Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A cause was tried in the court of king's bench, Guildhall, between the proprietors of a newspaper called the Telegraph, plaintiffs, and the proprietors of the Morning Post, defendants. It was proved, that in the month of February last, the defendants had contrived to forward to the office of the Telegraph from Canterbury, a spurious French newspaper, containing a pretended renewal of the armistice, and preliminaries of peace between the emperor and the French republic. The proprietors of the Telegraph being thus imposed on to give as true a translation of this false fabricated intelligence, and thereby sustaining much - discredit

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The defendants claimed those lands under this idiot's will In support of the plaintiff's case upwards of twenty witnesses clearly proved his idiotcy, from his not knowing the value of money, or any other article of life; and many instances of gross imposition on him ; and among others, that he never received one shilling of the rent of his lands; that he was exempted from all offices, and particularly from serving in the militia, on account of his incapacity; and it was proved that he was taken from his fister, the plaintiff's mother, and married to a woman whom he scarcely knew, and that a fortnight

- after his marriage he did not know

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


court, acquitted all the defendants. Mr. Adam from London, as leading counsel for the plaintiff, had a fee of 3Co guineas; and Mr. Erfkine the like for the defendants. Di ED. 21. – At Dumfries after a lingering illness, Robert Burns, who excited so much interest by the peculiarity of the circumstances under which he came forward to public notice, and the genius discovered in his poetical compositions. Burns was literally a ploughman, but neither in that state of tervile dependence or degrading ignorance which the situation might bespeak in this country. He had the common education of a Scotch peasant, perhaps something more, and that spirit of independence, which in that country is sometimes to be found in a high degree in the humbleft classes in society. He had genius, starting beyond the obfacies of poverty, and which would have distingished itself in any situation. His early days were occupied in procuring bread by the labour of his own hands, it the honourable task of cultivating the earth ; but his nights were devoted to books and the muse, except when they were wasted in those haunts of village festivity, and the indulgencies of the social bowl, to which the poet was but too immoderately attached in every period of his life. He wrote, not with a view to encounter the public eye, or in the hope to procure fame by his

[merged small][ocr errors]

fortune by the exertion of those talents of which he felt himself posfested. It was upon this occasion that one of his friends fuggested to him the idea of publishing his poems, in order to raise a few pounds to defray the expences of his passage. The idea was eagerly embraced. A coarse edition of his poems was first published at Ayr. They were soon noticed by the gentlemen in the neighbourhood. Proofs of such uncommon genius in a fituation so humble made the acquaintance of the author eagerly sought after. His poems found their way to Edinburgh; some extracts and an account of the author were inserted in a periodical paper, The Lounger, which was at that time in the course of publication. The voyage of the author was delayed in the hope that a suitable provision would be made for him by the generosity of the public. A subscription was set on foot for a new edition of his works, and was forwarded by the exertions of some of the first chara&ters of Scotland. The subscription lift contains a greater number of respectable names than almost have ever appeared to any fimilar production; but, as the book was at a low price, the

return to the author was inconsi–

derable. Burns was brought to Edinburgh for a few months, every where invited and carefled; and at last one of his patrons procured him the situation of an Exciseman, and an income of somewhat less than 5 ol. a year. We know not

whether any steps were taken to

better this humble income. Probably he was not qualified to fill a superior fituation to that which was a signed him. We know that his manners refused to partake the


« ZurückWeiter »