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T is commonly faid, that the life of a good writer is best read in his works; which can fcarce fail to receive a peculiar tincture trom
his temper, manners and habits: the diftinguifheing character of his mind; his ruling passior, at le.fi, will there appear undisguised. But however juis - observation may be ; and although we miglit safely reft Mr. Thomson's fame, as a good man, as well as a mån of genius, on this fole footing; yet the desire which the public always shews of being more particy
larly acquainted with the history of an eminent author, ought not to be disappointed; as it proceeds not from mere curiosity, 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 likewise, which ought not to be refused to his memory: to prevent or efface the impertinent fi&tions 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 best light upon his writings ; instances whereof we shall meet with in the following pages.
Mr. Tbomfor was born at Ednam, in the fire 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-presbyters, and to a few gentlemen in the neighbourhood; but highly respected by them, for his piety, and his diligence in the pastoral duty: as appeared afterwards in their kind offices to his widow and orphan family.
The Reverend Meffrs. Riccarton and Gufthart particularly, took a mok affectionate and friendly part in all their concerns. The former, a man of uncommon penetration and good taste, had very early discovered,