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The "Blackwood" Group Famous Scots Series   By:

The

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E text prepared by Susan Skinner and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net)

THE 'BLACKWOOD' GROUP

by

SIR GEORGE DOUGLAS

Famous·Scots·Series

Published by Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier · Edinburgh and London

FAMOUS SCOTS SERIES

The following Volumes are now ready:

THOMAS CARLYLE. By Hector C. Macpherson. ALLAN RAMSAY. By Oliphant Smeaton. HUGH MILLER. By W. Keith Leask. JOHN KNOX. By A. Taylor Innes. ROBERT BURNS. By Gabriel Setoun. THE BALLADISTS. By John Geddie. RICHARD CAMERON. By Professor Herkless. SIR JAMES Y. SIMPSON. By Eve Blantyre Simpson. THOMAS CHALMERS. By Professor W. Garden Blaikie. JAMES BOSWELL. By W. Keith Leask. TOBIAS SMOLLETT. By Oliphant Smeaton. FLETCHER OF SALTOUN. By G. W. T. Omond. THE BLACKWOOD GROUP. By Sir George Douglas.

The designs and ornaments of this volume are by Mr Joseph Brown, and the printing from the press of Messrs Turnbull & Spears, Edinburgh.

April 1897.

To

Major General Sir WILLIAM CROSSMAN, K.C.M.G.,

IN REMEMBRANCE OF HOURS IN TWO LIBRARIES.

THE BLACKWOOD GROUP.

JOHN WILSON.

JOHN GALT.

D. M. MOIR ('DELTA').

MISS FERRIER.

MICHAEL SCOTT.

THOMAS HAMILTON.

Note The Ettrick Shepherd and John Gibson Lockhart, conspicuous by their absence from the above list of writers associated with the early days of the publishing house of Blackwood, will receive attention in forthcoming volumes of the series.

JOHN WILSON

Is it too bold a thing to say that the reputation of 'Christopher North,' the man, has survived that of his works? Third in the great dynasty of Scottish literary sovereigns, he ascended the throne upon the death of Scott, reigned gloriously and held high state in the Northern Capital whence in earlier days he had waged direst war and at his death passed on the sceptre to Carlyle, from whom in turn it descended to Stevenson. To us of to day, he looms on the horizon of the past, the representative of a vanished race of physical and intellectual giants, the historic legend revealing him as before all things a good man of his inches, a prince of boon companions and good fellows, a wit, a hard hitter, the soul and centre of a brilliant circle, and the author of the Noctes Ambrosianæ . Many other works he wrote important in their own day but now not unjustly forgotten, or all but forgotten. But the man himself was greater than his works; he, more than they, is our enduring possession; his memory it behoves us to preserve.

The story of his life has been told, in terms of affectionate appreciation, by his daughter, Mrs Gordon. Born at Paisley in a neighbourhood where that natural beauty to which he was so susceptible was still at that time almost unsullied on the 18th May 1785, he was the eldest of his parents' sons and their fourth child. His father, a gauze manufacturer by trade, was possessed of considerable wealth; whilst through his mother, whose maiden name was Sym, and who claimed descent from the great Marquis of Montrose, he had inherited a strain of 'gentle' blood. From the first he was a robust and lively boy, and his childhood, being passed under the most favourable of conditions, was an entirely happy one. His taste for field sport first declared itself at the early age of three years, when equipped with willow wand, thread, and crooked pin, he set off, unattended, on an adventurous angling expedition. Meantime the parallel mental activity, which was to be through life his characteristic, was manifested in quaint infantine pulpit oratory at home. After receiving the rudiments of instruction at Paisley, he was placed as a boarder with the minister of the neighbouring parish of Mearns, with whom he remained until his twelfth year... Continue reading book >>




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