Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


460 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 347. LAWYERAN D CLIENT, Reverse Heads. 348. Another set of REVERSEH EADS. The one with the round hat is a likeness of Lord Monboddo. 349. CONVENTIOONF ASSESj or Spirit of Democracy. Etched for a satirical political pamphlet in verse,’ entitled “ Rights of Asses,” and published in Edinburgh in 1792, 8vo. The author, we believe, was Mr. William Wilkie, tailor, James Square, Edinburgh. 350. THEF IDDLEORF GLENBIRNIE. This is a capital Etching; but who the subject of the sketch was Kay has not stated. The character is probably fanciful. 351. DEAD GAME. The artist’s favourite Cat introduced. 352. WITCH OF ENDOR. 35 3, BEGGAR’SFE AST-after Ostade. A good Etching-apparently after Fuseli. 354. SIR WILLIAMW ALLACEt,h e hero of Scottish independence. The Print is said to be from a very old picture ; but it is questionable whether there be any genuine likeness of Wallace in existence, A painting, said to be a copy of the original portrait executed while he sojourned in France, was once in possession of Lieut.Qenera1 Ainslie of this city. It had the appearance of considerable antiquity, and had been in the General’s family upwards of a century. 355. Equestrian Statue of CHARLES11 . erected in the Parliament Square in 1785. The “Merry Monarch” occupies the site once intended for the hero of the Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell. The statue of the latter was actually in progress when the Restoration of Monarchy, in the person of Charles, speedily convinced the pliant authorities of the impropriety of their design. During the great fire in 1624 Charles narrowly escaped destruction. He was unhorsed, and lay for some time in the Parliament Square. From thence he was removed to the Calton Hill jail, where he remained “in durance vile” till 1636, when he was restored, on a new pedestal, to his original position, and has since been refreshed by a coat of bronze. 356. KAYI N MINIATUREb,y himself. 357. HIEROGLYPHLIECV ER from the Devil to Sir Laurence Dundas. 358. DUNDASA’ NSWER. This trifle is not destitute of talent ; it is, as may be supposed, an attack on the then existing order of things. It was published by Robertson and Berry, South Bridge, both of whom got &to trouhle in consequence of their political agitation.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 481 359.’ WILLIAYS KIRVINGS,e cretary to the British Convention, or, as he is styled in the Print, “ Citizen Skirving, a tried patriot and an honest man,” was tried for sedition before the High Court of Justiciary, on the 6th January 1794, and sentenced to be transported beyond seas for the term of fourteen years. Mr. Skirving was accused of circulating a seditious hand-bill or paper, dated “Dundee, July 1793,” and for which Mr. Palmer had already been tried and sentenced to seven years’ transportation. He was further charged with having been a member of a society denominated ‘‘ Friends of the People,” and secretary to the British Convention that met in Edinburgh during the months of October, November, and December 1793, and for writing and publishing various other seditious writings, as specially condescended on in the criminal letters or indictment on said 6th January 1794. Some time previous to Skirving’s trial, in virtue of a general warrant issued by Sheriff Pringle, his house, at the dead hour of night, was taken possession of by a posse of sherif oflcers, and strictly searched, on the pretext of finding seditious and treasonable publications or papers ; and after seizing a variety of books and papers which they thought proper to consider of the above description, Skirving, without any further ceremony or explanation, was taken into custody and incarcerated in the tolbooth of Edinburgh, until liberated in due course of law. Mr. Skirving indignantly refused to be liberated on bail until his solicitor, Mr. William Moffat, had taken the necessary steps to secure a legal investigation and redress for such illegal and iizquisitorial procedure. General warrants having for many years been found and declared by the supreme law of the land to be illegal and oppressive, vide the decision of the Court of King’s Bench, in the case of the celebrated Alderman Wilkes against the Secretary of State for damages, 1764, Mr. Moffat accordingly lost no time in serving the Sheriff and his Procurator-Fiscal with a protest on behalf of Skirving, grounded on the foresaid illegal proceedings, demanding his immediate liberation from jail, and restitution of the books and papers that had been so illegally seized or stolen from his house, as therein specially condescended on j and failing restitution and his liberation, the protest concluded by holding the Sheriff and all concerned liable in exemplary damages. Mr. Skirving was soon thereafter liberated, but the papers and property never were returned, nor any damages recovered for their illegal seizure and abstraction, although in the similar case of Alderman Wilkes he obtained a verdict for 55000 damages against Lord Halifax and his Under Secretary of State, who signed and issued the warrant in question In May 1794 Skirving was transported to New South Wales in the Surprise Transport, with his fellow-sufferers, Muir, Palmer, and Margarot, and died there about three years after his arrival. Margarot was the only one who outlived the period of his exile, and who returned in good health and spirits, in 1811, Nos. 359 and 360 not being amongst Ray’s Copperplates at the time of his death, they only lately came into our possession. They are introduced here aa supplying a desideratum-the parties portrayed being frequently alluded to throughout the Work. VOL 11. 3Q
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