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" WHILE speaking of the English school, I must not omit to notice 
a truly original genius, who, though not a painter, was an artist of 
the highest order in 1 his way Thomas Bewick, the admirable designer 
and engraver on wood. His works, indeed, are of the smallest dimen- 
sions, but this makes it only the more surprising that so much interest 
could be comprised within such little spaces. The wood cuts that 
illustrate his books of natural history may be studied with advantage 
by the most ambitious votary of the highest classes of art filled as 
they are by the truest feeling for nature, and though often represent- 
ing the most ordinary objects, yet never, in a single instance, degene- 
rating into common- place. The ckarming vignettes that ornament 
these books abound in incidents from real life, diversified by genuine 
humour, as well as by the truest pathos of which the single figure 
of a shipwrecked sailor saying his prayers on a rock, with the waves 
rising round him, is an instance. There is often in these little 
things a deep meaning that places his art on a level with styles which 
the world is apt to consider as greatly above it, in proof of which I 
would mention the party of boys playing at soldiers among graves, 
and mounted on a row of upright tombstones for horses ; while for 
quaint humour, extracted from a very simple source, may be noticed a 
procession of geese which have just waddled through a stream, while 
their line of march is continued by a row of stepping-stones. The 
student of landscape can never consult the works of Bewick without 
improvement. The backgrounds to the figures of his Quadrupeds and 
his Birds, and his vignettes, have a charm of nature quite his own. 
He gives us, in these, every season of the year ; and his trees, whether 
in the clothing of summer, or in the nakedness of winter, are the trees 
of an artist bred in the country. He is equally true in his little home 
scenes, his farm-yards and cottages, as in the wild coast scenery, with 
the flocks of sea birds wheeling round the rocks. In one of these 
subjects there stands a ruined church, towards which the sea has en- 
croached, the rising tide threatening to submerge a tombstone raised 
" to perpetuate the memory," &c. Bewick resembles Hogarth in this, 
that his illustrations of the stories of others are not to be compared 
with his own inventions. His feeling for the beauties of nature as 
they were impressed on him directly, and not at second-hand, is akin 
to the feeling of Burns, and his own designs remind me, therefore, 
much more of Burns than the few which he made from the poet." 
J^eslies Hand Book for Young Painters. 


THE anxiety necessarily attendant upon the pub- 
lication of this volume being now brought to a close, 
it only remains to apologise for the delay, for which 
many reasons might be adduced, and to express a 
hope that it may be received with the same favour 
which has for so long a period been kindly extended 
to the works of Thomas Bewick. It may be matter 
of interest to many of his admirers to learn that the 
whole of the wood cuts now in the hands of the 
family are in as good preservation as when they left 
the graver.* 

This volume was considerably advanced at press 
before it was decided to append the cuts of the 

* As tvidence of which, it is impossible to distinguish the cuts in- 
troduced into the last edition of "Birds" from those previously published. 
This is due to the well-known fact, as mentioned at page 243, that an 
immense number of impressions may be taken from a wood block; and 
to the system, peculiar to Thomas Bewick, of lowering all the more 
delicate parts. 


Fishes ; an arrangement which it is hoped may meet 
with general approbation more particularly as, by 
that means, the cuts and the vignettes* engraved for 
the History of Fishes will thus go together. Much 
additional matter respecting the Fishes, which had 
occupied so much time and attention, would doubt- 
less have found a place in the pages of the Memoir, 
had not the hand of Death so suddenly arrested the 
labours of the Author. From the ample materials 
which exist, the Appendix might ha^e been greatly 
extended, but it is now felt to be desirable to bring 
the publication to a termination as speedily as pos- 

J. B. 

Gateshead-on-Tyne, May, 1862. 

* The viguette placed at page 286 a view of Cherryburn, with 
Mickley Baukin the distance, and a funeral procesaion descending the 
sloping pasture towards the boat, waiting to convey it across the Tyne 
to the last resting-place of the family at Ovingham appears, from the 
date attached, to be the last vignette ever executed by Thomas Bewick. 

IT is at this period when the full value of a well- 
spent life will shine with full effulgence upon the 
mind, and spread over it a self-approbation of more 
worth than all the riches of the world. An ill-spent 
life, on the contrary, will bring forward its recollec- 
tions, and send the guilty and polluted body unre- 
gretted to the grave, and the degraded soul to the 
Giver of it, to be disposed of, in the justice and 
mercy it will be found to deserve. Loose Note. 

T. B. 



Introductory Parentage Birth, 1753 Mickley School Ovingham 
School First attempts at drawing Hunting parties Sheep 
Shelter for sheep in snow storms Birds Border songs and 
laments Earl of Derwentwater Whins food for cattle 1 13 


Employments in spring Angling Mischievous pranks Floggings 
at school Ghosts and Boggles Change in the mind Man- 
fights, dog-fights, cock-fights Fear of ghosts entertained by the 
bulk of the people Meet the Devil going a-guising Miss 
Gregson's reproof Mr. Gregson's lecture Birds and their 
nests Ants Bees 14 31 


Description of Cherryburn The surrounding common The peasantry 
Will Bewick Anthony Liddell Thos. Forster John Chap- 
man Their peculiarities and way of life The very old men 


Their avidity for news Old Soldiers John Cowie Ben Gar- 
lick Their enthusiastic description of the battles they had 
fought The Borderers Their propensity for war and rapine 
Their names The farmers of Tyneside The lairds The 
gentry Plan of the late Duke of Northumberland for raising the 
character of the peasantry Parish relief degrading Proposed 
iron works at Eltringham- Failure of the scheme . 32 49 


Sent on trial to Ralph Beilby, engraver Day of the binding arrives 
Grief on leaving the country Call at the parsonage, Ovingham 
Assembling of the villagers at the church-yard gates Betty 
Kelt's luck penny Journey to Newcastle, accompanied by the 
Rev. Mr. Gregson and his son Lecture Christopher Gregson 
bound on the same day Scrape at King Jamie's Well New 
master and his discipline Sketch of the Family Copy Cope- 
land's Ornaments Block out the diagrams for Charles Button's 
work Etch sword-blades for W. and N. Oley, of Shotley Bridge 
Coarse work of the shop Silversmiths' work Wood cut of 
George and the Dragon Cuts for Children's books Story 
Teller Gay's Fables Select Fables Obtain a premium for the 
cut of the old hound Mr. Gregson's congratulations thereupon 



Lodge with Mrs. Blackett Gilbert Gray His excellent character 
Lodge at Hatfields Scamps and tramps Rise early and obtain 
access to my master's bocks, and to those at the workshop of Wm. 
Gray Religious books Become unwell Dr. Bailes prescribes 
Recommends temperance and exercise Walks to Elswick 
Whey-house Bread and milk diet Walks to Cherryburn after 
shop hours Reflections on getting into debt William Bulmer, 
printer Robert Pollard, engraver Thomas Spence His vaga- 
ries George Gray His worthy character Engrave cuts for 
Dr. Button's Mathematical Works, 1773, and for Dr. Horsley's 
edition of Sir Isaac Newton's works, 1778 Bird catchers and 
bird dealers Profligate men Serjeant Hymers Wkittaker 
Shadforth Practise the manual exercise Miss Beilby Her 
death 6279 



Expiration of apprenticeship, 1774 Eeturn to Cherryburn Employed 
on wood cuts for printers Remain at Cherryburn till 1776 
Beauty of Tyneside Hunting Angling Northumberland 
pipes Pedestrian tour to Cumberland Carlisle Langholm 
Ha wick Selkirk Dalkeith Edinburgh Border scenery 
Auld Reekie Walk to Glasgow To Dumbarton Smollett's 
monument on the side of the Leven Walk through the Highlands 
of Scotland Grandeur of the scenery Admiration of the people 
Their dwellings Their loyalty to Prince Charles Their hos- 
pitality Fairs and trysts Scotch music and dancing Leave 
the Highlands with regret --Walk to Stirling Thence by 
Linlithgow to Edinburgh Return to Newcastle by sea 80 93 


Visit London, 1776 Meeting with friends and schoolfellows Exe- 
cute wood cuts for Isaac Taylor Meet with Serjeant Hymers 
Wood cuts for Thomas Hodgson Work for Mr. Carnan and 
Mr. Newberry Fallen women and their misery Reverse of the 
picture Celebrated preachers Religions of different sects 
Preference for the Church of England Offer of procuring em- 
ployment with Mr. Pingo of the Mint Surplus cash, how 
disposed of Dislike to London Determine to leave it Mr. 
Taylor remonstrates on the subject Mr. Hodgson's kind offer 
to furnish employment His legacy Leave London by sea 
Arrive at Newcastle, 1777 94 104 


Fit up a work bench at Hatfields Offer of partnership with Mr. 
Beilby Reflections thereon Brother John Bewick His amiable 
disposition His talent Visits to Cherryburn with him His 
early death, 1795 Angling River-side scenery Change of the 
seasons Reflections Hardy constitution . . 105 114 

Presentiment of a change at Cherryburn Death of father, mother, 


and sister, 1785 Sketches of their characters Visits to Cherry- 
burn cease George Parkin Diabolical attempt on his life 



Isaac Hymen Mr. Langlands Matthew Prior American war 
Alfred the Great Become acquainted with a society of literary 
young men Their dinners Their songs Northumberland pipes 
introduced at the Theatre Peacock Cant John Bowman 
His skill on the fife 124 -134 


Thomas Lawson Walk to York with Philip Gregson Return by 
Borough Bridge Darlington Westward by Bowes Over 
Stainmore To Penrith and Ainstable To Cherryburn and 
Newcastle Perambulation to Berwick Stop at Elwick Nearly 
swept away by the tide in crossing to Holy Island Speeches 
delivered at Ainwick Swarley's Club Wood cuts for Hutchin- 
son's History of Durham For Walker, of Hereford For 
Nicholson, of Ludlow For Bulmer's publications of Parnell's 
Hermit and Goldsmith's Deserted Village Copper plates for Sir 
Harry Liddell's tour to Lapland Canal plates, 1796 135143 


Commence the History of Quadrupeds with the wood cut of the 
Dromedary, 1785 Rev.R. Oliphant Rev. T. Hornby Marriage 
with Miss Elliot Her death, 1826 Visit to Chillingham, 1789 
Large wood cut of the Chilliugham Bull Visit John Bell at 
Eslington Make a drawing there of a Newfoundland dog Ill- 
ness of Rev. C. Gregson His death, 1790 His estimable 
character 144 152 


Commence first volume of the History of Birds Charmed with the 
subject Ornithological works of that day Correspondence with 


friends and amateurs on the subject Visit Mr. Tunstal's mu- 
seum at Wycliffe, 1791 Make drawings of birds there Lodge 
with John Goundry Eev. Dr. Zouch His hospitality His 
liberality of sentiment Christians and Christianity Thoughts 
on the Deity Man in Society Genus homo Canine race 
Their instincts Return from Wycliffe Visit an old school- 
fellow Preserved birds superseded by birds newly sht Birds 
sent by General Dalbiac, Lieutenant-Colonel Dalton, Major Shore, 
Major H. F. Gibson, and from all parts of the kingdom First 
volume of History of Birds finished at press, 171)7 Mr. Beilby 
-retires Gratitude a rare virtue Carelessness in money matters 
Second volume of the Birds published, 1804 Additions to the 
first volume Severe confinement and application Motives for 
labours Encouraged by amateurs .... 153 165 


Natural History retarded by the work of the shop Writing engrav- 
ingPlates for bank notes Prevention of forgery Carlisle 
bank note King George III. approves of this note Correspond- 
ence with S. Thornton, Esq., 1801 Ends in nothing Commis- 
sion appointed to investigate the subject of forgery, 1818 
Engrave plates for the Berwick Bank The Northumberland 
Bank Gave in a plan to the commissioners The leading objects 
permanency, &c. Correspondence with Sir Joseph Banks on the 
subject Fairman, Perkins, and Heath Their specimens Opi- 
nions of the commissioners delivered in the House of Commons 
by Mr. Pierce Sir William Congreve a commissioner His 
successful operations . . ... . . 166 171 


Illness, 1812 JEsop's Fables commenced An arduous undertaking 
Published, 1818 Remarks on the French Revolution, 1789 
Causes of it War declared by England, 1793 Waste of life 
and treasure Apathy of country gentlemen Remarks on the 
loyalty of that day Valour of British seamen Rise in the 
value of land Incites to agricultural improvements Messrs. 
Bailey and Culley Their agricultural reports Mr. Smith's 
Cheviot sheep' Make a drawing of a ram Sagacity of the 
shepherd's dog Fat cattle for Durham report . . 172184 



Further remarks on the measures and supporters of Mr Pitt Witches 
Their treatment Consequences of ignorance Mr. Pitt's motives 
General Bonaparte's victories His ambition and consequent 
ruin Reflections on war and its horrors What might have 
been done with the men and the money The moss-troopers 
Their ferocity 185189 


Gifts of Omnipotence to the human race Duty of man to cultivate 
these gifts Consequences of neglecting these duties Education 
to be given to every one An imperative duty upon the com- 
munity To check the reasoning power a crime Masters and 
servants Equality impossible Patriotism a first duty Alfred 
the Great Foundation of England's glory laid by him Free 
discussion should be encouraged Review of past transactions 
Foreign despots and demi-oligarchs Loans wrung from 
the people Jacobins, Levellers, and Radicals Fears for the 
safety of Great Britain The King can settle this question, and 
entitle himself to the gratitude of posterity . . 190 199 


Major Cartwright Disapprove of his scheme of universal suffrage 
Elections may be simplified Wasteful expenditure to be avoided 
Holy Alliance Spain and Italy Superstition Society for the 
Suppression of Vice Constitutional Association Its object 
Betrayers of innocence, robbers of widows Tattoo their backs 
Criminals Plan to redeem their characters Laws of Eng- 
land Need of revision The learned professions Preference 
for medical men 200 207 


Remarks on" the education of children Their health and pursuits 
Education of girls Horticulture and Floriculture recommended 
to ladies Freeholders Their duties Oaths Immorality Pro- 
fligacyThoughts on marriage Education of boys 208-217 



The game laws Riflemen The fisheries Grants in feudal times 
A change necessary The way to effect this Remuneration to 
the present owners Salmon formerly abundant in the Tyne 
Spawning places Weirs and dams Impure water Appoint- 
ment of vigilant guards Destruction of Salmon by the porpoise 
Suggestions for catching the porpoise Uses to which they may 
be applied Necessity of protecting the parent fishes Incredible 
number of the fry The angler Angling ought to be unchecked 
Preserved waters debar the angler Formation of Waltonian. 
Societies recommended Their duties Constant beating of the 
streams to be discountenanced Pought nets Catching the fry 
in mill-races, and liming the burns, to be prohibited Angling 
and its delights Beautiful scenery Permanent pools may be 
stocked with eels Further reflections on the subject 218 230 


V r isit Edinburgh, 1823 Kind attentions shown Morning walks to 
Elswick Lane Contemplations in church-yards Thoughts on 
monuments Inscriptions on rocks Erection of pillars over co- 
pious springs 231 236 


First eff jits in engraving on wood Progress Difficulties to contend 
with Albert Durer His cross-hatching and drawings on the 
wood Printing from two or three blocks Artists of the present 
day Improved methods of Printing wood blocks Attempt at 
colour on the wood Lowering the back-ground Stronger lines 
left to protect the cat A delicate fac known to have printed 
above 900,000 impressions 237244 


Prints from large blocks formerly in use in cottages Great varieiy 
of the subjects Blocks printed in colours Gubitz of Berlin 
Impressions from duplicate aad triplicate blocks, by J. B. Jackson 
Stroke engraving Its capabilities in landscape William 


Woollett His unequalled landscapes on copper His probable 
excellence as a wood engraver, so as to rival copper Further no- 
tice of John Bewick and R. E. Bewick . . . 245 250 


Advice to artists Difficulties of choosing a profession Study of 
nature to be preferred Old masters Their varied excellences 
Poetry and painting Musical talent Beauty of wild scenery- 
Thompson Allan Ramsay ..... 251 257 


The Bible The sublime precepts it contains The Israelites Intiu- 
tious of Omnipotence Woudors of the universe- The deluge - 
Early history of mankind The Bible the tirst instrument of 
knowledge A future btate ..... 258 2(i 1 


Interpretation of the Scriptures The mind, the soul, and the reason- 
ing powers of man Religion natural and necessary to man The 
inspired Author cf Christianity His pure and perfect doctrines 



The miracle of creation Adoration due to the great Author of the 
whole Paganism and succeeding errors Evils of intolerance- 
Good effected by monks of old The Reformation American in- 
stitutions- Eutablished clergy Their learning and acquirements 
Fanaticism Itaviugs of Rantirs . . . 271 277 


Ucligiou uud philosophy conjoined necessary to human happiness 
Selection of clergymen Wonders of the universe Intended 
for the contemplation of every human being Revenues of the 


clergy More equal division recommended Ireland and tLe 
Irish Catholic emancipation- -Absentees - Protestante and Ca- 
tholics Reflections on the value of religious education Colleges 
for the purpose No limit to the improvement of the human 
mind Nor to the capabilities of the human frame . 278285 


, 289- 344 



Tynemoutb, November, 1822. 


It is in compliance with, your wish that I 
have, after much hesitation and delay, made up my 
mind to give you some account of my life, as it may 
at a future day amuse you and your brother and 
sisters in your passage through the crooked as well 
as the pleasant paths of the world. I will commence 
by giving you some account of your pedigree as far 
back as I can. 

My grandfather, Thomas Bewick, farmed the lands 
of Painshaw Field and Birches Nook, near Bywell, 
and also the Colliery on Mickley Bank, or Mickley 
Common how long since I know not, but it might 
probably be about the year 1700. He had the cha- 
racter of being one of the most intelligent, active, and 
best farmers on Tyneside, and it was said that, by his 
good management and great industry, he becamo 
very rich ; but, except his being an expert angler, 
I know little more about him. My grandmother's 
maiden name was Agnes Arthur, the daughter of a 
laird of that name at Kirkheaton, at which place my 
father was born in the year 1715, while his mother 
was there (I believe) on a visit to her friends. 



My maternal grandfather, Thomas Wilson, and 
my grandmother, whose maiden name was Hannah 
Thompson, lived at Ainstable, in Cumberland ; but 
whether he was curate of the parish of that place, or 
parish clerk, I do not know. It is certain, however, 
that he was one or the other, and that he taught a 
school there ; and, from the circumstance of his 
teaching his sons, and some of his daughters, Latin, 
I conclude he taught some of his scholars the same 
language. When he died, his eldest son, Christo- 
pher, became possessed of his freehold property, con- 
sisting of a house, &c., and a few fields adjoining. 
The rest of his family were left little beside a good 
education, and were spread abroad in the world to do 
the best they could for themselves. In this state 
of their affairs, my mother, Jane, and her youngest 
sister, Hannah, were taken by a distant relation, a 
Mrs. Gregson, of Appleby, to remain with her until 
she could get them places to live at. About this 
time, the Rev. Christopher Gregson had been ap- 
pointed to the curacy of Ovingham, and wanted a 
housekeeper ; and my mother, though young, was 
thought able to undertake that office, and accordingly 
engaged to perform it. 

Your maternal grandfather's name was Robert 
Elliot, and your grandmother's Jane Forster. He 
fanned the land of Woodgatc, near Bill Quay, where 
your mother was born. He afterwards removed to a 
farm at Ovingham, where he died in 1777, leaving the 
character of a sensible, honest, and industrious man. 
How long my mother lived with Mr. Gregson, be- 
fore her marriage, I know not ; but from him I after- 


wards learned that she was a valuable servant to 
him, both with respect to his house-keeping con- 
cerns, and for the occasional assistance she afforded 
him in hearing his pupils their Latin tasks. From 
Ovingham, in the year 1752, she married my father, 
and went to live with him at Cherry-burn House, 
near the small village or Hamlet of Eltringham, where 
all their family, of which I was the eldest, were 
born. The family consisted of myself and brothers, 
John and William ; and my sisters Hannah, Agnes, 
Ann, Sarah, and Jane. Sarah died at the age of 
16 ; the rest were reared to maturity, and were sent 
off, one way or another, into the world. 

In August, 1753, I was born, and was mostly en- 
trusted to the care of my aunt Hannah, (my mother's 
sister), and my grandmother, Agnes Bewick ; and 
the first thing I can remember was, that the latter 
indulged me in" every thing I had a wish for ; or, in 
other words, made me a great " pet." I was not to 
be " snubbed" (as it was called), do what I would ; 
and, in consequence of my being thus suffered to have 
my own way, I was often scalded and burnt, or put 
in danger of breaking my bones by falls from heights 
I had clambered up to. 

The next circumstance, which I well remember, 
was that of my being sent to Mickley School when 
very young ; and this was not done so much with a 
view to my learning, as to keep me out of " harm's 
way." I was some time at this school without 
making much progress in learning my letters or 
spelling small words ; the master, perhaps, was in- 
structed not to keep me very close at my book ; but, 


in process of time, he began to be more and more 
severe upon me ; and I see clearly at this day, that 
he frequently beat me when faultless, and also for 
not learning what it was not in my power to com- 
prehend. Others suffered in the same way. He was 
looked upon as a severe, or " cross," man, and did 
not spare his rod. lie was tall and thin ; and, 
with a countenance severe and grim, he walked 
about the school-room, with the tawsc or a switch 
in his hand. He, no doubt, thought he was keeping 
the boys to their lessons, while the gabbering and 
noise they made, was enough to stun any one, and 
impressed the people passing by with the idea that 
Bedlam was let loose. How long he went on in this 
way, I do not recollect; but, like many others of his 
profession, who were at that time appointed to fill 
the most important office of a teacher, no pains had 
been taken to enquire whether he possessed the re- 
quisite qualifications befitting him for it, He went 
on with a senseless system of severity, where ignor- 
ance and arrogance were equally conspicuous. Con- 
duct like this, sours the minds of some boys, 
renders others stupid, and serves to make all 
more or less disgusted with learning. Upon some 
occasion or other, he ordered me to be flogged ; 
a ii! I this was to be done by what was called "hug- 
ging," that is, by mounting me upon the back of a 
stout boy, who kept hold of my hands over his 
shoulders while the posteriors were laid bare, where 
he supposed he could do the business freely. In 
this instance, however, he was mistaken ; for, with a 
most indignant rage, I sprawled, kicked, and flung, 


and, I was told, bit the innocent boy, on the neck, 
when he instantly roared out, and threw me down ; 
and, on my being seized again by the old man, 
I rebelled, and broke his shins with my iron- 
hooped clogs, and ran off. By this time, the boy's 
mother, who was a spirited woman, and lived close 
by, attracted by the ferment that was raised, flew 
(I understood) into the school-room, when a fierce 
scold ensued between the master and her. After 
this I went no more to his school, but played the 
truant every day, and amused myself by making 
dams and swimming boats, in a small burn, which 
ran through a place then called the " Colliers Close 
"Wood," till the evening, when I returned home 
with my more fortunate or more obedient school- 

How long it was before my absence from school 
was discovered, I know not, but I got many severe 
beatings from my father and mother, in the interval 
between my leaving the school and the old master's 
death. As soon as another schoolmaster (James 
Burn) was appointed, I was sent to him ; and he hap- 
pened to be of a directly o'pposite character to the 
late one. With him I was quite happy, and learned 
as fast as any other of the boys, and with as great 
pleasure. After the death of this much respected 
young man, who lived only a very few years after 
his appointment, my learning any more at Mickley 
school was at an end. 

Some time after this, my father put me to school 
under the care of the Rev. C. Gregson, of Ovingham ; 
and well do I remember the conversation that passed 


between them 011 the occasion. It was little to my 
credit ; for my father began by telling him that I was 
so very imguidable that he could not manage me, 
and he begged of my new master that he would 
undertake that task, and they both agreed that 
"to spare the rod was to spoil the child." This 
precept was, I think, too severely acted upon, some- 
times upon trivial occasions and sometimes otherwise. 
I was for some time kept at reading, writing, and 
figures, how long, I know not, but I know that as 
soon as my question was done upon my slate, I spent 
as much time as I could find in filling with my pencil 
all the unoccupied spaces, with representations of 
such objects as struck my fancy ; and these were 
rubbed out, for fear of a beating, before my question 
was given in. As soon as I reached Fractions, Deci- 
mals, &c., I was put to learn Latin, and in this I 
was for some time complimented by my master for 
the great progress I was making ; but, as I never 
knew for what purpose I had to learn it, and was 
wearied out with getting off long tasks, I rather flag- 
ged in this department of my education, and the 
margins of my books, and every space of spare and 
blank paper, became filled with various kinds of 
devices or scenes I had met with ; and these were ac- 
companied with wretched rhymes explanatory of 
them. As soon as I filled all the blank spaces in 
my books, I had recourse, at all spare times, to the 
gravestones and the floor of the church porch, with 
a bit of chalk, to give vent to this propensity of 
mind of figuring whatever I had seen. At that 
time I had never heard of the word " drawing ;" nor 


did I know of any other paintings besides the king's 
arms in the ehurch, and the signs in Ovingham of 
the Black Bull, the White Horse, the Salmon, and 
the Hounds and Hare. I always thought I could 
make a far better hunting scene than the latter : the 
others were beyond my hand. I remember once of 
my master overlooking me while I was very busy 
with my chalk in the porch, and of his putting me 
very greatly to the blush by ridiculing and calling 
me a conjurer. My father, also, found a deal of 
fault for " mispending my time in such idle pur- 
suits ;" but my propensity for drawing was so rooted 
that nothing could deter me from persevering in it ; 
and many of my evenings at home were spent in 
filling the flags of the floor and the hearth-stone 
with my chalky designs. 

After I had long scorched my face in this way, a 
friend, in compassion, furnished me with some 
paper upon which to execute my designs. Here I 
had more scope. Pen and ink, and the juice of the 
brambleberry, made a grand change. These were 
succeeded by a camel-hair pencil and shells of colours ; 
and, thus supplied, I became completely set up ; but 
of patterns, or drawings, I had none. The beasts 
and birds, which enlivened the beautiful scenery of 
woods and wilds surrounding my native hamlet, fur- 
nished me with an endless supply of subjects. I now, 
in the estimation of my rustic neighbours, became 
an eminent painter, and the walls of their houses 
were ornamented with an abundance of my rude 
productions, at a rcry cheap rate. These chiefly con- 
sisted of particular hunting scenes, in which the 


portraits of the hunters, the horses, and of every dog 
in the pack, were, in their opinion, a* ircll ns )i>y own, 
faithfully delineated. But while I was proceeding 
in this way, I was at the same time deeply engaged 
in matters nearly allied to this propensity for draw- 
ing ; for I early became acquainted, not only with the 
history and the character of the domestic animals, 
but also with those which roamed at large. 

The conversations of the Nimrods of that day, 
in which the instincts and peculiar properties of the 
various wild animals were described in glowing terms, 
attracted my keenest attention ; and to their rude and 
lengthened narratives I listened with extreme de- 
light. With me they made a winter's evening fly 
fast away. At holiday times, and at other times 
when prevented by the floods of the Tyne from get- 
ting across to school, I was sure, with the most 
ardent glee, to make one of the number in the hunt- 
ing parties which frequently took place at that time ; 
whether it might be in the chase of the fox or the 
hare, or in tracing the foumart in the snow, or 
hunting the badger at midnight. The pursuing, 
bating, or killing, these animals, never at that time 
struck me as being cruel. The mind had not as 
yet been impressed with the feelings of humanity. 
This, however, came upon me at last ; and the first 
time I felt the change happened by my having (in 
hunting) caught the hare in my arms, while sur* 
rounded by the dogs and the hunters, when the poor, 
terrified creature screamed out so piteously, like a 
child, that I would have given anything to have 
saved its life. In this, however, I was prevented ; for 


a farmer well known to me, who stood close by, 
pressed upon me, and desired I would " give her to 
him ;" and, from his being better able (as I thought) 
to save its life, I complied with his wish. This 
was no sooner done than he proposed to those about 
him, "to have a bit more sport with her," and this 
was to be done by first breaking one of its legs, and 
then again setting the poor animal off a little before 
the dogs. I wandered away to a little distance, 
oppressed by my own feelings, and could not join 
the crew again, but learned with pleasure that their 
intended victim had made its escape. 

The "musical din" of the hounds still continued 
to have its charms, and I still continued to follow 
them ; but from that day forward, I have ever 
wished that this poor, persecuted, innocent creature 
might escape with its life. The worrying of foxes, 
the baiting of foumarts, otters, badgers, &c., did not 
awaken in me similar feelings ; for in the fierce con- 
flicts between them and the dogs, there was some- 
thing like an exchange of retaliation, and not unfre- 
quently the aggressors were beaten ; and I have with 
pleasure seen that wonderfully courageous animal, the 
badger (with fair play), beat the dogs of a whole 
neighbourhood, one after another, completely off. 

In the vermin-hunting excursions in the depth 
of winter, while the whole face of nature was 
bound in frost and covered with deep snow, in tra- 
versing through bogs, amidst reeds and rushes, I 
have often felt charmed with the sight of birds, 
flushed, and sometimes caught, by the terrier dogs, 
which I had never seen or heard of before ; and I an? 


still in doubt whether some of them have not escaped 
being noticed as British birds. 

These were the diversions of the winter months, 
which I enjoyed in an extreme degree, amidst the 
storm and the tempest. In that season I was also 
sometimes better employed in looking after a small 
flock of sheep on the fell, a part of which was my 
own.* The extremity of the weather had taught them 
to seek a place of shelter under a steep but low 
" brae," overhung with whins, under which, in such 
weather, I was almost certain to find them and their 
associates all huddled together. To this place, 
through wreaths of snow, I early bent my way, with 
a bundle of hay on my back, and my pockets some- 
times filled with oats, which I distributed amongst 
them. Upon these occasions, though at other times 
extremely wild, they were quite tame, and seemed to 
know me. 

From my sheep thus drawing into shelter, gave 
rise to an opinion I formed, and which has been con- 
firmed by long reflection, that much may yet be 
done to protect the larger flocks from being over- 
blown and lost on the bleak moors, in great snow 
storms. Were long avenues made by double rows of 
whin hedges, planted parallel to each other at about 
six feet asunder, and continued in the form of two 
sides of a square, with the whins of each side drawn 

* They were of the long-legged, black-faced kind, which were 
almost the only sort at that time kept in this part of the country. 
The improved breed, with their fatting qualities, were then not known. 
The mutton of the former eats like dark, juicy venison, while that of 
the latter puts one in mind of blubber. 


together, and to grow interplatted at the tops, so as 
to form an arched kind of roof, the sheep would, on 
instinctively seeing the coming storm, immediately 
avail themselves of such asylums, and particularly 
in the lambing season. In the corner of the angle 
of this square, the shepherd might have his hovel, 
thatched with heather and ling, and his beds for 
himself and his dogs, made of the same materials ; 
and the whole of this " bield" might be rendered so 
snug as greatly to defy the severity of the winter's 
drifting blasts and wreaths of snow. 

At that time of life, every season had its charms ; 
and I recollect well of listening with delight, from 
the little window at my bed-head, to the murmuring 
of the flooded burn which passed my father's house, 
and sometimes roused me from my bed, to see what 
it was like. After this, my first and common em- 
ployment was to " muck" the byer ; and, when the 
servant girl did not come soon enough, I frequently 
tried my hand at milking the cows ; and I was always 
particularly keen of being there in snow storms. 
When this was the case, within the byer door, I 
snugly watched the appearance of various birds, 
which passed the little dean below, and which the 
severity of the weather drove from place to place, in 
search of shelter. With the sight of my intimate 
acquaintances, the robins, wrens, blackbirds, spar- 
rows, a solitary crow, and some others, I was not 
much attracted, but always felt an extreme pleasure 
and curiosity in seeing the more rare visitants, such 
as the woodcock, the snipe, and other waders, with the 
red wings, fieldfares, &c., make their appearance. 


The winter evenings were often spent in listening 
to the traditionary tales and songs, relating to men 
who had been eminent for their prowess and bravery 
in the border wars, and of others who had been 
esteemed for better and milder qualities, such as 
their having been good landlords, kind neighbours, 
and otherwise in every respect bold, independent, 
and honest men. I used to be particularly affected 
with the warlike music, and with the songs relative 
to the former description of characters ; but with the 
songs regarding the latter, a different kind of feeling 
was drawn forth, and I was greatly distressed, and 
often gave vent to it in tears. These songs and "la- 
ments" were commemorative of many worthies ; but 
the most particular ones that I now remember were 
those respecting the Earl of Derwentwater, who was 
beheaded in the year 1715, and was looked upon as 
having been a victim to the cruelty of the reigning 
family, and who was venerated as a saint uponlBrth. 
It was said that the light from Heaven atteiraed 
his corpse to the vault at Dilston Hull, and that 
prosperity would shine no more upon Tyneside. 
Then followed the sorrowful remembrances of those 
that were dead and gone. To sigh over them Jras 
unavailing; they had filled the space allotted to 
them on this side of Time, and the winds had 
blown over their silent graves for ages past. The 
predictions that the mansions of those that remained 
would soon, for want of heirs, become desolate these 
and such like melancholy reflections made a deep 
impression on my mind ; and I have often since, with 
feelings of extreme regret, beheld these mansions, 


once the seats of hospitality, dilapidated, and the 
families which once occupied them extinct and 

When the winter began somewhat to abate of its 
rigours, or in the early spring, it was a common job 
for me, before setting off" to school, to rise betimes 
in the morning, as indeed I was always accustomed 
to do, and equipt with an apron, an old dyking 
mitten, and a sharpened broken sickle, to set off 
amongst the whin bushes, which were near at hand, 
to cut off their last year's sprouts. These were laid 
into a corner till the evening, when I stript, and 
fell to work to " cree" them with a wooden " mell," 
in a stone trough, till the tops of the whins were 
beaten to the consistency of soft, wet grass ; and, 
with this mess, I fed the horses before I went to 
bed, or in the morning as occasion might require. 
They were shy about eating this kind of provender 
at first, and I was obliged to mix oats with it ; but 
they soon became so fond of it, alone, that there 
was no need of any mixture. I know not whether 
a scarcity of fodder first gave rise to the suggestion 
of using this expedient, or it was tried as an 
experiment ; but certain it is that this kind of food 
agreed so well with the horses that they became 
soon very sleek, and cast their winter coats of hair 
long before other horses that were fed in the com- 
mon way. Cows would not eat the whin tops thus 
prepared, but, in a winter of scarcity, I have known 
all hands at work in cutting ivy from the trees, 
and even small ash twigs, to be given to the cattle 
as fodder. 


FROM the little window at my bed-head, I 
noticed all the varying seasons of the year ; and, 
when the spring put in, I felt charmed with the 
music of birds, which strained their little throats 
to proclaim it. The chief business imposed upon 
me as a task, at this season, was my being set 
to work to " scale" the pastures and meadows ; 
that is, to spread the mole-hills over the surface 
of the ground. This, with gardening, and such 
like jobs, was very hungry work, and often made 
me think dinner was long in coming ; and, when 
at last it was sent to me, be it what it might, I 
sat down on the " lown" side of a hedge and 
eat it with a relish that needed no sauce. 

As soon as the bushes and trees began to put 
forth their buds, and make the face of nature look 
gay this was the signal for the angler to prepare 
his fishing tackle. In doing this I was not 
behind hand. Fishing rods, set gads, and night 
lines were all soon made fit for use, and with 
them, late and early, I had a busy time of it, dur- 
ing the summer months, until the frosts of autumn 
forbid me to proceed. The uneasiness which my 
late evening wadings by the waterside gave to my 
father and mother, I have often since reflected 


upon with regret. They could not go to bed 
with the hopes of getting to sleep, while haunted 
with the apprehension of my being drowned ; and 
well do I remember to this day my father's well- 
known whistle, which called me home. He went 
to a little distance from the house, where nothing 
obstructed the sound, and whistled so loud, through 
his finger and thumb, that in the still hours of 
evening it might be heard echoing up the vale 
of the Tyne, to a very great distance. This whistle 
I learned to imitate, and answered it as well as 
I could, and then posted home. 

From early in the morning till night, I was 
scarcely ever out of an action either good or bad ; 
or, when not kept close at school, or in doing jobs 
such as those I have described, I was almost con- 
stantly engaged in some mischievous^ prank or 
other ; but with a detail of these it would be 
wearisome to load my narrative : they were oc- 
casioned by the overflowings of an active, wild 
disposition. At one time, in imitation of the 
savages described in " Robinson Crusoe," or some 
other savages, I often, in a morning, set off stark 
naked across the fell, where I was joined by some 
associates, who, in like manner, ran about like 
mad things, or like Bedlamites who had escaped. 
Climbing the tall trees at Eltringham for rook 
nests, at the hazard of breaking our necks or our 
bones, was another piece of business which em- 
ployed our attention. I was also engaged in 
another equally dangerous. Having formed the 
resolution of curing a vicious, " runaway" horse be- 


longing to my father, which 110 one durst mount, 
I, however, took the opportunity, when out of 
sight of any of the family, to do so. With my 
hand entwined in his mane, and bare-backed, I 
set him a-going, and let him run over "sykes" 
and burns, up hill and down hill, until he was 
quite spent. In a short time I discovered that, 
to make him run at all, he must be whipt to it. 
At other times I swam him in the river. This, 
and such like treatment, made him look ill, and 
quite tamed him. 

I have often since shuddered at the thoughts 
of doing these and such like desperate acts, and 
wondered how I escaped ; but neither caution 
nor fear had at that time taken a place in the 
mind ; on the contrary, any uncommon or fright- 
ful exploit^ had charms in it that I could not re- 
sist. One of these pranks, however, attracted 
the attention of the neighbourhood, brought me 
into a great dilemma, and occasioned me a severe 
beating. I engaged a constant associate, who was 
ever ready at my command to help me, as soon 
as I communicated any design to him. I had 
discovered two oxen in a little savannah, or 
bit of grazing ground, surrounded with hazel and 
other bushes, near the brink of the river. Thither 
we went in order to enjoy so tempting a sight 
as to see them plunge overhead into the flood. 
When all was ready, we suddenly, with long 
branches in our hands, sprang upon them from 
the bushes overhanging the precipice, the danger 
of which they did not see ; and they were plunged, 


with such a delightful dax/i, overhead into the 
river ! They, however, happened to be no worse 
for it ; for they were driven down by the rapid 
current of the flood, and landed safely at a dis- 
tance below. This exploit, happening on a Sun- 
day forenoon, was an aggravation of the crime. 

After this my father mostly took me with him 
to church, where I frequently employed myself 
in drawing figures upon the soft, painted book- 
board with a pin. In doing this, no one no- 
ticed me, especially as I held down my head ; 
and, having got the church service off, I re- 
peated it the same as the congregation. This 
apparently regular behaviour was not, however, of 
long duration, and was broken in upon at last. 
Sunday after Sunday a clownish fellow had ob- 
truded himself into our pew. I did not think this 
quite right, and wished to put an end to it ; and 
this happened in a very rude way in the end. 
A dumb man ("Dummy, of Wylain"), a constant 
church-goer, had a seat in a pew before ours, 
where, regularly during the service, he fell fast 
asleep. "When in that state, and sitting right be- 
fore our obtruder, I reached aside, and gave 
" Dummy" a smart blow on the head, and in- 
stantly, as if I knew nothing of the matter, I seemed 
to be quite grave, and intent on looking on my 
prayer book, while the obtruder was putting on a 
broad grin. At this poor Dummy was enraged, 
and with a distorted countenance, he kept thump- 
ing the man on the face and head, at the same 
time making a hideous noise, which was height - 


ened by the fellow's shouting, and calling him 
" fool," at the same time assuring him that it was 
I who gave the blow, and not he. To the 
deaf man this was a waste of words. It need not 
be added that the congregation was greatly dis- 
turbed, while perhaps none knew or suspected the 
cause except my father and my preceptor in the 

Sometimes the lads in the same class I belonged 
to, when we had been doing amiss, were sent to 
cut birch rods to whip us with. At other times 
we were locked into the belfry, where we often 
amused ourselves by drawing each other up by 
the bell ropes to the first floor; but one of our 
comrades having (by the rope slipping through the 
hands of those who held it), been precipitated to the 
ground, by which he was a good deal hurt, that 
mode of punishment was altogether dropped. The 
parson, poor man, had a troublesome time of it with 
one or other of us ; and I remember, once in par- 
ticular, of putting him into very great pain and 
distress of mind. After a great flood, a large piece 
of ice, about the size of the floor of a room, had 
been left in a place called "Ned's Hole," by the 
side of the river. This I got upon, and persuaded 
several others to do the same, and we then set to 
work with a " boat stower" to push it off shore ; 
and, in this manner, .we got some distance up the 
river, opposite to the parsonage garden, where 
our master happened to be, and saw us. I could 
sec by his agitated motions, and his uplifted hands, 
that he was put into a state much easier to be 


felt than described. After having been guilty of 
misdemeanors of this kind, I did not go back to 
school for the remainder of the day ; but waded, or 
otherwise crossed, the river, and sat down or 
amused myself among the bushes, on the water 
banks, until the rest of the scholars left school, 
when I joined them and went home. But as it 
would . not have been safe for me to go to bed (if 
conscious of guilt, or if otherwise betrayed) for 
fear of a visit from my father, I always took up 
my abode for the night in the byer loft, among 
the hay or straw, knowing well that, when his 
passion subsided, I should escape a beating from 
his hands. 

The first cause of my preceptor beginning a 
severe system of flogging (beside the quantum I 
received for mischievous acts), was for not getting 
off my Latin tasks. When this was not done to 
his mind, he, by way of punishment, gave me 
another still worse to do, and still longer, till at 
length I gave up even attempting to get through 
them at all, and began to stand a flogging with- 
out being much put about by it. I think (at this 
day) my very worthy preceptor, in following this 
rather indiscriminate system of severe punish- 
ments, was wrong. He often beat his own son,* 
a youth of an uncommonly mild, kind, and cheer- 
ful disposition, whom I felt more distressed 
at seeing punished than if it had been my- 
self ; for I mostly considered that I richly 

* Christopher Gregson, of Apothecaries Hall, Loudon. He died 
181 , and was buried at Ovingham. 


deserved the stripes inflicted upon me, and that 
he did not. 

There was a misdemeanor for which, above all 
the rest, I was more severely punished, both at 
school and at home, than for any other fault; and 
that was for fighting with other boys. To put a 
stop to this practice, was the particular request 
of my mother. To her it was odious in the ex- 
treme. Her reasons I do not forget. She quoted 
Scripture in support of them. Therein, she said, 
we were directed " if we were struck on one cheek, 
to turn the other also," (I forget the exact words) : 
it is a portion of Scripture I did not obey. 
She also maintained that the business of fight- 
ing was degrading to human nature, and put 
a man that practised it on a level with dogs. I 
am conscious that I never sought a quarrel with 
any one ; but I found an insult very bad to bear, 
and generally in the most secret manner contrived 
"'to fight it out." 

When the floggings inflicted upon me had in a 
great measure begun to lose their effect, another 
mode of punishment was fallen upon ; and that 
was, after the school hours were over, to lock 
me into the church, where I was kept till the dusk 
of the evening. This solitary confinement was very 
irksome to me ; as I had not at that time got over 
a belief in ghasts and boggles, for the sight of 
which I was constantly upon the look out. Op- 
pressed with fear, I peeped here and there into 
every corner, in dread of seeing some terrible spi- 
rit. In time, however, this abated, and I amused 


myself, as well as I could, in surveying the sur- 
rounding objects, and in climbing up the pillars, 
with the help of a rope or a handkerchief, as I 
used to do in getting up large trees. It happened 
one evening, when my master, as usual, came to 
let me out, that I was sitting astride upon the 
capital of one of the pillars, where he did not see 
me. He called on me, but I made no answer, and 
he then posted off to see if the door was fast, and 
having ascertained that it was, he marched along 
the aisles in great perturbation of mind, frequently 
exclaiming " God bless me !" &c., When he was 
gone, I slipped down, and found the choir door 
only bolted on the inside, so I waded the river 
and posted home, and slept in my old asylum the 
hay loft. I have frequently bitterly repented of 
having given a man I afterwards so highly re- 
spected through life so much pain and trouble. 

I have before noticed that the first time I felt 
compassion for a dumb animal, was upon my 
having caught a hare in my arms. The next 
occurrence of the kind happened with a bird. I 
had no doubt knocked many down with stones 
before, but they had escaped being taken. This 
time, however, the little victim dropped from the 
tree, and I picked it up. It was alive, and looked 
me piteously in the face ; and, as I thought, could 
it have spoken, it would have asked me why I 
had taken away its life. I felt greatly hurt at 
what I had done, and did not quit it all the after- 
noon. I turned it over and over, admiring its 
plumage, its feet, its bill, and every part of it. 


It was a bullfinch. I did not then know its name, 
but I was told it was a " little Matthew Martin." 
This was the last bird I killed ; but many, indeed, 
have been killed since on my account. 

I had been at man-fights, dog-fights, and cock- 
fights, without feeling much compassion. Indeed, 
with the last of these exhibitions, I was more 
entertained at seeing the wry faces, contortions, 
and agitations of the clow T ns who surrounded the 
cock-pit, or circle, than I was with the cocks 
fighting. It was long before I felt disgusted at 
seeing men fight. This, however, happened at 
last. A travelling merchant, or respectable pedlar, 
a slim-made, genteel-looking man, had perhaps 
forgotten himself over a glass, and not minded 
what company he was in. He could not, however, 
be long in such society without being insulted ; 
but, be that as it might, a fight ensued, in which 
the stranger was over-matched. I saw only the 
concluding part, and was extremely shocked ; for 
the stranger was sitting propped up with his arms- 
behind him, quite spent and speechless, and looked 
like a corpse. After sitting a short time in this 
helpless state, his opponent walked coolly up to 
him, and with a blow on the face or head laid him 
flat on the ground. I thought he was killed, at 
which I became so frantic with rage and indig- 
nation, that I believe, at the moment, if I had 
had a pistol at hand, I would have shot the sturdy 

In going along with my narrative, I have noticed 
some of the first impressions which produced a 


change, and left a strong effect on my mind. 
In some of these, the change was quick and decisive ; 
in others of a more tardy nature ; and prejudices 
which were early rooted were not easily removed. 
Among the worst, was that of a belief in ghosts, 
boggles, apparitions, &c. These wrought power- 
fully upon the fears of the great bulk of the 
people at that time, and, with many, these fears 
are not rooted out even at this day. The stories 
so circumstantially told respecting these phan- 
toms and supernatural things, I listened to with 
the dread they inspired, and it took many an 
effort, and I suffered much, before it could be 
removed. What helped me greatly to conquer 
fears of that kind was my knowing that my 
father constantly scouted such idle, or, indeed, 
such pernicious tales. He would not allow me to 
plead fear as any excuse, when he had to send 
me an errand at night ; and, perhaps, my being 
frequently alone in the dark might have the effect 
of enabling me greatly to rise superior to such 

I have known men, both old and young, who 
dared to encounter almost any danger, yet were 
afraid of their own shadoics; and I remember well 
of trying the experiment, one night, upon a servant 
man of my father's, who was a kind of village 
Ceesar, and feared not to stand the most desperate 
battles with others of the same cast, upon any oc- 
casion. I began by sneering at his courage, and 
then bet him a penny that I durst do what he 
dared not. All I intended to do I set about rather 


deliberately, and then rose to perform my feat, 
which was to walk along the dark passage to the 
back door, and to repeat something (rather omin- 
ous, indeed) about "Silky" and "Hedley Kow." 
After performing my task, I returned with appar- 
ent agitation and fear, and sat down in silence 
close beside him for some time, and then asked him 
if he durst do the like. I, however, saw, by his 
hesitation, that the performance by him was given 
up, and he only remarked that "one may soon 
get what one'll never cast." 

At another time, in broad day light, I took it 
into rny head to make another trial of this kind 
upon my father's pitmen. For this purpose I 
detained our cur dog, until I buckled him up 
in a pair of old " sods," which covered him 
beyond both head and tail, and set him off to 
the pit, knowing well that he would go straight 
there ; for he was accustomed every day to leave 
the pit lodge, and go home, where he waited until 
he saw that dinner was ready, and then his re- 
appearance at the pit was as good as telling my 
father and his servants to come home. I durst 
not have thus amused myself if I had not known 
that my father Avas out of the way. I set off on 
the inside of the hedge, keeping pace with the 
dog all the way up to the pit heap, near which I 
stopped, and peeped to see the effect that would 
be produced ; and this was really curious. One 
of the men, seeing the odd appearance of some- 
thing alive, with a long body, without either legs, 
head, or tail, moving straight forward towards 


him, knew not what to make of it ; and, after rub- 
bing his eyes, he ran off to his companions, who, 
when they had taken a peep, all set off, with 
speed, on their way home. 

In a business of a similar kind, which happened 
not long after, it was my lot to be the sufferer. A 
few companions used to come at nights to our 
house, to play at cards with me, and I, in turn, 
visited them for the same purpose. We were, 
however, taken to task by a bigotted old woman 
in the neighbourhood, who called the cards the 
" devil's books." She told me one night before 
setting off to play with my companions, as usual, 
that, if I looked under the table, I would see the 
devil ; and I recollect that I several times peeped 
to see if he were indeed there. "When we were 
done playing, two of the gamesters, as was custo- 
mary, set me across part of the fell towards home. 
I was, however, much surprised at their suddenly 
leaving me without saying good night, or making 
any reply to my shouting after them, and they 
were soon out of sight. This was at a place called 
the " Sand Holes," which I then left, and was 
turning towards home, when, behold! to my utter 
amazement, I saw the devil ! It was a clear 
moonlight night ; I could not be mistaken his 
horns his great white, goggle eyes, and teeth, 
and tail his whole person stood fairly before 
me ! As I gazed, I thought the hair lifted the 
hat on my head. He stood, and I stood, for some 
time ; and, I believe, if he had then come up to 
me, I must have dropped down. Certain it is, 



however, that desperation succeeded fear. I moved 
aside, and he did the same. I involuntarily got 
my "jackleg knife," and, if he had then approached 
me, he to a certainty would have been stabbed. 
I slipped off my clogs, made a start in a bending 
direction, and at full speed ran home. He pur- 
sued me nearly to the door, but I beat him in 
the race. I had always understood that any per- 
son who had seen a ghost, or evil spirit, would 
faint on coming into a house with a fire in it. I 
feared this, but I fainted none ! and when my 
father asked me what was the matter, I told him 
I had seen the devil. He, perhaps without think- 
ing, gave me a slap on the head. It was not 
long, however, till the following affair transpired. 
The man who personated the devil, when he met 
me, had been on his way to a " kirn supper," and 
was going " a guising." When my father heard 
the whole transaction, he wrought himself up into 
a great rage ; and very shortly after, meeting the 
man, in the street at Corbridge, who had fright- 
ened me, he instantly paid him off by giving him 
a sound beating. When the people, who always 
considered my father as a remarkably peaceable 
man, saw him thus engaged, they expressed their 
surprise ; but, as soon as they heard the reason for 
what had been done, they were also exasperated, 
and, I was given to understand, the man was ob- 
liged to leave the village. 

The first time I took notice of any of my female 
school -fellows arose from a reproof I met with, and 
the manner it was given, from one of them. The 


amiable person alluded to, was Miss Betty Gregson, 
my preceptor's daughter, and somewhere about my 
own age. She kept a messet dog, and the sleek, 
fat, useless animal was much disliked by me as 
well as by some of the other boys. When it made 
its appearance in the churchyard, which it some- 
times did, we set about frightening it ; and, for 
this purpose, some of us met it at every gate and 
outlet, and stopped its retreat till it became quite 
distressed. The last time that this kind of sport 
was practised on her little dog, I happened to be 
the only actor. Having met with it at a little 
distance from its home, I had stopped it from en- 
tering the house, and had pursued it about and 
about, or met it at the end of every avenue, till 
it was put into great " bodily fear !" This be- 
haviour towards her little favourite, was very 
offensive to Miss Gregson. She could endure it 
no longer, and she called me to account for it. I 
can never forget her looks upon the occasion. She 
no doubt intended to scold me, but the natural 
sweetness of her disposition soon showed itself in 
its true colours. She did not know how to 
scold ; for, after some embarrassing attempts at it, 
and some hesitation, she put me in mind of my 
being related to her, and of her uniform kindness 
to me, and with irresistible arguments and per- 
suasions made me see the impropriety of my con- 
duct. "With me this left its mark ; for from that 
time forward I never plagued any of tfite girls at 
school, nor did any thing that might give them 
offence ; nor has this impression ever been effaced 


from my mind, but has been there fostered through 
life and settled into a fixed respect and tender re- 
gard for the whole sex. 

Hitherto my life at school and at home might 
be considered as a life of warfare, and punish- 
ments of various kinds had been inflicted upon 
me apparently with little effect. As a cure for 
my misdeeds, my worthy master, however, at 
length found out a better and more effectual way. 
He one day invited me to dine with him, and after 
showing me the greatest kindness, he followed 
this up in a friendly, plain, and open way, by re- 
monstrating with me on the impropriety of my 
past conduct, the evil tendency of it, and the pain 
and trouble it had given him ; urging me, at the 
same time, in such a persuasive tone, instantly to 
desist from it, that I felt quite overpowered with 
his discourse, and fell into a flood of tears. The 
result was, I never dared to encounter another of 
these friendly meetings ; and, while I remained 
at his school, he never again had occasion to find 
fault with me. 

The transactions in which I afterwards became 
engaged, afforded me more real enjoyment. As 
silent time stole away, in the varied seasons of 
the long-measured years, changes gradually took 
place in many of the erroneous notions I had 
formed of things. As the mind became more ex- 
panded, curiosity led me to enquire into the na- 
ture of the objects which attracted my attention. 
Among the first was that of birds, their n<-ts. 


their eggs, and their young. These to me were 
long a source of great delight, and many a spring 
morning I watched and looked after them. I also 
spent many a summer evening, on my way home 
from school, lost in wonder in examining the 
works going forward among a nation of ants. The 
place they occupied was on the top of the " Boat 
Hill," near Eltringham, and the colony was the 
largest I had ever seen. From it their narrow roads, 
through the grass, radiated in various directions 
to a great distance. These were like as many 
turnpike roads, and as busily crowded as any 
among men, leading to or from a great fair. I 
have sometimes with a stick overturned their ac- 
cumulated gatherings, when it was curious to ob- 
serve the effect produced. The greatest bustle and 
confusion ensued ; and yet I have observed with 
surprise, that next morning every thing was re- 
stored to the same order as before. I noticed that 
they had other enemies that broke in upon them, 
and which perhaps injured them more than I 
did ; and these were the turkeys from the village, 
where great numbers were bred every year. As 
soon as the young brood were able to walk abroad, 
the mother led them every day to this great ant 
hill, were they no doubt made terrible havoc among 
the inhabitants and their works.* 

Bees also attracted much of my attention. I 

* The history and economy of these very interesting insects are, 
I think, not well known. They appear to manage their affairs 
with as much forethought and industry as mankind ; but to what 


could not see into the interior of their works, but 
I made every inquiry of those who had long kept 
them, and gathered, in this way, as good a know- 
ledge of their history and economy as I could. 
One of my morning jobs was to sit before the 
hives, with a stick like a spatula, to kill the 
wasps as they alighted to enter and rob them. I 
could see the bees enter, loaded with what they 
had culled from every flower, but never could 
see them attack or repel their enemies. 

I frequently amused myself in observing the 
murders of a large spider, which had placed its 
web in a corner of the little window at my bed 
head. Being wishful to see how it managed its 
affairs, I prevented the servant girl from brushing 
the web away. Its proceedings did not excite in 
me any favourable opinion. Having seen it 
seize every innocent fly that set foot upon its 
snares, I had a mind to try how it would con- 
duct itself towards a more powerful opponent. For 
this purpose, I caught a wasp, which I held by 
its wings upon the web until its feet got entan- 
gled, when out came the hitherto unthwarted ty- 
rant ; and, after some apparent hesitation, it at 
length was tempted to pounce upon the obtruder. 
The struggle was, however, very short. I soon 

degree their reasoning and instinctive powers extend is yet a 
mystery. After they have spent a certain time toiling ou earth, 
they get wings, and soar aloft into the atmosphere. What change 
they undergo before they assume this new character, or what 
becomes of them afterwards, seems doubtful. 



perceived the wasp double itself up and dart its 
sting into the body of its enemy, which instantly 
retired, and never afterwards returned. This is 
only one experiment, but further trials of the 
kind might be made to come at truth. 


CHERRYBURN House, the place of my nativity, 
and which for many years my eyes beheld with 
cherished delight, is situated on the south side of 
the Tyne, in the county of Northumberland, a 
short distance from the river. The house, stables, 
&c., stand on the west side of a little dean, at 
the foot of which runs a burn.* The dean was 
embellished with a number of cherry and plumb 
trees, which were terminated by a garden on the 
north. Near the house, were two large ash trees 
growing from one root ; and, at a little distance, 
stood another of the same kind. At the south end 
of the premises, was a spring well, overhung by 
a large hawthorn bush, behind which was a holly 
hedge ; and further away was a little boggy 
dean, with underwood and trees of different kinds. 
Near the termination of this dean, towards the 
river, were a good many remarkably tall ash trees, 
and one of oak, supposed to be one of the tallest 
and straightest in the kingdom. On the tops of 

* This, formerly, was supplied by a copious spring of fine 
water, which having found its way into some pit workings and 
disappeared, the burn is now only fed by day water from the fields. 


these was a rookery, the sable inhabitants of 
which, by their consultations and cawings, and 
the bustle they made when building their nests, 
were among the first of the feathered race to pro- 
claim the approaching spring. The corn-fields 
and pastures to the eastward were surrounded 
with very large oak and ash trees. Indeed, at 
that time, the country between Wylam and By- 
well was beautified with a great deal of wood, 
which presented the appearance of a continued 
forest ; but these are long since stubbed up. Needy 
gentry care little about the beauty of a country, 
and part of it is now, comparatively, as bare as a 

To the westward, adjoining the house, lay the 
common or fell, which extended some few miles 
in length, and was of various breadths. It was 
mostly fine, green sward or pasturage, broken or 
divided, indeed, with clumps of " blossom' d whins," 
foxglove, fern, and some junipers, and with 
heather in profusion, sufficient to scent the whole 
air. Near the burns, which guttered its sides, 
were to be seen the remains of old oaks, hollowed 
out by Time, with alders, willows, and birch, 
which were often to be met with in the same 
state ; and these seemed to me to point out the 
length of time that these domains had belonged to 
no one. On this common, the poor man's herit- 
age for ages past, where he kept a few sheep, or 
a Kyloe cow, perhaps a flock of geese, and mostly 
a stock of bee-hives, it was with infinite pleasure 
that I long beheld the beautiful wild scenery which 


was there exhibited, and it is with the opposite 
feelings of regret that I now find all swept 
away.* Here and there on this common were to be 
seen the cottage, or rather hovel, of some labouring 
man, built at his own expense, and mostly 
with his own hands ; and to this he always added 
a garth and a garden, upon which great pains 
and labour were bestowed to make both produc- 
tive ; and for this purpose not a bit of manure was 
suffered to be wasted away on the "lonnings" or 
public roads. These various concerns excited the 
attention and industry of the hardy occupants, 
which enabled them to prosper, and made them 
despise being ever numbered with the parish poor. 
These men, whose children were neither pampered 
nor spoiled, might truly be called 

" A bold peasantry, their country's pride ;"* 

and to this day I think I see their broad shoulders 
and their hardy sun-burnt looks, which altogether 
bespoke the vigour of their constitutions. 

These cottagers (at least those of them I knew) 
were of an honest and independent character, while 
at the same time they held the neighbouring 
gentry in the greatest estimation and respect ; 

' This fell, or common, containing about 1852 acres, was di- 
vided in 1812. By this division, the poor man was rooted out, 
and the various mechanics of the villages deprived of all benefit 
of it. The neighbouring farmers who reared their young cattle, 
and kept as many sheep upon it as they pleased, must now pay 
rent for the allotments laid to their farms. The wisdom which 
dictated this change is questionable, but the selfish greediness of 
it is quite apparent. 


and these, again, in return, did not over-look them, 
but were interested in knowing that they were 
happy and well. Most of these poor men, from 
their having little intercourse with the world, 
were in all their actions and behaviour truly ori- 
ginal ; and, except reading the Bible, local his- 
tories, and old ballads, their knowledge was gene- 
rally limited. And yet one of these " Will 
Bewick" from being much struck with my 
performances, which he called pictures, became 
exceedingly kind to me, and was the first person 
from whom I gathered a sort of general knowledge 
of astronomy and of the magnitude of the uni- 
verse. He had, the year through, noticed the 
appearances of the stars and the planets, and would 
discourse "largely" on the subject. I think I see 
him yet, sitting on a mound, or seat, by the hedge 
of his garden, regardless of the cold, and intent 
upon viewing the heavenly bodies ; pointing to 
them with his large hands, and eagerly imparting 
his knowledge to me with a strong voice such as 
one now seldom hears. I well remember being 
much struck with his appearance his stern-looking 
brows, high cheek bones, quick eye, and longish 
visage ; and at his resolution (upon another occa- 
sion) when he determined upon risking his own 
life to save that of another man. The latter, in 
the employ of my father, while at work as a pit- 
man, had lost his way in the coal workings, and 
was missing for perhaps a day or two, (my father 
being from home), when our old neighbour, just 
described, who was also a pitman and knew the 


workings, equipped himself with everything he 
thought necessary for so hazardous an under- 
taking ; and, when he was about to go down 
the pit shaft, I felt much distressed at seeing my 
mother trembling in great agitation of mind for 
his safety and that of his lost associate. After 
traversing through the old workings of the col- 
liery for a long time, so long, indeed, that it was 
feared he had also lost himself, he found the 
man alive, when, with his well-known thundering 
voice, he called from the bottom of the shaft, 
" all's well," to the inexpressible joy of all who 
crowded the pit's mouth. 

Another of our fell-side neighbours, Anthony 
Liddell, was a man of a very singular character, 
and was noticed as such by the whole neighbour- 
hood ; but a full account of him would far exceed 
the bounds I wish to set to my narrative. He 
might, indeed, be called the " village Hampden." 
The whole cast of his character was formed by 
the Bible, which he had read with attention, 
through and through. Acts of Parliament which 
appeared to him to clash with the laws laid down 
in it, as the Word of God, he treated with con- 
tempt. He maintained that the fowls of the air 
and the fish of the sea were free for all men ; 
consequently, game laws, or laws to protect the 
fisheries, had no weight with him. He would 
not, indeed, take a salmon out of the locks on 
any account, but what he could catch with his 
"click-hook," in the river, he deemed his own. As 
to what he could do in shooting game, he was so 


inexpert, that he afforded to sportsmen many a 
hearty laugh at his awkwardness ; for he could 
shoot none till he fixed a hay-fork in the ground 
to rest his piece upon. Indeed, the very birds 
themselves might, by a stretch of imagination, 
be supposed also to laugh at him ; but his de- 
ficiencies did not deter him from traversing 
over the country-side as eagerly as other sports- 
men, notwithstanding his want of success. What- 
ever he did was always done in open day ; for, as 
he feared no man, he scorned to skulk or to do 
anything by stealth. The gaol had no 1 terrors 
for him, for he lived better there than he did 
at home ; and, on one occasion of his being con- 
fined, when he returned home he expressed his 
surprise to his neighbours, that all the time "he 
had not had a single hand's turn to do," and ex- 
ulted not a little that the opportunity had thus 
been given him. of again reading the Bible through. 
He was a great reader of history, especially those 
parts where wars and battles were described ; 
and, in any meetings with his neighbours, he 
took the lead in discourses founded on know- 
ledge of that kind. After the Bible, " Josephus" 
was his favourite author, next the "Holy Wars" 
these and "Bishop Taylor's Sermons" composed 
his whole library ; and his memory enabled him 
nearly to repeat whatever he had read. His de- 
portment and behaviour were generally the reverse 
of anything like sauciness ; but, except in ability 
and acquirements, which, indeed, commanded his 
respect, he treated all men as equals. When full- 


dressed, he wore a a rusty black coat. In other 
respects he was like no other person. In what 
king's reign his hat had been made was only to 
be guessed at, but the flipes of it were very large. 
His wig was of the large curled kind, such as was 
worn about the period of the revolution. His waist- 
coat, or doublet, was made of the skin of some ani- 
mal. His buckskin breeches were black and glossy 
with long wear, and of the same antiquated fashion 
as the rest of his apparel. Thus equipt, and with 
his fierce look, he made a curious figure when taken 
before the justices of the peace ; and this, together 
with his always when summoned before them 
undauntedly pleading his own cause, often afforded 
them so much amusement that it was difficult for 
them to keep their gravity. 

Thomas Forster was a man of a different cha- 
racter from the last, but singular enough in his 
way. He was distinguished for his frugality and 
industry, and always showed a wish to be looked 
upon in a respectable light. He used to call at our 
house on a Sunday afternoon, for the purpose of 
having a bit of chat with my father and mother. He 
took a liking to me, and would observe that, though 
I was mischievous enough, yet he never could find 
that I was " parrentory," that is, impudent or 
saucy with any one. Besides this part of the good 
opinion he had formed, he must have had confidence 
as to my keeping any secrets he might impart to 
me. He kept a few sheep on the fell ; but his 
secret and main business there was looking after 
his bees. He had a great number of hives placed 


in very hidden and curious situations. Some of 
them were concealed under the boundary hedge 
of the common, and were surrounded by a great 
extent of whin bushes. Other hives were shel- 
tered under the branches of old thorns, and 
almost covered or overhung by brambles, wood- 
bine, and hip briars, which, when in blossom, 
looked beautifully picturesque, while at the same 
time they served to keep the eye from viewing 
the treasures thus concealed beneath. Others, 
again, were placed in the midst of a " whin 
rush" that is, a great extent of old whins, the 
stems of which were about the thickness of a man's 
arm. The entrance to these last was always by 
a "smout hole," or small opening, through which 
we crept on hands and knees to the hives, and 
which, on leaving, was stopped up by a bushy- 
topped whin. By way of taking oif the at- 
tention of the " over-inquisitive" as to his stock 
of honey, he kept hives in his garden at home, 
and sold the produce of these to his neighbours ; 
but the greater part of his stock was sold at 
distant parts of the country. In this way, and 
by his industry and good management, he be- 
came what was accounted very rich ; and, as 
prosperity excites envy, some people, in a kind 
of derision (his mother being a midwife), called 
him "Tom Howdy." 

I might swell the list of such like characters 
(among the unnoticed poor) as those I have de- 
scribed, but it would perhaps be tedious, although, 
I think it is to be regretted that they are not 


better known to some of the unthinking great; as 
it might serve to take off the hauteur, which is 
too often shown towards them. 

Another of these uncultivated, singular charac- 
ters which exhibit human nature left to the gui- 
dance of its uncontrolled will, but which, some- 
times, may be found from the force of innate 
natural pride to soar above every meanness, was 
John Chapman. This man, though clothed in 
rags, was noticed for his honour and integrity ; 
and his word was considered to be as good as 
one thousand pounds bond. He was one of my 
father's workmen, either as a pitman, a labourer, 
or a sinker, and was of so strong a constitution 
that he thought it no hardship, on a cold, frosty 
morning, to be let down to the bottom of a sink- 
ing pit, where he was to be up to the middle, 
or perhaps to the breast, in water, which he was to 
lave into buckets, to be drawn up to the top. He 
endured the labour of every job he undertook with- 
out grumbling or thinking it hard. His living was 
of the poorest kind. Bread, potatoes, and oatmeal, 
was the only provender he kept by him ; and with 
milk or water he finished his repasts. When, by 
this mode of living, he had saved the overplus money 
of his wages for a month or six weeks, he then 
posted off to Newcastle to spend it in beer ; and 
this he called "lowseniiig his skin." I was at 
this time located in Newcastle, and when the mis- 
guided man had spent all his money, he commonly 
borrowed two shillings of me to set him home again. 
In this irrational way of life he continued for many 


years. On one occasion, when changing his beer 
house, and taking up his quarters in another, he 
had made no stipulation with his new landlord 
as to the place where he was to sleep at night ; 
and, judging from his ragged appearance, he was 
thought unfit to be trusted as an inmate without 
inquiry being made into his character. I was, 
therefore, applied to by the landlord, whom I 
satisfied by assuring him that, notwithstanding the 
outward appearance of his singular-looking guest, he 
might be trusted safely even with untold gold. I 
further told him that the man who could sleep 
upon the fallen leaves in a wood wanted no bed 
in his house better than a wooden seat, which 
would be as comfortable a bed as he would wish 
for. Matters being now perfectly settled, he was 
permitted, during his rambles, to make this house 
his home. He had been but a short time in this 
asylum until he got a pretty numerous acquaint- 
ance amongst the tradesmen who frequented the 
house, to whom his singularity, his droll and 
witty stories, and his songs, afforded great enter- 
tainment. Old age, however, overtook him at 
last, and he was then obliged to seek parish re- 
lief. On this occasion, a neighbouring laird per- 
suaded him that his settlement was upon Eltring- 
ham, and prevailed on him to swear to it. When 
he called upon the farmers there for his pittance, 
and they convinced him that he had sworn to 
what was false, he was much shocked, and never 
called upon them again for his pay. On being 
asked why he had not done so, he said, " I would 



sooner have my hand cut off, or be found dead 
on the highway through want, than claim or 
receive money to which I am not justly entitled." 
After this he wandered away from Eltringham, 
and took up his abode in the glass house at Bill 
Quay, where he did any little jobs in his power, 
and at the same time made himself very agree- 
able and often very entertaining to the workmen , 
who long remembered "Johnny Chapman." From 
this place he set off on a visit to a friend, at 
some distance, when he was rather unwell, and 
not very able to undertake the journey, and was 
found dead on the road between Morpeth and 

Before taking leave of these hardy inhabitants 
of the fells and wastes, whose cottages were sur- 
rounded with whins and heather, I must observe 
that they always appeared to me, notwithstand- 
ing their apparent poverty, to enjoy health and 
happiness in a degree surpassing that of most 
other men. Their daily fare was coarse bread, 
potatoes, oatmeal porridge, and milk, only varied 
by their boiling the pot with animal food, cab- 
bage, or other succulent vegetables, and broth, 
on Sundays. When tired, at night, with labour, 
having few cares to perplex them, they lay down 
and slept soundly, and arose refreshed from their 
hard beds early in the morning. I have always 
felt much pleasure in revisiting them, and, over 
a tankard of ale, in listening to their discourse. 
It was chiefly upon local biography, in which 
they sometimes traced the pedigree of their 


neighbours a long way back. With the aged 
men I felt much amused. From the avidity 
with which they gathered news, they seemed to 
live upon it. Several of them met every day at 
the lodge,* or earth-built hovel, close by my 
father's pit, for the purpose of being gratified in 
this way. The carts and wains came in all direc- 
tions, and many of them from a great distance, for 
coals, the drivers of which imparted to them all 
they knew of what was going on in their several 
neighbourhoods. The information thus obtained 
was then speedily given in detail at the smith's 
shop at Mickley, whence it was spread over the 
neighbouring country. One of these old men, 
John Newton (the laird of the Neuk), almost every 
morning, while I was young, met me and my 
schoolfellows at or near the Haly Well (Holy Well) 
as we were going to Mickley School, and he 
seldom passed me without clapping my head, ac- 
companied with some good wishes. Many years 
after this, while I lived at the Forth, Newcastle, 
I met a little boy, one morning coming to school 
there, when I clapped his head, and hoped he 
was a good boy. I had not long passed him, till 
I was rather struck with the coincident recollec- 
tion of his grandfather's grandfather (above named) 
so long before having passed me in the same way. 

* This lodge having always a good fire kept on in it, with 
a bed of straw on each side, bounded by the trunks of two 
old trees, to answer the double purpose of bed-stocks and seats, 
often proved a comfortable asylum to the benighted, weary, shiver- 
ing traveller wandering on the road. 


To those I must add another description of men 
scattered about the neighbourhood, with whose 
histories and narratives I at that time felt greatly 
interested. Their minute account of the battles 
they had been engaged in, with the hardships they 
had endured, and their hairbreadth escapes, told 
with so much enthusiasm and exultation, impart- 
ed the same kind of feeling to me. This was 
long before I had reasoned myself into a detestation 
of war, its cruelty, its horrors, and the superlative 
wickedness of the authors of it. I had not pictured 
to my mind the thousands and tens of thousands 
of men in their prime being pitted against a like 
number of others towards whom they coidd have 
no enmity to murder each other ! ! for what ? 
It is foreign to my purpose to enlarge upon this 
subject : I must leave that to others ; and there 
is an abundant scope to dilate upon, and to depic- 
ture, the horrors of war in their true colours. The 
old soldiers, above alluded to, were mostly the 
descendants of the Borderers, whose propensity 
for war might, perhaps, be innate. I think, how- 
ever, that the breed is thinned, from the numbers 
that have been killed off in our wars. One of 
these a near relative would describe how ho 
had had his knapsack, as well as his coat laps 
and the cocks of his hat, shot through and 
through, and yet had escaped unhurt. Others 
of them would give similar descriptive accounts; 
and, when a party of them met over their ale, 
it is not easy to depicture the warmth with which 
they greeted each other, and prided themselv< > 


on the battles they had won. One of these, du- 
ring a walk, in which I fell in with him, from 
Newcastle to Ovingham, described the minute 
particulars of the battle of Minden ; and how, 
in the absence of Lord Sackville, they shook 
hands the whole length of the line, vowing to 
stand by each other without flinching. This tall, 
stout man, John Cowie, though old, appeared to 
be in all the vigour of youth. He lived at Oving- 
ton. His associate, Ben Garlick, of Prudhoe, ap- 
peared as if his constitution had been broken down. 
They had served in a corps called Napier's Gre- 
nadiers. Cowie appeared occasionally in his old 
military coat, &c. After he died, this coat, which 
had been shot at at Minden and elsewhere, was at 
last hung up on a stake on the corn rigs as a 
scare- crow. 

The ferocious people from whom, as I have in- 
timated, the above individuals were probably de- 
scended, bore nearly the same names on both sides 
of the Border ; their character seemed to have 
been distinct from both their English and Scottish 
neighbours ; and war and rapine had long been 
their almost constant employment. Many of these 
the retainers of the chieftains of old, whose feet 
were swift to shed blood were called by names 
descriptive of their characters and persons, and 
which were mostly continued by their offspring. 
These consisted of a great variety of names of 
cunning or ferocious birds and beasts, as well as 
some others, the meaning of which is now un- 
known. There were among them the Hawk, 


Glead, Falcon, Fox, Wolf, Bloodhound, Grey- 
hound, Raven, Crow, Gorfoot, Crowfoot, &c., &c. 

The farmers of the neighbourhood, at the early 
period which I have been describing, always ap- 
peared to me to be not of so intelligent a cast as 
the poor labouring men. Their minds being more 
exclusively occupied with the management of their 
farms, they read but little. They were mostly of 
a kind and hospitable disposition, and well-inten- 
tioned, plain, plodding men, who went jogging on 
in their several occupations as their fathers had 
done before them. 

The next advance in society were the Lairds, 
who lived upon their own lands. I have always, 
through life, been of opinion that there is no 
business of any kind that can be compared to 
that of a man who farms his own land. It ap- 
pears to me that every earthly pleasure, with 
health, is within his reach. But numbers of 
these men were grossly ignorant, and in exact 
proportion to that ignorance they were sure 
to be offensively proud. This led them to at- 
tempt appearing above their station, which hasten- 
ed them on to their ruin ; but, indeed, this 
disposition and this kind of conduct invariably 
leads to such results. There were many of 
these lairds on Tyneside ; as well as many who 
held their lands on the tenure of "suit and ser- 
vice," and were nearly on the same level as the 
lairds. Some of the latter lost their lands (not 
fairly I think) in a way they coidd not help ; 
many of the former, by their misdirected pride and 


folly, were driven into towns, to slide away into 
nothingness, and to sink into oblivion, while their 
"ha' houses" (halls), that ought to have remained 
in their families from generation to generation, 
have mouldered away. I have always felt ex- 
tremely grieved to see the ancient mansions of 
many of the country gentlemen, from somewhat 
similar causes, meet with a similar fate. The 
gentry should, in an especial manner, prove by 
their conduct that they are guarded against show- 
ing any symptom of foolish pride, at the same 
time that they soar above every meanness, and 
that their conduct is guided by truth, integrity, 
and patriotism. If they wish the people to par- 
take with them in these good qualities, they must 
set them the example, without which no real re- 
spect can ever be paid to them. Gentlemen ought 
never to forget the respectable station they hold 
in society, and that they are the natural guardians 
of public morals, and may with propriety be con- 
sidered as the head and the heart of the country, 
while " a bold peasantry" are, in truth, the arms, 
the sinews, and the strength of the same ; but 
when these last are degraded, they soon become 
dispirited and mean, and often dishonest and use- 

I think the late Duke of Northumberland must 
have had an eye to raising the character of the 
peasantry when he granted them small portions 
of land at a reasonable^rate. If so, in my way 
of judging, he was an honour to the peerage, 
and set an example worthy of himself and worthy 


of imitation. By going a step further, and plant- 
ing healthy, strong, men and women on these 
spots, his patriotism would have been crowned 
with immortality ; for I cannot help thinking 
that, if the same pains were taken in breeding 
mankind that gentlemen have bestowed upon the 
breeding of horses and dogs, human nature might, 
as it were, be new modelled, hereditary diseases 
banished, and such a race might people the coun- 
try as we can form no conception of. Instead 
of a nation of mongrels, there would in time ap- 
pear a nation of "Admirable Chrichtons." If the 
lands commonly attached to townships had been 
continued as such, and let in small portions to 
mechanics and labourers (as the late Duke did), 
instead of dividing them by act of Parliament 
among those who already had too much, the good 
effects to the community at large would have been 
soon felt; and, in addition to this, if savings banks 
and benefit societies were encouraged by every pos- 
sible means, there would be little occasion for 
poor laws except as a provision for helpless child- 
ren, and the lame and the blind. By such means 
as these, perhaps, this national evil might be done 
away. All men ought to provide for the neces- 
sities of old age, and be made sensible of the 
manly pleasure of being independent. It is de- 
grading, 'and in most cases disgraceful, to those 
who look to parish assistance after a life spent 
in laziness and mismanagement. 

I must not omit mentioning a circumstance 
that happened to Eltringham while I was a boy. 


It was to have been called "Little Birmingham," 
but this was not accomplished. In 17 , a person 
of the name of Laidler, who was said to have 
amassed a large fortune in London, came to the 
North, and established the Iron Works at Busy 
Cottage, near Newcastle ; and, on his taking a 
view of Tyneside, he fixed upon Eltringham as 
a place at which he could carry on works to a 
much greater extent. He set about this business 
in great haste. All kinds of workmen were gather- 
ed together for the purpose of speedily accomplish- 
ing what he had in view ; and, while some of 
them were busy in making the mills and machinery, 
others were digging a mill-race of about a quarter 
of a mile in length But lo ! when this was done, 
not being permitted to encroach on the bed of 
the river, it was found they had not much 
more than a foot of waterfall ; and, as the sides 
of the mill-race were cut perpendicularly, about 
two yards deep, through the dark fine soil, the 
first great flood of the Tyne nearly levelled and 
filled it up. The people in and about the place, 
including my father, who had got licenses to sell 
ale, &c., were obliged to decline, and the sign of my 
father's house, the Seven Stars, which hung up 
between the two ash trees, was taken down. 
The projector made our house his home while the 
works were going on, and the men were paid 
their wages there. All was as suddenly sold off as 
it was begun, and my father came to some loss 
after all the trouble and turmoil he had been put to. 



BEING now nearly fourteen years of age, and a 
stout boy, it was thought time to set me off to 
business ; and my father and mother had long 
been planning and consulting, and were greatly 
at a lass what it would be best to fix upon. Any 
place where I could see pictures, or where I 
thought I could have an opportunity of drawing 
them, was such only as I could think of. A New- 
castle bookseller, whose windows w r ere filled with 
prints, had applied to Mr. Gregson for a boy ; 
and, when I was asked if I would like to go to 
him, I readily expressed my hearty consent ; but, 
upon my father making enquiry respecting him, 
he was given to understand that he bore a very 
bad character : so that business was at an end. 
The same year 1767 during the summer, Wil- 
liam Beilby and his brother Ralph took a ride 
to Bywell, to see their intimate acquaintance, Mrs. 
Simons, who was my godmother, and the widow 
of the late vicar there. She gave them a most 
flattering account of me ; so much so, that they, 
along with her and her daughter, set off that 
same afternoon to Cherryburn to visit us, and to 
drink tea. AVhen the Newcastle visitors had given 
an account of their enamellings, drawings, and 


engravings, with which I felt much pleased, I 
was asked which of them I should like to be bound 
to ; and, liking the look and deportment of Ralph 
the best, I gave the preference to him. Matters 
bearing upon this business were slightly talked 
over, and my grandmother having left me twenty 
pounds for an apprentice fee, it was not long till 
a good understanding between parties took place, 
and I soon afterwards went to R. Beilby upon trial. 
The first of October was the day fixed upon for 
the binding. The eventful day arrived at last, 
and a most grievous one it was to me. I liked 
my master ; I liked the business ; but to part 
from the country, and to leave all its beauties 
behind me, with which I had been all my life 
charmed in an extreme degree, and in a way I 
cannot describe, I can only say my heart was 
like to break ; and, as we passed away, I inward- 
ly bade farewell to the whinny wilds, to Mickley 
bank, to the Stob- cross hill, to the water banks, 
the woods, and to particular trees, and even to 
the large hollow old elm,* which had lain per- 
haps for centuries past, on the haugh near the 
ford we were about to pass, and which had shel- 
tered the salmon fishers, while at work there, from 
many a bitter blast. We called upon my much 
esteemed schoolfellow, Christopher Gregson, at Ov- 
ingham, where he and his father were waiting to 
accompany us to Newcastle all on the same er- 

* This old tree- was swept away by the great flood of the 17th 
November, 17 71'. 


rand (we were both bound on that day). While 
we were condoling comforting each other I 
know not what to call it at the parsonage gates, 
many of the old neighbours assembled at the 
churchyard wall, to see us set off, and to express 
their good wishes ; and, amongst the rest, was a 
good, sensible old woman of the village, named 
Betty Kell, who gave us her blessing, and each 
a penny for good luck. This being done, our 
horses were mounted, and we commenced our 
journey. The parties kept at a little distance 
from each other. I suppose our late preceptor 
was lecturing his son, and my father was equally 
buried in the same way with me. He had al- 
ways set me the example and taken every oppor- 
tunity of showing how much he detested mean- 
ness, and of drawing forth every particle of pride 
within me, for the purpose of directing it in the 
right way. He continued a long while on subjects 
of this kind, and on the importance and inesti- 
mable value of honour and honesty ; and he urg- 
ently pressed upon me to do my duty to my 
master, in faithfully and obediently fulfilling all his 
commands, to be beforehand in meeting his wishes, 
and, in particular, to be always upon my guard 
against listening to the insinuations and the wick- 
ed advice of worthless persons, who I would find 
ever ready to poison my ear against him. He 
next turned his discourse on another topic new 
to me from him of great importance religion 
and pressed this also upon me in a way I did 
not forget. He begged I would never omit, 


morning and evening, addressing myself to my 
Maker, and said that if I ceased to do so, then 
he believed and feared every evil would follow. 
I was greatly surprised to hear him dwell on 
this subject ; for I think it was the first time. 
He used, indeed, to go to church ; but I do not 
recollect his ever commenting upon the sermons 
he heard there, further than that, the good man's 
discourse from the pulpit seemed to him to be 
wasted upon the majority of his congregation, 
and of his calling some of them " holy professors." 
My mother, who was of a religious turn, had, 
indeed, all her life endeavoured to make me so 
too ; but, as I did not clearly understand her 
well-intended lectures, they made little impres- 
sion. My father's pithy illustrations, as before 
hinted at, were much more forcibly and clearly 
made out : I understood them well, and they 
operated powerfully upon me.* I have often re- 
flected since upon the very high importance, and 
the necessity, of instilling this species of educa- 
tion into the minds of youth ; for, were pains 
taken to draw forth the pride naturally implanted 

* I recollect one instance where I felt the force of this species 
of education. I might enumerate some others, but this left its 
mark upon me. Having fallen in with, and joined, two untutored 
lads, in Prudhoe " lonning," they jumped over the hedge and filled 
their pockets with potatoes. The farmer was watching, but they 
escaped. Not having followed their example, I did not offer to 
fly, but he seized me, and threatened what he would do. At this 
I was extremely distressed, and had it not been that I consoled 
myself with the certainty that my father and mother would be- 
lieve me, on my asserting that I had not stolen any of his potatoes, 
I believe I would have drowned myself. 


in their minds for the wisest and best purposes, 
if properly directed, it would exalt human nature, 
and be of the utmost importance to individuals 
and to society. It is the want of this education, 
and the want of industry, that occasions and 
spreads misery over the land. How can I doubt 
that, if my father had been a thief, I would have 
been one also, or, if a highwayman or robber, as 
expert as himself. In my opinion, there are two 
descriptions of persons who ought to forbear, or 
be prevented, from marrying viz., those of a 
base, wicked, and dishonest character, and those 
who have broken down their constitutions and 
debased both mind and body by dissipation. The 
latter entail misery upon their innocent offspring : 
the children of the former, by the bad example 
shown to them, become a curse to the community 
in which they live. 

When we arrived at Newcastle, the documents 
were soon made ready to bind my companion and 
myself. He was bound to Messrs. Doughty and 
Wiggins, chemists and druggists ; but Mr. Beilby 
(perhaps from his having heard some unfavourable 
account of me) and my father not readily agreeing 
upon the exact terms of my servitude, some fears 
were entertained that the business between us 
might be broken off. On this occasion my pre- 
ceptor interfered very ardently, spoke warmly in 
my praise, and dwelt forcibly, in particular (not- 
withstanding my wild, boyish behaviour at school), 
iipon my never being saucy or sulky, nor in the 
least indulging in anything like revenge. Tn this 


business, Mr. Gregson was ably seconded by his 
relation and my kind friend, Mr. Joseph Lang- 
staff, of Newcastle, who was also acquainted with 
my new master ; and so the business of binding 
was settled at last. 

My new master, who, I believe, had laid down 
plans for the regulation of his own conduct, began 
with me upon a system of rigid discipline, from 
which he never varied or relaxed, and it was not 
long before I gave occasion to his putting it in 
force. Having walked out on a Sunday after- 
noon to see the environs of the town, the first 
place that attracted my attention was " King 
Jamie's Well." There I fell in with bad com- 
pany, consisting of three low blackguard 'prentice 
lads, from the Close. Having no wish to have any- 
thing to say to them, I endeavoured to shun their 
company ; but they, seeing me in a strange and 
perhaps somewhat clownish dress, followed and in- 
sulted me ; and this they persisted in till I could 
bear it no longer, when, turning upon one of the 
sauciest of them, I presently levelled him, and was 
about serving the second in the same way, when 
they all three fell upon me and showed no mercy, 
so that, in the end, I went home to my master's 
house with a scratched face and black eyes. This 
was an abominable sight to the family, which 
no excuse could palliate. After this, I was ob- 
liged to attend my master to church twice a 
day, every Sunday, and, at night, to read the 
Bible, or some other good book, to old Mrs. Beilby 
and her daughter, or others of the family; and 


this continued during the time of the term I 
boarded in the house with them. 

The father of Mr. Beilby followed the business 
of a goldsmith and jeweller in Durham, where he 
was greatly respected. He had taken care to give 
all his family a good education. His eldest son, 
Richard, had served his apprenticeship to a die- 
sinker, or seal engraver, in Birmingham. His 
second son, William, had learned enamelling and 
painting in the same place. The former of these 
had taught my master seal-cutting, and the latter 
taught his brother Thomas and sister Mary enam- 
elling and painting ; and, in this way, this most 
respectable and industrious family lived together 
and maintained themselves. But, prior to this 
state of things, while the family were more de- 
pendant upon the industry of their father, ho had 
failed in business, left Durham, and begun busi- 
ness in Gateshead, where he and his eldest son 
Richard died. 

I have been informed that the family had to 
struggle with great difficulties about this period, 
and that, by way of helping to get through them, 
their mother taught a school in Gateshead. But 
this state of things could not have lasted long ; 
for the industry, ingenuity, and united energies 
of the family must soon have enabled them to 
soar above every obstacle. My master had wrought 
as a jeweller with his father before he went to 
his brother Richard to learn seal-cutting, which 
was only for a very short time before his death. 
He had also assisted his brother and sister in their 


constant employment of enamel painting upon glass. 
At this time a circumstance happened which 
made an opening for my future master to get 
forward in business unopposed by any one. An 
engraver of the name of Jameson, who had the 
whole stroke of the business in Newcastle, hav- 
ing been detected in committing a forgery upon 
the old. bank, he was tried for the crime. His life 
was saved by the perjury of a Mrs. Grey ; but 
Jameson left the town. 

For some time after I entered the business, I 
was employed in copying "Copeland's Ornaments;" 
and this was the only kind of drawing upon which 
I ever had a lesson given to me from any one. 
I was never a pupil to any drawing master, and 
had not even a lesson from William Beilby, or 
his brother Thomas, who, along with their other 
profession, were also drawing masters. In the later 
years of my apprenticeship, my master kept me so 
fully employed that I never had any opportunity 
for such a purpose, at which I felt much grieved 
and disappointed. The first jobs I was put to do 
was blocking-out the wood about the lines on the 
diagrams (which my master finished) for the 
" Ladies Diary," on which he was employed by 
Charles Hutton,* and etching sword blades for 
William and Nicholas Oley, sword manufacturers, 
&c., at Shotley Bridge. It was not long till the 
diagrams were wholly put into my hands to finish. 

* Afterwards the grea Dr. Hutton. He died 27th January, 
1823, in the 86th year of his age. 



After these, I was kept closely employed upoii a 
variety of other jobs ; for such was the industry 
of my master that he refused nothing, coarse or 
fine. He undertook everything, which he did in 
the best way he could. He fitted-up and tempered 
his own tools, and adapted them to every purpose, 
and taught me to do the same. This readiness 
brought him in an overflow of work, and the 
work-place was filled with the coarsest kind of 
steel stamps, pipe moulds, bottle moulds, brass clock 
faces, door plates, coffin plates, bookbinders letters 
and stamps, steel, silver, and gold seals, mourning 
rings, &c. He also undertook the engraving of 
arms, crests and cyphers, on silver, and every kind 
of job from the silversmiths ; also engraving bills 
of exchange, bank notes, invoices, account heads, 
and cards. These last he executed as well as did 
most of the engravers of the time ; but what he 
excelled in was ornamental silver engraving. In 
this, as far as I am able to judge, he was one of 
the best in the kingdom; and, I think, upon the 
whole, he might be called an ingenious, self-taught 
artist. The higher department of engraving, such 
as landscape or historical plates, I dare say, was 
hardly ever thought of by my master; at least not 
till I was nearly out of my apprenticeship, when 
he took it into his head to leave me in charge 
of the business at home, and to go to London for 
the purpose of taking lessons in etching and en- 
graving large copper plates. There was, however, 
little or no employment in this way in Newcastle, 
and he had no opportunity of becoming clever at 


it ; so he kept labouring on with such work as 
before named, in which I aided him with all my 
might. I think he was the best master in the 
world for teaching boys, for he obliged them to 
put their hands to every variety of work. Every 
job, coarse or fine, either in cutting or engraving, 
I did as well as I could, cheerfully; but the busi- 
ness of polishing copper plates, and hardening and 
polishing steel seals, was always irksome to me. 
I had wrought at such as this a long time, and at 
the coarser kind of engraving (such as I have no- 
ticed before), till my hands had become as hard and 
enlarged as those of a blacksmith. I, however, in 
due time, had a greater share of better and nicer 
work given me to execute; such as the outside and 
inside mottos on rings, and sometimes arms and 
crests on silver, and seals of various kinds, for which 
I made all the new steel punches and letters. We 
had a great deal of seal cutting, in which my 
master was accounted clever, and in this I did 
my utmost to surpass him. 

While we were going on in this way, we were 
occasionally applied to by printers to execute wood 
cuts for them. In this branch my master was 
very defective. What he did was wretched. He 
did not like such jobs ; on which account they 
were given to me ; and the opportunity this af- 
forded of drawing the designs on the wood was 
highly gratifying to me. It happened that one 
of these, a cut of the " George and Dragon" for 
a bar bill, attracted so much notice, and had so 
many praises bestowed upon it, that this kind of 


work greatly increased, and orders were received 
for cuts for children's books; chiefly for Thomas 
Saint, printer, Newcastle, and successor of John 
White, who had rendered himself famous for his 
numerous publications of histories and old ballads. 
With the singing of the latter, tne streets of 
Newcastle were long greatly enlivened ; and, on 
market days, visitors, as well as the town's people, 
were often highly gratified with it. What a cheer- 
ful, lively time this appeared to me and many 
others ! This state of things, however, changed 
when public matters cast a surly gloom over the 
character of the whole country ; and these sing- 
ing days, instead of being regulated by the ma- 
gistrates, were, in their wisdom, totally put an 
end to. 

My time now became greatly taken up with de- 
signing and cutting a set of wood blocks for the 
" Story-teller," " Gay's Fables," and " Select Fa- 
bles," together with cuts of a similar kind, for 
printers. Some of the Fable cuts were thought 
so well of by my master that he, in my name, 
sent impressions of a few of them to be laid be- 
fore the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, 
&c., and I obtained a premium. This I received 
shortly after I was out of my apprenticeship, and 
it was left to my choice whether I would have it 
in a gold medal, or money, (seven guineas). I 
preferred the latter ; and I never in my life felt 
greater pleasure than in presenting it to my mo- 
ther. On this occasion, amongst the several con- 
gratulations of kind neighbours, those of Mr. 


Gregson, my old master, stood pre-eminent. He 
flew from Ovingham, where the news first arri- 
ved, over to Eltringham, to congratulate my fa- 
ther and mother ; and the feelings and overflow- 
ings of his heart can be better imagined than 


DURING the time I was an inmate in my mas- 
ter's house, along with his mother, brothers, and 
sister, I attended his brother's horse, and made 
myself as useful to the family as I could. At 
that time I had no acquaintances, at least none 
to be very intimate with. I needed none. I 
wandered in the fields, and on the Town Moor, 
alone, and amused myself with my own thoughts. 
"When the time arrived that I was to cater 
for myself upon four shillings and sixpence per 
week, I went to lodge with my aunt Blackett, 
who, being the widow of a freeman,* kept a cow 
upon the Town Moor, and I was abundantly sup- 
plied with milk, which was the chief thing I lived 

At Mrs. Blackett's I became acquainted with Gil- 
bert Gray, bookbinder ; and this singular and wor- 
thy man was perhaps the most invaluable acquaint- 
ance and friend I ever met with. His moral 
lectures and advice to me formed a most im- 
portant succedaneum to those imparted by my 

* Thomas Blackett, silversmith. He was one of my godfathers, and 
had been foreman to the late John Langlands, by whom he was 
much noliced as a man of a most intrepid spirit. He was remark- 
able for his honour, honesty, and punctuality. 


parents. His wise remarks, his detestation of vice, 
his industry, and his temperance, crowned with a 
most lively and cheerful disposition, altogether made 
him appear to me as one of the best of characters. 
In his workshop I often spent my winter evenings. 
This was also the case with a number of young men, 
who might be considered as his pupils ; many of 
whom,. I have no doubt, he directed into the paths 
of truth and integrity, and who revered his me- 
mory through life. He rose early to work, lay 
down when he felt weary, and rose again when 
refreshed. His diet was of the simplest kind ; 
and he eat when hungry, and drank when dry, 
without paying regard to meal times. By steadily 
pursuing this mode of life, he was enabled to ac- 
cumulate sums of money from ten to thirty 
pounds. This enabled him. to get books, of an 
entertaining and moral tendency, printed and cir- 
culated at a cheap rate. His great object was, 
by every possible means, to promote honourable 
feelings in the minds of youth, and to prepare them 
for becoming good members of society. I have 
often discovered that he did not overlook ingenious 
mechanics, whose misfortunes perhaps mismanage- 
ment had led them to a lodging in Newgate. To 
these he directed his compassionate eye, and for 
the deserving (in his estimation), he paid their debt, 
and set them at liberty. He felt hurt at seeing 
the hands of an ingenious man tied up in prison, 
where they were of no use either to himself or to 
the community. This worthy man had been edu- 
cated for a priest ; but he would say to me, " of 


a 'trouth,' Thomas, I did not like their ways." 
So he gave up the thoughts of being a priest, and 
bent his way from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, where 
he engaged himself to Allan Ramsay, the poet, 
then a bookseller at the latter place, in whose service 
he was both shopman and bookbinder. From Edin- 
burgh he came to Newcastle. Gilbert had had a 
liberal education bestowed upon him. He had 
read a great deal, and had reflected upon what 
he had read. This, with his retentive memory, 
enabled him to be a pleasant and communica- 
tive companion. I lived in habits of intimacy 
with him to the end of his life; and, when he 
died, I, with others of his friends, attended his 
remains to the grave at the Ballast Hills.* 

How long I remained with my aunt, I have now 
forgotten. After I left her house, I went to lodge 
with a person named Hatfield, whose wife was an 
excellent cook and market woman, and who had 
long lived in the family of "Willy Scott," the 
father of the present Lord Chancellor of England. 
My landlord afterwards got into a very unfortu- 
nate way of doing business. Being a flax dresser, 
his brethren prevailed upon him and his wife 
to permit the tramps or scamps in that line to 
take up their lodgings with them. Here I was 
introduced, or at least had an opportunity of be- 
coming acquainted with them, and a pretty set 
they were. Their conduct was wicked in the ex- 
treme. The proper effect, however, was produced 

* He died on the 12th February, 17!4, in the Hfith year of his age. 


upon me ; for I looked upon their behaviour with 
the utmost disgust. After my landlord had for 
some time been cheated and defrauded by this set, 
he at length got done with them, and boarded 
and lodged others of a better cast of character. 

Long before the death of my friend Gilbert, I 
had ceased to have the privilege of reading his 
books, and what I could save out of my wages 
only afforded me a scanty supply. I had, how- 
ever, an opportunity, per favour of my master's 
servant, (who admitted me early in the morning 
into his parlour), of reading through, with great 
attention, the then new publication of "Smollett's 
History of England;" and, for a long time after- 
wards, I clearly remembered everything of note 
which it contained. With some of the characters 
therein depicted, I was greatly pleased, but with 
others I was shocked and disgusted. They ap- 
peared to me like fiends obtruded upon the com- 
munity, as a curse and a scourge ; and yet how 
surprising it is that some of these can be spoken 
of, by authors, with complacency. Another source 
from whence to obtain a supply of books pre- 
sently fell in my way, through the kindness of 
William Gray, the son of Gilbert. He was a 
bookbinder of some repute, and this led him into 
employment of a superior cast to that of his fa- 
ther, and his workshop was often filled with 
works of the best authors. To these, while bind- 
ing, I had ready access ; for which purpose I rose 
early in the morning ; and to him my well-known 
whistle in the street was the signal for his quickly 



preparing to get to his work, and I remained 
with him till my work hour came. 

I feel it as a misfortune, that a bias, somehow 
or other, took place in my mind at this time, 
which led me deeply into the chaos of what is 
called religious works ; and, for the purpose of 
getting into a thorough knowledge of all matters 
of this important kind, I spent much time, and 
took great pains, to obtain information ; but, in- 
stead of this, I got myself into a labyrinth be- 
wildered with dogmas, creeds, and opinions, most- 
ly the fanatical reveries, or the bigoted inven- 
tions, of interested or designing men, that seemed 
to me to be without end ; and, after all my pains, 
I left off in a more unsettled state of mind than 
when I began. I may be mistaken ; but I think, 
many a well-meaning man has spun out his life, 
and spent his time, on subjects of this kind in 
vain. Waggon loads of sermons have been pub- 
lished some of them, perhaps, good in order to 
prove matters (in my opinion) of no importance 
either to religion or morality. If it be true 
that every thing in perfection is simple, so it 
must be with religion. There may be many moral 
and religious duties for man to fulfil in his pas- 
sage through life ; but the rules for doing so an- 
so plain and easily understood that common sense 
only is necessary for all that is required of us 
in the performance of them. The beauty and 
simplicity of the doctrines laid down by the in- 
spired and benevolent Author of the Christian Re- 
ligion, however they may have been distorted and 


disfigured, are yet in themselves perfect. They 
may, indeed, be compared to a mathematical point 
a point of perfection for all men to aim at, but 
to which none can fully attain. The inspired 
writings of the prophets of old are also full of 
simplicity, as well as of indescribable beauty, and 
may be read and considered with ever-increasing 
delight. Poets and moralists, of more modern 
times, have also laboured most clearly to point 
out the paths which lead to religion, to virtue, 
and to happiness. As far as I am able to 
judge, all we can do is to commune with and 
reverence and adore the Creator, and to yield 
with humility and resignation to His will. With 
the most serious intention of forming a right 
judgment, all the conclusion I can come to is, 
that there is only one God and one religion ; 
and I know of no better way of what is called 
serving God than that of being good to his 
creatures, and of fulfilling the moral duties, as 
that of being good sons, brothers, husbands, fa- 
thers, and members of society. 

At this time, I had few that I could call 
intimate acquaintances. My almost only ones 
were books, over which I spent my time, morn- 
ings and evenings, late and early. This too in- 
tense application to books, together with my se- 
dentary employment, and being placed at a very 
low work bench, took away my healthy appear- 
ance, and I put 011 a more delicate look, and 
became poorly in health. When my master 
saw this, he sent for medical aid, and Natha- 


iiiel Bailes,* surgeon, was consulted. But, before 
he uttered a word as to my ailment, he took 
me to his own house, and there he stripped and 
examined me, and, looking me in the face, told 
me " I was as strong as a horse." He then 
made up some medicine to cause expectoration. 
This was all soon done, but not so the lecture 
he gave my master, whom he addressed in terms 
which I thought both long and rude. "What!" 
said he, " have you no more sense than to set 
a growing, country lad to work, doubled up at a 
low bench, which will inevitably destroy him ?" 
and, in his passion, he cursed Mr. Beilby for his 
ignorance or something worse. From this time 
the Doctor took a liking to me, and often criti- 
cised my work. He also took great pains to 

* lie was commonly called Dr. Bailes. lie was a Newcastle 
worthy, ami was accounted a man of great skill in his profes- 
sion, a*- well as eminent for his learning and other attainments. 
He was ingenious and enterprising, a tolerably good engraver, and 
a good mechanic. He was called the "Eloquent Sword-bearer." 
He headed the committee of the Burgesses, in 17 , who tried and 
beat the magistrates of Newcastle respecting their exclusive claim to 
the Town Moor ; and he was active in everything relative to the 
good of the town. He invented a harpoou for killing whales, 
for which he got a patent. It was of a triangular shape, or 
like three razors, back to back, and brought to a sharp point, 
and it was strongly barbed at its termination, towards the socket. By 
its use, lines and cords were saved. The price was three guineas, 
which, being deemed too high, was probably the cause of 
a confederacy of harpoon makers, sea-captains, and others (who 
knew not how to appreciate its value) to set their faces against 
using it. The Doctor, who did not like to be kept debating 
with ignorance and prejudice, and was not actuated by pecuniary 
motives, suffered the business to go to neglect. He died 16th 
July, 1791, aged 74, and was buried in St. Nicholas' Church, 


direct me how to live and to manage myself, un- 
der so sedentary an employment ; and an inti- 
macy commenced between us which lasted as long 
as he lived. He urged upon me the necessity of 
temperance and exercise. I then began to act 
upon his advice, and to live as he directed, both 
as to diet and exercise. I had read " Lewis 
Cornaro," and other books, which treated of 
temperance ; and I greatly valued the advice 
given in the "Spectator," which strongly re- 
commended all people to have their days of ab- 
stinence. Through life I have experienced the 
uncommon benefit derived from occasionally pur- 
suing this plan, which always keeps the stomach 
in proper tone. I regularly pursued my walks, 
and, whilst thus exercising, my mind was com- 
monly engaged in devising plans for my con- 
duct in life. 

For a long time, both in summer and winter, 
I went to Elswick three times a day, at the 
expense of a penny each time for bread and 
milk. I had an hour allowed me for din- 
ner ; and, as to my mornings and evenings, 
I could take a much longer time. A very 
small matter of animal food, when I missed 
going to Elswick, was amply sufficient for me ; 
for I think my constitution did not require to 
be stimulated. By persevering in this system of 
temperance and exercise, I was astonished to find 
how much I improved in health, strength, and 
agility. I thought nothing of leaving Newcastle 
after I had done work 7 o'clock on a winter's 


night, and of setting off to walk to Cherryburn. 
In this I was stimulated by an ardent desire to 
visit my parents as often as possible ; and the 
desire continued to act upon me as long as they 

In my solitary walks (as before noticed), the first 
resolution made was that of living within my in- 
come; and another of similar import, was that of 
never getting anything upon trust ; but, indeed, 
my limited income, at this time, led me carefully 
to observe these rules, and I have never since 
forgotten them. The train of reflections they 
brought along with them has also dwelt upon 
my mind. I coidd not help observing the in- 
evitable ill consequences which a contrary course 
(at first entered upon, perhaps, unthinkingly) 
led thousands into, and the misery it entailed. 
The more I have thought upon this subject, 
the more clearly I have seen its importance. 
Getting into debt is followed by leading people 
to live beyond their incomes ; and this makes 
all who do so, soon become demoralised and dis- 
honest ; and, when the mind has been thus blunt- 
ed and degraded, anxiety and trouble must be its 
attendants, till vice and misery close the scene. 

Amongst the acquaintances I made at the work- 
shops of Gilbert and William Grey, was William 
liulmcr, afterwards rendered famous as the pro- 
prietor of the Shakespeare Printing Office, in 
Cleveland Row, London, who was the first that 
set the example, and soon led the way, to tine 
printing in England. He used, while he was an 


apprentice, to prove the cuts I had executed. In 
this he was countenanced by his master, John 
Thompson, who was himself extremely curious and 
eager to see wood engraving succeed ; for at that 
time the printing of wood cuts was very imper- 
fectly known. 

About this time I commenced a most intimate 
acquaintance and friendship with Robert Pollard, 
afterwards an engraver and printseller of emin- 
ence in London. He was bound apprentice to 
John Kirkup, a silversmith in Newcastle ; and, 
from his being frequently sent to our workshop 
with crests, cyphers, &c., to engrave, he took a 
great liking to engraving, and was indefatigable 
in his endeavours to become master of it. In 
furtherance of this, we spent many of our even- 
ings together at his father's house, which to me 
was a kind of home. On his master declining 
business, my young friend was engaged for a term 
of years to learn engraving with Isaac Taylor, 
of Holborn, London. 

In my frequent visits to the workshops of Gil- 
bert Grey, and to that of his son William, I first 
fell in with Thomas Spence.* He was one of the 
warmest philanthropists in the world. The happi- 
ness of mankind seemed wih him to absorb every 

* Afterwards famous in London as at the head of the " Spenceans." 
He was sent to Dorchester goal for (I believe) some of his publica- 
tions, promulgating his doctrines. He taught a school at the Broad 
Garth, Newcastle ; afterwards writing and arithmetic in the great 
school at Haydon Bridge ; and, lastly, he was master of St. Ann's 
public school, Sandgate, Newcastle. At one time he was a mem- 
ber of a most respectable Literary and Philosophical society iu 


other consideration. He was of a cheerful disposi- 
tion, warm in his attachment to his friends, and 
in his patriotism to his country ; but he was vio- 
lent against people whom he considered of an op- 
posite character. "With such he kept no bounds. 
For the purpose chiefly of making converts to 
his opinion " that property in land is everyone's 
right," he got a number of young men gathered 
together, and formed into a debating society, which 
was held in the evenings in his school-room, in 
the Broad Garth, Newcastle. One night when 
his favourite question was to be debated, he 
reckoned upon me as one of his " backers." In 
this, however, he was mistaken ; for, notwithstand- 
ing my tacitly assenting in a certain degree to 
his plan, viz., as to the probability of its suc- 
ceeding in some uninhabited country or island, 
I could not at all agree with him in thinking it 
right to upset the present state of society, by tak- 
ing from people what is their own, and then 
launching out upon his speculations. I considered 
that property ought to be held sacred, and, be- 
sides, that the honestly obtaining of it was the 
great stimulant to industry, which kept all 
things in order, and society in full health and 
vigour. The question ,having been given against 
him without my having said a word in its defence, 
he became swollen with indignation, which, after 

Newcastle, one of the rules of which required that each member 
should read in turn a written lecture on any subject he pleased. 
Spence's was, of course, on that of " Property in land,'' &c. These 
lectures were, by the rules of the society, prohibited from publica- 
tion ; but Spence broke the rule and was expelled in consequence. 


the company was gone, he vented upon me. To 
reason with him was useless. He began by calling 
me from my silence "a Sir Walter Blackett ;"* 
adding, "If I had been as stout as you are, I. 
would have thrashed you, but there is another way 
in which I can do the business, and have at you." 
He then produced a pair of cudgels, and to work 
we fell. He did not know that I was a proficient 
in cudgel playing, and I soon found that he was 
very defective. After I had blackened the insidcs 
of his thighs and arms, he became quite outra- 
geous and acted very unfairly, which obliged me 
to give him a severe beating. 

I cut the steel punches for Spence's types, and 
my master struck them on the matrices for cast- 
ing his newly-invented letters of the alphabet, 
for his "Spelling and Pronouncing Dictionary." 
He published, in London, many curious books in 
his peculiar way of spelling. Most of them, I 
believe, on his favourite subject of property 
in land being everyone's right. However mis- 
taken he might be in his notions on this subject, 
I am clearly of opinion that his intentions were 
both sincere and honest. 

The next most eccentric individual, and at 
the same time one of the most worthy characters, 

* Sir Walter Blackett, bart., was five times mayor of Newcastle, 
and represented the borough in seven Parliaments ; having been 
fifty years a member. He died February 8th, 1777, aged 68. As 
an orator he made no figure in the House, and having changed 
his politics in his later years, he became rather unpopular. His 
public and private charities were on a munificent scale ; for 
which, indeed, he was greatly distinguished. 



I early became acquainted with was George Gray, 
son of Gilbert, and half-brother of "William Gray. 
He was bound apprentice to a man of the name 
of Jones, a fruit painter. The latter, who, I be- 
lieve, was accounted eminent in his profession, 
lived beyond his income, and departed from New- 
castle. George being thus left to himself, commenced 
in the same way of business, and became eminent 
as a fruit painter ; but, from his versatility of 
disposition, he dipped into almost every art and 
science, and excelled in many pursuits. He was 
accounted one of the best botanists and chemists 
in this part of the country. He was also a geo- 
logist, and was fixed upon as a leader or director 
to a party employed by Prince Poniatowsky, to 
to take a survey of the various strata of Poland ; 
but George, being slovenly in his dress and negli- 
gent in his person, felt himself slighted, and left 
those who put on a more respectable appearance 
to profit by his superior knowledge, and to do the 
best they could, and he returned home. Whether 
it was before or after this time I have forgotten, 
but he visited North America, and travelled in 
quest of knowledge pretty far into the interior of 
that country. On his return he resumed his old 
employment, in a room never cleaned or swept, 
and surrounded with models, crucibles, gallipots, 
brushes, paints, palettes, bottles, jars, retorts, and 
distills, in such a chaos of confusion as no words 
can describe. From this sanctum sanctorum, he 
corresponded with gentlemen of science in London 
and other parts. Few men were better liked by 


private friends as well for his knowledge as for 
his honesty, and the genuine simplicity of his 

In addition to the various jobs already noticed 
as keeping my master and myself fully employed, 
I had others which fell exclusively to my lot to 
execute ; and, amongst these were the mathema- 
tical works of Charles Hutton, who frequently 
came into the room in which I worked, to inspect 
what I was doing. He was always very civil, but 
seemed to me to be of a grave or shy deportment. 
He lived in habits of intimacy with my master, 
and used to write designs for him to engrave from, 
particularly for the heads of invoices or bills of 
parcels ; and I remember that he wrote them with 
an ink, or preparation, which was easily trans- 
ferred to the copper. This was before his ap- 
pointment in the royal military academy of Wool- 
wich, in 1773, and long before he had the well- 
merited title of L.L.D. added to his respected 
name. Dr. Hutton was that kind of man, who 
never forget old friends ; and, some years after, 
when I was in partnership with my old master, 
he recommended us to the notice of Dr. Horsley,f"~ 
who was commencing his publication of Sir Isaac 
Newton's works, the execution of the whole of 
the cuts for which devolved upon me. This trans- 
action took place in 1778. 

* He died on the 9th December, 1819, aged 61 years, and was 
buried in St. John's Church-yard, Newcastle. 
t Afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph. 


I continued to take up my abode with Hatfield, 
and, the spirits being bouyant, everything pleased 
me. I cannot help noticing the happy time I 
spent there. I was also entertained with the 
curious characters who resorted to his house. These 
were mostly bird-catchers and bird-dealers, to 
whose narratives respecting their pursuits I lis- 
tened with interest. My landlord was almost con- 
stantly busied in rearing a numerous brood of ca- 
naries, which he sold to a bird merchant, who 
travelled with them to Edinburgh, Glasgow, &c., 
for sale. 

I also, at various periods of the time I remained 
under Ilatfield's roof, got into a knowledge of the 
misguided ways which too many young fellows 
pursued ; and I watched, and saw the wretched 
consequences of the kind of life they led. I felt 
grieved for them, and did all in my power to dis- 
suade them from pursuing such a course of life. 
For this advice they laughed at me, and called 
me " the old man." It was not very long, how- 
ever, till two of them sent for me to come and 
sec them on their death beds. The die was cast, 
and I cannot forget their thanks to me, and the 
bitterness with which they reproached themselves 
for not listening to what I had so sincerely recom- 
mended. Such conduct as I have been alluding 
to appears to me to be of the very blackest die. 
It is amongst the most shocking of murders. It 
is to be regretted that the seducer and the seduced 
cannot be obliged to live together for life, and, 
while they live, bo allowed to herd only with such 


as themselves; for they ought to be banished from 
the society of the modest and virtuous part of the 
community. I think it a great omission in parents 
and teachers not to make unguarded youth fully 
apprized of the risks they run in towns of getting 
acquainted with the lost and polluted women of 
this stamp. Nothing can be so sure a guard 
against this vice as that of making young men 
see it in its true light to be disgusted at it. Ma- 
gistrates, no doubt, have it in their power, in some 
degree, to lessen this great evil, by preventing 
abandoned women from appearing in the streets 
of a town ; but I have often felt for magistrates 
on account of the great and gratuitous trouble 
they take, and the difficulties they must have to 
encounter, in their endeavours to keep the wicked 
within due bounds. 

My last fellow-lodgers, before I was out of my 
apprenticeship, were John Hymers, who had been 
a sergeant in the Life Guards, and had retired 
upon his pension, and Whittaker Shadforth, a 
watch-maker, and also a musician. The latter 
was of a quite different character from those be- 
fore noticed, but was wild, enthusiastic, and ro- 
mantic. Among the many whims and fancies we 
indulged in, one of them was to learn the manual 
exercise. The sergeant, who had often laughed 
at our follies, very readily agreed to undertake 
this task, provided we would strictly obey the 
rules he prescribed to us. This we agreed to. 
He began with a kind of lecture on the necessity 
of soldiers being obedient to their officers, and 


standing like a brick wall without flinching ; add- 
ing that he would not use his cane upon our backs, 
but only to put us in mind to be very attentive. 
This being settled, we were in the mornings to 
appear before him in " bare buff," that is, with- 
out our shirts and upper-clothing. This discipline 
was pursued steadily for some time, notwithstand- 
ing the switches he gave us on our bare backs 
with his rod or cane, which we bore with the 
utmost sang froid. I think the sergeant, notwith- 
standing the entertainment we thus afforded him, 
began to tire first ; for he at last lay in bed while 
he was giving us our lessons, and at length gave 
the business up. 

From the length of time I had known and no- 
ticed Miss Beilby, I had formed a strong attach- 
ment to her, but could not make this known to 
her or to any one else. I could have married her 
before I was done with my apprenticeship with- 
out any fears on my part, but I felt for her, and 
pined and fretted at so many bars being in the way 
of our union. One of the greatest was the sup- 
posed contempt in which I was held by the rest of 
the family, who, I thought, treated me with great 
hauteur, though I had done everything in my 
power to oblige them. I had, like a stable boy, 
waited upon their horse ; and had cheerfully done 
everything they wanted at my hands till one of 
the brothers grossly affronted me in the business of 
the stable. This I instantly resented, and refused 
attendance there any more. Before I was out of 
my time, Miss Beilby had a paralytic stroke, 



which very greatly altered her look, and rendered 
her for some time unhappy. Long after this 
she went with her eldest brother into Fifeshire, 
where she died. 


TIIK first of October, 1774, arrived at last ; and, 
for the first time in my life, I felt myself at 
liberty. I worked a few weeks with my old 
master, and then set off to spend the winter at 
Cherryburn. There I had plenty of work to do, 
chiefly from Thomas Angus, printer, Newcastle. 
I continued there, employed by him and others, 
till the summer of 1776. This was a time of 
great enjoyment, for the channs of the country 
were highly relished by me, and after so long 
an almost absence from it, gave even that relish a 
zest which I have not words to describe. I con- 
tinued to execute wood cuts and other jobs, but 
often rambled about among my old neighbours, 
and became more and more attached to them, 
as well as to the country. 

In the storms of winter, I joined the Nimrods 
as of old. In spring and summer, my favourite 
sport of angling was pretty closely followed up. 
About Christmas, as I had done before when a 
boy, I went with my father to a distance to 
collect the money due to him for coals. In 
these rounds, I had the opportunity of witness- 


ing the kindness and hospitality of the people. 
The countenances of all, both high and low, 
beamed with cheerfulness ; and this was height- 
ened everywhere by the music of old tunes, from 
the well-known, exhilarating, wild notes of the 
Northumberland pipes, amidst the buzz occasioned 
by " foulpleughs" (morrice or sword dancers) from 
various parts of the country. This altogether 
left an impression on my mind which the cares 
of the world have never effaced from it. The gen- 
try, the farmers, and even the working people, 
of that day had their Christmas home-brewed ale, 
made only from malt and hops. This was before 
the pernicious use of chemical compounds was 
known, or agricultural improvements had quickened 
the eyes of landlords, banished many small far- 
mers, soured their countenances, and altered for 
the worse the characters of the larger ones that 

Having all my life, at home, at school, and 
during my apprenticeship, lived under perpetual 
restraints, when I thus felt myself at liberty, I 
became, as I suppose, like a bird which had es- 
caped from its cage. Even angling, of which I 
was so fond, and of which I thought I never 
could tire, became rather dull when I found I 
could take as much of it as I pleased. While I 
was pursuing this sport on a hot day in June, 
I gave it up ; and, laying down my rod awhile, 
I then tied it up and walked home. Having re- 
solved to see more of the country, I requested 
my mother to put me up some shirts, &c., and 



I told her I was going to see my uncle (her 
brother) in Cumberland. She soon complied with 
my request, amidst expressions of fear for my 
safety ; showing the natural feelings of a good 
mother. After sewing three guineas in my breeches 
waistband, I set off that afternoon, and walked 
to Ilaydon Bridge. There I visited an old ac- 
quaintance, Thomas Spence, then a teacher in Hay- 
doii Bridge school, with whom I was a welcome 
guest, and stopped two days. Leave of absence 
from school having been given to him, I ram- 
bled with him over the neighbourhood, and visit- 
ed everything worth notice. When I departed, 
he accompanied me on the road nearly to Halt- 
whistle. After this, I met with little to attract 
notice except Naworth Castle ; and, when I left 
it, and was proceeding across the country, I lost 
my way by following paths which led only to 
holes that had been made by digging peats and 
turf, and did not reach my uncle's house at Ain- 
stable till late in the evening. I remained at 
Ainstable about a week, during which time I ram- 
bled about the neighbourhood, visited my friends 
at Kirkoswald and elsewhere, and spent what time 
I could spare in fishing for trout in the Croglin. 

After I had seen Armanthwaite and Penrith, I 
began to think of moving further abroad ; and my 
cousin having occasion to go to Carlisle, I went 
with him there, where we parted. I wandered 
about the old city ; and, in the afternoon, looked 
into the shop of a watchmaker, to whom I was 
known as having been employed, by my master, 


to engrave many clock faces for him, during my 
apprenticeship. While I was in his shop, in came 
a man a kind of scamp of the name of Graham, 
who asked me what road I was going ? " To 
Scotland," I replied. "So am I," said he; "and, 
if you can keep foot with me, I will be glad of 
your company." We had no sooner set off, than 
I found he was a vapouring fop who was very 
vain of his great prowess as a pedestrian. I could 
soon see that he wanted to walk me off my foot ; 
but, having been long practised in that way, he 
found himself mistaken, and long before we reach- 
ed Longtown, he had called in at several public 
houses for refreshment, and invited me to do the 
same. I, however, was not thirsty, and not being 
used to drink, I sat on the seats at the doors 
until he came out. He kept on in this way till 
we reached Langholm, when he surveyed me with 
an attentive eye, but said nothing. 

At Langholm, my landlord, who was a Cumber- 
land man and knew my relatives there, was very 
kind to me ; and, among many other matters con- 
cerning them, told me that my cousin who had 
accompanied me to Carlisle had won nine belts 
in his wrestling matches in that county. From 
Langholm, I set off to Hawick and Selkirk, and 
from the latter place, next morning, by Dalkeith, 
to Edinburgh. I had been, in this short tramp, 
particularly charmed with the border scenery ; 
the roads, in places, twined about the bottoms of 
the hills, which were beautifully green, like velvet, 
spotted over with white sheep, which grazed on 


their sides, watched by the peaceful shepherd and 
his dog. I could not help depicturing in my 
mind the change which had taken place, and com- 
paring it with the times of old that had passed 
away, and in inwardly rejoicing at the happy re- 
verse. It is horrid to contemplate the ferocious 
battles of that day, between men descended from 
the same stock, and bearing the same names on 
both sides of the border, only divided from each 
other by a river, a rivulet, a burn, or a stripe of 
groimd ; that they should have been, at the nod 
of their chieftains, called out to the wild foray by 
the slogan horn, or the shrill notes of the bugle ; 
that they should have been led to meet and slaugh- 
ter each other, to manure the ground with their 
blood, amidst the clash of arms and the thrilling 
music of the pipes, which helped to excite them 
on to close their eyes in death. These transac- 
tions, which are handed down to their descend- 
ants of the present generation in traditionary 
tales, and kept in remembrance by the songs and 
tunes of old times, serve now only as food for 
reflection or amusement. 

On entering Edinburgh, having been recommend- 
ed to the George Inn, Bristoport, I halted there; 
but, being quite unacquainted with the customs 
of living in such places, I knew not what to do, 
or how to conduct myself. I, however, called 
for a pint of beer, and I think it was the first 
I ever called for in my life, when, lo ! a good- 
looking girl, bare-footed and bare- legged, entered 
with a pewter pot, almost the size of a half leg 


of a boot. This I thought I could not empty in a 
week. As I found I could not remain in this 
place, I sought for another, and luckily fell in 
with an old Newcastle acquaintance ; and to her 
I stated my case, went with her, and felt quite 
at home in her house. After I had seen as much 
of "Auld Reekie" as I could, and been lost in 
admiration at the grandeur of its situation, and 
of its old buildings, I next day called upon Hec- 
tor Gavin, an engraver, in Parliament Close. This 
kind man a stranger to me after a bit of chat 
about the arts, &c., threw by his tools, and was 
quite at my service. The warmth of his kind- 
ness I never can forget. He took me all over 
Edinburgh, and gave me a history and explana- 
tion of everything he thought worthy of notice. 
Having parted from him with his best and warm- 
est wishes, I rose early on the next morning and 
walked to Glasgow. After leaving my bundle at 
an inn, to which I had been recommended, I took 
a ramble through the city. There I fell in, by 
chance, with an old acquaintance, and who I sup- 
posed was dead long ago. He was not like me ; 
he could drink plenty ; so that I was at no loss 
what to do at this inn, as I had been in Edin- 
burgh. He called upon me next morning with 
a well-informed man, when they showed me every- 
thing they thought worthy of notice in Glasgow, 
which, though a large city, containing many 
handsome buildings, I was not so charmed with 
as I had been with Edinburgh. 

From Glasgow, I set oif to Dumbarton ; and, 


on my way, took as good a survey of the country, 
and whatever was new to me, as I could. My 
landlord at Dumbarton had seen a deal of the 
world, either as a soldier or a gentleman's ser- 
vant, and was very communicative ; and I think 
I spent the next day with him, in walking 
about and viewing everything that he could 
think of that might please or entertain me. 
After leaving him, I wished much to see the 
printing at the cotton works, and the print 
fields, as they were called, on ths river Leven, 
near Dumbarton. To these, however, I could 
not get admission ; so I kept passing onward, 
up the Leven, till Smollett's monument, near 
the side of it, arrested my attention. There I 
stopped, for I had read Smollett's works, and 
almost adored him as an author. On the pe- 
destal of the monument, was a long Latin in- 
scription, which I was endeavouring to translate, 
but was puzzled to make out ; having never 
looked into a Latin book since I had left school ; 
and, for the first time, I felt mortified at not 
having done so. While I was thus employed, 
up came a "lish," clever young man, a High- 
lander, smartly dressed in the garb of his coun- 
try. He jumped down beside me, and we together 
made out the translation. When this was done, 
on learning from me that my sole object was 
to see Scotland, he pressed me to accompany 
him to some place or other, the name of which 
I do not now remember. We, however, walked 
a long way together on the western side of 


Loch Lomond, and I know I did not visit In- 
verary, the seat of Argyle, but stopped with 
my companion at a grazier's, or farmer's, house, 
not a long way from it. 

Having made up my mind not to visit any 
town, or put up at any inn, I commenced my 
"wild- goose chase," and bent my way, in many 
a zig-zag direction, through the interior of part 
of the Highlands, by the sides of its lakes and 
its mountains. The beauty and serenity of the 
former, and the grandeur or terrific aspect of 
the latter, I gazed upon with wonder, and with 
both was charmed to ecstacy. In moving for- 
ward, I was often accompanied or directed to 
some farmer's or grazier's house, by the herds 
or drovers, whom I fell in w r ith ; and, in some 
of these houses, I took up my abode, and often, 
by the pressing solicitations of my host or host- 
ess, was prevailed upon to remain with them a day 
or two. These kind these hospitable people I 
have never forgotten. Often the mistress of the 
house in these remote places, never having seen 
any person from England, examined my dress 
from head to foot, and in English which, it was 
easy to discover, had been imperfectly taught her 
made many enquiries respecting the country 
from whence I came ; while the herds, with their 
bare knees, sat listening around, very seldom know- 
ing what we were talking about These herds, 
or some of the family, generally set or directed 
me to the house of some other distant grazier; 
and I met with the same kind and warm recep- 


tion throughout my wanderings I had experienced 
at first. It sometimes happened that, by my 
having stopped too long on my way, in admira- 
tion of the varied prospects I met with, that I 
was benighted, and was obliged to take shelter 
under some rocky projection, or to lay myself 
down amongst the heather, till daylight. In my 
traversings and wanderings, I called in at all the 
houses on my way, whether situated in the beau- 
tiful little valleys, in the glens, or on the sides of 
heathery hills. In these places it was common 
to see three houses, one added to another. The 
first contained a young married couple with their 
healthy-looking children ; the next, or middle 
one, was occupied by the father and mother, and 
perhaps the brothers and sisters, of this couple ; 
and, further on, at the end, was the habitation of 
the old people. These places had always garths 
and gardens adjoining, with peat stacks and other 
fuel at hand for the winter; and the whole was 
enlivened with numbers of ducks, chickens, &c. 
On my getting some refreshment of whey or 
milk in such places as these, I always found 


it difficult to get payment made for anything, 
as it seemed to give offence ; and, when I could 
get any money slipped into the hands of the child- 
ren, I was sure to be pursued, and obliged to 
accept of a pocket full of bannocks and scones. 

On one occasion, I was detained all day and 
all night at a house of this kind, in listening to 
the tunes of a young man of the family who 
played well upon the Scottish pipes. I, in 


turn, whistled several Tyneside tunes to him; so 
that we could hardly get separated. Before my de- 
parture next day, I contrived by stealth to put 
some money into the hands of the children. I 
had not got far from the house till I was pur- 
sued by a beautiful young woman, who accosted 
me in " badish" English, which she must have 
got off by heart just before she left the house, 
the purport of which was to urge my acceptance 
of the usual present. This I wished to refuse ; 
but, with a face and neck blushed with scarlet, 
she pressed it upon me with such sweetness 
while I thought at the same time that she in- 
vited me to return that (I could not help it) 
I seized her, and smacked her lips. She then 
sprang away from me, with her bare legs, like 
a deer, and left me fixed to the spot, not know- 
ing what to do. I was particularly struck with 
her whole handsome appearance. It was a com- 
pound of loveliness, health, and agility. Her hair, 
I think, had been flaxen or light, but was tan- 
ned to a pale brown by being exposed to the 
sun. This was tied behind with a riband, and 
dangled down her back ; and, as she bounded 
along, it flowed in the air. I had not seen her 
while I was in the house, and felt grieved be- 
cause I could not hope ever to see her more. 

After having wandered about in this way for 
some time longer, during which I uniformly met 
with the same kind treatment among these un- 
polluted, unspoiled, honourable, and kind people, 
I began to think of the long way I had to get 


over on ray return towards home ; for, although 
my money was not greatly diminished among the 
Highlanders, yet I knew not how much I might 
want in or near towns, in the more civilised dis- 
tricts ; so I turned back in a south-easterly di- 
rection through the country, where I met, in 
my various wanderings, the same warm and 
friendly reception. From that time to this, I 
have ever felt pleased at the name of Highlander. 
Were not these people proof against the temp- 
tation of a bribe of thirty thousand pounds, held 
out to them to betray the unfortunate Prince 
Charles Stuart. Is it not to be regretted that 
agricultural improvements have taught the land- 
lords, or chieftains, to turn numerous farms into 
one, and to banish thousands of these hardy de- 
scendants of the ancient Britons, these brave 
race of men to whose forefathers they owed so 
much, to seek an asylum in foreign climes? In 
exchange for men, they have filled the country 
with sheep ! Property, in every country, should be 
held sacred, but it should also have its bounds ; 
and, in my opinion, it should be, in a certain de- 
gree, held in trust, jointly, for the benefit of its 
owners, and the good of society. To exercise a 
right of property beyond this is despotism, the 
offspring of misplaced aristocratic pride. 

I have not noticed that I was sometimes, in 
passing along, detained at fairs and "trysts." 
These, with their merry-makings, were something 
like the " hoppings" and "feasts" on Tyneside ; 
and the girls had the same ruddy look as the 


farmer's servants who are put to do field work 
in Northumberland and Durham. With the Scotch 
music and dancing, I was very much pleased. 
They were certainly good dancers, and seemed 
quite wild, or exhilarated to excess. 

I left the Highlands with regret. The last 
day's journey was a very long one, and a very 
hungry one ; after which I entered Stirling in 
the night. I told the landlord of the public house 
there that I was almost famished, not having stop- 
ped at any house on my very long journey to that 
place; and I begged of him to hasten to get me 
something to eat. He told me he had nothing 
left but eggs, as his company had eaten up every- 
thing that had been in the house. I did not get 
my eggs till midnight; for a quarrel, or an affray, 
happened in the house at the time I ought to 
have had them. They were brought in to me at 
last, and were boiled as hard as eggs could be. 
With them, in my eagerness to eat, I was nearly 

I remained about two or three days at Stirling, 
chiefly on account of my face having been so blis- 
tered by the heat of the sun that I thought it 
best to halt till the effects of it could be removed. 
My landlord was very kind. He had seen the 
world; and, when he found that I was an engraver, 
he expressed his surprise that I had not carried 
my tools with me ; for, if I had done so, he said 
he had no manner of doubt, with my knowledge 
of heraldry, &c., that I could have found plenty 
of employment among the gentry and the lairds, 


in engraving their arms, crests, and other devices, 
besides being handed from chieftain to chieftain, and 
seeing the whole country in a very diiferent way 
from that which I had, through wildernesses, so 
wildly pursued. On my way to Edinburgh, by 
Falkirk, I visited Carron Works, and passed under 
the canal, where, for the first time, I saw vessels 
afloat that had passed over my head. I was also 
shown the ground where the Battle of Bannock- 
burn was fought. 

As soon as I could, I made my way, by Lin- 
lithgow, to Edinburgh. I engaged a passage by 
sea, in a ship belonging to Whitby, which had 
to touch at Shields. I attended upon this vessel 
every tide, late and early, for several days, not- 
withstanding which I missed my time, and was 
left behind. In this emergency, I got on board 
a Leith sloop, bound for Newcastle, then moving 
from the pier. We had no sooner got down the 
Frith of Forth, to the open sea, than we met a 
heavy swell, and presently encountered a violent 
gale which soon tore our sails to shivers, drove 
us far out of sight of land, and put our crew 
in a great bustle and dilemma. In this small 
vessel, the crew and passengers amounted to 
twenty-six. For these latter there was no accom- 
modation. The boat upon deck was full of the 
sick, covered by an old sail, and the rest were 
obliged to sit or lie down in any corner where 
they coidd find room. The first night was a 
sickly, suffocating one; and for three more nights 
ii nd three days, there was little or no amendment 


of our situation. On board this sloop there were 
only two beds that were not stowed with goods ; 
and, from my wanting rest so long before I left 
Edinburgh, I crept into one of them as soon as 
I could, but found it so low that I could not lie 
on my side, or easily turn over. So I could get 
no sleep ; and, to rosnd the matter, I had not 
been long in this wretched bed till an infant was 
put in beside me, its mother being dismally sick 
in the boat upon deck ; and the child fell exclu- 
sively into my charge. I nursed it as well as I 
could during the whole voyage ; and, I think, 
had I not done so, it must have died. After 
resting a day or two at South Shields, I set off 
to Newcastle, where I arrived (in the assize week, 
I think), on the 12th of August, 1776. After 
my long absence, I found I had a few shillings 
left. On this occasion, my friends in Newcastle 
quizzed me not a little for having, as they termed 
it, begged my way through Scotland. 


I REMAINED no longer in Newcastle than until 
I earned as much money as would pay my 
way to London. I then took my passage 
on board a collier bound to the great city ; and, 
after beating about in good weather and bad 
weather for about three weeks, I arrived in 
London on the first October, 1776. 

The first Cockney I met was the scullerman, 
who was engaged to land me and my luggage 
near Temple Bar. I was amused at his slang 
and his chatter all the way to London Bridge ; 
and, on approaching it, he asked me if I was 
" a-feared ;" but, not knowing what I was to be 
afraid of, I returned the question, at which he 
looked queer. We passed the gulf about which 
he wanted to talk, and I again asked him if he 
was " a-fcared." 

It was not long before I found out my old 
school-fellows, Christopher and Philip Grcgson, my 
old companion, "William Gray, then a bookbinder in 
Chancery Lane, and my friend, Robert Pollard. 
The first had provided me with a lodging, and 
the last through the kindness and influence of 


his master, Isaac Taylor with plenty of work. 
Before commencing work, I thought it best to 
take a ramble through the city and its environs. 
The first day I went alone, and saw nobody I 
knew. On the second day, I fell in by chance 
with Sergeant Hymers, in the Strand, who, on 
seeing me, seemed quite surprised. He held up 
both his hands he looked he laughed shook 
me by the hand, over and over again, and 
seemed not to know how to be kind enough. 
He then took me back with him till he got 
dressed ; and, when this was done, he made a 
very handsome appearance indeed. The rest of 
the day he devoted wholly to my service. He 
first took me to the blackguard places in Lon- 
don. I suppose this was done with a view to 
corroborate the truth of the stories he had told 
me before, in Newcastle. After I had seen 
enough of these places, he took me to others 
better worth notice ; and, having rambled about 
till I had seen a good deal of the exterior as 
well as the interior of London of which it 
would be superfluous to give an account I sat 
down closely to work until I got through the 
wood cuts which, through Isaac Taylor's kindness, 
had been provided for me. I then called upon 
Thomas Hodgson, printer, George Court, Clerk- 
enwell, who had also provided work for me, to 
meet my arrival in London, and who had im- 
patiently waited for my assistance.* I was sub- 

* Thomas Hodgson had served his apprenticeship as a printer 
to John White, Newcastle (before named) ; and, having token a 


sequently employed by Mr. Carnan, and by Mr. 
Newberry, of St. Paul's Church Yard. 

Having served my time as a kind of " Jack 
of all trades," I felt desirous to work amongst 
the Cockneys, to see if I could find anything 
amongst them ; but in this I was disappointed ; for 
I was never permitted to see any of them at 
work. They, indeed, seemed desirous of seeing 
what I was doing, and occasionally peeped in 
upon me for that purpose. I thought such of 
them as did so were a most saucy, ignorant, 
and impudent set. Wherever I went, the igno- 
rant part of the Cockneys called me " Scotchman." 
At this I was not offended ; but, when they 
added other impudent remarks, I could not 
endure them ; and this often led me into quar- 
rels of a kind I wished to avoid, and had] not 
been ueed to engage in. 

Tt is not worth while noticing these quarrels, 
but only as they served to help out my dislike 
to London. They were only trivial compared to 
other matters. One of the first things that 
struck me, and that constantly hurt my feel- 
ings, was the sesing such a number of fine- 

liking to wood engraving, he had employed most of his time in 
embellishing tho endless number of old ballads and histories 
printed at that office, with rude devices, as head-pieces to them. 
He was a most assiduous, careful, and recluse man. What he 
published in London, I cannot enumerate; but I understood he 
employed some Germans, as well as myself, to cut blocks for him. 
He also employed me to make designs for many of these cuts. 
When he died, he left me a legacy of five pounds. This is the 
only money that I have ever received that I have not wrought for. 


looking women engaged in the wretched busi- 
ness of " street- walking." Of these I often en- 
quired as to the cause of their becoming so 
lost to themselves and to the world. Their 
usual reply was that they had been basely se- 
duced, and then basely betrayed. This I be- 
lieved, and was grieved to think that they were 
thus, perhaps, prevented from becoming the best 
of mothers to an offspring of lovely and healthy 
children. I often told them so ; and this ended 
in their tears : and, if they were in poverty, I 
contributed my mite to relieve them. What a 
pity it is that this wretchedness is not prevented. 
Base men treat women as if they were infe- 
rior beings, made only to be used like brutes 
and tyrannized over as slaves. I have always 
beheld such conduct towards women with abhor- 
rence ; for my conceptions of this wretched state 
of things are of the most soul-harrowing descrip- 
tion. It would be extreme weakness to main- 
tain an opinion that all women are good, and 
that the faults here noticed are always ascriba- 
ble to the men only. This is not the case ; 
for I am obliged to admit that there are good 
and bad of each sex. I have often attempted 
to make an estimate of their comparative num- 
bers, in which I have felt some difficulties. 
Sometimes my barometer of estimation has risen 
to the height of ten to one in favour of the 
fair sex ; at other times it has fluctuated, and 
has fallen down some degrees lower in the scale ; 
but, with me, it is now settled, and I cannot 



go lower than four good women to one good 
man. I have often wondered how any man 
could look healthy, beautiful, sensible, and vir- 
tuous women in the face without considering 
them as the link between men and angels. 
For my part, I have often felt myself so over- 
powered with reverence in their presence that 
I have been almost unable to speak, and they 
must often have noticed my embarrassment. I 
could mention the names of many, but it might 
offend their delicacy. When a man can get 
such a help-mate for life, his happiness must 
be secured ; for such a one is of inestimable 
value : "Her price is far above rubies." 

I often spent my evenings at the " George," 
in Brook Street, kept by a person of the name 
of Darby, whose wife, a Cumberland woman, 
claimed a distant relationship to me. At this house, 
I met with some very respectable and pleasant 
tradesmen. While I was there one evening, a 
stranger to me joined us. I think he was a 
traveller. He had, however, been in Scotland, 
and had a mighty itch to speak very disrespect- 
fully of that country, and was vociferous in at- 
tempting to entertain the company with his ac- 
count of the filth and dirt he had met with in 
it. This I could not bear : their kindness was 
fresh in my memory ; and I felt resentment 
rising in me. I, however, quashed that feeling, 
and only told him that I believed I had tra- 
velled on foot, perhaps, about three hundred miles 
through Scotland, and had met with no such 


people there, nor such dirtiness as he described. 
There might, indeed, be some such in every 
country for aught I knew ; but I was confident 
such might be found without going much be- 
yond the street we were in, and who, in addi- 
tion to their filthiness, were also the most 
wretched and abandoned of the human race. 
Some of them, indeed, appeared to me to be 
scarcely human. I concluded by observing that 
I was afraid he had been keeping very bad com- 
pany in Scotland. A laugh by this was raised 
against him, and he felt him himself quashed by 
his own folly. 

I very frequently visited Westminster Abbey, 
on some part of the Sunday ; and, on the fore- 
noons of that day, I mostly went with my friend 
Pollard to hear the Rev. Harrison, at St. An- 
drew's Church, Holborn. I sometimes, also, went 
to hear eminent preachers at other places. I 
was once invited by my friend William Watson, 
of the Treasury, who had married the eldest Miss 
Beilby, to go with him to hear the Rev. Dr. 
Dodd preach at the Magdalen Chapel. Whether 
this was at the time he was arrested for for- 
gery I am not certain, but I know I did not see 
him. I also went with Mr. Watson to hear the 
Rev. Maxwell, another eminent divine ; but, 
indeed, I believe I did not miss hearing any of 
the popular preachers in London. 

For many years after I left London, I went 
to hear the preachers of various persuasions, and 
attempted to find out the general character of 


their several congregations. Having been brought 
up under the creeds and doctrines of the Church 
of England, I may, perhaps, have some partiali- 
ties about me respecting that church, but I have 
ever considered that its clergy are the most learned 
of any, and that, excepting some of the higher 
orders of them, they, as well as their hearers, are 
the most tolerant. I have always felt grieved 
that a great number of them should consist of 
very learned and good men with curacies or poor 
livings that do not afford them a much better 
income than the wages of common mechanics ; 
and that, however great their abilities may be, it 
is only by patronage that they can be advanced, 
while enormous stipends are lavished upon others, 
very often for the most useless, or, perhaps, the 
most corrupt purposes. I think it would be much 
better if the incomes of the clergy could be 
equalized ; for, so long as matters are managed 
otherwise, so long will it be considered as a sys- 
tem of revenue of which religion is only the pre- 

But it is unnecessary here to dwell on these 
opinions of mine. Every man should be welcome 
to follow his own opinions on the all-important 
subject of religion. If these are founded in truth, 
there can be no fear of their being injured by 
unreserved discussion. Whatever the creed may 
be, there can be no objection to the religion of 
a virtuous man ; and it is to be hoped that the 
distinctions and bickerings amongst different de- 
nominations of Christians will cease, and the causes 


of them be thought of no more importance than 
whether a man uses his quid of tobacco in the 
right cheek or in the left. 

After this digression, I must now turn my at- 
tention again to London. My friend Mr. Watson 
was very desirous to get me work with Mr. Pingo, 
in the Mint ; and, from his being so well-known 
and respected by the gentlemen in most of the 
government offices, he thought this might be 
easily accomplished. My mind was, however, bent 
quite another way, and no more was done for 
me in that business. The constant attention and 
kindness of my London friends, whose company 
I enjoyed, was unabated. They walked with me 
everywhere, and the house of William Gray was 
a home to me. I met other Newcastle friends, 
everp Monday night, at the " Hole-in-the-Wall," 
Fleet Street, where I went to see the Newcastle 
newspapers. Some of these occasionally wanted 
assistance, and got my last sixpence. At this 
time I earned a deal of money ; and, from my 
habits of temperance, I spent little for my own 
living, and thus discovered what a small- sum 
was sufficient to make me independent, and I 
never lost sight of the inestimable value of being 
so. I, however, never had a surplus of cash long 
in my possession ; for one or another had occa- 
sion for it, and I could not bear to see distress 
without relieving it. 

Notwithstanding my being so situated amongst 
my friends, and being so much gratified in see- 
ing such a variety of excellent performances in 


every art and science, painting, statuary, engrav- 
ing, carving, &c., yet I did not like London. 
It appeared to me to be a world of itself, where 
everything in the extreme might at once be 
seen : extreme riches, extreme poverty, extreme 
grandeur, and extreme wretchedness all of which 
were such as I had not contemplated before. 
Perhaps I might, indeed, take too full a view 
of London on its gloomy side. I could not help 
it. I tired of it, and determined to return 
home. The country of my old friends the man- 
ners of the people of that day the scenery of 
Tynesidc seemed altogether to form a paradise 
for me, and I longed to see it again. "While I 
was thus turning these matters over in my mind, 
my warm friend and patron, Isaac Taylor, waited 
upon me : and, on my telling him I was going 
to Newcastle, he enquired how long it would be 
before I returned. "Never," was my reply; at 
which he seemed both surprised and displeased. 
He then warmly remonstrated with me upon this 
impropriety of my conduct, told me of the pros- 
pects- before me, and, amongst many other mat- 
ters, that of his having engaged me to draw 
in the Duke of Richmond's Gallery ; and he 
strenuously urged me to change my mind. I 
told him that no temptation of gain, of honour, 
or of anything else, however great, could ever 
have any weight with me ; and that I would 
even enlist for a soldier, or go and herd sheep 
at five shillings per week, as long as I lived, 
rather than be tied to live in London. I told 


him how sensible I was of his uncommon kind- 
ness to me, and thanked him for it. My kind 
friend left me in the pet, and I never saw him 
more. He afterwards, when an old man, visited 
Newcastle, but left it again without my knowing 
it till after he was gone. At this I felt much 
grieved and disappointed. I do not remember 
how long he lived after this ; but a memoir of 
him was published in the " Analytical Magazine" 
at the time, together with a letter I had writ- 
ten to him sometime before his death, which he 
never answered. He was, in his day, accounted 
the best engraver of embellishments for books, 
most of which he designed himself. The fron- 
tispiece to the first edition of " Cunningham's 
Poems" was one of his early productions ; and at 
that time my friend Pollard and myself thought 
it was the best thing that ever was done.* 

The same kind persuasions were urged upon me 
by Mr. Hodgson, to remain in London, as had 
been used by Mr. Taylor, which ended in a simi- 
lar way. The former, however, went further, and 
told me that, if I were determined upon leaving 
London, and would continue to work for him in 
Newcastle, he would furnish me with plenty of 
it ; and that he would begin by giving me as 
much as would keep me employed for two years. 
This was particularly pleasing to me, because I 
could not bear the thoughts of beginning busi- 

* John Cunningham, the pastoral poet, died September, 1773, 
aged 43 years, and was buried in St. John's Church Yard, New- 



ness in Newcastle in opposition to my old mas- 
ter, for whom I had the greatest respect. 

Having spent the evening till a late hour with 
my friends at the " George," in Brook Street, 
and in the morning taken leave of my landlord 
and landlady, Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, and their 
family, in AVharton's Court, Holborn, I then 
posted off to the Pool, and got on board a col- 
lier ; and, after a very short passage, arrived in 
sight of St. Nicholas' Church steeple, about the 
22nd June, 1777. 


THE first thing after my arrival in Newcastle 
was to see my old master, and the next to en- 
gage my old lodgings at Hatfields, and to fit 
up a work bench there. I then set to work 
upon my wood cuts. This, however, was inter- 
rupted by other jobs ; and the first of the kind 
was that of engraving a copper plate of the 
"Theban Harp," for the Rev. James Murray, for 
some of his publications.* Some of the silver- 
smiths also began to press their jobs upon me. 
I had not, however, been long at work for my- 
self till proposals were made to me to join in 
partnership with my late master ; and this was 
brought about by a mutual friend (?) This pro- 
posal which was to set me down at once in a 

* The Rev. James Murray, a Church of Scotland minister, with 
whom I had been long acquainted. He was accounted one of 
the best Hebrew scholars of his day. His " Sermons to Asses" 
attracted much notice, and so did many of his other works. He 
was a keen, satirical writer, and, amongst his friends, he was of 
a lively, witty, and pleasant temper, and greatly valued by a nu- 
merous acquaintance for his humanity and good sense. He died 
in January, 1782, aged 50 years, and was buried in St. Andrew's 
Church Yard, Newcastle. 


well-established business I did not relish so 
warmly as our mutual friend expected. I had 
formed a plan of working alone, without appren- 
tices, or being interrupted by any one ; and I 
am not certain, at this day, whether I would 
not have been happier in doing so than in the 
way I was led to pursue. I had often, in my 
lonely walks, debated this business over in my 
mind ; but, whether it would have been for the 
better or the worse, I can now only conjecture. 
I tried the one plan, and not the other : per- 
haps each might' have had advantages and dis- 
advantages. I should not have experienced the 
envy and ingratitude of some of my pupils, nei- 
ther should I, on the contrary, have felt the 
pride and the pleasure I derived from so many 
of them having received medals or premiums 
from the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, 
and taken the lead, as engravers on wood, in 
the Metropolis. Notwithstanding this pride and 
this pleasure, I am inclined to think I should 
have had balancing the good against the bad 
more pleasure in working alone for myself. 

During my absence in London, Mr. Beilby 
had taken an apprentice with a premium; and, 
to make us equal, I took my brother John as 
mine. With him I was extremely happy. He 
was constantly cheerful, lively, and very active, 
and my friends were his friends. Mr. Beilby 
was as well pleased with him as I could possi- 
bly be ; for, besides his affable temper, he took 
every kind of work in hand so pleasantly, and 


so very soon learned to execute it well, that he 
could not miss giving satisfaction. This he con- 
tinued to do as long as he was with us ; but 
other parts of his conduct, when he arrived at 
manhood, was not so well, and gave me great 
uneasiness ; for he got acquainted with compa- 
nions whom I thought badly of, and my remon- 
strances respecting them proved in vain. He 
would not, as he called it, be dictated to by 
me ; but this I persisted in till it made us 
often quarrel, which was distressing to me, for 
my regard for him was too deeply rooted ever 
to think of suffering him to tread in the paths 
which led to ruin, without endeavouring to pre- 
vent it. To the latest day of his life, he re- 
pented of having turned a deaf ear to my ad- 
vice ; and as bitterly and sincerely did he ac- 
knowledge the slighted obligations he owed me. 
He rued; and that is as painful a word as any 
in the English language. 

As soon as I thought my brother might be 
able to work his way in the world, he having 
been, I think, about five years with me, I gave 
him his liberty, and he set off to London, where, 
being freed from his former associates, his con- 
duct was all that could be desired, and he was 
highly respected and esteemed. He was as in- 
dustrious in London as he had been with us, 
and had plenty of work to do. He was almost 
entirely employed by the publishers and book- 
sellers in designing and cutting an endless 
variety of blocks for them. He was extremely 


quick at his work, and did it at a very low 
rate. His too close confinement, however, im- 
paired his health. He revisited Cherryburn, 
where he did not remain long till he thought 
himself quite recovered, and he then returned to 
London, where he continued a few years longer, 
and where the same kind of confinement affected 
his health as before. A similar visit to his na- 
tive air was found necessary ; his health was 
again restored to him ; and again he returned 
to London. He, however, found that he could 
not pursue the same kind of close confinement, 
on which account he engaged to teach drawing 
at the Hornsey Academy, then kept by Mr. 
Nathaniel Norton, which obliged him to keep a 
pony to ride backwards and forwards ; thus di- 
viding his time between his work-office in Lon- 
don and the school for some years, when his 
health began again to decline, and he finally 
left London early in the summer of 1795, and 
returned once more to the banks of the Tyne. 
Here he intended to follow the wood engraving 
for his London friends, and particularly for Wm. 
Bulmer, for whom he was engaged to execute a 
number of blocks for the "Fabliaux" or "Tales 
of Le Grand," and for " Somerville's Chace." 
Many of the former he had, I believe, finished 
in London, and had sketched others on the 
blocks, which he finished at Cherryburn. He 
had also sketched the designs on the blocks for 
the " Chace ;" and to these I put the finishing 
hand, after his decease, which happened on the 


5th of December, 1795, aged 35 years. The 
last thing I could do for him was putting up 
a stone to his memory at the west end of 
Ovingham Church, where I hope, when my 
" glass is run out," to be laid down beside him. 

While my brother was my apprentice, he fre- 
quently accompanied me on my weekly visits 
to Cherryburn. He was then a clever, springy 
youth, and our bounding along together was often 
compared to the scamperings of a pair of wild 
colts. These journeys commenced while I was an 
apprentice. I then mostly went and returned on 
the same day ; but, when I became my own 
master, for many years in summer's heat and 
winter's freezing cold I did not miss a single 
week. When I was an apprentice, I had a few 
holydays at Easter and Whitsuntide allowed me, 
according to promise ; and these were wholly 
employed in angling ; but, after the time came 
when I might do as I pleased, I mostly stop- 
ped, when the weather suited, in spring and 
summer, and spent the Mondays in various 
streams, at this my favourite and, indeed, only 
diversion. In this I was accompanied by my 
cheerful associate, " Jack Roe," with his flies 
and his tackle ; and, when we had got a suffi- 
cient number, I returned to Newcastle with 
my creel well filled with fish, which I divided 
amongst my friends. With an account of these 
hungry, stream-wading ramblings, and the days 
spent in angling, and with a description of the 
beautiful scenery of water-sides, and the renovating 


charms which these altogether inspired, a volume 
might be filled, in imitation of the patriarch of 
anglers, Izaac Walton : as might also one of a de- 
scriptive or sentimental journal of these my weekly 
visits to my parents. These visits continued regu- 
larly from 1777 till 1785, in which year my mother, 
my eldest sister, and my father, all died. 

It will readily be believed that, if I had not 
felt uncommon pleasure in these journeys, I "would 
not have persisted in them ; nor in facing the 
snow storms, the floods, and the dark nights of so 
many winters. This, to some, appeared like in- 
sanity, but my stimulant, as well as my reward, 
was in seeing my father and mother in their hap- 
py home. I always reflected that this would have 
an end, and that the time would come when I 
should have no feelings of warm regard called up 
on their account. Besides these gratifications, I felt 
others in observing the weekly changes of the long- 
lengthened and varied year, which, by being so 
measured out, appeared like living double one's 
time. The " Seasons," by the inimitable Thomson, 
had charmed me greatly ; but, viewing nature thus 
experimentally, pleased me much more. To be 
placed in the midst of a wood in the night, in 
whirlwinds of snow, while the tempest howled above 
my head, was sublimity itself, and drew forth as- 
pirations to Omnipotence such as had not warmed 
my imagination so highly before ; but, indeed, 
without being supported by ecstacies of this kind, 
the spirits, beset as they were, would have flagged, 
and I should have sunk down. 


As soon as the days began to lengthen, and the 
sprouting herbage had covered the ground, I often 
stopped with delight by the sides of woods, to ad- 
mire the dangling woodbine and roses, and the 
grasses powdered or spangled with pearly drops of 
dew ; and also, week after week, the continued suc- 
cession of plants and wild flowers. The primrose, 
the wild hyacinth, the harebell, the daisy, the cow- 
slip, &c., these, altogether, I thought no painter 
ever could imitate. I had not, at that time, ever 
heard the name of the great and good Linnaeus, 
and knew plants only by their common English 
names. While admiring these beautifully-enamel- 
led spots on my way, I was also charmed with the 
equally beautiful little songsters, which were con- 
stantly pouring out their various notes to proclaim 
the spring. While this exhilarating season glided 
on by imperceptible degrees, unfolding its blossoms 
till they faded into summer, and as the days length- 
ened, my hours of rising became more and more 
early. I have often thought, that not one half of 
mankind knew anything of the beauty, the serenity, 
and the stillness of the summer mornings in the 
country, nor have ever witnessed the rising sun's 
shining forth upon the new day. 

I had often listened with great pleasure and 
attention to my father's description of the morn- 
ing, with his remarks upon the various wild quad- 
rupeds and the strange birds he had seen or 
heard in these still hours throughout the year ; for 
he left his bed very early in summer, and seldom 
later than four or five o'clock in the winter. The 


autumn I viewed as the most interesting season, 
and, in its appearance, the most beautiful. It 
is then that the yellow harvest of the fields, and 
the produce of the orchards, are gathered in, as 
the reward of the labours of the year ; while the 
picturesque beauties and varying foliage of the fad- 
ing woods, with their falling leaves, and the assem- 
bling in flocks of the small birds, put me in mind 
of the gloomy months with which the year is closed. 
This is the short account of many years of 
uninterrupted health, bouyaiit spirits, and of great 
happiness to me. I had begun betimes, and by 
degrees, to habituate myself to temperance and 
exercise, which hardened the constitution to such 
a pitch that neither wet nor cold had any bad 
effect upon me. On setting out upon my weekly 
pedestrian "flights" up the Tyne, I never looked 
out to see whether it was a good day or a bad 
one; the worst that ever fell from the skies 
never deterred me from undertaking my journey. 
On setting out, I always waded through the first 
pool I met with, and had sometimes the river to 
wade at the far end. I never changed my 
clothes, however they might be soaked with wet, 
or stiffened by the frost, on my returning home 
at night, till I went to bed. I had inured my- 
self to this hardship, by always sleeping with 
my windows open, by which a thorough air, as 
well as the snow, blew through my room. In 
this way, I lay down, rolled in a blanket, upon 
a mattrass as hard as I could make it. Not- 
withstanding this mode of treating myself, I 


never had any ailment, even in the shape of a 
cold, while I continued to live in this way ; 
nor did I experience any difference until, when 
I married, I was obliged to alter my plans, and 
to live and behave like other folks. If persons 
brought up and habituated to the tender indul- 
gences common in the world, and not trained 
by degrees to bear the mode of life I have 
been describing, were to try it, unprepared, the 
experiment would be at their peril. My travel- 
ling expenses for the day, were commonly only 
a penny or twopence for crossing the water. 
On the hottest day, I was never made violently 
to perspire, but only felt a dampness on my 
brow. I carried no useless weight of fat about 
me, and the muscular parts were as hard as it 
was possible to be on any human being. On 
being asked by a gentleman an acquaintance whom 
I met at Ovingham what I got to drink on such 
hot days, on my road, my reply was "Nothing." 
He had not been used to such doings himself ; 
and was surprised, and could hardly believe me. 
He earnestly persuaded me to try the experiment 
of the amazing good a glass of brandy and water 
would do me in hot weather. This I took no 
notice of for some time : at length, however, on 
a thundery, hot day, on being scorched with heat, 
and 111 danger of being struck with lightning, 
which darted from a sky almost as black as ink, 
I stepped into a public house, and, for the first 
time in my life, called for a glass of brandy 
and water. I was then about 28 years old. 



This would not be worth noticing, but only on 
account of its being a beginning to me, and 
which I did not, when occasion pressed me, 
leave off for some years afterwards. 

This life of rapturous enjoyment has its acids, 
and at length comes to an end ; and so did my 
walks, and my reflections, or contemplations, 
which passed through the mind while engaged 
in them. These, at the time, were mostly com- 
municated to a moralising, sensible, and religious 
friend, who waited my return on the Sunday 
evenings, when, over our supper, he, in return, 
detailed to me the import of the sermons he 
had heard through the day. 


IN Christmas week, 1784, while I was amusing 
myself with sliding on the ice at Ovingham, 
which was as smooth almost as a looking glass, 
between Eltringham and that place, I know 
not what came over my mind, but something 
ominous haunted it, of a gloomy change impend- 
ing over the family. At this I was surprised, 
for I had never before felt any such sensation, 
and presently scouted it as some whim of the 
imagination. The day was to be one of cheer- 
fulness ; for Mr. and Mrs. Storey distant rela- 
tions of my father's, and for whom my parents 
had the greatest regard had been, with other 
friends, invited to dine with us at Cherryburn. 
At dinner all was kindness and cheerfulness, and 
my father was, as usual, full of his jokes, and 
telling some of his facetious stories and anecdotes. 
For two, or perhaps three Sundays after this, I 
was prevented from getting over the water, by 
the ice and other floods, and returned from Ov- 
ingham without seeing or hearing how all were 
at home. The Sunday after, upon my making 
my usual call at the gardener's in Ovingham, 


where, when at school, we always left our dinner 
poke, and dined, he informed me, with looks of 
grief, that my mother was very unwell. I posted 
off, in haste, across the river, to see her. Upon 
my asking her, earnestly, how she was, she took 
me apart, and told me it was nearly all over 
with her ; and she described to me how she had 
got her death. She had been called up, on a 
severe frosty night, to see a young woman in 
the hamlet below, who was taken ill; and, think- 
ing the bog she had to pass through, might be 
frozen hard enough to bear her, she " slumped" 
deep into it, and, before she had waded through 
it, she got very wet and a " perishrcent" of cold; 
and, in that state, she went to give her advice as 
to what was best to be done with her patient. I 
employed my friend, Dr. Bailes, to visit her ; and 
I ran up from Newcastle two or three times a 
week with his medicines for her ; but all would 
not do : she died on the 20th February, 1785, 
aged 58 years. She was possessed of great innate 
powers of mind, which had been cultivated by a 
good education, as well as by her own endeavours. 
For these, and for her benevolent, humane, disposi- 
tion, and good sense, she was greatly respected, 
and, indeed, revered by the whole neighbourhood. 
My eldest sister, who was down from London on 
a visit to her home, at the time of my mother's 
illness and death, by her over-exertion and anxiety, 
brought on an illness ; and, for the convenience of 
medical aid, and better nursing, I brought her to 
my hitherto little happy cot, at the Forth, where 


she died on the 24th June, 1785, aged 30 years. 
These were gloomy days to me ! Some short time 
before my sister died, upon her requesting me, and 
my promising her, that I would see her buried 
at Ovingham, she proposed to sing me a song. 
I thought this very strange, and felt both sorrow 
and surprise at it ; but she smiled at me, and 
began her song of "All Things have but a Time." 
I had heard the old song before, and thought 
pretty well of it ; but her's was a later and a 
very much better Aversion of it. 

During this time I observed a great change in 
the looks and deportment of my father. He had, 
what is called. " never held up his head" since 
the death of my mother ; and, upon my anxiously 
pressing him to tell me what ailed him, he said 
he had felt as if he were shot through from the 
breast to the shoulders with a great pain that 
hindered him from breathing freely. Upon my 
mentioning medical assistance, he rejected it, and 
told me, if I sent him any drugs, I might de- 
pend upon it he would throw them all behind the 
fire. He wandered about all summer alone, with 
a kind of serious look, and took no pleasure in 
anything, till near the 15th November, which, I 
understand, was his birthday, and on which he 
completed his 70th year, and on that day he died. 
He was buried beside my mother and sister at 
Ovingham. After this, I left off my walks to 
Cherryburn ; the main attractions to it were gone ; 
and it became a place the thoughts of which now 
raked up sorrowful reflections in .my mind. Fome 


particulars respecting my father, and illustrative of 
his character, may, perhaps, be thought not unin- 
teresting. I shall give a few of such as I re- 
collect them. In his person, he was a stout, square- 
made, strong, and active man, and through life 
was a pattern of health. I was told by some of 
my aunts, who were older than he, that he was 
never ill from a disease in his life ; and I have 
heard him say "he wondered how folks felt when 
they were ill." lie was of a cheerful temper, and 
he possesed an uncommon vein of humour and a 
fund of anecdote. He was much noticed by the 
gentlemen and others of the neighbourhood for 
these qualities, as well as for his integrity. He 
had, however, some traits that might be deemed 
singular, and not in order. He never would pro- 
secute any one for theft ; he hated going to law, 
but he took it at his own hand, and now and 
then gave thieves a severe beating, and sometimes 
otherwise punished them in a singular and whim- 
sical way. I have known him, on a winter night, 
rise suddenly up from his seat, and, with a stick 
in his hand, set off to the colliery, in order to catch 
the depredators whom he might detect stealing his 
coals. I remember one instance of his thus catch- 
ing a young fellow, a farmer, with his loaded cart, 
and of his giving him a severe beating, or, what 
was called, a " hideing," and of his making him 
leave his booty and go home empty. The thieves 
themselves were sure to keep the business secret, 
and he himself never spoke of it beyond his own 
fireside. In these robberies, which he saw with 


his own eyes, lie conceived he did not need the 
help of either witnesses, judge, or jury, nor the 
occasion to employ any attorney to empty his 
pockets. I have sometimes heard him make re- 
marks upon people whom he knew to be hypo- 
crites, and on their loud praying and holding up 
their hands at church. After having noticed that 
one of these, one Sunday, had acted thus, and re- 
mained to take the Sacrament, some person called, 
in the afternoon, with the news that this very 
man had, on his way home, caught a poor man's 
galloway, which had entered through a gap in the 
hedge into his field, and had driven it before him 
into the pinfold. This was sufficient ; this was the 
spark which kindled up and increased to a blaze, 
which my father could not muster temper enough 
to keep down. Next morning, he set off to the 
smith's shop, and sent for this choleric, purse-proud 
man, to whom, in rude terms, he opened out upon 
his hypocrisy, and at length obliged him to re- 
lease the galloway from its hungry imprisonment. 
He recommended him to make his peace with the 
poor but honest and respected man, and to go no 
more to church, nor to take the Sacrament, till a 
change had taken place in his mind. He also told 
him that he ought that very night, before he slept, 
to sit down on his bare knees, and implore for- 
giveness of the God he had offended. 

The last transaction I shall mention, on this sub- 
ject, and which bore a more serious complexion 
than the foregoing, happened when I was an ap- 
prentice. A pitman, George Parkin, who had 


long wrought in the colliery, was highly valued 
by my father for his industry, sobriety, and ho- 
nesty. He would not do anything unfairly himself 
in working the coal in the boards, nor suffer 
others to do so. For this conduct he became 
deservedly a great favourite, so much so that 
one of the old lodges had been comfortably fitted 
up for him and his family to live in rent free ; 
and a garth, besides, was taken off the common for 
his use. For these he often expressed himself so 
highly pleased that he used to say, he was hap- 
pier than a prince. My father, for many years, 
had made it a point to let the men down to 
their work himself ; so that he might see with 
his own eyes that all was safe. All passed on 
pleasantly in this way for a long while, till one 
morning, when thus employed letting the men 
down, George, who was always the first at his 
work, having fixed himself on the chain, with 
his son on his arm, to be both let down to- 
gether, had given the signal, " Wise-away," and 
at the same time holding up his "low rope," 
he observed the pit rope which was to bear their 
weight had been cut near the chain. On this he 
shouted "Stop," and started back upon the "sed- 
dle boards," just in time to prevent himself and 
the boy from being precipitated to the bottom of 
the pit. The poor man was almost overpowered 
with the shock, when my father, keeping the 
"dreg" upon the "start," caught hold of him 
and the boy, and conducted' both into the lodge. 
< >n examining the rope, my father found it had 


been cut through to the last strand. He then 
stopped the working of the pit for that day. George, 
in great distress of mind, set off to Newcastle to 
inform me of what had happened. I was grieved 
to hear his tale ; and this was heightened by his 
declaring that all his pleasures were at an end ; 
for he never could go back to his work, nor to 
his happy home again. 

For some time, my father seemed lost in pon- 
dering over this mysterious affair. He, however, 
at length began to be fixed in his suspicions, 
and, as was usual on such occasions, his indigna- 
tion, step by step, rose to the greatest height. 
In this state of mind, he set off unusually soon 
in the morning, to let the men down to their 
work ; knowing that the object of his suspicions, 
a wicked, ignorant, young fellow would be the 
first, and alone. He began by accusing him of the 
horrid deed, and instantly to beat and overpower 
him ; threatening him that he would drag him to 
the pit, and throw him down the shaft, if he did 
not confess. The threat succeeded ; he was afraid 
of his life, and confessed. My father instantly 
dismissed him from his employment. When the 
rest of the men came to their work, they saw, 
by the blood, and the retaliating blows on my 
father's face, that something unusual had occurred. 
He then told them the particulars, at which they 
greatly rejoiced. In this state of things, the accus- 
ing culprit, while he bore the marks of violence 
upon him, set crippling off to lodge his com- 
plaint to the justices, and my father was summoned 



to appear before them. When met together, the 
justices (Captains Smith and Bainbridge,* of the 
Riding), heard the charge of assault, which, from 
the first appearance of the complainant before 
them, they had no reason to doubt. They both 
expressed their surprise to find such a charge against 
my father, with whom they had been in habits of 
neighbourly intimacy, and who was the last man 
on earth they could suspect as capable of commit- 
ting such an outrage. After laying down the law 
in such cases, they wished to hear what he had to 
say for himself. He readily acknowledged what 
he had done, and his reasons for doing so. They 
seemed much shocked at the horrid narrative ; 
and, after conferring together in private a short 
time, the business was resumed. " Pray," said 
one of them to the culprit, " were not you the 
man who robbed Bywell Lock, and" looking him 
sternly in the face " was not this master of yours 
the very friend by whose unceasing endeavours and 
influence you were saved from transportation ? Be- 
gone ! leave the country, and never let us see you 
more." The man left the country for many years, 
and, on his return, I was both pleased and sur- 
prised to find he was much reformed. In addi- 

* Now Major Bainbridge, who baa been many years in the com- 
mission of the peace, in which he is much respected as a magistrate 
and a man. Without knowing what side he took in politics, I 
have always considered him as a local patriot, keen of promoting 
everything for the benefit of Tyneside. While I am writing this 
(23rd June, 1823) he is living, and in his 87th year. Captain 
Smith I did not know. Major Bainbridge died 6th December, 
1826, in his 91st year. 


tion to this long account, I must add, that my 
father could not be troubled to harbour ill-will 
in his mind, and that, if he were passionate, he 
was equally compassionate. 


FOR many years, including a part of those of 
my apprenticeship, my master and self were fully 
employed upon such work as I have named before, 
from silversmiths, watchmakers, and hardwaremen ; 
but a new customer (Isaac Hymen, a Jew), came 
in the way with his seal-cutting orders, which 
amounted to more, in that way, than all the rest 
put together. This man, besides his box of watches, 
trinkets, &c., had gathered together a large collec- 
tion of impressions of well-cut seals ; and, being 
a man of good address, and a good singer, had 
introduced himself into coffee-rooms frequented by 
gentlemen and respectable tradesmen, where he 
exhibited his impressions as the work of his own 
hands ; and, by this management for he knew 
nothing whatever of engraving he got orders. 
Somehow or other, it was propagated throughout 
the town that his seals surpassed by far anything 
we ever did, or could do; and, although we had 
done the whole of his orders, this was believed, 
and there seemed to be only one opinion as to his 
very superior excellence. I remember once rising 
early in the morning, and working till late at 


night, and, on that day, cutting five steel seals 
with cyphers and initials, for which our common 
wholesale charge was 3s. 6d., and to our private 
customers, 5s. For these he charged 12s. 6d. 
each to his friends. He observed to me, on my 
remarking to him on his extravagant charges, 
" that it was foolish in us to do as we did ;" and, 
for himself, he said, " you know, I must live." 
My wages for the short time I worked for my 
master, after I was out of my apprenticeship, was 
a guinea per week, but Isaac offered me two guineas 
if I would travel with him. The travelling part 
I should have liked well enough, but not to travel 
with a Jew. He went on in this way, with his 
orders, till we had no other customer in that de- 
partment ; and my master then, as well as when 
I became his partner, often expressed himself highly 
chagrined that some of his old private friends went 
past him, and even joined others in lessening our 
work. Our friend Isaac continued long uninter- 
ruptedly thus to carry all before him, till some 
of our old customers became irritated at him, and 
particularly a watchmaker, who took great pains 
to open out and expose the business. Isaac then 
left Newcastle, and report said he was found dead 
on the road between Sunderland and Durham. I 
have often seen, in London, and perhaps the same 
may be observed in every large town, "The pale 
artist ply his sickly trade," to keep in affluence 
such managing, money-making, pretended artists 
as Isaac Hymen ; and this must continue to be 
the case so long as gentlemen will not go them- 


selves to the fountain head, and be at the pains 
to encourage merit. 

Our main supporter in the silver engraving, was 
John Langlands, who was of a cheerful, hospitable, 
and charitable disposition, full of stories and anec- 
dotes, and who greatly esteemed men of ability, 
integrity, and industry. These he never forgot 
when age or infirmities brought them down. He 
then shook hands with them as he had done before, 
but his own mostly concealed his token of respect 
a half guinea. I spent many a cheerful evening 
in Mr. L.'s house, in company with others who 
also partook of his hospitable board. The most 
remarkable of these was Matthew Prior, who had 
the character of being one of the best mechanics 
in the kingdom. He was assay master, a musical 
instrument maker, and a turner, in which last he 
particularly excelled. The many remarkable pieces 
of dexterous workmanship he had done in that way 
drew upon him the notice of many gentlemen in 
the two northern counties, with whom also, as an 
angler, a sportsman, and a jovial companion, he 
was a welcome guest. It happened, on some pre- 
tence or other, that an attempt was made to take 
away the assay business from Newcastle, which 
occasioned Prior to be sent for, to be examined by 
(I believe) a committee of the House of Commons, 
as to his ability in conducting that business. The 
ease, the clearness, as well as the straight-forward 
way in which he answered all questions excited 
some surprise, as well as approbation. When 
questioned as to the accuracy of his scale-beam, 


he said a hair clipped from the back of his hand 
would turn his scales either way. For a wager, 
he turned two billiard balls of such equal weights 
that the difference was as nothing. He was of a 
most independent cast of character, and open and 
frank in his conversation. It had been reported 
that Prior had said of a proud, high-minded gen- 
tleman that " he durst do what neither the gentle- 
man nor any of his family dared do." Prior had 
never said any such thing ; but this gentleman 
took him to task about it, and, with great indig- 
nation, accused him of saying so. At this, Prior, 
in his turn, felt offended, and told him, though 
he had never said so, he would now say so to his 
face. This produced a wager between them ; and 
Matthew told him he would double the bet if he 
pleased. "JSTow," said the gentleman, in high ill- 
humour, "what is it you dare do?" "Do!" said 
Prior, " I dare spend the last shilling I have in 
the world !" * 

During a great part of the time I have been 
noticing, the American War was going on. The 
"press" broke out just after I landed in London, 
and, to escape the gang, one of our crew came 
and took refuge with me. This poor fellow, a 
decent man, had in his youth been on board a 
ship of war ; and, as far as concerned himself, he 
said he did not mind going again ; but the thoughts 
of being dragged from his family threw him into 
very great distress. Political writings and debat- 

* Matthew Prior died June 15, 1800, aged 65, and was buried 
in St. Nicholas' Church, Newcastle. 


ings sometimes ran very high between those who 
were advocates for a system of corruption, and 
profited by the taxes, and those who were advo- 
cates for the liberties of mankind; but it always 
appeared to me that a very great majority of the 
people were decidedly against the war. These 
writings and debating*, which the war occasioned, 
certainly served greatly to alter the notions and 
the opinions of the people respecting the purity 
of the British government, and its representative 
system; and this attempt at doing it away alto- 
gether in America seemed a prelude to the same 
system of misrule, when, by slower degrees, a fu- 
ture opportunity offered for doing it away at home. 
In these political debatings, the question was often 
asked, "Whether the government was made for 
the people, or the people for the government?" 
Great numbers, who hoped for the best, still 
clung to the government under which they had 
been brought up, and had been taught to revere 
as excellency itself. While others were contending 
whether a kingly government or a republic was 
best, it was generally admitted that a deal might 
be said pro and con ; for many examples might 
be adduced of mal-administration under both forms. 
Some of these disputants would repeat what Pope 
had said 

" For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight, 
" His can't be wrong whose life is in the right; 
" For forms of government, it is contest 
" That which is best administered is best." 

In England the people may boast that their 


forefathers had a king, in Alfred the Great, the 
wisest, the bravest, and the best the world ever 
knew ; by whose excellent conduct was laid the 
foundation of the liberties of his country, and 
from, the influence of which there can be no doubt 
that the English language will be spoken over the 
whole Globe. Were kings to endeavour to follow 
his example, and ever to keep in mind that they 
and their ministers ought to consider themselves 
as a royal society for the promotion of arts and 
sciences, and of everything that can enlighten the 
minds and ameliorate the condition of mankind, 
they would do right. Kings would then reign in 
the hearts of the great overwhelming mass of the 
people, and no confederacy or conspiracy of nobles 
or others could ever upset their rule. But, while 
they continue to suffer themselves to be surrounded 
by flatterers, sycophants, and selfish knaves, no good 
need be expected ; for they are thus brought up, like 
petted children, and have not the same chance of 
becoming wise as other men. Thus situated, they 
are to be pitied. One would think that the respect- 
able part of the old nobility, or other opulent men 
of great abilities, might be found with patriotism 
enough to perform the offices of the ministry gratis, 
scorning high salaries, and only looking to honour- 
able distinction. This would of itself put an end to 
corruption. Justices of the peace take the very 
great trouble of acting their parts gratuitously ; 
churchwardens and overseers do the same ; and why 
do not the great and rich men of the land follow 
the praiseworthy example ? 


In reverting back to take another look at the 
American war, one may reckon to a certainty of its 
having been made the subject of debatings, and of 
furnishing matter for the thinking part of mankind, 
over the whole of the civilised world. George the 
Third and his advisers did not, perhaps, think of 
this, nor its consequences ; neither did they ever con- 
template the mighty events they were thus bring- 
ing about in rearing and establishing the wisest and 
greatest republic and nation the world ever saw. 
When its immense territory is filled with an enlight- 
ened population, and its government, like a rock, 
founded on the liberties and the rights of man, it is 
beyond human comprehension to foresee the strides 
the nation will make towards perfection. It is 
likely they will cast a compassionate eye on the 
rest of the world, grovelling under arbitrary power, 
banish it from the face of the earth, and kill des- 
pots with a frown. One would fain hope, however, 
that kings and their advisers will coolly reflect upon 
the improving intellect of mankind, and take mea- 
sures to govern in a way more befitting the state 
of the people over whom they axe called upon to 

During the long continuance of this war, and the 
debatings as before noticed, I became acquainted 
with a number of young men of a literary turn, 
who had a library of books. I did not join their 
society, but I sometimes dined with them at their 
annual, cheerful dinner. I was never fond of public 
dinners or dining parties ; and I think I would not 
have partaken with them had I not been tempted 


to do so by way of hearing their songs, with which 
I felt much charmed, but particularly with the 
Scotch songs, with which one of the members (Wal- 
ter Cannaway) used so highly to delight the com- 
pany on these occasions. He, according to my 
notions, was the best singer I ever heard. I 
have always been more charmed with the human 
voice, when well attuned, than with any instrumen- 
tal music whatever ; and his voice was extremely 
good. Many others, perhaps, might have as good a 
voice, and as correct an ear for music as he, and 
would have been equally as charming had they 
not been spoiled by the fashion they had got into 
to please the surfeited tastes of coxcombical con- 
noisseurs and a vitiated, aping public. I have ever 
been much disgusted to hear and see these spoiled 
performers, quavering and spinning out their un- 
natural falsetto voices until almost spent. It showed 
well how long-winded these kind of performers 
were, but I never could sit to hear any of them ; 
as it appeared to me to be anything but music, 
or music run mad. 

On my first going to business, I had an oppor- 
tunity of sometimes hearing musical concerts. My 
master belonged to a musical society; and, when I 
had any message to take to him, I was commonly 
invited to remain. The two sons of Charles Avi- 
son, the musical composer, belonged to this society, 
and Mr. Beilby and family were on terms of inti- 
macy with them. I also occasionally heard the 
band at the theatre, but I cannot say I felt much 
pleasure in listening to them, and I well remem- 


her on one occasion of setting them aside. The 
late Mr. Dibden, who often called upon me, had 
some performance to exhibit at our theatre, and 
had quarrelled with the theatrical band on account 
of their exorbitant demands ; and, in this dilemma, 
he expressed himself much disappointed, and knew 
not what to do. I told him I thought, if he would 
leave the matter to me, I could set all right ; and 
I instantly applied to old Wm. Lamshaw, the Duke 
of Northumberland's piper, to play at the theatre. 
I being well-acquainted with the old man, he rea- 
dily assented. I then told my friend Dibden what 
I had done, and satisfied him as to the prefer- 
ence the audience would give to the piper. In 
this I was not mistaken ; for all went well off, 
and everyone expressed both pleasure and surprise 
at the change. 

Some time before the American war broke out, 
there had been a lack of musical performers in 
our streets, and in this interval, I used to en- 
gage John Peacock, our inimitable performer, to 
play on the Northumberland or small pipes ; and 
with his old tunes, his lilts, his pauses, and his 
variations, I was always excessively pleased. At 
one time I was afraid that these old tunes, and 
this ancient instrument, might, from neglect of 
encouragement, get out of use, and I did every- 
thing in my power to prevent this, and to revive 
it, by urging Peacock to teach pupils to become 
masters of this kind of music ; and I flatter my- 
self that my efforts were not lost. I was afraid 


that the Northumberland family were beginning 
to feel indifferent, or to overlook these their an- 
cient minstrels, who had for ages past been much 
esteemed, and kept in attendance by their fore- 
fathers. It was, however, with great pleasure I 
found that they had appointed William Cant,* a 
pupil of old William Lamshaw, to be piper to the 
Northumberland Regiment of Militia ; and he kept 
up with great spirit and effect this department of 
their music while he remained in the regiment. 
Nor was the regiment behind in the other de- 
partments of music ; for it was allowed by judges 
that their fifers and drummers were inferior to 
none in the kingdom. One man, in particular 
John Bowman it was asserted, was the best per- 
former on the fife that was "known in the world." 
Certain it is that every year for twenty-two years, 
he challenged the fifers of every regiment stationed 
in Newcastle, to a trial of skill on that instru- 
ment ; but none of them could compete with him. 

* On his death, I sent the following notice to Mr. Walker's news- 
paper: "July 15th, 1821, died, Mr. William Cant, of the Blue 
Bell Inn, Newcastle, aged 70 years. He was an excellent per- 
former on the violin and the Northumberland pipes ; and, like his 
great predecessors on the latter instrument Turnbull, Gilley, Old 
Lamshaw, and Peacock he kept up the ancient tunes with all 
their charming lilts and pauses, unspoiled by the modern improvers 
of music, with their ' Idiot notes impertinently long.' He played 
' bis native wood-notes wild,' such as pleased the ears ef the yeo- 
manry of old at Otterburn, Hedgley Moor, and Flodden Field. 

1 Whene'er his pipe did silence break 

You'd thought the instrument would speak.' '' 



He could draw out tones from it the most soft 
and graceful, as well as the most stunning and 
loud, such as the ear could not endure in a room, 
and which were only fit to be heard in the open 



I HAVE noticed several of my friends and ac- 
quaintances whose characters stood high in my 
estimation. I have now another to introduce, the 
play-fellow of my youth, Thomas Lawson, as re- 
markable as any of them. He left Tyneside, his 
and my home, and came to Newcastle about 1777 
or '78, to launch out into the world of exertion 
and turmoil ; and, from his abilities and integrity, 
he seemed well befitted to make a great figure in 
it, and, had he been spared, he would, in my 
opinion, have shone out like another Benjamin 
Franklin. He was for a short time one of my 
schoolfellows at Ovingham ; but, from his father 
having been beggared by the failure of a coal- 
owner for whom he had been employed many years, 
my young friend was obliged to leave school, and 
to seek out some employment for himself. In 
the interim, he took up his abode in my father's 
house as a home. The first employment that my 
companion got was that of a plough- driver. He 
next became a farmer's servant, and afterwards 
a manager of a farm and brewery. In all these 
departments, he was distinguished for his -industry, 


good sense, good management, and great integrity. 
It happened, however, that he, being handsome 
in his person and manly in his deportment, his 
employer began to suspect that the young lady 
of the house was showing a marked partiality to- 
wards him ; and this having occasioned some frowns 
and hints which his spirit could not brook, he 
gave up his place and set off to Newcastle, where 
he bound himself to a printer, as a pressman; for 
which he was to be paid 8s. per week. With 
this wage, he contrived to maintain himself, and 
to pay out of it for a night-school education. His 
progress was truly astonishing in figures, lan- 
guages, the use of the globes, &c.; but his memory 
was so tenacious that he retained whatever he 
learned, and he could repeat the longest harangue, 
(as far as I was able to judge) verbatim. I once 
had an opportunity of witnessing this, in his re- 
peating the whole of a charity sermon, preached 
by the eloquent the Rev. Dr. Scott, of Simonburn. 
While he was employed in the drudgsry of the 
printing press, he, at the same time, made himself 
master of the business of a compositor. Shortly 
after, he left this employment, and married a young 
woman of respectable parentage. It happened that 
the printing of a Bible in numbers had been esta- 
blished ; but the publisher, either from mismanage- 
ment, or something amiss, was on the verge of 
a failure. In this state of affairs, Lawson turned 
his attention to the business, and applied to his 
wife's friends for assistance, but they could, at that 
time, only spare him about thirty pounds ; and with 


this sum in hand, he made a proposal for purchasing 
the types, and everything belonging to the printing 
office. It is singular enough that the printer refer- 
red to, having left Newcastle, lived and had his 
printing office in the governor's house at Tynemouth, 
whither I went with my friend when the bargain 
was to be closed between them. He now commenced 
business on his own account, but how long he had 
to struggle through difficulties, before he got well 
established, I have forgotten. It is remarkable that 
he met with unsolicited aid from many friends ; for 
every one who knew him became interested in his 
welfare. He lived till he surmounted every obstacle 
to his prosperity ; but, in doing this, his too great 
application and exertion ruined his health. He 
pined away and died, in a house close by mine at 
the Forth, on the 7th March, 1783, aged 31 years. 
I, with many other of his friends, accompanied his 
remains to Ovingham, where he was haried. This 
was the first time in my life that I felt poignant 

My old schoolfellow and friend, Philip Gregson, 
of the Custom House, London, being on a visit to 
his relatives and friends in the north, in 1780, 
I, being fond of rambling, proposed setting him on 
his return home, as far as York, if he would walk 
with me to that city, to which he agreed ; and., after 
spending a day or two with him there, we parted. 
On my return, I took the road by Boroughbridge 
to Eipon, where I stayed a short time till I had 
viewed the country round it, and particularly Stud- 
ley Park and its beautiful scenery. I then returned 


to Darlington, and changed my route to the west- 
ward, by Barnard Castle, Bowes, over Stainmore to 
Brough, Appleby, and Penrith ; and from thence to 
my uncle's at Ainstable. On leaving him and his 
family, I walked home that day to Cherryburn, and 
so on the next to Newcastle. 

I have not interlarded this journey with any of 
my remarks on the road on the grandeur of York 
Minster the large upright stones called " The 
Devil's Arrows," near Boroughbridge the exten- 
sive prospects from Cross Fell, &c.; and therefore 
the whole of this may be regarded as merely one 
of my " tramps," and a description of these places 
by others may be referred to. 

In another of my perambulations, I prevailed on 
an acquaintance to accompany me to Berwick. We 
set off, on an Easter Sunday morning, in 1784, by 
the seaside, and our first halt was at Chevington, 
beyond Widdrington. I had not broken my fast, 
and was quite ready to make a hearty meal upon 
some dry barley cake and cheese, whilst my thirsty 
companion, with equal pleasure, enjoyed himself 
with hearty draughts of ale. We reached 1 Lesbury 
in the afternoon, and, when my fellow-traveller sat 
down, he observed, that I might go on if I pleased, 
but he would not move a foot further that night. 
Next day, after sauntering about a little in the vil- 
lages on our road, we reached Elwick, the hospita- 
ble mansion of my friend Thomas Younghusband, 
Esq., where we stopped that night. Mr. Young- 
husband happened to have a few of his friends to 
spend the evening with him. We got on to make 


merry and to sing songs ; and, when it came to 
my companion's turn, the party were so agreeably 
surprised and pleased at his performance that we 
did not separate till the morning. My companion 
and I set off to Berwick, and, after seeing the 
town, we returned to Elwick by Holy Island. In 
the performance of this day's journey we had to 
encounter some difficulties which might have been 
attended with fatal consequences. We had been 
cautioned against attempting, after a certain hour, 
to walk across the extensive flat left bare by the 
ebb tide. We were beyond the time named, but 
resolved to proceed, and had to run the greatest 
part of the way ; and it was well we did so ; for, 
before we reached the Island, we found the tide 
was rapidly advancing between us and the shore, 
and we had to wade deeply before we reached it. 
On looking back, over the flat space we had just 
left, we were surprised to view it as a sea. My 
companion, being rather corpulent, was in a sad 
state of perspiration with over exertion, and I think 
I was not much better, from the anxiety I felt for 
him, while I was constantly urging him to mend 
his speed. We now hastened to a public-house, 
dripping with wet, where my companion took a 
few glasses of gin, and prevailed on me to take 
one along with him ; and this is the first glass of that 
liquor I ever recollect taking. Our next business 
was to get a boat to set us across the arm of the 
sea, between the island and the nearest shore, to- 
wards Elwick. It was then nearly dark ; and, 
before the boatmen got us rowed across, it was 


quite so. Where they landed us we knew not, 
but we had to wade to the dry beach. In shaping 
our course to Elwick, we lost ourselves in the fields, 
and it was late before we arrived there. We were 
in as dirty a state as wet and mire could make us. 
Mrs. Younghusband, however, lost no time in fit- 
ting us up with dry clothes, and in making us 
as comfortable as she could. My companion having 
some business of his own to attend to, I remained 
a day or two at Elwick, and made a few visits with 
Mr. Younghusband in the neighbourhood. Mr. 
Y. had to attend a meeting of freeholders, on some 
election business, at the town hall, Aliiwick, and 
I accompanied him thither. Never having before 
heard any speeches, I was much entertained with 
those now made. This being about the time that 
Mr. Pitt came into the administration, and being 
the son of the great Chatham, most people hoped 
and expected he would follow the bright, the pa- 
triotic example that had been set him ; but one 
gentleman appeared to differ in opinion from the 
majority, and, in what I conceived to be an elo- 
quent speech, foretold that he would turn out, in 
character, to be quite a different kind of man. 

About the year 1790, I became a member of 
" Swarley's Club," held in the evenings, at the 
Black Boy Inn. This was the most rational society 
or meeting I ever knew. The few rules which 
bound us together were only Nerbal. The first 
was that every member should conduct himself with 
decorum, and as a gentleman. If any one trans- 
gressed on this point, he was immediately fined, 


and if he did not pay, he was sent to Coventry, or 
dismissed. On entering the room, every member 
paid fourpence, which was to be spent in refresh- 
ment. Any member might introduce his friend 
at the same expense. There were no fines for non- 
attendance and no regular debatings allowed on 
any subject but such as might occasionally arise 
out of the passing conversation, and the company 
separated at ten o'clock. Conversations amongst 
the friends thus associated, consisting of merchants, 
or respectable tradesmen, were carried on without 
restraint, and only interrupted for the moment 
while the president claimed attention to any par- 
ticular news of the day that might be worth notice. 
Such a place of meeting proved convenient and 
pleasant to many a stranger who visited the town, 
and the expense was as nothing. It may seem 
strange that, out of a fourpenny club like this, 
there was commonly an overplus left, to give away 
at Christmas and Easter to some charitable purpose. 
I went to this club when I had time to spare in 
an evening, and seldom missed a week to an end. 
This happy society was at length broken up, at 
the time when war on behalf of despotism, was 
raging, and the spy system was set afloat. Some 
spies, and others of the same stamp, contrived to 
get themselves introduced, and to broach political 
questions, for the purpose of exciting debates, and 
feeling the pulst-of the members, who before this 
had very seldom touched upon subjects of that kind. 
Besides being kept busy with the routine business 
of our work-office, I was often engaged in execut- 


ing wood cuts for publishers and printers, at va- 
rious times from about the year 1788 to 1790. 
The first of any importance was the wood cuts 
of Roman altars, and the arms of -the Bishops of 
Durham, for " Hutchinson's History of Durham," 
in which my friend, the late George Allan, Esq., 
of the Grange, Darlington, took a conspicuous 
part. A set of cuts was done for " Goldsmith's 
Deserted Village," for Mr. Walker, printer, of 
Hereford. Mr. Nicholson, printer of Ludlow 
and Poughnill, the publisher of " Elegant Selec- 
tions from Various Authors," employed me to em- 
bellish some of these with wood cuts. My old 
friend, William Bulrner, of the Shakespeare Print- 
ing Office, London, also employed me to execute 
the cuts for " ParnelFs Hermit" and " Goldsmith's 
Deserted Village." Many other cuts were done, 
from time to time, for printers in various parts 
of the kingdom. These formed an almost endless 
variety. I engraved a series of copper plates, at 
a low rate, for Sir Harry Liddell's and Captain 
Consett's " Tour to Lapland," in 1786. My partner 
and self were busily engaged in engraving, about 
the year 1796, the plan of the proposed canal 
from Newcastle to Carlisle, as projected by Mr. 
Chapman, engineer, and plans of estates and views 
of the mansion houses of a few gentlemen who 
opposed the canal, on the north side of the 
Tyne. After a great deal of scheming and 
maneuvering, under the management of an at- 
torney of great ability, the whole of this great, 
this important national as well as local undertak- 


ing was baffled and set aside. Most men of dis- 
cernment were of opinion that the coalowners 
" below bridge" were the cause of it. The canal, 
as projected by Mr. Dodd, in 1795, would have 
certainly opened out a territory of coal that might 
have affected their interest. It would appear, at 
least, . that they dreaded it ; and in this, as in 
almost every other case, private interest was found 
to overpower public good. 


HAVING, from the time that I was a school- 
boy, been displeased with most of the figures in 
children's books, and particularly with those of the 
" Three Hundred Animals," the figures in which, 
even at that time, I thought I could depicture 
much better ; and having afterwards very often 
turned the matter over in my mind, of making 
improvements in that publication I at last came 
to the determination of making the attempt. The 
extreme interest I had always felt in the hope of 
administering to the pleasure and amusement of 
youth, and judging from the feelings I had ex- 
perienced myself that they would be affected in 
the same way as I had been, whetted me up 
and stimulated me to proceed. In this, my only 
reward besides was the great pleasure I felt in 
imitating nature. That I should ever do anything 
to attract the notice of the world, in the man- 
ner that has been done, was the farthest thing 
in my thoughts, and so far as I was concerned 
myself at that time, I minded little about any 
self-interested considerations. These intentions I 
communicated to my partner ; and, though he did 


not doubt of my being able to succeed, yet, being 
a cautious and thinking man, he wished to be more 
satisfied as to the probability of such a publication 
paying for the labour. On this occasion, being 
little acquainted with the nature of such under- 
takings, we consulted Mr. Solomon Hodgson, book- 
seller and editor of the " Newcastle Chronicle," as 
to the probability of its success, &c., when he warmly 
encouraged us to proceed. 

Such animals as I knew, I drew from memory on 
the wood ; others which I did not know were copied 
from "Dr. Smellie's Abridgement of Buffon," and 
other naturalists, and also from the animals which 
were from time to time exhibited in itinerant col- 
lections. Of these last, I made sketches first from 
memory, and then corrected and finished the draw- 
ings upon the wood from a second examination of 
the different animals. I began this business of 
cutting the blocks with the figure of the drome- 
dary, on the 15th November, 1785, the day on 
which my father died. I then proceeded in copy- 
ing such figures as above named as I did not hope to 
see alive. While I was busied in drawing and cut- 
ting the figures of animals, and also in designing 
and engraving the vignettes, Mr. Beilby, being of a 
bookish or reading turn, proposed, in his evenings 
at home, to write or compile the descriptions. With 
this I had little more to do than furnishing him, 
in many conversations and by written memoranda, 
with what I knew of animals, and blotting out, 
in his manuscript, what was not truth. In this way 
we proceeded till the book was published in 1790. 



The greater part of these wood cuts were drawn 
and engraved at night, after the day's work of the 
shop was over. In these evenings, I frequently 
had the company of my friend the Hev. Richard 
Oliphant,* who took great pleasure in seeing me 
work, and who occasionally read to me the ser- 
mons he had composed for the next Sunday. I 
was also often attended, from a similar curiosity, by 
my friend, the Rev. Thomas Hornby,! lecturer at 
St. John's Church. He would not, like my friend 
Oliphant, adjourn to a public house, and join in a 
tankard of ale, but he had it sent for to my work- 
place. We frequently disagreed in our opinions as 
to religious matters, he being, as I thought, an in- 
tolerant, high churchman ; but, notwithstanding this, 
he was a warm well-wisher and kind friend, and 
was besides of so charitable a disposition that his 
purse was ever open to relieve distress, and he 
would occasionally commission me to dispose of a 
guinea anonymously to persons in want. 

As soon as the " History of Quadrupeds " ap- 
peared, I was surprised to find how rapidly it sold. 
Several other editions quickly followed, and a glut of 
praises was bestowed upon the book. These praises 
however, excited envy, and were visibly followed 
by the balance of an opposite feeling from many 
people at home ; for they raked together, and blew 
up, the embers of envy into a transient blaze ; 
but the motives by which I was actuated stood out 

* Afterwards curate of Longhorsley. 

t The Rev. Thomas Hornby, son of Alderman Hornby, died in the 
prime of life, on the 28th August, 1798, and was buried at Gosforth. 


of the reach of its sparks, and they returned into 
the heap whence they came, and fell into dust. I 
was much more afraid to meet the praises which 
were gathering around than I was of the sneers 
which they excited ; and a piece of poetry appear- 
ing in the newspaper, I was obliged, for some time, 
to shun " Swarley's Club," of which the writer, 
George Byles,* was a member, to avoid the warm 
and sincere compliments that awaited me there. 

I had long made up my mind not to marry whilst 
my father and mother lived, in order that my un- 
divided attention might be bestowed upon them. 
My mother had, indeed, recommended a young per- 
son in the neighbourhood to me as a wife. She 
did not know the young lady intimately, but she 
knew she was modest in her deportment, handsome 
in her person, and had a good fortune ; and, in com- 
pliance with this recommendation, I got acquainted 
with her, but was careful not to proceed further, 
and soon discovered that, though her character was 
innocence itself, she was mentally one of the weakest 
of her sex. The smirking lasses of Tyneside had 
long thrown out their jibes against me, as being a 
woman-hater, but in this they were greatly mis- 
taken. I had, certainly, been very guarded in my 
conduct towards them, as I held it extremely wrong 
and cruel to sport with the feelings of any one. In 
this, which was one of my resolves, sincerity and 

* George Byles came from one of the southern couuties, and com- 
menced as a teacher in Newcastle. He was gentlemanly in bis 
manners and conversation, and of a most lively and animated cast 
of character. 


truth were my guides. As I ever considered a matri- 
monial connection as a business of the utmost im- 
portance, and which was to last till death made the 
separation, while looking about for a partner for 
life, my anxious attention was directed to the sub- 
ject. I had long considered it to be the duty of 
every man, on changing his life, to get a healthy 
woman for his wife, for the sake of his children, 
and a sensible one, as a companion, for his own 
happiness and comfort, that love is the natural 
guide in this business, and much misery is its 
attendant when that is wanting. This being the 
fixed state of my mind, I permitted no mercenary 
considerations to interfere. Impressed with these 
sentiments, I had long, my dear Jane, looked upon 
your mother as a suitable helpmate for me. I had 
seen her in prosperity and in adversity ; and in the 
latter state she appeared to me to the greatest ad- 
vantage. In this she soared above her sex, and 
my determination was fixed. In due time we were 
married, and from that day to this no cloud, as far 
as concerned ourselves, has passed over us, to obscure 
a life-time of uninterrupted happiness. 




AGED 72 ; 



During the time I was busied with the figures 
of the " History of Quadrupeds," many jobs inter- 
fered to cause delay; one of which was the wood 
cut of the Chillingham wild bull, for the late Mar- 
maduke Tunstal, Esq., of Wycliffe. This very wor- 
thy gentleman and good naturalist honoured me 
with his approbation of what I had done, and was 
one of our correspondents. He, or my friend George 
Allan, Esq., employed me to undertake the job ; 
and, on Easter Sunday, 1789, I set off, accompanied 
by an acquaintance, on foot to Chillingham on this 
business. After tarrying a little with friends at 
Morpeth and Alnwick, we took Huln Abbey on our 
way across the country to the place of our destina- 
tion. Besides seeing the various kinds of pheasants, 
&c., at the last-named place, little occurred to attract 
attention, except our being surrounded, or beset, in 
passing over a moor, by burning heather, and after- 
wards passing over the surface of immense old win- 
ter wreaths of frozen snow. Arrived at Chilling- 
ham, we took up our abode with my kind old friend 
John Bailey, and spent a cheerful evening with him 
after our fatigue. Next day, Mr. B. accompanied 
me to the park, for the purpose of seeing the wild 
cattle. This, however, did not answer my purpose ; 
for I could make no drawing of the bull, while he, 
along with the rest of the herd, was wheeling about, 
and then fronting us, in the manner described in the 
"History of Quadrupeds." I was therefore obliged 
to endeavour to see one which had been conquered 
by his rival, and driven to seek shelter alone, in the 
quarry holes or in the woods ; and, in order to get a 


good look at one of this description, I was under 
the necessity of creeping on my hands and knees, 
to leeward, and out of his sight ; and I thus got my 
sketch or memorandum, from which I made my 
drawing on the wood. I was sorry my figure was 
made from one before he was furnished with his 
curled or shaggy neck and mane. 

On our return home, my companion and I took 
up our abode for two days and nights, at Eslington, 
in the apartments of our kind and hearty friend, 
John Bell, then steward to Sir Harry Liddell, Bart, 
and afterwards a merchant at Alnmouth. Having 
made a drawing from the large Newfoundland dog 
kept there, and rambled about visiting some of Mr. 
Bell's friends, we then bent our way homewards, 
highly gratified with the journey, crowned as it was 
with hospitality and kindness which could not be 

In the year 1790, I was employed much in the 
same way as I had been in other years about that 
period ; but this was besides marked by an event 
which enwarped and dwelt on my mind. No doubt 
all thinking men in their passage through life 
must have experienced feelings of a similar kind. 
My old and revered preceptor, the Rev. Christopher 
Gregson, died this year. No sooner did the news of 
his extreme illness reach me, than I set off, in my 
usual way, and with all speed, to Ovingham. I 
instantly rushed into his room, and there I found 
his niece in close attendance upon him. With her, 
being intimately acquainted, I used no ceremony, 
but pulled the curtain aside, and then beheld my 


friend, in his last moments. He gave me his last 
look, but could not speak. Multitudinous reflec- 
tions of things that were passed away, hurried on 
my mind, and these overpowered me. I knew not 
what to say, except " Farewell for ever, farewell !" 
Few men have passed away on Tyneside so much 
respected as Mr. Gregson. When he was appointed 
to the curacy of Ovingham, I understand his income 
was not more than thirty pounds per annum. Thus 
set down, he began by taking pupils to board and 
educate, chiefly as Latin scholars ; and Mrs. Greg- 
son, after my mother left him, did everything in her 
power to make the seminary respectable. He after- 
wards, however, commenced teaching on a more 
extended scale, by taking in scholars of all kinds, 
from their A, B, C's, to the classics. In this, his 
task must have been of the most arduous description, 
which he got through without any usher or assistant. 
His assiduity must have attracted the notice of the 
late Thomas Charles Bigge, Esq., of Benton, the lay 
rector, for he added some land to the glebe, by way 
of bettering his condition. Little as this farm was, 
as to its magnitude, it enabled him, by his good 
management and unceasing industry, to show him- 
self a good farmer, and he was not a little vain on 
being complimented on this score. As a clergyman, 
he was not one of the fittest for that very important 
office ; but this was chiefly owing to his defective 
voice, which was so low and raucous, that his hearers 
could not so well protit by his sensible discourses. 
In another way I mean as a village lawyer he 
stood pre-eminent. His pen was ever ready at the 


service of his parishioners, and whatever dispute 
arose amongst them there was never any objection 
to leave the matter to the decision of Mr. Gregson ; 
and, I have often heard it asserted that there was 
not one lawsuit in the parish while he was minister 
there. He set out in life on this poor curacy, upon 
a system of great economy, and perhaps, like other 
frugal people, it grew upon him till he was accused 
of " nearness ;" but, be this as it may, he accumu- 
lated, after a life of great good management, a sum 
of about nine hundred pounds. If his pen was ever 
ready to serve his parishioners, so, on certain occa- 
sions was his purse ; for he eyed with great atten- 
tion the situation of such of his neighbours as were 
industrious ; and, when he found these were strug- 
gling under untoward circumstances, or unforseen 
losses, without being solicited, he lent them money 
to ward off the evil, and to serve their need. 


WHILE the sale of edition after edition of the 
" Quadrupeds " was going on with great success, 
I turned my thoughts to the " History of British 
Birds." I felt greatly charmed with, and had long 
paid great attention to, the subject ; and I had 
busied myself very much in reading various works. 
As far as I can now recollect, the first books I had 
become acquainted with were " Brookes and Miller's 
Natural History," and " Dr. Smellie's Abridgement 
of BufFon." These were now thrown, as it were, 
into the back-ground ; having been succeeded by 
Pennant's works. I might name others I had 
perused, chiefly lent to me by my kind friend 
Greorge Allan, Esq. These consisted of " Albin's 
History of Birds," Belon's very old book, Willough- 
by and Ray, &c. Mr. John Rotherham* gave me 
" Gesner's Natural History." With some of these 
I was in raptures. Willoughby and Ray struck 
me as having led the way to truth, and to British 
Ornithology. The late Michael Brian, Esq., of Lon- 
don, lent me the splendid volumes, " Planche En- 

* Mr. John Rotherham, son of the late Dr. Rotherham, of Newcastle, 
who had been a pupil of the good and great Linnreus. 



luminee," of Buifon, and George Silvertop, Esq., 
of Minstracres, "Edward's Natural History." I 
was much pleased with " White's History of Sel- 
borne." Pennant, however, opened out the largest 
field of information, and on his works I bestowed 
the most attention. Latham seems to have wound 
up the whole, and I have often lamented that it 
was not by being embellished with correct figures 
made a great national work, like the Count do 
Buffon's. The last of our Ornithologists, and one 
of the most indefatigable, was the late Col. George 
Montgu,* author of the " Ornithological Diction- 

As soon as it was spread abroad that I was en- 
gaged with the history of birds and their figures, 
I was in consequence led into a seemingly endless 
correspondence with friends and amateurs ; so much 
so, that I often felt myself unable duly to acknow- 
ledge the obligations I owed them, and many a 
letter I have written after being wearied out with 
the labours of the day. 

At the beginning of this undertaking I made 
up my mind to copy nothing from the works of 
others, but to stick to nature as closely as I could ; 
and for this purpose, being invited by Mr. Con- 
stable, the then owner of Wycliffe, I visited the 
extensive museum there, collected by the late Mar- 
maduke Tunstal, Esq., to make drawings of the birds. 
I set off from Newcastle on the 16th July, 1791, 

* George Montagu, Esq., died in July, 1815. I have heard that 
he was killed by the overturning of a carriage in which he was tra- 


and remained at the above beautiful place nearly 
two months, drawing from the stuffed specimens. 
I lodged in the house of John Goundry, the per- 
son who preserved the birds for Mr. Tunstal ; and 
boarded at his father's, George Goundry, the old 
miller there. Whilst I remained at Wycliffe, I 
frequently dined with the Rev. Thomas Zouch,* the 
rector of the parish. He watched my going out of 
church on the Sundays, where I attended, accom- 
panied by old Goundry, to invite me to dine with 
him. On these occasions he often made the cha- 
racter of his late neighbour, Mr. Tunstal, and of 
George Goundry, the subject of his conversation, 
and dwelt with great pleasure on the excellence of 
both. Mr. Tunstal was a Roman Catholic, and had 
a chapel in his own house ; Mr. Zouch was a Church 
of England minister ; and George Goundry was a 
Deist ; and yet these three uncommonly good men, 
as neighbours, lived in constant charity and good- 
will towards each other. One might dwell long 
with pleasure on such singularly good characters. I 
wish the world was better stocked with them. 

I have often reflected with pain on the asperity 
with which one description of Christians has com- 
monly treated others who differed from them in 
opinion on religious matters ; or, rather, as to their 
different modes of faith ; and I have thought that 
the time would conie when that cruel, bloody, and 

* The Rev. Thomas Zouch, D.D., F.L.S., prebendary of Durham, 
and rector of Scrayingham, Yorkshire. This venerable divine was 
born in 1737, at Sandal, and died there on the 17th Dec., 1813. He 
had been offered the bishopric of Carlisle, but refused it. 


disgusting portion of history would not be believed, 
which has recorded the fact that one denomination 
of Christians actually burned others alive, who dif- 
fered from them in opinion on matters which ought 
to have been considered beneath contempt. But, 
judging from the past, it is certain that, when men 
give up their reason, and substitute faith, or any- 
thing else, in lieu thereof, there is nothing however 
absurd that may not be believed, and no punish- 
ments, however cruel, that may not be resorted 
to, to enforce that belief. Men thus degraded may 
fairly be called inan-tiyer$, being fitted for any cruel, 
Avieked purpose ; and, under equally wicked govern- 
ments, they have been guided and commanded to 
deluge the earth with blood. It is strange to think 
that this should have been the case, when it is con- 
sidered that the whole of the authorities are derived 
from one and the same pure source ; bewildered, 
indeed, by the twisted imaginations of ignorance, 
bigotry, and superstition. 

The inspired and benevolent Author of Christianity 
taught neither intolerance nor persecution. The doc- 
trines He laid down are plain, pure, and simple. 
They hold out mercy to the contrite, aid to the hum- 
ble, and eternal happiness to the good. For my 
own part, it is long since I left off bewildering my- 
self with dogmas and creeds, and I feel pity for 
those that do so. I am quite clear and willing to 
believe and to allow, that, whatever modes of faith 
honest and well-meaning people think best to 
adopt, they may in sincerity of heart, and to the 
best of their judgments, be doing what is called 


serving God. They surely ought not to interfere 
with the creeds of others, who are equally as sincere 
as themselves in the means they pursue for the same 
end. However various these modes of faith may 
be, there is one rule that ought to guide the whole, 
and it appears to me to be simple and easy to com- 
prehend, and that one is, that all men, to the ut- 
most of their power, should endeavour through life 
to steer clear of everything that may degrade their 
own souls ; that the mysterious, incorporated com- 
pound may not, when summoned to leave this world, 
have to appear before Omnipotence polluted and de- 
based. The man who attends to this will fear no- 
thing, but that of erring and doing wrong. He 
will fear the face of no man. The little, strutting 
authorities of despotism he will despise, and the 
virtuous magistrate will ever be his friend. He 
will break no good laws that have been made for 
the guidance of man in society ; and, as to his re- 
ligion, that is an affair between himself and his 
Maker only. With the Author of his Being he 
will, with unentangled mind, commune freely, at 
all times, when his spirit moves him to do so ; and 
110 man ever did, or ever will, feel himself happy 
that does not pursue this course through life. 

Ever since I habituated myself to think, I have 
always seen, as clearly as I could see anything, that, 
it is the intention of the Deity that mankind 
should live in a state of civilised society, and that 
no period of human existence can be comfortable 
without the pleasures and endearments of social 
intercourse. Every object in nature that can be 


contemplated shews this ; and the full and ex- 
act fitness of all its component parts clearly 
prove that man, from his social nature, is destined 
to live in this state. He has been endowed with 
reason, as his guide, for the purpose of regulat- 
ing and conducting the whole ; but, when that 
guide is neglected, and he suffers his selfish pro- 
pensities and bad passions to mislead, him from 
the path of rectitude, from that moment, every- 
thing, so far as this reaches, goes wrong. For 
reasons of this kind, it is necessary that equitable 
and just laws should be made and enforced, to re- 
strain vice from breaking down the barriers that 
are erected to protect virtue and patriotism. To 
break through these laws is sin. But, in the pre- 
sent wretched state of society, it may be difficult 
to bring about such a reformation of manners as 
would ensure the accomplishment of so desirable 
an end ; for it appears to me that the character 
of mankind ought to be new modelled before this 
can effectually be done. 

Having long busied myself in wading through 
systems of natural history, the orders, genera, 
species and varieties, the whim has often struck 
me to lay down an imaginary one of classing man- 
kind. The ycnm homo may be made to consist 
of three species and their varieties. The first (in- 
cluding in one, the wise and the good) is honest 
men ; the second is knaves ; and the third fools. 
Tlirse and their gradations and varieties, gliding 
into each other, form the present jumbled mass 
of society the community of which we all form 


a part. As any of these may happen to predominate 
in the government of society, so, in exact propor- 
tion, will the good, bad, and indifferent effects of 
their management be felt by the whole people. I 
think it will be admitted that, out of the first 
species ought to be chosen the persons, every man 
according to his mental powers and the education 
he may have received to call forth these powers, 
to fill every public office from the constable up- 
wards. Out of the two latter species, when con- 
joined, are formed the great mass of the wicked, 
gross, vulgar herd (high and low) of mankind. 
Amongst these, knaves of great ability ought to 
be particularly guarded against. They are a kind 
of splendid devils who have from time immemorial 
spread abroad much misery in the world; but, not- 
withstanding their abilities, they would not have 
got forward in their public wickedness, nor have 
formed their majorities, had they not enlisted, as tools, 
their ready-made auxiliaries the fools ; and, if we 
take only a slight glance at individual misery, it 
will be seen that most of it is inflicted by one man 
iipon another : 

" Man's inhumanity to Man 
Makes countless thousands mourn." 

Could this be remedied, what a beautiful world 
would this appear to thousands, instead of their 
being obliged to view it through the medium of 
an almost perpetual cheerless gloom. 

I have often amused myself in considering the 
character of the canine species, and of comparing 


it, and its varieties, with those of the untutored part 
of mankind ; and it is curious and interesting to 
observe the similarity between them. To his master 
the dog is an uncommonly submissive, obedient, 
and faithful servant, and seems to look upon him 
as if he were a god ; his sagacity and his courage 
are equally conspicuous; and, in defence of his mas- 
ter, he will suffer death. But to his own species 
he is ill-behaved, selfish, cruel, and unjust ; he only 
associates with his fellows for the purpose of pack- 
ing together to destroy other animals, which cannot 
be effected otherwise. He will sometimes, indeed, 
let a supplicating dog, into which he has inspired 
terror, sneak off ; and I have often watched to 
see the wary, circumspect plan that a strange dog 
adopts on his being obliged to pass through a vil- 
lage, or through amongst those of his equally ill- 
behaved brethren, the butchers' dogs in a town. 
It is curious to see the stranger, upon these occa- 
sions, view his danger, and then affect lameness, 
and go " hirpling" through amongst them unmo- 
lested. I knew their instinct was surprising, but 
some of their reasoning powers I had not tried ; 
and, for this purpose, when a boy, I cut two thin 
slices of meat and plastered the insides with mus- 
tard, and then threw it to one of my father's dogs. 
This, he being very apt at " kepping" caught in 
his mouth, and, as quickly as he could, got quit 
of it again ; and, from that time, he would rather 
run the risk of losing it than " kep" any more. 
To prove how far selfishness and malignity would 
operate upon him, I placed two basins filled with 


very hot, fat broth, at a distance from each other, 
when he ran from one to the other to prevent a 
spaniel bitch from partaking of either of them. 
His attention was so taken up with thus watching 
her, that at length his patience was exhausted, 
by going so often from one basin to the other, 
that, with the utmost vengeance, he seized her, 
and tore away his mouthful of skin from her side. 

On my return from Wycliffe, being thoroughly 
drenched with an incessant rain, I called upon an 
old and much -esteemed schoolfellow, at Bishop Auck- 
land, and spent a day or two with him, in busy con- 
verse about our former transactions at school, &c. 
Perhaps few have passed through life without expe- 
riencing the pleasure that a retrospect of the times 
gone by thus afford to old cronies, in talking over 
the recollections of youthful frolics, and even of 
the discipline which followed in consequence of 

As soon as I arrived in Newcastle, I immedi- 
ately began to engrave from the drawings of the 
birds I had made at Wycliffe ; but I had not 
been long thus engaged till I found the very great 
difference between preserved specimens and those 
from Nature ; no regard having been paid, at that 
time, to fix the former in their proper attitudes, 
nor to place the different series of the feathers 
so as to fall properly upon each other. It has 
always given me a great deal of trouble to get 
at the markings of the dishevelled plumage ; and, 
when done with every pains, I never felt satis- 
fied with them. I was on this account driven to 


wait for birds newly shot, or brought to me alive, 
and in the intervals employed my time in designing 
and engraving tail- pieces, or vignettes. My sport- 
ing friends, however, supplied me with birds as 
fast as they could; but none more so than my 
kind friend the late Major H. F. Gibson, of the 
4th Dragoons. Lieut.-Col. Dalton, Major Shore, 
Captain (now General) Dalbiac, and other officers 
of the same regiment, also shewed great attention 
to the growing work. Besides these, many birds 
were sent to me by friends from various parts of 
the Kingdom, but the obligations I owe are mostly 
acknowledged in their proper places in the work. 
After working many a late hour upon the cuts, the 
iirst volume of the book was at length finished at 
press in September, 1797. Mr. Beilby undertook 
the writing or compilation of this the first volume, 
in which I assisted him a great deal more than 
I had done with the Quadrupeds. After this, Mr. 
Beilby gave up the engraving business, and dedi- 
cated his whole time to the watch-crystal and 
clock manufactory, in which he had been long 
engaged before our separation. 

The printing of other editions of the first volume 
of the Birds still met with a ready sale ; but some 
disputes happening respecting the printing of the 
Quadrupeds, Mr. Beilby, who now sought repose, 
and could not be turmoilcd with disputes of any 
kind, sold me his share of that publication. Some- 
time before the second volume of the Birds was 
put to pres*, he also sold me his share of the first 
volume. I had no sooner agreed to give the price 


demanded than many recollections of the past 
crowded upon my mind, and, looking at the unfa- 
vourable side, I could not help thinking of the 
extra labour and time I had spent in the comple- 
tion of these works, wherein he had born compara- 
tively a small part not even an equivalent in 
time and labour in the other department of our 
business; and in this instance I could not help 
thinking that he had suffered greediness to take 
possession cf his mind ; but, having promised to 
pay the sum, I made no further observations to 
any one. On the other side of this account, I 
called to my remembrance the many obligations 
I owed him, for the wise admonitions he had given, 
and the example he had set me, while I was only 
a wild and giddy youth. These I never could for- 
get, and they implanted so rooted a respect for 
him that I had grudged nothing I could do to 
promote his happiness. I had noticed, for some 
time past, that he had been led under a guid- 
ance and influence that made an alteration in his 
conduct for the worse ; and he appeared to me 
not to be the Ralph Beilby* he had been. I 
used to think him careful and sometimes penu- 
rious, and this disposition might indeed have crept 
and increased upon him ; but, whatever natural 
failings might be in his composition, these had 
heretofore been checked and regulated by the rules 
of morality and religion. It seemed to me that 
it must have been a maxim with him to do justice 

* Ralph Beilby, engraver, Newcastle, died 4th Jan. 1817, aged 73, 
and was buried at St. Andrew's. 


to all, but not to confer favours upon any one ; 
and yet he often joined me in conferring such, 
in various ways, upon our apprentices and others 
of our workpeople, for which we commonly had 
dirt thrown in our faces. 

It does not require any great stretch of obser- 
vation to discover that gratitude is a rare virtue, 
and that, whatever favours are conferred upon an 
ungrateful man, he will conclude that these would 
not have been bestowed upon him had he not de- 
served them. In these our gifts, I was to blame 
in thus conferring favours that it would have been 
as well to let alone. In other charities he was 
not backward in contributing his mite, but in these 
matters he was led by wisdom. In the former 
case, mine, by giving vent to my feelings, were 
led by folly ; but, indeed, these follies were trivial 
compared with others relative to money matters, 
in which I had been led away by my feelings, in 
lending money to some, and in being bound for 
the payment of it for others, which, if I had been 
more of his disposition, would not have happened; 
and I now clearly see and feel that, had it not 
been for these imprudences, I should, at this day, 
have found myself in better and very different 
circumstances than those I am in. My partner, 
indeed, often watched, and sometimes prevented 
me, from engaging in such ruinous concerns, and 
would remark to me that it was impossible to serve 
any man who would not serve himself. 

As soon as Mr. Beilby left me, I was obliged, 
from necessity, not choice, to commence author. 


As soon as each bird was finished on the wood, 
I set about describing it from my specimen, and 
at the same time consulted every authority I could 
meet with, to know what had been said ; and this 
together with what I knew, from my own know- 
ledge, were then compared ; and, in this way, I 
finished as truly as I could the second volume 
of the History of Birds. I also examined the first 
volume, with a view to correct its errors, and to 
add many new figures and descriptions of them 
to it. Although all this could not be done but 
by close, and, indeed, severe confinement and ap- 
plication, yet I was supported by the extreme plea- 
sure I felt in depicturing and describing these 
beautiful and interesting aerial wanderers of the 
British Isles. I also hoped that my labours might 
perhaps have the effect of inveigling my youthful 
countrymen to be smitten with the charms which 
this branch, and, indeed, every other department 
of Natural History, imparts, and with the end- 
less pleasures afforded to all who wish to " trace 
Nature up to Nature's God." 

While I was thus proceeding, I was encouraged 
and flattered by amateurs, who took a deep interest 
in my growing work, and seemed to partake of 
the ardour in which I had long indulged. From 
them birds were sent to me from far and near ; 
but, to give a list of the names of these friends, 
and to detail the kindness I experienced first and 
last, might indeed be giving vent to my feelings, 
of gratitude, but it would far exceed the bounds 
prescribed to this Memoir. 


WHILST I was engaged with figures of the Water- 
Birds, and the Vignettes, and writing the History, 
I was greatly retarded by being obliged often 
to lay that work aside, to do various other jobs 
in the wood engraving, and also the work of the 
shop, for my customers in the town, particularly 
writing engraving, which, I may say, I was 
obliged to learn and to pursue after Mr. Beilby 
left me. The most interesting part of this kind 
of work was plates for bank-notes ; but, as one 
of the most important of these was a five pound 
note for the Carlisle Bank, which attracted much 
notice, it may be right to give some account of 
it. It happened, one evening, that, whilst I was 
in company with George Losh, Esq., who was in 
some way connected with that bank, he asked me 
if I could engrave a bank note that could not 
be easily forged. In reply, I told him I thought 
I could. "Then," said he, "do it immediately;" 
and I lost no time in beginning upon it. I had, 
at that time, never seen a ruling machine, nor 
the beautiful engine-turning lately brought into 
use by Perkins, Fairman, and Heath, which were 


at that time, I believe, utterly unknown. I how- 
ever, proceeded with my plate, and my object was 
to make the device look like a wood cut ; and 
in this, though a first attempt, I succeeded ; and 
the number of impressions wanted were sent to 

Soon after this, I was told by Sir T. F , 

Bart., that his brother, who held some office un- 
der government, and was much with the King 
George III., whose curiosity was insatiable as to 
everything relative to the arts had got one of 

these bank notes. Sir T. F 's brother showed 

it to the King, who greatly admired and ap- 
proved of it. About two years after this, in the 
year 1801, Samuel Thornton, Esq., of the Bank 
of England, wrote to me respecting this note, and 
wished to know how it was executed, and whether 
it was done on wood or copper, &c. I was strongly 
advised, by a friend, not to give the gentlemen 
of that bank any information whatever about my 
plate; "for," said he, "as soon as they know the 
nature of what they are enquiring after, you 
will hear no more from them." I did not take 
his advice ; and, after a deal of trouble in writ- 
ing to them, and stating amongst many other mat- 
ters, that, "though my plate would do well for 
country banks, it would not do for the great number 
wanted for the Bank of England," the business 
ended in nothing. It may perhaps be well, while 
I am on the subject of bank-notes, to pass over 
a number of years, and come down to the year 
1818, when a commission was appointed to iiivesti- 


gate the business of forgery, and to endeavour to 
prevent it in future. Some time previous to this, 
I was employed by my friend, John Bailey, Esq., 
of Chillingham, to engrave plates to prevent a 
repetition of the pen-and-ink forgeries which had 
been committed upon the Berwick Bank, which it 
was found had been better imitations than could 
be made from copper plates. In this I succeeded ; 
and also, by a simple process, on the plates I en- 
graved for the Northumberland Bank. Immedi- 
ately on the heel of this, and as soon as the 
commissioners above-mentioned had commenced their 
enquiries, it seemed as if the services and abili- 
ties of all the artists in the kingdom were held 
in requisition, to give in their specimens and their 
schemes for this purpose ; and, willing to contri- 
bute, all in my power to accomplish so desirable 
an end, I, amongst many others, gave in my plan. 
The leading object with me was permanency, or, 
in other words, to aim at executing a device that 
would never need either alteration or repairs ; and 
the other part of my plan was, that the device 
should be of such a nature, that all men of com- 
mon discernment could easily recognize the note 
as a legitimate one. In my letters to Sir Joseph 
Banks, I did not mention anything about using 
types, or how highly I approved of their use, 
because I knew that others had done so before, 
and to point out in which way I conceived they 
would be of importance would now be useless ; 
since the commissioners, or the Bank, have re- 
jected every scheme (so far as I know) that has 


been laid before them. This to me has always ap- 
peared strange ; as, in my opinion, there have ,been 
several proposals laid before them very efficient for 
the purpose of preventing forgeries, if not for set- 
ting that nefarious work at rest. 

The beautiful specimens first produced by Fair- 
man, . Perkins, and Heath, from their steel plates 
or blocks, were, in my opinion, inimitable, and 
quite sufficient to answer the end intended ; and 
those afterwards brought forward, under the aus- 
pices of Sir William Congreve, are nearly of the 
same character and import. If an engine turner 
cannot set his lathe, so as to trace or copy the deli- 
cate and truly exact curves, lines, &c., which are 
shown in both, it is not likely that any forgery would 
ever be attempted upon either of them. If they had 
been less complex, I should have liked them better; 
but, as they are, the best engravers on either cop- 
per, steel, or wood, will not attempt an imitation. 
They may, indeed, gaze at them but that is all. 

It was always surprising to me that none of 
the ingenious schemes, so long under the consi- 
deration of the commissioners, were adopted; but, 
when I read, in a newspaper, that Mr. Pierce had 
stood up in the House of Commons, and in answer 
to a question put to him there, had said, in reply, 
" that the commissioners were of opinion that no- 
thing better than the old bank note could be devised to 
prevent forgery ! " then, indeed, I could scarcely 
believe my own eyes, my astonishment was com- 
plete, and my opinion of the whole business of this 
" mountain in labour" was fixed. 


During the time that the business of the com- 
missioners seemed to me to be hanging in suspense, 
I wrote a letter to Sir Joseph Banks, in which I 
endeavoured to press upon his attention, and that 
of his colleagues, as a means of preventing forgery, 
the necessity of having the blank paper for coun- 
try bank notes printed with a new device in lieu 
of the little duty stamp then used, and which had 
simply in view the collection of the government 
duty. Sometime after this, a long account of the 
inventions of Sir William Congreve, Bart., were 
published in the " Repository of Arts," for March, 
1822, setting forth how much country banks, and 
the whole country was obliged to him, as the in- 
ventor of, or the person who first suggested, a 
scheme so essentially important as this for prevent- 
ing forgery. As soon as I read this, I answered 
it in the "Monthly Magazine," of May, 1822, in 
which I quoted my letters to the commissioners, 
with the dates bearing upon this very subject, 
and claimed for myself the merit of having first 
suggested the scheme. At the same time, I only 
requested Sir William Congreve would, on the 
word of a gentleman, say whether or not the 
srheme was his or mine. Of this neither Sir 
William nor any of the commissioners took any 
notice, excepting, indeed, something purporting to 
he an anwccr to what I had said, by a person in 
the employ of Sir William, as an artist, which, 
though it begun very impudently, did not answer 
my letter at all. This I could not help treating 
with contempt. To enter into a paper war with 



such a person, I thought would be great folly. 
Sir "William appears to be going on prosper- 
ously, by furnishing bankers with his stamped 
note papers, and printing them in the way above 

Sir William Congreve, as a commissioner, had 
the advantage of seeing the various devices, and 
of knowing the opinions of the various artists 
upon these devices, which enabled him to cull and 
select such as appeared to him best calculated to 
prevent forgery ; and, I think, as he was no art- 
ist himself, he should not have taken the credit 
either of inventor or executor of any of these 
devices, nor have turned the profit arising from 
them, to his own private account. 


DURING a severe illness with which I was visited 
in 1812, the particulars of which I need not de- 
tail to you, my dear Jane, as the part you and 
your mother and sisters took, in nursing me night 
and day, must be fresh in all your memories, and 
which I only here mention on account of its as- 
sociation, I determined, if I recovered, to go on 
with a publication of "JEsop's Fables." While I 
lay helpless, from weakness, and pined to a skele- 
ton, without any hopes of recovery being enter- 
tained either by myself or any one else, I became, 
as it were, all mind and memory. I had pre- 
sented to my recollection almost everything that 
had passed through life, both what I had done 
and what I had left undone. After much debat- 
ing in my own mind where I should be buried, 
I fixed upon Ovingham ; and, when this was 
settled, I became quite resigned to the will of 
Omnipotence, and felt happy. I could not, how- 
ever, help regretting that I had not published 
a book similar to " Croxall's JEsop's Fables," as 
I had always intended to do. I was extremely 


fond of that book ; and, as it had afforded me 
much pleasure, I thought, with better executed 
designs, it would impart the same kind of delight 
to others that I had experienced from attentively 
reading it. I was also of opinion, that it had 
(while admiring the cuts) led hundreds of young 
men into the paths of wisdom and rectitude, and 
in that way had materially assisted the pulpit. 

As soon as I was so far recovered as to be 
able to sit at the window at home, I began to 
draw designs upon the wood of the fables and 
vignettes ; and to me this was a most delightful 
task. In impatiently pushing forward to get to 
press with the publication, I availed myself of the 
help of my pupils my son, William Harvey, and 
"William Temple who were eager to do their ut- 
most to forward me in the engraving business, 
and in my struggles to get the book ushered into 
the world. Notwithstanding the pleasurable busi- 
ness of bringing out this publication, I felt it 
an arduous undertaking. The execution of the 
fine work of the cuts, . during day-light, was very 
trying to the eyes, and the compiling or writing 
the book by candle-light, in my evenings at home, 
together injured the optic nerve, and that put all 
the rest of the nerves " out of tune ;" so that I 
was obliged, for a short time, to leave off such 
intense application until I somewhat recovered the 
proper tone of memory and of sight. Indeed I 
found in this book more difficulties to conquer than 
I had experienced with either the " Quadrupeds" 
or the " Birds." The work was finished at press 


on the first of October, 1818. It was not so well 
printed as I expected and wished. 

During the eventful period of the French Revo- 
lution, and the wide-spreading war which followed 
in consequence of it, and in which our government 
became deeply engaged, extending from 1793 to 
1814 a time of blood and slaughter I frequently, 
by way of unbending the mind after the labours 
of the day, spent my evenings in company with 
a set of staunch advocates for the liberties of man- 
kind, who discussed the passing events mostly with 
the cool, sensible, and deliberate attention which 
the importance of the subject required. In par- 
taking in these debatings, I now find I spent rather 
too much time. I fear it was useless ; for it requires 
little discernment to see that, where a man's in- 
terest is at stake, he is very unwilling to hear 
any argument that militates against it ; and peo- 
ple who are well paid are always very loyal. To 
argue on any subject, unless a principle, or 
what mathematicians would call a datum, is first 
laid down to go upon, is only gabble. It begins 
and must end in nonsense ; and I suspect that 
many of the long, wearisome speeches and debat- 
ings, carried on for such a number of years in the 
Houses of Lords and Commons, as well as many 
of the innumerable weekly or daily essays, and some 
of the pamphlets which the revolution and the 
war gave rise to, were devoid of a right prin- 
ciple a principle of rectitude to guide them. The 
causes of this Revolution, and the horrible war 
which ended it, will form a most interesting sub- 



ject for the head and the pen of some future his- 
torian of a bold and enlightened mind truly to 
depicture it in all its bearings, perhaps long after 
the animosity of party feelings and the parties 
themselves have passed away. 

From the best consideration I have been able 
to give to the question, I cannot help viewing it 
in this way. In the year 1789, the French Revolu- 
tion broke out, first of all from the income of the 
government not being sufficient to defray its ex- 
penditure, or in other words, from its finances 
having become deranged for want of money, and 
which the people, having been taxed to the utmost 
and brought down to poverty, could no longer sup- 
ply. The aristocracy and the priesthood (the pri- 
vileged orders, as they were called) contributed little 
or nothing to support the state ; and, instead of 
being the natural guardians or depositories of the 
honour and virtue of the nation, they were chiefly 
known as its oppressors. By exaction, cruelty, and 
tyranny, the people had long been borne down to 
the lowest pitch of degradation. They were con- 
sidered, not as rational human beings, equal in 
mind and intellect to their oppressors, but as beings 
made for the purpose only of continually laboiiring 
to support them in all their real and imaginary 
wants. This is nearly the case in all countries where 
the aristocracy are kept up and blinded by pride 
and guided by ignorance. In this they are sup- 
ported by what may be called their satellites a kind 
of bastard breed, who, in aping the worst part of 
the character of those exalted above them, show 


themselves off as the opulent, aspiring, purse-proud 
gentry of a country. 

"If aught on earth th' immortal powers deride, 
"Tie surely this, the littleness of pride." 

This kind of treatment, so long shown to the 
people of France, could be endured no longer. 
They, indeed, seemed heartily disposed to settle a 
rational and just representative government quietly 
themselves ; but this did not suit the views of 
the surrounding despots, to whom the very word 
liberty was offensive, and it was determined, at 
once, that this attempt of the people to resume 
their rights should instantly be overwhelmed. For 
this purpose, immense armed and well-discip- 
lined mercenaries were gathered together, and 
almost surrounded the country. Thus situated, 
and remembering the traditionary tales handed 
down to them of the cruelties and oppressions under 
which their forefathers had groaned, the French 
people could not bear their condition any longer. 
They were driven to madness, and instantly re- 
taliated upon their oppressors, who, they conceived, 
meant that they and their children's children should 
continue to be doomed for ages to come. In this 
state of the public mind, the French people rose 
simultaneously, as one man, and with unconquerable 
energy and bravery, like a whirlwind, swept the 
advocates and the armies of despotism from off the 
face of the earth. Thus roused, this confederacy 
of Legitimates, finding or fearing that they might 
be baffled in their attempts, looked to England for 
support ; and grieved, indeed, were the advocates 


of rational liberty to find that these enemies to 
freedom had not looked in vain ; for the govern- 
ment of this free country and free people long 
veering, indeed, from the line of rectitude had 
readily found pretexts for entering into a war in 
support of despotism ; and war was begun, in the 
year 1793, against the republican government of 

It had long been the settled opinion of many 
profound politicians, that corruption had spread, 
and was spreading, its baneful influence among 
the members of the government of this kingdom ; 
and that the majority cared nothing about main- 
taining the constitution in its purity, which to 
them was become like an old song. In this state 
of things, with Mr. Pitt at their head, and the 
resources of the British Isles in their hands, it 
was calculated upon as a certainty that his weight, 
added to the already powerful confederacy, would 
soon put a stop to the march of intellect, and, 
if found necessary, put an extinguisher upon the 
rights of man. 

It is horrible to contemplate the immense destruc- 
tion of human beings, and the waste of treasure, 
which followed and supported this superlatively 
wicked war. Under the mask of patriotism, Mr. Pitt 
had begun his career, but he soon changed sides, and, 
blinded perhaps by ambition, became the powerful 
advocate of an opposite and perverted order of things. 
Thus situated, nothing could to a certainty serve his 
purpose so well as corruption ; and the House of 
Commons had long been growing into a state be- 

2 A 


fitting his purpose ; for its members had, in a 
great degree, ceased to be the representatives of 
the people, and he had now only to begin an in- 
vigorated, new, or more extended system of place 
and patronage to have the majority at his nod ; 
and, in aid of this, to add an extension of the 
peerage. This demi- oligarchy, cemented together by 
feelings of rapacious interests, in his hands was the 
best organised system of extorting money that ever 
had appeared in the world. They met together 
to tax tax tax ; and, under various pretexts, to 
rob the people "according to law," and to divide 
the spoil amongst themselves and their friends. 
Arbitrary laws were enacted, gagging bills were 
passed, and a system of espionage spread over the 
kingdom to keep the people down, many of whom 
seemed to have forgotten the . exertions of their 
forefathers, whose blood had been spilt to purchase 
a better order of things. I felt particularly hurt 
at the apathy of country gentlemen in these 
(politically considered) worst of times. Their facul- 
ties seemed benumbed ; but, indeed, most of them 
fell into the vortex of corruption themselves. They 
appeared to me to have lost their former inde- 
pendent character, and to be now looking out to 
that evil source as a provision for the younger 
branches of their own families, unmindful of all 
other ill consequences, which this selfishness blindly 
supported and maintained. The minions of power 
were countenanced and protected, by which they 
became insolent and impudent, and walked in 
stately array, hand in hand, in safety. Although 


the friends of liberty and the constitution were 
both numerous and intrepid, yet, for want of what 
they termed respectable heads, they were widely 
spread and divided, and their efforts proved in vain. 
There was also an intermediate or neutral race, 
consisting of those who had not laid down any 
principle to guide them. They were mostly such 
as advocated the cause of corruption ; and, in listen- 
ing to them, I was disgusted at their senseless 
arguments. They were proof against reasoning, and 
thoroughly convinced me that " a wise man changes 
his opinion, but a fool never does." They, however, 
kept on the safe side ; they were loyal; and the 
gist of their arguments, with which they ended all 
their disputes, were summed up in this " If you 
do not like your country, leave it. What do you 
want ? are not ice very well off ?" Their reflect- 
ing powers reached no further, and they could not 
see by what slow degrees the arm of despotism had 
so often circumspectly stretched its iron hand over 
the liberties of the people, and then crushed them. 

While bickerings and debatings were going on 
amongst politicians at home, the Continent was 
deluged with the blood of many destructive battles. 
The sea was also crimsoned in the same way ; and 
it was on this element that the tide of affairs was 
tirst turned in favour of Britain, who now, by the 
valour of her seamen, reigned complete " mistress 
of the deep," and the commerce of the world seem- 
ed to be poured into her lap. Estates rose in 
value to an extraordinary height, and the price 
of grain, &c., still more so. The shipping interest 


wallowed in riches ; the gentry whirled about in 
aristocratic pomposity; they forgot what their de- 
meanour and good, kind, behaviour used to be 
to those in inferior stations of life ; and seemed 
now far too often to look upon them like dirt. The 
character of the richer class of farmers was also 
changed. They acted the gentleman very awk- 
wardly, and many of them could not, in these 
times, drink anything but wine, and even that 
was called "humble port." When these upstart 
gentlemen left the market, they were ready to ride 
over all they met or overtook on the way; but 
this was as nothing compared to the pride and 
folly which took possession of their empty or fume- 
charged heads, when they got dressed in scarlet. 
They were then fitted for any purpose, and were 
called "yeomanry cavalry." Pride and folly then 
became personified. When peace came, it brought 
with it a sudden fall in the price of corn ; but the 
taxes continuing the same to them, and rents still 
keeping high, they, with few exceptions, suddenly 
experienced a woful change. I cannot say, after 
seeing so much of their folly, that I was sorry for 
them ; for they mostly deserved this reverse of 
fortune. Not so with the industrious labourer. 
His privations were great, and he was undeservedly 
doomed to suffer for want of employment, and often 
to waste away and die of hunger and want. 

During the greater portion of the war, the land- 
owners may be said to have paid little or nothing 
to support it ; for the extra rents paid almost all 
their taxes ; but at length the evils brought on by 


so long a war fell also heavily upon numbers of 
them, who, on account of tithes and taxes with 
which the land was loaded, could hardly get any 
rent at all. 

It will seem a wonder to future ages how the 
British people could so long have supported the 
squandered expenditure of the government ; still 
they were not like the long- worn-down subjects 
of continental despots; for what the latter can get 
from their subjects is like clippings from the back 
and sides of swine, while the ingenuity, the in- 
dustry, and the energy of the British people fur- 
nish the well-grown fleeces of sheep. Pity it is 
that they should have been so often wickedly shorn 
to the bare skin. 

This state of temporary prosperity, to which I 
have alluded, incited to agricultural improvements ; 
and societies for the promotion, and premiums for 
the encouragement, of various desiderata blazed 
forth over a great part of the kingdom. Cattle, 
sheep, horses, and swine, all of which were called 
"live stock," occupied a great deal of attention, 
and in the improvement of the various breeds agri- 
culturalists succeeded to a certain, and in some 
cases, perhaps, to a great extent. And yet I can- 
not help thinking that they often suffered their 
whimsies to overshoot the mark, and in many in- 
stances to lead them on to the ridiculous. 

After all, these enquiries having opened the 
eyes of the landlords to their own interests, it is 
not unlikely that the man of industry, the plain, 
plodding farmer will, without receiving any reward, 


have to pay for these improvements. My kind, 
my intimate friend, John Bailey, Esq., of Chilling- 
ham, in conjunction with another friend of mine, 
George Culley, Esq., of Fowberry, were the active, 
judicious, and sensible authors of many of the ag- 
ricultural reports, in which they did not lose sight 
of the farmer. They wished to inculcate the prin- 
ciple of " to live and let live" between landlord 
and tenant. 

It will readily be supposed, that, where such 
exertions were made, and pains taken to breed 
the best kinds of all the domestic animals, jea- 
lousy and envy would be excited, and contentions 
arise as to which were the best ; but for me to 
dilate upon this would only lead me out of the 
way. I shall, however, notice an instance, as it 
happened to occur between my two friends, Mr. 
Smith, of Woodhall, and Mr. Bailey. The latter, 
in connection with his report on Cheviot sheep, 
had given a bad figure of a ram of that breed. 
This was construed into a design to lessen the cha- 
racter of Mr. Smith's Cheviot sheep, on which, 
in April, 1798, the latter sent for me to draw and 
engrave a figure of one of his rams, by way of 
contrasting it with the figure Mr. Bailey had given. 
The colour Mr. Smith gave to the business was, 
not to find fault with Mr. Bailey's figure, but to 
show hew much he (Mr. Smith) had improved the 
breed since Mr. Bailey had written his report. 

Whilst I was at Woodhall, I was struck with 
the sagacity of a dog belonging to Mr. Smith. 
The character for sagacity of the Shepherd's Dog 


was well-known to me, but this instance of it was 
exemplified before my own eyes. Mr. Smith wished 
to have a particular ram brought out from amongst 
the flock, for the purpose of my seeing it. Be- 
fore we set out, he observed to the shepherd, that 
he thought the old dog (he was grey-headed and 
almost blind) would do well enough for what he 
wanted with him. Before we reached the down, 
where the flock was feeding, I observed that 
Mr. Smith was talking to the dog before he or- 
dered him off on his errand ; and, while we were 
conversing on some indifferent subject, the dog 
brought a ram before us. Mr. Smith found a 
deal of fault with the dog, saying, Did I not or- 
der you so and so ? and he scolded him for bring- 
ing a wrong sheep, and then, after fresh direc- 
tions, set him off again to bring the one he wished 
me to see. We then returned home, and shortly 
after our arrival there, 'the dog brought the very 
ram wanted, along with a few other sheep, into 
the fold, where I took a drawing of him. 

Shortly after my return from "Woodhall, I was 
sent for to Darlington, and thence to Barmpton, 
to make drawings of cattle and sheep, to be en- 
graved for a Durham report. After I had made 
my drawings from the fat sheep, I soon saw that 
they were not approved, but that they were to 
be made like certain paintings shown to me. I 
observed to my employer that the paintings bore 
no resemblance to the animals whose figures I had 
made my drawings from ; and that I would not 
alter mine to suit the paintings that were shown 


to me ; but, if it were wished that I should 
make engravings from these paintings, I had not 
the slightest objection to do so, and I would also 
endeavour to make fac similes of them. This pro- 
posal would not do ; and my journey, as far as 
concerned these fat cattle makers, ended in nothing. 
I objected to put lumps of fat here and there 
where I could not see it, at least not in so ex- 
aggerated a way as on the painting before me ; 
so "I got my labour for my trouble." Many of 
the animals were, during this rage- for fat cattle, 
fed up to as great a weight and bulk as it was 
possible for feeding to make them ; but this was 
not enough ; they were to be figured monstrously 
fat before the owners of them could be pleased. 
Painters were found who were quite subservient 
to this guidance, and nothing else would satisfy. 
Many of these paintings will mark the times, and, 
by the exaggerated productions of the artists, servo 
to be laughed at when the folly and the self- 
interested motives which gave birth to them are 
done away. 


FROM this time till the peace was concluded, the 
political debatings, before noticed, continued, and were 
almost the constant subject of all companies. I have 
often sat and listened with wonder to the jargon of 
the protected fools, and heard them argue, if so it may 
be called, in defence of all the measures then pur- 
sued ; and I have seen with surprise the impudence 
of those who lived upon the taxes. Knaves and 
their abettors appeared to predominate in the land ; 
and they carried their subserviency to such a length 
that I think, if Mr. Pitt had proposed to make a law 
to transport all men who had pug noses, and to hang- 
all men above 60 years of age, these persons (those 
excepted who came within the meaning of the act) 
would have advocated it as a brilliant thought and a 
wise measure. 

If we examine the history of these times, and 
look back to those of old, we shall find that the in- 
roads of ignorance have ever been the same. The 
time was when the magistrates of Newcastle sent 
to Scotland for a man who was reputed clever in 
discovering witches. lie came, and easily convicted 
many a fine woman, as well as those who we/ 3 


wrinkled by age and wisdom, and they were by his 
means tried and put to death.* 

I think, if there be a plurality of devils, ignorance 
must be their king. The wretchedness which ignor- 
ance has, from time to time, spread over the world 
is truly appaling. This is a king that should be 
deposed without loss of time ; and that portion of 
mankind who are under the guidance of his imps 
should have nothing to do with the affairs of society, 
and should be carefully looked to and kept out of 
every kind of command. Even the poor, innocent, 
unreasoning animals should, in mercy, not bo allowed 
to be goaded, and to suffer under their ignorance, 
in the shape of folly and cruelty. 

To attempt giving anything like a detail of the 
history of this eventful war would, in this place, 
be useless : that must be left to the historian. It 
appears to me that Mr. Pitt was urged into it 
chiefly by ambition, and that disappointment broke 
his heart. General Bonaparte, from his unparalleled 
victories, became in his turn blinded by ambition, 
which ended in his being conquered and banished 
to St. Helena for life. He had divided and con- 
quered almost all his continental enemies, one after 
another, and then mostly reinstated them in their 
dominions. But this generosity would not do. 
Despotism, urged on and supported by this country, 
was rooted too deeply in the governments of Europe 

* " He was for such like villainie condemned in Scotland, and upon 
the gallows he confessed he had been the death of two hundred and 
twenty women, in England and Scotland, for the gain of twenty shil- 
lings a-peece, and beseeched forgiveness and was executed." Engkutfi 
Grievance, by R<ilj>h Gardnrr, ItjCjj. 


to think of making any change to better the condi- 
tion of the people. It would appear that that is a busi- 
ness they cannot think of ; and the old maxim, that 
the many are made only to support the few, seems con- 
tinually uppermost in their resolves. If Bonaparte 
had been as good a man as he was a great one, he 
had it in his power to settle all this, and to have 
established the happiness of both the governors and 
the governed, over all the civilised world, for ages 
to come. Although he had the example of the in- 
comparable Washington before him, he did not copy 
it. He ceased to be first consul, managed to assume 
the title of emperor, married an Austrian arch- 
duchess, and became one of the Legitimates. This 
added to the stock of his ambition, and from that 
time he began to decline. Fortune at length seemed 
to frown upon him, and the frost and snow of Russia 
cut off and destroyed his immensely large and well- 
appointed army. He was baffled in his strenuous 
efforts to repair his loss, and his defeat at Waterloo 
sealed his ruin. 

One would think that the gaining of worlds would 
not compensate for the misery and the horrid waste 
of human life which are the certain attendants of 
war; and one would wonder what kind of minds 
direct the actions of the authors of it. Were they 
to reflect, it may be fairly concluded that they 
could not bear their own thoughts, and that, after 
taking a full survey of the wretchedness they had 
occasioned, they would go immediately and hang 
themselves. They are perhaps not fitted for re- 
flection, or only for that kind of it which can 


look at nothing but ambition or private gain. 
It would be well for the abettors and advocates 
of war to try to weigh the profit and loss (set- 
ting aside the inhumanity) attendant upon it. 
This we should do at home ; and, instead of 
celebrating the birthday of the " Heaven-born 
minister," ask his admirers how he deserves 
such a title, and compare it with his actions. 
Might not the lives of, say, a million of men 
have been saved ? Was it necessary that they 
should have been sacrificed in such a way ? 
Could he have avoided it ? With his consummate 
abilities, I humbly think he could. Woidd not 
these men have been sufficient in number to colo- 
nize and to civilize immense unoccupied territories ? 
The money wasted would have accomplished al- 
most anything. The men and the money \vould 
have canaled Britain and Ireland from end to 
end, and intersected them from side to side ; and 
also made piers, where wanted, at the mouths of 
the rivers of the two islands ; and, besides, would 
have converted both countries into gardens. To 
point out more improvements would be a waste of 
words. With such means in hand, they might 
have been almost endless. Then, per contra : 
What has been done in exchange for the millions of 
lives and the millions of money thus spent ? They 
have restored legitimacy; they have restored "Louis 
the Desired," and " Ferdinand the Beloved," and 
the Inquisition ! Monarchs are still to be called 
" God's vicegerents here on earth ! When by their 
actions they shew themselves deserving of such titles, 


mankind will not disturb them in these their dreams ; 
but, till then, they will continue to smile at the con- 
ceit, as well as the glitter they keep up to dazzle 
the sight of their purblind " loving subjects." All 
wars, except defensive ones, are detestable ; and, 
if governments admitted morality into their in- 
stitutions, and were guided by its precepts, war 
would, in all probability, grow into disuse, and 
cease. But hitherto that treasure of inestimable 
value, I think, has been discarded from their 
councils, and I cannot discover much difference 
between them and the lesser banditti of old ; for 
each has been guided by the strong disposition 
to rob, (as soon as they thought themselves able 
successfully to do so), and to show that "might 
is right." From the feuds of the nobility down 
to " Rob-in-hood, Will Scarlet, and Little John ;" 
and from the ferocious combats of the Percy and 
Douglas, on the Borders of Johnny Armstrong and 
his eight score men, down to " Yeddy (Adam) Bell," 
" Clem of the Clough," and " William of Clouds- 
ley" and the Mosstroopers, the same wicked prin- 
ciple has guided them and their ferocious retainers 
to murder each other and to soak the earth with 


WITHOUT presuming to scan the intentions of Om- 
nipotence, in His gifts to the human race, or to 
probe into the nature of His endless works of wis- 
dom, or to grope into matters intended to be out of 
our reach, and beyond our comprehension, yet the 
reasoning power He has given us, we cannot doubt, 
was meant to guide us in our researches to the ex- 
tent for which it is capacitated, and to which its 
uses are fitted to be applied. In viewing man as 
connected with this world, and with his station in 
society, I think it will appear clearly that the vari- 
ous degrees of his intellectual and reasoning powers 
are the gift of Providence ; and, however high this 
boon may be, the possessor of it ought to be thank- 
ful, but never vain. It is this innate power drawn 
forth and acted upon by observation and industry, 
that enables the philosopher, the poet, the painter, 
and the musician, to arrive at excellence ; and the 
same remark is more or less applicable to men bent 
upon any pursuit in the whole round of the arts and 
sciences. Without using the means to cultivate their 
powers, they will remain inert, and be of no use 
either to the individual or to society ; and men with 


innate qualifications, and men without them, are 
brought down to a level of uselessness. It is greatly 
owing to the want of effort that originates the ine- 
qualities of rank and fortune of which the commu- 
nity is composed. The intelligent and industrious 
man, guided by honour, will ever be aiming to rise 
in the scale of eminence ; while, on the contrary, the 
lazy, the ignorant, or the wicked man, influenced by 
pride, dissipation and negligence, is whirled into 
the vortex of disgrace, and is attended by poverty 
and misery ; and, if he cannot redeem his character, 
becomes abandoned. He is then in his last stage ; 
his days will be full of sorrow ; and, if it be true 
that "none are wretched but the wicked," he will 
have his fill of it. 

But to remedy these evils attendant upon ignor- 
ance, as far as possible, and to give every man a fair 
chance, his reasoning powers ought to be drawn 
forth by a rational and virtuous education, and it 
is a first and imperative duty upon the community 
either to provide for, or to see that it is given to, 
every one as far as his capacity will permit ; for to 
the neglect or omission of this kind of instruction 
may be traced almost all the wickedness and misrule 
which disfigure the social compact and spread 
misery over the world. To check the reasoning 
power is a public crime, which, like individual 
crime, follows the perpetrators like a shadow. To 
argue against the exercise of this gift is to attempt 
to thwart the intentions of Omnipotence. It is 
blasphemy. It never will pollute the tongues of 
good and wise men, and could only, like dregs, be 


reserved to defile those of tyrants and fools. Men 
who are not actuated by the principle of "doing as 
they would be done by" governed by a twisted 
imagination would have their fellow men kept in 
ignorance, to pass away their lives like unreason- 
ing animals, lest they might not have sufficient 
homage paid to themselves, or that they should 
forget their duty as servants, and cease to work for, 
or to wait upon, their employers. A sensible servant 
will never omit doing his duty, but an ignorant one 
will; and the reciprocal duties between master and 
servant ought to be clearly defined. The former 
ought not to act the tyrant ; the latter should be 
obedient ; and equal and just laws should guide and 
govern them. 

All men of sound understanding, and who are 
capable of reflection, will clearly see that there 
is not, and cannot be, any such thing as equality. 
There must, and ever will be, high and low, rich 
and poor; and this inequality of rank and for- 
tune, in civilized states, is necessary for the com- 
fort and happiness of all. A cement is thus 
formed, which binds together in union the strength, 
the beauty, and the symmetry of the whole. In 
the freest state, man must not expect to have 
the unrestrained liberty of the savage, but must 
give up a part of his own freedom for the good 
of the whole; for liberty consists in this, that 
every man may do whatever he pleases, pro vi del 
he does nothing to injure his neighbour, or tlic 
community of which he is a member ; and his 
morality ought to be guided by the golden rulf, 


of " doing unto all men as he would they should 
do unto him." Were men made sensible of the 
rectitude of this order of things ; were they to con- 
sider that, in whatever station in society fortune 
may have placed them, it is the will of Providence 
that it should be so, this reflection would greatly 
contribute to their peace of mind and contentment ; 
for no man should think himself degraded by fol- 
lowing an honest calling. 

" Honour and shame from no condition rise ; 
Act well your part : there all the honour lie?." 

Patriotism ought to direct every man to do ho- 
nour to himself and to his country ; and it is in 
this that great national power principally consists. 
It is also by the good conduct, and consequent cha- 
racter, of the great mass of the people that a 
nation is exalted. The crown the richest diamond 
of our life is the love of our country ; and the 
man who neglects this, and ceases to reverence 
and adore his Maker, is good for nothing. "The 
country, surrounded by the briny deep, where all 
our ancestors lie buried in which from youth up- 
wards we have felt the benefit of equal laws, first 
acted upon and handed down to us by the Great 
Alfred, and maintained from time to time amidst 
all the attempts of despotism to overturn them, 
by men famed for matchless wisdom and vir- 
tue, a country so renowned as England, so fa- 
mous for all that most strongly attracts the ad- 
miration of men, a country whose genius and 
power have, for ages, been such as to make her 



views and intentions an object of solicitude with 
every nation, and with every enlightened individual 
in the world, a country famed for her laws, famed 
in arts and arms, famed for the struggles which, 
age after age, her sons have held with tyranny 
in every form it has assumed, and, beyond all 
these, famed for having given birth to, and reared 
to manhood, those men of matchless wisdom and 
virtue whose memories will be held up to admira- 
tion, and whose example will be followed in ages 
to come who have rendered the very name of 
Englishmen respected in every civilized country 
in the world " (may this be eternal !) should 
this country ever sink into despotism, its repu- 
tation will sink also, and with it the high 
name of its once enlightened sons ; for this re- 
nown and this exalted station cannot be stable 
unless a pure representation of the people is kept 
up : without that, justice will be perverted, and 
corruption will creep in and in time over- 
turn the best and wisest plans. Government 
will become omnipotent, instead of being the um- 
pire and standing by, like a strong man, to see 
that justice is done. Lord Bacon says : " The 
ultimate object which legislators ought to have in 
view, and to which all their enactments and sanctions 
ought to be subservient, is, that the citizens may 
live happy. For this purpose it is necessary that 
they should receive a religious and pious educa- 
tion ; that they should be trained to good morals ; 
that they should be secured from foreign ene- 
mies by proper military arrangements ; that they 


should be guarded by an effectual police against 
seditions and private injuries ; that they should 
be loyal to government, and obedient to magis- 
trates ; and, finally, that they should abound in 
wealth, and other national resources." 

Well constituted governments, if occasionally re- 
vised, and as often as necessary scrupulously amend- 
ed, may be rendered as permanent as time. If 
wisely and virtuously administered, they would be 
indestructible, and incalculably contribute, by their 
vigour and uninterrupted duration, to the mental 
and moral aggrandisement of man. It is a truth 
confirmed by universal history, that the happiness 
or misery of a people almost entirely depend upon 
the principles of their government, and the con- 
duct of their rulers. Where just and honourable 
intentions exist, there is nothing to dread ; but, 
when only the semblance of these are put on, to 
cloak wicked and sinister ends, delusion and arti- 
fice of every kind must be resorted to for their 
accomplishment. Thence follows the degradation 
of man, and the consequent decay of states and 
nations. But it is not for want of knowing better 
that governments get out of the path of rectitude ; 
it is by the individuals who compose its parts becom- 
ing dishonest. To the sage advice of such men as 
Bacon and Locke they turn a deaf ear ; they are 
lost in considerations about their own private, selfish 
concerns, or are blinded by a false ambition, regard- 
less of promoting the public good, or the happiness 
of mankind ; and, until they are checked in this 
career, by an enlightened people, it is in vain to 


look for any amendment in them. But the great 
bulk of the people must be enlightened and amend- 
ed, before liberty, peace, and happiness, can be 
spread over the world. 

The first step preparatory to this desirable order 
of things, must be that the people should learn to 
respect themselves, as reasoning beings, which is 
the noblest privilege bestowed upon them by the 
Creator. To slight this gift is to act ungratefully 
to the Giver ; for it is only by the free exercise of 
their understandings that men can see the face of 
truth, or can have the full use of all the means of 
advancing in knowledge, or are capable of religion, 
science, virtue, and rational happiness, or can be 
enabled to look backward with comfort or forward 
with hope. It is a sure sign that all is not right, 
or as it should be, in governments, when they fear 
even the fullest investigation of any, and of every, 
subject. Truth and honesty fear no discussion, and 
good governments will freely encourage, instead of 
checking, them. There ought to be no libels, but 
falsehoods. Can any man say, in the face of the 
world, that truth ought not to prevail ? It is owing 
to inquisitorial checks and restraints, that two of 
the most important concerns to mankind, Religion 
and Politics, on which their happiness, and every- 
thing of importance to them, so much depends, is 
by the community, as a whole, so imperfectly un- 
derstood, and so blindly acted upon at this day. 
It is only by seeing the conduct of public men in 
a dear light, that a just judgment can be formed 
of them and their measures, and of their fitness or 


unfitness to conduct the important concerns entrusted 
to their control. It may, indeed, be feared that, if 
tried in the balance, they will be found very light. 
Wise and honest councils must be resorted to and 
adopted before Religion, Morality, and Politics, Arts 
and Sciences, and a better knowledge of this world 
of wonders, can be developed and appreciated. Till 
then no amendment need be expected : religion will 
not be freed from superstition and bigotry, nor poli- 
tical institutions purged from venality and corrup- 
tion, and conducted by honesty and good sense. 
Those who have fixed themselves, like a disease, 
upon the body politic should have warning to de- 

In glancing back upon the transactions of the 
world, as they have recently passed in review be- 
fore us, how can it afford any matter of wonder 
that the advocates of liberty should have entertained 
fears for its safety, and have wished, as a check, 
the re-establishment of the British constitution in its 
purity. There was, indeed, little hope of this being 
acted upon, when foreign despots were leagued to 
enslave their peoples ; and our own government, 
supported by a demi- oligarchy, was so deeply con- 
nected with them. Loan after loan was wrung from 
the British people under various pretexts, but in 
reality to support despotism under the disguise of 
legitimacy. Granted, that an honest House of 
Commons might have supported legitimacy, thev 
should have openly expressed disapprobation at the 
lest liberties of nations of enslaved people. Pro- 
tests of this kind, however, did not fit with the 


notions of the representatives of boroughmongers, 
who composed the majority of the honourable House, 
and who had long been used to treat the people 
and their petitions with unblushing neglect or 

In this state of things, politics ran high ; an 
unpleasant ferment soured the minds of a great 
majority of the people ; and it cannot be won- 
dered that they were, with difficulty, kept within 
bounds. Those who had been used to batten on 
the wages of corruption became excessively alarmed, 
and, under the pretence of preserving the consti- 
tution, resorted to a system of espionage, and of 
gaols and bastiles, and left no stone unturned to 
throw odium upon their opponents, the advocates 
of liberty, who were branded with the nicknames 
of Jacobins, Levellers, Radicals, &c., &c. The pen 
of literature was prostituted to overshade the ac- 
tions of good men, and to gloss-over the enormi- 
ties of the base. The energies of many members of 
both Houses of Parliament were unavailing against 
this compact confederacy of undeserving placemen 
and pensioners, who were bound together by fel- 
low feelings of self-interest, in which all ideas of 
public trust were lost in private considerations. 
They had sinned themselves out of all shame. 
This phalanx have kept their ground, and will do 
so till, it is to be feared, violence from an on- 
raged people breaks them up, or, perhaps, till 
the growing opinions against such a crooked order 
of conducting the affairs of this great nation be- 
comes quite apparent to an immense majority, wh<<- 


' 199 

frowns may have the power of bringing the agents 
of government to pause upon the brink of the 
precipice on which they stand, and to provide in 
time, by wise and honest measures, to avert the 
coming storm. It is appalling to think of matters 
of this import being brought to extremities, 
especially when the whole might so easily be set- 
tled without any convulsion at all. The king (whose 
interests are the same as the people's), if freed from 
the advice of evil counsellors, and from the un- 
fitting trammels by which they have him bound, 
might insist upon having the constitution restored 
to its purity. This would at once settle the business, 
and would cause him to be adored by his whole 
people, and his name to be revered, by the en- 
lightened in every civilised country, to the latest 


I NEVER could agree in opinion with the philan- 
thropic, and well-intentioned, and honest, Major 
Cartwright,* in his unqualified scheme of universal 
suffrage ; because I conceive that the ignorant and 
the wicked ought to be debarred from voting for any- 
thing ; they should neither be honoured with privi- 
leges nor employed in any office of public trust ; 
a virtual representation is all-sufficient for them. 
Could matters be so managed that none but sensible, 
honest men should be allowed to vote, either for 
members of Parliament, or for any other public func- 
tionary, the country would, in a short time, put on 
a very improved appearance. It is quite natural to 
suppose that, were elections entrusted to this descrip- 
tion of men, they would elect none but those of simi- 
lar character to their own. But, should it be found 
impracticable thus to order public affairs, then the 
next best plan, and which might easily be accom- 
plished, would be to confer the additional elective 
franchise upon householders of probity and honour, 
that is, upon those who, in their own spheres, by 

* Major Cartwright, died 23rd Sep., 1821, aged 84, an honour to 
his country and to human nature an upright aad inflexible patriot. 


industry and intelligence, maintain themselves re- 
spectably ; for it must be admitted that the poor are 
frequently as wise as the rich, and as remarkable 
for integrity. 

If an overwhelming mass of selfism did not para- 
lyze every improvement, how easily and how soon 
all this might be done. By making elections simple, 
candidates would be spared the expense of a canvass, 
and drunkenness and the base, wicked effects conse- 
quent thereon might be avoided. This business 
through the whole kingdom might be done in a few 
days, by summoning the electors (as soon as the can- 
didates were nominated) to attend at the several 
polling places, to vote by ballot or otherwise as 
might be determined. The public should only be 
addressed through the medium of the newspapers. 
What a real honour would it be to be thus elected ! 
What a saving of expense ! What can any gentle- 
man, after spending thousands in the present mode, 
say for himself? Does he expect to be repaid, some- 
how or other, by the nation ? or, has he lavished 
away such sums for the " honour of the thing," and 
thus robbed his own family by wasteful expenditure ? 

While sentiments of patriotism were entertained 
in our country, clouded, indeed, by fears of an op- 
posite tendency, as noticed before, the attention of 
all was drawn aside to view the confederacy of des- 
pots directed to shackle the understandings of man- 
kind, and to keep them in slavery and degradation, 
Would any man in his senses, in the present en- 
lightened state of the civilized world, have thought 
this possible ? And yet, as a finish, they have called 



it the " Holy Alliance." My most fervent prayer is, 
that no king of the British Isles will ever keep such 
company ; but that our sovereigns will ever stand 
firm, uncontaminated by the infectious effluvia of ar- 
bitrary power, upon this proud ground this soil 
fitly tilled, but only wanting some weeding to render 
it perfectly ready to produce a rich crop of liberty. 

Most men were beginning to hope that emperors 
and kings had discovered that, if the people were 
not enlightened, it was high time for them to use 
their kingly influence to make them so ; and that it 
is far safer and better, as well as more honourable, to 
preside over an intelligent people, than to govern 
men brought down to the level of unreasoning brutes. 
The wretchedly bigoted, and consequently oppressed, 
people of Spain will, no doubt, see things in their 
true light at some future day, and free their fine 
country from misrule. The times in which Galileo 
lived have passed away, but we still see the same 
kind of despotism and superstition ready as ever 
to burn such men alive, and to strew their ashes 
in the wind. The affairs of mankind, managed 
in this way, will be likely at no distant period 
to put such kings and their priests out of fashion. 
Superstition makes despots and tyrants of all the 
sovereigns whom it influences : they become the 
confirmed enemies of knowledge. The die is then 
cast. Superstition never did, nor ever will, listen 
to reason ; for credulity is the offspring of ignor- 
ance, and superstition is the child of credulity; 
and this breed is nursed and kept up by despotism, 
as its mainstay and darling. The sun of reason may 


be clouded for a time. As long as falsehood in the 
garb of truth continues to lead the great mass of 
mankind, so long will they struggle in vain to attain 
the paths which lead to perfection and happiness. 

" We should always repute it as our business in 
the world the end and purpose of our being our 
duty to our kind the natural use of the powers 
we enjoy and the suitable testimony of gratitude 
to our Maker, to contribute something to the general 
good to the common fund of happiness to our 
species."* Benevolent and patriotic sentiments of 
this kind ought always to be kept up, and the mite 
of the humblest individual ought to be received 
and acknowledged : the reveries of such ought not 
to pass without being coolly examined by men of 
experience. I well remember my name having 
been set down as that of a person who would, with- 
out hesitation, become a member of a society in 
Newcastle, " for the suppression of vice." To this I 
decidedly objected, and told my well-meaning neigh- 
bour, f who named the matter to me, that I thought 
the magistrates were quite competent to manage 
that business ; but that I would have no hesita- 
tion in joining their society if they would change 
their plan, and make it "a society for promoting 
and rewarding virtue." I have often thought since 
that, if such a society as the latter to be called 

* Dr. F. Hutchinson. 

t Mr. Benjamin Brunton. He was a popular man, and was often 
chairman at patriotic and charitable meting s, and had been one of 
the committee who sued the magistrate of Newcastle on the Town 
Moor business before mentioned. 


" The Society of Honour" were established in 
every parish, it might, if well managed, do great 
good. The society ought not to annoy any one, 
by being over officious, nor to meddle otherwise 
than by quietly, and yet publicly, rewarding, or 
expressing the good opinion they entertain of the 
conduct of the person honoured. 

Another society of a very different character to 
the last-named is at this time winked at in this 
land of liberty. I mean the present great and 
mighty Inquisition, held under the denomination 
of " the Constitutional Association." These men 
the secret admirers of " The Holy Alliance" may 
more properly be called the suppressors and dread- 
ers of truth. Acting, indeed, under the mask of 
advocating the cause of religion and liberty, but 
in reality in lurking enmity to the latter, and to 
all free enquiry and investigation, they have arro- 
gated to themselves the power of punishing a man 
for his unbiased opinions, even on subjects which 
do not militate against good morals, or against the 
happiness of society ; thus taking the power out 
of the hands of the national authorities, as if they 
were unfit and insufficient to do their duty. A 
House of Commons ought to see this with indig- 
nation, and this self-erected Inquisition, instead of 
ruining parties by their prosecutions, should be 
invited to answer truth with truth, as well as they 
can ; leaving the world to judge how it stands be- 
tween them and their opponents. 

When men break through laws, made with care 
for the good government of the community, they 


ought, as at present, to forfeit their liberty, and in 
some cases their lives. It is a pity that those who 
have betrayed the innocent, and robbed the father- 
less children and widows, cannot be sent to live 
with savages, and to have their backs tatooed with 
hieroglyphics, expressive of their crimes. 

It has often been a matter of surprise, in the 
circle of my friends, that criminals are not trans- 
ported to the "West Indies, there to undergo a 
purgation till they have redeemed their characters, 
in which case they should be allowed to return 
home. It has also appeared to us that the law 
is defective, in not, somehow or other, protecting 
such men after being released from prison. Some 
association should be formed some friends to them 
and to humanity might be invited forth to pass 
their word, for a time, for their good behaviour, 
to prevent their being thus cast friendless upon an 
unforgiving and censorious world ; for it matters 
not how fervently a man may wish to redeem his 
character, no one will employ him, and he is thereby 
driven to the necessity of flying to some villainous 
scheme to enable him to live. 

It is painful to speak about punishments to be 
inflicted upon one's unfortunate fellow men : it is 
equally so to contemplate their self- degradation. 
But, when it is considered what a voluminous mass 
of laws we have, neither understood nor explained, 
we cannot wonder that they are broken ; they 
are so multifarious and complex, that, as to the 
illiterate description of persons they are meant 
to keep in order, they are almost useless. An 


abridgement of the laws of England would per- 
haps fill fifty folio volumes. These laws, at the 
time they were made, might be good and proper, 
but most of them are now inapplicable and obsolete. 
To amend them seems impossible, and an act to 
amend or explain an act, by adding confusion to 
confusion, is truly farcical. It is a pity that the 
whole of them cannot be abolished at once, and 
short and clear new ones substituted in their stead. 
As they stand at present, few men can understand 
them, and to men of plain, good sense, or of ordi- 
nary capacities, they appear altogether a great mass 
of unintelligible matter, or a complete " riddle-me- 
ree." This may, indeed, be intended or winked at ; 
for it gives employment to a great number of men 
of the law, of all kinds of character, from the basest 
up to others who are ornaments to their country. 
Indeed, were it not for the latter description, the 
rest would not be endurable. They are more to be 
dreaded than highwaymen and housebreakers, and 
as such are viewed by the thinking part of the 
community ; but the former find employment from 
clients of their own character, who trust to them 
for their ability in twisting, evading, and explaining 
the law away. 

In passing through life, it has fortunately been 
my lot to have been intimate with both military 
and naval gentlemen, as well as with those of the 
learned professions ; and, though several of each class 
have stood high in the estimation of the world, for 
their gentlemanly manners and unsullied worth 
to which I may be allowed to add my testimony, 



as well as to acknowledge the debt of gratitude I 
owe some of them for their kindness and attention 
yet, on taking a comparative survey of the whole, 
I cannot help giving a preference to medical men ; 
for, besides their learning and attainments in com- 
mon with other professions, they appear to me, 
generally, to be further removed from prejudice, 
more enlightened, and more liberal in their senti- 
ments than the other labourers in the vineyards of 
science and literature. 


IT is of the utmost importance to individuals 
and to society that attention should be watchfully 
bestowed upon children, both with respect to their 
health and their morals. Their future welfare in 
life depends upon this, and the important charge 
falls greatly upon the mother. Her first lesson 
their talent being only imitation should be that 
of obedience, mildly enforced ; for, reason being the 
faculty of comparing ideas already presented to the 
mind, it cannot exist in a child, to whom few or no 
ideas have been presented. Then follow lessons 
of truth, sincerity, industry, honesty. It ought to 
be impressed upon their minds that, though they are 
young, yet the longest life is only like a dream ; and, 
short as it is, it is rendered shorter by all the time 
lost in wickedness, contention, and strife. They 
ought to be taught that all they can do, while they 
sojourn in this world, is to live honourably, and 
to take every care that the soul shall return to 
the Being who gave it as pure, unpolluted, and spot- 
less as possible ; and that there can be no happiness 
in this life, unless they hold converse with God. 


With respect to the health of children, I fear the 
present management is not right. The mistaken in- 
dulgence of parents, in pampering and spoiling the 
appetites of children, lays the foundation of a perma- 
nent train of diseases, which an endless supply of 
medicines and nostrums will never restore to its 
pristine vigour. Skilful medical aid may, indeed, be 
of use, but nothing is so sure as a recurrence to a 
plain diet, temperance, and exercise. The next ob- 
stacle to remedy, I fear, will not be easily removed ; 
for it is built upon the prejudices of mothers them- 
selves, dictated by notions of fashion and gentility 
which have taken a deep root. When folly has given 
the fashion, she is a persevering dame, and " folly 
ever dotes upon her darling." Instead of impressing 
upon the minds of girls the importance of knowing 
household affairs, and other useful knowledge, and 
cultivating cheerfulness and affability along with the 
courtesies of life, they must undergo a training to 
befit them for appearing in frivolous company. To 
insure this, the mother, or some boarding school mis- 
tress, insists that these delicate young creatures be 
tightened up in a shape-destroying dress, and sit and 
move in graceful stiffness. They must not spring 
about or make use of their limbs, lest it might be 
called romping, and might give them so vulgar, so ro- 
bust, and so red-cheeked a look that they would not 
appear like ladies. The consequence of this is, that 
they become like hot-house plants ; the air must 
not blow upon them ; and, in this state, they must 
attend routs and balls, and midnight assemblies, 


which send numbers of them to an untimely grave.* 
If they survive these trials, still they leave behind a 
want of health and vigour, which hangs upon them 
through life, and they become the nerveless outcasts 
of nature. They are then unfit to become the mo- 
thers of Englishmen ; they twine out a life of ennui, 
and their generation dies out. I have all my life 
been grieved to find this description too often real- 
ized. It is paying too dear for female accomplish- 
ments. It is surely desirable that a change should 
take place, by which fashionable follies may be nar- 
rowed in their boundaries, and a better line drawn 
out ; prescribed by propriety, affability, modesty, 
and good sense, on which the courtesies of life, and 
the invaluable embellishments of civilisation, and 
everything graceful and charming in society, is 
founded. I wish the ladies of the British Isles may 
set the example, and take the lead in this, so that 
ignorant rudeness and vulgarity may be banished 
from the face of the earth. 

If I could influence the fair sex, there is one thing 
to which I would draw their attention ; and that is 
Horticulture ; and, connected with this, I would re- 
commend them, as far as convenient, to become 
Florists, as this delightful and healthy employment, 
which has been long enough in the rude hands 
of men would entice them into the open air, stimu- 
late them to exertion, and draw them away from 

* If these assemblies must be kept up by the gentry who can afford 
it they ought to be held in the day time, that those who attend them 
may get their natural rest at night 


their sedentary mode of life, mewed up in close 
rooms, where they are confined like nuns. This 
would contribute greatly to their amusement, and 
exhilarate their spirits. Every sensible man should 
encourage the fair sex to follow this pursuit. What 
would this world be without their help, to alleviate 
its burdens ? It would appear a barren waste. It 
would no longer be a wide-spread garden of Eden, 
nor an earthly paradise within the reach of our en- 
joyments. May the fruits and flowers of it, reared 
and presented by their fair hands, ever operate as 
a charm in ensuring the attentions and unabating 
regard of all men ! And of all good men it will. 
In thus dictating to them, no embarrassment can 
follow ; and, if they ever know of the liberty I thus 
have taken, it will probably be when all embarrass- 
ments are, with me, at an end. And I can only 
further leave behind me a wish that health may 
eternally blush their cheeks, and virtue their minds. 
Next in consideration to the ladies, who they 
must in courtesy follow, are the freeholders of this 
favoured land. Such of these as, by their attain- 
ments, arrive at the degree of gentlemen, are, or 
ought to be, the pride and glory of every civilised 
country in the world. Placed in opulence and 
independence, they are, and must be looked up to 
as, the patrons of every virtue in the people, who, 
in their station of life, may need such help to en- 
courage them. May gentlemen never lose sight 
of this important duty, and ever be able to stem 
the torrent of gambling and dissipation ; so that 
their ancient mansions may remain in their names 


for ever, as pledges of their worth, and as orna- 
ments to the country. Without their countenance, 
arts and sciences, and artisans, would languish, in- 
dustry would he paralized, and barbarism again rear 
its benumbed hands and stupid head. It is to be 
hoped that the business of their wine vaults, their 
horses, and their dogs, may cease to be the main busi- 
ness of their lives, and only be looked to as matters 
of amusement wherewith to unbend their minds. 
And, as no man can, while he is in possession of 
his faculties, rest in happiness unless he is exer- 
cising them, and some hobby-horse must engage 
his attention, it therefore becomes a question for 
their consideration in what way they can best em- 
ploy themselves. I would earnestly recommend 
that gentlemen should endeavour to improve their 
lands, and lay the foundation of fertilising them : 
and instead of spending perhaps squandering 
their money in follies abroad, as far as possible, 
spend it at home. The late good and wise first 
Lord Ravensworth used to say, there was nothing 
grateful but the earth. " You cannot," said he, " do 
too much for it ; it will continue to pay tenfold 
the pains and labour bestowed upon it." Estates 
eo managed would then exhibit the appearance of 
clean-weeded nurseries. As an act of justice due 
to the industrious farmer, he ought, on entering 
upon his lease, to have his farm valued, and, when 
his lease is out, valued again ; and, whatever im- 
provements he may have made, ought to be paid 
for on his leaving. I am well aware that these 
remarks may not be relished by those whose pride, 


dictated by the wish to domineer, will not give in 
to this fair proposal, for fear of the independent 
spirit it might rear ; but it must be allowed that 
the landlord could come to no loss by it, and 
that the community would be greatly benefited by 
the adoption of such a plan. Those gentlemen 
who have moor lands, however exposed and bleak 
they may be, may yet do something to make 
them more productive, by enclosing them with dry 
stone dykes, beset and bound with ivy, and inter- 
sected with whin hedges ;* and this shelter would 
form a bield for sheep and cattle, and besides would 
produce grass both in quantity and quality such 
as never grew there before. 

The chief offices which gentlemen and freeholders 
are called upon to fulfil are, member of Parliament, 
magistrate, and juryman. The first is the most 
important ; but, indeed, in that as well as the others, 
the requisite ingredients are honesty and intelli- 
gence. If we look at the wretched tools which 
boroughmongers obtrude upon the nation, we may 
anxiously look to the importance of electing gentle- 
men who will unceasingly and boldly oppose such 
men ever being allowed to sit as representatives. 
But these have already gone far on the road towards 
paralysing the British constitution, and establishing 
on its ruins an oligarchy, which is the worst and 
most odious of all governments. 

In the troublesome and gratuitous office of ma- 
gistrate, great sagacity and penetration are re- 

* The very clippings of which (as noticed before) would be health- 
ful fodder for both sheep and cattle. 


quisite to enable the holders, in their political 
capacity, to discriminate between stretching too far 
the, perhaps, ill-defined, and often arbitrary laws, 
beyond the due bounds prescribed by justice and 
mercy. They ought to detest being made the tools 
of despotic acts of corruption, and being like Turkish 
Bashaws spread over the provinces. In their civil 
capacities, matters come more nearly home to them ; 
and in this they have much need of cool deliber- 
ation, as well as extreme vigilence, for without these 
there would be no such thing as living in peace 
while such numbers of the dregs of the people remain 
in ignorance and depravity. These latter do not 
know the meaning of either religion or morality, 
and it is only the strong arm of the law that can 
keep people of this description in order. Their evi- 
dence ought always to be suspected. Oaths have 
little weight : they are so used to them. One of our 
poets says, 

" Of all the nauseous complicated crimes 

" Which both infest and stigmatise the time*, 

" There's none which can with impious oaths compare, 

" Where vice and folly have an equal share. 1 ' 

But, bad as these reprobate oaths are, there are others 
which I think are still worse ; and these are the 
numerous oaths used, and indeed imposed, on so 
many and on such improper occasions, where Omni- 
potence is impiously appealed to in all the little dirty 
transactions between man and man. It would be 
well to remember that an honest man's word is as 
good as his oath, and so is a rogue's too. Surely 
some remedy might be fallen upon to check these 


swearing vices ; especially perjury, bearing false wit- 
ness, as well as when a man is proved to have broken 
his word and his honour. 

There is another vice, of an odious complexion, 
advancing with rapid strides to enormity, which 
cries aloud to be checked. Bad men, with hardened 
effrontery, only laugh at their breaking down every 
barrier to modesty and virtue, and thus disrobing 
innocence, and rendering deformed that which ought 
to be the brightest feature of civilisation. The crime 
to which I allude needs only to be examined to con- 
vince any one of its cruelty to the fair sex, and its 
extensively demoralising influence on society. Let 
any man ask himself how he would feel were his 
daughter or his sister to be betrayed. This question 
ought to be fairly canvassed. Although it will be 
allowed that men, devoid of honour and modesty, 
who have let loose their unbridled, bad passions, will 
not be easily stopped in their career, yet, notwith- 
standing, this evil may be, by the strong arm of the 
law, greatly banished from the land, and innate mo- 
desty planted in its stead. 

All men and women in health, and of good cha- 
racter, ought to be countenanced in marrying ; and 
it is for them to consider whether they can properly 
rear and educate a family ; and, should there be an 
over- abundant population, then colonisation might 
be resorted to at the public expense ; and this globe 
will be found large enough to hold additional mil- 
lions upon millions of people. There are few con- 
tracts between human beings which should be more 
delicate than that of marriage. It is an engage- 


ment of the utmost importance to individuals and 
to society, and which of all others ought to be the 
most unbiassed; for it cannot be attended with 
honour, nor blessed with happiness, if it has not 
its origin in mutual affection. The rules to be 
observed in thus selecting and fixing the choice 
are few, simple, and easily understood. Both males 
and females, if of unsound constitution, ought to 
forbear matrimony. It is the duty of every man 
to endeavour to get a healthy woman for the sake 
of his children, and an amiable one for his own 
domestic comfort. The fair sex should observe the 
like rules. If a woman marries a man who has 
broken down his constitution by his own dissipation, 
or has imbibed a tainted one from his parents, she 
must not be surprised at becoming a nurse to him 
and his nerveless, puny, offspring. One cannot 
help wondering at the uncommon pains a gentle- 
man will take in buying a horse, to see that the 
animal is perfectly sound, and without blemish, and 
that he should not take the same pains in choosing a 
wife, which is of infinitely more importance to him. 
He, perhaps to repair his shattered fortune, will marry 
any woman if she has plenty of money. She may, 
indeed, be the innocent heir to the full-charged 
hereditary diseases of a pair of voluptuous citizens, 
just as that may happen to be. No gentleman need 
to look far from his home, to be enabled to meet 
with an helpmate, possessing every requisite to 
make him happy ; but, if he cannot meet with such 
a one, or cannot please himself in his own neigh- 
bourhood, he had better travel in search of one 


from Land's End to John o' Groat's House, than 
not get a proper partner as the mother of his 

I have often thought that the children of gentle- 
men boys particularly are too soon put to school 
under improper restraints, and harassed with edu- 
cation before their minds are fit for it. Were they 
sent to the edge of some moor, to scamper about 
amongst whins and heather, under the care of some 
good old man some mentor who would teach them 
a little every day, without embarrassing them 
they would there, in this kind of preparatory school, 
lay in a foundation of health, as well as education. 
If they were thus allowed to run wild by the sides 
of burns to fish, to wade, and to splash in they 
would soon find their minds intently employed in 
sports and pleasures of their own choosing. It 
would be found that youth so brought up, besides 
thus working out any little hereditary ailments, 
would never forget the charms of the country, which 
would impart to them a flow of spirits through life 
such as very few, or none, brought up in a town ever 
know, and, besides this, lay in a strong frame work 
on which to build a nervous constitution, befitting 
the habitation of an energetic mind and a great soul. 
Let any one look at the contrast between men thus 
brought up, and the generality of early-matured 
Lilliputian plants, and he will soon see, with very 
few exceptions, the difference, both in body and 
mind, between them. 


THE game laws have for ages past been a miser- 
able source of contention between those rendered 
unqualified by severe and even cruel game laws, 
and parties who had influence to get these laws 
enacted for their own exclusive privilege of kill- 
ing the game. To convince the intelligent poor 
man that the fowls of the air were created only 
for the rich is impossible, and will for ever remain 
so. If it be pleaded that, because the game are 
fed on the lands of the latter, they have the ex- 
clusive right to them, this would appear to be carry- 
ing the notions of the sacredness of property too far ; 
for even this ought to have its bounds ; but were this 
conceded, as property is enjoyed by a rental, and 
as the farmers feed the game, they would appear 
to belong to them more properly than to any one 
else. I own I feel great repugnance in saying 
anything that might have a tendency to curtail the 
healthy enjoyments of the country gentleman, in his 
field sports, which his fortune and his leisure enable 
him so appropriately to pursue ; at the same time it is 
greatly to be regretted that anything any over- 
stretched distinctions should ever happen to make 


a breach between the poor and the rich. It is, 
however, to be wished that the unqualified man 
may find his attention engaged, and his mind ex- 
cited in some other way (or by his business) than 
that of becoming a poacher. The strange propen- 
sity, however unaccountable, in almost all men TO 
KILL, and the pleasurable excitement to do so, is 
equally strong in the poacher as in the gentleman 
sportsman. This excitement, or an extreme desire 
to exhilarate the spirits, and to give them energy, 
as well as pleasure, pervades more or less, the minds 
of all mankind, and shows itself in every species of 
gambling, from cock-fighting, dog and man fight- 
ing, hunting, horse-racing, and even up to the 
acme of excitement or excitement run mad that 
of horrid war. I wish something more rational and 
better could be contrived to whet the mind and to 
rouse its energies ; for certain it is that " the heart 
that never tastes pleasure shuts up, grows stiff, and 
incapable of enjoyment." The minds of men ought 
therefore, to be unbent at certain times, especially 
in some constitutions, to prevent their becoming 
nerveless and hypochondriacal, the worst of all dis- 
eases, in which the mind sees everything with an ob- 
liquity of intellect, and creates numberless cruel and 
imaginary evils which continually surround and em- 
barras it. Only let a man who cannot employ him- 
self with some hobby or other know that he is 
provided for, and has nothing to do, and it will 
soon be seen how ennui, with benumbing steps, will 
thrust itself upon him, and what a stupid and un- 
happy being he is. 


If I have reasoned correctly in the foregoing 
observations, it is, then, desirable that sports and 
pastimes should be resorted to that might, in many 
cases, turn out to public good. For this purpose, 
I have often thought that small sums might be 
subscribed and collected to be given as a prize to 
the best shot at a mark. The utility and national 
purpose of this scheme may at some time be felt ; 
for, so long as surrounding despots can gather to- 
gether immense mercenary armies, they ought to 
be effectually guarded against, and they certainly 
might be as effectually checked by hundreds of thou- 
sands of riflemen, (including the militia), thus trained 
for the defence of the kingdom, at a comparatively 
small expense. They might have their bullets made 
of baked clay, which would probably be as efficient 
as those made of lead, and cost almost nothing. 

The last subject I shall notice, as being kept up 
by unequal and unjust laws, is the fisheries, through- 
out the kingdom. The laws made respecting them 
originated in the times of feudal tyranny, when 
"might was right," and everything was carried 
with a high hand. It was then easy for an over- 
bearing aristocracy, by their influence, to get 
grants and charters made entirely on their own be- 
half. The rights of the community were set at 
nought, or were treated with contempt. But those 
days are passed away ; the march of intellect is 
spreading over the world ; and all public matters 
are now viewed with feelings of a very different 
kind than when such laws were made, and which 
ought to have been repealed long since ; but they 


are still in force, and will continue so as long as 
the potent feelings of overstretched self-interest 
are allowed to guide those who have the power to 
keep the grasp of this their antiquated hold : for 
such can hear no reason against their private in- 
terest, however unanswerable it may be. No rea- 
sonable plea can ever be set up, to show that the 
fish of rivers ought to be the private property of 
any one. Can it be pretended that because a river 
or a rivulet, passes through an estate, whether the 
owner of it will or not, that the fish which breed 
in it, or \vhich live in it, ought to be his? They 
are not like the game, which are all fed by the far- 
mer, for fish cost nobody anything ; therefore, in 
common justice, they ought to belong to the public, 
and ought to be preserved for the public good, in 
every county through which the rivers pass, and 
be let at a rental from the clerk of the peace, and 
the money arising therefrom applied to making 
bridges and roads, or for county or other rates. 
Stewards ought to be appointed to receive the rents, 
and a committee of auditors elected annually, by 
ballot, as a check upon the management of the whole. 
If the fisheries were not thus rented, the public 
would derive little benefit from such an immense 
supply of food ; for without they were thus disposed 
of each county would soon be over- run with such 
numbers of poachers as would become intolerable. 
All this, however, ought to be well considered ; 
for, notwithstanding the selfish principle which dic- 
tated the original grants of the fisheries, long since 
obtained, the present possessors are not to blame, 


and suddenly to deprive any man of what he has 
been accustomed to receive may be deemed a harsh 
measure, and in some cases a cruel one ; therefore 
some equitable sum should be paid to the owners at 
once, as a remuneration in lieu of all future claims ; 
as fish ought not to be considered as an inheritance 
to descend to the heirs of any one. 

From about the year 1700 to '67, when a boy, I 
was frequently sent by my parents to purchase a 
salmon from the fishers of the " strike" at Eltring- 
ham ford. At that time, I never paid more, and 
often less, than three halfpence per pound (mostly 
a heavy, guessed weight, about which they were 
not exact). Before, or perhaps about this time, there 
had always been an article inserted in every inden- 
ture in Newcastle, that the apprentice was not to be 
obliged to eat salmon above twice a week, and the 
like bargain was made upon hiring ordinary ser- 
vants. It need not be added that the salmo tribe 
then teemed in abundance in the Tyne, and there 
can be little doubt that the same immense numbers 
would return to it again were proper measures pur- 
sued to facilitate their passage from the sea to breed. 
All animals, excepting fish, only increase, but they 
multiply, and that in so extraordinary a degree as 
to set all calculation at defiance. It is well known 
that they ascend every river, rivulet, and burn, in 
search of proper places to deposit their spawn ; and 
this is the case both with those kinds which quit the 
sea, and those which never leave the fresh water. 
In their thus instinctively searching for proper 
spawning places, they make their way up to such 


shallows as one would think it impossible for any 
animal wanting legs and feet ever to crawl up to ; 
therefore every improper weir or dam that obstructs 
their free passage ought to be thrown down, as they 
are one great cause of the salmon quitting the pro- 
per spawning places in the river, to return to spawn 
in the sea as well as they can ; where, it is fair to 
conclude, their fry, or their roe, are swallowed up 
by other fish, as soon as they, or it, are spread 
abroad along the shores. 

It will readily be perceived, that the fishers' weirs 
are made chiefly with a view of preventing their 
neighbour fishers from coming in for their due share ; 
but, were the fisheries let, as before named, the dif- 
ferent fishing places would then be planned out by 
the stewards, as well as remedying other faults with 
an impartial hand. There are, besides weirs and 
dams, other causes which occasion the falling off of 
the breed of salmon, by greatly preventing them 
from entering and making their way up rivers for 
the purpose of spawning. They have a great aver- 
sion to passing through impure water, and even 
snow-water stops them ; for they will lie still, and 
wait until it runs off. The filth of manufactories is 
also very injurious, as well as the refuse which is 
washed off the uncleaned streets of large towns by 
heavy rains. "Were this filth in all cases led away 
and laid on the land, it would be of great value to 
the farmer, and persons should be appointed to do 
that duty, not in a slovenly or lazy manner, but with 
punctuality and despatch. In this the health and 
comfort of the inhabitants of towns ought to be con- 


sidered as of great importance to them, as well as 
that of keeping the river as pure as possible on ac- 
count of the fish. 

Should the evils attendant upon weirs and dams, 
and other matters, be rectified, then the next neces- 
sary step to be taken should be the appointment of 
river conservators and vigilant guards to protect the 
kipper, or spawning fish, from being killed while 
they are in this sickly and imbecile state. They 
are then so easily caught, that, notwithstanding they 
are very unwholesome as food, very great numbers 
are taken in the night, which are eaten by poor 
people, who do not know how pernicious they are. 
But, should all these measures be found not fully to 
answer public expectation, the time now allowed for 
fishing might be shortened, and in some years, if 
ever found necessary, the fishing might be laid in 
for a season. 

The next important question for consideration, is 
respecting what can be done to prevent the destruc- 
tion of salmon on their first entering a river, and 
while they are in full perfection, by their most power- 
ful and most conspicuously destructive enemy, the 

I have seen a shoal of porpoises, off Tynemouth, 
swimming abreast of each other, and thus occupying 
a space of apparently more than a hundred yards 
from the shore, seawards, and crossing the mouth of 
the river, so that no salmon could enter it. They 
went backward and forward for more than a mile, 
along shore, and with such surprising rapidity that, 
in their course, they caused a foam to arise, like the 


breakers of the sea in a storm. Might not a couple 
of steam packets, with strong nets, sweep on shore 
hundreds of these at a time ? Perhaps by giving 
premiums for catching them they might be greatly 
thinned, and their tough skins be tanned, or other- 
wise prepared, so as to be applied to some use. Oil 
might be obtained partly to pay for the trouble of 
taking this kind of fish ; and, lastly, they might be 
used as an article of food. They were eaten formerly 
even by the gentry : and why not make the attempt 
to apply them to that purpose again ? Perhaps, by 
pickling or drying them, and by other aids of cook- 
ery, they might prove good and wholesome ; for 
every animal in season is so, which, when out of sea- 
son, is quite the reverse. 

If the parent fishes of the salmo tribe were pro- 
tected, the fry would soon be seen to swarm in in- 
credible numbers, and perhaps a pair of them would 
spawn more than all the anglers from the source to 
the mouth of any river could fairly catch in one sea- 
son. Having from a boy been an angler, it is with 
feelings painfully rankling in my mind that I live in 
dread (from hints already given) of this recreation 
being abridged or stopped. Angling has from time 
immemorial been followed, and ought to be indulged 
in unchecked by arbitrary laws, as the birthright of 
everyone, but particularly of the sedentary and the 
studious. It is cruel to think of debarring the fair 
angler, by any checks whatever ; the salmon fishers 
may, indeed, begrudge to see such fill his creel with 
a few scores of the fry ; because what is taken might 
in a short time return to them as full-grown salmon 



(for all fish, as well as birds, return to the same 
places where they were bred) ; but, . for reasons 
before-named, this selfishness should not be attended 
to for a moment, and the fisheries ought to be taken 
subject to this kind of toll or imaginary grievance. 

I have always felt extremely disgusted at what is 
called preserved waters (except fish ponds) ; that is, 
where the fish in these waters are claimed exclusively 
as private property. The disposition which sets up 
claims of this kind is the same as would if it could 
sell the sea, and the use of the sun and the rain. 
Here the angler is debarred by the surly, selfish 
owner of the adjoining land, the pleasure of enjoy- 
ing the most healthful and comparatively the most 
innocent of all diversions. It unbends the minds of 
the sedentary and the studious, whether it may be 
those employed at their desks, or " the pale artist 
plying his sickly trade," and enables such to return 
to their avocations, or their studies, with reno- 
vated energy, to labour for their own or for the 
public good. But as any thing, however good in 
itself, may be abused, therefore some regulations 
should be laid down as a guide to the fair angler in 
this his legitimate right, and some check imposed 
upon the poacher, who might be inclined to stop at 
nothing, however unfair. I think Waltonian socie- 
ties would be all-sufficient to manage these matters, if 
composed of men of good character and good sense. 
There ought to be one of these societies established in 
the principal town in each district, and to have its 
honorary members branched out into the more dis- 
tant p;ir(s. Perhaps a fine imposed, or even the 


frowns of the society, might be sufficient to deter 
poachers. The object ought to be, to regulate the 
times for angling, and to discountenance, or send to 
Coventry, such as spend almost the whole of their 
time in " beating the streams." They ought also to 
keep a watchful eye over such as care not how or in 
what manner they take fish, so as they may only get 
plenty of them. The " Honourable Society of Wal- 
tonians" ought to use every means in their power to 
protect the " glittering inhabitants of the waters" 
from being unfairly taken or destroyed. Fought 
nets ought to be prohibited, as well as all catching 
of the salmon fry in mill races, by putting thorn 
bushes into them, to stop their passing through, and 
then letting off the water. In this way, a cart load 
of these have often been known to be taken at once. 
Another method, still more destructive than this, is 
far too often put in practice ; that is, what is called 
liming the burns. This ought to be utterly put a 
stop to by severe punishments. A clown, from ignor- 
ance, but, perhaps, from something worse, puts a 
'few clots of unslaked, or quick, lime into a pcol, or 
hole, in a burn, for the sake of killing a few trouts 
that he sees in it ; and thus poisons the water run- 
ning down to the rivulet, or the river, destroying 
every living creature to such a distance as may seem 
incredible. The attentive angler must sometimes have 
observed the almost invisible, incipient, living spawn 
in thousands, appearing only like floating mud, sun- 
ning themselves on a shallow sand-bank, which, as 
soon as the water thus poisoned reaches them, they 
drop down like mud indeed, and are no more seen. 


How vividly do recollections of the enjoyment 
angling has afforded me return to the mind, now 
when those days have passed away, never more to 
return. Like the pleasing volume of the patriarch 
of anglers Izaac Walton volumes might yet be 
written to point out and to depicture the beautiful 
scenery of woods and water sides, in the midst of 
which the pleasures attendant upon this exhilarating 
and health-restoring, hungry, exercise is pursued. 
How many narratives of the exploits of the days thus 
spent might be raked up to dwell upon, when they 
are all over, like a pleasing dream ! 

Well do I remember mounting the stile which 
gave the first peep of the curling or rapid stream, 
over the intervening, dewy, daisy-covered holme 
boundered by the early sloe, and the haw thorn - 
blossomed hedge and hung in succession with fes- 
toons of the wild rose, the tangling woodbine, and 
the bramble, with their bewitching foliage and 
the fairy ground and the enchanting music of the 
lark, the blackbird, the throstle, and the blackcap, 
rendered soothing and plaintive by the cooings of 
the ringdove, which altogether charmed, but per- 
haps retarded, the march to the brink of the scene 
of action, with its willows, its alders, or its sallows 
where early I commenced the days' patient campaign. 
The pleasing excitements of the angler still follow 
him, whether he is engaged in his pursuits amidst 
scenery such as I have attempted to describe, or on the 
heathery moor, or by burns guttered out by moun- 
tain torrents, and boundered by rocks or grey moss- 
covered stones, which form the rapids and the pools 


in which is concealed his beautiful yellow and spot- 
ted prey. Here, when tired and alone, I used to open 
my wallet and dine on cold meat and coarse rye 
bread, with an appetite that made me smile at the 
trouble people put themselves to in preparing the 
sumptuous feast ; the only music in attendance was 
perhaps the murmuring burn, the whistling cry of 
the curlew, the solitary water ouzel, or the whirring 
wing of the moor game. I would, however, re- 
commend to anglers not to go alone ; a trio of 
them is better, and mutual assistance is often ne- 

It is foreign to my purpose to give any history, 
in this place, of the various kinds of fishes which 
anglers pursue ; of this there is no need, for, I think, 
more treatises on this subject than on any other 
have been printed, to direct the angler to perfection 
in his art. But I cannot help noticing, as matter of 
regret, that more pains have not been taken to mul- 
tiply fish, and to increase the breed of eels, as every 
permanent pool might so easily be fully stocked with 
them ; and the latter are, when properly cooked, 
the most delicious of all fish kind. Walton has been 
particular in describing his mode of cooking them ; 
but, unless he killed them beforehand, his method 
is a very cruel one. 

In thus dwelling on subjects which stimulate man 
eagerly to pursue the work of destruction, and to ex- 
tend his power over those animals of which he con- 
siders himself as the lord and master, and that they 
are destined to contribute to his pleasures or to his 
support, yet he ought not totally to forget that what 



is sport to him is death to them, and that the less of 
cruelty the better. 

I think, had I not begun so early to be an angler, 
and before feelings of tenderness had entered the 
mind, my eagerness for angling might have been, on 
this score, somewhat abated ; but I argued myself 
into a belief that fish had little sense, and scarcely 
any feeling, and they certainly have very much less 
of either than any of the land animals ; but we see 
through all nature that one kind of animal seems 
destined to prey upon another, and fishes are the 
most voracious of all. 


NOT having seen Edinburgh since August, 1776, 
I longed to see it again, and set out on this journey 
on the llth August, 1823, and went through by 
coach on that day. I always thought highly of 
Edinburgh and its bold and commanding situation ; 
but the new town, or city of palaces, as it is 
sometimes called, had been added to it since I had 
seen it. But all these splendid buildings are of tri- 
vial import compared with the mass of intellect and 
science which h id taken root and had been nurtered 
and grown up to such a height as to rival, and per- 
haps to outstrip, every other city in the world. My 
stay was only a fortnight ; and this was a busy time, 
both as to its being taken up with the kindness and 
hospitality met with everywhere as well as in visit- 
ing its various scientific and other establishments. 
It being at a vacation season, when most of the 
learned professors were out of town, I saw only 
Professors Jameson and Wallace, and was often at 
the table of the former, which was surrounded by 
men of learning and science who visited him from 
all parts of the world. The attentions of Professor 
Wallace were most friendlv. He shewed me the use 


of the Eidograph, au instrument which he had in- 
vented for the purpose of either reducing or enlarg- 
ing a drawing or design most accurately to any size 
that might be required. I visited Patrick Neil, 
Esq., and was much pleased with seeing the tamed 
birds and other curiosities which embellished his 
little paradise. His uncommon kindness will ever 
remain impressed upon my memory. I also often 
called upon my friend, Mr. Archibald Constable, 
accounted the first bookseller in Scotland ; and, al- 
though he was unwell at the time, I partook of his 
kind attentions. I visited the splendid exhibition 
of paintings of the late Sir Henry Raeburn, Bart., 
the rooms of Mr. William Allan, historical painter, 
Mr. Stewart, engraver, and those of several others 
who were absent. With other artists, who were 
known to ine, I spent some time in several calls. 
These calls were upon my old friend, Mr. Nasmyth, 
landscape painter ; my townsman, Mr. Wm. Nichol- 
son; Mr. James Kirkwood, now up in years, but who 
had in his prime led the way to excellence in en- 
graving. I also paid my respects to the son and 
successor of my kind friend of former days, the late 
Mr. Hector Gavin ; and the same to the sons and 
successors of the late Mr. D. Lizars. All these had 
attained to that degree of excellence which did 
honour to Edinburgh, now the seat of learning, and 
rendered brilliant by the gems of art, and by the 
science with which it is adorned. I have almost 
forgotten to name my being introduced to Messrs. 
Ballantyne and Robertson, lithographic printers/ 
Whilst I was in their office, the latter pressed me 


to make a sketch on the stone for him. I was then 
preparing to leave Edinburgh, and the only time 
left me was so short that I was obliged to draw this 
sketch before breakfast the next morning, and the 
proofs were taken from it on the same day. In 
doing this, though very slight, I could see what that 
manner of making prints was capable of. I left 
Edinburgh on the 23rd August, 1823, and I think 
I shall see Scotland no more. 

After my journeys (long ago) to Cherryburn 
were ended, I used, as formerly, seldom to miss going 
in the mornings to Elswick Lane, to drink whey, or 
buttermilk, and commonly fell in with a party who 
went there for the same purpose ; and this kind of 
social intercourse continued for many years. I also, 
at that time, on the Sunday afternoons, went to visit 
and contemplate in the church-yards, and there give 
vent to my mind, in feelings of regret, and in re- 
peating a kind of soliloquy over the graves of those 
with whom I had been intimate. 

" And then I lov'd to haunt lone burial places, 
Pacing the church-yard path with noiseless tread, 

To pore on new-made graves for ghastly traces, 
Brown crumbling bones of the forgotten dead." 

I recounted in my memory the numbers of my friends 
thus put by to be forgotten, amongst the millions of 
others who had been for longer or shorter periods 
also in this world, and who have passed away into 
Eternity. Even the "frail memorial" erected to 
"perpetuate the memory" of those who had been 
esteemed seemed to be of little avail, and their me- 
mentos, as well as those decked out with ornamented 


flatteries, would, in time, all go to decay, and be no 
longer remembered than until all who once knew 
them were also dead ; and the numbers of both the 
one and the other appeared to me to be so immense 
that to estimate them seemed impossible, and like 
attempting to count the grains of sand on the sea 
beach. It is thus that the grave swallows all up 
without distinction. The true estimate of their vari- 
ous merits can only be known to the Creator of all. 
It appears clear to those whose souls habitually 
adore and commune with Him, while they remain in 
this state of probation, that He will, in His infinite 
goodness, wisdom, truth, justice, and mercy place 
everyone, on quitting this mortal abode, in the un- 
knowable worlds befitting their reception. 

Besides the temporary mementos dedicated to pri- 
vate worth, others of a different character may have 
their use. Monuments might therefore be erected 
to those who have, by their virtues and patriotism, 
promoted the happiness of mankind. It is a debt of 
gratitude due to the Author of our being for the loan 
of departed worth, and may stimulate others " to do 
so likewise." The posthumous praise or blame of 
the world is to them of no avail ; they are done with 
all things on this side of Time, and are out of the 
reach of both the one and the other. 

While I was pursuing my ramblings in the High- 
lands, and beheld with admiration the great project- 
ing rocks so often to be seen holding up their bare 
heads to the winds, it struck me that it was a great 
pity they could not be converted to some use : and 
the best I could think of was, that the illustrious 


names of Wallace and Bruce as well as those of 
their other worthies should be inscribed upon them, 
to hold up their heads with these names to the sun 
for ever. I have often thought since, that the bare 
rocks in other parts of our islands might with good 
effect be filled up in the same way. The first name 
to be fixed upon ought to be that of Alfred the \ 
Great, followed by many others statesmen, patriots, 
philosophers, poets, &c. who have shone out like 
polished diamonds, and who have embellished and 
illumined this country, and civilized the world. 
Their venerated names, with their maxims, or quota- 
tions from their works, would fill up many of these 
rocks, which are waiting for them, and might make 
all who beheld them inclined to profit by, or to imi- 
tate, their virtues. How many incomparably good, 
wise, and beautiful texts from the Bible might also 
with great propriety be added to fill up every vacant 
spot. I often lamented that I had not the means to 
enable me to be at the expense of getting such quo- 
tations inscribed in this way. Often, while angling 
on a hot, sunny day, which slackened my sport, I 
have sat down by the water side, and thought over 
some of the beautiful lines of our poets, fit to be ap- 
plied in this way ; and remember my having thought 
of those lines of Cunningham, which I would, if I 
could have afforded it, have committed to the care of 
a rock. He says : 

" How smooth that rapid river glides 

Progressive to the deep ! 
The poppies pendent o'er its sides 

Have lull'd the waves to sleep. 


" Pleasure's intoxicated sons ! 

Ye indolent ! ye gay ! 
Reflect, for as the river runs 

Time wings his trackless way." 

How easy would it be for gentlemen to get the names 
of the illustrious dead thus inscribed upon rocks ; or, 
where that could not be done, to erect pillars, or 
small obelisks, over copious springs (like the holy 
wells of old), to contain such inscriptions as those I 
have hinted at, and thus leave these their marks be- 
hind them ; and which would long continue to put 
the passing stranger in mind of some religious, 
moral, or patriotic sentiment ; and, while he was re- 
freshing himself by quenching his thirst, he might 
be put in mind that 

" Man wants but little here below, 
Nor wants that little long." 


HAVING already noticed my beginnings, or first 
efforts, in engraving on wood ; and as at that time 
this department of the arts was at the very lowest 
ebb in this country, and, I believe, also in every 
other country in Europe, it may perhaps be of some 
use, or at least may excite some curiosity, to know 
the part I took in renewing, or bringing into use, 
this to me new art, as far as I was able, with the 
slender means in my hands, and the many difficulties 
I had to contend with and surmount, before anything 
like an approach towards perfection could be arrived 
at. I ought first distinctly to state that, at that time, 
it never entered into my head that it was a branch of 
art that would stand pre-eminent for utility, or that 
it could ever in the least compete with engraving on 
copper. I ought also to observe that no vain notions 
of my arriving at any eminence ever passed through 
my mind, and that the sole stimulant with me was 
the pleasure I derived from imitating natural objects 
(and I had no other patterns to go by), and the 
opportunity it afforded me of making and drawing 
my designs on the wood, as the only way I had in 
my power of giving vent to a strong propensity to 


gratify my feelings in this way. In process of time, 
however, as I began to improve, and seeing the 
practical use printers were making of wood cuts, 
the utility and importance of them began to be un- 
folded to my view ; aud the more I have since 
thought upon the subject, the more I am confirmed 
in the opinions I have entertained, that the use of 
wood cuts will know no end, or, so long as the im- 
portance of printing is duly appreciated and the 
liberty of the press held sacred. 

The first difficulty I felt, as I proceeded, was in 
getting the cuts I had executed printed so as to look 
anything like my drawings on the blocks of wood, 
nor corresponding to the labour I had bestowed upon 
the cutting of the designs. At that time pressmen 
were utterly ignorant as to any proper effect that 
was to be produced ; or even, if one of them pos- 
sessed any notions of excellence beyond the common 
run of workmen, his materials for working were so 
defective that he could not execute even what he 
himself wished to accomplish. The common pelt 
balls then in use, so daubed the cut, and blurred and 
overlapped its edges, that the impression looked dis- 
gusting. To remedy this defect, I was obliged care- 
fully to shave down the edges round about ; and this 
answered the end I had in view. The next difficulty 
was worse to surmount, and required a long time to 
get over it ; and that was, to lower down the surface 
on all the parts I wished to appear pale, so as to give 
the appearance of the required distance ; and this 
process will always continue to call forth and to ex- 
ercise the judgment of every wood engraver, even 


after he knows what effect his careful pressman may 
be enabled to produce, from this his manner of cut- 
ting. On this all artists must form their own ideas. 
I think no exact description can be laid down as a 
rule for others to go by : they will by practice have 
to find out this themselves. While I was patiently 
labouring and contending with difficulties which I 
could not overcome, I was shown some impressions 
from wood cuts done long ago, with cross-hatching, 
such as I thought I should never be able to execute. 
These were from wood cuts by Albert Durer, and 
perhaps some others of his day, in the collection of 
the Rev. John Brand, the Newcastle Historian ; and 
from these I concluded that Albert Durer must have 
had some very easy way of loading his blocks with 
such an useless profusion of cross-hatching, or he 
would not have done them so, unless, indeed, he had 
found out some easy means of etching the wood (or 
perhaps metal plates), quite unknown to me ; but, if 
otherwise, I then, in changing my opinion, could 
think of no other way than that he must have cut 
his blocks on the plank or side way of the wood, 
on which it would be more easy to pick out the inter- 
stices between the squares, or the lozenge- shaped 
lines, than as I (at that time) thought it possible to 
do on the end way of the wood. One of these plank 
blocks, said to have been drawn by Albert Durer, 
was shown to me by my kind friend George Allan, 
Esq., of the Grange, Darlington. The drawing, 
which was done with great accuracy, seemed to me 
to have been done by a crow-quill, with a kind of 
varnish ink, the strokes of which, from their regu- 


larity, looked as if they had been printed from a 
well-executed copper plate, and transferred to the 
block. After labouring for some time, endeavouring 
to produce the like effect on my blocks, on the end 
way of the wood, not indeed to my satisfaction, I felt 
mortified in not succeeding to my wish ; and I then 
began to think the impressions must have been 
printed from two blocks. This, indeed, I soon found 
to be quite easy to do, as well as being beautifully 
correct ; and any artist may see this in a few 
minutes, by cutting parallel lines on a piece of wood, 
and from it taking, by his hand, an impression on a 
piece of paper, and then again inking the same cut, 
and printing it in the same way, either directly in a 
cross or in an oblique direction, upon the first im- 
pression. This can also easily be done, from two 
cuts, at a printing press, and is much easier to do, 
and better than the labour necessarily bestoAved upon 
one cross-hatched block. When I had accomplished 
this, and satisfied myself that the process was both 
simple and perfect, as to obtaining the object I so 
much wanted, my curiosity on this score ceased, and 
I then concluded that in this way the cross-hatching 
might be set aside as a thing of no use at all. The 
artists indeed of the present day have brought it to 
such a pitch of perfection that I do not know that 
it can be carried any further ; and in this they have 
also been so marvellously aided by the improved 
methods now used in printing their cuts, that one 
would be led to conclude that this department has 
also attained to perfection ; and, had this not been 
the case, the masterly execution of wood cuts, either 


by crossed lines, or otherwise, would have continued 
to be beheld with disgust or contempt. I have long 
been of opinion that the cross-hatching of wood cuts, 
for book work, is a waste of time ; as every desired 
effect can be much easier obtained by plain parallel 
lines. The other way is not the legitimate ob- 
ject of wood engraving. Instead of imitating 
the manner of copper etchings, at a great cost 
of labour and time, on the wood, such drawings 
might have been as soon etched on the copper at 
once ; and, where a large impression of any publica- 
tion was not required, the copper plate would have 
cost less, and lasted long enough for the purpose 
intended. I never could discover any additional 
beauty or colour that the crossed strokes gave to the 
impression, beyond the effect produced by plain pa- 
rallel lines. This is very apparent when to a cer- 
tainty the plain surface of the wood will print as 
black as ink and balls can make it, without any 
further labour at all ; and it may easily be seen that 
the thinnest strokes cut upon the plain surface will 
throw some light on the subject or design : and, if 
these strokes are made wider and deeper, it will re- 
ceive more light ; and if these strokes, again, are 
made still wider, or of equal thickness to the black 
lines, the colour these produce will be a grey ; and 
the more the white strokes are thickened, the nearer 
will they, in their varied shadings, approach to white, 
and, if quite taken away, then a perfect white is ob- 
tained. The methods I have pursued appear to me 
to be the simple and easy perfection of wood engrav- 



ing for book printing, and, no doubt, will appear 
better or worse according to the ability of the artist 
who executes them. The first time I ever heard any- 
thing about colour being produced by plain engraving 
was in the compliments paid me by Dr. Thos. Stout, 
for my engraving on his large silver box. The de- 
vice, or design, I have now forgotten, but never what 
he said on the occasion; and from that time I at- 
tempted colour upon the wood ; and, though I felt 
much difficulty in my attempts at producing it, yet 
the principle is there, and will shine out under the 
skill and management of any eminent engraver on 
wood who is gifted with a painter's eye ; and his 
work will be complete if seconded by a pressman of 
ability, who may happen to have a talent and fellow- 
feeling for the art. 

I have before noticed my lowering down the sur- 
face of the wood, in order to produce the effect of 
distance, and the same thing holds good with every 
figure where different shades of colour is desired. 
Leaving the surface of the block without being pared 
down at all, and relying only on the lines being left 
thicker or smaller for producing the requisite depth 
of shade, this surface thus left acts as a support to 
the more delicate lines, which have been engraved 
on the lowered part of the cut. After all the parts 
are thus lowered, a further paring down of the edges 
of the various figures which the cut contains may be 
necessary to prevent their appearing as if surrounded 
by a white line. The delicate lines thus lowered, go 
as to print pale or distant parts, and thus protected 


by the stronger lines left on the surface a wood cut, 
with care, will print an incredible number : how 
many it may be difficult exactly to say ; but it once 
happened that I had the opportunity given me of 
guessing pretty nearly at this, from the calculation 
of the late Mr. S. Hodgson, when he called upon me 
with a gentleman (a stranger to me) who seemed 
extremely curious to know everything respecting 
engraving on wood. One of his queries was made 
with a view of ascertaining how many impressions a 
wood cut would print. Not having anything in 
mind at the moment, to enable me to satisfy him, I 
began to consider, and it then struck me that a little 
delicate cut a view of Newcastle was done for Mr. 
H. many years before, as a fac for his newspaper. 
I then turned to the date in my ledger, when he 
calculated exactly, and found it had printed above 
900,000. This cut was continued in the newspaper 
several years afterwards. It was protected in the 
manner before noticed by a strong black line, or 
border, surrounding it, within which the surface was 
lowered previous to cutting the view. This cut is 
still kept ; and, except being somewhat damaged by 
being tossed about amongst other castaway cuts, 
might, by being a little repaired, yet print many 
thousands. This is mentioned with a view to show 
the great length of time that cuts done in this way 
will last, if they are carefully adjusted to the height 
of the type, and kept out of the hands of ignorant, 
rude pressmen. 

I am of opinion that cuts done in the manner 



called surface-cutting cannot stand anything like so 
large an impression as when they are lowered thus ; 
for the delicate lines, when left on the surface, must 
soon break down from the heavy pressure to which 
they are exposed. 



IT is foreign to my purpose to criticize the works 
of brother artists of the present day. I behold 
their excellent productions with pleasure ; in them 
there is no falling oif: they surpass those of the 
artists of the olden times. I cannot, however, help 
lamenting that, in all the vicissitudes which the art 
of wood engraving has undergone, some species of it 
is lost and done away : I mean the large blocks with 
the prints from them, so common to be seen when I 
was a boy in every cottage and farm house through- 
out the country. These blocks, I suppose, from their 
size, must have been cut on the plank way on beach, 
or some other kind of close-grained wood ; and from 
the immense number of impressions from them, so 
cheaply and extensively spread over the whole 
country, must have given employment to a great 
number of artists, in this inferior department of 
wood cutting ; and must also have formed to them 
an important article of traffic. These prints, which 
were sold at a very lo\f price, were commonly illus- 
trative of some memorable exploits, or were, perhaps, 
the portraits of eminent men, who had distinguished 
themselves in the service of their country, or in their 


patriotic exertions to serve mankind. Besides these, 
there were a great variety of other designs, often with 
songs added to them of a moral, a patriotic, or a 
rural tendency, which served to enliven the circle in 
which they were admired. To enumerate the great 
variety of these pictures would be a task. A constant 
one in every house, was "King Charles' Twelve Good 
Rules." Amongst others were representations of 
remarkable victories at sea, and battles on land, often 
accompanied with portraits of those who commanded, 
and others who had borne a conspicuous part in these 
contests with the enemy. The house at Ovingham, 
where our dinner poke was taken care of when at 
school, was hung round with views or representations 
of the battles of Zondorf, and several others ; also 
the portraits of Tom Brown, the valiant grenadier, 
of Admiral Haddock, Admiral Benbow, and other 
portraits of admirals. There was also a representa- 
tion of the " Victory" man-of-war, of 100 guns, 
commanded by Admiral Sir John Balchen, and fully 
manned \vith 1,100 picked seamen and volunteers, all 
of whom, with this uncommonly fine ship, were lost 
sunk to the bottom of the sea. This was accom- 
panied by a poetical lament of the catastrophe, part 
of which was 

" Ali ! hapless Victory, what avails 
Tliy towering masts, tby spreading sails." 

Some of the portraits, I recollect, now and then 
to be met with, were very well done in this way, on 
wood. In Mr. Gregson's kitchen, one of this charac- 
ter hung against the wall many years. It was a 


remarkably good likeness of Captain Coram. In 
cottages everywhere were to be seen the " Sailor's 
Farewell" and his "Happy Return," "Youthful 
Sports," and the " Feats of Manhood," " The ;Bold 
Archers Shooting at a Mark," " The Four Seasons," 
&c. Some subjects were of a funny others of a 
grave character. I think the last portraits I re- 
member were of some of the rebel lords and "Duke 
"Willy." These kind of wood cut pictures are long 
since quite gone out of fashion, which I feel very 
sorry for, and most heartily wish they could be re- 
vived. It is desirable, indeed, that the subjects 
should be well chosen ; for it must be of great im- 
portance that such should be the case; as, whatever 
can serve to instil morality and patriotism into the 
minds of the whole people must tend greatly to pro- 
mote their own happiness and the good of the com- 
munity. All men, however poor they may be, ought 
to feel that this is their country, as well as it is that 
of the first nobleman of the land ; and, if so, they 
will be equally as interested in its happiness and 

There is another way, not yet indeed entered upon, 
of similar import to the foregoing, in which prints 
might with good effect be made of subjects fit to 
embellish almost every house throughout our country : 
and that is from wood blocks printed in colours, like 
paper-hangings. Having seen some such done by 
paper-stainers, so as almost to equal good paintings, 
leads me to wish that this method could be pursued 
for the same ends as those already noticed. The 
most remarkable productions of art of this kind from 


blocks done to print in colours, like beautiful little 
paintings, were sent to me by Gubitz, of Berlin ; 
they might indeed be said to be perfection. Several 
impressions from duplicate or triplicate blocks, 
printed in this way, of a very large size, were also 
given to me, as well as a drawing of the press from 
which they were printed, many years ago, by Jean 
Baptiste Jackson, who had been patronized by the 
king of France ; but, whether these prints had been 
done with the design of embellishing the walls of 
houses in that country, I know not. They had been 
taken from paintings of eminent old masters, and 
were mostly Scripture pieces. They were well 
drawn, and perhaps correctly copied from the origi- 
nals, yet in my opinion none of them looked well. 
Jackson left Newcastle quite enfeebled with age, and, 
it was said, ended his days in an asylum, under the 
protecting care of Sir Gilbert Elliot, bart., at some 
place on the border near the Teviot, or on Tweed- 

Whether the speculations here noticed may be 
thought worthy of being acted upon, I know not, 
but it is not to any of the above noticed ways of 
wood cutting that my attention is directed : it is, 
in my ardent desire to see the stroke engraving on 
wood carried to the utmost perfection, that I hope 
the world will be gratified; and I trust the time 
is not distant when its superior excellence will be 
seen, particularly in landscape scenery, so as to sur- 
pass copper-plate engravings. The effect to be pro- 
duced by wood engraving has not, in that way, yet 
been tried, nor its powers made apparent. This is, 


I think, to be attained by two, or even more, blocks 
being employed, on one print, so that a greater and 
more natural effect as to colour and softness may 
be produced. I am well aware that some difficulty 
may arise, as to bringing off a clear impression of 
fine strokes from so large a surface, but in this age 
of mechanical improvement and invention, I think 
this apparent difficulty will readily be got over. 
Perhaps printing from a roller, instead of an even 
down pull, may easily accomplish this business. I 
have often thought, had William Wbollett been a 
wood engraver, he would have shown its exellence 
long ago : his prints from copper have not been 
equalled ; but, from the nature of the wood, and the 
effect it produces, he would have advanced a step 
further, and on it have outdone his excellence on 
copper. If I live, health and sight continued, I will 
make the attempt to show that all this is not a 
visionary theory. Should I not live to get this Me- 
moir printed under my own inspection, or whether 
it will ever be printed at all, I know not, but at 
any rate the manuscript itself will show, were that 
necessary, how ardently I have ever wished well to 
arts and artists ; and though, in my endeavours to 
show this, I have often been thwarted and disap- 
pointed, yet I never lost sight of my object, nor be- 
came disheartened in my struggles to fight through, 
and surmount numberless difficulties and bars thrown 
in my way. 

I have already noticed my brother John, as my 
first pupil, and therefore have little further to say 
respecting him, only, that Nature seemed to have 




befitted him for becoming a first-rate artist ; but, at 
the time he was with me, the thoughts of arriving at 
excellence did not enter into our heads, and he left 
the world at the time when wood engraving was 
only beginning to be looked upon as a matter of any 
interest. And, now when the time is fast approach- 
ing for my winding up all my labours, I may be 
allowed to name my own son and partner, whose 
time has been taken up with attending to all the 
branches of our business : and who, I trust, will not 
let wood engraving go down ; and, though he has 
not shown any partiality towards it, yet the talent is 
there, and I hope he will call it forth. 


How far I may venture further to obtrude my 
opinions, or advice, on the notice of artists, particu- 
larly engravers on wood, I know not, but they may 
readily imagine that I cannot help feeling a deep in- 
terest, and an ardent desire, that the art may long 
nourish, and that those who follow it may feel happy 
in the pursuit. Perhaps what I have already said 
may not be uninteresting to some of them, and, if I 
knew how I could go further, in any way that might 
urge or stimulate them to feel enthusiasm for this 
art, it should not be wanting ; for the wish, though 
tottering on the down-hill of life, is extended beyond 
the gra\e. 

The sedentary artist ought, if possible, to have his 
dwelling in the country, where he can follow his 
business undisturbed, surrounded by pleasing rural 
scenery, and the fresh air. He ought not to sit at 
work too long at a time, but to unbend his mind 
with some variety of employment ; for which pur- 
pose it is desirable that artists, with their little cots, 
shall also have each a garden attached, in which 
they may find both exercise and amusement, and 
only occasionally visit the city or the smoky town ; 


and that chiefly for the purpose of meetings with 
their brother artists, in which they may make an in- 
terchange of their sentiments, and commune with 
each other as to whatever regards the arts. "Were 
I allowed to become their M.D., my prescription 
should cost them nothing, and be easily taken it 
being only attentively to observe two or three rules, 
the first of which is, that they will contrive to be 
very hungry once a day, never to overload the 
stomach, nor indulge to satiety in eating anything. 
By persisting in this, they will find their reward in 
great good health, and a vigorous, unclouded mind : 
by a little observation they may clearly see that a 
great portion of mankind " live to eat" not eat to 
live.* To say more to men of sense and artists, 
which a desire to contribute everything in my power 
towards their peace of mind and happiness prompts 
me to do, I may be allowed to add, that those of 
them who have attained to eminence will find them- 
selves pursued by envy ; for " There is no species of 
hatred greater than that which a man of mediocrity 
bears to a man of genius ; his reach of thought, his 
successful combinations, and his sudden felicities are 
never forgiven by those whom nature has fashioned 
in a less perfect mould/' 

It is the duty of parents and guardians to endea- 
vour, with the utmost care, to discover the capacities 
and fitness of youth for any business before they en- 

* All youths, but especially those who follow sedentary employments, 
ought to exercise with dumb-bells half-an-hour or so before going to 
bed, and at other times when convenient. Were this more practised, 
we should hear of few dying of consumption. 


gage in it ; for, without they are innately gifted with 
the power of becoming artists, the want of that power 
will cause the pursuit to be felt by them as up-hill 
work, and be productive of unhappiness to them 
through life. But the fondness of parents for their 
offspring is mostly such as to blind them in forming 
a judgment, and disappointment is sure to follow. 
It would be well for such parents to read Gay's fable 
of " The Owl, the Swan, the Cock, the Spider, the 
Ass, and the Farmer." It may indeed be conceded 
that there are some rare exceptions to this general 
rule ; for a man may be so formed in body and mind 
with such symmetry and health in the one, and 
such energy in the other that he may advance a 
great way towards perfection in anything he ardently 
pursues. But an " Admirable Chrichton," or a Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, does not often appear. Men so 
gifted by nature, whether as artists, or in any other 
way where intellectual powers are to be drawn forth, 
ought never to despair of rising to eminence, or to 
imagine that they can never equal such men as have 
excelled all others in their day. It ought to be kept 
in mind that the same superintending Providence 
which gifted those men with talents to excite wonder 
and to improve society from time to time, in all ages, 
still rules the world and the affairs of mankind, and 
will continue to do so for ever, as often as the services 
of such men are wanted ; and this consideration 
ought to act as a stimulant to their successors, to en- 
deavour to surpass in excellence the brilliant lumi- 
naries who have only gone before them to pave the 
way and to enlighten their paths. All artists and 


indeed all men ought to divide their time by regu- 
larly appropriating one portion of it to one purpose, 
and another part of it to the varied business that 
may be set apart for another. In this way a deal of 
work may be got through ; and the artist, after 
leaving off his too intense application, would see, as 
it were, what he had been doing with ncir eyes, and 
would thus be enabled to criticize the almost endless 
variety of lights, shades, and effects, which await his 
pencil to produce. 

Had I been a painter, I never would have copied 
the works of " old masters," or others, however 
highly they might be esteemed. I would have gone 
to nature for all my patterns ; for she exhibits an 
endless variety not possible to be surpassed, and 
scarcely ever to be truly imitated. I would, indeed, 
have endeavoured to discover how those artists of 
old made or compounded their excellent colours, as 
well as the disposition of their lights and shades, by 
which they were enabled to accomplish so much and 
so well. 

The work of the painter may be said to be as end- 
less as the objects which nature continually presents 
to his view ; and it is his judgment that must direct 
him in the choice of such as may be interesting. In 
this he will see what others have done before him, 
and the shoals and quicksands that have retarded 
their progress, as well as the rocks they have at last 
entirely split upon. On his taking a proper survey 
of all this, he will see the " labour in vain" that has 
boon bestowed upon useless designs, which have 
found, and will continue to find, their way to a gar- 


ret, while those of an opposite character will, from 
their excellence, be preserved with perhaps increas- 
ing value for ages to come. In performing all this, 
great industry will be required, and it ought ever to 
be kept in mind, that, as in morals, nothing is worth 
listening to but truth, so in arts nothing is worth 
looking at but such productions as have been faith- 
fully copied from nature. Poetry, indeed, may 
launch out or take further liberties to charm the in- 
tellect of its votaries. It is only such youths as 
Providence has gifted with strong intellectual, innate 
powers that are perfectly fit to embark in the fine 
arts, and the power and propensity is often found 
early to bud out and show itself. This is seen in the 
young musician, who, without having even learned 
his A B C's, breaks out, with a random kind of un- 
restrained freedom, to whistle and sing. How often 
have I been amused at the first essays of the plough- 
boy, and how charmed to find him so soon attempt to 
equal his whistling and singing master, at the plough 
stilts, and who, with avidity unceasing, never stop- 
psd till he thought he excelled him. The future 
painter is shown by his strong propensity to sketch 
whatever objects in nature attract his attention, and 
excite him to imitate them. The poet, indeed, has 
more difficulties to contend with at first than the 
others, because he must know language, or be fur- 
nished with words wherewith to enable him to ex- 
press himself even in his first essays in doggrel 
metre and sing-song rhymes. In all the varied ways 
by which men of talent are befitted to enlighten, 
to charm, and to embellish society, as they advance 


through life, if they entertain the true feeling that 
every production they behold is created, not by 
chance, but by design, they will find an increasing 
and endless pleasure in the exhaustless stores which 
nature has provided to attract the attention and pro- 
mote the happiness of her votaries during the time 
of their sojourning here. 

The painter need not roam very far from his home, 
in any part of our beautiful isles, to meet with plenty 
of charming scenes from which to copy nature 
either on an extended or a limited scale and in 
which he may give full scope to his genius and to his 
pencil, either in animate or inanimate subjects. His 
search will be crowned with success in the roman- 
tic ravine the placid holme the hollow dell or 
amongst the pendant foliage of the richly orna- 
mented dean ; or by the sides of burns which roar 
or dash along, or run murmuring from pool to pool 
through their pebbly beds : all this bordered perhaps 
by a back-ground of ivy-covered, hollow oaks (thus 
clothed as if to hide their age), of elms, willows, 
and birch, which seem kindly to offer shelter to an 
under-growth of hazel, whins, broom, juniper, and 
heather, with the wild rose, the woodbine, and the 
bramble, and beset with 'clumps of fern and foxglove; 
while the edges of the mossy braes are covered with 
a profusion of wild flowers, " born to blush unseen," 
which peep out amongst the creeping groundlings 
the bleaberry, the wild strawberry, the harebell, and 
the violet ; but I feel a want of words to enable the 
pen to give an adequate description of the beauty and 
simplicity of these neglected spots, which nature has 


planted as if to invite the admiration of such as 
have hearts and eyes to appreciate and enjoy these 
her exquisite treats, while she may perhaps smile at 
the formal, pruning efforts of the gardener, as well 
as doubt whether the pencil of the artist will ever 
accomplish a correct imitation. But, be all this as 
it may, she has spread out her beauties to feast the 
eyes, and to invite the admiration of all mankind, 
and to whet them up to an ardent love of all her 
works. How often have I, in my angling excursions, 
loitered upon such sunny braes, lost in extacy, and 
wishing I could impart to others the pleasures I felt 
on such occasions : but they must see with their own 
eyes to feel as I felt, and to form an opinion how far 
the scenes depictured by poets fall short of the re- 
ality. The naturalist's poet Thompson has done 
much : so have others. Allan Ramsay's 

"Habbies Howe, 
Where a' the sweets of spring and summer grow," 

may have exhibited such as I have noticed, but the 
man endued with a fit turn of mind, and inclined to 
search out such " beauty-spots," will not need the aid 
of poets to help him on in his enthusiastic ardour. 



WHEN very young I read the Bible through and 
through, but I, at that time, minded it no more than 
other histories with which my scanty library was 
furnished. I could not then judge of it, nor pro- 
perly estimate the sublime precepts it contains. I 
felt, indeed, much pleased and excited by the nu- 
merous battles therein described. Sober reflection, 
however, respecting them quite altered the bout of 
my inclination that way, and I began and continued 
to consider the political history of the Israelites as 
very wicked ; for they are so described as under the 
direction of Moses, who, it is said, always obtained 
the command or sanction of the Lord to set the 
people at work in the business of war, at which they 
appear to have been very ready and very expert. It 
is, however, evident that in the nation of the Israel- 
ites there were men of great intellectual powers, and 
inspired with an ardent desire to trace the Author of 
Nature through Ills works, as well as having a fore- 
sight of their future destiny. It being clear to 
them that it was the intention of Omnipotence that 
men should live in a state of civilized society, under 
this impression they set to work, as well as they 


could with an uncivilized people, to bring about 
such a desirable order of things, but in which they 
must have felt great difficulties ; the first of which 
was to abolish Paganism, and to establish the pure 
religion of worshipping one God only ; thus, " Thou 
shalt have none other gods but me," was the first 
commandment, and which was most strenuously urged 
upon the Israelites in every way, and in every trans- 
action of their lives, while they were kept together 
as a nation. Science, and a knowledge of nature, ori 
which science is founded, could not in those early 
times be expected to be known, either by Moses or 
their other governors and teachers, who could not 
explain such important matters to the people other- 
wise than they did. The wonders of this world and 
the magnitude of the universe were not then con- 
templated upon ; neither was it perhaps necessary to 
attempt any explanation of them in those dark ages : 
and, besides, it appears it was not a leading object : 
civilization seems to have been the first and perhaps 
the only important business they had at that time in 
view. They therefore, in their endeavours to ac- 
complish this, and to govern and keep the people in 
awe, attempted to personify the Deity, and to pre- 
scribe the boundary of time and space, as the theatre 
on which He acted, that they, the people, might thus 
understand something of the meaning of the com- 
mands so strenuously laid upon them ; not a little of 
which was delivered to them in allegory and fable. 
Moses began by telling them of the beginning of the 
world, and the length of time it took to make it, and 
the manner in which God created Adam and Eve as 


the parents of the whole human race ; of Paradise, 
or the Garden of Eden ; of the disobedience of our 
first parents in eating forbidden fruit, and that this 
transgression entailed misery, sin, and death upon 
the whole human race. This " Original Sin," how- 
ever strange it may appear to thinking men, has 
been kept up in tcrrorctn, with uncommon pains, for 
hundreds of years past, and is continued with una- 
bating fervency to the present time. That mankind 
should suffer under this condemnation, for the fault 
of these our first parents, seems impiously to set 
aside the justice of an All- wise and Benevolent God. 
As to the time it took to create this world, and the 
whirling, floating, universe of which it is compara- 
tively a speck or mote that is beyond human com- 
prehension ; and Time, Eternity a Beginning and 
an End are still much more beyond the reach of 
thought ; for the powers of the mind would soon 
become bewildered and lost in attempting to form 
any conception, by figures, of what is meant by in- 
numerable millions of centuries : and here on this 
subject we must rest ! This sublime this amazing 
this mighty work of suns and worlds innumerable 
is too much for the vision of a finite, purblind, proud, 
little atom of the Creation, strutting or crawling 
about in the shape of man. It is sufficient for the 
soul of man in this life to reverence and adore the 
Omnipresent, and, except through his works, the 
unknowable God, whose wisdom, and power, and 
goodness, has no bounds, and who has been pleased to 
enable his reasoning creatures so far to see that 
t \iiything is made by design, and nothing by 



chance ; and, from the display of His infinite power, 
that everything in the universe is systematic ; all is 
connection, adhesion, affinity : hence we may infer 
some principle of order, some moving power, some 
mighty agent but all this still ends in the name of 
Deity, and dwells awfully retired beyond the reach 
of mortal eye. 

What Moses has said about the deluge, and the 
destruction it occasioned to every living creature, we 
are led to conclude must have been handed down to 
him in ancient Eastern traditions, and it requires no 
over-stretched credulity to believe that a deluge hap- 
pened which destroyed every living creature on that 
part of the earth over which its devastations were 
spread ; for it cannot be doubted that this globe has 
undergone many such deluges, convulsions, and 
changes, equally difficult to account for ; and geolo- 
gists at this day feel convinced of this, from the 
changes which they see matter has undergone, but of 
which they are still left greatly to conjecture as to 
the cause. They cannot, however, doubt the power 
of a comet (if it be the will of the Mighty Director) 
to melt the ices from the poles, and to throw the sea 
out of its place, or to reduce this globe instantly to 
a cinder a vitrifaction to ashes, or to dust ; and 
that, in its near approach to this our world, it may 
have occasioned the various changes and phenomena 
which have happened, and may happen again. The 
marine productions found imbedded in the earth so 
many fathoms below its surface, supplies another 
source of wonder, and seems either to confirm the 
foregoing hypothesis, or to lead men to conclude 


that a great portion of the earth has once been 
covered by the sea ; and it may, perhaps, not be 
carrying conjecture too far to suppose that nations 
have been overflowed and sunk to its bottom, while 
others have arisen out of it ; and that, in the appa- 
rently slow changes which are continually operating 
upon all matter, new nations may yet arise, and be 
now in progress to take their turn on this globe.* 
Every mountain and hill is becoming less and less, 
and is by little and little apparently slowly sliding 
away into the ocean ; and the same waste may be 
seen in the many tons of earthy mud which every 
flooded river carries off, and deposits in the sea. 
The lakes are also continually operated upon, by the 
wasting or wearing away of the outlets that form 
the barriers by which their waters were and are at 
present stayed, and it is not unlikely that every 
valley was once a lake, till they were operated upon 
like those still left, preparatory to their change to 
dry land. 

But the early history of mankind, nor the changes, 
the wonders, nor the mighty events which have hap- 
pened to this globe, cannot be known ; and we may 
reasonably suppose men must have long remained in 
darkness and ignorance till rescued from such a 
state first by hieroglyphics and then by letters. 
What they were before these enabled them to inter- 
change their thoughts, preparatory to a social inter- 

* In my brother's colliery at Mickley Bank, about 30 fathoms below 
the surface, perfect muscles have been found imbedded in ironstone. 
In appearance they differed not from those newly taken from the 
muscle scarp. The shells effervesced with acid, but the iuaides were 
ironstone, the same as that with which they were surrounded. 



course, is involved in darkness, on which conjecture 
may invent and exhaust itself in vain. Nation after 
nation, in unknown ages past, may have glided away, 
or have been by the accumulation of their own 
wickedness, more suddenly hurled into oblivion, be- 
fore the reasoning powers were drawn forth or men 
bestowed the least thought upon the duties they had 
to perform, or the business they had to fulfil, as the 
will of the Creator while they sojourned here. But 
the providence of God is over all His creatures, and 
it pleased Him that the reasoning powers should not 
remain longer dormant, and the provision made for 
the change, in the natural order of things, was 
placed in the latent intellectual powers gifted to 
man, and drawn forth from his inspired mind, which 
thus put in action, as it may be presumed, was the 
first effort of cause and effect that produced the 
Bible, which, as far as we know, seems to have been 
the first instrument of knowledge that shed its rays 
over and revealed to mankind the accountable station 
they were destined to hold on this globe. Before 
the religious and moral precepts of the venerable old 
Book made their way over a more civilized world, 
and taught rational beings to worship one God, the 
Father of All, and to consider each other as brethren, 
it does not appear that the great mass of mankind 
had bestowed a thought upon the astonishing 
miracles of creation by which they were surrounded, 
and which were presented to their understanding 
and sight in so visible and tangible a shape that it 
required no faith to believe in them, nor any thing 
to raise doubts in their minds as to their reality. 


The brilliantly studded canopy of suns and worlds 
above their heads, and, as a part of these, the equally 
wonderful globe of this earth and sea, which is 
allotted to them, they could not, with their clouded 
intellects and want of science see nor appreciate, till 
the mind by research became illumined by degrees, 
in the varied blaze of light spread abroad which 
will in some degree enable men to see the perfection 
of the Omnipotent Author of the whole. Viewing 
the Bible as to it moral and religious contents, in 
this way, the good old Book ought to be held in 
veneration and esteem, as containing the most une- 
quivocal marks of the most exalted piety and the 
the purest benevolence. Give it therefore, my dear 
children, a place in your regards, to which it is en- 
titled ; and, amidst the necessary cares of life, never 
lose sight of your destination for another. An infi- 
nitely more important state awaits us beyond the 
grave. It may be presumed that this original and 
sacred document will continue to arrest the attention 
of reasoning beings as long as men continue to 
reason, and be an eternal stimulant together with 
other stimulants so abundantly presented by the 
wonders of the universe to lead the soul to rest 
its hopes on the source from whence it derived its 


I HAVE before ventured my opinion on the political 
history of the Israelites and their wars, and I wish I 
could not believe in them ; but I fear that portion of 
their history is too true. The example thus set has 
been followed since by other nations, to wage the 
horrid wars in which they have embarked on the 
most trivial pretences, whenever their rulers found it 
convenient to give vent to their bad passions, wan- 
tonly to engage in them. There are many other 
matters related in the Bible which operate as stum- 
bling-blocks to those who otherwise revere it for the 
clear truths set forth in its texts. These consist in 
one part contradicting, or apparently contradicting, 
another part, and, in some cases, of making assertions 
which appear to be derogatory to the Majesty of 
Omnipotence. There may, indeed, be fwo causes as- 
signed as reasons for these. The first is, in reading 
many portions of the Scriptures literally which must 
have been intended to be understood allegorically. 
It surely could never be meant to be literally under- 
stood that the sun and moon stood still by the 
command of Joshua, till he was " avenged of his 
enemies," and that the regular order of nature and 

2 M 


the universe was set aside to please Joshua in his 
man-killing pursuits. That this was the way by 
which Omnipotence willed the destruction of whole 
nations of people, does not seem to accord with the 
reverence with which man ought to view his Maker, 
when, had it been His will that such nations should 
no longer inhabit the earth, the whole of such a 
people thus devoted might have been annihilated by 
a puff of pestilential wind, if Omnipotence had pleased 
to do so. Although it does not become us to scan 
what was, or what was not, His will, as we can 
only judge of all such matters according to our crude 
and Aveak conceptions. 

The next cause for suspecting the accuracy of 
several parts of the Sacred Book arises from the 
supposition that these may not have been correctly 
translated.* All these seemingly contradictory pas- 
sages, not being clearly understood, have been a 
most fertile source of employment for self-interested 
and bigoted men, who have attempted giving their 
explanations and contradictory comments and anno- 
tations upon them, and twisted them into meanings, 
often to bewilder the common-sense of mankind, to 
suit certain selfish purposes subservient to their own 
ends. It would, I think, have been much better to 
have left people to judge upon these texts as well as 
they could themselves, rather than trust to such ex- 

* The Rev. James Murray (before mentioned) showed me a chapter 
of the Book of Job which he had translated. It was in poetry as 
near the original as he was able to make it The sense and meaning 
was clear and easily to be understood, but not so that of the chapUr 
from which he took it. 


planations, or to pin their faith on the sleeve of such 
men. I fear they have done more harm than good. 

But all these and such like doubts seem trivial and 
light in the balance when weighed against the solid, 
sublime truths and valuable instructions contained in 
the ancient, venerable book. The mind of man thus 
prepared by the sacred texts laid open to him by the 
Bible, as well as by the help of other systems of 
morality, which all lend their help to lead him in 
the paths of rectitude in this state he sees himself 
surrounded by the wonders of creation, and furnished 
with passions given him for the wisest purposes, to 
spur him on to exertions without which the affairs of 
this beautiful world would soon be at a stand- still, and 
he would then soon revert to unintellectual apathy or 
savage barbarity, and would cease to adore God, and 
seek His providential care and protection. But, 
when the passions are not fully kept under by the 
reasoning guide, man feels himself to be a strange 
compound a heterogeneous mixture of pure metal 
and base alloy, and placed in the infancy of an end- 
less, and therefore an infinitely important and myste- 
rious, but conscious existence. " Wonderfully and 
fearfully made," he views with amazement "this 
pleasing, anxious being" this spirit confined in 
mortality with Heaven's own pilot placed within as 
its guide, and a soul, fed like the flame of a lamp, to 
enlighten his path to eternity. Thus prepared by 
the hand of Omnipotence, his reasoning powers com- 
mence their operations ; his mind is then his king- 
dom, and his will his law as to his deeds in this life, 
but for which he must render an account before the 


justice of his Maker, in another state of existence 
in another world ; otherwise he has lived in vain in 
this. If he avails himself of the reasoning power, 
the choicest gift of his Maker, and by which He has 
revealed himself to man, then will he feel some- 
thing of a foretaste of the future happiness he is 
preparing for himself in eternity. But if he will 
perversely cease to commune with his own soul, or 
reject its admonitions, and turn away from them, he 
thus puts himself under another guide, and must 
then become debased, degraded, and associated with 
sin ; for he then suffers his bad passions and gross 
appetites to overpower his reason, and thus creates 
for himself an evil spirit, or a devil and a hell in 
his own breast, that consumes or annihilates his good 
spiritual guide, and disfigures the image of God 
within him, before it returns to whence it came. 
Thus to appear before his Maker must be a hell of 
itself of fearful import not to be endured and the 
greatest possible punishment the debased and pol- 
luted soul can undeigo; and it may be well for us 
all to keep in remembrance that a year of pleasure 
can be outbalanced by a day of pain. To judge 
simply of all this, it may be concluded that those 
who, from pure motives, have shed abroad the great- 
est quantum of happiness to mankind, and to all 
God's creatures, while they sojourned here, will, ac- 
cording to our notions of justice (beside the pleasure 
derived from self- approbation in this life), be re- 
warded, and entitled to such-like but more exalted 
happiness to all eternity. 

Whatever weight these opinions of mine may 


have upon others, I know not ; they are given with 
the best intentions, and they concern all men. They 
are on a subject which, in its own nature, forms a 
more sublime and important object of enquiry than 
any to which our intellectual powers can be applied. 
It is on them that religion, the life of the soul, is 
built. Religion is both natural and necessary to 
man. Those who reject this primary sentiment of 
veneration for the Supreme Being, only show their 
inferiority to other men : like those born blind, they 
cannot perfectly understand the nature of vision, 
and thence conclude there is no such thing as light 
in existence. 

Religion is of a pure and spotless nature ; it is 
uniform, consistent, and of the same complexion and 
character in all nations. Languages and customs 
may greatly differ, but the language of the pure de- 
votion of the heart to its Maker is the same over the 
face of the whole earth. Religion, therefore, de- 
mands our utmost reverence ; and, as such, that 
which was taught by Jesus of Nazareth. I revere 
the sublime, and yet simple, plain doctrines and 
truly charitable principles which Christ laid down, 
and enforced by his own example. His life was a 
continued scene of active benevolence : no fatigue 
was too hard to be borne, no inconvenience too great 
to be submitted to, provided he could instruct the 
ignorant, reclaim the vicious, relieve the destitute, 
and comfort the mournful. Such was the religion of 
Jesus Christ, " who went about doing good !" He 
spoke only of one God, and of Him with the utmost 
reverence, as his Heavenly Father and the Father of 


all mankind. Christianity, in its purity, is the moat 
liberal and best religion in the world. Its inspired 
Author preached up the cheerful doctrine of man's 
reviving again after death, and of the certainty of 
his afterwards living to eternity, and did his utmost 
to persuade all mankind to live godly lives, that 
their souls might thereby be prepared to return to 
God, the Author and the Giver of all Good, as un- 
blemished as possible ; and thus, so far as his influ- 
ence reached, and his commands were acted upon, he 
may truly be said to be the Saviour of Mankind. 
But, there arc questions connected with this subject 
which none but the Almighty Gcd can solve. It 
was by the divine will, and by the providcnca of 
God, that he appeared on earth. Gifted with in- 
spired powers, his immaculate mind thus made him 
the instrument befitting the mission he held, to 
teach mankind, then lost and grovelling in wicked- 
ness and corruption, the important lessons of religion 
and morality, and to reclaim such of the lost flock, 
high and low, as had grown up and established them- 
selves in iniquity. 


I NEVER read Hume on miracles ; I did not need 
to do so ; but I have always thought that the man 
must be very difficult to please who could not be 
thoroughly satisfied with the one the unutterably 
great one the miracle of the universe : made up, 
indeed, of millions of other miracles of its compo- 
nent parts, which will for ever excite the astonishment 
of reasoning creatures, and draw forth their adora- 
tion to the Great Author of the whole, as long as it 
shall please Him to gift them with the power to do so. 

Those who think for themselves, and can believe 
in one God, and reverence, adore, and worship Him, 
must ever feel disgusted to dwell on the endless 
modes of faith with which mankind have been pes- 
tered and stultified for ages past, and also feel 
grieved to think upon the evils the persecutions 
the wars and the miseries, these have from time to 
time inflicted upon the half- civilized world. Brother 
has been set in enmity against brother, neighbour 
against neighbour, and nation against nation, fully 
charged with vengeance to destroy each other, and 
by which rivers of blood have been spilt. Jesus 
Christ, I believe, never said one word that could be 
construed into any such meaning, or to countenance 


any such doings ; neither did any man possessed of 
the spirit of the Christian religion and its attendant 
humanity ever view all this otherwise than with 

It would be a tedious and an irksome task to give 
even a list of all the religions, as they are called, 
from the days of Paganism, down to the present 
time. Truth long struggled with error, before sys- 
tem after system passed away. Notwithstanding the 
exertions of power to keep them up, they exist now 
only in story. But do the laws of nature ever alter ? 
Do the sun, moon, and stars shine in any other way 
than they did to the votaries of Jupiter ? Do the 
human passions operate in any other manner than 
they did thousands of years ago ? No, indeed ! Let 
us, then, rejoice that true religion is independent of 
human caprice; it is founded upon the immutable 
principles of truth, reason, and common sense, and 
therefore must be durable as nature itself. It is not 
vague and mutable : it is acquired by experience, 
not merely the creature of chance, habit, and preju- 
dice : it is capable of demonstration like the princi- 
ples of mathematics, and its necessity is evinced by 
the very nature of man in society. There is a 
rational and an irrational belief, and how can we 
distinguish the one from the other without reference 
to the reason of the thing ? If reason be abandoned, 
then sense and nonsense are just the same : religion 
becomes a chaos, and faith has no merit. I there- 
fore believe that no faith can be acceptable to God 
which is not grounded on reason ; nothing but truth 
brings us lasting and solid advantage. 


But it would appear that the teachers of mankind, 
in this important concern, have too seldom been ac- 
tuated by these pure principles, and the " caring for 
men's souls" has been made only a secondary con- 
sideration. Their leading objects have been the 
establishment of a system of revenue and aggran- 
disement ; and, to ensure the accomplishment of these 
ends, they began with children, well knowing that, 
when creeds and catechisms were once instilled into 
the infant mind, they would grow with their growth, 
and would acquire a firm-rooted footing ; for, when 
early impressions and prejudices are once fixed in the 
the mind by ignorance, they can seldom or ever be 
eradicated. In this state, these victims to deception 
might have been made Pagans in India, Mahome- 
tans in Turkey, or disciples of Confucius in China : 
or, have been moulded into any of the various sects 
of misled Christians which have, like wens and car- 
buncles, often disfigured the comely face of religion, 
and the pure and plain doctrines of Christianity. 

The next important step taken by these teachers, 
was to get this their religion, of whatever kind it 
might be, interwoven deeply into all the various 
governments of the different countries under their 
influence ; but, preparatory to their religion becom- 
ing firmly established, the heads of it, who were 
called " saints" and " fathers of the Church," were 
gathered together to judge and determine upon the 
creeds and doctrines which were to be obeyed. Some 
of them might, indeed, be actuated by good and 
others of them by impure motives, but it always ap- 
peared to me like their own " act of parliament"- to 



oblige people to offer to Omnipotence that kind of 
worship only which they had been pleased to dictate, 
and which by many is considered as arrogant pre- 
sumption. But, when these doctrines were thus in- 
terwoven into all the different governments, they 
then became "part and parcel of the law of the 
land;" and, thus fenced, barricaded, and fortified, 
few ever dared to say that anything these laws pro- 
mulgated was wrong ; and, if any man whose mind 
happened to rise superior to superstition, ventured to 
publish his opinions of any of them, to show that 
they were absurd, then racks, tortures, inquisitions, 
and death, or fine and imprisonment, with attendant 
ruin, stared him in the face in this world and threat- 
enings of eternal misery in the next. It is thus 
that the free exercise of the understanding, and the 
full use of all the means of advancing in religion, 
virtue, and knowledge, is checked and debarred ; for, 
unless the free use of writing and publishing the 
well-digested opinions and plans of the lovers of 
mankind is allowed to go on without risk, all public 
improvement, which is or ought to be the chief end 
of every government to promote, is for want of this 
liberty, taken away. But in this business, govern- 
ment itself being entangled and bound by oaths to 
support present establishments, may perhaps be 
afraid to meddle or countenance any writing tend- 
ing to a reform, or that may have the appearance of 
militating against this order of things. 

But to dwell on this, the gloomy side of the pic- 
ture, without noticing the other side, may be unfair ; 
for the frainers of unaccountable creeds set mankind 


a- thinking generally upon these and many other 
matters, which perhaps they would not otherwise 
have done ; and, besides this, it is on all hands 
allowed that the monks and friars of old, amidst all 
their superstitions, preserved in their monasteries 
many records and much valuable knowledge, which, 
without their care, would have been lost to the 
world. Add to these, their charities to the destitute 
and their constant best endeavours to teach the 
grossly ignorant, and to reclaim the equally grossly 
wicked, part of the community, and in examining 
impartially into the change effected by the Reforma- 
tion, it amounts only to a lessening or setting aside 
a portion of the bigotry and superstition by which 
the old doctrines were enforced. Although one may 
lament that a more rational view of religion, and its 
very important concerns, had not been fully contem- 
plated upon, yet even under its guidance, and with 
all its defects before the mighty change of the Re- 
formation was effected, it would appear that the 
moral conduct of the common people was generally 
good, and they were in some respects happier and 
better off than they have ever been since. The 
Romish clergy, or priests, in those times, though 
they took the tithes (according to an old Jewish 
custom), yet these were more usefully and justly di- 
vided than they are in the present time ; for they in 
their day took only a third part of these to them- 
selves, and the other two-thirds were expended in 
building and repairing their churches and supporting 
all the poor. There was then no church cesses, nor 
poor laws, nor the sickening, harassing, and con- 


tiuual gathering of the enormous sums of the poor- 

The established clergy are also bound, in a similar 
way, by old laws and oaths which have been imposed 
upon them, to swear to their belief in a certain 
string of creeds before they are allowed to enter 
upon the clerical office ; and all this, backed and en- 
couraged by the lures of enormous stipends or livings 
attached to their church, which is furthermore made 
sure of by these livings being, as it were, held out as 
a provision for the unprovided part of the younger 
branches of the families of all the poor gentry of the 
land. Thus situated, any alteration or improvement 
may be looked for in vain, while self-interest and 
pride continue so powerfully to guide the actions of 

Time, indeed, may bring about wonders, and the 
example and influence of North America can perhaps 
alone be looked up to to lead the way as the regene- 
rator of the Old World. There they have none of 
the old protecting laws, nor the old prejudices of 
Europe, Asia, and South America, to contend against, 
and must see the errors these have fallen into, and 
may move forward upon clear ground. " The Rites 
and Ceremonies of all Nations" will serve them as a 
kind of text, and also as a beacon and a guide-post, 
to show them the way they ought to pursue, so as to 
steer clear of the absurdities to say no worse of 
them by which mankind have been so long led, 
hoodwinked, into so many egregious follies. 

It must, furthermore, be observed and conceded 
on behalf of the present religious establishment of 


this enlightened and comparatively happy land, not- 
withstanding the spots and blemishes which bar the 
approach to rationality and perfection, that the regu- 
lar clergy, with few exceptions, and taken as a whole 
from their learning, their acquirements, and their 
piety are real and valuable ornaments to our 
country, without whose help and the example they 
set, it is to be feared the people would soon retro- 
grade into barbarism, or, into what is nearly as bad 
fanaticism. To keep down or prevent this latter 
growing evil from rising to a height will require the 
utmost exertions of the regular clergy, as well as the 
united wisdom and prudence of the legislature to 
discountenance it. To attempt using force would 
only serve to unite its votaries and increase their 
numbers ; for as long as ignorance is stalking 
abroad, multitudes will be found in every country 
who see things with an obliquity of intellect, and 
are thus ready prepared to adopt anything new, 
however stupid ; and the reveries of Johanna South- 
cote, and the ravings of Ranters, do not appear to 
them sufficiently absurd. 


I HAVE, with all the consideration I have been able 
coolly to bestow upon the subject, become clearly of 
opinion, that the highest character a man can hope 
to attain to in this life is that of being a religious 
philosopher; and he cannot be the latter without 
religion being deeply impressed upon his mind ; and, 
without the aid of religion and philosophy conjointly, 
he need not hope to feel all the happiness in this 
world attendant upon his approach towards perfec- 
tion. The happiness derived from ignorance is like 
that of unreasoning animals ; and, in carrying this 
a little further, or to the extreme, it is, compara- 
tively, like the happiness enjoyed by a gate-post. 

It is from amongst men of this enlightened cha- 
racter only that all and every clergyman ought to be 
selected, without permitting the least interference of 
private patronage ; for that has been, and will con- 
tinue to be, an evil of the most benumbing magni- 
tude, which will if not stopped upset the best laid 
plans, and render such nugatory, or null and void. 
Could such a stride as this towards purity ever be 
accomplished, then every village ought to have its 
church, and would thus become a religious, a moral, 


and a patriotic little community, in which its pre- 
ceptors ought to teach youth the usual routine of 
their education five days in the week, and those of 
all ages on the Sunday. This clergy ought not to 
be sworn to any belief, nor trammeled with any 
creeds, but only to promise, with the help of God, to 
instil into the minds of their hearers the purest re- 
ligious adoration of the Omnipotent, and the best 
maxims of morality. In this the Scriptures would 
supply them with its pure and sublime precepts, and, 
above all, the still more sublime and amazing works 
contained in the great Book of the Creation is amply 
spread out before them, and made up of the living, 
the visible, words of God, so plainly to be seen, read, 
and felt, that howsoever miraculous and astonishing 
they are, it would require no stretch of faith to be- 
lieve in them all. From these, such a clergy, one 
after another in succession for ages, might take their 
texts, ever new, and preach from them to all eter- 
nity ; for, as to the number of subjects to preach 
from and explain, they would be found to be endless 
even on this globe we dwell upon, without soaring to 
those in the regions of immensity ; and, if its won- 
ders were productive of disease, enlightened men 
would die of wondering ! 

Were a clergy of this description established, there 
could be no fears entertained of their teaching any- 
thing wrong ; they would, on the contrary, from 
their knowledge and virtue, be the pillars of the 
state and the mainstays and ornaments of civiliza- 
tion. Every church ought to have its library of 
good books, and its philosophical apparatus, to i|lus- 


trate or explain the various phenomena of nature, 
and the amazing magnitude and distances of the 
" Heavenly bodies ;" or, rather, the incalculable 
number of suns and worlds floating about with the 
velocity of light, in immeasurable, endless space. It 
is from these contemplations that something like the 
truest conception of the Adorable Author of the 
whole can be formed ; and it would soon be found 
that men of common capacities, and without having 
even been taught to read and write, would be at no 
loss to understand the clear lectures delivered on this 
latter subject. I think it would be folly, or worse 
than folly, to entertain any suspicion that poor men, 
thus enlightened, would forget the station in which 
they are placed, and cease to work honestly to main- 
tain themselves, or to become bad members of society. 
On the contrary, it is reasonable to conclude that 
such a universal spread of knowledge as would follow 
this system of education, and this kind of religious 
worship, would stamp the character of a whole people 
as intelligent, good, subjects ; and it appears to me 
certain that, until such a mode of enlightened Chris- 
tianity is adopted and acted upon, mankind will con- 
tinue to be torn asunder, as they have too long been, 
and that, if it could quickly be spread over the 
partly civilized world, there would never more be 
any religious bickerings or animosities on that score, 
and that then, but not till then, all mankind would 
become as brethren. 

I am well aware that the pride and the fears of 
what are called the dignified clergy, might operate 
powerfully against the purity and simplicity of such 


a change. If so, they will then thus clearly and de- 
cisively show that it is a system of revenue only, and 
not religion, that they can be fearful of upsetting ; 
but, if none of these are deprived of their present 
livings (or an equivalent to their value), which they 
hold only during their lives, what have they to be 
afraid of ? To sell their present enormous revenues, 
and fund the amount, and then divide the interest 
equally amongst the newly- established clergy, would 
be only fair and just ; and they, above all other men, 
ought to be perfectly independent, amply provided 
for, without being obliged to collect any other revenue, 
and made as happy as men can be in this world ; 
and, whatever might be deemed sufficient, a certain 
sum taken from this income ought also to be funded 
as a provision to support them in their declining- 
years. Such a body of men as this clergy could not 
fail of being revered and held in the greatest respect 
and estimation by all good and wise men ; and what 
more any good and wise man can wish for in this 
world, I am at a loss to know. 

It is from government, with the aid of our own 
enlightened and liberal-minded clergy, and other 
such-like men, that this important business, in my 
opinion, ought to be openly and boldly taken up. 
They ought to have the honour to show the way, and 
not leave any other nation to take the lead of them 
in such a mighty and momentous concern, in which 
the happiness of the whole human race would be- 
come most deeply interested ; and, from the change 
in men's minds which is now taking place, and 
widely spreading, this change, by its own weight, 



will most assuredly happen, perhaps at no very dis- 
tant day. 

"Were our own government inclined to make this 
improvement in religion and politics, they would as- 
suredly see the happiest results from it: it would 
soon be found that there would then be no need to 
keep Ireland in subjection, like a conquered country, 
by an expensive military force. The Irish, naturally 
acute, lively, generous, and brave, would soon feel 
themselves, under our excellent constitution, as happy 
and loyal a people as any in the world, and as much 
attached to their country, which, for its healthy cli- 
mate and fertile soil, may match with any other 
on this globe. One would hope that the native 
gentry would at length see the very reprehensible 
injustice of becoming absentees. Landowners in all 
countries, as well as in Ireland, ought as far as possi- 
ble to spend their rents where they receive them. 
Where they do not do so, any country is certain to 
become poor.* Ireland ought instantly to be put 
upon a par, in every respect, with their fellow subjects 
of the British Isles. To withhold Catholic eman- 
cipation from Ireland appears to me to be invidious 
and unjust ; and, if emancipated, it would be found 
at no very distant period that they would, under the 
foregoing tuition, individually become enlightened, 

* In my ardent wish for the perfect happiness and union of the sister 
Isles, I have suffered my sanguine imaginatiom to wish and hope 
that some great convulsion of nature might some day happen to throw 
up^the bed of the sea between them, so as to unite them both in one ; 
and present a south-western rocky front to the ocean. I see no harm 
in indulging in such reveries : they may, indeed, be visionary, but 
thpy are innocent ones. 


think for themselves, adopt a rational religious be- 
lief, and throw off the bigotry and superstition taught 
them with such sedulous care from their infancy, and 
by which they have so long been led blindfold. If 
they could be brought to think, and to muster up so 
much of the reasoning power as to do all this, they 
would soon emancipate themselves. But even on 
this business it must be observed that the Protestant 
Establishment does not interfere with the Catholic 
modes of faith ; they may preach up and believe in 
what they please. In this they are not only fully to- 
lerated, but are also protected in their worship, so that, 
on this score they can have nothing to complain of. 
But beyond this the Protestant ascendancy, having 
all the rich church livings secured to themselves, are 
fearful that the Catholics, ever watchful, and never 
ceasing in their struggles to be at the head of all 
church affairs they, the Protestants, have become 
extremely jealous lest the emancipation now so 
eagerly wished for may, if granted, be a prelude to 
further future strides, and that the latent objects the 
Catholics have in view is to partake in these rich 
livings, or to get them wholly to themselves. To 
dwell longer on these matters seems to me useless ; 
for, so long as rich livings are set apart as a provision 
for those whose creeds continue in fashion, all the 
various numerous sects who dissent will always be 
barking at them, until the purity and simplicity of 
worshipping one God only can be established, and 
which to a certainty will one day happen. Till then, 
all arguments on this subject may seem to be in vain. 
Having given my opinion on religious matters 


freely and sincerely, and with the best intentions, in 
which I do not wish to dictate, but only wish man- 
kind to think for themselves on such a momentous 
and important affair as that of their present and 
their future eternal happiness, I leave them to their 
own reflections, and shall only furthermore attempt 
to show some of the salutary effects which I suppose 
would follow from mine. I first picture to myself 
that I see such a body of learned, rationally religious, 
moral, and patriotic men as this clergy spread over 
our already matchless country : and that the effects 
of their tuition and example, founded on honour and 
virtue, would very soon be seen and felt amongst -all 
ranks of society, and would further exalt the charac- 
ter of our countrymen over the whole globe, as pat- 
terns for imitation to the rest of mankind. It is only 
by an education like this, that any country can hope 
that its institutions can remain unbroken up, and 
endure as a nation for ever ; but so it will be, if the 
government is founded on wisdom and virtue, and 
backed by a whole people of the same character. To 
rear up and establish such a renovated order of 
things as I have with diffidence recommended, and 
coolly and deliberately' to do away with old errors, 
will not, perhaps, be soon or easily done ; for tnere 
are so many interests to consult, and so many men 
of the character to doubt and despair of accomplish- 
ing anything, however good, that, if they have in- 
fluence over weak minds to help them out in this 
disposition to despondency, it will have the direct 
tendency to realize such doubts, and to throw a cold 
damp over the best and wisest plans. But we ought 


never to despair of accomplishing anything where 
our objects in view are good ones. To minds thus 
gifted, and such as this clergy it is hoped would 
possess, there could be little need to dictate. Their 
own good sense, aided by the gentry of the land, 
would constantly enable them to see when anything 
was going wrong in each little community, and 
speedily to rectify it. Such a number of little col- 
leges spread over the land would excellently prepare 
such youths as might be intended to finish their edu- 
cation in colleges of a higher* character, so as to fit 
them to fulfil the various offices of the state, in any 
of its several departments, as well as the many other 
employments they might be destined to pursue ; and 
in this the teachers would have it greatly in their 
power to discover the talents or innate powers of 
mind of their pupils, as well as the bent of their 
inclinations, so as to be enabled to advise or direct 
inexperienced youths as to what might best suit their 
se\eral capacities ; and to point out to them the 
proper course of education that might lead to the 
calling or occupation in which they might make the 
most respectable figure when they were launched 
into the world. This duty of every teacher is an 
important one, and would require the keenest obser- 
vation to make the true discovery ; for, after all, we 
may be assured of this, that it is impossible to set 
bounds to the improvement of the human mind, 
and it is also equally so to limit the capabilities of 
the human frame when duly cultivated 

November 1st, 1828. 



IN offering these my sentiments and opinions, derived 
from the observations I have made in my passage 
through life, I have never intended to give offence to 
good men. AVith these sentiments some may be 
pleased and others displeased, but, conscious of the 
rectitude of my intentions, I do not covet the praises 
of the one nor fear the censures of the other. It is 
at another tribunal that I, as well as all other men, 
are to account for their conduct. 






AFTER Thomas Bewick retired from business in 
favour of his son, he continued, till his death, to 
employ himself closely, at home, in filling-up gaps 
in his History of British Birds ; and, in conjunction 
with his son, he also commenced a History of British 
Fishes. The finished specimens of these, on the 
wood, are now for the first time published in this 
Memoir. A portion of a series of appropriate Vig- 
nettes, also executed by him for the work on Fishes, 
are now employed as embellishments in the preced- 
ing pages. About twenty of the set, together with 
six new birds, were printed in the last edition of the 
History of Birds. It may be proper to add, that the 
late Robert Elliot Bewick left about fifty highly- 
finished and accurately-coloured drawings of fishes 
from nature, together with a portion of the descrip- 
tive matter relating to the work. 





(Terca Labrax. LINNAEUS.) 




( Gasterosteus spinachia LINN.EUS.) 




(Spams Rail. BLOCK.) 




(Zeusfdber. LIN 

2 Q 




(Gobhis nifjer. LINN/KUS.) 




(Rattan Wrasse.. PENNANT.) 




(Cyprinus barbus. LIMN.KUS.) 




(Cyprlmis yobio. LIXN.ECS.) 




(Cyprinus Tinc.-i. B LOC H .) 




(Cyprinus leuclscus BLOCK.) 




(Ksox Saurus. PENNANT.) 




Below. -LiNN-KL 




(Sal/no Fario. LIMN.EIT.S.) 




1 hmput. LINN.EUS.) 




Squalus Acantkias. LINN.EUS. 




( Trachinus draco. FKXX ANT.) 






THE hollow grumblings of the devils on earth 
having reached the infernal regions, Satan ordered 
an enquiry immediately to be made into the cause of 
their outcry, and commanded a trio of his choicest 
associates forthwith to fly with the velocity of light 
to see, and to report to him, what was the matter. 
On their arriA*al on earth, they were met, during the 
night, when men were asleep, by a deputation se- 
lected from innumerable hosts of imps from every 
kingdom and state of the uncivilized as well as the 
civilized world. They soon were given to under- 

* This fable was written and illustrated by T. Bewick, for his 
" Fables of ^Esop," and is now published for the first time. 



stand, that an outrageous mutiny, amounting to 
rebellion, had been going on for some time against 
their old king, Ignorance, who was accused of having 
become very remiss and negligent of his duty. For 
this they resolved to have him hurled from his 
high station, and to have another ruler appointed in 
his stead. It was alleged that, owing to his neglect, 
mankind had lately begun to use their intellectual 
faculties to such a degree, that it was feared, if they 
were suffered to go on, Satan would (though very 
unjustly) lay the blame on them for the loss of his 
subjects. Old Ignorance was immediately brought 
to judgment, and at the same time other candidates 
for his office offered their services to succeed him. 
The voting instantly took place, and was decided in 
the twinkling of an eye, when it was found that old 
Ignorance was .re-elected by a great majority ; for, 
on casting up the votes, they stood thus : 













Majority for old Ignorance 200,000,000 



The candidates who had lately contended with him 
in aspiring to supreme command, having been ap- 
pointed his chief ministers, he was sworn to redouble 
his vigilence : in return for which it was finally 
decreed that he should, in future, have seven links 
added to his tail, and his head adorned with six 
horns, instead of two. His infernal honour being 
thus pledged, the work of mischief was instantly 
begun, by his commanding his ministers and their 
satellites to redouble their vigilence, by throwing the 
mists of ignorance over the minds of the rulers and 
teachers of mankind, and to fill their minds with 
superstition, bigotry, pride, and arrogant zeal. All 
the imps of minor consideration were also ordered to 
direct the unreasoning, lazy, envious, wicked, gross, 
vulgar herd of mankind, high and low, into the 
paths which lead to misery. Having thus concluded 
their mission, the innumerable host set off, like a 
whirlwind, amidst the glare of lightning and the 
roar of thunder, to take up their abode in the minds 
of men, where they had been nursed before ; but 
millions of their number, who had been dismissed 
from the minds of good men, dropped behind, and, 
in their fall through endless space, by the violence of 
their motion, ignited, were whirled into balls of 
fire, and gravitated to the sun. The rest pro- 
ceeded ; their numbers eclipsed the moon, and the 
effluvia which exhaled from them in their flight 
caused plague, pestilence, and famine in the countries 
they passed over, and the concussion they made in 
the air is said to have shaken the ices from the 



If there be a plurality of devils, Ignorance must 
be their king ; and through his influence only men 
are wicked ; and, under him and his satellites, the 
wretchedness they have dealt out to mankind ever 
since their chequered reign began has disfigured the 
fair face of nature ; and they have too often suc- 
ceeded, in the struggles between virtue and vice, in 
obscuring the reasoning powers of man, and bringing 
him down to the level of the brute. For no sooner 
was it decreed by Omnipotence that his reasoning 
creatures should live in a state of civilized society, 
suitable to their natures and befitting so high a be- 
hest, than these enemies to this good order of things 
obtruded themselves upon it, and have too long and 
too often succeeded in baffling the efforts of good men 
in their aims at approaching towards perfection, and 
in thwarting the progress of mental improvement, 
and the consequent happiness of the human race. 
They have, with the glimmering light of their ignis 
fatuus, led their devotees in zig-zag, backward and 
forward paths, through misty bogs and quagmires, 
into the midnight glooms and chaotic darkness which 
envelope their wretched dens. The bloody pages of 
history have in part recorded some of the many 
miseries which have from time to time been inflicted 
upon their victims ; but to enumerate only a portion 
would be an irksome as well as an endless task. 



THE Author, at page 249 of this Memoir, in stat- 
ing what he believes may be done by the printing 
of large wood cuts from two or more blocks, so as to 
rival the landscapes of "William Woollett on copper, 
intimates his intention of making the attempt, to 
show that it is not a visionary theory. "With this 
view, he executed a large wood cut, the subject 
being an old horse "waiting for death." A first 
proof was taken a few days before his death. An 
impression at the same time was transferred to a 
second block, the exact size of the first, and was 
intended to have been engraved to heighten and 
improve the effect of the print ; and a third was 
prepared to be used if necessary. A few impressions 
of the first of the series were printed in London in 
1832, and were accompanied by a descriptive history 
of the horse, written so far back as 1785. The print 
(in a finished state) was intended to have been dedi- 
cated to the " Society for the Prevention of Cruelty 
to Animals," and was also meant to serve as one of 
a set of cheap embellishments for the walls of cot- 
tages. The history of the old horse "waiting for 
death" is subjoined.* 

* The vignette at page 53, vol. i, last edition of the " History of 
British Birds," will be found printed with two additional blocks as a 
title page to the second edition of the " Quadrupeds," cjuarto, without 
letterpress, 1824. 

2 u 



IN the morning of his days he was handsome, 
sleek as a raven, sprightly and spirited, and was then 
much caressed and happy. When he grew to per- 
fection, in his performances; even on the turf, and 
afterwards in the chase, and in the field, he was 
equalled by few of his kind. At one time of his 
life he saved that of his master, whom he bore, in 
safety, across the rapid flood ; but having, in climb- 
ing the opposite rocky shore, received a blemish, 
it was thought prudent to dispose of him ; after which 
he fell into the hands of different masters, but from 
none of them did he ever eat the bread of idleness ; 
and, as he grew in years, his cup of misery was 
still augmented with bitterness. 

It was once his hard lot to fall into the hands of 
Skinflint, a horse-keeper, an authorised wholesale 
and retail dealer in cruelty, who employed him alter- 
nately, but closely, as a hack, both in the chaise and 
for the saddle ; for when the traces and trappings, 
used in the former, had peeled the skin from off his 
breast, shoulders, and sides, he was then, as his back 
was whole, thought fit for the latter ; indeed, his 
exertions, in this service of unfeeling avarice and folly, 
were great beyond belief. He was always, late and 
early, made ready for action ; he was never allowed 
to rest, even on the Sabbath day, because he could 
trot well, hud a good bottom, and was the best hack 


in town ; and, it being a day of pleasure and pastime, 
he was much sought after by beings, in appearance, 
something like gentlemen ; in whose hands his suf- 
ferings were greater than his nature could bear. 
Has not the compassionate eye beheld him whipped, 
spurred, and galloped beyond his strength, in order 
to accomplish double the length of the journey that 
he was engaged to perform, till, by the inward grief 
expressed in his countenance, he seemed to plead for 
mercy, one would have thought most powerfully, 
but, alas, in vain ! In the whole load which he bore 
(as was often the case), not an ounce of humanity 
could be found ; and, his rider being determined 
to have pennyworths for his money, the ribs of this 
silent slave, where not a hair had for long been 
suffered to grow, were still ripped up. He was 
pushed forward through a stony rivulet, then on 
hard road against the hill, and having lost a shoe, 
split his hoof, and being quite spent with hunger and 
fatigue, he fell, broke his nose and his knees, and 
was unable to proceed ; and becoming greased, spa- 
vined, ringboned, blind of an eye, and the skin, by 
repeated friction, being worn off all the large promi- 
nences of his body, he was judged to be only fit for 
the dogs : however, one shilling and sixpence 
beyond the dog-horse price saved his life, and he 
became the property of a poor dealer and horse 

It is amazing to think upon the vicissitudes of his 
life : he had often been burnished up, his teeth de- 
faced by art, peppered under his tail ; having been 
the property of a general, a gentleman, a farmer, a 



miller, a butcher, a higgler, and a maker of brooms. 
A hard winter coming on, a want of money, and a 
want of meat, obliged his poor owner to turn him 
out to shift for himself. His former fame and great 
value are now, to him, not worth a handful of oats. 
But his days and nights of misery are now drawing 
to an end ; so that, after having faithfully dedicated 
the whole of his powers and his time to the service 
of unfeeling man, he is at last turned out, unsheltered 
and unprotected, to starve of hunger and of cold. 



THAT rare old book, "A Collection of all the 
Ancient Poems, Songs, and Ballads, relative to 
Robin Hood," published by Ritson, 1795, was em- 
bellished by John Bewick. Three of the cuts are 
introduced in the following pages. A comparison of 
them with the book itself, will show the great im- 
provement which has taken place in the printing of 
wood cuts since that day. It may not, perhaps, be 
out of place to insert an extract from a letter, on the 
subject of these cuts, written by the antiquary to the 
artist, more than half a century ago. 

" Gray's Inn. 

" J. Ritson is sorry he was gone out when Mr. 
Bewick called ; but hopes he will proceed with the 
other cuts, which shall be left entirely to his own 
fancy, and in which he will undoubtedly consult his 
own reputation." 

Amongst the many books illustrated by John Bew- 
ick, now very scarce, a few may be enumerated : 
" The Looking Glass for the Mind," Proverbs Exem- 
plified,"* The Progress of Man in Society," "Blossoms 

* Tbe publisher, Dr. Trussler, quaintly observes, " It is a very proper 
book to amuse and instruct youth, and the price, viz. 3s., Lalf-Lound, 
will hurt no one." 



of Morality." The last-named was published by Mr. 
Newberry, to whom, for his charming little books, the 
rising generation of that day was under great obli- 
gation. In his preface, dated October 6th, 1796, Mr. 
N. says : 

" Much time has elapsed since the commencement 
of this edition, owing to a severe indisposition with 
which the artist was long afflicted, and which un- 
fortunately terminated in his death. And sorry, 
very sorry, are we to be compelled to state, that this 
is the last effort of his incomparable genius." 





THE following letters are selected from a large 
correspondence, extending over many years, and, 
from the matter they contain, may not be thought 
uninteresting. The first is addressed to T. Bewick, 
on the occasion of his brother's death, by Mr. Wm. 
Buhner, a native of Newcastle, and who is mentioned 
at page 70 as the first typographer of his day. A 
portrait of this gentleman is given in Dr. Dibdin's 
"Bibliomania" (?) in connection with the "Bodoni 
Hum." Mr. Bulmer died at his villa, Clapham 
Rise, Surrey, at the close of the year 1828. 


Cleveland Row, December 10, 1795. 


The death of your brother has hurt me 
much, I assure you. He was a young "man whose 
private virtues and professional talents I equally ad- 
mired ; so much so, indeed, that as a grateful tribute 
to his memory, I have this day clothed myself in 
mourning. His death has affected me in a manner 
that has much depressed jny spirits. If my opinion 

2 x 


or assistance in your intended record of his worth, 
on the melancholy tombstone that is intended to 
mark the place of his interment, can be of any use, 
I beg you will command me. The blocks for Mr. 
Way's work* have come safe to hand, but he informs 
me that you have omitted to send the head-piece to 
Tale Seventh, " The Mantle Made Amiss," which I 
must beg you will send along with the first parcel of 
blocks for the Chase ; and, in cutting the remainder 
of Mr. Way's work, you will cut head and tail-piece 
in the regular succession, agreeable to the numbers 
on the different sketches, as any omission on this head 
causes an interruption in the printing. As to the 
blocks for " The Chase," I have already told you my 
situation. I must, therefore, entirely rely on your 
making a bold effort to finish them in the specified time. 
The whole number is only twelve blocks, besides the 
vignette for the title. Many of the tail-pieces are 
small. I wish fine execution in them, I confess, 
but yet there must be that happy mixture of engrav- 
ing in them that will at the same time produce a 
boldness of effect. Mr. Way particularly requests 
that I will inform you that the blocks last sent are 
perfectly to his wishes. Agreeably to your desire, I 
have sent the death of your brother to the London 
prints. And believe me, 

Yours, very sincerely, 


* "Fabliaux, or Tales abridged from French Manuscripts of the 12th 
and 13th Centuries. By M. Le Grand. Translated into English 
verse, by G. L. Way, Esq." 1796. 




Newcastle, 4th October, 1794. 


I received yours of the 17th ult., and 
thank you for the opinion you have given me of 
America. Before I get the Birds done, I have no 
doubt of matters being brought to such a crisis as 
will enable me to see clearly what course to steer. 
My fears are not at what you think will happen in 
America : it is my own much-loved country that I 
fear will be involved in the anarchy you speak of; 
for I think there is not virtue enough left in the 
country gentlemen to prevent it. I cannot hope for 
anything good from the violent on either side ; that 
can only be expected from (I hope) the great majority 
of moderate men stepping manfully forward to check 
the despotism of the one party and the licentiousness 
of the other. A reform of abuses, in my opinion, is 
wanted, and I wish that could be done with justice 
and moderation ; but it is because I do not hope or 
expect that will take place in the way I wish it that 
makes me bend my mind towards America. . . . 

* It appears from the autograph letter here copied, that Thomas 
Bewick at one time contemplated emigrating to America. The name 
of his correspondent is not known. 



April 4, 1805. 

I cannot resist the pleasure of thanking 
Mr. Bewick for the entertainment I have just ex- 
perienced in looking over the second volume of the 
" British Birds." The vignettes are incomparable. 
The one "with the string of the kite over the poor 
man's hat, who cannot extricate himself, having to 
conduct his horse through the water, and that of the 
man clinging to the arm of the tree, and, still more, 
the four little boys riding triumphant on the tomb- 
stones, without a moment's reflection on the memen- 
tos of death around them, are, I think, excellently 
done. The little drawing Captain M pre- 
sented me with, from Mr. Bewick, will be placed in 
a book with the others I had given me at Newcastle, 
which I have the greatest value for, and shall be 
very happy, if either business or pleasure brought 
Mr. Bewick to London, to show them to him, in the 
highest preservation, and also to be introduced to 
his ingenious son, to whom I beg my compliments ; 
and remain Mr. Bewick's very great admirer and 

S. M- 

* The lady here indicated was the wife of an officer. She was an 
.imateur artist, and was a frequent visitor when at Newcastle. 



Newcastle, May 20, 1805. 


Your very kind and flattering letter of 
the 4th ult. has reached me, and I am happy to find 
that the second volume of the Birds meets with your 
approbation, and that some of my little whimsies put 
into vignettes have afforded you any entertainment. 
Could I have forseen that the sketches, which your 
partiality makes you value, would ever have been 
thought worthy of your notice, I certainly would 
have saved more of them for you, and not have put 
so many of them into the fire. And now, if my 
time and attention were not so fully taken up with 
conducting other parts of my business, I could easily 
furnish such without end ; but, when the fancies pop 
into my head, I have not time even to commit them 
to paper, and I am often obliged to sketch them at 
once upon the wood. A second edition of both 
volumes of the Birds is now at press ; and, as I be- 
lieve you wish me success, I cannot help informing 
you, that, in my opinion, Mr. Walker, the printer, is 
doing the work to look better than either of the 
volumes now before the public. He has seen some 
defects in his former mode of printing which he is 
remedying in this. I have just seen Aikin's " An- 
nual Review," in which he dwells at large, in his 

342 Al'l'KNMHX. 

criticism, upon the History of the Quadrupeds an;l 
the Birds. There are many misstatements, and 
some mistakes of the printer, but, otherwise, he has 
gone the utmost lengths in praise of the whole ; and, 
if his praise be just, it is highly flattering to me. I 
never hoped to have any compliments paid to me as 
an author. I furnished all the original remarks, &c., 
for the Quadrupeds, and the first volume of the 
Birds ; but, if I could have got any person to write 
a book for me, I would never have thought upon 
writing the second volume myself. Necessity not 
choice set me to work in this way. It was the 
work of the winter evenings, at my happy fireside, 
surrounded by my wife and girls at work, and 
cheered at intervals by many a wild tune on the 
Northumberland pipes, played by my now stout, 
healthy boy. < 

I am, Madam, 

With best wishes for your health and happiness, 
Ydur much obliged servant, 


P.S. Should business take me to London, I will 
certainly take the liberty to give you a call. My 
boy thinks himself much obliged to you for your at- 
tention and great kindness to him. I would fain 
indulge him with a visit to London, but I think he 
is too young yet, and I have some fears that I shall 
feel awkward at parting with him even for a short 

UM'KNDIX. 343 


Newcastle, 15th Nov., 1808. 


Your letter of the fourth inst., enclosing 
your promissory note at six months, came safe to 
hand. Having calculated upon being sooner paid, 
I was, I confess disappointed ; but, however, on 
thinking all matters over respecting your present 
expenses in, as yet, an unproductive publication, and 
remembering your continual good wishes towards 
me, I now see that I have to thank you for the above 
remittance. You make me smile when you talk of 
my " accumulated wealth." I might, indeed, have 
been, by this time, as rich as I ever wished to be, if 

my publications had been 

but that not being the case, that day must be longer 
put off. It may, indeed, happen all in good time, 
viz., when I am unable in the line of my business to 
be longer useful to the world. I may then, indeed, 
in the down hill of life, have it in my power to at- 
tain to the summit of my wishes, in retiring to a 
cottage, by a burn side, surrounded with woods and 
wilds, such as I was dragged from when young to 
exhibit myself upon the stage of the busy world. 
To such a place as this I hope to retire ; and, if I 

* An eminent publisher by whom he had been employed to embellish 
an extensive work. 


am enabled to show kindness to old friends, and to be 
a good neighbour to those around me, and at the 
same time to fill up my leisure time in contemplation, 
and in the amusements of fishing and gardening, 
then I shall think that Providence has been pleased 
to single me out to be one of the happiest of men. 
I intend to go to press in the spring with a new 
edition of the Birds, printed with the same kind of 
small type as the Quadrupeds : the two volumes in 
one volume demy. I wish much to have one of your 
books, but I cannot engage in the sale of them, being 
sufficiently embarrassed with my own publications. 

T. B. 













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