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AN ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE, WRIT- Glasgow, he received a present of a
INGS, AND CHARACTER OF WIL Bible from some Protestant AssociaLIAM RICHARDSON, ESQ. LATE PRO tion in Dublin, expressive of their FESSOR OF HUMANITY IN THE UNI sense of the ability and courage which VERSITY OF GLASGOW.
he on that occasion exhibited.
The subject of this memoir was, William RICHARDSON, Esq. of
at an early age, put to the paroCroy, late Professor of Humanity in chial school of his native village, at the University of Glasgow, and author that time successfully taught by a of several esteemed works in the de- Mr Joseph Balfour, for whom Mr partments of poetry and criticism, was
Richardson ever entertained feelings born at Aberfoyle, Stirlingshire, about of grateful regard. It is related of the year 1741. He was the only him, that, even at this period of his child of the Rev. James Richardson, life, he gave evidence of a poetical minister of that parish, and of Jane turn, having written one day, with Burrel, a native of Northumberland.
a bit of chalk, on his master's furHis father, though necessarily much niture, a few verses of soine merit, excluded from the sources of intellec- which delighted his preceptor, and tual improvement, was possessed of procured him considerable" applause superior talent and information, or in the neighbourhood. which the sermons in MS. left by
After completing his initiatory in. him furnish decided proofs. For one structions in the English and Latin of these sermons, against popery, which
languages, and acquiring some knowhe preached in the College church in ledge of Greek, he was sent to Glas
gow, and matriculated in the UniThis sketch is taken, with little varia. versity there, on the 15th Novemtion, from a periodical work which, under ber 1757, having then entered in the the name of The Student, was published in fourteenth year of his age. Here Glasgow a few years ago. The facts, we are his assiduous application to the study assured by the author, are from the most au- of Latin and Greek, under the care of thentic sources, and we have a satisfaction in Professors Muirhead and Moor, his inserting it in our Jcurnal, as we do not find rapid proficiency in classical learning, an account of Mr Richardson's life in any and the evidences which he gave of earlier Number of the Scots Magazine superior taste, soon attracted the noHis name is too considerable an one to be passed over, in a work that has more espe. those eminent men.
tice, and procured the approbation, of
Some poems, cially in view the literature of Scotland, and it cannot but be agreeably and grate. which he wrote at this time, and fully associated with the early recollections afterwards when he was studying of many of our readers, no less than with philosophy, served to gain him addiour own.-Editor.
tional reputation and applause. These
effusions were on such subjects as to the charge of superintending the Spring and the First of May, a day education of the present Lord Čathon which the students gathered flowers cart and his brother, then about to go for the fire-places in the College, and, to England, his designs as to the though not prescribed by the Profes- church were given up for the time, sors, were occasionally read by them and never afterwards accomplished. to their pupils. Dr Moor was highly These young noblemen he accompapleased with one of those performan- nied to Eton, where he remained for ces, and, if we may judge from the two or three years, being distinguishfollowing very elegant tribute to the ed at that place, in the capacity of merits of Mr Richardson, held in no private tutor, by classical erudition inconsiderable estimation his general and elegant accomplishments. When proficiency and talents.
in England, he had the honour of
being frequently invited to the table Elegantioris ingenii
of the illustrious Lord Chatham, who Puer, et ingenuae verecundiae,
paid him much attention. GULIELMUS RICHARDSON,
In the year 1768, Lord Cathcart, Filius unicus Reverendi viri Jacobi father of the present nobleman of that
Pastoris Parochiae de Aberfoil, name, was appointed ambassador exAnbos natus quindecim, Academiae traordinary and plenipotentiary to the Glasguensis,
Empress of Russia, and accordingly, In classibus literarum Graec. et Lat. in the August of that year, he went Altero anno alumnus;
to St Petersburgh, accompanied by his Ad musarum, interea, patrio sermone, family and their tutor. As they reCultum, haud infeliciter aspirans,
sided four years in that capital, Mr Post varia nascentis indolis specimina,
Richardson must have enjoyed admi-
rable opportunities of enlarging his Pridie Calendas Junii, MDCCLIX. knowledge of the world, at the same J. M. Litt. Gr. P.
time that he could prosecute, with
eminent advantages, his private stuIn this way Mr Richardson recom- dies. Having easy and frequent acmended himself to the notice of the cess to the society of the learned, to Professors, and particularly to the late the circles of fashion, and to the means venerable Principal Leechman, who of becoming acquainted with the cusbecame his early patron and friend, toms and politics of the nation, he and who procured for him the situa- must have both added to his infortion of private tutor in the family of mation, and cultivated his manners Cunningham of Craigends. The ce- and taste; and that such were the lebrated printers, Messrs Foulis, also effects of his stay in Russia, was sulwere useful to him in various ways ficiently shewn by the improvement, while he attended College ; and their observable at his return, both in his acquaintance, accidentally acquired by mind and in his deportment. Mr Richardson happening one even
Mr Richardson filled the important ing in their sale-room to bid very office of private secretary to Lord keenly for a copy of Marcus Anton- Cathcart, as well as that of tutor in inus, was soon improved into a friend. his Lordship's family. ut these siship which was cemented by simi- tuations not entitling him to admislarity of pursuit, and which was ter- sion into the court circles, he was mináted only by the death of one of unler the necessity of procuring from the parties.
the Empress a special appointment to When he had finished the usual the military rank of a Major in the course of languages and philosophy, Russian service. and had take the degree of Master of While in Russia, he carried on a Arts, Mr Richardson began the study correspondence with his literary friends of theology, intending to be a clergy- in Glasgow. That part of it which man. With this view, he attended passed between his class-fellow, Prothe lectures of Dr Trail for nearly fessor Arthur, and himself, was aflerthree sessions, and is said to have wards published in the shape of Esmade considerable progress in divi- says, in a small work to which they nity. But at the end of this period, contributed, in order to promote cerbeing recommended by Dr Leechman tain designs of the publisher, Mr.
Chapman, minister of Kinfauns, in promiscuously. There were other relation to an academy for the educu- hours, however, that did not enter tion of a few young gentlemen, which into the fixed arrangements of the he was preparing to open.
class, in which the Professor met with Lord Cathcart, having fulfilled his the several divisions separately, and diplomatic appointment, returned to when the manner of teaching was Britain in the September of 1772, adapted to their respective circumwhen Mr Richardson accompanied stances. The books commonly read his only surviving pupil to the Uni, during the course, in succession, were versity of Glasgow. Before he had Livy, Cicero, and sometimes Cæsar, been a year in Scotland, he became a at the morning hour; and at the sea candidate for the Humanity Chair in cond meeting, Virgil, sometimes HoGlasgow College, then vacant by the race, and Terence, or Plautus, the two death of Mr Muirhead.
The high last being annually alternated. Durliterary character which Mr Richard- ing the week, exercises of various son maintained, and the powerful in- kinds, such as translations from LaAuence of Lord Cathcart, who was at tin into English, and English into that time Lord Rector of the Univer- Latin, with tasks in prosody, were sity, were circumstances greatly in fa- prescribed. Reading Buchanan's Four of his claims. The result was, Psalms, and revising the lessons of that, after a keen contest, in which the prececling week, formed the chief he was preferred to the present Pro- occupation on Saturdays. As no refessor of Logic only by the casting gular order was preserved in calling vote, he was elected. His appoint- on the students to read, all of them ment to this situation took place on were obliged to be prepared in the the 9th October 1773.
passage, and to be attentive while the Mr Richardson began his profes- business was advancing. Fines were sional career under the most favour- exacted for absence or lateness, and able auspices. Of the particular man- for non-preparation, except in some ner in which his earliest efforts in this cases, when the last offence was pudepartment were conducted, we have nished by disgrace or the imposition had no opportunity of being inform- of tasks. Rewards at the close of the al; but it is probable, making due season were bestowed on the several allowances for the improven.ents to divisions, according to the regularity which practice and experience must of attendance, the propriety of behahave given rise, that the plan which viour, and the proficiency in learning, he then adopted was much the same of the different students. as that which he latterly pursued, and The private class consisted of stua which, without any reference at pre- dents from all the classes. The inisent to the merits of the teacher, it tiatory discipline of the other class may not be improper in this place was here dispensed with, as those who shortly to describe.
attended it were, for the most part, The Humanity Class, at the period of some maturity of understanding. of our acquaintance with it, was di- During a part of the hour, a passage : vided into two great parts, the Public from Horace or some other author and Private. In the former, the Pro- being selected, the meaning of diffifessor prelected on some portion of a cult words was given, intricacies of Latin author, which a considerable expression unfolded, critical dissertaportion of the class, who said from tionsread, the readinge of different comtheir own preparation, had previously mentators mentioned, and a considertranslated in public, and which was able portion of the text translated, first: then appointed to be acquired before literally, and then with elegant and the next meeting by an inferior order idiomatic freedom. The remainder of students, who, from their youth or of the hour was occupied with what standing, were under the necessity of was called the Lecture. Mr Richhearing a translation from the Profes- ardson here pursued a particular sor prior to their preparing the pas- course, of which the outlines were sage. The stated hours of meeting printed in a small syllabus, and which each day, Saturday excepted, were embraced, together with a great vatwo, when all the students assembled, riety of collateral topics, the daily life and when they read, or were examined of a Roman, in all relations and cir
cumstances, from his cradle to the springs of action in youth, and skilful grave; the progress of literature a. in using those means by which the mong the Romans, from its earliest, juvenile mind is animated in its purthrough its most flourishing, to its suits and expanded in its faculties ; declining state; and the art of writ- one who was of incalculable use to ing in general, with illustrations from young men in animating their desires ancient and modern authors. These after intellectual and moral excellence, lectures were very useful in illustrat- in impressing upon them feelings of ing the Roman writers to those per- generous emulation, and, by precept sons who were more immediately em- and example, directing thein to all ployed in studying them, in exciting the purest sources of thought and of their ardour, as well as in improving action. the taste and guiding the efforts of The two last of these distinguished the superior students. In themselves, men happily remain full of years and they were models of fine compo- honour; and we are far from wishing sition and classical elegance.
to insinuate that the reputation of Such is an imperfect sketch of the the University, although deprived of manner in which the Latin class was several of its brightest ornaments, taught by Mr Richardson, and we be- has at all declined; yet, in going lieve there are none of our readers, back to the recollections of our youth, who commenced, at this time, their it is ever a natural illusion to supliterary career at Glasgow, but will pose that the glory of existence is at retain a grateful recollection of the in- an end ! structors who conducted their initia It is as commonly remarked as extory studies, without ailverting at perienced, that the life of a literary present to the celebrated Professors in man presents few circumstances intethe higher branches, although certainly resting to the curiosity of the world. no University could bost throughout From the period of his becoming a all its departments of greater or more Professur to his death, the history of diversified excellence. The young stu- Mr Richardson was, in a great meadent had before his eyes the model of sure, of this description. For fortyan elegant mind, of refined taste, and one years, during which he discharge of polished manners, in one who was cd the functions of Professor, his life well acquainted with the writings and exhibited little else than the regular language of Rome, and fitted to per- succession of laborious application to ceive the nicer beauties of poetry and his proper business in winter, and of of diction, as well as able to inspire rural retirement and professional prehim with a relish for every thing that parations in summer, except, indeed, was correct, and tasteful, and refined, which was not unfrequent, when the in sentiment and expression. In publication of some work relieved the another eminent scholar, he could uniformity of his occupations. But not but admire a vigour, an acute- who will say that a life of this kind, r.ess, and a luminousness of mind, though not so conspicuous as that - concentration of intellect and of the statesman or of the warrior, information, of the highest order, may not be crowned with the utmost brought to bear on the investigation enjoyment to the individual, with and evolution of the intricacies of lan- the greatest interest and advantage to guage and grammar,ma profundity of the world, and that all the glories of research, a clearness of idea, and a mind, and all the graces and charities perspicuity in the conveyance of his of the heart, may not, in this little ihoughts, even on the most abstruse sphere, find scope for their most exsubjects; and on his favourite theme pansive exercise ? an enthusiasm of manner, such as to Mr Richardson, as we have seen, inflame the coldest heart, and to kin- devoted the greatest part of his attendle rapture in the bosom of genius. tion to the labours of his vocation, in A third will live in the memory of more which, both from personal taste and than one generation as “ the noblest inclination, and from the desire of work of God-an honest man," glow- being useful to his pupils, his heart ing with warm affection to his pupils, seemed to be engaged ; and his time and with ardent interest in their wel- was thus chiefly occupied in attendfare ; one well acquainted with the ance on his various classes, or in de
rising plans of future advantage to Thy dimpled cheek, thy lively air, them. But his peculiar avocations That wins a smile from pining care ! did not altogether preclude other pur- Soft-pinioned gales around thee breathe, suits.
Perfuming dews thy tresses bathe ; Early in 1774 he gave to the world The zone of Venus girds thy waist,
The young loves flutter round thy breast a volume of poetry, under the name
And in thy path the rosc-wing'd hours of “ Poems, chiefly Rural,” &c. which shed the leaves of fragrant flowers. were so much approved of by the cri- See, the nymphs, and every swain, tics, and relished by the public, as in Mingle in thy festive train, a short time to pass through three With roguish winks, and winning wiles, editions, two in Glasgow by the And whisp'ring low, and dimpling smiles, Messrs Foulis, and one in London. And sweetly-soothing blandishment, The following extracts, from the pen And the coy air of half consent, of a contemporary reviewer, Dr Gil And joy, and rose-complexioned laughter, bert Stuart, not the most lenient of With tott'ring footstep following after.critics, express, we suppose, the opi- Goddess ever blithe and fair,
Ever mild and debonair, nion of these poems which was then prevalent. " It must give us, (the Our queen of rural sports and glee.
Stay with us, and deign to be reviewers in the Edinburgh Magazine and Review,) and every sincere en This volume of poetry contained thusiast for literature, the most real
" Odles, Idyllions, and Anacreontics; and sensible pleasure, to see a new Rural Tales; Runnymead; Corsigenius arise in our country, who, to ca; Elegy on the Death of a Lady; the fire and fancy of a genuine poet, Miscellaneous Verses; and the Proadıls the propriety and elegance of a gress of Melancholy.” It was in. fine writer."-" On the whole, we scribed to Lord Cathrart. In the secannot express our general sentiments
cond edition, there was subjoined to of this poet more happily than in the the whole, a tale, entitled " The Inwords of Virgil:
dians,” afterwards dramatised into the
tragedy of that name. Of these poems * Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poeta !
Mr Richardson acknowledges only Quale soper fessis in gramine; quale per three editions, though a fourth was
æstum, Dulcis aquæ saliente sitim restinguere printed by Andrew Foulis. rivo."
About two months after the ap
pearance of his poems, he published The critic justifies this high com in a small volume a “ Philosophical mendation by a passage from the Analysis and Illustration of some of “ Hymn to Health,” which he pro- Shakespeare's Remarkable Characnounces to be pathetic, spirited, ele- ters,” dedicated to his friend Robert gant, and beautiful, and which, that Buntine, Esq. of Ardoch, afterwards the reader may be enabled to judge Graham of Gartmore. The characfor himself, we shall insert in this ters analysed and illustrated are Macplace.
beth, Hamlet, Jacques, and Imogen. 'l his work went through several edi
tions, and placed its author high aOp by the gentle gales that blow
mong the philosophical critics of his Refreshing from the mountain's brow, country, while it added to his repuBy tbe vermil bloom of morn,
tation as a classical and elegant writer. By the dew.drop on the thorn,
The reviewer, from whose encomium By the sky-lark's matin lay,
on Mr Richardson's poetry we have By the flowers that blooming May already made an extract, after statSprinkles on the meads and hills, ing, in a review of the present Ey the brooks and fuming rills,
work, the great difference, or even Come, smiling Health ! and deign to be Our queen of rural sports and glee.
opposition, between poetry and phiWhat sudden radiance gilds the skies !
losophical research, and expressing
his fear that our author would not What warblings from the groves arise ! A breeze more odoriferous blows !
have succeeded equally in both deThe stream more musically flows!
partments, thus goes on : “ But how A brighter smile the valley chears ! agreeablc was our surprise to find the Add to the lovely queen appears !
exuberance of invention and the O Health! I know thy blue-bright eye,
warmth of enthusiasm rendered subThy dewy lip, thy rosy dye,
servient to the cool and severe inves
HYMY TO HEALTH.