« PreviousContinue »
AND SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS:
W. M'COMB, BELFAST.
Price 12s. boards.
W, Aitken, Printer, 20), Bank Street.
The EDITOR who conducted - The New Scots MAGAZINE" from December 1828 to December 1829 inclusive, deems it incumbent on him thus to intimate to his personal friends, that he discontinued his superintendence of it on the publication of the Number for December last. The Fifteenth Number has been prepared under the direction of the Publisher, in order to complete the two volumes, to which the work now extends, and to supply the Index, and other matters which were requisite for this purpose.
In closing his task, the Editor would consider it impertinent to obtrude on the public any statement of his reasons for discontinuing the charge which he assumed. The success of the undertaking, if not so flattering as that of some other similar works, was fully equal, in some quarters, to what there was any reason to expect; and he owes it to the Publisher, Mr BUCHANAN, to state, that during the time they have been connected, the most perfect cordiality has subsisted betwixt them. He regrets, however, to find that Mr BUCHANAN has reason to complain that his brethren in trade have, in some instances, failed to do their duty. But this is a matter with which the Editor does not interfere.
PUBLISHER'S PREFATORY NOTICE.
“ E'en then, a wish, I mind its power,
Shall strongly heave my breast,
Or sing a sang at least." Many years ago, upon reading these beautiful lines, I said to myself, Well, as it is not likely that I shall ever be able to make a book or even sing a song, yet " for poor auld Scotland's sake," when I come to be a bookseller, and have the means, I shall do all in my power to preserve and promote the literature and genius of my country. That I have done so hitherto during the six years I'have been in business need not be told to those who have been observant witnesses of my career; and that I shall continue to do so while I have strength to lift a duodecimo, or power of utterance to croon ow'r even the first line of " Their groves of sweet myrtle,” is perhaps in me no merit, in as much as the passion is so deeply intertwined with the very threads of existence, that I could not, if I would, part with the enthusiastic feeling.
O Scotia! “ this beating heart
Can never prove untrue ;
T'han cease to think of you.” In May 1826, I published the first volume of “ Scotia Rediviva: a Collection of Tracts illustrative of the History and Antiquities of Scotland,” intending, if editorial assistance offered, and the sale was but sufficient to pay the printer, to extend the work to six volumes. Alas! “ sixty years since" Lord Hailes* intimated the profound apathy with which such pursuits were then regarded ; and the reader will gather from the first paragraph of the introductiont to the volume alluded to, what was the fate of my attempt. No assistance has yet been offered-but, not at all daunted by the sale of the first volume, (about as many copies as paid the expense of prospectuses and advertising,) I am still as
“ For the benefit of those who may be inclined to publish any tracts concerning the antiquities of Scotland, I must observe, that twenty-five copies of - the Canons were sold.” Historical Memoirs concerning the Provincial Councils of the Scottish Clergy, 4to. 1769, page 18, note t. The reader will look in vain for this very curious fact in either of the subsequent editions of those Memorials, as printed in the 8vo. copies of " Annals of Scotland,” &c.
+" In presenting this first volume of Scotia Rediviva to the Public, the Publisher has to express his regret that it has been delayed considerably beyond the time he first contemplated ; and also that he has to attribute this delay in a great measure to the want of that assistance on the part of the friends of Scottish literature, on which he calculated with the utmost confidence, from the
willing as ever to risk all expenses of paper and print in order lo complete the Collection, if those who have it in their power will but come forward with their assistance. It is a work I have much at heart, and was intended but as the forerunner of greater things.
What I pride myself most upon is the number of valuable works relative to Scotland," which I have been the only bookseller to secure, and offer to the country to which they more properly belong, at very reduced prices, instead of allowing them (as must otherwise have happened) to be sold off in London, and thereby in a great measure losing to ourselves the benefits in our power.
With such feelings it is easy to see why I consented to become the Publisher of “ The New Scots Magaine." Shortly after having done so, I voluntarily offered to continue it to the close of the year, thereby making it extend to two volumes. That is done. I have redeemed my pledge-my task is finished—and as the sale has not become large enough to induce me to sacrifice my
cheap book business” to it; and as I have found that one or other must be dropped, it is easy to see why I have declined going on with the work. It will, however, I am happy to understand, be continued by a gentleman, who has determined to spare no pains in endeavouring to make it popular. I wish him every success, and if my brethren in trade will support the New Numbers as cordially as I shall, there can be little doubt of its prosperity.
I intended to have touched upon the manner in which, I am sorry to say, many of the booksellers both in town and country have thwarted the sale of this Periodical, merely because “ the cheapest bookseller in Scotland” was its Publisher ; but it is an ungrateful theme, and can have no interest for the public. I hope they will live to see their error, and make amends by their conduct towards its future publisher. Those whose Magazines were stopt because they did not pay—if they are honest—will pay now.
candid avowal contained in the Prospectus, which he circulated, to the best of his knowledge, amongst those gentlemen whom he conceived to be most inclined to encourage and promote the complete execution of so laudable an undertaking, which has hitherto remained a desideratum in our national literature. But, now that the first volume is before them, he humbly trusts they will perceive the obvious necessity there is for assistance on their part, as it is only with such help that the publication can proceed in the manner intended.”
• I paid above £300 for the remainder of Sir James Balfour's Historical Works. A few of the others are Cardonnel on Coins Barbour's Bruce, by Pinkerton— Čulloden Papers Lockhart Papers--Lives of St Columba, Crichton, Craig, Lovat, &c. &c. in all above 12,000 volumes.,
The Minstrelsy of Scotland, whether we regard its poetry or its mus sic, is not much in vogue among us at present; yet, in a great portion of those classes of Scottish Society which are not infected with a sickly affectation of refinement, or rather a tawdry finery of taste-among those who retain any thing of native simplicity and sincerity of character, the song of our country has still a powerful and an abiding influence. And while the ephemera of fashionable rhymes and music flutter gaudily for a day and sink into oblivion, as rapidly as the kindred frippery of balloon-looking ladies' bonnets and other such millinery wares--or while the “crabbed queer variety of foreign music and its vapid accompaniment in an unknown tongue, are sometimes hailed with feigned raptures—the “hoarse rough verse," and the simple, heart-touching melodies of our native land, are still welcome sounds under the roof-tree of many unsophisticated dwellings. Of this there is full evidence in the number and variety of publications issuing from the press, directed chiefly or exclusively to the diffusion of Scottish poetry, and its inseparable companion Scottish music. Since the time that Mr William Tytler and other philosophical antiquaries quickened the revival of a taste for our national music, but more especially since Buros poured forth the ardent and patriotic effusions of his genius*—and transfused the charm of an awakening spirit over the disa jecta membra of our Minstrelsy, and in truth stamped upon it a new and unrivalled, and perhaps imperishable beauty and vigour, many of our countrymen, (with very unequal success it must be admitted,) have lent a helping hand to restore and to preserve to future ages,
"“ Honour and undying praise be upon the memory of Burns, who has left to us those songs which, like the breath of nature, from whose fresh inspiration they were caught, are alike refreshing to the monarch and the clown !" Blackwood's Mag. azine, June 1829. Vol. II.