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any more than to my own wishes ; and may have led me into indiscretion alone reason for my rejoicing at your ready, in telling some of your society laudable and useful undertaking, of my mind upon the subject, when it compiling a dictionary and grammar was neither asked nor necessary, perof our mother tongue, was, that it haps ; but this you must attribute to would add to my knowledge of it. I my love to the subject, and my desire am happy to see in the Messrs Mac- to inflame their zeal. To this too you, phersons and you, men who are not must ascribe, what I am now to beg of ashamed to own their native country you, namely, that you would make or language, like the most of us, who, plan as extensive as possible, and as soon as we know any thing of any prosecute it with the utmost vigour, other language or people, endeavour to while the nation seems to be in some recommend ourselves to them by de humour for relishing things of this nying the knowledge of, or running nature, as well as you are to undertake down, our own; because, forsooth, it ; for if any person or consideration some of these strangers are modest and whatever induce you to drop it now, good-natured enough to do it, when, as M‘Colm* did, it is a thousand to one at the same time, their ignorance in if it is resumed before it is too late, if these matters renders it impossible, in at all. I wish too you could get some the nature of things, that they should persons of rank and influence to paa be capable of judging. I often blushed, tronize the undertaking, that you may when I considered, that none of our be enabled to procure all the books learned, two or three excepted, ever upon the subject, and more especially had the public spirit to collect the to send some of your best hands to roots of our language into a dictionary, every corner of Scotland where that or polish it, any more than our great language is spoke, and to the Isle of men to patronise them; when not Man, the language of which is a only Ireland and Wales, but even dialect of the Scots Galic, with very Cornwall, Bas-Breton, and Biscay, had little mixture, beyond controversy, and several dictionaries of their dialects. nearest allied to that spoke on the conNow, however, I hope to see some fines of the Lowlands; which you may thing done to our dialect of the first see demonstrated by a book, entitled, language of south and west Europe, “ The Principles and Duties of Chris like what M. Bullet has done to the tianity," published by the late bishop foreign dialects of it, and that future of Sodor and Man, Manks and Eng, historians and antiquaries will reap lish ; only they have not followed our from that original language and its orthography, I suppose, because they descriptive names, &c. as well as phi- did not know the languages to be al lologists from what other languages most the same, and they pronounce now spoke, as well as the Latin, have differently. Books throw light upon borrowed from it, a light, pleasure, the living language, and vice versa, and advantage, they have as yet no But what is already in books, particunotion of, if they choose it. If this is larly in dictionaries, is not so absonot done soon, our language will be, lutely necessary, or so much your pe come as great a mystery as the religion culiar province, as the first undertakers of the Druids, particularly the names of this kind in Scotland, as what never of places and other things, of which was; and that is a very great part of they were descriptions as well as the Scots dialect or the Galic; though,
at the same time, the performance But you have not writ for an enco- should be complete, by collecting the mium upon the language, but for mac whole, though common to us, with terials; and I am sorry that my ab, others, and published by them, But sence from the country where it is should the world still retain so much spoke puts it out of my power to be of prejudice that you can't have such pa, much service to you in that way. Did trons, I intreat you to persist still I indeed reside in it, my zeal would probably prompt me to catch as much
* Mr Malcolm, minister of Dudding as I could ; but in my present situa.
ston, near Edinburgh. He published a tion, I am as like to lose of what I small glossary of the Scoto-Gaelic, and have, as to add any thing to my know, made a strenuous attempt to prove that the ledge of it.
Latin language is chiefly derived from the I'make no doubt but my keenness Erse. See Reliquiæ Galeaneæ, p. 240, &c.
for I make not the least doubt but the tion Clan-Ranald's estate;* but to you, thing will take in general. I beg also all that is real Galic must be good. (and I think myself sure you will Whether the clergy are all in the use grant my request, and that is), that of writing the language, or will choose you will not reject any word that is of to undertake any thing, you must try : Celtic origin, however bad the dialect some, I dare say, will, when properly of the place wherein it is used ; for it applied to; and they may be met with may be of vast use, as being the branch at assemblies in Edinburgh from all of a root, or the root of a branch, still parts. I have spoke of it to some of retained in other dialects of the Celtic, them. The abilities of Messrs M‘Nicol though lost by us, and throwing light, and Mr Archibald M'Arthur, many of when the whole is compared, the one you know as well as I. On my last word or dialect upon the other. When journey and voyage, I saw the miniyou compile your English-Galic dic- sters of Campbelton, Mr Neil MʻLeod, tionary, you may use what you reckon Mull, three Mr M'Aulay's, brothers, best first; but the Galic-English dic- the eldest at Inverary, and the next tionary, should contain every Celtic in Ardnamorchan, all good hands word that is or ever was used in Scot- also Mr Donald M'Queen in Trotter land, that can be procured, and even nish, Sky, Mr Charles Stewart, (a wriany words of other Celtic dialects you ter), near Fort William, and heard of can meet with, if forgot by their best M'Intyre of Gleno, t all three excellent glossographers; only let them have hands, as Mr Wodrow in Isla, I sup the mark of their extraction, or the pose, would also be. I forgot also to author from whom they are taken, as mention Mr Martin M'Pherson, Slate, s indeed they should have it in the dif- who, with his own knowledge, may, ferent shires of Scotland.
have some of his father's lucubrations As to the best helps I know in print, that have not been published. I have last year sent a catalogue of All the ministers in the Long Island them to Mr M‘Nicol in Lismore* (who have a fine opportunity, if they choose first told me of your design), in order to apply. The only one I know in to be sent to you. The greatest part Lewis is Mr Wilson, who learned it of them I took from Bullet's Celtic grammatically, and is very obliging, dictionary, which, if you have it, will as indeed I found also Mr Angus save you the trouble of looking for Beaton in Harris, Mr Allan M'Queen, many of the rest.
I have added seve- North Uist, in whose neighbourhood ral books he does not mention, but is Mr Neil M'Aulay, master of the have omitted the book already men. Schola Illustris, the poet M'Codrum.|| tioned here, and Mr Robert Kirk'st and a brother of his own writes it version of the psalm's. If Mr M‘Nicol refuse to send you it, you shall have Clanranald's estate comprehends a conanother copy, if necessary.
siderable extent of the Mainland on the With respect to correspondents, it north-west part of Argyleshire, besides a is absolutely necessary to have them large portion of that chain of isles called the wherever the language is spoke, as no Long Island, Isle of Canna, &c. This small number of men can know the widely extended property is said to contain whole of it; and to this space the
a population of between 11,000 and 12,000 circle of my acquaintance is very small
. souls, most of whom are Papists. Were I to tell you where the best Intyre, left behind him a curious collection
+ Gleno, the late chief of the clan Macalic is spoke, I would perhaps men- of Gaelic poems, which, it is believed, is
still extant This gentleman died a few years ago. # Mr Wodrow published, in 1769, some He rendered himself at one time conspicu- translations in English verse, of poems from ous by a severe and somewhat rash attack M‘Pherson's Ossian. upon the great English lexicographer. § Son of the well-known author of the
+ He was minister of Aberfoyle, and was Dissertation on Gaelic Antiquities. a man of very considerable learning. He ll The poet M'Codrum was somewhat prepared for the press the Irish-Gaelic Bible advanced in life before he discovered his known by the name of “ Bishop Redel's poetic vein. In the report of the committee Bible,” which was printed in what is called of the Highland Society of Scotland on the the Irish character. A curious tract of authenticity of Ossian's poems, (Append. Kirk's, on the superstitions of the Gael, has p. 96.) is recorded a sarcastic reply of his to been lately printed from his MS. in the James M.Pherson, the celebrated translator Advocate's Library.
pretty well. Mr Angus M'Neil, South and of different degrees of merit; but Uist, is a genteel man, and the lan as the expense of time and postage guage around him
fine: his father would be great, as I am now situated, too, Mr M‘Neil of Watersay, in Barra, you can procure them more easily by knows more of the language, antiqui- means of some of your own members, ties, manners, and customs, of that and others at home. However, if you country, than any man I know; being mention any particular ones which I, a very
old man, of great reading and and not they, have, I shall send them, sense, and endowed with a very reten, with whatever else is in my power; tive memory. He has also many frag- only let me hear now and then what ments of the famous family of Mac- you would have me do; and if you Mhuirich's poems,
* who were here would let me know a little of your ditary poets to the family of Clan success in your laudable undertaking, Ranald for many generations, were it would be a spur, if at any time my regularly sent to Ireland for their edu- zeal should flag. With my whole soul cation, and of consequence wrote poems I wish you life and health to see your in that dialect ; insomuch, that had design executed, and to enjoy the not the authors been known, and their satisfaction and advantages of it. And names to the pieces, both Scots and am in sincerity, Dr. Sir, your most Irish would have sworn them to be obedient Servant, really Irishmen; and whether this is
JAMES M‘LAGAN, not really the case with other compom To John M‘Naughton, Esq. sitions, I shan't say. Mr MʻAuley, Preses of the Gaelic Society, Edin. minister of Barra, you may see at next assembly, and offer him my compli Note A.In reference to the late Dr ments.
M.Lagan's letter, it may be mentioned, The person who told you that I had that the compilation of a Gaelic dictionary a Marine Vocabulary, forgot ; for I and grammar, which was projected
by some only told him, I begged some of my
gentlemen at Edinburgh, who, it would
seem, had formed themselves into a society acquaintances to get me such a thing, for these and relative objects, does not apas being most wanted of all; wherein pear to have been prosecuted at the time; if I succeed, you shall have a copy: from what cause it was dropped is not The few things I collected you shall known,-probably from want" of funds, have in another letter ; but they are The design was not, however, relinquished. little to what you must have from that Some time afterwards a considerable numpart of the world, and must be strictly ber of the clergy of Highland parishes, and examined before inserted.
some other gentlemen conversant in the a variety of songst in different places, cation of a proper dictionary. For this pur
Gaelic language, resolved upon the publi
pose each of them had one, two, or more * Mr Campbell, when collecting materials letters of the alphabet assigned to him, the for his interesting work, entitled, “ Al. words under which he was to contribute. byn's Anthology,” in Autumn 1815, was
Their several contributions were to be after. informed by different persons, that all these
wards revised, corrected, and enlarged, by “ fragments,” &c. were left in the
a committee of their number, previous to
possession of Clanranald, grandfather of the pre- publication... Among those principally
, consent chieftain. It is not known what has cerned in the undertaking, were the Rev. now become of them.
Dr Stewart of Luss; the late Dr Smith of + Dr M'Lagan was himself both a poeti- Campbelton; the said Dr M‘Lagan, then cal and musical composer, and is supposed minister of Blair-Athol ; Dr Stewart of to have left behind him many valuable and Strachur; the Rev. Mr M‘Nicol, Lismore ; curious materials, together with the
Mr Campbell, Kilfinichan; Mr M‘Queen, riety of songs" above-mentioned. These, and Mr MʻIntyre of Glenoe, &c. Several it is hoped, are still extant, in the possession of the contributors to the work made con. of his family; and his son, the Rev. James siderable progress in the parts assigned to M•Lagan, is well qualified to estimate their them ; but from want of funds, the death value, and to make use of them to the best of some of those concerned, or other causes, advantage. Mr Campbell has, in his pos
the desirable object in view was not attained. session one original melody, with appro
When the Highland Society of Scotland priate verses, composed by Dr M.Lagan in
came to the resolution to have a dictionary honour of the exploits of the gallant 428 of the Gaelic language upon a comprehenregiment in Egypt, which will appear in the second volume of bis Anthology, now the 42d, then commonly called the Black printing. At the time he wrote this letter Watch. He was successor in this office to from Belfast, Dr MʻLagan was chaplain to the celebrated Dr Adam Ferguson.
I have got
DEAN OF WESTMINSTER.
sive and approved plan, compiled and pub- dialect. The leading signification, and the lished, among other aids, it directed its various derivative and secondary meanings, attention to the MSS. containing the mate of each Gaelic word, will be given, not only rials prepared by the contributors to the in English, but also in Latin, in the view dictionary formerly in view; but from va. of giving more general interest and utility tious causes, the Society was successful only to the work in foreign countries. The etya in some instances.
mology of words, as far as can be distinctly Referring to the two printed statements traced, is to be briefly indicated, and corpublished by the Society, respecting the responding words of the same origin in other dictionary now compiling, it will be ob- languages, to which the Gaelic has an affi. served, that, besides the Scoto-Celtic, it is nity, are to be given. It is proposed to to embrace much of the Irish dialect of that prefix to the dictionary a dissertation on the language. Rendering the signification of origin, antiquity, relations, and internal the Gaelic vocables in Latin must add structure of the Celtic dialects, with an epigreatly to the general utility and interest of tome of Gaelic grammar." the work.
The principal publications in the Gaelic language, since the date of Dr M‘Lagan's LETTER OF DR VINCENT, THE LATE letter, it is believed, are, the translation of the Sacred Scriptures into that language,
[A correspondent, to whom the subsea chiefly by Dr Stewart of Luss; the poems quent letter was addressed, has sent it to ascribed to Ossian, from the Gaelic MS. of “ The writer," he observes, " was not them found in the repositories of the well- more eminent for his great learning and known Mr James M.Pherson; and two conspicuous station in society, than for the editions of a Gaelic grammar, by the Rev. genuine kindness of his nature, and the upMr Stewart of Dingwall
. Some school. right simplicity of his whole conduct His books, catechisms, poems, &c. have also works, illustrative of ancient navigation and been published in the interval.
commerce, are of a degree and kind of eruJune 30, 1817.
C. G. dition of which the lettered labours of
modern Englishmen have produced few Note B.-" The Highland Society of Scot, examples. He was pious from principle, land, impressed with the importance of and attached to the church, of which he was having a dictionary of this ancient and ex.
a dignified member, because he firmly bepressive language, upon such a comprehen- lieved its forms to be rational and its tenets sive plan as should explain and illustrate it, scriptural
. He was many years at the head not only to their own countrymen but to of Westminster school. That school has, the general scholar and antiquary, after since the days of Busby, annually sent forth having obtained possession of the most an. its shoots to expand in all the walks of ta. cient MSS. of various dialects of the Celtic, lent, valour, and high rank. Of Dr Vin. and other materials for the work, appointed, cent it may be well said, in the words which in 1814, a committee of its members, con Mr Horner used when drawing an outline versant with the subject, with authority to of the character of his late master, Dr take immediate and effectual measures for Adam, · The men who were educated in the compilation and publication of such that school, during his time, will long redictionary.
member how he inspired his boys with an The committee availed itself of the opi- attachment both to himself and to the pur. nions of some of the most eminent Gaelic suits in which he instructed them, and will scholars in this country, in fixing the plan always regard his memory with affection and of the work, and afterwards intrusted its exegratitude. In this letter your readers will cution to two gentlemen whom they have not fail to remark that tone of good sense every reason to believe are well qualified for and right feeling, which, more than sprightthe task.
liness of manner or variety of remark, disAs the plan of the work, formerly circu. tinguishes the epistolary effusions of our lated by the committee, appears to have countrymen.") given fúll satisfaction, it may be mentioned, in reference to that plan, that it embraces DEAR SIR, all the words of the Gaelic or Scoto-Celtic language that can be collected, either from Adam and myself commenced by my
The correspondence between Dr authentic literary compositions, or from the vernacular dialect of the present inhabitants addressing him upon finding that boys, of the Highlands of Scotland ; a principal sent from the High School to Westobject being to shew what the language has minster, were qualified, by their atbeen, as well as what it now is. From the tainment in Latin, to a high rank, intimate connection of the Irish dialect of the Celtic with that of Scotland, and from * An Irish-English Dictionary, by Edthe consideration that many of the ancient ward O'Reilly, V. P. of the Gaelic Society MSS. are written in the former, the diction of Dublin, was announced in the notices at ary will also embrace much of the Irish the beginning of our last Number. EDIT.
but, from their want of Greek, were sold of my second edition : But I am of necessity placed in our lower classes. contented with the approbation of some He replied much at large on this sub- of the most excellent judges of the age, ject; but his conclusion was, “Greek and the reception it has met with in in Scotland is the business of the Uni- India and abroad. I sent a copy of versity, and that is the reason we my second edition to the Advocate's have so little Greek in our country.” Library; and I will thank you if you I afterwards learnt that he had had a will inquire whether a copy of my transcontest with Dr Robertson on this lation of the two Greek Tracts reached question, and had latterly taught Greek that collection last year. It is the in the High School. I think it pro- completion of the work :-if it arrived bable that his letter may be preserved, I need not trouble you to write again, and when I go to London I will look –if otherwise, upon hearing from for it.
you, I will send it. I never saw Dr Adam but once, When I can look into my papers, if I when he spent a day with me at Hen- find any thing of Dr Adam's worthy ly, which passed, I believe, with mu. of communicating, I will convey it to tual happiness to both parties; but I you. I respect him as one of the most. know all his extreme attention to his indefatigable instructors, and one that profession, and his excellent method loved his profession, I never loved it, of teaching. His publications were though I hope I did my duty. There not merely useful, but the best of their is a pleasure in teaching and seeing kind. The Antiquities and Latin Dic. the progress of the attentive;-but the tionary were formed upon an excellent inattention of the many, and the anxiea model, and the former, particularly by ty of the charge, is a sad countergiving the Latin phrases for the cir- balance the pleasure. I am now, cumstance explained, was one of the thank God! in retirement, ease, and best school-books published in my affluence. I am at anchor (as Paley time. His Geography was correct, in expresses it), after the storms and farespect to which I claim some merit, tigues of life; and with an affectionate as I recommended the engraving of family around me, feel all the blessa D'Anville's maps to accompany it, ings that the age of seventy-one is which completed the work, and í be capable of enjoying. These, I trust lieve promoted the sale.
and hope, will never fail till they are The remainder of our correspondence replaced with better prospects. Berelated chiefly to Dr Doig of Stirling, lieve me, dear sir, your most obedient who was a very excellent Greek scho- and faithful servant, lar, and whose article of Philology,
W. VINCENT in the Encyclopædia, will do him Islip, September 24, 1810. lasting honour. I had, through Dr Adam, much intercourse with him, P.S. I shall be in town in October, and much satisfaction from it. He and will be happy to receive your work, was rather systematical, but highly which you may send up, by means of informed, and exceedingly acute. Ballantyne, to Cadell & Davies.
The last letter I received from Dr Mr HAdam related to my work on the Com 22 Prince's Street, merce of the Ancients. He was mani. Edinborough. festly not satisfied with it, and reprove ed me kindly for not making it a more popular work ;--but to have done this OBSERVATIONS ON MR WORDSWORTH's I must have formed a plan totally different, and I should have been thought
TION OF BURNS' WORKS. to have encroached on Dr Robertson's By a Friend of Robert Burns. Disquisitions. If it has done me credit [The following communication, for the in the north, credit is all that I critical department of our_Magazine, was wanted, and I have been gratified transmitted to us from England, by a more by its estimation in your country, We had not then read Mr Wordsworth's
gentleman of distinguished literary talents. and on the Continent, than by its reception at home. The French trane induced us to insert the Observations here,
“ Letter," but a consequent perusal of it has slator published two large editions
as they partake more of the character of an at once, in quarto and octavo, while original essay than of a review. We wish in London only 150 copies have been our Magazine to be open to liberal discus. Vol. I.
LETTER RELATIVE TO A NEW EDI