Lives of
Scottish Poets
edited by
DAVID HILL RADCLIFFE

Center for Applied Technologies
in the Humanities


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Literary Chronicle
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Part I. (Volume I.)
Front-matter
James the First
Thomas the Rhymer
John Barbour
Andrew Wyntoun
Gavin Douglas
Allan Ramsay
William Meston
John Home
James Beattie
Robert Burns

Part II. (Volume I.)
Front-matter
James the Fifth
William Dunbar
Sir James Inglis
Henry the Minstrel
Sir David Lyndsay
Alexander Barclay
Alexander Montgomerie
William Alexander
William Drummond
James Thomson
John Oswald

Part III. (Volume II.)
Front-matter
James the Sixth
Sir Richard Maitland
Arthur Johnston
Hamilton of Bangour
Hamilton of Gilbertfield
Samuel Colvil
Alexander Ross
John Armstrong
John Ogilvie
James Macpherson
Charles Salmon

Part IV. (Volume II.)
Front-matter
Alexander Hume
John Bellenden
Mark Alexander Boyd
Ninian Paterson
William Wilkie
Robert Fergusson
William Julius Mickle
Alexander Geddes
James Grahame

Part V. (Volume III.)
Front-matter
Robert Henryson
Alexander Scott
Walter Kennedy
John Ogilby
Alexander Pennecuik
Alexander Cunningham
David Mallet
William Falconer
Francis Garden
Robert Blair
James Moor
James Graeme
Caleb Whitefoord
James Grainger
Hector Macneill
John Wilson

Part VI. (Volume III.)
Front-matter
Robert Kerr
Richard Lord Maitland
Thomas Hamilton
Charles Hamilton
Michael Bruce
Thomas Blacklock
John Logan
Andrew Macdonald
James Mercer

Appendix. (Volume III.)
James I
Allan Ramsay
John Home
Robert Burns
William Drummond
Robert Fergusson
Alexander Scott
John Wilson
Index
Corrections

The Literary Chronicle was edited by Thomas Byerley (1789-1826) and competed with William Jerdan's more successful Literary Gazette. Byerley was one of the authors of The Percy Anecdotes (1821-23) which like the Lives of Scottish Poets was published by T. Boys. The fulsome flattery with which the Chronicle greeted each new installment of the Lives suggests that Byerley may have had a financial stake in its publication, or at the very least that he was connected with its authors. It is therefore noteworthy that the first of these five reviews would cast doubt on the existence of the Society of Ancient Scots supposedly responsible for its publication.
The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review
No. 111. Saturday, June 30, 1821.
pp. 405-07.

LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.

The first part of a new work, under the above title, has just appeared, and will be followed by a number every succeeding month. It is printed in the same size as the ‘Percy Anecdotes,’ and in all the qualities of elegance and embellishment, it is one of the first and cheapest publications of the day. The work, however, possesses stronger recommendations than even its elegant form or its low price—the interest and importance of its contents.

Numerous as are the biographical collections that at present exist, and valuable as we admit some of them to be, yet, from the time of Bayle to the present day, they have been but copies or abridgements of each other; it is true, new lives have been added to continue the work chronologically, but in former lives there has seldom been any attention either to obtain new facts or even to examine into the truth of those already stated. Not so, however, are the ‘Lives of Eminent Scotsmen;’ for, although the first part contains biographies only of persons who are so well known, that it might be supposed every thing respecting them had already been published, yet we here meet with many new facts, some new productions of the authors, and an original estimate of the talents and character of each individual. We are not led into the track of former biographers, but each is an original memoir, as much so in style and diction as if no other had ever existed.

The work purports to be by the Society of Ancient Scots, and edited by the secretary, Arthur Sempil. It is intended to embrace original memoirs of all Scotsmen ‘eminent in arts or arms, in letters or science, arranged into separate classes, of poets, historians, philosophers, &c.’ The first part commences with James the First, Thomas Rhymer, (not the Rhymer, as former biographers called him,) John Barbour, Andrew Wyntoun, Gavin Douglas, Allan Ramsay, William Meston, John Home, James Beattie, and Robert Burns.

We will not inquire whether the Society of Ancient Scots exists or not, but shall look at the work without the slightest reference to who may be its author or authors; and in going through the first part, we are led to award it our warmest praise. The work is written with great ability, and with the true spirit of a biographer, avoiding, on the one hand, a dry detail of facts and dates, and, on the other, prolix dissertation. All the important facts in each man's life, such we mean as enable us to estimate his character, are briefly related, and the necessary inferences which they warrant are drawn. The theories and speculations of former biographers are fairly weighed, and the merits of each ‘eminent Scotsman’ is discussed with bold independence and impartiality.

It is not our intention to attempt to abridge or condense any one of these memoirs; but, as we spoke of its originality, we shall select a few passages which appear to us to entitle it to that character. The first extract we shall make, is from an admirably written memoir of Allan Ramsay, and relates to the beautiful pastoral opera of that bard:—

‘The “Gentle Shepherd,” though adapted to the stage, did not make its appearance upon it till several years after its publication. The people of Scotland had not as yet thrown off those prejudices with which ages of stern Presbyterianism had filled them, against all sorts of theatrical representations; there were, therefore, no native actors, and, of course, none who could represent a piece so entirely Scottish.* It was the comedy of the Gentle Shepherd, however, which was destined to strike the first blow at this popular aversion to the drama; and the manner in which this came about, affords a striking illustration of the truth, that every attempt to enslave the minds of men is only productive of an ultimate increase in liberality of sentiment.

‘A printer in Edinburgh, of the name of Robert Drummond, who had been employed to print one of the editions of the Gentle Shepherd, having, after the rebellion of 1745, published a satirical poem, called the Town Council, containing a smart attack on Mr. Drummund, the provost of Edinburgh; Dr. Wishart, principal of the university; Dr. Webster, one of the ministers of the city;†


* ‘In a prologue to the university of Oxford, written by Dryden, he makes the following apology for the absence of several performers from England:

“Our brethren have from Thames to Tweed departed,
And of our sisters, all the kinder hearted,
To Edinborough gone, or coacht or carted.”

† ‘All of them very estimable men; a circumstance which makes it the more surprising, that they should have countenanced the singularly oppressive proceedings which were adopted against the printer of this mere jeu d'esprit. One of the severest things in it was, an insinuation that Dr. Webster, who was much in the confidence of the town council, and its right hand in all the public improvements then going on, had cost the city more claret than would float a seventy-four! There might be some exaggeration in the estimate, but as no one ever doubted this reverend doctor's love for claret, of which, even to this day, the people of Edinburgh preserve many amusing recollections, it was rather too bad to take a poor satirist to task for a mere over-measurement.
‘Let us hope, that the reverend doctor himself had no active share in this inglorious prosecution; he was himself a poet of no mean pretensions; and, at his death, in the 76th year of his age, left behind him a character, distinguished for liberality and benevolence. Hitherto, Dr. Webster has been little, if at all, known in the light of a poet, and his claims to that character rest, it is believed, on a single piece, which Pinkerton has printed in his Select Scottish Ballads, vol. ii. No. 33, without being aware of the name of the author. It is a piece, however, of rare merit; in elegance and warmth, it rivals even the effusions of Catullus. It was written in allusion to a real event—his own marriage to a lady of noble family. The following is the initiatory stanza:—

“Oh! how could I venture to luve ane like thee,
And you not despise a poor conquest like me?
On lords, thy admirers, could look wi' disdain,
And knew I was naething, yet pitied my pain?
You said, while they teas'd you with nonsense and dress,
“When real the passion the vanity's less.”
You saw through that silence which others despise,
And, while beaus were a-tauking, read luve in my eyes.”
A. S.
and several other eminent whig characters; a prosecution was instituted against him before the magistrates, that is, before the very individuals who were themselves among the parties satirized and complaining. The judgement was such as might be expected from irritated men deciding in their own cause. They found that “the poem contained many scandalous, seditious, calumnious, and malicious expressions;” and they therefore ordered the printer, Robert Drummond, “to be carried to prison, and thence, on the 25th of November, betwixt the hours of twelve and one, to the cross of Edinburgh, there to stand bareheaded with a label on his breast, inscribed thus: “For printing and publishing a false, scandalous, and defamatory libel;” till all the copies seized of the poem should be burnt by the hangman; then to lie in prison till he should give bond to remove out of the city and liberties, and not return for a year on pain of 100l. sterling, and suffering imprisonment till the remainder of the year was run, and to be deprived of the priveledges of a freeman for a year.” An application was made to the Court of Justiciary for alteration of this unjust and cruel sentence, but without effect. Poor Drummond underwent the whole punishment awarded; his printing office was shut up; and his workmen, of whom he had employed a considerable number, were thrown idle on the town.

‘Among the works which Drummond had most recently printed, was the edition of the Gentle Shepherd. While it was passing through the hands of his compositors, they had committed to memory some of its most striking scenes, which they used to take pleasure in reciting among themselves; and now that they were deprived of employment by the ruin of their master, the idea happily struck them of attempting a public representation of the comedy for their common benefit. The manager of the theatre, then situated in the Canongate, readily agreed to give them the use of his stage; and the great body of the public, comprehending especially the middling and lower classes, hitherto the most adverse to theatrical representations, were induced, from compassion for the fate of Drummond and his men, the victims of power, to suspend their prejudices for a moment, and to regard the humble attempt with that silent acquiescence, which, by leaving the young and gay-hearted to follow their inclinations, had all the effect of a more open encouragement. On the first performance of the opera, the house was crowded in every part; and it was repeated several successive nights to such numerous audiences, that tiers of benches were erected upon the stage to accommodate the overflow. The distresses of the suffering printers were thus, in a great measure, relieved; but a more general and lasting advantage, derived from these representations, was the cessation of that rooted antipathy which a religious people, still warm with convert zeal, had, till now, persisted in maintaining towards the entertainments of the stage. The multitude being thus dragged, as it were, by sympathy for oppressed merit, to the interdicted regions of pleasure, were induced ”to taste the forbidden fruit, and, pleased with the relish, they fed plenteously. Finding themselves not poisoned by the sweets, they returned to the feast with all increased appetite, and brought with them fresh guests to partake of the enticing fare.”’

It is generally known that Home, the author of “Douglas,” incurred the censure of the Scotch presbytery, for being what Mrs. Inchbald a few years ago justly called him, ‘the only living author of a living tragedy.’ The following anecdote is, however, new to us:—

‘The presbytery of Haddington, to which Mr. Home himself belonged, sent him a citation to appear before it, to answer for the great scandal which he had been the means of bringing on the sacred order; and that of Dalkeith gave a similar summons to one of his must intimate friends and inveterate admirers, Mr. Carlyle of Inveresk. Neither presbytery, however, proceeded to judgement, but referred the cases of both gentlemen to the general synod of Lothian and Tweedale. A want of form in the reference of Mr. Home's case caused it to be remitted back to the presbytery of Haddington; and on that of Mr. Carlyle alone, the synod were called to pronounce judgement. Mr. Home, on this occasion, shewed great spirit in defence of his persecuted friend. He attended in his place as a member of the synod, and spoke warmly in his vindication. He declared, that, if there were any fault, it lay not at the door of the accused, but at his own, with whom the crime had originated; and concluded his observations in the words of the unfortunate Nisus:—

“Adsum qui feci; in me convertite ferrum
Tantum infelicem minium delexit amicum.”
Virgil
“Me, me, he cried, turn all your rage alone
On me; the fact confess'd, the fault my own;
His only crime (if friendship could offend)
Is too much love for his unhappy friend.”
Dryden

‘The energy of this appeal is said to have made a sensible impression on the members of the synod, and to have had the effect of greatly mitigating the sentence which they were at first disposed to pass on Mr. Carlyle, on whom, next to Home himself, the wrath of the religious world was chiefly turned. They contented themselves with declaring “their high displeasure with Mr. Carlyle, for the step he had taken in going to the theatre, and strictly enjoined him to abstain therefrom in time coming.”’

But what pleases us most in the whole volume is, the vindication of the moral character of Burns. Although Burns is now be-praised and be-monumented, yet his neglect will long be a reproach to Scotland; and that neglect becomes much aggravated when it is defended on the score of the poet's immorality. His present biographer has, however, vindicated this great poet and amiable man, with spirit, elegance, and ability. He says,—

‘It has been said, and too often repeated, that Burns, during his latter years—nay, from the very moment of entering into society—gave himself up to habits of intemperance, and died its victim. How little to be envied are the feelings of those who can take pleasure in drawing aside the veil from the social follies or weaknesses of such a man as Burns! Were the fact even as represented, does it become that country which so cruelly neglected him, to speak with severity of any alleviation which his wounded spirit may have sought from the state of humiliation and misery to which he was ungenerously consigned? Does it become those who imposed upon him one of “the meanest of pursuits,” and an association with “the lowest of mankind,” to talk of the excesses to which he may have fled to lull, for the moment, the revolting sense of his degradation? But the fact has been misstated. Burns was never the dissolute man that he has been represented. He mingled much in society, because it was the only sphere in which he could gratify that strong, and certainly not injurious, passion which he possessed for observing the ways and manners of men; and because the active indulgence of this passion was the only chance which he had of escape from that constitutional melancholy, which never ceased to pursue him. He was fond too, most enthusiastically fond, of the social hour which was spent in communion with men of souls congenial to his own; and, when seated with such over the flowing bowl, it is not to be wondered, that he was sometimes slow to rise. Yet, whatever might be the social pleasures of Burns, he was never the man to sacrifice to them either his business, his independence, or his self respect. The supervisors of his conduct, as an officer, testify, that he performed all the duties of his situation with exemplary regularity; the state of his affairs, at his death, shew, that small as his income was, he kept rigidly within it; and his most intimate associates allow, that however freely he may have partaken in company, he never sunk into habits of solitary indulgence. It is not possible, either morally or physically, that the man who was thus regular, thus economical, thus privately abstinent, could have been the habitual slave of intemperance which some writers would have us to believe. That his constitution, naturally delicate, may have been unequal to even the limited indulgences which he permitted himself, and that his death may have been hastened by them, is but too likely. But how much does it not add to his coun-try's shame, that possessing a man of genius, whose loss they could never repair, who could only have lived long, by living with exceeding temperance, that he was not placed in a situation where the comforts of life, the refinements of elegant society, and pursuits of a literary nature, might have removed every temptation to live otherwise than the good of his health demanded. Burns, as he tells us, lived only “for the heart of the man and the fancy of the poet;” he could not exist without a plenitude of emotions; and it was not his fault, that he was forced to seek them where alone he could find them.

‘It is deeply to be regretted, that his amiable biographer, Dr. Currie, should, by lending too open an ear to idle rumours, have contributed more than even the most professed enemy could have done, to give currency to the prejudices which have prevailed with respect to Burns's private habits. Dr. C. appears evidently to have been much fortified in his erroneous impression, by the extravagant warmth with which Burns, in the course of his works, frequently breaks out in praise of our Scottish vin du pays; as, for example, when he exclaims:
O whisky! soul o' plays an' pranks!
Accept a bardie's humble thanks!
When wanting thee, what timeless cranks
Are my poor verses.
Or, when he speaks of drinking a health—
———in auld Nanse Tinnock's
Nine times a week!

‘It seems, unfortunately, not to have occurred to Dr. C. that nothing is more common with poets, than to support an ideal character in their writings, very opposite to what they possess in real life; and that as Thomson has sung an Amanda whom he never saw, it was as possible the Nanse Tinnock of Burns might be a hostess who never knew him as a guest. Nor would the supposition have led him far from the real fact. When the first edition of Burns's poems issued from the Kilmarnock press, Nanse Tinnock, to whom he alluded, and who kept a public house in the village of Mauchline, being congratulated on the conspicuous figure which she made in the poet's recollections, the good woman shook her head and said, that “the chiel had scarcely ever spent a shilling in her house.”’

We now conclude with a treat,—a song by Burns, not printed in any edition of his works, but which was transmitted by the poet to the Star newspaper, in 1789, and buried, like many other treasures, in the columns of a daily paper, until dragged forth by the industry of Burns's last and best biographer, the author of the memoir before us:—

delia.
Fair the face of orient day,
Fair the tints of op'ning rose;
But fairer still my Delia dawns,
More lovely far her beauty shews.
Sweet the lark's wild warbled lay,
Sweet the tinkling rill to hear;
But Delia, more delightful still,
Steal thine accents on mine ear.
The flower-enamour'd busy bee,
The rosy banquet loves to sip;
Sweet the streamlet's limpid lapse
To the sun-brown'd Arab's lip.
But Delia, on thy balmy lips
Let me, no vagrant insect, rove;
O, let me steal one liquid kiss,
For oh! my soul is parch'd with love.

This elegant little work has pleased us so much, that we eagerly look forward to the succeeding numbers, confident that if they are executed with equal ability and good taste, the whole will form the best biographical collection that has yet appeared. The part is embellished with a group of five portraits, elegantly engraved.

The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review
No. 126. Saturday, October 13, 1821.
pp. 642-45.

LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Parts II. and III.

When we noticed the first part of this elegant little work, we spoke very decisively as to what we deemed its merits—the originality of the memoirs, the elegance with which many of them were written, and the spirit of impartiality and free inquiry which distinguished the whole: these, it will be allowed, are strong recommendations to any work, particularly to a biographical one; but strong as they are, the two subsequent parts do not render it necessary that we should qualify them. One thing we certainly must regret, the want of regularity in the publication. The first part, we believe, appeared on the first of May, to be succeeded by one monthly. Six parts are now due, but three only have appeared; a fourth is, however, promised for the first of next month. Whether this delay is of a temporary or a permanent nature, we know not, but however injurious it we think the want of punctuality may be to a periodical (and we think it highly so), yet even this is much better than that the work should suffer by haste; and it is, perhaps, due to the editor and publisher of the ‘Lives of Eminent Scotsmen,’ to attribute the delay to their anxiety to do the work ample justice.

The second and third parts, now before us, contain twenty-two memoirs, including the lives of James the Fifth and Sixth, Henry the Minstrel, Sir David Lindsay, the Earl of Stirling, Alexander Barclay, Dr. Armstrong, Thomson, Macpherson, &c. The life of one of the most amiable of the Stuarts, James the Fifth, is well written; and justice is done to the memory of th is ‘King of the Poor,’ in the following estimate of his character:—

‘The mere narrative of such a life as James's, makes any summary of his character unnecessary there are no incongruities to reconcile, no great faults to he put in proper balance; it is throughout vigorous, splendid, and consistent. It still remains, however, to fill up the sketch, which a feeble hand has attempted to present, of the leading events of his history, with some traits, which, though not less interesting, rest, as it were, in shadow. It has been seen how inflexible James was in the administration of justice, but it has yet to be told, that he was the first of the Scottish monarchs who took care to make known to the people what their rights were. In 1540, he ordered the whole Acts of Parliament of his reign to be printed in the vulgar tongue; a measure quite as hostile to the arbitrary claims of the feudal barons, as the more recent translation of the Scriptures into the same tongue was to the exclusive pretensions of the Romish clergy. It cannot be said, that James gave encouragement to the latter; but he set an example which essentially prepared the way for it. Although not possessed of any of that religious fervour which began to distinguish the age in which he lived, and apparently little sensible of the importance of religious liberty to the spread of knowledge, James was ardently desirous for the information of his subjects in all other respects. Of the elegant and useful arts, and of all branches of what was called profane learning, he was a liberal patron and active promoter. “He furnisched the countrie,” says Pitscottie, a writer not the most charitable to his memory, “with all kyndis of craftismen, sik as Frenchmen, Spainyardis, and Dutchmen, quhilk ever was the finest of thair professioun that culd be had; quhilk brought the countrie to great policie.” Lindsay, Buchanan, Bellenden, Maitland, Montgomery, Henryson, and many others of inferior fame, were among the men of letters who contributed to shed a lustre on his reign, and who, in an age when there was no reading public, could live on the patronage of the court alone. Bellenden he employed to translate, into the Scottish tongue, the History of Scotland by Hector Boëthius, an author to whom Dr. Johnson has done the justice of saying, that he “may be justly reverenced as one of the revivers of elegant learning;” and, subsequently, he gave the same author a commission to execute a translation of Livy, the first of Roman historians.* In a poetical prologue which Bellenden has prefixed to the latter version, he pays a just tribute of praise to James for his encouragement of our native literature, and farther speaks of him, as being himself distinguished for his literary productions.’

If the editor of this work did not, in almost every line of his work, prove that he was a true Scot, we should have suspected him to te of the sister kingdom, on account of a bull, which occurs in a note to this memoir. He tells us that James kept his court at his castle of Cauthally, since called Cowdaily, a name given to it in consequence of the last lord having, every day at his table, a bullock dressed entire.

It is generally known that Alexander Barclay, the translator of the ‘Ship of Fools,’ has been claimed by both England and Scotland; the question appears to be set at rest by the editor of this work, who adduces pretty decisive evidence that he was a Scotsman.

In the life of Thomson, which is one of the neatest in these volumes, the editor corrects an error into which Johnson has fallen in his ‘Lives of the Poets,’ when he states that Thomson's ‘first want was a pair of shoes,’ and that, ‘for the support of all his necessities, his whole fund was his “Winter.”‘ It appears, from a letter written by Thomson at the time, and which the editor has discovered and printed, that Thomson, though not rich, was unembarrassed, and far from wanting a pair of shoes. The literary part of this letter (which is addressed to Dr. Cranstoun) establishes a fact of some interest to the curious in poetical history, the source from which he derived the idea of his admirable poem of ‘Winter.’ The editor ridicules the idea of Murdoch and others, that the distinguishing qualities of Thomson's mind and heart are best discovered from his works; that those who inferred from his poems that he was ‘a great lover, a great swimmer, and rigorously abstinent,’ might, from the same source, have proved that he was an early riser, since he reprobated the bed of sloth most eloquently. The last memoir in the second part is that of John Oswald, who, under the name of Silvester Otway, contributed several poetical effusions to the London newspapers in 1788 or 1789. Oswald had been an officer in the army, and is better known as a politician than a poet. At the commencement of the French revolution, he warmly espoused its principles, and went to Paris, where he became a very active member of the Jacobin Club:—

The influence which Mr. Oswald had acquired in the Jacobin Club, gave him a corresponding influence with the government of the day, over which that club, as every body knows, exercised for some time a most pernicious control. The first of Anglo-Jacobins was not to be requited by any inferior appointment; they at once nominated him to the command of a regiment of infantry. The corps is said, however, not to have been of the best description, being composed of the refuse of Paris and the departments.

Mr. Oswald had, previously to this appointment, been joined by his two sons; but true to the principle of equality, which he professed, he only made them drummers in the regiment of which he was colonel.

‘The bad character of the men whom Colonel Oswald commanded, obliged him to have recourse to a system of severity in disciplining them, which, while it made them good soldiers, there is every reason to believe made him in every one a personal enemy. In the outset of his command he committed a sort of national blunder, which added nothing to his popularity. Knowing what feats his own countrymen had performed at the point of the bayonet; convinced from experience and observation that there was in a charge of cold steel something more appalling than in a hundred volleys of musketry—he conceived the notion that a regiment trained to depend entirely on the charge would be one of powerful efficiency, and certain to acquire great distinction. He proposed therefore to lay aside the musket in his regiment, and to substitute a pike of superior construction. The directory approved his suggestion, and the experiment was made. The men, however, could not be persuaded to view the innovation its the same light as their English colonel. They were Frenchmen, and decided upon it with French feeling. For light warfare—the brisk fire—quick retreat—and as quick return—the French soldiery have no superiors; but its that cool intrepidity which can make and sustain a charge, they have never been able to compete with the soldiers of many other countries—the Scots, the Muscovites, the Swedes, and even the Hollanders. Colonel Oswald saw, when too late to repair a bad impression, that he had mistaken the national character; he was obliged to throw away his pikes, because his men absolutely refused to be trained to the use of them.

‘When the war in La Vendée broke out, Colonel Oswald's corps was one of those selected to proceed against the rebels, a distinction which it no doubt owed to having a foreign commander, who might be supposed to have fewer scruples than a native in acting against natives. In the first encounter, however, which they had with the Vendeans, Oswald's men are generally understood to have taken advantage of the confusion of the fight to rid themselves of this advantage; they are said to have not only dispatched the father, but his two sons, youths of a most interesting character, and another English gentleman, whom Oswald had selected as worthy to share his fortunes. It is at all events certain that the four Englishmen fell in the fight; and whether in consequence of their own forward bravery or of the treachery of their French comrades, will probably ever remain a mystery.

‘Mr. Oswald was about the common stature, but of a very commanding appearance. I have heard that, when in Paris, he affected the Roman costume; wore his collar open, and his hair à la Brutus.

In the memoir of James the Sixth, the author takes a full and comprehensive view of the life, conduct, and policy of that weak but tyrannical monarch. The events of his reign are too well known to admit much in the way of novelty, but some of the most prominent are reprehended with just severity. The writer, after noticing the persecuting spirit of this king, in sending men to the stake for what he deemed heresy, justly observes, that—

‘The history of James's life in England was stained by but too many similar acts of arbitrary cruelty. The whole of his internal government consisted, indeed, of little else than acts of aggression on the rights and liberties of his people, frequently aggravated by peculiar features of wantonness and rigour. The murder of Sir Walter Raleigh, the glory of his and nation, to please the court of Spain; the pardon of his majesty's favorite, the Duke of Somerset, and his lady, for poisoning Sir Thomas Overbury, after having invoked, on his knees, the vengeance of heaven on himself and his posterity, if he did not yield them up to justice; the imprisonment of the Earl of Northumberland for fourteen years, in addition to an


* ‘Only five books of this translation were completed, and they still remain in MS.’
exaction of thirty thousand pounds, on a mere suspicion, unsupported by the least proof, of his being privy to the gunpowder plot; the committal to the tower of several members of the House of Commons, and the banishment of others for presuming to assert that the people of England possessed any right which did not flow entirely from the grace and favour their sovereigns:—such were a few of those acts, which gave a character of oppression and profligacy to the domestic administration of James, seldom before exceeded in the history of England.

‘Nor did James confine himself to conduct, the evil of which might perish with him. In the sufficiency of his self-conceit, he must needs become a legislator, and confer on England a law, which was to do the work of ignorance and inhumanity long after he should be no more. It is painful to be obliged to speak thus severely of a prince of our native line; but, can less be said of that law which first made witchcraft a crime in England, and has been the cause of consigning hundreds and thousands to an ignominious death, for an impossible offence? James had, before leaving Scotland, written and published a “Treatise on Dæmonologie,” in which he had endeavoured, with great show of learning, to “resolve the doubting hearts of many,” as to the “fearful abounding of those detestable slaves of the devil, witches or enchanters,” and established, to his own satisfaction, that “witches ought to be put to death according to the law of God, the civil and imperial law, and the municipal law of all Christian nations.” He now resolved to let his English subjects have the benefit of this sensible discovery; and found the parliament foolish enough to concur with him in passing that law, on which so many capital convictions have taken place for witchcraft, and which remained, for upwards of a century, a disgrace to the statute book, and to the national character.

‘A tyrant at home, James was a truckler abroad; and though England enjoyed an unwonted length of peace during his reign, it was a blessing gained by a sacrifice of character and advantages, for which it ill compensated. He had scarcely seized the sceptre, when he gave peace to Spain without being asked for it; and thus lost, as Cornwallis, the ambassador whom he sent to Madrid, says in a letter to Cecil, “such an opportunity of winning honor and wealth,” as England never before possessed. He afterwards allowed the Spaniards, whom he had thus foolishly favoured, to ill-treat, defraud, and even massacre* British subjects with impunity. He beheld his son-in-law, the Elector Palatine, and in him the protestant cause, about to be overwhelmed by a coalition of enemies; and to save both, sent over—an aid of one regiment of foot! He saw the Palatinate lost through his pusillanimity, and then weakly imagined that he could reason princes, flushed with victory, out of their conquest. He allowed his unfortunate daughter, her husband, and her children, to drag a long exile in a foreign land, without affording them any of those helps which duty and humanity required at his hands. He suffered the British flag, which had never before known dishonor, to be grossly insulted, and our merchant ships to be pillaged, by the Dutch; contenting himself with sending a remonstrance, which the Dutch, viewing it as it deserved, passed over unheeded. Nay, as if there had no fitter way for an independent prince to resent injuries, than to heap favours on his enemies; notwithstanding all the Dutch had done, he consented to deliver up to them the cautionary towns which had they deposited in the hands of Queen Elizabeth, on their paying five millions less than the sum for which they stood pledged; and thus relieved them besides from that state of dependence on Britain, which had been hitherto regarded as the right arm of our continental policy. The massacre at Amboyna was now all that was wanted to place beyond doubt, whether it was possible to rouse a spark of the man or sovereign in him. He submitted to this unexampled injury, even without requiring satisfaction, and contented himself with whiningly telling the Dutch ambassador, “that he had never heard nor read a more cruel and impious act than that of Amboyna. But,” continued he, “I do forgive them, and I hope God will; but my son's son† shall revenge this blood, and punish this horrid massacre.”

‘Need we be surprised that such a course of conduct should have made James an object of ridicule among foreign nations, and of contempt with his own? All over the continent, caricatures of him were to be seen, exhibiting him in the most ludicrous situations. In one place, he was represented with a scabbard without a sword; in another, with a sword stuck so fast in the scabbard, that no body could draw it; and in a third, carrying a cradle after his poor daughter, the Electress Palatine, who, with dishevelled hair and tattered garments, was trudging along with a child on her back. The French had their epigram too on the occasion, the point of which is, with some loss of elegance, preserved in the following old version.—

‘While Elizabeth was England's king,
That dreadful name through Spain did ring;
How alter'd is the case—ad sa' me!
These jugling days of gude Queen Jamie.’

There are several memoirs in this part on which we would dwell, but our limits preclude it. In the life of Macpherson, the author expresses himself decidedly that ‘he was all but the sole author of the poems which he ascribed to Ossian.’ It is one of the features of this work to rescue from oblivion the names of several men of genius who had been ‘born to blush unseen.’ Among these must be ranked the unfortunate Charles Salmon, a journeyman printer of Edinburgh. He was zealous in the cause of the Pretender, and was the author of some jacobite songs, and ‘An Elegy written in the Abbey Church, Edinburgh.’ Salmon was a dissipated young man:—

‘At the suggestion of some of the more prudent of his gay companions, Salmon issued proposals for publishing a collection of his poetical effusions, under the modest title of, ‘Poems by a Printer.” From the misfortunes which afterwards befel him, this collection never saw the light; but there is reason to believe that he had accumulated a sufficient number of poems to have formed a very respectable volume. Several of them had appeared in Ruddiman's Magazine and in the Dumfries Weekly Magazine, established by Mr. Jackson, on a similar plan, and may perhaps still be traced. The friend, to whom the writer of this memoir is indebted for such information as it contains of Salmon, remembers to have heard him recite two imitations, or rather parodies, of the Deserted Village and Splendid Shilling, as parts of his intended publication. The subject of the former was “Auld Reikie,” and of the latter, “The Threadbare Coat.” There were also a variety of occasional pieces, addressed to the friends with whom he associated, including some names which would have vouched for the regard in which, though poor and humble, Charlie Salmon was held by individuals of the first respectability.

‘Whatever prospects of poetical renown Salmon may have formed, one night of fatal dissipation came and destroyed them all. In a fit of intoxication, he fell into the company of a recruiting serjeant, and the same friend who had last seen him with a white cockade in a paper cap, working a press to the song of “The crown is Charlie's right, is it no? is it no?” saw him next morning enlisted under the black cockade, or, as Salmon was wont with other jacobites to call it, the curse of God. Poor Salmon! When asked by one of his friends how he could have been so misled, he answered, with a smile at his own simplicity, “I listed for a lieutenant.”

‘The regiment in which he had enlisted was the Seaforth Highlanders, and without waiting to excite what he dreaded more than the bitterest reproach, the


* ‘Sir Walter Raleigh speaks of it as a known that “the Spaniards murthered twenty-six English men, tying them back to back, and then cutting their throats, when they had traded with them a whole month, and came to them on the land without so much as one sword.”’
† ‘James proved a false prophet. It was left to Cromwell to obtain satisfaction for this, as well as other wrongs, which Britain had endured during the reigns of his legitimate predecessors.
A. S.
commiseration of pretended friends, he hastened to join it. In the memorable mutiny which some time afterwards broke out in this regiment at Edinburgh, when they seized possession of Arthur's Seat, and set the power of government at defiance, Salmon is said to been called upon, in consequence of his knowledge of English and superior address, to take the management for his comrades of the negociation which ensued for their return to duty. The regiment was ultimately embarked for India, and Salmon was heard of no more.

‘Of the merits of a writer of whose works we know little, it would be rash to form any conclusive judgement. The pieces which have happened to survive the general fate of his productions, may perhaps be those which were least entitled to have any influence on the decision. He appears to have been rather a writer who promised much, than who had realized much.

These two parts are, like their predecessor, each embellished with a group of fine portraits, elegantly engraved.

The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review
No. 135. Saturday, December 15, 1821.
pp. 789-90.

LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.

The Fourth Part of this elegant little work contains the lives of Alexander Hume, John Bellenden, Mark Alexander Boyd, William Wilkie, Robert Fergusson, William Julius Mickle, Alexander Geddes, and James Grahame.

As we have already expressed our very favorable opinion of the literary merits and interest which this work possesses, we shall now only say, that the fourth part is written with all that spirit, liberality, and critical acumen, which distinguish its predecessors from the general mass of biographies. With the impression that many of our readers think as we do, we shall only give one short extract in support of our opinion. It is a critical estimate of the author of the ‘Sabbath:’—

‘In proceeding to examine Mr. Grahame's pretensions as a poet, it is difficult to divest ones-self entirely of the prejudice which his virtues are calculated to excite in favour of his muse. But, making every allowance on this ground, no ordinary share of praise must still be his due. The most important exception probably which can be taken to his works is, that they are almost all too exclusively religious to attract the attention of the general reader. Perhaps it would be no misrepresentation of the spirit of any age with which we are acquainted, if we except only the canting age of Cromwell, to say, that such topics rather repel than invite the curiosity which so much befriend a writer. A like devotional character distinguished one of Grahame's oldest precursors in descriptive writing—Hume, of Logie—to whom, indeed, he bears a very striking resemblance. Both of them belonged originally to the profession of the law; and both abandoned it for the church; both cultivated poetry with a view to religious edification; and both have studiously refrained from all reference to that tenderest, though most selfish, of human passions, Love; and lastly, both have fixed on subjects at nearly alike as possible—the one, celebrating the beauties of a Summer's Day; and the other, of the Sabbath, “the hallowed day.” In the scale of merit, however, there is a great distance between them. Although Grahame, like Hume, excludes love from his theme, he does not, like him, omit to call up other strong emotions of the heart in its stead; although he looks on woman with no impassioned feeling, he does not banish her from his view entirely. We have, in the Sabbath Day, no such meetings of lovers as are, with the utmost truth of painting, described in the ballad of Logan Water.

“Nae mair at Logan Kirk, will lie
Atween the preachings, meet wi' me;
Meet wi' me, or when its mirk,
Convoy me hame frae Logan Kirk.”

‘But we have, “at the close of evening prayer,” the affecting spectacle of youth and loveliness consigned to the grave:—

“Again that knell! The slow procession stops,
The pall withdrawn, Death's altar, thick emboss'd
With melancholy ornaments (the name,
The record of her blossoming age), appears
Unveil'd; and on it, dust to dust is thrown—
The final rite. Oh! hark, that sullen sound!
Upon the lower'd bier the shovell'd clay
Falls fast and fills the void.”—

‘Nor, though averse to introduce scenes of love into the day consecrated to Heaven, does Grahame appear to have wanted any thing of a lover's feeling. Take, for example, his description in the Georgics, of two lovers, on an excessively cold thirty-first of December night:—

“To meeting lovers now no hill is steep,
And when they meet, unheeded sweeps the blast;
Unfelt the snow, as erst from summer's thorn,
Around them fell a shower of fading flowers,
Shook by the sighing of the evening breeze.”

‘Hume is simply pleasing; Grahame is impressive, often pathetic. The one dwells on external objects alone; the other penetrates into the inmost recesses of our heart. Still, considering either of them merely as writers anxious to arrive at popularity by the shortest road, it must be acknowledged, that, on account of the peculiarly religious character of their writings, they equally mistook their way.

‘The next point to be noticed is, the manner in which Grahame has executed the design which he had conceived, and this will be better illustrated by a few quotations taken at random, than by a thousand remarks. If the following passages are not capable of affording some of the highest pleasures in the perusal, no pomp of commentary can raise them to that distinction; if, on the other hand, they are capable of delighting without such interference, it is, after all, the undertaking of more ingenious than useful labour, to pry into the components of that enthusiasm, which by one sweep of its wing has done the business already.

‘The dawn of the Sabbath—its difference from the dawn of every other morn—is thus strikingly introduced.

“How still the morning of the hallow'd day!
Mute is the voice of rural labour; hush'd
The ploughboy's whistle, and the milkmaid's song.
The scythe lies glittering in time dewy wreath
Of tedded grass mingled with fading flowers,
That yester-morn bloom'd waving in the breeze,
Sounds the most faint attract the ear,—the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
The distant bleeting midway up the hill.
Calmness sits thron'd on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas
The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale;
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles his heaven-tun'd song; the lulling brook
Murmurs more gently down the deep worn glen;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O'ermounts the mist, is heard at intervals
The voice of Psalms, the simple song of Praise.”

‘The burial of beauty has been already incidentally noticed, and the conclusion quoted; the preceding part of this episode is still more remarkable for the spirit and pathos of genuine poetry.

“But wood and wild, the mountain and the dale,
The house of prayer itself,—no place inspires
Emotions more accordant with the day,
Than does the field of graves, the land of rest:—
Oft at the close of evening prayer, the toll,
The solemn funeral-toll, pausing, proclaims
The service of the tomb; the homeward crowds
Divide on either hand; the pomp draws near,
The choir to meet the dead go forth, and sing
‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.’
Ah me! these youthful bearers robed in white,
They tell a mournful tale; some blooming friend
Is gone; dead in her prime of years:—'twas she,—
The poor man's friend, who, when she could not give,
With angel tongue, pleaded to those who could
With angel tongue, and mild beseeching eye,
That ne'er besought in vain, save when she pray'd
For longer life, with heart resign'd to die.—
Rejoic'd to die, for happy visions bless'd
Her voyage's last days, and hovering round,
Alighted on her soul, giving presage,
That Heaven was nigh. O! what a burst
Of rapture from her eyes! what tears of joy
Her Heavenward eyes suffus'd!—Those eyes are clos'd,
But all her loveliness is not yet flown.
She smil'd in death, and still her cold pale face
Retains that smile, as when a waveless lake,
In which the win'try stars all bright appear,
Is sheeted, by a nightly frost, with ice,
Still it reflects the face of Heaven, unchang'd,
Unruffled by the breeze, or sweeping blast.”’
The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review
No. 144. Saturday, February 16, 1822.
pp. 101-02.

LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Part V.

We have suffered the fifth number of this elegant and valuable collection to lay longer on our table unnoticed than its merits demanded. We have, in our review of the earlier parts of this work, stated freely our opinion of its claims to an important niche in the literature of the day. It is not a mere chronology of facts and dates, of the place where and the time when the poetical dramatis personae made their exits and their entrances; but brief, yet correct in his details, and impartial and fair in his remarks, the editor shakes off all the trammels which have fettered previous biographers, and ventures to think and speak for himself. Whether we consider it for the neglected and almost unknown Scottish poetry which is brought forth, or for the critical examination of the poetical merit of the authors, we feel no hesitation in declaring the Lives of Eminent Scotsmen as one of the most original biographical collections extant.

The present part contains sixteen memoirs, including those of John Ogilby, the Earl of Glencairn, David Mallet, Falconer, Blair, Dr. Moor, Hector Macneill, &c. From some of these memoirs we shall detail a few extracts; the first relates to a novelty in the republic of letters—a literary lottery, by John Ogilby, a poet and bookseller, who lost the whole of his property by the great fire in London. Previous to this calamitous event,—

‘With the sanction of the court, he issued a proposal “for the better and more speedy vendition of several volumes (his own works) by the way of a standing lottery.” This lottery commenced drawing on the 10th of May 1675, and, according to the account given by Ogilby in a subsequent proposal, “to the general satisfaction of the adventurers, with no less hopes of a clear dispatch and fair advantage to the author. ” It continued drawing several days, when its proceedings were stopped by the plague, and “it long discontinued under the arrest of that common calamity, till the next year's more violent and sudden visitation the dreadful and surprising conflagration swallowed the remainder of the stock, being two parts of three to the value of 3000l.

‘Ogilby, at the time of this calamity, occupied house in Whitefriars, which, with all it contained, shared in the general conflagration. In one moment, he saw himself deprived of the whole fruits of a laborious life, with the exception of the value of about 5l. which was all he had left to begin the world again with, at the advanced age of sixty-six. Besides his whole stock of published works, there perished in the flames three unpublished poems of his own; two of them of the heroic kind, entitled, the “Ephesian Matron,” and “The Roman Slave,” which were intended to have been dedicated to the Earl of Ossory; and one, an epic, in twelve books, in honor of Charles I.’

*    *    *    *

‘His first scheme for repairing his loss of fortune was to revive the lottery speculation, which the plague and fire had interrupted. He resolved, as he says in the second proposal which he issued on this occasion, not only to reprint all his own former editions, but others that were new and of equal value, and to “set up a second standing lottery, where such the discrimination of fortune shall be, that few or none shall return with a dissatisfying chance.” Accordingly, the author opened his office, “where persons might put in their first encouragements, (viz.) twenty shillings, and twenty more at the reception of their fortune, and also see those several magnificent volumes, which their varied fortune (none being bad) should present them.”

‘Poor Ogilby, however, did not find the encouragement he expected, for he observed “how that a money dearth, a silver famine, slackens and cools the courage of adventurers; through which hazy humours magnifying, shillings look like crowns, and each forty shillings a ten pound heap.” He then determined to change the plan of his lottery, and “to attemper, or mingle each prize with four allaying blanks; so bringing down by this means the market from double pounds to single crowns.”

‘The following were the propositions:—“First, whoever will be pleased to put in five shillings shall draw a lot, his fortune to receive the greatest meanest prize, or throw away his intended spending money on a blank. Secondly, whoever will adventure deeper, putting in 25 shillings, shall receive, if such his bad fortune be that he draws all blanks, a prize presented to him by the author, of more value than his money (if offered to be sold) though for offered ware, &c. Thirdly, who thinks fit to put in for eight lots, forty shillings, shall receive nine, an the advantage of their free choice (if all blanks) either of the works complete, vid. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, or Æsop the first and second volume,” &c.

‘The principal prize was valued at 51l., and contained an Imperial Bible, Virgil, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Æsop's Fables, His Majesty's Entertainment, &c.

‘The whole number of lots was 3360, and the total money he received only 4210l., although valued 13700l. The office was at “the Black Boy, over against St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet Street.”

‘The success of this lottery scheme, though not perhaps extremely flattering, was such, at least, as saved Ogilby from less, and enabled him to push into circulation works, which had they depended on their intrinsic merit would, in all likelihood, have fallen dead-born from the press. It was reported at the time, that in the first lottery the adventurers could never get their books; but Ogilby often declared, that of seven hundred prizes drawn, there were not six which remained undelivered at the time of the fire, and were destroyed with the rest.’

In the life of David Mallet there is some curious information relating to his well-known ballad:—

As Mallet, he became first favourably known to English public by the affecting ballad of William and Margaret. It was printed in No. 36 of the Plain Dealer, July 14, 1724. “Of this poem,” says Johnson, “he has been envied the reputation; and plagiarism has been boldly charged, but never proved.” There is no doubt, however, that a certain degree of plagiarism is justly chargeable against Mallet. The idea of the ballad was taken from two older ballads, entitled “William's Ghaist,” and “Fair Margaret and Sweet William;” from which he has also borrowed largely both in sentiment and expression. In “William's Ghaist” the spectral visitant thus reclaims his plighted faith:—

“O sweet Margret! O dear Margret!
I pray thee speak to me;
Give me my faith and troth, Margret!
As I gave it to thee.”

And so in Mallet's poem, Margaret exclaims:—

“Bethink thee, William, of thy fault,
Thy pledged and broken oath;
And give me back my maiden vow,
And give me back my troth.”

‘In “Fair Margret and Sweet William” the midnight scene is introduced in a stanza which Mallet has almost literally adopted for the commencement of his ballad.—

“When day was gone and night was come,
And all men fast asleep,
There came the spirit of fair Margret,
And stood at William's feet.”

‘Mallet has here even preserved the defective rhyme of the original. In some of the later reprints of the ballad, this defect has been amended, by changing the second line into—
“When night and morning meet;”
but it is the amendment of some friendly hand, and not Mallet's own.

‘The conclusion of “William's Ghaist” had also evidently been the model on which Mallet formed the winding-up of his tale:—

“O stay, my only true love, stay,
The constant Margret cry'd;
Wan grew her cheeks, she clos'd her e'en,
Stretch'd her soft limbs, and died.”

‘Still, however, notwithstanding all these traces of imitation, there is enough of Mallet's own in the ballad of William and Margaret, to justify all the poetical reputation which it procured for its author. I do not know of many ballads in better taste, combining, in so short a space, a greater share of sentiment and appropriate imagery.’

The life of the unfortunate poet, Falconer, is admirably written, but we have only room for an extract from one of Robert Blair's letters to Dr. Doddridge, in 1741-42, which contains some interesting information relative to the composition of the poem which has given so much celebrity to his name:—

‘“You will be justly surprised with a letter from one, whose name is not so much as known to you, nor shall I offer to make any apology. Though I am entirely unacquainted with your person, I am no stranger to your merit as an author; neither am I altogether unacquainted with your personal character, having often heard honourable mention made of you by my much respected and worthy friends, Colonel Gardiner and Lady Frances. About ten months ago, Lady Frances did me the favour to transmit to some manuscript hymns of yours, with which I was wonderfully delighted. I wish I could, on my part, contribute in any measure to your entertainment, as you have sometimes done to mine, in a very high degree. And, that I may show how willing I am to do so, I have desired Dr. Watts to transmit you a manuscript poem of mine, entitled ‘The Grave,’ written, I hope, in a way not unbecoming my profession as a minister of the gospel, though the greatest part of it was composed before I was clothed with so sacred a character. I was urged by some friends here, to whom I shewed it, to make it public, nor did I decline it, provided I had the approbation of Dr. Watts, from whom I have received many civilities, and for whom I had ever entertained the highest regard. Yesterday I had a letter from the doctor, signifying his approbation of the piece in a manner most obliging. A great deal less from him would have done me no small honor. But, at the same time, he mentioned to me, that he had offered it to two booksellers of his acquaintance, who, he tells me, did not care to run the risk of publishing it. They can scarcely think, (considering how critical an age we live in, with respect to such kind of writings,) that a person, living three hundred miles from London, could write so as to be acceptable to the fashionable and polite. Perhaps it may be so, though, at the same time, I must say, that in order to make it more generally liked, I was obliged, sometimes, to go cross to my own inclinations, well knowing, that whatever poem is written on a serious argument, must, on that very account, be under peculiar disadvantages; and, therefore, proper arts must be used to make such a piece go down with a licentious age, which cares for none of these things. I beg pardon for breaking on moments so precious as yours, and hope you will be so kind as to give me your opinion of the poem.”

‘“This work, which the two wise booksellers “did not care to run the risk of publishing,” proved to be one of the most popular productions of the eighteenth century.

This Part is embellished with a beautifully engraved group of five portraits:—the Earl of Glencairn, Dr. Moor, Macneill, Lord Gardenstone, and Caleb Whitefoord.

The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review
No. 152. Saturday, April 13, 1822.
pp. 228-29.

LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.
Part V.

The sixth part of this elegant little work concludes the first series—the Lives of Scottish Poets; and, although we have always entertained a high opinion of the literature and poetic genius of Scotland, yet we never dreamed that such a host of eminent Scotsmen could have been accumulated as the editor of this work has recorded. When we first noticed the Lives of Eminent Scotsmen, we particularly dwelt on the originality of the memoirs, and on the critical acumen and independence of the editor. That opinion has not only been fully confirmed by the subsequent parts, but has been generally acknowledged by our brother-reviewers; and particularly by one gentleman, whose name is a tower of strength—Mr. Thomas Campbell. Of the industry of the editor, the Part now before us furnishes a striking instance; for, in addition to nine distinct and detailed memoirs, there is an appendix of additions to some of the lives in preceding numbers; and a supplement, which contains a brief notice of, we suppose, at least a hundred others, who are either of a minor rank, or who, although distinguished themselves for occasional displays of poetic talent, have possessed it in subordination to some other excellence, by which they have become better known to the world. Exclusive of the supplement, this part contains memoirs of the Earl of Ancram, Lord Maitland, Earl of Haddington, Lord Binning, Michael Bruce, Thomas Blacklock (the blind poet), John Logan, Andrew Macdonald, and James Mercer. In the life of Bruce there is an interesting letter from Burns, which proves that this poet felt none of that petty jealousy of contemporary merit which he often experienced from others. The letter is in answer to one from Presi-dent Baird, soliciting the patronage and assistance of Burns to a new edition of Bruce's poems, for the benefit of his mother. The bard of Ayr thus replies:—

‘“Why did you, my dear sir, write to me in such a hesitating style on the business of poor Bruce? Don't I know, and have I not felt, the many ills that poetic flesh is heir to? You shall have your choice of all the unpublished poems I have; and had your letter had my direction, so as to have reached me sooner, (it only came to my hand this moment,) I should have directly put you out of suspense upon the subject. I only ask that some prefatory advertisement in the books, as well as the subscription bills, may bear, that the publication is solely for the benefit of the mother. I would not put it in the power of ignorance to surmise, or malice to insinuate, that I clubbed a share of the merit from mercenary motives. Nor need you give me credit for any remarkable generosity in my part of the business. I have such a host of peccadilloes, failings, follies, and backslidings, (any body but myself would perhaps give them a worse appellation,) that by way of some balance, however trifling, in the account, I am fain to do any good that occurs in my very limited power to a fellow creature just from the selfish purpose of clearing a little the vista of retrospection.”’

From the Supplement we quote two brief memoirs entire:—

Boyd, Zachariah, of facetious memory, was the author of a translation of the Bible, in verse, the MS. of which is preserved in the library of the university of Glasgow, to which it was bequeathed, but not as is generally supposed on the condition that it should be printed. The few specimens of it which have seen the light are ridiculous enough. “What hypochondriac,” to use the words of Samuel Colvil, “would not presently be cured at the reading of such lines as these?”

There was a man, called Job,
Dwelt in the land of Uz;
He had a good gift of the gob;
The same case happen us!

‘Or the following soliloquy of Jonah, while in the whale's belly:—

What house is this? here's neither coal nor candle,
Where I nothing but guts of fishes handle,
I and my table are both here within,
Where day ne'er dawn'd, where sun did never shine;
The like of this on earth man never saw,
A living man within a monster's maw,
Buried under mountains, which are high and steep,
Plunged under waters hundred fathoms deep!
Not so was Noah in his house of tree,
For through a window he the light did see;
He sail'd above the highest waves; a wonder,
He and his ark might go and also come,
But I sit still in such a straitned room
As is most uncouth; head and feet together
Among such grease as would a thousand smother, &c.

‘Boyd lived in the reign of Charles I. and was minister of the Barony Church, Glasgow. Besides his version of the Bible, he bequeathed to the university the whole of his library, and 20,000l. Scots, in money (about 1,6001. sterling.) He was a zealous supporter of the Reformed Religion, and published, in his life time (1643) a book, which he meant should promote its interests, entitled “Crosses, Comforts, Counsels, needful to be considered. ” He here contends stoutly for cutting off the enemies of the true religion, quoting the great examples of “General Moses and Captain Joab.”’

Stone, Jerome, a native of the parish of Scoonie, in Fifeshire, was almost as remarkable an instance as his more celebrated namesake, Edmund Stone, the mathematician, of the power of native genius to raise itself from obscurity. He was at first nothing more than a pedlar boy; he afterwards gave up dealing in trinkets and toys, for the more respectable occupation of an itinerant bookseller: having books, he began to study them; finding some which were in tongues unknown to him, he applied to the learning of Hebrew, then of Greek, and lastly of Latin; and, with little or no assistance, became a proficient in all of them. Passing often in the course of his business through St. Andrew's, his singular acquisitions came at length to the knowledge of the professors; and with a liberality which did them honour, they gave him free access to their lectures. He attended the sessions regularly, and studied with such diligence, that, ere three years more, he was distinguished among the students for his proficiency in almost every branch of learning. He now obtained the situation of assistant to the rector of the grammar-school of Dunkeld, and in three years after, the rectorship itself. As the Gaelic was the prevailing language of the district in which he was thus settled, he resolved to add a knowledge of that to his other attainments; and when he had done so, was so charmed with the relics of Gaelic poetry which came in his way, that he made translations of many of them into English, which he sent to the Scots' Magazine, where they made their appearance chiefly during the years 1752, 1755, and 1756, and were not a little admired. This was before Macpherson had published any of his dubious versions. Mr. Stone now commenced a work of great labour and ingenuity, entitled “An Enquiry into the Origin of the Nation and Language of the ancient Scots, with conjectures respecting the primitive state of the Celtic and other European Nations,” but had only advanced a small way in it, when (1757) a fever put an end to his life, while yet only in the thirtieth year of his age. He left, in manuscript, an allegory entitled “The Immortality of Authors,” which has been published, and often reprinted since his death. “A lasting monument of lively fancy, a sound judgement, and a correct taste.”’

This Part possesses the usual embellishment of a group of five portraits, admirably engraved.