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THE CRAIBE ANGUS BURNSIANA.
NIQUE" was the comment of a lady
lady on the late Mr William Craibe Angus. The criticism is probably the briefest ever applied to the man; and it is true. Unique he certainly was, and we think that William Bell Scott's reflection that he himself had "just escaped being famous” may be applied, with equal truth, to Mr Angus.
His was, indeed, a magnetic personality. Of a class by himself, he thought and lived along original lines. He was a strong man, holding strong opinions, which he did not hesitate to express in vigorous terms. The habit of trenchant criticism was characteristic, and could not fail to create feeling ; but those who knew him best remember only the brilliant conversationalist and correspondent, and revere the memory of a charming and lovable
Well-known though he was in the political world and in Scottish art circles—he was the champion of the French and Dutch romanticists—Mr Angus is, and probably will be, best remembered as a Burns collector and authority. He himself told, in the introduction to his " Bibliography in outline," how he became a collector. But he omitted to say, what we believe to be the case, that it was his close association with the romanticists in modern art that really led him to form that collection of booksunique as himself—by, and on, Robert Burns—the first great romanticist in modern literature. As David Garrick dreamed of Stratford as a centre of Shakespearean study, so did Mr Angus think of Alloway as the centre of Burns study ; and we think that, through all the years of his collecting, he had before him the hope that one day his library would form the nucleus of a national collection at “the cottage,” and thus realise the best idea of honouring the memory of the greatest of Scotland's sons. He wished to see at Alloway a Burns library, which would contain (as far as practicable) “every edition and every translation of Burns; all
the commentators--good, bad, and indifferent; in short, every book connected with the life and work of the poet." He set out to make what bid fair to be such a library, and made very considerable progress towards the accomplishment of that object.
Mr Angus was a book-collector of the most liberal and excellent kind. Bringing taste, judgment, and knowledge to the formation of his library, he bought books continuously. But he did not purchase them in the "state" which satisfies the average collector. To Mr Angus beauty of condition, external and internal, was indispensable; the finest possible copies must be got, no matter
them in the state how long they
in which they are had to be waited
usually found. for, no matter the
But it is quite a cost. He knew, WITH-GOD-EVERY
different matter as J. R. M'Cul
if you wish to WITH loch knew, and
have select as every fastidi
choice copies. collector
These are always knows, that it is
scarce, and somenot difficult to
very great rarity.” For
nearly a quarter Mr Angus's earliest Book-plate. content to take
of a century Mr Angus concentrated his attention on the making of his library, and found the greatest pleasure in its possession and use. For he was a reader as well as a collector. Better-informed on the subject than any of his contemporaries, his great knowledge, and his library, were ever at the service of the student; and it does not require to be told what use he made of that knowledge-how sincerely and vigorously he used his pen to produce a better understanding of Burns's life and writings.
Mr Angus's hope was not to be fulfilled. After his death, attempts were made to keep the collection intact, but without suc
There was, therefore, no alternative but to submit the books to the hammer of the auctioneer; and on 8-10 December, 1902,
find books, provided you
the entire library was sold in Edinburgh. The sale aroused great interest among Scottish collectors, and competition for many of the books was very keen. The total amount realised was nearly £1400.
How far Mr Angus had progressed with the formation of his ideal Burns library is shown by the catalogue of the sale. The lots number 1069, representing nearly 3,500 volumes. Included
in these are 650 editions of Burns's poetical and prose writings. Nearly all were in their original bindings; few had seen
“the cropping crew That dock a volume's honest size.”
There were copies of books printed on large paper, and copies on vellum. There were editions of that "greatest gift to Scottish literature” from the libraries of celebrated men ; and others bore the autographs of men and women famous in literature and the arts. Very many were rare; of several no other copies are known to exist.
The ana included, in its 2,500 volumes, books of biography and criticism, and works on the Burns country. Books by friends and acquaintances of Burns, and by the more famous of his contemporaries, were represented in large numbers, and nearly all were in the best condition. Special mention may also be made of the extensive collection of editions of the Scottish poets before and since the time of Burns, including many of "Ramsay and famous Fergusson.”
A list of the chief items, with prices at which they sold, would have formed a suitable conclusion to these notes. Such a list was intended. But to have given it meant reprinting a very large portion of the catalogue of the collection, and that does not appear desirable in this place.
J. C. EWING.
Mr Angus's writings on Burns consist chiefly of articles and letters, many of them controversial, in the leading Scottish newspapers. Of these only the
“ Portraits of Burns (Glasgow Herald, 1890-1) calls for mention here. His “ Printed works of Robert Burns, a bibliography in outline” (60 copies privately printed, Glasgow, 1899), though revised by himself, was not bound and circulated until after his death. He also wrote, jointly with Mr H. D. Colvill-Scott, “ The autograph of Robert Burns” (Archivists' Society, 1898); and “Notes on the first and early editions ” of Burns is the title of his only contribution (1893) to the “ Chronicle.”
Mr Angus wrote also on natural history, on politics, and on art. Long before he settled in Glasgow he had been a student of ornithology, and had formed a collection of specimens. He gave valuable evidence before the Select Committee on Wild Birds Protection (1873), from whose report his evidence was reprinted (Glasgow, 1875); and contributed many papers to the “Transactions of the Natural History Society of Glasgow,” from which, also, several were reprinted in pamphlet form.
J. C. E.
THE LATE WILLIAM FREELAND.
EADERS of the “Burns Chronicle and those interested
in Scottish Literature generally will learn with deep regret of the death of Mr William Freeland, the veteran poet and journalist, which took place at his residence in Govanhill, Glasgow, on the 27th of October last.
Born in Kirkintilloch seventy-five years ago, Mr Freeland's literary tastes led him when about thirty years of age to join the ranks of journalism, in which he ultimately held responsible posts successively on the staffs of the Glasgow Citizen, Glasgow Herald, Glasgow Weekly Herald, and Glasgow Evening Times. In his earlier years he was the friend of, and happily associated with, David Gray, the short-lived but gifted author of "The Luggie and other Poems,” Robert Buchanan, William Black, and others, who won distinction and honour in literary fields. He was the founder, and, up to the time of his death, the loved and revered president of the Glasgow Ballad Club. For many years he was also associated with the Bridgeton Burns Club, and for some time held the presidentship of that society. But it is also noteworthy that he was the originator of a scheme for the founding of a Chair of Scottish Literature in Glasgow University, and although his efforts in this direction have not yet been crowned with success, it is satisfactory to know that the Burns Federation still keep it in view. The scheme is one that must commend itself to every Scotsman who is a lover of the literature of his own land and would strive for the retention of its life and distinctive characteristics. But Mr Freeland was not only a journalist; he was