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your own proper and piercing weapon. From what I have seen of yours already, I am inclined to hope for much good. One lesson of virtue and morality delivered in your amusing style, and from such as you, will operate more than dozens would do from such as me, who shall be told, it is our employment, and be never more minded; whereas, from a pen like yours, as being one of the many, what comes will be admired:-Admiration will produce regard, and regard will leave an impression, especially when example goes along.


Wishing you, from my poet-pen, all success, and in my other character, all happiness and heavenly direction, I remain, with esteem, your sincere friend, JOHN SKINNER."

The next letter from Burns to our Author, is dated at Edinburgh, the 14th of February, 1788, and the following is a copy of it:

'Reverend and dear Sir,

'I have been a cripple now near three months, though I am getting vastly better, and have been very much hurried beside, or else I would have wrote you sooner. I must beg your pardon for the epistle you sent me appearing in the Magazine. I had given a copy or two to some of my intimate friends, but did

not know of the printing of it till the publication of the Magazine. However, as it does great honour to us both, I hope you will forgive it. The second volume of the songs I mentioned to you in my last, is published to-day. I send you a copy, which I beg you will accept as a mark of the veneration I have long had, and shall ever have, for your character, and of the claim I make to your continued acquaintance. Your songs appear in the third volume, with your name in the index, as I assure you, Sir, I have heard your Tullochgorum, particularly among our west country folks, given to many different names, and most commonly to the immortal author of the Minstrel, who, indeed, never wrote any thing superior to 'Gie's a Sang, Montgomery cried.' Your brother has promised me your verses to the Marquis of Huntly's Reel, which certainly deserve a place in the Collection. My kind host, Mr. Cruickshank, of the High School here, and said to be one of the best Latins in this age, begs me to make you his grateful acknowledgments for the entertainment he has got in a Latin publication of your's that I borrowed for him from your acquaintance, and my much respected friend, in this place, the reverend Dr. Webster. Mr. Cruickshank maintains that you write the best Latin since Buchanan. I leave Edinburgh to-morrow, but shall return in three weeks. Your song you men

tioned in your last, to the tune of Dumbarton Drums,' and the other, which you say was done by a brother by trade of mine, a plowman, I shall thank you much for a copy of each. I am ever, reverend Sir, with the most respectful esteem, and sincere veneration, yours,




(Communicated by a Barrister of Gray's Inn.)

THE subsequent authentic narrative of the last moments of poor Ritson, while it may afford gratification to some of those who suffered under the lash of his sarcastic criticism, must at the same time offer some apology for that eccentricity and violence which too frequently disgrace his controversial writings, and even his antiquarian disquisitions. They doubtless originated in that maniacal tendency which latterly burst forth into full outrage, and terminated in his death. It has been ascertained that a sister, elder than himself, fell also a victim to the same deplorable malady. Let it check the pride of human nature, even in that point on which we think we are most justified in valuing ourselves the superiority of our intellectual faculties; to mark in this, as well as in so many other instances, the near alliance between genius and insanity.

It has been farther learned from a Mrs. Kirby, who knew him from early infancy, and retained more in

fluence over him than any other person during the whole of his life, that his father was a man in a low condition of life, yet he found means to send him to a Latin school at Stockton, where he proved an attentive scholar, and made a rapid progress in such learning as was there taught. His habits were always reserved, rarely associating with his school-fellows. He afterwards passed some time in the office of Mr. Bradley, a conveyancer, of that town. On coming to London, he entered himself a student of Gray's Inn, and after keeping his proper terms, he was called to the bar. He never, however, paid much attention to the proper business of his profession. During the summer season he used to take long journeys on foot, with no other baggage than a shirt in each pocket; and if he at any time found them too heavy, he made no hesitation in disencumbering himself by throwing one of them away. She also states him to have been very lax in his religious principles, of which, perhaps, she was, no very competent judge. If he in fact were so, let it be a warning to others to be careful how they throw aside any proper restraint of the mind, especially the most serious and important of all, that of religion, lest they should slacken, and, as took place in his unhappy case, ultimately lose all hold of the reins by which the imagination is guided.

"The late Mr. Ritson lived in the same staircase with me in Gray's Inn for many years, and the com


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