INNES, THOMAS, the author of A Critical Essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of Scot land, was the second son of James Innes of Drumgask, in the parish of Aboyne, and co. of Aberdeen. He was b. at Drumgask in the.year 1662, and at the age of 15 was sent by his father, a zealous Roman Catholic, to be educated at the university of Paris. He was ordained priest in 1691, and took his degree as master of arts in 1694. He con tinued in France for some years, discharging his ecclesiastical duties, and assisting his elder brother, Lewis, principal of the Scots college at Paris, in arranging the valua ble records which had been deposited there by James Beaton, the last Roman Catholic archbishop of Glasgow. In 1698 Innes returned to Scotland, and officiated as a mission ary priest at luveravon, in the old diocese of Murray. He again went to Paris in 1701, and passed the rest of his life at the Scots college, with the exception of one or more visits which he made to Britain. The great object of his life was to write the true his tory of Scotland, and to refute the fabulous narratives which had been hitherto gen erally received by his countrymen. The latter part of his task was fully accomplished by his Critical Essay, which eras published at, London in 1729, in 2 vols. He had pre pared himself for the work by a careful study of all the materials which lie could find in the libraries of France, and of the books, whether printed or in manuscript, which he was able to consult during his journeys to England and Scotland. In the winter of 1724 he was seen by Wodrow, who had one feeling at least in common with him, and who thus refers to him in his A.nalecta: "There is one father limes, a priest, brother to father Innes of the Scots college at Paris, who has been in Edinburgh all this winter,' and mostly in the advocates library in the hours when open, looking at books and manu scripts. He is not engaged in politics, so far as can be guessed; and is a monkish, book ish person, who meddles with nothing but literature." In the Critical Essay, Innes examined the authorities on which depended what was then generally received as the his tory of Scotland, and showed how little reliance was to be placed upon them. But not
content with ovefthrowing fable, he pointed out what the true history was, and where it was to be found. The difficulties in the way of this inquiry were very great. Even at the present (lay, when most of the materials for Scottish history have been printed, it is no easy matter for the student to examine them. In Innes's time they were for the most part in manuscripts, whose very existence was unknown except to a few antiquaries. Every subsequent writer on this pot tion of Scottish history has admitted the high merit and the practical usefulness of Innes's work. He gave his ready assistance to all who were engaged in pursuits similar to his own. particularly to bishop Keith in his History of Scotland and his Catalogue of Scottish Bishops, and to Dr. Wilkins in his Conci:ia .ilfog me Britannia? et Hibernia. To this last work he also contributed a valuable letter on the ancient form of ho!ding synods in Scotland. Iimes died at Paris on Jan. 28, 1744, in the 82d year of his age. The Critical Essay has now become a comparatively scarce work, but has never been, reprinted: It was intended by its author to be an introduction to a Civil and of Scotland. One volume of this History was prepared by its author for the press, extending from the introduction of Christianity to the death of St. Columba in 597; and another volume was also left in an incomplete state, bringimr_ down the narrative to the year 821. The whole was printed in one volume by the Spal ding club in 1853, under the editorship of Mr. Grub. Imperfect as it is, it forms a valu able addition to our historical literature, being distinguished by the same learning, acute ness, and moderation for which the Critical Essay is so remarkable. As has recently been observed, Its author loved truth better even than he loved his church. A fun biographical notice of lanes, and an account of his various works, will be found in the preface to his Cied and Ecclesiastical History.