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History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter LVIX


EARLY in the eighteenth century, if not before, there was a printing-office in Dumfries. A small quarto of nearly four hundred pages, entitled "The History of the late Rebellion," written by the Rev. Peter Rae, issued from the press of his brother Robert Rae in 1718, and is perhaps the earliest work of an original character that was printed and published in the Burgh. It is a very creditable specimen of typography, being both neat and correct. About fifty-eight years after that date, the town could boast of a weekly serial in octavo, called the Dumfries Magazine, which was also well got up externally; but the literary contents were inferior, and signally lacking in topics of local interest. In 1777, the printer of the magazine, Provost Jackson, dropped it, and started a newspaper, under the title of the Dumfries Weekly Journal, the first political broad-sheet published in the town. A glance at some of the earlier volumes of the Journal has left upon us a favourable impression: the original writing, though very limited, as was the case in all provincial journals at that time, being generally vigorous and tasteful. The local news is extremely scant; and matters which would in the modern penny-a-lining style be expanded into columns, are disposed of in meagre paragraphs; while of reporting, strictly speaking,, there is none. Latterly the Journal passed into the hands of Mr. Carson, writer, and then was purchased by the Rev. George Heron; and when in a declining state, it became the property of Dr. Henry Duncan of Ruthwell, who allowed it to drop in 1833. In April, 1835, its place as a Conservative organ was occupied by the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Herald.

To Dr. Duncan, the Dumfries and Galloway Courier-a paper that soon acquired more than a district reputation-owes its origin. It was commenced in 1809-got a good start under his able editorship; and when, in 1817, Mr. John M'Diarmid became its conductor, it acquired fresh life, and eventually became one of the most renowned and successful of provincial journals. In the getting up of his broad-sheet, Mr. M`Diarmid exhibited commendable pains and industry. Devoting it more particularly to local matters, he rendered it a copious weekly ,record of events occurring in, or connected with, the three Southern Counties. It was not the bare news itself, abundant as that was, which made the Courier so popular; but it was the . style of the composition-so easy, quaint, and mellifluous-that rendered it a general favourite. Mr. M'Diarmid was a thorough master of the literary amenities. His style was usually quiet, playful, and florid; and it was so frequently the fitting vehicle of droll stories regarding prodigies in the earth, air, and waters, or in the fertile fancy of the editor, that the paper became famous for its wonderful paragraphs, and was eagerly read by all lovers of the marvellous. The rural articles penned by him proved also a valuable and attractive feature, as they not only conveyed information respecting agricultural operations and prices, but embodied illustrative anecdotes and pleasing scenic sketches, such as Bewick might have engraved from. Though Mr. M'Diarmid was much occupied with his editorial duties, and in rendering good service as a citizen, he found leisure to write the "Life of Cowper," " Sketches from Nature," the "Picture of Dumfries," and to edit the "Scrap Book." He died in 1852; and since then, the Courier has been well conducted by his eldest son, Mr. William R. M'Diarmid, and the sub-editor, Mr. Mitchell.

The Dumfriesshire and Galloway Herald, up till a recent date, had for its editor a poet of high rank, Mr. Thomas Aird. His " leaders," especially when of a controversial character, were exceedingly pointed and pithy-sometimes charged with as much electric force in a few lines as would serve to invigorate an ordinary editorial column. It is now under the efficient editorship of Mr. Alexander D. Murray.

A new Liberal journal, under the title of the Dumfries Times, made its first appearance in 1833. It was for nearly three years conducted by Mr. Robert K. Douglas, a well-trained and accomplished political writer. He was also an eloquent public speaker; and in both respects left an impress on the town whilst engaged upon the Times. In 1835, he accepted an engagement as editor of the Birmingham Journal. When in that capacity, he penned the celebrated National Petition, which embodied five of the six points of Chartism, and is a fine specimen of his style-terse, energetic, and graceful. When Mr. Douglas left Dumfries, the Times became the property of Mr. James Broom, town clerk, and Mr. Thomas Harkness; the latter of whom edited it for a few years, and then, in 1842, proceeded with the staff and plant of the establishment to Stranraer, and, dropping the Times, brought out the Wigtownshire Free Press in its stead.

Early in 1843, the year of the Disruption of the Church of Scotland, a number of the leading non-intrusionists of the town and district, including Dr. Henry Duncan, projected a new journal, which, whilst advocating their views in ecclesiastical matters, should be Liberal in its secular politics. Accordingly, on the 22nd of March, about two months before the Disruption, the first number of the Dumfries and Galloway Standard was issued. Dr. Duncan took an active part in the management of the paper for some time. Eventually, Mr. William Johnstone, a gentlemen of decided ability, became its responsible conductor; and on his removal, in 1846, to Dunfermline, where he presides over a large educational institution, he was succeeded by the present editor of the Standard, the author of this History. [Before the " taxes on knowledge" were repealed, there were no local newspapers in the County, except the three published in Dumfries. There are now four others, the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser, commenced in May, 1848, published fortnightly (editor and proprietor, Mr. Robert M. Rome, Langholm); the Annan Observer, commenced as a monthly publication, in January, 1857, but published weekly since July, 1861 (editor and proprietor, Mr. William Cuthbertson, Annan); the Moffat Times (present series), commenced in May, 1861, issued weekly (proprietor, Mr. William Muir, Moffat); the Annandale Herald, originated in August, 1862, issued weekly (editor and proprietor, Mr. David Halliday, Lockerbie). The Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser, published weekly at Castle-Douglas, circulates in Nithsdale and Galloway. It was started in July, 1858, by Mr. John Stodart, who, in 1860, assumed as his partner Mr. John Hunter Maxwell. Mr. Stodart died in March, 1867; and the Advertiser is now edited by Mr. Maxwell for himself and the heirs of the late Mr. Stodart.]

About forty-five years elapsed between the time when the Dumfries Weekly Magazine was metamorphosed into the Dumfries Journal, and the publication of the next literary serial in the Burgh. The new periodical was a monthly of forty-eight duodecimo pages, printed by Mr. J. Swan, and the first number of which appeared in July, 1821, under the title of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Monthly Magazine. Its pages were enriched by contributions from Allan Cunningham, John Mayne, Robert Carruthers, and Robert Anderson, the Cumberland poet. The contents were original essays, tales, anecdotes, sketches in prose and poetry, lyrical pieces, and local births, marriages, and deaths; all combining to make up a most useful and interesting miscellany, highly creditable to the literary character of the town. Among the best things in the first and only volume of the work is a series of versified "Dumfries Portraits," ten in number, by Mr. Robert Carruthers, now of Inverness. Could we have introduced the whole of them, they would have been quite at home in our pages, illustrating as they do some peculiar phases, as well as describing several eccentric characters, of Dumfries life fifty years ago. But we can only find space for one of the sketches, which is subjoined below.

[The portrait we quote is that of Thomas Wilson, who rang the town bells for sixty-three years, and literally dropped dead at his post just as he had given the first pull to the ten o'clock bell on the night of April 16th, 1825. Having lost his sight when a child, he was familiarly known as "Blin' Tam." Notwithstanding this deprivation, he was famous for his manual dexterity, as well as for his general intelligence.

"For long and many a year has Tam pursued
His trade of ringing bells and shaping wood.
But more than this-a public man is he;
Noise in the world lie makes, and loyal glee.
Each king's birth-day the steeple's highest height
He mounts, and stands triumphant in the light;
Fires his old gun (which more than thirty years
He thus has shot, exempt from age's fears),
And waves his hat-a spectacle might draw
The admiration of each passing craw!
When Britain's triumphs warmed each generous heart,
Tam, in his glory, bore a public part;
When with each morning news of victory came,
And British valour fanned the patriot flame,
Our festive parties Tam essayed to cheer,
The flag was hoisted and the bells rung clear,
And fast and merrily he climbed the stair
To strike the peal and toast the warriors there."

Blin' Tam, in fact, was to the Mid-Steeple what Quasimodo the hunchback was to the belfry of Notre-Dame.]

Mr. M'Diarmid and a few other gentlemen of a literary turn, commenced an important enterprise in the summer of 1825. This was a shilling periodical, octavo size, entitled the Dumfries Monthly Magazine. In all, eighteen numbers, forming three thick volumes, were published. Mr. William Bennet, now residing in Burntisland, had the principal charge of the new serial. He was ably supported by Mr. M'Diarmid; by Dr. John Erskine Gibson, a gifted son of genius, who died in 1833, at the early age of thirty-one; by Mr. Carruthers of Inverness; by Mr. Joseph Train, the distinguished antiquary; by Mr. Robert Malcolmson of Kirkcudbright; and by Dr. Browne, long editor of the Caledonian Mercury. Among the casual contributors were Mr. William Nicholson, author of the " Brownie of Blednoch;" Mr. William Burnie, who wrote for it a graphic poem on Dumfries; and Miss Isabella Trotter. So indispensable were the services of Mr. Bennet deemed by the proprietors, that on his proceeding to Glasgow, in 1827, to conduct a twice-a-week newspaper there, they dropped the magazine. Six chapters of a history of Dumfries, showing a large amount of research, were contributed by the intelligent editor to its pages; and it is a matter for regret that it was only brought down to the battle of Sark, in 1549.

Fifty years ago the poetical muse was wooed with considerable success on the banks of Nith, if we may judge from a duodecimo volume of original poetry that appeared in 1815, called "The Nithsdale Minstrel," printed at Dumfries "by C. Munro and Co., for Preacher and Dunbar." It comprehends a hundred and twenty pieces, chiefly written by Nithsdale men, and includes several by Burns, Hog;, and Mayne, not previously published. The Rev. Dr. Wightman of Kirkmahoe is a contributor to a large extent; the Rev. Dr. Duncan of Ruthwell furnishes one poem-a clever parody on "Lochiel's Warning;" Mr. Thomas Cunningham, brother of Allan, supplies a charming song-"The hills o' Gallowa';" and no fewer than thirty pieces, some of them exceedingly good, are from the pen of Mr. W. Joseph Walter, who was tutor at Terregles during the three years ending in 1815. Walter, in fact, was the Magnus Apollo of the volume: all his productions evince great warmth of fancy, regulated by good taste, and venting itself in verse that flows freely and musically. He is best known by his "Verses on an Evening View of the Ruins of Lincluden Abbey," which, long after the issue of the "Nithsdale Minstrel," went the round of several newspapers as "an unpublished composition of the poet Burns." Walter's "Stanzas to Miss of - "are replete with ardent emotion, expressed in lines which Moore need not have been ashamed of. The "Minstrel " was edited by the late Rev. William Dunbar of Applegarth, then a student, and brother of one of the publishers. [Also a brother of Mr. David Dunbar, sculptor, and of Mr. George Dunbar, the latter of whom has been long a leading citizen in Dumfries.] Some even of the nameless bards associated with Walter and the others we have mentioned in the production of the "Minstrel," contribute pieces that are quite worthy of appearing in the same collection with theirs; and the book is altogether a credit to the poetical feeling and literary taste of the district at the time of its appearance.

As may have been inferred from the specimens of oratory already incidentally given, Dumfries, during the early part of the present century, had a goodly share of speechmakers; and one of them, whose name has not been mentioned, Mr. Henry Macminn of Lochfield, had a prolific fund of eloquence, that enabled him to dilate easily and effectively on all manner of subjects. A duodecimo volume of "Speeches on various Public Occasions during the last Thirty Years," was published by him in 1831 -including, doubtless, his best effusions. Some of them were delivered on themes and in circumstances that render them almost historical; and the book claims a brief notice as being in other respects illustrative of both the oratory and the literature of the Burgh. Never was the local Demosthenes more fervid and exalted than when toasting the memory of Burns. At a festive meeting held in 1822, on the anniversary of the poet's natal day, Mr. Macminn declared that no sooner had the bard reached the summit of Mount Parnassus, "than he was surrounded by the gods, who with one voice pronounced that Burns should take the right hand of Jove himself, in the first chariot of fame, as a poet of the age." Proud ought they to be to have had such a man as their fellow-citizen; "and I must confess, gentlemen," said the speaker in continuation, "that upon this and all occasions you have proved yourselves to be the friends of genius, the admirers of literature, and an honour to this quarter of the globe. You have raised a mausoleum over his ashes: it is magnificent!-you have done it gloriously! You have also provided a punch-bowl to drink to his memory: it is unequalled in any country:-it would do honour to the table of the greatest potentate on earth !-the whole navy of Lilliput might fight a pitched battle in it!" The oration, a lengthened as well as glowing one, closed with a climax:-" Long was I acquainted with Burns. The more I knew him, the more I admired him : he was friendly, honourable, and good-hearted. To the mild, the modest, and the good, he was a shelter from every blast; but to the forward, the wicked, and the impudent coxcomb, his resentment was as a blast from bell!" Often did the Trades' Hall echo with the eloquence of Mr. Macminn. We have heard that on one occasion he eclipsed all his former eulogiums on the Incorporated Seven, by affirming that their fame extended over the whole earth, savage as well as civilized; and that, transcending the bounds of this mundane sphere, it had pierced the confines of the Dog-star itself. In 1824 he was made a freeman by the grateful Trades; and in acknowledging the honour done to him, he, among other handsome things, said that their patriotism and gentlemanly conduct could not fail to make them "the envy and wonder of a surrounding world." When Mr. Macminn, who was a Burgh magistrate for several years, retired from the bench, at Michaelmas, 1825, his health was toasted at a convivial meeting of the councillors. In the course of a characteristic reply, he-said: " I retire with reluctance, because I shall not have the opportunity of associating so often with such good company as sit round the table-I mean the magistrates, Town Council, and Seven Incorporated Trades of this Burgh, who stand so high at present in the scale of being. Yet, at the same time, I must confess I retire with pleasure, because I see the present bench is made up of gentlemen of great respectability and firmness of mind: unshaken in their principles, uncontaminated by corruption, they are the vicegerents of Almighty God on earth, to execute his will." This volume of speeches is altogether a remarkable one: exaggeration and bombast it has in abundance; but with all such drawbacks, it shows a fertile imagination and a fluency of language, and also at times a flash, though faint, of genuine poetry, that render it very readable, and that helped to make the author in his day an acceptable exponent of public sentiment, on great occasions, in the little world of Dumfries.

Dumfriesshire has produced many men of note; [For an excellent account of these distinguished worthies, the reader is referred to a lecture recently published, "The Eminent Men of Dumfriesshire," by the Rev. James Dodds, Dunbar.] but it is beyond the province of this work to speak of any except those who were born in or closely associated with the County town; and our notice even of these must be brief. Of Paterson, the great political economist and projector; of Miller, the distinguished agriculturist and ingenious inventor; and of John Mayne, who wrote charming lyrics in the Scottish dialect before Burns rose into fame, we have already spoken. Mayne, born in 1757, grew up among the Seven Trades, over whom his genius has thrown an imperishable lustre. Beginning active life as a printer in the Journal office, Dumfries, he closed it as editor and owner of the Star newspaper of London. Another member of the "bardic race," still more renowned - Allan Cunningham - was born on the estate of Blackwood, about six miles distant from Dumfries; and whilst learning to build material structures in the workshop of Mr. M`Kaig, mason, he was busy in the "chamber of imagery," composing some of those exquisite ballads which have won for him a niche in the temple of fame. When entertained, in the zenith of his popularity, at a public dinner by the Dumfriesians on the 22nd of July, 1831, "honest Allan" gratefully recognized the ties of love which bound him to the Burgh. "I am proud," he said, "that my father [The poet's father, John Cunningham, who was land steward to the ingenious proprietor of Dalswinton, had two other gifted sons : one of them, Thomas Mouncey Cunningham, author of many fine lyrics akin to those of Allan; the other, Peter Cunningham, who acquired high reputation and rank as a naval surgeon, while his well-known works, "Two Years in New South Wales," and "Essays on Electricity and Magnetism," bear witness to his remarkable powers of observation, philosophical acuteness, and literary taste. A sister's son of the Cunninghams, Mr. William Pagan of Clayton, has rendered good service by his writings to the cause of road reform, and has gained additional distinction by his book on the genealogy and birth of the projector Paterson.] and grandfather were freemen of the town. I am proud that all my earliest and most lasting feelings and associations are connected with a place such as this. I am proud that any little knowledge I possess was gathered amongst you; and I can never forget the reception I have met with since my arrival in Dumfries." Thirty years ago the poems of Mrs. G. G. Richardson, a Dumfries lady, were in much repute, and they are so fine that they ought not to be forgotten: some of them, in fervour of feeling and polish, almost emulating, the effusions of Mrs. Hemans. The celebrated poet, Mr. Thomas Aird, born at Bowden, Roxburghshire, was for nearly thirty years connected with the newspaper press of the town, and is spending the autumn of an honoured life in its immediate neighbourhood.

Mr. John M`Diarmid's contributions to general and political literature have been already mentioned ; also those of Mr. Robert Carruthers, born at Dumfries in 1807. The Inverness Courier, under the management of Mr. Carruthers, has acquired merited reputation as one of our ablest provincial journals. He is the author of "The Encyclopedia of English Literature," a "Life of Pope," "The Highland Note-Book," and of a series of lectures on remote periods of Scottish history, which display great research. Another accomplished litterateur and journalist, Mr. James Hannay, was born within the hearing of the Mid-Steeple bells. Trained as a naval cadet, he has, since settling down on terra firma, turned his nautical experiences to a good account in "Biscuits and Grog," "Singleton Fontenoy," and other literary "yarns." When, in 1854, he published a course of lectures delivered by him in London, and next year another work of fiction, "Eustace Conyers," he established his claim to be looked upon as one of the cleverest authors of the day. For several years Mr. Hannay was editor of the Edinburgh Courant; and he is now once more, at the meridian age of forty, pursuing his successful career as a man of letters in the British metropolis. Every summer almost, the Titan of the literary world, Mr. Thomas Carlyle, a native of Annandale, comes down to Dumfries on a visit to his sister, Mrs. Aitken, where he frequently meets with his brother, Dr. John A. Carlyle, an eminent German and Italian scholar, and best known for his translation of Dante. The great philosopher and historian leads quite a retired life when in the Burgh, being anxious to enjoy needed repose during his periodical visits to his native district.

Among the minor authors connected with Dumfries who remain to be named, are Mr. William M'Vitie, a retired West India merchant, who wrote an entertaining work (published in 1825) under the title of "Winter Evening Tales for the Ingle Cheek," and the popular ballad of "Dryfe-Sands;" Mr. Patrick Miller M`Latchie, a young writer's clerk, whose romance of "Douglas, or the Field of Otterburn," has, since its first appearance, fully fifty years ago, been a great favourite in Dumfries; and Mr. William Miller, who displayed no inconsiderable amount of fancy and taste in his poem of the "Fairy Minstrel," published in 1822.

Dumfries, though rich in architectural products, can boast of only one statue-a figure of Dr. Henry Duncan; and well does he merit that honour from the Burgh, as for the greater part of his eminently useful life he did much to promote its moral, social, and economical progress. He was the third son of the minister of Lochrutton (with whose journal relating to the Jacobite occupation of Dumfries the reader is familiar), and was born in the manse of that parish in 1774. He was presented to the parish of Ruthwell in 1799, and there, while faithfully discharging his ministerial duties, he originated various philanthropic schemes, crowning them all by founding a Savings Bank-the invention at once of his marvellously projective mind and benevolent heart, and which proved the prolific parent of similar institutions, countless in number, that are scattered over all parts of the world. About the same time (1810) an Auxiliary Bible Society and a Missionary Society were formed in Dumfries, chiefly owing to the efforts of Dr. Duncan; and, as we have already seen, it was he who started the Dumfries Courier in the preceding year, and who originated the Dumfries Standard in 1843. His intellect was many-sided: a poet and a political economist, a novelist and a naturalist, an antiquarian and a philosopher; yet making all his diversified pursuits subordinate or tributary to his mission as a minister of the gospel. Dr. Duncan died in 1846. [Dr. Duncan was twice married. By his first wife, Agnes Craig, daughter of his predecessor in Ruthwell, he had two sons and a daughter. The elder son, the Rev. George John C. Duncan, D.D., clerk to the English Presbyterian Church, married Miss Belle Clark, a native of Dumfries, authoress of a most ingenious volume entitled "Pre-Adamite Man;" the younger son, the Rev. William Wallace Duncan of the Free Church, Peebles, who died in 1864, was married to Mary Lundie, daughter of the Rev. Robert Lundie of Kelso, a deeply interesting and highly popular life of whom, by her mother, the second wife of Dr. Duncan, was published soon after her death, in 1840. Barbara Anne, the only daughter of Dr. Duncan, is married to the Rev. James Dodds of the Free Church, Dunbar, a gentleman of great literary acquirements, author of " A Centenary of Church History," " The Eminent Men of Dumfriesshire," "A Memoir of the Rev. Thomas Rosie," and other works.]

From 1775 till the close of that century, there was no surgeon in Scotland of higher repute than Dr. Benjamin Bell. His grandfather was proprietor of Blackett House, which estate had belonged to the family for many generations; and his father was a merchant in Dumfries. Benjamin was born there in 1749, educated by Dr. George Chapman, rector of the Academy, and apprenticed to. Mr. Hill, at that time the principal surgeon and apothecary of the Burgh. After completing his studies in Edinburgh, he commenced practising in that city, and rapidly rose to the top of his profession. As a skilful operator, a consulting surgeon, as well as a writer on surgery and cognate subjects, he was equally distinguished. He died in 1806.

Another celebrated medical gentleman, Sir Andrew Halliday, spent his closing years in Dumfries. Born at Copewood, parish of Dryfesdale, in 1782, of poor parentage, though tracing his descent from "Tom Halliday," Wallace's "sister's son so dear," he earned his first penny fee by herding cattle; and before he had seen forty summers, he had acquired wealth, fame, and knightly honours. He was emphatically the friend of the insane; and to him we are in a great degree indebted for the ameliorative treatment of these unfortunates that is now in vogue. Sir Andrew Halliday's most useful life was brought to a close at Huntingdon Lodge, Dumfries, in 1840.

Among the band of heroic explorers that Great Britain has produced, Sir John Richardson, born at Dumfries in 1787, holds a conspicuous place. His father was Provost Gabriel Richardson, whose integrity is commemorated in Burns's well-known epigram. As surgeon and naturalist of Sir John Franklin's overland Polar expedition, the young adventurer entered first upon his "field of fame." This enterprise was followed by one of greater range, and still more rife with danger-the survey of a mysterious line of coast that lay between the Coppermine and Mackenzie rivers. His triumphant success was rewarded with a shower of golden honours; but though past the meridian of life, he could not settle down to enjoy them when he learned that Franklin, his fellow voyager, had been lost sight of in the far north-western regions, prisoned in the pitiless ice-it might be dead. Under Government auspices, Sir John proceeded on his chivalrous mission, with the view of saving his friend, or clearing up the mystery in which his fate was shrouded. Unnumbered risks were gallantly encountered; but the search, though protracted over nearly eighteen months, proved of no avail. Sir John retired in 1855 from active service, to devote the leisure he had honourably won to the pursuits of science, and the amenities of social life. From his rural retreat at Lancrigg, the veteran explorer found his familiar way occasionally to Dumfries, to see his sister, Mrs. Wallace, Castledykes, and other relatives. He died on the 5th of June, 1865. Of Sir James Anderson, another distinguished voyager belonging to Dumfries, also knighted for his services, we shall speak in a subsequent chapter.

Though, as has been shown in the course of this work, the Dumfriesians were a bold, soldierly race when war was indigenous to the soil, the town has sent forth few great military captains in these "piping times of peace;" the only modern native who has acquired high renown in the tented field being Colonel William Montague M'Murdo, born in 1819, the favourite officer of his father-in-law, Sir Charles Napier, the hero of Scinde.

Dumfries can boast of some names that are well known in the world of art; Mr. William Thorburn, the great miniature painter, born in 1818, and Mr. William D. Kennedy, who excelled both in figures and in landscape, being the chief. Thorburn's precocious talent for drawing was noticed and fostered by Mr. John Craik, writing master in the Academy; and at his instance he went to London, where he achieved his present high position. Mr. Kennedy was the son of a worthy man, Mr. Craik's predecessor. After industriously prosecuting his profession as a painter in the British metropolis, he travelled as a student of the Royal Academy in Italy, and there acquired a relish for classical landscape, and deepened his love of brilliant colouring, for which he had always been distinguished. He died in 1865, at the early age of fifty-two. Air. David Dunbar, who belonged to a respectable Dumfries family, achieved considerable distinction as a sculptor, his chief works being " The Sleeping Child," for which charming production he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Carrara; several busts from the life, and studies from the antique; and a statue of Sir Pulteney Malcolm, erected in the town of Langholm. By instituting a series of fine art exhibitions, two of which were held in his native town, Mr. Dunbar did much to foster the aesthetic faculty amongst his countrymen. He died at Dumfries in 1866. In a walk of his own, illustrative of Scottish rural life, Mr. John Currie, sculptor, has displayed no small amount of genius. Born in the neighbouring parish of Lochrutton, lie came to Dumfries, and while employed as a journeyman mason, he at leisure hours indulged his bent for figure-making, which, as manifested in his group of "Dominie Sampson and Meg Merrilees," gained for him great local reputation. He has since produced "Old Mortality and his Pony" (generally deemed Mr. Currie's masterpiece), "The Covenanter," "The Cameronian" -all of the same rustic school, the material used being the red sandstone of the district; also a figure of Dr. Henry Duncan, which ornaments the facade of the Dumfries Savings Bank; a marble group representing "Burns Crowned by the Muse;" besides numerous busts and objects of monumental statuary.

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