Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 135 sitting at Philadelphia discussing measures for checking the depredations of the savages, to communicate such intelligence regarding them as his experience had put him in possession of, and ultimately entered himself a volunteer in one of the regiments raised to serve against the French and Indians. In this service, during which he was engaged in numerous skirmishes, he remained three years, having previously obtained the rank of Lieutenant, when he was taken prisoner by the French on the surrender of Oswego, marched to Quebec with other prisoners, and there embarked, according to stipulation, on board the La Renomme, a French packet-boat, for Plymouth, where he arrived on the 6th of November 1756. In about five months after, Williamson, with a party who had been quartered with him at Kingsbridge, were ordered to Plymouth Dock to be drafted into other regiments, but on being inspected he was found unfit for service, in consequence of a wound he had received in one of his hands, and was discharged. On receiving his discharge, Williamson, who was now entirely destitute of means, being possessed of no more than six shillings, which had been allowed by Government to carry him home, proceeded to York. He there submitted the manuscript of his adventures amongst the Indians to some benevolent persons, who recommended its publication, and having by this means raised a little money, he set out for Aberdeen, where he arrived in June 1758. But although now in his native place, his misfortunes had not yet terminated. The little volume of his adventures, which he had published at York, contained some reflections on the characters of the merchants of Aberdeen, implicating them in the practice of kidnapping, of which Villiamson had himself been a victim. He had no sooner offered the work for sale in the traduced city, than he was called before the magistrates to answer to a complaint of libel on the character and reputation of the merchants of Aberdeen ; and he was ordered to sign a recantation of what they called his calumnies, on pain of imprisonment, and was appointed to find caution to stand trial on the oomplaint, at any time when called for, and to be confined in jail till performance. To this judgment was added an order that all his books should be forthwith lodged in the clerk’s chamber. His books were accordingly seized, the offensive leaves cut out and burned at the market-cross by the hands of the common hanagan. Williamson was subsequently amerced in the sum of ten shillings, and finally banished the city as a vagrant. By the advice and assistance of some friends, however, he afterwards raised a process of oppression and damages against the magistrates of Aberdeen before the Court of Session, and ultimately obtained damages to the amount of €100, with all the costs of process. Previously to his obtaining this judgment, Williamson had settled in Edinburgh, where he first kept a tavern,’ then became a bookseller, printer, publisher, and projector, He appears some time before this to have published in York, Peter’s tavern, or coffee-house, ww situated in the Old Parliament Close. On his sign-board he designated himself “from the other world.”
Volume 8 Page 193
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