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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 85 incapable of appreciating the duties of social sober life. In another letter he says :- ‘‘ The people of distinction in Scotland are blest with elegance and happiness, and know not that insatiable ambition, which, while it swallows up every other comfort and endearment of life, never fails to prove the bane of human bliss ; their enjoyments are chiefly those of the domestic kind-a virtuous and lovely wife-the education and company of their children.” Truly may we‘ add, in the language of Burns- “ From scenes like these old Scotia’s grandeur springs. ’’ Judging of Lunardi from his letters while in Scotland, he seems to have been a youth of a warm temperamentamiable in his feelings-of a poetical vein ; but extremely vain and ambitious ; and, like many of his countrymen, volatile and irritable. Young and handsome, he was not only an admirer of the ladies, but was in turn himself admired. The marked attention on the part of the fair sex seemed too powerful for the youthful aeronaut’s good sense-his conceit became intolerable. Once when in company, being called on for a toast, he gave-“Lunardi, whom the ladies love.” This instance of bad taste and audacious conceit might have been the burst of an unguarded moment, but it had the effect of disgusting all who heard him. In compliment to the aerial stranger, the Scottish ladies wore what they called ‘‘ Lunardi bonnets,” of a peculiar construction, and which for some time were universally fashionable. They were made of gauze or thin muslin, extended on wire, the upper part representing the balloon. Burns in his “Address to a Louse,” alludes to this head-dress in the following words :- “ I wadna been surprised to spy You on an add wife’s flanin toy ; Or aibliis some bit duddy boy- But Miss’s fine Lunurdi I fie, On’s wyliecoat ; How daur ye do’t 1 ” Lunardi died of a decline, in the convent of Barbadinus, at Lisbon, on the 31st of January 1806. No. XXXVII. MAR R IA G E. BY, reversing this Print, the merence between “Before and After” wiU be readily observed, as in too many cases, to have been faithfully delineated by Hay. This Print having found its way into Germany, was copied on the lids of snuff-boxes, and other fancy articles manufactured there.
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86 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. XXXVIII. A GROUP OF AERONAUTS. IN this group the principal figure is LUNARDIo, f whom we ,am previously given some account. The next, to the left, is MR. JAMES TYTLER, chemist, and well known in Edinburgh as a literary character of some eminence. He was born at the manse of Fearn, of which place his father was minister. James received an excellent provincial education ; and afterwards, with the proceeds of a voyage or two to Greenland, in the capacity of medical assistant, he llemoved to Edinburgh to complete his knowledge of medicine, where he made rapid progress not only in his professional acquirements, but in almost every department of literature. At an early period he became enamoured of a sister of Mr. Young, Writer to the Signet, whom he married. From this event may perhaps be dated the laborious and poverty-stricken career of Tytler. His means, at the very outset, were unequal to the task of providing for his matrimonial engagements, and from one failure to another he seems to have descended, until reduced to the verge of indigence. He first attempted to establish himself as a surgeon in Edinburgh ; and then removed to Newcastle, where he commenced a laboratory, but without success. In the course of a year or two he returned to Leit,h, where he opened a shop for the sale of chemical preparations ; and here again his evil destiny prevailed. It is possible his literary bias might have operated as a drag upon his exertions. These repeated failures seemed to have destroyed his domestic happiness. His wife, after presenting him with several children, left him to manage them as best he could, and resided with her friends, some time in Edinburgh, and afterwards in the Orkneys. Previous to this domestic occurrence, Tytler had abandoned all his former religious connexions, and even opinions j and now finding himself thrown upon his literary resources, he announced a work entitled, “Essays on the most important subjects of Natural and Revealed Religion.” Unable to find a bookseller or printer willing to undertake the publication of his Essays, Tytler’s genius and indefatigable spirit were called forth in an extraordinary manner. Having constructed a printing-press upon a principle different from those in use,’ and having procured some old materials, he set about arranging‘ the types of his Essays with his own hands, and without previously having written down his thoughts upon paper. Mr. ‘Ray states in his MS., that twenty-three Supposed to have been the origin of those afterwards manufactured by the ingenious John Ruthven. -Chambers’s BiogTaJhy.
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