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pofals were iffued for publishing a PERTH MAGAZINE; this publication commenced on the 3d of July 1772, being patronized by gentlemen of reputation in the literary world, and encouraged by a numerous fubfcription.-An opportunity was now afforded for Perth gentlemen, (yea and ladies) to give fpecimens of their genius and abilities in every branch of literature; they were alfo furnished with the means of communicating to the public, any difcoveries they might make in arts or fciences, or whatever might contribute to the utility or entertainment of mankind; they were likewife enabled to do honour to themfelves, by publishing historical accounts of Perth and the environs thereof; this laft confideration, appears to have been one of the principal motives for which the PERTH MAGAZINE was undertaken; as appears from the very first effay in your mifcellany, being a letter from Prifcus,
Having introduced myself to you, after this manner,-before I make any further obfervations, I expect you will take notice, that in regard the former publisher has made his exit from the literary world, (as I obferved already) and has dropt the publication; and fo cannot now anfwer for any omiffions or faults he may have fallen into, it is incumbent on you who are his fucceffor, and now both printer and publisher, to answer for him; whatever I find fault with in the manner of conducting the magazine, I impute that to your account, and therefore fhall give you my fentiments on this head directly.
I have noticed already, that you introduced your magazine to the public, with a letter from a correfpondent, who figned himself Prifcus.In this letter (vol. I. p. 1.) he very juftly observed, that "your weekly mifcellany would be a very proper channel to convey the natural hiftory, curiofities, and antiquities "of Perth and Perthshire, if learned gentlemen, both in town and country, "would take the trouble to communicate the proper materials."--Your magazine has been carried on, for about fifteen months, and during all that time, to the very great difappointment of the public; no effay relative to the history or antiquities of Perth, has appeared in your collection, except first, an extract from Calderwood's hiftory of Scotland, (vol. I. p. 275.) relative to the fall of the bridge of Perth, fent by J. S. next, a letter from Prifcus (vol. III. p. 101.) giving an account of fome Urns found at Bertha, likewife in this letter, he gives fome short anecdotes relative to Bertha and Perth; laftly, fome animadverfions (vol. III. p. 161.) on Prifcus's letter, respecting the antiquity of Perth, were fent you by me.
Thefe being all the effays, that have been published in your magazine, relative to the history and antiquities of Perth;--the public may readily thence judge, that either the Perth gentlemen are ignorant of the hiftory and antiquities of their own town; (I beg their excufe) or notwithstanding they may have lome knowledge of thofe matters, yet thro' either pride, or negligence, or both, they will not give themselves the trouble to communicate any materials they may be poffeffed of for the information of their fellow-citizens. Though this may be the opinion of, the public, yet I would incline to judge more friendly of the learned gentlemen in Perth; and that their filence on this fubject, is owing to want of proper materials, time, and other avocations, taking them off from even thinking on fuch a fubject; or if they were poffeffed of materials, that a diffidence of their own abilities, has been a confiderable bar in the way of their appearing in public.--This has been the cafe with myself, for although I have been for fome time paft employed in collecting materials, towards publifhing a history of Perth; yet being fenfible of my want of proper abilities for fuch a work, and the imperfection of these rude effays; I had laid afide all thoughts of ever digesting them into any order, and fo making them public. At the fame
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time, to publish only short anecdotes, would not be doing juftice to the subject; which has been the reafon, why I never fent any anecdotes relative to Perth, except what I hinted at in my animadverfions on Prifcus's letter.
Having made thefe obfervations on the manner, in which your magazine has been hitherto conducted relative to the history of Perth; perhaps, fome fnarling critic, may say, “What would Perthenfis be at? What does he mean by this long
Harangue? Why did not he publish fome effay, in the magazine himself, on the 66 fubject to this I would answer, I did not chufe to anticipate, what perhaps might be communicated by others, and fo prevent more able geniufes from publifhing their literary productions on this head: befides out of deference and regard to Prifcus, (for whom I have a very great efteem, vol. III. p. 161.) I have waited with the utmoft impatience, till he should favour the world according to promife (vol. III. p. 103) with fome thing or other from the collection of materials he is poffeffed of, for publishing a history of Perth. I fubjoin these as additional reasons to thofe I have taken notice of already, why I never made any further appearance on this fubject in your mifcellany.
But, to come more directly to the fubject in hand, and to what I have more principally in view, in addreffing you at prefent.There has been an expectation by the public, that either you or fome of your ingenious correfpondents, would have given a great many effays relative to the hiftory of Perth, which has been hitherto difappointed. Likewife, Prifcus informed the public (vol. III. p. 103.) of a defign of publishing "An old defcriptive Poem of Perth and environs, with notes and obfervations, for which materials were collecting." By this poem, I suppose, is meant a small book in quarto, intitled the Mufer's Thre nodie, vulgarly, though improperly called Gall's Gabions. Of this book there are a few copies in town, (one or two in print, and fome few in manuscript.)— This defign, though announced to the public, with a great appearance of the cer tainty of its being accomplished, has never been as yet commenced, (although a very fair opportunity offered for publishing it occafionally in your magazine) nor have any proposals of the publication of this poem separately by itself, been hitherto made, fo that I fuppofe the public may wait long enough till these defigns be made out.—- Moreover, there has been a general defire, that a full and complete hiftory of Perth from its origin to the prefent time, was published.I might perhaps endeavour an attempt of this kind, even with the materials I have already collected, but when I reflect upon the imperfection of these máterials, I am as yet poffeffed of, and the inequality of my abilities for such a work, I have given over thoughts of ever engaging in it;-when I fay these materials are imperfect, I do not mean, that what I have collected, are fo, but that a great many original papers, I would chufe to have under confideration, cannot be obtained, therefore though I were capable of executing fuch a work, I am afraid the public will never be favoured with a full and complete history of Perth; as it never can be completed without the affiftance of thefe original papers. In fine, it would appear, that all attempts towards performing this undertaking will be in vain; or if put in execution, will neither do honour to the town of Perth, nor yet to the undertakers.
I must obferve further to you, Ar Printer, that, befides these collections of materials I have made, for a complete history of Perth; I have likewife made a great many notes, explanatory and historical, on the poem already mentioned; ferving to illuftrate and explain any thing therein, perhaps not universally known; alfo extracts from Hiftorians, or other Authors fuppofed to be referred to as authorities are given, and where no written or printed authority can be had, any traditional hiftory relative to the fubject is mentioned.
By your advertisement on the cover of the ninth number of this volume, I find you propofe to publish occafionally in your magazine, an introduction to the hiftory of the town of Perth; by which, I fuppofe you intend the publi cation of the poetical performance, Prifcus made mention of, (Vol. III. p. 103.) the fame being a very proper introduction to the history and antiquities of Perth. Now, Mr Printer, in confideration of what I have observed already,. that a full and complete hiftory of Perth, has been long expected, and but fmall hopes of its being accomplished; I fay, in order to remedy this as far as pollible, and in order to keep your promife to the public, you should give as full and complete a history of Perth, as the limits of your mifcellany, and the period of time the poem refers to, will admit. I am therefore of opinion, and give you my advice, that you should add explanatory and historical notes to the poem, which may be printed along with it. For your accommodation in this refpect, I propofe to fend you any notes and obfervations, I have made thereon and leave the public to judge of their merit.It is a matter of indifference to me, what fort of reception thefe notes and obfervations may receive from severe critics, as my defign in making them public, proceeds from a regard for my native town, and for the inftruction and amusement of my fellow-citizens. It will give me pleasure, if you readily accept of this offer, altho' I might have kept. these notes and obfervations from the public view at prefent, and have waited till a proper opportunity had offered for publishing the poem by itself, with thefe notes and obfervations, and have then appeared in print under my real name. But really, Mr Printer, I am quite regardlefs of literary fame, and therefore I am refolved, these notes and obfervations fhall go under the name of Perthenfis, and fo leave the world to guess who is the author, and to make their own obfervations.
Your readers may, perhaps, expect I should now give fome account of the poem you propose to publish, but as this would be anticipating the publication thereof, I fhall defer any particular obfervations on it at prefent, expecting an opportunity will afterwards occur, for a full difcuffion of the fubject; only ia general a few words, why the poem is commonly called Gall's Gabions ?— Your readers may be informed, that the poem being intitled the Mufer's Threnodie or Mirthful Mournings, on the death of Mr Gall, and the preface ending with an inventary of the Gabions, in Mr George Ruthven, the mourner his cabinet, also the word Gabions occurring frequently in the poem; hence it came, tho' very improperly, to be known by the name of Gall's Gabions.-Your rea-. ders may be like wife told, that Gabions is a catachreftick name, (i. e. à nickname,) for the ornaments of the cabinet. But more particular obfervations on these, and other matters contained in the poem, may be given afterwards, when the fame comes to be published.
I shall now make a very short address, to the learned gentlemen in Perth, and Perthshire, requesting them to patronize this attempt, towards an introduction to the history of Perth; and chearfully communicate to the printer,any materials they are poffeffed of, which may be of ufe, in elucidating any obfcure paffage in the history of Perth, during the period of time the poem refers to.If you are willing to allow me the perufal of them, I will give directions to the Printer, how to get them conveyed to me, and fhall do the remarks you may make, all manner of justice in the notes and obfervations to be added to the
*The period of time the poem refers to, is from the year 78, when Július Agricola was governor of Britain, under Vefpafian the Roman Emperor, to the year 1621, when the bridge of Tay at Perth was overthrown.
poem.-But, Gentlemen, if you fhould think this propofal improper, Î dare fay, you Mr Printer, will endeavour to the utmost of your power, to do juftice to what remarks may be sent you by your correfpondents, in the notes and obfervations, wherever they can be properly brought in; or if both these methods be disagreeable to your correfpondents, you can infert their effays or letters on the subject, as fent you occafionally. Besides, that none of your cor. refpondents or others, may have occafion to complain for want of time, to fend their effays on this fubject, you, Sir, may delay the publication of the poem, till the fecond or third number of your next volume; by which time,it may be fuppofed, that the learned gentlemen who have any materials to communicate, will have fent you fomething or other on the subject; and they may afterwards continue, till the publication is finifhed.-It muft certainly be regretted, if any hould now lose the opportunity of communicating, what materials they are pof feffed of, and in fo far neglect doing honour to the town of Perth, and likewife to themfelves.
To conclude this letter, I muft obferve to you further, Sir, that I am of opinion, it would be very proper for the accommodation of your fub. fcribers, (who, perhaps, may chufe to have it fo) to print the Mufes's Threnodie in fuch a manner, as that when it is finished, the fame may be bound fepar ately, without doing any injury to the rest of the magazine. As I pretend no skill in the art of printing, I leave the execution thereof to yourfelf, but expects you will take notice of this hint, which I fuppofe may be eafily performed.
In fine, to have done, I wish you all manner of fuccefs in this, and every other attempt you may undertake, for the inftruction or amufement of the public; and that the Perth Magazine, may be established on a more permanent foundation, than hitherto, which I expect will be the cafe, And I am, Sir,
Perth, 10, Sept. 1773
Your moft humble Servant.
To the PRINTER of the PERTH
ERE it not for that confounded circumstance, which I mentioned in my former braying, I should not hesitate to fay,that Perth was preferable to Aberdeen. In the latter, the young men and maidens are upon a very focial footing; but in Perth, I do not believe they ever knew there was fuch a thing as fociality, before I mentioned it *.
After I had feen my horfe fafely fabled, and made myself (nod-like, I left my inn, with an intent to view this city; but I was foon obliged to give up that defign, and obferve fomething that pleafed me more; which was the
great number of ladies and gentlemen, that were walking together. If by chance any of them looked at me, it was not like the difdainful looks of your female citizens, but with fuch bewitching sweetness, that I was within an ace of committing a piece of bad manners, by instantly going up to them, and afking how they did. This strik ing difference, between the inhabitants of your town and this, occafioned fome excellent reflections, that might have been of the utmost confequence to the people of Perth, had they not been driven out of my memory by a curfed bang upon the fhoulder, accompanied with a "how do Jack." I turned a bout, and readily traced the features of an old acquaintance in Edinburgh. When the ordinary compliments were
over, he asked where we should go, I replied,walk about a little, and fee the girls," Come along then," fays he,
and perhaps I may introduce you to fome of them." He was as good as he faid, for we had fcarce left the fpot before we met with two females, with whom he was acquainted, and to whom he introduced me, as an intimate friend. I drank tea with them that night; and befides us there were in company, feveral other ladies and gentlemen, who all endeavoured by every means in their power,to entertain one another; and I could plainly perceive, they paid a particular attention to me, no doubt from my being a ftranger. I am now Sir, exceeding happy; I have the company of a great many learned gentlemen; and when we are tired with difcourfing upon dry fubjects, we go and take a walk with fome of the young ladies, and thereby enliven our converfation.
town might oblige the inhabitants to lay afide their difagreeable referve; as I am perfuaded if they did fo, ftrangers would stay longer with them than they commonly do.
I remember I promised, when I returned to Perth, to fend you a terrible letter if they did not alter, but, I am much mistaken if I fee that town this good while; for, in your ear, I believe one of the ladies I fpoke of before, has made a conqueft of a moft obdurate being. And this at the fame time, fhows the huge lofs, the females of your place have fuftained; for had they been lefs diftant, one or other of them might have had the honour of my true and faithful heart. However, Mr Printer, if in spite of all that has been said, they ftill continue in their old jog trot, I would have you endeavour to make fome of your young men write them most terrible warnings, which you must print, or caufe to be printed, and then that no perfon fhould efcape, make them be circulated by your devil, as I am informed a printer has always one in keeping.
Having an opportunity of writing to my Perth friend, I have enclosed this to him; and I believe that before it reaches you, the other, which without doubt was received, will be inferted; or, if it is not, this may share the fame fate, in being condemned to what a brother of yours called the Dunce's den. Aber. Aug. 30.2 Yours,
How different, Mr Publisher, is this practice with that in Perth, let me advife you to endeavour, by every method you can think upon, to root out that wretched unfociablenefs, fo evidently prevailing among your townsfolk. I would have the ladies and gentlemen be immediately acquainted with one another; or there may be more of them old maids and old batchelors, than they at prefent imagine. I do not know, Sir, how thefe epithets may found in your ears, as you may be by this time perhaps quite familiarized to them; but I can affure you they found hanged ill in mine. The gentlemen indeed are better off than the ladies, as they can more easily go to other places and get wives. But how will the ladies procure husbands? The unconscionable
diffance at which they keep the young Eefs to admit, whatever may be
by your readi
men of their own town, prevents them from having them; and the fame reafon keeps away ftrangers. Can a ftranger become acquainted with the Perth ladies, when even fuppofing he knows fome of the young men, he has no perfon to introduce him? Befides, I would imagine that the interest of the
in the smallest degree useful or entertaining, I make bold, like your correfpondent Arabella, to lay down the needle for a few moments, and, in its place, to take upon me to move the pen, tho' at the fame time, should be exceedingly
To the PUBLISHER of the PERTH