Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2

James Tytler 1747-1805

Author & Apothecary

James Tytler studied medicine but was unsuccessful in setting up a practice. He got himself into debt, and only escaped being arrested by taking sanctuary at Holyrood Abbey, where he wrote a ballad called 'The Pleasures of the Abbey'. He edited the second and third editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica for some years, and Burns made use of him in compiling the Scots Musical Museum. Tytler himself contributed several songs to this collection, including 'The Young Man's Dream', and two others, based on older songs, 'I hae laid a herring in saut', and 'The Bonnie Brucket Lassie'.  James Tytler commonly known by the name of "Balloon Tytler", from him having been the first person in Scotland to rise in a fire balloon. Politically a radical, he was accused of publishing seditious material and fled to Ireland c.1793 and then to the USA c.1796, where he published a newspaper. He accidentally drowned near Salem (Massachusetts).