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they cannot stand a comparison with those of Switzer* land, and much less with those of South America, still yield an ample compensation of pleasure for the toil and trouble of ascending them. There are travellers, who think to give themselves an air of courage and importance, by representing parts of this tour as dangerous; but, in truth, with the use of common prudence and precaution, there is no more danger than in walking in the streets of any city.
THE LATE BEV. ALEXANDER GEDDBS, LL D.
Dr. Geooes was a man of no common character; he was endowed with superior talents and high attainments, as well as with amiable and manly virtues. Ignorant and systematic bigots may vow eternal enmity to his fame, for his intrepidity as a Scripture critic, and his friends may lament his bold aberrations; but his labours were usefully directed, and, had ha lived to finish his great work, it would have formed a most valuable classical commentary on the Bible.
To great penetration and perseverance in literary pursuits, Dr. Geddes united an honest mind. Truth was the end and aim of his studies; and conscious that he endeavoured to attain her by no sinister means, and loved her for her own sake, he unbosomed his sentiments without reserve; and, appealing to the wise and liberal of all persuasions, employed no measure of prudence to secure the good-will of the enlighted and the prejudiced. He was irritable by nature, and precipitate by habit; but his errors are pardonable, as springing immediately from his virtues.
Alexander Geddes was born* of parents who derived their livelihood from a small farm, in the parish of Ruthven, county of Banff", Scotland. Among the few books possessed by his parents, who were Roman Catholics, the principal was an English Bible, and the attentention of the young Geddes was chiefly directed to this volume, after he had been taught by the village school-mistress to read; a circumstance which, it is supposed, gave the bias to his infant mind, and formed the biblical critic in embryo. From the tuition of the matron of the village, he was intrusted to the care of a student of Aberdeen, whom the Laird of Arradoul had engaged to instruct his two sons. The education of Mr. Geddes was gratuitous. Hence, by the aid of his patronf, he was removed to Scalan, a free Roman Catholic seminary in the Highlands, of obscure fame. In this academy, situated in a deeply-excavated valley, 10 overshadowed by surrounding hills, that the sun seldom made his appearance, the pupil commenced his acquaintance with the Latin language, but made no great proficiency in it. From Scalan he was removed to the Scotch college at Paris-J, where a new field of literature was presented to his view, and was not opened in vain. We shall not enumerate his various attain
» He was born in the year, 1737.
:£ He arrived in that metropolis, in December 175?, at ih: age of twenty-one
merits, which excited equal pleasure and astonishment in the professors. An offer was made to him to settle at Paris, and take a share in the public labours of the college; this, however, he refused, and he returned to Scotland*, when he was ordered to Dundee, to officiate as a priest in the county of Angus, and became a resident in the mansion of the Earl of Traquaire, amid the delightful scenery of Tweeddale. Leisure for study was afforded in this elegant retreat; and the esteem of the family were additional circumstances which increased the attraction of his situation. But, alas! love shot his arrows at this priestf, and Buxtorf was in danger of being supplanted by Ovid. A female relation of the noble earl made a wound for which philosophy has no cure. As Mr. G. had taken the vow of religious celibacy, flight was the only measure to be adopted. He again quitted his native country, to forget himself amidst the greater varieties and volatilities of Paris}:.
To North Britain, however, he returned ||, and accepted the charge of a Catholic congregation at Auchinhalrig, where he built a new chapel and parsonage house, not only superintending these buildings, but labouring at them himself, being as ready a carpenter, and as expert in the use of the saw and the plane as if
* In the year 1764.
+ He was then in the 28th year of his age. | Mr. G. before his departure, addressed to his fair one a poem, iutitled the Confessional.
(lit was in the spring of i 769.
he had been professedly brought up to the trade*. Gardening and carpentering were, at all times, favourite amusements with him; they constituted his chief relaxations from the severity of study to the last moment of his life.
Notwithstanding his own labours, these expensive
• The following passage of Dr. Ceddes's biographer will furnish a useful hint to scholars, who are fitting up libraries, and convey to the reader an idea of the doctor's dexterity in mechanic employments :—When he had engaged a houst in the New Road, Paddington, his first object was to arrange a library; and, having no one to please but himself, he extended it to every room in the house, excepting the kitchen and a chamber for his house-keeper. He purchased a large box of carpenter's tools, laid in a considerable stock of deals and mahogany, and began to renew the building system pursued at Auchinhalrig; he planed, sawed, and completed his shelves, which he equally hung round parlours, drawing-rooms, and chambers; and which, though not finished with all the skill cf the professional cabinet-maker, were neat and commodious, And, being edged with mahogany, by no means deficient in elegance. One contrivance, introduced into the room in which he commonly wrote, was peculiarly advantageous to the purpose of study. Our bookcases in general, after allowing space for two tiers of folios from the floor, recede, and become narrower for books of smaller dimensions, leaving, at the point of recess, a kind of shelf of too little width to be of any real utility. This shelf, or covering for the folios, below which he formed of mahogany slab, our self-taught artist projected a few inches over the folios themselves, and carried the projection regularly all round the room; by which means he more effectually secured them from dust, and obtained a kind of circular desk, on which to open the various books he might hav« •ccasion to consult, while he himself sat in the centre.
improvements sewn rendered him no stranger to pecuniary embarrassments, out of which he was extricated by the liberality of the late Duke of Norfolk; but men of genius being rarely men of the world, he was scarcely delivered from one difficulty when he was plunged into another. Under a mistaken idea that agriculture was the sure road to wealth, Mr. G. took a farm, but disappointment speedily ensued; in this emergency, the Tnuse came to his relief*, and the losses sustained by the plough were compensated by the profits arising from the pen.
'Mr. G. acquired, very early, a liberal turn of mind; and those prejudices, which are supposed to act more powerfully on the members of his communion, were never cherished by him; but, for his intimacy with the Protestants, he was reproved by his own bishop, and at length deposed from the pastoral office, If, however, he could not accommodate himself to the rigid bigotry of his spiritual superior, his amiable manners and truly Christian deportment won for him the hearts of his flock; who, on his quitting his nativ^ land to repair to the southern metropolis, gave the most unequivocal proofs of their esteem and affect ion t.
* Mr. G. published a translation of select satires from Horace, which was favourably received.
+ At the sale of his household goods at Enzie, every one pressed forward to testify, by an extravagant bidding, his veneration and love, as well as to obtain possession of some monu. ment of a man whose name and character were so justly dear to them. The most insignificant articles of furniture, even cups and saucers, though imperfect or broken, were caught at