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(INSTITUTED 4TH SEPTEMBER, 1891.)
PUBLISHED BY THE BURNS FEDERATION, KILMARNOCK.
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KILMAURS, 1st December, 1903.
A SKETCH OF SCOTTISH LITERATURE
FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES.
HE eighteenth century is so far in advance of the seven
THE teenth, both in the quantity and quality of its literary
productions, that the work of condensation and summary is a somewhat difficult task. Nor are its literary productions so closely identified with poetry as was the case in the preceding centuries which have been touched upon. The philosophic thought which had made its influence felt in some other European countries a century earlier had just found a congenial habitat in Scottish soil, and claims a brief notice. It should be borne in mind, however, that philosophy was read and taught in the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, as far back as the fifteenth century; but as there was no demand for its professors in their native country, they usually found their way to the Continent, hence their influence in philosophical speculation and scientific investigation became assimilated with the learning and thought of Europe. The story of the Scottish philosopher abroad, however, is a subject apart from our present one, and seems rather to belong to the history of Europe.
The theological polemics which were born of the Reformation and had dominated the minds of Scotsmen during the greater part of the seventeenth century, to the exclusion of nearly every other form of thought, had at least the merit of preparing the Scottish mind for the reception of philosophy. With the Revolution of 1688 peace was restored to Scotland, and with it came a more favourable opportunity for study and reflection