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prise to the neighbouring Scottish gentry, who were at that time little sensible of the value of such labours.
In 1741, he published, in two volumes folio, "The Decisions of the Court of Session, from its institution to the present time, abridged and digested under proper heads in the form of a Dictionary." This work was the labour of many years; is said to be of the highest utility to the profession of the law in Scotland, the reports of the decisions of the supreme court not having been before methodized, and for the most part existing only in a few manuscript collections, not easily accessible, nor to be perused and consulted without much unpleasant labour. A supplement of two volumes was added to this work by lord Woodhouselee, under the direction and inspection of lord Kames himself.
During the rebellion in 1745 and 1746, the proceedings of the court of session were suspended for a period of eleven months. This interval was employed by Mr. Home in various researches into subjects connected with the history, laws, and ancient usages of his country. The result of his inquiries he published in 1747, under the title of "Essays upon several Subjects concerning British Antiquities," consisting of five dissertations, on the introduction of the feudal law; on the constitution of parliament; on honour and dignity; on succession or descent; and an appendix on the hereditary and indefeasible right of kings, in which he adopts whig principles.
In 1731, he published "Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion," which his biographer considers as intended to counteract the noxious tendency which he attributed to certain principles advanced by Hume, in his philosophical essays; especially that of utility or expediency, laid down by that author as the foundation of morals, and supported by him with much force of argument and ingenuity of illustration; and his theory respecting the connexion of cause and effect, as apprehended by the human mind, which has been much misunderstood, and, in combating which, lord Kames seems to have come to a conclusion differing little more than verbally from that of the author, whose doctrine he was contesting. In these dissertations, Mr. Home advanced a whimsical theory for the purpose of reconciling the opinions of liberty and necessity. By this work, undertaken in defence of the principles of morality and natural religion against the attacks of scepticism, the author had the misfortune to draw on himself the charges of impiety and scepticism.
In February 1752, Mr. Home was appointed a judge of the court of session, and took his seat, by the name of lord Kames, on the bench, which he adorned by his legal knowledge, his love of justice, and the general courtesy and moderation of his manners. From this time he continued to occupy a distinguished place, both in the literature and jurisprudence of his country. In 1755, he was appointed a member of the board of trustees for the encouragement of the fisheries, arts, and manufactures of Scotland, and a commissioner for the management of forfeited estates annexed to the crown, the revenues of which were to be applied to the improvement of the uncultivated tracts of Scotland. He continued his literary labours by the publication, in 1757, of the "Statute Law of Scotland, abridged, with Historical Notes," a work which is said to contain a clear and compendious view of the subject, and continues to be a book of authority with the practitioners in the Scotch courts.
Lord Kames was sensible of the bad effects resulting from the different systems of law by which the northern and southern divisions of the island are governed, and was engaged in a correspondence with the earl of Hard
wicke, then lord chancellor, on this important subject. His researches respecting it were given to the world in a volume of "Historical Law Tracts," printed at Edinburgh in 1759 in which he traces the history of law, and endeavours to point out the alterations which changes of circumstances render expedient.
The active mind of lord Kames did not confine itself to labours and studies connected with the profession in which he was engaged. In 1761, he published a small volume entitled, " An Introduction to the Art of Thinking:" the object of which was, to point out the means of improving the faculty or habit of abstraction, and the formation of general observations, and comprising various maxims, original and borrowed, illustrated by historical anecdotes and fables.
About this time Dr. Franklin, in company with his eldest son, visited Scotland, and received from lord Kames marks of attention which laid the foundation of an uninterrupted friendship and correspondence. The following remarks of Dr. Franklin on a picture, said to be that of Penn, are curious.
Your lordship's kind offer of Penn's picture is extremely obliging. But were it certainly his picture, it would be too valuable a curiosity for me to think of accepting it. I should only desire the favour of leave to take a copy of it. I could wish to know the history of the picture before it came into your hands, and the grounds for supposing it his. I have at present some doubts about it. First, because the primitive quakers used to declare against pictures as a vain expense. A man's suffering his portrait to be taken, was condemned as pride. And I think to this day it is very little practised among them. Then, it is on a board; and I imagine the practice of painting portraits on boards, did not come down so low as Penn's time; but of this I am not certain. My other reason is, an anecdote I have heard: viz. That when old lord Cobham was adorning his gardens at Stowe with the busts of famous men, he made inquiry of the family, for a picture of William Penn, in order to get a bust formed from it, but could find none. That Sylvanus Bevan, an oid quaker apothecary, remarkable for the notice he takes of countenances, and a knack he has of cutting in ivory strong likenesses of persons he has once seen, hearing of lord Cobham's desire, set himself to recollect Penn's face, with which he had been well acquainted, and cut a little bust of him in ivory which he sent to lord Cobham, without any letter or notice that it was Penn's. But my lord, who had personally known Penn, on seeing it, immediately cried out: "Whence comes this? It is William Penn himself!" And from this little bust, they say, the large one in the gardens was formed.I doubt, too, whether the whisker was not quite out of use, at the time when Penn must have been of the age appearing in the face of that picture. And yet, notwithstanding these reasons, I am not without some hope that it may be his; because I know some eminent quakers have had their pictures privately drawn and deposited with trusty friends: and I know also that there is extant at Philadelphia, a very good picture of Mrs. Penn, his last wife. After all, I own I have a strong desire to be satisfied concerning this picture; and as Bevan is yet living here, and some other old quakers that remember William Penn, who died but in 1718, I would wish to have it sent me, carefully packed in a box, by the wagon (for I would not trust it by sea) that I may obtain their opinion. The charges I shall very cheerfully pay; and if it proves to be Penn's picture, I shall be greatly obliged to your lordship for leave to take a copy of it, and will carefully return the original.
In 1762, appeared the "Elements of Criticism," one of the works by which the name of lord Kames is chiefly known to the general reader. The object of this work is the establishment of a philosophical theory of criticism, and the application of its principles to the appreciation of works of literature and taste; an ingenious production, but rather the offspring of speculation and reasoning, than of a quick and habitual perception of the grand and beautiful; and therefore dry and cold in its manner, and sometimes erroneous in its decisions.
In 1763, lord Kames was appointed one of the lords of justiciary, the supreme criminal tribunal in Scotland. Although at this period unen
gaged in any publick, literary labour, he maintained an extensive epistolary correspondence, on various subjects of speculation, with men of science and literary reputation. Among the names of his correspondents, we now find those of Dean Tucker, and Mr. Harris, of Salisbury.
The estate of Blair-Drummond devolving to the possession of lord Kames, he was induced, by his attention to agricultural subjects, to project and execute a variety of extensive improvements. Among these was the undertaking of clearing the moss of Kincardine, a level swamp about four miles in length, and from one to two in breadth, containing about two thousand Scotch acres. This extensive tract was covered with a stratum of moss, on an average from eight to nine feet in thickness, beneath which was known to lie a soil of rich clay and vegetable mould, which had been formerly overspread with forest trees. The scheme of lord Kames was, to float this immense body of moss into the Firth, by means of channels cut through it into the river. The practicability of the undertaking having been ascertained by experiments made on a small scale, it has been gradually carried nearly into complete execution, and is said to have succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations of the projector.
The commercial prosperity of his country was an object which likewise engaged the attention of lord Kames In 1765, he published a pamphlet on the progress of the flax-husbandry in Scotland, with the view of promoting the cultivation of an article important to the national manufactures. His legal labours were resumed in the publication of a folio volume of "Remarkable Decisions of the Court of Session, from 1730 to 1752.
The disputes between Great Britain and her American colonies now began to occupy the attention and agitate the feelings of men of all orders. On the question of right, lord Kames has publickly expressed his sentiments in coincidence with the maxims unfortunately adopted by the British government. The question of policy he viewed in a different light. An interesting letter on this subject from Dr. Franklin is inserted, which displays the extent and wisdom of his political views. He unhappily met with the fate of other political prophets.
In 1774, lord Kames published his "Sketches of the History of Man;" a work which had, during a considerable period, occupied the hours which he was able to redeem from the exercise of his publick duties. The primary doctrine of his philosophy" that the savage state was the original condition of man in every part of the globe, and that all his advances to improvement and civilisation have taken place through the gradual operation of the instinctive principles of his nature," found, as might be expected, many opponents. Among these was Dr. Doig, of Sterling (little known, we believe, to the publick, but who appears to have been a writer of great ingenuity and learning) who replied to lord Kames in two letters on the savage state. An interesting account of this author is given by lord Woodhouselee.
It is a remarkable instance of the unabated activity of lord Kames's mind, that in his eightieth year he published a work on agriculture, to which he bad at all times given much of his attention. He gave to this book the title of the Gentleman Farmer.
Lord Kames enjoyed, till the advanced age of eighty-five, the uninterrupted blessings of health, and the vigour of his intellectual faculties. He had nearly completed his eighty-sixth year, when he was seized with a disorder of the bowels, which he at first disregarded, but which, not yielding to medicine or regimen, began in a few months to threaten a fatal termination. The closing scenes are thus described.
For the following interesting particulars, I am indebted to the information of his daughter-in-law, to whom alone they were known. And I am anxious to give them, as nearly as I can, in her own words.A very few days before his departure from Blair-Drummond, in a short walk which he took with her in the garden, he desired her to sit down by him on one of the benches; saying, he felt himself much fatigued; and adding, that he was sensible he was now growing weaker every day. On her expressing a hope, that on going to town, his friend Dr. Cullen, who knew his constitution, might be able to give him some advice that would be of service to him; and that she flattered herself, his disease had been rather less troublesome to him for some time past: "My dear child," said he, looking in her face with an earnest and animated expression, "don't talk of my disease: I have no disease but old age. I know that Mrs. Drummond and my son are of a different opinion; but why should I distress them sooner than is necessary? I know well that no physician on earth can do me the smallest service: for I feel that I am dying; and I thank God, that my mind is prepared for that event. I leave this world in peace and good will to all mankind. You know the dread I have had of outliving my faculties. Of that I trust there is now no great probability, as my body decays so fast. My life has been a long one; and prosperous, on the whole, beyond my deserts: but I would fain indulge the hope, that it has not been useless to my fellow creatures. My last wish regarded my son and you, my dear child; and I have lived to see it accomplished. I am now ready to obey my Maker's summons."then poured forth a short, but solemn and impressive prayer. On leaving the garden, he said: "This is my last farewell to this place: I think I shall never see it more. I go to town chiefly to satisfy Mrs. Drummond-otherwise I could wil. lingly have remained here. But go where I will, I am in the hands of Almighty God.
He left Blair-Drummond in the beginning of November; and the court of session meeting soon after for the winter, he went thither on the first day of the term, and took his seat with the rest of the judges. He continued for some little time to attend the meetings of the court, and to take his share in its usual business; but soon became sensible that his strength was not equal to the effort. On the last day of his attendance, he took a separate and affectionate farewell of each of his brethern. He survived that period only about eight days. He died on the 27th of December, 1782 in the 87th year of his age. A letter which he wrote within a few days of his death to lord Gardenstone, as a member of the Board of Trustees for Arts and Manufactures, and a personal application which he made within the same period, to his friend Mr. Arbuthnot, the secretary of the same board, in behalf of a very deserving man, who had fallen into indigence, bear testimony that his mind was occupied, even in its last moments, with matters of publick concern, and of private beneficence.
Such are the outlines of the life of lord Kames. The sketch is filled up in the volumes before us, by the intermixture of his correspondence; analysis of his works; biographical anecdotes of numerous literary and publick characters with whom he was connected; and digressive dissertations on law, literature and science. The style is pure and perspicuous; the materials and subject interesting; and the volume, though prolix, seldom wearisome.
FROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW.
The History of the World, from the Reign of Alexander to that of Augustus. By John Gillies, LLD. 2 vols. 4to. London.- -This work is now publishing by Hop. kins and Earle, Philadelphia, in 3 vols. 8vo. price $7. to subscribers: to nonsubscribers $8.
THE countries of Western Asia afford no very flattering precedent to those who, confident in the perfectability of mankind, see nothing but prospects of brilliancy before them, and anticipate ages of progressive improvement, with no danger of backward steps, and no boundary but the dissolution of the world. It is on the desolate plains, and among the degraded inhabitants of those regions, that we must look for the source of our arts, our letters, our religion, our population itself. There may seem
to be a sort of compensation in the state of human society at different periods; and the polished kingdoms of Europe may be considered rather to have supplied the place of Egypt and Ionia, than to have been added to the permanent mass of civilized life.
The melancholy interest which the downfall of this portion of the globe has thrown over its history, is heightened by the difficulty with which that history is learned, and the mysteriousness which hangs over great part of it. It is lighted, indeed, in its earlier periods, with so faint and quivering a lamp of authentick testimony, that the acuteness and erudition of modern times has constantly been baffled in attempting to dispel the gloom. A stronger ray breaks upon us about the age of Cyrus, a period which, so far as that part of the world is concerned, forms a line of demarcation between known and unknown history. But, relatively to the state of society in those countries, a more important epoch is fixed by the subsequent conquests of Alexander. The Persian dynasty, like those still more ancient, was barbarian. It was under the dominion of Greece, and afterwards of Rome, that Asia became, for a period of 900 years, the seat of regular military discipline, of diffused opulence, of legal government, and of philosophy.
It is during the earlier and more splendid part of this term, the interval between Alexander and Augustus, that the present author has undertaken to relate the revolution of the Grecian world, enlarged as that was by the successes of the former conqueror. A more interesting or honourable labour could scarcely have been chosen by the historian; nor one which presents more frequent opportunities of beguiling his own task and that of his readers, by illustrations from various branches of ancient and modern literature. In a former history of Greece, which has long since been given to the world, and which still continues, as we are told by the author in his preface, to experience publick indulgence, Dr. Gillies deduced the narrative to the death of Alexander. The military exploits of that hero fell, therefore, within its compass; but his political institutions, which were destined to become the ground work of the Macedonian dominion in the east, seemed more properly reserved for the commencement of the present undertaking. Accordingly Dr. Gillies, in five preliminary chapters, has entered, as well upon these arrangements of Alexander, and upon the plans which were interrupted by his death, as upon the political geography of his dominions, and the history, so far as it can be known, of those considerable nations which had previously been melted down into the mass of the Persian empire.
In eleven years of perpetual victory, Alexander had traversed Asia from the Hellespont to the Hyphasis, and become the undisputed possessor of territories, nearly commensurate in their limits with the present kingdoms of Turkey and Persia. This conquest is not more memorable for the great and permanent revolution which it effected, than for the apparent inadequacy of the means. The throne of the successours of Cyrus, incomparably the greatest potentates who had hitherto existed within the limits of the ancient world, though protected, not more by the countless multitude of their own subjects, than by the disciplined valour of Grecian mercenaries, was subverted within two years, by an army which fell considerably short of 40,000 men. After the battle of Arbela, in which the Greeks, with incredible exaggeration, report 300,000 barbarians to have fallen, no further resistance was opposed by Persia. The remaining part of Alexander's career was employed, and, some may think, wasted, in reducing the Sierce and independent barbarians of the Oxus and the Indus, with so pre