Macfarlane, Robert

, a political and miscellaneous writer, was born in Scotland in 1734, and educated in the university of Edinburgh. He came to London at an early period of life, and for many years keptan academy of considerable reputation at Walthamstow. He was also much engaged in the political disputes at the beginning of the reign of his present majesty, and concentrated his sentiments on them, in a “History of the Reign of George III.” an octavo volume, which was published in 1770. A dispute occurring between him and his bookseller, the late Mr. Thomas Evans of Paternoster-row, the latter employed another person to continue the history, of which vol. II appeared in 1782, and vol. III. about 1794. Mr. Macfarlane being then reconciled to his employer, published a fourth volume. The whole is com-r piled from the journals of the day, and cannot, either in point of style or matter, entitle Mr. Macfarlane, or the other writers, to the character of historians. In early life, also, he was editor of the Morning Chronicle and London Packet, in which he gave the debates with great accuracy and at considerable length, and wrote many letters and papers under fictitious names, in favour of the politics of the opposition. Being an enthusiastic admirer of Ossian, and an assistant, as has been said, to Mr. Macpherson in the arranging and publishing of these poems, he conceived the | very preposterous design of translating them into Latin verse. Accordingly, in 176.9, he published “Temora,” as a specimen, and issued, at the same time, proposals for publishing the whole by subscription, in one volume, 4to: but few subscribers appearing, he desisted from his plan. During the latter years of his life, he resumed it, and was employed in it at the time of his death. Curiosity led him one evening to witness the triumphs of an electionmob coming from Brentford, when he fell under a carnage, and was so much hurt as to survive only half an hour. This happened on August 8. 1804. He had at this time in the press, an “Essay on the authenticity of Ossian and his Poems.

In 1797, Mr. Macfarlane published “An Address to the people of the British Empire, on the present posture and future prospect of public affairs,” by which it appears that he had got rid of most of his former political prejudices. He likewise formally disclaims the second and third volumes of the “History of George III.” and says, that even the first uas been so disfigured in a third edition, that he will no longer claim it as his own. In 1801, he published “George Buchanan’s Dialogue, concerning the rights of the crown of Scotland. Translated into English with two dissertations prefixed one archaeological, inquiring into the pretended identity of the Getes and Scythians, of the Getes and Goths, and of the Goths and Scots: and the other historical, vindicating the character of Buchanan as a historian: and containing some specimens of his poetry in English verse,” 8vo. In this work there is much curious discussion. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXIV. kc.