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Ossian Macpherson

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Published : 3 Articles
Pen Names : None
Date of Birth : N/A
Death : N/A
Views : 1160

Macpherson, Ossian I Ossian Macpherson, Macpherson l. Not identified. Three items indicate the contributor's interest in the eradication of abuses and in the betterment of social conditions. "The Smithfield Model" [II, 572–73. March 8, 1851] concerns the removal of the Srnithfield cattle market from the heart of London to an outlying district; it states one of the specious arguments raised by a man who opposes the removal. "A Few Facts about Salt" [III, 354–55. July 5, 1851] denounces the Government tax laid on salt in India and takes the part of the natives who suffer under the "odious" imposition. "Excursion Trains" [III, 355–56. July 5, 1851] tells of the initial reluctance of railway companies to institute cheap excursion trains, which, when once under way, yielded a profit to the companies and proved a boon to the people; the writer suggests that fares on such trains be still further reduced. A reader's qualification of one of the statements in the article appeared two weeks later ("The Tax on Excursion Trains").


     
No specific social purpose underlies "The Harvest of Gold," [V, 213–18. May 22, 1852] but there is no reason to assume that the Macpherson recorded as one of the joint authors is other than the Macpherson who contributed the three preceding items. The article relates the history of the discovery of gold in Australia, describes (among other matters) conditions in the gold fields as recorded in newspapers and in letters from the emigrant Mulock, and comments on the probable decrease in the value of gold as a result of the Australian discovery. The discussion of the decrease in the value of gold is probably the writing of Morley, who dealt with that matter in an article of the following month ("Change for a Sovereign"). What share Macpherson had in "The Harvest of Gold" it is not possible to state.
      The Office Book affords no clue as to the identity of Macpherson and no indication as to whether the name under which he submitted his articles was a real or an assumed one. The fact that the initials "O.M." appear as signature to his first contribution (in the form of a letter to the editor) seems to indicate that Ossian Macpherson was his real name.
      [DJO Ed.: An Ossian Macpherson brought out, by subscription, The Dreamer, a Poem, in Three Cantos, with Other Poems (1848) – a book to which Dickens was listed as a subscriber at the end of the volume. Lohrli is "positive" that this is not the author of the H.W. pieces as the poem focuses on the author's solipsistic hypochondria and is thus very different in tone from the socially-minded H.W. pieces. This seems disputable.]  

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971 

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