Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/328

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122 JAMES PERRY.


and Dryden, and in the homely strains of the native muse. His poems refer mostly to local characters and affairs, and are now only to be valued for the vestiges of contemporary manners which are to be traced in them, but which are not always remarkable for their good taste and purity. The presbytery meet- ings of a moderate district, with their convivial accompaniments, occasionally provoked the satire of his pen. The following are almost the only verses de- serving to be remembered:

INSCRIPTION FOE MY CLOSET.

Are not the ravens fed, great God, by thee? And wilt thou clothe the lilies, and not me? Ill ne'er distrust my God for clothes nor bread, Whilst lilies flourish, and the raven's fed.

Dr Pennecuik has less credit for his poetry than for his devotion to botanical pursuits, as science was then even more rare than literature. For this study he enjoyed some advantages in the peripatetic nature of his life as a country physi- cian, and in a correspondence which he carried on with Mr James Sutherland, the superintendent of the first botanic garden in Edinburgh. In 1715, he was induced to give the result of his literary and scientific labours to the world, in a small quarto volume, containing a description of T weeddale, and his miscellaneous poems; the botany of the county being a prominent department of the volume. About a century afterwards this production was reprinted by the late Mr Con- stable. Dr Pennecuik is not only meritorious as himself a cultivator of letters, but as an encourager of the same pursuits in others. He was one of the literary gentlemen to whom Ramsay so frequently expresses his obligations, and not im- probably communicated the incidents upon which that poet founded his " Gentle Shepherd," the scene of which pastoral is, almost beyond question, the estate of Newhall, which, however, through the extravagance of a son-in-law of Dr Penne- cuik, had then passed into a different family. The subject of this memoir died in 1722.

Another writer of Scottish verses, named Alexander Pennecuik, flourished in the earlier part of the eighteenth century. He was a burgess of Edinburgh ; the author of " Streams from Helicon," published in 1720, and "Flowers from Par- nassus," in 1726. He wrote also a historical account of " The Blue Blanket, or Craftsman's Banner ;" and shortly before his death, commenced a periodical, under the title of " Entertainment for the Curious." In his verses he imitated Allan Ramsay. Several of his poems display considerable talent for humour. His life was dissipated, and his death miserable.

PERRY, JAMES, an eminent journalist, was born in Aberdeen, on the 30th of October, 1750. He received the rudiments of his education at the school of Garioch, and was afterwards removed to the high school of Aberdeen. Having gone through the usual course of learning at this seminary, with much credit to himself and satisfaction to his teachers, he entered Marischal college in 1771, and was afterwards, on completing his curriculum at the university, placed under Dr Arthur Dingwall Fordyce, to qualify him for the profession of the law, a profession to which he originally intended to devote himself. The misfortunes of his father, however, who was an eminent house-builder in Aber- deen, and who had about this period entered into some ruinous speculations, compelled him suddenly to abandon his legal studies, and to resign all idea of adopting the law as a profession. In these unfortunate circumstances, young Perry went to Edinburgh, in 1774, with the humble hope of procuring em-