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1869 THE LIBRARY

‘AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGY;

MATURAL “HISTORY

OF THE

BIRDS OF THE UNITED STATES.

ILLUSTRATED WITH PLATES

ENGRAVED FROM DRAWINGS FROM NATURE.

BY

ALEXANDER} WILSON

CHARLES LUCIAN BONAPARTE.

POPULAR EDITION.

"PHILADELPHIA : PO hE RR. 2e&. CO Avie ss:

822 CHESTNUT STREET.

THE PAGES IN THIS VOLUME HAVE BEEN INTERLEAVED WITH AN ACID FREE PAPER TO PERMIT BINDING

AND TO REDUCE FURTHER DETERIORATION.

CONTENTS OF. VOL. 2.

Epiror’s PREFACE, : : Preface to the Life of Wakes : : Sketch of the Life of Walon: : Introduction, Vultur aura, Turkey Valture or Rarkecwarecd). jota, Black Vulture or Carrion Crow, Falco peregrinus, Great-footed Hawk, Sparverius, American Sparrow Hawk, female, a Columbarius, Pigeon Hawk, : F leucocephalus, White- headed or Bald ieee ossifragus, Sea Eagle, : fulvus, Ring-tail Eagle, : halixtus, Fish-Hawk or Osprey, atricapillus, Ash-colored or Black-cap ais borealis, Red-tailed Hawk, Leverianus, American Basar

Pennsylvanicus, Slate-colored Hawk, 5 ° velox, Sharp-shinned Hawk, . Pennsylvanicus, Broad-winged Hawk, - ; Jurcatus, Swallow-tailed Hawk, : 5 Mississippiensis, Mississippi Kite, lagopus, Rough-legged Falcon, 3 : niger, Black Hawk, : : A : variety, hyemalis, Winter Falcon, . 2 . . lineatus, Red-shouldered Hawk, ae ; uliginosus, Marsh Hawk, : 3 °

Strix nyctea, Snow Owl, Hudsonia, Hawk Owl, nebulosa, Barred Owl, ; P ; jlammea, White or Barn Owl, : : = passerina, Little Owl,

(7)

vi CONTENTS OF VOL IL

Strix brachyotos, Short-eared Owl, . . : Virginiana, Great-horned Owl, : . etus, Long-eared Owl, : : : nevta, Mottled Owl, =. a

_ asio, Red Owl, : ;

Lantus exeuditor, Great American Shrike or hehe tin’, Carolinensis, Loggerhead Shrike,

Psittacus Carelinensis, Carolina Parrot, ~ u Corvus corax, Raven, . : : . . corone, Crow, . . a Columbians, Clark’s Gren . . . essifragus, Fish Crow, : : . pica, Magpie, : : : . . eristatus, Blue Jay, - ; : . Canadensis, Canada Jay, - : . Oriolus Baltimorus, Baltimore Oricle, ae: : : female, 5 : mutatus, Orchard Oriele, : : . Gracula ferruginea, Rusty Grakle, 4 . guiscala, Purple Grakle, : : . Cuculus Carolinensis, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, : S erythrophthalmus, Black-billed Cuckoo, - Picus principalis, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, : . ptleatus, Pileated Woodpecker, . : : auratus, Golden-winged Woodpecker, . : erythrocephalus, Red-headed Woodpecker, . varius, Yellow-bellied Woodpecker, : xs villesus, Hairy Woodpecker, =. : : pubescens, Downy Woodpecker, —. ; . guerulus, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, . : terguatus, Lewis's Woodpecker, - . . Carolinus, Red-bellied Woodpecker, : Sitta Carolinensis, White-breasted Nuthatch, 2 varia, Red-bellied Nuthatch, - : = pusilla, Brown-headed Nuthatch, . . . Alcede aicyon, Belted Kingfisher, : 3 :

Certhia familiaris, Brown Creeper, 2 : maculata, Black and White Creeper, : Ceroliniana, Great Carolina Wren, » : palustris, Marsh Wren, : .

Trochitus colubris, Humming Bird,

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QS

PLaTE 1.—1. Blue Jay. 2. Yellow-bird, or Goldfinch. 3. PLATE 2.—1. Wood Thrush. 2. Red-breasted Thrush, or Baltimore-bird. Robin. 38. White-breasted, Black-capped Nuthatch. 4. Red- bellied, Black-capped Nuthatch.

PLATE 3,—1. Gold-winged Woodpecker. 2. Black-throated PLATE 4.—Orchard Oriole. 1, Female. 2 and 3. Males of Bunting. 3. Blue-bird. the second and third years. 4. Male in complete plumage.

» RS

a, Egg of the Orchard Oriole. b, Egg of the Baltimore Oriole

=)

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PLATE 5.—1. Great American Shrike, or Butcher-bird. Pine Grosbeak. 3. Ruby-crowned Wren. 4. Shore Lark.

9

PLATE 6.—1. Maryland Yellow-throat. Chat. 3. Summer Red-bird. 4. Female.

American Redstart.

2. Yellow-breasted 5. Indigo-bird. 6.

PLATE 7.—1. Cedar-bird. 2. Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Yellow-throated Flycatcher. 4. Purple Finch.

3.

PLATE 8.—1. Brown Creeper. 2. Golden-crested Wren. 3.

House Wren. 4. Black-capped Titmouse. 5

6. Winter Wren.

. Crested Titmouse.

PLATE 9.—1. Red-headed Woodpecker. 2. Yellow-bellied

Woodpecker. 3. Hairy Woodpecker.

PLATE 11.—1. Cardinal Grosbeak. Red Tanager. 4. Female and egg.

4. Downy Woodpecker.

2. Female and egg. 3.

PLATE 10.—1. Mocking-bird. 2. Eggs. 3 and 4. Male aud

female Humming-bird, nest and eggs.

Egg.

5. Towhé Bunting. 6.

PLATE 12.—1. Rice Bunting. 2. Female. 3. Red-eyed Fly-

catcher. 4. Marsh Wren. 5. Great Carolina Wren. 6. Yel-

low-throat Warbler.

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PLATE 13.—1. Tyrant Flycatcher. 2. Great Crested Fly- PLATE 14.—1. Brown Thrush. 2. Golden-crowned Thrush. catcher. 3. Small Green Crested Flycatcher. 4. Pewit Fly- 3. Cat-bird. 4. Bay-breasted Warbler. 5. Chestnut-sided War-

catcher. 5. Wood Pewit Flycatcher. bler. 6. Mourning Warbler.

PLATE 15.—1. Red-cockaded Woodpecker, 2. Brown-headed PLATE 16.—1. American Sparrow Hawk. 2. Field Sparrow. Nuthatch. 3. Pigeon Hawk. 4. Blue-winged Yellow War- 3. Tree Sparrow. 4. Song Sparrow. 5. Chipping Sparrow. 6, bler. 5. Golden-winged Warbler. 6. Blue-eyed Yellow War- Snow: bird.

bler. 7. Black-throated Blue Warbler.

PLarE 17.—1. American Siskin. 2. Rose-breasted Gros- PLaTE 18.—1. Cow Bunting. 2. Female. 3. Young. 4, beak. 3. Green Black-throated Warbler. 4. Yellow-rump Maryland Yellow-throat. 5. Blue-grey Flycatcher. 6. White-

Warbler. 5. Cerulean Warbler. 6. Solitary Flycatcher. eyed Flycatcher.

PLATE 19.—1. Mottled Owl. 2. Meadow Lark. 3. Black- PLATE 20.—1. Louisiana Tanager. 2. Clark’s Crow. 3.

and-white Creeper. 4. Pine-creeping Warbler. Lewis's Woodpecker.

PLATE 21.—1. Canada Tay.

Grakle. 4. Purple Grakle.

»

Snow Bunting. 8. Rusty PLATE 22.—1. Swamp Sparrow. 2. White throated Sparrow. 3. Savannah Sparrow. 4. Fox-colored Sparrow. 5. Logger-

head Shrike.

PLATE 23.—1. Belted Kingfisher, Warbler.

bler. 3. Blackburnian Water Thrush.

2. Black-and-yellow War- PLate 24.—1. Painted Bunting. 2. Female. 3. Prothono-

4. Autumnal Warbler. 5. tary Warbler. 4. Wormeating Warbler. 5. Yellow-winged

Sparrow. 6. Blue Grosbeak

PLATE 25.—1. Mississippi Kite. 2, Tennessee Warbler. PLATE 26—1. Carolina Parrot. 2. Canada Flycatcher. 3.

5. Kentucky Warbler. 4. Prairie Warbler. Hooded Flycatcher. 4. Green Black-capped Flycatcher.

PLaTE 27.—1. Pinnated Grouse. 2. Blue-green Warbler. PLaTE 28.—1. Carolina Cuckoo, 2. Black-billed Cuckoo. 3. Nashville Warbler. 3. Blue Yellow-back Warbler. 4. Yellow Red-poll Warbler.

PLATE 29.—1. Ivory-billed Woodpecker. 2. Pileated Wood-

pecker. 5. Red-headed Woodpecker.

PLATE 30.—1. Red-winged Starling. 2. Female. 3

poll Warbler.

4. Lesser Red-poll.

. Black-

PLATE 31.—1. American Crossbill. 2. Female. 3. White winged Crossbill. 4. White-crowned Bunting. 5. Bay-winged

Bunting.

PLATE 32.—1. Snow Owl. 2.

Male Sparrow-hawk.

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PiaTE 33.—1. Rough-legged Falcon. 2. Barred Owl. 3. PLATE 34.—1. Little Owl. 2. Seaside Finch. 3. Sharp-tailed

Short-eared Owl. Finch. 4. Savannah Finch.

PLATE 35.—1. Winter Falcon. 2. Magpie. 3. Crow. PLATE 37.—1. Fish-hawk 2. Fish-crow. 3. Ring Plover.

4. Least Snipe.

PLATE 36.—W hite-headed Eagle.

PLATE 38.—1. Barn Swallow. 2. Female. 3%. White-bellied

Swallow. 4. Bank Swallow.

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Female. 4. Connecticut Warbler.

PLATE 41.—1. Whip-poor-will. 2. Female. PLATE 42.—1. Red Owl. 2. Warbling Flycatcher. 3, Pur- ple Finch. 4. Brown Lark

PLATE 43.—1. Turtle Dove.

2. Hermit Thrush. 3, Tawny

Thrush. 4. Pine-swamp Warbler,

PLATE 45.—1, Sharp-shinned Hawk.

PLATE 44.—1. I

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bler. 3. Hemlock Warbler.

2. Redstart, 3.

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PLATE 51.—1. Long-eared Owl. 2. Marsh Hawk. 3

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PLATE 52.—1. Red-tailed Hawk.

Ash-colored Hawk.

9

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PLATE 53.—1. Black Hawk.

2. Variety of Black Hawk.

Red-shouldered Hawk. 4. Female Baltimore Oriole. 5.

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PLATE 54.—1. Broad-winged Hawk. 2. Chuck-will’s-widow. PLATE 5).—1. Ring-tail Eagle. 2. Sea Eagle.

3, Cape May Warbler. 4. Female Black-cap Warbler.

PLATE 56.—1. Esquimaux Curlew. 2. Red-backed Snipe, 3, Semi-palmated Snipe.

4. Marbled Godwit.

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4. Great White Heron. tuddy Plover. 4. Semipalmated Sandpiper.

PLaTE 64.—1. Louisiana Heron. 2. Pied Oyster-catcher. PLATE 65.—1. Yellow-crowned Heron. 2. Great Heron. 3.

3. Whooping Crane. 4. Long-billed Curlew. American Bittern. 4. Least Bittern.

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PLATE B, 1.—1. Fork-tailed Flycatcher. 2. Rocky Moun- PLATE B, 2.—-1. Swallow-tailed Flycatcher. 2. Arkansas tain Antecatcher. 38. Female Golden-winged Warbler. Flycatcher. 3. Say’s Flycatcher. 4. Female Golden-crested Wren.

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PLATE B, 3.—1. Yellow-headed Blackbird, 2. Female. 3. PLATE B, 4.—1. Great Crow Blackbird, 2. Female.

Female Cape May Warbler.

PLATE B, 5.—1. Female Crow Blackbird. 2. Orange-crowned

Warbler.

PLATE B, 7.—1. Owl,

3. Lark Finch.

Fulvous or Cliff Swallow,

Burrowing

PLATE B, 6.—1. Crimson-headed Bullfinch. 2. Female.

3. Arkansas Siskin. 4. Female American Goldfinch. 5. La-

zuli Finch.

PLATE B, 8.—1 and 2. Young Yellow-bellied Woodpeckers.

3. Band-tailed Pigeon.

Puate B, 9.—Wild Turkey, Male and Female. PLATE B, 10.—1. Cooper’s Hawk. 2. Palm Warbler.

PLATE B, 11.—1. White-tailed Hawk. 2. Female Cerulean PLATE B, 12.—Blue Hawk or Hen Harrier. Warbler.

PLATE B, 1:

Female.

PLate B, 15.—1. Evening Grosbeak. 2. Female

—1. Steller’s Jay. 2. Lapland Longspur.

tose-

breasted Grosbeak. 38. Female White-winged Crossbill. 4. Female Indigo Fineh.

2 a,

PLATE B, 14.—1. Florida Jay.

Woodpecker. 3. Young Redheaded Woodpecker.

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PLATE B, 16.—1. Pallas’ Dipper.

3. Female Pine Bullfinch.

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PLATE B, 21.—1. Cock of the Plains, Female, 2. Female Spotted Grouse, PLavE B, 23.—1. Glossy Ibis. 2. Pectoral Sandpiper. 38. Red-breasted Snipe.

PLavTE B, 24.—1. Wilson’s Phalarope. 2. Schinz’s Sandpiper. 38. Piping Plover. PLarE B, 25.—1, Wilson’s Phalarope, Young. 2. Hyperborean Phalarope. 5.

Long-legged Sandpiper. 4. Semi-palmated Plover.

PLATE B, 26.—1. Peale’s Egret Heron. 2. Scolopaceous Courlan. 3. Esquimaux

Curlew.

PLatE B, 27.—1. Florida Gallinule. 2. Yellow-breasted Rail.

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PREFACE

TO

THE LIFE OF WILSON.

In the preface to the first edition of this biographical sketch, the motives of the publication are stated, and the peculiar circumstances under which its author was placed, in respect to materials, are detailed ; there is, therefore, no need of repeating them.

It has been thought proper to augment the volume, by a selection from the series of interesting letters, which were put into the writer’s hands by some of Wilson’s personal friends, who were anxious that these memorials should not be lost. It may be, perhaps, objected, that some of them are of too trifling a nature for publication; but let it be observed that they all, more or less, tend to throw light upon the em- ployments, and peculiarities of character, of an individual of no every day occurrence; one of those to whose genius we would render homage, and the memory of whom we delight to cherish.

For the particulars of Wilson’s early life, the writer has been indebted to a narrative, in manuscript, which was communicated to him by Mr. William Duncan. This information, coming from a nephew of Wilson’s, and his confidential friend for many years, must be deemed authentic ; and we have to regret that the plan and limits of our publication, did not allow us to make a freer use of what was so kindly placed at our disposal.

To Mr. Duncan, Mr. Miller, and Mr. Lawson, the writer owes many obligations, for the promptitude with which they intrusted to him their letters; and his acknowledgments are equally due to Colonel Robert Carr, who furnished him with the letters to the late William Bartram. The friendship which subsisted between Wilson and the latter was of the most exalted kind; and the warm expressions of confidence and regard which characterize these letters, will afford a proof of how much of the

(ix)

x PREFACE TO LIFE OF WILSON.

writer's happiness was derived from this amiable intercourse. The reader’s obligations to Colonel Carr will not be lessened, when it is stated, that the greater part of these interesting epistles were mislaid during the latter days of the venerable botanist to whom they were addressed; and that it was through the care of the above-mentioned gentleman they were rescued from oblivion.

It will be long ere the lovers of science will cease to deplore the event, which snatched from us one so eminently gifted for natural investigations, by his zeal, his industry, his activity, and his intelligence ; one who, after a successful prosecution of his great undertaking through a series of eventful years, was deprived of his merited reward, at the moment when he was about putting the finishing hand to those labors, which have secured to him an imperishable renown. ‘The hand of death,” says Pliny, “is ever, in my estimation, too severe, and too sudden, when it falls upon such as are employed in some immortal work. The sons of sensuality, who have no other views beyond the present hour, terminate with each day the whole purpose of their lives; but those who. look forward to posterity, and endeavor to extend their memories to future generations by useful labors;—to such, death is always immature, as it still snatches them from amidst some unfinished design.” .

But although that Being, who so often frustrates human purposes, thought proper, in his wisdom, to terminate the ‘“ unfinished design”’ of our lamented friend, yet were his aspirations after an honorable distine- tion in society fully answered. The poor despised weaver of Paisley takes his rank among the writers of our country; and after ages shall look up to the Father of American Ornithology, and bless that Provi- dence, which, by inscrutable ways, led him to the only spot, perhaps, of the civilized earth, where his extraordinary talents would be encour- aged to develop themselves, and his estimable qualities of heart would be duly appreciated.

Wilson has proved to us what genius and industry can effect in despite of obstacles, which men of ordinary abilities would consider insurmount- able. His example will not be disregarded; and his success will be productive of benefits, the extent of which cannot now be estimated.

SKETCH

OF

PEE AUTHOR Sent PRs

ALEXANDER WILSON was born in the town of Paisley, in the west of Scot land, on the sixth day of July, 1766. His father, who was also named Alex- ander, followed the distilling business; an humble occupation, which neither allowed him much time for the improvement of his mind, nor yielded him much more than the necessaries of life. He was illiterate and poor; and died on the 5th June, 1816, at the age of eighty-eight. His mother was a native of Jura, one of the Hebrides or Western Islands of Scotland. She is said to have been a woman of delicate health, but of good understanding, and pas- sionately fond of Scotch music, a taste for which she early inculeated on her son, who, in his riper years, cultivated it as one of the principal amusements of his life. She died when Alexander was about ten years old, leaving him, and two sisters, to mourn their irreparable loss; a loss which her affectionate son never ceased to deplore, as it deprived him of his best friend; one who had fostered his infant mind, and who had looked forward, with fond expecta- tion, to that day,

‘* When, clad in sable gown, with solemn air, ‘* The walls of God’s own house should echo back his prayer :””

for it appears to have been her wish that he should be educated for the ministry.

At aschool in Paisley, Wilson was taught the common rudiments of learn- ing. But what proficiency he made, whether he was distinguished from his schoolmates or not, my memorials of his early life do not inform me. It appears that he was initiated in the elements of the Latin tongue; but having been re- moved from school at the age of twelve or thirteen, the amount of knowledge acquired could not have been great, and I have reason to believe that he never afterwards resumed the study. His early productions show that his English education had not only been greatly circumscribed, but very imperfect. He wrote, as all self-taught authors write, carelessly and incorrectly. His sen-

(xi)

Xi LIFE OF WILSON.

tences, constructed by the ear, often displease one by their gross violations of the rules of grammar, an essential part of learning to which he never seriously applied himself until, after his arrival in America, he found it necessary to qualify himself for an instructor of youth.

Wilson’s father, feeling the want of a helper in the government of an infant family, again entered into the matrimonial state. The maiden name of this second wife was Brown.

It was the intention of the father that Alexander should be educated for a physician; but this design was not relished by the son, who had, through the impertinent interference of some persons, imbibed some prejudices against the profession, which were the cause of the project’s being abandoned.

It being the wish of the step-mother that the boy should be put to a trade, he was accordingly apprenticed to his brother-in-law, William Duncan, who then resided in Paisley, to learn the art of weaving. That this determination was the result of good sense there can be no doubt; the employment had the tendency to fix a disposition somewhat impetuous and wavering ; and the useful knowledge acquired thereby he was enabled, at a subsequent period of life, to turn to account, when mental exertion, even with superior resources, would have availed him but little.

The scheme of being taught a trade met with little or no opposition from the subject of this memoir; his father’s house no longer affording him that pleasure which it had done during the life of her who had given him existence. Some difference had arisen between him and his step-mother, whether from undutiful conduct of his, or harsh treatment of hers, I know not; but it may be asserted with truth, that she continued an object of his aversion through life: which was manifest from the circumstance that, in the many letters which he wrote from America to his father, he seldom, if ever, mentioned her name. She is still living, and must, doubtless, feel not a little rejoiced that her predic- tions with respect to the “lazy weaver,” as Sandy was termed at home, who, instead of minding his business, misspent his time in making verses, were never verified. But, in justice to her character, we must state that, if she was an unkind step-mother, she nevertheless proved herself to be a faithful and affectionate wife; and supported by her industry, her husband, when he became by age and infirmities, incapable of labor.

At an early period of his life Wilson evinced a strong desire for learning ; and this was encouraged by a spirit of emulation which prevailed among his youthful acquaintance, who, like himself, happily devoted many of their vacant hours to literary pursuits. He had free access to a collection of magazines and essays, which, by some good luck, his father had become possessed of; and these, as he himself often asserted, ‘‘ were the first books that gave him a fondness for reading and reflection.” This remarkable instance of the benefi- cial tendency of periodical publications we record with pleasure; and it may be adduced as an argument in favor of affording patronage, in our young coun- try, to a species of literature so well adapted to the leisure of a commercial people; and which, since the days of Addison, has had so powerful an influ- ence on the taste and morals of the British nation.

Caledonia is fruitful of versemen: every village has its poets; and so preva-

a

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LIFE OF WILSON. xill

lent is the habit of jingling rhymes, that a scholar is considered as possessing no taste, if he do not attune the Scottish lyre to those themes which the amor patriz, the national pride of a Scotsman, has identified with his very exist- ence.

That poetry would attract the regard of Wilson was to be expected ; it was the vehicle of sentiments which were in unison with his sanguine tempera- ment; he had early imbibed a love of virtue, and it now assumed a romantic cast by assimilation with the high-wrought efforts of fancy, combined with the melody of song.

After an apprenticeship of about five years, Wilson became his own master ; and, relinquishing the occupation of weaving, he resolved to gratify his taste for rural scenery, by journeying into the interior of the country in the capacity of a peddler. He was now about eighteen, full of ardor and vivacity ; had a constitution capable of great exertion; and a mind which promised resources amid every difficulty. Having been initiated in the art of trading, he shoul- dered his pack, and cheerfully set out in quest of riches. In a mind of a romantic turn, Scotland affords situations abundantly calculated to arouse all those associations which the sublime and beautiful in nature inspire. Wilson was an enthusiast; and the charms of those mountains, valleys, and streams, which had been immortalized in song, filled his soul with rapture, and incited some of the earliest efforts of his youthful muse.

To him who would accumulate wealth by trade, the Muses must not be pro- pitious. That abstraction of mind from worldly concerns which letters re- quire, but ill qualifies one to descend to those arts, which, in order to be suc- cessfully practised, must be the unceasing objects of solicitude and attention, While the trader was feasting his eyes upon the beauties of a landscape, or inditing an elegy or a song, the auspicious moment to drive a bargain was ne- glected, or some more fortunate rival was allowed to supplant him. From the habit of surveying the works of nature arose an indifference to the employment of trading, which became more disgusting at each interview with the Muses; and nothing but the dread of poverty induced him to conform to the vulgar avocations of common life. .

Burns was now the favorite of the public; and from the unexampled success of this humble son of genius many aspired to the honors of the laurel, who otherwise would have confined theiviews of renown tothe limited circle of their family or acquaintance. Among this number may be reckoned our Wilson ; who, believing that he possessed the talent of poetical expression, ventured to exhibit his essays to his friends, whose approbation encouraged him to renewed perse- verance, in the hope of emerging from that condition in society which his as- piring soul could not but disdain.

In consequence of his literary attainments and correct moral deportment, he was admitted to the society of several gentlemen of talents and respectability, who descried in our youth the promise of eminence. Flattered by attentions, which are always grateful to the ingenuous mind, he was emboldened to the purpose of collecting and publishing his poetical attempts, hoping thereby to secure funds sufficient to enable him to persevere in the walks of learning, which, to his glowing fancy, appeared to be strewed with flowers.

xiv LIFE OF WILSON.

In pursuance of this design he printed proposals; and being resolved,” tc adopt his own language, “to make one bold push for the united interests of Pack and Poems,’ he once more set out to sell his merchandise, and obtain patronage to his work.

This expedition was unprofitable: he neither advanced his fortune nor re- ceived the encouragement of many subscriptions. Fortunate would it have been for him if, instead of giving vent to his spleen at the supposed want of discernment of rising merit, or lack of taste for the effusions of genius, he had permitted himself to be admonished of his imprudence by the indifference of the public, and had taken that for an act of friendship which his wounded feelings did not fail to construe into contempt.

But in defiance of discouragement he published his volume, under the title of ‘“ Poems, Humorous, Satirical and Serious.” The writer of this sketch has it now before him; and finds in it the following remarks, in the handwriting of the author himself: “I published these poems when only twenty-two—an age more abundant in sad than ballast. Reader, let this soften the rigor of criti- cism a little.’ Dated, “Gray’s Ferry, July 6th, 1804.” These poems were, in truth, the productions of a boy, who composed them under the most disad- vantageous circumstances. They answered the purpose for which they were originally intended—to gratify the partiality of friendship, and alleviate mo- ments of solitude and despondency. Their author, in his riper years, lamented his rashness in giving them to the world; and it is to be hoped that no one will be so officious as to draw them from that obscurity to which he himself: sin- cerely rejoiced to see them condemned. They went through two small editions in octavo, the last of which appeared in 1791. The author reaped no benefit from the publication.

Mortified at the ill success of his literary undertaking, and probably with . the view of withdrawing himself from associates who, instead of advancing, rather tended to retard his studies, Wilson retired to tke little village of Loch- winnoch, situated in a delightful valley, a few miles from Paisley. In this sequestered place he had before resided, and he now resorted to it under the pressure of disappointment, and soothed his mind with the employment of let- ters, and spent his vacant hours amid the romantic scenery of a country which was well calculated to captivate one who had devoted himself to the service of the muses. .

While residing at Lochwinnoch he contributed some short prose essays to The Bee, a periodical work which was published at Edinburgh by Dr. Ander- son. Of the merits of these essays I cannot speak, as I have never seen them. He also occasionally visited the latter place, to frequent the Pantheon, wherein a society for debate held their meetings. In this assembly of minor wits he delivered several poetical diseourses, which obtained him considerable applause. The particulars of these literary peregrinations have been minutely related to me; but at this time I will merely state, that he always performed his journeys on foot, and that his ardor to obtain distinction drawing him away from his profession, the only means of procuring subsistence, he was frequently reduced to the want of the necessaries of life.

Wilson, in common with many, was desirous of becoming personally

LIFE OF WILSON. ar

acquainted with the poet Burns, who was now in the zenith of his glory; and an accidental circumstance brought them together. The interview appeared to be pleasing to both; and they parted with the intention of continuing their ac- quaintance by a correspondence. But this design, though happily begun, was frustrated by an imprudent act of the former, who, in a criticism on the tale of Tam O’Shanter, remarked of a certain passage that there was ‘‘ too much of the brute” in it. The paragraph alluded to is that which begins thus:

‘¢ Now, Tam, O Tam! had thae been queans.’”

Burns, in reply, observed: ‘If ever you write again to so irritable a creature as a poet, I beg you will use a gentler epithet than to say there is ‘too much of the brute’ in anything he says or does.” Here the correspondence closed.

From Lochwinnoch Wilson returned to Paisley, and again sought subsistence by mechanical labor. But at this period the result of the French Revolution had become evident by the wars enkindled on the continent ; and their influ- ence on the manufactures of Great Britain, particularly those of Paisley, began to be felt. Revolution principles had also crept in among the artisans, which, superadded to the decline of business, were the means of many being thrown out of stated employment; and the distress of others was not a little aggravated _ by exactions which, it was supposed, neither policy nor justice ought to have dictated. Hence arose a misunderstanding between the manufacturers and the weavers, which soon grew into a controversy, that awakened the zeal of both parties ; and Wilson, incited by principle as well as interest, remained not idle on an occasion which seemed to demand the exercise of his talents for the benefit of the poor and the oppressed.

Among the manufacturers there was one of considerable wealth and influ-

~- ence, who had risen from a low origin by a concurrence of fortunate circum-

stances, and who had rendered himself greatly conspicuous by his avarice and knavery. This obnoxious individual was arraigned in a galling satire, written in the Scottish dialect, which is well known to be fertile of terms of sarcasm or reproach. The piece was published anonymously; and, being suited to the taste of the multitude, was read with eagerness. But the subject of it, stung to the quick by the severity of the censure, sought revenge of his concealed enemy, who, through some unforeseen occurrence, was revealed in the person of Wilson. A prosecution for a libel was the consequence of the disclosure ; and our satirist was sentenced to a short’ imprisonment, and to burn, with his own hands, the poem at the public