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THERE is a class of men occasionally to met with, Mr Editor, be who neither think nor speak for themselves, but repeat the thoughts of others, and thus, for a season, pass current in the world as men of no small understanding. A celebrated author has told that " us, no writer can be fully convicted of imitation, except there is an occurrence of more resemblance than can be imagined to have happened by chance ;" and this may be admitted as a reasonable opinion. I can very easily conceive, Sir, that a coincidence of remarks may occur in different authors, on various subjects; yet if one should not only write on the same subject, but at the same time make use of the same words, with exactly the same number of notes and quotations employed by another, he may as reasonably be charged with plagiarism, or literary theft.
In the Scots Magazine of Sept. 1807, p. 557, there is published a dissertation, "On a certain impropriety in the English language," dated 18th August 1807, and signed Walterus: with the subject discussed I have no quarrel; but I desire, Mr Editor, to direct your attention, and that of your readers, to the Weekly Magazine for 14th Nov. 1771, Vol. XIV. p. 205, printed by Wal. Ruddiman, and there you will find inserted the same essay, totidem literis, under the signature A.B. as that above noticed. With the preceding remarks in view, Walterus must be brought in guilty of literary theft,
This person, I have led myself to con ceive to be a young man, perhaps, over anxious to admire himself in print, even at the expense of his honesty; and had he stopt with this first imposition, I should charitably have allowed him to escape, but forbearance seems only to have increased his hardihood, and encouraged him in his system of pilfering. Now, as I neither choose myself, nor wish your readers to have their good nature abused, I intend, by means of the preceding hints, and those now to follow, to prevent Walterus, or practising such
W- r deceit in future.
In the Scots Magazine, Sir, for May 1808, p. 344, is inserted a narrative respecting the shipwreck of certain English people in the year 1569, signed W
r Rd, with an introduction, which concludes by telling us, that it "may not be very generally, if at all known, to most of your readers;" that I verily believe he ima gined, but as Shakespeare says,
'Tis a mistake, I doubt."
At the conclusion of the narrative, there is introduced a letter from the said Wr Rd, (which we shall admit he really did write and compose) wherein he tells us a cock and a bull story about an uncle of his, "a considerable antiquarian," who died at Ramsgate some time ago, and left to Wr Rd a collection of old pamphlets (a volume of Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, not a shadow of doubt,) and, inter alia, the narrative above alluded to: he then, to complete the imposition, acquaints us, that the pamphlet is "frail," which alone prevented his "producing to you the original;"-yet, that if you, Mr Editor, were doubtful of the facts, he would immediately, by bringing this aged production forward," banish all doubts" of its reality and existence.This is really too bad. Listen to me, Sir: In the same volume of Ruddiman's Magazine (XIV.) for 26 Dec. 1771. p. 385. if you will take the
trouble to look, you will find this celebrated narrative of Wr Rd, at greater length, and much better expressed, than as altered by him. I shall not trespass farther on your patience, and that of your readers, by any remarks of mine on this subject, but leave the rest to the discrimination of any one who will look it over.
From what you have now read, I lead myself to conclude, Sir, that you are satisfied of the propriety of inviting the doughty Wr Rd to bring forth his proof in due course; in which, should he fail, one inference only can be drawn in his case.
Under these circumstances, Sir, I expect that you will be on your guard against the threat of this pseudo author, who insists on "entertaining the public" with more communications of the like sort! Age and debility operate powerfully against my entering into any literary controversy, and preclude me from offering my mite to our only national register; yet I can not observe silence when a deliberate attempt has been avowed to lower its character by such correspondents as Wr Rd, whom I shall now dismiss; and I recommend him in time coming to beware practising such tricks, "Lest, when the birds their various colours claim, "Stripp'd of his stolen pride, the crow "forlorn "Should stand the laughter of the pub**lic scorn."
I am, Sir, &c.
Edinburgh, 30th Sept. 1808.
P. S. Since writing the preceding expose, I begin to suspect that you also, have smelt a rat ; as in your notice to correspondents, in the Magazine for October, I observe that this impostor W-r R-d has been furnishing you with more "damning stuff," but inconsequence of doubts having arisen in your mind as to the authenticity, you have wisely called on him for "a
certificate of character," which should he decline to supply, I pray that you will state the description of his notes," and I shall endeavour to point out whence they are purloined.
Biographical Sketch of the late Rev. DAVID URE.
THIS Gentleman is a striking ex
ample of the effect of industry and perseverance, in raising a man to eminence and respectability, in opposition to difficulties which we should be apt to pronounce insurmountable.
He was born of poor but honest parents, in the city of Glasgow. His father was an operative weaver, and trained his son to his own profession. But David, who, from his earliest years, discovered an insatiable thirst for knowledge, was not to be confined to the obscurity of the mechanical profession to which fortune seemed to have fettered him. His father dying when he was very young, with the labour of his hands he maintained himself and an aged mother, while he rapidly acquired a competent stock of classical learning at the Grammar school. He afterwards passed thro' a regular course of study at the University, where he was always distinguished by accurate preparation of his various lessons. He was so great a favourite of the celebrated Dr Moore, that when he was scolding the other lads for negligence, or want of preparation, he used to make him a bow, saying,
He sits secure, He'll ne'er be fin'd by Dr Moore. He generally laboured the greatest part of the night, and while his hands were throwing the shuttle, his eye would be intent on Virgil, Homer, or some ancient author. He early discovered a strong propensity to investigate antiquities and natural curiosi
ties. So strong did this thirst burn within him, that he has been known, during the Christmas holy days at College, to walk all the way to the top of Benlomond, when the ground was covered with snow, or to some more distant place, where he expected to see something curious. His first project was to discover the perpetual motion, and the philosopher's stone, which had not then ceased to occupy the thoughts even of men of science. Dr Moore, whom he consulted on these projects, put them out of his head, by telling him-" David, we have got a sufficient perpetual motion in you; and industry and perseverance are the true philosopher's stone, because, tho' they should not produce gold, they will produce what can be exchanged for gold."
During his attendance on Divinity, he acted some time as assistant to the schoolmaster of Stewarton, in Airshire, and afterwards taught a subscription school in the neighbourhood of Dunbarton. After he obtained licence, he was appointed assistant to the late Rev. Mr Connel, minister of Kilbride, with a salary of ten pounds a-year, and his maintenance. Yet, with this slender pittance, he continued to relieve, if not wholly to support, his aged mother. It was here he brought to light that curious body of facts concerning the mineral strata, and other matters, which he published in the history of the parishes of Kilbride and Rutherglen. He also made several practical discoveries, from which that district continues to derive considerable benefit. He was promised the succession to that church, and the whole parish expected him as their minister; but they were deprived of him by some petticoat intrigues, unnecessary here to detail. The instant he heard of his disappointment, that he might not stand in the way of a harmonious settlement, he set off to Newcastle on foot, where he acted some time as assistant in a Pres
byterian chapel. He was afterwards employed by Sir John Sinclair in executing the first sketch of the Agricul tural surveys of the counties of Roxburgh, Dunbarton, and Kinross. He also superintended the publication of several of the last volumes, and drew up the general indices of the Statistical Account of Scotland. He surveyed, and drew up accounts of parishes, where such could not otherwise be procured.
Whether travelling to gratify his own curiosity, or to execute any commission, it was always on foot. Tho short of stature, he enjoyed a sound constitution, and a vigorous structure of body. He often carried bread and cheese in his pocket, and enjoyed his repast beside the cooling spring.When his circumstances could afford it, he would repair to the village alehouse, and enjoy his favourite luxury, a glass of ale. His great coat was furnished with a large pocket, in which he stowed such minerals, or other curiosities, as had attracted his notice.He carried a tin-box for stowing curious plants; a large cudgel, armed with steel, so as to serve both as a spade and pick-axe; a few small chissels, and other tools; a blow-pipe, with its appurtenances; a small liquid chemical apparatus; optical instruments, &c. &c. so that his friends used to call him a walking shop, or laboratory. In this way he braved all weathers, and heat or cold, wet or dry, seemed equally indifferent to him. He was a patient observer, and accurate describer of nature. His descriptions were always taken down on the spot, in a hieroglyphical species of short hand, invented by himself, and which, it is to be regretted, no one else but himself understood.
He possessed a strong and vigorous mind, which adversity could neither subdue, nor prosperity elate He had an uninterrupted flow of good humour, and his good nature was so invincible, that the plots and conspiracies of his friends
friends to make him angry, by telling staries concerning ridiculous mistakes he had committed, or laughable situations into which he had been brought, never proved successful. He would laugh as heartily at the story as any of the company, and only set them right in some points of fact, which generally tended to heighten the ridicule.
In 1796, Lord Buchan, with an honourable attention to genius, presented him to the church of Uphall, in Linlithgowshire. He did not, however, enjoy this preferment above two years, when he died of a dropsy. His Lordship caused him to be interred in his own burying ground, with the following inscription:
D. Ure, A. D. In hac Ecclesia rite repo, situs, morbo acerbo Hydrop. diu vexat, animam denique reflavit, et Deo reddidit die Martij xxviii. A. D, M.DCC,XCVIII. et hic sepul. fuit.
David Buchania Comes in Test.
September 8. Tho' the country a round this city be now fully apprised of the strange and surprising fate of Margaret Dickson, who on Wednesday last was hang'd in the Grass-marJ. Headrick. ket for the murder of her own child; yet, to satisfie the curiosity of such as may have heard of this uncommon event, and perhaps are not yet convinced of the verity thereof; and also, to inform such of our readers as live at a greater distance, and probably have not at all heard of it; we have been advis'd to publish the following short Narrative thereof, viz.
"After this unfortunate creature "had been cut down by the executioner, and put into a cart to be carried "to Musselburgh there to be interred; 66 on the way thither, the people who "attended the corpse, stopping some "time at Pepper-mill to refresh them"selves, were alarmed by one in the
company, who affirm'd that he felt 66 some motion in the chest; where
upon it was immediately broke up "by her friends, who then caused open a vein, and give her some spi
Pulvis et Umbra Sumus. Edinr. Dec. 1806.
Curious Account of the hanging and recovery of MARGARET DICKSON.
For the Scors Magazine.
Edinburgh, August 6. 1724. On
sentence of death for the murder of her own child, to be execute on her in the Grass-market the first Wednesday of September next. She is a married woman, and had unluckily differed with and eloped from her husband for some years past.
September 3. Yesterday Margaret Dickson suffered in the Grass-market, pursuant to the sentence emitted against her for the murder of her own child. She was cut down some time after thrown over, and put into a bier, in order to be transported to Musselburgh, to be buried with her people. A soldier in Kirk's regiment, observing that the executioner had left a part of the halter upon the gallows after cutting the woman down, jumped upon the ladder, sciz'd the rope, and fell a unnoosing it with his teeth; which his his cane, and severely drubb'd him for serjeant perceiving, fell upon him with his pains.
*This appears to be a misnomer, as on every other occasion she is called Margaret.
“ rits, which had such effect, that they Account of DR BELL's System of "hoped the event would soon answer "their endeavours. She was that "night carried to Musselburgh, and so far recovered next day, "that she both sate up and spoke to "the company. She is at present in "her brother's house at Musselburgh, "in perfect health and judgment, " and has been visited by almost every "body here, high and low. She has "had a great deal of money given her, "by those who have seen her, and se"veral others have sent her money
from this place."
'Tis thought the stir and motion of the cart whereon she lay, provok'd the circulation of the blood, and contributed greatly to her recovery.
We hear that on Sunday last the Reverend Mr Willianison had a very pretty sermon at his parish church of Inverask, suitable to the occasion, whereat she was present, and a very numerous auditory; and that frequent mention was made of the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead.
September 10. People continue to throng out for Musselburgh, to see the woman mentioned in our last. What was said in that paper, anent the Reverend Mr Williamson's having spoke of the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, was insert by misinformation, for that he did not in the least descend to particulars, much less speak of Lazarus; what was spoke that way, was by the people in the churchyard.
October 15. Tuesday last the famous Margaret Dickson (who so can nily outwitted John Dalgleish in the Grass-roarket) came to town from Musselburgh. Peoples curiosity was such, to see a hanged woman appear in the streets again, that she'd infallibly been rode down or stifled in the crowd, but that she got into the house of John Hood, (one of the keepers of the tolbooth, and a Gospel Relation of hers) who conveyed her off by a back-door.
THE System of Education, chiefly designed for the benefit of the children of the Poor, and, "which has appeared under different shapes in this country," originated in the Military Male Orphan Asylum founded at Madras in the year 1789; being introduced by the Rev. Dr Andrew Bell, a native of Scotland, and formerly British Chaplain of the Precedency at Madras, and was transplanted into England in the year 1797, when it was partially adopted with good success in the oldest charity school in London, that of Aldgate, and in several parts of the kingdom, and is now established at the parochial schools of White - Chapel and of Lambeth, and at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea. Its inventor thus writes of it: "to render simple, easy, pleasant, expeditious, and economical, the acquisition of the rudiments of letters, and of morality and religion, are the leading objects of elementary education;-to expedite the progress of education at the same rate of punishment to the scholar, of labour to the master, and of expence to the parent as heretofore, were an acquisition to a school not to be slighted; still more could this be effected at a reduced rate of punishment, or of labour, or of expence. But to unite all these advantages is the great desideratum in edu cation. It is accordingly the aim of this essay to combine in happy union the progress and amusement of the scholar, the ease and gratiâcation of the master, and the interest and satisfaction of the parent. Such is the proximate object of the system; its ultimate object, the ultimate object or end of all education, is to make good scholars, good men, good subjects, and good christians. In other words, to promote the temporal and spiri tual welfare of the pupils. To attain these ends, to attain any good end in edu