Lives of
Scottish Poets
edited by

Center for Applied Technologies
in the Humanities

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Literary Chronicle
New Monthly Magazine
Monthly Review
Notes and Queries
Gibson and Laing
Halkett and Laing
Scottish Notes & Queries

Part I. (Volume I.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
Alexander Hume
John Bellenden
Mark Alexander Boyd
Ninian Paterson
William Wilkie
Robert Fergusson
William Julius Mickle
Alexander Geddes
James Grahame

Part V. (Volume III.)
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.)
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

Part  VI:

  Armstrong, John, [note] a native of Leith, and licentiate of the Scottish church; who came up to London about 1790, and died there a few years after; was the author of some juvenile effusions of considerable promise. While at the University of Edinburgh, (1789) and only in his eighteenth year, he published a volume of “Juvenile Poems, with Remarks on Poetry, and a Dissertation on Punishing and Preventing Crimes.” The Dissertation, last mentioned, had been honoured by a gold prize medal from the Edinburgh Pantheon (Debating) Society. The poetical part of the volume, though inferior to the prose, gained him so much reputation, that on the foundation of the New College being laid, he was selected to compose the Songs, which were introduced into the ceremonial observed on the occasion. After coming to London, Mr. Armstrong published (1791) “A Collection of Sonnets from Shakespeare:” the taste and judgement displayed in which have been admired. The work introduced him to some employment from the booksellers; but he found both a steadier and more productive source of revenue, in reporting for the newspaper press. In this capacity he distinguished himself, by the unrivalled ability with which he gave to the public the speeches of Mr. Pitt; [note] and, for these alone, one establishment from which he had parted, because they would not allow him a guinea per week, were glad afterwards
to give him five times that sum. When thus in a fair way to affluence and comfort, he fell into an ill state of health, which terminated fatally on the 21st of June, 1797, when he was but in the 26th year of his age. The following character of him is given in the Obituary of the Monthly Magazine for that period. “In the discharge of the relative duties which a man owes to himself, to his neighbour, and to his God, if Mr. Armstrong was at any time deficient, it was chiefly in paying too little attention to his own health and comfort. He was scrupulous, even to a fault, in the fulfilment of every engagement he entered into; he was an accomplished scholar, constant and ardent in his friendships, honourable and independent in his general principles of conduct, of a liberal and benevolent disposition, the firm friend of rational freedom, the enemy of faction and violence, a dutiful son, an affectionate brother, a good citizen, and a sincere Christian.”