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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
William Roscoe to Hector Macneil, [September? 1805]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“Be assured, my dear Sir, that in our common attachment to our late much loved and lamented friend, I feel an additional bond of union between
us. His influence yet survives, and forms fresh motives of confidence and friendship. * * * You will already, perhaps, have heard that the sufferings of our late excellent friend, towards the close of his life, were uncommonly severe; but it may be some satisfaction to you to know, that the firmness of his mind was equal to the trial, and that, amidst the most painful conflicts of his disorder, he was employed in an abstract attention to the nature of his symptoms, as if he had been making observations on the case of another person. Such a decided superiority of mind to body has seldom been exhibited, and reminds me of a most striking passage in a letter of
Dr. Reid, given in Mr. Stewart’s Life of that eminent man. ‘To think that the soul perishes in that fatal moment, when it is purified by this fiery trial, and fitted for the noblest exertions in another state, is an opinion which I cannot help looking down upon with contempt and disdain.’ On this subject, I cannot refrain from communicating to you some other circumstances attending his last moments, which afford an additional proof of the warmth of his affections, and the unbroken vigour of his mind. Whilst confined to his bed, he was accustomed to dictate to his son Wallace, who constantly attended on him, such sentiments as occurred to him respecting those matters in which he was most deeply interested—his family, his friends, his writings,
and his opinions. This practice was continued to the very extreme of his rational powers, and was even renewed in the intervals of delirium immediately preceding his death. Some of these written memorials have since been communicated to me; and you will readily conceive what my feelings must have been, on finding one of them addressed to myself, tremulously signed with his own hand, intended to convey to me and mine his last blessing, and to give me some account of the state of his feelings on the most important of all topics, so far as he had then proceeded in what he himself denominates ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’ Such a pledge of affection more nearly resembles a communication from the world of spirits, than a message from a fellow mortal; and I shall, accordingly, preserve it as an inestimable memorial of the friendship of a man of high intellectual endowments, inflexible energy, and unbounded goodness of heart.”