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Reflections on a Stand of HACKNEY dragged along, what reflections must COACHES.
not occur! You will observe the no. By SIR JOHN SINCLAIR.
blest of our domestic animals, redu. THER "HERE is no situation which ced, probably from a state of ease,
of furnishes more ample room for comfort, and of luxury, to the most reflection, than where a stand of hack- miserable of all situations; kept al. ney coaches, and all the incidents most perpetually in harness; exposed, connected therewith, can for some unsheltered, to all the vicissitudes of time be contemplated. A volume the seasons ; living on scanty fare ; might be written upon the subject. forced by stripes to exert himself beI shall confinę myself to a few par- yond his strength ; and at last perticulars, which must strike even the ishing, at a premature age, unknown most careless observer.
and unpiricd. Alas! how similar, When a stand is full, what a va. at the same time, to the lot of a mariety of characters appear among the jority of the human species. coachmen! You will see one sleep- If from them our attention should ing on his box, another drinking be directed to the coach itself, what a with the waterman, a third feeding source of contemplation! What art his horses, a fourth cleaning his car. has not been employed in the conriage, and a fifth watching with an.. struction ;- what ingenuity in adjusxiety and eagerness to catch the ap- ting the different parts, and combinproaching passengers. The person ing them together ;-what taste was who is foremost on the stand is in displayed in its original formation, general first employed, but how often in the elegant paintings with which it is it that the most active attracts the was adorned, in the emblazoning of carliest notice, and is preferred to the almost-faded arms, in the decohis more careless neighbours. Is it ration of the proud supporters ! How not the same in other situations; and taudıy and unfashionable does it now can there be a better rule to go by, appear! and, after all, what is human for obtaining success in other profes- life, but a coach! At first, it is strong sions, besides that of a hackney and powerful, and capable of surcoachman, than to adopt activity for mounting, without difficulty, the
roughest roads, or any other obstacle The regular order in which the it has to encounter. generation of coaches, (if I may be riod of its youth, it is splendidly 07allowed that expression,) arrive at, namented, and attracts the admiraand depart from, their respective' tion of all beholders. It gradually places, is an exact emblem of the falls off, old age creeps on ; first one progress of human life. One is cal. wheel gives way, then another; its led off the moment it arrives, another springs are broken down, the maremains an hour unnoticed : one gets chine itself rapidly decays, it becomes a good job, another goes but a short an object of neglect, and is thrown distance, and is paid buť a trifle : aside to perish. one is fortunate to-cay, another to- If from the coaches, we turn our
The whole is a lottery, eyes to the passengers who hire them like that of human life, where the fate from time to time, what a variety of of each is diversified according to a reflections must not strike the mind. thousand accidents.
The same carriage conveys sometimes If from these topics, the attention the wrangling pleader, at other times is directed to the unfortunate beings the thoughtful citizen; sometimes by whom these carriages are heavily the gay Adonis to the midnight ball,
your maxim ?
In the gay pe.
at other times the devout methodist ducted. I regard the case to which to church : sometimes it is filled with I allude as an aberration from the the old, sometimes with the young; path of impartial criticism which the sometimes with the sick, sometimes conductors of that Journal are wont with the healthy ; sometiines with to tread ; but it is an aberration from thie voracious epicure, hastening to a whence they must be recalled, and for luxurious banquet, at other times which they deserve a chastisement with a miserable corpse, for whom a fully as severe as they have ever them. grave is already prepared, to receive selves inflicted upon any literary de. its lifeless tenant.
linquent. In short, if any man wishes to be In the Number for July, there is a a true philosopher, let him resolve, to criticiem on the work lately presentcontemplate a Stand of Coaches. ed to the world by Sir William Forbes,
“ An account of the life and writ. Vindication of DR BEATTIE from an
ings of Dr James Beattie." Towards Attack in the LITERARY JOURNAL.
the conclusion of the paper, the fol
lowing passages occur : To the Editor.
“ The letters in the present collecSIR,
tion, which we think the most excepI Am a constant and attentive reader tionable, both in matter and manner,
of the Review published in Loi are those, or at least a considerable don, known by the name of The Li- part of those to the Duchess of Gortera y Journal.” The conductors of don. From some notion of gallanit appear to possess as much learning try, or from having been in an extraand talent as any other class of lite ordinary degree flattered by the at. rary journalists in Britain, and they tentions of that distinguished lady, seeni to be animated by a spirit of there is an overstraining in his letters liberality, which is not the less con. to her which is any thing but gracespicuous in them, that it is a vir- ful. After enjoying the company of tue by no common among her Grace during a long visit at Gore their biethren. Their principles, don Castle, we could have heartily as far as I can pretend to judge, are sympathised with the Professor telcorrect in the leading characteristics ing her, in his first letter, that he had of opinion : their politics are those felt much regret in parting from such of independent men, of intelligent company, and such a place ; but friends to liberty ; their religion is who can bear to hear Dr Beattie sayrational: and the morality which they ing, that he had wept copiously on inculcate and support, is of that kind such an occasion,” &c. which must have the approbation of “ Those who are acquainted with every pure heart, and every enlight. the character of the Duchess, or cned understanding. I mention thus even who have witnessed her career particularly my opinion of the gene. during a pretty long life will smile ral character of that collection of at the Doctor's fears expressed in the criticism, and its authors, because I following letter, [a letter is after. am about to lay before your readers wards quoted,] that she was becoman instance of gross misconduct in the ing too grave and serious, and at his exercise of their censorial functions, solemn advices to her, not to indulge and because I wish it to be under. in melancholy and religious books.” stood that I do not adduce that case 6 We have no doubt that the as an example of the ordinary way in light-hearted Duchess we h which “ the Literary Journal”? is con: a very hearty laugh with her compa.
nions on the receipt of this sagacious companied by a request to give it epistle. We the more regret a few publicity. I send you, therefore, the of these things, that they tend to following letter from Dr Laing, which confirm an impression which is very I know you will not hesitate to pub. general among the people about lish, particularly too, as he fears not Aberdeen, and which we have heard
to encounter any responsibility which frequently expressed, that the Doctor may be incurred by such a proceeddanced, or rather dangled attendance ing. upon the Duchess during the few
Peterhead, Oct. 3. 1806. years that she thought it worth her
DEAR SIR, while to attend to him, in a manner
On looking into the Litcrary not very consistent with the dignity of philosophy, and not very impres. Journal for July 1806, I was pleased sive on the esteem of the fair and il.
to observe the 'first article to be a lustrious lady herself ; as appeared by
criticism on Sir William Forbes's ac
count of the Life and Writings of the levity with which she treated him, and the amusement she often
Dr Beattie; and from the candour derived
apparent at the beginning, I hoped When these sentences met my eye, tion and instruction confirmed which
to find those sentiments of gratifica. I felt an emotion such as arises in the mind on hearing an imputation of every person I had conversed with unworthiness attached to a much-va: expressed on reading that book. lued friend. I regarded Dr Beattie Some fault indeed is found with the
author for not furnishing more mias a genuine poet--not the mere manufacturer of lines and stanzas, not
nute information on Dr Beattie's the mechanical fabricator of
education, and the early part of his
verses, and a mercenary dealer in figures of life. But it is often a very difficult speech--but as a man whose poetry formation, especially such as is both ac
thing indeed to find such minutę in. reflected the powers and the virtues of his mind; whose soul was impressed that is to appear afterwards is not
curate and ivstructive. The genius with the liveliese images of moral escellence, and whose spirit was an ema
always indicated by outward' appear. naiion of “ beauty immortal.”, Į
ances in early life ; and frequently was therefore unwilling to believe a
the man who has made no literary fi: statement which degraded the author gure afterwards, has given as fair pro
mises 'as' he who has shone most of “ The Minstrel” into a sneaking
as het parasite, a contemptible beggar of brightly at a future period. A great smiles from one who despised and de- deal depends on accidental circumrided him. Under this feeling.(which stances. A young man of fine'mental many others must have experienced powers inay by chance be placed in a in common with me) I enquired of a counting-house, or in the army, where
away gentleman who had long been honour. his employment shall lead him ed with the most endearing friendship while another, of no superior, per
from speculation to constant action; of Dr Beattie, and to whom I had the pleasure of being known, whether
there haps of inferior powers, shall, by his was any truth in the remarks made company, or by his position in life, by the reviewer His answer I
be stimulated to mental exertion, and terday received, and I received it with by industry arrive at a high literary the more satisfaction, that it was ac
station. Often also the changes go. ing on in the mind of a student can
be known only to himself : perhaps Pages 25, 29, and 27. in his anxiety to advance he does not
mark those changes, or more proba- such a person, therefire, honoured bly still does not record them. But Dr Beattie with her approbation and it is known tbat Sir William For- favour, is it to be wondered at that bes had written many particulars of a man of his just taste and grateful the life of Dr Beattie which do not turn of mind should express himself now appear ; being omitted by the with warmth in writing to her? advice of eminent friends, for the sake The reviewer dislikes bith the of brevity, and to secure a perusal to matter and manner of Dr Beattie's things still more useful.
letters to the Duchess of Gordon : In this censure, however, though but many, seemingly as good judges, there was diversity of opinion, there have thoughi those letters as excel.
want of candour on the lent as any in the whole collection, part of the reviewer : but, on the He blames the gallantry in them ; contrary, bosh Dr Beattie and his but I may truly affirm, that if the biographer meet with much just letters she received from many of the commendation. But how much was most eminent persons in the nation, I surprised to find at the end of the whose intellectual exertions have depaper a total dereliction of all can- lighted and benefited the world, were dour, byinsinuations of such meanness before the public eye, they would as would have rendered Dr Beattie appear to be not less complimental. unworthy of, that respect which Sir As to that letter on wlrich the DocWilliam Forbes shews such solici- tor says he wept after parting with the tude to claim for him, and which the Duchess, perhaps a little more of her most honourable persons in the na- history and of his would be necessary tion so liberally bestowed. The art for fully understanding it. The truth of vilifying great characters consists is, the Doctor wept, not barely for in ascribing to them,not great crimes, leaving the society of the Duchess, for that the world would not so easily however delightful it was to him ; receive ; but such meannesses as imply but because he left lier in a very low little criminality, but much sordid state of health and spirits, and was ness of mind. For this purpose, the himself at that time, in such a state of writer has endeavoured to give cur- affliction, as excited a tender symparency to some vulgar aspersions, foun- thy with the sufferings of his friends. ded solelyon the misrepresentations of The Duchess was not the only one those who smarted under his reproof, of ihe family that honoured Dr or envied his success. What still more Beattie with esteem and friendship. aggravates the fault is, that a lady of The Duke ever shewed the highest the bighest respectability and rank is respect for him, and invited him to petulantly introduced as a subject of spend as much time at Gordon Casvulgar and groundless obloquy. Those tle as he could spare; and whether his who have had the honour of the Du. Grace or the Duchess most admired chess of Gordon's acquaintance have him might have been hard to determine. always declared her elevated above Nor was his gratitude to the Duke, the generality of the species, not and affection for him and his family more by her beauty, and by her rank, legs ardent, as appears from the high than by her merit, and by the powers regard with which he ever spoke of of her mind-by her wit, her erudi. 'that nobleman, and from his dedication, her exquisite sense and approba- ting a favourite part of his works to tion of all excellency, moral and intel. his son the Marquis of Huntiy. lectual.-by, her unrivalled skill in ma- The writer of the article in quesraging conversation, and by the charm tion sneers at Dr Beattie's advice to of making all around her happy. If the Duchess, not to yield too much
to serious contemplation, He litele her mind would often bave in her knows the nature of her Grace's mind. company any one capable of jeering The truth is, she is naturally of a se at Dr Beattie's sentiments : and if, rious and religious temper ; and her in the promiscuous assemblage that religion in general expresses itself must sometimes be collected, such an in acis of rational devotion, in sup one should happen to be present, she porting the cause 'of virtue and truth, could easily silence his impertiand in works of beneficence very wide. nence, or dexterously lead the con. ly extended. Not only does she em- versation another way. ploy much of her fortune in well- After what I have said of the judged acts of charity, but I may characters of these two eminent per: say she writes more in recommend. sons, it is almost needless to refute ing fit persons to the good offices of the mean slander, that Dr Beattie her friends in power, than some pro- “ danced, or rather dangled attendance feosed authors do for their daily bread. upon the Duchess, during the few But a mind of this turn might rea- years that she thought it worth her dily, during bad health and low spi. while to atiend to him, in a manner sits, indulge too much in melancholy not consistent with the dignity of phia contemplation; and such was actual. losophy, & ç.” That Dr Beatrie paid ly the case when the advice now a respectful attention to the Duchess mentioned was given. But from the of Gordon is what he was proud to gaiety and festivity of her Grace in avow;.
and that it was repaid with public, the writer concludes there equal respect, is not less certain. But was little need to advise her against that he paid any mean attention, unexcessive seriousness, I have, how worthy of his character, I positively ever, had opportunity of knowing deny.' Could he have been capable when the Duchess has been suffering of it, her Grace esteemed him too severely with habitual head-ach, that much to have allowed it. Why inshe has, yet, during a part of those deed should he fawn on any person ? very days, dispatched more o cffectual He needed it not for courting the study, and business, than many per- company of the great ; for of that sons who had noth og
his merit had secured him an abun. their minds ; and at oiher parts of dant share spontaneously offered. the same days she has proved the For worldly emolument he did not animating spirit of cheerfulness and court any one ; as may appear from social happiness. It would be rare his conduct in regard to the offers to find one who can so effectually made to him by the Queen, by Bisuppress all appearance of pain and shop Thomas, and many others. The sorrow, as she can do, when she conversation of the Duchess of Gor. thinks her duty to society requires don then could be bis only motive, it. As to her friendship to Dr Beat and to obtain that he had no need for tie, it was real, steady, and uninter- mean observances. But what is still rupted, iv the day of his death. Nay a stronger proof, how could Dr Beat. what is remarkable, she was in his tie have preserved to the last the unroom, on a visit of tender friendship, interrupted esteem of Sir William while he lay a-dying ; and ever since Forbes, and of the highest characters his death she never mentions his name in the nation, had he been capable of without evident marks of respect and such mean conduct ? the thing is affection. That she should therefore impossible. That contemptible slanexpose his letters to the derision of der could only have arisen from the her company
is most unlikely ; circumstance of Dr Beattie's being is it very probable that a person of invited, among a select party, every
else to occupy