prophet of the name of Ross had been gulling the rabble
who collected round him on the street with a pretended prediction of the
destruction of the Briggate by a great flood, to which the floods of 1782
and 1795 no doubt gave him the cue.
Cameron, not to be outdone by Ross,
and by way of ridicule on the prophetic pretensions of the latter, wrote,
published, cried, and sold a Chap-book under the title of
The Prophecies of "Hawkie": A Cow, who
prophesied in Fife of a prophet who appeared in Glasgow and converted
numbers. The Cow Hawkie, frae Aberdour, in the kingdom of Fife, was
represented as sister-german to Ross, and its prediction as to the
Briggate was as follows :— "It is
to be destroyed by a flood o’ whisky, and the wives will be ferrying in
washing-tubs frae ae door to anither, and mony o’ their lives will be lost
that otherwise micht ha’e been saved by their louting ower their tubs to
try the flood whether it was sky blue or the real Ferntosh."
The Prophecies of "Hawkie"
so enraged the Glasgow prophet,
Ross, who was by trade a weaver, that one night when Cameron was calling
and selling his Chap-book in the Calton, where Ross resided, he rushed out
and attacked the vendor like a mad bull; and as Cameron, alias
"Had it not been for the people in
the street, I would have suffered persecution (like the rest of the
prophets) from the hands of Ross."
"By this book," he adds, "I got the
name of Hawkie, which has from that time stuck to me. I ‘called’ this book
first in Glasgow, where every person knew the meaning of, it, but when I
went to Edinburgh and ‘cried’ it they did not know the meaning, and, not
knowing my name, they called
me ‘Hawkie,’ after the book."