The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 11. Watsons Philip II
Another history, which may have been “on the stocks” in Scotland in 1770, is Robert Watson’s History of the Reign of Philip II, published in two volumes in 1777, the year of its author’s promotion as principal of St. Salvator’s college, St. Andrews. It contains a full and careful account of the revolt of the Netherlands, derived from van Meteren, Bentivoglio and Grotius, but its comparatively scanty notices of other Spanish affairs and of the foreign policy of Philip II are unsatisfactory. Watson’s style is similar, though inferior to Robertson’s: his sentences are generally well balanced, but some are less skilfully constructed; he is verbose, and, though his narrative shows a perception of the things which appeal to the emotions, it lacks emotional expression. Horace Walpole greatly admired his book, which passed through several editions and was translated into French, German and Dutch. At the time of his death in 1781, Watson was engaged on a History of Philip III, which was completed by William Thomson, a prolific Scottish writer.