General Literature, pp. 182-184.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

   WALDEGRAVE’S STATUTES, 1597. ‘The / Lavves and Actes / of Parliament, maid / Be King lames the first, And / his svccessovrs Kinges of Scot- / land: Visied, collected and extracted / furth of the Register. The Contentes of this Bvik, / are expremed in the leafe following. [Royal Arms.] At Edinburgh, / Imprented Be Robert / VValde-graue prenter to the Kinges Majestie. / 15. Martii. Anno Dom. 1597. /’ Fol. The work has a second ornamental engraved title which differs in some points from the above. 

   On 9th October 1590, Robert Walgrave or Waldegrave had a gift under the Privy Seal, ‘makand and constituand him oure Soveraine Lordis prentare and gevand to him the privilege thairof for all the dayis of his lyiftyme,’ with power, inter alia, to ‘Imprent and caus to be Imprentit all sindrie actis of Parliament.’ Shortly afterwards a curious case arose in connection with this licence. On 2d February 1596/7 he was charged with treason at the instance of the Lord Advocate for printing a vitiated and incorrect copy of an Act of Parliament, of date 31st May 1592, entituled, ‘For ye abolishing of ye Actis concerning the Kirk.’ He maintained that he printed the Act as it was given to him by the Lord Clerk Register. He was, however, found guilty, and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. This was followed, on 21st February, by the trial of Mr. Johne Howiesoune, minister of Cambuslang, who was accused of having supplied the false copy of the Act to Waldegrave, and with having purchased forty or fifty copies of it when printed and then circulating them. He pleaded not guilty, but was convicted, and warded in the Castle of Edinburgh. The minister, however, could ill be spared, and on 1st March the Presbytery of Edinburgh appointed a committee to apply to His Majestie for his release. On 15th March the present volume was published. It does not contain the Act in question. 

   Waldegrave’s Lawes and Actis is by no means a rare book. The first printed edition of the Scots Acts was that of Thomas Davidson, Edinburgh. 1541, of which, however, only one copy is known, and that on vellum, which appropriately is in the Advocates’ Library. The next edition was that of Robert Lekprevik. Edinburgh, 1566, commonly known as The Black Acts. It is very difficult to get a perfect copy. The Advocates’ Library possesses a fine one purchased at George Chalmers’s sale. There is another in the University Library, Glasgow. 

   The present copy of Waldegrave’s Lawes wants the engraved title-page, a not uncommon condition in which to find the work. 

(687) Lent by ROBERT GLEN. 

   ‘HARDYKNUTE, / A / Fragment. / [Woodcut.] Edinburgh, / Printed by James Watson, Printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, / MDCCXIX. /’ Folio, 12 pp.  

   The subject of the ballad of Hardyknute is the battle of Largs, fought 2d October 1263. It is, however, a modern composition. According to some it was written by Sir John Bruce of Kinross; according to others, by Elizabeth Halket, wife of Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitreavie, and daughter of Sir Charles Halket of Pitferrane. It was for some time handed about in manuscript amongst her friends, and was accepted as a genuine fragment of an ancient ballad. Acting on this belief, it was published in the above form at the expense of Lord President Forbes and Sir Gilbert Elliot, afterwards Lord Justice-Clerk; a few years afterwards it was inserted in Ramsay’s Ever-Green, and in 1740 it was reprinted in London, and in 1748 at Glasgow. 

   This copy was successively in the possession of Dr. Clark, Lord Hailes, Pinkerton, and Bishop Percy, and was long supposed to have been lost. 

(689) Lent by WILLIAM MACMATH. 

   ‘THE / GENTLE SHEPHERD, A / Scots / Pastoral Comedy. By Allan Ramsay

The Gentle Shepherd sat beside a Spring. 

All in the Shadow of a bushy Brier, 

That Colin hight, which well cou’d pipe and sing, 

For he of Tityrus his songs did lere. 

                                                                                   SPENSER, p. 1113. 

   ‘EDINBURGH: Printed by Mr. Tho. Ruddiman, for the Author. / Sold at his Shop near the Cross, and by Mr. Thomas Long / man in Pater-noster-Row, and Mr. James McEwin, oppo / site to St. Clement’s Church, Booksellers in London, and by / Mr. Alexander Carmichael in Glasgow. 1725. /’ 12mo, pp. vi. 89. 

   The Editio princeps, printed at Edinburgh by Ruddiman the grammarian and Keeper of the Advocates’ Library. He had previously printed Ramsay’s Poems. 4to, 1720, and The Evergreen. 12mo, 2 vols., 1724. Both author and printer were Jacobites. 

   It was the custom of the time not only to publish books by subscription, but to divide the remaining risk amongst several booksellers. This is what was done in the present case, and so three names appear upon the imprint. One of these, that of Mr. Thomas Longman, is noticeable. He was the founder of the famous publishing firm in ‘the Row,’ and had commenced business only the year before. 

   James McEwen was a bookseller of considerable note in his day, and had establishments both in Edinburgh and in London. His shop in Edinburgh was in the Luckenbooths, at the top on the present carriageway of the High Street, on the north side of St. Giles’, commanding a view of the bay of Musselburgh, Gosford House in East Lothian, and other places of interest; and was the resort of the most distinguished literary characters in Scotland for fully a hundred years. It was long occupied by McEwen’s successor and former apprentice, Alexander Kincaid, His Majesty’s Printer for Scotland; and Kincaid was in turn succeeded by William Creech, who occupied it until his death in 1815. Allan Ramsay occupied the premises immediately over the shop, and here he kept his circulating library, established in 1725. It was in McEwen’s shop that he met Gay, and it was here that Gay read The Gentle Shepherd, and studied the Scottish idiom, so that he could interpret the poem to Pope on his return to England. 

   Alexander Carmichael was son of Professor Gershom Carmichael of Glasgow, the founder of the Scottish School of Philosophy, and the grandson of the well-known Alexander Carmichael, author of Believer’s Mortification of Sin by the Spirit. He was a bookseller and printer in Glasgow, and had for some time a printing-office within the College. It was in a litigation between him and Andrew Stalker, who had been his partner, that it was in 1735 decided by the Court of Session that Glasgow was ‘too narrow for two booksellers at a time.’ 

   The Gentle Shepherd is dedicated to Susanna, Countess of Eglintoun, a daughter of Sir Archibald Kennedy of Culzean, long celebrated for her beauty. She was visited, at Auchans, in 1773 by Dr. Johnson, who, as Boswell records, ‘was delighted with his reception here.’ She died in 1780 at the age of 91. 

   The epistle dedicatory is followed by a poetical address by Hamilton of Bangour. 

(690) Lent by WILLIAM MACMATH. 

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