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.

  • Macpherson, John
  • London: Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt 1768


SKU: 3681 Category: Tag:


FIRST EDITION, 4to, pp. xxiv, [ii], 382, [2, ads]. Modern quarter calf, marbled boards, black morocco label. Toned, some soiling, numerous repairs to fore-margins at beginning and end. Ownership inscription of Theophilus Hogg to title-page (covering an earlier inscription) and in a few other places, some marginal marks and underlining in pencil, ink, or purple crayon, several substantial annotations and corrections in an early hand.


The most significant work of John Macpherson (1713-1765), antiquary and minister on Skye. Published posthumously under supervision of his son, it found much praise among contemporaries, though Johnson dismissed it - not the only similarity it shares with the Ossian poems. Macpherson had met James Macpherson (no relation) in 1760, and their shared interest in Celtic antiquities led to an intermingling of their work: John provided old documents and leads during the hunt for Ossian material, while James adapted portions of this text into his later historical writing.
This copy has been read and occasionally annotated by a critical reader with significant background knowledge, particularly in the section on the Norwegian Principality of the Isles: the notes correct dates and identities, and comment on heraldic development, with the longest (50 words or so) discussing the three-legged symbol of the Isle of Man.

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