Robertson, William (1721-1793) (DNB00)
|←Robertson, William (1705-1783)|| Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 48
Robertson, William (1721-1793)
|Robertson, William (1740-1799)→|
|1904 Errata appended.|
ROBERTSON, WILLIAM (1721–1793), historian, eldest son of William Robertson, was born in the manse of the parish of Borthwick, Midlothian, on 19 Sept. 1721. His father, the son of William Robertson of Brunton, was descended from the Robertsons of Gladney in Fifeshire, a branch of the Robertsons of Struan or Strowan in Perthshire [see art. Robertson, Alexander] (Douglas, Baronage of Scotland, 1798, pp. 407, 413, 414).
William Robertson the elder was licensed by the presbytery of Kirkcaldy on 14 June 1711, and was for a time minister of the presbyterian church of London Wall in London, but was in September 1714 called to Borthwick in the presbytery of Dalkeith, whence he was transferred first to Lady Yester's chapel (16 Oct. 1733) and then to the Old Greyfriars (28 July 1736) in Edinburgh. He was in 1742 appointed a member of the committee of the General Assembly which compiled the ‘Translations and Paraphrases’ of 1745, he himself contributing three paraphrases to the collection (cf. Julian, Dict. of Hymnology). He died on 16 Nov. 1745, having married, on 20 Oct. 1720, Eleanor, daughter of David Pitcairne of Dreghorn, who died six days after her husband, leaving issue, besides the historian: Robert; Mary, who married James Syme and was grandmother of Lord Brougham; Margaret; David; Elizabeth, who married James Cunningham of Hyndhope; Patrick, a prosperous jeweller in Edinburgh, who died on 8 Sept. 1790; and Helen (d. 1816), who gave information respecting her brother to George Gleig [q. v.] James Burgh [q. v.], the moral and political writer, was the historian's first cousin, his mother being the elder Robertson's sister. More enlightened than the bulk of his fellow ministers, the elder Robertson was solicitous about the education of his children, and showed a taste for historical research by employing his leisure in investigating the reign of Mary Queen of Scots.
William was educated first at the parochial school at Borthwick, and then at Dalkeith grammar school under John Leslie, a teacher of repute. In 1733 the father moved to Edinburgh, and in the autumn of that year the son William entered Edinburgh University. He attended the lectures of Sir John Pringle and Colin Maclaurin, but owed more to the prelections of Dr. John Stevenson, the professor of logic (cf. Dalzel in Scots Magazine, 1802). His chief friends among the students were John Erskine (1721?–1803) [q. v.] and John Home, author of ‘Douglas.’ His commonplace books from 1735 to 1738, all of which bear the motto ‘Vita sine literis mors est,’ testify to his industry and to the literary bent of his aspirations. After completing his studies at the university, he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Dalkeith in June 1741, and in 1743 was presented by the Earl of Hopetoun to the living of Gladsmuir in the presbytery of Haddington, where he succeeded his uncle, Andrew Robertson. Two years later he lost both his father and mother almost simultaneously, and thereupon undertook the support and education of his sisters and a younger brother, who went to live under his roof at Gladsmuir. His income was at this time considerably under 100l. a year, and his devotion to his family involved the postponement for six years (until 21 Aug. 1751) of his marriage to his cousin Mary, daughter of James Nisbet (1677–1756), minister of the Old Church, Edinburgh. Her mother, Mary (d. 1757), was daughter of David Pitcairne of Dreghorn.
When, in 1745, the Pretender's army was approaching Edinburgh, Robertson left his manse to join the volunteers; and when the city surrendered to the chevalier, he went with some others to Haddington to offer his services to Sir John Cope, but Cope prudently declined to admit the undisciplined band into his ranks. Apart from this interruption, Robertson's life was one of unremitting study. In 1746 he was elected a member of the general assembly, and his talent for public speaking, combined with his reputation for scholarship, soon gave him sure promise of advancement, although for many years his progress was slow. In 1753 he commenced his ‘History of Scotland,’ at which he worked diligently for five years. In 1754 there was started, by Allan Ramsay [q. v.], the painter, a debating club, called the ‘Select Society,’ which assembled every Friday during the meetings of the court of session. Robertson was one of the original fifteen members, and he was perhaps the most prominent speaker in a coterie which included Adam Smith, David Hume, Alexander Wedderburn, Adam Ferguson, Sir Gilbert Elliot, Lords Elibank, Monboddo, Kames, and Woodhouselee. A critical organ, the [old] ‘Edinburgh Review,’ started by this society in 1755, was conducted with a causticity which proved fatal to its existence. In another fashion, during the following year (1756–7), Robertson showed himself a champion of liberalism. He supported his friend John Home [q. v.] when the general assembly condemned Home for having written and produced a stage-play. Home had already supported Robertson in advocating the rights of the lay patrons. Although unable to protect Home from censure, Robertson led a minority of eleven (against two hundred) which sought to mitigate the wrath of the assembly against the ministers who witnessed Home's play. But while too rational to condemn the stage, Robertson had scruples about visiting a theatre himself—an apparent inconsistency which he justified by a promise made to his dead father.
In 1755 Robertson published ‘The Situation of the World at the Time of Christ's Appearance, and its Connection with the Success of His Religion considered,’ a sermon preached before the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge on 6 Jan. (Edinburgh, 1755, 8vo; 6th edit. 1791). This sermon, which is well written and sensible, is the only one he published. It was translated into German. When at Edinburgh in 1773 Dr. Johnson was pressed to hear Robertson as the most eloquent of Scottish preachers, but declined to give a sanction by his ‘presence to a presbyterian assembly.’
In August 1756 Robertson was called from Gladsmuir to Lady Yester's chapel in Edinburgh, but was not admitted until 15 June 1758. During this interval, in the spring of 1758, Robertson visited London, his primary object being to make arrangements for the publication of his newly completed ‘History of Scotland.’ The incidents of the journey are humorously related by Alexander Carlyle. In town Robertson and his party associated mostly with Dr. Pitcairne, John Home, and Sir David Kinloch. He met his countryman Smollett, then at the height of his fame, at Forrest's coffee-house, and expressed a naïve surprise at the urbanity of the creator of ‘Roderick Random’ and ‘Peregrine Pickle.’ ‘This was not the first instance we had,’ explains Carlyle, ‘of the rawness in respect of the world that still blunted our sagacious friend's observations.’ Early in May the historian went with Home, the Wedderburns, and others to play golf at Garrick's house at Hampton. Robertson also met Duncan Forbes, John Blair, Lord Bute, Sir Robert Keith, and Horace Walpole; and he returned on horseback by way of Oxford, Warwick, Birmingham, the Leasowes, Burton-on-Trent (‘where we could get no drinkable ale’), Sheffield, Leeds, and Newcastle, crossing the border on 20 May.
Shortly after his return, Robertson was created D.D. by the university of Edinburgh, and on 1 Feb. 1759 appeared his ‘History of Scotland during the Reigns of Queen Mary and of King James VI till his Accession to the Crown of England. With a Review of the Scotch History previous to that Period, and an Appendix containing Original Papers’ (London, 2 vols. 4to; 2nd edit. 1760; 5th edit. 1762; 11th edit. corrected 1787, 2 vols. 8vo). The first edition was exhausted in less than a month. The reading public of England was startled, if not annoyed, by its merits. ‘How could I suspect,’ Horace Walpole wrote to Robertson, ‘that a man under forty, whose dialect I scarce understood, and who came to me with all the diffidence and modesty of a very middling author, and who, I was told, had passed his life in a small living near Edinburgh—how could I suspect that he had not only written what all the world now allows to be the best modern history, but that he had written it in the purest English and with as much seeming knowledge of men and courts as if he had passed all his life in important embassies?’ Burke and Gibbon, Warburton and Baron D'Holbach, also sent the author letters of approbation. Lord Chesterfield declared that the work was equal in eloquence and beauty to that of Livy. David Mallet testified that Lord Mansfield was at a loss whether to esteem more the matter or the style, while ‘Lord Lyttelton seemed to think that since the time of St. Paul there scarce had been a better writer than Dr. Robertson.’ David Hume wrote with ironical good humour, ‘A plague take you! Here I sat on the historical summit of Parnassus, immediately under Dr. Smollett, and you have the impudence to squeeze yourself past me and place yourself directly under his feet.’ Hume criticised some peculiarities of Robertson's vocabulary. But, after all deductions, the purity of Robertson's English cannot be seriously impugned. He modelled his style upon Swift, after exhaustively studying that of Livy and Tacitus. By way of practice in the writing of English he had, long before the appearance of his ‘History,’ prepared a translation of Marcus Aurelius, the manuscript of which belonged to Lord Brougham.
Later and more exhaustive methods of research have deprived Robertson's ‘History’ of most of its historical value. But its sobriety, fairness, and literary character give it a permanent interest to a student of the evolution of historical composition. Its judicial temper is illustrated by the fact that while Walpole, Hume, Birch, and Lord Chesterfield detected in it a partiality to Mary Stuart, Tytler, in his learned ‘Historical and Critical Enquiry’ (1759) and Whittaker in his ‘Mary Queen of Scots Vindicated’ (1788, 3 vols. 8vo), attacked Robertson with much venom in the Jacobite interest. Cadell and Millar cleared upwards of six thousand pounds by the publication. Robertson received 600l.
Preferment and sinecures were not long withheld from the fortunate author, whose success surprised no one more than himself and his more intimate friends, such as Carlyle. In April 1759 he was appointed chaplain of Stirling Castle. In April 1761 he was translated from Lady Yester's chapel to the Old Greyfriars, Edinburgh, and in the following August he was appointed one of his majesty's chaplains in Scotland. In 1762, upon the death of Dr. John Gowdie, he was appointed to the dignified post of principal of Edinburgh University. On 26 May 1763 he was elected moderator of the general assembly, the administration of which he continued to direct with a firm hand for upwards of sixteen years. As a manager of the business of the general assembly, he acquired an influence greater than any moderator since Andrew Melville. By him were laid the foundations of that system of polity—the independence of the church as opposed to a fluctuating dependence upon the supposed views of the government of the day, the exaction of obedience by the inferior judicatories, and the enforcement of the law of patronage, except in flagrant cases of erroneous doctrine or immoral conduct—by means of which peace and unity were preserved in the Scottish church until a new principle was established by the assembly of 1834. Despite a zealous and able opposition, Robertson's statesmanship, skill as a debater, and high character gave him paramount influence over ‘the moderates,’ and rendered his power over all parties irresistible. An additional honour was conferred upon Robertson on 6 Aug. 1763, when the post of historiographer for Scotland (with a salary of 200l. a year), which had been in abeyance since the time of George Crawfurd [q. v.], was revived in his favour.
Meanwhile Robertson deliberated as to the subject which should next employ his pen. Blair and Chesterfield recommended the ‘History of England.’ Hume advised the composition of ‘Lives’ in the manner of Plutarch. Walpole suggested the ‘History of Learning’ or a ‘History of the Period of the Antonines.’ The historian himself was attracted by the pontificate of Leo X, until he heard, through Bute, that the king was desirous of seeing a history of England from his pen, and that the government were anxious to put every source of information at his disposal. But this project fell through with the retirement of Bute, and Robertson's choice, which finally alternated between a ‘History of Greece’ and a ‘History of Charles V,’ decided for the latter. In 1769, ten years after the completion of the ‘History of Scotland,’ there appeared ‘The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V, with a view of the Progress of Society from the subversion of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the sixteenth century’ (London, 3 vols. 4to; Philadelphia, 1770; 2nd ed. 1772, 4 vols. 8vo; 6th ed. with corrections, 1787; 10th ed. 1802). For this work Robertson obtained 4,500l., a larger sum, probably, than had ever been paid for a work of learning. Shortly after its appearance Walpole thought fit to retract some of his former praise, and Dr. Johnson (who preferred Goldsmith as an historian) remarked: ‘I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils, “Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”’ Nevertheless ‘Charles V’ is generally and justly regarded as Robertson's masterpiece. It rendered the author's fame European. Hume promptly sent it to France to be translated by Suard. ‘Il me fait oublier tous mes maux,’ wrote Voltaire; ‘je me joins à l'Europe pour vous estimer.’ ‘C'est le compagnon constant de tous mes voyages,’ wrote Catherine II of Russia, of the three heavy quarto volumes, and in token of her appreciation she sent Robertson a gold snuff box richly set with diamonds.
Robertson's Introduction to his ‘Charles V,’ a descriptive estimate of the ‘dark ages’ (700–1100 a.d.), was one of the first successful attempts in England at historical generalisation on the basis of large accumulations of fact. So good a judge as Hallam considered it a marvel of penetration. Thomas Carlyle, as a boy, was ‘delighted and amazed’ by the new vistas that it opened. At any rate it amply illustrated the value Robertson set upon general ideas in history, while its accompanying disquisitions on such subjects as the origin of the feudal system and the nature of Frankish land tenures proved his aptitude for scholarly methods of work. But the efficiency of Robertson's power of generalisation was unfortunately marred by his religious preconceptions and by defects both of sympathy and research. Dr. Maitland subjected the ‘Introduction’ to a minutely critical analysis, and effectually confuted such conclusions as that the power to read and write was rare among the mediæval clergy, or that books and classical learning were little known or despised, or that, during the middle ages, the Christian religion degenerated into an illiberal superstition (Maitland, Dark Ages, 1844, pp. 1–122). The ‘History of Charles V’ has also grown obsolete in the light of subsequent explorations. In the German portion it has been superseded by Ranke, and in the Spanish by Rosseeuw-St.-Hilaire, Stirling-Maxwell, Mignet, and Prescott. Prescott's ‘account of the emperor's life after his abdication’ (1856) was printed in 1857 as an appendix to an edition of Robertson's work (London 2 vols. 8vo, since reprinted).
In writing his ‘Charles V,’ Robertson found it necessary to postpone a full treatment of the discovery of the new world, which he resolved to reserve for a separate ‘History of America.’ This appeared in London in 1777, 2 vols. 4to (2nd ed. 1779, in French, Paris, 1778; 5th ed. with corrections, 1788, 3 vols. 8vo; 10th ed. 1803, 4 vols. 8vo, with continuation from 1652, by David Macintosh, 1817; many editions also appeared in America; a translation into Spanish was stopped by the government of Spain after two volumes had appeared). Its vivid descriptions and philosophical disquisitions on aboriginal society captivated the literary world, while the outbreak of the American war lent the book pertinent public interest and rendered it more popular than either of its predecessors. Keats, who read it with enthusiasm many years after, owed to it the suggestion of his famous simile of ‘Cortez and his men.’ The American war prevented the author from completing a history of the North American colonies: ‘I must wait,’ he said, ‘for times of greater tranquillity.’ Robertson's account of the discovery of the New World was severely criticised for its inaccuracy and faults of omission by Southey in his ‘History of Brazil;’ but Stirling justly said that the story of Columbus was told by Robertson with a grace which compensates the defects of a narrative of which the meagreness and inaccuracy are to be ascribed to the want, not of diligence, but of materials (‘Life of Prescott’ in Encycl. Brit. 8th ed.). That he did not lack diligence is shown by the collection of books, mostly in Spanish, and many of them annotated, which passed from Robertson's library into that of Jonathan Toup [q. v.], at whose death they were sold by Leigh and Sotheby, 10–15 May 1786 (Cat. in Brit. Mus.).
In his sixty-eighth year the perusal of Major James Rennell's ‘Memoir on the Map of Hindustan’ (1783) set Robertson again to work, and within a year, encouraged by Gibbon, he brought out his ‘Historical Disquisition concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India; and the Progress of Trade with that country prior to the discovery of the Passage to it by the Cape of Good Hope, with an appendix’ (London, 1791, 4to; Philadelphia, 1792, 8vo; 2nd ed. London, 1794, 8vo). The book concluded with a wise hope that the account ‘of the early and high civilisation of India, and of the wonderful progress of its inhabitants in elegant arts and useful science, may have some influence upon the behaviour of Europeans towards that people.’
This was Robertson's last literary effort. In August 1777 he had been elected a member of the Royal Academy of History at Madrid, and a similar honour was accorded him by the Academy of Sciences at Padua (1781) and the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg (1783).
In 1779 Robertson's house in Edinburgh was attacked by a protestant mob, because he had procured the rejection of a formal remonstrance which the general assembly had been invited to make against a bill for the removal of penalties from Scottish catholics. In the following year he withdrew from the general assembly, but he retained until 1792 his post as principal of Edinburgh University, to which his name and fame were sources of strength. After swaying the general assembly for so many years, he found the guidance of the Senatus Academicus a comparatively easy task. Dissensions were unknown during his principalship of thirty-one years. During the first years of office he annually delivered a Latin address to the students, his topics being ‘Classical Learning,’ ‘The Duties of Youth,’ and ‘The Comparative Advantages of Public and Private Education.’ He also established the library fund (1762), and promoted the scheme for giving new buildings to the university (1768).
His later years were varied by occasional visits to London and to Lennel, the home of his favourite daughter, Mrs. Brydone. In 1792 he had the gratification of hearing from his publisher, Strahan, that, ‘if we may judge by the sale of your writings, your literary reputation is daily increasing.’ In the same year he removed from the principal's lodgings to Grange House, near Edinburgh, where his friend Dugald Stewart frequently visited him in his favourite haunt—the orchard—and was led to compose ‘that memoir of the principal which has been so often praised and so seldom equalled.’ He died there of jaundice on 11 June 1793 (Scots Magazine, 1793, p. 308).
Robertson's wife, Mary Nisbet, although a woman of little cultivation, proved an excellent helpmeet. She died on 11 March 1802, leaving issue three sons, William, James, and David, and two daughters: Mary, who married Patrick Brydone, F.R.S. [q. v.], and Eleonora, who married John Russell, clerk to the signet.
The eldest son, William, born 15 Dec. 1753, a member from 1770 to 1799 of the Speculative Society, to which he contributed essays upon ‘Roman History’ and ‘The Effect of Climate upon Nations’ (Hist. of Speculative Society, Edinburgh, p. 101), was admitted advocate on 21 Jan. 1775, chosen procurator of the church of Scotland in 1779, took his seat on the Scottish bench as Lord Robertson on 14 Nov. 1805, resigned in 1826, and died on 20 Nov. 1835 (Brunton and Haig, Senators; Gent. Mag. 1836, pt. i.)
The second son, James, distinguished himself under Lord Cornwallis in the Carnatic, and became a general in the British army.
The third son, David, became a lieutenant-colonel, raised the first Malay regiment in Ceylon, and married in 1799 Margaret, sister of Colonel Donald Macdonald, governor of Tobago, and heiress of Kinloch-Moidart, whereupon he assumed the name of Macdonald.
Robertson exemplified a robust form of Christianity, free from the least suspicion of morbidity. His vigorous hostility in youth to Whitefield (in opposition to his intimate friend John Erskine) was characteristic. While distrustful of enthusiasm, he became an avowed optimist of the eighteenth-century type, and none of his contemporaries philosophised upon defective data with greater dignity or complacency. He had no metaphysical faculty, and little dialectical agility. He was, indeed, a great talker, but in his talk (as to some extent in his writings) he was frequently imitative; and Alexander Carlyle recounts his fondness for skimming his friends' talk and giving it back to them in polished paraphrase.
Robertson's attachment to Hume and his cordial amity with Gibbon do honour to all parties. Gibbon spoke of Robertson as a ‘master artist,’ and his casual allusions to his rival (as when he compares the retirement of Diocletian with that of Charles V) are invariably complimentary. In return, as Stanhope remarks with pained astonishment, Robertson expressed to Gibbon the hope that the ‘Decline and Fall’ would be as successful as it deserved (Stanhope, History of England, vi. 312; cf. Robertson to Gibbon, 30 July 1788, in Gibbon's Misc. Works). In point of style the superficial resemblance between the two historians is considerable, the narrative of both being encumbered by lengthy periods, compact with long Latin words and sonorous antitheses. But Robertson lacked the humour, suggestive cynicism, and commanding sense of perspective which gave Gibbon immortality.
In Robertson's as in Gibbon's domestic life, pomposity was but skin-deep. Cockburn speaks of the happy summer days which he and Robertson's grandson, Jack Russell, spent at the principal's country house. The historian would unbend in order to devise schemes to prevent the escape of the boys' rabbits, and would share with them, in defiance of Mrs. Robertson, the spoils of his orchard. ‘He was a pleasant-looking old man, with an eye of great vivacity and intelligence, a large, projecting chin, a small hearing-trumpet fastened by a black ribbon to a buttonhole of his coat, and a rather large wig, powdered and curled. He struck us boys, even from the side table, as being evidently fond of a good dinner, at which he sat with his chin upon his plate, intent upon the real business of the occasion. This appearance, however, must have been produced partly by his deafness, because when his eye told him that there was something interesting, it was delightful to observe the animation with which he instantly applied his trumpet; when, having caught the scent, he followed it up, and was leader of the pack.’ Brougham adds that the historian, who always wore his cocked hat, even in the country, had a stately gait, a slight guttural accent in his speech, which gave it a peculiar fulness, and he retained some old-fashioned modes of address, using the word ‘madam,’ and adding ‘My humble service to you,’ when he drank wine with any woman. He was very fond of claret, and remonstrated with success on one occasion when Johnson proscribed it.
Of the portraits of the historian, that by Sir Joshua Reynolds is described by Brougham as a striking likeness. It was engraved by H. Meyer for Lord Brougham's ‘Lives,’ and also by T. Holloway and W. Walker. Another portrait, in wig and gown, by Sir Henry Raeburn, is preserved at the university of Edinburgh (Guelph Exhib. Cat. No. 201). There are other engraved portraits by Heath and by Ridley (European Mag. February 1802). Two medallions by James Tassie are in the National Portrait Gallery of Edinburgh. One of these, a small bust in profile, executed in 1791, was engraved in stipple by C. Picart from a drawing by J. Jackson.
Collective editions of Robertson's works were issued in 1800–2, London, 11 vols. 8vo; 1802, 12 vols. 8vo; 1806, 12 vols. 8vo; 1809, 12 vols. 8vo; 1812; 1813, Edinburgh, 6 vols. 8vo; 1817, London, 12 vols. 8vo; 1819, Edinburgh; 1820, London; 1821, London, 10 vols. 8vo; 1822, 12 vols.; 1824, 9 vols. 8vo, 1825, Oxford, 8 vols. 8vo (the best edition); and later editions 1826, 1827, 1828, 1831, 1833, 1837, 1840, 1841, 1851, 1852, 1860, 1865. In French, besides the works translated by Suard, Morellet, and Camperon, 1817–21, 12 vols. (reproduced in one volume in ‘Panthéon Littéraire,’ 1836), there appeared, in 1837, ‘Œuvres complètes précédées d'une Notice par J. A. C. Buchet,’ Paris, 2 vols. imp. 8vo.[There are three good biographical accounts of Robertson that are more or less authoritative: 1. Dugald Stewart's ‘Life’ (Edinburgh, 1801 and 1802) prefixed to most of the collective editions, and freely abridged for Rees's Encycl., the Encycl. Londinensis, Chalmers's Biogr. Dict., Chambers's Dict. of Eminent Scotsmen, Anderson's Scottish Nation, the Georgian Era, McClintock and Strong's Cyclopædia, and other compilations. 2. An Account of the Life and Writings, by George Gleig, bishop of Brechin (Edinburgh, 1812). 3. The Memoir in Lord Brougham's Lives of the Men of Letters and Science who flourished in the time of George III. Important supplementary information is to be found in Hew Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scot. vol. i. pts. i. and ii.; in Dr. Carlyle's Autobiography; in Grant's History of the University of Edinburgh; and in Allibone's Dictionary of English Literature (an article of special value). See also Cockburn's Memorials; Moncreiff's Life of Erskine; Cook's Life of Hill; Scots Mag. vol. xxviii.; Gent. Mag. 1836 ii. 19, 1846 i. 227, 1847 ii. 3, 4; Edinb. Rev. April 1803; Hume's Letters, ed. G. B. Hill; Boswell's Johnson, ed. Hill; Walpole's Corresp. ed. Cunningham, and George III, ed. Barker, iii. 121; Eugène Lawrence's British Historians, 1855; Green's Diary of a Lover of Literature, 1810; Wesley's Journal, iii. 447; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 206, iii. 33, 137, 637, iv. 647, v. 252, vi. 441, viii. 245, 258, and Lit. Illus. iv. 823, vi. 116, 496, 604, 735; De Chastellux's Essays, 1790; Chateaubriand's Sketches of Engl. Lit. ii. 266; Suard's Notice sur la Vie et les Ecrits du Dr. Robertson; Alison's Essays, 1850, vol. iii.; Buckle's Hist. of Civilisation; Southey's Hist. of Brazil, i. 639; Prescott's Works; Schlegel's Lectures on Hist. of Lit.; Schlosser's Hist. of the Eighteenth Century; Disraeli's Miscellanies of Literature; English Prose Selections, ed. Craik, iv. 273; Kay's Edinburgh Portraits; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. ii. 135, 172, 253, iii. 40, 77, 2nd ser. vii. 168, 323.]
|425||i||23||Robertson, William (1721-1798): for David Robertson read William Robertson|
|ii||35||for eight read six|
|36||for 1753 read 21 Aug. 1751|
|429||i||23||for in 1754 read 15 Dec. 1753|
|40·41||for daughter read sister|