The Muses claim’d him

At the edge of a field, north of Crookston Wood, parish of Heriot, there is an undated monument taking the form of an obelisk:

The Ordnance Survey book of 1856 gives these details :

"A monument built of cut granite Stone it is about 8 feet high of conical shape and Standing on a pedestal of about 3 ft square, it was erected to Commemorate the Spot on which William Borthwick a young man of weak intellect Committed Suicide by shooting himself."

On one of the squares of the pedestal is the following inscription

“Friend looking at this Stone Consider life health how uncertain.
Pray that god by his free grace may prepare you for eternity”

on an other side is this

“Death is a debt to nature due which I have paid and so must you”.

The death of William Borthwick was announced in the Scotsman, June 1809. William was the third son of  John Borthwick, 12th of Crookston:

William’s father purchased Borthwick Castle toward the close of the eighteenth century  thus bringing it back into the family for the first time since 1672.

In the Scots magazine, October 1809, it was stated that William had died as a result of an accident and not by suicide.  The following LINES of poetry then followed:


Footnote:
William’s brother studied at Edinburgh University between 1802  and 1807.  In the Special Collections seven notebooks survive including lecture notes on moral philosophy by Dugald Stewart, and lecture notes on natural philosophy, by John Playfair.

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