a writer of some versatility, a poet and a novelist, was the son of a
manufacturer in Arbroath, where he was born in the year 1782. Having
completed his school education, he was placed in his father’s
counting-house, but cherishing an inclination for literary pursuits, he
soon removed to Edinburgh, and was by Mr. Constable the publisher
appointed to the temporary charge of a department of his business allied
in some degree to the profession of literature. As a better field for the
exercise of his talents, he repaired soon after to London, where he
obtained, through several gradations, the direction of various departments
of the periodical press. He began to publish in 1802. The order and titles
of his works will be found annexed. The ability he displayed in advocating
the measures of the Whig party, whose side he had espoused, gained for him
the notice of Mr. Wyndham, who offered him a situation at the Cape of Good
Hope, which he declined. On the change of ministry he wrote a satire on
their successors, entitled ‘Ins and Outs, or the state of parties, by
Chrononhotonthologos,’ of which two large editions were sold in a few
weeks. On the establishment of the ‘Inverness Journal’ newspaper, in 1807,
he was invited, on the recommendation of Mr. Constable, to undertake the
office of editor, which, under many disadvantages, he discharged during
nearly five years with general satisfaction, continuing his literary
publications at the same time. During a considerable part of the year
1812, he conducted the ‘Boston Gazette.’ He next repaired again to London,
and renewed his connexion with the public journals there. With the
exception of a short visit to Paris, on some literary speculation, at a
subsequent period, his labours from this time were devoted to the press.
At length, weary of perpetual struggles and disappointments, feeling his
health much impaired, he returned to his native place, to receive the
attentions of parental affection. He died at his father’s house at
Arbroath, of consumption, after eighteen months’ illness, on 4th
October 1824, in the 42d year of his age. Besides the works enumerated
below, he contributed largely to ‘The Poetical Magazine, or the Temple of
the Muses,’ consisting chiefly of original poems, published in 1804, in
two volumes 8vo, of which he was the editor. His poems are distinguished
generally by elegance and harmony, and, with a good deal of purity and
feeling, are not deficient in sentiment and imagery.
of Nature; or the Charms of Rural Life, and other Poems, 1802, 8vo.
of Fancy, a Poem, with Notes, 1803, 12mo.
Tales, &c. 1804.
the Castle; a Novel. 1806, 2 vols. 12mo.
Outs, or the state of Parties, by Chrononhotonthologos. 1807, 8vo.
chiefly Amatory. 1807, 12mo.
Phadrig; Visions of Sensibility, with Legendary Tales, and occasional
Pieces, and Historical Notes; dedicated to Lord Seafield, a tribute
chiefly of gratitude for the kindness and hospitality of his Highland
friends and neighbours. 1810, 8vo.
Picturesque Scenes; or a Guide to the Highlands. 1811, 8vo.
of the Desert; Sketches of Scenery; Foreign and Domestic Odes, and other
or the Field of Culloden, 1812. A novel founded on the rebellion of 1745,
and exhibiting a vivid picture of local scenery, and a faithful
representation of Highland manners.