Important acquisitions

Honour on crutches

Author William Brown
Title Honour on crutches
Imprint Glasgow: William Lang
Date of Publication 1822
Language English
Notes This is an unrecorded pamphlet which resembles something of a modern-day Twitter spat. The text reveals, in full, a brief exchange of letters between William Brown of Greenockmains, Muirkirk, and Alexander Aird of Crossflatt, Muirkirk, in which Aird accuses Brown in a letter, dated 26 November 1821, of uttering defamatory words at the last meeting of the Muirkirk Debating Society. The alleged words were that "clergymen were better adepted [sic] for Justice of the Peace then sheep smearer, or in otherwords, then one whose fingers were dipt in tarr." And Aird assumed that he was "the person intitled the sheep smearer" referred to by Brown. The latter confirms that it was he who spoke the words at the Society meeting and Aird immediately proposes a duel as the only solution. Brown responds with a witty putdown to which Aird does not reply. Aird's letters are printed with a number of spelling mistakes, intended to highlight his lack of education and low social standing. The final two letters of Brown, dated 17 December, 1821 and 17 April, 1822, remain unanswered by Aird, the final letter announcing Brown's intention to publish the correspondence in view of Aird's failure to apologise to Brown. The final three pages of the pamphlet are devoted to "Notes" by Brown explaining the history of the Muirkirk Debating Society (instituted in 1820 with fortnightly meetings to discuss "questions unconnected with religion and politics"), sheep smearing and duelling. Quite why Brown really felt the need to go to the lengths of revealing his dispute with Aird is a mystery, perhaps because Aird felt sufficiently provoked to challenge him to a duel (four years later, in 1826, the last recorded duel in Scotland was fought in Fife).
Shelfmark AP.2.217.01
Reference Sources Bookseller's notes
Acquired on 11/11/16
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