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their authenticity was made too much a national point by the Scotch, there were many respectable persons in that country who did not concur in this; tat. 66. fo that his judgement upon the question ought not to be decried, even by thofe who differ from him. As to myself, I can only fay, upon a subject now become very uninterefting, that when the fragments of Highland poetry first came out, I was much pleased with their wild peculiarity, and was one of those who fubfcribed to enable their editor, Mr. Macpherson, then a young man, to make a fearch in the Highlands and Hebrides for a long poem in the Erfe language, which was reported to be preferved fomewhere in thofe regions. But when there came forth an Epick Poem in fix books, with all the common circumstances of former compofitions of that nature; and when, upon an attentive examination of it, there was found a perpetual recurrence of the fame images which appear in the fragments; and when no ancient manufcript, to authenticate the work, was depofited in any publick library, though that was infifted on as a reasonable proof, who could forbear to doubt?

Johnson's grateful acknowledgements of kindneffes received in the course of this tour, completely refute the brutal reflections which have been thrown out against him, as if he had made an ungrateful return; and his delicacy in fparing in his book those who we find from his letters to Mrs. Thrale, were juft objects of cenfure, is much to be admired. His candour and amiable difpofition is confpicuous from his conduct, when informed by Mr. Macleod, of Rafay, that he had committed a mistake, which gave that gentleman fome uneafiness. He wrote him a courteous and kind letter, and inferted in the newspapers an advertisement, correcting the mistake".

The observations of my friend Mr. Dempfter in a letter written to me, foon after he had read Dr. Johnson's book, are so just and liberal, that they cannot be too often repeated:

"There is nothing in the book, from beginning to end, that a Scotchman need to take amiss. What he says of the country is true; and his observations on the people are what must naturally occur to a fenfible, observing, and reflecting inhabitant of a convenient metropolis, where a man on thirty pounds a year may be better accommodated with all the little wants of life, than Col or Sir Allan.

"I am charmed with his refearches concerning the Erfe language, and the antiquity of their manufcripts. I am quite convinced; and I fhall rank Offian,

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and his Fingals and Oscars, amongst the nursery tales, not the true hiftory of Ætat. 66. our country, in all time to come.

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Upon the whole, the book cannot displease, for it has no pretenfions. The authour neither fays he is a geographer, nor an antiquarian, nor very learned in the history of Scotland, nor a naturalift, nor a foffilift. The manners of the people, and the face of the country, are all he attempts to describe, or feems to have thought of. Much were it to be wifhed, that they who have travelled into more remote, and of course more curious regions, had all poffeffed his good sense. Of the state of learning, his obfervations on Glasgow University fhew he has formed a very found judgement. He understands our climate too; and he has accurately obferved the changes, however flow and imperceptible to us, which Scotland has undergone, in confequence of the bleffings of liberty and internal peace.”

Mr. Knox, another native of Scotland, who has fince made the fame tour, and published an account of it, is equally liberal. "I have read (fays he,) his book again and again, travelled with him from Berwick to Glenelg, through countries with which I am well acquainted; failed with him from Glenelg to Rafay, Sky, Rum, Col, Mull, and Icolmkill, but have not been able to correct him in any matter of confequence. I have often admired the accuracy, the precision, and the justness of what he advances, respecting both the country and the people.

"The Doctor has every where delivered his fentiments with freedom, and in many instances with a feeming regard for the benefit of the inhabitants, and the ornament of the country. His remarks on the want of trees and hedges for fhade, as well as for fhelter to the cattle, are well founded, and merit the thanks, not the illiberal censure of the natives. He also felt for the distresses of the Highlanders, and explodes, with great propriety, the bad management of the grounds, and the neglect of timber in the Hebrides."

Having quoted Johnson's just compliments on the Rafay family, he says, "On the other hand, I found this family equally lavish in their encomiums upon the Doctor's conversation, and his subsequent civilities to a young gentleman of that country, who, upon waiting upon him at London, was well received, and experienced all the attention and regard that a warm friend could bestow. Mr. Macleod having also been in London, waited upon the Doctor, who provided a magnificent and expenfive entertainment, in honour of his old Hebridean acquaintance."



And talking of the military road by Fort Augustus, he fays, " By this road, though one of the most rugged in Great-Britain, the celebrated Dr. Johnfon Etat. 66. paffed from Inverness to the Hebride Isles. His observations on the country and people are extremely correct, judicious, and instructive"."

His private letters to Mrs. Thrale, written during the courfe of his journey, which therefore may be fuppofed to convey his genuine feelings at the time, abound in fuch benignant fentiments towards the people who fhewed him. civilities, that no man whofe temper is not very harsh and four, can retain a doubt of the goodness of his heart.


It is painful to recollect with what rancour he was affailed by numbers of fhallow irritable North-Britons, on account of his fuppofed injurious treatment of their country and countrymen, in his "Journey." Had there been any just ground for fuch a charge, would the virtuous and candid Dempster have given his opinion of the book, in the terms which I have quoted? Would the patriotick Knox have spoken of it as he has done? And let me add, that, citizen of the world as I hold myself to be, I have that degree of predilection for my natale folum, nay, I have that just sense of the merit of an ancient nation, which has been ever renowned for its valour, which in former times maintained its independence against a powerful neighbour, and in modern times has been equally distinguished for its ingenuity and industry in civilised life, that I should have felt a generous indignation at any injuftice done to it. Johnson treated Scotland no worse than he did even his best friends, whofe characters he used to give as they appeared to him, both in light and fhade. Some people, who had not exercised their minds fufficiently, condemned him for cenfuring his friends. But Sir Joshua Reynolds, whofe philofophical penetration and juftness of thinking are not lefs known to those who live with him, than his genius in his art is admired by the world, explained his conduct thus: “He was fond of difcrimination, which he could not fhew without pointing out the bad as well as the good in every character; and as his friends were those whofe characters he knew beft, they afforded him the best opportunity for fhewing the acutenefs of his judgement."

He expreffed to his friend Mr. Windham of Norfolk, his wonder at the extreme jealousy of the Scotch, and their refentment at having their country described by him as it really was; when, to fay that it was a country as good

7 Page 103.

I obferve with much regret, while this work is paffing through the prefs, (Auguft, 1790,) that this ingenious gentleman is dead.



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as England, would have been a grofs falfehood. "None of us, (faid he,) Atat. 66. would be offended if a foreigner who has travelled here fhould fay, that vines and olives don't grow in England." And as to his prejudice against the Scotch, which I always afcribed to that nationality which he obferved in them, he faid to the fame gentleman, "When I find a Scotchman to whom an Englishman is as a Scotchman, that Scotchman fhall be as an Englishman to His intimacy with many gentlemen of Scotland, and his employing fo many natives of that country as his amanuenfes, prove that his prejudice was not virulent; and I have deposited in the British Museum, amongst other pieces of his writing, the following note, in answer to one from me, asking if he would meet me at dinner at the Mitre, though a friend of mine, a Scotchman, was to be there :-" Mr. Johnson does not fee why Mr. Bofwell fhould fuppofe a Scotchman lefs acceptable than any other man. He will be

at the Mitre."

My much-valued friend Dr. Barnard, now Bishop of Killaloe, having once expressed to him an apprehension, that if he should vifit Ireland he might treat the people of that country more unfavourably than he had done the Scotch, he answered, with ftrong pointed double-edged wit, "Sir, you have no reason to be afraid of me. The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by falfe reprefentations of the merits of their countrymen. No, Sir; the Irish are a FAIR PEOPLE:-they never fpeak well of one another."

Johnson told me an inftance of Scottish nationality, which made a very unfavourable impreffion upon his mind. A Scotchman, of fome confideration in London, folicited him to recommend, by the weight of his learned authority, to be master of an English school, a perfon of whom he who recommended him confeffed he knew no more but that he was his countryman. Johnfon was fhocked at this unconfcientious conduct.

All the miferable cavillings against his " Journey," in newspapers, magazines, and other fugitive publications, I can fpeak from certain knowledge, only furnished him with fport. At laft there came out a fcurrilous volume, larger than Johnson's own, filled with malignant abuse, under a name, real or fictitious, of fome low man in an obfcure corner of Scotland, though fuppofed to be the work of another Scotchman, who has found means to make himself well known both in Scotland and England. The effect which it had upon Johnson was, to produce this pleafant obfervation to Mr. Seward, to whom he lent the book: "This fellow must be a blockhead. They don't know how to go about their abufe. Who will read a five fhilling book against me? No, Sir, if they had wit, they should have kept pelting me with pamphlets."



Edinburgh, Feb. 18, 1775.

"YOU would have been very well pleased if you had dined with me to day. I had for my guefts, Macquharrie, young Maclean of Col, the fucceffor of our friend, a very amiable man, though not marked with fuch active qualities as his brother, Mr. Maclean of Torloisk in Mull a gentleman of Sir Allan's family, and two of the clan Grant, fo that the Highland and Hebridean genius reigned. We had a great deal of conversation about you, and drank your health in a bumper. The toaft was not proposed by me, which is a circumstance to be remarked, for I am now fo connected with you, that any thing that I can fay or do to your honour has not the value of an additional compliment. It is only giving you a guinea out of that treasure of admiration which already belongs to you, and which is no hidden treasure; for I suppose my admiration of you is co-existent with the knowledge of my character.

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"I find that the Highlanders and Hebrideans in general are much fonder of your Journey,' than the low-country or hither Scots. One of the Grants. faid to day, that he was fure you were a man of a good heart, and a candid man, and seemed to hope he should be able to convince you of the antiquity of a good proportion of the poems of Offian. After all that has paffed, I think the matter is capable of being proved to a certain degree. I am told that Macpherson got one old Erfe MS. from Clanranald, for the reftitution of which he executed a formal obligation; and it is affirmed, that the Gaelick (call it Erfe or call it Irish,) has been written in the Highlands and Hebrides for many centuries. It is reasonable to suppose, that such of the inhabitants as acquired any learning, poffeffed the art of writing as well as their Irish neighbours and Celtick coufins; and the question is, can fufficient evidence be fhewn of this?

"Those who are skilled in ancient writings can determine the age of MSS.. or at least can ascertain the century in which they were written; and if men of veracity, who are fo fkilled, fhall tell us that MSS. in the poffeffion of families in the Highlands and ifles, are the works of a remote age, I think we should be convinced by their teftimony.

"There is now come to this city, Ranald Macdonald, from the Isle of Egg, who has feveral MSS. of Erfe poetry, which he wishes to publish by fubfcription. I have engaged to take three copies of the book, the price of


Etat. 66.

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