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at Edinburgh. But, exclusive of a portion remitted home for the most honourable and pious purpose, his income was devoted to the pursuit which engaged his whole soul-to the increase, namely, of his acquaintance with Eastern literature in all its branches. The expense of native teachers of every country and dialect, and that of procuring from every quarter Oriental manuscripts, engrossed his whole emoluments, as the task of studying under the tuition of the interpreters, and deciphering the contents of the volumes, occupied every moment of his spare time. 'I may die in the attempt, he writes to a friend; but if I die without surpassing Sir William Jones a hundredfold in Oriental learning, let never a tear for me profane the eye of a Borderer!' The term was soon approaching when these regrets were to be bitterly called forth, both from his Scottish friends, and from all who viewed with interest the career of his ardent and enthusiastic genius, which, despising every selfish consideration, was only eager to secure the fruits of knowledge, and held for sufficient reward the fame of having gathered them.

In 1811, an expedition having been formed to proceed to the island of Java, Leyden accompanied the governor-general and the forces for the purpose of investigating the manners, language, and literature of the tribes which inhabit that island, and partly also because it was thought his extensive knowledge of the Eastern dialects and customs might be useful in settling the government of the country, or in communicating with the independent princes in the neighbourhood of the Dutch settlements. His spirit of romantic adventure led him literally to rush upon death; for, with another volunteer who attended the expedition, he threw himself into the surf, in order to be the first Briton of the expedition who should set foot upon Java. When the success of the well-concerted movements of the invaders had given them possession of the town of Batavia, Leyden displayed the same ill-omened precipitation, in his haste to examine a library, or rather a warehouse of books, in which many Indian manuscripts of value were said to be deposited. A library in a Dutch settlement was not, as might have been expected, in the best order; the apartment had not been regularly ventilated, and either from this circumstance, or already affected by the fatal sickness peculiar to Batavia, Leyden, when he left the place, had a fit of shivering, and declared the atmosphere was enough to give any mortal a fever. The presage was too just: he took his bed, and died in three days, on the eve of the battle which gave Java to the British empire.

Thus died John Leyden, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, precisely at the period when every avenue of new and interesting discovery was opening to his penetrating research. His great abilities, his prospects of benefiting his fellow-creatures, his stores of Eastern learning, were all in a moment quenched and sunk in death : a catastrophe the more lamentable, from having been produced by a culpable degree of rashness and disregard of personal suffering.

The poetical remains of Leyden were collected and given to the public in 1821, and in some instances exhibit a power of numbers which, for the mere melody of sound, has seldom been excelled in English poetry. Besides his poetical works, he compiled and translated the Commentaries of Baber, from the Turki language, a work of great interest to those who love the study of Indian antiquities, and which was published in 1826 for the benefit of his aged father.

The remains of Leyden, honoured with every respect by Lord Minto, repose in a distant land, far from the green-sod graves of his humble ancestors at Hazeldean, to which he bids an affecting farewell in a solemn passage concluding his Scenes of Infancy. His language is that of nature, moved by the kindly associations of country and of kindred affections. But little recks it where our bodies rest and exhale into their primitive elements. The best epitaph is. the story of a life engaged in the practice of virtue and the pursuit of honourable knowledge; the best monument, the regret of the worthy and the wise. *

Another, and perhaps a still more interesting example of precocious diligence in acquiring languages, is found in the subject of the succeeding sketch.


This eminent linguist and scholar, who, from the lowly condition of a shepherd-boy, raised himself to the situation of Professor of Oriental Languages in the university of Edinburgh, was born on the 22d of October 1775, at a place called Dunkitterick, in Galloway, in the south of Scotland, where his father followed the profession of a shepherd, and reared a large family in humble comfort and respectability. The following is a condensation of the narrative which Murray has written of himself, and which appeared in the Literary History of Galloway:

Sometime in autumn 1781, my father bought a catechism for me, and began to teach me the alphabet. As it was too good a book for me to handle at all times, it was generally locked up, and he throughout the winter drew the figures of the letters to me in his written hand, on the board of an old wool-card, with the black end of an extinguished heather stem or root snatched from the fire. I

* The above article is chiefly condensed from a memoir of Leyden, written by Sir Walter Scott for the Edinburgh Annual Register, and republished in the cheap and elegant series of his Miscellaneous Prose Works.

soon learned all the alphabet in this form, and became writer as well as reader. I wrote with the board and brand continually. Then the catechism was presented, and in a month or two I could read the easier parts of it. I daily amused myself with copying, as above, the printed letters. In May 1782, he gave me a small psalm-book, for which I totally abandoned the catechism, which I did not like, and which I tore into two pieces, and concealed in a hole of a dike. I soon got many psalms by memory, and longed for a new book. Here difficulties arose. The Bible, used every night in the family, I was not permitted to open or touch. The rest of the books were put up in chests. I at length got a New Testament, and read the historical parts with great curiosity and ardour. But I longed to read the Bible, which seemed to me a much more pleasant book, and I actually went to where I knew an old loose-leaved Bible lay, and carried it away piecemeal. I perfectly remember the strange pleasure I felt in reading the history of Abraham and of David. I liked mournful narratives, and greatly admired Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Lamentations. I pored on these pieces of the Bible in secret for many months, for I durst not shew them openly; and as I read constantly, and remembered well, I soon astonished all our honest neighbours with the large passages of Scripture I repeated before them. I have forgot too much of my biblical knowledge; but I can still rehearse all the names of the patriarchs from Adam to Christ, and various other narratives seldom committed to memory.

My father's whole property was only two or three scores of sheep, and four muirland cows, his reward for herding the farm of Kitterick for Mr Alexander Laidlaw in Clatteranshaws, on the other side of the Dee. He had no debts, and no money. We lived in a wild glen, five or six miles from Minigaff

, and more from New Galloway. All his sons had been bred shepherds; he meant to employ me in that line; and he often blamed me for laziness and uselessness, because I was a bad and negligent herd-boy. The fact was, I was always a weakly child; not unhealthy, but not stout. I was shortsighted, a defect he did not know, and which was often the occasion of blunders when I was sent to look for cattle. I was sedentary, indolent, and given to books, and writing on boards with coals. In 1783, my fame for wondrous reading and a great memory was the discourse of the whole glen. But my father could not pay the expenses of lodging and wages for me at any school. In harvest 1783, William Cochrane, a brother of my mother, returned from England, where he had made a few hundred pounds as a travelling merchant. He came to visit our family, and being informed of my genius, as they called it, undertook to place me next spring at New Galloway school, and to lodge me in the house of Alexander Cochrane, my grandfather, then alive, and dwelling about a mile from New Galloway. This simple expedient might have occurred to my parents, but I never heard them propose it; the idea of school wages frightened them from employing it. I was brought to New Galloway about the 26th of May 1784, and for a month made a very awkward figure in the school, then taught by Mr William Gordon : he read English well, and had many scholars. Mr Gillespie, who is almost my equal in years, being born in 1775 or 1776, was then reading the rudiments of Latin. My pronunciation of words was laughed at, and my whole speech was a subject of fun. But I soon gained impudence; and before the vacation in August, I often stood dux of the Bible class. I was in the meantime taught to write copies, and use paper and ink.

• In spring 1785, I was put to assist as a shepherd-boy the rest of the family. I was still attached to reading, printing of words, and getting by heart ballads, of which I procured several. I had seen the ballad of Chevy Chase at New Galloway, and was quite enraptured with it. About this time, and for years after, I spent every sixpence that friends or strangers gave me on ballads and penny histories. I carried bundles of these in my pockets, and read thein when sent to look for cattle on the banks of Loch Greanoch, and on the wild hills in its neighbourhood. Those ballads that I liked most were Chevy Chase, Sir James the Rose, Jamie and Nancy, and all heroic and sorrowful ditties. This course of life continued through 1785, 1786, and 1787. In that time I had read, or rather studied daily, Sir David Lindsay, Sir William Wallace, The Cloud of Witnesses, The Hind let Loose, and all the books of piety in the place. My fame for reading and a memory was loud, and several said I was a living miracle.” I puzzled the honest elders of the church with recitals of Scripture, and discourses about Jerusalem, &c. &c. In 1787 and 1788, I borrowed from John Kellie, then in Tenotrie, and still residing, I believe, in Minigaff, Salmon's Geographical Grammar, and L'Estrange's version of Josephus. I got immense benefit from Salmon's book. It gave me an idea of geography and universal history, and I actually recollect at this day almost everything it contains. I learned to copy its maps, but I did not understand the scale. In 1788, or early in 1789, Basil, Lord Dear, came to attend a committee of the gentlemen on the line of road between New Galloway and Newton-Stewart. He had made a map of the whole valley of Palneur from Dee to Cree, which map he lost on the moors near Kitterick. It was found and given to me, and I practised drawing plans of the glen of Palneur, correcting and printing the names of places according to my own fancy.

As I could read and write, I was engaged by the heads of two families in Kirkowen parish to teach their children. The name of the one was Robert Milligan, and the other was Alexander Milroy, laird of Morfad, an old and singular man, who had young grandchildren. I taught these pupils during the winter of 1787-8, but got acquainted with few books. I received copies of the numeration and multiplication tables from one M‘William, a boy of my own age, and a brother-teacher. I returned home in March 1788. My fees were fifteen or sixteen shillings. Part of this I laid out on books, one of which was the History of the Twelve Cæsars, translated from Suetonius; another, Cocker's Arithmetic, the plainest of all books, from which in two or three months I learned the four principal rules of arithmetic, and even advanced to the rule of three, with no additional assistance, except the use of an old copy-book of examples, made by some boy at school, and a few verbal directions from my brother Robert, the only one of all my father's sons, by his first marriage, that remained with us. He was then a cattle-dealer on a small scale. In June 1788, I made a visit to Minigaff, and got from old John Simpson, a cart-wright, and a great reader, the loan of several volumes of Ruddiman's Weekly or Monthly Magazine during 1773, 1774, and 1775, and an old, ill-written, and superstitious history of the Four Monarchies, of the Popes, the Kings of England, &c. My memory now contained a very large mass of historical facts and ballad poetry, which I repeated with pleasure to myself

, and the astonished approbation of the peasants around me. On the 26th of May 1789, my father and his family left Kitterick, and came to herd in a place called Drigmorn, on Palkill Burn, four miles from Minigaff. He was engaged by Mr Ebenezer Wilson, now residing in Barncauchla. A prospect now opened of my attending Minigaff school. I set out by myself, and arrived in Minigaff village, where my friend, John Simpson, lived, and where Mr Cramond, schoolmaster of Minigaff, dwelt. I think he lodged in Simpson's house. Mr Cramond received me, and I travelled every day from Drigmorn to Minigaff. I read some English, but applied chiefly to writing and arithmetic. In the course of the summer I ran over Dilworth's Arithmetic. But I was not in stout health, and the distance from school was great, and I generally attended only three days in the week. My teacher allowed this. I made the most of these days: I came about an hour before the school met; I pored on my arithmetic, in which I am still a proficient; and I regularly opened and read all the English books, such as the Spectator, World, &c. brought by the children to school. I seldom joined in any play at the usual hour, but read constantly. It occurred to me that I might get qualified for a merchant's clerk. I therefore cast a sharp look towards the method of book-keeping, and got some idea of its forms by reading Hutton in the school, and by glancing at the books of other scholars. When the vacation came on, I was obliged to quit school. At Martinmas 1789, I was engaged by three families in the moors of Kells and Minigaff to teach their children.

A little before Whitsunday 1790, I returned home to Drigmorn. My father had been engaged to herd in Barncauchla, a farm within two miles of Minigaff village, to which farm we removed on the 26th of May 1790. I had now easy access to school, and went regularly. As I now understood writing and accounts, in imitation of other lads

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