Craufurd, David, Esq.

was born at Drumsoy near Glasgow, 1665, and brought up to the law; but seldom went to the bar, his taste being confined to history and antiquities, in which he made very great progress. He was appointed historiographer-royal of Scotland by queen Anne, and it was at that time thought that no man ever deserved that place better. In 1706 he published, 8vo, “Memoirs of Scotland” during the times of the four regents, which has gone through two editions. The “Peerage,” and “History of the Stuart Family,” attributed to him in the last edition of this Dictionary, belong to George Crawfurd, of whom we have no account; but, perhaps, with more reason, the Biographia Dramatica attributes to him two plays, “Courtship Alamode,1700, and “Love at first Sight,1704. He is said to have died at Drumsoy, 1726.

Crawfurd’s “Memoirs” have hitherto been held in considerable estimation, and frequently quoted as authorities; but a discovery has lately been made which proves him to Jiave been in one instance at least, shamefully regardless | of veracity, and has procured him the disgrace of being “the first Scotchman who published his own compositions as the genuine productions of a former age.” This discovery was made by Mr. Laing, the editor of “The Historic and Life of king James the sext,” published in 1804, 8vo. He informs us that in Crawfurd’s “Memoirs of the Affairs of Scotland,” references occur to a ms. in support of certain positions, which includes nothing that in the least countenances them, and the above “Historic,” printed from that identical ms. amply confirms this heavy charge, “the earliest, if not the most impudent literary furgery ever practised in Scotland.” Every circumstance in the ms. unfavourable either to queen Mary or to Bothwell, or favourable to their adversaries, Crawford carefully suppressed; while every vague assertion in Camden, Spottiswood, Melvill, and others, or in the state papers which Crawfurd had transcribed from the Cotton Mss. is inserted in the Memoirs; and these writers are quoted on the margin as collateral authorities, confirming the evidence of some unknown contemporary. Fictions, invented by Crawfurd himself, are profusely intermixed: and even the illdigested form of the genuine narrative is a pretext for the transposition and alteration of facts. Crawfurd, having thus, on the narrow basis of the original ms. constructed spurious memoirs of his own, “declares solemnly that he has not wrested any of the words to add to one man’s credit, or to impair the honesty of another: that he has neither heightened nor diminished any particular character or action; but that he has kept as close as possible to the meaning and sense of his author;” and even in his titlepage professes that the work “is faithfully published from an authentic manuscript.” The Memoirs, adds the editor of the “Historic,” have been quoted as genuine by Hume and Robertson, and their authority has been re-echoed by disputants as a full confirmation of the most absolute fictions. Nor is it possible to acquit Goodall of connivance at the fraud: he had collated the memoirs with two copies of the original ms. and was conscious of the imposture, which, in the preface to the second edition, he endeavours partly to vindicate, and partly to conceal. 1


From the preceding edition of this Dictionary, all the errors of which we are afraid we have not been able to correct.—See also Mr. Laing’s pieface to the above-mentioned “Historie;” an ingenious article on the same in the British Critic, vol. XXVIII.; and Laing’s “History of Scotland.