Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Arbuckle, James

ARBUCKLE, JAMES (1700–1734?), minor poet and essayist, is supposed to have been a native of Ireland and to have been born in 1700. His earliest works were 'Snuff,' a mock-heroic poem, containing some curious information respecting the snuff-taking and snuff-boxes of the time, and 'An Epistle to Thomas, Earl of Haddington, on the death of Joseph Addison, Esq.,' both published in 1719. Arbuckle contributed to the 'Edinburgh Miscellany' of 1721, in which appeared the earliest printed effusions of Thomson and Mallet, and in the same year he produced a poem, entitled 'Glotta,' describing the scenery about the Clyde, on the title-page of which he is described as a 'student in the University of Glasgow.' Here, as in most of his other compositions, the verse runs smoothly, and bears traces of Pope's influence. On finishing his studies at Glasgow, Arbuckle, it is supposed, settled as a schoolmaster in the north of Ireland. In the columns of a Dublin newspaper he conducted a periodical miscellany of prose and verse, to which the poet Parnell, Francis Hutcheson, and Samuel Boyse occasionally contributed. Its contents were reprinted in a separate form as 'Hibernicus's Letters; a collection of Letters and Essays on several subjects, lately published in the Dublin Journal' (2 vols. 1725-7), but the work possesses little literary or other interest. Arbuckle was a friend of Allan Ramsay, to whom he wrote some laudatory verses, and who addressed to him a genial epistle in rhyme in 1719, on his return to Scotland from a visit to Ireland.

[Arbuckle's Works; MS. notice of him prefixed to the copy of Glotta in the Library of the British Museum; Allan Ramsay's Poems (1800), i. 173, and ii. 359; Campbell's Introduction to the History of Poetry in Scotland, p. 183; Catalogue of the (Edinburgh) Advocates' Library.]

F. E.