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Goodall, Walter (1706?-1766) (DNB00)

GOODALL, WALTER (1706?–1766), apologist of Mary Queen of Scots, was the eldest son of John Goodall, a farmer in Banffshire. He was educated at King's College, Old Aberdeen, which he entered in 1723, but left without taking a degree. In 1730 he obtained employment in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, and in 1735 became sub-librarian. He aided the principal librarian, Thomas Ruddiman, in the compilation of the catalogue of the library, printed in 1742, which has now been entirely superseded. In 1753 Goodall edited a new issue of the garbled ‘Memoirs of the Affairs of Scotland,’ originally published by David Crawford [q. v.] His interest in the ‘Memoirs’ arose from the favourable representation they contained of the career of Queen Mary. Goodall at this time purposed to write a life of Queen Mary, and as a preliminary published in 1754, in two volumes, an ‘Examination of the Letters said to be written by Mary Queen of Scots to James, Earl of Bothwell.’ The work may be regarded as the inauguration of the apologist epoch of the literature relating to the unhappy queen. It shows acuteness and diligence, and many of his arguments are still made to do service in vindication of Mary, although others have been discarded, and his researches have been supplemented by means of a more thorough examination, especially of the internal evidence bearing on the genuineness of the letters. In 1754 he also published an edition, with emendations, of Scot of Scotstarvet's ‘Staggering State of Scots Statesmen,’ and an edition of Sir James Balfour's ‘Practicks,’ with preface and life. He assisted Bishop Keith in the preparation of his ‘New Catalogue of Scottish Bishops,’ for which he supplied the preliminary account of the Culdees. The historical value of this dissertation is impaired by Goodall's violent national prejudices. Not content with endeavouring to deny that the Scotia of the early writers was Ireland, not Scotland, and that those first termed Scoti were really emigrants from Ireland, he affirmed that Ireland's other ancient name, Ierne, belonged also to Scotland. The ‘glacialis Ierne,’ which, according to Claudian, wept for her slain Scots, was in his opinion the brilliant and exquisite valley of Strathearn, the seat of an ancient Celtic earldom. Goodall published in 1759 an edition of Fordun's ‘Scotichronicon,’ with a Latin introduction on the antiquities of Scotland, and a dissertation on the marriage of Robert III. An English translation of the introduction appeared separately in 1769. Goodall died in poverty 28 July 1766.

[Scots Mag. xxviii. 390; Anderson's Scottish Nation; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. F. H.