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ceptions both of men and of things, which are the natural consequences of oral tradition.

In this light-of Academical Contributions-and in this light alone, I should wish the following Essays to be considered by my Readers. They are not meant to supersede a more detailed account of the eminent men to whom they relate, when any other person shall choose afterwards to resume the same portions of the literary History of Scotland; far less to interfere with the province of those who delight in gleaning the anecdotes and memorable sayings ascribed to distinguished characters. In the first and third Memoirs, indeed, I believe that I have nearly exhausted all the authentic information which it was possible to collect; and in these, accordingly, as the few incidents, which diversify a philosopher's life, derive their whole interest from the light they throw on the history of his studies, and on the progress of his mind,—I have been induced to connect with the slender thread of my narration a variety of speculative discussions and illustrations, for the length of which, I trust, that my anxiety to do justice to the memory of the dead will be a sufficient apology. With respect to Dr Robertson, whose personal habits, as well as official station, engaged him in more extensive connections with the world; and whose favourite pursuits di

rected his attention to researches very different from those which have employed my life,—an ample field still remains to reward the labours both of the biographer and of the critic. I should be happy to see such a task undertaken by a competent hand; and have done something to facilitate its execution, by the original letters from Mr Hume and others, which I have printed in the Appendix.

The additions which have occurred to me in revising my papers for the present publication are enclosed within brackets, to prevent any confusion that might arise from a difference of dates. The whole of these additions are confined to the Notes; the Text remaining (with the exception of some trifling verbal corrections) in its original state. The Notes annexed to the Life of Mr Smith being entirely new, I have not thought it necessary to distinguish them by any typographical mark. It is sufficient for me to mention, in this place, that they were written in the year 1810.

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