ingenious, though with what success it was accompanied we have not been so fortunate as to learn.

Like his good friend Lord, Mr Craik abhorred idleness -. therefore long lamented that farm-servants should spend so much of their time, during the winter season, either in doing nothing, or, what was worse, in foolish jesting, or talking nonsense at the fireside of their masters. As a partial remedy against these evils, he contrived to get some of the wiser tenants to clean, on the evenings of every second day, the grain that had been previously thrashed. This, the servants almost unanimously opposed, and threatened to burn the barns of those who persisted in the practice. These threats, however, were not sufficient to intimidate Mr Craik. He fairly gave them the alternative, either of going to Kirkcudbright jail, or yielding obedience to the orders of their employers; and submission immediately ensued. The use of fanners for cleaning corn was also, for a time, obstinately refused by many people, because the wind employed was artificially raised. Fortunately, Mr Craik was of a character well calculated to meet such obstacles; otherwise the spirit of improvement diffused by his means through the south of Scotland, had not so soon taken place.

A considerable extent of land was enclosed by Mr Craik, who also planted forty acres with timber trees, - a great deal for a person like him, who did not possess a large property. His dikes were formed of the soil, having a ditch on each side ; sometimes planted with thorns. The height of these dikes was usually 4½ feet; the breadth of the ditches 4 feet, and their depth 3 feet. Though forty years of age when he commenced planter, he lived to see some silver firs of his own planting measure eight feet in circumference. When walking past the largest one he often pointed it out to his friends, and said, 'Out of that tree my coffin is to be made.'

It has been alleged that the district in which Mr Craik resided, was as much benefited by the .strenuous exertions made by him in his official capacity to preserve the peace of the country, as by any other of his undertakings. No doubt he was fully capable of discharging both his rural and political duties. One instance of resolute behaviour, as a Justice of the Peace, may be mentioned, in illustration of his personal character.

A notorious ruffian accused of murder and other crimes, being brought before Mr Craik in his capacity of Justice of the Peace, be ordered the fellow's hands to be bound, as his conduct was of the most daring and insolent nature. It was easier, however, to give than to execute the order; for the ruffian, having drawn a long knife, threatened to stab the first man who approached him. Mr Craik, observing that the constables were terrified by this ruffian's threats, jumped from the seat of Justice, and snatching a rope from one of the constables, first wrenched the knife from the fellow, and then forcibly tied his hands behind him, without any assistance whatever. Indeed personal danger was never thought of by Mr Craik. Many instances might be given, sufficient to prove, that he was void of what is meant by the word fear, if human nature can be supposed to remain always unsusceptible of that sensation.

Mr Craik who had long been inspector-general of the customs of Scotland, an office which did not require personal attendance - , was in 1761 called to London along with his steady friend Mr Clerk, afterwards Sir George Clerk, to advise administration with regard to the purchase of the Duke of Athol's rights as proprietor of the Isle of Man. At that time he got acquainted with Dr Franklin, Dr Solander, and many other of the London literati, with whom he afterwards corresponded. Through the influence of the Duke of Queensberry, not the noble personage lately deceased, but he who preceded him, with whom, and his amiable Dutchess, Mr Craik was well acquainted, a seat at the Board of Customs might have been obtained, had not Mr Craik been so deeply engaged in agricultural pursuits, as to decline an exchange of the pleasures of a country life, for any that could be gained in the smoky atmosphere of Edinburgh. He retained, however, the office of inspector till his death, and, at that time, was the oldest officer of the customs in Scotland.

Mr Craik was the chief instrument of establishing an agricultural society at Dumfries, though we are not quite sure at what time the design was undertaken. Our accounts say in 1776 ; and, from a communication lately made us, we have reason to presume that the society was established about that time. But, whatever was the era of the society's establishment, there is no doubt, Mr Craik was the person who chiefly directed its proceedings, as we observe he was its constant president. This society did not meet after 1781, in which year happened the death of its secretary, Mr George Mackenzie ; and unhappily no trace of its records or transactions can now be discovered. We understand, however, that the original rules and regulations of the society, subscribed by Mr Craik as president, and Mr Mackenzie as secretary, are still in existence. If a copy of these rules can be procured, we shall submit them to the consideration of our readers, on a future occasion.

We have thus given the best and most accurate account of Mr Craik, which could be procured; "but, for many particulars of his life, the reader is referred to the original papers, given by way of appendix to this account, wherein the leading traits of his character are delineated with singular ability and precision. The letters of Miss Craik, his daughter, do great honour to that lady ; being written with judgment, detailed with perspicuity, and affording more satisfaction on perusal, than can be easily expressed. To that lady, and Mr Grierson of Dalgoner, we are under great obligations for these communications, and the like acknowledgement is due to Mr Gilbert Burns, brother to the celebrated Robert Burns, who, at our request, collected a large body of information concerning Mr Craik, from his numerous friends in the county of Dumfries and Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.

Mr Craik died in 1798, having lived to the advanced age of 95 years. His character may be given in a few words. He was active, steady and enterprising - a determined enemy to idleness  - resolute and firm in all his pursuits - a keen and judicious agriculturist - and naturally well qualified to take a lead in every design which had for its object, either the welfare of society, or the prosperity of the country.

APPENDIX To The Above Account Of Mr Craik. 

1. Letter, Miss Craik to James Grierson, Esq., dated Flimby 13th April, 1810.

The contents of your very handsome and obliging epistle should have been instantly acknowledged, had not some unavoidable engagements interfered to deprive me of that pleasure.

As the sole and last survivor of my name and family, I cannot but feel extremely gratified by your kind and flattering attention to the preservation of my father's memory as an agriculturist. Accept then, Sir, my thanks on the occasion. The honour you confer upon him, must reflect back upon yourself; since you alone, of all his once numerous friends and acquaintances, have endeavoured to save from oblivion those exertions for his country's improvement, which, it cannot be denied, laid the first foundation for much subsequent advantage and prosperity.

I am truly concerned, however, to add, that after a minute examination of every written memorial connected with former days, now in my possession, aided by the utmost efforts of recollection also on the topic you mention, scarcely any circumstance worth communicating has proved the result of my labour. What has occurred, nevertheless, is at your service. My father was born August 1703: - He was originally intended for the law; but upon his father failing in his promise of sending him to study at Leyden, (then the fashionable retort for that purpose), he renounced the profession, and settled in the country on a small farm of my grandfather's, at whose decease, in 1735, he succeeded to the Scotch estate of Arbigland, at that period considerably under £200per annum. Of a character and disposition always ardent and solicitous to make himself completely master of whatever he took in hand, he soon became distinguished in the agricultural line, at a period when the very meaning of the word, far less its practical possibility, was scarcely heard of in Scotland. As may be supposed, great were the difficulties he had to encounter. For many succeeding years the indolent obstinacy of the lower class of people was almost unconquerable. Amongst other instances of their laziness, I have heard him say, that, upon his first introduction of the mode of dressing the grain at night, which had been thrashed during the day - all the servants in the neighbourhood refused to adopt the measure, and even threatened to destroy the houses of their employers by fire, if they continued to insist upon the business. My father speedily perceived that a forcible remedy was required for the evil: He gave them their choice of removing the thrashed grain in the evenings, or becoming inhabitants of Kirkcudbright jail; they preferred the former alternative; and open murmurings were no longer heard. He has frequently told me, that he had laid out as much money, merely in draining the estate of Arbigland, (all of which required it greatly) as would have purchased the whole of it at his father's death. In regard to his system of improving land, that matter has been long sufficiently known in the south of Scotland, as likewise his alterations in the construction of the drill plough; which, though now not much used I believe, procured him, (1770), nevertheless, a valuable gold medal from the Society of Arts in London. He was unwearied in his attention to his favourite object; and, for the greatest part of his farming life, was seldom later in his bed, during the summer season, than from three to four o'clock every morning, -  usually breakfasting and dining in the fields, near his labourers, who did the same.

I am mortified that the above very trifling communication is all I can recollect at present on this subject, - nor do I now remember a single surviving human being qualified to add any further intelligence, unless Mr Maxwell of Carruchan, or Mr John Maxwell of Munches, could furnish it. Have the goodness to excuse so long an intrusion on your time, with a detail too inconsequential to warrant the trouble it must have caused you : And believe me, Sir, your obliged and obrdient servant, H. CRaik.

2. Letter Miss Craik  to James Grierson, Esq. dated Flimby, May 1810.

I should ill repay the honour proposed to be conferred on my Father's memory, were any apology judged necessary by me on such an occasion;— but the fact is, the female part of his family were never permitted to interfere, in the smallest degree, with those occupations and pursuits, which he considered as more particularly his own. The natural consequence was, we were kept in total ignorance of every transaction that came under this prohibited denomination. Nevertheless, some of your questions I feel competent to answer; and as it seems more the minutiae of what may prove connected with his public than his private life which you wish to obtain, there certainly can be no indelicacy attached to the very obliging solicitude expressed on that subject.

Our family is originally of English extraction. There is a Sir John de Creke buried in the churchyard of Westley Waterless, in Cambridgeshire, who died in the reign of Edward III. ; but our branch came from Creke Castle, situated between Beverley and the city of York, where (though in the ever changing course of human affairs, some trifling variation in the spelling of the name has taken place) the family still exists.

The first person bearing the appellation, who settled in Scotland sometime in the sixteenth century, was my father's great great grandfather; he held the rank of captain in a regiment quartered in Dumfries, and there married a woman sufficiently endowed with the good things of those days, to be distinguished by the title of 'an heiress.'

What this gentleman's son was, I know not; but his grandson was grandfather to your deceased acquaintance. He married the daughter of Adam Napier, the youngest son of the famous Napier of Merchiston, and represented for some time the town of Dumfries, in the Scotch Parliament before the Union. I believe his name was William. He left two sons. Adam, the eldest, was father to mine: He succeeded to the estate of Arbigland. The other, John, (uncle to my father) was, I think, grandfather to the late Mrs Young of Youngfield, and had Stewarton settled upon him by his father, as second son's portion. If I am not mistaken, it was this John Craik of Stewarton who joined with an ancestor of Sir Robert Lawrie's family in purchasing all the land they could possibly get hold of; in consequence of which, a common expression with the smaller proprietors in their neighbourhood was, ' God keep us from John Craik and Robert Lawrie !! '

Stewarton certainly formed part of the Scotch estate, but I cannot call to mind how my father came to have anything to do with it or its rents ; it could not, however, be on his own account.

His maternal grandfather and grandmother were Sir Colin Campbell of Ardkinlass in Argyleshire, and Helen Maxwell, daughter to Sir George Maxwell of Newark. She was first cousin to the celebrated lawyer Sir George Mackenzie, King's Advocate for Scotland. Of her and her husband Sir Colin, I possess some interesting historical anecdotes, with which, however, I shall not at present trouble you.

Their daughter Marion (my father's mother) was a woman of very superior abilities, and much beloved by all who knew her ; but her life proved a short one. She left only two children, both in early youth - my father, and a daughter who died soon after my grandfather's second marriage, and who, with myself, was named after Lady Campbell. It was the above Sir George Maxwell, who got what was called a Lockerby wipe, viz. one side of his face laid flat on his shoulder, in an engagement with the Johnstones at that place.

The estate of Arbigland was purchased by my great great grandfather, from Lord Southesk, in 1679.

Adam Craik my grandfather, and Miss Campbell of Ardkinlass, were married in Argyleshire, at Sir Colin Campbell's house, in 1702. My father was born on the 26th August O. S. I703, at Arbigland hall, as it was then styled ; it stood upon a bank overlooking the sea, not far from where the garden is now placed ; and certainly, in point of situation, much surpassed the present mansion. Allowing for the times in which it was built, I understand it was considered as greatly superior to any other gentleman's house in that quarter ; but, like its former inhabitants, it has long been levelled with the dust. My father had it pulled down soon after his father's death, and removed the materials to the new dwelling.

He was originally intended for the law but, as I mentioned in my last epistle, upon my grandfather failing in his promise of sending him to study at Leyden, he renounced the profession, after having made no inconsiderable progress in it, and afterwards settled on a small farm called Maxwellfield, which his father gave up to him, in I726: it was about a mile distant from Arbigland, I mean old Arbigland.

The country was, at this period, so far removed from every idea of real civilization, that, to permit one's male guests to go sober to bed, was looked upon as the greatest possible failure in hospitality and good manners. My father, who, from his earliest days, always wished to take the lead in whatever he engaged with, was by no means behind hand on similar occasions. In hard drinking, hard riding, and every other youthful excess, few could equal his notoriety. I have frequently heard him say, that he felt a much older man, in constitution, before he was thirty, than afterwards at seventy and upwards.

In September 1733, he married my mother Elizabeth Stewart, only daughter of William Stewart, Esq. of Shambelly, in the parish of New-Abbey. He succeeded his father (who died at Arbigland) in1736, at which time the estate was only about £I73. per annum. They continued, however, at Maxwellfield, where all their children were born, until the present house of Arbigland was habitable, into which the family removed in 1755.

Samuel Johnstone was the name of the old overseer. What you say about him, is perfectly correct. I cannot slate the exact year in which the building of the new house commenced ; but I know the drawing-room, and some of the other apartments, were not finished for many years after we dwelt in it. Long before that period, Samuel came to work in it as a joiner, and continued in the capacity of a head farm-servant with the family, until my father refined his estate into the hands of the present possessor, when the latter turned off the good old man, who then went to reside in a small cottage at a little hamlet called the Borran, where his unmarried daughter (he had two and a son) kept house for him : but, as his real value was soon ascertained by his loss, he was afterwards recalled, and again reinstated in his former department and abode, which latter nearly joins the office-houses at Arbigland. On my last inquiries for him, I found he was no more. His family was a respectable one in Annandale, and formerly hereditary keepers of the Castle of Lochmaben. Poor Samuel! a worthier or honester man never breathed.

My father took an active and distinguished part in the great contested election of 1740. I have heard him tell, that, sometime after that event, a number of the principal voters in the Stewartry made him a voluntary offer of their services, in order to bring him into Parliament as their representative, free of all expense, too, during the time of election ; but prudential motives, of a pecuniary nature, induced him to decline the intended honour.

Though the arrangement that prohibited those holding any situation under government (he was inspedtor-general of the customs, and the oldest officer, at his death, in the south of Scotland) from appearing as voters at elections of the above description, rendered his one of no use, yet he continued, as he had done from the year 1740, to be consulted and applied to, in every case of difficulty that occurred at such times ; and was generally found to prove a sure and successful auxiliary to that side of the question whose interests he espoused.

Through the influence of the late Duke of Queensberry, and his invaluable friend the deceased Sir George Clerk, he might once have obtained the situation of a commissioner of customs at Edinburgh; but he was then deeply engaged with his favourite agricultural pursuits, and too partial to a country life, to think of exchanging it for the smoke and confinement of a town residence, even though that town was the metropolis of Scotland.

In 1764, he accompanied Sir George Clerk (then Mr Clerk) up to London, in order to give their joint evidence to government, on the propriety of adopting the worthy Baronet's judicious advice, in regard to purchasing the Isle of Man from the Duke of Athol, as the most likely means for suppressing the illicit trade of smuggling, then become ruinously prevalent on the south-west coast of Scotland. This plan, in spite of Mr Grenville’s long opposition, was finally acceded to, and has been attended with the best effects.

I do not know that any particular cause (old age excepted) can be assigned for his deafness; but I have often heard him mention, that in consequence of getting a damp bed, during the election at Kirkcudbright in 1740, a giddiness, or what he called a swimming in his head, was brought on, and occasionally continued to distress him all his life. It is, however, rather an extraordinary fact, that he never had a common headache in the course of his existence, unless after hard drinking, in his earlier days - those days when savage riot was considered as a proof of superior spirit, and brutal intoxication a test of the strongest constitution.

The latter part of his life had long been systematically regular and sober. He was always an early riser; and, though but a bad breakfast man, he usually eat a hearty dinner; and, after a single dish of tea, and supping on milk and vegetables, retired to bed about ten o'clock. He took no wine, unless when in company, for many years ; but, upon a slight paralytic attack, a few glasses of port were prescribed, and daily taken.

In May I773, the late Earl of Selkirk, (whose father, the Honourable Bazil Hamilton, had been my father's most intimate and cherished friend), with all that warmth of heart for which he was so remarkable, persuaded him to undergo the terrible operation of cutting for the stone, - a family distemper, of which my grandfather Craik died, and with which his son had long been afflicted. His Lordship went to Edinburgh on purpose, in order to prevail with Mr Alexander Wood, then one of the first operators in that line, to undertake the buiness, and, with great difficulty, engaged him to leave his numerous patients in that quarter of the country, for the execution of this important affair at Arbigland. A stone of some size, I forget the weight, was extracted by that gentleman, with his usual success and high professional abilities. Nevertheless, for some hours after the operation, my father's life was supposed in much and immediate danger, and chiefly preserved by taking a copious and first dose of laudanum. Mr Wood had previously pronounced him a bad subject for the instrument, and was averse to the business; But my father's determination was not to be shaken; and the former declared, he never once found him shrink under his hands ; and added, ' that he had never seen him surpassed for resolution and strength of mind, during a trial so painfully agonizing.  Mr Wood only remained two nights at Arbigland, but left another gentleman (who had accompanied him from Edinburgh) behind for the following three weeks,
Of the horse you mention, the recollection of what I have heard is very indistinct. I have been told, however, that he piqued himself, at one time, on having the best that could be procured. To the improvement of the breed of Scotch cattle, he was always particularly attentive. Formerly, he ploughed with oxen: Two of his rearing were so remarkable, at that time, for size and fatness, that they were exhibited for money, by the butcher who purchased them, as a public show in Dumfries.

I have heard my father say, that before the opera of the 'Gentle Shepherd ' was finished, he won the three first acts in manuscript, at a game of cards, called 'three hand ombre,' from Allan Ramsay, after having previously got all the poor author's little cash from him. He had been a schoolfellow of Mallet the poet, (then pronounced Malloch), but did not much like him. Lord Kaims and he were likewise college companions, and their friendship continued through life.

He understood several languages well, and grammatically, viz. Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, and Italian ; and had made some little progress in Spanish. He was a tolerable architect, - fond of chemistry, - read much on learned subjects, - and usually rendered himself master of whatever he set his mind upon.

My father had two sons and four daughters born in wedlock, of which number I alone survived him. William, one of the former, died in childhood ; the other, poor Adam, perished, as you may recollect, with his servant and four sailors, in crossing the Channel at Arbigland, in an open boat, to visit his friends in Cumberland. That melancholy, and ever-to-be-regretted event, happened on the 23d July 1782. His body came on shore some days afterwards, near a small village called Mowbray, situated between Allanby and Shinburness, in this county. We were solicitous that the corpse of his faithful servant, who had been long with him, might accompany his master's to Scotland; and the vessel that contained the latter, was consequently detained two days on this side, in hopes of his being found. At length, when expectation had almost ceased to exist, and the sloop just upon the point of sailing, poor Jack's remains came floating directly to the spot! They were both landed at the Carse, about a mile from Arbigland; and, on the same day, conveyed from that place to the churchyard of Kirkbean. A gale of wind, want of proper ballast, and unskillful boatmen, were supposed to have caused this sad event. My dear brother was much beloved by all his particular friends ; but his lot in life was not equal to his worth. He was upwards of forty years of age when we lost him. My poor mother never recovered the shock occasioned by this most distressing accident, and followed him to another and a better world in February 1787. She died at Arbigland ; as did my father, in February 1798, in his 95th year. In 1792, he resigned all his property (except a small annuity of about £200, one half of which arose from his salary in the Customhouse) to the person whom he had previously appointed his successor,—the son of his deceased eldest daughter, by John Hamilton esq. of Eldershaw.

By my grandfather Craik's second marriage, 1713, with Miss Aglianby of Nunnery, one of the oldest and most respectable families in Cumberland, he had four sons and five daughters , of which number, three of the former, and four of the latter, survived him. John, the eldest, was born at Arbigland; all the others in Flimby, where four of them have likewise died since 1803. The second son of this union, James, was named after the brother of his father's first wife, Sir James Campbell of Ardkinlass, - a pretty sure proof of the estimation in which he continued to hold the memory of my father's mother !

With my worthy and much respected friends in Cumberland I came to reside in 1792 ; and on me has devolved the severe and melancholy duty of laying their aged heads in the grave ; where the remains of the last of its regretted members (my aunt Barbara) were deposited, in May 1809, in her ninety-second year.

About £500, received with his first wife, was laid out in the purchase of a small estate here by my grandfather. This little property, not exceeding 200 acres, sold, in 1807, for £16,504. It had a fine wood upon it, and is full of coals. By his second marriage-settlement, in failure of his sons having male heirs, this estate was to go past his daughters, and rest with the eldest branch of the family. My uncles all died unmarried. The eldest branch was my father, who had departed this life before any of them did so; of course, his legal heirs succeeded to the above premises, though both in the female line, - being D. Hamilton Craik, in right of my deceased sister his mother, and myself. Between him and me, therefore, the above sum of £16,504 was equally shared. Do not, Sir, conclude me an egotist, if I add, that with this money, and the handsome increase made to it by my late ever respected relatives here, I am now, thank God and them, in rather more than easy circumstances ; and can say, what many richer people cannot say, that I am healthy, happy, and contented. A tolerably strong proof of the former is, that, though now pretty far advanced in life, during upwards of eighteen years spent in Cumberland, it is a well known fact, that I have not once kept my bed a single hour for indisposition of any description whatever; and yet, in the course of the above period, I have had occasion to sit up through the whole of many an anxious night, by the sickbed of my dying relatives.

It may not, perhaps, be altogether improper to add, that one illegitimate son of my father's survived him. He was about six years old at the time of my mother's marriage, and always treated by her as if he had been her own child. He was educated in the medical line, and settled in America, where he married a very accomplished and amiable woman, of French extraction, by whom he had a large family. On his first going to that country, he was some years in the regiment commanded by Washington, then a Colonel in the British service, and with whom he formed a friendship that continued uninterrupted through life. In both Marshall's and Ramsay's history of that great man, honourable mention is made of Dr Craik, as was also done by General Washington in his will. Soon after the commencement of the American Revolution, the General appointed him 'Physician-general to the United States,' besides paying all possible attention to the interest of his children. But the death of that illustrious man proved a heavy blow to their former fair prospects, his successors having pursued measures decidedly hostile to his former adherents.

I have now, Sir, obeyed your injunction, of noting down all I can recollect from memory, or find marked upon paper. Had I understood, by your first epistle, that any information, except that merely connected with my father's agricultural pursuits, was required, what is now forwarded should then have been at your service. I wish, however, that the whole had proved more worthy of sending you. There is, unavoidably, so much said about grandfathers and mothers, that I greatly fear you will find the foregoing statement of facts very confined. Your own language and arrangement of the various articles, will, I doubt not, nevertheless remedy the evil. I will not, therefore, try your patience further on so tedious a subject, but remain,

Sir, your most obedient servant, H. CRAIK

3. Letter from James Grierson, Esquire, Dalgoner, 1. Nov. 1810.

I am sorry to acquaint you that I have not been so successful as I wished, in my inquiries after Mr Craik's practice in agriculture, and the effects it had on the cultivation of that part of the country in his more immediate neighbourhood. Several spoke of his great knowledge and persevering industry, but few could furnish particulars. I shall therefore attempt to give some traits, chiefly from recollection, though I hope you will be provided more fully.

It was in the year 1775 I first had occasion to meet with Mr Craik, in order to settle a particular business, which did not admit of despatch. During the discussion, there were considerable intervals of leisure, when, among other subjects, agriculture was the theme of discourse. At this distance of time, I cannot speak correctly of what was his mode of managing his family farm; but I recollect distinctly the plan he adopted for improving a piece of waste ground, about 400 acres of stiff, wet, barren clay. He undertook ten acres yearly. These he drained at great expense; - afterwards ploughed and sowed with oats. At first he reaped little produce; but found the ground, by this means, more easily reduced to a good tilth during the ensuing season, when under summer fallow. After the fallow was well broke, he employed his own, and other carts, to carry sea-shells from a bank within his own bounds to the field. Having mixed these intimately with the soil, by harrowing, he cropped with turnip, dunged in the drills, which was succeeded by barley and grass-seeds. In this state, he let off the ground, so soon as convenient, at one guinea per acre. Though this was a high rent then, the produce seemed well to deserve the price.

I cannot say how he disposed of the turnips; but, in 1777,on his own farm, cattle were taken to fat at 14s. per month. To this I can only add, that I have long heard it observed, that the small parish of Kirkbean supplies the butcher with an uncommonly large quantity of fat cattle for the size of it.

Mr Craik gave his tenants 3s. per day for each cart he had to carry shells, while the ordinary wages was from 2s. to 2s. 6d., - to teach them, he said, the proper value of their time and labour.

The cultivation of this waste was the steady labour of forty years. He began with the most distant parts first; as he said, that, while his strength was greatest, he might accomplish this, reserving what was nearer home for the care of his feebler years. I have heard him observe, that from more favourable soil, situation, &c. the rent of other estates, with little care, rose faster in proportion than his, after all his labour.

Mr Craik's attention was called, before the period I first speak, to the breed of cattle introduced, and so much recommended, by the celebrated Bakewell of Leicestershire. He had one or more of his bulls. The offspring, from their tameness and high condition, had a promising appearance; but I cannot speak of the final opinion he entertained of that breed : But when he went into their pasture, they not only allowed him to handle them freely, but came up to him to be fondled. I had, in 1779, a heifer from him of this breed, then high in his favour.

I have heard that, long before this, he paid great attention to his cattle, probably Galloways, which he tried in the plough; that some of them were shown in Dumfries by the butcher, before slaughter, for money; and one was so fat and unwieldy, that, though it got to Dumfries, it fell down on the street, and the fleshers were obliged to kill it there, two or three hundred yards from the shambles. This was in April 1764: the date is established by a gentleman who told me the circumstance, and eat part of that animal at a wedding.

Mr Fergus Rae, Dumfries, about the same period, bought a lot of black cattle from Mr Craik at £25 each. The beef of one weighed above 90 stones, 16 oz. per pound. This could not be got hung up in the then shambles ; so it was killed on the street, and hung on a triangle brought from Kelton, the seaport of Dumfries, for the purpose.

Mr Craik was equally successful in rearing horses. I find that, about 1750, he sold one to a gentleman in my neighbourhood for £25, a great price in these days. With this horse, he beat one of Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick's near Dunscore kirk; and was to contend, some days after, with one of Sir Robert Laurie's near Minihive; but Sir Robert, having heard of the discomfiture of Sir Thomas's horse, gave up. Regular race meetings were not then so common as now.

One circumstance strongly marks the general opinion of Mr Craik's merit; - he had apprentices from distant places. Two only I can name, - Mr Gordon from the neighbourhood of Kirkcudbright, and Mr Robertson from Argyllshire. This was probably not very common, fifty or sixty years ago, in any part of the island, as I have not heard of one in this quarter since. I recollect only one circumstance he told me relating to his apprentices, which was, that, by agreement, they were to eat, as well as work, with his servants. But an aged gentleman now tells me, that he has heard the time of apprenticeship was four years, and the fee twenty pounds.

Mr Craik said, 1782, that, for thirty years together, the sun never rose while he was in bed; and added, what was still more extraordinary, that his overseer, Samuel Johnston, he never found in bed but two or three times. He continued occasionally to dine in the fields near his labourers, to a very late period of his life. Samuel's first business was to give out coals for the day; and the regular allowance for the kitchen fire was a bushel of coals per day, company or not. So much for system.

With best wishes,
I am, Sir, your very humble servant, Ja. Grierson.