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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 309 scaffold-but never can I be deprived or be ashamed of the records of my past life." A verdict of guilty was returned by the jury, and sentence followed, transporting the prisoner beyond seas for the period of fourteen years. Ab. Muir was detained in prison till the 15th of October, when he was conveyed on board the EoyaE Geoyge excise yacht, Captain Ogilvie, lying in Leith Roads for London. In the same vessel were sent the following convicts :-John Grant, convicted of forgery at Inverness ; John Stirling, concerned in robbing Nellfield House; - Bauchope, for stealing watches ; and James Illackay, who had been condemned to death for street robbery. The feeling of degradation which Muir must have experienced in being thus classed with thieves and robbers was in some degree alleviated by the presence of the Rev. Thomas Fyshe Palmer, who had been tried on the 12th September previous, for publishing a political address written by George Mealmaker. Immediately on the arrival of the prisoners in the Thames they were put on board the hulks, where they were detained so long that Skirving and Margarot were in time t o be shipped in the same transport for New South Wales.' 1 The following lines, written by the author on board the tranaport that was about to carry him into exile, independent of their poetical merit, are rendered interesting from the circumstances under which they were penned :- '' Surprise Tramport, Portsmouth, " Ha&. 12, 1794. " TO MR. MOFFAT, WITH A GOLD WATCH AND CHAIN FROM MR. MUIR. " This gift, this little gift, with heart sincere, An exile, wafted from his native land, To friendship tried, bequeaths with many a tear, Whilst the dire bark still lingers on the strand " These sorrows stream from no ignoble cause ; I weep not o'er my own peculiar wrong,- Say, when approving conscience yields applause, Should private sorrow claim the votive song ? '' But, ah I I mark the rolling cloud from far, Collect the dark'ning horrors of the storm ; With civil blood, the civil field deform. " Roll on, ye years of grief, your fated course I Roll on, ye years of agony and blood ! But, ah I of civil rage, when dried the source, From partial evil spring up general good. And, 10 ! I see the frantic fiend of war, " Alas ! my Moffat, from the dismal shore Of cheerless exile, when I slow return, What solemn ruins must I then deplore 1 What awful desolation shall I mourn ? " Paternal mansion I mouldering in decay, Thy close-barred gate may give no welcome kind ; May harshly cry-another mansion find. Another lord, sa lingering in delay,
Volume 8 Page 433
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