If now we may draw together into a more unified picture than was possible in our piecemeal presentation thus far, our impressions of Kames the man and his varied interests and activities, and round them out with the views taken of him by a number of his contemporaries who knew him best, a remarkable picture, no less impressive, perhaps, than the portrait of him by the painter Martin reproduced as a frontispiece to this volume, emerges. A summary interpretation and evaluation of his historical role will be attempted in a final chapter in Part II of this study.


Historical Role Characteristic Life Mutual Friend Burial Place Religious Outlook 
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  1. 1.
    Boswell, I, 104. Permission McGraw-Hill Co.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stewart, “Life and Writings of Thomas Reid,” in Works,vol. X, pp.318f.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dedication to Intellectual Powers,quoted Tytler, II, App. IV, p. 86; see supra,pp. 76f.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    This epitaph by his life-long friend, Hugh Blair, is engraved both on the monument erected at his burial place at Blair Drummond and on a white marble slab in the interior of the church at Blair Drummond which replaces the ruined one in which the Kameses worshipped. Alongside of it in both places is also an appropriate epitaph to his wife, Agatha Home Drummond. The original manuscript of Blair’s epitaph, apparently in his own hand, is preserved among the family papers in the Scottish Record Office (GD 24/1/1054), along with several other suggested epitaphs, one of which we reproduce as Appendix V below. Preserved there is also the text (in both Latin and English translation) of the inscription, of Kames’s own composition, on the obelisk erected at his burial place.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Smellie, Literary and Characteristic Lives,pp. 146f.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Margaret Forbes,Beattie and his Friends(Westminster, 1904), p. 168.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    William Forbes, Life of Beattie(Edinburgh, 1824), vol. II, p. 102.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ibid.,pp. 94f.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ramsay, I, 194f.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tytler, II, 240f. and 244f.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Boswell reports overhearing a conversation between Lord Monboddo and one Baron Gordon (Private Papers,vol. XIV, p. 44). “They both said,” Boswell reports,“they knew him to be a worthless scoundrel.” The former called him “malevolent,” spiteful against anybody who was not in praise of his works, “exceedingly dull and wrong-headed.” The latter called him “avaricious and envious,” ready to “cut your throat if he could do it safely.” Such vituperation, however provoked — and assuming oswell’s report not itself to be somewhat “slanted” — is of course an expression of spleen rather than of sober judgement, and can therefore be dismissed as such. It does, however, provide evidence of the fact that Karnes had his detractors.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    It should also be noted here that when the third edition of the Encyclopedia Britannicawas in preparation, William Smellie — who was largely responsible for the founding of this historic institution in the first place, and the principal editor-author of the first edition — learned of the editor’s intention to include what Smellie, at least, considered a most vicious and scurrilous biographical article on Lord Karnes. With the aid of Kames’s son, George Home Drummond, he was able to forestall the appearance of this article and himself hastily prepared the article that did actually appear there. (See Robt. Kerr, Memoirs of Smellie,vol. I, p. 359.) Smellie’s article later also appeared, with only slight editorial changes, in his Literary and Characteristic Lives. Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Boswell, XV, 12.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ibid.,I, 129.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Letter, Hume to Blair, 26 April, 1764. See Greig, op. cit., vol. II, Letter No. 237; see also Mossner, Life of Hume, p. 412.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    For Ramsay’s general treatment of this matter, as well as for the specific citations which follow, see especially Ramsay, I, 185–90, 199f. and 205f.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tytler, II, 246.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    See Randall, op. cit.,p.113.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ibid.,p. 115.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tytler, II, 239.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Lehmann

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