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The following Review first appeared in the pages of the Christian Instructor, a religious periodical, under the editorship of the late celebrated Dr Andrew Thomson of Edinburgh. It extended over the numbers of that periodical for January, February, and March 1817.
From the Life of Dr M‘Crie, it appears that he was induced to undertake the task of reviewing the Tales of My Landlord, by his ardent and energetic friend, the editor, who urged him not to spare the author; to praise his Scotch, but reprobate his principles with all his might.
Our reviewer entered on his task con amore, and produced a critique which excited at the same time the liveliest sensation. In the Tale of Old Mortality, “The Great Unknown” had intruded into ground still held sacred in Scotland, and represented the heroes of the Covenant as little better than madmen, fanatics, and cutthroats. He had besides employed all the charms of his pen to throw an air of attractive romance around the character of Claverhouse, the bitter persecutor of the Covenanters, who, from the deep share he took in the sanguinary proceedings of that unhappy period, was long held in abhorrence throughout Scotland, under the designation of “ Bloody Claverse.” In the judgment of the Scottish public, the Review was held to be a complete refutation of the historical misstatements of the novelist, and a successful vindication of the vilified Covenanters. But it has been remarked, “it was something more than this in the eyes of Scott and his admirers, for it attacked him with a strength of wit and power of sarcasm that threatened to turn the laugh against himself, and foil him at his own chosen weapon.” As the authorship of the Tales was then more than suspected, so that of the