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THE BANNATYNE CLUB.

One tome miscellaneous they'll add to your store,
Resolving next year to print four volumes more.

1

395

Four volumes more, my friends, four volumes

more;

Pay down your subscriptions for four volumes

more.

[This Club was instituted in the year 1822, for the publication or reprint of rare and curious works connected with the history and antiquities of Scotland. It consisted, at first, of a very few members, gradually extended to one hundred, at which number it has now made a final pause. They assume the name of the Bannatyne Club from George Bannatyne, of whom little is known beyond that prodigious effort which produced his present honours, and is, perhaps, one of the most singular instances of its kind which the literature of any country exhibits. His labours as an amanuensis were undertaken during the time of pestilence, in 1568. The dread of infection had induced him to retire into solitude, and under such circumstances he had the energy to form and execute the plan of saving the literature of the whole nation; and, undisturbed by the general mourning for the dead, and general fears of the living, to devote himself to the task of collecting and recording the triumphs of human genius in the poetry of his age and country;-thus, amid the wreck of all that was mortal, employing himself in preserving the lays by which immortality is at once given to others, and obtained for the writer himself. He informs us of some of the numerous difficulties he had to contend with in this self-imposed task. The volume containing his labours, deposited in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh, is no less than eight hundred pages in length, and very neatly and closely written, containing nearly all the ancient poetry of Scotland now known to exist.

This Caledonian association, which boasts several names of distinction, both from rank and talent, has assumed rather a broader foundation than the parent society, the Roxburghe Club in London, which, in its plan, being restricted to the reprinting of single tracts, each executed at the expense of an individual

member, it follows as almost a necessary consequence, that no volume of considerable size has emanated from it, and its range has been thus far limited in point of utility. The Bannatyne holding the same system with respect to the ordinary species of Club reprints, levies, moreover, a fund among its members of about £500 a-year, expressly to be applied for the editing and printing of works of acknowledged importance, and likely to be attended with expense beyond the reasonable bounds of an individual's contribution. In this way either a member of the Club, or a competent person under its patronage, superintends a particular volume, or set of volumes. Upon these occasions, a very moderate number of copies are thrown off for general sale; and those belonging to the Club are only distinguished from the others by being printed on the paper, and ornamented with the decorations, peculiar to the Society. In this way several useful and eminently valuable works have recently been given to the public for the first time, or at least with a degree of accuracy and authenticity which they had never before attained.—Abridged from the Quarterly Review—ART. Pitcairn's Ancient Criminal Trials. February, 1831.]

END OF VOLUME FIFTH.

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