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have examined contain little else, than the squabbles of the clergy in their provincial synods, and of the protesters and public resolutioners, of which Burnet has given us such a lively and just description. The memoirs of the period are chiefly the lives of the clergy, such as Rutherford, Blair, and Livingstone, which contain no part of the information or the judgment of Baillie's letters. The period of the usurpation appeared so barren, that, after Glencairn's insurrection, I was obliged to suspend the narrative of public events, and enter into the minute, yet perhaps more instructive, details of domestic government, &c., the revenues, arts, manners and literature of Scotland. At the same time, in the revisal of the work, I shall bestow a much more careful examination on this period. The work may be finished next winter; and, as the ensuing spring and summer will be dedicated to the revisal, I shall not fail to profit from your exhortations. According to its bulk, the anecdotical history of the period may either be inserted in notes, or digested into an appendix.

I have detained you too long on this selfish subject; but the manuscript anecdotes and information, which you so liberally offer to communicate, I shall receive and return with gratitude. I conceive that they may be of infinite use in the revisal, and may be easily incorporated in transcribing a second copy of my work for the press; but I am afraid my researches here will make you no adequate return; especially as I spend the better part of the year, the summer and the autumn, in the Orkneys, of which I am a native.

The slow arrival of books from London will deprive us for a month of the perusal of your History. The information derived from Gibbon was not necessary to raise our expectations. Your Inquiry had already produced a durable impression of the truth respecting our ancient history, which continues daily to increase, and is more durable, because at first, perhaps, it was reluctantly received. For myself I fairly acknowledge, that I was bewildered with Celtic poetry and tradition, till your Dissertation and Inquiry disabused my mind; but I know not a man, not born a Celt, whom they have failed to convince.* That you may enjoy health and leisure to reduce those valuable materials into the history you have undertaken, and to accomplish every other literary object, is my sincere wish.

• Mr. Pinkerton's triumph did not prove altogether so easy as Mr. Laing here anticipates. He found a very stout and very able opponent in the anonymous author of a publication, entitled, A Vindication of the Celts, from ancient authorities; with observations on Mr. Pinkerton's hypothesis concerning the Origin of the European Nations, in his Modern Geography and Dissertation on the Scythians or Goths. A critique on this work is to be found in an early number of the Edinburgh Review, II. p. 355, where the opinions of both authors are examined with great ability, but with considerable coarseness; and an opinion is pronounced in favor of Mr. Pinkerton, adding, that “while the Vindication destroys what is weak and exposes what is false in that gentleman's Dissertation, it may be of great service to him; if he is not too obstinate to give up what is untenable, and too proud, or too hardened, to confess and correct his literary delinquencies."


Portman Square, Feb. 16th, 1797.

Indisposition confining me a few days to the house, I delayed acknowledging the receipt of your very obliging present until I should be able to cal at Mr. Dilly's. He will perhaps have told you that I was not unacquainted with the work, though I did not know who was the author of it; yet I conjectured, and my conjectures have proved well founded. I have again perused your History in print to the beginning of the reign of James II., and mean to proceed with the remainder as fast as the printing two sheets a day of my English Aristotle* will allow. I have already spoken of it to many of my friends in a way which its merit requires. I know not whether in a certain quarterf I can be of any use; but that is not, you may be assured, for want of inclination.

• Dr. Gillies published "Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, comprising his Practical Philosophy, translated from the Greek; illustrated by Introduction and Notes, the Critical History of his Life, and a new Analysis of his Speculative Works. London, 1786-97, 2 vols. 4to.

+ See Letter from Mr. Dilly, p. 438.



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