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'Two Syllables Only': Hailes, Mallet and Scottish literary anxiety in the age of Enlightenment.


The Scottish literati of the latter half of the eighteenth century, as well as punching above their weight in the intellectual life of Europe, were also prone to tensions and antagonisms within their own circle. Contributing to this internal friction was an anxiety to conform to English standards of speech and language without seeming ashamed of their unique patrimony and bruising their national pride: Scots frequently attacked one another for having failed on one or other of those accounts. A passage from a 1763 letter to James Boswell reveals one such squabble between two relatively neglected literary Scots, Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes (1726-1792) and David Mallet (ne Malloch). An exploration of this spat affords a wider view of Scottish literary connections, accomplishments and anxieties, and demonstrates that heat as well as light was generated from the creative energy of the Scottish Enlightenment.


It is scarcely original to point out that the literati of the Scottish Enlightenment were obsessively anxious to avoid being thought provincial by their English counterparts on account of their distinctively Scottish forms of language and speech. The compiling and sharing amongst Scottish men of letters of lists of 'Scotticisms'--usages strictly to be excised to avoid the censure of English critics--is one obvious symptom of this anxiety. But as much as the Scots banded together to confront this prejudice, and although the importance of the notion of the cultivation both of individual character and improving social intercourse among them has rightly been emphasised in recent scholarship, (1) their anxiety to achieve the approbation (and escape the ubiquitous mockery) of southern scholars could also lead to the development of tensions and antagonisms within the ranks of the Scottish literati. It is perhaps not difficult to discern one factor contributing to this friction. Whilst doggedly committing themselves to meeting in full the exacting standards of English critics, and although some Scots seem genuinely to have been glad to rid themselves of their distinguishing traits, it must have rankled with many Scottish men of letters to have to immolate their literary and cultural distinctiveness on the altar of English expectations. Even amongst those Scots who agreed that such conformity was necessary for their works to stand a chance of being taken with the full seriousness which they deserved, there were bound to have been differences over the degree to which this necessity should be considered an evil one. Those who conformed too readily and pusillanimously could bump the bruise of national pride in their less abject compatriots by making the Scots seem craven in their abasement of themselves before their superior neighbours; they also ran the risk of appearing to try to put supercilious distance between themselves and their fellow countrymen. We should not be surprised if there were sometimes tense exchanges between the Scottish literati, made touchy and irascible by having to tread so disagreeable a cultural and political tightrope. In this paper, by exploring just one such antagonistic episode between two relatively minor figures in the world of eighteenth-century letters, a wider scene of Scottish literary connections, controversies and contests is opened to view.

On 12 February 1763, Sir David Dalrymple, 3rd Baronet of Hailes (1726-1792, soon to be raised to the Scottish judicial bench as Lord Hailes) wrote to his young friend and protege, James Boswell:

   I thank you for your theatrical intelligence: Elvira is dull to be
   sure but I wish my name had not been mentioned in ye Preface to ye
   Strictures for I do sincerely blame myself for mixing my
   publication with a private picque, principally occasioned by Mr
   Mallet's treatment of his friend Thompson in ye Preface to his
   Alfred. (2)

This letter forms part of an extensive correspondence between the two men, and Hailes knew Boswell to be the co-author of these 'Strictures'. A brief account of the relationship between these men will help to give this literary tale a background against which it can better be read.

Hailes, at this time a busy and very able prosecuting advocate, was born into one of Scotland's dominant legal dynasties, and one of the nation's most influential Whig families. His grandfather, Sir David Dalrymple, 1st Baronet of Hailes, had been Lord Advocate for eight out of the first twenty years of the eighteenth century, whilst his great-grandfather, Sir James Dalrymple of Stair, was a yet more important figure in Scottish law and politics. Stair was one of the engineers of the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688, and was rewarded by the new regime with elevation to the peerage as 1st Viscount Stair and his reappointment as Lord President of the Court of Session; his legal masterpiece, The Institutions of the Taw of Scotland, usually known simply as 'Stair's Institutes', is arguably the most influential treatise on Scots law ever written. Hailes was the eldest son of Sir James Dalrymple, a lawyer and local Member of Parliament, who married into the county's leading family, the Hamiltons, earls of Haddington. Hailes's parents sent him and one of his younger brothers to Eton. This in itself was unusual, as most young Scottish gendemen were schooled either at home by tutors or at one of the Edinburgh (or other local) schools. Eton was the choice only of the grandest or most socially ambitious of Scottish families. This education gave the already well-placed Hailes many further advantages, including an accent acceptable to English ears and an intuitive feel for flawlessly idiomatic English prose; he was to become an accomplished and respected man of letters both north and south of the border.

The friendship between Hailes and Boswell had begun some years previously, through Hailes's professional connection with Boswell's father, the judge Lord Auchinleck. Hailes, fourteen years Boswell's senior, became almost an older brother to ambitious young man. By the time they became friends around 1758 Hailes--quickly dubbed by Boswell 'my worthy Maecenas'--was already what Boswell longed to be: a respected man of letters and of refined taste who had published essays in fashionable journals, as well as other historical and literary works. The fact that he combined this with a successful legal career offered Boswell hope: his father was insisting that Boswell too become a lawyer, much against the young Jamie's own inclinations. Often living in different cities and countries, the friends conducted much of their relationship through letters: Hailes intervened with Boswell's father to give the young man more freedom and advised Jamie how to please his father and still have an agreeable life; Boswell supplied Hailes with literary news and gossip from London and abroad. Scottish law students almost always spent a year or two at a Dutch university studying civil law, and it was on Hailes's suggestion that Boswell went to Utrecht for this purpose. Hailes himself had enormously enjoyed his time there and thought it would appeal more to a lively young man than Leiden, which Lord Auchinleck had initially been considering. Again on Hailes's suggestion, they wrote to one another every couple of weeks, often in French to give Boswell the practice. We can catch a glimpse of the type of relationship the two very different men enjoyed at this time in another letter. Upon hearing of Hailes's marriage in 1763, Boswell wrote from Utrecht (in French) to congratulate him and speculate on his future offspring:

   Ah!--we shall have many Sir Davidsl What a quantity of black wigs
   must be made! We shall have clarifications of all the difficult
   passages of history. We shall have plans to clean not only the
   streets but even the closes of the town of Edinburgh. All the
   English poets shall be rendered into Latin verse. All the criminals
   shall be hanged. We shall have an infinity of sacred poems. We
   shall have innumerable volumes of letters and of political memoirs,
   and the poor royal family of Stewart shall be quite crushed. (3)

It was Lord Hailes who had first encouraged Boswell to cultivate the friendship of Samuel Johnson whilst in London, and it was through Boswell that Hailes gained Johnson as a friend and literary supporter. Hailes must have been gratified to hear from Boswell that he and Dr Johnson had toasted his health together, or that Johnson had expressed his admiration for him and his work, and when Johnson visited Edinburgh on his famous Scottish tour he and Boswell dined at Hailes's house. (4)

Hailes's friendship with Boswell was sometimes tested to breaking point, however. The two men were starkly different. 'Bozzy' was exuberant, anxious to impress and to shine, prone both to self-glorification and self-disgust, by turns rakish and devout, dogged by depression and by his conscience, and was a fluorescent comet in the social and literary sets through which he blazed. Hailes, by contrast, was reserved, scholarly, quietly pious, scrupulous in morals and manners, witty but never ribald, level-headed and generally tranquil of temperament. However, his equanimity was to be disturbed on more than one occasion by the erratic and sometimes alarming behaviour of his young friend; the famous Douglas Cause, discussed below, was catalyst to an egregious example of this. As in the person of 'Malloch', whom they both contemned, even their agreements could become occasions of friction and dismay--at least on the part of Hailes.

David Mallet (1701/2-1765), a Perthshire-born poet and dramatist who went to London in 1723 to pursue his talents, became in time one of the minor literary celebrities of the age. But he was born Malloch, not Mallet. He was mocked on both sides of the border for changing his name to something 'softer' (and easier on English tongues), and satirically appeared in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary to illustrate the word 'alias'. (5) Malloch had made friends with fellow Scottish poet James Thomson (1700-1748, author of the famous The Seasons) whilst studying at the college in Edinburgh and co-wrote with him the masque Alfred, which was later adapted several times for stage performance. (6) The music to Alfred was composed by Dr Thomas Arne, and concludes with the iconic anthem 'Rule, Britannia!'.

In the advertisement (preface) to the reworked 1751 edition, Alfred: a masque. Acted at the Theatre-Toyal in Drury-Tane, by His Majesty's servants (London, 1751), Mallet noted that he had had to omit almost all of Thomson's contributions to this originally co-written work to adapt it for the stage--and that therefore it should be judged as his (Mallet's) work alone. Hailes was confessedly irked by this (7) and had taken mild revenge on Mallet in one of his own published works:

   [Hailes] gave Mallet's 'real name' in four places in the Memorials
   and Tetters relating to the History of Britain in the Reign of
   James the First, published 1762. Repenting of his malice after the
   sheets were printed, he inserted a corrigendum, 'For Malloch, r.
   Mallet,' a gesture that Frederick A. Pottle remarks 'only made
   matters worse.' Boswell and his friends, Andrew Erskine and George
   Dempster, picked up the slur, and in the mocking 'Advertisement' to
   the Critical Strictures on the New Tragedy of Elvira, Written by
   Mr. David Malloch which was published late January 1763, they
   linked Dalrymple with Johnson as authorities for spelling Mallet's
   name. (8)

This 'Advertisement' to the Critical Strictures read: 'We have followed the Authority of Sir David Dalrytnple, and Mr. Samuel Johnson, in the Orthography of Mr. Malloch's Name; as we imagine the Decision of these Gentlemen will have more weight in the World of Letters, than even that of the said Mr. Malloch himself'. (9)

The publication of the Strictures prompted one of Dr Johnson's most famous asseverations:

   I [Boswell] mentioned Mallet's tragedy of 'Elvira,' which had been
   acted the preceding winter at Drury-lane, and that the Honourable
   Andrew Erskine, Mr. Dempster, and myself, had joined in writing a
   pamphlet, entitled 'Critical Strictures' against it. That the
   mildness of Dempster's disposition had, however, relented; and he
   candidly said, 'We have hardly a right to abuse this tragedy; for,
   bad as it is, how vain should either of us be to write one not near
   so good.' Johnson: 'Why no, Sir; this is not just reasoning. You
   may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a
   carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a
   table. It is not your trade to make tables. (10)

In a footnote, Boswell added: 'The Critical Review, in which Mallet himself sometimes wrote, characterised this pamphlet as "the crude efforts of envy, petulance, and self-conceit". There being thus three epithets, we the three authors had a humorous contention how each should be appropriated'. (11)

Johnson's own attitude to Mallet was mixed: in a generally negative assessment of his achievements, he gave him some moderate praise in his Lives of the Poets, and although he couldn't quite see him as other than a Scot, he remarked: 'I never catched Mallet in a Scotch accent; and yet Mallet, I suppose, was past five-and-twenty before he came to London'. (12) Johnson himself retained some distinctive Lichfield vowels (for which he was teased in absentia by members of his circle) and Boswell had not quite lost all of his native accent, despite elocution lessons from actors, and professed himself unwilling to become ridiculous to others by being too perfectly 'High English'. Johnson judged Boswell's pronunciation 'not offensive'.

As well as resulting in Hailes's discomfort, the Strictures also brought upon Boswell's head a rebuke from David Hume, with whom he had been on friendly terms for some years. The offending passage of the Strictures ran: 'We heard it once asserted by David Hume, Esq; that Mr. Malloch was destitute of the Pathetic'. (13) Boswell reported in his journal for Monday, 28 February 1763 that he had received a letter from Hume, castigating him for citing Hume's opinion of Mallet in the Strictures. The letter (dated 24 February 1763) fairly crackles:

   [H]ow the devil came it into your noddles to publish in a book to
   all the world what you pretend I told you in a private
   conversation? I say pretend I told you; for as I have utterly
   forgot the whole matter, I am resolved utterly to deny it. Are you
   not sensible that by this etourderie, (14) to give it its lightest
   name, you were capable of making a quarrel between me and that
   irascible little man with whom I live in very good terms? (15)

Boswell admits to his journal that 'to repeat a private conversation and that in so very public a manner was rather using Mr. Hume ungenteelly'. (16) But he brazened the whole thing out in a mischievous reply to Hume's letter in which he pretends that the Strictures were citing the opinion of a quite different David Hume, 'a bookseller at Glasgow, who from his employment must be supposed to be well known in the world of letters'. (17) However, the Strictures did receive some praise from the literary world. Boswell boasted in his journal that on Sunday, 20 March 1763 he had visited the most celebrated actor of his day, David Garrick, 'who said that there were half a dozen as clever things in the Strictures on Elvira as he ever had read'. (18)

Of course, David Hume had changed the spelling of his own Scottish name (from Home) to make it accord with English expectations of pronunciation, although at this time Hailes on occasion was still spelling Hume's name 'Home' in some of his correspondence with Boswell. Hume and Hailes had a decade previously been in correspondence with one another (before a famous falling-out over Hume's Librarianship of the Advocates Library (19)), in part so that Hume could have the Eton-educated Hailes (whose accent and usage were consequently imagined to be unexceptionable to the English) look over his prose to spot and excise 'Scotticisms'. The reference in the following letter from Hume to Hailes to what is 'amiss ... in language' is one example:

   I give you this trouble, in order to put you in mind of your
   Promise. I assure you, that I shall think myself much obliged to
   you, if you will run over my Enquiry, & remark what you may think
   amiss either in Language or Argument. Besides, that I am extremely
   anxious to attain some Degree of Correctness in all my Attempts; T
   must confess, that I have a partiality for that Work, & esteem it
   the most tolerable of any thing I have compos'd. I have sent off
   some Sheets for the Press; but it is to be return'd to me Sheet by
   Sheet, or what they call the Proof Sheet; and therefore it will
   still be in my Power to reap Benefit from your Corrections. Such an
   Undertaking, I would fain believe, besides being very obliging to
   me, would be useful to yourself, and be a kind of Exercise, which
   wou'd render you a scrupulous Critic in Language & Composition.

Notwithstanding the tutorly tone--which is sufficiently explained by the fact that Hume was older than Lord Hailes by fifteen years, their ages at this time being forty-two and twenty-seven respectively--Hailes clearly responded with care and alacrity, because Hume wrote to him again a week later:

   I am very much oblig'd to you for your Remarks, & think them all
   just except one, of which I have some doubt. I believe occur is
   good English, in the sense, in which I have us'd it. Ainsworth,
   (22) who is a good authority so far as he goes, translates it, in
   mentem venire. You will oblige me much by continuing. I have
   already altered all the Passages, which you have pointed out. (23)

Both men belonged to the Select Society which, amongst other pursuits, had set itself the ambitious task of thoroughly anglicising Scots usage and even the Scottish accent. Still at Newhailes is Hailes's copy of Walter Anderson's The History of Croesus, King of Tydia (Edinburgh, 1755), a work said to have its origins in a jest of Hume's against the author. (24) Hailes has inscribed neatly on the front flyleaf: 'There is little instruction to be got from this book: the author relates the story of Croesus, as in Heroditus, & seems not attentive to the various objections which may be made to the credibility of that story, his style is affected and abounds in Scotticisms'.

In fact, Hume had at one point employed David Mallet's offices for the same de-scotticising purposes as he had Hailes. (25) In a 1756 letter to his publisher Andrew Millar, Hume asks:

   Notwithstanding Mr Mallets Impertinence in not answering my Letter
   (for it deserves no better a Name) if you can engage him from
   yourself to mark on the Perusal such Slips of Language, as he
   thinks I have fallen into in this Volume, it will be a great
   Obligation to me: I mean that I shall lie under an Obligation to
   you: For I would not willingly owe any to him. (26)

Having presumably obtained the favour from Mallet, Millar received a further request from Hume: 'I am very glad that Mr Mallet has mark'd those Expressions, which appear'd Scotticisms. You cou'd not do me a greater Pleasure, than to procure me a list of them'. (27) In this light, there is some irony in the fact of Hailes's poking fun at Mallet for changing his name to suit English ears and tongues. However, this is indicative of the sort of tension Scots seemed to experience in trying to conform without appearing to capitulate cravenly to English norms. Tacking a course between the Scylla of being caught out in the ignorance of provincial utterance and the Charybdis of being too smooth and 'High English' must have been wearing on the nerves--either failure brought with it ridicule and sometimes contempt.

Although Hailes expressed regret for his 'malice' towards Mallet whilst Boswell blustered on, his repentance happened to come in the wake of -and perhaps was entirely due to--a public censure: Hailes had been roundly scolded by the Critical Review in an otherwise very favourable notice of his Memorials and Letters (28) (in which the original slight against Mallet had appeared) in October 1762:

   We entertain the greatest respect for Sir David Dalrymple, but we
   cannot pass over an incivility, shewn to a gentleman no less
   respectable than himself in point of erudition and genius; we mean
   the contemptuous manner in which he has thought proper to spell a
   certain gentleman's name ... Surely Mr. M--ought to be allowed a
   decisive judge in the orthography of a word of two syllables only,
   in which he certainly has more concern than any other person! If a
   sarcasm was intended, it shews less liberality than we should
   expect from a scholar and a gentleman. (29)

If any publication was prone to have noted and reproved a snipe at Mallet, it was the Critical Review. Its editor at this time was fellow literary Scot, Tobias Smollett, and at least one scholar has suggested that Mallet himself may have been one of the founding editors. (30) Boswell, as we have seen, also believed Mallet to have been an occasional contributor to its pages, an assumption in which he was correct.

In a letter to Boswell a few weeks later than the one first quoted, Hailes enquires: 'Pray who are ye authors of ye Critical Review, it grows worse & worse'. (31) Although his reputation as a strictly fair and impartial man is well deserved, we could be forgiven for suspecting here that Hailes was still smarting a little from the Critical Review's recent rebuke. Further down the page he tells Boswell: 'We had Alfred lately, & a most notable Burlesque of [y.sup.e] last scene. Rule Britannia was sung by a squeaking girl, & that there might be a chorus King Alfred was forced to exert his lungs'. Again, it is difficult to resist the speculation that Hailes's reaction to the performance may have been coloured by the 'Malloch' affair which he so obviously wanted to put behind him.

The famous 'Douglas Cause' was to provide a final, incidental source of conflict between Mallet and Hailes, with Boswell once again in the picture. Hailes was one of the judges who heard this inheritance case in the Court of Session in 1767--and it was one which deeply aroused the passions of the general populace. The fabulously rich Duke of Douglas had died childless in 1761, and left his entire estate to his sister's son, Archibald. But there was doubt about Archibald's true parentage. His mother, Lady Jane Douglas, had claimed he was one of twin boys born to her at the age of fifty in Paris. But counsel acting for the Hamiltons accused (the by now deceased) Lady Jane and her husband of buying two French children and passing them off as their own, so as to ensure they would inherit the Douglas estates which would otherwise revert to the Hamilton family. Each side in the case compiled huge dossiers of evidence to prove their claim, but the darling of the people was young Archibald.

Several of the judges who heard the case had previously been engaged to give their legal advice to one side or the other, and most cast their verdicts on that side. But in his youth Lord Hailes, who had counselled the Hamiltons before becoming a judge, had also been a great admirer and friend of the beautiful Lady Jane, when he was a student in Utrecht in 1745-47. In February 1747 Lady Jane wrote from Utrecht to a Mrs. Carse: 'I could also say a great many advantageous things of Mr. Hay and Mr. Dalrymple, who have a great deal of merit, excellent good sense, mighty good scholars, and are both equally free of all vice with the other ... I must add, that Mr. Dalrymple, your neighbour Sir James's son, has employed his time well, and has acquired much learning of all kinds'. (32) Boswell, in whose compilation of Lady Jane's letters this appears, adds in a footnote to Hailes's name: 'My Lady little thought, at this time, that Mr. Dalrymple should one day sit in judgement upon her'. (33) Boswell was a wildly enthusiastic and energetic supporter of the claim of Lady Jane's supposed son Archibald to the Douglas estate.

It so happened that the late duke's widow Margaret had employed David Mallet as one of her commissioners in support of her nephew Archibald's claim. In the course of his work for the cause Mallet travelled to Paris in 1764, but he had to return home ill the next year and died shortly afterwards. (34) Mallet appears as a signatory to the deposition of several witnesses in France in the published Proof for the Douglas party in the case. (35)

Lord Hailes heard the case in the Court of Session in 1767, all fifteen judges sitting together. Hailes had cast his vote, with great personal regret, against Archibald's claim, on the grounds that Lady Jane's credibility was very much to be doubted: 'She had not that sacred regard to truth which she ought to have had ... When it suited her conveniency she did not hesitate to assert what I wish I could find a gentler name for than untruth'. (36) Later he expressed the reluctance with which he arrived at this conclusion in the words of Virgil's AEneas to Dido: 'Unwillingly, O Queen, did I leave your shores'. (37) The Court's judgement--a bare majority verdict for the Hamilton side--was deeply unpopular in Edinburgh, and when it was overturned by the House of Lords in 1769 there was general rejoicing which spilled over into rioting. The President of the Court of Session, who had placed the casting vote in 1767, was jostled by the mob in his sedan chair. When Hailes heard this he was in court and, thinking that the President was being lynched, boldly called on his fellow judges to go out with him to confront the mob and be prepared to share the President's fate. As it happened, the President escaped unscathed. That night the mob (probably led by Boswell) broke the windows of those who had not put a light in them to celebrate the verdict, and several judges including Hailes himself were in danger of having their doors broken down. Despite this, Hailes would not permit his window to be lit. (38)

Mallet's death in the service of a cause which it cost Hailes dear to oppose would have been a fitting coda to their antagonistic history. But although this drew a close to their public antipathy, in private Hailes never quite let the matter drop. The following passage, from April 1783, in Boswell's Life of Johnson, brings the episode full circle:

   Lord Hailes had sent [Johnson] a present of a curious little
   printed poem, on repairing the University of Aberdeen, (39) by
   David Malloch, which he thought would please Johnson, as affording
   clear evidence that Mallet had appeared even as a literary
   character by the name of Malloch; his changing which to one of
   softer sound, had given Johnson occasion to introduce him into his
   Dictionary, under the article Alias. (40)

It would appear from this that Mallet's behaviour still 'picqued' Hailes enough--a full twenty years after his initial poke at him in print (and Hailes's subsequent reprimand from the Critical Review)--to take some pleasure in passing on this intelligence to Johnson. And yet, from what we can know of him from surviving correspondence and the character sketches left to us by his contemporaries, Hailes was far from being a vindictive man. Rather than being evidence of a grudge-bearing streak in Hailes's character, his tenacity in exposing 'Malloch' beyond the grave may instead be more indicative of the prickly, antagonistic relations between Scottish writers of the time, anxious to be taken seriously by English audiences, but without betraying their patrimony and incurring their compatriots' contempt. (41)


(1) See for example T. Ahnert & S. Manning (eds), Character, Self, and Sociability in the Scottish enlightenment (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

(2) Yale Boswell Collection, MS C1414.

(3) Boswell to Hailes, February 1764 (Yale Boswell Collection, MS L5 97); author's translation.

(4) I share with Robert L. Betteridge ('"I may perhaps have said this": Samuel Johnson and Newhailes Library', Scottish Literary Review, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2014, pp. 81-90) strong doubts concerning whether Johnson ever praised Hailes's enormous library at his grand suburban retreat of Newhailes as 'the most learning drawing room in Europe'; more than that, it seems almost certain from Hailes's correspondence with Boswell, and Boswell's own account of the dinner in his journal, that Johnson never visited that house at all, instead dining at Hailes's Edinburgh residence in New Street off the Canongate.

(5) In fact, it was in the first abridgement of Johnson's A dictionary of the English language ... Abstracted from the folio edition, by the author Samuel Johnson (London, 1756) that Mallet first makes an appearance under 'alias': 'A Latin word, signifying otherwise; as, Mallet alias Malloch'. In the folio edition, the reference was to criminals who change their names to protect their identities, which makes the insertion of Mallet all the more pointed. In defence of Mallet's abandonment of his family name, it appears that his father had been the first of their line to assume the name Malloch, and that he had done so only when forced to abandon his own surname, as Samuel Johnson himself relates: 'He was by his original one of the Macgregors, a clan that became, about sixty years ago, under the conduct of Robin Roy, so formidable and so infamous for violence and robbery, that the name was annulled by a legal abolition; and when they were all to denominate themselves anew, the father, I suppose, of this author called himself Malloch'. The Lives of the English Poets (London, 1779), vol. 3, p. 304. See also Sandro Jung's David Mallet, Anglo-Scot: Poetry, Patronage, and Politics in the Age of Union (New Jersey, 2008), pp. 18-20, for a political account of the name change.

(6) Johnson records the story that Mallet had tricked David Garrick into playing the eponymous hero of Alfred by disingenuous flattery (Lives of the English Poets, vol. 3, p. 307). He also asserts on the same page that Mallet almost completely rewrote Alfred for performance at Drury Lane which, if true, takes much of the power out of Hailes's complaint on Thomson's behalf.

(7) This was not the first time Hailes had recorded irritation at one of Mallet's works. In his commonplace book for 1746-56 (National Library of Scotland, MS 25423), he objected to one of Mallet's slights against Dutch literary taste and accomplishment in a line of the latter's Of Verbal Criticism. Hailes had studied law for several fondly-remembered years in Utrecht, and was directly responsible for James Boswell's choice of the same city for his legal studies 1763-64); his loyalty to the Dutch was personal.

(8) Irma S. Lustig, '"Donaus," "Donaides," and David Malloch: A Reply to Dr. Johnson', Modern Philology, Vol. 76, No. 2 (November 1978), pp. 149-62: n., pp. 149-50.

(9) Critical strictures on the new tragedy of Elvira, written by Mr. David Malloch (London, 1763).

(10) Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (ed. Birkbeck-Hill & Powell, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), vol. I, p. 408.

(11) Ibid.

(12) Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, vol. II, p. 159.

(13) Op. cit., p. 15.

(14) The OED cites this passage as the first known appearance of this French word ('Thoughtlessness, carelessness, blundering') in English. Boswell went on to use it in future correspondence with Lord Hailes: 'Goldsmith's peculiarity was a kind of Irish Etourderie which I cannot well describe'. (Boswell to Hailes, 7 May 1774, NLS MS 25295, ff. 25-26)

(15) F. A. Pottle (ed.), Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763 (Yale, 1950), p. 206. If Hume found Mallet irascible, he could find Mrs Mallet irksome. Mallet and his (second) wife Lucy were outspoken 'free-thinkers', and Mrs Mallet was wont to refer to her husband and herself as 'we deists'. According to one account, she used this term once when Hume was present, meaning to bring him under the epithet, but he 'refused the intended compliment, by asserting that he was a very good Christian; for the truth of which he appealed to a worth clergyman present; and this occasioned a laugh, which a little disconcerted the lady and Mr Mallet'. Thomas Davies, Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick (3rd edn, London, 1781, p. 60).

(16) Op. cit., p. 207.

(17) Ibid., p. 208.

(18) Ibid., p. 226.

(19) See Robert Hay Carnie, 'The Hume-Hailes Relationship', Eorum for Modern Language Studies 14: pp. 289-303 (1979).

(20) An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) was among the works republished together as Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. By David Hume, Esq; In four volumes (1753; vol III contained the Enquiry).

(21) NLS MS 25294, ff. 5-4: Hume to Hailes, 3 May 1753.

(22) Robert Ainsworth (1660-1743), lexicographer and schoolmaster, who wrote the authoritative Thesaurus linguae Latinae compendiarius, or, A compendious dictionary of the Tatin tongue, first published in 1736.

(23) NLS MS 25294, ff. 5-6: Hume to Hailes, 10 May 1753.

(24) For the story, see The Popular Scotish Biography: Being Lives of Eminent Scotsmen, (Edinburgh, 1841), pp. 20-21.

(25) Johnson clearly thought that Hume needed the help (Sept. 1769): 'I [Boswell] told him that David Hume had made a short collection of Scotticisms. 'I wonder, (said Johnson,) that he should find them'. Life of Samuel Johnson, vol. II, p. 72.

(26) Hume to Millar, 22 September 1756, J. Y. T. Greig, The Letters of David Hume, vol. 1 (Oxford, 1932), p. 233.

(27) Hume to Millar, 4 December 1756, The Letters of David Hume, vol. 1, p. 236.

(28) Memorials and Letters relating to the History of Britain in the Reign of James the First (Glasgow, 1762). The four references to 'Malloch' (pp. 29, 32, 46 & 51) are all footnotes to letters from Francis Bacon omitted from Mallet's Life of Bacon. In the second edition of the same Memorials (Glasgow, 1766), rather than rectify the spelling of Mallet's name, Hailes dropped all reference to him altogether.

(29) The Critical Review: or Annals of Literature ... Volume the Fourteenth, (London, 1763), p. 311.

(30) E. S. Noyes (ed.), The Letters of Tobias Smollett (Cambridge, Mass., 1926), p. 148.

(31) Hailes to Boswell, 31 March 1763, Yale Boswell Collection, MS C1417.

(32) James Boswell, Letters of the Right Honourable Lady Jane Douglas; with several other important pieces of private correspondence (London, 1767), p. 8.

(33) Ibid.

(34) James Sambrook, 'Mallet, David (1701/27-176;)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

(35) Proof for A rchibald Douglas of Douglas, Esquire, defender; in the cause, the Duke of Hamilton, Lord Douglas Hamilton, and Sir Hew Dalrymple, against him (Edinburgh, 1766).

(36) From Hailes's judgement in The speeches and judgement of the Right Honourable the Lords of Council and Session in Scotland, upon the important cause, His Grace George-James Duke of Hamilton and others, pursuers; against Archibald Douglas, Esq; Defender. Accurately taken down and published by William Anderson Writer in Edinburgh. (Edinburgh, 1768) pp. 380 & 382.

(37) Hailes to Boswell, 30 September 1767: '[I]f you make a motto to my speech ... pray let it be: Invitus Regina, tuo de littore cessi'. (University of Yale Boswell Collection, C1435).

(38) Boswell's father seems to have come to hear of his son's involvement through Hailes, who tried--unsuccessfully--not to believe that Boswell had been the ringleader of 'one of ye greatest insults that has been committed': see Hailes to Boswell, 4 March 1767 (Yale Boswell Collection, C1439).

(39) For this poem, 'Donaides', see Lustig (op. cit.).

(40) Life of Johnson, vol. IV, pp. 216-17.

(41) I am grateful to Prof. Gerard Carruthers and the anonymous reviewer of this paper for their suggestions and encouragement.

The National Trust for Scotland

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Author:McLean, Mark
Publication:Scottish Literary Review
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Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 22, 2014
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