Substantial Autograph Letter Signed 'J. Macleod', Gaelic Scholar, to Sir George Buchan Hepburn Bart., Smeaton, Edinr. & Prestonkirk

John MacLeod, Presbyterian Divine (1757-1841), Gaelic Scholar
Publication details: 
Kilmarnock, 5 January 1815
SKU: 10322

Four pages, 4to, fold marks, sl. faded, but clear and complete. "My dear Sir George I was hesitating about troubling you on the resignation of your office as Baron of Exchequer - But the New Year which has anounced [sic] to me your accession to Hereditary honors has determined me, in offering the best benedictions of the Season to you & good Lady Hepburn, to present you & your family, with my most sincere Congratulations - It is a mere matter of justice to your long & useful public services, as well as decorous to have restored a part of the Honors of an Ancient house - But at the same time I must give Credit to the Prince Regent, whose Conduct in administration has justly become the admiration of the world - I know not yet, whether I can have the happiness, in the course of the Winter, of expressing those sentiments to you, viva voce, at Smeaton - I am as busy as busy can be, at my great work of the Gaelic Dictionary, which I hope you will live to look over with the eye of an enlightened Critic - and have lately transmitted the first read specimen of Progress to my Constituents, the Celtic Committee of the H.S. [Highland Society presumably]- The General meeting of the Society holds, I think on the 10th. and as you are one of its senior (& forgive me to say, as I think) one of its most enlightened members, since you have little more, in your "otium cum dignitate" to attend to besides the "rus rustica" & the "rus antiqua", perhaps both the noblest objects of mortal pursuit, I wish, from my heart, you were present at the meeting to give a right tone to their proceedings so far as these two objects particularly the last are concerned - I did not trouble you with an answer to your last wherein you told me that the Chief Baron declined to apply in my behalf to the Town Counsel of Edinr. I was not the less sensible of your kind exertions - for which I am ever grateful - But it must be evident to every person interested in my Public Undertakings, that it cannot succeed so well here, as it would do were I placed near the public Libraries & in the Centre of communication with the learned - The Subject is intimately connected with all the learnings of the Earth, ancient & modern - as a national undertaking not unlikely to give a new turn to the general pursuits of Literature & behoves all enlightened Scotsmen & Britons to afford it every encouragement - I have a kind letter from my old friend Caledonia, to whose, acquaintance you first led me - If you fall in with our friend Lord Bannatyne- he will give you the substance of my Reports to the Committee, as well as a view of their intended application in various quarters for encouragement to the Work. - Can you find me any fragment of the Poem written by Ovid, in the Gothic of the 1st. Century, during his banishment at Tomi[s] - I have Bishop Ulphilas's Gothic translation of the Gospels near 3 Centuries latter - and I have the satisfaction to find that it contains many Celtic roots - candidly pointed out by Wachter[?] is his most excellent Glossary of the Teutonic - All Languages are but various Dialects of the original one - And the Celtic retains more of its roots, than any other [dialect?], ancient or modern - Forgive the trouble God bless you & yours - Ever yours with high Esteem J. Macleod'' 1. Sir George Buchan Hepburn (1739-1819). Baron of Scottish Exchequer 1791-1814; judge of Admiralty court 1790-1; created baronet 1815; published work on agriculture of East Lothian (1796). 2. John MacLeod (1757-1841). Presbyterian divine and Gaelic scholar responsible for the publication of the Gaelic Bible (1826) and who edited the Gaelic Dictionary (1828). 3. Sir William Macleod Bannatyne (17-43-1833). Scottish judge; promoted to bench as Lord Bannatyne 1799; knighted 1823; original member of the Highland Society and Bannatyne Club.