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TO WHICH IS PREFIXED
THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,
BY PATRICK MURDOCH, D. D. F. R. S.
PRINTED FOR T. LONGMAN, B. LAW AND SON, H. BALD-
LIFE AND WRITINGS
Mr. JAMES THOMSON.
IT is commonly faid, that the life of a good writer
is beft read in his works; which can fcarce fail to receive a peculiar tincture from his temper, manners, and habits; the diftinguishing character of his mind, his ruling paffion, at leaft, will there appear undisguifed. But however juft this obfervation may be, and although we might fafely reft Mr. Thomson's fame, as a good man, as well as a man of genius, on this fole footing; yet the defire which the Public always thew of being more particularly acquainted
with the history of an eminent author, ought not to be disappointed; as it proceeds not from mere curiofity, but chiefly from affection and gratitude to those by whom they have been entertained and instructed.
To give fome account of a deceased friend is often a piece of justice likewife, which ought not to be refufed to his memory; to prevent or efface the impertinent fictions which officious Biographers are so apt to collect and propagate. And we may add, that the circumstances of an author's life will fometimes throw the beft light upon his writings; inftances whereof we fhall meet with in the following pages.
Mr. Thomson was born at Ednam, in the fhire of Roxburgh, on the 11th of September, in the year 1700. His father, minifter of that place, was but little known beyond the narrow circle of his co-prefbyters, and to a few gentlemen in the neighbourhood; but highly refpected by them, for his piety, and his diligence in the paftoral duty as appeared afterwards, in their kind offices to his widow and orphan family.
The Reverend Meffrs. Riccarton and Gufthart particularly, took a most affectionate and friendly part in all their concerns. The former, a man of uncommon penetration and good tafte, had very early discovered, through the rudeness of young Thomson's puerile ef