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Note (A.) page 209. In the account, given in the text, of Dr Reid's ancestors, I have followed scrupuJously the information contained in his own memorandums. I have some suspicion, however, that he has committed a mistake with respect to the name of the translator of Buchanan's History; which would appear, from the MS. in Glasgow college, to have been not Adam, but John. At the same time, as this last statement rests on an authority altogether unknown, being written in a hand different from the rest of the MS. there is a possibility that Dr. Reid's account may be correct; and, therefore, I have thought it advisable, in a matter of so very trifling consequence, to adhere to it in preference to the other.
The following particulars with respect to Thomas Reid may, perhaps, be acceptable; to some of my readers. They are copied from Dempster, a contemporary writer; whose details concerning his countrymen, it must, however, be confessed, are not always to be implicitly relied on.
“ Thomas Keidus Aberdonensis, pueritiæ meæ et infantilis otii sub Thomâ Cargillo collega, Lovanii literas in scholâ Lipsii serio didicit, quas magno nomine in Germaniâ docuit, carus Principibus. Londini diu in comitatu humanissimi ac clarissimi viri, Fulconis Grevilli, Regii Consiliarii Interioris et Angliæ Proquæstoris, egit: tum ad amicitiam Regis, eodem Fulcone deducente, evectus, inter palatinos admişsus, à literis Latinis Regi fuit. Scripsit multa, ut est magnâ indole et variâ eruditione,” &c. " Ex aulâ se, nemine conscio, nuper proripuit, dum illi omnia festinati honoris augmenta singuli ominarentur, nec quid deinde egerit aut quo locorum se contulerit quisquam indicare potuit. Multi suspicabantur, tædio aulæ affectum, monasticæ quieti seipsum tradidisse, sub annum 1618. Rumor postea fuit in aulam rediisse, et meritissimis honoribus redditum, sed nunquam id consequetur quod virtus promeretur.” Hist. Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum, lib. xvi. p. 576.
What was the judgment of Thomas Reid's own times with respect to his genius, and what their hopes of his posthumous fame, may be collected from an elegy on his death by his learned countryman Robert Aytoun. Already, before the lapse of two hundred years, some apology, alas ! may be thought necessary for an attempt to rescue his name from total oblivion.
Aytoun's elegy on Reid is referred to in terms very flattering both to its author and to its subject, by the editor of the collection, entitled, “ Poëtarum Scotorum Muse Sacræ.” « In obitum Thomæ Rheidi epicedium extat elegantissimum Roberti Aytoni, viri literis ac dignitate clarissimi, in Deliciis Poëtarum Scotorum, ubi et ipsius quoque poëmata, paucula quidem illa, sed venusta, sed elegantia, comparent.”
The only works of Alexander Reid of which I have heard, are Chirurgical Lectures on Tumors and Ulcers, London, 1635; and a Treatise of the First Part of Chirurgerie, London, 1638. He appears to have been the physician and friend of the celebrated mathematician Thomas Harriot, of whose interesting history so little was known, till the recent discovery of his manuscripts, by Mr. Zach of Saxe-Gotha.
A remarkable instance of the careless or capricious orthography formerly so common in writing proper names, occurs in the different individuals to whom this note refers. Sometimes the family name is written, Reid ; on other occasions, Riede, Read, Rhead, or Rhaid.
Note (B.) page 210. Dr. Turnbull's work on Moral Philosophy was published in London, in 1740. As I have only turned over a few pages, I cannot say any thing with respect to its merits. The mottos on the title page are curious, when considered in connexion with those inquiries which his pupil afterward prosecuted with so much success; and may, perhaps, without his perceiving it, have had some effect in suggesting to him that plan of philosophizing which he so systematically and so happily pursued.
“ If natural philosophy, in all its parts, by pursuing this method, shall at length be perfected, the bounds of moral philosophy will also be enlarged,"
Newton's Optics. " Account for moral as for natural things.” Pope.
For the opinion of a very competent judge with respect to the merits of the Treatise on Ancient Painting, vide Hogarth's print, entitled, Beer-Lane.
Note (C.) page 225. “ Dr. Moor combined,” &c.] James Moor, LL. D. author of a very ingenious fragment on Greek grammar, and of other philological essays. He was also distinguished by a profound acquaintance with ancient geometry. Dr. Simson, an excellent judge of his merits both in literature and science, has somewhere honored him with the following encomium : “ Tum in Mathesi, tum in Græcis literis multum et feliciter versatus."
“ The Wilsons, both father and son,” &c.] Alexander Wilson, M. D. and Patrick Wilson, Esq, well known over Europe by their Observations on the Solar Spots; and many other valuable memoirs.
Note (D.) page 246. A writer of great talents, after having reproached Dr. Reid with “ a gross ignorance, disgraceful to the university of which he was a member," boasts of the trifling expense of time and thought which it had cost himself to overturn his philosophy. 6 Dr. Oswald is pleased to pay me a compliment in saying, that 'I might employ myself to more advantage to the public, by pursuing other branches of science, than by deciding rashly on a subject which he sees I have not studied. In return to this compliment, I shall not affront him, by telling him how very little of my time this business has hitherto taken up. If he alludes to my experiments, I can assure him, that I have lost no time at all ; for having been intent upon such as require the use of a burning lens, I believe I have not lost one hour of sunshine on this account, And the public may perhaps be informed, some time or other, of what I have been doing in the sun as well as in the shade.” Examination of Reid's Inquiry, &c. p. 357. See also pp. 101, 102, of the same work.
Note (E.) page 265. The following strictures on Dr. Priestley's Examination, &c. are copied from a very judicious note in Dr. Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric, vol. i. p. 111.
« I shall only subjoin two remarks on this book. The first is, that the author, through the whole, confounds two things totally distinct, certain associations of ideas, and certain judgments implying belief which, though in some, are not in all cases, and therefore not necessarily connected with association. And if so, merely to account for the association, is in no case to account for the belief with which it is at. tended. Nay, admitting his plea, p. 86, that by the principle of association, not only the ideas, but the concomitant belief may be accounted for, even this does not invalidate the doctrine he impugns. For, let it be observed, that it is one thing to assign a cause, which, from the mechanism of our nature, has given rise to a particular tenet of belief, and another thing to produce a reason by which the understanding has been convinced. Now, unless this be done as to the principle in question, they must be considered as primary truths in respect of the understanding, which never deduced them from other truths, and which is under a necessity, in all her moral reasonings, of founding upon them. In fact, to give any other account of our conviction of them, is to confirm, instead of confuting the doctrine, that in all argumentation they must be regarded as primary truths, or truths which reason never inferred through any medium, from other truths previously perceived. My second remark is, that though this examiner has, from Dr. Reid, given us a catalogue of first principles, which he deems unworthy of the honorable place assigned them, he has no where thought proper to give a list of those self-evident truths,
which, by his own account, and in his own express words, 'must be assumed as the foundation of all our reasoning. How much light might have been thrown upon the subject by the contrast! Perhaps we should have been enabled, on the comparison, to discover some distinctive characters in his genuine axioms, which would have preserved us from the danger of confounding them with their spurious ones. Nothing is more evident than that, in whatever regards matter of fact, the mathematical axioms will not answer.
These are purely fitted for evolving the abstract relations of quantity. This he effect owns himself, p. 39. It would have been obliging, then, and would have greatly contributed to shorten the controversy, if he had given us, at least, a specimen of those self-evident principles, which, in his estimation, are the non plus ultra of moral reasoning."
Note (F.) page 276. Dr. Reid's father, the Reverend Lewis Reid, married, for his second wife, Janet, daughter of Mr. Fraser of Phopachy, in the county of Inverness. A daughter of this marriage is still alive; the wife of the Reverend Alexander Leslie, and the mother of the Reverend James Leslie, ministers of Fordoun. To the latter of these gentlemen, I am indebted for the greater part of the information I have been able to collect with respect to Dr. Reid, previous to his removal to Glasgow ; Mr. Leslie's regard for the memory of his uncle having prompted him, not only to transmit to me such particulars as had fallen under his own knowledge, but some valuable letters on the same subject, which he procured from his relations and friends in the north.
For all the members of this most respectable family, Dr. Reid entertained the strongest sentiments of affection and regard. During several years before his death a daughter of Mrs. Leslie's, was a constant inmate of his house, and added much to the happiness of his small domestic circle.
Another daughter of Mr. Lewis Reid was married to the Reverend John Rose, minister of Udny. She died in 1793. In this connexion, Dr. Reid was no less fortunate than in the former; and to Mr. Rose I am indebted for favors of the same kind with those which I have already acknowledged from Mr. Lesļie.
The widow of Mr. Lewis Reid died in 1798, in the eighty-seventh year of her age; having survived her step-son, Dr. Reid, more than a year.
The limits within which I was obliged to confine my biographical details, prevented me from availing myself of many interesting circumstances which were communicated to me through the authentic channels which I have now mentioned. But I cannot omit this opportunity of returning to my different correspondents, my warmest acknowledgments for the pleasure and instruction which I received from their letters,
Mr. Jardine, also, the learned professor of logic in the university of Glasgow, a gentleman, who, for many years, lived in habits of the most confidential intimacy with Dr. Reid and his family, is entitled to my best thanks for his obliging attention to various queries, which I took the liberty to propose to him, concerning the history of our common friend.