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  • ID: I3317
  • Name: Alexander COWAN
  • Given Name: Alexander
  • Surname: Cowan
  • Suffix: The Papermaker
  • Title: The Papermaker
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 17 JUN 1775 in James Court,Lawnmarket,Edinburgh
  • Death: 13 FEB 1859 in Royal Terrace,Edinburgh
  • Burial: 17 FEB 1859 Grange Cemetery,Edinburgh
  • Note:
    PAPER, SHELLS & DAFFODILS: Six generations of Cowans at the Valleyfield Mills

    From the day in 1779 that Charles Cowan took up the lease of the papermills and house at Valleyfield, six generations of the family were to be intimately connected with the fortunes of Penicuik. In those days Valleyfield House was beside the millpond at the riverside. Much loved by Charles' wife, Marjorie, it was to become the home of their younger son Alexander, founder of the great Penicuik papermaking company which bore his name and shell trademark worldwide for a hundred and fifty years. Alexander had studied Chemistry and Physics at Edinburgh in the 1790s. He married Elizabeth Hall in 1800 and they took up residence at Valleyfield, where the first of their many children were born. With the European War, trade declined badly and rags from the continent were hard to obtain. (Rags pounded until they disintegrated were the main ingredient of paper in those days) With papermaking at a standstill, the Government bought the mills and house and garden in 1810 to serve as a prison camp for captured sailors and kidnapped foreign civilians. They used the house as a prison hospital, and fitted up the rag sorting huts and paper stores as dormitories with double tiers of hammocks suspended from cast iron columns for the thousands of European sailors and other prisoners of war held there.

    Overlooking the compound, the Navy Board of Transport who operated the camp commissioned the King's Architect, Robert Reid (who had just finished the Leith Custom House) to build two new houses for the prison chaplain and surgeon on the brae next to the old St Mungo's Well and doocot. When the war was over, the prisoners left and the mills stood empty, though the Government had ideas to use them for making official paper. Cannily, Alexander Cowan had kept the water power rights and was able to negotiate repurchase, return to his beloved Penicuik and gradually restart papermaking with some of the original workforce after 1820. The mills were fitted out with new machinery by Bryan, Donkin & Company and the two Robert Reid houses were expanded to form a new Valleyfield House for Alexander and Elizabeth Cowan and their big family.

    The family on holiday in Moffat in 1820 were described in letters from Mrs Grant of Laggan who was also staying there. She writes: "Did you ever hear Mrs. Brunton speak of a family of the name of Cowan, who possess a great paper manufactory, and once lived beside her in Edinburgh, and afterwards were her country neighbours at Lasswade? She knew them well, and esteemed them much. Mr. Cowan is a man possessed of much general information, derived from a more extensive library than one usually finds in the possession of a private individual: his wife shares mentally in the treasures of her husband's knowledge, though personally devoted to the care and education of eleven promising and well-trained children. I must tell you a great deal about them when I see you: I shall only tell you now that they are spending the summer here, and are one of the most rational, comfortable and happy families I know. They have the most admirable cart imaginable, with seats slung in it, that makes it a most desirable vehicle. They call for me every day I can go, and take me to see all the old castles and Hopes and strange places in the neighbourhood; and their conversation is a treat, such as one does not often meet with. But I will tell you much of them hereafter."
    "MOFFAT, 26th July, 1820: I continue my cart-excursions here with no small satisfaction. My companions are delightful--the happiest, best, and most intelligent people imaginable. Their cart has such seats and slings and springs as make it quite the king of carts, and the very horse is a sensible, well-behaved animal, worthy of your acquaintance."

    Walter Scott (who gave Alexander his manuscript of The Heart of Midlothian and whose novels were printed on Cowan paper, like so much else in those days) was a regular visitor to the Cowans at Valleyfield, and Alexander's friend and cousin Thomas Chalmers (later to lead the Disruption of the Church of Scotland) spent his holidays there every year. In the gardens Alexander Cowan commissioned the architect Thomas Hamilton (designer of the Edinburgh High School on Calton Hill) to design a monument to international brotherhood and the memory of over 300 of the prisoners who had died during their Penicuik captivity. Walter Scott helped to choose the inscription.

    In 1828, Alexander left Valleyfield to live in Moray House, the firm's first Edinburgh headquarters. He was a generous man, reluctant to speak ill of any human being, and is said to have given away more than half his income in works of love and kindness. Walking down the Canongate, he was so struck by the poverty and cold of the houses with their cracked, broken and rag-stuffed windows that he gave his glazier instructions to repair every window from the Castle Hill to Holyrood at his own expense. In the cholera outbreak of 1832 when the sick were shunned by their neighbours, he did all he could to help the folk in the Canongate. As soon as he heard of a case, he would visit the patient, and even lie down beside them to prove to their friends that there was nothing to fear. As early as 1796 he helped to set up a parish library in Penicuik. With his brother Duncan, he arranged a new water supply. In 1851 he started a Penicuik village museum at the mills with the help of his friends. [believed to have been spirited away to southern antique dealers 125 years later when the mills were closed and demolished by the Reed Paper Group]. His high business standards demanded that all transactions must profit buyer and seller alike, no advantage must be taken of misfortune. Alexander Cowan's gardens at Valleyfield and Moray House were well known, and he was a regular contributor to the Royal Horticultural and Astronomical Societies, as well as to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Like Walter Scott he took an interest in gas supply. The Valleyfield Mills were lit by gas from 1830, and Messrs Cowan supplied the village of Penicuik from 1845 until new gasworks were built at Eastfield in 1877. On his death in 1859, Alexander left money for the common good of Penicuik people, from which the Cowan Institute (Town Hall) was later built and endowed with 5,000 (sadly vanished) books.

    [Mrs Grant's letter is quoted in the Appendix to "Alexander Cowan, His Kinsfolk & Connections" by C B Boog Watson, 1917 which states: "For mention of the Cowans of Penicuik see the Letters of Mrs Grant of Laggan, Letter ccxxxiii., written from Moffat, 26 July 1820, where Alexander Cowan and his family were spending the summer. {Mrs G's quote follows}. See also Mrs. Story's "Early Reminiscences", chap v., for mention of the Cowans of Penicuik, and their kindness to her in her young days."]

    ALEXANDER COWAN ON BUSINESS (from a letter to his son Charles, July 1836):
    "I think that business is a delightful employment, when we can say that it is well managed, and when we feel that it is not carried on for personal exultation but for the advancement of human virtue and happiness. When in fact we are Fellow workers with God."

    MARY FORSYTH his granddaughter (Tom and Lucy Anne Constable's daughter) wrote: ".. My grandfather took a place in the Highlands every summer, and invited his married daughters, their husbands and children to stay with him, or in cottages near Leny, Airds, Milmichael, Auchindarroch, etc.. The summers seemed to be always fine, and everything was delightful. If the house was too full, and unexpected guests arrived, half the party climbed a hill to see the sun rise- and that made their beds available for the others." [see The Cowan Letters ed. Isabel Buckoke, 2000]


    The following tribute to the memory of Alexander COWAN is from the pen of his son-in-law, Thomas CONSTABLE (1812-1881:see him on this tree), and appeared, soon after AC's decease, in a pamphlet printed for private circulation. It was then inserted in the second volume of Constable's Memoir of his father, Archibald the well-known Edinburgh publisher, and finally formed Appendix 1 of AC's son Charles COWAN's "Reminiscences" which came off the press in 1878. Tom CONSTABLE writes:


    IN these days of corporate zeal and wide alliance for the promoting of Christian and philanthropic ends, it may be encouraging to many, whose mental constitution forbids their taking public part in any scheme however useful, to be assured that, while pursuing their own quiet course, they may do much for the advancement of God's glory and the welfare of their fellow-men ; it may be, indeed, with less risk of losing singleness of heart, and tarnishing purity of motive, than many of their associated brethren ; even as the stream which flows without a tributary till it joins the sea, may as surely bring refreshment and fertility to the trees and flowers upon its banks, and yield its tribute to the ocean that unites the world, as the mighty river with its hundred feeding currents, that launches on its mission of enlightenment that is destined to bring tidings of good things to distant lands.

    ALEXANDER COWAN, who left us lately, after a long life of love and cheerful labour, may well be taken as a type of the class above alluded to. Though never seen upon a public platform, or in any place of concourse save the house of God, he was always ready to lend a helping hand to every worthy object. His voice was not heard in the streets, yet he went about continually 'doing good. His life was a long and happy one ; and the secret of his happiness was this, that he desired to be "one with God in all the conclusions of his mind and understanding, and one with Him in all the affections and desires of his heart." It was his rare lot to enjoy, for upwards of fifty-seven years, the companionship of two loving partners, and to see their families grown up as one around him. ; but he was not unvisited by sorrow, for he was called to watch over the wife of his youth through years of failing health, and to see sons and daughters of the fairest promise drop into their graves. Yet he was happy; for it was his heart's desire to be "at one " with God ; and his experience gave a signal testimony to the truth of that assurance, that he who will do God's will shall be brought to the knowledge of His doctrine. In every relation of life his conduct was most exemplary, winning the respect and affection of all who came in contact with him, while he was as the apple of their eye to all within his home.

    One of his daughters writes of him :-
    "I always felt him to be the embodiment of what God means when he says, 'I will be a Father to you.' I do not know whether our feelings of love or reverence preponderated. They were both boundless-the reverence quite unmixed with fear, and united to a delight in doing anything for him.
    "The chief characteristic of our home from my earliest recollection was its happiness -everybody was happy in it- a full unchecked happiness, reaching even to the 'stranger within the gates.' I never remember one of us thinking for a moment of disobeying our father. His commands were few, and we were never troubled about trifles. In thinking over his life, I admire him at no point more than when, by my mother's illness, she was no longer the companion to him that she once had been, how he kept up the unity of the family circle, supplying a mother's place to us, and devoting himself to our education ; our readings with him from six to eight every winter morning, with blazing fire and drawn curtains ; how he made everything so charming --arithmetic, geometry, history, and mechanics (with the experiments from Joyce's Dialogues) ; how he superintended everything, and knew at least what we ought to be doing at every hour of the day. Then his coming in so punctually at three o'clock, to take us out for a walk, with 'I'll give you two minutes and a half to get ready',' and this in all weathers ; --none of us take longer to this day, I believe. Then the evening reading aloud, when we all worked, none of us daring to move or say a word ; we knew the book would instantly be laid down with 'Well! tell me when you have done talking.' Then the finishing with a rubber at whist to amuse mamma and grandmamma. Every hour had its occupation, its regularity, and pleasant variety ; and so the house was kept in a constant serenity. I believe this power of diffusing happiness is the greatest and divinest of talents, and just what our Christianity still wants.
    "Many lectures we all had on the meanness and wretchedness of display, and the preference for a full and kind hospitality. Well do I remember his love for the weak, the helpless, the poor, and miserable ; his delight in seeking them out ; his tinge of romance united to his love of simplicity ; his advices to us, 'I hope, my dears, none of you will do anything so miserable as marry rich men.'"

    Although Mr. Cowan may be said to have retained his mental faculties unimpaired till the last illness overtook him, he himself thought otherwise, and, some years before his death, he wrote as follows :-- "I feel that my memory and my other powers are fast
    leaving me ; but this does not distress me. I am thankful for my many mercies, and especially that I have, in some degree, repented of my sins. My prayer, morning and evening, is that my repentance may be complete, and that my weakened powers may be better employed than my former abilities were. .. If I had borrowed a large sum from a kind friend to enable me to carry on my business, it was my duty to employ it for my own purpose with security to him, and to pay proper interest for it ; but it would have been a relief to my mind to have been enabled to pay it back, with thanks for the loan. I have osome such feeling about my powers of mind and body. Now that they are withdrawn, the demands on me are lessened in amount, and I may so far rest from my labours ; but 1 have still to thank God that they were lent to me for a season, and to repent that I did not employ them more for His glory.

    " I have no anxiety about my length of life, but pray that God may choose for me in that as in all other matters. I am surrounded by an affectionate family and friends, and I am delighted when they all live as it is their duty to do. . . . If I live another year, I hope I may see mly younger sous well fitted and disposed to be useful members of society : and if I die sooner, I believe it will be because our Heavenly Father sees that that will be best for us all, and that we shall be satisfied of this before another century elapses."

    " I recommend to you, and to all my children and connections, not to amass too much money, nor to be desirous of any worldly distinction ; but to live in a simple, humble manner, and to try to make all your workpeople, and all your fellow-creatures so far as possible, five or ten per cent. better than they would have been without such exertions on your part." "Happiness is not to be found in the possession of great abilities, or of the wealth and distinction of this world, but in loving God and our fellow-creatures, and making the best use of any talents we possess, whether these talents be great or small." " Now that I have paid all my accounts, I have time to call on old friends and old servants, and I feel more comfortable at night, when I have endeavoured to do even a little good, or have shown kindness to any one . . . Suggest to me anything I can do. I wish to lay out 500 or 600 this year in doing good beyond my usual extraordinaries."

    On being told some years ago of the death of a rich man whose charity was extolled because he bad left 50,000 to religious and philanthropic institutions, Mr. Cowan asked what the testator had done for God and man during his life. The answer being, that he had brought and kept together this large sum to be let loose in their service at his death, he replied that It was doubtful whether God accepts such gifts, and even whether men have the right to make any such testamentary disposition of their property. "We are only stewards during life," he said, "of all that God intrusts to us, for the maintenance of our families and the good of our fellow-creatures ; and if our hearts are not sufficiently enlarged to act as the dispensers of His bounty while we live, we are not entitled to direct its destination after He has called us to the last account."

    February 23, 1858.-" I thank you for your work, [Mr Cowan alludes to a periodical balancing of his private accounts by one of his sons] which is really a comfort to me, as I like to know my circumstances of a worldly kind now and then ; but I am in no way anxious to grow richer, but rather to leave good bairns and not too much money."

    August 12 -" I know nothing more productive of happiness, than a disposition to do all that is in our power to make worthy servants comfortable in their old age, -it must have a blessed effect in tending to make their latter days full of love to God and all around them.

    " I have during many years been too intent on acquiring worldly wealth and worldly distinction ; but these feelings are over, and I thank God they are. I have been singularly blessed in many ways, the happiest part of my life being the latter part ; and feeling how little I can now do for others, it is rather my wish and prayer that I may leave this world before I become a constant trouble. I mention this that you may look into all my matters, and tell me what duties I have to perform before I go away from among you. I think 1 shall die with pleasure, if I feel that 1 have truly repented of my sins, and loved my God and Saviour, and done my duty to my brethren of mankind. I rather think that the time of my departure is not distant ; but that and all other things I pray may be at the time the Almighty sees to be best. Amidst my mercies, I feel that having been permitted to pass twenty-eight years and upwards with my first admirable wife, and twenty-eight years with the present one, are singular calls for thankfulness." On being surprised by a friend one morning not long before his last illness, with his Bible open before him, he said, " I have a great admiration for David, and I like to follow his example by giving praise and thanks to God three times a day."

    His liberality was really unbounded. It is believed that for many years he spent quite as much in works of love and kindness as in all other expenses of a personal or family nature, and this altogether independently of the 16,000 which he presented in two donations to five Charitable Institutions in Edinburgh, and of the many thousands expended in establishing persons in business, and in aiding those who had been unfortunate. That he had no prejudices, no sectarian views, his gifts so kindly bestowed on churches and schools of many denominations bear evidence ; while in his own communion -the Established Church of Scotland- he was ever ready to respond to every call, and zealous in devising schemes of usefulness.

    When giving instructions for the payment of his last large donation to the Infirmary, etc., he begged that it might be delayed till July or August, as a considerable portion of the population would then be out of town. Nothing pleased him more than to hear of good being done, but he could not bear to hear of evil. If a person had acted badly, his most severe remark was, " Well, you must try to improve him; hie is a weak creature, and has not had so many advantages as we ; do him all the good you can."

    And if any one sought to injure him in any wity, or to misrepresent his motives, he would say, " Bear with him, and be kind to him. If my character be misrepresented, I do not care, so Iong as I have the love of my wife and children and a dozen friends."

    An an example of the charity that suffereth long and is kind, the following instance may be cited :-By the failure of an individual whom he had assisted, Mr. Cowan lost a large sum of money, and had considerable cause for annoyance in regard to circumstances connected with the failure ; but on hearing some years later, that the party had again met with a similar reverse, he wrote as follows to a friend who took an interest in the bankrupt, " You and I are as Christians bound to do all the good we can to our fellow-creatures, and to forgive their blunders. I know you feel an interest in our old friend --------. I send with this, by our missionary, Mr. Hay, 20, which you yourself or Mr. Hay may apply for his benefit, at the time and in the way you think most for his advantage." [For many years Mr. Cowan had employeda Christian agent to visit his workpeople at their homes, and generally superintend his schemes of usefulness, in the Canongate and elsewhere.]

    Mr. Cowan attached a high importance to honour in the conduct of business, and to the setting an example of duty before all young men. Of this, many fruits may still be seen in.those who were trained in the offices with which he was connected.

    It was a maxim with him that every transaction should be profitable alike to the buyer and the seller, and that no advantage could honestly be taken of a man's necessities. He sought earnestly to reform every practice in trade which had even the appearance of evil, and he greatly rejoiced to believe that he saw in his native country a more liberal spirit, and a more upright and honourable system of trade, than had prevailed when he was young.

    It was at all times painful to him to be made tbe object of public notice, even by those in his employment, or by his family, who were accustomed, when it was practicable, to meet together on his birthday. In the year 1855, he had expressed a desire that they should choose another day for their assembly, which led to a great gathering at Auchindarroch, where he was residing, on the 23d of August, the twenty-fifth anniversary of his second marriage --the silver wedding-day. He was gratified by the selection, feeling that his dear wife was equally with himself the object of attention. On this occasion, an address, composed by a beloved member of his family, who died early in the following year, was presented to him, with the signatures of sixty-three descendants, and gave him much pleasure.


    We, your Sixty-three Children, Grand-Children, and Great-GraildChildren (including Two Daughters-in-law, Three Sons-in-law, and Two Grand-Sons-in-law), many of us present, the rest unwillingly absent in person, but here also in spirit and loving desire, beg to offer to you and your affectionate Wife, our heartfelt congratulations upon the Twenty-fifth anniversary of your Marriage. Allow us to express the sentiment of unmingled thankfulness with which we all look back to that event, which has contributed so much to the happiness of yourself and of all around you.
    At the same time we desire to convey to Mrs. Cowan our sense of the unwearied attention to your welfare and happiness, by which, in a manner so exemplary, she discharges a debt due by us all.
    We avail ourselves of this opportunity also to acknowledge what we owe to you -to your training, and precept, and example ; above all how much we have reason to thank you for that pattern of benevolence and universal love, by which you have shown to us the true source of domestic bliss, and of happiness in all the relations of life.
    It is usual to designate this occasion as the Silver-Wedding Day, and if the epithet may refer to the brightness of a life, pure in its objects, and unblemished in its tenor, it could not be more suitable to any case than the present. If the design were to express an anniversary rich in love, and crowned with blessings, there is no metal too precious to lend the lustre of its name to a day so auspicious as this.
    We pray that God may continue to bless and favour you as He has hitherto done, and that whatever years He may yet appoint for you, may be years of happiness and peace.

    Kate Cowan.
    Charlotte Cowan.
    Charles Williarn Cowan.
    Marjory Isabella Cowan.
    Anna Maria Cowan.
    Maggie Menzies Cowan.
    John James Cowan.
    Thomas Chalmers.
    Jeanie Cbalmers.
    Isabella Charlotte Chalmers.
    Jeanie Helen Chalmers.
    Robert H. Lundie.
    Elizabeth H. Lundie.
    Robert Alexander Lundie.
    William John Menzies.
    Alexander James Menzies.
    Elizabeth Menzies.
    Jane Menzies.
    Helen Menzies.
    Katie Menzies.
    Allan Menzies, Jun.
    Robert Charles Menzies.
    Charles Duncan Menzies.
    Elizabeth Jane Simpson.
    Therese Charlotte Simpson.
    Fanny Josephine Simpson.
    Henry John Simpson.
    Harriet Luey Simpson.
    Marjory Helen Simpson.
    Joseph Charles Simpson.
    William E. Duncan Simpson.
    Alexander Philip Cowan.
    Jane Grace Cowan.
    Elizabeth Hall Cowan.
    Joan E. B. Cowan.
    Elizabeth Anne Constable.
    Archibald David Constable.
    Tommy Constable.
    Lucy Constable.
    Mary Constable.
    Katie Augusta Constable.
    Alexander Cowan Constable.

    None who enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Cowan in town or country need to be reminded of the cordial morning greeting, the kindly plans for each day's occupation in sight-seeing or otherwise, the perfect ease that prevailed throughout the whole establishment, and made the most casual guest feel for the time like a member of the family. The house, however large, was almost always filled ; and by the ingenious kindness of its mistress, seemed capable of indefinite expansion, so that all who came found room and welcome. Wherever he went, the neighbourhood was always the better for his coming. The poor were kindly cared for, and the rich had an example of courtesy and unostentatious beneficence set before them, which many of them highly valued and have not forgotten. Where Mr. Cowan once had been a tenant, proprietors were sure to ascertain that he did not wish to return, before they let their mansion to another.

    The interest he took in all his workpeople was heartfelt ; it embraced their moral, temporal, and spiritual welfare, and that of their wives and children. Until within a week of his death, he continued his regular visits to their houses, and he presided regularly at the payment of their wages, saying a kindly word, or asking a friendly question as he found occasion.

    In the year 1810, when the mills at Valleyfield had been purchased by Government for the accommodation of prisoners of war, great difficulty was felt as to the occupation of the workmen who were thus thrown out of employment; and Mr. Cowan's kindly nature was much interested in their behalf. He hurriedly called his foreman to him, told him to get his hat, and in the course of a four-miles' walk, gave such instructions as enabled him to provide for every one. His generalship, or faculty of commanding men judiciously, and keeping his people usefully employed, was quite remarkable, and it is interesting to record, that Mr. Steell, who had modelled both the Duke of Wellington and Mr. Cowan, has stated that their cranial measurements were identical.

    Before a lasting peace was finally proclaimed in 1815, three hundred and nine prisoners of war had died within the mills at Valleyfield, and been buried without mound or stone to mark their resting-place. Years afterwards, Mr. Cowan raised a handsome monument

    their resting-placc. within the mill. at
    without Inll,d Or Stone to mark Years afterwards, lvlr_ Cowan ra,se(l it
    l-e 1juke of cranial ffleas Wellington and urements were
    \ ITI.; N 1) 1 X
    .15 !)
    ottiftl,l LY1111 I'lle 1*(i110)Willg ill Frellch 111141
    0 beillg composed by his Soll,'~ and
    fitlillip by Sit. Walter Scott, which 1 believe
    it popular, Italian and Latin poet
    '111p plortill reillailis of
    :toii lik.iHoii(~i.s of war,
    XYI%ii died ill tiliH neighbourhood
    I-Iimt, Marell 1811, and 26th July 1814,
    ,\i.(, ititerred near this spot.
    til,Iift sillit~m sed et omnis terra sepulchrum.:'
    (ii,sl,ttiil of this Parisli, desiringto remember
    floil till Meo are Btethren, caused this Monument
    to, he erected in the Yeax 1830.
    ii(i ce lieu reposent les cendres do :3o!) prisouniers de guerre, Morts dans cc voisinage
    le '21 Mars 1811, et le 26 Juillet 1811t.
    N,,m pour les v(eux de vicillissantes iii('~r(.H,
    Par le sort appele's
    A devvidr aniants, aim6s, (SpClux, et p61-es, lls soiit tuorts exile's.
    I'lllvAi(iiii.m babitans do cette Paroisse, aimant k croire ilile tous les lionimes sent frf%res, firent 6lever cc Monurnent 1'an 1830.
    11w ili,.littlikl ' :bt wits erected at the sole expense of Mr. Cowail, with tJAN 0, k .... 1,1 o'll (if L Subscription of 5s. 6xacted from a neighbour, John A 11 ot i 1, 1, 1 j v w 11111 a k e r and leather merchant mentioned in chapte r 1 x., liftilt k,, iiisp.lil. bo viiabled to rise the plural number in the ii)scriptiou.
    1 ( lowan, boril November 9, 1804 ; died at Bonii, Deceinlit, f 11, 14:11.
    :~is WalLel. ScoLL, although at the time (18:10) ill feeble livaltb, took ill the illtellded Memorial, awl volttiit(i(,i,(.ii its it reuder-
    'd (All, Latill lille tIle followilig couplet
    li".i, in l*nit. Fratwe 'twits Vaill i".1, to,
    A jind Imst jtll*,,i.iIH
    Tlicks,' liii,,m did llol, to) aily of llm to) ('1111),1,1y I'llo Nolitillielit of
    I'll.' 1,11111b lhoot,' low to be ill tillimoll witli tilt, leoliogs wiliell llad (lit-.
    tibi,PlI of 1,11(5 Meillorial. 'I'lloy Wet.(, jb(-1~,11.(liilgiy oilibiLL4141.
    On the erection of this monument being made known many years after to the pensioners of the H6tel des Invalides in Paris, some of whom had been confined at Valleyfield, they were so touched by the fraternit~ that led to such a commemoration of their brethren, exiled even in death, that they addressed to the supposed philanthropists the following letter, which, in spite of its faulty diction, is well worthy of citation:-
    Je r6ponds A votre lettre que vous avez daign6 m'honorer sous la date du. 21 Novembre dernier. Jai Phonneur de vous dire d'abord, que ie regrette vivement que ma position sociale ne m'a point donn6 la facult6 de 1'6ducation pour vous rendre tout Peffet qu'a produit sur moi le contenu de votre cUre lettre.
    Ce iiiC~ine effet de surprise et de satisfaction e'est reproduit cbez toutes les personnes mes amis dont jc me suis I)Ift de la communiquer, et apr~s avoir s6rieusement rerna,rtlu6 dans son ensemble toute 1'importance, nous nous demandions comment deux nations oppos6es et sur le pied de guerre (1811-1814) b, cette dpoque, le vainqueur receuillissait les restes mortelles du vaineu, en attendant une eirconstance favorable pour leur 6.1ever un beau et vaste monument funbbre, rev8tu des attributions et inscriptions, et apr~s nous nous demandant do nouveau, Wil 6tait A la connaissance de quelqu'un de nous, qu'un tel exemple 5 la fois do sympathie, do pi~t6 et de fraterni16, eut pr6c6d6 ou suee6d6 A celui que nous avions sons les yeux ; chaque r6ponse 6tait mSgative.
    En cons6quence, sachez-1e-bien Yous tous qui avez contribu6 h cette boune oeuvre! la France, de quelque part que vienne une boune action, un digne exemple, n'a jamais fait Waut do saluer et Xapplaudir!
    Sachez-1e-bien de nouveau! plaeds sous 1'influence de la reconnaissance pour un fait aussi m6ritoire, si nous n'eussions IStd retenus par la crainte de blesser vos pieuses modesties nous avions arr6t6 de donner A cette bonne et belle eBuvre la publicitd la plus dtendue, par la voix des journaux de la capitale.
    Dumoins A d6faut de cette d6monstration bion m~rit6e, nous vous prions de recevoir nos plus sine~.res remerciments et nos Usirs les plus ardents que le ciel r~pande sur vous tons ses plus salutaires b6n6dictions, et exoce nos vceux iL seul fin que nous puissions dans un temps le plus rapproch6 possible voir toutes lies nations devenir socurs, et tons les hommes fr~res, ne formant qu'une seule fainille, enfin, la famille do Dieu!
    4 G 1
    NI..HNiell- Ct 1)anles, llassurance do notre plus haute ConIILIitl(~lle lions nous disolls, MARCHER Ct 808 anlis,
    Cl Division, 11MC1 (108 [nValiClCS.
    I, AI&p,, 4,. (1) 1846.
    Tho t'(,illowitig letter from the poet Lamartine shows that in
    14111.1 also the all-embracing charity of' Mr. Cowan was
    Witisilly appreciated :-
    BAINS D'Aix EN SAVOIE, 22 Aow 1830.
    The interest shownby you to the remains of my
    countrymen is hit'lily gratifying to my feelings, and 1 iomb 1 could have better expressed them than in the attempt
    wiiii,Ii 1 now submit to you. 1 also send you some lines com-
    liisrii,(1 by Monsieur de Sainte-Beuve for the same purpose at my
    llowever imperfect these attempts may be, they will 1 trust
    lily sincere desire to contribute my feeble efforts to your
    undertaking.-1 have the honour to be, sir, your most
    hunible servant, AL. W, LAMARTINE."
    lei dorment, jet6s Par le flot de la guerre, Wintr6pides soldats n68 sous un ciel plus beau vivants ils ont port~ les fers de VAngleterre, Morts, cc noble pays leur offrit dans sa terre L'hospitalit6 du. tombeau. . p
    UL, toute inimiti6 s'efface sous la pierre, Lo dernier SOUffle 6teint la haine dans les cocurs, Tont rentre darls la paix de la maison derni~,re, 1,1 le vent des vaincus y inGle ]a poussi~re A'la poussi~re des vainqueurs.
    de cc tertre une voix qui
    ,k,V(~IRM (lit--pollrqlloi combattre et pourquoi La terre est un S~piilchre et la gloire t!mt ;ill reve1,1Lt,i(litee 1 0 Inortels et renlettez lo glitive Ild jour encore tout va mourirl
    4 6 2
    Dormez sous ces gazons, nobles guerriers de France, Vous qii'ici la temp6te et la guerre ont jet6s, Pour qui trop tard d'un jour sonna la d6Iivrance, Morts sans avoir revu des cieux tant regrettds.
    Morts sans les doux regards des femmes et des rn~res, Sans les pieux san.glots des fils qu~on veut bdnir! 0 maudits les tyrans ! 0 maudites les guerres i Seigneur, qui done ainsi divise an lieu d'unir ?
    Mais au moins dans le ciel hospitalier, immense, La tendre charit6 renalt aux coeurs 116tris ; L~ cc n'est que Pardon, oubli, gr.lee et c16mence, Guerriers, dorniez cii paix sous ces gazons ficuris.
    During the terrible visitation of cholera ill 1831, Mr. Cowan visited the patients in the hospital each successive day for months, endeavouring to cheer and conifort them, and encouraging tile doctors and the nurses ; and after the disease had retired, he raised money for the purchase of an annuity for a poor widow, who had volunteered to nurse and tend the children that had been bereaved, and whose family after their mother's death he took under his own protection.
    He felt peculiar tenderness for the imbecile, either in body or in mind, and in summer, when in the country, used to search every nook and corner in his neighbourhood for persons thus afflicted, that he might endeavour to ameliorate their condition, by advising their friends as to the best means of treating their cases, and perhaps removing them at his own expense to some institution, where they had a chance of recovering their faculties.
    The claim of humanity was at all times enough to command Mr. Cowan's attention, and he was ever ready to show kindness even to the poorest or the most degraded. On one occasion, when walking with his wife through the Canongate on an intensely hot day, he perceived a poor woman-not improbably it drunkard-lying asleep at the foot of a stair, with the sun
    b, ill ili~ opm lier bead, and flies buzzing about her face : lie was 11 t,. lo,ttk,(, bim companion, and approaching the poor woman, to
    Iw, uprou and lay it gently over her head.
    114, waii it inan, not only of great intellectual power, but of
    Isi~titly vullivitted mind. He was a good chemist and matheinafloiltin. lind inuch historical and statistical information, read Vivu; 1j, Gerinan, Italian, and Spanish, besides Latin and Greek, *fid untA bo was taken ill a week before his death, had been to read the Greek Testament daily.
    llin vitjoyment of the grander objects in nature was unsur-
    Poomod , nud lie has beentheard to say that no scene more plilk,iiii,(1 bis mind, or more excited his admiration---for which ~#st may perhaps read adoration-than a barren moor, which tilt, limid oi' a man had never touched. But his appreciatlou id' ii.11 natural beauty was intense. The sun, the moon, the elouds, moors and mountains, trees and rivers, were bis delights. He never missed a sunset when within his tfblt45ll ' toill oil the evening of the last day he left his holise, homewards from the west, he turned many times till ikettilist- tbe setting sun. On the return of consciousness after
    llso i.iiiiif,HI, of those attacks that ended in his death, his first
    qttt%4(i,.ii witH, 11 llas the moon risen ? " His family used to say
    ,111111 lit, ---llerded the moon."
    AI 0w vlow of one of his later letters lie writes- We have
    h*ot onol livi. glorious day ; 1 now admire scenery, fine skies, and
    #it 1 ~ i,i I'n glorions works more than ever ; and can scarcely help
    WinhIng iliat, divested of this sinful body, I could admire and
    loyp wilboul, ecasi ' ng ; but the sinful body becomes low and
    idopi,y. nild witilig ine to cease writing."
    Tbo (,lily 1'tt(!tilt,y ill which he seemed to be deficient was the
    ,#~post ro h by which is mcant the critical its applied to works of
    Ill' td, litiLli,m devising, and the controversial its applied to inan's
    oulogy, wid wbut may be called minor inorals or coriventionali
    lit, M,ILH east in too a Inould, wilm too illuell occupied
    the perf*ectiolls of his Creator, and ill the doing
    of his Master's will, to perceive the duty, or to feel the inclination to examine the various and varying lights and shadows that man contrives to throw upon the revelations of his Maker. Even as regards human beauty, he seemed to want the power of comparison, at least beyond the days of infancy or early childhood. While he could tell to an ounce the weight of a newly- born baby, he might have failed to determine aright the comparative loveliness of the Queen of Beauty and an ordinary mortal.
    After a life of evident devotion to the service of God and of his fellow-creatures, and though not one of his many descendants can recall an occasion of his saying or doing anything that they thought would have been better left unsaid or undone, he felt himself to have been an unprofitable servant, and while he re
    * ed in the assurance that his sins had been forgiven, he
    lamented that his talents had not been more faithfully employed. During the summer of 1858, when a friend observed to him that he must have great satisfaction in reflecting on his well-spent life, and all the happiness he had been the means of bestowing, his answer was, 11 Ah ! when 1 enter the next world, 1 believe the first question addressed to me will be, 1 What have you done for
    the world that you have left ? ' "
    FoURSCORE Swift years have fled since those benignant eyes First mirrored the stints light, reflecting kindred beams; Since that most loving human heart began to beat In sympathetic concord with thy fellow-men: And though thy feet now rest beyond the utmost verge Assigned to mortal life by Israel's aged chief, Those eyes still beam as brightly as they did at first, That heart throbs now as warmly as it throbbed of yoreFather of all, we thank Thee for this grace !
    We know not when thine eyes were led to look within, And in the light of Heaven contemplate Nature's As-lorn Nor when that heart, so prompt to succour human woe, Enlightened by the quickening Spirit turned to God :-
    ,~ N 1) 1 X.
    Til.'- li,,w sCO light clearly in the light
    1,11111 titen tire sinners, and that God is Imvt,
    lwai i imix (.1enves by faith to Christ, th(o mill]19!1"N V1, ivild,
    ., %.,t 11 v(,m to bless, as once He (lied to Have.
    V..t t,Iiim, nbolve all else, we praise Thee, Imrd
    Owswi ito Ilit, invinory of the Past, when every year
    VIM01 lil(t(lgf,, of love-rejoiced in and repitid
    W Ith fingrant recolleetion of a faithful friend,
    01111 ly ast ever, though Iong gone to eaven
    #0i,Ii hik#o 11y liappy lot been, patriarchal man !
    11,11# wtkji.i,,i mid., hy side, long years, from early youth,
    11.11 Iflil Ill ill partners, flylly loving and beloved,
    II.Is ( I uteous to each other and to thee
    ,lit. praises for such mercy, Lord!
    lk.IMI,i~ so Ow with love unfeigned and warin
    hail thee as their honoured sire,-
    141til toll k% Im (wer knew thee count thee as their friend.
    h# si thou wilt -within thy peaceful home
    fl bits, tits 11 iglihind glen,-or on the crowded way, '
    jo Chiow h. innet fond looks of gratitude and love-
    itah iii~,st dear to thee have been removed by death,
    1Wist 1-1, Init g,,ttoi before," is written on their tombs
    Aids., i,,t. lily and grief, we praise Thee, Lord !
    011 1 1jj., g.l,),.y of tlic future far transcends
    WO&,y kyam narrov
    11; 1's
    1 1 11 , PiLA-for though thy path bath lain
    %mill ellivin d nwadows, and been strewed with many flowers, and beset with thorns ;
    kniloot Own %%,jLllt4,xl unscathed, but that thy Pilgrim feet
    oiii,.1 lit with the Word of peace,
    ho*it, l,') Ifilli Who is His I)Col~l(~'H stily-
    Mini dwid ii,Ii,i "ill ne'er forsalic llis belplems mheep.
    litkl I's twol, nlld Iwilour to llis nallic 1
    110 1,01 111111 Whilst, 11(,ILI.t~st attribute is I'llve,
    Iltbl, tit thec. 1 ' n. thev, lly thee, 11(3 111Lth (libil(A
    t, ili hilth to mark thoon foil. Uis ()wit,
    That thou. shalt dwell with llim throughout Eternity 1 Oh may the radiance of thy setting sun-lindimmed,Be milder, softer ever, as it nears the close ; And may we all who shall survive thee follow on, Until by Faith we reach the haven of thy rest,
    And join thee in the song of endless praise
    AT-,CIIIXDARRocH, August 23, 1855.
    Mr. Cowan when residing in the Highlands in various locali~ ties sought out the old people, and found that they in many cases had lost their sight, and were ignorant of any artificial aid. One of his sons remembers receiving all order to bring him to the paternal abode a considerable supply of spectacles, suited to various sights, and which wore highly appreciated by the old people.
    1 SALISBURY ROAD, 16th Feb. 1859.
    MY DEAR MR. COWAN,-1 am sorry that an engagement to go to the country will prevent me from attending the funeral of your honoured father to-morrow.
    In him a prince and a great one has fallen in Israel. I wish some one would write his history. With God's blessing it would do a world of good. No Scotch merchant ever so much deserved it. It would raise the tone of Christianity and humanity among our men of business, and, indeed, all classes of the community. Seldom are these words so appropriate, " Blessed are the dead," etc. May all his descendants sustain the high name he has earned for them!-With kind sympathy and regards to you and yours, I ever am yiours
    sincerely, THOMAS GUTURIE.
    At, tho clos'(' Of Dr. Guthrie's sernion,
    M r. Cowan's death somewhat as fol 'oW m; ll` ""xt'
    j. I intend this day to refer to will will.
    1,1111. 1 lably passed away from among us, and 1 feel thik loort,
    i,. do as he was not connected with this Wil.
    Joid (lid not even belong to the same exilitilit,Iiit,Y
    tv, we (10. It is needless for me to nallic hilli, Illioll lkim
    transactions more almost than oil 1,110140 0f101y 0014W
    tililti Orwhom 1 have read or heard was wi.itt,1.11 ' 11()liikl~ms t,0
    Ow He spent not one fortune for tlic good of otherm, 1)10. inany ; in one sense his death has shaken this city, nt,
    IvwA tlie dwellings of the poor. Some Men who Illuko 11 11111wely fortune, enjoy it while they live, and then, whon I 111..V die, when tAey have no further use for it, and cali keep it, 11o loligger, bequeath it to erect some splendid hospital to "iiii)iii(,ixiorate their own name and feed their owii vanity ; 11111 Ons. man could not enjoy fortune while he Imew (if' 0w wliowanted bread, or the children who were
    Itis noblest monument in the hearts of the pool. atid ill tlic
    of those who by his means have boeu viiabled to
    ~flipport, themselves and become goodand useful inembers of
    1 acter WILS his
    (.11 Y. A remarkable feature in his char,
    Most men blush when their misdeeds are iiiix,(1(i lotown, Lhis man blushed when his acts of benevolence were and told a friend of mine that lie would re-ret, witlong more than that those who carried him to the gravo rilwold be telling each other how many thousands lie Tiad left ; litil, lic liats left the whole community his heirs in the noble
    ilkj;iiii,Ii, lie bas bequeathed to them, and may many 1)(., coltniiiiiiii.([ hy the same spirit to go and do likewise."
    Tlic 1Me very reverend and honoured Dean EArnsay, lit
    llpon his flock ill St. Jolin's the of
    liherality, oil Sunday, January 91,11, 1857, froin
    1lrAidin c.\,ix. 32, two years before my fatiler's deallt, referred to low ill tliese words : -
    1 G (;
    A IT1l,'N 1) 1 X.
    thou Shalt d~i,e]I with Hirn
    011 'Day the radiance OF thy set throughout Eternity t'ng 'Un-undiinnied,-
    Be milder, softer ever, as it nea s the close ;
    And MaY we all whoshall survirve thee follow Until by Faith we reach the haven Of thy rest And join thee in the Song of endless p,.is'e
    AITCRINDAR ROCR, Augu,91 23, 1855.
    MI`. Cowan when resicl;
    ng in the H'ghlailds in various locali ties souc'ht out the old People, and found that they in raally cases ]lad lost, their sight,
    One Of his Solls reinenibers and were ignorant of any artificial aid.
    re"0'villg an order to
    paternal abode a bring hill to the
    various si,ht.' supply Of spectacles,
    and which suited to
    wore 1"of'h]Y appreciated by the old
    MY DEAR Mj, 11
    1 SALISBT rRy ROAD, 16t4_4,eb. 1859.
    to 90 to the Sorry that an engagement
    country Will prevent me from attending the funeral of Your honoured father to-morrow.
    In hiin a prince and a great one has fallen in Israel. Ivi'sh some one would write his history. ~l'rith God's blessing it would do a world
    so much deserved it. of good . NO Scotch merchant ever and humanity amorg It would raise the tone of Christianity
    Our men of business, and, indeed, all
    classes of the community.
    priate, Seldom are these words 80 appro-
    " Blessed are the dead," etc.
    sustain the high narne may all his descendants
    he has earned for then!-With kind sympathy and reprds to You and Yours, 1 ever am yours
    sincerely, THOMAS GUTRR11,..
    Al 1 On, close of Dr. Guthrie's sermon, February 20th, he
    if'd ii .,I ~li.. Cowan's death somewliatas follows. the. text was
    Plis] ii. 1 : -"I intend this day to refer to one who has
    1011,1 ' s' passed. away from among us, and 1 feel the inore free
    1.. do I,Iiis as he was not connected with this
    owl did not even belong to the same Christian coininunity ft's 1111 X],). It is needless for me to name hini. Upon his Iswo lie.." transactions more almost than on those of any other lii,lii of whom 1 have read or heard was written 'Holiness to He spent not one fortune for the good of others,
    low niany in one sense his death has shaken this city, at llw dwellings of the poor. Some men who make a ioiitti.(.ly fortune, enjoy it w~ile they live, and then, when f 1 w 1 (1 i o, when they have no further use for it, and can keep ii no longer, bequeath it to erect some splendid hospital to o,,jiiiii(,itiorate their own name and feed their own vanity;
    huf 1,1i*1s. man could not enjoy fortune while he knew of the
    wanted bread, or the childrenwhowere uneducated,
    his noblest monument in the hearts of the poor ' and in the
    in 1 i hide of those who by his means have been enabled to
    themselves and become good and useful members of A remarkable feature in his character was his
    Most men blush when their misdeeds are made
    It i i i i is, i i, 1.1lis man blushed when his acts of benevolence were Istilil Awd, and told a friend of mine that he would regret
    more than that those who carried him to the grave iiii(,ii lo 1 he telling each other how many thousands lie had left;
    11111, Ill, has left the whole commi-inity his heirs in the noble
    lie has bequeathed to them, and may many be con-
    olialned by the same spirit to go and do likewise."
    11w Inte very reverend and honoured Dean Rainsay, in
    1 Obli-ation of
    liii)t.o,,"jiig upon his flock in St. John's tbe M
    'Iiii~,Ii;iti Iiiwi.~tlity, on Sunday,'January 9th, 1857, from I'milin (.\.ix. 32, two years before my father's death, lo hiln Ill these words :-
    i c8
    11'e ',Inch need an enlarged spirit of liberality ill regard
    to our contribution, towards
    AS a c' charitable and religi
    Ommun'tYY W, do not give a's W, Ous objects.
    vinced that in many ca... ought. 1 am con
    charitable Offerings requires to be revised and carefully recon
    sidered by Christ. n the whole question Of their
    a believers, with prayers e in the conclusion. Contributions toward's
    light and guidanc 1 to God for His
    our great charitable schemes are still on a wretchedly con
    tracted scale. Examples of a
    spirit are not wanting amonast more enlarged and liberal they are rare as vall, 0 us, 1 freely acknowledge, but though humble test- able, 1 am proud to bear a sincere marked the recent 'mOny to such an ',ample which has
    tions. history of some If our principal institu-
    Towards the funds of several of our most valuable and useful charities, which were ill difficulty and sulTering from contracted ineans, a private and unostentatious citizen of Edinburgh has cOlltribut d of
    unnsual munificence. The 'lls Offer'ngs upon a scale
    and generous assistance afforded has been ll,bl,
    ance, dictated as it has been well-til ed and Of real import-
    by the spirit of Chris 11
    ence tian charity and benevol
    this furnishes us with an ezample Of a heaA enlarged for deeds of mercy and Of goodwill towards the human family, and ill whatever denomination of Christians amongst us the name Of such a man shall be enrolled, 1 shall
    honour that man,s honour and 1 do
    Church of Christ, an P08't'OR as a member
    d of the universal
    1 honour 1he generous and disinterested spirit which has prompted these gift
    the practical proof W Sp.aiid 1 am thankful for
    Offering the love of je hie], he has given of what
    sus and the love of tile a noble
    show forth to the world." brethren can
    U I PEN P11 X.
    Nil. 11.1
    10; 9
  • Change Date: 16 APR 2012 at 09:58:38

    Father: Charles COWAN b: JUN 1735 c: in Crail,Fife Scotland
    Mother: Marjorie FIDLER b: 16 JUL 1734 in Edinburgh c: 17 JUL 1734 in Edinburgh,by Bishop Robert Keith (1681-1757)

    Marriage 1 Elizabeth HALL b: 13 MAY 1781
    • Married: 31 MAY 1800 in Cargilfield,near Edinburgh
    1. Has Children Charles COWAN b: 7 JUN 1801 in South Charlotte St,Edinburgh
    2. Has No Children George Henry COWAN b: 6 MAR 1803 in Valleyfield,Penicuik,Scotland
    3. Has No Children Alexander COWAN b: 9 NOV 1804 in Valleyfield,Penicuik,Scotland
    4. Has Children Helen COWAN b: 8 AUG 1806
    5. Has Children Marjory COWAN b: 19 MAR 1808 in Penicuik
    6. Has No Children Elizabeth "Bissie" COWAN b: 5 MAY 1810 in Penicuik (Midlothian) Scotland
    7. Has No Children Duncan COWAN b: 25 MAY 1812 in Edinburgh,Scotland
    8. Has Children John COWAN b: 7 MAY 1814 in 5 St John St.,Edinburgh
    9. Has No Children James COWAN b: 12 MAR 1816 in Melville Mill,Lasswade,Midlothian,Scotland
    10. Has Children Lucy Anne "Puss" COWAN b: 27 JUL 1818
    11. Has No Children Susanna COWAN b: 19 MAR 1820

    Marriage 2 Helen BRODIE b: 3 SEP 1796 c: 25 SEP 1796 in Carnbee (Fife) Scotland
    • Married: 23 AUG 1830
    1. Has Children Janet COWAN b: 9 JUN 1831 in Moray House,Canongate,Edinburgh
    2. Has Children George COWAN b: 3 OCT 1832 in Moray House,Canongate,Edinburgh
    3. Has No Children Isabella COWAN b: 8 DEC 1833 in Moray House,Canongate,Edinburgh
    4. Has Children Alexander Oswald COWAN b: 6 DEC 1834 in Moray House,Canongate,Edinburgh
    5. Has No Children Jane Thompson COWAN b: 18 FEB 1836 in Moray House,Canongate,Edinburgh
    6. Has Children Mary Wood COWAN b: 22 AUG 1837 in Moray House,Canongate,Edinburgh c: 11 SEP 1837 in Canongate Kirk
    7. Has No Children Josephine Catherine COWAN b: 31 JAN 1839 in Logan Bank,Glencorse,Midlothian,Scotland
    8. Has No Children Susannah Hathaway COWAN b: 29 JUN 1840 in Penicuik,Midlothian,Scotland
    9. Has No Children Charlotte Jemima COWAN b: 2 MAR 1842 in Moray House,Canongate,Edinburgh

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