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Earl of Douglas at Cavers would be very interesting.
If your lordship chooses, I shall speak to Mr. Herbert to send you proofs on Indian paper, under cover of Mr. Stuart; that you may see the numbers at once; for we cannot show sufficient attention to you, our sole, real, and active patron, and whom I gratefully regard as the very founder of our work.
I am well aware of the prejudices of some of my countrymen against me: first, as an opposer of Ossian and the Celtic fables, which devour our history : secondly, as no friend to the Scotish old Toryism now in high vogue—“ Spreta exolescunt.” I wait with patience till they discover, that a man always toiling for his country cannot be its enemy. Conscious that my worst enemy has never attacked my moral character or my literary motives, I pass such matters, though it requires great patience to serve people against their will. In England, party or literary enmity has, even now, little of our impetuosity, little of the odium Ecclesiasticum or caninum; but, in Scotland, there is no fighting and shaking hands. How risible will it appear, 200 years hence, that literary Tories should endeavor to prevent literary Whigs from serving the object of their common pursuits !
MR. PINKERTON TO THE EARL OF BUCHAN.
Hampstead, July 6th, 1795. It is with pleasure that I proceed in the revival
of our work, which had nearly been strangled in its birth.
Alexander Lesley in colors is a fine print, and as like the miniature as possible. David Lesley is in the same hands.
Esme, Duke of Lennox, is well engraved by Roberts, a young, but deserving artist.
I have given to him Mar, the treasurer: to Trotter, Secretary Maitland and Jameson the painter: to Barlow, Bishop Lesley.
In short, my lord, I shall answer that the prints are well engraved; if you will have the goodness to write to Mr. Herbert, to desire that all the drawings you have sent or may send shall be put by me into the hands of such engravers as I choose. He is an unaccountable. Two tracings he has lost; and I am afraid Lockhart and Wishart went the same way.
He rightly proposes to publish no more numbers, but only parts of six numbers, or eighteen prints each.
In the first part I shall see that there is one by Trotter, and other good prints, to make amends for the two first numbers. " A hard beginning is a good beginning,” says the proverb.
The misfortune has been, that Herbert is surrounded with mean artists, who impose upon him and persuade him to employ them. The point to be gained is, that I should direct the prints, as well as furnish the letter-press. He employs so many obscure hands, that it would require a clue of Ariadne to find out where the blame lies : whereas, I have only to give a drawing to a good artist, and see that he does it well and correctly.
He has had three plates totally to engrave anew, as they were unfit for the work : so he can gain nothing by his mean artists; as good ones would have done the plates well at first for the same expense as this double engraving.
If your lordship blames me a little to him, and says you supposed me answerable for the plates, as the drawings were sent to me, it may tend to the effect wanted. It will be trouble and loss of
. time to me to look to the engravings; but I would prefer this to seeing bad prints, which are useless now and for ever.
Harding did the Mary of Guise. The drawing was very dry; and the plate is not amiss, considering that circumstance. But, in fact, if the engravings be not left to my care, I shall give up the work; for I am sick of hunting the publishers.
MR. JAMES SCOTT TO MR. JAMES WRIGHT,
Perth, Aug. 3rd, 1795. I had the pleasure of yours to-day, inclosing a prospectus, by Mr. Pinkerton, concerning Scotish portraits. I do not find in the list George Hay,
* Mr. James Wright, jun., merchant at Dundee, was at this time one of Mr. Pinkerton's most active correspondents on the subject of coins and medals; but his letters, which are very long, have not appeared to me to possess sufficient interest to warrant the publication of them.
Chancellor of Scotland, who was the first Earl of Kinnoul : his portrait, no doubt, is at the Castle of Dupplin; and there is a very fine effigy of him in the parish-church of Kinnoul. Mr. Pinkerton assuredly knows of the effigy of David Murray, first Viscount of Stormont, in the parish-church of Scone.
In the old gallery of the palace of Scone, near the roof, all round the room, are compartments of painting, seemingly executed about the beginning of last century, in which the several stages of a stag-chase by King James VI. and his courtiers are represented. The figures and countenances of the persons accompanying the king are said to be true likenesses of the noblemen and gentlemen who at that time most attended the court, such as the Duke of Lennox, &c. I have often thought that the groups there to be seen are the most curious any where now to be met with in Scotland. If the Earl of Mansfield were to get them copied, they would be a valuable present to the public.
Our society are greatly obliged to you for the valuable collection of natural history which you lately sent them, and return you their best thanks.
MR. J. C. WALKER TO MR. PINKERTON.
Eccles Street, Dublin,
Aug. 7th, 1795.
I am honored with your letter of the 13th ult., and pleased to find that the pamphlets, &c. have reached you. Should Mr. O'Flannagan continue his work,* I shall have great pleasure in sending you the remainder. I am sorry he is not encouraged to publish a translation which he made long since of the Annals of Innisfallen. But Irish literature has few zealous friends. Your polite message to Dr. O'Conor I shall take an early opportunity of communicating. I am sure he will accept with pleasure your obliging offer of copies of his grandfather's letters.
The portraits of illustrious persons of Scotland, with biographical notices from your pen, will be a valuable accession to collections of taste, and serve to increase the stock of elegant literature. I should be happy to see such a work undertaken for Ireland, could it be so ably conducted. A friend of mine is now employed on a Catalogue of Irish Writers living, or lately dead; but his work will not be enriched with portraits. I shall look into the Genealogy of the Hamiltons, prefixed to the Mémoires de Grammont, and furnish you with such information concerning that family as I shall be able to collect. At present I shall only observe, that the Fords of Seaford in the county of Down,