(548) Now first collected.
I am sorry, dear Sir, that I must give you unanswerable reasons why I cannot print the work you recommend.(550) I have been so much solicited since I set up my press to employ it for others, that I was forced to make it a rule to listen to no such applications. I refused Lord Hardwicke to print a publication of his; Lady Mary Forbes, to print letters of her ancestor, Lord Essex; and the Countess of Aldborough, to print her father’s poems, though in a piece as small as what you mention.
These I recollect at once, besides others whose recommendations do not immediately occur to my memory; though I dare to say they do remember them, and would resent my breaking my rule. I have other reasons which I will not detail now, as the post goes out so early: I will only beg you not to treat me with so much ceremony, nor ever use the word humbly to me, who am in no ways entitled to such respect.
One private gentleman is not superior to another in essentials: I fear the virtues of an untainted young heart are preferable to those of an old man long conversant with the world; and in the soundness of understanding you have shown and will show a depth which has not fallen to the lot of Your sincere humble servant.
(549) Now first collected.
(550) it is impossible to say with certainty what is the work here alluded to; but most Probably, it was Ailred’s Life of St. Ninian of which it appears, from a letter from the Rev. Rogers Ruding, dated August 4, 1785, that Mr. Pinkerton obtained at this time a transcript through him from the manuscript in the Bodleian Library. Pinkerton speaks of this manuscript, in the second volume of his Early Scottish History, p. 266, as “a meagre piece, containing very little as to Ninian’s Pikish Mission.” The letter alluded to from Mr, Ruding, shows Pinkerton to have turned his mind to the antiquities of Scotland with great earnestness.-D. T.