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between Mr Home and his friends, among whom were some men whose letters the Society would hear with considerable interest. If they think it worth while to afford me another evening, or part of another evening, I may accomplish that purpose, or attempt another, which I conceived on comparing Mr Home's poetry with that of his immediate predecessors and contemporaries. This comparison induced me to take a short review of the older dramatists of England, who wrote before the poets of the era immediately preceding Mr Home; I was thence imperceptibly led to a consideration of the general state of poetry in this country, and that change which it has undergone in recent times ; but several interruptions, both of leisure and of health, have hitherto prevented my finishing those remarks. If I can render them any way deserving the attention of the Society, I will take the liberty of reading them at some subsequent meeting.
I am sorry to find myself considerably disappointed in the Letters which I hoped to lay before the Society, as an Appendix to the Account of Mr Home's Life. In looking carefully over those with which his nephew, Mr John Home, was so kind as to furnish me, I found much fewer than I had expected of sufficient consequence to induce me to read them in this place. This was owing, I believe, to the circumstance which I mentioned formerly, of Mr Home's careless habit with regard to papers, particularly during the concluding years of his life.
There are still, however, some letters which I think will interest the Society, both from the characters of the writers, and the subjects to which they relate. These I will read in the order of their dates, as far as that order allows of dividing them into the subjects of the narrative which I formerly submitted to the Society, taking first those which relate to the early period of Mr Home's life, the openings of his genius, and its subsequent developement in the productions of his muse; next, those which have reference to the patronage, I might rather say the warm attachment, of Lord Bute, his connexion with whom had the most important effects on his circumstances and situation; and, if the Society's time or patience will allow, I shall conclude by submitting to it some letters from, and relating to, his illustrious friend Mr David Hume, chiefly written towards the close of that celebrated author's life.
One thing I may fairly say, and with the most perfect sincerity, that there is not one sentence of all that correspondence which I have perused, however private or confidential, that does not afford the strongest proof of those amiable dispositions, that warmth of heart, that cordiality of friendship, that perfect disinterestedness with regard to himself, and generosity with regard to others, which I have formerly mentioned as belonging particularly to the character of Mr Home.
The first letter that I shall read is one addressed to me by our venerable colleague, Dr Adam Ferguson, giving some account of his early acquaintance with Mr Home, and of their respective occupations. He apologises for its defects in point of information, from a circumstance, which, however, will increase its interest with us,—the very advanced age, and peculiar situation of the writer.
“ St Andrews, June 3, 1812. : “ MY DEAR SIR,
“I AM sorry to feel that I can do but little to supply the defects of your materials, in framing the intended Memoir relating to the life of my very particular friend John Home. My intimacy with him began at College, about the year 1743, or 44. I left Scotland in the summer 1745, did not return till the year 1751, and had no fixed residence in Scotland till near 1760, and my recollection of transactions, or rather of dates, within this whole period, is very imperfect, and even perplexed.
“ As to Mr Home's early visits to London, I heard of one in company with some of Mr Adams' family, and believe it was then he met with his repulse from Garrick, and made his address to Shakespeare's monument. I know not whether he was then presented to Lord Bute, but have heard of his interviews with Mr Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham. His openness, ardour, and warmth of