Malcolm Laing (1762-1818)
Malcolm Laing was a historian and advocate from Stronsay in Orkney.
Following the death in 1793 of the historian Robert Henry, Laing completed Henry’s unfinished ‘History of Great Britain’. His own work, ‘The history of Scotland, from the Union of the Crowns on the accession of King James VI to the throne of England, to the Union of the Kingdoms in the reign of Queen Anne’ (1800) is notable for the inclusion of a dissertation on the Ossianic poems. This essay was very critical of the poems, and questioned their authenticity.
In 1805, Laing edited a new illustrated edition of the poems with extensive notes and annotations indicating his view that the poems were forgeries.