The Essayist. A M.S. Magazine

The Essayist, No. 2, Session 1883-84, [title page] (©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections, 97615, 285-2/G)


A summary of the history of the Pollokshields Free Church Literary Institute is available on our sister website, Glasgow’s Literary Bonds (see ‘Additional Notes’ below).

One 74 page volume (the second) survives of this magazine. The volume is neatly written in the same or very similar hand throughout, and contains a list of members on the inside cover: six names are listed as editors of the M.S. Magazine. The editor’s Preface states that contributions show that their writers are ‘desirous – nay, determined – to take advantage of the written, as well as the spoken, means of improvement in literary efforts’, that they preserve the memory of good talks given at weekly meetings, and that they show the ‘degree of literary merit’ expressed at these meetings.

Of particular interest in this magazine is the focus in several contributions on the dangers of ‘theories of scepticism and infidelity’ current in the 1880s (‘Stray Reflections’ by ‘A Moderate’). Hugh Smith, for example, in ‘The Advantages of Literary Institutes’, notes as one of the additional advantages of literary institutes that they enable young men to ‘understand and discriminate between false and true argument’, meaning that they are less likely to question their Christian beliefs.

The magazine contains reflective and descriptive essays on various subjects, including ‘Stray Reflections on Study’, ‘The Advantages of Literary Institutes’, ‘A Day on Scuir-na-Gillean’ (Skye), ‘Temper’, ‘Life on the Stage’, ‘Home Mission Effort’ and ‘General Knowledge’.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

Pollokshields Free Church Literary Institute (Glasgow)

Date of Existence


Date of Magazine

No. 2, Session 1883-84 (Carbon duplicate of MS)

Number of Issues

1 (extant)

Manuscript/Published Magazine


Contents and Contributions

Articles (non-fiction); Editorial; Essays; List of Office Bearers; Membership list; Table of Contents; Title page


Mitchell Library Special Collections


97615, 285-2/G

Additional Notes

See also entry for Pollokshields Free Church Literary Institute on our sister website, Glasgow’s Literary Bonds.