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Hard is the Scholar's lot, condemned to sail,
Unpatronised, o'er life's tempestuous wave :
PUBLISHED BY OLIVER AND BOYD, HIGH-STREET;
AND JOHNSTON AND DEAS, DUBLIN.
M. DCCC. XIX.
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
Ye powers who rule the tongue (if such there are),
HAVING spent the greater part of a long life in unremitted, but generally ineffectual, endeavours to be useful to myself and others, I am anxious that my errors and misfortumes should be recorded pro bono publico. Like him therefore who, dying of an incurable disorder, bequeaths his body for dissection, I sit down to write an unembellished narrative of my varied life, trusting that the time which is employed in perusing VOL. I.
my humble tale, may not be altogether unprofitably spent.
Having little of which to accuse the world, and still less upon which to congratulate myself in the subsequent narration, I shall
Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. And being equally a stranger to private resentments, my pages are not intended as the vehicles of personal satire ; and flattery would be without an aim, from him to whom the season of hope is past, and whose only remaining wish is to descend peacefully to the grave.
My father, a plain honest Scotsman, was born between the Tay and the Grampians, where he farmed about fifty acres of land ; the occupation of which, partly through the kindness of its successive proprietors, and partly owing, perhaps, to the peaceable and industrious habits of my progenitors, had been allowed to descend from father to son for several generations.
The local situation of my natal spot, at a
considerable distance from any large town, and the nature of my father's employment (a principal part of the work on the farm being performed by himself), left him few opportunities and little leisure for what is termed knowing the world. With the exception, therefore, of what might be acquired by going twice or thrice in a year to a cattle fair, attending a village funeral, or mixing with the parishioners on a Sunday, my father was a stranger to men, their manners, and
My mother, whom my father had married when both were pretty far advanced in years, was, in her own opinion and also in that of some others, a smart, active, ever bustling woman; with this additional qualification, that while her hands were generally employed her mind was never idle, and her tongue almost incessantly in motion. Her opinions were often rashly formed, but most tenaciously maintained: thus, in debating upon whatever she imagined likely to promote her interest or gratify her inclinations, she commonly mistook obstinacy for