Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 528
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B I0 G RA P €I I CA L S KE T C HE S. 395 I’d rather draw my latest breath, With independence on a heath. The philosopher’s pen the soldier disarms, And‘s more than a match for the world in arms. ‘I With new parables to destroy cruelty, by transferring iniquity from the Effect to the Cause : and an explanation of the Subduplicate Motion of the Solar Atmosphere, to prove whether Nature is created or eternal ; and a contest between Faith and Reason, to prove whether conscience is natural or acquired : with an address to the GOD OF NATURwEh, o steers the Helm of the Universe. “The Lecture will be clothed with Elegance and precision, suitable to the dignity and importance of the subjects. To conclude with a Lecture upon Love, and a new Song for the Ladies. “ADMITTANCTEw o SBILLINGS.” This interesting lecture was to have been delivered at Aberdeen j but the magistrates not being sufficiently enlightened to appreciate its merits, prohibited the threatened harangue, and caused the enraged philosopher to be removed without the jurisdiction of the city. This fate he experienced in various quarters not so far north as Aberdeen. The following lines, entitled “The Persecutors who robbed the Author at Greenock,” which are printed in his Book of Fame, record a similar interference :- “ Forever let the truth be spoke, Your laws have robbed me of my cloak, And stopped my lecture, just and sound j The damage it is just ten pounds. I cannot go with much respect- A bad cause has a bad effect ; In future let this be a lesson- Ne’er try to stop the Perpetual Motion.” So extravagant and blasphemous were the Doctor’s nonsensical ravings, that even the rabble whom he purposed to enlighten, in place of raising their voices in his favour, not unfrequently rewarded him with hisses and abuse, accompanying these demonstrations of feeling with something more substantial, in the shape of mud and stones. Such manifestations he of course attributed to the secret instigation of his enemies in high quarters; and while he pitied the blindness of the people, he affected to bear their rudeness with all the cynic indifference of a Diogenes. In the ‘‘ wicked town o1 Ayr ” a friend recollects witnessing a similar termination to one of his harangues. He had been denied a place in which to hold forth ; and, as a last resource, had taken up his station at the gable of a house, where he was just beginning to “illuminate” the people on the “Perpetual Motion,” when a volley of stones instantly put himself in such quick motion, pursued by the crowd, that he found it convenient to make a rapid retreat, leaving his oration unfinished. The philosopher’s ‘‘ Book (or rather Books) of Fame ’’-for they were three in number-consisted of a collection of wretched rhyme and worse prose, the record of his sage opinions of men and things, thrown together without any arrangement. The sale of these productions, printed in the shape of pamphlets, waa latterly the chief source from which he derived a scanty living. The “Book of Fame,” No. I,, in which the author can be traced through an
Volume 9 Page 529
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