Critical Dissertations on the Origin, Antiquities, Language, Government, Manners, and Religion, of the Ancient Caledonians, Their Posterity the Picts, and the British and Irish Scots.

London: Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, in the Strand; and J. Balfour, in Edinburgh, MDCCLXVIII [1768]. 4to, (i)-xxii, (2, contents), 382, (2, ads) pp. Full gilt-ruled speckled calf, backstrip with five raised bands, compartments gilt-stamped with thistles and leaves, red morocco label. A little worn at joints and tips, a few inoffensive marks on upper board, pleasantly bright and clean within. First edition of the most influential work of Church of Scotland minister and antiquary John Macpherson (1713-1765). Macpherson was born on the Isle of Skye and returned there after receiving his MA from Aberdeen and his ordination on the Isle of Barra. His writings on church and Scottish history won him praise from both Johnson and Boswell. He met James Macpherson (no relation) on the hunt for Ossianic poems in the Highlands and the Critical Dissertations, published posthumously, were in part a defense, if not of Ossian explicitly, then of the ascending respect for the origins of Scotland’s culture and its literature. “James Macpherson later used material from the minister's Critical Dissertations... in his dissertations on the epics, as well as his Introduction to the History of Great Britain and Ireland (1771), where he again acknowledged John's influence as an advocate of the Caledonian origins of the Scottish nation and as a critic of modern conjectural historians” (DNB). ESTC T96376. Lowndes 1446. Item #105542

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