He returned to Scotland in 1781 after eleven years in Spain. He was now 45 years old. He had been consecrated bishop in Spain to come home to be coadjutor to Bishop George Hay. He was based in Edinburgh, where part of his pastoral plan was to mix with the influential citizens, those who were the opinion-formers of the day, including meeting Robert Burns and corresponding with him. He gained great respect from them, and consequently there was a better attitude towards the Catholic Community generally. From Edinburgh he went to Glasgow every couple of months to attend to the sixty Catholics there, and other places in the Lowland Vicariate, and once he went to the Orkneys. These journeys were largely done on foot. “Ambula coram Deo et esto perfectus” (Walk in the presence of the Lord and be perfect) was his episcopal motto.