Alexander Bayne on his family

The previous letter by Alexander Bayne was written in 1713, when he had just been (re)introduced to Mary Carstairs. They were soon married and lived, if not happily ever after, at least until death did them part. Here he is, writing twenty years later (November 21, 1734) fondly about his family

…You may imagine therefore the account you give me of your family was most acceptable. And, in return, I am to tell you, that I am very happy in mine. The Sparkler, I am afraid, is not now so proper a name for Mrs. Bayne as it was when I wrote you that letter you mention: however, that part of the brilliant which she has lost, is lost only by communication, for she has brought me two girls, one of twenty and another of eighteen, who have caught it; and I have the satisfaction to think, it is the least part of their value that they are handsome. I have three boys, the eldest of seven years of age, who are all much handsomer than is needful for them, and the eldest promises something of a genius, which I am the apter to flatter myself with the hopes of, as his eldest sister has it; who, without being in the smallest degree prompted, has gone through more books that most men of twice her age usually do: and, which is best of all, she is not sensible of that superiority she has over most of her sex of like age with herself.

Later his health turned worse, and in 1737, he began a trip to Bath in hopes of recovery, but he died on the journey at Alnwick, Northumberland, where he was buried and his wife put up a memorial to him in Latin with the epitaph, “The Gods conceal from men, that they may endure to live, how pleasant it is to die.”

Bayne tablet small

Davison, in A descriptive and historical view of Alnwick … (1822) gives this colourful story of his end:

Dr. Alexander Bayne, in his way to Bath from Edinburgh, when he was much reduced, was in such high spirits that he got out of his carriage a little before he came into Alnwick, and walked and sung for some way. But making a slip upon the stairs of the Angel Inn as he went to bed, he instantly expired.

His widow Mary lived on to 1759.

The letter was reprinted in: J. Duncombe, Letters by several eminent persons deceased … with notes explanatory and historical, 2 vols. (1772)

1 thought on “Alexander Bayne on his family

  1. Pingback: What became of Alexander Bayne’s children? | Kirby and his world

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