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he having recollection of some psalm-like verses, descriptive of the aspects of external nature, written about that age; and which he read to several of his school-fellows, doubtless with no small feelings of self-gratification. Maturer taste, however, afterwards shewed him the propriety of committing these, and some others of a shortly posterior date, to the flames.

At the age of twenty-six, he removed to Arbroath, where he was employed as clerk to a respectable merchant and manufacturer, in the business which he intended to follow; and married in the ensuing year.

While engaged in tuition in the parish of Monikie, Mr BALFOUR had made his debut as a scribbler for the press, in the British Chronicle; and he continued to send occasional contributions to that

paper till the spring of 1793. These offerings were chiefly in verse, and some of them written in provincial Scotch. None of them were particularly remarkable; and, from being on subjects of temporary interest, were soon forgotten, although several of them were copied into the other periodicals of the day. About this period, he also contributed some pieces to the "Bee," published in Edinburgh, under the editorial superintendence of Dr


Of these we have no correct

list; but we believe most of them were also in


His writings had now procured him some little literary notoriety; and, as might have been looked for, his correspondence was courted by different publishers of periodicals. To the "Dundee Repository" (1793) he contributed several pieces; and not a few to the "Aberdeen Magazine," published by BURNET and RETTIE (1796.) Among the best of these, Mr BALFOUR considered his "Scottish Eclogue on the death of BURNS," and "The Genius of Caledonia;" yet, that he put little value on the whole is evident, from his not deeming any of them worthy of a place in the volume of his Miscellaneous Poems, which he afterwards collected.

At the end of four years from his removing to Arbroath, he changed his situation; and, two years after, on the death of his first employer, he entered into partnership with his widow. On her retiring, in 1800, Mr BALFOUR assumed another partner; and the business was, soon after, considerably extended by the firm becoming Government Contractors for supplying the Navy with canvas.

His attention to business was assiduous and unremitting; and the little leisure he had was sweet

ened by his devotion to literary pursuits,―of themselves" their own sufficient great reward." These, however, he never allowed to obtrude on the duties of his mercantile situation; and, as a proof, not only that his exertions had been unremitting, but that they were crowned with success, he became, in 1806, the purchaser of property to a considerable amount. The extent of his correspondence about this time, shews that he was widely known and respected, both for his talents and his moral worth. Many of these letters also prove, that sorrow and misfortune never appealed to him in vain. He possessed the liberal heart and open hand;-" the case that he knew not he searched into." Nor was he alone generous, in giving away part of the goods which his industry had accumulated. He was ever ready to patronize desert; and, wherever his influence could be unobtrusively used, he spared neither time nor trouble, in making his applications effective.

From his earliest youth, Mr BALFOUR had exerted himself to diffuse a literary taste among his companions; and, in all subjects of a co-relative interest with this, we find him an active and enthusiastic supporter. While yet at Arbroath, he had been a member of a Debating Society, consisting of

such of its principal inhabitants as had any pretensions to literature or talent. Of the library there formed, he gratuitously accepted the office of treasurer, a situation involving its principal management and trouble, and which he retained for many years, until the pressure of other avocations compelled him to resign it. As an unequivocal proof of his attention to its interests, the institution had very much improved under his auspices.

From 1793, till some time in the present century, Mr BALFOUR had occasionally contributed to "The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany;" published by SYMINGTON, and afterwards by others. Among the best of these productions are, the "Elegy on the Memory of BURNS;" and "The Scottish Muse to Dr JAMIESON, on the Publication of his Dictionary." The only one afterwards reclaimed in the collection of his Poems, was the Elegy." SYMINGTON republished "The Genius of Caledonia," in a neat pamphlet; and both that poem and the Elegy, were noticed as productions by Mr BALFOUR, in a curious quarto volume, entitled "An Introduction to a History of Scottish Poetry, by ALEXANDER CAMPBELL," afterwards editor of the "Albyn's Anthology."


To the

Dundee Magazine," published by


FRANCIS COLVILLE, about the end of the last, or beginning of the present century, our author contributed several pieces both in prose and verse. He also assisted largely in getting up " The Temple of the Muses," a poetical miscellany, in two volumes, under the bibliopolic auspices of VERNOR and HOOD of London. Many of these contributions possessed superior merit, and were transplanted into various other publications. He also furnished some pieces to "The Poetical Register," collected by Davenport.

During the war with France, and when the country lay under the threat of invasion, Mr BALFOUR exhibited his patriotism, in the composition and publication in the "Dundee Advertiser," of many loyal poems and songs, most of which were republished in London, and some of the latter set to music, and sung at places of public entertainment. He contributed about twenty songs to the "Northern Minstrel," published at Newcastle; and several pieces to the "Literary Mirror," by MURRAY of Montrose. To Dr BREWSTER'S "Encyclopædia," he contributed the account of Arbroath, and to Tilloch's "Philosophical Journal," several papers.

We have now brought our account of Mr BALFOUR'S lucubrations as a writer, to the time when

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