Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

THE

EDINBURGH REVIEW,

FOR THE YEAR

1755.

THE SECOND EDITION,

WITH

A PREFACE AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.

LONDON:

Printed by Richard and Arthur Taylor, Shot Lant;

FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,
PATERNOSTER-ROW;
AND ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO.
EDINBURGH.

1818. :•'

[graphic]

PREFACE.

It is generally known that two numbers of a Critical Journal were published at Edinburgh in the year 1755, under the title of ' The Edinburgh Review.' The following volume contains an exact reprint of that Review, now become sO rare that it is not to be found in the Libraries of some of the most curious Collectors. To this reprint are added the Aames of the writers of the most important articles. Care has been taken to authenticate the list of names by reference to well-informed persons, and by comparison with copies in the possession of those Who derived their information from distinct and independent sources. If no part of it should be now corrected by those Scotchmen of letters still living who might have known the fact from the writers themselves, we may regard this literary secret as finally discovered, with some gratification to the curious reader, and without either pain to the feelings or wrong to the character of any one. There are few anonymou's writers the discovery of whose names would be an object of curiosity after the lapse of sixty years. There are perhaps still fewer whose secret might be exposed to the public after that long period with perfect security to their reputation for equity and forbearance. • . The mere circumstance that this volume contains th» first printed writings of Adam Smith and Robertson, and the only known publication of Lord Chancellor Roslin, will probably be thought a Sufficient reason for its present appearance.

Of the eight articles which appear to have been furnished by Dr. Robertson, six are on historical subjects. Written during the composition of the History of Scotland, they show evident marks of ithe iwary understanding, the insight into character, the right judgement,in affairs, and the union of the sober speculation of a philosopher with the practical prudence of a statesman, as well as of the studied elegance and, somewhat ceremonious stateliness of style which distinguish his more elaborate writings. He had already succeeded in guarding his diction against the words and phrases of the dialect which he habitually spokean enterprise in which .he had no forerunner, and of which the difficulty even now can only be estimated by a native of Scotland, /The dread of inelegance in a language almost foreign kept him, as it has kept succeeding Scotch writers, at a distance from the familiar English of which the perfect use can be acquired only by conversation from the-earliest years. Two inaccurate expressions only are to be found in these early and hasty productions of this elegant writer. Instead of " individuals" he uses the Gallicism " particulars*;" and for "enumeration" he employs "induction;" a term properly applicable only with a view to the general inference which enu

, ■ .* An example of this use in a bad and impure English writer is oSriously not an authority.

« ForrigeFortsett »