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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

XII. Historians

§ 9. Historical works of Sir David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes)

The character of the historical work of Sir David Dalrymple or Lord Hailes, the title he took as a Scottish judge (1766), was determined by professional instinct. He edited two small volumes of documents belonging respectively to the reigns of James I and Charles I, and compiled Annals of Scotland from the Accession of Malcolm III to the Accession of the House of Stewart, in two volumes (1776, 1779). This book contains an accurate and bare record of events, impartially stated, supported by references to authorities, and illustrated in footnotes and appendixes. Hailes, though one of the Select Society, was more closely connected with Johnson than with his fellow members. Johnson read the proofs of the Annals and praised its “stability of dates” and its “punctuality of citation,” though it had not “that painted form which is the taste of the age”—a hit at Robertson—but also aptly described it as a “Dictionary” containing “mere dry particulars.” Hailes’s attack on gibbon is noticed in the next chapter.