Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


136 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. ‘‘ Some Considerations on the present State of Affairs ; wherein the defenceless situation of Great Britain is pointed out, and an easy, rational, and just scheme for its security at this dangerous crisis proposed in a Militia, formed on an equal plan, that can neither be oppressive to the poor nor offensive to the rich, as practised by some of his Majesty’s colonies abroad, etc. York : printed for the author, and sold by all the booksellers in town, 1758 ;I’ 8vo. Pp. 56. In 17’62, he addressed the following letter to the Printers of the Edinburgh Evening Coward :- (( As the scarcity of hands on account of the present war, and, of consequence, the great increase of the price of labour, have been for some time a most general complaint in this much depopulated country, that person must surely deserve well of the public who shall discover a method to supply the one, and reduce the other. Now the season is approaching which is appointed by Providence to crown the labours of the year, and in which the industrious farmer hopes to reap the fruits of his toil. This penury of hands, in a climate so variable as Scotland, may soon be felt in the severest manner. The high prices of grain, and the prospect of a plentiful crop, are certainly very urgent motives for embracing every means that may facilitate the cutting down of the corns with speed and safety. It is with a view to remedy, in a great measure, this universal complaint that I communicate, through the channel of your paper, my having, at a considerable expense, invented a machine, which I am able to demonstrate will, in the hands of a single man, do more execution in a field of oats in one day, and to better purpose, than it is in the power of six shearers to do. This machine is now completed, and is constructed in such a manner, that where the corn is tolerably thick, it will cut down near a sheaf at a st.roke, and that without shaking the grain or disordering the straw, besides laying down the corn as regularly as the most expert shearer is capable to do. It is attended with another advantage, that the sun in a short time will so dry the grass and weeds, as well as win the straw and corn, that it may be fit either for putting into the stack or carrying into the barn. It is not from any principle of vanity or conceit that I have expatiated on the properties of this machine. My sole aim by this letter is to intimate my invention to the honourable society for the encouragement of arts, sciences, etc., to any of whom I am ready to show the machine; and, if they should think proper, give them ocular demonstrations of its answering the purposes intended, by my own hands. At the same time, if they shall approve of it, and be of opinion that it may in a great degree contribute to remove the grievance complained of, I have reason to hope that the Society will not withhold a suitable encouragement for the invention. In that event, I propose, for a moderate premium, to instruct any overseer, or principal servant on a farm, how to handle the machine, so that he may, with his own hands, cut down several acres of corn in a day, I am, Gentlemen, yours, etc. ((July 1762. (( PETERW IUWMSON, (( Author of a book entitled, ( French and Indian Cruelty, exemplified in
Volume 8 Page 194
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