Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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AINSLIE, Hew, Scottish-American poet, born in Bargeny Mains, Ayrshire, 5 April 1792; died in Louisville. Kentucky, 11 March 1878. He was sent to the Ayr academy to complete his education, but was compelled to leave that institution when fourteen years of age, in consequence of ill-health. Three years afterward he went to Glasgow and engaged in the study of law with a relative, but, as it proved uncongenial, he returned to Roslin, where his parents then resided, and engaged in landscape gardening. Soon afterward he was appointed a clerk in the register house, Edinburgh, and at intervals while so employed acted as amanuensis for Professor Dugald Stewart, the last of whose works he copied for the press. He married in 1812, and immigrated to the United States in July 1822. Three years after his arrival he was attracted by Robert Owen's peculiar social system as exemplified at New Harmony, Indiana, but after a trial of it for a year he gave it up. He subsequently removed to Cincinnati and became partner in a brewery. A branch that he established in 1829 in Louisville was destroyed by an inundation of the Ohio in 1832, and a similar establishment erected by him the same year at New Albany was burned in 1834. Subsequently, till his retirement from business, he was employed in superintending the erection of mills, factories, and breweries in the western states. Ainslie's best-known book, "A Pilgrimage to the Land of Burns" (1820), consists of a narrative embodying a number of sparkling lyrics. A collection of his Scottish songs and ballads, edited by his friend William Wilson, was issued in New York in 1855. Ainslie is one of the minor Scottish poets represented in "Whistle Binkie" (Glasgow, 1853) and in Wilson's " Poets and Poetry of Scotland" (New York, 1876). In 1864 he visited his native land and received gratifying evidences of esteem and friendship from literary men. His best-known poems are "The Ingle Side" and "On wi' the Tartan," which were much admired by Sir Walter Scott, who by mistake handed Ainslie, at the register house, several pages of the MS. of one of his early novels in place of a legal document. Sir Walter's confidence was never betrayed. Another circumstance that Ainslie recalled with pleasure was related by him on the one hundred and twelfth anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, to a large company assembled in Louisville, over which he presided, to celebrate the day so dear to all Scotchmen*the circumstance of his having had the honor of kissing "Bonnie Jean," widow of the great poet.
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