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any of those agitating concerns of life connected with the liappiness or wretchedness of the individual are about to happen. Cartsdyke, or Crawfurdsdyke, the place where Jean Adam was born, although now the eastern suburb of Greenock, has still its little quay and fleet of small craft, while its inhabitants are to this day more or less seafaring people. This one little circumstance, trivial as it may appear to many, is nevertheless in our opinion quite decisive of the question at issue, and will also appear so to every one who can rightly decipher the work. ing of the human mind, and estimate the influence which habit, and those associations which grow up from peculiarities of local situations, and modes of living, exert over its most intimate ideas, feelings, and opinions. In speaking thus, we do not arrogate to ourselves more discernment than what seems to be the portion of those who have maintained and ably defended a contrary opinion; they no doubt must have had good grounds to walk on before they advanced it; and we seek them not to relinquish it until they discard for a moment hearsay stories, of what this old woman said to t'other old woman about what another old one told to nobody knows whom—and throw aside blotted or corrected M. S. S. at least for a time and calmly sit down to an investigation and comparison of the intellectual complexions of the two claimants, so far as these may be ascertained from their respective works, or guessed from their condition in life, sex, education, habits, and local circumstances. And then let them say in the sincerity of their hearts, which of the two is the likelier to be the author. It requires no prophetic powers to predict, that a general acquiescence in the decision we have already pronounced must eventually follow.
With the earlier and the later poets of this County, we have now done. It only remains with us, before closing this essay, to notice those of our own day; they are not many, and will not detain us long. It might be more methodical to mention them in their chronological order as hitherto; but in so abbreviated and imperfect a sketch as is purposed to be given, this is a matter of indifference. Those who again take up the subject, and treat it at more length may, and it is proper and natural they should do otherwise.
From the time of Jean Adam, to that in which we are made familiar with the names of Wilson and Tannahill, Renfrewshire was without any song writers. It is true, there were some song, written by inhabitants of Paisley, which are either forgotten, or if not so, are but seldom, if at all sung by those, who can say any thing regarding their authors. There is one we have ourselves heard from John Wilson late bar-officer of the Sheriff Court, and well known through the town, by the title of the Philosopher, which should not be omitted. The subject was quite of a local cast, namely the prohibition issued by the inagistrates against the away-taking of peat, feal, and divot, from the town's moss. It was to the tune of the battle of Sheriff. muir, and was, withal, a thing of some humour. But perhaps it was much indebted to our philosopher, for the animated way in which he was wont to sing it, for a blyther old man than he was not to be found in three counties. He died at the advanced age of 87, in April 1818, and with him was buried the memory of many a good anecdote, and merry scrap of an old catch. According to himn, it was a tape weaver, and boon companion of his own, who composed it. There is another song written, as we have heard by one John Robertson, in 1793, which still keeps its ground amongst the musical amateurs of Paisley. It is styled the Toom meal pock, and though of a political cast, and homely enough, both in sentiment and expression, it is not altogether destitute of point, and may be worth while printing, were directions at same time given to the singer, when, and how he should imitate the shaking of an empty bag.
After merely mentioning the names of Archibald Fyfe and James Scadlock, as versifiers of some little merit, our labours will be aptly terminated with those of Wilson and Tannahill. The poems of Fyfe, and some few critical essays, were published shortly after his death, in 1806; those of Scadlock, in the present year. As both of these little volumes have short biographical sketches of their respective authors prefixed, to which access may easily be liad, we shall pass them over without cominent.
We ought in this place to have also noticed Ebenezer Picken, a native of Paisley, whose poems were published at Edinburgh, 1813, in two small 8vo volumes. Of the author, some particulars will be found in the periodical work mentioned below,
* The Wcavers' Magazine and Literary Companion, Vol. II, No. XI. p.199. Paisley, published and printed by J. Neilson.
to which it has been ont of our power to make any addition. His poetical attempts are on the whole pretty tolerable, though not such as will ever render his name anywise popular, or the events of his life a matter of curiosity and regard to the Literary anecdote-monger
The brilliant era- the golden age of Renfrewshire song, now opens upon us in the persons of Wilson and Tannahill. Both have contributed not a little to our stock of native lyric poetry; and while our language lasts, and music hath any charm, their names will be remembered with enthusiasm, and transmitted to ages more rennote with the accumulated applauses of time.
Alexander Wilson was born at Paisley on the 6th of July 1766; he landed in America on the 14th of July 1794 ; and died at Philadelphia, on the 23d of August 1819, while on the very eve of completing one of the most splendid undertakings that hath ever been projected, perhaps, by a single, solitary, friendless, poor; and almost destitute individual. The severe fatigues, both mental and corporeal which he underwent the many disappointments which he was doomed to suffer-the unceasing labour and unwearied attention he had to bestow in forwarding this great work, were all instrumental in impairing and sapping his constitution, and in depressing, though they could never subdue, his energetic, inflexible, and persevering mind. Nothing could deter him from going on to place the apex on that pyramid, whose basis bad been so deeply, broadly, and solidly executed by himself; but fate arrested his adveniurous hand, and blasted the lofty thought-he, like the Egyptian Monarch perished upon, and was sepulchered in, the im* mense and glorious fabric himself had reared.
Of this celebrated character, almost every incident connected with his history, has long ere now been laid before the publie with scrupulous minuteness. To the last volume of the Orni. thology of America is prefixed, a sketch of his life, by his friend Mr. Ord; and the edition of his poems published at Paisley in 1816, is likewise prefaced with a well written, though diffuse life of the author, interspersed with critical strictures on some of the pieces there inserted. It would be uncandid not to state, that we have also soep some interesting
details respecting him in a periodical work, to which we have had occasion to refer, while speaking of Ebenezer Picken, written as we understand, by one who was on the closest terms of intimacy with him before his departure for America, and which, so far as we know to the contrary, are perfectly consonant to truth.
The education which Wilson received, though not profound, was far from being totally imperfect, or scanty. Though not what is termed either liberal or classical, it was, nevertheless, such as enabled him to widen its foundations, and improve its superstructure as leisure served, and occasion required. Moreover, few towns in Scotland can boast of its inferior classes being such a reading population as could his native place; and notwithstanding, they generally evaporate their fine thoughts, and literary acquisitions at the corner of some retired street, or drown them in the rattling of shuttles within the precincts of each particular erudite shop, still, the information thus cir. culated, and the studious and literary habits thus introduced, are not without benefit to the inquisitive and intelligent minded youths who submit to listen, and suck in the nurture which ever and anon is yielded, while the elder Gossips do discourse on the high matters of church and state, of science and literature. On an observant mind, no useful hint, however obscurely given, and no thought, if good, though ever so rudely and imperfectly expressed, are altogether lost With such a one, no opportunity of improvement, be it trifling or otherwise, is let slip, without being turned to some account either now or after vards. Wilson appears to have been a man of this stamp; his powers of observation were naturally strong, and practice gave them acuteness; his whole intellect was vigorous and active, and occasions were not at all wanting, sufficient to call forth its strength and to assign it a sphere of action, which, though confined, was yet wide enough to afford scope at times for livelier sallies, and bolder conceptions.
Unhappily for our bard and naturalist, his lot in life was none of the must comfortable or fortunate. Poverty haunted his threshold, and his own desultory, rambling, and unsettled habits were not such, as could prevent the frequent intrusion
of that most unwelcome of all guests. He was restless and - discontented, shifting from one pursuit to another, which was
as soon abandoned for a third, and that again in its turn, became as tasteless and unprofitable as any, and consequently as soon discarded. At one time we find him a weaver, at another time a pedlar, a third time qualifying himself to be a schoolmaster, and then again resuming the shuttle. Political sentiments likewise had their share in adding to his unhappiness. Enthusiastic in his love of liberty, at a time when all were somewhat fanatic on the same subject, the fervour of the poet's imagination distorted and magnified the visible shape of national events beyond their true and just proportions; giving them a hue they did pot possess, and conjuring from the womb of futurity, phantoms of utter nonentity, clothed, however, in the most uncouth and frightful habiliments, with which fancy and excited feeling can invest their ideal offspring. These waking visions are the sources of many bitternesses and much uneasiiess to those in whom they are engendered, and by whom they are fostered, maugre their ultimate pernicious effects. So were they no doubt to Wilson. But we cannot think it was owing entirely to them, that he first formed the resolution of quitting his country for ever, and seeking an asylum in a foreign land. The real patriot, if he imagines the freedom of the constitution under which he was born, and which he has been taught from his infancy to idolize, is at stake, will not shrink from the coming storm, but abide its fury, and fall greatly amidst the wreck of the falling state. But there was a deeper wound festering in his heart which could not be healed, and which residence near the place where it was inflicted, only tended to inflame worse. When a juvenile piece of satire, dictated it may be said, from no malicious motive, was extorted from his possession, and burned at the public market place of bis own town, enough is known of a poet's feelings, to keep us from wondering, if home then should not appear comfortless, a country cruel, and this mark of degradation, and open contumely, mortifying and insupportable, harsh and severe to the last degree.
Previous a considerable tiine to embarking for America, he had published diverse iniscellaneous poems of unequal merit to be sure, but all inheriting some marks of a mind removed from the whimpering and whiffling manufacturers of rhymes, who at that time flooded the printing offices in all parts of Scotland.