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instance of your generosity in admitting me to be one of your society. Think not, however, that I am an entire novice in your profession. No; I have lain three days and three nights prostrate on my belly, exactly fronting the door of a bee-hive, with my head and shoulders raised to an angle of 30° 345", in order to inspect the Empressqueen ; and never once shut my eyes till her Imperial Majesty, attended by the lords and ladies of the bed-chamber, &c. stalked forth in awful procession to feast my wearied and wondering imagination. Nor is this the only instance of my heroism. Not to mention my infinite reading on this amiable and dignified subject, I have composed, be not surprised Gentlemen, a whole treatise on bees, which I had the honour to read before the celebrated Newtonian Society, and which that honourable body was pleased to stamp with public approbation. I shall not, however, entirely anticipate my own merit ; but conclude with a cup of thanks (N. B. the strong ale quaich * is now at the door of your lips) to thee, O JAMIE SPITTAL! to the

* A wooden dish, anciently much used in Scotland before the introduction of pottery.

weavers, tailors, tide-waiters, tars, wheelbarrow makers, soutars t, flunkies †, and the remanent members of this worthy and truly learned society.”

Yours, &c.

WILLIAM Smellie.

Address to me (no inconsiderable personage) at Cochrane & Murrays, Craigs close.

No. X.




No date.

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The chief design of this is to remind you of my

existence. How are you? What are you doing? What have you been doing? For my poor part, I have been chiefly employed in making and uttering sermons.

As to essay making, I have done but little ; yet I have made one upon Daughters, containing much useful instruction for country ministers

† Shoemakers,


and lairds, and for town merchants and printers too. I have not sent it, because, in the present scattered state of our fraternity, I imagine you would not apply to it the edge of critical sagacity. This shews how much my style is improved. The scattering of the brethren will certainly be a great loss to our plan ; as it cools our zeal, and will, I am afraid, render it impossible for us to have our labours revised and corrected by each other.

I write this on Sunday, in full possession of the house, the family being gone to an 'occasion *


you been with me, I should have been happier, but I had not written so much of a sermon. I am gradually proceeding to a point which I consider to be absolutely necessary for preachers; which is, to have no concern about what the hearers may think of me.

I can easily be indifferent as to the opinion of the people ; but it is not easy to get rid of a concern about the opinion of a person one thinks has sense ; yet that too must be attained, because you can never know peoples opinions, and their tastes

F 3

* A customary Scots phrase, implying attendance on the Sacrament of Communion.

are so very different, many of them even so absurd, that it is impossible to please all, There is another more stickingly vexatious consideration to people in our way, which is the improbability of doing any good by preaching. The people seem so incapable of thinking, and so attached to a set of notions, that I sometimes think there is little probability of being able to touch them. Sometimes one would think they shew marks of thought and candour, which give room for hope. The truth is, they would be much better than they are, if the ministers did not spoil them. These have got a particular set of words and notions which they can preach upon extempore, and to which, I believe, they have themselves an immoveable attachment, and are alarmed with any thing which seems to differ from them. Their consciences are not very good about extempore preaching, and they wish, therefore, to make people believe that reading of sermons is worse than any thing. They are unwilling to be at the trouble of preaching on any other subjects than what they have always been accustomed to ; and they wish, therefore, that nobody else would, and that no other manner of sermons should be acceptable to the hearers.

Perhaps all this is dictated to me by pride ; and I do not, therefore, require that you should believe it. Meantime, I should be happy to have one friend by me, to whom I might talk over every thing I am in doubt about, and speak every thing I think. My sense of the need of this induced me to talk a little to you, but you make no answer.


You have never returned my servitude. Perhaps you may have had a letter in your pocket these two months, and think you sent it to me. Pray look ; for I have received

I could write away with great ease; but on looking back to what I have written, I think you have enough of the goodness. The above has lain by me a long time ; and having now taken it into my head to send you a letter, I have not time to write another. Will you come hither ? If you can afford a poor horse to accompany you,

I can get one to obviate you. Let me know; and write if you cannot come. Let me know. your history.--Tell me if ****** is come. If I can see you all no other


I will come to see you. Kind remembrance to the club and family. Yours, &c.



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