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The principal authorities for the biographical details in the following pages were communicated to me by Dr. Robertson's eldest son, Mr. William Robertson, Advocate. To him I am indebted, not only for the original letters with which he has enabled me to gratify the curiosity of my readers, but for every other aid which he could be prompted to contribute, either by regard for his father's memory, or by friendship for myself.
My information with respect to the earlier part of Dr. Robertson's life was derived almost entirely from one of his oldest and most valued friends, the Rev. Dr. Carlyle of Inveresk.
It is proper for me to add, that this memoir was read at different meetings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
During the long interval which has elapsed since it was composed, a few sentences have been occasionally inserted, in which a reference is made to later criticisms on Dr. Robertson's writings. I mention this circumstance, in order to account for some slight anachronisms.
DUGALD STEWART. COLLEGE OF EDINBURGH,
16th May, 1801.
LIFE AND WRITINGS
WILLIAM ROBERTSON, D. D.
From Dr. Robertson's Birth till the Publication of his History of
William ROBERTSON, D. D. late principal of the University of Edinburgh, and historiographer to his majesty for Scotland, was the son of the Reverend William Robertson, minister of the old Gray-Friar's church, and of Eleanor Pitcairn, daughter of David Pitcairn, Esq. of Dreghorn. By his father he was descended from the Robertsons of Gladney in the county of Fife ; a branch of the respectable family of the same name, which has, for many generations, possessed the estate of Struan in Perthshire.
He was born in 1721, at Borthwick (in the county of Mid-Lothian) where his father was then minister; and received the first rudiments of his education at the school of Dalkeith, which, from the high reputation of Mr. Leslie as a teacher, was at that time resorted to from all parts of Scotland.
of Scotland. In the year 1733, he again joined his father's family on their removal to Edinburgh ; and, towards the end of the same year, he entered on his course of academical study. From this period till the year 1759, when, by the