The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

X. Burns

§ 22. James Tytler

A considerable contributor to the Museum was James Tytler—known as “Balloon Tytler,” from his construction of a balloon in which he made the first ascent in Scotland—latterly an Edinburgh hackwriter (until, owing to his revolutionary principles, he emigrated to America, where he became somewhat more prosperous), but of good education and of accomplishments ranging from science to theology. He was editor, and largely compiler, of the second and third editions of The Encyclopaedia Britannica, at, according to Burns, the remarkable salary of half a guinea a week, though, it is said, with an advance in the case of the third edition. Burns describes him as “an unknown drunken mortal,” who “drudges about Edinburgh as a common printer, with leaky shoes, a skylighted hat and knee-breeches as unlike George by the Grace of God as Solomon the Son of David.” Of the songs which he contributed to the Museum, the best known are two in the vernacular: The Bonnie Brucket Lassie, which preserves two lines of an old free song of that name, and I hae laid a Herring in Saut, an adaptation from a song in the Herd MS. related to a very old wooing song, containing the line “I canna come every day to Woo.”