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SCOTTISH REVIEW. Soon after the publication of liis I. Account of the Life and Writings, two first works, Dr Beattie twice
of the late Dr Beattie, by Sir visited London, where he met with William Forbes of Pitsligo, Bart. the most distinguished reception 2 vols. 4to. 21. 12s. 60.; l. p. 51. 55. from persons the most conspicuous (Concluded from p. 767.)
for rank and literature. Mrs Mon. HAVING brought down the nar. tague, Lord Lyttleton, Dr Johnson,
rative to the establishment of Dr and Sir Joshua Reynolds were a. Beattie's literary reputation, we shall mong his particular friends. Both now look back to some domestic oc- their Majesties honoured him with currences, which were omitted in particular marks of approbation.their proper place.
His friends in power were anxious In 1767, he was married to Miss that something should be done for Mary Dun, daughter of Dr Dun, his fortune, and after several plans rector of the grammar school, in had been started, the king at lengh Aberdeen. This lady is said to have determined to give him a pension of possessed a variety of accomplish. 2001. a year. The Queen had pre ments, which were peculiarly calcu- viously expressed an intention of lated to render her agreeable to Dr making him a present, which hoxBeattie. The connection, however, ever he declined, on account of his was productive of much unhappiness. expectations from the King. Di Mrs Beattie had inherited from her Beattie had also the honour of a primother a tendency to a fatal dis- vate interview for upwards of an hour, order, which, says our author, “ tho? with the King and Quečn, with it did not for a considerable time which he appears to have been high break out into open insanity, shewed ly gratified. We shall give, from his itself in caprices that embittered every own journal, a transcript of some par: hour of his life, till, at last, it un- of this interesting conversation. questionably contributed to bring him to his grave.”
We had much conversation on mor,
subjects; from which both their Ma's In a letter to Dr Blacklock he
ties let it appear, that they were war". thus describes his feelings on the friends to chrisiianity; and so little birth of his first son :
clined to infid-lity, that they could harc You ask me, what are my feelings? ly believe that any thinking man cou. Perhaps I shall be in a better condition really be an atheist, unless he ros to answer that question afterwards than bring himself to believe that he 22. now. He is always near me, and never himself; a thought which pleased has had any illness; and you know, that King exceedingly; and he repeated adversity is the only true touchstone of several times to the Queen. He ai affection. I find my imagination recoils ed, whether any thing had been written from the idea of such adversity as would against me. I spoke of the late på? bring my affection to the test. To tell phlet, of which I gave an account, the truth, I am at no great pains to ob- lig him, that I never had met u. 1.2"} trude that idea on my fancy; evils come man who had read it, except one 0:322" soon enough. we need not anricipate This brought on some discourse aboe them. At present, however, I feel e. the Quakers, whose moderation, či nough to convince me experimentally of mild behaviour, the King and Quee: what I have proved from the principles commended. I was asked many quer of reason in my essay, that this spyn tions about the Scots universities, 1 is something entirely different from that revenues of the Scots clergy, their moi affection we feel towards dependants, of praying and preaching, the medic as well as from that which arises from college of Edinburgh, Dr Gregory, ( a habit of long acquaintance.
P. 137. whom I gave a particular characie
and Dr Cullen, the length of our vaca- In 1773, the chair of naiural phi. tion 2t Aberdeen, and the closeness of losophy having become vacant by our attendance during the winter, the the death of Dr Russel, a proposal number of students that attend my lec
was made to Dr Beattie to remove tures, my mode of lecturing, whether from notes, or completely written lec- to the university of Edinburgh ; Dr tures; about Mr Huine, and Dr Ro. Ferguson, who had formerly filled bertson, and Lord Kinnoull, and the that chair, being willing to resume Archbishop of York, &c. &c. &c. His it, and to leave vacant for him that Majesty asked what I thought of my of moral philosophy. His friends in new acquaistance, Lord Dartmouth? I Edinburgh urged him a good deal said, there was something in his air and manner, which I thought not only a
to accept this offer. He gives a greeable, but enchanting, and that he number of reasons for declining it, seemed to me to be one of the best of particularly his knowledge, ihat men; a sentiment in which both their there were in Edinburgh a number Majesties heartily joined. “ They say of persons by whom he was viewed li that Lord Dartmouth is an enthusi.
with an unfavourable eye, on account ast,” said the Kiog, “ but surely he says of his opposition to Mr Hume. He
nothing on the subject of religion, " but what every christian may and strenuously denies, however, bis be
ought to say." He asked, whether I ing under any fear of ihese persons; did not think the English language on but, says he, “I am so great a lover the decline at present? I answered in of peace, and so willing to think well the affirmative ; and the King agreed, of all my neighbours, that I do not and named the “ Spectator” as one of wish to be connected even with one the best standards of the language. person who dislikes me.” Neither will When I told him that the Scots clergy he admit, that he is less useful at Asometimes prayed a quarter or even
berdeen than he could be in the metro. half-an-hour, at a time, he asked whether that did not lead them into repeti- polis. He gives the following actions? I said, it often did. “ That,” count of his academical employment said he, “ I don't like in prayers; and in the former place : " excellent as our liturgy is, I think it “ somewhat faulty in that respect.”- My lectures are not confined to my “ Your Majesty knows," said I,
own class. I do what no other profes“ three services are joined in one, in the sor here ever did, and what no profes“ ordinary church-service, which is one sor in any other part of Great Britain “ cause of those repetitions." " True," can do; I admit, together with my own he replied, " and that circumstance al students in moral philosophy, all the “so makes the service too long;” From divinity students of two universities, this, he took occasion to speak of the who are willing to attend me; and I composition of the church-liturgy; on have often a very crowded auditory ; which he very justly bestowed the high- and I receive fees from nobody, but est commendation. “ Observe," his from such of my own private class as Majesty said, " how flat those occasional are able to pay them. Nobody ever
prayers are that are now composed, in asked me to do this, and nobody thanks "! comparison with the old ories.” When me for it, except the young men themI mentioned the smallness of the church- selves; and yet, in all this there is so livings in Scotland, he said, “ he won. iittle merit, it being as easy for me to “ dered how men of liberal education lecture to a hundred as to thirty, that “ would chuse to become clergymen I should not have thought it worth men. " there,'' and asked," whether in the re: tioning, except with a view to obviate “mote parts of the country, the clergy, an objection, that seems to be implied “ in general, were not very ignorant?" in some things, that have been thrown “ I answered, No, for that education
out at this time. was very cheap in Scotland, and that
He concludes with expressing a " the clergy, in general, were men of good sense, and competent learning.” conviction that a continuance in his
P. 315. present station will be more for the myself it has, I would not for the wealth comfort of himself and family, and of the Indies do any thing to counteract will leave him more leisure for his that tendency; and I am afraid, that Literary undertakings.
tendency might in some measure be Shortly after, the Bishop of Win. if I were to give the adversary the least
counteracted, (at least in this country) chester, through the channel of Dr ground to charge me with inconsistency. Porteous, made Dr Beattie an offer it is true, that the force of my reason. of a living in the church of England, ings cannot be really affected by my which was worth 5001. a' year. His character; truth is truth, whoever answer to this offer gives a striking
be the speaker: but even truth itselt beview of the purity and scrupulous dis
comes less respectable, when spoken, or interestedness of his character. He
supposed to be spoken, by insincere
lips. begins with stating, that if he were “ It has also been hinted to me, by to become a clergyman, he would pre. several persons of very sound judgment, fer the church of England, and that that what I have written, or may here. he had often felt a disposition to en- after write, in favour of religion, has a ter into that profession. He then chance of being more attended to, if I states, as follows, his reasons for de. continue a layman, than if I were to clining the offer.
become a clergyman. Nor am I with
out apprehensions, (though some of my “ I wrote " the Essay on Truth," friends think them iil
founded, that, with the certain prospect of raising from entering se late in life, and from many enemies, with very faint hopes of so remote a province, into the Church attracting the public attention, and with.' of England, some degree of ungracefulout any views of advancing my furtune. ness, particularly in pronunciation, might I published it, however, because I thought adhere to my performances in public, it might probably do a little good, by sufficient to render them less pleasing, bringing to nought, or at least lessening and consequently less useful. the reputation of, that wretched system
“ Most of these reasons were repeat. of sceptical philosophy, which had edly urged upon me, during my stay made a most alarming progress, and in England, last summer; and 1 freely done incredible mischief to this coun- own, that the more I consider them, try. My enemies have been at great the more weight they seem to have.' pains to represent my views in that pub. And from the peculiar manner in which fication, as very different: and that my the King h-s beer graciously pleased to principal, or unly motive was, to make distinguish me, and from other circuma book, and if possible, to raise myself stances, I have some ground to prehigher in the world. So that if I were sume, that it is his Majesty's pleasure, now to accept preferment in the church, that I should continue where I am, and I should be apprehensive, that I might employ my leisure hours in prosecuting strengthen the hands of the gainsayer, the studies I have begun. This I can and give the world some ground to be.
fmd time to do more effectually in Scotlieve, that my love of truth was not land han in England, and in Aberdeen quite so ardent, or so pure, as I had pre- than in Edinburgh ; wbich, by the bye, tended.
was. one of my chief reasons for declin. Besides, might it not have the ap. ing the Edinburgh professorship. The pearance of levity and insincerity, and, business of my professorship here is in. by some, be construed into a want of deed toilsome : but I have, by fourteen principle, if I were at these years, (i sl years practice, made myself so much am now thirty-eight) to nakę such an master of it, that it now requires little important change in my way of life, mental labour; and our long summer and to quit, with no other apparent mo
vacation, of seven months, leaves me tive than that of bettering my, circum.
at my own disposal, for the greatest and stances, that church of which I have best part of the year; a situation favour. hitherto been a member? If my book able to literary projects, and now behas any tendency to do good, as I Aatter come necessary to my health. P. 360.
About this time, some letters pas- necessity dropped. Dr Beattie ex. sed between him and Dr Priestley erted himself a good deal in favour on occasion of the attack made by of the measure ; but on finding it the latter on the doctrines of his Es fruitless, he very properly did bis say on Truih. In his correspondence utmost to heal any little animosities with this ingenious, but petulant to which it might have given rise. adversary, Dr Beattie shews a great The concluding part of Dr Beat. deal of candour and diginity. He tie's life was oppressed with misfor. had at first intended to answer, but tunes of peculiar severity. The most this intention he appears, afterwards, afflicting of these was the death of to have dropt : “ Dr Priestley, says his eldest and favourite son. He had he, having declared that he will ait. long bestowed peculiar attention on swer whatever I may publish, in my the education of this young man, own vindication ; and being a
whose talents and dispositions apwho loves bustle and bookmaking, pear to have been extremely promihe wishes above all things that I sing. On his coming to the age of should give him a pretext for con- twenty.one, Dr Beattie made an aptinuing the dispute. To silence him plication to have him appointed his by force of argument, is, I know, im- assistant and successor, which (after possible."
a short delay on account of ihe busiA long interval now elapses with ness of the union, which was then out any event of importance occurring agitated) was cordially agreed to by in Dr Beattie's life, till the year the university. Before he entered 1786, when a proposal was made for upon his office, however, symptoms the union of the two colleges of of consumption made their appea:Aberdeen (those of King's and Ma. ance; and though he recovered so rischal). The advantages of this far as to be able to teach the class, measure seem to be extremely ob. a relapse soon took place, and his vious. The two universities are at constitution gradually sunk, under the present quite distinct and separate violence of his disease. Dr Beatric establishments; and for many sciences published a very interesting licele there is a professor in both universi. volume, containing some of his select ties. Now one professor might be pieces, and a short sketch of his quite sufficient to teach all the stu. life. In a few years after, he lost dents in any one science, while the his sister Mrs Valentine, and then his salaries, which would be thus thrown youngest and only surviving soo, vacant, might be employed in estab- Montagu, to whom, after the death lishing new professorships, which do of his elder brother, he had devoted not at present exist in either. This all his leisure. He gives a very af. proposal originated with the Maris. fecting account of this last event in chal College, but was opposed by a
a letter to Dr Laing. great majority of the other, who
His (Dr Campbell's) death was lookert urged, ibat as they were by much the for, and by himself much desired. Monbest endowed, all the advantages of tagu's came upon me in a different manof the proposed arrangement would ner. His delirium, which was extremebe on the side of their rivals. Our ly violent, ended in a state of such author hints, however, that this op. apparent tranquillity, that I was coile position might perhaps arise from gratulating myself on the danger be. the omission of some punctilio in the
ing over, at the very time when Dr
came, and told me, in his own manner of bringing it forward. How
name, and in that of the oiher two phy. ever, the King's College persisting in sicians that attended Montagu, that he their opposition, the matter was of could not live many hours : tins was at
eleven at night, and he died at five next minds mangled with madness * !" When morning. I hope I am resigned, as my he looked for the last time on the dead duty requires, and as I wish to be ; but body of his son, he said, “ I have now I have passed many a bitter hour, done with the world :" and he ever af. though on those occasions nobody sees ter seemed to act as if he thought so. me. I fear my reason is a little disor. For he never applied himself to any dered, for I have sometimes thought of sort of study, and answered but few of late, especially in a morning, that Mon. the letters he received from the friends tagu is not dead, though I seem to have whom he most valued. Yet the recei. a remembrance of a dream that he is. ving a letter from an old friend never This you will
what I myself believe, failed to put him in spirits for the rest is a symptom not uncommon in cases si- of the day. Music, which had been milar to mine, and that I cught by all his great delight, he could not endure, means to go from home as soon as I can. after the death of his eldest son, to hear I will do so when the weather becomes from others; and he disliked his own tolerable. luclivation would draw me favourite- violoncello. A few months to Peterhead; but the intolerable road before Montagu's death, he did begin forbids it, and I believe I must go to play a little by way of accompanisouthward, where the roads are very ment when Montagu sung : but after he good : at least I hear so.
lost him, when he was prevailed on to Being now childless, by the will touch the violoncello he was always dis. of Providence, (in which I trust I acquis contented with his own performance, esce) I have made a new settlement in and at last seemed to be unhappy my small affairs ; the only particular of when he heard it. The only enjoy. which that needs to be mentioned at ment he seemed to have was in books, present is, that the organ, built by my and the society of a very few old friends. eldest sou and you, is now yours.
It is impossible to read the melancholy “ I am much obliged to the kind picture which he draws of his own sifriends who sympathise with me. Mon- tuation, about this time, without droptagu was indeed very popular, wherever ping a tear of pity over the sorrows he went. His death was calm, resign- and the sufferings of so good a man, ed, and unaffectedly pious; he thought thus severely visited by afiiction, who, himself dying from the first attack of at the same time, was bearing the rod his illness. * I could. wish,” said he, of divine chastisement with the utmost “ to live to be old, but am neither a. patience and resignation. fraid nor unwilling to die.”
Vol. II. P. 310.
In the beginning of April 1799,
Dr Beattie had a severe attack of His Biographer adds :
the palsy, which he survived four
years, but in the most melancholy conThe death of his only surviving child tion. Repeated strokes at length completely unhinged the mind of Dr deprived him altogether of the power Beattie, the first symptom of which, ere many days had elapsed, was a temporary 1803, he was happily relieved from
of motion, till, on the 18th of Aug. but almost total loss of memory respecting his son. Many times he could not
his sufferings, in the sixty.cight year recollect what had become of him; and of his age. after searching in every room of the He had early expressed a wish to house, he would say to his niece, Mrs be buried in the church yard of Glennie, “ You may think it strange, Lawrencekirk, whose situation he has " but I must ask you if I have a son, and beautifully described in his Minstrel. “ where he is?” She then felt herself under the painful necessity of bringing Afterwards, when he was in the hato his recollection his son Montagu's bit of visiting Peterhead, he had fixsufferings, which always restored him ed on a small retired spot, where he And he would often, with
had many tears, express his thankfulness that he had no child, saying, “ How * Alluding, no doubt to their mo" could I have borne to see their elegant ther's melancholy situation,