Examines the contributions to rhetoric of Robert Watson (1730?-1781), Professor of Logic, Rhetoric, and Metaphysics at the University of St. Andrews from
1756-1778, and Principal from 1778-1781, based on surviving manuscript sources at St Andrews, and demonstrates the philosophic diversity in rhetorical theory at this time, showing differences among the Scottish literati on the epistemology of language and the origin of grammar, identifying some contrasts and connections between Watson and his near contemporaries Adam Smith, Hugh Blair, and George Campbell, and suggesting his distinctive place in the development of 18th century rhetoric and the history of English studies.