I may also mention, as worthy of special record, that the hull of this first steamboat was of iron. It was constructed of tinned iron plate. It was therefore the first iron steamboat, if not the first iron ship, that had ever been made. I may also add that the engines, constructed by Symington, which propelled this first iron steamboat are now carefully preserved at the Patent Museum at South Kensington, where they may be seen by everybody.[note: The original engines of the boat, with the ratchet-wheel contrivance of Symington, are there: the very engine that propelled the first steamer on Dalswinton Lake. It may be added that Mr. Miller expended about £30,000 on naval improvements, and, as is often the case, he was wholly neglected by the Government.]

To return to my father's profession as a portrait painter. He had given so much assistance to Mr. Miller, while acting as his chief draughtsman in connection with the triple and twin ships, and also while attending him at Leith and elsewhere, that it had considerably interfered with his practice; though everything was done by him con amore, in the best sense of the term. In return for this, however, Mr. Miller made my father the generous offer of a loan to enable him to visit Italy, and pursue his studies there. It was the most graceful mode in which Mr. Miller could express his obligations. It was an offer pure and simple, without security, and as such was thankfully accepted by my father.

In those days an artist was scarcely considered to have completed his education until he had studied the works of the great masters at Florence and Rome. My father left England for Italy on the 30th of December 1782. He reached Rome in safety, and earnestly devoted himself to the study of art. He remained in Italy for the greater part of two years. He visited Florence, Bologna, Padua, and other cities where the finest artistic works were to be found. He made studies and drawings of the best of them, besides making sketches from nature of the most remarkable places he had visited. He returned to Edinburgh at the end of 1784, and immediately resumed his profession of a portrait painter. He was so successful that in a short time he was enabled to repay his excellent friend Miller the £500 which he had so generously lent him a few years before.

The satisfactory results of his zealous practice, and of his skill and industry in his profession, together with the prospect of increasing artistic work, enabled him to bring to a happy conclusion an engagement he had entered into before leaving Edinburgh for Italy. I mean his marriage to my mother -- one of the greatest events of his life which took place on the 3rd of January 1786. Barbara Foulis was a distant relation of his own. She was the daughter of William Foulis, Esq., of Woodhall and Colinton, near Edinburgh. Her brother, the late Sir James Foulis, my uncle, succeeded to the ancient baronetcy of the family. See Burkes's Peerage and Baronetage[note: In Burke's Peerage and Baronetage an account is given of the Foulis family. They are of Norman origin. A branch settled in Scotland in the reign of Malcolm Canmore. By various intermarriages, the Foulises are connected with the Hopetoun, Bute, and Rosebery families. The present holder of the title represents the houses of Colinton, Woodhall, and Ravelstone.]

My mother did not bring with her any fortune, so to speak, in the way of gold or acres; but she brought something far better into my father's home, -- a sweetness of disposition, and a large measure of common sense, which made her, in all respects, the devoted helpmate of her husband. Her happy cheerful temperament, and her constant industry and attention, shed an influence upon all around her. By her example she inbred in her children the love of truth, excellence, and goodness. That was indeed the best fortune she could bring into a good man's home.

During the first year of my father's married life, when he lived in St. James's Square, he painted the well-known portrait of Robert Burns the poet. Burns had been introduced to him by Mr. Miller at Dalswinton. An intimate friendship sprang up between the artist and the poet. The love of nature and of natural objects was common to both. They also warmly sympathised in their political views. When Burns visited Edinburgh my father often met him. Burns had a strange aversion to sit for his portrait, though often urgently requested to do so. But when at my father's studio, Burns at last consented, and his portrait was rapidly painted. It was done in the course of a few hours, and my father made a present of it to Mrs. Burns. A mezzotint engraving of it was afterwards published by William Walker, son-in-law of the famous Samuel Reynolds. When the first proof impression was submitted to my father, he said to Mr. Walker: "I cannot better express

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