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his superior in the minutiæ of the Latin grammar. His reputation for scholarship did not, however, appear to have been in any degree compromised by his defeat ; and in the next vacancy he was elected by the magistrates without any second examinations having been required.

This appointment was rather desirable to Beattie, on account of its placing him in the midst of a literary so. ciety, and affording him an easy access to books, than from the prospect of its pecuniary emoluments. He had not been long in possession of this situation when he committed his first volume of poems to the press. They were admired by his friends and much praised by the English Reviews; but they did not satisfy the matured taste and judgment of their author. He, indeed, formed a correct estimation of its merits. It was decidedly unworthy his abilities; and was not calculated to increase the reputation, which he had, even in that early period of his life, acquired for talent and accomplishment. With the exception of four short poems, which, after considerable correction, he was induced to admit among the number of his poetical works, he was solicitous to erase every trace of these early effusions from the public mind. He bought up every copy of the volume which he had an opportunity of procuring; and seemed to consider the publication of it as so discreditable a stain on the fair and brilliant page of his literary life, that he is reported never to have informed his children of the existence of this his first, juvenile, and renounced production.

In the same year with the appearance of the above mentioned work, 1761, he was appointed, by the king's patent, professor of philosophy to the university. His department embraced both moral philosophy and logic, and it acquired a peculiar interest in the mind of Beattie, from its conferring on him the task of delivering the last course of instruction which the pupils received in the university, pre. vious to their exchanging the tranquil studies of their college for the active competitions of the world. This preferment was sudden and unexpected; and, at the age of twentyfive, he began to deliver to his pupils a course of lectures on those vast, important, and comprehensive subjects, which only the greatest minds are capable of entertaining in all their bearings and relations, and which, of all others, re. quire the greatest vigour, and animation, and liveliness of style to render them striking and attractive. It is evident, however, that these topics had long been familiar with his thoughts, that he brought to the professor's chair a rich store of information, which might readily be wrought and moulded to the required purpose : and such was the diligence of his application, that, in the period of a very few years, he not only completed such a course of lectures on moral philosophy and logic, as most richly answered the splendid expectations which his friends and patrons bad formed of his abilities; but prepared those invaluable works by which the name of Beattie would rank among the highest class of prose writers, though it had never been distin. guished on the list of poets.

In 1785 he produced a poem entitled “The Judgment of Paris.' It is found in the 'Scottish Magazine;' and is, perhaps, as well worthy of revival as some of his minor pieces. His friend and biographer, Sir William Forbes, has thought fit not to include this effort of his muse in the collection of his works. The subsequent year was marked by the public cation of some lines. On the Proposal for erecting a Monument to Churchill, in Westminster Abbey.' They have neither beauty nor dignity to recommend them; and are disgraced by an unredeemed bitterness of feeling and expression, which it was not generous to exercise against the dead. Churchill was a bad man, and a dishonour to the church of which he was a minister. If virtue had been essential to securing him a memorial among the distinguished characters whose names live on the venerable walls of West. minster, his advocates would have found themselves destitute of any just pretence for his admission; but that distinction has been conferred on talent, without any reference to morals; to the celebrity of genius, and not to purity of life ; and the friends of Churchill might without presumption have conceived that he merited by the force and energy of his verses, an honour merely literary, which had been conferred on many who were as much his inferiors in intellectual power as they surpassed him in profaneness and debauchery. That Beattie should have thought it right to resist the proposition, cannot be considered a matter of surprise. It is well to render the highest honours that the living can be. stow upon the dead, as pure in thei distribution as they are likely to be eagerly desired, to circumscribe their applica

tion, to confer them only upon those who have exhibited the union of talent and virtue ; and thus, as it were, by sanctifying the recompenses of ambition, to ensure the wise and salutary direction of those endowments of which the candidates for such distinctions may be possessed. But there were other ways of uttering his remonstrances, besides the satirizing the memory of one who bad been suffi. ciently punished for the intemperance of his life, and the virulence of his writings, in the poverty, the disease, the failure of ability, and the ignominy that awaited his decline of days; and Beattie should not have outraged the gentleness of his own character to libel the libeller; and to imitate one of the weightiest crimes of Churchill, under the pretence of visiting it with chastisement which was its due. These lines were also very wisely rejected by Sir William Forbes; for why retain that which it is not creditable to have written, and not interesting to read?

In 1770, the celebrated • Essay on Truth' was first presented to the public. It was written with a view to ascertain the standard of truth, and explain its immutability. It was his object to shew that his opinions, however contrary to the genius of scepticism, and inconsistent with the principles and the practice of infidel writers, were agreeable with the genius of true philosophy, and the principles and practice of those who are on all hands acknowledged to have been most successful in the pursuit of truth. He concludes by laying down the rules by which the fallacies of the infidel philosophy may be detected by every person of comnwn sense, though he may not possess that acuteness of metaphysical knowledge, which might fit him for the refutation of such errors. This essay met with the highest possible success; it was translated into several foreign lavguages: its author was presented with an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the university of Oxford. He was, on his arrival in England, introduced to the first literary society of the mea tropolis, and received as the friend of Burke, of Porteus, of Johnson, and of all that renowned fraternity of genius, by which the time was so preeminently distinguished. He was honoured by an interview with his sovereign, from whom he received the warmest tribute of admiration, and a pension of two hundred a-year; and he was requested by Sir Joshua Reynolds to sit for his portrait, in which that

celebrated painter has mingled the highest eulogy of his subject with the most splendid exhibition of his skill as an artist, and represented Beattie surrounded by a group of allegorical figures, among whom the demon of falsehood is discovered as flying before the genius of truth. Perhaps the strongest argument that can be adduced for allowing the unrestrained publication of infidel works, may be derived from effects produced by the publication of Hume's Essays. How few have been really seduced from their dependance on the gospel by those cold and elaborate disquisitions! how many thousands have been confirmed in faith by the ' Evidences' of Paley, and the Essay on Truth' of Beattie, which would most probably never have been undertaken but for the publication of them ! Beattie has been accused of treating Hume with too much asperity in his writings, and of speaking of the propriety of excluding him from civil society. How far such an expulsion might have been deserved as an act of justice to a man, who, after declaring in one his Essays that the writer who 'disabused mankind of their reliance on a future state would deserve ill of his country,' composed an elaborate essay against the immortality of the soul, and incurred the reproach which he had himself denounced, I will not take upon my. self to decide ; but to speak of a man thus acting against his principles, and condemned by his own sentence, without expressing the deepest indignation, argues an excess of com. placency that must astonish the characteristic stoicism of philosophy herself. If Beattie has not spoken of the blas. phemies of Hume with the gentleness that is thought decorous, it is to be regretted. It is desirable to gain so com. plete a mastery over every natural affection, as to be even able to discuss the calumnies that falsehood and malevolence may raise against one's parent or one's God, without being conscious of any warmer feeling than a desire of vindicating and asserting the truth ; but as long as the human heart is actuated by the warm current of the blood, it will be impossible for any one of an ordinary temperament to observe so frigid and unamiable a composure.

The ' Essay on Truth' was in the same year followed by the first book of the ‘Minstrel.' This poem first appeared without the name its author; but the beauties were immediately and justly appreciated. The second part was not published till 1774. “When Gray criticized the Minstrel, he objected to its author, that, after many stanzas, the description went on, and the narrative stopped. Beattie very justly answered to this remark, thathe meant the poem for description, not for incident. But he seems to have forgotten this proper apology, when he mentions, in one of his letters, his intention of producing Edwin in some subsequent books, in the cha. racter of a warlike bard, inspiring his countrymen to battle, and contributing to repel the invaders. This intention, if he ever seriously entertained it, might have produced some new kind of poem, but would have formed an incongruous counterpart to the piece as it now stands, which, as a picture of tranquil life, and a vehicle of contemplative morality, possesses a charm that is inconsistent with the bold evolutions of heroic narrative. After having pourtrayed his young enthusiast with such advantage in a state of visionary quiet, it would have been too violent a transition to have begun a new book, to surround him with dates of time, and names of places. The interest which we attach to Edwin's character would have been lost in a more ambitious effort to make him a greater, a more important, or a more locally defined being. It is the solitary growth of his genius, and his isolated and mystic abstraction from mankind, that fix our attention on the romantic features of that genius. The simplicity of his fate does not divert us from his mind to his circumstances. A more unworldly air is given to his character, that, instead of being tacked to the fate of kings, he was one “who envied not, who never thought of kings;" and that, instead of mingling with the troubles which deface the creation, he only existed to make his thoughts the mirror of its beauty and magnificence. Another English critic, Dr. Aiken, has blamed Edwin's vision of the fairies as too splendid and artificial for a simple youth; but there is nothing in the situation ascribed to Edwin, as he lived in minstrel days, that necessarily excluded such materials from his fancy. Had he beheld steam engines, or dock yards, in his sleep, the vision might have been pronounced to be too artificial ; but he might have heard of fairies, and their dances, and even of tapers, gold, and gems, from the ballads of his native country. In the second book of the poem, there are some fine stanzas ; but the author has taken Edwin from the school of nature,

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