Statue by Mossman. Erected 29th December, 1877.
In the High Street, at the corner of Nicholas Street, there is still standing, with its gable end to the street, an old two storey tenement, No. 215. It has the look of having seen better days and of having lived beyond its time, the solitary representative of a fashion which has passed away, when the houses of the West India merchants were in the Havannah opposite, and of learned professors in the old college further down the street. This is pointed out as the place where Thomas Campbell was born 27th July, 1777, just about the time that Robert Burns, then a lad of eighteen, removed to Lochlea, Tarbolton, after his father’s death. One could wish, for the credit of our city, that this tenement of historic interest were not so dilapidated. The Edinburgh people, and all the world with them, regret that they allowed the birthplace of Sir Walter Scott to be rubbed out in street improvements. If it had been preserved and properly cared for, what a glory it would have been! Could not Campbell’s birthplace in Glasgow be defended from a similar fate? It might be secured by the City Improvement and set to better advantage.
His paternal ancestors hailed from the parish of Kilmichael-Glassary, between Ardrishaig and Inveraray; but the poet’s father, following the current of all social tendencies in the west of Scotland, found his way to Glasgow to seek his fortune.
It is interesting to remember that he was baptised by the celebrated Dr. Reid, then professor of moral philosophy in the old university, in which he was destined to be a. student and three times the lord rector. On attaining his eighth year he was sent to the Grammar School, where he became a proficient in Latin and Greek, in which languages he could declaim with fluency. He was a lively, well-favoured boy, of rather a delicate constitution, with beautiful expressive features, and a precocity of intellect which soon arrested the attention of his parents and filled their hearts with hope. The discovery was followed up by early and assiduous cultivation. As in the case of Sir Walter Scott, the ballad poetry of Scotland was familiar to young Campbell long before he could comprehend its meaning, and when at length it came to be understood,