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stance, no such apology can be pleaded for the compilations of this biographer; for, in general, such of the writings of Dr Geddes as are worthy of preservation, must be easily accessible to those who are desirous of consulting them; and the partial excerpts of Mr Good, can scarcely be interesting to any class of readers but such as would prefer their perusal in connexion with the original works from which they are torn. It is far from our meaning to impute to Mr Good any mercenary design of swel. Jing the volume by this easy art of quotation ; but we apprehend that, milled by veneration for his learned friend, he has in this respect offended probably against his own better judgement, and certainly against the rules of good taste in biographical writing. In tracing the course of those pursuits which have occupied the life of a literary man, the biographer ought not to obtrude upon us a reperusal of his works. It is his province and his duty to give such a general review as may serve mereJy to mark the nature and limits of the plans that may have been adopted, and furnish an adequate notion of the mode in which their execution has been accomplished. If he be truly qualified for such a talk, he ought to avdress us in his own person ; and the unity of his composition ought not to be broken by quotations, unless when they may happen to be requisite for indicating fome delicate peculiarity of man. ner, which it might be difficult to seize in a general description.
While we feel ourselves strongly called upon to offer this general remark on the execution of the work before us, we are at the same time fully prepared to bestow upon its author, a very considerable share of praise. He was the intimate and confidential friend of Dr Geddes; and though their acquaintance is stated to have commenced at a late period, it appears to have led to an ardent mutual attachment. Although he appears to have been prompted to the undertaking by a duteous regard to to the memory of his friend, and a pious and laudable zeal to rescue his name and character from the slanderous insults of bigotry; yet it appears to us, that his ardour, while it has served to stimulate his industry, has not warped his judgement either of the man or the writer, and that it has emboldened him to do ample justice to the virtues and talents of Dr Geddes, without betraying him into any timid and unmanly concealment of his failings. It is by the solid qualities of its matter, that the work before us comes recommended : in the secondary qualities of manner, there is little to entitle it to any distinguished praise, The style is not remarkably deficient in perfpicuity or vigour : it seldom aspires to any of the higher graces of composition; and when it does, the attempt is rarely fortunate. The Life of Dr Geddes' will be perused by scholars of the class to which he himself belonged; but it is not one of those happier productions, to which the mere force of writing will give established currency among general readers.
The fame of Dr Geddes rests on his literary talents; and from his earliest years he seems to have been almost exclusively devoted to literary pursuits : yet his history is diversified by a greater variety of changeful occurrences, than is usually to be found in the life of a solitary student. In its earliest period it is interesting, chiefly from the humble and barren prospects by which it was apparently circumscribed. His parents were tenants of a small farm in the county of Banff in Scotland, and were among those who still adhered to the ancient religion of the country. This attachment, however, was probably blended with a larger share of mental freedom than was often to be found among their Roman Catholic brethren of fimilar rank; and we may conceive that from them was transmitted to their son, a portion of that ardent activity of mind, and that intrepidity of intellectual character for which he was peculiarly distinguished, and which gave a decided colouring to the complexion of his fortunes. In the scanty library of his native cottage, the most attractive volume was an English translation of the Bible; and to this circumstance, his biographer is inclined to trace the origin of that decided predilection for · Biblical studies which he discov. ered from the early period of childhood, when he imbibed the first rudiments of learning under the tuition of a country schoolmistress.
From the care of this village matron, he passed into that of a private tutor retained in the family of the gentleman on whose estate his father resided : and afterwards he was removed from home to Scalan, a free Roman-Catholic seminary established in a remote and dismal valley of the Highlands of Scotland, and which was limited to boys who had been destined for the Church, and whose studies were to be completed in some foreign univer. fity. Few of our readers, we presume, have ever heard of this humble cradle of the sciences; and it probably derives its strongest claim to fame, from having detained young Geddes till his twenty-first year, when he was travsferred to the Scotish Col. lege at Paris. If his biographer be correct in supposing that the course of classical study pursued at Scalan, did not extend beyond the vulgar Latin version of the Scriptures, it may be regarded as a Itriking indication of the native and irrepresible
vigour of his own mind, that he should have emerged from this monkish hovel with so decided a bent towards the pursuit of liberal knowledge as he now discovered. In the most cele. brated schools of Paris, a field was opened to him for the gra. rification of his ruling propensity; of his opportunities of improvement, he would appear to have fully availed himself; and, by his proficiency and skill in the performance of his academical exercises, he attracted the applause and the friendship of his masters and literary superiors.
Hitherio, however, his destiny appeared to be limited to the humble station of a Roman-Catholic priest among his native mountains. Such was the profesional object, in pursuit of which he returned to Scotland; and which, after several vicillitudes, was at length attained by his acceptance of the charge of a Catholic congregation in the county of Banff. In his own mind, Dr Geddes had long before projected the arduous une dertaking of a new translation of the Hebrew Scriptures from corrected texts of the originals, and had been industriously training himself for its accomplishment; but, in the seclusion of his present situation, and amidst the various duties which he was called upon to discharge, it appears to have been suspended or abandoned. But even here, the natural activity and genuine benevolence of his mind were not to be repr«fied; and while by his virtues he conciliated the love, and commanded the veneration of his flock, he attracted the notice equally of the learned and of the gay, by the extent of his learning and the plealing vivacity of his manners.
Here, however, he might have long remained, but for misfortunes, which he may be said to have brought upon himself by an imprudent indulgence in the exercise of those virtues which elea vated his character above the level of those around him, and gave him the most honourable claim to their support; but which, in the end, were so far fortunate in their operation, by compelling him to quit his retirement, and to return once more into that literary carcer for which he was naturally defined. Without repeating the particulars given by his biographer, it may be enough here to state, that having injured his private fortune by acts of difinterested beneficence, and having in vain attempted to retrieve the injury by the labours of agriculture, he felt himself trongly impelled, by the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, to avail himself of the literary talents which he must have been conscious of poflesing.
Another cause, still more irresistible, operated likewise in the fame direction, Dr Geddes was endowed by nature with a
the inters and himlelererciles carly.
mind of uncommon ardour and activity; and having early committed himself to the free and undaunted exercise of his own understanding, he had emancipated himself from the illiberai prejudices of theological bigotry, and, by the vigour of his conítitution, had repelled the infection of those vices which have been thought too apt to taint the priestly character. Instead of flattering and cherishing the baneful animofities which had long set his brethren at variance with those who had revolted from the Romith Church, he laboured with unwearied assiduity, and with the most pleasing success, in softening their reciprocal asperities, and in training them to habits of mutual charity and forbearance. In his own conduct, he gave an unlimited range to this liberal and comprehensive benevolence. He lived in undisguised intercourse and friendship with the Protestant clergymen in his neighbourhood; and he had even thie hardiness :o think, that, without being polluted, he might listen to the instructions delivered from a Protestant pulpit. This unprecedented disregard of the maxims of that malignant and dubious policy, by which the brethren of his order had hitherto been guided, appears to have given alarm and mortal ofience to his ecclefiaftical superiors; and, finding that he was not of a character to be intimidated by threats from obeying the dictates of his own mind, it was, in their wisdom, judged ex. pedient, by a formal sentence, to separate him for ever from a flock in wlion his virtues had created a dangerous and seducing attachment.
This event might be considered as fortunate for his fame, if not for his private happiness, by fixing, or at least accelerating, his resolution of quitting his retirement for a situation better suited to the prosecution of those literary schemes which had awakened his early ambition. His translation of Select Satires of Horace, though more remarkable for spirit than elegance, had already obtained a reception from the public which tended to inspire him with greater confidence in his own powers; and even the very moderate profits of the publication, under the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, operated as an additional incentive to the execution of more arduous undertakings. He now fixed his ordinary residence in London ; was invited to officiate as prieit in the chapel of the Imperial Ambassador; and resumed his favourite project of a new tranflation of the Bible. This, however, was a work of perilous adventure and doubtful ifsue, and would have been probably abandoned for easier and more profitable labours, had not the utmost exertions of its author been called forth by the animating and steady patronage of the
Petre. It weddes became his plan; and it mob?
late Lord Petre. It was to the princely munificence' of this nobleman that Dr Geddes became indebted for the leisure which was to enable him to prosecute his plan; and it may be regarded as honourable alike to both, that such weighty obligations could be borne without galling a mind jealous of its own independence, and without disturbing the course of an equal and ardent friend lhip.
For several succeeding years, Dr Geddes seems to have devoted nearly the whole of his attention to the different critical labours preparatory to his great work; and in perusing the minute narrative of Mr Good, it is impossible not to regret, that the versatility of his genius, or the ardour of his disposition, should have ever diverted him from the exclusive prosecution of a plan, which it would have demanded the undivided exertions of a long life to bring to a successful completion. His capacity of intense application to literary labour feemed, on the one hand, to promise the most prosperous issue to the undertaking to which he had thus destined himfelf; but in this undertaking he was never so completely absorbed, as to become a careless spectator of what was passing around him in the world ; and a natural vehemence of temper, which seems, by indulgence, as much as from the influence of external circumstances, to have grown into a habit of violent irritability, was too often prompting him to take a fhare in discussions of merely temporary interest. As a polemical writer, particularly on those questions whicii related to the political privileges or ecclefiaftical jurisdiction of the English Catholics, he was unable to refrain from mingling in the din and danger of the contest. As the champion of his party, he distinguished himself equally by his acuteness and intrepidity; and had the honour of being marked out as the object of peculiar terror and aversion to those of his own persuasion whore prejudices or whose pride were offended by the boldness of his speculations, or the firm independence of his conduct. In this part of bis narrative, the details given by Mr Good are ample to excess; yet they are not altogether incurious, as exhibiting the feeble, expiring convulsions of that gigantic hierarchy, which once exercised an uncontrouled domination over all Christendom, and which three centuries of rapid decline have not yet brought to a final termination.
Besides these more serious deviations from the course of his favourite pursuit, Dr Geddes seems to have been incapable of refraining from lighter excursions into the fields of fancy and of wit : and from time to time he attracted a share of public notice as a writer of humorous and macaronic verses. There