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on the subject was a sensible medium between credulity and scepticism. Some of her remarks on the subject, in one of her letters to Lord Kames, are very ingenious and acute.
Where exists,'says she,' the records of those ages? Not even any monuments of art'appear. Were men more civilized before they ; were assembled in large communities? I do not mean to pun, when I say there could hardly be civility without cities. Can one imagine politeness of manners began before even agriculture ? Does nature operate in other modes in Scotland, than in the rest of the world ? Do not the ruins of Palmyra still bear witness to her former greathess? Are not the pyramids of Egypt witnesses, that, that country was in possession of arts ? How beautiful are the ruins of Athens ! how august the ruins of Rome! Three grey stones unpolished, undescribed, were all the honors the departed hero, or celebrated bard, expected for the glorious labours of his life. We find only three characters amongst these highlanders, the warrior, the bard, and the hunter. As to the fair sex, I do believe, that living in a country where the sun is not very ardent; they might be fair, though they were much exposed to weather and certainly must have been obliged to partake of the labours and inconveniences of a savage state. · But they would surely appear fair to Ossian, and to all his heroes, and the Celtæ were remarkably regardful of their women. I imagine that Ossian has given the fine gloss of poetry to a rude age. If there should be found any fine edifices, or any testis monies of higher improvement, we must begin to alter our opinions. But'as to myself, I credited Ossian the more, because I do not see any thing in his poems inconsistent with uncivilized times. The heroes are brave in the field, hospitable and courteous at a feast. They were not cruel as absolute savages are: but I believe our Celtic ancestors were not the brutes they have been imagined. I do not see any probability, that if the highlanders had been once a polished people, they would have returned to barbarism ; as they were never subdued. The grand children of Fingal probably stilt remain upon the very mountain where his hall was built. They are now a fine people, brave, generous, and hospitable; but the lowest order is not polished. I have seen lovely lasses amongst them, and as fair, I doubt not, as Malvina, though indeed she was the daughter-in-law of a king. I cannot believe they pulled down towns to live on the mountains, nor houses to dwell in huts. How great elegance of form is consistent with being exposed to the sun and wind of summer, and being smoked like bacoli, in the winter, I do not understand; nor how great delicacy of manners subsisted . where all the men and women of a family undressed and slept in the same apartment.'
Ossian has probably described the manners and senti. ments of his progenitors and contemporaries with numerous , poetical embellishments; and the same manners and senti.
ments which were embellished even by Ossian, have no doubt received a still higher degree of factitious ornament and poetical colouring in passing through the translation of Mr. Macpherson. The Ossian of Macpherson probably conveys a much less perfect resemblance of the original than even the Homer of Pope. But we agree with lord Woodhouselee that the coincidences or imitations, which may be traced between the Ossian of Macpherson and the poets of the eighteenth century, though they prove that his version is not literal, are, by no means, evidence that he had no originals before him. Though the veracity of Macpherson was evidently mortified by the assertion of Dr. Johnson and others, that the poems were a forgery, yet the imputation of the exclusive authorship, was probally gratifying to his va. ' nity. Thus a vacillation may have taken place in his mind, in which the sobriety of truth and the flippancy of vanity may have alternately prevailed; and this may account for: the mysterious silence which he preserved while living, and of which the reasons have not been clearly developed since his death. · Macpherson certainly had it in his power to have placed the authenticity or spuriousness of the poems beyond the possibility of critical doubt by producing the originals as far as they were written; or by referring to the persons from whom he received those which he obtained only from oral recitation; but there was a mixture of enigmatical and disingenuous obscurity in his conduct, which is difficult to be reconciled with the simplicity of disinterested truth. His vanity, however, may solve the principal difficulty of the ara gument. The committee of the highland Society, as lord Woodhouselee has remarked, pushed this investigation as far as it can possibly go;' and even they have left the questión in some degree of cloubt. They believe that Macpherson possessed originals, but that be took great liberties in translating them; that he softened what was harsh, refined what was gross, decorated what was rude, dignified what was mean, elévated what was low.
In 1774, Lord Kames published, his. Sketches of the History of Man,' in two volumes, 4to. This work, which was the gradual accumulation of the reading and reflection of several years, must be regarded rather as a collection of facts, conjectures, and disquisitions, than a finished bistory. But it is full of valuable matter. Lord Woodhouselee gives a brief analytical view of the work, accompanied with some judicious observations. The opinion of lord Kames that the savage state was the
original condition of man was combated by Dr. Doig, mase ter of the grammar school of Stirling, in two learned letters. When the first of these letters was transmitted to lord Kames, dated Yrom Stirling, but without any subscription, he was passing his Christmas holidays at Blair. Drummond. His curiosity was excited to discover the author. "
• In conversing on the subject with an intimate friend, Dr. Graham Mar, of Leckie, a gentleman of taste and erudition, and of great scientific knowledge, who frequently visited him in the coune try,his lordship,producing the letter of his anonymous correspondent, ' In the name of wonder,' said he, Doctor, what prodigy of learning have you got in the town of Stirling, who is capable of writing this letter, which I received a few days ago ?' The doctor, after glancing over a few pages, answered · I think I know him.-- There is but one man who is able to write this letter, and a most extraordinary man he is ;-David Doig, the master of our grammar school.' • What !'-said lord Kames; 6 a genius of this kind, within a few miles of my house, and I never to have heard of him ! and a fine fellow too: he tells his mind roundly and plainly: I love him for that :-he does not spare me: I respect him the more.-You must make us acquainted, my good doctor : I will write him a card; and to•morrow, if you pleasc, you shall bring him to dine with me.' 'We mention this circumstance because it forms an ami. able trait in the character of lord Kaines. A friendship com. mencedbetween Dr. Doig and Jord K. and a correspondence which was terminated only by death.
Lord Kämes, who had from a very early period of his life directed his attention to agricultural pursuits, published in 1776, the result of his own experience, with that of his reading and research. This work was published at the ad. vanced age of eighty ; a period of life at which few enjoy such activity of mind and vigour of exertion as were displayed by lord Kames. In the following year he published in one vol. 8vo. Elucidations respecting the Common and Statute Law of Scotland. In these disquisitions he is said. to have displayed his wonted ingenuity of exposition and labour of research. This work was dedicated to Mr. Dundas (Lord Melville) then lord advocate for Scotland Mr. Dundas, or rather lord Melville, bas seldom received higher praise than has been bestowed in this dedication of lord Kames; and indeed higher praise cannot easily be bestowed. For the author says of him that he has candour enough to make truth welcome against his own prepossessions and talenis to make it triumph over the prepossessions of others. *kt had been the constant practice of lord Kames since his
worferience. Pursuits, 9 of his
promotion to the Scottish bench in 1752 to note the particulars of every remarkable case which occurred in the practice of the court of session, with his own observations on the decision, and occasionally on the opinions of his brother judges.'_These reports are a striking proof that, amidst his variety of literary and philosophical pursuits, he never lost sight of his judicial duties. They were published in 1780, in one volume folio: and may be regarded as a supplement to the Remarkable Decisions which he had printed while a barrister.
The last literary work, in which lord Kames was engaged, was a treatise on education. This was undertaken in his eighty-fifth year; and was published at Edinburgh in 1781, under the title of Loose Hints on Education. It refers rather to a system of moral than intellectual culture ; but it contains many judicious observations, the fruit of his past experience and reflection; and it exhibits the piety and benevolence of the author in a very pleasing point of view. The following sentences, which are quoted by lord Woodhouselee, sufficiently prove that the mind which could dictate them, as one of the last bequests of its wisdom, had long been the sanctuary of charity and of peace. ::
Teach your children to prefer their own religion, but inculcate that the virtuous are acceptable to God, however erroneous in point of belief. Press it home to them, that there is nothing in nature to prevent different sects of Christians from living amicably together, more than different sects of philosophers or of men who work in different arts; especially as the articles of faith which distinguish these sects are purely speculative: they have no relation to morals, nor any influence on our conduct. Yet from these distinctions have proceeded rancour and animosity, as if our most important concerns had been at stake. In a different view the absurdity ap. pears still more glaring. These articles, the greater part at least, relate to subjects beyond the reach of human understanding. The Almighty by his works of creation, has made his wisdom and be, nevolence manifest ; but he has not found it necessary to explain to his creatures the manner of his existence ; and in all appearance, the manner of his existence is beyond the reach of our conceptions. -Persecution for the sake of religion would bave been entirely pre. vented by wholesome education, instilling into the minds of young people that difference of opinions is no just cause of discord, and that different sects may live amicably together. In a word, neglect no opportunity to impress on the minds of your pupils that reli gion is given for our good, and that no religion can be true, which tends to disturb the peace of society.'.
The parable on toleration which lord Woodhouselee
inside of 85, bear, share ofe of death. His gen
quotes, p. 225, vol, ii, and ascribes to Dr. Franklin, is al. tered from Jeremy Taylor's ' Liberty of Prophecying: 'where it appears to more advantage than in the variation of the American philosopher.. .
Lord Kames was now approaching his' long home,' and we shall soon behold the material receptacle of his genius and worth consigned to the sepulchre of death. He had enjoyed a more than ordinary share of good health ; for at the advanced age of 85, he was free from any chronical disease, or any considerable infirinities, which are the usual symptoms of decay. His habits of intense study, the bad effects of which were counteracted by regular exercise in the open air, had not occasioned a premature declension of his corporeal strength; and the faculties of his mind were even less impaired than those of his body.
During the vacation of 1782, Lord K. 'went as usual with his family to Blair-Drummond :'? It is very possible, said he, to his daughter-in-law, that this journey may shorten my life a little space; but what then, have I not lived.
long enough? 1.6 A very few days before his departure from Blair-Drummond,
in a short walk which he took with her (his daughter-in-law) in the garden, he desired her to sit down by him on one of the benches, saying he felt himself much fatigued; and adding that he was sen. sible he was now growing weaker every day. On her expressing a hope that, on his going to town, his friend Dr. Cullen, who knew his constitution, might be able to give him some advice that would be of service to him, and that she flatiered herself his disease had been rather less troublesome to him for some time past. My dear child,' said he, looking in her face with an earnest and animated expression, don't talk of my disease, I have no disease but old age. I know that Mrs. Drummond and my soul are of a different opinion ; but why should I distress them sooner than is neces. sary? I know well that no physician on earth can do me the smallest service, for I feel that I am dying, and I thank God that my mind is prepared for that event. I leave this world in peace and good will to all mankind. You know the dread I bave had of outliving my faculties; of that, I trust, there is now no great probability, as my body-decays so fast. My life has been a long one; and prosperous on the whole beyond my deserts ; but I would fain indulge the hope that it has not been useless to my fellow.creatures. My last wish regarded my son and you, my dear child, and I have lived to see it accomplished : I am now ready to obey my Maker's summons.' He then poured forth a short but solemn and impressive prayer. On leaving the garden he said, “This is my last farewell to this place: I think I shall never see it more. I go to town chicfy