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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Mr Dempster


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Samuel Johnson : Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland

'The observations of my friend Mr. Dempster in a letter written to me, soon after he had read Dr. Johnson's book, are so just and liberal that they cannot be too often repeated: "There is nothing in the book, from beginning to end, that a Scotchman need to take amiss. What he says of the country is true; and his observations on the people are what must naturally occur to a sensible, observing, and reflecting inhabitant of a convenient metropolis, where a man on thirty pounds a year may be better accommodated with all the little wants of life than Col or Sir Allan. I am charmed with his researches concerning the Erse language, and the antiquity of their manuscripts. I am quite convinced; and I shall rank Ossian and his Fingals and Oscars amongst the nursery tales, not the true history of our country, in all time to come. Upon the whole, the book cannot displease, for it has no pretensions. The author neither says he is a geographer, nor an antiquarian, nor very learned in the history of Scotland, nor a naturalist, nor a fossilist. The manners of the people and the face of the country are all he attempts to describe, or seems to have thought of. Much were it to be wished that they who have traveled into more remote, and of course more curious regions, had all possessed his good sense".'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Mr Dempster      Print: Book


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