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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. Geddes'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 house 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 ma. hogany, and began to renew the building system pursued a 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 of 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 pur. pose of study. Our bookcases in general, after allowing space for two tiers of folios from the floor, recede, and become nar. Tower 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 ef. fectually secured them from dust, and obtained a kind of circu. lar desk, on which to open the various books he might have occasion to consult, while he himself sat in the centre.
improvements soon 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 muse 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 E length deposed from the pastoral office. If, however,
he could not accommodate himself to the rigid bigotry of s his spiritual superior, his amiable manners and truly
Christian deportment won for him the hearts of his Home Hock; who, on his quitting his native land to repair to
the southern metropolis, gave the most unequivocal proofs of their esteem and affectiont.
.. * 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
Henceforwards Dr. G. was, for the most part, an ine habitant of our metropolis, where he arrived in com. pany with Lord Traquaire*. Soon after his arrival, he was introduced by the Duchess of Gordon to Lord Petre, who approved the doctor's plan of a new version of the Bible, and became his warm friend and steady patron, allowing him an ample salary.
Dr. G. with one of the best and most benevolent hearts in the world, was naturally very irritable. His irritability had probably been produced by a considerable degree of very unmerited ill-usage and disappoints ment; but his life was a series of benevolent and charitable exertions, often beyond what prudence and a regard to his own limited income would have dictated. He was irritable, but it was the harmless corruscation of a summer's evening's aurora—it no sooner appeared than it was spent, and no mischief ensued. When one reflects that it was this very irritability of nerve that excited him to a thousand acts of kindness, and prompted him to debar himself of a thousand little gratifications that he might relieve the distressed and comfort the sorrowful, one can scarcely lanient that he
with the utmost avidity; and the people appeared to prize the different lots, they were fortunate enough to procure, rather as relics of a patron saint, than as memorials of a beloved pastor: Nor were the Catholics the only persons who manifested any regard for Mr. G. at the time of his departure. His learning was well known through Scotland, and the university of Aberdeen granted him a diploma, by which he was created doctor of laws.
* In the beginning of the year 1780,
possessed it; or, at least, one cannot avoid contending that it carried a very ample apology along with it. No man was ever more sensible of his prevailing defect; no man ever took more pains to remedy it*; but it was inherent in his constitution, and he often laboured to 20 purpose. “I am not ill-natured,” says he of him. self, and with strict justice, in his letter to the Bishop of Centuria," those who know me, know the contrary. Animated and irascible I am, but I am never malevolent nor resentful. I may safely say, that the sun has never set upon my wrath.”
The opposition and hostility of the Catholic bishops, resident in England, proved a source of much uneasiness to Dr. Geddes. The perusal of his translation by the faithful, was prohibited by an encyclical letter; and, at last, he was suspended from all clerical functionsta
* Dining one day in company with the late Dr. Hunter, of physiognomic memory, the celebrated De Lille, and several literati, unfortunately one of the subjects advanced was phy. siognomy itself. Geddes had read Lavater with much atten. tion, and expressed himself extremely dissatisfied with the confusion and want of systein that seem to prevail in his wri. tings. Hunter, the friend and translator of Lavater, immedi. ately accepted the gauntlet, and became his champion : the combat grew warm on both sides; the good humour of Dr. Geddes was soon lost; and, in proportion as he became violent, the company at large gave evident tokers of espousing the cause of his antagonist. He perceived his error, rose suddenly from table, joined two children who were playing in the same room before the fire, and abruptly entered into their amusements.
† The following letter, from a Roman Catholic bishop, to Dr. Geddes, savours more of the thunders of the Vatican, in
Agitations of mind affecting his corporeal system, he sunk into a low and irritable fever; on his recovery from which, at the invitation of his amiable friend and patron, the late Lord Petre, he made a pedestrian tour into Norfolk, which gave rise to a poem which contains an anecdote strongly illustrative of Dr. Geddes's feel. ing and benevolent heart; for he was neither the priest nor the Levite who could see distress, and pass by unconcerned on the other side*.
the age of papal tyranny, than of the present degraded state of the Roman hierarchy. . " SIR,
London, June 27, 1793. “Since it is evident, from your letter to me, that you adhere to, and maintain the doctrines which were censured by the pastoral letter to which you allude; unless you signify to me, in writing, on or before Friday, the 5th day of July next, your submission to observe the injunction contained in the twenty-first page of the said pastoral letter, viz. We pro. hibit our clergy, in particular, from preaching, teaching, main. taining, or supporting any of the aforesaid opinions: I hereby declare you suspended from the exercise of your orders in the London district.
“ John Douglas, Vicar A postolic." « Rev. Aler. Geddes, LL.D.”
* This little poem is called the Norfolk Tale; or, A Joure ney from London to Norwich; where he describes his relieving a poor widow in the utmost distress, into whose cottage he was driven by the weather. The following fragment will serve as à specimen of Dr. Geddes' poetical talents :
“ Eager she seiz'd my hand, and prest
It closely to her throbbing breast;