Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2

William Smellie 1740-1795


It was Smellie who founded the Crochallan Fencibles and introduced Burns to that convivial club, whose recorder of proceedings and 'hangman' the naturalist was. It was the custom of the Club to submit any new entrant to a barrage of raillery to test his temper, and the contest between Smellie and Burns was said to have been remarkable. Burns said on his installation that he was 'thrashed' beyond anything he had formerly experienced.

Shrewd Willie Smellie to Crochallan came;
The old cock'd hat, the grey surtout the same;
His bristling beard just rising in its might,
'Twas four long nights and days to shaving night:
His uncomb'd grizzly locks, wild staring, thatch'd
A head for thought profound and clear, unmatch'd;
Yet tho' his caustic wit was biting-rude,
His heart was warm, benevolent, and good.