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Mr. MNeil that the manse at Banton was erected. The present incumbent, the Rev. James Whiteford, M.A., was a student of Glasgow, where he took a good place in the Greek classes. After having been for a considerable period of years assistant at St. Ninians, Stirling, he was ordained in February, 1879. During his ministry the chapel has been erected into a parish quoad sacra, decree being granted by the Court of Teinds on the 6th December, 1880.
For a large number of years Banton estate has been held by the Cadell family. The most distinguished member of that family was William Archibald Cadell, traveller, mathematician, and scholar. His father was William Cadell of Cockenzie, a scion of the Calder clan. He set himself to the developing of the resources of Cockenzie, Prestonpans, and neighbourhood. He wrought the coal of the district, and set up establishments for the manufacture of salt and pottery. He was about to add iron smelting to his other businesses when he was visited by that remarkable man Dr. John Roebuck. Dr. Roebuck's brain was teeming with all kinds of ingenious projects. The immediate cause of his Northern tour was to ascertain the practicability of establishing a foundry in Scotland. Having inspected various localities he at length fixed on a spot on the northern bank of the. Carron as one entirely suitable. In that place, by bringing workmen from England, he established in 1760 the famous Carron Company. The company was incorporated by Royal Charter, and the original capital was £50,000 divided into 600 shares. Roebuck was a far more daring spirit than Cadell, but as respects their business habits and mechanical tastes there existed between the intellectual characters of the two men a striking similarity. Roebuck's schemes fairly
captured the Prestonpans potter and panner. By and by Cadell allowed Roebuck to go his own way, when he saw he was entering on adventures that had every assurance of success, but were entirely beyond the strength of his capital. Meanwhile, he entered along with him with zeal into the Carron project, and in the course of time it became an exceedingly valuable concern. The Carron Company is one of the Kilsyth heritors, and owns mineral fields on the borders of the parish of considerable extent. From the time of its incorporation until now, the Carron Company has enjoyed a period of uninterrupted prosperity. But Dr. Roebuck's rise and ruin, his connection with Cadell, and Watt and his engine, lie beyond the scope of my present design.
This William Cadell of Cockenzie, who was the original managing partner, and, along with Dr. Roebuck, the founder of the Carron Company, was married to Katharine, daughter of Archibald Inglis of Auchendinny in Mid-Lothian, Hereditary Usher of Scotland. Of this couple William Archibald Cadell, of Banton, was the oldest child. He was born at his father's residence, Carron Park, near Falkirk, on the 27th June, 1775. After receiving his education at the Edinburgh University, about 1798 he became a member of the Scottish bar. Being, however, not only possessed of the estate of Banton, but also of other ample private means, he never took up the active practice of his profession, but spent his life in carrying out scientific researches both at home and abroad. All his studies were of such a character as required a finely cultivated mind, and some of them such as required mathematical attainments of the very highest order. He has left behind him a great mass of notes and observations in various departments of life and philosophy. These MSS. are at present in the possession of James John Cadell, of Carron Park, Larbert, and also of Banton. In his youth he was a great deal in society, but in his latter years he became somewhat of a scientific and literary recluse. His vivacious early life hardened into an impenetrable taciturnity.
The most unlooked-for incidents he regarded with as much complacency as if they had been part of the normal routine. He was one of those present at the sale of Eldin's Collection of articles of virtu, in Picardy Place, Edinburgh, when the floor gave way beneath the weight of the company, and all were precipitated into the basement flat. Cadell was uninjured, and whilst others were striving to rescue the bruised and suffocating sufferers from the debris, he was hunting for his umbrella and catalogue ! Having recovered them, and seeing as clearly as clouds of dust would allow that the sale was stopped for that day at least, he clambered over the wreckage and walked quietly homeward. In Queen Street he bowed to his cousin, Robert Cadell, the publisher, who was hurrying along, catalogue in hand. But he did not even inform him that there was no hurry. Robert Cadell's first intimation of the catastrophe was the crowd outside the door, and the announcement that his cousin, William Archibald, was certainly killed !
The same William Archibald, on stepping out of the canal boat one day on his way home to Carron Park, dropped his umbrella over the side, and in catching at it slipped and fell into the canal. The waters closed over him, and for a few anxious moments the passengers thought he had stuck in the mud below. But soon a hand appeared, and in it an umbrella firmly grasped. A head followed. Then came the quiet request, “Someone hold my umbrella,” which someone did, and Mr. Cadell climbed on the bank, took back the umbrella,
and without a word or gesture, or the slightest trace of discomposure, walked off!
The acquirements of Cadell were of so ripe a character that they won him the friendship of that distinguished natural historian Sir Joseph Banks. Sir Joseph did much to raise the state of science in Britain. He was a member of the Royal Society, and for a period of years president of that body. Through his interest his friend was elected a member of that venerable corporation on the 28th June, 1810. He was also a fellow of the Geological Society, and a member of the now defunct Wernerian Society. To the transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh he contributed a paper on the Lines that divided each Semidiurnal Arc into six Equal Parts. In the “Annals of Philosophy," he wrote an account of the “ Arithmetical Machine."
Cadell's title to remembrance rests on the two splendid volumes which he wrote, bearing the title, “A Journey in Carniola, Italy, and France." This handsome work was published by Archibald Constable & Co., in 1820. The work is dedicated to the Right Honourable Sir Joseph Banks, Bart, G.C.B., “in testimony of the author's great respect and esteem.” 1817 and 1818 were the years in which his travels were accomplished. The works are finely illustrated, and a large number of the drawings are from his own pencil. They contain a vast variety of information relating to the language, geography, history, antiquities, natural history, science, painters and painting, sculptors and sculpture, architecture, agriculture, the mechanical arts and manufactures of the places he visited. Cadell's volumes will ever remain a monument of an observation that was at once strikingly minute and comprehensive. While the young man was on his tour, his father, immersed though he was in business, still found time to write his son long and affectionate letters, full of all kinds of minute inquiries. His father was particularly anxious his son should learn particulars concerning the latest foreign methods of paper-making and working in metals. He kept continually before him the possibility of establishing a lucrative trade with the countries he visited. These letters reveal the cosmopolitan instincts of the father. They show him to have been an acute man of the world, and almost weakly solicitous for the welfare and prosperity of his son. It was under the constant rain and stimulus of these letters Cadell produced his magnificent work. Had Cadell's gift of style been equal to his powers of painstaking observation, his “travels” would certainly have eclipsed the fame of “Eothen," and "The Crescent and the Cross.” As it is, they are wonderfully entertaining, and a storehouse of reliable and accurate information.
Cadell was a contributor to the 7th edition of the “Encyclopædia Britannica,” under the signature “B. B.” In the list of unsigned articles, he wrote the papers on “Cinnamon," "Copper,” “Klinometer," and “ Lamp.” His supreme devotion to study rendered him somewhat indifferent to the usages of society, and, in his latter years, he was regarded by the vulgar and those who did not know him sufficiently, as “a character.” He was a fairly accomplished linguist, and the most remarkable feat with which he is credited is that which he performed while travelling on the Continent during the war with France. He was taken prisoner. He saw his only hope of escape lay in his capability of passing himself off as a Frenchman. For a long period he maintained his disguise so perfectly that he was set at liberty. Cadell died unmarried, at Edinburgh, the 19th Feb., 1855.