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tensions to judge. His Greek compositions, indeed, we never have seen; but those written by him in Latin, when conpared with the classical remains of Roman taste, are as little like them as monkeys are to men; and, however well Mr. Good may have described the properties of a shrewd logician, as possessed by Dr. Geddes, in our estimation that species of logomachy which tends rather to perplex an adversary, than to discover truth, is a qualification of but little worth. In respect to the science of mathematics, we wonder not at the doctor's dislike; for it ill assorts with that logic in which he excelled. But Euclid, had Dr. Geddes condescended to have read him, would have been found less a fool than, it seems, he supposed.
To the doctor's competency in the French and Italian languages we have nothing to object, from not having lad an opportunity of judging; but that his knowledge of the German, Arabic, and Hebrew, was limited, we affirm without scruple.
From Paris, Dr. Geddes returned to Scotland, after an absence of six years; and, being ordered to exercise the function of a priest at Dundee, quitted Edinburgh for that purpose. There, however, he remained not long: an offer having been made him by the earl of Traquaire, to become one of his family, he became, and continued, an inmate of it for somewhat more than a twelvemonth, when love slipped in, and occasioned his removal. The doctor feeling the pressure of a vow, perhaps too rashly taken, quitted at once the house of his friend, and the object of his passion, to whom alone he communicated the cause. Paris was the scene to which he repaired; but, dissatisfied here, he returned to North-Britain. At Auchinhalrig he took charge of a catholic congregation, built a new chapel and parsonage, rendered himself useful in his flock, and cultivated the acquaintance, in particular, of protestants. Having, at this period, incurrcd pecuniary embarrassments, from which the late duke of Norfolk liberally relieved him, Dr. Geddes entered on a farm. In a short time, however, through the erection of a new chapel at Fouchahers, he found his difficulties return. It was probably to console himself, by his literary exertions, that he now (1779) published his first work- Select Satires of Horace, translated into English verse, and for the most Part adapted to the present Times and Manners:'—the profits of which, with the assistances of his friends, served once more to wipe off his debts. Being, at this time, engaged to instruct lady Findlater in English, Dr. Geddes contracted an intimacy with a Scottish clergyman, of the name of Buchanan, who had been preceptor to the earl; and, having been induced to attend his ministry in the church, the rage of bi
shop Hay was so stimulated, that, from expostulation, he proceeded to rebukes, and thence to menaces, which ended in suspension.
The doctor'left the diocese, and Scotland, to the regret, not only of his two congregations, but also of his literary friends at Aberdeen, who, in the beginning of the following year (1780), conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws.
At this time was instituted the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland; in founding which, Dr. Geddes had been very active. On this account he was elected a corresponding member; an honour which he acknowledged in a Scottish epistle. At his arrival in London, the recommendations he was furnished with procured him access to many literary characters. The duchess of Gordon received him in her house, and favoured him with an introduction to the late lord Petre, who there met him by express invitation.
The want of a good vernacular version of the Bible was an evil that his lordship had long lamented; and, Dr. Geddes concurring in opinion, a plan was formed to effect such a work, and seconded by his lordship with a 'princely munificence.'
About this period, the Imperial chapel being suppressed by the emperor Joseph, Dr. Geddes went from it to that of Dukestreet; and, thence, to reside again in Scotland, with the earl of Traquaire, his former patron, in complinient to whom he published his Tweedale pastoral. The bill of sir George Saville, for relieving papists, having occasioned riots in Scot. land; and these being followed by the conflagration in London, Dr. Geddes composed his Modest Apology for the Roman-Catholics of Great Britain ; which, however, by the advice of his friends, he was induced for a while to suppress. A fanatical pamphlet, published by Mr. Williams, drew from him, at this time, a brief reply. · After a tour to the south of France with lord Traquaire and his lady, the doctor returned to London ; and, having become acquainted with Dr. Kennicot, was introduced to bishop Lowth, who advised him to draw up a Prospectus of his version of the Bible, which he did, and published it with a dedication to lord Petre.
This was followed by a letter to the bishop of London, intended as a sequel to the foregoing work.
The new connexions thus formed with the dignitaries in the church, doctor Geddes no doubt thought he might more strongly cement by joining in an attack so powerfully patronised as that on Dr. Priestley. Accordingly a pamphlet from the doctor immediately appeared under the title, of ' A Letter, in which the Author attempts to prove, hy one prescriptive Argument, that the Divinity of Jesus Christ was a primitive Tenet of Christianity. But with what sincerity this opinion was avowed by our author, his Latin creed addressed to Dr. Disney will show
The application of the dissenters for a répeal of the Test, having revived that topic of dispute, Dr. Geddes heartily joined in it, though he admitted that the ground which they chose to act upon, was neither well chosen, for judiciously detended.
The doctor now took part in the Analytical Review, in which, for five years and half, he continued to write. It will be proper here to remark, that the articles he supplied (of which Mr. Good has inserted a list), are amongst the best productions of Dr. Geddes's pen.
This engagement, however, causing no relaxation in the doctor's Biblical pursuits, he published, in 1788, his Proposals for printing a new Translation of the Bible, from corrected Texts of the Original, with various Readings, explana: tory Notes, and critical Observations. The specimen appended to this tract excited much discussion both among Jews and Christians; and, the doctor having solicited hints and suggestions for the improvement of his work, it became necessary, previous to the appearance of the first volume, that he should notice the communications received. This induced him to bring forward, in the year 1790, Dr. Geddes's General Answer to the Queries, Counsels, and Criticisms that have been communicated to him since the Publication of his Proposals for printing a new Translation of the Bible. This pamphlet involved him in a contest with bigots of difierent persuasions, but particularly in his own church, against whoin he defended himself with a commendable spirit.
The breach, however, with some of the latter, was made wider in consequence of the application of the English catholics to the legislature for additional relief in matter of pramunire. On the protest and oath, the great body of the catholics were indeed divided : a pastoral letter was pubTished by the bishop of Comana, to which Dr. Geddes replied. Two encyclical letters likewise appeared, written by the vicars apostolie; of which the latter was republished by Dr. Geddes, with a sarcastic commentary. In the mean time the bill proceeds, and, passing into a law, the dispute it had occasioned terminates. The advantages which were gained to the catholic community by this act, Mr. Good has well stated.
In the same year, our doctor showed himself in a new light, by the publication of his Epistola Macaronicu, addressed to his brother, and his Curnen Seculare pro Gallica Gente. Of the former (occasioned by a general dinner of the protestant dissenters at the London Tavern, at which place they had asseinbled to wish success to their efforts for obtaining a repeal
of the Test and Corporation acts), possessing considerable merit, we will present an extract.
• Quid referam Cleri clarissima nomina? Reesum,
Lindsæum, Kippis, conspicillisque Toörum
Non aderas, Priestley!--potior te cura tenebat
P. 258. In this poem the doctor takes occasion to introduce his extravagant praise of Mr. Fox, whom he styles, in plain English, one of the greatest, and wisest, and best of men.' Concerning the Carmen Seculare, little good can be said. · The topic that next engaged Dr. Geddes's attention, was the slave-trade; concerning which Mr. Good very unadvisedly observes, the attack began, for some reason, of which I am ignorant, upon the tender conscience of Mr. Wilberforce.' The doctor's tract on this subject is ironical, and entitled an ' Apology for Slavery.' What, in the conclusion, Dr. Geddes foretold, we see has literally happened.
« Ye Foxes and Windhams, ye Smiths and Wilberforces! give up, give up your vain pursuit. What though the minister lend you his single voice? what though he lend it you seriously? The voice of the minister will, on this occasion, be drowned by the voice of ministerialists; and your opposition here will be as ineffectual with him on your side as it is every where else when he is against you.” P. 276.
The work which at this time occupied the chief attention of the doctor, was Cowper's translation of Homer. Of Mr. Cowper, as an original poet, Dr. Geddes thought most Highly; considering him, however, as having failed in the task of translating, and conceiving himself qualified to Anglicise Homer, he confidently engaged in the enterprise ; but, notwithstanding the doctor's insulting sarcasm on Fuscli (who possesses a hundred-fold more knowledge of Homer, than himself could ever attain to), had he deigned to have consulted him, we never had been told of an-all-round-aboutclose-covered quiver in Homer, nor that the poet had made a rut-catcher of Apollo. · Mr. Good's remarks on the different versions of the Iliad, here introduced, discover reading, acumen, and taste.
- Having noticed a short poem, intitled L'Avocat du Diable, occasioned by the action for damages in the King's Bench,
brought by the late lord Lonsdale against Peter Pindar, for insinuating that Fuseli might paint, with success, his lordship for the devil, our biographer proceeds with his narrative; and, in describing his first interview with Dr. Geddes, presents so faithful a picture of his person and manner, that we cannot forbear to transcribe it.
• It was about this period, the year 1793, I first became acquainted with Dr. Geddes. I met him accidentally at the house of Miss Hamilton, who has lately acquired a just reputation for her excellent Letters on Education: and I freely confess that at the first interview I was by no means pleased with him. I beheld a man of about five feet five inches high, in a black dress put on with uncommon negligence, and apparently never fitted to his form: his figure was lank, his face meagre, his hair black, long and loose, without having been sufficiently submitted to the operations of the toilet-and his eyes, though quick and vivid, sparkling at that time rather with irritability than benevolence. He was disputing with one of the company when I entered, and the rapidity with which at this moment he left his chair, and rushed, with an ele. vated tone of voice and uncourtly dogmatism of manner, towards his opponent, instantaneously persuaded me that the subject upon which the debate turned was of the utmost moment. I listened with all the attention I could command; and in a few minutes learned, to my astonishment, that it related to nothing more than the distance of his own house in the New Road, Paddington, from the place of our meeting, which was in Guildford-street. The debate being at length concluded, or rather worn out, the doctor took possession of the next chair to that in which I was seated, and united with myself and a friend who sat on my other side in dis. coursing upon the politics of the day. On this topic we proceeded smoothly and accordantly for some time; till at length disagreeing with us upon some point as trivial as the former, he again rose abruptly from his seat, traversed the room in every direction, with as indeterminate a parallax as that of a comet, loudly and with increase of voice maintaining his position at every step he took. Not wishing to prolong the dispute we yielded to him without further interruption; and in the course of a few minutes after he had closed his harangue, he again approached us, retook possession of his chair, and was all playfulness, good humour, and genuine wit.' P. 300.
This is followed by other anecdotes that strongly marked the man.
Dr. Geddes's attachment to physiognomy as a science is instanced, together with his system on ‘risiognomy,'accompanied with an anecdote of his skill in this branch of moral anatomy. The destruction of his treatise upon it, probably from a change of opinion, is related; his mechanical and horticultural employments are described ; and an account is given of his Three Sečular Odes on the French Revolution, and the translation which he published of GRESSET's Ver-Vert.