Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/274

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above named, at Madras for England, leaving behind him, after a service of seven and twenty years, a reputation for talent, diligence, and exemplary conduct, both as a civil and military officer, which few in the same service had attained, and none surpassed. In the former capacity, he had undertaken and accomplished more than any British functionary had ever done before him; and in the latter, he had displayed a talent for military affairs, which all acknowledged to be of the very highest order.

After an agreeable passage of nearly six months, colonel Munro arrived at Deal on the 5th April, 1808. From Deal he proceeded to London, where he was detained by some pressing business, until the summer was far advanced. He then set out for Scotland, but not without some melancholy forebodings of the changes which he knew so great a lapse of time as seven and twenty years must have effected on the persons and things associated with his earliest and tenderest recollections. These anticipations he found, on his arrival, realized. That mother to whom he was so tenderly attached, and whose comfort and welfare had been a constant object of his solicitude, was no more. She had died about a year previous to his arrival. Two of his brothers were dead also, and many besides of the friends of his youth. The imbecility of age had moreover come upon his only surviving parent, and had effected such a change, as to mar that reciprocity of feeling, which their meeting, after so long a separation, would otherwise have excited.

On his return to Glasgow, colonel Munro revisited all the haunts of his youth, and, particularly, North Woodside, then a romantic spot in the vicinity of the city, where, in his early days, his father had a country residence, to which the family resorted every summer. Here, with all that simple and amiable feeling, peculiar to generous natures, he endeavoured to annihilate the space of time which had elapsed since he had been there a boy, and to recall, with increased force, the sensations of his youth, by bathing in the dam in which he had sported when a boy, and by wandering through the woods where he had spent so many of the careless hours of that happy season. This feeling he even carried so far, as to climb once more a favourite aged tree, which had enjoyed an especial share of his youthful patronage and affection. Every branch was familiar to him; for he had a thousand times nestled amongst them, to enjoy in solitude and quietness the pages of some favourite author.

Colonel Munro now spent a good deal of his time in Edinburgh, where he resumed his favourite study, chemistry, by attending the lectures of Dr Hope, and by perusing such works on the subject as had appeared since he had left Europe. During his residence in Britain, he took a lively interest in the Peninsular war, and was known to be in constant communication with the duke of Wellington, who had become acquainted with him in the East, and who had there learned to appreciate his eminent abilities. About this time, also, he accompanied Sir John Hope to the Scheldt as a volunteer, and was present at the siege of Flushing.

The East India Company's charter now drawing to a close, and the question of the propriety of its renewal having attracted an extraordinary share of public attention; a parliamentary committee was appointed to inquire into, and hear evidence on the subject, to enable the house to come to a decision regarding it. Many persons connected with India were in consequence examined on the affairs of that country, and amongst the rest the subject of this memoir; and such was the clearness of his evidence, the importance of the information which he gave, the comprehensiveness of his views, and the general talent and judgment which characterized all his statements, that the court of directors im-