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OF THE ■^/^■^ c//^/^i^. 







EICHHORJf aU GEDDES, See Appendix, f. 543, 

















To write the life of a friend is a difficult 
and a delicate undertaking : the public 
are entitled to a correct impartiality of 
statement, while the heart of the writer, 
from a sacred regard to the duties which 
friendship itself inculcates, is perpetually 
prone to magnify the merits and to 
soften the imperfections of the character 
he attempts to delineate. This difficulty 
is considerably augmented when the bio- 
graphy relates to a man of pre-eminent 
talents and acquisitions ; for, as a stronger 
light produces a darker shadow, superi- 
ority of genius is not infrequently ac- 
companied with a superiority of eccen- 
tricities and defects. Yet to abstain 
from the task altogether, or to entrust it 
to the more frigid hands of a stranger, is 
still wider to deviate from the inviolable 
claims of friendship, than to hazard the 


commission of an act of injustice by a 
defective and incompetent portraiture. 
In the present instance, however, I have 
felt more at liberty, from a full know- 
ledge that the character I have attempted 
to trace would ask, if he could speak, 
that nothing but the plain unvarnished 
truth should be related of himr— would 
seek for no apology— and be solicitous 
alone that his virtues and his errors, his 
merits and his imperfections, should be 
weighed in the same impartial balance, 
I have pursueH therefore, as/ar as I have 
been able, the plan, which I ani per- 
suaded would be most acceptable to 
himself. I have freely commended and 
I have freely blamed— I have deviated 
from his opinions Avhere I have seen rea~ 
son for dissent, and I have vindicated 
liim in instances where I have conceived 
the motives of his conduct to have been 
V.;. represented or misunderstood. The 


office 1 have undertaken is, after all, by 
no means discharged to my own satisfac- 
tion, and I am afraid still less so to that of 
the public. Be the defects of the ensu- 
ing A^olume however what they may, I 
am not the only person responsible for 
them, having merely engaged in it at the 
repeated and flattering solicitations of a 
friend, for whom to request is to com- 
mand, but wlio, to have ensured success, 
ought to have w^ritten it himself, . 




1^ — 1779. OELECT Satires of Horace, translated into English 
Verse and for the most Part adapted to the present Times and 
Manners. Cadell, quarto, pp. 123. 

2L — 1781. Linton, a Twecdale Pastoral. Elliot, Edinburgh^ 
quarto, pp. 9' 

Jll. — 1783. Cursory Remarks on a late Fanatical Publication, 
entitled a full Detection of Popery, &c. submitted to the can- 
did Perusal of the liberal-minded of every Denomination. 
Keating, octavo, pp. 53. 

|V. — 1780. Prospectus of a new Translation of the Holy Bible, 
from corrected Texts of the Originals, compared with the an- 
tient Versions : with various Readings, explanatory Notes, and 
critical Observations. Faujder, quarto, pp. 151. 

V,— 1787. Letter to the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Lou* 
don, containing Queries, Doubts, and DifHcuIties, relative to 
a vernacular V'^ersioii of the Holy Scriptures. Fauider, quarto, 
pp. 97. 

¥L— 1787. letter to the Rev. Dr. Priestley, in which the Au- 
thor attempts to prove, by one prescriptive Argument, that the 
l>ivinity of Jesus Christ was a primitive Tenet of Christianity. 
Fauider, octavo, pp. SG. 

yil. — 1787. Letter to a Member of Parliament, on the Case of 
the Protestant Dissenters, and the Expediency of a general Re- 
peal of all penal Statutes that regard religious Opinions. Faui- 
der, octavo, pp. 37. 

Will. — 1788. Proposals for printing by Subscription a "New 
Translation of the Holy Bible, fiom collected Texts of th^ 

(xll ) 

Originals, with various Readings explanatory Notes, and cri- 
tical Observations — with a Specimen of the Work. Faulder, 
quarto, pp. Q2. 

IX.— 1700. Dr. Gcddcs's General An^^wer to the Queries, Conn- .? 
sds, and Criticisms, that have been communicated to him 
since the Puljlication of l)is Proposals for printing a New 
Translation of the Bible. Faulder, quarto, pp. 32. 

X. — irpo. An Answer to the Bishop of Comana's Bastoral Let- 
ter, by a protesting Catholic. Faulder, octavo, pp. 3(5. 

XI.— 1790. A Letter to the Right Rev. the Archbishops and 
Bishops of England : pointing out the only sure INIeans of pre- 
scr\Jni; the Church from the Dangers that now threaten her. 
By aD Upj)er Graduate. Johnson, octavo, pp. 25. 

XIL— 1790. Epistola Macaronica ad Fratrem, de iis qu^ gesta 

sunt in^j^ujiero disscnticntium Conventu, Londini habito, prid. 

id. Febr. 1790. Johnson, quarto, pp. 21. 
XIII.— Epistola Macaronica, &c. with an English Version for the 

Use of tlie Ladles and Country Gentlemen. Johnson, quarto, 

pj>. SO. 

XIV.— 1790. Carmen ScTculare pro Gallica Gcnte tyrannidi 
aristocraticac crepta : with an English Translation. Johnson, 
quarto, pp. II. 

XV.— 1791. Encyclical Letter of the Bishops of Rama, Acan- 
thos, and Centuri*, to the Faithful, Clergy, and Laity, of their 
respective Districts, with a continued Commentary for the 
Use of the Vulgar. Bdl, octavo, pp. og. 

XVI.-I792. An Apology for Slaverj- j or Six cogent Argu- 
ments agamst the immediate Abolition of the Slave Trade. 
Johnson, octavo, pp. 47. 

XVII.-., 702. The firstBookof the Iliadof Homer, verbally ren-- 
|lcred u,to English Verse ; being a Specimen of a new Trans- 
lation oftlutPoet: with critical Annotations. Debrett, oc- 

( xIII ) 

X\'^ni— 1792. L'Avocatdu Diable; The DeviFs Advocate : ar 
Satan versus Pictor. Tried before the Court of Uncommon 
Pleas— Die — mens — ann. Johnson, quarto, pp. 10. 

XIX. — 1792. The Holy Bible ; or the Books accounted sacred 
by Jews and Christians j otherwise called the Books of the Old 
and New Covenants: faithfully translated from corrected 
Texts of the Originals, with various Readings, explanatory- 
Notes, and critical Remarks. Vol. 1. Fauider, quarto, pp. 430- 

XX. — 1793. Carmina Sa^cularia Tria, pro tribus cekberrimis 
Libertatis Gallicas Epochis. No Publisher's Name, quarto, 

XXI. — 1793. Ver-Vert -, or the Parrot of Nevers : a Poem in four 
Cantos, freely translated from the Frencii of J. B. Gressct. 
Bell, quarto, pg. ^td. 

XXIL— 1793. Dr. Geddes's Address to the Public on the Publi- 
cation ofthe first Volume of his New Translation of the Bible, 
Johnson, pp. 25. 

XXIII— 1794. Letter from the Rev. Alexander Geddes, LL. D; 
to the Right Rev. John Douglas, Bishop of Centui i^e, and 
Viear Apostolic in the London District. Fauider, quarto, 
pp. 55. 

XXIV— 1794. A Norfolk Tale; or a Journal from London to 
Norwich : with a Prologue and an Epilogue. Johnson, quarto, 
pp. 50. 

XXV— 1795. Ode to the Hon. Thomas Pelham, occasioned 
by his Speech in the Irish House of Commons on the Ca- 
tholic Bill. Johnson, quarto, pp. 19. 

XXVI.— 1796. A Sermon preached before the University of 

Cajnbridge, by H. W. C. T. D. D. &c. published by rer 

quest; and now (for the Sake of Freshmen and the Laity) by 
Request translated into En;!:]ish Metre. By II. H. flop.kins, 
A, M, Keaisley, octavo, pp. 4.>, 

C xi^ ) 

XXVll.— 1707. ThcBattleofB— ng— r; or the Church's Trl- 
umph: a Comic Heroic Poem, in nine Cantos. Johnson, 
octavo, pp. 74. 

XXVm.— 17}'7. TheHoly Bible ; or the Books accounted sacred 
b)' ]c\n and Christians; otherwise called the Books of the Old 
aod New Covenants: faithfully translated from corrected 
Texts of the Originals, with various Readings, explanatory 
Notes, and critical Remarks. Vol. II. Faulder, quarto, pp.SQl' 

\XrX— l/Oc-^. A New- Year's Gift to the good People of Eng- 
land; being a Sermon, or something like a Sermon, in Defence 
^||e present War, preached on the Day of public Thanks- 

fRftg, by Theomophilus Brown, Curate of P n. Na 

Publishers Name, octavo, pp. 43. 

XXX. — 1799- A Sermon preached on the Day of General Fast^ 
Feb. 27, 1799. by Thcomophihis Brovvn, formerly Curate, 
now Vicar, of P— — n. No Publishers Name, octavo, 
pp. 24. 

XXXI.— 1800. A Modest ApoIog>' for the Roman Catholics of 
Great Britain, addressed to all moderate Protestants, particu- 
larly to the Members of both Houses of Parliament. Faulder, 
octavo, pp. 271. 

XXXII.— 1800. Critical Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures, 
corresponding with a New Translation of the Bible, containing 
the Pentateuch. Vol. I. Faulder, pp. 475. 

XXXIII.— 1800. Bardomachia— Poema Macaronico-Latinum. 
Johnson, quarto, pp. i4. 

XXXIV.— 1800. Bardomachiajor the Battle of the Bards : trans- 
lated from the original Latin. Johnson, quarto, pp. i6. 

XXXV.— 1801. Paci feliciter rcduci Ode Sapphica. Auctore 
A. C. Johnson, quarto, pp. 9. 

( xy ) 


I. — 1799' Epistle to the King. A Poem in English Iambics, still 
in Manuscript. About 600 lines. — N. B. It is replete witk 
professions of loyalty and attachment to his Majesty, whose 
personal virtues are much extolled j but its chief object is to 
point out the necessity of a change of ministry and public 

II. — 1801. A New Translation of the Psalms, from corrected 
Texts of the Original, with occasional Annotations. Octavo, 
pp. 208.--N. B. The Translator died in the midst of this 
version, which in consequence extends only to the cxviiith in- 
clusively. It is thus far printed, and will be shortly published. 


Printed on fingle fheets^ or in conjun6lion with other 
papers, and here enumerated to preclude his be- 
ing charged with what were not his own. 

I.--1792. A Dissertation on the Scoto-Saxon Dialect; together 
with three Poems, written in the same Dialect, consisting of, 
1. An Epistle to the President, Vice-President, &c. of the So- 
ciety of Antiquaries, on his being elected a correspondent 
Member. 2. The first Eclok of Virgil. 3. The first Idillion 
of Theocritus, translatit into Scottis Vers. Published in 
the Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 
Quarto, Caddel. 

II.— The Northern Hunt, or Brunswick Beagles. 
III.— The Blessings of a free Press. 
IV — Trial by Jury. 

v.— 1795. Ode Pindarico-Sapphfco-Macaronica in Gulielmi 

Pittii, &c. Laudem. Morn. Chron. Jan. 13. 
VL— 1795. TranslatioDLof tlie same. Morn, Chroir. Jan. Si), 

( xvl ) 
Vir.— 1 7C7. Brother Burke to Brother Windham. January. 
VIII. — 1798. Abolition of Saints Days. Mon. Chron. Mar. 5. 
IX.— 1798. Ode to the Right Hon. W. Pitt, by W. Wiiberforce; 

Esq. Courier, June 21 ; 2d' edition in August following. 
X.— 1798. Epistle to Sir Walter Farquhar, Bart. Morn. Chron. 

Nov. 11. 
XI. — 1801. In Obituni honcstissinii, integerrimi, meique ami» 

cisiiini Viri, Domini de Petre. Monthly Mag. Sep. 

XII.— 1801. Ad UmbraraGilberti Wakefield Elegia. Monthly 
Mair. Nov. 



J HE birth and earlier education of Mr. Geddes— his 
propensity to biblical studies — A short account of the , 
chief vernacular versions of the Bible common to Ro- 
man catholic countries, and the great want of such 
a version among the catliolics of Great Britain — Mr. 
Geddes prosecutes his studies at Scalan in the High- 
lands—removes to the Scotch college at Paris — ac- 
quires the friendship of the professors — returns to 
Scotland — officiates as priest at Dundee — resides in 
the family of tlie earl of Traquaire — returns to Paris — 
and again to his own country. A. D. 1737 — 17^9. 1 


JVIr. Geddes accepts the charge of a catholic congrega- 
tion at Auchinhalrig — builds a new chapel and par- 
sonage-house — his domestic employments and popu- 
larity among his flock— his connexions with many 
protestants of rank and literature — his pecuniary em- 
barrassments, and the assistance afforded him by die 
late duke of Norfolk — takes a small farm — erects a 
new chapel at Fouchabers — is again involved in diffi- 
culties'—commences poet, and publishes a translation 
of select satires from Horace — is engaged to instmct 
lady Findlater in the English language — becomes ac- 
quainted with Mr. Buchanan, and occasionally at- 
tends upon his ministry — is reproved by bishop Hay, 
and at length deposed from his pastoral office. He 
quits Auchinhalrig, to the great regret of his congre- 

^^\\[ CONTENTS. 


gation— is crentcd doctor of laws by the university of 
Aberdeen. A. D. 1709— 17/9. . • -32 


Institution of the Royal Sosiety of Antiquaries in Scot- 
land by the exertions of Dr. Geddes and others — 
elected a resident, and afterwards a corresponding 
member— quits Enzie— arrives in London in com- 
pany with lord Traquaire— officiates as priest in the 
Imperial ambagsador's chapel— is introduced by the 
duchess of Gordon to lord PeU'e — Lord Petre highly 
approves of the doctors's plan for translating the Bible, 
and patronizes him whh an ample salaiy — He quits 
the Imperial chapel, the establisment being supprest, 
and officiates occasionally in tlie chapel in Duke- 
street, Lincoln's Inn Fields — revisits Scotland, and is 
again a resident with the earl of Traquaire — pub^ 
lishes his Tweeddalc pastoral — the occasion of it*— 
Riots in Scotland on account of sir George Saville's 
bill for relieving papists — Riots in England on the 
same account — Protestant association headed by lord 
George Gordon — Conflagration of the metropolis — 
Dr. Geddes writes his Modest Apology for die Roman 
Catholics of Great Britain — by the advice of his 
friends suppresses its publication— replies to Mr. 
Williams's fanatical paiuphlet— the pamphlet and re- 
ply shortly examined. A. D. 1779—1/82. . 5/ 

Dr. Geddes accompanies lord and lady Traquaire in a 
tour to the south of France— returns to London— be- 
comes acquainted with Dr. Kcnnicott— is introduced 



to Dr. Lowth — advised by the latter to draw up a - 
Prospectus of his intended version of the Bible — ac- 
cedes to the advice — publishes it with a Dedication 
to lord Petre — Analysis of the Prospectus. A. D. 
1782— 1786. . . , . .84 


Letter to the Bishop of London, designed as an Appendix 
to the Prospectus — Letter to tlie Pv.ev. Dr. Priestley 
— Application of the Protestant Dissenters to Par- 
liament for a repeal of the Test Act— Letter to a 
Member of parliament on the Case of the Protestant 
dissenters. — Dr. Geddes engages in the Analytical 
Review — List of the Articles he wrote in this vTournal 
—He publishes his Proposals for printing his Transla- 
tion of the Bible— General Ansv.'er to the Queries, 
Counsels, and Criticisms communicated to him. 
A. D. 17S6-— 1790. • . . .147 


Application of the English catholics to the legislature 
for additional relief in the matter of praemunire — The 
protest and oath proposed on this occasion — Contro- 
versy among the body of the cathoUcs upon tliis sub- 
ject — Pastoral Letter of the Bishop of Comana — Dr. 
Geddes replies to it — First and second Encyclical 

• Letters of the Vicars Apostolic — Dr. Geddes repub- 
lishes the latter with a continued and sarcastic com- 
mentary—Progress of the bill through both houses of 
Parliament,-- it passes, and receives the royal assent — 
Termination of the controversy; and advantages gained 
to the catholic community by this additional act in 
their favor. A. D. 179O-— 1791. . .-204 




Dr. Geddes's Macaronic Epistle to his Brother— His 
Secular Ode on the Affairs of France— Observations 
on these poems— The poet's attachment to Mr. Fox j 
and peculiar animation when reciting his merits — 
His creneral learning and extensive talents — Univer- 
sality of study no impediment to perfection in any in- 
dividual branch of science. A. D. 179I— 1792. 254 


General execration of the slave trade — Dr. Geddes sa- 
tirizes it in his Apology for Slavery — The question 
introduced before parliament — Conduct of Mr. Pitt 
and Mr. Dundas — Result of parliamentary interfer- 
ence — Mr. Cowper's Translation of Homer's Iliad — 
Dr. Geddes's high opinion of Mr. Cowper's poetic 
talents — Mr. Fuzeli ; the assistance he rendered Mr. 
Cow per — Dr. Geddes's Translation of the fost Book 
of Homer's Iliad : comparison between the versions 
of Cowper, Geddes, Burger, and Voss — L'Avocat du 
Diable : tlie occasion of this humorous poem — The 
profession of the law not an unfavorable subject, 
evinced by Mr. Anstey's Pleader's Guide. A. D. 

irQ2— 1793. . . . . .269 


The Biographer's first introduction to Dr. Geddes: 
impression made upon the former during tliis inter- 
view—Anecdotes respecting the latter: his attach- 
ment to Physiognomy as a science — System and Trea- 



tisc on Risiognomy- — Anecdote of his skill in this 
individual branch of moral anatomy — Destruction of 
. his Treatise and probable change in his sentiments- 
Engages a house in New Road, Maiy-le-bone — His 
mechanic employments and dexterity in the use of 
mechanic tools — His attachment to horticulture— 
Green-house, and schemes for its improvement — 
Three Secular Odes upon the French Revolution — 
Translation of the Ver-Vert of Gresset — Remarks on 
this transb.tion. A. D. 1792— 1793. . . 300 


Dr. Geddes's Translation of the Bible -^Observations 
upon his Translation — Critical Remarks upon the 
Pentateuch — Obsen^ations upon the Remarks — An- 
ticipated Version of the Psalms — Observations upon 
the Version. A. D. 1792— 1793. . .330 


Additional obseiTafions upon Dr. Geddes's Bible— Va- 
rious oppositions he had to encounter — Hostility of 
the catholic bishops resident in England, after having 
intimated their approbation — Death of bishop James 
Talbot, and appointment of bishop Douglas by the 
Roman see, in opposition to the address of the Eng- 
lish catholics — Animosity of the great body of the ca- 
tholics to Dr. Geddes — Encyclical prohibition of his 
Translation of the Bible, subscribed by bishops Walms- 
ley, Gibson, and Douglas, but refused to be subscribed 
by bishop Thomas Talbot — Dr. Geddes's Address to 
the .Public — Private correspondence between bishop 
Douglas aiid himself—- His suspension by Mr. Dou- 



Has ihmi rtU eccksiaslical functions — His public Let- 
tcrto tlie Kiglit T\cv. John Douglas, Bishop of Centu- 
rifE, and Vicar Ai^oslolic in the Lx)ndon District— -Ob- 
servations upon the controAcrsy. A. D. 1793 — 1/94. ^97 


Dr. Gcdtles's mind much affected by the contumelies 
he received— consoled by his friends, especially the 
titular bishop of Dunkeld, and his patron lordPetre — 
sinks into a low and irritable fever, which incapaci- 
tates him from all exertion for many months — pro- 
gressively recovers— Makes a tour into Norfolk — 
composes his Norfolk Tale — Selection of an anec- 
dote from this poem highly creditable to his general 
benevolence— Character of his poetiy — Ode to the 
Hon. Thomas Pelham, occasioned by his speech in 
tlie Irish House of Commons on the catholic bill — 
Humorous metrical translation of Dr. Coultlmrst's 
Sermon, preached before the university of Cambridge, 
Oct. 25, 1796 — Dispute between the bishop of Ban- 
gor and Mr. Grindley — Dr. Geddes's Comic-Heroic 
poem, entitled The Battle of Bangor — his anonymous 
fast-Day Sermon and New-Year'i Gift. A. D. 
17.94—1799. . . . . .431 

Dr. Geddcs perseveres in his Translation of the Bible— 
again oppressed with pecuniary difficul^es — discloses 
his situation, to iiis friends— tlieir generous and af-- 
feclionatc assistance— Again in a state of- ease and 
independence — publishes his Modest Apology for the 
Roman Catholics of Great Britain — the cause of his 
publication' at the present period — An analysis of the 
* work. A.D. I7yy— 18(X;. . .. .405 




6^eneral observations — Death of lord Petre — Deep dis- 
tress of Dr. Geddes — Kindess and condolence of his 
friends — Elegy on lord Petre — Bequest of his lordship 
— Generous offer of T, Brown, Esq. — Munificent 
salaiy of tlie present lord Petre — Dr. Geddes endea- 
vors to resume his accustomed cheerfulness — his tem- 
poraiy amusements — Battle of the Bards — Ode on 
the Return of Peace — Illness and gradual decay — 
Alternations from extreme pain to moderate ease— 
Elegy to the Shade of Gilbert Wakefield — Last inter- 
view between the biographer and Dr. Geddes — his 
death. A. D. ISOO— 1802. . . .492 

CONGLUSIOK. • . . . ^29 

Appendix, j ^ - ; 53Q 







The h'lrth and earlier education of Mr, Geddes — 
his propenjify to lihlical Jiudies. — A Jh art account of 
the chief vernacular verjions of the Bible common to 
Roman catholic countries, and the great want offuch 
a verfion among the catholics of Great Britain,'-* 
Mr, Geddes profecutes his Jhtdies at Scalan in 
the Highlands — removes to the Scotch college at 
Paris — acquires the friendjhip of the profejfors — > 

returns to Scotland — officiates as priefi at Dundee 

refides in the family of the earl of Traquaire — returns 
to Paris — and again to his own country, A. D. 1737 

Alexander Geddes, who was born in the year 
1737, defcended, Hke mofl other men of letters, 
from parents who had no pretenfions to worldly- 
opulence or honours. But, though not rich, they 
were, in every fenfe of the word, refpedable ; and, 
though not ennobled, they had a fpirit fufficiently 
exalted to devote the little of which they were 


poflefl to the bell purpofes of human life. His 
father, named alfo Alexander, the fecond of four 
* brothers, derived his liveHhood from a fmall farm 
fituated in Arradowl, in the parifh of Ruthven 
and county of Banff in Scotland ; in which occu- 
pation he endured, in common, perhaps, with the 
greater body of fmaller tenants in that part of the 
united kingdom, many fevere opprelTions from a 
tyrannic landlord. The maiden name of his mo- 
ther was Janet Mitchel ; fhe was a native of Nether 
Dalachy, in the parifh of Bellay, and was equally- 
exemplary as a wife and a parent. 

It is curious to obferve from what apparently 
trifling incidents we fometimes derive the whole 
bent of the difpofitions and ftudies of our future 
lives. In their religious profeilion the parents of 
Mr. Geddes were Roman catholics ; their library 
confided of but a very few volumes ; and, of thefe, 
the principal book was an Englifh Bible. Having 
been taught to read in the humble manfion of a 
fchool-miftrefs whofe name was Sellar, a village 
matron whofe goodnefs of heart, with a recollec- 
tion that did honour to his feelings, he was accuf- 
• tomed occafionally to make mention of to the 
lateft years of his life, and who, if (lie were not 
im'tiated in all the modern metaphyfics of juve- 
nile education, knew at leaft, according to the 
teftimony of her pupil, 

night well each temper to defcry, 

To thwart the proud, and the iubmils to raifcj 

Some with vile copper prize exalt on high, 

And fome entice with pittance fmall of praife : 

the book that chiefly ftruck his attention, in the 
meagre catalogue to which his infant choice was 
confined, was this family Bible; which, whatever 
might have been at that time his third after 
knowledge, could not afford him more pleafure 
to perufe, than it did his parents that it fhould be 
perufed by him. " They taught me," fays he, 
^^ to read it with reverence and attention*." 
His tafte was thus fixed from his childhood. 
From the moment he began to read he became 
a biblical critic in embryo : it was a paflion to 
which, the more he reflected, the more he fur- 
rendered himfelf; and which, confequently, as 
may naturally be expe£led, 

Grew with his growth, and flrengthened with his ftrength. 

Endowed with a mind comprehenfive as the 
whole circle of the fciences, and animated with 
an ardent genius that muft have enfured him pre- 
., eminence in v/hatever field he might have con- 
tended, it is a queftion that will admit of much 
doubt, whether, if he had been born under any 

* General Anfwer to Queries, CounfilS; and Criiicifms, 
&c. p. 2. ^ . 

other circumflanccs, and particularly if his father'i> 
library had allowed him a greater latitude and va- 
riety of ftudy, ecclefiaftical hiftory and a critical 
invedigation of the facred records would have 
formed his chief purfuit. The die how^ever was 
thrown : and fuch was the entertainment the Bible 
afforded him, and fuch the correfponding vigou]* 
with which he perfevered in its perufal, that it is 
a well known fact, and a fad in feveral inflances 
publicly adverted to by himfelf, that before he had 
reached his eleventh year he knew all its hiftory 
by heart *. A laudable example of application 
directed to the beft of objects, and which may 
well challenge the attention of young perfons, 
whether catholic or proteftant. 

It is, I well know, a common belief in this 
country, that Roman catholics are not allowed the 
ufe of any vernacular edition of the Bible, Such a 
belief is in the main unfounded, although the Ro- 
man catholics themfelves, and efpecially the ftrider 
clafs of papifts, have contributed in no fmall degree 
towards its fpread. The liturgy of the catholic 
communion is ftill uniformly rehearfed in Latin; 
and, excepting in the Galilean church, which has 
always afferted a degree of independency beyond 
that of any other in connexion with the Roman 

* General Anfwer, p. 2, compared with his Profpeflus^ 
p. T, and his Addreis to the Public, fajjim. 

fee, has never been correded fmce the pontificate 
of Urban VIII. ; which is nearly two centuries ago. 
For the continuation of this Latin Verfion, I be- 
lieve, however, there is nothing but' precedent, 
for I am not aware of the, decree of any oecumeni- 
cal council by which it has been enforced : and 
why, to adopt the language of Dr. Geddes him- 
felf, " it has not already appeared in a vernacular 
drefs, and divefted of every odd, exotic ornament, 
has often appeared to me a problem which ad- 
initteth no other folution than Sic voluere patres ! 
The day, however, I truft," continues he, and 
every man fhould cordially unite with him in the 
fame hope, "^ is not at a great diftance when every 
national church will open her eyes to reafon, and 
perform every part of the divine office in the 
language of her own country, unaccompanied 
with any ceremony that has the leaf! refemblance 
of farcical exhibition *." 

In the refolutions of a provincial fynod aflem- 
bled at Thouloufe in 1229, and which feems to 
have invented the horrid fyflem of a religious in- 
quifition f, we meet with a canon reflriOiing the 
perufal of the Bible to the original languages \. 

* Modeft Apology for the Roman Catholics, p. 170. 
f See Capitu'la, i, 2, 5^ 4, 5, 6, &c., apud Labbe xi, 427; 
'^ Prohibemus etiam, ne libros Veteris Teftamenti aut 
Novi laici permittaDtur habere; nifi forte Pfalterium vel 

But this IS a prohibition that has never obtained 
any degree of credit with the catholic church, 
which had been long before exhorted by Chyfo- 
ftom, Bafil, Ambrofe, and other illuftrious fathers, 
to read and ftudy the Scriptures daily. Nor can 
the decree of the council of Trent, as to the au- 
thenticity of St. Jerom's verfion, and its fupe* 
riority to all others in the Latin tongue, be intro- 
duced as favouring the fame idea ; for the canon 
relating to it fliould unqueflionably be confidered 
as limited and referring to Latin verfions alone, 
refpeding which it fhows clearly the tafte and 
good fenfe of the fynod, by the preference it 
manifeftied. Vernacular tranilations have indeed 
been occafionally prohibited by the Roman fee, 
and efpecially by Pius VI. and Clement VIII. : 
but, fo far from fuch authority having been ac- 
knowledged, or the prohibition attended to, there 
is no country in Europe in which national vei-fions 
have not appeared from a very early period of 
time, and few in which a variety of them have 
not prefented a rival appeal before the bar of the 
public. In Germany feveral printed editions were 
in general circulation before that of Luther, which 

Brcvlarium pro dlvinls officlls, aut Horas B. Marlae aliquis 
ex devotlone habere velit : fed ne prTnaifTos libros habeant 
in vulgari tranilatos, ar6liflime inhiberwus. Concil. Tho- 
lofan. cap. xiv. 

was completed in 1535, and is the earlleft verna- 
cular Bible ^ among the proteflants. In France 
there were twelve printed editions prior to that 
of Olivetan : Spain can at leaft boaft of two or 
three, befides feveral detached books of the Bible, 
which are admirably rendered by Luis de Leon of 
the univerfity of Salamanca ; and, even in Italy, 
Bruccioli tranllated the Latin of Pagninus as early 
as 1532, and Marmochini the Vulgate about fix 
years afterwards, dedicating it exprefsly to the biihop 
of Rodez ; independently of which, the verfion of 
Malermi underwenl not lefs than thirteen editions 
in the fpace of half a century, anterior even to the 
sera of the Reformation : and it was an exprefs 
proportion of the late intelligent and liberal pon- 
tiff, that the Scriptures " are fources to which all 
ought to have free accejs^ in order to draw from 
them a found dodrine and a pure morality *." 

The Englifh catholics have however been .lefs 
fortunate, or perhaps in this refped more pre- 
judiced, than their continental brethren. For, 
although the vulgar verfion has been at their 

* Optime fentis fi Chrlfti fidcles ad leftionem divlnarum 
literarum magnopere excitandos exlftimes. lUi enim funt 
fontes uberrimi, qui cuique patere debent ad hauriendam 
et mornm et dodlrins faiKflitatem. See his Letter to Abbafe 
Martini, 1779, as alfo G^ddes's Profpcftus, and Modeft 

command, as Well as many detached portions of 
the facred writings excellently tranflated by men 
of eminence of their own perfuafion ; the former, 
as a body, they have abfolutely refufed, and to 
the latter they have in general paid but little at- 
tention. " The greater part of the Roman catho- 
lics of Great Britain and Ireland,'* obferves Dr. 
Geddes, " may be faid to be without a Bible. The 
common national verfion they would not ufe, be- 
caufe, forfooth, it was the work of heretics, and alfo 
becaufe feveral books which the council of Trent 
had decreed to be canonical were either entirely 
omitted in the editions of the common verfion, or 
accounted apocryphal. Precluded thus from the 
ufe of the common verfion, they had no alterna- 
tive for more than a century but to put up with a 
barbarous tranflation made at Rheims and Douay, 
from an uncorrected copy of the Latin Vulgate, 
accompanied with virulent annotations againft the 
proteftant religion, and manifeflly calculated to 
fupport a fyflem, not of genuine cathoHcity, but 
of tranfalpine popery. About the middle of the 
prefent (the late) century it was, indeed, remo- 
delled on. the Clementine edition of the Vulgate, 
and inodL-rnized into fomewhat better EngHfh by 
the late Dr. Chaloner, who put it into a more 
convenient form, and ftripped it of almoft all its 
moll odious notes. Yet ftilj, in thofe which he 

retained or altered, the fpirlt of theologic fyftem 
is but too vifible ; and as to the tranflation itfelf, 
the changes in it are chiefly made from that fame 
common verfion which had been fo much vilified 
and burlefqued by our rhimers and divines*." Of 
this tranflation Dr. Chaloner's edition was, feme 
years ago, fo nearly exhaufled that it was difficult 
to obtain a copy. Since this period, however, a 
third edition has been printed at Dublin \^it!i 
notes, and is faid to have been revifed by Dr. 

We trace then eafily whence the general opi- 
nion has arifen in this country, that Roman ca- 
tholics are not permitted the ufe of a vernacular 
verfion of the Bible. They accuftom themfelves to 
a Latin verfion of their liturgy, and rejed the efta- 
blifhed tranflation of the Scriptures altogether. Such 
however is not the cafe with all of them. In fpite 
of religious prejudices, the more enlightened have 
for a long time preferred the latter to the edition 
of Rheims and Douay ; and of this number were 
the parents of the late Dr. Geddes, for with them 

* Addrefs to the Public, p, 5. The offenfive ftrlfiures and 
parodies he chiefly refers to in this paflfage, are A Difcoveiy 
of the manifeft Corruptions of Holy Scripture, &c. by Gre- 
gory Martin, printed at Rheims 15825 and England's Re- 
formation, a Poem in the manner of Hudibras, by Thomas 
Ward ; as alfo his Errata of the Protefiant Bibles. 


the family Bible was the vulgar Engllfli. Then* 
fon might well boaft, therefore, as he has done, 
when alluding to this circumftance in his General 
Anfwer, p. 2, that " his parents, although they 
were Roman catholics, were not bigots/* 

Having exhauiled all the ilore of knowledge 
which the meritorious matron of the village, 
whofe dillindion of him, he has often declared, 
was a fource of one of his earliefl mental plea- 
fures, could afford, our young pupil was next 
entrufled to the care of a f Indent of Aber- 
deen, whofe name was Shearer, and whom the 
laird of the diftrid had engaged to educate his 
two fons. In the family of this gentleman the 
inflrudion of Mr. Geddes was gratuitous. The 
worthy laird had witneffed the anxiety of his 
parents to gratify his growing third after learn- 
ing, and, with an example well worthy of imita- 
tion by men of opulence in every village throughout 
the kingdom, he admitted him to a participation of 
his own family tuition; and, together with himfelf, 
two other boys of fmiilar circumftances and age, 
of whom one was his coufm. Of Shearer I have 
received no information beyond his prefent con- 
nexion with the laird of Arradowl; but, from the 
future eminence of the two Geddeses, he muft 
have been either peculiarly fortunate, or pecu- 
liarly fkilful : for, while Alexander was exhibiting 


proofs of profound fcientific refearch^ and rifing 
into the firit ranks of literary diltindion, his coufm 
was progreffively advancing through many of the 
chief dignities of the catholic church, and was at 
length inftalled into the titular bifhopric of Dun- 
keld. He was alfo well known as an able theo- 
logian, and his writings are occafionally referred 
to by Dr. Geddes with much deference and 
refpecl *. 

From the hofpitable manfion of the laird of 
' Arradowl, and by the immediajte interference of 
his patron, our pupil, at the age of fourteen, was 
removed to Scalan, a free Roman catholic femi- 
nary in the Highlands, of obfcure fame, and liinited 
to boys who are deftined for the church, and 
whofe fludies are defigned to be completed in. 
fome foreign univerfity. 

The vale in which this feminary was lituatec^ 
was fo deeply excavated and overhung by fur- 
rounding hills, as to require almoil as perpetual a 
ufe of the lamp as the fubterranean cell of De- 
inoflhenes. Of its fombre and melancholy afpeci 
the reader may. form fome idea from the following 
reply of Mr. Geddes to one of his fellow {Indents, 
who had obtained leave to pay a vifit to his friends 
at a diflance, and who aiked him if he had any com- 

* See particularly his Profpe£lnS; p. 145. 


mands he could execute. " Pray be fo kind," 
replied Geddes, " as to make particular inquiries 
after the health of the sun : fail not to prefent my 
compliments to him, and tell him I flill hope I 
{hall one day be able to renew the honour of a 
perfonal acquaintance with him." 

To a knowledge of the Bible in the vulgar 
Englifh, he added in this academy a knowledge of 
it in the vulgar Latin ; but it does not appear that 
he made much further proficiency in claffical eru- 
dition : for he himfelf alTures us that in the year 
2 760, long after he had left Scalan, and when he 
muft have acquired the age of twenty-three, the 
vulgar Latin and the vulgar Enghfli were the only 
two verfions of the Bible with which he was ac* 
quainted, and that it was not till the year 1762 
that he began to read it in its original languages*. 
Had he been initiated into the Greek tongue ill 
his prefent fituation, there can be no doubt, from 
his uninterrupted attachment to the Bible hiftory, 
that one of the firfl books he would have perufed 
in this language would have been a Greek Tefta- 
ment ; but as he did not begin to read either a 
Greek Teftament or a Septuagint till four years 
after he had quitted the Highlands, we have every 
reafon to fuppofe that his attention was folely di- 

* General Anfwer, p, 3, 


reaed in this feminary to a general knowledge of 
Latin, and principally to the Latin Bible of the- 
vulgar or St, Jerom's edition ; a verfion which 
affords a noble inflance of the powers of the hu- 
man mind, which was defervedly fandioned by 
the council of Trent, and which, in its different 
impreflions, conflituted, for eleven hundred years, 
the general text-book of all the weftern churches. 

As no man has more critically or philologically 
inveftigated this fubjeft than Dr. Geddes, and as 
it appears to have comprifed almoll the fole topic 
of his (Indies in the fchool in which we have thus 
far accompanied him, it will by no means be 
foreign from the purpofe of thefe memoirs to pre- 
fent the reader with his own hiftory of St. Jerom's 
very valuable undertaking, and the judgment that 
he himfelf formed of it in his maturer years. " The 
firft Latin verfions of the Bible," fays he, " were 
made from the Greek of the Septuagint, and as 
the Greek copies greatly varied, the Latin verfions 
varied flill more; becaufe they were not only done 
from different archetypes, but alfp by many different 
hands: for every one, fays St. Auguftine, who had 
got a tindure of Greek learning, fell to tranflating 
for himfelf; fo that, before the end of the fourth 
century, the tranfiations had become innumerable* 
" To remedy this glaring inconvenience, St. Je- 
rem undertook to revife that which was chiefly 


ufed, and known by the name of Italic^ on the moll 
corred copies of the Greek. Having now occa- 
fion to confult the works of Origen, he foon per- 
ceived that the Greek itfelf v/as in many places 
corrupted ; or, at leaft, that it differed widely from 
the Greek verfions that had been more recently 
made from the Hebrew ; and this it probably was 
that gave him the firfl idea of the necefF.ty of a 
new tranllation. For that purpofe, he appHed 
eagerly to the fludy of the Hebrew language, 
confulted the mofl learned of the Jewifh doctors, 
compared all the Greek verfions with one another 
and with the original ; and, at length, convinced 
of the infufEciency of the old Latin verfion, even 
with all his own corrections and improvements, 
he ferioufly fet about making a new one, from 
the bell Hebrew copies he could procure. This 
he accompliOied at different intervals, and rather 
by flarts than a continual labour, in the fpace of 
fifteen years, amidfl many contradiclions, re- 
proaches, and the mofl bitter invectives. 

" For fcarcely had his firil eflays made their ap- 
pearance, when the cry from every quarter was 
fet up agriinil them, as a daring and dangerous 
innovation, that tended to difcredit a verfion fo 
long ufed in the Latin church, and made from 
one generally believed to have been the work of 
' ^h'^ Holy GhoH. 


*' Although Jerom, confcious of the reditude of 
Ills intentions and of the goodnefs of his caufe, de- 
fpifed, at firll, the unjull and invidious cavils of 
his adverfaries ; yet they were fo often repeated, 
and countenanced by fuch high characters in the 
church, that he was fain to yield to the neceffity 
of the times, and to make apology after apology 
for his condud. Still, however, he continued to 
tranllate, v/ithout following any other order than 
what the requefls of his particular friends occafion- 
ally fuggefled to him. The four books of Kings 
were firfl publillied in the year 391 ; foon after fol- ^ 
lowed the Prophets ; then the books of Solomon., 
Job, the Pfalms, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles; 
and, lafl of all, the Odateuch, about the year 40i>. 
By this time the ftorm that had been raifed 
againlt him was nearly blown over, and he lived 
to fee his labours applauded by fome of thofe who 
had been the hrfl to condemn them. In lefs than 
a century after his death his verfion had become 
of equal authority with its now only rival, the 
Italic ; and gradually grew in eftimation, till, at 
length, it was, with fome limitations, univerfally 
adopted by the Latin churches. 

" In many refpects it deferved that preference. It 
had been made immediately from the original, by 
one who had every neceffary qualification for fuch 
an undertaking. His learning, whether facred or 


profane, was not lefs extenfive than Origen's ; his 
judgment and tafte were more corre6l and exqui- 
fite. He had a perfed knowledge of the Greek 
and Latin languages ; and was fufficiently verfed 
In the Hebrew. He had correal copies of the 
Hexapla*, if not the autograph itfelf, before 
iiim. He was at no great diflance from a famous 
fchool of Jewifh rabbins, whom he might con- 
fult as he faw occafion. He had traverfed the 
land with his own feet, and feen with his own 
eyes the principal places mentioned in facred hif- 
tor}^ He was acquainted with the manners and 
culloms of the country. He knew its plants, its 
animals, and its other produdlions. With all thefe 
advantages, and his fuperior talents, it was im- 
poffible he fliould not fucceed. He adopted, in 
general, that mode of tranflating, which had been 
before fo much admired in Symmachus 3 and which, 

* This is one of the mod complete polyglotts of Origen, 
but not altogether fo. Diflatisfied with every biblical ver- 
(ion of his day, he began to correct obfcure and queftion^ble 
paflages by a collation of different copies in different lan- 
guages. His firil publication appeared about the year 23 1, and 
confil^ed of the four Greek verfions of Aquila, Symmachus, the 
Septuagint, and Thcodotion ; whence it was called his Te- 
trapla. To thefe he fucceffively added, however, different 
codices from the original Hebrew, which, as they increafed in 
^number, were progreffively denominated Hcxapla, Odapla, 
and Enneapla. 


indeed, is the befl: calculated to exprefs the full 
meaning of the original, without either hurting its 
integrity, or transferring its idiotifms. His flyle is 
plain, eafy and unaffeded ; and, although his la- 
tinity is not that of the Auguflan age, it is neither 
barbarous nor inelegant. In his diction and phra- 
feology there is a peculiar grace and noble fim- 
plicity, which it is not eafy to imitate ; and which 
no other Latin verfion, except that of Houbigant, 
in any degree poiTeffes*." 

He admits, however, that this work of St. Jerom 
is not altogether perfedl ; that, in few words, with- 
out entering into a minute catalogue of its infir- 
mities, it partakes, when fubje^ted to the micro- 
fcope of critical inveftigation, of the common de- 
feats of human nature ; but that, neverthelefs, it 
manifeils a confiderabie fuperiority to the Englilli 
tranflation. He alTerts that, from the moment he 
began to ftudy it with accuracy, the latter ap- 
peared to him rugged, conflrained, and often ob- 
fcure, where the former was fmooth, eafy, and 
intelligible : that the one feemed to read like a 
tranflation, the other hke an original. His firfl 
prejudices, however, were fo flrong in favour of 
the vulgar Enghfh, that it was with no fmall diffi- 
culty he was able to furmount them : but having 
once triumphed over thefe prejudices, he was pre- 

* ProfpCiSlug of a new Tranflation of fchc Bible, p. 44, 


pared to acquire a more eafy vidory over others 
which were at leafl as inveterate, and which the 
exercife of his judgment told him were diametri- 
cally contrary to truth and reafon. But of thefe 
as we proceed. 

Having attained the age of twenty-one, he was 
removed from Scalan, in Odober 1758, to the 
Scotch college at Paris ; where, however, he did 
not arrive till the enfuing December, in confe- 
quence of a very dangerous paflage from Aber- 
deen to Camphire ; in the courfe of which he 
narrowly efcaped fhipwreck, and fuffered fo fe- 
verely from the roughnefs of his voyage, that it 
was judged neceifary for him to recruit his ftrength 
by fome degree of relaxation and quietude, before 
he profecuted his journey any further. On his 
arrival at Paris, a field of literature was pre- 
fented to him to which he had hitherto been a 
ftranger. He determined to avail himfelf of every 
pofTible advantage with every power of his mind ; 
and the progrefs he foon attained was a fource of 
equal pleafure and aflonifhment to the profeflbrs 
under whom he ftudied. Of the Scotch college 
into which he officially entered, Mr. Gordon was 
at that time principal; and to him he was recom- 
mended by introductory letters, as well as by his own 
comprehenfive talents and ingenuoufnefs of heart : 
a double foundation of eileem, and which, as may 


eafily be imagined, did not fail of fuccefs. He 
had heard much of the college of Navarre, and of 
the lectures delivered in this celebrated feminary ; 
and with an inextinguifliable thiril after know- 
ledge, he commenced his attendance upon feveral 
of the latter a few days after he reached Paris. 
He opened his courfe v/ith rhetoric, of which 
fcience M. Vicaire was at that time profeiTor ; and 
notwithftanding the general emulation he excited, 
and the prior exiflence in the clafs of two veteran 
pupils, his unwearied afliduity foon placed him at 
its head ; and, which was at lead equally honour- 
able, and far more advantageous to him, fecured 
him the friendfhip of the profeflbr, which con- 
tinued without interruption till M. Vicaire's de- 

According to the routine of ftudy in the uni- 
verfity to which he was now transferred, he fnould 
in the enfuing year, 1759, have entered upon a 
courfe of natural and experimental philofophy ; 
but his predilection for divinity ftill prevailed, 
and he was eafiiy perfuaded by feveral friends, 
who juflly eflimated his talents as a theologian, 
to relinquifh the common order, and apply to di- 
vinity in the firft ■ inflance. To this branch of 
fcience he now therefore began to direft almofl 
the whole of his public ftudies ; and to the theo- 
logical ledures of MM. Bure and de Saurent, at 


the college of Navarre, he added a fcrupulous 
attention to thofe on the fludy of Hebrew de- 
livered at the Sorbonne by M. I'Avocat, profefTor 
of the Orleans chair ; an inflitution fo denomi- 
nated from its having been founded in 1751, for 
the purpofe of reviving oriental learning in the 
univerfity of Paris, and of explaining the Hebrew 
Scriptures, by the duke of Orleans, fon of the 
celebrated regent, and who was one of the moll 
pious and learned princes of his age. Here he 
was at leafl as fortunate as in the college of Na- 
varre ; for no profeiTor was ever perhaps better 
qualified for fulfilling this double objefl than 
M. I'Avocat. " He had a penetrating genius, an 
aftonifhing memory, a correal judgment, and an 
exquifite tafle. He was the mofl univerfal fcholar, 
the mod pleafant teacher, the moil benevolent 
man, and the moft moderate theologian I ever 
knew. Had he lived a little longer, and enjoyed 
more leifure to accomplifh the work he meditated 
on the Scripture, we fhould now polfefs a trcafure 
of great value ; but a weakly conflitution and too 
conflant an application to his profelTional duties 
hurried him away in his 56th year, to the great 
regret of all who knew him ; but of none," fays 
his grateful and aifedionate pupil, who thus de- 
fcribes him, " more than of him who dedicates thefe 
lines to his memory." M. I'Avocat left nothing be- 


liind him, however, but a few thefes, and fome 
valuable but unprlnted critical elTays. We can- 
not wonder at the regret of Mr. Geddes upon the 
death of the profeflbr, which occurred about the 
year 1780, fmce the latter conceived for him, at 
an early period after his introduction into the 
univerfity, a very high efteem and affeftion, and 
even ftrenuoufly preiTed him at length to a fettle- 
ment at Paris. This, however, was altogether 
inconfiftent with the plan he had conceived 
at an early age of life, of forming a new Englifh 
verfion of the Bible for the ufe of his fellow 
countrymen of the catholic church, and which 
plan was in his own mind daily advancing to- 
wards maturity. He had at this time an oppor- 
tunity, and he improved it to its utmofl extent, of 
adding to his knov/iedge of the Latin Vulgate a 
clofe acquaintance with the originals, with which 
he, moreover, perpetually compared the ellablifhed 
verfion of Ensfland. He was foon therefore able 
to fpeak with more critical accuracy upon the 
comparative merits of the Latin of St. Jerom, 
and the Englifh of king James's tranflators : " I 
had both verfions," fays he, " conilantly before 
me, and I now difcovered the caufe of the great 
difference between them. The fcudy of the Eng- 
lifn tranflators, I found, had been to give a flrictly 
literal verfion at the expenfe of almoft every other 


confideration; while the author of the Vulgate had 
endeavoured to render his originals equivalently, 
into fuch Latin as was current in his age. If ever 
I tranflate the Bible," faid I then, " it muft be 
after this manner *." 

School divinity and biblical criticifm by no 
means, however, occupied the whole of his at- 
tention. He entered deeply into an analyfis of 
the Greek and Latin languages, purfued with in- 
fatiable avidity thofe exquifite mines of precifion 
and judgment, of tafte and fancy, which are no 
where elfe to be met with in an equal degree, and 
laid the foundation for that elegance and facility, 
that fecundity and correclnefs of llyle, with which 
he afterwards engaged in Latin and Greek com- 
pofitions, and which have not often been exceeded 
by any of his countrym.en fmce the age of George 
Buchanan. To thefe important acquifitions he 
filfo added a ftudy of feveral of the modern lan- 
guages of Europe. The French v/as indeed be- 
come almoft vernacular to him, and required no 
further fludy whatever : his firfl ferious engage- 
ment was therefore in the Italian; and having fhort- 
ly maflered the few difficulties which were here 
prefented to him, he carried his purfuits fuccef- 
fively to the Spanifli, the German, and the Low 

♦ General Anfwer to the Queries, Counfils, and Criti- 
cifn s, &c. p. 3. 


Dutch. To the mathematics he never difcovered 
much attachment : at which I have often been con- 
fiderablyfurprifed; for no man was ever a fhrewder 
logician, or followed with keener penetration, in a 
controverfy, the bearings of an adverfary's argu- 
ment through all the hghts and (hades, not merely 
of every fyllogiftic propofition, but of almoil every 
phrafe and every individual word *. The mathe- 
matics, however, which have feldom been in any 
high degree of favour v/ith our neighbours of 
France as a branch of general education, did not, 
I beheve, conflitute any prominent part of the 
courfe of inftru£lion delivered at the Scotch Pa- 
rifian univerfity, and hence perhaps his diftafte for 
a fcience for which he v/as fo well quahfied by 
nature. To many of the branches of natural and 
experimental philofophy he paid, neverthelefs, a 
confiderable portion of attention; devoting to them 
almoil the whole of his intervals at hom^e, and pur- 
fuing them rather as a relaxation from the feverer 
duties of flated inflrudion, than as comprehending 
a neceflary part of fuch inflrudion itfelf. 

Having, although with fome reluctance, refufed 
the friendly propofal of profeflbr T Avocat to fettle 

* In this refpe<fk he dlfplayed no <rnall refemblance to 
biihop Berkeley, who like himfelf was an admirable logician, 
but had the utmoll averfion for mathematics, and regarded 
the do6lrine of fluxions as puerile and uncertain, 


Sit Paris, and take a fliare in the public labours 
of the college, he returned to Scotland in 1764, 
after an abfence of fix years ; and, fliortly pof- 
terior to his arrival at Edinburgh, was ordered 
to Dundee to officiate as priefl among the ca- 
tholics in the county of Angus. Here he was 
fcarcely fettled when he received an offer, far 
more agreeable to himfelf, as it allowed a larger 
portion of time for ftudy, of being a refident in 
the family of the earl of Traquaire *, whofe pa- 
ternal domain was fituated in the delightful fcenery 
of Tweeddale. This offer he readily accepted, and 
in May 1765 became an inmate in his lordfhip's 
family. He was now at full hberty to profecute 
the whole fcope of his literary inclinations ; and 
the efteem and friendiliip with which the noble 
earl began to honour him, and which from this 
period never ceafed between them, flill furthei 
facilitated the uniform object of his heart. Of his 
fituation and purfuits at the prefent moment he 
gives the following account : " On leaving the 

* In what capacity, otherwlfe than that of a friend, he at 
this time lived with his lordfhip, I have not been able to learn. 
It is generally faid that he officiated as domeftic chajalain; 
but 1 have the authority of lord Buchan for denying this 
report, who has obligingly informed me, through the medium 
of naifs Hamilton, that the Abb6 Grant and Mr. Cruikdjank 
fucceflively filUd ihis ofFice at the time of which I am now 


univerfity I was fortunately placed m a noble- 
man's family, where I had plenty of time and a 
tolerable library to enable me to continue my fa>. 
vourite (ludy. The ancient verfions in the Poly* 
glott were now alternately read, and occafionally 
compared ; and from this ledure and comparifon 
I was every day more and more fatisfied, that a 
verbal verfion of the Bible is not the moll proper 
to convey its meaning and difplay its beauties. I 
pbferved, that even thofe tranllators who had the 
text to render, not into a different language, but 
only into different dialects of the fame language, 
had not attempted a flridly literal verfion ; and 
that thofe of them who were the lead literal had 
the moil forcibly and intelligibly rendered their 

" But when from the ancient I turned to the 
modern verfions, my opinion was foon ftrengthened 
into convidion. There were feven modern verfions 
to which I had then accefs ; the French of Ge- 
neva, the Italian of Bruccioli, the Dutch national; 
and in Latin, thofe of Munfler, Caftalio, Junius, 
and Pagninus. Of thefe feven, the one which I 
opened with prejudice was the one which I read 
through with the greatell pleafure. 

" I had been taught to confider Cailalio's tranf- 
lation as a prophane burlefque of Holy Writ* 
What was my furprife to find that he had feized 


the very fpiiit of the original, and transfufed it 
into elegant Latin! I faw indeed, and was forry 
to fee, that, through his exceflive refinement, a 
part of the fimplicity of his original had evapo- 
rated in the operation, and in this refped his ver- 
fion is inferior to the Vulgate : but flill the Jpirit 
of the original is there ; whereas that of his con- 
trail Pagninus appears like an almofl breathlefs 
body, dragging along its limbs in the mofl awkward 
and clumfy manner. Yet this fame Pagninus has 
been the general model of vernacular verfions*." 
Such were the additional ftores with which our 
indefatigable fcholar was now enriching his mind, 
and fuch his progrefs towards that critical acumen 
which it afterwards fo pre-eminently difplayed. Of 
the two oppofite' verfions referred to, and con« 
trailed in the lall paragraph of this citation, that 
of Santes Pagninus w^as lirll printed at Florence 
in 1528 : it occupied him not lefs than twenty, 
five years in its completion ; and, notwithllanding 
the bald and barbarous latinity it uniformly ex- 
hibits, has been generally extolled, both by Jews 
and Chrillians, above the Vulgate of St. Jerom. 
Its chief merit is that of a literal adherence to the 
idioms and even the verbiage of the original : as. 
a compofition it is therefore not only perpetually 

* General Anfwer, &:c. p. 3. 


uncouth, but very frequently unintelligible ; yet it 
may flill anfwer the purpofe of a tolerable gram- 
matical gloiTary. The befl edition of Caftalio was 
printed at Bafil in folio, in the year 1753, and, as 
already obferved, is in every refped the very re- 
verfe of that of Pagninus. Caftalio is generally 
fuppofed to polTefs more courage than prudence. 
With a noble independence of mind, he refolved 
to be no longer the Have of the rabbins ; he re- 
linquilhed the MaiTora, and was determined to 
think for himfelf. The prefent Hebrew text w^as 
indeed his perpetual guide ; but he never neg- 
ieded to compare it with the ancient verfions, 
and, where doubtful or obvioufly erroneous, to 
avail himfelf of their affillance in explaining or 
correcting it. To the common books of the 
Bible he alfo adjoined thofe of the Apocrypha, 
as an effential part of the Sacred Hiilory, which, 
though afterwards fuppreifed by St. Jerom, are 
uniformly met with in the mofl ancient copies of 
the Greek, Syriac and Latin verfions, where they 
are admitted to an equal rank with the reft; v\^hile, 
in order the more thoroughly to conned the Old 
Teftament with the New, " he inferted," fays Dr. 
Geddes in another place, " two excellent fup- 
plements abridged from Jofephus ; the one after 
the fourth book of Efdras, and the other at the 
end of the Maccabees.'* It is this deviation from 



the more generally received verfions, which has 
brought upon him fo frequently the cenfures of 
both Jews and Chriflians, cathoHcs and proteitants. 
By many of the bed biblical critics of our own 
and feveral other nations, however, and particu- 
larly Simler, Huetius, Buxtorf, Duport, Epi- 
fcopius and Mead, he has been fully vindicated 
againft every unjuft afperfion, and his tranflation 
maintained to be in the highefl degree both faith- 
. ful and elegant *. 

Viciffitude is the lot of man in every fituation ; 
and obfcurity of rank and deep retirement from 
the world, which generally afford an impenetrable 
{hield againft the attacks of misfortune, forego at 
times their accuftomed office, ana cruelly afnfl its 
triumph. Such, unhappily, was the fate of the fub- 
ject of thefe memoirs. The very circumftances 
which feemed to aiTure to him a long continuance 
of happinefs, conftituted the very rock upon which 
his peace of mind was firft wrecked, and caft him 
for years, like UlyfTes in purfuit of Ithaca, upon 
the tempeftuous ocean of an unfriendly world, 
with little aiTiftance, fave that of the protecting- 
providence of Heaven, to defend his feeble fkifF 

•* Quam, hablta muhls in locis collatione, non modo latl- 

nifiimam, fed ctlam accuratifTunam, et ad fenfum mentemquc 

d'uriorum, tarn Hebrais quani In Graecis, maxime accommo- 

* datam deprehendi. McjJ. Prisf. in Med. Sacra. See alii^ 

Geddes's rrof^ieftus. 


againfl the perils to which he was mcelTantly ex- 

Ayhcc .' TroXvrpoTTov, o$ (j^aXa, tToXAcc 


IToXAcwv §'av&pw7rujv ihv OLVtsOLy na< voov eyvo;. 
IIoAXa (J'oy' gv TTovro; TTaSsv aXyzcL ov Kxra, ^uu^ov*. 

He had at this time reached his twenty-eighth year, 
and had refided in the hofpitable manfion of lord 
Traquaire for confiderably more than a twelve- 
month. From every branch of this worthy as well 
as illuftrious family he^had received the moil une- 
quivocal proofs of friendfhip and efleem, and never 
was there a heart created upon which fuch generous 
qualities were more calculated to operate. Un- 
fortunately for his perfonal quiet they had in one 
inflance taken a different diredlion from what he 
himfelf had intended, and certainly from what was 
ever expeded in the quarter from which they had 
proceeded. Why fliould I conceal that which was 
productive of honour to ail parties ? A female 
relation of the noble earl was at this time a co- 
. refident in the houfe, and conftituted a part of 
the family. The merit of Mr. Geddes was pro- 
minent; her own charms and the regard ihe 

* A man deep-verfed in wifdom's various lore. 
In many a trouble tried o*er many a (hore. 
Long by the world's wild tempeft toft amain 
Ere yet he gained the port fee ftrove to gain. 


openly profefTed for him were not lefs fo ; too 
foon he felt himfelf the prey of an impreflion 
which he well knew it was not pofTible for him 
to indulge, and Buxtorff was in danger of being 
fupplanted by Ovid. He turned philofopher: but 
it was in vain ; felf-expollulation was ufelefs ; and 
the well-meditated refolutlons of a day were often 
put to flight in a moment. But one ftep remained 
to be taken : he embraced it ; and, with more 
hardihood than is often neceiTary to obtain a vic- 
tory, founded a retreat. He had made, perhaps 
too haftily, his vow of religious celibacy, and its 
fanftity was not to be trifled with. Of two evils 
he had flill the confoiation to think that he had 
chofen the leail ; and with much reluctance of 
heart, but an approving and fuftaining confcience, 
he abruptly broke away from the delightful ihades 
and the more delightful, converfations of Tweed- 
dale, in lefs than two years after his arrival there ; 
and leaving behind him a beautiful but confidential 
httle poem, and as fuch not to be com.municated 
in the prefent narrative, entitled The ConfeJJional^ 
addreifed to the fair yet innocent author of 
his misfortunes, he once more took leave of his 
native country, and tried to forget himfelf amidfl 
the j^^reater varieties and volatilities of Paris *. 


* If 1 had not received explicit Information upon this fub- 
je^, I Ihould have regarded it with at Icaft foroc degree of 


In this alternating region of wit and folly, of 
diilipation and letters, he continued for about 
eight or nine months, beloved with an equal de- 
gree of warmth by his former friends, but in- 
capable for fome time of making any ferious im- 
provement in literature or criticifm of any kind. 
Paris however, which had never pleafed him much, 
now pleafed him far lefs than before ; and having 
gradually obtained the felf-poffeffion he had been 
in purfuit of, an effed produced rather perhaps by 
time and diftance, than by the operation of any 
other caufe, he direded his courfe homeward, 
and once more arrived in North Britain in the 
fpring of 1769 ; after having, notwithilanding his 
general Hilleifnefs for ftudy, made a variety of 
very valuable extrads on biblical criticifm from 
the public libraries of the city. 

fcepticifm ; for the earl of Buchan, who was at this time 
intimately acquainted both with lord Traquaire and Dr. 
Geddes, and who reveres the memory of the latter with as 
fond an affeftion as any friend who has furvived him, does 
not remember the exiftence of any fucb penchant. I am 
informed, however, that it was at this time locked up in ths 
bofom of Mr. Geddes himfelf, and was only communicated to 
the fair objea of it on the moment of his quitting her. 



JMr. Geddes accepts the charge of a catholic congregation 
at Auchinhalrig — builds a new chapel and parfon^ 
age-houfe — his domejiic employments and p:fularity 
among his flock — his C07ine6lions with many pro- 
teftants of rank and literature — his pecuniary emhar- 
rajjments, and the afjiflance afforded him by the late 
duke of Norfolk — takes a fmall farm — ereds a new 
chapel at Vouchabers — is again involved in difficulties 
•"Commences poet, and publifhes a tranflation offeleii 
fatires from Horace — is engaged to inftrud lady 
Wmdl.iter in the Englifh language — becomes ac- 
quainted with Mr. Buch nun, and occajionally attends 
upon his miniflry — is reproved by bifhop H y, and at 
length depojed from his p for I office. He quUs Au- 
chinhalrig, to the great regret of his congregation'-^ 
is created doctor of laws by the univerjity of Aber-^ 
deen. A. D. 1769 — 1779. 

In returning a fecond time to his native country, 
Mr. Geddes dared not entruft himfelf to the fafci- 
nating fpot, or re-engage in the domeftic fituation 
from which, in the preceding year, he had found 
it fo neceffary to fly. He accepted therefore of the 
charge of a catholic congregation at Auchinhalrig 
in the county of Banff, not far diflant from the 
place of his nativity. This congregation, though 
numerous, laboured under a variety of difadvan- 


tages, and at the time In which the fubject of this 
biography was elected to the pafloral office, was 
equally diminifhing in zeal and number. The 
members of whom it confided were for the moft 
part poor, their chapel was in a Hate of irreparable 
dilapidation, the condition of the parfonage houfe 
was but little better, and the moft unchriflian ran-> 
cour had long fubfifted between themfelves and 
their more wealthy as well as more numerous 
brethren of the proteflant community. 

Never was there a man better qualified for cor- 
recting the whole of thefe evils than Alexander 
Geddes,and never did man apply himfelf with more 
ardour to their removal. Activity and liberality 
were indeed the charaderiflic principles of his foul: 
much worldly prudence he never poifelTed ; but 
his heart overflowed with the milk of human kind^ 
nefs, and his nerves, when in their utmofl flate of 
difeafed irritabihty, flill vibrated with benevolence. 
He propofed that the old chapel Ihould be pulled 
down ; he proje£led a new one ; he rebuilt it on 
the fpot which the former had occupied. He re- 
paired the dilapidations of the parfonage-houfe; he 
ornamented it with frelh improvements, and ren- 
dered it one of the pleafantefl and mod convenient 
in his country. He not only, indeed, fuperintended 
thefe buildings, but laboured at them himfelf, being 
as ready a carpenter, and as expert in the ufe of the 
faw and the plane, as if he had been profeifedly 



brought up to the trade. Gardening and carpen- 
tering were in reality at all times favourite amufe- 
ments with him ; they conflituted his chief relaxa- 
tions from the feverity of fludy to the laft moment 
of his life; and I have frequently rallied him, when at 
work, upon the multiplicity of his tools, which, in 
the article of planes of different mouldings, were 
more numerous than thofe of many profeffed artifls, 
and on the dexterity with which he handled them. 
To his humble but neat and hofpitable cottage, 
it is to be expedled therefore that he added the 
luxury of a good garden. Mr. Geddes had drawn 
his knowledge of botany rather from practice than 
theory, which neverthelefs he had not altogether 
negleded. Satisfied with the indigenous bounties 
as well as beauties of nature, he did not largely 
^eek for exotic ornaments ; nor would the paucity 
of his means have admitted of any confiderable 
indulgence in this refped, had he even poiTefTed 
the inclination. But his flower-, his fruit-, and his 
kitchen-garden, though little boaflful of foreign 
productions, were each of them p^rfedt in its 
kind, and the admiration of his flock, who were 
generoufly fupplied, according to their refpedive 
wants, from the abundance it afforded: 

. J . . dapibus menfas onerabat Inemptis. 

ViRG. Georg. iv. 155. 

He piled their tables with unpurchafed (lores. 


Never indeed was there a man more liberal in 
difFufmg to others the little of which he was 
pofTeffed than himfelf ; never was a pried better 
beloved by the members of his congregation. I 
did not loiow him myfelf till many years after- 
wards ; but I have been credibly informed by a 
variety of perfons who did know him at the time 
we are now fpeaking of, and were intimately 
acquainted with his fituation, that he feemed to 
live in the hearts of every one of his hearers, that 
his kindnefs and affability excited their affec- 
tion, his pundilious attention to the duties of 
his ofBce their veneration, and his extenfive repu- 
tation for learning their implicit confidence in his 

I have faid that at the time of his fixing at 
Auchinhalrig he found a high degree of rancour 
and illiberality fubfifting, and mutually fomented, 
between his own congregation and the furround- 
ing community of proteftants. To corred this 
evil, than which a greater cannot exifl, nor one 
more hoftile to the fpirit of the facred pages 
to which both parties reciprocally appeal, he 
laboured with all his might. By an extenfive 
fludy and a deep knowledge of ecclefiaflical hif- 
tory, he had freed himfelf completely from the 
bigotry v/hich flill attaches in no inconfiderable 


degree to the more ignorant of his own perfuafion. 
He knew as well, and was ready to admit as 
largely, as any protellant whatever, the alter- 
nate fyftems of force and fraud by which the fee 
of Rome has endeavoured to obtain an unjuft 
temporal fupremacy over the great body of the 
catholic church itfelf, to enllave the confciences 
of the laity to its own views of peculation and 
power, and to exercife in a variety of highly im- 
portant concerns an authority which had never 
been officially conceded to it, and concerning 
which the reader will meet with a more detailed 
account when we advance to an analyfis of the 
controverfial writings into which he was fhortly 
afterw^ards compelled. Free and independent in 
his own mind, he took the facred Scriptures alone 
as his flandard of faith, and exhorted every mem- 
ber of his congregation to do the fame, to ftudy 
for himfelf, to interpret for himfelf, and to fub- 
mit to no foreign control, excepting in matters 
fairly decided by the catholic church at large 
affembled in general councils. He could ridicule 
•the infallibility of the pope, and laugh at images 
and relics, atrofaries, fcapulars, agnusDeis, blefTed 
medals, indulgences, obiits and dirges, as much as 
the moil inveterate protefhant in his neighbour- 
hood, and could as abundantly abhor the old- 


fafhioned and Iniquitous doctrine, that faith ought 
not to be held with heretics. Claiming the fuUeft 
liberty of confcience for himfelf, he was ever ready 
to extend it in an equal degree to others, and could 
therefore with the utmoft cordiality embrace the 
proteftant as well as the catholic. Honefly of 
heart was the only paiTport necelTaiy to enfure 
his efteem, and where this was confpicuous he 
never hefitated to offer the right hand of fellow- 

By fuch a condud he could not fail of foften- 
ing that rigid difmclination to aiTociate, which ope- 
rated as a wall of partition between the proteftants 
and catholics of Scotland ; while it enabled him 
to eftablifh many of his clofeft literary connexions, 
as well as mofl intimate alliances, aniongft feveral 
of the mofl diftinguifhed characters of the former 
perfuafion. Of thefe may be enumerated the 
duke and duchefs of Gordon, who fpent a great 
part of every fummer at Gordon caille in his 
immediate vicinity, and who became clofely at- 
tached to him, and contributed very largely to 
the happinefs of his fituation ; the venerable 
earl of Buchan, count Murray of Melgum, lord 
Findlater, principal Robertfon, Drs. Reid and 
Findlay of Edinburgh, Dr. Beattie of Aberdeen, 
and indeed aljnoll all the profeflbrs of this cele- 


brated unjverfity ; and particularly the reverend 
Mr. Crawford, a very worthy prefbyterian clergy- 
man of an adjoining parifh, and a brother or 
coufin of that juflly celebrated philofopher and 
phyfician the late Dr. Crawford of Lincoln*s Inn- 
Fields, who has contributed fo largely to a know- 
ledge of the animal ceconomy by his valuable trea- 
tife on animal heat. 

, But though he had the pleafure of difperfmg 
many of the prejudices, and of melting into chrif* 
tian charity many of the hearts of his own congre- 
gation, he was fo far from influencing the great 
body of furrounding papifts, and efpecially thofe 
of the prieflhood, to imbibe his opinions, and der» 
viate with an equal degree of boldnefs from the 
vulgar creed, that a violent hue and ciy was raifed 
againfl him for his liberality ; an epiftolary, and, 
I believe, a printed correfpondence was entered 
into between bifliop Hay, his diocefan, and him- 
felf; from which, however, as it was never pub* 
lifhed, I am not at liberty to make any quota^ 
tion ; and he was menaced with the pains of 
fufpenfion from his ecclefiaflical duties, unlefs he 
became more circumfpeft as to his condud and 
^onverfation, and efpecially as to his occafional 
attendance upon the miniftrations of his friend 
Mr. -Cfawford. Little did fuch bigots know 


the fpirit of the man they were loppofing, and 
how impofTible it would have been for all the tor. 
tares of a Portuguefe inquifition to have made him 
retrad his opinions, or deviate in any refped from 
a conduft fandioned alike J^y his religion and his 
reafon. He defpifed the menaces of the haughty 
prelate, and they were not at this time carried 
into execution. 

Sdll, however, he was not happy; his heart was 
afflicted by the injurious treatment he thus met 
with, and he grieved for the illiberality of his cleri- 
cal brethren. But this was not his fole, nor even 
his chief caufe of anxiety of mind. The fcanty 
income to which he was limited, deftroyed every 
hope he had for years indulged of offering to the 
public a new and more correct tranflation of the 
Bible : he was ftill without a patron and without a 
library, which were equally indifpenfable for the un- 
dertaking : and, mortifying as it muft have been to 
him, he appears in confequence hereof to have re- 
linquiflied every profpe£l of accomplilhing it, and to 
have banifhed the very idea from his mind. There 
was alfo another evil he was doomed to fuftain, 
and which proceeded in like manner from the 
narrownefs of his finances. In projecting the re- 
building of his chapel, and the improvements of 
his own houfe, he relied with too fanguine a con- 


fidence upon the pecuniaiy alTiftance of perfons of 
his own perfuafion. He was difappointed in his ex- 
pedations ; and having become perfonally refpon- 
fible for the different debts contra6i:ed, he found 
himfelf in no fmall degree embarraffed and dif- 
treffed. To alfume the character of a public 
beggar, did not accord with the independence of 
his foul ; but without fome confiderable contri- 
bution it was impoffible to refift the demands that 
were perpetually urged againfl him. Here, how- 
ever, he became more fortunate, and in a way 
that could not fail of gratifying him to the utmoft. 
The late duke of Norfolk, who occalionally vifited 
and refided upon a large family-eftate in Cumber- 
land, and who was himfelf a catholic, had heard 
of the zeal, liberality and learning of the priefl of 
Auchinhalrig,andexprefred a wifb for his acquaint- 
ance. An interview fhortly enfued, through the 
medium of lord Traquaire ; and upon the firfl: in- 
timation of the difficulties in which he was in- 
volved, his grace took the deficit upon himfelf, 
and extricated our unfortunate fpeculator from 
the troubles that befet him. 

Being now completely relieved from every pe- 
cuniary diftrefs, he was refolved to guard againfl 
a fimilar evil by getting before hand with the 
^orld j and for this purpofe, to the fpiritual charge 


of his church he added the temporal care of a fmall 
farm at Enzle in Fouchabers, in the immediate vi- 
cinity of Auchinhalrig ; and having been accom- 
modated with a fufficient loan of money to flock it, 
he fet to work v/ith his ufual ardour and con- 
fidence, and expeded in a few years, as his per- 
fonal wants were inconfiderable and eafily fatis- 
fied, to realize what would to him be an inde- 
pendent fortune. And fo far had the golden 
dream of fuccefs taken poiTeflion of his mind, 
that, in the defn'e of making the benefits of his 
religion commenfurate with his worldly profperity, 
he aduaily planned, and with but little foreign 
alTiflance erected, a fecond chapel at Fouchabers, 
on the very borders of his farm-houfe ; which, 
though fmail in its dimenfions, was equally neat 
and commodious, and where he propofed to ofS- 
.ciate as well as at Auchinhalrig. 

Men of letters are but feldom men of figures, and 
the pofTefTor of genius is perhaps never more out of 
his element than when he plunges into the calcula- 
tions of the counting-houfe. Mr. Geddes's treafures 
were not of the counting-houfe defcription, and he 
was never deftined to be rich. Money he could bor- 
row, and his farm he could flock : but he could 
not command the feafons ; nor could he, which is 
an affair of much greater facility, command that 



time and attention which are iiidifpenfably necef- 
fary in the commenceiueni' of every new under- 
tiiking, and efpecidlly of an undertaking m which 
the projector has but Httie perfonai {kill. He had 
been long in the habit of devoting the greater part 
of his time and talents to concerns of a very differ- 
ent defcription ; and whatever might be the pro- 
fpe£l of gain with which he fondly flattered him- 
felf, he could not break off a habit he had fo long 
indulged and fo pertinacioufly adhered to. It was 
in or about the year 1 775 that he ventured to com- 
mence agriculturift ; and in the year 1778, from a 
perpetual fucceffion of unpropitious harvefts, he 
found himfelf not only incapacitated from paying 
the arrears flill due upon the chapel at Foucha- 
bers, but from an accumulation of undifcharged 
intereft upon the money borrowed to complete his 
farming (lock, in a ftate of embarraffment nearly 
equal to that from which his grace of Norfolk had 
relieved him but a few years before* 

His native good humour and amenity of dif- 
pofition Hill however adhered to him^ His daily 
motto feems to have been that of the French poet. 

Si fortune me tormente, 
L'efperance me contente ; 

and being completely foiled in the labours of his 
hands, he was determined to try whether thofe of 


his head might not be moreproduaive. It cannot be 
fuppofed, that although a reclufe, and clofely ihut 
up in a nook of the ifland but little known to fame, 
Alexander Geddes Ihould be as ignorant of what 
was tranfpiring in the world as Alexander Selkirk 
in the iHand of Juan Fernandes. He had been an 
attentive and even a critical obferver of men and 
manners 5 and viewing them from a diftance, and 
fi-ee from the infedious fever of the multitude, 
he was perhaps more competent to draw a correft 
iketch of them than if he had been in the centre 
of the fcene, and partaken of the general tumult : 

'Tis pleafant through the loop-holes of retreat 
To peep at fuch a world ; to fee the ftir 
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd 5 
To hear the roar (he fends through all her gates 
At a fafe diftancc, where the dying found 
Falls afoft murmur on th' uninjured ear. 
Mr. Geddes had for a long time not only thus noti- 
ced the tranfaaions of his contemporaries, but had 
frequently endeavoured to defcribe them ; and, 
taking Pope for his example, to defcribe them by 
m adaptation of the fatires of Horace to his own 
time. We have now therefore to trace him in 
a new charaaer, that of a poet; a charaaer 
which he had occafionally indeed alTumed before, 
though he has left us few fpecimens of his earlier 


The publication I now refer to, the firfl in order 
of time of all his \vi'itings which have fallen into 
my hands, was printed in the enfuing year 1779, 
and entitled " Select Satires of Horace tranflated 
into Englifh Verfe, and for the mojfl part adapted 
to the prefent Times and Manners." To this title 
he fubfixed his name ; a conduct he did not 
always purfue, and which in many inflances dif- 
covered his prudence. Thefe fatires are nine in 
number, and comprife the firfl four and the eighth 
of book I. and the fecond, fourth, fifth and feventh 
of book II. of the original. They were not writ- 
ten, at leafl not all of them, upon the fpur of the 
moment, l^t had occafionally occupied his pre- 
vious leifure, and been gradually accumulating to 
the date of their publication. " Early in life," 
fays he, in a fhort preface by which they were 
ufhered into the world, " fome d^mon whifpered 
me that I had a turn for poetry. I readily, per- 
haps too readily, believed him. I wrote, was pleaf- 
ed with my productions, and now begin to publifh 
them in hopes of pleafing others. In tranflating I 
have followed a medium between a clofe literal 
verfion and a loofe paraphrafe. I have not wil- 
lingly omitted any of Horace's thoughts, but I 
have clothed them as well as I could in a modern 
drefe. I wifhed it to be the Roman foul trans- 


fufed into a Britifh body. I have preferred the 
Hudibraflic meafure for two reafons: firft, becaufe, 
from the quick returns of ryme, it is lefs apt to 
be clogged in its march by expletives and un- 
meaning epithets ; and fecondly, becaufe I always 
thought it much fitter to exprefs the fermo pedeftris, 
the plain and pomplefs manner of Horace, than 
our more folemn verfes of ten fyllables." 

Our author, however, was not the firfl who 
thought in this manner, although he alludes to 
no archetype : for Swift had preceded him in the 
lame mode of verfification ; and Pope, as is well 
known, had in many inftances purpofely imitated 
Swift. The decifion itfelf may perhaps admit of 
a doubt, fmce the perfe<5lion exhibited in either 
flanza is probably rather the refult of a predilec- 
tion for fuch ftanza, and hence of increafed facility 
of compofition, than of any neceffary advantage 
which the one maintains over the other. In Swift, 
who preferred the fliorter verfe, we have, I admit, 
an equal portion of concentration and eafe ; but 
we have not lefs of either in Churchill or Cowper, 
the latter of whom was uniformly, and the former 
occafionally, addicted to the longer line. Thus 
again in Pope, who Hke Churchill has indulged 
with fmiilar readinefs in each, it is almoil impoffible 
to exercife a choice 5 and perhaps»the celebrated 


canon which is applied by Pope himfelf, and, in 
the opinion of many, objectionably, to the fubje61l 
of poKdcal governments, may here be advanced 
with far more pertinence and general confent. 

Whatever 's befl adminlflercd is beft, 

Mr. Geddes, I fully believe, made the befl choice 
for himfelf, and in this choice he certainly has not 
been unfuccefsful. His verification poffeiTes all 
the eafe we could defire, and in this refpedi: has 
frequently the advantage of his predeceflbrs ; but 
in his wifh to appear eafy he is often carelefs and 
incondite, occafionally indeed vulgar; and ia 
his endeavour to avoid " being clogged with ex- 
pletives," he too frequently fuppreiTes the article 
itfelf : an elifion, I well know, from repeated con- 
verfadons with him upon the fubje6l, of which he 
much difapproved in the latter years of his life. 
For the mod part he has, neverthelefs, very 
thoroughly transfufed, to adopt his own phrafeolc- 
gy, " the Roman's foul into a Bridlh body ;" and 
Horace, were he confcious of the tranfmigration^ 
could have no reafon to repent of his new tene- 
ment. . From the lift of fatires I have given, it is 
obvious that he was generally careful to avoid 
dire£l compeddon with Mr. Pope ; though he has 
iHiitated him in addrelfmg the generality of them 


to fome particular friend, fome literary or exalted 
charader ; and in one inftance, to wit, th^ fecond 
of book 11. , he htis ventured to become a rival. 
From the latter part of this fatire I fhall feleft a!l 
example of the whole ; and that the reader may- 
be the better enabled to appreciate the value of 
his poetic talents in this line, I fliall contraft it with 
the fame paiTage as tranflated by Mr. Pope, and 
add the original Latin at the foot of the page. 
Of his friend Mr. Crawford I have already fpoken; 
the allufion is truly happy ; and, in correfpond- 
ence with the Roman bard, has an advantage over 
his antagonifl. Indeed Geddes is at all times a 
clofer copyift than Pope, and as a tranflator may 
therefore be much more fully depended upon by 
the Englifh reader. The termination is very cor- 
re£t ; though in the fix or eight lall lines of Mr. 
Pope's verfion, there is an energy and fpirit which 
are perhaps equally fuperior to Flaccus and Ged- 
des, and afford a deviation of which no one can 


Thus Crawford preached : nor was there aught 
But what he pradlifed, as he taught j 
I've known him in his better days. 
When fortune (bed her kindly rays, 
Ufing the felf-fame moderation 
As in his prefent humbler ftation. 

See ! where he fits, in fober ftate. 
At yonder little cottage gate 5 
And, mid his playful children, fmokes 
His pipe, and cracks his honeft jokes. 
**'Tis known (he fays, and fmiles) that I 
Was never given to luxury : 
On common days, my common cheer 
Was beans and bacon, bread and beerj 
Bat when a long-expe6led friend 
Came weary off his journey's end, 
Or bufinefs, bargain, or bad weather 
Brought neighbours, two or three, together j 
I did not fend, exprefs, to town 
To fetch your dainty fifhes down ; 
But kid, or capon, if I had it. 
Were to the ufual quantum added. 
With fruits the table next was fraught, 
Such as the foil and feafon brought j 

HORACE, Sat. ii. 2. 
Quo magis his credas : puer hunc ego parvus Ofellum 
Intcgris opibus novi non latius ufum, 
Quam nunc accifis. Videas metato in agello 
Cum pecore et natis fortem mercede colonum, 
*' Non ego, narrantem, temere edi luce profcHa 
*Quidquam praeter olus fumofae cum pede pernas. 
Ac mihi feu longum poll tempus venerat hofpes, 



Thus Bethel fpoke, who always fpeaks his thought, i 

And always thinks the very thing he ought : 

His equal mind I copy what I can, 

And, as I love, would imitate the man. 

In South-Sea days not happier, when furmifed i 

The lord of thoufands, than if now excifedj 

In foreft planted by a father's hand, ; 

Than in five acres now of rented land. I 

Content with little, I can piddle here 

On broccoli and mutton round the year^ 

But ancient friends (though poor or out of play) , \ 

That touch my bell, I cannot turn away. 1 

'Tis true, no turbots dignify my boards, j 

But gudgeons, flounders, what my Thames affords. i 

To Hounflow-heath I point, and Panfted-down ; 

Thence comes your mutton, and thefe chicks my own : 

From yon old walnut-tree a (howcr fhall fall, \ 

And grapes, long lingering on my only wall j 

And figs from ftandard and efpalier join, — ; 

The devil is in you if you cannot dine. 


Sive operum vacuo gratus conviva per imbrem 

Vicinus ; bene crat, non pifcibus urbe petitis, / 

Sed pullo atque hado: turn penfilis uva fecundas, 

Et nux ornabat menfas cum duplice ficu. 

Poft hoc ludus erat cuppa potare magiftra : 

Ac venerata Ceres, ut culmo furgeret alto, ' 

Explicuit vino contia6tse feria frontis. 

Saeviat, atque novos moveat fortuna tumultus; 
Quantum hinc imminuet ? quanto aut ego parcius, aut vos, 



Then thanks and praife were duly given 
To all-providingy bounteous Heaven ; 
A cheerful bumper crowned the day, 
And drove our killing cares away. 

Let Fortune new encroachments make; 
How little from me can ihe take ! 
Have you, my children, felt her hand 
!More heavy fmce we loft our land ? 
What though thefe fields I once could claim 
At prefent bear another's name ? 
By nature, qeither he nor I 
Has any lading property. 
Lord Umbra drove me from my place ; 
Him, too, another foon fliall chafe ; 
Himfelf fhall be his own undoing. 
Or dubious law-fuits work his ruin : 
At beft, and fpite of all his care, 
He muft refign it to his heir. 

Therefore be brave in every ftate. 
And laugh at Fortune and at Fate. 

O pucri, nituiftis, ut hue novus incola venit ? 
Nam proprise telluris herum natura, neque ilium, 
Nee me, nee quemquam ftatuit. Nos expulit illc^ 
Ilium aut nequities, aut vafri infcitia juris, 
Poflremo expellet certe vivacior haercs. 
Nunc ager Umbrepi fub nomine, nuper Ofelli 
Diftus, erit nulli proprius : fed cedet in ufum 
Nunc mihi, nunc alii. Quocirca vivite fortes; 
Fprtiaquc ad\erfis opponite pedlora rebus. 



Then cheerful healths (your miftrefs fhall have place,) 
And, what *s more rare^ a poet fhall fay grace. 

Fortune not much of humbling me can boaft ; 
Though double taxed, how little have I loft ! 
My life's amufements have been juft the fame 
Before and after (landing armies came. 
My lands are fold, my father's houfe is gone. 
I'll hire another's: is not that my own. 
And yours, my friends ? through whofe free opening gate 
None comes too early, none departs too late. 
(For I, who hold fage Homer's rule the beft. 
Welcome the coming, fpeed the going gueft.) 
<* Pray heaven it laft ! (cries Swift) as you go on j 
'* I wilh to God this houfe had been your own! 
** Pity I to build without a fon or wife : 
*' Why, you'll enjoy it only all your life." 
Well, if the ufe be mine, can it concern one 
Whether the name belong to Pope or Vernon ? 
What 's property ? Dear Swift ! you fee it alter 
From you to me, from me to Peter Walter j 
Or, in a naortgage, prove a lawyer's iharc j 
Or, in a jointure, vanilh from the heir : 
Or, in pure equity (the cafe not clear). 
The Chancery takes your rents for twenty year. 
At beft it falls to fome ungracious fon, 
Who cries ** My father's damned, and all 'c my own." 
Shades that to Bacon could retreat afford 
Become the portion of a booby lord } 
And Helmlley, once proud Buckingham's delight, 
Slides to a fcrivener, or a city knight. 
Let lands and houfcshave what lords they will, 
Let us be fixed and our own mailers ftili. 


The publication of thefe fatires, which were neatly 
printed in quarto, conflituted one of the moll for- 
tunate adventures upon which the worthy priefl 
of Auchinhalrig had hitherto fpeculated, and far 
exceeded the profits of his agricultural concerns. 
Towards the conclufion of his preface he informs 
his readers, " If what I now publifh fliould hap- 
pen to be well received, the reft of the fatires 
may pjfihly foon follow, on the fame plan, and in 
the fame form." This intention, however, he 
never executed ; yet not from want of fuccefs, 
as the paffage may feem to implicate, but from a 
multiplicity of other occupations into which he 
fhortly afterwards plunged, and which totally ab- 
forbed his time and diverted his attention. His 
impreflion of this effort of his genius, on the con- 
trary, which extended to feven hundred and fifty 
copies, procured for him a clear gain of nearly one 
hundred pounds fterling; a fum which he received 
not only with exultation, but with admiration at 
his own good fortune. This he duly applied to the 
liquidation of his arrears ; and having been alfo 
fortunate enough to receive additional afTiftance 
from feveral other quarters, which he directed to 
the fame object, he once more found himfelf com- 
pletely refcued from the difficulties in which, for a 
fecond time, the natural ardour and benevolence of 
his mind had involved him. 

The feries of calamities, however, which he had 


fuflained for nearly ten years, during the whole 
period he had refided at Enzie and Auchin- 
halrig, and the experience he had now acquired 
that his pen was more likely to be of fervice to 
him than his plough, determined him to relinquifh 
his retirement, and to try what fuccefs his abilities 
might obtain for him in /London : although fuch 
was his attachment to his flock, that I much quef- 
tion whether he would have realized his determi- 
nation, had not another circumftance occurred 
which gave additional vigour to it. Upon the 
marriage of lord Findlater with the daughter of 
count Murray of Melgum, Mr. Geddes was foli- 
cited to inftrudt the fair bride in the Englifli lan- 
guage, and readily accepted the talk. He now 
formed an intimate acquaintance with the re- 
verend Mr. Buchanan, who had been preceptor to 
his lordfhip, and was fo delighted with his good 
fenfe and liberality of heart, that he occafionally 
attended upon his miniftry in the church at 
CuUen. The indignation of bifhop Hay was 
again excited upon a knowledge of this fad : he 
at firll expoftulated, but foon found that expoftu- 
lation was vainly urged againfl a man whofe con- 
fcience did not accufe him of offence : from ex- 
poflulation the irritated prelate advanced to acri- 
monious rebuke, and menaces of fufpenfion : thefe 
were equally difregarded. There remained but 


one more ftep to finifh the climax ; It was, to put 
his threats into execution. Mr. Geddes expedted 
it, and he was not difappointed : he was actually 
depofed from his office, and prohibited from preach- 
ing within the extent of bifhop Hay's diocefe, a 
Ihort time after he had received the menace. 

This event gave an irrevocable ftamp to his de- 
cifion of quitting his native country. He freely 
communicated his refolution and the double caufe 
of it to both his congregations, who received it 
with an equal mixture of anger and afflidion of 
heart. Neverthelefs, the profped that their beloved 
paftor would derive advantage from his leaving 
them confoled them in fome degree for the great 
and irremediable lofs they were about to fuftain. 
Towards the end of the prefent year (1 779), there- 
fore, he took a mofl affedionate leave of them ; 
and fuch was the enthufiaftic regard with which 
his courteoufnefs, his kindnefs, his perpetual at- 
tention to the duties of his office, and efpeclally 
to the inftruclion of the younger branches of his 
flock, had infpired them, that, at the fale of his 
houfehold goods at Enzie, every one prefled for- 
ward to tellify, by an extravagant bidding, his 
veneration and love, as well as to obtain pofTef- 
fion of fome monument of a man whofe name and 
charader were fo juftly dear to them. I am told, 
by a lady who was prefent upon the occafion, that 


the moil infignlficant articles of furniture, even cups 
and faucers, though imperfed or broken, were 
caught at with the utmofl avidity ; and that the 
people appeared to prize the different lots they 
were fortunate enough to procure, rather as relics 
of a patron faint than as memorials of a beloved 

Nor were the catholics, or rathei* the inhabit- 
ants at large of the pariihes of Fouchabers and Au- 
chinhalrig, the only perfons who manifefted any 
regard for Mr. Geddes at the time of his depar- 
ture. His learning was well known throughout 
Scotland : he had, as I have already obferved, 
contradled an intimate acquaintance with many of 
the literati of Aberdeen ; and the univerfity of this 
city now ftepped forwards with a liberality highly 
creditable to itfelf, and in the beginning of the en- 
fuing year ( 1 780) granted him a diploma, by which 
he was created doftor of laws. 

The national eftablifhments of Scotland, and 
even the univerfity profelTors themfelves, have gene- 
rally been accufed of a narrow and bigoted fpirit, 
not only in England but upon the continent. Of 
late years, however, the accufation has been cer- 
tanily unjuft : the prefent inflance of conferring a 
diploma of do6lor of laws upon a catholic priefl is 
a fufficient exoneration of the profelTors and univer^ 

fity of Aberdeen from fo opprobrious a charge; 
^vhile, at Edinburgh, it is well known that Mr. 
Hume, notwithftanding the avowal of his deiftical 
principles, was on terms of the moft free and inti- 
mate friendlhip with dodors Robertfon, Stuart, 
and Reid, as well as with almoft every one of 
their colleagues or literary affociates. 



Injlltutlon of the Royal Siociety of Antiquaries in Scotland 
by the exertions of Dr. Geddes and others — eleded a 
rejideni, and afterwards a corr efpond'ing member — 
quits Ejtzie — arrives in London in company with lord 
Traquaire — officiates as pricjl in the Imperial amhaffa- 
dor's chapel — is introduced by the duchefs of Gordon to 
lord Petre. — Lord Petre highly approves of the doBor^s 
flan for tranflating the Bible, and patronizes him with 
an ample f alary, — He quits the Imperial chapel, the 
eflablifhment being fupprejl, and officiates occafionally 
in the chapel in Duke-flreet, Lincoln's Inn Fields — re- 
vifits Scotland, and is again a rejident with the earl 
of Traquaire — puhlifjjes his Tweeddale pafloral — the 
occajion of it. — Riots in Scotland on account of Jir 
George Saville's bill for relieving papifls. — Riots in 
England on the fame account. — Protefiant affociation 
headed by lord George Gordon, — Conflagration of the 
metropolis, — Dr, Geddes writes his Modejl Apology 
for the Roman Catholics of Great Britain — by the 
advice of his friends fuppreffes its publication — replies 
to Mr, Williams's fanatical pamphlet — the pamphlet 
and reply fJjortly examined, A. D. 1779 — 1 802. 

In determining to quit his native country, Dr. 
Geddes did not determine without regret. He 
had the fmcereft love for his congregation, and in 
the performance of his pafloral duty among 
them he placed his fupreme delight. NecelTity, 


however, compelled him, and he quitted them 
amidft a profufion of prayers and tears on their 
fide, and an honeft and afteclionate benedidion 
on his own. There was alfo another circumflance 
■which ftrongly influenced him at the prefent mo- 
ment to a longer refidence in his native country. 
The Society of Antiquaries in Scotland was at 
this peiiod juft embodied, and Dr. Geddes had 
taken a very aclive part in the inflitution, as well 
by his perfonal attendance as by his pen* The lafl 
literary labour, I believe, in which he engaged be- 
fore he quitted Enzie, was a Diflertation on the 
Scoto-Saxon Dialect, written exprefsly for this in- 
fant eflablilhment, and publifhed,in conjunction 
with feveral other pieces with which he favoured 
it, in its volume for 1792. The lofs of fo active 
and able a contributor to its patriotic as well as its 
literary defigns was feverely felt by the fociety, 
who unanimoufly eleded him, on his quitting 
them, a correfponding member; in confequence 
of which he again refumed his pen, and thanked 
them for this additional honour conferred on him, 
in an elegant epiflle in the Scottifli dialedt, ad« 
drefl'ed to the prefident, who was the earl of 
Buchan, the vice-prefident, and the members at 

* I am not, I believe, acquainted with all the papers he 
contributed to this learned inflitution } but, in addition to 
thofe I have already mentioned, the volume published in 1792 


He now departed from Enzie, devoted a few 
weeks to vlfits of perfonal friendfhip, and in com- 
pany with lord Traquaire arrived at London in the 
beginning of the year 1780, where, by the kind 
exertions of this excellent nobleman, he was foon 
invited to officiate as priefl in the Imperial ambaf- 
fador's chapel. A new fcene was now therefore be- 
fore him, and one equally gratify^ing to his talents 
and his inclinations. His friend the earl of Buchan. 
was at this period in London, and occupied a 
houfe in Leiceller-fquare, which was always open 
to him, and where he renewed the happinefs which 
for a feries of years he had antecedently enjoyed in 
his own country from the courtefy and converfa- 
tion of this illuftrious fcholar. His perfonal wants, 
however, were but few, and his income was equal 
to their demand ; his own literary fame, and the 
complimentary letters of his friends in the North, 
had introduced him into an acquaintance with 
many of the firll Englifh fcholars of the day ; and 

contains "The firftEklog of Virgil," and ''The firft Idyllionof 
Theocritus, tranflatitt into Skottis Vers," by the fame writer ; 
in the former of which the Edinburgh dialeft is chiefly imi- 
tated ; and in the latter the Buchan, which may be properly 
called the Scottifli Doric. He alfo compofed a Carmen Secu- 
lare for the fociety'a anniverfary of 1788, which I have never 
feen, but which the noble prefident aflerts, in a letter before 
me, '* will remain to late pofterity as a moft happy fpecimeri 
of his abilities in that mode of writing." 


from the unreftrained ufe of feveral public and 
private libraries which he found thrown open to 
him, he was once more feduced into the hope of 
being able to accomplifh a new tranflation of the 
Bible. To crov/n the whole career of his pro- 
fperity, he now, for the firft time, had the honour 
of an introduction to the late lord Petre, whom 
he met, by exprefs invitation, at her grace the. 
duchefs of Gordon's, within whofe hofpitable 
manfion he had been welcomed, from the moment 
of his arrival in London, with all the courtefy and 
friendlinefs he had been accuftomed to receive 
from the fame noble family when in Scotland. 

The want of a good vernacular verfion of the 
Bible, for the ufe of Englifh catholics, was^n evil 
which had been long lamented by lord Petre j 
and it conftituted a fource of immediate connexion 
between himfelf and Dr. Geddes, that, under the 
patronage of the former and the abilities of the 
latter, fuch a defideratum was now likely to be 
accomplifhed. The connexion became gradually 
more clofe and unreftrained, and each, I believe, 
experienced till the day of his lordfhip's deceafe, 
which preceded but a few months that of our inde- 
fatigable bibliaft, an increafmg efteem and attach- 
ment for the other. 

To enable the do6lor to profecute his plan with- 
*out any impediment whatfoever, this moft excellent 


nobleman, with an almoft unparalleled generofity, 
*' a princely munificence/' as Dr. Geddes has juftly 
and emphatically denominated it, engaged to allow 
him a falary of two hundred pounds, and took upon 
himfelf the entire expenfe of whatever private 
library the dodor might judge requifite to eftablifh 
in the profecution of his favourite objed, leaving 
him, in this refpea, indeed, totally unlimited, and 
mafter of his own condud. 

With a heart overloaded with gratitude, and 
exulting with joy, our biblical fludent now fet feri. 
oufly to'^work in the arrangement of his plan, and in 
the fame year, 1780, publifhed his firftimperfed 
iketch of it, under the title of an " Idea of a New 
Verfion of the Holy Bible, for the Ufe of the Eng- 
lifh Catholics." I call it an mperfe5f Jketch, for 
he has fo admitted it to have been himfelf. It has 
already been obferved, that the only verfion ^of 
the Bible at this time in the hands of the Englifli 
catholics was Dr. Chaloner's edition of the bar- 
barous tranilation made at Rheims and Douay; 
. an edition remodelled on the Clementine Vulgate, 
and modernized into fomewhat better Englifli, as 
well as into a more convenient form. " It was 
my prefent intention," fays the dodor, " to tranf- 
late from the Vulgate, and even to make the 
Douay verfion, with Chaloner's amendments, in 
forne refpeds the bafis of mine \ and of fuch a 


plan I pubiiflied a fhort view in 1780, which I 
called Idea of a New Verfton of the Holy Bible, 
&c. But I foon found that this was an abfurd 
idea-y and that, by patching and piecing what 
already had been pieced and patched, I fhould 
make a ftrange compofition indeed. 

" An entirely new tranflation from the Vulgate, 
but with fuch corrections as were manifeftly war- 
ranted, was next in my contemplation, and partly 
executed. But a very fhort trial convinced me, 
that neither would this method ever produce a 
tolerable verfion. Had I purfued this method, I 
mufl have been perpetually confronting the Vul- 
gate with the Originals, and very often correding 
it by them ; or prefented my readers with a very 
unfair and imperfed reprefentation of the Sacred 
text. The former of thefe inconveniences had, 
I faw, been the fate of thofe latter French, Ger- 
man, and Italian tranflators, who have taken the 
Vulgate for their original. In almofl every page, 
they are making lame apologies for the Latin ttxt^ 
or reforming and explaining it from the Hebrew 
and Greek. Yet, after all fuch explanations and 
corrections, and notwithftanding the very great 
freedoms which they allow themfelves in render- 
ing, there is no uniformity of flyle nor regularity 
of features in any of their verfions. 
* " Nor was this inconvenience to be avoided, 


but by firll giving an uniform face to the Latin 
itfelf, as had been before attempted by the catho- 
lic Clarius, and the proteftant Oleafter. For the 
great defe£l of St. Jerom's verfion is its want of 
uniformity ; it being fometimes ftrift and fometimes 
loofe, now barbaroufly literal, and now widely 
paraphraflic : every tranflation made from it, then, 
mufl partake of this variety. 

'^ This is not all. A confiderable part of the 
Vulgate, including the whole Pfalter, is not St. 
Jerom's, but a tranflation from a tranflation none 
of the beft, and moFeover contaminated by cor- 
ruptions that are not In the Greek, from which it 
was originally made : hence it is often unintelli- 
gible. Bellarmine laboured many years, and with 
much zeal, to remove its obfcurities ; and has in- 
deed thrown confiderable light on his fubjed: 
but how ? By having conflantly recourfe to the 
original Hebrew, fuch as he found it in the 
common maforetic copies of his day. 

*' Yet a flronger motive than all thefe I had 
to give up my firft inconfiderate plan. Biblical 
criticifm had recently taken a new turn, and been 
carried to a degree of perfedion which it had 
never before attained; and which, in the old 
rabbinical fyflem, it could not attain. The inve- 
terate prejudices of both catholics and proteftants 
had in a great degree yielded to the didates of 


fober fcnfe. The abfolute authenticity of the 
Vulgate was generally given up by the former ; 
and the abfolute integrity of the original text was 
defended but by few of the latter. The learned 
of both pardes v/ere agreed about the expediency 
of not only correding the errors of tranflators, but 
of alfo purging the Originals themfelves from fuch 
corruptions as time and the negligence of copyifls 
had introduced : and both differed but little con- 
cerning the means of accomplifliing fo defirable 
an end. 

" The firft of thefe means was a collation of 
the manufcript copies with the printed text, and 
of the various editions with one another. By the 
accumulated labours of Mills, Kuiler, Wetflein, 
Griefbach, and others, this had already been well 
nigh accomplifhed with refped to the New Tefta- 
ment; and Dr. Kennicott had gone a great length 
in doing the fame with refpedl; to the Old. De 
Roffi had greatly contributed toward the fame 
laudable purpofe, and almofl completed the work: 
fo that we have now before us the true prefent date 
of the Hebrew Scriptures, as well as of the Greek: 
and the only difficulty that remains is to diflin- 
guifli, in fuch a mafs of various readings, the 
genuine from the fpurious, or the more probable 
from the lefs probable. This is the tafk of criti- 
^ cifm, and of criticifm only : for no authority on 


earth can make a text genuine or fpurious, that 
was not fuch originally : nor can the drofs be dif- 
criminated from the filver but in the crucible of a 
fevere rational critique : a critique of the very fame 
nature with that by which we afcertain the true 
or more probable readings of Homer, Virgil, 
Milton, Shakfpeare : for why the grammatical 
errors that have crept into the compofitions of 
the Jewifh writers fhould not be corrected by the 
fame rules, as all other ancient compofitions, is 
what I never could comprehend, 

*' To tell me that there is a manifeft difference, 
arifmg from this, that the latter are only human 
works, the former divine ; is, as I conceive, to 
tell me nothing to the purpofe. For granting, 
what I need not grant, that every fentence, word, 
fyllable, apex of the Bible were originally divine; 
that is to fay, diredtly and immediately infpired by 
the Spirit of God, does it hence follow, that they 
who firfl tranfcribed thofe divinely infpired volumes 
from the autographs, and they who copied and re- 
copied thefe through every age, were iikewife di- 
vinely infpired ? I fcarcely think, that the greatefl 
Jewifh (tickler for the integrity of the Hebrew text 
will, at this day, maintain fo ftrange a paradox. 

" That Chrillians fhould ever have thought fo 
is, to me, beyond all things aftonifhing. For let 
me afk. Is the Jewifli code more facred. than the 


Chriftian code? or has the Lord God taken 
more infalHble meafures to preferve the defe5Iive 
elemeyits of a temporary and local difpenfation^ 
than to preferve the great and ultimate revelation 
communicated to all mankind by his fmgularly 
beloved Son ? We all knov/ that this fuperior 
code of laws, though written much later than the 
other, and tranfmitted in a language more uni- 
verfally known, has neverthelefs been handed 
down to us with fuch ,5i^ variety of leclion, as is 
hardly to be met with in any profane writer. 
The reafon is obvious : it has been more fre- 
quently copied than any other writing, and too 
often copied by ignorant or carelefs apographifls. 
" But not to wander from my prefent fubject : 
finding, as I have faid, facred criticifm in a favour- 
able progrefs towards perfection, having before 
me the various readings of the texts of Scripture, 
and the feveral verfions made from them, with 
a biblical apparatus (through the princely munifi- 
cence of lord Petre) which few individuals poflefs: 
grieved befides, to obferve among the EngHfli 
catholics an almofl total want of tafte for bib- 
lical fludies, and wifhing to remove a reproach, 
which in protellant Hterary companies I had often 
heard made on that account ; a reproach too well 
founded to be rep^4ied: I thought I could not 
better ferve the caufe of Chriltianity in general^ 

nor better confult the particular interell of that 
body to which I more immediately belonged, than 
by employing that, whatfoever, portion of talents 
which had fallen to my fhare, in attempting a new 
and faithful tranHation of the Bible from corrected 
texts of the original, unaccompanied with any 
glofe, commentary or annotations, but fuch as 
were necelfary to afcertain the literal meaning of 
my text ; and free of ^very fort of interpretation 
calculated to eflablifh or defend any particular 
fyflem of religious credence." 

At the clofe of this year he ceafed to officiate 
in his facerdotal character in the Imperial am- 
balTador's chapel, the entire eflablifhment being, 
at this period, fupprefl by an exprefs order from 
the emperor Jofeph 11. He preached however oc- 
cafionally at the chapel in Duke-ftreet, Lincoln's 
Inn Fields, and continued to perform the fame 
kind of occafional fervice till the Eafler holidays 
of 1782 ; after which period he found his time fo 
much abforbed by domeflic literature, and efpe- 
cially by his tranilation of the Bible, that he vo- 
luntarily withdrew from every fhated minifterial 
fundion, and feldom officiated in any chapel 

In the fummer of 1781 he paid a vifit to his 
friends in Scotland, whofe kindnefs was ftill deeply 
engraven on his bofom ; and being now freed, by 


diflance of time, as well as a variety of other cir- 
cumflanccs, from the cfle^ts of a too fufceptible 
heart, he accepted an invitation from his tried friend 
and firfl patron the earl of Traquaire, and once 
more vifited the delightful fcenery of Tweeddale. 
His Icrdfhip had at this time become a huiband, 
and was on the point of becoming a father : he 
had married into the illullrious family of the 
Ravenfcrofts, and was ^dually blefled with an heir 
during the period of the doctor's vifit. Could he, 
as a poet, wifh for a more propitious opportunity of 
complimenting his noble hofl and hoftefs ? The 
fubjed: of young Marcellus, though more tragical, 
can fcarcely be conceived to have been more intereft- 
ing ; and though precluded from copying Virgil in 
his -^neid, he was determined to imitate him in 
his Eclogues. Pollio was the poem he fele^led for 
his pro to-type : an old prophetic minflrel of the 
country, denominated Thomas of Lermount, had 
predided that when an eagle fhould be the off- 
fpring of a raven and a rook, joyful tidings fliould 
arife for the bonny men of Tweeddale. Now it hap- 
pened happily enough for our poet, who did not fail 
to take advantage of the incident, that while the fe- 
cond of thefe three birds compofed the arms of the 
Ravenfcroft family, the third conflituted the crefl 
in the armorial bearings of the Traquaires ; inde- 
pendently of which , the vigour of the infant offspring 


of the marriage was a fortunate emblem of the 
predicted eaglet. The argument is thus ex- 
plained; and the verfatile genius of Dr. Ged- 
des, in connecting thefe ifolated fafts, compofed 
a Tweeddale paftoral, which, after the family-feat 
and fecond title of his noble hofl, he denomi- 
nated Linton. In this, as may be fuppofed, he 
aflerts that the prophecy of the old minilrel 
was on the point of being accomplilhed by the 
birth of the infant lord Linton ; and that the bonny 
men of Tweeddale would be in full repolTeilion 
of the golden days of Saturn at the period of his 
majority ; when 

— war and difcord and domefllc ftrife, 
And all the other woes of human life, 
Death, famine, plague, mortality, fliall ceafe, 
And all be health, and harmony and peace. 

This amiable tribute of friendfliip, if it did not 
produce to the writer quite as many feflerces as 
were paid to Virgil for the compofition of the 
fixth book t)f his iEneid, was not meant to be 
■ thus remunerated. It was a far higher gratifica- 
tion to our poet that it was received with much 
applaufe by the illuftrious pair for whom it was 
defigned, and who immediately gave orders for its 
being printed at Edinburgh. I cannot, however, 
regard it as one of the happiefl effufions of the 
dodor's fancy : his verfification does not poflefs 


his ufual vigour ; his imitations are, for the mofb 
part, devoid of felicity, and in his original ideas 
he is meagre and enfeebled. Polemics and the 
Bible, as may be expeded, are flill uppermofl in 
his mind, and the following verfes may be felecled 
as a fair fpecimen of the general merit of the 

At length the fun farts from his nuptial led *, 
With beams of new-born radiance round his head j 
'JcyoUi run tW ethereal courfc, 
Andy lihe a giant j glories in his force f : 
The hours and feafons wait upon his nod. 
And own the empire of the ruling god. 

No more Religion, with fanatic hand, 
Shall fan the fire of faction in the land ; 
But, mild and gentle like her heavenly Sire, 
No other flames but thofe of love infpire. 
Papift and proteftant (hall ftrive to raife. 
In difTerent notes, one great Creator's pralfe. 
Polemic volumes on their (helves (hall rot, 
And Hays and Abernethies be forgot. 

Such were uniformly the wijfhes of our very liberal 
and comprehenfive fcholar ; but fuch was not the 
univerfal ^vilh of the day in which he thus ex- 
preffed them. I have already noticed the ani- 
mofity which fubfifled in Scotland at the period 

* Tanquam fponfus procedens de thalamo fup. Pf. xviii. 
rj- Exultavit, ut giga?, ad currendam viam fuam. Ibid, 


of his fixing in Auchinhalrig. In the year 1778 
a bill was introduced into the houfe of commons 
by that illuilrious character fir George Saviile, 
which was intended " to relieve his majefty's fub- 
jefts prof effing the popifh religion, from certain 
penalties and difabilities impofed on them by an 
act made in the eleventh and twelfth years of 
William III." The object of this liberal inter- 
ference of the legiflature was to remove merely 
a part of the very heavy and more obnoxious 
punifliments to which the catholics of Great Bri- 
tain were at this time amenable ; and to allow 
them, upon taking an oath of allegiance to the 
king, renouncing the claims of the pretender, and 
denying the power of the pope in all political con- 
cerns, to enjoy an undifturbed profeffion of their 
religion, and to purchafe and bequeath eflates in 
any part of the Britiih domxinions. It is to the 
praife of the Engiilli character, that this bill upon 
its introduction to the legiflature received the moil 
manifeft marks of univerfal approbation, was car- 
ried wth general confent, and had the profpect of 
being fpeedily followed by others of a more liberal 
tendency fliil. Such however was not the elFed: 
it produced in Scotland, upon a report fcon after- 
wards propagated, that the benefit of this a6t was 
defigned to be extended to that part of the united 
Jiingdom. The jealous foul of bigotry was alarmed 


at the mere Idea of relieving papifts in any way ; 
and its jaundiced eye pretended to behold in the 
prefent very circumfcribed a6l of grace, a re-in- 
trodudion of all the popifli abfurdities and tyran- 
nies of former times, a re-converfion of the people 
to the popifh religion, a total deftruclion of the 
conflitution, and a frefli triumph of the pontifical 
tiara. With all the fpeed of ele6lricity this wild 
and fanatical terror was propagated from bofom 
*o bofom, from church to church, from town to 
town, throughout the whole extent of Scotland. 
Societies were inftituted for the defence, as it 
was called, of the proteftant faith ; committees 
were appointed, the moll inflammatory pam- 
phlets written, approved, and circulated gratui- 
toufly among the common people, and every flep 
reforted to which could tend to excite their fury. 
In mofl of the principal cities, and efpecially at 
Edinburgh dnd Glafgow, the fpirit of perfecution 
broke out into open acts of violence and cruelty 
againft papills who had long refided there with 
reputation and credit ; and the Britifli go\^ern- 
ment, fearful of the confequences of this reh- 
"glous phrenfy, in a moment of frigid prudence and 
puerile imbecility, forbore its benevolent purpofe, 
and relinquifhed the idea of benefiting the catholics 
on the northern fide of the Tweed. 

It was not enough, however, that the bigots q( 

Scotland had obtained this perfonal triumph. 
They pretended that they did not conceive thein- 
felves Tafe while the remotell degree of favour 
was evinced towards Roman catholics in any part 
of the ifland. Pamphlets of the mod vehement 
zeal, written in the North, were circulated with 
all poiTible induftry throughout the South ; and 
amongil thefe I am much aftonifhed to find 
one by the late very amiable and learned Dr. 
Campbell, who was at that time principal of the 
Marifchal college in Aberdeen. It is entitled, a 
^' Vindication of the Oppofition to the late intended 
Bill for the Relief of Roman Catholics in Scotland." 
It polTelTes more moderation, nevertheiefs, than the 
greater part of thofe which fwarmed at this time 
from the prefs, and with much declamation inter- 
weaves fome few threads of argument. It is well 
known, however, and it becomes me to ftate as 
much, that the worthy principal's views upon 
this fubjed were confiderably changed during 
the latter years of his life: and the fpirit of 
liberality and candour which blazes forth, with 
a very different fort of flame, through every page 
of his Lectures on Ecclefiaftical Hiflory, if they 
do not completely atone for the prejudices he at 
this time difcovered, ought at lead to fhield him 
from the anathemas of the catholic church QU 
the anniverfaries of her commination. 


The efforts of the Scotch bigots were unfor- 
tunately but too fuccefsful in England. Here, 
alfo, we had -proteftant affcciations formed in 
different parts of the country ; and the opera- 
tions of the iminenfe body affembled under this 
denomination in London, and who elected lord 
George Gordon their prefident, (a Scotch noble- 
man, who had formerly been one of the mofl 
violent firebrands in his own country in favour of 
the prcteflant faith, and who afterwards abjured 
this peculiar faith, and even the Chriflian re- 
ligion itfelf, in favour of Judaifm,) are to this hour 
fo indelibly imprelfed on the mind of every one, 
that it would be ufelefs to detail them. It is fuffi- 
cient to add, that parliament had too much fpirit 
to yield to the lawlefs violence of a fanatic and 
inebriate mob ; that the repeal, which was thus ille- 
gally, and in the midfl of perfonal infults and tre- 
mendous conflagrations, demanded of both houfes, 
was not granted ; and that the act pafTed with the 
limitation above fpecified with refpe6l to Scotland. 

At this period of national tumult and difgrace 
it is not to be fuppofed that the active foul of 
Alexander Geddes could remain aileep. Under 
the title of " A Modeil Apology for the Roman 
Catholics of Great Britain, addreffed to all mo- 
derate Proteftants, particularly to the Members of 
both Houfes of Parliament," he drew up a hiilory 


of the Roman catholic church, comparing it, as he 
proceeds, with that of the church of England, in 
relation to her jurifdi^lion, her doQrines, her dif- 
clpline; which, on account of its profound hiftoric 
refearches, the undaunted freedom of its difcuflions, 
and the candor and liberality which flow through 
every page, is a mofl valuable produdion, and 
well worthy the attention of every perfon who 
is folicitous of acquiring a knowledge of the real 
principles of the Roman catholic religion. So 
much agitated however was the public mind, by 
the difgraceful riots and dreadful mifchiefs under 
which the city of London was at this moment 
groaning, and fo little profpe£l did there ap- 
pear of fixing the general eye with a due de- 
gree of fleadinefs to this important appeal, that, 
valuable as the work was in itfelf, and highly 
worthy of the mofl extenfive circulation, it was 
the opinion of the author's friends it would be 
prudent to fapprefs its publication at prefent, and 
to wait till the public terror and exacerbation 
fhould be allayed, and the public attention l)e 
more at liberty. The advice was taken, and 
the volume did not make its appearance till 
1800, being very nearly twenty years after its 
compofition. I pafs it by, therefore, for the pre- 
sent without further notice : and fhall refume my 


account of it when, m the progrefs of our narrative, 
we fhall reach the period of its ilTuing from the prefs. 

Our author could not, neverthelefs, content 
himfelf with being totally filent ; and having ac- 
cidentally laid his hands on one of the mofl fu- 
rious and bigoted pamphlets of the day, entitled 
" A Full Detection of Popery, and Defence of 
a Proteflant Barrier to be preferved by a more 
general AlTociation of Proteftants," printed at 
Durham, and which in its fecond edition, or 
what was pretended to be its fecond edition, af- 
fumed, as the writer's name, the fignature of John 
Williams, with a dedication to fir James Low- 
ther, he inftantly replied to it by an anony- 
mous critique, which he denominated " Curfory 
Remarks on a late Fanatical Publication, entitled 
A Full Detedion, &c. fubmitted to the candid 
Perufal of the liberal-minded of every Denomi- 
nation." Printed for the Author, and fold by 
Keating, Faulder, and Debrett, 1783. 

The writer of this Full Detedion defeiTed a 
fevere cafligation for his ignorance and his vio- 
lence, and in thefe Remarks he has met with one 
equal to his demerits. He has abfurdity enough 
to attribute the Infurreclion and conflagrations of 
the metropolis to fanatic papifts inflead of pro- 
t^ftants, the latter of whom were in his opinion 

the mere tools of the former : and madly afferts, 
that the whole cataflrophe was publicly fpoken of 
at Rome, before its perpetration in England : — 
" a proof/' continues he, " of its having been 
preconceived in that city plainly to ruin the cha. 
ra6ter of proteftantifm, and on its afhes to raife 
that papal idolatry, which is more abhorrent, be- 
caufe it takes the name of Chriil to fan£tif)r it 
and is the great machine of llavery.** In the 
courfe of this enthufiaflic philippic, the king him- 
felf is accufed of being " a papift at heart ;" and 
country gentlemen are exhorted to aflbciate in de- 
fence of the proteftant religion, from the confide- 
ration that they do fo for the more trivial purpofe 
of prefer ving their gam^. With thefe, and many 
other Hill groifer abfurdities, are interwoven a 
variety of more popular but equally erroneous 
ideas : of which 1 may be allowed to notice two, 
as they feem by no means to have loft their ope- 
ration in the prefent day. The firft is, that in 
confequence of ftr George Saville's a6:, Raman 
catholics were re-inftated in the poffeflion of all, 
or nearly all, the privileges and immunities of 
which they had been deprived by other ads of 
the legiflature, and were admitted to an equal, 
or nearly an equal, participation of rights with 
proteftants. I have already ftated the extent of 


the relief obtained for them by this interference! 
of the legiflature, that it confifhed — and merely in 
confequence of taking an oath, drawn up as fully 
and as flrongly as words could convey — in an ex- 
emption from certain very fevere and impolitic 
refhridions contained in an act of the eleventh and 
twelfth of William III. leaving them flill fubjed 
to all the different penalties and punifliments fpe- 
cified in the feveral ftatutes enaded previous to 
this period for prohibiting the exercife of the po- 
pifli religion ; and as much as ever difabled from 
occupying any civil, military, or legiflative poll : 
a difability to which they are even at the prefent 
hour almofl as much fubjed as at any time, not- 
withftanding the additional and important benefits 
they have fmce obtained by the ad of the 31ft 
of his prefent majefty, of which the reader will 
meet with a further account as he proceeds. 

Another erroneous idea, common at the pre- 
fent day with the period in which this libellous 
and incendiary pamphlet was publifhed, and 
which is repeatedly brought fonvard in its pages, 
is an afcription to modern catholics of all the 
trafh and abfurdlties believed by their forefathers 
in the darkeft and moft ignorant ages. Within 
the term of the laft century, there is fcarcely a 
religious fed of any defcription which has not ex- 


hlbited fome variation in its creed, its difcipline^ 
or its manners. The articles of our own efla- 
blifhed church are differently interpreted by many, 
even of the right reverend bench itfelf, from what 
they were formerly, and it feems doubtful from 
modern controvei*fies, whether their bafis be chief- 
ly Arminian or Calviniftic. The prefbyterian has 
alTumed a fuavity of character unknown to Ms 
more rigid anceflors : and even the quakers, who 
were unqueftionably unitarians at an earlier age, 
have now conformed to a belief in the trinity, and 
have lately filenced, by a fynodic refolution, one 
or two of their bell fpeakers, who have fliown a 
difpofition to revert to their original faith. But 
papifts, and papifts alone, are fuppofed to be un- 
changed, and unchangeable : and becaufe the 
great mafs of their forefathers, fome centuries 
ago, admitted of indulgencies, ,pilgrimages, the 
damnation of heretics, papal infallibility, the wor- 
fliip of ihrines, pictures, and bleffed medals, it 
is conceived that every papifl mud: neceffarily do 
the fame at the prefent day ; and that the dawn 
of fcience, which has irradiated and humanized 
every fe6: befides, has for them only arifen in vain, 
and diffufed a ufelefs luftre. " Having croiTed 
the Alps and Pyrenees,^' fays the writer of this ab- 
furd pamphlet, *' I have examined the temper, and 


feen the difpofiiion, of this extcnfive part of the 
enlightened world, and defy any man to aflert 
that a fingle 0?ade is taken off in the modern, 
•which, in the early period of time, had been re- 
ceived from bigotry." I fhall fiiifer om- re- 
marker to attach tlie whole of this obfervation in 
his own words. " Lo ! Mr. Wilhams,** fays he, 
*' has crofied the Alps and Pyrenees 1 And furely 
he has travelled to fome purpofe, fmce he has feen 
what no other tour-maker is Ukely to difcover. 
Addifon, who was at leafl as accurate an obferver 
as Mr. Williams, feems to have been of a diffe- 
rent opinion. He found, even in his time, ^ that 
there had been a kind of fecret reformation made 
in the Roman catiiolic church, fmce the fpread- 
ing of the proteftant religion :' and though, in 
my opinion, he afcribes this to a wrong, or at leafl 
only a partial caufe, the fad itfelf is indifputable. 
The cloud of fuperflition, which gathered dur- 
ing the ages of ignorance, and which had fo long 
hung over the Chriftian world, has been conti- 
nually diflipating fmce the revival of letters ; and 
the catholic as well as the froteftant hemifphere 
grows every day brighter and brighter. If fome 
fpots of darknefs ftill remain, it is hoped that the 
funfhine of a fober philoibphy will foon difpel 
them, and produce at length that fcrenity of 


difpofitlon among the human fpecies, which every 
generous heart muft wifh to behold. In the 
mean time, I would advife Mr. Williams to crofs 
the Al'ps and Pyrenees once again, and examine the 
temper and difpofition of that part of the globe a 
little m.ore narrowly, before he venturec to make 
fuch another ridiculous defy. If he travels with 
open eyes, he will fee, at Rome itfelf, proteft- 
ants carefled, encouraged, and rewarded, ac- 
cording to their degree of eminence, induflr)^, 
and merit; he will fee Englifh proteflants, in 
particular, meet with more regard and attention 
than perhaps at any other court in Europe ; he 
will fee> in fome parts of Italy, that political and 
religious liberty is as well underftood, and as te- 
nacioufly maintained, as in any other country ; 
he will fee the power of an odious tribunal 
abolifhed at Naples, abolifhing at Madrid, and 
abridged at Lifbon ; he will fee a great number 
of idle feflivals retrenched from the calendar, and 
frugal induflry take place, on thofe days of diffi- 
pation \ he will fee the learned and zealous 
of the clergy ufmg their utmoil endeavours to 
eradicate old prejudices, to explode falfe miracles, 
to expunge fabulous legends, to correct all po- 
pular abufes, and to excite their refpective flocks, 
both by words and example, to live ' foberly, 
juftly, and pioully,' according to the rules of the 



gofpel. In fine, he will fee an intelligent pon* 
tifF authorizing vernacular tranllations of the Holy 
Scriptures ; and declaring in the mod explicit 
manner, that * they are Jour ces to which all the 
faithful ought to have free accefs^ in order thence 
to draw a found doctrine, and pure morality*.' " 

I fliall difmifs the doctor's obfervations upon this 
pamphlet with the following very pertinent and 
liberal paragraph, v/ith which his Reply con- 
cludes : " Let us learn from the example of a 
neighbouring nation, ' how good and how pleafant 
it is for brethren to dwell in unity/ There the 
proteftants, inflead of perfecuting the catholics, 
do eveiy thing in their power to make their fitu- 
ation comfortable ; and even build chapels for 
them, where they are too poor to do it for them- 
felves. Behold, in Germany, a catholic prince 
purfuing the fame conciliating plan, and rearing 
temples for proteftants. 

" At a time when all countries have either be- 
gun, or are beginning, to break the chains of in- 
tolerance, when proteftants are reftored to their 
juft rights in catholic kingdoms, and catholics 
in proteftant — in kingdoms, where the general 
rights of mankind are too often trampled upon 

* Fontes ubcrrlmi, qui culque patcre debent, ad haiirlen- 
dam ct doftrinx et morum fan£\Itatem. Letter of the late 
pope to abbate Martini. 


by arbitrary power — fhall England, who glories 
in being the genial parent and patronefs of liberty, 
deny her catholic fubje^ls the benefits of a free 
conftitution, and remain the lafl perfecuting na- 
tion in the Chriflian world ! Every generous 

thinking Engliihman cries, No, no, no!** 



Dr. Geddes accompanies lord and lady Traquaire in a 
tour to the South of France — returns to London — be- 
comes acquainted with Dr. Kennicott — is introduced 
to Dr. Lowth — advifed by the latter to draw up a 
Trofpe&us of his intended verjion of the Bible — ac- 
cedes to the advice — puhVifhes, it with a Dedication to 
lord Petre-^AnaljJis of the Frofpe£ius, A. D. 1 7 85 

Notwithstanding the ardor with which Dr. 
Geddes had engaged in the controverfy upon the 
fubjecl of toleration, he did not, neverthelefs, 
relax in his biblical fludies. The greater part of 
the riots produced by the bill for the relief of 
Roman catholics occurred' during his refidence at 
Linton. Upon their having a little fubfided, 
previous however to his recurring to his more 
recondite labours, he accompanied his noble hoft 
and hoflefs to Paris, and readily confented to 
forget the diflr effing fcenes they had witnefled 
or heard of, in the recreation of an agreeable 
tour through the South of France. From France 
he foon returned to Scotland, and from Scot- 
land to London, now burning with impatience 
to refume his theological purfuits, and accomplifh 
the prime objed of his bofom 5 of which he 


might truly have fald in the tender language of 
Goldfmith to his brother. 

Where'er I roam, whatever climes I fee. 
My heart, untravelled, fondly turns to thee, 

A fortunate accident introduced him at th^ 
period of time, 1783, to Dr. Kennicott, and 
ftimulated him more than any event that had yet 
occurred in the whole courfe of his life, fave the 
patronage of lord Petre, in this important under- 
taking. No man knew better than this illuftri- 
ous fcholar the great want to the nation, and in- 
deed to the world at large, of a new tranflation 
of the Sacred Scriptures, from corrected copies of 
the originals ; for no man was better acquainted 
with the defeats of every exifling verfion, and no 
man bad labored more fuccefsfully to colled: 
materials for fuch a purpofe. The fame of our 
author's talents had reached him, and he received 
from his own mouth, with much fatisfadion and 
delight, a more general account of his plan. His 
friendfhip, however, did not terminate in empty 
profeflions of fz^tisfadion : he generoufly offered 
him every afliftance in his power, and cordially 
introduced him to the firft biblical fcholars of the 
age. " I had hardly made known my defign,'* 
fays the do6lor, " when he anticipated my vv ifhes 
to have his advice and affiftance towards the exe^* 


cution of It, With a degree of unreferved frank- 
nefs and friendfhip which I had never before 
experienced in a ftranger. Not contented with ap- 
plauding and encouraging me himfelf, he pufhed 
me forwards from my obfcurity to the notice of 
others : he fpoke of me to Barrington ; he intro- 
duced me to Lowth. The very fhort time he 
lived, after my acquaintance with him, and the 
few opportunities I had of profiting from his 
converfation, are diftrefling reflexions: but ftill 
I count it a happinefs to have been acquainted 
with a man, whofe labours I have daily occafion ta 
blefs, and whofe memory I mufl ever revere *." 

Of his acquaintance with this ineftimable prelate 
Dr. Geddes was accuflomed to fpeak with an equal 
degree of pleafure and pride — " quern honoris 
cauia," fays he in his Addrefsto the Public, " no- 
mino femperque nominabo.'^ Dr. Lowth was as 
much pleafed with the intention as Dr. Kennicott ; 
and, at his immediate fuggeflion, our biblicifl 
now engaged in writing an ample Profpedtus of 
his verfion. This occupied his pen throughout 
the remainder of the prefent year and the fpring 
of 17S4: and when completed, he availed him- 
felf of his lordfhip's courteoufnefs, and fubmitted 
it to his infpedion; requefting, at the fame time, 

■* Profpeitus, p. J43. 


that he would mark with a black Theta whatever 
paflage might appear objeclionable. The anfwer 
of this excellent man, as well as admirable fcho- 
lar, is of too much confequence to the chai*a6ter 
of both of them to be omitted in this place* 
The following is a copy : 

" The bifhop of London prefents his compli- 
ments to Dr. Geddes, and returns, with thanks, 
his Profpedus, which he has read with fome care 
and attention, and with the fulled approbation. 
He finds no room for black Thetas ; and he 
doubts not that it will give univerfal fatisfadion. 
He cannot help wifhing that Dr. Geddes would 
publifh it : it would not only anfwer his defign of 
introducing his work, but would really be a 
ufeful and edifying treatife for young fludents in 

" This tellimony alone," obferves Dr. Geddes 
modeilly, " from one of the moil elegant fcho- 
lars and firfl biblical critics of the age, was more 
than fufficient to remove my ilill remaining timo- 
roufnefs, and to make me purfue my projeft with 
confidence and refolution. This,'' continues he, 
*' was in the year 1785. In the enfuing fpring my 
Profpecius was publifhed, and met with a recep- 
tion which could . not but be flattering to an ob- 
fcure individual, v/hofe name was hardly known 
in the republic of letters, and who had neither 


credit nor connexions to pufli him forwards into 

The Profpectus, though not publifhed till the 
fpringof 1786, was printed however towards the 
clofe of the preceding autumn, and at a Glafgow 
prefs : from which latter circumfiance we may 
conjedure that he at this time paid another vifit 
to his native country, and engaged a printer with 
whom he had formerly been in the habit of ac- 
quaintance. I know not the number of copies of 
which the impreffion confifted. It was put to 
prefs on his own account, and had a very ge- 
neral and fatisfad:ory circulation. " Were I to 
print all the letters of compliment," fays he, 
'^ which I was favoured with on that occafion, 
they would form not a petty volume. Not only 
were praifes liberally bellowed, but valuable com-^ 
munications were imparted from different quar- 
ters of the kingdom, and even from foreign 
countries t." 

And moil juflly was it entitled to the reception 
it experienced -, for it comprifes a regular feries of 

* Addrefs to the Public, p. 8. 

f Ibid. — Of a great variety of literary chara£lers, who fa.- 
voured him at this time with important communications and 
other tokens of approbation, he gives a particular fpecifica- 
tion in his Letter to the Bifhop of London, p. 84 and fol- 


biblical hiftory from the earlieft ages of the world 
to the clofe of the lad century, extraded with 
unwearied afliduity from libraries of mufty and 
moth-eaten parchments and other records, in con^ 
junction with the affiftances of modern times ; con- 
denfed with confummate judgment ; exhibiting 
the moft ample proofs of liberal criticifm and 
perfpicuous arrangement ; and offering to the pub- 
lic a volume of equal importance and entertain- 

It is briefly but elegantly dedicated to his patron 
lord Petre, " as the firft fruits of many years of 
painful labour, in the pleafmg hope of being, one 
day, able to lay before him the whole harveft/' 
To fuch a dedication his lordfhip, indeed, was en- 
titled, and the grateful heart of Dr. Geddes never 
negle£led a fmgle opportunity of teftifying the ob- 
ligations of which it was fenfible. " If my work,'' 
fays he, in the body of this fame publication, 
" fhall have any merit, the world will ftand prin- 
cipally indebted for it to the right honourable 
lord Petre; at whofe requefl: it was undertaken, 
and under whofe patronage it is carried on. For 
although the plan itfelf is a plan of twenty years 
Handing ; and although the author had never any 
thing fo much at heart as its accomplifhment ; 
yet his circumflanees in life were fuch as mufl 
have rendered that impoffible, without the provi- 


dential Interpofition of fuch a patron. But lord 
' Petre is not only the author's patron, he is in 
fome refpeds the author. It was his great love 
for religion, and his extreme defire of feeing fcrip- 
tural knowledge more generally promoted among 
thofe of his own communion, that fuggeiled to 
him the idea of procuring a nesv tranilation, be- 
fore he knew that I had ever entertained a fimilar 
idea, and at a time when I had aimofl defpaired 
of feeing it realized. His iordlhip, I trull, will 
pardon me for inferting without his knowledge 
this public teflimony of his piety and munifi- 
cence ; which. I could not fupprefs without vio- 
lence to m.y own feelings, and which the public 
has, in fome fort, a right to know*.'' 

The objed of the Profpeclus is to explore the 
caufes which' have concurred to render former 
tranilations of the Bible defective, and to point 
out the means by which- many of their defeds 
may be removed. Of the caufes of imperfedion 
he enumerates feveral. One of the chief is the 
imperfedion and inaccuracy of the originals them- 
felves, from which our modem tranflations are 
derived : for if, which is an admitted fad, the 
text itfelf, from the ignorance, carelefsnels, and 
inaccuracy of copyifts, be in- many places cor- 
rupted, the verfion mud neceffarily participate of 
* Prorpc6lus, p. 144, 


its errors. The Jewifii rabbins contend, indeed, 
that they are in pofleffion of a fcheme, derived 
immemorially from their forefathers, which pro- 
tects it from all poflibility of vitiation ; and that 
in every difputable point they have nothing to do 
but to have recourfe to this fcheme or book, which, 
from the term "iD'tO (Mafr), or tradition, they de- 
nominate Mafora, and that an incontrovertible 
decifion is hence immediately obtained. It may 
not be known to all my readers, that, in its earlieft 
ftate, the Hebrew Bible, confiftently with the ori- 
ginal cuftom of mofl: oriental languages, was writ- 
ten without any breaks or divifions in its text into 
chapters, verfes, or even words ; every individual 
letter being placed at an equal diftance from that 
which followed it throughout every feparate book. 
When breaks and divifions were firft of all, there- 
fore, introduced into the tranfcription of indivi- 
duals, it is eafy to conceive what vail differences 
muft have exifted in different copies, each inter- 
preting for himfelf, and confuiting his own judg- 
ment alone as to th€ fenfe and intention of the 
original text. The Mafora endeavoured to re- 
-inedy this variety of leCtion, by numbering not 
only every chapter and fedion, but every verfe, 
word, and letter, of which every book of the Sa- 
cred Scriptures confifts; and this by the introduc- 
tion either above or below of vowel points, ac- 


cents, and paufes. Who were the authors of this 
pretendedly infallible canon we know not. By- 
many of the rabbins it is aiferted to be coeval with 
the delivery of the law to Mofes on mount Sinai, 
having been communicated to him in their opi- 
nion at the fame time, and handed down to 
pofterior ages of the Jews by tradition. There 
are others again who affert that the fyflem was 
invented in the time of Ezra; while Dr. Ken- 
nicott will not allow it to be of an older date than 
the beginning of the ninth, and Morinus than 
that of the tenth, century of the Chriftian opra. 
Be this however as it may, fmce we know not 
who firfl invented it, nor what authority its in- 
ventors had for their own opinion rather than 
for that of any other ancient copy affording a 
different divifion, it is obvious that even at its firfl 
inftitution it was as open to the charge of cor- 
ruption as any rival tranfcript. But if this be true 
of the Maforetic text at firfl, what ought to be 
our opinion of the different manufcripts and im- 
preffions of it, which have fince been circulated 
through the world, encumbered and perplexed 
with this immenfe burthen qf diacritic marks, 
and hereby rendered infinitely more difficult tq 
copy and even to comprehend, than the more 
fmiple and undivided charad:ers it was intended 
to illuflrate ? 6 


*' To give the i^eader, who is not acquainted with 
Hebrew grammar, fome, not unfavourable, idea 
of Maforetic punduation, let us fuppofe that the 
prefent Englifh verfion of the Bible were the origi* 
nal ; and written, as the original formerly was, 
in one uniform charader, and without any of our 
modern marks of diftinclion. In this fuppolition, 
the text would run thus : 



Let us next fuppofe that fome ingenious peda- 
gogue, remarking the great difference between 
this orthography and the prefent orthoepy ; and 
obferving, alfo, that fo clofe and conneded an 
arrangement of words and letters is attended with 
fome difficulty to unpradifed readers ; fliould fet 
himfelf to contrive expedients, to remove thofe 
inconveniences; and, for that purpofe, fliould 
reafon in the following manner : ' Our alphabet 
has but five vowels to exprefs fifteen vocal founds; 
. — Some of our confonants vary their powers ac- 
cording to their fituatlon ; and fome of them 
have occafionally no power at all. The fame 
letter is fometimes an afpirate and fometimes 
not. Many words have more than one fignifi- 
cation without any difference in the mode of 
utterance. Our written language has no paufal 
marks, and our profody is not regulated by any 


tonic dilllnflions. To remedy thefe evils, and to 
fix the true Englifli pronunciation for all time 
to come, let our fifteen vowel founds be repre* 
fented by as many different fymbols. 

A open by r E {hort by » O long by • 

A clofe by - E obfcure by « O (hort by t.- 

A broad by ts 1 long by *• U long by • * 

A flender by ♦: I (hort by ' U ftiort by , 

E long by .. 1 French by :- U Englifti ? 

Then, let the hard founds of C and G, I and V 
confonants, and all quiefcents be marked with 
a dot above, and the afpirate H and hilling S 
\^ath a fmall horizontal line. — Let all words be 
feparated by proper fpaces, and diflinguifhed 
by proportionate paufes. Let 

A full paufe be marked thus . j ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ,j„^^ 

A fmaller paufe thus a J 

A ftillfmaller paufe thus ; I both above the line/ 

And the fmalleft ofall thus •: 3 

'^ He faid, and flraightway fell to work : and 
lo ! the whole Bible, in his induflrious hands, af* 
fumed in due time this rare appearance. 


: V » • J * A : t: I v -: t 


* The fymbols of I fhort, O long, and U long, are the 
fame ; but the firft is placed below the lincj the fccond above, 
and the la(t in ihi middle. 


*^ It IS of no importance, whether thefe fymbols, 
which are indeed the very rabbinical points, are as 
accurately combined, and adapted to our language, 
as they might be : they are fufficiently fo to ex- 
prefs the idea that is meant to be conveyed ; and 
now, my good reader, what think you of this im- 
provement? ' The diflindion of words,* you will 
fay, * is well enough : the marks of paufation, 
though muItipHed without necellity, may alfo 
have their ufe : but to attempt to fix a pronun- 
ciation that is ever flu£luating, and tones that 
are continually changing, by any other rules 
than the prefent ufage, and the practice of the 
bell fpeakers, is a fooliih and fruitlefs attempt. 
For how are the powers of thefe very fymbols 
afcertained, but by an immediate appeal to living 
founds, and the now prevailing modes of utter- 
ance? If thefe happen to change, as we know 
they imperceptibly do, what will be the ufe of 
your boaited fymbols at any future period ? and 
by what canons will their refpe8:ive powers be 
afcertained ? Granting even, that they had, like 
Ezekiel's myflic wheels, a living and felf-inter- 
pretating fpirit within them, that could eifeclually 
and for ever arreft fo fleeting a thing as vocal air;, 
v^'hy is their poiition in the text fo awkward and 
unnatural ? "Wliy are they generally placed, not 
beneath the vowels, the various powers of which 



they are fuppofed to denote, but beneath the pre- 
ceding or following confonant?* Stop, my ho- 
nefl friend ; you are now quite miflaken : there 
are, no more, any vowels in the Englifli alpha- 
bet. ' What ? ay e, iy o, U, not vowels ?' By no 
means : they are all confonants ; mute confo- 
nants ! — Have you any thing more to objed: ? — 
^ I have : Such a motley multitude of pricks and 
points disfigure the beauty and fymmetry of the 
text, and often confufe the mind, as much as 
they bewilder the eye : and I diflike every thing 
that produceth confufion/ Good ! But what if 
our pedagogue had crowded the fcene with a 
whole hofl more of regal and minifierial atten- 
dants (for fo the Hebrew grammarians denote 
their accents), v^iih /akeph -batons and /akeph* 
gadoh ', pajhtas and karneparas j Jhaljhaleths and 
mercakephalas^ and twenty other fuch barbarous 
names ; of which, although it requires a little 
code of laws to marfhal them, and although 
Bohlius is faid to have in vain employed feven 
long years for that laudable purpdfe, yet neither 
he nor any one elfe could ever point out the ufes? 
What if, inftead of the true Englifh pronunci- 
ation, he had given you a Scotch or Irifla one ? 
What if even his divifion of words and fen- 
tences were often not only trifling but palpably 
^ erroneous ? What if other pedagogues, improving 


ton his improvements, had thrown out, by de« 
grees, the original vowels, now become ufelefs 
lumber; and if inftead of GOD, HEAVEN, 
EARTH, you were prefented with GD, HVN, 
ERTH, befpattered with pricks and patches as 
above ? What if fuch elifions were called natural 
anomalies of Englilh grammar ? What — ' Sweep 
all that trafh away,' you would undoubtedly ex- 
claim, ' and give me again the plain old un- 
pointed text of my Bible.' 

" Such trafh is the greatefl part of the Mafore- 
tic points, which rabbinical pedagogues would im- 
pofe upon us as the only fure interpreter of the 
Hebrew Scripture ! Whoever wifhes to fee to w^hat 
degree of abfurdity, or infanity, even Chriflian 
writers have been led by this impofition, may 
read Wafmuth's Inftitutions ; Oufel de Ac cent ua- 
tione Hebraicd -, or Walter Crofs's Taghmical Art^ 
publifhed at London in the year 1698." 

And yet the Jewifh rabbins for the mofl part, 
and the greater number of Chriflian polemics fmce 
the revival of literature, and efpecially of the ear- 
lier proteflants, have uniformly contended that the 
text of* the Hebrew Scriptures is not only in- 
corrupted, but effentially incorruptible, in confe- 
quence of this Maforetic fyflem, to which they 
have equally appealed. 



*' So generally diffufed, and fo llrongly rivet*' 
cd/' obferves our author, " was this preju- 
dice, that when Capellus firfl ventured to un- 
clinch* it, in his Critica Sacra^ he was account- 
ed a fort of apoflate from the found doctrine 
of the reformed churches, and could not find 
a proteflant bookfeller to print his work. And, 
what is ftill more flrange, when Dr. Kennicott, 
not many years ago, publiflied his excellent 
Dijfertations on the flate of the Hebrew text, 
thofe were not wanting, even in this country, 
who brought the fame charges againil him as had 
been formerly brought againfl Capellus ; nor did 
it depend on them, that the greateft literary un- 
dertaking of this, or indeed of any other age, 
was not quafhed in its very beginning, as hurtful 
to Chriilianityf." 

* In p. 80 of his Letter to the biftiop of London, the 
dodor informs us that this word had been objefted to by fome 
correfpondent as inelegant, and he propofes to fubftitute 
undo. This, however, .is but a forry fubftitute after ali, and 
has little more elegance than the former. To ^' unchmh,^* 
or *' undo/' a diffufed and riveted prejudice, are phrafes not 
projeded in our author's happieft moments of compofition : 
perhaps attack might be more to the purpofe than either 
of them j though the fentence will be ftill incongruous and illo- 
gical f for to be fl'7^7/<?i/ implies freedom, but to be rivetcdy con- 
iinemcnt: while it was \ht public ?mnd which was chained or 
rhfti'd, ^d not the prejudkgy which formed the chain or rivet 
iefclf. t Profpe<?tU8, p. 8. 


^^'Befidethefe circumftantlal and extraneous caufes 
of miflake, that are more or lefs common to them 
with all old writings, there are others which make 
the Hebrew Scriptures particularly liable to chiro- 
graphical errors; and which may be called intrin- 
fic fources of corruption. At one period, the 
whole text was changed from the Hebrew to the 
Chaldee charaders. Many of the letters in both 
alphabets have a ftrong refemblance to one an- 
other; and, in fome of them, the diacritic marks 
are hardly dillinguifhable. The invention of 
vowel-points, by rendering the genuine vocal ele- 
ments quiefcent, gave frequently occafion to 
throw them out as ufelefs; and that very thing, 
which was abfurdly looked upon as the chief pre- 
fervative of the facred text from future errors, 
largely contributed to make it flili more erro- 

" If, with all this, we take into confideration the 
colloquial tautology of the Scripture flyle, the 
frequent occurrence of the fame words and phrafes, 
the repetition of the fame or nearly the fame fen- 
tences, the proximity and contiguity of the fame 
terminations, the conftant return of the fame 
pardcles, pronouns and proper names, and the 
deceptions continually ariilng from the afTociation 
of ideas, fimilarity of founds and equivalence of 


meaning, we fhall be obliged to confefs that it was 
fcarcely pofTible for the mofl diligent and atten- 
tive tranfcriber to avoid committing many over- 

" That many fuch overfights have been actually 
committed, and that a great number of corrup- 
tions have, by that means, gradually crept into 
the text, are pofitions which have, of late, been 
fo invincibly cilabliflied, that no one, w^e trufl, 
will in future prefume to call them in queftion. 
But let not this alarm the pious reader, as if 
the authenticity of the Scriptures were thereby 
weakened, or their authority rendered precarious. 
Were it neceflary, to conftitute an authentic deed, 
that the mofl recent and remote copies of it fhould 
be exadly the fame with the firfl autograph, there 
would be no fuch thing in the w^orld as any 
ancient authentic deed, of which the autograph 
had been lofl: there could be no fuch thing, with- 
out a continual miracle. It is enough, that there 
is fufficient evidence of its being elTentially the 
■fame with the original; and that the changes it 
has undergone, whether from defign or accident, 
are not fuch as can affedl its authority, as a genuine 

"Such, precifely, is the cafe of the Hebrew 
-Scriptures. Notwithftanding all the various cor- 


ruptlons, of whatfoever fort, that now disfigure 
them; it is as certain, as any pofitlon of this kind 
can poiTibly be, that they are flill effentially the 
fame; and that the whole hiftorical tenor of the 
divine oeconomy towards man has been preferved 
in them, without any important alteration, to the 
prefent time. Take the mofl modern and mofl 
imperfect tranfcript of their originals, that now 
exifts; or even the moft erroneous copy -of the 
mofl: erroneous verfion, that ever was made from 
them; and you fhall find in it every thing that is 
abfolutely neceflary to conflitute an authentic 
writing; and to anfwer all the great purpofes for 
which they were intended. 

" For befide the internal marks of genuinenefs, 
which they fupereminently poflefs; they are fup- 
ported by fuch a continued and clofely connected 
chain of external evidence, as is not to be met 
with in favour of any other compofition what- 
ever. Who, but the paradoxical Hardouin, ever 
doubted of the authenticity of Plato's Dialogues, 
or Demofthenes's Orations? Yet they have come 
down to us with not half the number of vouchers 
that accompany the Jewifh writings ; and it would 
be eafier to find ingenious arguments to prove 
that thcfe were invented by the monks in the 
thirteenth century, than that thefe were fabricated 
^t any particular period. 


" It is true, they have been tranfmitted with 
many errors, and are at this day extremely incor- 
redt : but, here again, they have an advantage over 
mod other writings ; the means of correcling 
them are more obvious and abundant. What 
thefe are, and how they are to be employed, it 
is now time to inquire *." 

Our author's firfl fource of emendation is a, 
collation and comparifon of manufcripts, particu- 
larly of the Samaritan Scripture, fo far as it ex- 
tends (for it only contains the Pentateuch), with 
the Chaldee. To the Jewifh manufcripts he does 
not attach an equal degree of importance, as be- 
ing written pofterior to the introduftion of the 
Mafora, and, for the inoft part, remodelled by 
fome exemplar of it. They neverthelefs, as he 
admits, afford many important readings with re- 
gard to the fenfe, and an almoft infinite number 
of grammatic corredions. The invaluable la- 
bours of Dr. Kennicott, and De Roffi of Parma, 
are, therefore, appreciated as they deferve ; the 
former of whom has colledted his various render- 
ings from more than fix hundred manufcripts, as 
well as all the printed copies he could procure \ 
while the latter has fmce made a refearch through 
upwards of four hundred, of which feveral are 

• Profpc(5lus, p. 15* 


of the feventh and eighth centuries, and there- 
fore probably prior to the infcitution of the Ma- 
fora, and has ranfacked a confiderable number of 
rare and unnoticed editions*. 

Our author deduces his two next fources of 
emendation from a comparifon of the parallel 
places of the text itfelf, as in thofe palTages of 
Scripture in which the fame precept is iterated, 
the fame hifloric fa<5t repeated, or the fame can- 
ticle, pfalm, or prophecy, entirely or partially re- 
inferted ; and from the quotations made at diffe- 
rent times from the original Scripture-text, whe- 
ther by Jewifli or Chriilian writers, efpecially 
where they have not the appearance of being in- 
troduced from memory alone, 

^ A collation of all the manufcript copies of the moft an- 
cient Greek verfions has been undertaken fincc this period, by 
Dr, Holmes, of Oxford j and it cannot be in better hands. 
A (imilar collation of the Syrian verfions is ftill wanting. 
The verj valuable work of De Rofli has been fince com- 
pleted. It was finiflied in the year 1787, in four volumes, 
about a twelvemonth after the publication of this Prorpe(flus. 
The iirft volume, befides a fenfible preface, canons, and clavis 
or catalogue of the MSS, ufed by the author, contains vari- 
ous readings oh Genefis, Exodus, and Leviticus : the fccond 
carries them to the en4 of Kings : the third comprifes the 
Prophets and Megilloth : and the fourth includes the remain- 
der of the facied writings. 


*' Another mofl copious fource of emendation 
of the Hebrew text, are the tranilations that have 
been made of it, at different periods, and in dif- 
ferent languages ; which, while they ferve in ge- 
neral to evidence its authenticity, enable us at 
the fame time to correct, or even reflore, many 
particular paffages, that are now either entirely 
lofl or flrangely corrupted : an advantage which 
belongs not, in the fame 'degree, to any other 
ancient writing*." 

The Septuagint here occupies his iirfl notice, of 
which he gives a full and entertaining hiflory with 
refpecl to its origin, its progrefs, and, till nearly 
the end of the firft century of the Chriftian sera, its 
authority both among Jews and Chriftians. He 
next adverts to the Greek manufcript tranflations 
of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus, as 
w^ell as thofe which followed, and are generally 
known by the denomination of the fifth, fixth, 
and feventh verfions, from the order in which 
they were communicated to the world. Of none 
of thefe have we any thing more left than a few 
fcattered fragments; while the very names and 
chronology of the authors of the three latter 
have been long configned to oblivion ; though it 
is fufpeded by many critics, and was intended to 

* Profpe^lus, p. 22. 


have been proved by our author, had his life been 
fufficiently elongated, that the fixth of thefe ver- 
fions, in the order of time, is nothing more than 
an interpolated edition of the Septuagint by fome 
commentator of the Chriftian church*. The 
edition of Aquila of Pontus, who was firft a con? 
vert from Paganifm to Chriflianity, and then a 
profelyte to Judaifm, appeared about the year 129; 
and was defigned by his Jewifh brethren to fuper- 
fede the Septuagint, which they now began to dif- 
cover, from the ufe which was made of it by the 
Chriflian fathers, to be more favourable to the 
Chriftian caufe than the original Hebrew ; and 
which is, indeed, fufped:ed by our author to dif- 
play in fome inftances a bent of this kind, from 
a miftaken zeal, fo as to make it fpeak more ex- 
plicitly the language of Chriftianity. From the 
fragments that now remain of Aquila, he deter- 
mines him to have been an uncouth and barba- 
rous writer — the Arias Montanus or Malvenda 
of his day. His more ftrid adherence, however, 
to the Hebrew letter would render him fingularly 
ufeful in difcovering the ftate of its text at that 
time, and might afford us the literal meaning and 
etymology of many words, whofe fignification it 

* This intention he has noticed in his Prorpe6lus, p. 29. 


h now difficult to afcertain. On this account ft 
is aiTiiredly to be regretted, that we have no copy 
of his tranflation extant. 

The verfion of Theodotion, who had been flrfl 
a difciple of Tatian, then a Marcionite, and laftly 
a Jew, was publifhed about the year 184. It 
was little more than a new edition of the Septua- 
gint or Alexandrian, altering, adding, or re- 
trenching wherever he found the latter differ 
from fuch Hebrew manufcripts as the Jews put 
into his hands ; and it feems to have rifen into 
notice alone from the obfcurity and fervility of 
the verfion of Aquila. In confequence of its 
greater refemblance to the Septuagint, the Chrif- 
tians themfelves became in fome degree attached 
to it, and hence we have larger portions of it 
preferved than of Aquila's labom's. 

Symmachus, according to Eufebius, was firfl 
a Samaritan, next a Jew, then a Chriftian, and 
laflly an Ebionite. The Greek verfion of this 
tranilator appeared about the end of the firfl or 
the beginning of the fecond century. It was lefs 
literal, but far more elegant, than either of the 
former, and afforded St. Jerom the model of .his 
X-atin tranfcript. Being principally compofed, how*, 
ever, for the ufe of the members of his own 
communionj who were equally abhorrent to both 


Jews and Chrilllans, it is by no means wonder, 
ful that it has perifhed, with an almofl total anni- 

I ought not here to omit noticing the learned 
and well applied labors of Origen, who, with in- 
defatigable zeal, endeavoured to reflore to the pub- 
lic the whole of thefe Greek tranflations, in four 
fucceflive works, denominated, from the number 
of columns they contained, Tetrapla, Hexapla, 
Oclapla, and Enneapla. Of thefe the firfl gave 
the verfions of the Septuagint, Aquila, Theo- 
dotion, and Symmachus alone ; while the laft, 
extending to nine columns, added the three ano- 
nymous tranflations, the original Hebrew text, 
and its mode of pronunciation in Greek charac- 
ters. Not fatisfied, however, v/ith being a com- 
piler, the learned father aimed at being a correc* 
tor of the Septuagint text ; which at length be- 
came fo patched and pieced with paffages from the 
•latter veiTions, and particularly that of Theodo- 
tion, as to refemble the copies of the Vulgate of 
the prefent day, which have paiTed through the 
Mofaic manufadory of Clarius, and fome other 
moderns. In the hands of fo fkilful an artifl as 
Origen, we fhould have had little, however, 
to fear from fuch a pradice ; and were we now 
in poflefTion of his autograph, or of an immacu- 


late copy, It would be of ineflimable advantage 
to the biblical ftudent. But the great authority 
of Origen made every one who was poffelfed of a 
Greek bible revife his text by the Hexaplar flan* 
dard ; till in ^ fhort period there was fcarcely a 
manufcript to be met with that was not briflled 
over with aflerifks and obelifks, lemnilks and 
hypolemnilks without number : which again from 
the careleflhefs of ignorant tranfcrjbers, or the 
caprice of conceited corredors, became at length 
fo varied and confufed as to fet all reftoration at 
defiance. Following, moreover, the example of 
Origen, other critics, and moil if not all of them 
far lefs capable than himfelf, attempted to give new 
corredions to the Septuagint. Of thefe the prin-. 
cipal were Lucianus and Hefychius ; the former 
of whom produced an exemplar which was uni^ 
formly adopted by all the churches from Antioch 
to Conflantinople ; and the latter, emendations 
which were received with equal authority at Alexr 
andria, and throughout the whole of Eg)"pt; while 
the Chriflians of Palefline adhered peitinacioufly 
to the copy of the Hexapla of Origen, furniihed 
them by Famphilus, one of his moft celebrated 
editors ; and v/hich feems, indeed, to h^ve gene, 
rally prevailed through all the Eaft. 

From which of thefe copies, or editions, th^ 


particular manufcripts now extant m different 
parts of the world are derived, and what manu- 
fcript deviates lead from the Alexandrian or ori- 
ginal verfion, it is impofTible to determine until 
the manufcripts themfelves be collated and com- 
pared. We know not at prefent whether there 
be a fmgle copy of any one of thefe various editions 
exifling in its priftine purity. The tranfcript of the 
Septuagint by Origen, however, together with the 
other Greek verfions that compofed his Tetrapla, 
might be fufficiently reftored for the purpofes of 
collation, by a fcholar of moderate enterprife and 
fortune ; fmce a Syriac verfion of it containing the 
prophets and Agiographa — in reality its entire con- 
tents excepting the Pentateuch — is preferved in the 
Ambrofian library at Milan. Our author intimates 
in a note, that there were at the time of wridng 
his Profpeclus, great hopes that this verfion, 
through the medium of M. Norberg, might be 
fpeedily communicated to the public. But the 
fituation of Europe has fmce been very imfavor- 
able to the cultivation of literature of every kind ; 
and though feventeen years have elapfed fince 
thefe hopes were exprefled, I cannot find that we 
are nearer the poflelTion of a tranfcript from the 
Ambrofian volume, than we were at the moment 
they were firfh indulged. This, in conjundion with 
the Arabic verfion of the Pentateuch, of Origin, 


from the Bodleian Hbrar)^, would profefTor White 
turn from the more fafliionable and alluring pur- 
fuit of the hillory of Egypt to fuch an undertak- 
ing, could not but be of incalculable advantage 
to the critical biblicift. 

Of the Greek verfion in common ufe, our au- 
thor proceeds to inform us that we have four dif- 
ferent edited exemplars ; that of Alcala, or the 
Complutenfian, printed in 1515, with a mofl. 
precife and perplexing typothefis in the Polyglott 
Bible of Ximenes : that of Venice, firll pub-, 
lilhed in 1518 by the heirs of Aldus, and hence 
denominated the Aldine edition : that of Rome, 
which made its appearance in 1588, and to which 
Nobilius adjoined a Latin verfion : and that of 
Oxford, more important perhaps than any of the 
others, which was printed from the celebrated 
Septuagint manufcript in the Mufeum, of at lead 
equal antiquity with, and in fome refpeds more 
valuable than, that of the Vatican ; which lafl his 
late holinefs intended to have had republifhed, 
and would have accomplifhed before his deceafe, 
had not the invafion and intelline commotions of 
Italy prevented him. The Oxford edition was 
prepared for the prefs by Gratz — who actually 
pubUfhed the iirfl and fourth volumes of the 
%work at the prefs of this celebrated univerfity in 
the .years 1707 and 1709, leaving the third and 


fourth medlted ; which were neverthelefs after- 
wards brought forward in 1719 and 1720, by 
Lee and Shippen, with the affiftance of bifhop 
Potter. Of all thefe verfions different imprefiions 
have been given to the world in diiferent places, 
which are diftindliy noticed by our author, but 
need not be repeated in this abftraft. 

He now proceeds to a confideration of the affift- 
ance to be derived from the various readings already 
collated ; of which the greater part are crowded 
together in the lower margin of Bos's edition — 
but which are not of extreme value ; and of the 
different manufcripts of which few general and 
condnued collations have yet been made. Of 
thefe, however, he enumerates the moft im- 
portant, and adds, that at the time of writing he 
himfelf was adualiy employed in collating a va- 
luably and weil-preferved odateuch belonging to 
the univerfity of Glafgow : " a particular account 
of which," continues he, " fhall in due time be. 
given to the public." Alas! that time will never 
■ arrive ! Attention to his own verfion, mental vex- 
ation, and a long feries of coiporeal pain, pre- 
vented the accomplilliment of fo laudable an ob- 
jed, and he died without having added to the pro- 
grefs alluded to in this paifage. 

The Septuagint afforded a great variety of tranf- 
iations. Of thefe we have flilL either in part or 


whole, in print or manufcript, the Latin-Italic^ 
the Syrlac, Samaritan, Ethiopia, Arabic, Arme-* 
nian and Coptic ; of all which the firfl was the 
mod celebrated in its day ; and the lafl, in con- 
fequence of its high antiquity and verbal adherence 
to its text, is the moft valuable at prefent. 

Our author next proceeds to appreciate the 
other verfions from the original Hebrew of which 
we have any account, or, at leafl, whence any 
valuable knowledge can be attained. At the 
head of thefe he places the Syriac, which he ad- 
mits to be of very high antiquity, although he 
pays no attention to the tradition which transfers 
it to the reign of Soloman. To the Syriac he 
adds the Chaldee verfions and paraphrafes ; par- 
ticularly thofe of Onkelos and Jonathan, (the 
former of whom, however, tranllated the Penta- 
teuch alone,) the Arabic verfions of Saadias, Er- 
penius, and efpecially a manufcript tranllation 
from the Samaritan Pentateuch, of which a fpeci- 
men from the Barbarini triglot was publilhed by 
Hwiid in 1780 ; and then advances to an hiflori- 
cal detail of the Vulgate, the admirable produc- 
tion of St. Jerom, of which I have already given 
an ample account in page 13, &c. It fhould be 
dated, however, that the edition now known by 
the name of the Vulgate is not the genuine and 
unfophillicated verfion of St. Jerom, but a medley 


containing the greater part of his labours united to 
certain portions of the Italic, and a variety of cor- 
redions from Aquila, Theodotion, and Symma- 
chus, as well as the Maforetic Hebrew. 

" It has undergone many corredions and altera- 
tions at different periods. Towards the end of 
the eighth century it was revifed by Alcuin at the 
defire of Charlemagne. In the twelfth it was, 
with the affiflance of fome Jews, made more con- 
formable to the Hebrew by Stephen abbot of Ci- 
teaux *. It was again, in the next age, correfted 
with great care and labour by the French Domi- 
nicans ; and enriched with a number of various 
readings, not only from Latin manufcripts, but 
alfo from the Hebrew and Greek copies f. This 
mofl ufeful work, by that conjunctive and fubor- 
dinate induftry that diflinguiihes religious focieties, 
was foon multiplied or abridged over all the or- 
der ; and was confidered as a fort of canon to cor- 
red other manufcripts by. 

Whether they, who gave the nrft printed edi- 


* Ciftertium. 

t The autograph of this corre^'mum Is to be fecn In the 
library of the Dominicans, rue St. Jaguesy Parist A good 
account of it is given bj Fabricy (Titres primitifs, torn. 1 1. 
p. 132.) Tt is to be regretted that the proje6l of making a 
fair copy of it, formed in 1 749, did not take place ; though 
it is not doubted but it will be refumed and executed in the 
beft manner. 



tion at Mayence in the year 1462, ufedit; or 
what manufcript ferved them for an archetype, it 
is not known. One thing is certain ; the firfl 
printed editions are extremely faulty. That which 
was publiflied in the year 1515, in the Complu- 
tenfian polyglott, is more corred than any that 
preceded it ; but as the corredions were not al- 
ways made on the authority of manufcripts, and as 
the editors have not told us what other fources 
they drew from, \Ve read it with doubt and dif- 
truft. The firfl who gave a good copy of the 
Vulgate was the celebrated Robert Stevens. All 
his editions are corred and beautiful ; but that of 
1540 is fuperlatively fo. It was made from four- 
teen defcribed manufcripts, and the three princi- 
pal printed editions of Mayence, Bafil and Alcala. 
It was republifhed with fome alterations by Hen- 
tennius in 1547, with various readings from thir- 
ty manufcripts, which are accurately defcribed. 
Hentennius's edition was improved by Lucas Bru- 
genfis ; and publifhed, with his long promifed 
annotations, in 1580; and again, more fplendid- 
ly, in 1583*. 

•" Seventeen years were now elapfed fmce the 
council of Trent had decreed the Vulgate to be 
an authentic copy of Scripture ; and ordered it to 

* Of the fame year, there is an elegant and commodious 
edition of it in fmall octavo. Both arc by Plantin. 


be henceforth (exclufively of all other Latin ver- 
fions) unlverfally ufed and appealed to. The charge 
of having it carefully corrected, and accurate- 
ly printed, was committed to the Roman pontiff ; 
but little had been done during the troublefome 
reigns of Pius IV. and Pius V. ; fo thatSixtus V., 
who was born for great things, had the honour of 
executing the great commiffion. He had already, 
as has been faid, given an excellent edition of the 
Greek verfion of the Septuagint, in 1587; and 
he now gave, in 1590 *, the firft entire Latin Bible 
that was publiihed by papal authority. 

" But neither papal authority itfelf, nor the ana- 
themas denounced againfl thofe vv^ho fhould pre- 
fume to alter the fmallefl particle of it, could pro- 
cure it a long juration. The imperious and un- 
popular Sixtus was hardly cold in his grave, when 
the copies of his edition were called in and fup- 
prelled f ; and a new one, with above two thou- 
fand alterations, was publifhed, in 1592, by 
Clement VIIL, of which all the other editions, that 
have-fmce been made, are literal copies J." 

* The bull of publication is dated in 15^9, but the book 
was not made public till the year after. 

t It was pretended that Sixtus himfelf had reiblved on the 
fuppreilion; but of this there is no proof, and little probability. 

J *' When I fay Hi (Tal copies, I do not mean that there have 
been no changes made in the Vulgate^ fmce the Clementine 
edition. It is well known that many little corredions, and 


A third fource of emendation of the Hebrew text 
of the Old Teflament our author derives from its 
quotations fcattered throughout the New. Thefe 
however, he obferves, mufl be ufed with great 
circumfpedion, fmce they are cited in a different 
language, and not always from the original, but 
frequently the Septuagint or fome other early ver- 
fion ; and are occafionally quoted in fo vague a 
manner, that we are at a lofs to know whence they 
were taken, or whether they be meant as flrici: quo- 
tations or fimple inferences. Under this head, he 
fpeaks with high encomium of the labors of Dr. 
Randolph, who publifhed an accurate collection 
of them in 1782, at Oxford, together with the 
Hebrew text, the Septuagint verfion, and a confi- 
derable body of learned annotations. 

After the Sacred Scriptures themfelves, in their 
various verfions and editions, our author places 
the works of Philo and Jofephus, the two princi- 
pal Jewifh writers of antiquity, as fources of occa- 
fional correction. Since the former, however, 
was a Hellenift of Alexandria, and probably there- 
fore quoted only from the Septuagint tranfla- 
tion y he prefers the latter, who was of Hebrew 

amendments that had been pointed out by Bellarmine and 
others, have from time to time been admitted, even into the 
Vatican impreffionBj and thence have found their way into 
moft other pofterior editions. " 


origin, and has given us a continued hiflofy of the 
Jews, extracted from the Hebrew copies of their 
own canonical books, and at firfl partly written 
by himfelf in the Hebrew language. 

" In fine," adds the author of the Profpeclus, 
^' when the corruptions of the text cannot be re- 
moved either by the collation of manufcripts, or 
the aid of verfions, internal analogy or external 
teftimony, the lafl refource is conjectural criticifm." 
This mode of corredion is, I admit, the moft dan- 
gerous of any, and requires, whenever allowed, 
a mind chaftifed from every bias, — a judgment 
feverely accurate and fober. And, notwithfland- 
ing the very valuable canons which, under this 
head. Dr. Geddes advances for the regulation of 
his own condud and that of future biblicifls, I will 
here freely acknowledge that I think he has occa- 
fionally, in his own verfion, indulged in conjec- 
tural criticifms fomewhat too frequently, and 
preifed them in fome inilances too far. But of 
this, more as we proceed. 

Yet the corruptions of the text, as our author 
obferves, are not the fole difficulty a tranflator has 
to furmount. To afcertain the true meaning, is 
often as arduous as to afcertain the true reading. 
This he inflances as being particularly the cafe in 
all Hebrew writings, from the very nature of the 
language itfelf, and more efpecially when com- 


bined with the abfurd fyflem of illuflrating and 
perpetuating it, invented by the Maforites. To 
remedy this inconvenience, a full knowledge of 
the Hebrew language by long analytical and com- 
parative lludy is of prime neceflity j next to which, 
as already remarked, a careful and affociated per- 
ufal of the ancient verfions ; and laftly, of thofe 
of more modern times, whether Latin or verna- 
cular, which have appeared fmce the revival of 

Of thefe laft we have a copious account, com- 
mencing with the Latin, and comprehending that of 
Santes Pagninus, firfl printed at Florence in 1528*, 
the model, indeed, of almqil: all the reft ; that of 
Munfter, which appeared about the year 1 534 ; 
that of Leo-Juda, commonly called the Trigurine 
Bible becaufe publifhed by the divines of Zurich, 
the firft edition of which is dated 1543 ; that of 
Caftaho, highly prized, as I have already obferved, 
by our author, and of which the beft edition was 
printed at Bafil in- 1573 : and that of Junius and 
Tremellius, containing the Old Teftament alone, 
of the date of 1575 ; to all the fubfequent editions 
of which was added Beza's tranflation of the New 
Teftament. Independently of thefe, he pays par- 
ticular attention to the Latin verfions of cardi- 

* Republilhcd at Lei])lic with the Hebrew text in two 
vols. 4to, 1740* 


nai de Vio Cajetan, publifhed, though incomplete, 
at Lyons in 1639 ; of Malvenda, a Spanifh Domi<. 
nican, publifhed at the fame place in 1650, but 
extending only as far as Ezekiel ; of Sebaflian 
Schmidt, printed at Strafburg in 1696, after hav- 
ing been on the anvil nearly forty years ; of John 
Le Clerc, publifhed complete at Amflerdam in 
1731 ; and, though laft not leafl, of the truly 
erudite Houbigant, who died only three years 
prior to the publication of this Profpectus, and of 
whofe amiable and facetious manners, and occa- 
fional paroxyfms of abftradion from " this vifible 
diurnal fphere," when more profoundly engaged 
in his critical elucidations, I have heard many anec- 
dotes from feveral learned Parifian emigrants who 
Were intimately acquainted with him. The ver- 
fion of Houbigant, accompanied with the Hebrew 
text of Vanderhooght, his prolegomena, and critical 
notes, was publifhed in the moil fplendid m.anner 
at Paris, between the years 1747 and 1753, in 
four volumes folio, and is already become a rare 
and coflly book*. 

To thefe more celebrated tranllators our au- 

* The elegant and adm'rable Latin verfi on of the whole 
of the Old Teftament, in 5 vols. 8vo, by M. Dalhe, profeffor 
at Leiplic, had not at this time made its appearance. It was 
publifhed in 1790, a»d has fince been lucceedcd by a tranf- 
lation of the New Teftament, 


thor adds the names of a variety of fcholars of 
lefs repute, and who have individually given not 
more than verfions of fome particular book, or 
even portions of a book. After which, he reca- 
pitulates the modern vernacular tranllations, which 
" are all caft," fays he, " as it were in the fame 
mold ; all fcrupuloufiy literal verfions of the fame 
faulty originals, and, alniofl always, under th@ 
guidance of Pagninus." 

Of thefe, the firfl in order of time is that of 
Luther, printed in the German tongue, and pub- 
lilhed in parts, between the years 1522 and 1533, 
and of v/hich a more correct edition, carefully 
revifed by himfeif, with the afiiilance of fome of 
the moil learned men of the age, appeared in J 542 ; 
as alfo a third juft before his death in 1545, 
Luther*s verfion, tranilated into their refpeftive 
tongues, and with occafional alterations, was the 
only one in ufe for nearly a century among the 
Belgic and other northern cliurches ; till, in con- 
fequence of a decree of the fynod of Dort, the 
States General of Holland ordered a new Dutch 
tranflation to be made from the originals, which 
was publiilied in the year 16SS. From the Dutch 
and* German our author proceeds to notice the 
Danifh verfion, publiilied by Refenius, bifhop of 
Seelandt, in 1607, under the patronage of Chrif- 
tian IV., and the very modern and valuable tranf- 



lation into Swedlfh ; after which he immediately 
adverts to the different French exemplars of mod 
celebrity: particularly thofe of Olivetan, affilled by 
Calvin, pubHlhed at Neufchatel in 1535; of 
Diodati, publifhed at Geneva in 1 644 ; and of Le 
Cene, which appeared, upon a more original 
plan, in 1707, but did not meet with the recep- 
tion the tranllator expected *. From the French 
he pafles to the Italian verfions, of which, how- 
ever, he enumerates but two ; that of Bruccioli, 
(faid to be deduced from the originals, but which 
is httle more than a verfion of Fagninus,) firft pub- 
lifhed at Venice in 1532, and afterwards improved 
and re-edited by Ruflicius at Geneva in 1562; 
and that of Diodati, publifhed at the fame place in. 
1 607 : to which our learned critic afcribes a very 
confiderable preference. 

He proceeds in his biblical excurfion to Spain. 
^' Although the Spanifh," fays he, " be, perhaps, 
of all the European tongues, that in which the 
Scriptures would appear in their greatefl dignity ; 

* Our author has here forgotten to notice the fynodic 
. verfion of the Genevefe church, publifhed in one large volume 
4to, in 1693, by Sam. de Tournes. '* Le tout reveu," fays the 
title-page^ *'et confere furies textcs Hebreux et Grecs par les 
j)afteurs et Ics profeffcurs de I'Eglife de Geneve.'' — It is the 
copy generally adopted in the prefent day j but the revifions 
of the worthy pallors, who edited it, have produced few im- 
portant variations from the verfion of Diodati. 


we have, as yet, no Spanifh verfion of them that 
deferves much notice. Thofe made by the Jews 
are barbarous beyond conception, and that of De 
Reyna, with all De Valera's improvements, is 
little more than a fervile verfion from the Latin of 
Pagninus and Leo-Juda." I have attended with 
fome degree of accuracy, as well to this, as to the 
verfion publifhed by the Jews in 1558 at Fer- 
rara, and cannot avoid thinking that the con- 
demnation in both thefe inilances is by far too 
fevere. The verfion of Cafliodoro de Reyna, 
which was publifhed in 1569, exhibits a degree of 
freedom and elegance, without deviating from the 
fpirit of the original, to which Pagninus has no 
pretenfions : and although that of the Jews be 
not equally elegant, it is a bold and unfhackled 
interpreter of the original, and affords a different 
and in many inflances, if I miftake not, a more 
correal verfion of particular parts than the gene- 
rality of vernacular tranflations. It was certainly 
compofed with a careful attention to many of the 
befl manufcripts, for it has occafionally borrowed 
from them ; and as a further proof of its gene- 
rally efteemed merit in its day, it not only obtain- 
ed the fandion of the duke of Ferrara, but was 
re-edited fliortly afterwards at Amfterdam by 
Gillis Joofl. 

I completely agree with our learned cri^c, ne- 


verthelefs, that by far the bell tranfiator of the 
facred records among the Spaniards was F. Luis 
de Leon, an Auguftinian friar, and interpreter of 
the Scripture in the univerfity of Salamanca. 
" I know not," fays he, fpeaking of his tranflatian 
of the book of Job, " if there be, in any language, 
a verfion, that to the ftridefl fidelity joins fo 
much elegance, precifion and perfpicuity." Luis 
de Leon, however, unfortunately for his coun- 
trymen, tranflated nothing more than the book 
of Job, edited poflhumoufly at Madrid in 1779j 
and the Song of Solomon, wrenched from him 
by his friends, and publifhed in his life time, but 
without his knowledge, towards the clofe of the 
feventeenth century; "for which," fays our author, 
" he fuffered five years imprifonment in the dark 
and inaccelTible dungeons of the Inquifition." 
There muft, however, I think, have been fome 
other caufe for fo fevere a fentence, than the 
mere tranilation of the Song of Songs : for both the 
verfions of the Bible I have juil adverted to con- 
tain it without the fupprelTion of a fmgle verfe, al- 
though they were each of them fubmitted to the, 
court of Inquiiition for examination, and pub- 
lifhed with its exprefs permilTion: "viflay exa- 
minada per el officio de la Inquificion," fays that of 
Ferrara in its very title-page. I have flated, that 
this latter appears to have been fludioufly com* 


pared, in Its progrefs, with many valuable ma- 
nufcripts, and occafionally to have adopted their 
text: and vidthout detaining the reader by a ufe- 
lefs enumeration of inflances, I will only refer 
him to one or two in the book before us. In the 
common copies of the Song of Songs, vi. 1 2. we 
meet with the expreflion, " as the chariots 
(inrny) of Aminadib ;" but in feveral of the 
manufcripts this laft term is divided into two, 
IHD TO^ which alters the phrafe to " the chariots 
of my willing people:" and fuch, evidently from 
manufcript authority alone, is the interpretation 
given in the Ferrara verfion. No fe, mi-alma me 
pufo quatrequas de pieblo voluntariofo. In ver. 1 3 
of the fame chapter we meet with another devi- 
ation from almofl all the verfions, in which the 
word n^HD is tranflated " confiift," e. g. " as 
the confli£t of two armies.'* n'?nn equally 
fignifies, however, " a rufliing together or en- 
counter (contre-dance) of a company of dan- 
cers," and is therefore rendered in the fame 
edition, " como danqa de los reales." I do not 
notice thefe deviations from the common interpre- 
tation, as approving of either; although they have 
been adopted by feveral of the firft bibHcal critics 
of our own country; but as merely manifefling a 
laudable extent of refearch, and independency of 
Ypirit in tranllating. 


Our author next advances to the catalogue of 
Englifh Bibles, refpefting which, as an ample 
hiilory has already been given by Lewis, and fmce 
byarchbifhopNewcome, from the former of w^hich 
writers the abflract of Dr. Geddes is for the mod 
part borrowed, it is fcarcely neceffary to do more in 
this place than to enumerate them. The oldefl 
complete edition is that of Tyndal and Coverdale: 
the firft of whom tranflated from Genefis to 
the end of Chronicles, the book of Jonah, and 
the whole of the New Teflament ; while the lafl 
extended his labours to the reft of the Englifh 
Scriptures, fo as to make the verfion complete. It 
was printed in 1537, and known by the name of 
Matthew's Bible. Cranmer's great Bible, and all 
the others publifhed during the reigns of Henry 
VIII. and Edward VL, are only improved copies 
of Tyndal's; with a few additions in fome of 
them from the Greek or the Latin Vulgate. 
In the time of Mary, the Englifh refugees at 
Geneva introduced a new verfion, apparently from 
the French of Olivetan as revifed by Calvin and 
Beza: it was accompanied with notes by the latter, 
and hence obtained his name. It became the 
favourite verfion of the puritan party, and went 
through many editions during the reigns of Eli- 
zabeth and James; though, having been produced 
by perfons obnoxious to the epifcopalians, it was 


never received as a public flandard. In 1586 was 
publillied Parker's or the Bifhops' Bible, which 
was appointed to be read in churches as Cran- 
mer's had been before. It was objected to this 
verfion, though for the mod part wrongfully, 
that it deviated too much from the original in 
favor of the Greek and Latin copies. The ob- 
jeftion however prevailed, and it was foon fuper- 
feded by the prefent flandard, which was projeded 
on the acceffion of James to the throne of England, 
and finifhed in the fpace of three or four years 
afterwards; although it was not publifhed till 
1611; when, by his majefty's fpecial command, 
it was appointed to be read in churches, and has 
continued ever fmce to be the public authorized 

'^ The means and the method employed to pro- 
duce this tranflation promifed fomething extremely 
fatisfaclory; and great expectations were formed 
from the united abilities of fo many learned men 
feleded for the purpofe, and excited to em.ula- 
tion by the encouragement of a munificent prince, 
who had declared himfelf the patron of the work. 
Accordingly, the highell eulogiums have "been 
made on it, both by our own writers and by 
foreigners; and, indeed, if accuracy, fidelity, and 
the flriifbefl attention to the letter of the text, be 
fuppofed to conflitute the qualities of an excellent 


verfion, this of all verlions mufl, in general, be 
accounted the mod excellent. Every fentence, 
every word, every fyllable, every letter and point, 
feem to have been weighed with the nicefl ex- 
actitude, and exprefled, either in the text or 
margin, with the greateft precifion. Pagninus 
himfelf is hardly more literal ; and it was well 
remarked by Robertfon, above a hundred years 
ago, that it may ferve for a lexicon of the Hebrew 
language, as well as for a tranflation. 

" It is, however, confelTedly not without its 
faults. Befide thofe that are common to it with 
every verfion of that age, arifmg from faulty 
originals and Maforetic prepofleffions, its owa 
intrinfic and peculiar blemifhas appear to be the 

" Firfl, from a fuperflitious attention to render 
the Hebrew and Greek into literal Engliih, its 
authors adopted modes of exprefTion which are 
abhorrent from the Englifh idiom; and, perhaps, 
from that of all other modern tongues. Our ears, 
indeed, are now accuftomed tothisphrafeology;and 
the language is become familiar to us, by being the 
language of the national religion: but a proof that 
many of thofe expreiTions are neither natural nor 
analogous, is, that they have never yet been able 
to force their way into common uiage, even in 
converfation; and he who ihall employ them 
would be fuppofed to jeer at Scripture, or to af- 


fed: the language of fanaticifm. In fliort, what 
Selden faid of it is finally true : ' It is rather 
tranflated into Englifh words than into Englifh 
phrafe.' From the fame caufe, it is, in many 
places, obfcure and ambiguous, where a fmall 
variation in the arrangement of the words would 
have made it clear and unequivocal. 

*' Secondly, there is a manifeft want of uniform- 
ity in the mode of tranflating. This was, indeed, 
unavoidable. The different parts of the Bible 
were affigned to fo many different perfons, or at 
leafl to fo many different quorums ; and although 
the whole was ultimately committed to the revifal 
of fix perfons affembled for the purpofe, it does 
not appear that they > made any great change in 
its firff texture. When we confider, that they 
were only nine months about this revifion, we 
cannot well look for a rigorous examination of 
the fidelity of the verfion; much lefs, for a reduc- 
tion of its flyle to the fame color and complexion. 
The books called Apocrypha are, in general, I 
think, better tranllated than the reft of the Bible; 
for which one reafon may be, that the tranflators 
of them were not cramped by the fetters of the 

" Thirdly, king James's tranflators miflook the 
true meaning of a great many words and fen- 
tences, by depending too much on modern lexi- 
cons, and by paying too little attention to the an- 


cient verfions. Many of thofe miftranflations 
have been noted and redlified by different com- 
mentators, but many ilill remain unnoticed, and 
feem to cry for amendment. 

*^ Fourthly, in compliance with a novel opinion, 
that not a word nor particle fliould be in a verna- 
cular verfion, that has not another word and par- 
ticle, exadlly correfponding with it, in the He- 
brew; and, at the fame time, to prevent an 
obfcurity, which would be the neceffary confe- 
quence of that mode of tran Hating ; perhaps, 
alfo, to obviate the reproaches of want of fideli- 
ty, that had been thrown out againfl the Bifhops' 
Bible, both by the catholics and the puiitans ; 
they encumbered their verfion with a load of 
ufelefs Italics ; often without the leail neceffity, 
and almoil always to the detriment of the text. 
In fact, either the w^ords in Italics are virtually 
implied in the Hebrew, or they are not. In the 
former cafe they are a real part of the text, and 
iliould be printed in the fame charader: in the 
latter, they are generally ill afforted and clumfy 
^es, that may well be fpared ; and which often 
disfigure the narration under pretence of con^ 
nesting it. 

" Fifthly, king James's tranflators, like all the^ 
tranflators of their day, w^re too much guided 
iDy theological fyflem ; and feem, on fome occa- 

■ K 


fions, to have allowed their religious prejudices 
to have gotten the better of their judgment. To 
point out examples would be an invidious tafk ; 
but it is extremely proper that every tranllator 
fhould have them conflantly in view, as fo many 
cautionary mementos to himfelf. 

" In fine, through the conflant fluctuation and 
progrefs of living languages, * there are many 
words and phrafes, in the vulgar verfion, now 
become obfolete ; a fpecimen of which may be 
feen in Pilkington's judicious Remarks^ publifhed 
at Cambridge in 1759. The conftrudion, too, 
is frequently lefs grammatical than the prefent 
iiate of our language feems to require : and the 
arrangement of words and fentences is often fuch 
as produces obfcurity or ambiguity." 

Our author now haflily glances at a variety of 
private Englifh verfions, either of the whole or 
of diflind: parts, of the Sacred Scriptures which 
have appeared fmce this sera. Among thefe we 
find the names of Gell and Canne, who merely 
planned and commenced, but did not publifh 
their refpeclive tranflations : Ainfworth, who tranf- 
lated the Pentateuch, Pfalms, and Song of Solo- 
mon : Julius Bate, whole verfion of the Penta- 
teuch, Jofhua, Judges, and the four books of 
Kings, was publifhed poilhumoufly, with obvious 
marks of his having defpifed the Rabbinical, but 


admired the Ilutchinfonian Cabbala : Anthony 
Purver, who gave to the pubHc in 1764 his 
New and literal Tranjlation of all the Books of the 
Old and New Tejtament, with Notes critical and 
explanatory ; which is faid to have been the work 
of thirty years ; and, although a rude and incon- 
dite mafs^ carries with it undeniable proofs of much 
reading and labor : Mr. Lookup, who pub- 
lifhed in 1 740 a tranflation of the book of Ge- 
nefis, and dedicated it to the archbifhop of Can- 
terbury : Abraham Dawfon, who tranflated not 
more than the five firfl chapters of the fame 
book, the three firft of which W2re publifhedin 
1763, with marginal illuflrations and critical notes: 
and Mr. Green, of Cambridge, Vv^ho gave the 
public his new tranflation of the Pfalms in 1762 ; 
and the poetic parts of the Old Teftament in 
1781 ; of whom our author fpeaks handfomely, 
while he regrets his undue attachment to the 
Harian fyllem of Hebrew metre. 

" Still a model was wanting that fhould claim 
every fufFrage, and merit univerfal applaufe. 
Need I inform my intelligent reader that fuch a 
model at length appeared in the year 1779 j when 
bifhop Lowth favored the public with his new 
tranflation of Ifaiah ? Never did facred criticifm 
appear with greater dignity than in this invalu- 
able work. Never were the gentleman, the fcho- 


lar, the grammarian and the th eclogue more 
happily united. 

"So rare an example, fet by fuch a character, 
could not fail to be copied, Mr. Benjamin Blay- 
ney, reftor of Polfhott in Wilts, has lately pub- 
lifhed a tranflation of Jeremiah, on the fame 
plan ; and with great fuccefs. I trufl he is now 
employed in fome other fnnilar work. 

'' On the fame plan bifhop Newcome is labor- 
ing on the Minor Prophets ; and great expedla- 
tions are juftly formed, from his well known abi- 
lities and acumen. 

" Mr. Hopkins, vicar of Bolney, has given a 
correded edition of the vulgar verfion of the 
book of Exodus; in which he has judicioufly 
inferted the Samaritan and Septuagint fupple- 
tnents — when he had reafon to think them ge- 
nuine. His notes are fhort, but generally appo- 
fite. May neither * age nor infirmity' prevent him 
from 'profecuting fuch ufeful iludiesi* 

" We have feveral Englifh tranflations of the 
Song of Solomon ; fome in verfe and fome in 
profe ; and mod of them have confiderable me- 
rit *. We have, likewife, poetical verfions of 

* *' Particularly an anonymous one, printed for Millar 
1751 ; and that of Dr. Hodgfon, juft now publiHied.'* Our 
author has forgotten to enumerate another anonymous tranfla- 
tion of the fams book; moft admirably executed, and en riched 


Job, the Pfalms, and other detached parts of 
Scripture ; which may be occafionally ufeful to a 
profe-tranilator : and there are a number of par- 
ticular paflfages throughout the whole Bible, well 
rendered and explained, in various critical Com- 
mentaries, EiTays, Le£lures and Sermons; of 
which a general collection would be of great 

" Of the New Teftament, befidethe verfion al- 
ready mentioned, of 1729, we have, fmce that, 
three complete new tranflations by Wynne, Worf- 
ley and Harwood ; two of St. Matthew by Scott 
and Wakefield ; and we foon expeft, from the 
pen of Dr. Campbell, a capital work on the 
four Gofpels. But of all thefe I fhall have oc- 
cafion to fpeak more at large in proper time and 

" A fo^iety lately formed for fromoting the 
knowledge of the Scriptures have already pubiifhed 
fome numbers of Commentaries and EJfays ; in 
which, among other things, they propofe to give 
* an accurate tranflation of the paffage to be ex- 
plained, with proper divifions into paragraphs and 
fentences, and pointed with the utmoft corred- 
nefs.' We applaud the plan, and heai'dly \vifli 

with a commentary, and annotations ; printed for Dodflc^y In 
1764, and fuppofed to be the work of Dr. Percy, the prefent 
biftiop of Dromore, 


them fuccefs : may we take the liberty to beg of 
them, to beware of fyflem*? 

** From the above review of the principal ver- 
fions made by proteflants, it will, I prefume, 
appear, that their chief and peculiar imperfection 
is owing to the tranflators having followed too im- 
plicitly the Maforetic text, and paid too little re- 
gard to the ancient verfions. Let us next fee 
what are the fpecial defefts of the tranflations 
that have been made by catholics.*' 

The number of thefe, our author obferves, is 
comparatively but fmall, an idea having long pre- 
vailed that the Scripture ihould not be tranflated 
into vulgar tongues. He traces the fource of this 
idea' — examines the ftates in which it became moil 
predominant — the caufes of fuch predominancy — 
and its inconfiftency with reafon, religion, found 
policy, and the practice of better ages. 

" I havefeen," fays Tie, " but four French tranf- 
lations made from the Latin : that of Louvain, that 
of Benoit, that of Corbin, and that of Sa^i. The firft 
two are Uttle more than the Geneva verfion accom- 
modated to the Vulgate : the third is beneath 
criticifm : the laft is an elegant, fecondary, ver- 
fion ; and has, with very little variation, been a 

* The numbers, at firft pubHfhed feparately by this fo- 
cicty, have been fo multiplied fmce the period here referred to, 
as to fill at prefent two volumes i\o. They are fold, if | 
miftake not, by Johnfon, St. Paul's church-yard. 


text-book to all the French commentators for a 
century pad. It appears, however, to be too 
much a paraphrafe ; and feldom retains the fim- 
plicity and dignity even of the Vulgate verfion. 

" Until the year 1750, the German catholics 
had no tolerable verfion of the Bible. That of 
Dietenberg is a bad tranfcript, or rather miferable 
interpolation, of Luther's ; and Ulenberg's is 
difguftingly literal and obfcure. But, at the fore- 
mentioned period, a new tranflation was pub- 
liflied by the Benedid;ines of Ettenheim-Munfler, 
under the direction of F. Cartier, which is, I 
think, the bed tranflation from the Vulgate that 
has yet been made. The reafon is obvious : the 
authors had recourfe to the originals, in all du- 
bious cafes ; and did not flridly adhere to the 
letter of their text. 

" The Flemings have two tolerable verfions, the 
one by De Witt, and the other by Vander-Schu- 
ren : but the French language has, for fome time 
paft, been fo much cultivated by them, that Sa9i*s, 
Bible is almofl as frequently to be met with in 
the French Netherlands as in France itfelf. 

" There are two or three old Italian tranflations 
made from the Vulgate ; or adapted to it, from 
Pagninus's Latin verfion : but they have not been 
reprinted for many years back ; and have, in rea- 
lity, little to recommend them. I have not feen 


Martinrs recent verfion, but I am informed it is 
very elegant. 

*^ In Spain there is not, I believe, at this day a 
fmgle edited verfion of the whole Bible. That 
which was printed in 1516 was fo totally de- 
ftroyed, that hardly a copy of it is to be found. 
Some particular books have been lately publifhed; 
^nd it is not to be doubted that the reft will foon 
follow. The torch of learning is but newly 
lighted up in that ingenious nation : but, if we 
are not greatly miftaken, it will foon break forth 
into a blaze of uncommon fplendor. 

" Our Saxon anceftors had vernacular verfions 
of the Scripture as early as the reign of Alfred, 
who is, himfeif, faid to have been one of the 
tranflators. Some parts of Aelfric's verfion of 
the Old Teftament were publifhed by Thwaites 
in 1698. And we have tv/o different editions of 
a Saxon New Teftament. All thefe were made 
from the Vulgate. Hampole, Wiclif and Perry 
tranllated alfo from the Latin ; though, in fome 
of their verfions, they noted the differences of 
the Hebrew and Greek, from St, Jerom, Bede 
and De Lyra. 

" From the days of Wiclif there was no ver- 
fion made from the Vulgate until the year 1582 ; 
when the Englilli catholics, who had, in the be- 
ginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, t^ken refuge 


in Flanders, and were now removed to Reims 
on account of the war, publifhed a tranilation 
of the New Teftament only, in one quarto vo- 
lume. The publication of the Old did not take 
place till after their return to Douay in 1609*, 
Hence the whole verfion, which is in three vo* 
lumes, is known by the name of the Douay 
Bible. It is a literal and barbarous tranilation 
from the Vulgate, before its lafl revifionj and 
accompanied with acrimonious and injurious an^ 
notations. Their relidence in a foreign country, 
and what they deemed a cruel exile from their 
own, had corrupted the tranflators' language, 
and fcured their tempers ; and it was, unhappily, 
the common cuftom of thofe lamentable times, 
to feafon every religious controverfy with gall and 
vinegar. We do not find that Withers, Fulke 
and Cartwright, who drew their quills againft the 
Douay annotators, were a bit more courteous in 
their retorts. 

* WIcliff 's tranflation of the New Teftament was pub- 
lifhed by Lewis, in folio, in 1751. His prefs-copy was col* 
lated with ten MSS. the principal various readings of which 
arc marked in the margin. Befide the manufcripts of WiclifF's 
verfion, at Cambridge, Oxford, and in the Britllh Mufeum, 
there is a beautiful copy of the New Teftament in the Ad- 
vocates Library at Edinburgh 5 and one of the Seven Catho» 
lie Epifllcs in the Univerfity Library of GlafgoWt 


" The late mofl pious Dr. Chaloner revifed the 
Douay verfion, on the Clementine edition of the 
Vulgate ; greatly curtailed the annotations ; and 
correded the ftyle, chiefry from king James's 
tranflation. There are two editions of this revi-. 
fion ; one in the year 1 750, and the other in 
1764; both in five volumes, fmall odavo, I 
am told another edition is preparing by the gen- 
tlemen of the Enghfn college at Douay ; and pro- 
pofals for republifhing it at Dublin, in one quarto 
volume, are novv^ handed about in London. 

*' Mr. Car)^l, a gentleman who had followed the 
fortune of king James II., publifhed at St. Ger- 
main's a new verfion of the Pfalms in 1 700 ; in 
which, taking Bellarmine for his guide, he has 
often expreiTed the meaning of the Vulgate much 
better than the Douay tranllators. 

"Inl7l9Dr. Cornelius Nary publifhed hisNew 
Teflament at Dublin, in one volume odavo ; and 
Dr. Witham's appeared in 1730, in two volumes 
odavo. There are many good renderings in both 
thefe verilons. 

■ " Mr. V7. Webfler, curate of St. Dunflan's in 
the Wed, tranflated the New Teflament from 
the Vulgate, through the medium of F. Simon >. 
French verfion, and publifhed it at London, in 
two volumes in quarto, in 1730. 
* ^^ I have in my poiTeflion a manufcrlpt New 


Teftament prepared for the prefs, by the late 
Mr. Robert Gordon, of the Scotch college at Paris; 
in which fome confiderable miftranflations of all 
the preceding verfions are noted and r edified. 

'' But although the catholics, in general, have 
made their vernacular verfions of the Bible from 
the Vulgate ; they have not done fo without ex- 
ception. Two of the forementioned Italian tranf- 
lations are profelTedly made from the originals. 
In France, befades Codurc's verlion of Job, Pro- 
verbs, Ecclefiaftes, and the Song of Solomon, 
we find a tranflation of the Pfalms by Rodolphe 
le Maitre ; another by Ifaac le Maitre, and an- 
other by Dupin ; all made from the Hebrew in 
the laft century : not to mention two complete 
manufcript verfions of the whole Bible ; one by 
Dom. Lubineau, a Benedidine monk ; and the 
other by F. Feraud of the Oratory. 

" In the year 1 737 a new verfion of the Pfalms 
was publilhed by Dom. Maur d* Antine ; and in 
1739 appeared Le Gros's firfl edition of The 
Holy Bible tranjlated froyn the original Texts ^ with 
the various Readings of the Vulgate-^ &c. printed 
on a very fmall type, and in one thick odavo vo- 
lume. It was repubHlhed, with the author's lafl 
corrections, at Cologne, in 1753, in fix volumes 
in twelves. In this tranflation the additions of the 
5i{ulgate are inferted in the fame characters with 



the text ; but within crotchets. What Is added 
from other ancient verfions is alfo within crotch- 
ets, but in ItaHcs ; and the fupplements, deemed 
neceiTary to coired or iUuflrate the text, are in 
Italics, A\dthout crotchets. 

'^ About the middle of this century a fchool of 
Capuchins was formed at Paris, under the direc- 
tion of abbe de Villefroi, for the laudable purpofe 
of elucidating the original Scriptures. The popes 
Benedicl XIV. and Clement XIII. were fo well 
pleafed with the defign, that they both teflified 
tlieir approbation by fpecial briefs ; and the latter 
honored the little fociety with the title of Cle- 
mentine, Befides an elegant tranflation of the 
Pfalms, and fome other books of the Old Telia, 
ment, they have already publilhed a great many 
volumes of Principes difcutes^ in which there is 
much ingenuity and confiderable erudition : but 
a ftrong tin dure of rabbinifm imbibed from their 
mailer, and a violent attachment to a fpecious 
but delufive and dangerous fyflem of interpreta- 
tion, have often led them afide from the right 
road, and expofed them to the too fevere though 
jufl animadverfions of more rational critics. 

*' We have alfo a curious and fanciful French 
verlion of the Pfalms from the Hebrew by Lau- 
geois ; in which, although he has certainly taken 
ty far too great liberties with his original, and 


given novel and arbitrary fignifications to a number 
of Hebrew words, there are, neverthelefs, many ele- 
gant and fome uncommonly happy renderings. 

" The amiable and pious author o{ Spectacle de 
la Nature left behind him a French verficn of 
the Pfalms, and fome other hnall portions of 
Scripture, which, though profeffedly made from 
the Vulgate, has a conftant allufion to the He- 
brew, and contains fome valuable elucidations, 
efpecially in the notes. 

" The abbe du Contant de la Motte has, fmce the 
year 1777, publifiied the following v/orks on the 
Holy Scripture : La Genefe Expliquee, S vol. 12mo. 
L'Exode Explique, 3 vol. Le Levitique ExpUqus, 
2 vol. Les FJeatimes Expliques^ 3 vol. In all 
which works, though he has retained Calmet's 
verfion made from the Vulgate, he is continually 
correding it either by the Hebrev/ text, or by the 
other ancient verfions ; and fo far his work may 
be accounted a tranflation from the originals. 
The Journal des S9avans of lad year announces 
two new French verfions of the Pfalms ; one in 
eight volumes, 12mo. by Berthier, the other in 
two volumes, by Bauduer, both Hiid to be efli- 
mable works ; and of which the latter is imme- 
diately made from the Hebrew *. ^ 

* I have correaed this pafTage from our author's TeUer ta 
the BiOiop of London, p S2, agr^^eably to his exprefi dcfier. 


*^ But a ftill more important work has been re- 
cently announced : a French tranflation of the 
whole Bible by the late F. Houbigant ; the pub- 
lication of which is committed to his learned col- 
league F. Lalande ; and will not, we hope, be 
long delayed.*' 

He next examines what afliftance a tranflator 
may derive from interpreters and commentators. 
His refearch in this part of his fubjeO: extends as 
far back as to the fathers of the firft and fecond 
century. In the courfe of his elaborate review, 
to follow him fo as to give a minute account of 
his obfervations would be to occupy too much 
time. I (hall therefore only obferve, that he 
fpeaks with chief approbation of Poole's Synopfis; 
the Critica Sacra of Capellus ; Michaelis ; Kenni- 
cott and Lowth ; to the two lafl of whom, in 
conjundlion with a cloud of compatriot critics, he 
pays the higheft and at the fame time the moft 
juflly merited compliments. With refped to the 
myriads of other commentators and interpreters 
of different nations, glanced at as he proceeds, 
it is impoflible in this epitome to offer any ac- 
count of his opinion of their abilities, or even to 
enumerate their names. 

*' Having thus," fays he, " pretty copioufly treat- 
ed on the principal caufes of the imperfection ofmo- 


dern verfions, and pointed out what I deemed the 
fureil/means of removing them, I will now venture 
to give my opinion of the diflinguifhing charaQ:ers 
of a good tranllation ; and of the chief qualifica- 
tions neceffary for a tranflator." 

Upon the former fubjed he offers us four im- 
portant canons. The firfl is, that a tranflation of 
the Bible ought to be faithful ; that is, ought to 
exprefs all the meaning, and no more than the 
meanirfg, of the original. Secondly, that it ought 
to be perfpicuous. Thirdly, that it fhould pof* 
fefs elegance ; but an elegance of a fpecial kind, 
and of peculiar charaiTteriftics ; that it fhonld 
comprife a juft and proper fele^tion of terms, ar- 
ranged in the moft natural order, and divefled of 
every meretricious ornament. Fourthly, that it 
fhould polTefs as flrict an uniformity of ftyle and 
manner as is confiftent with the foregoing proper- 
ties. On the latter fubjed, or that which relates 
to the qualifications of a good tranllator, he gives 
us the following lift of eflential properties. The 
tranflator ihould be well acquainted with the lan- 
guage from which, and the language into which, 
he tranflates ; and for this purpofe fhould have 
made a long and ferious ftudy of both. He 
fhould be converfant with Greek and Roman 
learning j and have a general knowledge of an- 


cient and modern hiilory, as well as ancient and 
-modern fciences. He fhould be a man of acute 
penetration, of nice difcernment, and a fure and 
delicate tafle formed on the befl models of anti- 
quity^ He Ihould be endowed with a conflitution 
fit to endure, and an inclination to undergo, af- 
fiduous and perfevering labor ; a qualification 
too rarely conjoined with quicknefs of. apprehen- 
fion, and elegance of tafle. And laflly, to crown 
the whole, he (hould pofTefs an honeft impartiality, 
and be divefled of fyflems of every kind, literary, 
phyfical, and religious. 

Such exactions, it may well be obferved, are 
enormous, and fuch a pofTefTion of talents, of 
rare occurrence indeed. But our author fliall 
here once more fpeak for himfelf. 

*' Some reader,'' fays he, " may here be dif- 
pofed to aflv : Are you poiTeifed of all thefe qua- 
lifications ? To this not unnatural queflion I beg 
leave to give an anfwer, fomewhat fimilar to that 
which Cicero gives on a fimilar occafion ; though 
on a different fubjed. Having defcribed, with 
inimitable eloquence, the qualities of an accom- 
plifhed orator, he modeflly declares that he has 
given, rather an idea of vs^hat he conceived to be 
pofTible, than of what he ever expected to fee. 
How much greater reafon have I to acknowledge 


that my ideal portraiture of a good tranflator of 
the Bible is far beyond the reach of my own 

'' To be flill more explicit and ingenuous : al- 
though I have long endeavoured after the quali^ 
fications above mentioned, to affirm pofitively that 
I have actually acquired them all, or any one of 
them in an eminent degree, would be an unconfci- 
entious and rafh aflertion. In learning, genius and 
judgment, I know myfelf to be inferior to many ; 
fome few may exceed me in diligence, affiduity 
and laborioufnefs ; but in candor, impartiality and 
uprightnefs of intention, I will yield to none." 

I have thus given a minute analyfis of this ela- 
borate work ; more minute indeed than I Ihall find 
it neceffary to offer refpecling any one of the 
doctor's remaining publications : the Profpedus 
being an important document in the elucidation 
of his life, as well from the general entertain- 
ment and in{lru6lion it cannot but afford the 
reader, as from its laying a foundation for many of 
the chief publications and events that charac- 
terize his future hiflory. I have purpofely re- 
frained from obfervations of my own, excepting 
in a few inftances, in which I thought to the Eng- 
lifh reader they might be illuflrative of the fub- 
jed difculTed, or for fome other reafon of equal 


prominence and cogency ; having been more fe- 
licitous to perform the talk of an honeft reporter 
than of an acute critic. Of the high merit of 
the work the world has been fenfible from the 
moment of its appearance, and no eulogy of 
mine could add to the reputation it has fo long 



Letter to the Bijhop of London, defignedas an Appendix 
to the Profpeaus — Letter to the Rev, Dr, Friejlley—^ 
Application of the Proteflant Dijfenters to Parliament 
for a repeal of the Tefi AB— Letter to a Member of 
Parliament on the Cafe of the Proteflant Diffenters. — 
Dr. Geddes engages in the Analytical Review — Lift 
tf the Articles he wrote in this Journal — He puhlifhes 
his Propofals for printing his Trariflation of the Bible 
' — General Anfwer to the Queries, Counjils and Cri" 
ticifms communicated to him, A.D. 1786 — 1790. 

\t E muft ftill acciompany the do6i:or as a bibli- 
cifl ; though the extent and verfatility of his ta- 
lents will occafionally prefent him to us in feve- 
ral widely different charaders. The favorable re-* 
eeption of his Profpedtus, and the compliments 
paid him on a perufal of it by many fcholars of 
the firft eminence and erudition, I have already 
noticed. He regarded them as an omen of his 
future fuccefs, and was flimulated in a ten-fold 
degree to a perfeverance in his labors. 

The poffeiTion or probability of public applaufe, 
though when doubtful the mofl powerful incen* 
tive to genius — is not alvvays (when the doubt i5 


overcome) mofl advantageous either to the work 
or the agent to whom it relates. Some perfons, 
goaded on to reap the harvefl before it be ripe, 
have difappointed the high-raifed hopes of the 
world by prefenting to it an immature and preci- 
pitate performance ; while others have relaxed 
from their prior feverity of attention, have funk, 
into the very lap of carelefsnefs and indulgence, 
and have proved themfelves hereby equally un- 
faithful to the powers of their own minds, and 
the generous expectations of the public. In nei- 
ther of thefe clafTes however are we to rank the 
fubjeft of the prefent memoirs. He had now juft 
attained his fiftieth year ; his faculties, in acquir- 
ing their full vigor, had acquired at the fame 
time a degree of fleadinefs which rendered them 
fuperior to the intoxicating cup of popular ap- 
plaufe : his Hfe had been half devoted to one prime 
purfuit, and he had obtained patience enough to 
refolve upon fpending the remainder of his days 
in laboring it to perfection by new invefligations 
and improvements, rather than haften to the ha- 
ven of refl before him, without having fully ac- 
complifhed the object of his voyage. Inflead, 
therefore, of flying precipitately to the prefs with 
his manufcript verfion, he determined to avail 
himfelf of the general and ardent inclination to 
aflifl him, which appeared to predominate in the 


republic of letters, and with laudable modefly once 
more addrefled himfelf to the public through the 
medium of " A Letter to the right rev. the Bifliop 
of London, containing Queries, Doubts and Diffi- 
culties relative to a vernacular Verfion of the Holy- 
Scriptures/' This addrefs was defigned as a di- 
red appendix to his Profpeftus : it was publiflied 
in the enfuing year (1787), and was accompa- 
nied with a fuccefs, as he himfelf affures us, equal 
to that of his former publication *. 

Av/are as our tranflator was, from the firft idea of 
his undertaking, that the tafk would be accompa- 
nied with very numerous and confiderable difficul- 
ties, he candidly confelfes that he was not aware 
of all the difficulties which occurred to him as he 
proceeded. " If I had been,'* he obferves, " I 
fliould perhaps have prudently declined an enter- 
prize which I cannot, without pufillanimity, now 
relinquifh.'* The chief objeds of this Letter are 
to inquire how far the flyle and phrafeology of 
our prefent Englifh verfion ought to be adopted 
or rejeded ? To what extent we fliould admit the 
introduction of Hebraifms, or modes of phrafmg 
peculiar to the Hebrew tongue I Whether, in cafes 
of their occafional rejection, they ffiould be re- 
tained in the margin ? Whether, if it be allowable 
to vary the idiotifm or phrafeology, it may not 
* Addrefs to the Public, p. 8. 


be equally lawful to fupprefs thofe expletive and 
redundant words, which originating throughout 
every language in colloquial dialect, are too often 
continued by the bell and moll elegant writers, in 
fpite of all grammar and philological conliflency, 
from a want of hardihood to expunge them ? 
Whether, if the pleonafm be retrenched, the ellip- 
fis fhould not be fupplied, if the fupplements be 
virtually contained in the elliptic phrafe ? How 
far, and in what circumflances, it may be expe- 
dient to follow the Hebrew arrangement of words 
and fentences ? And whether the prefent ortho- 
graphy of proper names fhould be preferved, de- 
duced, for the moil part, firom the Maforetic 
punctuation ; or, confidently with the plan of our 
firfl Englifli tranflators Tindal and Coverdale, a 
nearer approximation to the Greek and Latin ex- 
emplars may not be indulged for the fake of 
euphony ? 

To follow him through the whole extent of 
thefe queries — to exhibit the foundations of his 
doubts, or the grounds of his decifions, would 
be to copy the whole pamphlet of feventy quarto 
pages into the prefent work. It is enough to offer 
a few extrads and obfervations upon particular 
parts, and to notice generally, that as no critic or 
philologift will perhaps agree with the author 
in every individual dogma he has ventured to 


fuggeft; fo he himfelf fhortly afterwards, as I 
fhall have occafion to remark, upon more ma- 
ture confideration, or hints communicated to 
him by other perfons, with a liberality not every 
day to be met with, departed in a variety of in- 
ftances from the opinions here advanced, and gave 
the public due notice of his recantation. 

He appears fully to have fubftantiated this por- 
tion, that " there is in our laft national verfion 
a blamable want of uniformity in the mode of 
tranflating. ' ' There are undoubtedly many words, 
and even fentences, which admit, and often re- 
quire, a different rendering : but there is a flrange 
want of precifion in rendering n^Hi*} at one time 
a locufi^ and at another a gr a/shopper i n^y*? worm^ 
wood and hemlock ; uinp nettles and thorns ; ^"-h^n 
hemlock and gall ; n^")'' an owl and an cjirich ; tTD 
linen ^nd^lk ; nt^p the cormorant and the pelican. 
In like manner 133 is rendered indifcriminately a 
nephew and a grand/on ; P]n a tal?ret and a timbrel-^ 
Yl^ a coat of mail^ an habergeon^ a breaft-plate^ and 
-Sibrigandine, The tranflators have moreover ma- 
nifefled the fame unneceifary diverfity in tranflat- 
ing whole fentences, or parts of fentences, w^hich 
Dr. Geddes has thus noticed with regard to indi- 
vidual words. 

" There are no phrafes," fays he, " in the 
rendering of which they have fliown more variety 


than in thofe of which the words ]2 and t:?>i^ 
make a part. The firfl of thefe, which prima- 
rily fignifies a/^;^, and fecondarily a defcendant of 
any kind, has, in the oriental dialeds, a much 
wider acceptation ; and is applied not only to the 
offspring of the brute creation, but alfo to pro- 
dudions of eveiy fort ; and, what is ftill more ca- 
tachreflical, even to confequential or concomitant 
relations : fo that an arrow is called the Jon of the 
how\ the morning ft ar^ the fon of the morning; 
threjhed-out corn^ the fon of the floor ; and anoint- 
ed -perjons^ the fons of oil. 

" Now our tranllators have, in rendering fuch 
phrafes, for the mofl part foftened the Hebraifm ; 
but after no uniform manner. Sons of Belial >n 
bT^2. is furely not more intelligible to an Englifli 
reader than fons of oil ; and much lefs fo than 
Jons of valour^ Jons of right eoujnejs^ Jons of ini^ 
qiiity : yet, while they retain the firfl Hebraifm 
with all its original harfhnefs, and partly in its 
original form*, they mollify the three lafl into 
valiant men, righteous men^ wicked men, 

*^ " Even here they are not confiftent. For, if once they ad- 
mitted the word Belial ^ they (hould have retained it through- 
j r.-.ji. _ -•^■^ of Behalf a heart of Belial y awitnefs 
if Belial : which, however, they render 
ked hearty an ungodly luitnefs, the foods 
they have, once or twice, tranllated 


^' The fame inconfiflency holds with regard to 
U?>>} in a fimilar coiiflrudlion. If they could, without 
hurting the Englifli idiom, tranflate a man of wary 
c man of underftanding, a man of for rows ^ a 7nan of 
Jlrife^ a man of wicked devices^ the man of thy 
right hand', why not alfo a man of peace ^ a man of 
truths a w>an of violence , a man of iniquity ? 

*' The fame variety appears in the rendering 
of n^n'^^ ^"'J^ ^ ^^^^ of '^^^* Thus Exodus 
XV. 3, ' The Lord is a man of war : ' but Pfalm 
xxiv. 8. ' The Lord mighty in battle.' Again, 
Num. xxxi. 49. ' Thy fervants have taken the 
fum of the men of war :* but in the fame chap- 
ter, ver. 27. ' Them that took the war upon 
them.' The LXX generally rendered the 
words by TfoKs^jLta-Trig ; and our tranllators have 
ufed warrior and warriors in the fame fenfe, 
on fimilar occafions. 1 Kings xii. 21. * Four- 
fcore thoufand men which v/ere warriors,* 
7\i:i7iin rvnv ; which 2 Chron. xxvi. 11. they ren-, 
der * fighting men.' 

*' ' Come ye after me ' is as intelligible as 

hyi'hl W^ and 'h'^'bl D1« a wicked man. At any rate, if fuch 
phrafes were not good Englifli in the Old Tetiament, how 
came they to adopt them in the New ? For there we meet 
with * the child of hell, the children of light, the children 
of wrath, the fon of perdition, &c,* 


* follow me ' — * To cut ofF the ends or extremi- 
ties of a country ' is as intelligible, and it fhould 
feem lefs vulgar than ' to cut a country Ihort.* 
See 2 Kings vi. 19. and x. 23. So Prov. iv. 26. 

* Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy 
ways be eftabliflied.' The Hebraifm of the laft 
part of this fentence, ^ and all thy ways fhall 
be ordered aright,' which is the marginal ren- 
dering, is no lefs clear and exprefTive than what 
has been adopted in its ftead. Again, Prov. vi. 
1 6. * Six things doth the Lord hate ; yea, feven 
are an abomination to him.* I miflake if it 
would not have been better to retain the Hebra- 
ifm ; ' yea, feven are the abomination of his 
foul.' Prov. xxvi. 20. the Hebrew has, * With- 
out wood the fire goeth out,' which our tranf- 
lators, with the help of Italics, paraphrafe thus: 
' Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out :' 
which, compared with the other, appears languid 
and drawling. Pfalm xci. 1 6. ' With long life will 
I fatisfy him,' The Hebraifm, ' with length of 
days, &c.' feems not only as clear, but more 
energetic and poetical. 

" The perfonal pronouns ^51^T and xrr fe.em 
redundant in fuch phrafes as thefe : ' The wo- 
man, whom thou gavefl to be with me, fhe 
gave me of the tree ^And Debora, a prophet- 


efs, the wife of Lapidoth, flje judged Ifrael at 

that time ^Now Hannahj^^^fpokem her heart 

But your little ones, which ye faid fhould 

be a prey, them will I bring in Your carcaiTes, 

they fhall fall in this wildernefs/ I am well 
aware that this has been called an emphatical 
mode of expreflion ; and, in fome inflances, ac- 
counted a particular beauty ; as when the people 
exclaim, 1 Kings xviii. S9. * The Lord, he is 
the God ; The Lord, he is the God.' Be it fo ; 
yet, even here it has all the air of vulgar tauto- 
logy; and brings to one's mind the old fong: 
< Bell, Jhe is my darling, &c.* Were it at all 
deemed neceifary to tranflate the redundant word 
for the fake of emphafis, I ihould prefer giving 
it another turn, and fay, ' That v/oman, &c. The 
prophetefs Debora, &c. — Thofe little ones, &c. — 
Jehovah himfelf, &c.' — Although in general it 
would, perhaps, be more agreeable to the fim- 
plicity of the Scripture-ftyle to leave the pronoun 
untranflated *." 

On the fubjed of arrangement, he thus ex- 
preffes his motives for deviating from the general 

* " Our tranllators did not always render it. Thus Exod. 
iv. 14. we have, * I know that he can fpcak well j' which in 
the original is, ' I know that he can fpeak well, he^ corre- 
fponding exadly with the French vulgarifm, ' Jevoasledfs, 
moi— II it tait, lui." 


opinion of modern critics refpe6i:ing the lineal 
divifion of Hebrew poetry. 

^' But fliould a verfion of the poetical parts of 
Scripture be divided into lines or hemiflichs, cor- 
refponding with what is called Hebrew metre ? 
This method, firil pradifed by the Germans, has 
been adopted by the writers of mcft other na- 
tions ; and more efpecially by thofe of our own. 
Bifhop Newcome has even made it one of his 
fifteen rules for a good tranflation. 

" Notwithftanding all this, I cannot help fe- 
rioufly doubting of its propriety. I can fee no 
force or beauty it adds to the text, nor profit 
nor pleafure it can bring to the reader. On the 
contrary, I think, it confiderably disjoints and dif- 
figures the one, and often perplexes and puzzles 
the other. Permit me to . lay before your lord- 
fliip a fpecimen from your own Ifaiah ; the firft 
that prefents itfelf ; 

And it fhall be, when Moab (hall fee 

That he hath wearied himfelf out on the high place. 

That he fhall enter into his fan6luary 

To intercede : but he ihall not prevail. 

Ifaiah xvi. 12. 

" Or the following from bifhop Newcomers Ze« 
chariah : 

^~ • In that day Jehovah will defend 
% The inhabitants of Jerufalem : 


And he that is feeble among them (hall be 
In that day, as David. 

*' Does It really appear to your lordfhip, that 
in either of thefe inftances the text looks to ad- 
vantage ; or that the reader will be better pleafed 
to fee it arrayed in this whimfical manner, than 
in the fober garb of meafured profe ? I greatly 
fear he will not. 

" Indeed this mode of dividing a tranflation 
of the Hebrew poetry feems very fimilar to that 
which was followed in the old literal Latin ver- 
fions of Homer 5 which not only give us no ade- 
quate idea of the beauties of the great original ; 
but create an eternal difguft to the reader, by dif- 
playing before his eyes all the external appear- 
ance of verfe, without any of its properties. Yet 
thofe Latin lines have one advantage over your 
Englifh ones : we are fure they correfpond ex- 
actly with fo many Greek verfes ; whereas no 
one will, I prefume, alTert the fame of any fti- 
chical verfion made from the Hebrew. 

" You, my lord, of all men knov/ befl, how 
little we are acquainted with the meafure and m.e- 
chanifm of Hebrew verfe ; and how capricious, 
for the moil part, are the divifions that have been 
made of them, even by the mod learned Hebra- 
ifts. What one would divide into long lines, 


another would divide into fhort ; and what by 
this one would be combined into ftanzas, would 
by that one be arranged in feparate hemiftichs. 
So that, in reality, to give a verfion divided into 
lines of any fort, would be to give us no more 
than the arbitrary notions of the divider ; and 
could only ferve to imprefs a falfe, or at leaft an 
uncertain idea on the mind of the reader ; with- 
out contributing either to his inftru6lion or edifi- 

" For what inftru£i:ion or edification can the 
mere Engliih reader receive from fuch irregular 
and ill-connedted lines as thefe, prefented to him 
as an exemplification of Hebrew verfe ? 

In the houfc of Ifrael I have feen a horrible thing : 
There Ephraim committeth fornication j 
Ifrael is polluted. 

Moreover, O Judah, an harveft is appointed of thee 
Among thofe who lead away the captivity of my people. 

Zech. viii. 21. 

Or thefe : 

And the inhabitants of one city (hall go 

Into another, faying : 

Let us furely go to entreat the face of Jehovah> 

And to feek Jehovah God of Hofts : 

I will go alfo. 

Were the text for public fervice to be thus di- 
vided, the beft readers would, I believe, make but 


an awkward appearance in delivering the moft 
fublime oracles of religion. The eye and the ear 
would be at continual variance i the tones and 
cadences would be perpetually confounded, and 
grating difharmony attend the pronunciation of 
almoft every period. 

« On the whole, then, may I not appeal to 
your lordfhip's judgment, even from your own 
pradice -, that in giving a verfion for general read- 
ing, fuch a divifion of thofe parts which are fup- 
pofed to be poetry, would be attended with ma- 
nifeft inconvenience, and with no vifible advan- 
tage; and that, therefore, a plain profe-like ver- 
fion, which fhould preferve as much as poffible 
of what your lordfhip has fo ably proved to con- 
ftitute the eflence of Hebrew poetry, would be 
greatly preferable ? 

« The public will, perhaps, here tax me with 
prefumption for offering to differ from fo many 
learned men. But I truft I have done it with all 
due deference and modefty. I have candidly 
propofed my own doubts ; I wilh to have them 
canvaffedj am ready to hear what may be faid 
<m the other fide of the queftion, and difpofed to 
give up my opinion to the general voice." 

There appears fo much propriety in the fol- 
lowing obfervations refpeding the term Jeho- 
vah, which has lately been gaining fo prodigious 


an afcendency In all our mofl approved verfions 
of diflind parts of the Old Teflament, that I 
cannot avoid introducing them. 

" The God of the Ifraelites is particularly 
diflinguifhed by the name mri'' (Jeve) ; of which 
neither the precife meaning nor the genuine pro- 
nunciation is well known. Jehovah is a barbarous 
term, that was never heard of before the fixteenth 
century ; neither Pagninus, nor Munfter, nor even 
Montanus, ufed it in their verfions: but Junius 
and Callalio having once given it a fandion, it 
came gradually into general ufage among Latin 
tranllators and commentators ; and has of late 
made its way into vernacular verfions. Bate, your 
lordfhip, Green, Blaney, and bifhop Newcome, 
have all adopted it ^ and the lafl-mentioned wri^ 
ter thinks it fhould always be ufed. 

" I have, notwithftanding, fome doubt about 
It ; which I beg leave to propofe. As the word 
Lord has been fo long employed among Chrif- 
tians, to denote the Supreme Being, and is the 
only one in the New Teftament by which he is 
known, I fhould be llrongly inclined to retain it 
in the Old ; fo much the more, becaufe the an- 
cient Greek, Syriac, Latin and Arabic interpre- 
ters refpedively rendered T\X\^ by a fimilar term 
Kup/o^, hJnn, Dominus, ai. Befides, we fome- 
times meet with mn^ in conflruction with ms^Jlii : 


which we could hardly render * Jehovah of 
Hofls / and bifhop Newcome himfelf allows that, 
in fuch cafes, we rnufl fupply D'Tt'?*^, and fay ' Je- 
hovah God of Hofls.' 

" There is only one objection that now occurs. 
The word pi.^ is alfo tranflated Lord^ and with 
the fuffix my Lord^ although it is only a term of 
refpedl applied to human beings ; and moft pro* 
bably never applied to the Deity without the repe- 
tition of D'':'^^}^, ^ Lord of Lords/ It fhould feem, 
therefore, that a diflin6i:ion fhould be made be- 
tween the terms. Our tranllators made a diflinc- 
tion. They rendered nirc The Lord, and put 
it in capitals -, and ^^Hh? my Lord^ in common let- 
ters. If a further difcrimination be deemed ex- 
pedient, let fome other term be ufed to exprefs 
^yni^'y and I fee no one fo proper as Sir, It 
will, perhaps, be faid that the term is too trite 
and familiar; but it is not more fo than '•jnj^ 
mufl have been in Judea; nor can it, on that 
account^ be more improper in the Old Teflament 
than in the New 3 where we have * Sir, thou hafl 
nothing to draw with,' John iv. 11. And in the 
fame chapter,. ' Sir, give me this water. — Sir, I 
perceive thou art a prophet. — Sir, didfl not thou 
fow good feed in thy field, &c.' And in the plu- 
ral. Ads xxvii. 21. ' Sirs,' (faid St. Paul) ' ye 
(hould have hearkened unto me;' and ver. 25. 



* Wherefore, Sirs, be of good cheer.' The 
Greek indeed Is here av^psg ; but if the apoflle 
had fpoken in Hebrew, it would have been >D^^*• 
At any rate, the term has the authority of our 
laft tranflators. Nay, we meet v/ith it, once at 
leaft, in the Old Teftarn-nt. ' O Sir,' (faid 
Jofeph's brethren to the fleward) ' we came in- 
deed down at the firll time to buy bread/ Gen. 
xliii. 20. 1 would therefore propofe ufmg, through- 
out, the word Lord for mn\ and the word Sir 
for ''^HN^ 

He inquires whether the words wherefore, 
therefore^ wherein, therem, whereof, thereof^ 
whereby, thereby, whereunto, thereunto, here- 
tofore, theretofore, and other fimilar compounds, 
ought to be retained or difcarded ? " To be con- 
vinced,'' fays he, " that they are not ftridly gram- 
matical, we have only to analyfe them ; for who 
could bear/^r there, for where, in where, in there, 
cf zvhere, of there, (jfc. F And yet," continues he, 
" I fear we cannot do well without them, particu- 
larly the two firft." — Of fuch compound adverbs, 
however, I think we may fay with lady Macbeth 
on a very different occafion, 

Thefe things mud not be thought 

After thefe ways...., 

There are, indeed, few of them in any language 


that will fland the teft of this kind of analyfis. 
It may, perhaps, apply to fuch as Koc9ujgy prop-* 
Urea, quare, quamobrem^ percio or perciocche, 
pourquoi^ or its Spaniih and PortugUefe fynonyms 
porque and paraqiie-^hwl what are we to make 
of sTTzilriTTs^^ qiiandoquidem, equidem^ inde, dein^ 
deinde^ proinde^ perinde^ he. which are mere 
firings of adverbs or prepofitions, not only in* 
capable of grammatical conftrudion, but in 
many inftances united without any oftenfible mo- 
tive? Whereunto, ^wherewithal^ and fome others 
of the fame limping length and awkward appear- 
ance, notwithflanding the authority of feveral of 
our bed writers, and particularly of Dean Swift, 
may perhaps be banifhed for their inelegance ; but 
I am afraid, if the profcription were to extend to 
the entire family, we fliould be frequently at a lofs 
for a fubflitute. 

It is but fair, however, to Hate that Dr. Geddes 
is not alone in the opinion he has offered upon this 
clafs of adverbs, Mr. Hume was guided by a 
fmiilar tafte, and has thus expreffed his averfion 
to the whole fraternity in a humorous letter written 
to his friend Dr. Robertfon, upon the firfl appear- 
ance of his Hiftory of Charles V., a letter which is 
preferved in the Life of the latter, publiflied about 
two years fmce by Dr. Stewart. " You know. 


that you and I have always been on the footing of 
finding in each other's produclions fomething to 
blame and fomething to commend ; and there- 
fore you may perhaps expect alfo fome feafoning 
of the former kind ; but really neither my leifure 
nor inclination allowed me to make fuch remarks, 
and I fmcerely believe you have afforded me very 
fmall materials for them. However, fuch parti- 
culars as occur to my memory I fhall mention. — 
What the devil had you to do with that old- 
fafhioned dangling word wherewith ? I fhould as 
foon take back whereupon, whereunto^ and where- 
i^Hthal. I think the only tolerable decent gentle- 
man of the family is wherein^ and I fhould not 
choofe to be often feen in his company. But I 
know your affedion for wherewith proceeds from 
your partiality to Dean Swift, whom I can often 
laugh with, whofe flyle I can even approve, but. 
furely can never admire. It has no harmony, no 
eloquence, no ornament, and not much correal- 
nefs, whatever the EngHfh may imagine." 

The doctor next inquires whether, confiflently 
with the uniform pradice of the flandard Bible, 
the pronoun ye fliould not be ufed as a nominative 
plural, inflead of what he denominates the accu^ 
Jative you^ notwithflanding the propenfity in mo- 
dern writers to fubfiitute the latter in its place \ 


and whether the termination eth fhould be retained 
in the third perfon fmgular of the Indicative 

Univerfal cullom has of late given us two pUi- 
ral nominative cafes to the fecond pronoun perfon- 
al ; for, in concurrence with almofl every language 
of Europe excepting the German, it has made a 
nominative of the oblique cafe ; fo that we now 
ufe the terms ye and you indifcriminately, or at 
lead with this only difference, that in claflical 
Englifh the latter alone is applicable to an indi- 
vidual. Te is ftill in frequent acceptation, and 
efpecially in the vocative cafe ; and there can be 
no reafon, therefore, for its being banifhed from a 
modern verfion of the Bible. As to the termi- 
nating eth^ this is aifuredly both as uncouth and 
as obfolete as the terms whereunto^ wherewithal^ 
and there can be no reafon for rejeding the latter, 
unlefs the former accompany them in their exile. 
We fhall flill have ths enough left to excite the 
abhorrence and break the teeth of almofl every 
foreigner who vifits us. Hume, in the letter I have 
juft quoted, expreffes his objeftion upon this point 
more forcibly flill. " But you tell me that Swift 
does otherwife. To be fure, there is no reply to 
that ; and we mufl Avallow your hath too, upon 
the fame authority. I will fee you d — d fooner." 

There are, I well know, many fenfible men 


and admirable fcholars, who contend that the 
phrafeology of the Bible ought not to be changed 
on any account ; that much of its fandity and 
imprefTive power depend upon the venerable dic- 
tion in which it has been handed down to us ; 
and that, although it do not contain the language 
of the prefent day, it contains a language with 
which we are fufficiently familiar to comprehend 
the whole of its meanings as well as to relifh the 
whole of its beauties. If it be univerfally judged 
right that, independently of the vernacular tongue, 
we fhould have a Shanfcrit, a hpcc y^Mxra-u or lanr 
guage peculiar to the facred writings in Great Bri- 
tain, as well as in Hinduftan, I have no objection to 
fuch an opinion ; but fliould wifh, on the contrary, 
that the Bible diction fhould be thus retained un- 
frittered and entire ; and that, like the Shanfcrit, 
or the column lately imported from Egypt, it 
fliould be alfo limited to its original and appro- 
priate characters, its /fp^ y^a/x^i^^ra, and there- 
fore be reprinted with the venerable black letter. 
If we once admit of innovation, and fuffer it to be 
modernifed in any refpect v/ hatever, no reafon can 
be urged why we fliould not perfevere till the 
whole be remodelled upon the chaflefl and mofl 
elegant examples. 

Our author concludes his Letter with a variety 
of other grammatic and orthographic queries \ 


which, although for the moft part of minor confi- 
deration, inconteftably prove how maturely he had 
weighed the fubjed upon which he was engaged, 
in all its ramifications, and exhibit a ftrong proof 
of excellent judgement and corred tafte. 1 fliould 
not, however^ omit to mention, becaufe he has ad- 
hered to it in his verfion, the rule propofed refped- 
ing the final h appended by the tranflators of our ' 
ftandard edition to the generality of Hebrew proper 
names which terminate with the vowel n, and that 
is, to retain it for the mere purpofe of diftinguilh- 
ing mafculines from feminines. To this 1 confefs 
I cannot altogether accede. I agree with Dr. 
Geddes that the h is, in fuch cafes, completely ufe- 
lefs, and I would therefore equally expunge it from 
both genders. We do not want it either in Greek or 
Latin; and it mufl be quite as eafy to determine 
that Juda as that Cinna is of the male gender, with- 
out a terminating h to afcertain the fex; which, in 
reality, is not lefs fupernumerary in the former than 
in the latter. I am very much aftonifhed, indeed, 
at the inclination which appears to prevail amidflthe 
generality of our oriental fcholars for introducing 
this ufelefs appendage not only into the Hebrew or 
Chaldaic, but into the Perfian and Arabic; and, 
for my own part, would extend the canon here pro- 
posed to a much wider fpace, and never admit of 
a terminating h to an appellation, whether mafcu- 


line or feminine, in any of thefe tongues, unlefs 
adually exprefled in the original languages by an 
n, ^ or A. 

To the Letter before us is fubjoined a Poftfcript 
containing a corredion of feveral errors which 
had crept into the Profpeclus : anfwers to cor- 
refpondents who had either made inquiries or 
offered advice : and a lift of perfons who had 
particularly promoted our author's defign: in the 
laft of which claffes I ought not to omit the illuf- 
trious name of fir William Jones, here and in one 
or two other places erroneoufly entitled bart., who 
very kindly favored him with a manufcript com- 
mentary on the whole Bible: " in which,'' fays Dr. 
Geddes, " although there be not much criticifm, 
there is a great deal of good fenfe and many perti- 
nent refledions." He does not ftate whether this ma- 
nufcript were a produdion of fir William's own, or 
of fome other perfon: if the former, why has not 
f o valuable a work, for every thing muft be valu- 
able from the hands of fuch a fcholar, made its 
appearance among his other publications, in the 
fplendid edition brought forward by the Robin- 

Our author's liberal fentiments had, at all times, 
allowed him to affociate with the learned and the 
virtuous of every religious perfuafion j and his li- 


terary characler had now, for a confiderable period, 
introduced him to an acquaintance with Dr. Prieft- 
ley. The ardor with which this celebrated polemic 
followed up his own opinions, whether of philofo- 
phy or religion, and the perfeverance with which 
he prefled them upon the world at large, are known 
to every one. Dr. Geddes, who gave him credit 
for a greater degree of orthodoxy in the former 
inflance than the majority of theoretic chemifts 
have fmce been difpofed to allow him, could not^ 
neverthelefs, remain filent under his public avow- 
als of heterodoxy in the latter; and uniting in the 
confederacy againfl this undaunted theologian, he 
publiflied in the prefent year a fmall pamphlet, 
entitled " A Letter to the reverend Dr. Prieflley, 
in which the Author attempts to prove, by one pre- 
fcriptive Argument, that the Divinity of Jefus Chrifl 
was a primitive Tenet of Chriflianity." 

This " prefcriptive argument" is drawn from the 
general, though perhaps not univerfal, alTent among 
the earlieft fathers of the Chriftian church to the 
do8:rine here fupported, and from the direct means 
they mufl have poiTeiTed of informing themfelves of 
the fentiments of the apoflles; and more efpecially 
from their unanimous decifion upon this fubje£t 
in the celebrated ecumenic council at Nice. " I 
grant you," fays our author, " that the fathers 
alTembled at Nicea were, both feverally and con- 


jundly, an affembly of fallible men: but . when 1 
make this concefTion, I exped that you, on your 
part, will allow them to have been men of com- 
mon fenfe and common integrity. Many of them 
were remarkable for the fan^lity of their lives ; 
fome had fhovm the highefl degree of chriflian 
fortitude in conf effing Jefus before tyrants and per* 
fecutors; and there were thofe among them, whofe 
learning and abihties would not difgrace the mofl 
enlightened age. In fhort, if I fhould fay that they 
were altogether the mofl refpedable body of eccle- 
fiaflics that ever met, and the freefl from every fort 
of control, I hardly think that you would call my 
aflertion unguarded. But I content myfelf with 
my firft demand; and fuppofmg them only men of 
common fenfe and common integrity^ I aflc you whe- 
ther you think it in the fmallefl degree probable, 
that three hundred and eighteen of the principal 
paftors in the Chriflian church, convoked from 
the three parts of the then known world, could 
poffibly combine to ellablifh a doctrine different 
from that which they had hitherto taught their re- 
fpedive flocks, and which they had themfelves re- 
ceived from their predecefTors in the miniflry?/' 

This argument is not, I think, quite fo con^- 
clufive as our author feems to fuppofe. For, 
without entering into the hiflory^and authority 
of Theodotus, Ebion, Cerinthus, the Clemen^ 


tine romance, as he choofes to denominate it^ and 
whatever elfe is appealed to by the fupporters of 
Unitarianifm, — ^it is fufficient to remark that not 
only the Chriftian world, but the world at large, 
has with a much greater degree of univerfality em- 
braced erroneous opinions upon other fubjedls — 
and adhered to them for a greater lapfe of ages 
with a pertinacity equal to that with which the 
dodtrine of the divinity of Jefus Chriil has been 
maintained. Does the earth or the fun conflitute 
the centre of the folar fyflem ? does the former 
exhibit an annual circuit around the latter, or the 
latter a diurnal circuit around the former ? Jews, 
Chriilians, and Heathens from the beginning of 
time to the aera of Copernicus have with a voice 
almofl unanimous concurred in alTerting the latter. 
A few heterodox protefts, it is true, have occa- 
fionally been entered, from an early period of the 
world, againfl the common creed ; for Nicetas of 
Syracufe not only introduced the idea of the 
earth's diurnal motion round her own axis ; but 
Philotas, one of the firil difciples of Pythagoras, 
adually difcovered its annual motion in the eclip- 
tic : a conjoint dodrine, which, as we are inform- 
ed by Archimedes, was revived about a thoufand 
years afterwards by Ariflarchus the Samian ; and 
which is well known to have laid the foundation 
for Copernicus to v/ork upon. But thefe philo- 


fophic herefiarchs have either been fo few ia 
number, and poffefTed of fo little authority, as to 
receive no attention from the multitude ; or, when- 
ever they have been thus fuccefsful, have been 
fure to excite the whole concentrated force of both 
fpiritual and temporal powers againft them. Co- 
pernicus, after having fuffered his difcovery to be 
extorted from him by his friends, is generally be- 
lieved to have died from terror alone of the tor- 
tures to which he hereby became expofed. The 
punifhment of Galileo is well known : nothing but 
a public recantation could releafe him from impri- 
fonment ; and he was flill condemned to the pe- 
nance of repeating once a week for the enfuing 
three years the feven penitentiary pfalms. Virgi- 
lius, bifhop of Salsburg, duiing the papacy of 
Zachary was reduced to the fame dilemma : he 
was accufed by Boniface, archbifhop of Mentz, of 
maintaining the erroneous and blqfphemous doc- 
trine of the antipodes : and the fupreme and 
infallible prelate pre-decreed, that if upon his trial 
he fhould be convided of holding this abominable 
error, which he had thus uttered againft the Lord, 
and againft his own foul, to wit, that there -are 
other worlds, other men under the earth, other 
funs, and other moons, — a confiftor}" ftiould imme- 
diately be convened, that he fliould be degraded 
from the honor of the priellhood, and be exconi- 


municated from the church. The world at large 
might not approve, perhaps, of fuch cruel and un- 
juflifiable violence — but it approved, almofl with- 
out a dilTenting voice, of the dodrine in favor of 
which it was difclofed ; a dodrine founded upon 
the fenfible phsenomena of nature, and fuppofed 
to be confirmed by the facred Scriptures of both 
Jews and Chriflians. It is now, however, uni- 
verfally admitted that this univerfal opinion, not 
of councils alone, but of every nation on earth, 
was an error, and that the Bible ellabhfhes no 
iuch tenet as it was then deemed blafphemy to 
doubt of. The mere opinion of fallible men, 
therefore, whatever be their honefly or their 
judgement, whether alfembled in councils or fe- 
eluded in clofets — ought in all important and 
queftionable fubjeds to be received with hefita- 
tion: and univerfality of concurrence forms no 
abfolute proof of truth. The Scriptures which 
were open to the Nicene fathers are ilill open to 
us, and it is to them alone we ought to apply for 
full and fatisfaccory convidion. 

With refpedt to the labors of the council of 
Nice, there is alfo another very confiderable 
draw-back from the authority to which it might 
otherwife pretend. The convened clergy admitted 
unanimoufly, it is true, the pre-exiilence of Jefus 
Chrift — but they difputed and difagreed concern- 


ing his co-eternity and co-equality with the Father; 
Dr.. Geddes, in the pamphlet before us, contends 
that " they were unanimous in their belief of his 
divinity :" but the divinity afcribed to him by the 
Arian party was of a very different and inferior 
fpecies to that attributed both by themfelves and 
their Trinitarian brethren to the Father : and con- 
fequently, we can hardly look up to a council in 
which fuch a diverfity of opinion prevailed upon 
the very fubject in queflion, with much confidence 
in any refoluUon they may have adopted refpe(5t- 

The pamphlet is, neverthelefs, upon the whole 
a very ingenious performance : and there is no 
reader but mufl be pleafed \rith the liberal and 
amiable manner in which it concludes. " I cannot 
allow myfelf to believe that the divinity of Jefus 
will ever be without defenders, or that its ableft 
defenders \\all not be Englifhmen : but let its de- 
fenders be mild and moderate ; let them imitate 
the condudl of him w^hofe caufe they undertake 
to plead ; let not their zeal, however fervent^ 
ti*anfport them beyond the bounds of decency and 
decorum. Their flyle will not be the lefs nervous, 
becaufe it is void of afperity ; nor their arguments 
the lefs conclufive, becaufe unmixt with injuries* 
To difcover Truth is profefledly the aim of us all i 
* let us purfue the path that feems the moil likely 


to lead us to her abode, with ardor but not with 
animofity ; and if we be convinced that we have 
been happy enough to find it out, let us not infult 
thofe who, in our eflimation, may have been lefs 
fuccefsful. Non contumeliis et probris vex emus alii 
alios ; Jed honefte pofitifque prtejudiciisy caujmn dif- 

It was about this period (1789) that the proteft- 
ant dilTenters made their celebrated application to 
parliament for a repeal of the tefl ad ; having been 
encouraged by the previous promifes of Mr. Pitt, 
vvhofe memory, on this as well as on many other 
fubjeds, exhibited a mofl convenient facility of 
forgetfulnefs. The queftion was brought forward 
in the lower houfe with much confidence by Mr. 
Beaufoy — but Mr. Pitt the minifter was a dif- 
ferent man from Mr. Pitt the patriot. Having in 
a confiderable degree rifen into office on the backs 
of the diflenters, he deferted them the moment he 
had no further occafion for their fervices : he op- 
pofed the queftion, and it was loft. The diflenters 
were very angry, and had much reafon to be an- 
gry : for treachery of memory was not the only 
treachery of v/hich they publicly accufed him. 
The fcheme was planned with his entire know- 
ledge, and at leaft his implied concurrence : he 
was waited upon by a deputation of the dilTenting 
body, only a few days prior to the difcuffion of 


the repeal in the fenate ; and he gave them every 
reafon to fuppofe that his fentiments upon the fub- 
je£t of religious liberty were not changed, and 
that it was his intention to fupport Mr. Beaufoy's 

If, however, the diflenters had reafon to com- 
plain of the minifter, the catholics had reafon to 
complain of the diffenters : who certainly endea- 
voured to juftify themfelves, and the condud of 
their ancejflors, at the expenfe of the former, by 
maintaining in almofl every pamphlet publilhed on 
this occafion, not only that all the different difabili- 
tating flatutes from the twenty-fifth of Charles II., 
m which both parties were equally included, were 
intentionally levelled againfl papifts alone; but 
that the grounds of emancipation on behalf of 
themfelves were widely different from what could 
be advanced by the latter : — that the danger to be 
hereby apprehended was infinitely lefs ; and that 
their claims upon government were incontroverti- 
bly more cogent. This was mofl unqueftionably to 
enforce a juft claim by an illiberahty of fentiment 
unworthy of the tolerant and enlightened period in 
which it was urged before the public \ and was 
more peculiarly injunous to the Englifh catholics, 
becaufe they alfo were, at this very moment, me- 
ditating a plan for a more plenary toleration than 
they had hitherto epjoyed, in which they had 


much reafon to exped the countenance and ap- 
probation of government. 

One of the mod popular of the ephemeral pro- 
dudions in which thefe arguments were advanced 
was a fmall anonymous pamphlet, entitled " The 
Cafe of the Proteflant Diflenters with reference 
to the Tell and Corporation Ads :" and as the 
Englifh catholics were more violently oppugned 
in this than in any other publication of the lame 
clafs, our very able champion of the catholic 
caufe could not refrain from an anonymous reply 
to it in a pamphlet of about an equal length, en- 
titled " A Letter to a Member of Parliament on 
the ' Cafe of the Proteflant Diffenters/ and the 
Expediency of a general Repeal of all Penal Sta- 
tutes that regard religious Opinions*" It bears 
the date of 1787 $ and k intended to fhow, in op- 
polition to the author of the Cafe, that proteflant 
difTenters from the asra of the Refloration have 
been at all times as obnoxious to government as 
papifls ; that the difqualifying flatutes which em- 
brace both parties were, in every inflance, as 
much levelled againfl the former as againfl the 
latter ; and that, allowing any evil to be appre- 
hended from a general repeal of fuch flatutes, 
government would have more to dread from the 
machinations of the firlt than of the lafl. Upon 
all thefe fubje6;s the dodor has given us a fuffi- 



cicnt and fatlsfaclory reference to hillory : — but 
I think, as a mere qucflion of debate, he has 
completely failed in the eftablifliment of his de- 
ductions ; — and that the events and records he has 
cited are altogether fubverfive of his own obje(El 
and argument. I completely agree with him, 
how^ever, that the plan purfued by the diflenters 
was highly illiberal with refped: to the catholics, 
arid in a great degree puerile and partial with re- 
fped to their own body. It was bottomed upon 
no broad and politic principle whatever. Inftead 
of entertaining the whole qUeftion as a matter of 
municipal right, to w^hich all were equally enti- 
tled who could take confcientioully (and the Ro- 
man catholics were admitted to be in fuch a ftate 
at the very moment) an oath of allegiance to the 
reigning prince and exifling government — it li- 
mited its operation to a very fmall portion of th€ 
great body, who were fuiffering under the difabili- 
tating fyilem ; it confented to fupplicate as a favor, 
in behalf of this inconfiderable minority, what it 
fhould have brought forwards as an ad of national 
juftice y and, in the fuppHcation of this favar for 
this microfcopic minority-^ confined itfelf to two. or 
three exceptionable points alone, of mere merce- 
nary confideration, inilead of attacking and pro- 
tefting againft the whole theory of political pains 
and penalties which would ftill have difgraced the 


flatute-book , and fubjeded them, if rigidly en- 
forced, to feverer evils than any from which they 
petitioned to be liberated. 

" The indulgence requefled," fays our author, 
** would only go to relieve a part of proteftant 
dilfenters from a grievance which many proteftant 
dilfenters find a very fmall one, and which the al- 
mofl annual afts of indemnity render no grievance 
at all ; while there are penal and even bloody lla- 
tutes remaining againft a confiderable part of their 
proteflant brethren, for whom no relief is afked 
in this cafe. Not to ment'on that occafional con- 
formity has not only been very generally praclifed 
by proteflant dilfenters, but has the approbation 
of fome of their mofl eminent divines, and even, 
of whole affemblies*. 

*' The prefent application of proteflant diffenters, 
then, being a pitiful and partial application, for 
what is hardly worth foliciting, and what they 
already in fome meafure polTefs, will probably 
meet with little regard from any part of the legif- 

* " In facl, are not our parliament, our armies, our navies, 
our corporations even, filled with proteflant diflenters ? who 
either make no fcruple to qualify themfelves by the facramen- 
tal teft ; or are brought to no inconvenience from negle6ting it. 
In fome inllances tl^ey may avail thcmfelves of it to avoid pe- 
nalties, which their fellow fuhje6\s are liable to — wltnef* the 
K.afe of Mr. Evans, in 1757/' 


lature for that veiy reafon. The fticklers for 
eflablifhment will confider it as the efFed of a 
refllefs and turbulent difpofition, that is never 
contented ; and the real friends of religious free- 
dom, and univerfal toleration, muil look upon it 
as a filly endeavour to remove a mole-hill, whilfl 
mountains remain untouched. 

" It may be urged that thofe oppreflive and 
fanguinary laws are a mere dead letter : but if fo, 
let them be decently inter redy and no longer re- 
main a public nuifance, to refled difhonor on 
the polity of a civilized nation, and expofe it to 
the fcorn of mankind. If the pend flatutes are 
in their own nature fo fevere and odious, that they 
can never be put in execution (which fome of 
them certainly are), to what purpofe is it then to 
retain them ? If they be deemed neceflary for the 
confervation of the flate, let them be punctually 
enforced ; if they be not neceflary, let them be 
annulled. There is here no medium ; they muft 
fland in our (latute-book, either for the national 
Jafety or Jhame I 

" But is it true that they are all a dead letter ? 
Quite the contrary : there is a whole body of dif- 
fenting lieges, on whom fome of them flill operate 
as direclly and effedually as ever; and others, 
which, though only of the difabilitating kind, are 
in their confequences equal to a penalty, and fevere 


beyond example. If the other dilTenters may be 
faid to be ' chaftifed with whips/ this clafs of 
them is certainly '.chaftifed with fcorpions ;' and 
while the former complain of being overloaded 
with the ' little finger ' of government, the latter 
have long patiently borne the preflure of its 
* loins.' 

" You readily conceive, fir, that I mean the 
Englifh catholics, a body not numerous indeed, 
but confefTedly refpectable ; and as firmly attached 
to the prefent government, and the conftitution 
of their country, as any of his majefty's fubje£ts. 
And here again the writers of the Cq/e of the dif- 
fenters are blameable for the idle and impertinent 
infinuations thrown out againil what they term 
popery and papifts ; terms that have been too often 
employed to work upon the minds of the people, 
and infpire them with horror at their fellow-crea- 
tures, by imputing to them tenets which they ex- 
prefsly difavow, and pra6lices which they difclaim 
and abjure. 

" Some of their tenets may be deemed abfurd, 
fome of their practices fuperftitious * \ but neither 

* "Even in thefe refpe^ls the catholics of the prefent day 
and particularly the Englllh catholics, are certainly not the 
fame they were but half a century ago. The fmall, the very 
fmall indulgence that;;has been granted to them has already pro- 
duced a confidcrable revolution in their minds. Since they be- 


are incompatible with any one fpecies of govern- 
ment. The fupremacy of the Roman pontiff is 
the only thing in their doftrine that has the ap-. 
pearance of political danger : and to be fure it was 
once a dangerous doctrine, from the unwarrantable 
conclufions that were drawn from it, and the per- 
nicious confequences that enfued. The fentence 
of an infallible judge was 'a tremendous fentence, 
and the thunders of the Vatican fhook the firmefl 
thrones in Chriftendom. But what was it that 
firfb gave infallibility to the decjfions of a pope ? 
•what rendered his thunders formidable?^- The 
lawlefs ambition, the pious folly, or the flavilh 
weaknefs of temporal princes, who, to ferve their 
own immediate purpofes, or to fatisfy their ill- 
placed devotion, concurred to aggrandize the 
Roman fee, until it gradually became the feat of 
univerfal empire, and its bilhop the fovereign ar- 
biter of nations. In vain the clergy murmured 
and remonftrated againfl the invafion on their 
rights : papal ufurpation, fupported by regal pow- 
er, bore every thing down before it. The infti- 
tution of religious orders contributed not a little 

gan to tafte a fmall portion of Brltifh liberty, they think, they 
fpeak, they write like Britons. If we wifh to fee further re- 
forms among them, let them (juaff it in full draughts j and I 
miftake it much, if that will not more effedually bring about 
the purpofe than penalties and profcription." 


to fupport the pope's pretenfions. Tne little 
learning that exifted, exifted in the monafteries ; 
and it was employed to ailert and extend the fup- 
pofed prerogatives of the Roman fee } on which, 
defpifmg all ordinary jurifdiaion, they immedi- 
ately depended. 

" Thus was the papal power, in times of gene- 
ral ignorance, fcrewed up to the moft enormous 
pitch ; when, like every other overgrown empire^ 
it began to labor under its own weight, has fallen 
much fafter than it rofe, and is at prefent nearly 
reduced to its priftine narrow limits. The odious 
dodrine of deponng power, transferring crowns, 
and difpenfmg with oaths, has been long exploded 
in every cathoUc univerfity. Even bulls, that re- 
gard matters purely fpiritual, have no force un- 
lefs they be accepted by the national church to 
which they are direded. Provincial fynods, me- 
tropolitans, nay, fmiple bilhops, take upon them 
to regulate the diicipline of their refpeclive diilrias, 
under the protection of the civil powers ; and a few 
years more will probably bring the form of the 
catholic hierarchy back to that of the firft cen- 

" At any rate, there is no longer danger to 
civil government from papal power. The prefent 
bifhop of Rome is, in that refped, as harmlefs 
a peijonage as the m?aa in the moon, and the 


fupremacy which the Engllfh catholics allow to 
Pius VI. is not more dangerous to the conflitu- 
tion, than the primacy of his grace of Canter- 

Having enumerated feveral of the more promi- 
nent evils to which Roman catholics were at that 
time liable in our own country, our author, in 
his ufual llyle of manly and liberal fentiment^ 
concludes as follows : 

" Such, fir, you know to be the fituation of 
the Roman catholics of England; a fituation truly 
pitiable, and of which the hardfhips are hardly 
to be conceived but by thofe who feel them. 
Would it not, then, have been more generous, 
and m.ore jufl, for the proteflant diffenters to 
have come forward on this occafion with a little 
more candor and a little more manlinefs? to 
have made their petition to parliament as compre- 
henfive as poflible ? and to have endeavoured to 
open fo wide a door of toleration as to admit their 
fellow diifenters, of whatever perfuafion, to go in 
along with them ? Or, if they felfiflily chofe to go 
in alone, it furely did not become them to throw 
fuch flumbling-blocks in the way of their fuffering 
brethren. The name of Chriftian is a much more 
ancient and more honorable, as well as a more com- 
prehenfive tie, than that of protellant ; and there is 
^^ tie Hill more ancient and comprehenfive than 


either — that of humanity. The time, I truft, is not 
at a great diilance, when the full force of this lafl 
will be underftood and felt over all the polifhed 
nations of the world, when philanthropy and corn- 
mutual interefts v/ill be the fole links of fociety, 
when tefls and penal laws will^be no more deemed 
i^ecefTary for the fecurity of religion, and when 
Papifl and Proteftant, Athanafian and Arian, 
Lutheran and Calvinift, Trinitarian and Unita- 
rian, will be names of mere diflindion, not of 
reciprocal odium, and much lefs objeds of reci- 
procal perfecution. 

f'' And have we not reafon to hope, fir, that 
the Britilh legiflature will be among the firfl to 
bring about a fyflem. fo defirable, and fo congenial 
to the Britifh conftitution ? God knows, we have, 
and ever fliall have, political difputes enough to 
divide us : why fhould thofe of religion come in 
for a fliare ? Let fome patriotic and enlightened 
Ibul, then, move at once for a repeal of every 
penal religious ftatute, and every religious teft : 
be the pledge of the fidelity of the fubjed in fu- 
ture, his ordinary oath of allegiance, and his 
fubfequent condud, and let him be anfwerable 
only for his own ; let religious principles be no 
more confounded with political ones ; but let 
every Briton, without forfeiting his birth-right, 
profefs his own belief of the Divinity, and v/prfliip 


him after his own mode : and If he choofes not to 
worfliip at all, what is that to the flate, if he 
faithfully fen^e it in the flation he holds, or the 
charge he is inti*ufled with ? In a word, let the 
only tefl of a good citizen be an obligation to be 
a peaceable Juhje^l and an boneji man.^^ 

It is due to the characleriftic candor of Dr.Geddes 
to notice that, as he had fome doubts, after hav- 
ing written this letter, whether it might not injure 
the caufe of the dilfenters at that time pending in 
parliament, and to whom he wifhed a more exten- 
five fuccefs than they had applied for themfelves, 
he poflponed the publication of it, and did not 
fuffer it to appear till the queflion had been 
completely difpofed of by a parliamentary nega- 

It is alfo due to the fame manly principle to 
obfeiTe, that when, in the enfuing year, the pro- 
teftant dilfenters, ftill elevated with hopes of fuccefs 
from the fmall majority by which their applica- 
tion to parHament had been rejeded, renewed their 
attempt, and folicited Mr* Fox to bring it once 
more before the houfe, our author contributed 
his affiftance to the fame fide of the quellion by a 
humorous and anonymous " Letter to the Right 
Reverend the Archbilhops and Bifhops of Eng- 
land ; pointing out the only fure Means of pre- 
(erving the Church from the Dangers that now 


threaten her. By an Upper-Graduate.'* This 
light and volatile mode of engaging in an import- 
ant fubjedl may perhaps be objedled to by fome 
of my graver readers : yet, whoever has any re- 
colledion of the tranfactions of the day cannot 
j3Ut remember that the prefs was fo deeply loaded 
with weightier publications — and that every fohd 
argument had been fo exhaufted and worn-out 
by repeated ufe, wit and humor feem to have 
been the only weapons at this time unelTayed. 
And in reality it is impoffible not to fmile at the 
univerfal agitation and alarm into which the dig- 
nitaries and many of the laity of the eilablifhed 
church were thrown by ib trifling an incident : an 
incident which, if the diiTenters had proved fuc- 
cefsful, inftead of endangering any one principle 
of either church or (late, would have tended 
more than any other fcheme that could have been 
devifed, to the deilruclion of their own fraternity 
alone, by pulling down the great wall of feparation 
which at prefent divides them from the eflablifh- 
ment, and by amalgamating them hereby into 
one uniform mafs with the majority of their fellow 
citizens. The diiTenters once more loft their caufe, 
however, and from their extreme violence and 
impolicy they deferved to lofe it. Their principle 
was good, but their conduct was in many in- 

ftances unconftitutional and contradictory. Tefts 


were propofed to deftroy the exillence of tefts : 
and the parliament was attempted to be carried by 
florm. The candor, moderation and eloquence 
of Mr. Fox were exerted in vain, therefore, in 
favor of thofe who had ruined without the doors 
of the houfe the very queftion he had undertaken 
to fupport within ; and the majority againjfl them 
was, in this renewed debate, not lefs than in the 
proportion of 294 to 105. 

I do not know that the real author of this 
*' Letter to the Archbifhops and Bifhops '* was 
ever fufpected — but there are neverthelefs many 
paragraphs which might have given fome fort of 
clue to the quarter whence it proceeded. Of 
this the reader may judge by the following ex- 

*' In vain, my lords, your defenders appeal to 
authorities. What do diffenters care for the 
great Cranmer, the learned Bucer, the venerable 
Hooker, the incomparable Chillingworth, the or- 
thodox Taylor, the ingenious Stillingfleet, the 
reverend Hammond, &c. &c. ? — The Romanifls, 
they will tell you, ufe the fame fort of arguments, ' 
and with a much better grace. — They talk to you 
of angelic, feraphic, and invincible doctors ! 
They run over the names of the great Bellarmine, 
the learned Cabaflutius, the impartial Fleury, the 
judicious Tillemont, the admirable Bofluet, &c. — • 


And yet, my lords, they are not fo unreaformble 
as to ground the pretended exclufive privileges of 
their church on thefe authorities. 

" In vain you conjure up poor Sherlock to bear 
teflimony in your behalf. The ghoft of Hoadly 
purfues him whitherfoever he goes, and tortures 
his prelatic foul even in the fliades of Elyfium !— 
if Elyfium admit of torture. — In truth, the argu- 
ments of Hoadly in favor of a general, complete, 
undiflinguifhed toleration have never been an- 
fwered, and never will be anfvi^ered, fatisfadorily; 
on the principles of reafon^ Jcripture^ and pro- 

" There is, however, one and only one effec- 
tual way of anfwering them ; which I will now 
point out and recommend to your lordlhips' at- 

'•' My lords, when you feparated from the 
church of Rome, you probably did not forefee 
what ufe the diilenters would make of your plea 
of feparation : much lefs, that you might, one 
day, be under the neceility of employing the fame . 
arguments againft Prefbyterians, Socinians, Arians, 
and Anabaptifls, Vv^hich the Romaniils urged 
againfl yourfelves, when you prefumed to diflent 
from their church. It was badly confidered, my 
lords ! And, fmce you retained fo many othqr 
good things and good do6lrines of that church, 


you ftould alfo have retained a fhare of her in- 
fallibility — which was fairly worth all the reft. 
Without it, Indeed, all the reft are held on a 
doubtful, precarious tenure. For what is church- 
authority unlefs it be infallible ? A mere puppet, 
my lords, the wires of which the ftate may to- 
day put into your hands, and to-morrow into 
thofe' of others ! which, in England, are drawn 
by biftiops ; in Scotland by prefbyters 5 in fome 
countries by neither.'* 

The extenfive learning and indefatigable adli- 
"vity of Dr. Geddes had, by this time, acquired for 
him a high degree of celebrity, not only among 
literary fcholars, but in the literary market. Se- 
veral of his pubhcations fold well, and he was per- 
petually preffed to give either a ftated ,or occafional 
affiftance to many periodical works of progreflive or 
eftabliftied reputation. With thefe requefts his 
own laborious and augmenting occupations pre- 
vented him from complying at leaft with any de- 
gree of frequency or regularity. The Analytical 
Review is the only literary journal to which he 
ftatedly or feriouily contributed; though, in his 
moments of relaxation from feverer ftudies, he 
cafually enriched with feme of their beft fugitive* 
pieces, both in profe and verfe, the Morning Chro- 
nicle, and another newfpaper or two of the fame 
political bias. 


To the Analytical Review he was induced to be- 
come a profeflional contributor, in confequence of 
his connexion with Mr. Johnfon, of St. Paul's 
Church-yard, who now ranked as his chief book- 
feller, and was proprietor of the work. He began 
with its commencement, on May 1, 1788; and 
the very article with which it opens is of his own 
production. It is the firfl number of the cri- 
tique on the Vari;£ Lecliones of De Rofli; and 
from this time till September 1793 he fup- 
plied not lefs than foYty-feven articles, the laft of 
which is direded to an examination of Mr. Wake- 
field's Silva Oitica. Confining himfelf almoft ex- 
clufively, in thefe profeflional ftridures, to biblical 
criticifm and ecclefiaflical hifiory, the value of 
his contributions to the Analytical Review may be 
eafiiy calculated, from the talents the reader mufl 
by this time allow him to have polTefTed, and the 
uninterrupted application of thofe talents to thefe 
very fubjeCls. Truly defirable indeed would it 
be, and I mean not to be cenforious in faying fo^ 
that every profeflional critic fhould be as well qua- 
lified for the tafk he undertakes: periodical reviews, 
which, when well conducted, are at all times valu- 
able, would then be of incalculable advantage to 
every nation, by augmenting its knowledge and 
confummating its tafte. But this it js in vain to 
expe£t: few, even among men of well deferved 


literary reputation^ are as comprehenfively endoW^ 
ed; and of thofe few, feldom indeed is it that 
any one of them can be perfuaded to fubmit to the 
dmdgery of periodical criticifm, even though the 
liberality of the proprietor leave the amount of re- 
muneration to himfelf. Thofe who have been long 
engaged in the poiTeflion and fuperintendence of 
works of this defcription will readily admit the 
truth of this obfervation; for it is a part of the 
daily difficulties to which they are expofed, and for 
which they have a large claim upon the indul- 
gence both of authors and the public. Dr. Ged- 
des, in his connexion with the Analytical Review, 
during a period of ^ye years and a half, accompa- 
nied it throughout its beft days: and when the 
reader learns that its fuccefs was progreflive as 
long as his affiftance was extended to it, and that 
it gradually declined from the date of his fecellion, 
he will furely allow me, without the charge of un- 
due panegyric, to attribute no fmall portion of its 
faired reputation to himfelf. To make the me- 
moirs of his writings as perfect as I am able, I have 
thrown into a note below * a catalogue of the ar- 

Year. Vol. Month. Pag. * Subfcribed Letter, " 

/;8S I May i De Rofii Varlae LeAloneSj 4 vol. 4to. E 
1 2 Weilon' Tranilation of the Song of De- 
borah, 4to. A 
* 16 King's Morfels of Criticifm, 4to. R 


tides he contributed; of which his reviews of De 
Roffi's Various Ledions, and fir W. Jones's Afi- 

Ysar. Vol. Month. Pag. Subfcribed Letter. 

24 Prieflley's Le6lures on Hiftory, 4to. R 

July 269 De Roffi Variae Lc6liones continued. E 

294 Prieftley's Le6\ures on Hiftory con. R 

Appendix 530 Wilkins's Heetopades, 8vo. R 

^39 Newcome's Exekiel, 410. E 

II Nov. 274 Wilkins's Heetopades concluded. R 

308 Hodgfon's Proverbs. E 

311 Pricftley*s Le6lures on Hiftory con. R 

Dec. 444 King's Morfels of Crlticirn con. R 

Appendix 559 De Roffi Varise Leaioncs continued. E 

1789 III Mar. 277 CampbelPs Four Gofpels, a vols. 4to. R 

286 Wrigiite's Explanation of two firft 

Chapters of Genefis, A 

April 443 Campbell's Four Gofpels continued. R 

Appendix 569 Levi's Lingua Sacra, 3 vols. 8vo. A 

576 Levi on the Pentateuch, 5 vols. 8vo. A 

578 Harmer's Obfervations, &c. vols. 3 

nd 4, 8vo. E 

581 Nlft)ett onPaffagesoftheNewTeft- 

ament. E 

583 Campbell's Four Gofpels concluded. R 
585 Wakefield's Tranllation of certain 

Parts of the New Teftament, Svo. R 
17S9 IV June 190 Cooke's Tranflation of the Revela- 
tions. E 
July 237 Symonds's Obfervations on revifing 
the prefent Englifti Veifion of the 
Four Gofpels and Afts, 4to. R 
Aug. 459 Willis's Tranflation of the Aaions 

of the Apoftles, Svo. E 



atic Refearches form, in my opinion, the mod ela- 
borate excurfions : while his minute and liberal de- 
tail of the Englifh Roman CathoHc controverfy 

Year. Vol. Month. Pag. Subfcribed Letter. 

V Oa. 171 Wakefield's SilvaCritlca, vol. I. 8vo. A 
Appendix 559 Delgado'sTranflation of Pentateuch, 

4to. R 

1790 VI Feb. 163 Jones's A fiatic Refearches continued. 

N. B. The former parts of the cri- 
tique in Vol. V. 202 and 334 were 
by another hand. 
Mm. 313 Ditto continued. 
April 43 I Ditto*continucd. 
VI J June 209 Ditto concluded. R 

VIII Ap. 490 Englilh Catholic Controverfy. A 

558 Hezel's Biblical and Religious Journal. 

1 791 IX Feb. 204 Dodfon's Ifaiah. E 

Mar. 330 Englilh Catholic Controverfy conti- 
nued. N. B. The lal^ two pages 
^^^ and ^^6 by another hand. 
April 535 Seven Prophetical Periods, &c. 

550 Englifh Catholic Controverfy contin. 

X May 66 Street's Pfalms, 2 vols. 8vo. , R 
Appendix 522 Englifh Catholic Controverfy contin. 

XI Oa. 136 Mariti's Travels, 2 vols. 8vo. D M 

186 Wakefield's Silva Critica, vol. 2. 
Dec. 431 Englifti Catholic Controverfy. 

442 Reflexions on Duelling. R 

1792 XII Mar. 326 Wakefield's Tranflation of the New 


XIII Ap. 497 Ditto concluded. E 

1793 XVII Sep. 52 Codex Theod. Bezas, a Kipling. E 
Appendix 499 Wakefield's Silva Critica, vol. 3. A 


conilltutes the mofl valuable document relative to 
this tranfadion to which the polemic hiflorian 
can apply for information, the Blue Books of the 
catholic committee alone excepted. 

No new connexions or occafional digrelTions 
towards collateral fubjeds could induce our inde- 
fatigable fcholar, however, to relax in his tranfla- 
tionofthe Bible; and in the beginning of the year 
1788 he thought his labors fufficiently advanced, 
to warrant another and a more explicit Addrefs to 
the Public upon this prime object of his purfuits. 
Accordingly, at this period, he publifhed his " Pro- 
pofals for printing by Subfcription A New Tranila- 
tion of the Bible, from corrected Texts of the origi- 
nal; with various Readings, explanatory Notes, 
find critical Obfervations." His expedations of fuc- 
cefs were, at this time, very fanguine. " Such a 
tranllation," fays he, " I have ventured to attempt, 
and to attempt alone: and I trufl, through the 
bounty of that God whofe oracles I have faith- 
fully attempted to elucidate, and make more in- 
teliigible, that I fhall be able to bring it to a conclu- 
fion." He had, indeed, reafon to be fanguine; for 
a very numerous imprellion of his Propofals was 
fold off in the courfeof a few months; and before 
the end of the year he found it neceflary to pub- 
lifh a new edition. In his Addrefs to the Public, 
p. 8. he alfo makes mention of another edition 


brought fonvard in the enfuing year : but of this 
imprt'fTion I have feen no copy, and cannot tell, 
therefore, whether it varied in any refpeft from the 
two preceding. To each of thefe was fubjoined 
a fpecimen of the undertaking. That of the earlieft 
edition confilled of the firfh chapter of Genefis, with 
excerpts from Exodus and the fixteenth Pfalni; 
the price of which was half a crown. At the fug- 
geflion of feveral friends, however, the Pfalni and 
pafTages from Exodus were difcontinued in the 
feco'nd iniprefTion, with a view of reducing the 
price to eighteen pence; and the firft chapter of 
Genefis was alone preferved vWth its confecutive 

Our author had, at this time, fuflained a heavy 
and indeed irretrievable lofsjby the death of thofe 
two prime ornaments of the cflabliflied church, 
as well as chief promoters of his work. Dr. Ken- 
nicott and Dr. Lowth, from whofe conjoint and 
pre-eminent abilities he expected to have derived 
very eflential advantage in its profeciition ; to 
v/hofe opinions he would have yielded more im- 
plicitly than to the opinions of any other contem- 
porary fcholars; and from whofe eilablifhed credit 
and recommendation he would very confiderably 
have augmented the number of his fubfcribers. 


His circle of literary friends and patrons, never- 
thelefs, confiderably increafed: and he very cor- 


dially embraces the opportunity oiFered him by the 
publication of his Propofals, of returning th^r^ks, 
among other foreign correfpondents, to Dr. Law, 
bifhop of Killala; Mr. Barret, of Dublin; colonel 
Valiancy; Dr. Madan, agent for the church of the 
Canaries at Madrid ; and the (ibbate Thomfon, at 

The principal conditions of the work, and which 
he now for the firfi: time fubmitted to the pubHc, 
were: that it fhould be completed in fix large vo^ 
lumes in quarto; of which the four firfl fhould 
contain all the books of the Old Teflanient, includ- 
ing the Apocrypha; the fifth, the books of the New 
Teflament; and the fixth, a general preface, with 
maps and indexes: — that the price of each volume 
to fubfcribers fhould be a guinea and a half:— that 
the firfl volume fhould be put to prefs as foon as 
the number of his fubfcribers amounted to a thou- 
fand: — and that the fhould fellow each 
other, as nearly, as pofTible, at the diilance of about 
eighteen months. Of the fpecimen appended tq 
this tract I take no notice at prefent, as it will 
again fall under our confideration when we come 
to take a general furvey of fuch part of the work 
at large as the author lived to execute. It excited, 
however, much difcuffion, both among Jews and 
Chriflians; and having afferted, in his Propo-, 
fals, that if any refpeclable literary character would 


fuggefl hints of Improvement, or point out fources 
of information, with refpedt to the plan and execu- 
tion of his work, he would, without pledging him- 
felf to adopt his opinions, receive them with thank- 
fulnefs, and confider them vidth due attention — 
our author foon found himfelf fo overwhelmed with 
packets of queflions, criticifms, and advice, that, 
exclaiming with Erafmus, " Tantis fludiorum 
obruor laboribus, et innumerabilium epiflohs fic 
undique provocor, ut fmgulis refpondere non -- 
queam," he was compelled, in the courfe of a 
few months, to the publication of another trad, an- 
terior to the appearance of the firfl volume of his 
verfion, which he brought forward in July 1790, 
and entitled " Dr. Geddes's General Anfwer to 
the Queries, Counfils and Criticifms that have 
been communicated to him fmce the Publication 
of his Propofals for printing a new Tranflation of 
the Bible.'' 

In this pamphlet It is fufficient to remark, that 
while he refills the generality of the counfils and 
criticifms communicated to him, from motives 
which he very candidly affigns, he yields to feveral, 
and liberally exprefles his obligations to the cor- 
refpondents who propofed them. In replying to 
different orders of querifls, he 11:111 difcovers that 
high independence of fpirit which was the pecu- 
liar charaderiflic of his difpofitlon. To the queftion 


from one of his own religious communion, whether 
his verfion had been approved by bifhop Talbot, 
the vicar apoflolic of the London diftricl, in which 
cafe he would willingly he ajuhjcriherl he replies as 
follows *: " I never fought the approbation of 
bilhop Talbot, or of any other bifliop whomfoever. 
A bifliop's or even a pope's approbation can give 
no intrinfic value to any work; and a work that 
has intrinfic value needs not their approbation. 
Whether mine be fuch or not, it is for the learned 
public to determine: and if their determination be 
favorable, not the fentence of a whole fynod of 
bifhops can reverfe it. In any event, I will never 
walk in trammels, if I can avoid it; and leaft of 
all in mental trammels. — If Roman catholics are to 
read no books but fuch as are formally approved 
by a bifhop, their libraries will not be very nu- 
merous, nov very coilly. My queriil, however, is 
not, I find, the only Roman catholic who is in the 
fame difagreeable fufpenfe: I mufl leave it to time 
to relieve them. Mean while I cannot help faying 
with a much greater man, ^dd autem ingratius 
quam pro tarn immenjis Judoribus vigdiijque^ quas 
tantutn juvandi animo JujceferiSy et quihus nulla far 
gratia referri queat, rependi calumniam\ idqUe potif- 

* For this venerable prelate's favorable opinion of his 
work, notwlthllanding the warmth of this reply, the reader 
may confult the beginning of chap. xi. 


fimum ah iis, ad quos potijftmum opens utilitas fit 
r edit lira?'' 

To the quelllons urged in confequence of his 
having allowed Dr. Prieflley /i? be a Chriftian^ " Sir, 
are you a Roman catholic? Sir, are you a Chrif- 
tian?" his reply poflfefles an equal portion of bril- 
liancy and liberality. " To the latter of thefe 
queries," fays he, " I anfwer pofitively and per- 
emptorily: I am a ' Christian.' — In order to 
give a jufl and cautious anfwer to the former, I 
muft confult my old friend and countryman Duns 
Scotus. Now Duns Scotus inflruds me (very pro- 
perly) to make a diflindion between the two terms; 
and to fay: ' A Catholic I am ahjclute^ a Ro- 
man catholic ovi\j fecundum quid,'^ If the querifl 
underftand Latin and logic, he will be at no lofs 
to comprehend my anfwer; but in cafe he fhould 
be a mere EngUfh fcholar, and for the fake of other 
Engliih readers (if there be any) who may enter- 
tain any doubts about my catholicity^ I will make 
my diftin£lion as clear and explicit as he or they 
can wifh. — If by the epithet Roman be only meant, 
holding communion with the fee of Rome, and ac- 
knowledging the primacy of its bifliop, I am cer- 
tainly fo far a Roman cathohc: but in any other 
fenfe or refpe£l I am no more a Roman^ than I am 
a French^ German^ or Spanijh catholic. If to the 
appellation catholic any difcriminating adjundive 


were neceffary, I would call myfelf a Brittjh ca^ 
tholic; but I mther adhere to the fimple declara- 
tion of an ancient martyr: ' Christian is my 
name, and Catholic my furname.' " 

Such replies, however, and fuch perpetual de^ 
clarations in private life, for never was there a 
man who at all times more openly difplayed the 
whole interior of his mind than Dr. Geddes, were 
not likely to obtain for him any great fliare of po- 
pularity within the pale of his own church. And 
it is equally to the credit of proteftants, and the 
difgrace of catholics, that although his labors, as 
he ever mod openly and honeftly avowed, were 
originally and principally defigned for the benefit 
of the latter, they were principally promoted by 
the former. In anfwer, therefore, to another 
queilion, " what encouragement he had met with 
from the ellabliftied church, from the proteftant 
dilTenters, and from thofe of his own communion?'* 
*' As truth," fays he, " ought never to be aihamed, 
I will tell the truth. From the two firil denomi- 
nations I have received more, from the laft lefs, 
encouragement than I had reafon to exped. Our 
Saviour fays, ' A prophet is no where unhonored 
but in his own country.' It may in like manner 
happen that an interpreter be no where lefs ho- 
nored than in his own communion. While the 
Jews gave a favorable teilimony to the merit of 


Jerom*s verfion, his Chriftlan brethren (whom he 
called his dogs) were tearing it in pieces." 

This anfwer is, indeed, fully confirmed by a 
glance at the names of the fubfcribers, introduced 
alphabetically at the end of the pamphlet; in which 
lift his cathoHc friends bear no proportion to thofe 
of the proteftant faith. The whole number of 
copies fubfcribed for at this time, an account of 
which had actually reached him, appears, from this 
document, to have been not lefs than three hun- 
dred and forty-three : which, confidering the heavy 
expenfe of the entire work, and how fhort was 
the period that had elapfed fmce the publication 
of his Propofals, was fufficient to afford him every 
hope of complete and fpeedy fuccefs. Naturally 
fanguine, and beheving, with much reafon, that 
many other names had been fubfcribed, of which 
he had hitherto obtained no notice from his differ^ 
ent agents, we cannot wonder at his having preci- 
pitated himfelf into his favorite publication, with 
a greater degree of hafte than mere worldly pru- 
dence would perhaps have dictated. " Although," 
fays he, tov/ards the clofe of this pamphlet, " my 
lift of fubfcribers is not yet nearly full; yet rely- 
ing on the generofity of an enhghtiened Public, 
and trufting that my work will, fooner or later, 
meet with its approbation, I have ventured to 
^ fend it to the prefs before the time ftipulated in 


my conditions. Ten fheets of the firll volume 
are aclually printed, and the reft (hall follow with 
as little interruption as poiTible." His objed, moft 
unqueftionably, was not gain. It was the true 
defire of^ doing good, in the moft important fenfe 
of the term, combined with a laudable afpiration 
after the applaufe of the wife and the worthy, with- 
out fome portion of which few men will labor, and 
none obtain fuccefs. " My foul, thank heaven," 
fays he in the fame pamphlet, " is not a mer- 
cenary one; I exped not exceffive profits even 
from exceffive exertions : I truft I fhall Jiever want 
meat, and clothes, and fire : to a philofophic and 
contented mind what more is necelfaryr" Few 
men, indeed, could have burft with more cordia- 
lity into the celebrated apoftrophe of the Epicu- 
rean poet, De Ren Nat. ii. 14. 

O miferas hominum tnenteis ! 6 pe6tora cscca ! 
Qualibus in tenebris vltae, quantisque perlclis 
Degitur hocc* aevi, quodquomque eft ! nonne videre eft 
Nil aliud libi-naturam latrare, nifi ut, quoi 
Corpore fejunclus dolor abfit, rnente fruatur 
Jocundo fenfu, cura femota, metuque ! 

O wretched mortals ! race perverfe and blind ! 

Mid what dread dark, what perilous purfuits 

Spend ye your dellined hours ! — Know, know ye not. 

Of all ye toil for, nature nothing craves 

But, for the body, freedom from difeafe. 

And fweet, unanxious quiet for the mind! 



application of the JEiUgVifb catholics to the hgijlaiure 
for additional relief in the matter of prccmunire — 
The protefl and oath -propofed on this occafion — Con- 
troverfy among the body of the catholics upon this 
fubjeSl — Pafloral Letter of the Bfhop of Comana — 
Dr. Geddes replies to it — Firjl and j'econd Encycli- 
cal Letters of the Vicars Apofolic — Dr. Geddes re-r 
puhl'fhes the latter^ ivith a continued and fare aflic com- 
mentary — Progrefs of the hill through both houfes of 
parliament ; it paffes, and receives the royal affent — 
Termination of the controverfy \ and advantages 
gained to the Qatholic community by this additional 
ati in their favor. A. D. 1790 — -1791. 

At this period the attention of our author was 
alfo directed to another and a very important fub- 
jeO:; but one in which from his previous habits of 
ftudy, and efpecially his profound knowledge of 
popifh polemics, he was eminently qualified to 
take an active part. The act introduced by fir 
George Saville in 1778, in favor of Roman ca- 
tholics, noticed in a former chapter, had been pro^ 
duftive of the happieft effeds. This, indeed, not- 
withftanding the popular fermentation which had 
followed it, might readily have been pre-conceivcd 


upon the common grounds of human conduct : 
for, as perfecution for rehgious principles ferves 
only to render the perfecuted more inveterate in 
their prejudices, and progrelTively to alienate their 
affections from the government under which they 
fulfer; religious toleration is the mod effedual 
flep that can be taken to generate a fpirit of patri- 
otic love, and to enlarge and enlighten the preju- 
diced underftanding. While the catholics of Eng- 
land lay under the prelTure of the whole fyftem of 
the penal lav;s of praemunire, they remained obili- 
nately attached to foreign powers and the mod 
dangerous do6lrines : they were generally Jacobites 
and papifls in the worft fenfe of thefe words. But 
in proportion as this fyflem of intolerance had be- 
come obfolete, and had ceafed to be afted upon 
with feverity — and more efpecially fmce its partial 
revocation by the Saville act, they began to open 
their eyes to political truths and falfehoods, and to 
approximate their fellow citizens in charity and li- 
berality of fentiments. — Confcious of this change 
in their own body, and beheving that governinent 
was as confcious of it as themfelves, they meditated 
greater and more advantageous changes ilili; and 
aimed at giving to parHament fuch convincing 
proofs of their honed recantation or total dilbelief 
of every obnoxious doctrine, as to obtain a title 
for being put into poifcllion of as plenary a tole- 


ration as any other clafs of diflenters from the na- 
tional church. With a view of accomplifhing this 
important point, as well as that of procuring bifhops 
in ordinary, and a college at home for the edu- 
cation of their youth, they had now for fome time 
eftabliflied general annual alTociations in London, 
whence feled: committees were periodically chofen 
to fuDerintend their common interefls, and manage 
their common concerns. 

It was in 1787 that the committee thus appointed 
appears to have entertained for the firfl time the 
idea of a fecond application to parliament: and hav- 
ing communicated their views to the body at large, 
they appHed officially to Mr. Pitt, and feveral other 
leaders of adminiftration, to know whether the to- 
leration they were felicitous of obtaining might not 
be extended to them, upon fubfcription of a new 
and more comprehenfive avowal of their political 
fentiments, as alfo to inquire what kind of an 
avowal might be deem.ed fatisfadory for this pur- 
pofe. The refult was, that a full and explicit 
declaration of their political and religious opinions 
was fpeedily propofed, drawn up, and figned by 
the four vicars apollolic and their coadjutors; by 
above nine hundred of the principal laity, and by 
almofl all the clergy in the kingdom, abjuring in 
the mofl folemn manner the pope's infallibility, 
^is power of depofmg kings, of abfolving from 


oaths — and every other dodrlne which might inca- 
pacitate them from becoming liege and cordial ci- 
tizens of a proteflant ftale *. 

* The following Is a verbal copy of the Declaration and 
Proteftation referred to : 

" We whofe names are hereunto fubfcribed, catholics of 
England, do freely, voluntarily, and of our own accord, make 
the following folemn Declaration and FroteHatlon. 

" Whereas fentiments unfavorable to us as citizens and Tub- 
jefts have been entertained by Englilh proteftants, on account 
of principles which are aflerted to be maintained by us and 
other catholics, and which principles are dangerous to fociety, 
and totally repugnant to political and civil liberty 3 — it Is a 
duty that we, the Englifh catholics, owe to our country as 
well as to ourfelves, to proteft, in a formal and folemn manner, 
agalnft do6lrines that we condemn, and that conftitute no part 
whatever of our principles, religion, or belief. 

" We are the more anxious to free ourfelves from fuch impu- 
tations, becaufe divers proteftants, who profefs themfelvcs to 
be real friends to liberty of confcience, have, neverthelefs, 
avowed themfelves hoftile to us, on account of certain opi- 
nions which we are fuppofed to hold. And we do not blame 
thofe proteftants for their hoftility, if it proceeds (as we hope 
it does) not from an intolerant fpirit in matters of religion, 
but from their being mifmformed as to matters of faft. 

*' If it were true that we, the Englifh catholics, had adopted 
the maxims that are erroneoufly imputed to us, we acknow- 
ledge that we fhould merit the reproach of being dangerous 
enemies to the ftate ; but we deteft thof- unchriftian-Uke and 
execrable maxims : and we feveraliy claim, in common with 
men of all other religions, as a matter of natural juftice, that 
we, the Englilh catholics, ought not to fufJtr for or on ac- 


According to the tenor of this declaration, and 
notwithilanding the recent difcornfiture of the pro- 
count of any wicked or erroneous do£lrines that may be held 
by any other catholics ; which do6lrines we publicly difclaim j 
any more than Eritini protellants ought to be rendered re- 
fponfible for any dangerous doiVines that may be held by any 
other p oteltants, which dodrines they, theBrIti(h proteftanls, 

" ifl. We have been accufed of holding, as a principle of our 
religion, that princes excommunicated by the pope and coun- 
cil, or by authority of the fee of Rome, may be depofed or 
murdered by iheir fubje£ls, or other perfons. 

" But fo far is the above mentioned unchriftian-like and abo- 
minable pofition from being a principle that we hold, that we 
rejef^, abhor, and deleft it, and every part thereof, as execrable 
and impious ; and we do folemnly 4eclare, That neither the 
pope, either with or without a general council, nor any pre- 
late, nor any prieft, nor any affembly of prelates or priefts, 
nor any ecclefiaftlcal power whatever, can abfolve the fubjefts 
of this realm, or any of them, from their allegiance to his ma- 
jefly king George the Third, who is, by authority of parlia- 
ment, the lawful king of this realm, and of all the dominions 
thereunto belonging. 

" 2d, We have alfo been accufed of holding, as a principle of 
our religion, That implicit obedience is due from us to the or- 
ders ;ind decrees of popes and general councils; and that there- 
fore, if the pope, or any general council, (hould, for the good 
of the church, command us to take up arms againft govern- 
ment, or by any means to fubvert the 'aws and liberties of 
this country, or to exterminate perfons of a different perfua- 
fion from us, we (it is alTerted by our accufers) hold ourfelvcs 
bound to obey fuch orders or decrees, on pain of eternal fire ; 

** Wheeas we pofitively deny, that we owe any fuch obedi* 


teftant dilTenters*, a petition was drawn up, and 
prefented to both houfes of parliament; and upon 

* As I have ftated a few pages back that the Roman catho- 
lics did not conceive themfelves to have been ufed in a very 
friendly manner by the publications of fevcral of the proteftant 
diflenters, during the time of their own application to parlia- 
ment, it is but juft that I (hould notice the liberality of the 
conduft of the latter upon the prcfent occafion. The catholic 
committee fpeak of it v^rith- much gratitude in the following 
terms : '* That part of our fellow fubjei5^s, from whofe prepof- 
f-fTions we had moft reafon to dread oppofition to our relief, 
were, after they had confidered our proteft, cordially reconciled 
to ihe equity of the meafure. The proteftant diflenters fur- 
rendered, by immediate conviftion, every ancient jealoufy and 
fufpicion, and gave us their good wifhes and fupport.'* Blue 
Books> No. III. page 8. Letter to the Catholics of England. 

cnceto the pope and general council, or to either of them 3 and 
we believe that no a6l that is in itfelf immoral or diftioneft 
can ever be juftified by or under color that it is done either 
for the good of the church, or in obedience to any ecclefiallical 
power whatever. We acknowledge no infallibility in the 
pope J and we neither apprehend nor believe, that our difobe- 
dience to any fuch orders or decrees (("hould any fuch be given 
or made) could fubjeft us to any puniftiment whatever. And 
.wc hold and infift. That the catholic church has no power 
that can, dire£lly or indireftly, prejudice the rights of proteft- 
ants, inafmuch as it is llri6lly confined to the refufmg to them 
a participation in her facraments and other religious privileges 
of her communion, which no church (as we conceive) can be 
expelled to give to thofe out of her pale, and which no perfon 
cut of her pale will, wc fuppofe, ever require. 


a manifeftation by the legiflature of a dlfpofition 
to attend to the petition, a bill was inftantly pre- 

*' And we do f^lemnly declare^ That no church, nor any pre- 
late, nor any pi left, nor any alTembly of prelates or priefts, nop 
any ecclefialtlcal power whatever, hath, have, or ought to have 
any jurifdiftion or authority whatlbever within this realm, 
that can, diredlly or indiredl'y, affcdl or interfere with the in- 
dependence, fo ereignty, laws, conftitution, or government 
thereof i or the rights, liberties, perfons, or properties of the 
people of the faid realm, or of any of them, fave only and ex- 
cept by the authority of parliament j and that any fuch af- 
fumption of power would be an ufurpation. 

*' 3d, We have likewife been accufed of holding, as a prin- 
ciple of our religion. That the pope, by virtue of his fpiritual 
power, can difpenfe with the obligations of any compa6l or 
oath taken or entered into by a catholic : that therefore no 
oath of allegiance, or other oath, can bind us ; and, confc- 
quently, that we can give no fecurity for our allegiance to any 

** There can be no doubt but that this conclufion would be juft, 
if the original propofition upon which it is founded were true ; 
but we pofitively deny that we do hold any fuch principle. 
And we do folemnly declare. That neither the pope, nor any 
prelate, nor any prieft, nor any aflfembly of prelates or priefts, 
nor any ccclefialiical power whatever, can abfolve us, or any of 
us, from, or difpenfe with, the obligations of any compact or 
oath whatfoever. 

*• 4th, We have alfo been accufed of holding as a principle 
of our religion, that not only the pope, but even a catholic 
prieft, has power to pardon the fins of catholics at his will and 
pleafure ; and therefore, that no catholic can pofiibly give any 
fecurity for his allegiance to any government, inafmuch as the 
pope, or a prieft, can pardon perjury, rebellion, and high- 


pared, and a new oath grounded upon the prin- 
ciples of the proteft was introduced into it, to be 
taken by all thofe catholics, or, as they were de- 

** We acknowledge alfo the juftnefs of this conclulion, if the 
propofition upon which it is founded were not totally falfe. 
But we do folemnly declare, That, on the contrary, we believe 
that no fin whatever can be forgiven at the will of any pope, or 
of any pricft, or of any pcrfon whomfoever ; but that a lincere 
forrow for paft fin, a firm refolution to avoid future guilt, and 
every poffible atonement to God and the injured neighbour, 
are the previous and indifpenfable requifites to eftablifti a well- 
founded expectation of forgivcnefs. 

**■ 5 th, And we have alfo been accufed of holding as a prin- 
ciple of our religion, That ' no faith is to be kept with here- 
tics ;* fo that no government which is not catholic can have 
any fecurity from us for our allegiance and peaceable beha- 

**■ This doftrine, that ' faith is not to be kept v/ith here- 
tics,' we reject, reprobate, and abhor, as being contrary to re- 
ligion, morality, and common honefty : — and we do hold and 
folemnly declare, That no breach of faith with any perfon 
whomfoever can be juftified by reafon of or under pretence 
that fuch perfon is an heretic or an infidel. 

*' And we further folemnly declare. That we do make this 
Declaration and Proteftation, and every part thereof, in the 
plain and ordinary fenfe of the words of the fame, without 
any evafion, equivocation, or mental refervation whatfoever. 

** And we appeal to the juftice and candor of our fellow- 
citizens, whether we, the Englilh catholics, who thus folemnly 
difclaim, and from our hearts abhor, the above-mentioned 
abominable and unchriftian-likc principles, ought to be put 
upon a level with any other men who may hold and profefs 
thofe principles ?" 


nominated in the bill, protefling catholic diifenters, 
who fhould be entitled to the additional indulgence 
hereby to be fecured to them *. 

* The following Is a copy of the Oath, which like that of 
the Proteft I have inferted at length, as well for acomparifon 
with each other, as to give fome official ftatement of the real 
principles of the generality of Englilh catholics in the prefent 
day : 

'* I A. B. do fincerely promife and fwcar, That I will be 
faithful and bear true allegiance to his majefty king George 
the Third, and him wijl defeud to the utmoft of my power 
againft all confpiracies and attempts whatfoever that (hall be 
made againft his perfon, crown, or dignity, and I will do my 
utmoft endeavour to difclofe and make known to his majefty, 
his heirs and fucceflbrs, all treafons and traitorous confpira- 
cies which may be formed againft him or them j and I do 
faithfully promife to maintain, fupport and defend, to the 
utmoft of my power, againft any perfon or perfons whom- 
Ibever, the fucceflion of the crown ;'« the family of bis majefly f, 

f <' I think the words fcored under too large and unqualified. In the 
6th of Anne, chap. 7. fe6l. 20. the oath appointed to be taken after 
the queen's death was to maintain the fucceffion of the crown as it 
flood linnited by the nth and 12th William III. ch. 2. to the princefs 
Sophia, eledlrefs and duchefs dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of 
her body, being proteftants. Here too, iii like manner, I recom- 
mend a reference to the fame a6l for fettlement of the crown. T. H. 

" In the fame aft of queen Anne the oath fo prefcribed is with a 
blank, for the name of the king or t][ueen on the throne for the time 
being, and the oath is followed with a claufe, direding how the 
blank is to be filled up from time to time. This appears to me a 
more coiTcft and complete mode of framing nnd adjufting the oath 
thsn is here adopted ; becaufe it provides for adapting the language 
of the oath according to tlie time prefent, and fo renders a future 
aift for altering the oath, on the acccITion of every prince, unneceffary. 

F. H.'» 


The Englifh catholic community, which is di- 
vided into four diflridls inftead of diocefes, the 
London, or, as it is fometimes called, the fouthem, 
the middle, the northern, and the weftern, had at 
this time for their four official prelates, or vicars 

agalnft any other perfon claiming or pretending a right 
to the crown of thefe realms : And I do fwear that I do re- 
je6l and dcteft, as an unchriftian and impious pofition, that it is 
lawful to murder or deftroy any perfon or perfons whatfo- 
cver, for or under pretence of their being heretics : and alfo 
that unchriftian and impious principle, that no faith is to be 
kept with Heretics. I further declare, That it is no article of 
my faith, and that I do renounce, rejedt, and abjure the opi- 
nion, that princes excommunicated by the pope and council, 
or by any authority of the fee of Rome, or by any authority 
whatfoevcr, may be depofed or murdered by their fubje6ls, or 
any perfon whatfoever : And I do declare that I do not be- 
lieve that the pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, pre- 
late, ftate, or potentate, hath or ought to have any tenaporal 
or civil jurifdi6lion, power, fuperiority, or pre-eminence, di- 
rectly or indircftly, within this realm. And I do folemnly, 
in the prefence of God, profefs, teflify, and declare, that I 
do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain 
and ordinary fenfc of the words of this oath, without any 
cvafion, equivocation, or mental refervation whatfoever, and 
without any difpenfation already granted by the pope, or any 
authority of the fee of Rome, or any perfor whatever, and 
without thinking that I am or can be acquitted before Gcdor 
man, or abfolved of this declaration, or any part thereof, al° 
though the pope, or any perfon, or authority whatfoever, fliall 
difpenfe with or annul the fame, or declare that It was null 
or void." 


apoflollc, James Talbot, fuperintendant of the firfl:, 
Thomas Talbot of the fecond, Matthew Gibfon of 
the third, and Charles Walmfley of the fourth: and 
as in almofl every heretical country, excepting Ire- 
land, which ftill retains a regular and independent 
hierarchy, the old prelatic titles have been drop- 
ped, and new ones adopted in their (lead, taken 
from the unconverted regions of Africa or Afia, 
where hopes are entertained that churches may 
hereafter be formed— the firfl of thefe vicars 
apoftolic was dignified, by the papal chair, with 
that of bilhop of Birtha ; the fecond, of Acone ; 
the third, of Comana; and the fourth, of Rama, 
When the bill was drawn up, and the oath in- 
troduced into it by an eminent la'w^er, I believe 
Mr. Butler of Lincoln's Inn, it was not deemed ne- 
ceffary by the committee to whom the whole w;is 
fubmitted, that it fhould be communicated individu- 
ally to each of thefe prelates. The oath was founded 
upon the principles of the proteil which had 
been fubfcribed by all of them ; and the chief object 
of its framer appears to have been, in order to avoid 
every fhadow of oppofition, to make the verbiage 
of the oath lefs ftrong than that of the protefl, 
which the reader, by a careful comparifon, will 
find he has actually accomplifhed. In feveral in- 
flances, and upon its fubmiflion to the committee, 
it received the full and deliberate approbation of 


one of thefe prelates, biihop James Talbot, v/ho 
was prefent; as well as of bifhop Charles Bering- 
ton, (a prelate unappointed to the care of an Eng- 
lifh dillrid;) and of Br. Jofeph Wilks *. 

* III ftri6l chronology the original bill was drawn up even 
prior to the proteftation, which was compiled in confeqiiencc 
of the advice of a very warm and zealous parliatr.entary friend : 
and in the iirft draft of the bill there was no fuch objec- 
tionable appellation as that o{ protejling cmhcUc dijjenters in- 
troduced, nor was the oath in any rcfpeft different from that 
of the flatute of i8th Geo. III. The advantage of the pro- 
teftation to the catholic caufe foon became highly obvious; and 
the friend who propofed the proteft now propofed alio, that 
inftead of the oath of iSihGeo. III. the committee ihould 
introduce a new one founded on the verbiage of the declara- 
tion and proteftation. The hufmefs prefTed ; and the vicar 
of the London dillrift declare'' himfelf competent to j. renounce 
upon it. The three clergymen who acceded to it, in the name 
of the body at large, had been chofen by ballot, and added to 
the committee at a general meeting convened on May 15, 1788. 
Being thus incorporated into the committee, thefe three gen- 
tlemen, bi(hop James Talbot, bifliop Charles Berington, and 
Dr. Jofeph Wilks, attended its meetings regularly 3 approved, 
as I have already obferved, of the different alterations in the bill, 
and more particularly of the newly fuggefted oath, as it was 
occafionally varied by the perfon whofe ojEfice it was to pre- 
pare the public a6ts of parliamtnt; and when, on November 
19, the whole was completed, gave it their entire fanftion ; 
and fo fcrupulous was biihop Talbot upon the fubjed, that he 
requcfted to examine it at home, where he kept it for two days ; 
declaring, when he returned it, that he faw nothing in it con- 
trary to faith or good morals — nothing in the oath that a c^tho* 


The pride of Walmfley and Gibfon, of whom the 
former was a Benedidine monk, and the latter had 
received a bigoted education in the papal college of 
Douay, was neverthelefs violently inflamed by the 
condud: of the committee, in not confulting them 
upon this individual point; and they refolved to 
confider it as a neglect altogether intentional, and 
derogatory to their epifcopal character. This being 
determined upon, the next thing was to find fault 
with the oath itfelf; and to perfuade all the Jaco- 
binical and inflammatory monks and friars in the 
kingdom, and who had from the firft oppofed the 
whole attempt, to unite in their meditated oppo- 
fition. The trumpet of zealotifm was founded; 
the alarm became general in every quarter. They 
fucceeded wonderfully in both refpeds: bifhop 
James Talbot, who was at this time laboring un- 
der a dangerous difeafe, which deftroyed him a 

lie might not iafely take. Upon this fubjed the committee 
contended that the original draft alone was the bill of their 
own body. " V\ hatevtr deviations or alterations appear to 
have been made from this, none of them were dcvifed, or even 
thought of, by the committee. All originated with others, and 
were received by us, not by choice, but neceffity. Againft 
many of them we have driven with the grcateft earneftnefs 
and anxiety ^ and if we have at laft acquicfccd in them, it has 
been from a thorough convi6lion that all our hopes of relief 
depended upon cur acquiefcencc." Letter to the Right Rev. 
John, Bifliop of Ccnturia. Blue Books, No. II. p. 2. 


few days afterwards, was perfuaded to retra£b his 
approbation, and to join in an encyclical letter of 
condemnation. The oath was obje(5led to gene- 
rally, yet not fpecifically; but the claufe in which 
the epithet heretical is applied to the dodrine, that 
kings excommunicated by the pope may be de- 
pofed by their fubjefts, feems to have been pecu- 
liarly obnoxious; concerning which the objectors 
declared, with equal ignorance of all the principles 
of logic, and of their own ecclefiaflical hiflory, that 
while they were ready to denominate the doftrine 
falje^feditiousy traitorous ^ and damnalle^ they could 
not call it heretical^ as it had never been defined to 
be herefy by the church of Rome*. 

*** With refpcdl to its being heretical (the dodrinc here ad- 
Yerted to) we beg to call your attention to the diftinftion ia 
the fchools between a material and 2i formal herefy. A dodrine 
contmry to the word of God, if it have not b:;cn exprefsly con- 
demned as fuch by the authority of the church, is faid to be 
materially heretical. — When it has been exprefsly condemned 
as fuch by authority of the church, it is faid to be formally 
heretical — In the oath of allegiance, prcfcribed by the ftatutc 
of James the FIrft, is the following claufe : * And I do further 
fwear, that I do from my heart abhor, dettfl, and abjure, as 
impious and heretical, this damnable doftrinc and pofition — 
That princes which be excommunicated, or deprived by the 
pope, may be depofed or murdered by their fubje<Sls, or any 
other whatfoever.* Pope Paul the Fifth by three briefs repro- 
bated this oath. The divines of the univerfity of Paris being 
coafulted upon it, fifty-nine of them were of opinion that the 
catholics of England might take it with a fafe confcience, with- 
out renouncing their faith : ' The propofition, fo far as it af- 


In this difpute, a man of the irritable feelings of 
Dr. Geddes could not avoid taking a part; and 
the knowledge which the reader mufl already have 
acquired of the liberality of his principles and the 
independence of his mind, will inflantaneoufly 

ferts that princes may be depofed, htxng materially ^ that is, in 
fubftance, heretical ; and fo far as it aflerts that they may be 
murdered, ht\r\g formally, that is, expiefsly pronounced by the 
church, heretical/ See Dr. Hooke's Religionis Naturalis et 
Rcvelatae Principia, vol. iii, p. 581. — In the oath propofed to 
the catholics of Ireland, in 1775, the third article runs as fol- 
lows : * I further profefs that it is no part of my belief, nay, 
that I reje6l the opinion, that princes excommunicated by the 
pope, or by the pope and council, or by any authority of the 
fee of Rome, or by any authority whatfoever, may be depofed 
or put to death by their fubjcds, or by any other perfon what- 
foever : and therefore I promife that I will not hold, maintain, 
or countenance that, or any other opinion contrary to the 
words of this declaration.' The Sorbonnc, being confulteJ 
upon this oath, gave their opinion, dated 6th Nov. 1775, 
figned by all the do6lors. Upon the article in queltion they 
thus cxprefs themfelves : 

" * Do6lrlna au'cm de csede & depofitione principum, nc- 
quaquam probabllibus fententiis annumeranda eft : cum in 
duplex vitium incurrat : ut nempe fit hacrctica materialiter, 
id eft, vcrbo Dei contraria, quatenus deponipolTe principem ef- 
ftrt -, formaliti'r \tro etiam, quatenus et occldi pclTe fuperaddit. 

** * But the king-killing and depofmg dodrine is not to be 
clafled among opinions merely probable. Upon two accounts 
it is bad. — It is materially heretical, i. e. contrary to the ivord 
of God y fo far as it afTerts the lawfulnefs of depofmg princes: 
it is xnovtoyQv formally heretical, fo far as it fuperadds the law- 
fulnefs of putting them to dca:h."' Blue Books, No. I. p. 7. 


point out to him the fide he would necefiarily ef- 
poufe. He wrote two pamphlets upon the occafion, 
of which each was printed anonymcufly, as were 
many others pubhilied at that time by different 
authors, on both fides of the controverfy. It was 
alfo generally believed, that he took a part in three 
other pamphlets, which contained addreifes both to 
the bifhops and to the catholic community at large j 
and which, from their having been bound in blue 
covers, were known at the Vatican by the name 
of The Blue Books: but I have been fully informed, 
as well by the do£lor himfelf, as by one of the ac- 
tual authors, that with thefe trafts he had no con- 
cern whatever: their merit, neverthelefs, is well 
known to have been great, and their fame to have 
been in proportion*. The firft was figned by feven 
of the committee, bifhop Charles Berington, Dr. 
Jofeph Wilks, the late lord Petre, John Throck- 
morton (now fir John Throckmorton baronet), 
WilHam Fermor, John Towneiy, and Thomas 
Hornyold, efquires ; and the two fucceeding by the 
fame, together with three additional members, lord 
Stourton, fir H. C. Engleheld, and Mr. Lawfon. 
The firfl of the two pamphlets, which I have af- 
certained to have been the produftion of Dr. Ged- 
des, is entitled " An Anfv/er to the Bifhop of Co- 
mana's Pafloral Letter, by a protefting Catholic." 

* They were the joint produftion of the rev. Dr. Jofeph 
Wilks of Bath, and Charles Butler, cfq. of Lincoln's-Inn. 


It was publifhed by Faulder, and dated 1 790. I'he 
paftoral letter referred to had been addreffed to all 
the clergy fecular and regular, and to all the faith- 
ful of the northern diftrid, being the diflrid, as I 
have already obferved, to which the billiop of Co- 
mana had been appointed by the Roman pontiff. 
This anfwer is a farcaflic comment upon the letter, 
which is introduced into the fame pamphlet, and 
runs in larger characters at the head of every page. 
The bifhop's objeiS: in this letter was to reprefent 
the oath as " impenetrably obfcure, and impervi- 
ous to the piercing eyes of the keeneft theology;" 
and as deviating from all the laudable marks by 
which an oath fhould be diftinguifhed ; " which," 
continues his lordfliip,"its obligation being mofl aw- 
ful, ought to be, in the firft place, clear-, fecondly, 
true-, and ihiralj ^?iecej[ary.'' He alfo, in thefeverell 
terms, reprehends the new appellation o^ fretefting 
catholic diffenters^ by which the fupporters of the bill 
had confented to be denominated; afl'erting, in con- 
junction with another writer on the fame fide, that 
the term catholic dijfenters " is, in the univerfal lan- 
guage and judgment of the catholic church, in all 
pad ages, as great a folecifm, as complete nonfenfe, 
as Chrifhian Turks, or catholic infidels :" and adds, 
that the unanimous condemnation of the oath by 
the four vicars apoftolic in England had perfectly 
accorded with the declared fentiments of a number 
of foreign prelates and ccclefiaflics, and among the 

22 i 

rdl, of his eminence cardinal B— n C %'^^*j 

" who," continues the addreffer, " is much at- 
tached to this nation, and completely converfant in 
the Englifh language." 

It mufl be confefled, that in this letter there is 
little argument or folid ground of oppofition. 
"Where thefe occur, Dr. Geddes, in his anfwer, 
preiTes them, and ver^- fuccefsfully, with fimilar 
arms: but having feldom an opportunity of engag- 
ing in clofe combat, he plies his antagonill more ge- 
nerally with the lighter artillery of wit and fatire. 
Thefe weapons are for the mod part handled with 
dexterity; though I think in fome inilances they 
(hoot rather too low, and difcover fome portion of 
our author's conflitutional irritability. There is alfo, 
if I miftake not, in the anfwer, too large an abun- 
dance of fpecial pleading or mere verbal logic. Yet 
occafionally even this latter mode of attack is em- 
ployed with good effecl, and efpecially in defending 
the appellation oiprctefiing catholic dijfenters, *'' We 
do not ' plume' ourfelves upon the appellation 
of protefting catholic dijjenters ; but we are not 
alhamed of it. We are catholics; — v/e protest 
againft odious doctrines imputed to catholics, 
and (we are forry to fee it) ilill patronized by 
fome catholics. We are dissenters, becaufe 
. we dilfent in religion from the national church. — 

If all this, my lord, be not clear to your intelledl^ 
* Buon Campngni, as I Tuppofc. 


I fincerely pity your lordfhip^s intelled:. If we are 
found to have protefted againil any article of ca- 
tholic faith, or maxim of gofpel-morality, we will 
immediately exclude thefe from the fubjecl of our 
proteflation. — ' The period is probably at fome 
diftance/ — " But it is afked {Joy yoic)^ Are we not 
diflenters from the church of England in certain 
points of faith? — Anf. Moll certainly * not!' This is 
a ftrange anfwer, my lord ; one of thofe unexpected 
anfwers that confound one with aflonifhment. It 
is a fort of logical paradox, which the bulk of 
mankind will hardly be able to comprehend, even 
with your lordfhip's illuftrations. Is it really true, 
then, my lord, that we do not, in fome points of 
faith, diffent from the church of England ? Is it 
true that we believe all that is contained in the 
thirty-nine articles of the national creed ? If this be 
not true, ' as moil certainly * it is not, then we 
muft necelTariiy be dijfenters^ in fome points, from 
the church of England. 

" But ' no,* fays your lordfhip ; ' we are not 
diiTenters from the church of England in the eccle^ 
fiaftical force of the word, which here ought to be 
our rule;' — although I muft confefs that I cannot 
for my foul comprehend the force or meaning of 
this curious proportion, ' the ecclefiaftical/orr^ of 
the word is to be our rule,^ I will fuppofe that you 
probably intended to fay, that in religious matters 
we are never to uje a term which has not been ujed 


before by ecclefiaftical writers in the Jamejenfe, If 
fo, you would eftablifli an inquifition more tyran- 
nical and arbitrary than that of Spain or Portugal 1 
Should you or I, my lord, urged to embrace the 
eflabliflied religion, write a treatife to fhew, that, 
as cathoHcs, we cannot do it, becaufe there are 
points of dodrine in the eftablilhed religion to 
which, as catholics, we cannct ajjeyit ; would v/e 
for that ceafe to be catholics ? But not to ajfent^ my 
lord, is, both in ecclefiaftical and civil language, 
perfectly equipollent to dijfent, Dijfent^ then, and 
all its derivatives, may be lawfully ufed even in 
matters purely rehgious and ecclefiaftical. 

" But the matter now before us is not a reli- 
gious matter, as I faid before ; but in as far as it is 
connected with an oath which difclaims falfely im- 
puted religious principles, it is a matter of policy 
and law ; and, if the terms muft not be taken in 
the language of common fenfe, in the language of 
the law they muft be taken. 

" To this expedient it feem.s your lordfliip 
would drive us : for you will not allow us to be 
even grammatically diifenters ! Your proof is truly 
admirable: 'Error is defined a deviation or diiTent 
from the ftandard of truth.' Granted, my lord ; 
but every dijfent is not an error, I widely difent 
from your lord/hip in the prefent controverfy j yet 
I truft I have not ' deviated' from the ' ftandard of 
truth ;' unlefs your lordfhip be that ftandard! 


" it was not error ^ my lord, that you had ta 
define, it was dijjent : and of that you have given 
no definidon at all. I will do it for you. To 
dijjient, my lord, is to dijagree in opinion ; dijfent is 
a dijagreement in opinion^ and dijfenter is one who 
dijagrees in opinion with another : and a catholic 
dijfenter is a catholic who difagrees in opinion 
with thofe of the eilablifhed religion. This, my 
lord, is all that a grammarian can ever make out 
of the word dijfent. 

" But your lordfhip feems to defpife grammar, 
even when you appeal to it. Your definidon of 
eiTor is manifeftly erroneous. Error may be a de-^ 
viation^ but cannot be a dijfent^ from the flandard 
of truth. We do not dijfent from z flandard, my 
lord ; we dejert it : and you may with equal pro- 
priety fay to dijfent from a may-pole as to dijfent from 
a flandard, — Your continuation is all of a piece, 
my lord : qualis ah incepto, ' Error prefuppofes 
the exiflence of truth : of courfe a church founded 
on the fandy bafis of error is to be fhyled the [^] 
dilfenting church.' 'llierefore, the Engliih catho- 
lics, who dijfent from the errors of the church of 
England, cannot grammatically be flyled catholic 
dijfenter s I No where, my lord, do we flyle our- 
felves the dijfenting church ; nor even a dijfenting 
church. We confider ourfelves as a fmall, a very 
fmall portion of the one true catholic churchy dijfent -^^ 


ing from (i. e. dlfagreeing in fome religious points 
■with) the greater number of our fellow citizens; 
who, as we think, have erected the ' ftandard of 
error.' Can w^e be blamed for this, my lord ?— 
* It revolts common fenfe to admit that truth can 
be at the fame time prior and poflerior to itfelf/ 
It does fo, my lord, but it is equally revolting to 
common fenfe to infer, from this, that an orthodox 
catholic may not dilfent from a heterodox church. 
The whole of your lordfhip's paragraph is fuch a 
flagrant paralogifm, as cries for logical vengeance. 
Nor is your champion, my lord, a much better 
reafoner. Chriftian infidds would undoubtedly 
' be a folecifm : ' but why fhould Chriftian Turks 
be one, any more than Chriftian Tartars^ or Chri- 
ftian Armenians J or Chriftian Engliflomen .^ Do we 
not daily pray for their converfion? And in the 
fuppofition that but a few of them were converted, 
could not that few call themfelves diffenters from 
the eflablifhed religion of Turkey ? Nay, my lord, 
were not the firfl chriilians themfelves dijfenters 
from the eflablifhed idolatrous religion of the whole 
Roman empire ? And do not our befl apologifls 
give their reafons for that dijftmt T' 

The doctor might have added, that the term 
was not of their own creation. It was adopted 
by government to avoid the old and more odious 
appellation of popilh recufants, by which alone 



they had been hitherto characterized by the le- 
giflature. Had it, however, been forced upon 
them, as there was no intrinfic evil in the phrafe- 
ology, and they were flill at hberty to explain 
it as they chofe, it muft have manifeiled the 
height of folly to have refufed a folid bleffing, 
becaufe accompanied with an unpalatable but 
empty found — vox et fraterea nihil. Yet the 
term was not, I confefs, logically correal ; fmce 
conflituting a part of an older communion than 
the eflabliihed church of England, they could 
not flridly fpeaking be faid to dijfent^ however 
they might differ^ from that which was created po- 
llerior to their own exiftence. 

" Ye have an unqueftionable right, my lord^ 
you and your venerable brethren, to declare your 
fentiments on this or any other oath that may be 
propofed. It is not of this that we complain. I do 
not here even examine, whether the fentiments ye 
have lately given be * impartial and unprejudiced,' 
or the contrary ; but we complain, and complain 
with juftice, that ye have a6led the part of judges 
who condemn a man without hearing, without 
conviction, and without even fpecifying his crime ; 
an omifiion, my lord, which no English tribu- 
nal but YOURS would be guilty of. No wonder, 
then, if the committee feelingly ' regretted that 
none of thofe perfons who had been concerned 


in promoting and conduaing the bufmefs were 
called in to explain their fentiments.' Thofe 
feelings, my lord, the committee have exprefied 
in terms much more moderate than your lord- 
ihip's condud deferved. The committee is com- 
pofed of refpedable, intelligent, and learned per- 
fonages, chofen at a general meeting of EngHfh 
catholics to aa for the whole body. Two bifhops 
and a priefl are of the number. Nothing could 
exceed the harmony and unanimity that prevailed 
among them. Nothing was done with precipita- 
tion. Bifhop James Talbot, who at firft made 
fome objedions to the form, not the matter, of 
the oath, was requefted to confider it^t leifure. 
He returned at the end of two days, and de- 
clared that he found nothing in it which a catho- 
lic might not fwear to. How he was afterwards 
induced to change his opinion you befl know ; 
but I know, and the pubHc Ihould know, that at 
the period of your meeting, bifhop James Talbot 
was not in a proper condition to do any fort of 
bufmefs either fpiritual or temporal. At this mo- 
ment the go6d man is, perhaps, no more; but it 
was mofl cruel in you, my lord, to take advan- 
tage of his then fituation, to make him fign the 
condemnation of an oath, which m his full 
fenfes he had approved !— Were I a Talbot, my 


lord, I could not help refenting fo great an in- 
jury done to the meanefl of the name ! 

" But, fuppofmg that B. J. T. had relinquifli- 
ed his own opinio^, and adopted yours, in the 
full poflefTion of his memory and judgment ; and 
that, in the mofl healthful flate of mind and 
body, he had agreed with you in deciding againfh 
the oath, and figning its condemnation ; flill, my 
lord, your conduct would be unjuflifiable, and 
your fentence nugatory, for want of forma- 
lity, and for want of qualification.'* 

Our author, as the reader will readily perceive, 
was not of a timid difpofition : the conduct and 
opinions of individual prelates, though of his own 
community, were to him but the conduft and 
opinions of individual men ; and, as he tells us 
in another place, he was not afraid of grappling 
in the caufe of truth, either with prelates or with 
popes. In the following palTage there is a dif- 
tinction which the doctor was always urgent to 
bring forwards, and which cannot be too forcibly 
imprelTed upon the minds of proteflants. 

" The enlightened and well principled catho- 
lic," your lordfliip obferves, " rem.ains unlhaken 
and unfeduced." Certainly, my lord. But who is 
the enlightened and well-principled catholic .^ This 
is yet tobe demonftrated. . The catholic reli- 


gion not only permits its children to be dutiful 
fubje^ls, but exprefsly commands them to be 
fuch : but not fo, my lord, the popish religion. 
Thefe two ought never to be confounded. The 
former is a mofl amiable matron, who inculcates 
nothing on the minds of her children but the 
peaceful maxims of the gofpel ; the latter is an 
ambitious termagant, who has often encouraged 
her children to commit almo|l every fort of crime. 
It was the popish, not the catholic religion, 
my lord, which (not to go out of our own coun- 
try, nor back to a remote period) could in 1537 
excite 20,000 men, under the condud of a monk, 
to rife in rebellion again ft Hemy VIII. in confe- 
quence of his fubjed:s having been freed from their 
oaths of allegiance by a bull of Paul III. It was 
the fame popish religion that, in 1539, attempted 
to depofe the fame king, and place on his throne 
the dean of Exeter *. It was this religion that 
fent Radulpho into England in 1568, for the vile 
purpofe of corrupting the loyalty of the Englifh 
catholics, and to pave the way for the famous 
bull of Pius V. which deprived queen Elizabeth 
of her title, dominion, dignity, and privileges ; 
and forbade all her fubjecls, under pain of atia^ 
thema^ to obey her! It was this religion that, 
the very next year, again ereded the ftandard of 

* Afterwards cardinal Pole. 


fedition under the earls of Northumberland and 
tVeflmoreland ; and their want of fuccefs, the 
Popifh Surrius thinks, might have been owing 
to this, that the fapal denunciation had not been 
fufficiently made hiown to all the catholics *. It was 
this religion that, in 1580, fentParfons and Cam- 
> pian into England, with the qualified bull of 
Gregory XIII. which, in the hands of thofe tv/o 
artful men, was deemed a furer mean of raifmg a 
fuccefsful rebellion, than the more violent one of 
his predeceflbr. It was this religion that, in 1588, 
fent the Spanifh armada to invade England, 
fraught with a powerful army, plenty of money, 
and treafures of indulgences, for the purpofe of 
dethroning a queen, againft whom Sixtus V. had 
confirmed all the cenfures of Pius and Gregory; 
and granted a full pardon to all who ihould em- 
bark in the holy enterprize ! In fliort, my lord, 
I make no hefitation to afHrm that the popish 
(not the catholic) religion has been, medi- 
ately or immediately, the caufe of almofl all the 
political diflurbances in Europe, fmce the days 
of Gregory VII. It is againft this religion, my 
lord, that we catholic dissenters proteft; 

* Non illos habucre fucceflus conatu* illorum nobilium, 
fortafiis quod catholicis omnibus ea dcnunciatio netdum inno- 


and whofe Inter ells ye vicars apostolic ap- 
pear to be contending for P' 

The palTage of the paftoral letter here referred 
to ought to be quoted, becaufe it will at once 
prove the propriety of the diflindion between the 
catholic and popiili religion as jufl dated, and 
indelibly flamp his lordfliip's memory with the 
word charafteriflics of the latter. 

" The whole nation hath long been witnefs, 
our inveterate enemies have long been unwilling 
witnefTes to our uniform and exemplary difcharge 
of every civil and focial duty ; peaceable com- 
portment towards our fellow fubjefts of all deno- 
minations ', prompt obedience to the civil laws 
of our country ; fubmiffion to temporal govern- 
ment, unabated by the unrelenting rigour of cruel 
and oppreffive ftatutes. Every fpecies of temp^ 
tation hath" been held out to fliake our principles, 
and feduce us from the facred paths of duty. A 
papal difpenfation, a fingle acl of mental referva- 
tion, or meritorious kind of perjyry, would have 
put a final period to our miferies ; opened the 
•avenues to places of public truft and authority ; 
unfolded the gates to honours, emoluments, and 
preferments. The enlightened and well-principled 
CATHOLIC remains unfhaken and unfeduced \ 
choofmg rather to fit quietly under his own VmQ 
cr his own fig-tree, than by offering violengq 


to his confcience, wield the Jword of magif- 
tracy^ (and) rife to the highefl rank or mod ele- 
vated flation.'* 

Here we find a prieft, a prelate, a vicar apof- 
tolic, prefiding over a diflri£t of England, flill 
inculcating to his inferior clergy and his flock 
the antiquated dodlrines of fafal dij^enjations ^ of 
mentah'-eJervatm^Syoi M-EKiroKiovs perjuries ! ! 
a man who had actually figned the proteft which 
declares, in the plain and obvious meaning of the 
words themfelves, that the entire principle upon 
which the whole of thefe doctrines are founded 
was falfe^ unchrijt Ian-like^ abominable^ execrable^ 
and impious y though he would not add, or rather 
he would not fwear, it was heretical* 

Bifliop Gibfon mufb furely have been a mod 
fturdy papifl in the ftriftefl fenfe of the term : 
the zealous precepts he had imbibed at the col- 
lege at Douay, which is I believe entirely depen- 
dent upon the Roman fee, had not been incul- 
cated in vain : and it is difficult to conceive upon 
what grounds he could pofTibly have induced him- 
felf to fign the protefl, excepting upon thofe very 
grounds of pafal dijfenjation^ mental rejervation^ 
and mer it or ic us perjury^ which he here covertly juf- 
tifies, and which in the protefl he had fubfcribed he 
pledges -himfelf to have abjured by his hopes of 
eternal falvation. Uncjueftionably fuch a man, or 


fuch a body of men, ought not to be confounded 
with others, who, like Dr. Geddes, although they 
admitted the fupremacy of the pope as a fpiritual 
lord primate, abhorred as much as the moft bigot- 
ted proteftant (for every communion has its bigots) 
the doftrines here once more revivified of papal dif- 
penfations, &c. and maintained, for I have heard 
the doctor maintain it repeatedly, that the man 
who, as a principle of action, admitted the perfonal 
infallibility of the pope, upon which alone this 
entire fyflem of abfurdity depends, could not fafe- 
ly be entrufled with any municipal office what- 
ever, whether in a proteftant or even a catholic 
country; fmce being the mere inftrument and 
tool of the fovereign pontiff, were another tyrant 
like Gregory VIL or Paul III. to fill the papal 
chair, and afpire in a fimilar manner after the 
univerfal domination of Europe, no command 
could iffue from the Vatican of fo impious and 
frantic a nature, that he is not neceffarily bound 
by his creed and his hopes of eternal happinefs 
to endeavor to execute. He is compelled by 
the fame belief to exert himfelf in creating for 
his defpotic lord and mailer an authority where 
he has none, and in augmenting and fortifying it 
wherever it exiits. 

The bifhop of Comana was not the only one 
indeed who, at this period, ventured to glance at 



fuch a code of fentiments. Whoever is conver. 
fant with the pamphlets of the day cannot have 
forgotten the names of one or two others, whofe 
writings manifeflly difcovered an inclination to 
the fame pernicious doctrines. But let not my 
readers be ftartled at fuch an alTertion ; or be in 
the remotefl degree feduced into an illiberal and 
intolerant fpirit againfl the great body of the ca-» 
tholic church, and efpecially of Englifh catholics 
on this account. Madmen there will be in all 
communities at all periods of the world : among 
the catholics of this period they v/ere, however, 
comparatively but few ; at leaft but few who car- 
ried their madnefs to the excefs here inflanced. 
It is moreover a mania for which the late war has 
furnifhed a fpecific antidote : for reduced and 
degraded as the papal fee is at the prefent mo- 
ment y converted as is its religious profeffion into 
a mere engine of ftate in France ; and loft as is 
its pre-eminence in Germany, from the fuppref- 
fion of feveral ecclefiaftic principalities, and the 
creation of other new proteftant ones — a change 
which has given to the latter a decided fupe- 
riority in the aggregate of eledoral votes, and 
menaces a fpeedy transfer of the imperial diadem 
from a catholic to a proteftant family — it muft be 
a phasnomenon in future to behold a man conteft- 
ing for the infallibility of a power fo comparatively 


defpicable as that of the tiara, and an abfo- 
lute impoiTibility for him to efFed any mifchief, 
if he were to become an adive agent in its fa- 

Our author, in his reply, expreifes a hope 
that, although the court of Rome fhould be ap- 
pealed to in the prefent controverfy, as it was 
very Ihortly afterwards, the prelatic party would 
not be fo triumphant as they had ventured to ex- 
peft. " After all, my lord," fays he, " I would 
not have you too fure of fuccefs even at Rome 5 
and if that court be fo political as it is faid to be, 
I fhould wonder much if, every thing coniidered, 
your conduct met with approbation there." p. 18. 

In thefe expectations Dr. Geddes appears to 
have been deceived. He reafoned from the per- 
fonal liberality of his late holinefs, and few popes 
have exhibited more liberality than Pius VI. ; but he 
did not confider that a very advanced age was at 
this time rendering him infirm both in mind and 
body, and that he was furrounded by a conclave 
of cardinals of whom all were not endowed with 
his own fhare of candor. Buon Campagni was 
already alTociated in the caufe of the oppofers of 
the oath, and he v/as determined, in conjunftion 
with feveral of his colleagues, to prevent its obtain- 
ing the fandion of the pontificate. 

The encyclical letter, mean time, upon which the 


hopes of the papal party depended, which had 
been fubfcribed by the four vicars apofloHc, and 
gave the firfl alarm to the committee, received, 
while printing, a fevere blow by the death of 
biiliop James Talbot, apoftolic vicar of the London 
diHriQ: : an event by which its publication in this 
diflrid was completely fruflrated ; while an admi- 
rable and fpirited remonftrance from the clergy of 
the middle diftrid to bifhop Thomas Talbot fuf- 
pended, at the fame time, its pubhcation within 
the precin6:s of this latter jurifdiclion. Walmesly 
and Gibfon were the only prelates therefore who 
ventured to publifh it *. And while, in anfwer to 

* This want of univerfality In the publication fcems to have 
been a matter of no fmall moment, as involving a quertlon 
refpcfting the validity of the cenfure itfelf. The committee 
thus cxprefs themfclves upon this fubjeft, in a letter to bifhop 
Douglas, upon the publication of the fecond encyclical letter, 
figned by himfelf, Walmefly, and Gibfon, of the date of Ja- 
nuary 19, 179 f. 

" My Lord, in your encyclical letter of the 19th of lad 
month, you have informed the catholics of your diftrid, that 
the four apoftolic vicars, by their encyclical letter, dated 
O6lober 21ft, 1789, condemned the oath propofsd at that 
time to be prcfcnted to parliament. But peinilc us, my 
lord, to alii,, if this is a fair ftatement of that circumftance. 
Yoyr lordfliip mufl unqueftionably have heard, that, of the 
four prelates who figned this cenfure two fignificd their moft 
carneft vvifli, that the publication of it fbould be fufpcndcd, 
and never could be induced to publifh it in their refpe6\iv£ 


the obfervations of the committee, the latter 
brought forwards the " paftoral letter" which I 
have jufl noticed, a letter of fimilar defcription 
was addrefled to the committee by the former 
about the fame time in which he denominates the 
oath *' ambiguous in its general expreUions, dero- 
gating from the principles of the catholic church, 
and confounding the fpiritual and temporal powers 
together */' In this addrefs he maintains niere- 

diftri6ls. Now permit us, my lord, to declare, that no cen- 
furc, or other judicial fentencc, has any effc6l till it is pub- 
liilied. This is admitted equally by canonift* and civilians- 
The encyclical btter oF the 21ft of Oftober, 1789, was 
never publiihed either in London or the Middle Diftritb, 
How far, from this circumllance, it loft its integrity, and con- 
fequently its validity, even in the two diftric^s where it was 
publiihed, will certainly admit of doubt ; but furely the truth 
of hiftory requires, that, when that cenfure is mentioned, 
this remarkable circum (lance attending it (hould not be for- 

* To eafe the tender confciences of the three recujant pre- 
lates upon this laft point, the committee propofed to fubmit 
the cafe to the opinion of two civil lawyers, two common 
lawyers, and two catholic lawyers. This was not acceded to. 
But the committee ftill thought it advifeable, for the benefit 
of many others of their community, to take a ftcp fotnewhat 
fimilar. They therefore confulted upon the fubjeft, a? the 
perfon In whofe legal judgment they moil relied, Mr. HiU, 
his majefty's premier ferjeant at law, the firft lawyer at thj 
bar in point of office and precedence : and as his opinion upon 


" over that the fentence of condemnation by the 
encyclial letter was legal, and requires fubmhTion 

a very intricate point is fuppofed to be drawn up with equal 
elegance and precifion, the reader will here find a copy of it^ 
together with the cafe upon which it is founded. 


" A doubt has arifen in the minds of foitie catholics, whe- 
ther fome parts of the oath, particularly the claufe in red ink^ 
do not amount to a denial of the fpiritual rights with whichj, 
accoTding to their religious tenets, the church and her mini- 
fters, and particularly the pope, is invefted 5 as thofe of 
preaching the Faith, adminiftcring the facraments, ordain- 
ing the miniflers of the church, punifhing by fpiritual cen- 
fures, &c. If it amount to a denial of the pope, the church, 
and her minifters, being invefted with the rights of this na- 
ture, it is an oath which a catholic cannot take confiftently 
with his religious principles. 

** On the other hand it is contended, that it is not meant to 
deny by the oath any fpiritual right of the church, but merely 
the right of the church to interfere in temporal concerns, or 
to ufe temporal means to enforce her fpiritual cenfures. 

** Two propofitlons are admitted on all fides. 

** The one, that the church is invefted with a complete au- 
thority in fpiritual concerns, and a power to enforce that au- 
thority by the fpiritual means of cenfures j and that the pope 
is the fpiritual head of the church. 

" The other, that neither the church nor the pope have, 
cither dire6lly or indirectly, any temporal power in this king- 

"The queftion therefore is. Whether the oath in queftion, 
and particularly that part of it which is written in red 
ink, is a denial of the fpiritual authority of the church, 
or the fpiritual fupremacy of the pope. 


to Its decifion ; concluding with a declaration tliat 
there is no appeal from it but to the pope, " the 
vicar of Jefus Chrill himfelf." 

The majority of the catholics however foon 
learned that an appeal of this kind was likely to 
be of but little avail, and that the door of favor 
was already barred againft them. On the death 
of bifhop James Talbot, the clergy of the London 
diflrid having affembled to confider of the choice 
of another vicar apoftolic, the general wifh fell 
moll: decidedly on Dr. Charlejs Berington, who 

** No form of civil government, nor any fyftem of laws, 
was inftituted by Chrift or his apoftlcs, nor any coixir- 
miffion granted to their fucceffor to enforce the chriftian 
doftrine by temporal power. The authority of the 
pope and the church is derived from them. The words 
of the oath do not import a denial of their having this 
authority: they only deny their having temporal pOwcr, 
or a right to enforce their fpiritual authority by temporal 
power. This is all the party who takes the oath will, 
or can, be underftood to fwear or aflert, when he fwears, 
in the words of the oath, * that they have no jurifJidion 
or authority that cati, either direBly or Indlre^ily, affeB or 
interfere ivlth the Independence ^ foveretgnty, laivs, conjii- 
tutlony or government thereof or ivlth the rights, liberties^ 
perfons, or properties of the people of the f aid realm, or any 
ofthevi ; — therefore I think the oath is not a denial of the 
fpiritual authority of the church, or the fuprcmacy of the 
<* Lincoln's Inn, "February iS, 1791. G. HILL.*, 

* The words in Italics are thofe which were written in red ink.. 


^ 240 

had been coadjutor to bifhop Thomas Talbot, and 
was defervedly efleemed for his candor and liber- 
ality of mind: to which, almoll unanimous, voice 
of the clergy, was added, moreover, the formal 
approbation of the chief perfons among the laity. 
His name was fent, therefore, to Rome for the 
approbation of the pontifical court, and an intima- 
tion was at the fame time communicated of his 
popularity amongfl his brethren, and their general 
fuffrage in his favor. To the name of Dr. Charles 
Berington were added, for the fake of cuflomary 
form, thofe of tv/o other ecclefiaftics, Mr. Douglas 
and Mr. Brown, without the lead idea in the mind 
of any perfon that the popular nominee would 
have been difcarded, and either of the others ap- 
pointed in his (lead. So, however, it happened. 
Berington was well knovm at the Vatican to have 
favored the oath, as v/ell as the proteftation, and 
to have been adverfe to the encyclical letter. The 
manoeuvres of Walmefly and Gibfon fucceeded, 
and bulls of confecration were in confequence di- 
rected, not to himfelf, but to Mr. Douglas. Some 
intimation of thefe manoeuvres had indeed been 
communicated to the committee, for a flrort period 
anterior to the iffuing of the papal mandate ; and, 
to guard againft a difappointment, it was propofed, 
by feveral of this truly refpetlable body, and cfpe- 
cially by Mr., now Sir John Throckmorton, who 


Vvrote two excellent pamphlets exprefsly upon 
the fubjed:, to eled Dr. Berington for their bifhop 
in the firft inftance, confiflently with primitive 
ufage, and then to inform the court of Rome of 
their proceedings, and requefl: its approbation. 

I am not fm'prifed that this advice was not ge- 
nerally acceded to. The Roman catholics of 
England do not form a church of themfelves : 
they loft their hierarchy upon the feparation of 
this country from the papal fee ; and continued 
for upwards of a century deftitute of a regular 
priefthood, and without attaching themfelves to 
any cathoKc church whatever. After fome fuch 
interval, how^ever, they applied to the Vatican for 
affillance, and were immediately received into the 
bofom of the papal church, of which they have 
ever fmce conftituted a remote part or colony, go- 
verned by vicegerents or vicars apoftolic immedi- 
ately appointed by the pontiff, and as dire£lly fub- 
jeft to his control, I mean with refped to fpiritual 
concerns, as the catholics of the pope's temporal 
dominions. Whatever therefore may have been 
the primitive ufage among Englifh catholics v/hen 
they had a church of their own, and the offence of 
priemunire was founded upon fuch an ufage,* or 

* See Mr. Butler's hiftorical Account of the Laws refpe£l- 
ing Roman Catkolics, p. i — 6. 



whatever may be the ufage among the Galilean 
or any other catholic church at the prefent mo- 
ment, as a branch of the papal church they are 
bound to fubmit to the whole of its authority fo 
long as they continue a branch : although it is 
highly defirable that they fhould emancipate them- 
felves from fuch a vaflalage, eflablilh a new hie- 
rarchy, and entertain the fame fort of communion 
with the Roman fee which fubfifts between it and 
many cathohc churches of the continent. 

Such, therefore, being the fituation of the par- 
ties, it was not to be expeded that the pope 
would relinquifh his right, or depute as his vicar 
apoflolic a perfon who was reprefented to him as 
ready to relinquifh a conliderable portion of his 
authority, in preference to another of whofe fire- 
nuous attachment, both from his education in 
Spain, and the affurances of Walmefly and Gibfon, 
he could have no doubt. Dr. Berington was in 
confequence paflTed by, and Mr. Douglas appointed 
in his flead, under the title of bifhop of Centuria. 
About the fame time alfo Matthew, bifhop of Co- 
mana, and vicar apoflolic of the northern dillrid, 
was attacked with a difeafe which proved fatal in 
a few days: upon which occafion, repeating his 
difregard to the popular wifh, his holinefs ap- 
pointed William, bifhop of Acanthos, to fupply his 


Ingratitude is not a crime of which thefe newly 
eflaed vicars can be impeached. Under the 
guidance of their elder aflbciate bifliop Walmefly, 
they entered into the controverfy with the mofl 
determined alacrity and zeal -, and on January 1 9, 
1791, produced and ifTued a frefh encyclical let- 
ter, in which, although the oath had been alter- 
ed in fome points which appeared mofl objedion- 
able, and had hereby obtained the entire fandion 
of biihop Thomas Talbot, apoflolic vicar of the 
middle diflrid, it was ftill condemned with as 
much violence as before y the appellation of pro- 
tefling catholic diffenters was flill cenfured ; and 
the faithful were commanded to be an their guard 
againft, and to rejed with deteflation, feveral pub- 
lications, as well which have appeared^ as which 
may appear hereafter : concluding with a declara- 
tion that, " of thofe which have been publifhed, 
fome are fchifmatical, fcandalous, inflammatory, 
and infulting to the fupreme head of the church, 
the vicar of Jefus Chrift." 

It is againft this letter, figned by the three 
confederate and incorrigible vicars apoftolic, that 
Dr. Geddes addreffed the fecond anonymous 
pamphlet which he wrote in the courfe of xLh 
long and acrimonious controverfy, and which he 
entitled an " Encyclical Letter of the Bifhops 
of Rama, Acanthos, and Centuiia, to the faithful 

clei*gy and laity of their refpe6live dillricts; with a 
continued comment ary for the uje of the vulgar. ' ' Tl\e 
original letter unquefUonably bears moft prominent 
marks of precipitation, irafcibility, and inaccuracy: 
and of thefe qualities the commentary very plen- 
tifully avails itfelf, pointing out with much jocu- 
larity, as it proceeds, the etymology of the titular 
diftindions of the fubfcribers, their refpective au- 
thorities in England, and feveral fpecimens of the •> 
grammatical, logical, and philological errors with ^ 

' which this brief epiflle abounds. The commen- 
tator is peculiarly fevere upon the pHability of 
Mr. Douglas, bifliop of Centuriai, and the newly 
appointed apoftolic vicar to the London dillrict. 

•" Centuria, I believe," fays he, " fhould be wTit- 
ten Centuriee. However that be, it is certainly 
in the Numidian province of Africa. It had once 
a bifhop named ^od-vult-Deus : that is, IVhat- 
Gcd-wills, If its prefent bilhop cannot afl'ume 
this name, he may take one fomewhat like to it, 
S^od-vult-papa^ JVhat-the-pope-willsJ'* Upon tha 
declaration in the letter that all authority con- 
cerning oaths " refides in the bifhops, they being 
by divine inditution the fpiritual governors in 
the church of Chrifl," — our commentator, with- 

• out impugning the general dodlrine, advances 
this obfervation relative to the writers alone — 
*' Whether cur vicars be bifijops by divine injiitu- 


ticn^ IS a queftion which may be catholically dif- 
puted. The right divine even of ordinary and 
regular bifhops is' not an article of faith any 
more. than the right divine of kings *. But whe- 
ther irregular bilhops of Rama,, Acanthos, and 
Centuria, are hj divine infiitiition the fpir it ud go- 
vernors of Englifh. catholics, is a qutiiion, '' li^y? 
which may be fairly and orthodoxly difputed ; 
and I am of opinion that it requires neither much 
dilcuffiou nor deep knowledge to decide with- 
out ambiguity." 

But the moil imprudent part of this apoflolic 
epiflle was that in which, after the application 
to parliam.ent had been approved of, and the pro- 
t^ilation which was lUie ground of the oath ac- 
tually figned by all the four pontifical vicars for 
the time being, and recommended in the mod 
ftrenuous manner to the faithfid of their refpec- 
tive diflrids — they earneftly exhort every catholic 
to unite in oppofmg the oath, by prefenting " a 
proteftation or counter-petition," or by adopting 
"' whatever other legal and prudent meafure m.ay 
be judged the. beft." The nlifchiefs which mult 
liieteffarily have refukled from following fo incau- 
tious, an advice, and the impoilibilky of elfcct- 

* * This latter propofition was often and warrr.Iy agitated 
in the council of Trent j and at length hulhed into reft under 
the cover of two equivocal canorts. See Self. 23, an. 1563. 


ing the propofed objed if it were attempted, con- 
fidering that neither the bill nor the oath, in its 
Hate at that time, was the work of the committee, 
are juflly adverted to, and pointed out: and it 
is well obferved, that the catholics were, by fuch 
an exhortation, placed in the unhappy dilemma 
cither of difobeying the apollolic exhortation itfelf, 
or, by adhering to it, of being reputed bad citi- 
zens, and re-exciting againft themfelves all the 
animofity of former times. 

The bill, including the oath, was at this mo- 
ment before parliament, and I fiiall clofe the 
prefent chapter with a ihort account of its pro- 
grefs, and of the manner in which the contro- 
verfy terminated i which I am the better en- 
abled to accomplifh from the full and obliging 
information I have received upon the fubjedb 
from a gentleman who was at that time one of 
the mofl a6live members of the committee, as 
well as from feveral authentic papers which have 
been comrnunicated to me for this purpofe. 

In compliance (and it is a compliance which 
does credit to the liberality of the adminiftration 
then exilHng) with the prejudices of thofe who 
objeci:ed to the oath as at fir ft drawn up, the 
appellation of protefling catholic difTenters was 
exchanged for that of Roman catholics, under 
which dcfignadon the members of the catholic 


church arc now,,, for the firll time, known to the 
legillature of this country: — the term heretical 
was withdrawn ; and eventually the Irifh oath, 
fcarcely differing in a fmgle fentence from the 
EngHfti'oath of the 18 Geo, III., was fubftituted 
in the place of that originally introduced into the 
new bill. In its pafTage through the upper houfe 
the bill itfelf had, indeed, to fubmit to fome few 
additional claufes, and to a variation in two or 
three of the old : but in neither inflance of any 
ellential confequence. The mofl material fup- 
preflion was that of the entire claufe, which would 
have enabled Roman catholics to have prefented 
to advowfons : and as this is an immunity exer- 
cifed by every order of his majefty's fubje^ls in- 
dependently of themfelves, by diffenters, quakers, 
and even jews, it is truly extraordinary that the 
jealoufy of parliament fhould, in this feafon of li- 
beral and manly toleration, have withheld from 
them a right to which they are fo amply entitled: 
bu;t fuch, however, was the fa£i: ; the ^laufe was 
objefted to, the objection was deemed valid, and 
tl\e demand was negatived. " On its return to. 
the houfe of commons the bill met the fame 
kind of reception which had attended it on its firll 
entrance there. The fubflitution of the Irifh oath 
was acquiefced in* After the bill had paflfed through 
the accuflomed forms of the houfe of commons. 


It was returned to the lords ; who acceded to it 
without further oppofition, and on the 10th day 
of June 1791 it received the royal affent*." 

The prelatic party meanwhile continued to 
teftify their decided difapprobation. Although 
every conciliating effort had been manifefled by 
the committee, the three dijfenting apollolic vicars 
jfill pretended to fome infuperable difficulty. It 
was on January 19, 1791, they had fulminated 
their fecond encyclical letter. To this the com- 
mittee had replied on the fecond of February, by 
a letter addreffed to their own immediate fuperin- 
tendant Mr. Douglas, vicar of the London or 
fouthern diflricl ; which is a model of candor 
and legitimate ratiocination. On the eighth of 
the fame month they had been fortunate enough 
to obtain a conference with them, at which, after 
the profped of an amicable arrangement vainly 
indulged for fome confiderable time, Gibfon, bi- 
fhop of Acanthos, arofe abruptly from his feat, 
and faid that all fuch difcuffion was of no confe- 
quence ; and that the only queflion was, whether 
the committee would or would not fubmit ? This 
unexpected requifition, and particularly the mode 
and time in v/hich it was made, flruck the com- 

* Letter addrefTcd to the Catholics of England by the Ca- 
tholic Committee. Blue Books, No, III. p. lo. 


mittee with aftonilliment, and they requefted to 
have the requifition in writing, that they might dor 
hberate upon a reply. The queftion was penned, 
and almofl immediately afterwards, with equal 
deference and independence of fpirit, anfwered in 
the negative, with the fignatures of bifhop Be- 
rington, Dr. Jofeph Wilks, lords Sturton and Pe- 
tre, fir H. C. Englefield baronet, John Throck- 
morton (now fir J. Throckmorton bart.), John, 
Towneley, and Thomas Hornyold, efqrs. ; the 
committee at the fame time adding, that if the 
objeding vicars would fuggell any addition or 
quahfying explanation, which could be admitted 
confidently with the inftrument of proteflation 
fo uniformly fubfcribed, they would exert their 
befh endeavours in negotiating the admiffion of 
fuch a fuggeftion. Upon this reply bifliop 
Douglas obfen-ed, that he intended the prefent 
Ihould have been an amicable conference, and 
moved that the queftion and anfwer might be 
thrown into the fire ; but his two colleagues be- 
ing afked if they would retraO: the requifition, 
both peremptorily refufed. And in this hoftile 
manner the conference abruptly terminated. 

The committee, however, were ftill refolved 
to try every mean in their power to produce con- 
ciliation. And whilft they inftantly applied to 
their friends in parliament to obtain an alteration 

or fyppxefTion of the more obnoxious terms of the 
oaih, th.ey publilhed an additional letter, addreffed 
to thef3 three incorrigible vicars, offering new 
grounds of j unification; informing through this 
medium the catholics at large of the whole of 
their conduct, and particularly of the tranfaclions 
at the late conference ; and clofmg with a folemn 
proteil againft both the encyclical letters, as im^ 
prudent, arbitrary and unjufl, as a total mifrepre* 
fentation of the nature of the bills to which they 
refpedively referred, and the oaths they refpedively 
Gor.tained, as well as the conduct of the committee; 
in relation to them — as encroaching on their na-^ 
tural, civil, and religious rights, and inculcating 
principles hoflile to fociety and government, and 
the laws and conflitution of the Britifh empire. 

Their application to their parliamentary friends 
was, meanwhile, as I have already dated, attended 
iviih confiderable fuccefs : and it was confidently 
hoped, that as there was certainly no remaining 
ground for oppofidon, the fpiiit of altercation woulcl 
be refigned for that of wonted harmony and con-, 
cord. A general meeting to promote this pur« 
pofe was convened therefore by the committee^ 
on June 9th of the fame year, a few days after 
the bill had been returned to the upper houfe^ 
from the commons, with their approbation of the 
akeraUons it had received : at which bifhop Doug^ 


las attended, and afferted that he had no objec- 
tion to the form of the oath then prefcribed by 
parliament ; thus adding his affent to that of bi- 
fhop Talbot, which had long before been obtained 
and had extended ' to the general condudt of the 
committee. Neither Wahnefly nor Gibfon conde- 
fcended, however, to be prefent upon this occa- 
lion, nor was there any perfon authorized to con- 
vey their fentiments upon the fubje£t. On- the 
enfuing day, as I have ah*eady obferved, the royal 
affent was given to the bill; and all further op- 
pofition being ufelefs, the two recufant vicars 
learned, at length, to overcome their fcruples. 

By this important and very hberal ad Roman 
catholics are put, in almoft every inflance *, upon 
a level with other diflenters from the eftabliihed 
church, excepting, as I have previoufly noticed,, 
in the article of prefentation to advowfons. The, 
objeftions raifed by diflenters againft a compliance 
with the teft and corporation acts operate equally 
upon both parties ; but the former being able to 
take the oath of fupremacy, by which they deny 
that any " foreign prince, perfon, prelate, flat^ 
or potentate, hath or ought to have any jurifdic*, 

* For a particular ftatemeat of the political differences at 
prefent fubfifting between thefe two claffes of Britifti fubjefts, 
fee Mr. Butler's hiftorical Account of the Laws againft Roman 
Catholics, p. 24. 


tion, power, fuperiority, pre-eminence, or au- 
thority, ecclefiafiicalorfpiritual^ within this reahn," 
which the latter cannot in confcience aflent to ; 
and which oath the legiflatiire requires to be ten- 
dered to every voter at an eledion, as well as to 
every member of either houfe of parliament. Ro- 
man catholics are fubjed to penalties and difabi- 
lities in both thefe cafes, which do not affect 
proteftant diifenters ; and are precluded as-well' 
from parliament as from exercifin?^ the eleclive 
fuffrage. The advantages they have obtained, 
however, by the two ftatutes Avhich have been 
paifed in their favor in the courfe of the prefent 
reign, that of 18th and 31(1: of Geo. III., are fo 
very confiderable, that they rnay V^U reft fatisfied 
with their acquifitions' ; althoifgH' th^y'-liSye not 
procured every immunity to "which they are en- 
titled, and which v/ould moft probably have been 
granted them had it not been for their own inter- 
nal difputes, and the confequent neceflity of va-' 
tfmg the oath inferted into the laft a£t from its 
original form. — " Thus,*' fay the committee, in 
their addrefs to the catholics at large upon the 
clofe of this troublefome undertaking, " fmce 
the year 1778 a new order of things is opened 
to th^ catholics of England : they have recovered 
the good opinion and confidence of their country- 
men : in matters of religion they are indulged in 


a confcientious dlfTent from the legal eftablifh- 
ment, and may worfhip their God according to 
the mo de which their faith ordains. In civil and 
political concerns they form no feparate combina- 
tion ; but may freely incorporate with their fel- 
low fubjefts for the public good. No longer 
aliens in their native land, they may now behold 
the general profperity without envy or deprefiion 
of fpirits. Their property is fecure, and no 
longer held on the precarious and humiliating 
tenure of fugrance" or connivance. They have 
the fanclion of law to tranfmit it to their ofF- 
fpring. They may impart to their children the 
blellings of education. They are no longer 
looked upon as a degraded fa6:io^, who harbor 
principles hoftile to the laws and liberties of their 
country. In a word — they are Englishmen, 




Dr. Geddes*& 'Macaronic Epifile to his Brother — His 
Secuhar Ode on the Affairs of France-^Ohfervations 
en thefe foems — The foetus attachment to Mr, Fox ; 
and peculiar animation when reciting bis merits-^ 
Mis general learning and extenjive talents — Univer^ 
fality ofjiudy no impediment to perJe6iion in any indi^ 
vidual branch of fcience, A. D. 1791 — 179^» 

The year 1 790 comprifes one of the bufiefl pe- 
riods of Dr. Geddes's life. We have already traced 
liim deeply engaged in a variety of employ, 
ments, both ferious and jocular : perfevering in 
his tranflation of the Bible ; replying to the vafl 
body of his anonymous correfpondents in the dif- 
ferent fhapes of querifls, critics, and counfellors ; 
addreffing the catholic bifhop of Comana, and 
the archbifhops and bifhops of the eftablifhed 
church : and we have now to notice, as having 
been publifhed in the fame year alfo, his Epiftola 
^ Macaronica ad Fratrem, and his Carmen Seculare 
pro Gallica gente, which exhibit him altogether 
in a new character, and one in which, from the 
former production more efpecially, he appears 
to no fmall advantage j to wit, that of a Latin 


poet. The Epiflola Macaronica, as Its title ex- 
prelTes, is a humorous poem upon many of the 
incidents that occurred at a general dinner of the 
proteftant diflenters at the London tavern in the 
preceding February; at which place they had 
aflembled to wifh fuccefs to their conjoint eitorts 
in obtaining a repeal of the teft and corporation 
a^s, as already dated in Chapter V. 

** It is the charaderiftic of a macaronic poem/* 
obferves our author in an introductory remark, 
*' to be written in Latin hexameters ; but fo as 
to admit occafionally vernacular words, either in 
their native form or with a Latin inflexion. Other 
licences, too, are allowed in the meafure of the 
lines, contrary to the ftriO: rules of profody ; df 
which, however, very few have been here in- 

This fpecies of burlefque poetry is not very 
common among ourfelves. At the end of the 
fixth volume of Leland's Itinerary, Mr. Hearne 
has indeed given a macaronic poem on a battle 
•at Oxford, between the fcholars and the townf- 
men, and part of the celebrated comedy of 
Ignoramus is compofed upon the fame model : 
•but on the continent Maccheronea, or Macaronics, 
are by no means infrequent. The comedies of 
■Moliere, and efpecially his Mdhde Imaginaire, 
furnifh us with abundant inflances : while among 


the Italian poets they are more common than 
even in France, M. de Blainville, in his Travels 
through Italy (vol. iii. p. 548), fpeaks of a 
macaronic poem of Merlinus Coccaius, or rather 
of Theophilo Folengi, under this name, a poet of 
Mantua, who died as early as 1554 ; and which, 
notwithflanding the high reputation of Folengi 
for many other works communicated to the pub- 
he, was generally regarded as his mafterpiece. 
It was entitled Baldus, and divided into not lefs 
than twenty-five books. From this circumflance 
the tranllators of de Blainville, Turnbull, Gu- 
thrie, and Lockman, incline to the opinion that 
Folengi was the inventor of this fpecies of verfifi- 
cation. This indeed may be true ; but when 
they tell us that macaronic poetry, which is a 
mixture of Latin and Italian w^ords, polTefrmg 
a Latin termination, " is fo called from its being 
fuppofed to refemble (as being a mixture) the Ita- 
lian Maccheroni, thefe being compofed of flower, 
cheefe, and butter" — they difplay a woeful igno- 
rance of the fubject they attempt to elucidate. 
Maccherone is a term in the Italian lancruafre, 
figniiicative of a blockhead, an ignoramus, or 
in equivalent Englifh a pudding-pated fellow: 
and Maccherone a (Macaronics) are obviouily, 
therefore, burlefque imitations of the unclaflical 
ftyle of fuch writers. 


This Macaronic Epiftle of Dr. Geddes is, in 
my judgment, the befl of all his fportive efFu- 
fions. The fubjed was certainly a happy one; 
and he h-as infufed into it a portion of wit and 
humor which even at prefent is fure to excite 
no fmall degree of laughter. The different 
charaders are well caught, and delineated with 
good nature rather than feverity ; and the quaint 
intermixture of Latin and Englifli, of terms claf- 
fical and vulgar, commencing with one lan- 
guage and terminating in another, of which the 
grave fpeeches of the refpeclive orators are com- 
pofed, combine a greater quantity of burlefque, 
und confequently afford an ampler portion of 
merriment than can ever be derived from the 
happieft ufe of the Anilyan ftanza. A few 
weeksj indeed, after the publication of this epiftle 
our author printed a fecond edition of it with 
an Englifh tranflation " favored him by a friend" 
in this very ftyle of verfification. This trans- 
lation has its merit alfo : but, perhaps, for the 
reafons juft ftated, it appears bald and infipid 
when compared with the original. The name of 
this " friend" I am not acquainted with. The 
Engliih reader himfelf will be able to fbrra fome 
idea of the ludicrous nature of this high-feafoned 
macaronic from the following; verfes which de- 


fcribe the different clafTes of thofe who were now 
aflcmbled at the tavern. 

Hie, una in halh magnaque, altaque-, treceiii 
Meet^stxc viri, ex diveriis nomine fe6lis : 
Hi, quibus et cordi eft audacis dogma Socini ; 
Hi, quibus arrident potius di6lamina Arii 5 
Hi, qui Calvini myfteria dira tuentur ; 
Hi, quibus afHxum eft a bibaptifmatc nomen : 
AU, in a word, qui fe oppreftbs moji beatnty credunt 
Legibus injuftis, teft-oatbxbws atque profanis ; 
Wbih b'lgb-churcb homines in eaje et luxury vivunt > 
Et placediS, fofizs,, mercedes, munia, graff2.ii\. ! 
Hi cun6li lem were ; fari aut pugnare parati 
Prifca pro caufa. 

In enumerating the clerical leaders, our author 
has adverted with appropriate and pleafant curi- 
ofity to the peculiar fentiments or manners of moft 
of them. Every one acquainted with the writings 
of Mr. BeKham, knows him to be a ftrenuous ne- 
cefTarian : the benevolent characters of Dr. Difney 
and Dr. Price are feized con amore^ and given 
with the touch of a Carraccio ; and Dr. Prieft- 
ley's grains of gunpowder, which excited fo much 
idle imflammability and uproar among the high- 
church paity, are introduced with much dexterity 
and effect. 

Quid referam Clcri clariffima nomlna ? Reefum, 
Lindfapum, Kippis, covfpcilVifqne Toc'rum 


Ihfignem— <et (woe's me !) violentd forU toa&upi 
Belihamum j ni'veo candentem pe^ore Difney 5 
Et Price, humani generis totius amicum. 

Non aderas, Prieftley ! — potior te cura tenebat 
Kure, ubi magna inter certturh liliracula rerum, 
Horflaei caput in rutilantia fulmina forgis ; 
SuJphuris et fatagis fubtilia grana parare, 
Church quibus it churchmen in ccelum upbJowere poffis. 

Of all the charaders delineated, I have been 
thiefly pleafed, however, with that of the late 
worthy but irafcible Mr. Fell ; who adhered, it 
feems, to the party which very injudicioufly 
would have deftroyed the harmony of the table^ 
by the introduction of a fet of preconceived po^ 
litical refolutions. Fell, it is univerfally known, 
had engaged in a keen controverfy with Mr. Far- 
mer upon the demoniacs of the fcriptures ; and, 
in oppofition to the latter gentleman, had power- 
fully and violently contended for their actual ex- 
iflence. It is to this conteft our author obvioufly 
alludes in the following verfes : 

Pluriblis haec placuit fententiaj jamqiie finiftris 
JEmpt^as glaffks manibus^r^amus, ut illas 
Fragranti ex tefta impleremus Burdigalcnfi ; 
Cum doftor, perverso agitatus djemone, Fellui 
Omnia^or/avit — nam hench?^ ftans fuper alta. 
Verba o^x^tm four ^ four ^ fatis ac facunda profatur. 

It IS remarkable, that in his defcription of Mr» 
Fox, who was prefent on the occaTion, he drops 


abruptly all idea of macaronics, and, elevated by 
the additional dignity of his fubjed, or the en- 
thufiafm with which he contemplated this unri- 
valled ftatefman, burlls into a ftrain of claffical 
and exquifite hexameters-— 

carmma non prms 

Audita, mufarum facerdos. 
It is thus he delineates him — 

pod hunc, argutu3 lefFries, 

Perdignus Chairman — et poft hunc Foxius ipfc 5 

Foxius, eloquii noftro Demofthenis sevo 

Unicus adfertor ; et libertatis amator 

Unicus 5 et nondum venalis ! — Plaudite, cIycs ! 

Plaudite magnanimum concivem 3 plaudite verum 

Humani juris ultorem ; et ducite plaufus 

Ter ternos, donee reboabunt voce columna?. 

Thus again, when Mr. Fox rifes and totally 
dilTi pates the difcontent that feems flill to pre- 
vail in one or two quarters, we meet with a de- 
fcription which, if it were not for the barbarous 
terra lippis^ would make us nearly forget the 
ground on v/hich we are treading: 

Cum (Deus ut volucer cce'o delapfus ab alto) 
Foxius apparet ; nlmbos et diffipat omncs 
Flexanimis verbis, blandae et dulcedine vocls. 

Non, mihi teicentum llnguas fi ccela dedifTent, 
Et calamum puro manantem ne6larc — non turn 
Dicere fperarem vel fcribere pij/xara pofle, 


lIHus ex Hppis quae mellea cunque fiuebant 

Sit fatis effari, non prj[ji,aro(. vana fuifle. 
Nam yelut Aprili medio li quando fercnum 

Turbarit cc3elum Boreas, denfifque nigrarit 

NubibuB, attonita et metuit natura rulnanl 
Crandineo ex nimbo— fubito Sol impsrat Euro 

Alipedes ut jungat equos, fefeque fequatur ! 
Ipfe fedens curru, radiorum fpicula fpargit 
Purpurea : a6lutum et toto denfifiima ceclo 
Nubila depellit. — Sic tunc diffufa per aulam 
Aurea vox Foxi faevas compefcuit iras, 
Et lastos, hilarefque ad pocula cara remifit 

It is a curious obfervation, and, confidering the 
little patronage Mr. Fox ever has been or perhaps 
ever will be pofTeffed of — an obfervation highly cre- 
ditable to the learning of the prefent day — to no- 
tice how univerfally he has monopolized the en- 
thufiafm of our mofl eminent fcholars. Our mer- 
chants may, indeed, ere6t monuments to the me- 
mory of his rival, but I fcarcely know to what li- 
terary character of eftablifhed reputation they 
could apply for a voluntary infcription; while Parr, 
Wakefield, Geddes, and a multitude of fnni- 
lar names, have eagerly preffed forward to offer 
their pure tribute of unpurchafed praife, and to 
conned their own immortality with his*. But 

* Dr. Parr and Dr. Geddes have both affim>!ated his impe- 
tuous and commanding eloquence to that of Pericles. The 
former citing a forcible verfe of Ariflophanes upon the Gre- 
cian orator, applies it with much happy appropriation to h'i& 
friend : 


of all his admirers none appears to have entertained 
^. a more exalted idea of his talents or his virtues 

lltrrpoLTTT* s'^povroct ^vvekvko, rijy EXXccSa* 

He flalhed, he thundered, and all Greece he Ihook. 

The latter, in his addrefs to the public, prefers, as more ex- 
preffive (lill of Mr. Fox's chara<^eriilic oratory, the pafTage of 
Eupolis upon the fame redoubtable chief, which begins, 

Kfario-ro^ ovfog iyBVEro ocv^pouifujv Xsysiv 
O Tfors tocfsX^oi, utxriis^ <^' /aSoi o^o[j.£is &c. 

The attachment of the late Mr. Wakefield to Mr. Fox is 
well known, though like Dr. Geddes he had but little perfonal 
acquaintance with him, and no expe6tation of pecuniary affift- 
dnce or patronage. The mafterpiece of his literary labors, his 
fuperb edition of Lucretius, he dedicated to him, with all the 
fervor of veneration and afFe6lion, in a truly elegant addrefs 
which thus opens : 


feculi fui 




elegantioribus ingenii dotibus 


eloqucntiae vena 
copiofae, facilis, inaffeftatae, vividae, fubllmis, 


virtutibus iis omnibus, 
quae virum politicum exornent, 


fed ob teneros affeftus snimi 
bumaniflimamque bencvolentiam » 



than Dr. Geddes : fpeaking In another place of 
its having been objeded to him that he was an ob- 
ftinate and a violent Foxite, he obferves that Fox- 
ite is a name which, " next to thofe of chriftian 
and catholic, I confider as the mod glorious one 
I can bear. I am undoubtedly a Foxite, an obili- 
nate Foxite, and, if they will, as violent a Foxite, 
in my low walk of life, as any man in the kingdom. 
But why ? Becaufe I find in Mr. Fox, and in Mr. 
Fox alone, almofl every thing that I wilh to find 
in a Britilh flatefman. I have narrowly watched 
his public condufl for thefe fifteen years; and 
whether he were in office, or out of office, I have 
ever obferved his Gondu£l: uniformly directed to 
the greater good of his country. I talk not here 
pf his matchlefs eloquence and irrefiftible^brce of 
reafoning; they are felt and confefled by his 
greateft opponents. It is his unequalled philan- 
thropy, his unrivalled liberality of fentiment, his 
honed and manly candor, his inflexible firmnefs 
and uncorrupted integrity, that principally fill me 
with admiration and attachment. And fhall I, 
when every little dirty art is employed to mifre- 
prefent his adions and render him unpopular, be 
withheld from expreffing my fentiments in his re- 
gard, for fear of what may be thought or faid of 
me on that account? I have not, ' to my forrow 
\ declare j' the honor of Mr. Fox's acquaintance; 


I never Ipoke to him but once In my life. : I never 
applied to him for any favor, and confequently 
never obtained any. My praife then cannot be a 
partial, at lead it cannot be a mercenary praife^ 
nor indeed can it be of any confequence to Mr. 
Fox. He (lands not in need of fo feeble a pane- 
gyrift. But it is my wifh (a felfifh wiih) to have 
it known that I am one of thofe who confider 
Charles James Fox as one of the great eft ^ and 
wijeji^ and beji of men.'' 

To the Carmen Soeculare of Dr. Geddes, pub- 
liftied in the fame year, I cannot pay the compli- 
ment which is due to his Macaronic Epiftle. It is 
dedicated to the National AfTembly of France, and 
its fubjed is the Acceptance of the New Conflitu- 
tion by ithe unfortunate Lewis. It is well known 
that the generous bofom of our countrymen hailed 
with an enthufiaflic ardor, and with very few ex- 
ceptions, the commencement of a revolution which 
gave the faireft promife — a promife, alas ! that was 
blighted in the very bud — of the triumph of li- 
berty over opprellion, and a further extenfion of 
the happinefs of the human race. Many of the 
fcenes of outrage and hypocrify which accom- 
panied even the earlieft tranfadions of this poli- 
tical innovation w^ere not known in our own 
country at the time to which I am now alluding; 
and as it was univcrfally hoped, fo it w^as generally 


believed, that the royal alTent and fan6:ion were 
altogether voluntary and unbiafed. Of this num- 
ber was Dr. Geddes : ammated with the facred 
fury of the moment, which feems to have borne 
down every breafl before it, he flies to his mufe, 
to give vent to the rapturous feelings that agitated 
him. The mufe, however, in direct contradiction 
to what might have been expeded, does not ap- 
pear to have been propitious. There is a tamenefs 
and infipidity pervading the entire ode — an occa- 
fional inattention to profody and grammar which 
renders it equally unworthy of the fubjedt and the 
poet : no prominent event is feized poflelTion of; 
no fentiment aufpicioufly conveyed. The follow- 
ing are, I believe, among the bed ftanzas; or at 
ieaft they convey to us a favorable idea of the 
author's piety, and his thorough behef of the 
virtue and honefty of the French monarch. 

Gentis humanas fator atque re(^or, 
Hoc tuum donum ! tibi (int, bonorum 
Omnium vere dator ac origo, 

Gloria, laufque ! 
Aadiant omnes, timeantque reges : 
Totius terrae timcant tyranni ; 
Pallfeat quicr.ncque imitatur illos 

Nomine quovis ! 
Xaip£, ter felix Ludovice, %aip£ I 
Tu tenes tandem innocu m coronam j 
Tu tenes tandem maculata nulio 

Crimine fceplra ! 


The beginning of this extrad, however, unfor- 
tunately reminds us of the 

Gentis humana? pater atque cuftos 

of Horace, from whom our poet evidently derived 
the firft verfe, and forces upon us a comparifon 
which is by no means advantageous to him. To 
this Latin ode the poet himfelf added an Englifh 
verfion, which has certainly no boafi: beyond that 
of the original. The following is his tranflation of 
the pafTage above : 

Yes, Father of mankind ! thine is the deed : 
Our grateful voice of thanks to thee we raife $ 

To thee, the giver of each precious meed, • 

Be honor, glory, and eternal praife. 

Let fovereigns hear and tremble !— may the found 
Reach every tyrant's ear from pole to pole j 

Kings, emperors, princes, prelates, popes confound, 
And fill with terror each defpotic foul. 

Hail happy Lc\jris ! who can boaft you wear 
A crown innocuous, lawfully obtained ! 

Hail happy Lewis! who can boaft you bear 
A regal fceptre with nq primp diflained, 

Inftead of being furprifed, however, that Dr. 
Geddes did not always fucceed in the different and 
apparently oppofite branches of literature in which 
he fo indifcriminately engaged, mod of my readers 
will perhaps be rather furprifed at the verfatility 
and magnitude of his powers, which enabled him 


to engage at any time with fuccefs In all of them. 
Yet this is not a corred idea. There are, I well 
know, philofophers who, judging from the con, 
trp.ded limits of their own minds, deny the pofli- 
bility of any one man*s acquiring perfection, or 
any thing th^t may make a near approach to it, 
in more than one art or fcience, through the 
whole courfe c^ his life. Such rend afunder, in- 
(lead of claiTifjang, the different branches of hu- 
man ftudy, ana regard each as a ftumbling-block 
and mortal enemy, inflead of a friend and help- 
mate to every other. Buchanan, who like Geddes 
was profoundly fkilled in antient polemics and a}l 
the politics of the day, was the firfl poet of his 
age : Ariflotle, the mod fubtle metaphyfician of 
Greece, evinced the moft perfect relifh for the ef- 
fential beauties of poetry, and eflabhfhed a code of 
laws for its regulation, which has continued with 
little deviation to the prefent hour. The genius of 
Milton was almoft iUimited : that of fir WilHam 
Jones equally competent to the whole circle of fci- 
ences; and Khakani (/Jlj'L:^), one of the moll 
fublime and fpirited poets of Perfia, was alike ce- 
lebrated for his fkill in eveiy branch of pure and 
mixed mathematics. Judgment is as neceflary in 
the compofition of correft verfification, as in the 
profecution of any other art or fcience whatfoever: 
and a lively and brilliant imagination, when fub- 
jeded to its reins, cannot poffibly retard, but may 


very confiderably quicken our progrefs In every 
branch of human learning. All that we perceive, 
and that can become the fubject of ftudy, has- 
emanated from one divine intelligence, and is fub- 
mitted to the fame uniform powers of genius ; and 
the man who dares every thing will find, in 
fcience as in battle, that fortune generally favors 
the brave. 



General execration of the Jla-Je frade-^Dr, Geddes^ 
fatir'tfes it in his apology for Jlavery— The queftion in^ 
troduced before parliament— Condua of Mr. Pitt and 
Mr, DundaS'-'Refult of parliamentary interference — 
Mr. Cowpers Tranflation of Homer's Iliad-— Dr, 
Geddes's high opinion of Mr, Cooper's poetic ia- 
lents-^Mr. Fufeli', the ajljiance be rendered Mr, 
Cowper—Dr, Geddes's Tranjlationof thefrjl Book of 
Homer's Iliad: comparifon between the verfions of 

■ Cowper, Geddes, Burger, and Vofs—V Avocat die 

Biable : the occajion of this humorous poem— The pro- 

fefjion of the law not an unfavorable fuhjed, evinced 

by Mr, Anp/s Pleader's Guide, A, D, 179a— 


It happened about this time that all Europe, 
which had for ages, with little or no remorfe, per- 
mitted the barbarous exercife of the flave trade in 
its foreign fettlements, was fuddenly " vifited 
with the compunftious feelings of nature'' on ac- 
count of its criminality. The attack began, for 
fome reafon, of which I am ignorant, upon the 
tender confcience of Mr. Wilberfcrce : and as the 
imalleft fpark is frequently fufficient to produce 

- 2?0 

an unlimited conflagration, it fpread with refiftlefe 
impetuofity over all England, and from England 
over ail the continent. Amidfl the numerous wild- 
fires that fcorched rather than ehlightened man- 
kind at the fame moment, the ignes fatui of illu- 
minifm, cofmopohtanifm, and theophilanthropifm^ 
this, however, was a holy flame, and, inftead 
of ridiculing its origin, we have only to lament that 
it pofllefled fo little of veftal perpetuity. Dr, 
Geddes, who was too bold a man and too found 
a logician not to purfue a principle he had once 
imbibed through all the extent of its legitimate 
confequences — for the very reafon that he had 
longed for a more general toleration in England, 
and hailed the apparent triumph of liberty in 
France, ,could not do otherwife than wifli fuccefs 
to the abolition of African flavery. To wifli and 
to a6t were with liim the fame thing : and having 
obferved that every argument which could be fe- 
rioufly advanced againfl this abominable traflic, to 
adopt his own language, " in Greek and Latin, 
French and Englifli, philofophy and oratory, 
profe and verfe, bad been alternately and fuccefs 
fivcly employed" in vain, he advances with an ar- 
gument of a different dcfcription, and with an equal 
admixture of humor and feverity appeals ad vere-^ 
iundiam, by pretending to embrace the converfe 
fide of th^ quefliion, and th«s to appeilr as a 


ftrenuous advocate for the trade in human blood i 
he publifhed therefore at this period his " Jpo- 
logy for Slavery.'' Often as the feelings of na- 
ture and humanity and the didates of religion 
had been introduced to anathematize the whole 
fyftem, our author fatirically demonflrates that the 
two former have uniformly, and the latter gene- 
rally, encouraged and enjoined it. This pamphlet, 
for obvious reafons, was publifhed anonymoufly : 
but the features of Dr. Geddes were as confpi- 
cuous in his ftyle and arrangement as in his coun- 
tenance, and no mafquerade of a foreign name or 
of an anonymous introduction could conceal him 
from the eye of the inquifitive. The following ex- 
trad from the apology before us will fufFiciently 
explain what I mean : 

" It remains to be examined how far the cries 
of religion have been heard, are heard, or ought 
to be heard, on the fubjecl in queflion. 

" And here, indeed, I am obliged to own, th^t 
a Being, called Religion, feems actually to have, 
once at leaft, exerted her voice in favor of uni- 
verfal freedom; and exerted it in fo benign, gentle, 
and enchanting a manner, that, if the exertion had 
long continued, I fear that nature and humanity 
would have lofl their influence with refped to man. 
Her voice was heard through the organ of Jesus, 
in fo audible, didind, and unequivocal a manner. 

a§ not to be mifunderftood. By his mout{i fhe 
tells us, that, in point of liberty, fhe admits of 
no diftindions. Jew and Gentle, Greek and Bar- 
barian, the circumcifed and uncircumcifed, are 
there equally free. All men are our neighbours, 
our brethren ; whom fhe willeth us to love as our- 
felves. The rule of our condud towards others 
mull, according to her, be that which we wifh 
them to hold towards us. Cruelty, rapine, cozen- 
age, and every fort of oppreiTion, for ever exclude 
from HER kingdom. 

. " That fuch a religion fhould weep over the mi- 
fery of our Negroes, I am willing to believe. Her 
great High-priest mofl certainly did weep, in 
her name, over lefs mifery than theirs. He blended 
his tears with thofe of two affedionate fifiers, who 
had loft their brother by fair death; and even 
raifed him from the dead to remove their caufe of 
tears. He wept over the future miferies of Jeru- 
falem, when its inhabitants were plotting his de» 
flru£lion ! Such a religion, I fay, once exifted, and 
may pofTibly ftill exifl in Eutopia or in heaven : 
■but who, for thefe fifteen hundred years, has feen 
her, or heard her crying, through compaiTion, on 
this fubl unary globe? — Her namejake^ that affumed 
her place in the reign of Conftantine, fo far from 
weeping at human mifery, has, ever fince, been' 
i^ne of the principal caufes of h. She has literally 


verified, what the chriftian leglflator faid of her 
predeceflbr, in a metaphorical fenfe : fhe has fet 
the fon againfl the father, and the father againfl 
the fon, and put a fword in the hand of one 
brother to ftab another.— Not to mention Pagans^ 
Jezvs^ or Mahommedaiis \ let the fed of Chriftians 
be pointed out, in which fhe has not abetted every 
fpecies of intolerantifm. Who, but flie, prompted 
the Athanafians to calumniate and maltreat the 
Ariansj and thefe to retaliate on the Athana- 
fians ? Who, but flie, excited the Donatift and 
Vandalic perfecutions ? Who, but flie, fowed the 
feeds of diffenfion between the Greek and Latin 
churches ; and made a breach of communion that 
is never likely to be healed?, V\^ho, but fhe, autho- 
rized Charle>nagne to butcher in cold blood four 
thoufand Saxons, and to, dragoon as many more 
of them into the faith ? Who, but fhe, made an 
ambitious pope * facrifice his confcience to a cruel 
ufurpertj for the vain title of Univerfal Bijhcp?r 
Who,- but fhe, infpired his fuccelTors in the fee of 
Rometo attempt and accomplifii the fpiritual fub- 
jugation of the weftern world to their affumed au- 
thority ? Who, but fhe, emboldened Gregory VII. 
to feize alfo the fword of civil power, and to con- 
fider king* and emperors as his valTals and flave|^? 
Who, but fhe, infpired even the fathers of a gene- 

* Boniface lit. f Phocas. 



ral fynod to vote* the burning of John Hufs and 
Jerome of Prague, in fpit^ of thefafe condud of an 
emperor? Who, but fhe, was the mother of the 
INQUISITION ? And who, but ihe, didates ^ AtJ- 
To-DE-FE ? Who, but {he, in ihort, at once con- 
dems the foul to hell, and the body to the flames ? 

*' Ghofls of the Albigenfes, fo cruelly butchered 
by the religious Montfort, authorized by a papal 
bull! Ghofls of.Vanini aiid Servetus, who fell, 
the one a vid:irn to papiflic, the other to Galvi- 
niflic zeal! Oholls of papifls and proteflants, 
whom our fupreme head of the church, the godly 
Henry, burned at the faine ftake ! Ghofls of Lati- 
mer and Ridley, whom not even the wifh of a 
cardinal could refcue from the fangs and faggots 
of the orthodox Bonner ! Ghofl of the much-in- 
jured amiable Mary, who fell a facrifice, not 
barely to the jealoufy of our virgin queen^hut to 
the fafety of our infayjt chuub! — Say, could I 
fummon you from your feats of repofe, to atteft 
to the truth of v/hat I have here advanced, would 
you not cry out with one voice — in the words of 
Lucretius, * Yes, yes ! tantum potuit fuadere malo- 
rum religio !' 

*' With what face, after this, can the flicklers for 
the abolition of flavery introduce Religidfiy even in 

* Lata eflfcntentia fatrum, cnvKndos ejfs contumaics. Eneas 


Ker prefent chrlftian garb, pleading with tears for 
liberty to a fet of unchriftened favages, to whom 
the name of Christ is only known through the 
blafphemies of their chriftian talk-maflers ? She, 
who makes no fort of fcruple to enflave, perf^cute, 
and torture her own baptized children ! — Mr. 
Wilberforce and his affociates may be able to 
point out a few individual clergymen of every de- 
nomination, who have openly declared themfelves 
the enemies of flavery ; but their voice can never 
be called that of Religion, who fpeaks only by efta- 
hlijhed churches. Until then, the church of Eng- 
land and the kirk of Scotland (for the church of 
-Rome is here out of the queftion) have clearly 
delivered their oracles ex cathedra^ and thundered 
anathemas againfl the flave trade, we muft con^ 
fider the genuine voice of Religicm, fuch as flie is in 
ihefe latter days, as on our fide of the queftion. 

" On the whole, I truft, I have fully proved, 
that the arguments derived by our adverfaries, 
from the pretended cries of nature, humanity, and 
religion, in favor of the abolition of flavery, are futile 
and frivolous in the extreme. I proceed now to offer 
my reafons why flavery ought not to be aboliflied" 

Thefe are derived and purfued in the fame iro- 
nic manner from the laws of nature j the law of 
nations; the divine pofitive law; the laws of felf- 
iixterefl:; the laws of luxury; and the laws of flate- 


expediency. Upon thefe I need not enlarge, as 
the train of reafoning is fufficiently obvious already. 
The following is a part of the paragragh with 
which the writer concludes : " Ye Foxes and 
Windhams, ye Smiths and Wilberforces ! give up, 
give up your vain purfuit. What though the niini* 
fler lend you his fmgle voice ? what though he lend 
it ^OMjericuJly ? The voice of the minifter will, on 
this occafion, be drowned by the voice of mi- 
nifierialifts ; and your oppofition here will be as 
inefFedual with him on your fide as it is every 
where elfe when he is againft you." 

Whether or not a fudden emancipation or, gra- 
dual abolition of Weft Indian flavery be moft con- 
fiftent with the dictates of reafon or even humanity 
is not the queftion here agitated. If the traffic be in- 
trinfically criminal it is impoffible to retain one man 
for one moment in fo abafed a fervitude, devoid of 
fome portion of guilt; and yet, fuch is the dilemma, 
if we may determine from the late fituation of 
thofe French iflands in v/hich the experiment has 
been made, to w^hich we are reduced, that an ab- 
• rupt and univerfal emancipation w^ould probably 
be attended with more moral and phyfical evil, 
than even a temporary but gradually relaxing per- 
feverance in this very crim.inality itfelf. So true 
is the obfervation which I have fomewhere met in 
the writings of Mr. Eurke, that it is pofTible for 


certain principles to be theoretically right while 
they are pra6lically wrong. 

To the Britifli fenate both plans, however, have 
been fubmitted, and fubmltted fp repeatedly as to 
become far more tedious than " a twice-told tale." 
How it came to pafs that, with all the eloquence 
conjoined with the vote of fuch a man as Mr. Pitt 
in favor of the abolition of the flave trade, this 
a£i: of national juftice has not yet been obtained— 
and that " the voice of the miniflef^ has been ac- 
tually and repeatedly " drowned by the voice of 
mtnifterialifts'' mufl appear a myftery to thofe 
who have not attended to the finefTe and duplicity 
which Mr. Pitt feems never^ to have hefitated 
to employ in cafes of political urgency. The ge* 
neral influence of this minifter over his own par- 
liament is well known; and his warmed and mofb 
confidential friends do not deny that he could 
have obtained his ufual majority in both houfes if 
he had cordially exerted himfelf for this purpofe. 
To fay that Mr. Dundas was againfl the queftion, 
and therefore it was loft, Is to excite a laugh at this 
gentleman's expenfe. Mr. Dundas has uniformly 
difcovered too much complaifance for Mr. Pitt to 
have entertained at any time an opinion of his own,j 
when he knew his colleague to have been deter- 
mined upon the acqmfition of any particular obje^V^ 
be it what it might; and, admitting the fmcerlly 
of Mr. Pitt — that it iliould have been carried, as it 


adlually was once or twice in the lower houfe, and 
at length loft in the upper, is more extraordinary 
ftill — that it fhould have been loft in that houfe 
over which the Weft Indian merchants have but 
h'ttle comparative control; and in which the peers 
of Mr. Pitt's own creation were at the time fo nu- 
merous as almoft to have enfured him a majority 
againft thofe of an earlier exiftence. In fad, when 
We contemplate Mr. Pitt's total derelidiou, of every 
political principle he had profefled on the moment 
of his acceflion to power, we can fcarcely believe 
him to have been fmcere in his prior profeffion of 
thofe principles; when we examine his condud 
refpeding the repeal of the teft and corporation 
ad, it is impoflible not to behold a degree of difm« 
genuity towards the diffenters which cannot be 
eftimated at lefs than deceit; and when, in the 
prefent inftance, we furvey him confenting to lofe 
a queftion repeatedly, in his own oftenfible opi- 
nion founded equally on moral and political juf- 
tice, and of the utmoft im_portance to the interefl 
of Great Britain that it ftiould be carried; when 
we fee him trufting to the mental perfuafion of 
his voice alone, without having recourfe, in any 
one inftance, to that phyfical and co-operating 
influence to which upon every other occafion he 
was accuftomed to refort, it is not in human nature 
(to adopt a favorite phrafeology of his own) to be- 
lieve that he was ferious in the caufe he pretended 


to , efpoufe. He obtained neverthelefs the popula- 
rity he fought after and was fatisfied. No party 
indeed feems to have been highly difpleafed : the 
people felt that they had at lead triumphed by the 
force of argument — and the Weft Indian merchants 
by the force of fad. In one refped): hpweyer Mr. 
Pitt has grofsly deviated from his engagement 
upon this fubjed:; for during the lafl difcuffion of 
it in the houfe of commons he exprefsly aflerted 
that the abolition of the flave trade was fo inti- 
mately connedted v/ith the very exiftence of our 
Well Indian colonies, that if the niotion were not 
carried in the form in which it was then prefented, 
he fhould feel it his indifpenfable duty to bring it 
forwards fhortly afterwards in his official character; 
and he pledged himfelf to the houfe that he would 
thus ad. Five long years, neverthelefs, afterwards 
rolled on, and Mr. Pitt's pledge flill remained as 
unfulfilled as that concerning a reformation of 
parliament ; both of them indeed appearing to be 
alike poflponed to the Greek calends. 

The work which at this time occupied the chief 
attention of the public was Mr. Cowper's tranlla- 
tion of the Iliad and Odyfley. The talents this 
moil excellent but unfortunate bard had evinced, 
and the reputation he had acquired by his poem of 
The Tajk^ ftamped a deep impreffion upon the 
world in his favor ; and the verfion was at length 
publiihed in two fplendid quartos, with a lift of 


five hundred fubfcribers, Including the names of 
almofl all the nobility and men of letters in the 
nation. It is not to be wondered at therefore that 
in this lift fliould appear the name of Alexander 
Geddes, LL. D. Geddes indeed regarded Cowper 
as the firft poet of his day. I have repeatedly heard 
him aifert that, independently of the ftrength as weM. 
as occafional beauty of his verfification, he believed 
there was no man living to whom as a philologift the 
Englifh language was fo much indebted as to this 
admirable poet: for that there was no man who had 
with fo much fuccefs refufcitated from the grave of 
oblivion words which ought never to have become 
obfolete; imported exotic terms which feemed fo 
happily to harmonize with our own tongue, that 
almoft every one who met with them wondered 
they had not been imported before ; or gave a new 
and more charaderiflic fenfe to many which had 
been long in common ufe. Among the books of his 
library was an edition of Johnfon's Dictionary in- 
terleaved with blank pages for manufcript and 
curfory remarks; and among thefe the name of 
Cowper occurs more frequently, I believe, than 
that of any other author, as a fource of addition and 
improvement to this valuable work. Dr. Geddes 
has adverted to him on account of the pre-eminence 
of his mufe in the pamphlet upon the Slave Trade, 
from which I have juft quoted; and in his Latin 


Elegy "to the Shade of Gilbert Wakefield" he 
.afligns him a place in the Elyfian gardens among 
Homer, Virgil, Lucretius, Milton, Shakefpear, and 
feveral other poets of the firft celebrity in antient 
a^d modern times. 

fecus ac Cowperus, flebilis ifte, 

Oreo quern ante diem bills acerba dedit 

•Nor remotely roves 

Pale Cowper, ftiil by many a friend bewailed. 
Whom melancholy to the infernal groves 
Sent immature, ere nature half had failed'^. 

But however high the opinion of Dr. Geddes 
concerning Cowper as an original poet, he did not 
think him qualified to become a tranllator of He- 
mer. Cowper had never critically (ludied the 
Greek language, and at the time of commxencing 
his verfion had never read a fmgle fcholiaft upon 
him, although his profefled objed was to give a 
verfion verbally accurate and equivalent. Pope 
was moreover the idol of Geddes, and eftimated 
by him as highly above Cov/per as Cowper was 
above his contemporaries: and he could not but 
look with a jealous eye upon every one who at- 
tempted to rival the poet of his heart. 

If Pope were a fuperficial Greek fcholar, he did 
not regard Cowper as more profound^ and believ- 

* See the entire Elegy, in chap, xlv, of this work. 


ing him to have lefs talent in the mechanifm of 
verfificatlon, he was perfuaded he was lefs quali- 
jfied to bend the mighty bow of Ulyfles. The re- 
fult has abundantly proved that Geddes was not 
miflaken. Mr. Cowper's tranflation has by no- 
means fatisfied the expedations of the public: he 
has neither added to his own fame nor to that of 
Homer. Geddes was difguiled from the very firfl. 
page, and in a fit of undue exafperation declared 
he would tranflate Homer himfelf, and fhow that 
it was poffible to make as good verfification, while 
he preferved not only all the epithets and phrafe- 
ologies of the original, which Mr. Cowper has not 
done, but the vei-y order itfelf. Yet, what appears 
principally to have irritated him, was Mr. Cow- 
per's declaration towards the clofe of his preface 
of acknowledgments to " the learned and ingeni- 
ous Mr. Fufeli,'' whom he ftyles in the fame place 
*' the befl critic in Homer I have ever met with.'* 
Accident had frequently thrown Dr. Geddes and 
Mr. Fufeli into the fame company, and much 
learned dull had as frequently been excited be- 
tween the two critical combatants, not at all times 
to the amufement of the reft of the refpedlive par- 
ties. Whatever opinion Mr. Fufeli may hence 
have entertained of the powers of his antagonift, 
it is certain that Dr. Geddes was not very deeply 
^ impreffed with thofe of Mr. Fufeli, and that he 
fcarcely allowed him the merit to which he is ac- 


tually entitled. When, therefore, he found in 
Mr. Cowper's preface, that inftead of confulting 
the profound erudition and fterling authorides of 
Stephens, Clarke, Ernefti, and Villoifon, he had 
turned to Mr. FufeH as his only oracle, and had 
gloried in fubmitting to the whole of his correc- 
tions and emendations — to his difappointment at 
the inadequacy of the verfion, was added a con- 
tempt of the quarter to which he had fled for af* 

To refolve and to execute were with Geddes 
almofl the fame thing; and having precipitately 
determined upon a literal verfion of the Iliad in 
Englilh iambics, the public were prefented with a 
fpecimen of it, comprifmg the whole of the firft 
book, in the beginning of 1792: in the preface to 
which the author, in oppofition to Mr. Cowper, 
who had aiTerted that he found more difficulty in 
compofing blank verfe with its due variation of 
paufe and cadence than in flringing rhymes — af- 
firms, that he has preferred blank verfe, becaufein- 
dependently of its fuperior harmony it is much ea- 
fier to conftrud than rhyme; that it is "hardly 
credible how readily the Greek of Homer tumbles'* 
into verfe of the former defcription; and thinks 
he " can with eafe cafl off a hundred lines in a fore- 
noon.'' In conclufion, "I beg leave,'* fays he, "to 
alTure the readers that neither Fufeli, nor any other 
profound critic in Homer, has given me the fmallefl 


afTiflance. The whole merit or demerit of my ver- 
fionrefls folely with myfelf." 

It would be extravagant to fuppofe, whatever 
may have been our tranflator^s own opinion upon 
the fubjed, that there can be any degree of har- 
mony or euphonious cadence in verfes thus preci- 
pitately huddled together, and oftenfibly limited to 
the very words of the original. The attempt there- 
fore failed, and he never proceeded beyond the firft 
book of the Iliad. It is neverthelefs tolerably cal- 
culated to fhow the comparative adherence of other 
tranflators to the Homeric type; and had Mr. 
Wakefield's Greek and Englifli Dictionary fuc- 
ceeded, and introduced the cuflom of learning the 
former without the medium of Latin, it would 
have anfwered the purpofe of a convenient Eqgiifh 
ordo. The reader will not be difpleafed with a 
fpecimen or tw^o compared with the fame paflages 
from Mr. Cowper. The poem opens as follows : 

OvXoij.svYiV' t) y.vpi' Ay^oLiois aXya s^Y^ycs* 
UoXXas S' Kp^iy^ovs ^vyyig di^i TTpoioc^sv 
'Hpcucuv'^aurcv; ^' sXivpia, rsu^s •Avvso'inVf 
Oicovoia-i Ts itaLcri. Aio; 8' steXsisTo touXr)' 
E^ ou "^^ 7'a Ttpcorcc ^io.cri'Y^rY^v B^io-avts, 
Krpii^s re avcc^ ay$^wv kccl hog A^iXXev;, 

The paflage is thus rendered by Mr. Cowper ; 

Achilles fing, O GodJef^ ! Peleus' Ton ; 

His wrath pernicious, who ten thoufand woes 


Caufed to Aehaia's hoft^ fcnt many a foi# 
Illuftriousinto Ades premature, 
And heroes gave (fo flood the will of Jove) 
To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey. 
When fierce difpute had feparated once 
The noble chief Achilles from the fon 
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, king of men. 

In Dr. Geddes It occurs as follows : 

The wrath fing, Goddefs ! of-the-fon-of-Peleu» 
Achilles, dire ; which myriads on the Greeks 
Of woes impofed ; and many worthy fouls 
To Hades prematurely-fent of heroes; 
And them a prey prepared to dogs, and all 
The-ravenous birds ; (of Jove thus was-fulfillcd 
The will) from what time firftly difagreed 
Striving, Atrides, king of-men, and the- 
Divine Achilles, 

Of thefe rival renderings it cannot but be 
obferved, that they are both more disjointed than 
the original; the inverfions of which are, neverthe.- 
lefs, indigenous beauties, and appropriate to the 
Greek tongue. They are alfo nearly equally weak 
and paraphraflic, each of them omitting, in dire£l 
contradidion to thdr pretenfions, feveral of the 
Grecian poet's happiefl epithets and turns which 
might have been retained, while in both we meet 
with many others introduced that are not to be 
found in Homer. The tautology in Cowper of 
*' Achilles fmg — His v^ath pernicious'' — is tame. 


and has no foundation in the origina!, which con- 
fines the poet's prayer to " the wrath" of Achilles 
alone. In this refpeO: the commencement of Ged- 
des has the advantage, but the pofition of the epi- 
thet dire in the fecond line is more remote from its 
immediate predicate than in the Greek, and feems, 
in fpite of the comma, to appertain to Achilles hini' 
y^^ rather than to his wrath. Caufed^ v. 3, is a very- 
imbecile term in Cowper; — ^^and neither '^ illustri- 
ous'' nor ^* worthy^'' as it is rendered by Geddes, 
* affords the real meaning of;(p^/^ou^, which is rather 
boldy darings undaunted. " So stood the will of 
Jove^'' V. 5, is a colloquial vulgarifm, which we 
have fome how or other derived from the Ita- 
lians, and which is altogether unbecoming the dig- 
nity of the epic mufe. Co7ne sta, V. S., or " how 
-STANDS // wrth you to-day^'' may do in a market- 
-place, but makes a forry appearance in iambic 
.poetry. It becomes, me neverthelefs to obferve, 
that Cowper is the firftEngliili poet who has given 
:tbe true meaning of this fentence as it occurs in 
•the original^ Aia S' ZTs7\.srzTo QovXrj^ and has con- 
fiTied it to an abrupt parentlietic reflexion of the 
:poet himfelf. Geddes has juflly followed him: 
but in X)ryden, and Pope, who was ever ready to 
avail himfelf of Dryden's fuperior erudition, it 
compofes a part of the poet's dired addrefs to his " 
mufe, :and erroneaufly ftates that fuch was the will 


of Jove, not as a" determination preorddnsd^ but 
in confequence of the difpute between the two Gre- 
cian chiefs: thus the latter poet concluding mo e- 
over with a ufelefs Alexandrine tautology that, to 
adopt an image of his own, " like a wounded 
ihake, drags its flow length along:" 

Since great Achilles, and Atrides drove. 

Such wa3 the fovcreign doom, and fuch the will of Joyc, 

The phrafe " difagreed^ ftriving^^^ in Geddes is 
extremely uncouth and pleonaflic, as well as total- 
ly inconfiflent with the original, which is far more 
accurately rendered by his antagonifl. The term 
** Agamemnon" in thelafl line of Cowperis ne- 
verthelefs altogether fupernumerary, and not to 
be found in the original; and the epithet " noble'* 
in the preceding is by no means equivalent to 
^log in the Greek. In reality its precife meaning 
has not been caught by any of our poets. Pope 
fays " great Achilles," v/hich gives a fmaller va- 
lue of the Greek than ^^ noble-,'' Geddes divine 
Achilles," and Dryden '' godlike." Of thefe 
Geddes 's interpretation is the beft, but ilill it is not 
.charad:eriflic, the epithet referring to the celeflial 
origin of the hero, and only to be faithfully ren- 
dered by fome fuch phrafe as heaven-fprung^ hea* 
ven-begot^ or Jove-defcended, It is placed in direct 
oppofition to the chara6teriilic title of Atrides, who 

is fignificantly denominated " king of manldnd." 


In Mr. Cowper's fecond edition, publiflied fmGO 
Ills deceafe, he has altered the paiFage thus: 

Sing, Mule, the deadly wrath of Peleus' fun 
Achilles, Iburcc of many thoufand woes 
To the Achaian hoft, which numerous fouls 
Of heroes fent to Ades premature. 
And left their bodies to devouring dogs 
And birds of heaven (fo Jove his will performed) 
From that dread hour when difcord firft embroiled 
Achilles, and Atrides king of men. 

The whole period runs much more fluently, and 
though fliorter by a line than in the firft edition, 
gives equally the general fenfe of the original. 
The principal omifTions are that of i(p^ip.ovc, ren- 
dered, but improperly, " illujlr ions'' in the firft 
copy, and the total fuppreflion of S/c^, the charac- 
teriftic quality of the birth of Achilles, before ten- 
dered, but with equal inadequacy, ^^ noble.'' Mup/ 
(myri) is now tranflated " fnariy /y^^;/^?;/*:/^*' in the 
prior edition it is " ten thcujand:" Geddes has 
given it more accurately by^ adopting its Engli/h 
derivative " myriads." 

Germany has lately produced two poets who 
have been trying their rival flrength' upon the 
fame fubjedi:, and each of them with admirable 
fuccefs. M. Burger of Gottingen, already for his' 
ballads celebrated among ourfelves^ arid M. Vofs, 
who has jufi given a complete verfion of both the 


Iliad and OdyfTey. Each has followed Klopftok in 
the ufe of hexameter verfe, which has now the 
promife of being almoll exclufively appropriated 
in this language to the epic mufe. If the reader 
will excufe me from rambling fo far (it is claflic 
ground we are traverfmg) I will prefent him with 
the above introduction of the Iliad as rendered by 
both. The hrfl is the produdion of M. Burger. 

Gottin, finge den zcrn der Peleiden Achiileus, 

Jenen verderblichen, welcher der Grelchen unennbares 

weh fchuf, 
Vielc tapfere feelen der helden dem Aides zudlefs, 
Jhre lelchnam aber den hunden und allem gevogel 
Dar zum raubmahl both. So ward Zeus wille vollendet 
Seit der zelt, da zuerft Agamemron, herrfchcr der volkcf, 
Und der gottliche held i^chilleus hadi^rnd fich trennien. 

M. Vofs is not very dilFerento 

Singe den zorn, O Gottfn, des Peleiaden Achilletis, 
Jhnder entbrannt, dei) Achaiern unennbarcn jammer eregte 
U.nd viel tapfere feelen der heldcriohne zum A'ls 
Sendete, aber fie felbfl zum raub darflellte den hunden, 
Um dem gevogel umber. So ward Zeus wille vollendet: 
Seit dem tag', als erfl.durch bittern zank (ich entzwciten, 
. Atreus fol>nj der hercher des volks, und der edie Achiileus. 

Both thefe verfions, while they polTefs more 
fpirit and variety than thofe of either Cowper or 
Geddes, are neverthelefs more true to the ori- 
ginal : the latter, however, has the advantage in 
boldnejfe and fublimity, and is throughout an in- 



comparable produ£i:ion. The Jenen wekber of 
the firll:, and its parallel Ihn der of the laft, are 
too paraphraflic and tautological — the latter word 
alone being fufficient in each, and all that occurs 
in the original. The entbrannt of M. Vofs (fiery y 
furious)^ gives by no means the value of}v 
in Homer, and is far better rendered by M. 
Burger, verderblichen^ or, in the v/ords of Mr. 
Cowper, " pernicious^* and " deadly.'' I mull ob- 
ferve alfo that neither of the German bards has 
accurately interpreted vrpoioiiljsv, which not only 
implies to fend or di/mi/s, but, in the language of 
all our Englifh poets, to fend or difmifs prematurely 
or untimely. Nor is the charaderiftic epithet of 
Achilles preferved better by the German than the 
Englifh tranflators, the former, like Dryden, em- 
ploying the term godlike " gottliche^* and the 
latter, like Cowper, noUe " edle.** 

Both, however, have comprifed their verfion in 
the fame number of lines, and nearly of fyllables, 
as the original. It is faid that the Englifh iambic 
of ten fyllables is not competent to the verfion 
of a Latin or Greek hexameter, which unqueflion- 
ably extends to a number in fome degree larger. 
But if we refle£l on the augmentation of fyllables 
produced in the two latter tongues beyond that 
of the former, I think it may be allowed that the 
iambic meafure in Englifh is very nearly adequate 


to a conveyance of all the ideas which can be in- 
troduced into the Greek hexameter; and perhaps 
altogether fo, if we admit occafionally, which I 
neverthelefs think a blemifh in Englifh foetrj not- 
withftanding the frequency of the praftice, the 
hypermeter or redundant fyllable at the termina- 
tion of a verfe. I will endeavour to prove this 
aifertion, if the reader will forgive the audacity of 
fuch an attempt after fuch a variety of fpecimens 
from ppets and fcholars of the firil eminence — 
by rendering line for line, and idea for idea, this 
very period we have been fo fcrupulouily invefli- 
gating; premifmg that in Dryden, Pope, and the 
fecond edition of Cowper, it occupies eight verfes, 
in Geddes eight and a half, and in Cowper's firil 
edition nine. 

The deadly wrath of Peleus-fprung Achilles 

Sing, Mufe ! — ^^that myriad woes th* Achaians wrought,* 

And many a foul untimely hurled to hell 

Of heroes brave ; and ftrewed their limbs, to dogs. 

To birds, a prey — (fuch Jove's determined will !) 

From when, in ire, Atridcs, king of men, 

Firft parted, and the goddefs-born Achilles. 

In this verfion the only fuppreflion is that of 
the adjund aU(zs-ci(ri) before birds \ and the only 
variation is that of' their limbs'' for *' themfel%es" 

• Or thus, 

SJng, Goddefs ! myriad w«es the Greeks that wrought, &c. 



(^avrovg), which the reader may fubftitute if he 
choofe, and which M. Vofs a^lually has done by 
the term/;^ /<^^^^ ; but which, however confiflent 
with Grecian mythology at the sera of Homer, is 
fcarcely to be tolerated in the prefent day ; all 
whofe various fyflems of metaphyfics regard the 
foul as the man himfelf, or at leafl the befl part 
of himfelf. 

I fliall prefent the reader with but one more paf- 
fage, and fhall take it at random from the clofe 
of Agamemnon's fpeech to Calchas, in which he 
refufes to reilore the venerable priefl's daughter to 
her father. 

Btj 5' ccKsoov ircc^cc ^ivcc &c. . . 

Sofaid-he. Fcar'd the old-man, and obeyed 
Thc-mandate. — Went- he filent by the-(hore 
Of-the-loud founding fea. — Much, after-that, 
(Alone while walking) pray'd-he to-his-king 
Apollo, whom fair-hair*d Latona bare. 
" Hear me, O-maftcr-of-the-filver-bow ! 
*' Who Chryfa round-about-protcfteft, and 
*' The divine Killa^ and o'er Tenedos 
** High cmpire-holdert ; rat-deftroyer, if 
*' To-thee I ever have a-gracious fane 
** AdornM y or e'er to-thee the-fat-fat thighs 
*• Have-burn'd of-bulls and goats ; me grant this wifti : 
♦* Let, on-the-Greeks, thine arrows 'venge ray teais.'* 
So fajd-hc, prj^ying— and him heard Apollo, 

293 ; 

t)own-came-he from Olympus' top ; his heart J 

Jmbird, a-bow-upcMi-i'/j-fhoulders having, 

And-an-all-round-about-clofe-cover'd quiver. ;,i 

Sounded the-airows on his ihoulders, as- i 

In-irc he-moved. Relembling Night, he-came. 
Then, fitting at-fome-diftance from the-fhips, 
A-dart he-fpcd ; and dreadful was the clang 

Of-the-argentine bow. The-mules he, firft, j 

Invaded, and the-dogs (Wxii-footed ; but, eftfooiis, \. 

Againft-/3f-»z^«-themfelv6s a-deadly fhaft . 

He-took and flang. — And aye the-funeral-pyles 
Burn'd thick-and-thick. Nine-days, indeed, throughout 
The-army flew the-arrows of- the- God. ' 

Cowper's copy at this time before Geddes was ; 

as follows : 

He fpake : the old prieft trembled and obeyed, ' 

Forlorn he roamed the ocean's founding (hore, ; 

And, folitary, with much prayer his king, . '« 

Bright-haired Latona's fon, Phoebus, implored. i 

" (xod of the lilvcr bow, who with thy powei" 
Encircleft Chryfa, and who reigh'ft fupreme 

In Tcnedos, and Cilia the divine, ] 

Sminthian Apollo ! if I e'er adorned ] 

Thy beauteous fane, or on thy altar burned 

The fat acceptable of bulls or goats, \ 

Grant my petition — with thy (hafts avenge i 

On the Achaiari hoft thy fervant's tears," 

Such prayer he made, and it was heard. The God 
Down from Olympus with his radiant bow, 
And his full quiver o'er his (boulder flung, 
Marched in his aoger : fliakgn as h» moved 


His rattling arrows told of his approach. 
Gloomy he came as Night j fat from the fhlps 
Apart, and fent an arrow. Clanged the cord. 
Dread-founding, bounding on the filver feow. 
Mules firft and dogs he ftruck, but at themfelves 
DIfpatching foon his bitter arrows keen. 
Smote them. Death-pile^ on all fides always blazed. 
Nine days throughout the camp his arrows flew. 

This palTage is rendered by each of the tranfla- 
tors more literally than that jiift quoted. The 
verfe in Geddes 

Silent went he by the Ihorc 
Of the loud-founding fea — 

is fuperior to the fame in Cowper, and more true 
to the original, 

Forlorn he roamed the ocean's founding (hore. 

In the fecond edition of the latter it is thus va- 
ried and improved : 

Silent he roaitied the hud-fmurmuring (hore. 

The phriife rat-defiroyer^ however, which oc- 
curs in Geddes is intolerably vulgar as applied to 
Apollo. It is true it contains the literal meaning 
of the Greek Spj/^ci^ (Smintheu); but as in the 
prefent day we are in the habit of recurring to the 
Grecian language for the greater part of our tech- 
nical terms, it would have been far better to have 


followed the example of Cowper by retaining the 
original term, which the note upon this part of the 
text already appended in Geddes's verfion would 
have fufficiently explained. If the phrafe ''^ full qui- 
ver'' as in Cowper meet fcarcely the whole idea of 
aij.(prips(psx (pcariYiT^YjVy that of ^' an-all-round-about- 
cloje -covered quiver^'' as interpreted by Geddes, is a 
moft round-about expreflion indeed. The poet 
means to defcribe a quiver perfectly filled and co- 
vered over with arrows on every fide, and might 
have been rendered much mor3 briefly " an alU 
o' er-covered quiver .'^ Vofs has well given it rinjgver-^ 
fchlojenen kochen. — Cowper 's phrafe, " Gloomy he 
came as night,'' is admirable, and cannot but remind 
us of Milton's " Black it ftood as night ^^ which the 
latter borrowed perhaps from this very pidure of 
Apollo. I am forry to find the palTage altered in 
Cowper's fecpnd edition to the more feeble phra- 
feclogy oi ^^Like night he came \^ which is far 
more profaic, and not more fi:ri6lly literal than 
Geddes's " Rejembling night '^ The firfl verfion 
of Cowper is that of Vofs, but more fubiime and 
magnificent, y/(//^r zvie nachtgraun^ ^^ dark as the 
night -gloom, ^' Argentine^ in Geddes, is not an 
Engliih word, and eftjoons znd aye are far too an- 
tiquated for modern ufe; but ^'funeral-piles*' is 
better than the *' death-piles" of hisantagonift. 
To purfue thscomparifon any further would be 


ufelefs. It is abundantly proved, I think, that 
Dr. Geddes completely failed in his objed; and 
that, not\YithP::anding his fynthetic arrangement, 
he has fcarcely given a clofer verfion of Homer 
than Mr. Cowper, while in confequence of this ar- 
rangement itfelf he has been betrayed into a per- 
petual want of harmonious cadence, and a fre- 
quent ufe of uncouth and obfolete expreiTions. 
That Mr. Cowper's tranflation is alfo highly im- 
perfect, is, I conceive, equally obvious;, and in- 
deed nothing can more clearly demonftrate his 
own diifatisfaciion with what he had done, than 
the fadt that in his fecond edition he has introduced 
nearly one third of entirely new matter. By this 
change, in many parts it has been very eflentially 
improved : but I doubt much whether it will ever 
become a popular work, or rival the more loofe 
but more melodious verfion of Mr. Pope. 

In the courfe of the fame y^ar we meet with 
-another poetic effufion, and in a drain altogether 
humorous, and confequently far better managed, 
from the pen of Dr. Geddes. It is a fliort poem 
of one hundred and feventy-four lines, entitled 
L'Avocatdu Diable, and was written upon the 
events of a fmgular adion for damages which 
many of my readers may flil-l remember to have 
been brought about this time in the court of 
King's Bench, at the inflance of the late lord-Lonf- 


dale, againft the celebrated Peter Pindar, for hav- 
ing infmuated in one of his ephemeral fatires that 
Mr. Fufeli, after having been long hunting for 
an appropriate figure whence he might paint a 
ftriking likenefs of the devil, unluckily fixed upon 
that of the noble earl. The defence was com- 
mitted to the hands of Mr. Erfkine, who con- 
duced it with his ufual addrefs, and, by appealing 
to the majeftic figure and deportment of Satan as 
exhibited in the Paradife Loft, contended ftrenu- 
oufly that his lordfhip could not be the perfon 
defigned either by the poet or the painter, for that 
no two perfonages were ever more unlike. The 
little poem before us is a fort of parody upon this 
part of the learned counfel's oration: and, follow- 
ing up the argument, the jocular bard endeavors 
to prove a total want of refemblance between the 
two in almoft every quality both of body and 
mindj calculates the defamation of charader which 
the devil had hereby fuffered, and, as his advocate, 
appeals to the Court of Unccmmo'd Picas, before 
which the fpeech is fuppofed to be delivered, for 
damages proportioned to the magnitude of the of- 

The libel, my lords! ye, by this time, mull fee 
To htfcandal. magnat. in the higheft degree : 
Yet, fuch is my client's good heart, he declines 
To infill u^on pillory , prifouy orfaias : 


And all that he afks Is, that never again 

A dealer in paint may his chara6ler ftain : 

That never again, or on canvas or board 

His head be depi£lur'd, like that of a Lord. 

This, my lords ! he expefts from the laws of the land : 

The court can't refufe Wm fo juft a demand, 

I know, it has been by a harriJleT faid, 
That my client dare hardly call Jaiu to his aid. 
Why, forlboth ? — For -this reafor. — *' HI« hands arc not 

ckan. " 
Ifes cv»er ithf petulant barrifter fcen 
The hands of my client ? I'll wag-er a crown. 
That bh hands are as clean as the barrifter's g%)n* 

Our author, in his introductory addrefs to the 
reader, after alluding to an affertion of Mr. Pope, 
that it was eafier for him to exprefs his ideas in 
verfe than in profe even on ethical and metaphy- 
fic fubjefts — continues, " I am apt to think, from 
this fpecimen, that law matters are equally fufcep- 
tible of verfification, and that poetical pleadings 
might be gradually introduced to the great im- 
provement of the bar, and the no fmall fatisfaftion 
of the judges and jury." Whether the reader 
may be induced to think with the dodor from his 
own fpecimen I will not determine : but the ob* 
fervation, though fportively advanced, is perfeftly 
juft, and the truth of it has been abundantly 
proved fmcc this period by Mr. Anftey's 


morous and admirable poem, entitled " The Plead- 
er's Guide ;'' who, from this proof of family ta- 
lent may almoft be ftyled, in the language of Mr. 
Hayley, as applied to Torquato TaiTo, 

Of a poetic fire the more poetic Ton. 



The biographer's Jirfi mtroduEiion to Dr» Geddes : im- 
freU'ton made upon the former during this interview-^ 
Anecdotes refpe6ltng the latter: his attachment to 
Vhyjiognomy as a fcicnce — Syjiem and Treatife upon 
Btjwgnom}' — Anecdote of his fkill hi this individual 
branch of moral anatomy — DejlruBion of his Treatife 
end probable change in his fentiments — Engages a 
houfe in Nezi/ Road, Mary -le- bone — His mechanic 
employments and dexterity in the ufe of mechanic tools 
— His attachment to horticulture — Green-houfe, and 
fchemes for its improvement — Three Secular Odes upon 
the French RevUution — Tranjlation of the Ver-Vert 
of Greffet — Bemarls on this tranflation» A. Da 

It was about this period, the year 1793, I firft 
became acquainted with Dr. Geddes. I met him 
accidentally at the houfe of Mifs Hamilton, who 
has lately acquired a jufl reputation for her excel- 
lent Letters on Education : and I freely confefs 
that at the firil interview I was by no means 
pleafed with him. I beheld a man of about five 
feet five inches high, in a black drefs put on with 
imcommon negligence, and apparently never fitted 
to his form : his figure was lank, his face meagre. 


his hair black, long and loofe, without haying 
been fufficiently fubmitted to the operations of the 
toilet — and his eyes, though quick and vivid, 
fparkling at that time rather with irritability than 
benevolence. He was difputing with one of the 
company when I entered, and the rapidity with 
which at this moment he left his chair, and ruflied, 
with an elevated tone of voice and uncourtly dog- 
matifm of manner, tovv^ards his opponent, inftan- 
taneoully perfuaded me that the fubjeft upon 
which the debate turned was of the utmofl mo- 
ment. I liftened with all the attention I could 
command; and in a few minutes learned, to my 
aftonifhment, that it related to nothing more 
than the diflance of his own houfe in the New 
Road, Paddington, from the place of our meet- 
ing, which was in Guildford-ftreet. The debate 
being at length concluded, or rather worn out, the 
do6lor took poiTefTion of the next chair to that 
in which I was feated, and united with myfelf and 
a friend who fat on my other hde in difcourfmg 
upon the politics of the day. On this topic we 
proceeded fmoothly and accordantly for fome 
time; till at length difagreeing with us upon fome 
point as trivial as the former, he again rofe ab- 
ruptly from his feat, traverfed the room in every 
diredion, with as indeterminate a parallax as that 
gf a comet, loudly and with increafe of voice 

^ 302 

niaintaining his pofition at every ftep he took. Not 
wiihing to prolong the difpute, we yielded to him 
without further interruption; and in the courfe of 
a few minutes after he had clofed his harangue, 
he again approached us^ retook pofleffion of his 
chair, and was all playfulnefs, good humor, and 
genuine wit. 

Upon his retirement I inquired of our amiable 
hoflels whether this were a fpecimen of his com* 
mon difpofition, or whether any thing had parti- 
cularly occured to excite his irafcibility. From her 
I learned that, with one of the bed and mod. bene- 
volent hearts in the world, he was naturally very 
irritable; but that his irritability was at the preient 
period exacerbated by a flight degree of fever wljich 
had for fome time afi:ed.ed his fpirits, and which 
had probably been produced by a confiderable de- 
gree of veiy unmerited ill ufage and difappoint- 
ment. I inflantly regarded him in a different light: 
I fought his friendfnip, and I obtained it ; and it 
was not long before I myfelf witneffed in his ac- 
tions a feries of benevolence and charitable exer- 
tions, often beyond what prudence and a regard 
to his own limited income would have didated, 
that ftamped a higher efleem for him upon my 
heart than all the general information and pro- 
found learning he was univerfally known to 
^ -poffefs, and which gave him more prompUtude 


l&^>on eirety fubj^ft that happened to be ilarted 
than I ever beheld in any other perfon. I faw him 
irritable, but it was the harmlefs corrufcation of a 
fummer evening's Aurora — it no fooner appeared 
than it was fpeilt, and no mifchief enfued. And 
when 1 reflected that it was this very irritability of 
fierve that excited him to kthoufand adsof Idndnefs, 
and prompted him to debar himfelf of a thoufand 
little gratificadons that he might relieve the dif- 
trefled and comfort the forrowful, I could fcarcely 
lament that he poffefled it; or, at lead, I could 
not avoid contending that it earned a very ample 
apology along with it. Dr. Geddes himfelf was 
by no means infenfible to this peculiar charader- 
iftic of his nature : he has frequently lamented it to 
me in private, and I have often beheld him endea- 
voring to flifle it in public, either by abruptly quit- 
ting the room, or introducing another fubjed. On 
one occafion I remember particularly his doing 
both. He was dining with me in company with 
the late Dr. Henry Hunter, of phyfiognomonic 
memory, the celebrated Abbe DeUlle, and feve- 
ral other literary friends. Unfortunately one of the 
fubjefts advanced was phyfiognomy itfelf. Ged- 
des bad read Lavater with much attention, and ex- 
prefled himfelf extremely diffatisfied with the con- 
fufion and want of fyftem that feemed to prevail 
in his writings; and which, in his opinion, pre- 


eluded all pofTibility of applying his do^rines with 
precifion. Hunter, the friend and tranflator of La- 
vater, immediately accepted the gauntlet, and be- 
came his champion : the combat grew warm on both 
fides ; the good humor of Dr. Geddes was foon 
lofl ; and, in proportion as he became violent, the 
company at large gave evident tokens of efpoufmg 
the caufe of his antagonifl. He perceived his er- 
ror; and, at the moment when I mofl trem- 
bled for the confequences, he rofe fuddenly from 
table, joined my two children who were playing in 
the fame room before the fire, and abruptly en-- 
tered into their amufements* A debate of fome 
other kind however fhortly afterwards occurred, 
when, once more fenfible of an undue degree of 
warmth in his language, he fuddenly retired with^ 
out daring to truft himfelf any longer in the con- 
tefl. No man, I fully believe, was more fenfible of 
his prevailing defe£l ; and no man ever took more 
pains to remedy it : but it was inherent in his con- 
ftitution, and he often labored to no purpofe. 
" I am not ill-natured," fays he of himfelf, and with 
iinct juftice, in his Letter to the Bifhop of Cen- 
turia — " thofe who know me know the contrary. 
Animated and irrafcible I am, but I am neither 
malevolent nor refentful. I may fafely fay that 
* the fun has never fet upon my wrath.' '* 

Having introduced the fubjed of phyfiognomy,^ 

I fliall take the opportunity it affords me of ob- 
ferving, that it was a fcience to which about this 
period he was much attached and had devoted a 
great portion of his time. I have already remarked 
that he was diffatisfied with the bulky and fenti- 
mental work of M. Lavater; but he neverthelefs 
approved of many of his general principles, and 
had endeavored to form from one or two of them 
a new, or rather, in his own opinion, a more accu- 
rate theory of application. Lavetter has obferved, 
and perhaps juflly, that there is no mufcle or even 
bone of the human body that does not in fome 
degree or other fympathize in the prevaihng paiTion 
©f the mind, and bear evident marks of having 
been operated upon by its influence; while, as the 
bones and mu:R:Ies of the face are nearefl the 
fcene of action, and mofl obvious to the view of 
the fpeftator, the predomJnant difpofition may be 
more eafily fludied and calculated from thefe than 
from any other, and efpecially from the eye, which 
is regarded by ail phyfiognomifls as the mo ft 
perfect index of the foul. Admitting the gene- 
ral foundation of this pofition, Dr. Geddes denied 
the aifertion which relates to the indicatory pov/ers 
of the eye as an organ fuperior to the reft. There 
is fcarcely any organ, he contended, that is m.ore 
fubject to the control of the \^'ill than the eye itfelf, 
when that control is ftrongly exercifedj and when 


it is not, no organ that is fo fluctuating and incef- 
fantly operated upon, not by the prevailing and 
habitual pafTion of life, but by all the fleeting paf- 
lions of the day, whether of joy, anger, timidity, or 
grief; and confequently, however minutely it may 
indicate the mental feelings of the moment, it is 
too vacillating and uncertain an inifrument by 
v/hich- to ascertain the mafler-pallion of the man. 
His objed therefore was to fearch out fome feature 
. of the face that was lefs fubject to tranfitions, and 
for this purpofe he felefted the nofe; and, volun- 
tarily negledling every other component part of 
the countenance, devoted a long and laborious 
attention to this organ alone. He endeavored to 
inveiligate and arrange its multitudinous varia- 
tions, and for this pui*pofe frequented, with confi- 
derable conilancy, for many years our principal 
places of public refort, and efpecially Kenfmgton 
Gardens; and he has repeatedly told me that he 
has been occafionally fo pleafed with the (Iruclure 
of a particular nofe, that he has croiTed and re- 
crofied the perfon to whom it belonged fo incef- 
fkntly, before he finally quitted him, as to give the 
idea of imperdnence, and excite no very pleafant 
degree of remark in the party with whom he was 
walking. Of all thefe he took rude Sketches at 
the moment ; from which a lady of his acquaint- 
•ance, whofe name I have forgotten, but v/ho was 

SOY • 

poiTefled of muGhfkill in drawing, made morefinlih- 
ed defigns at her leifure : they were then duly 
fyflematized and arranged into clalTes, genera, and 
fpecies. He had perfected his theory and com- 
pleted his obfervations upon it about the year 
1796, and nothing but the expenfe of the en- 
gravings prevented him from prefcnting it to the 

It may appear to many readers that this new 
fyftem of Rinognomy, or hlolology as we-ufed fpor- 
tively to denominate it, was founded lefs on fad 
than on fancy. I will not oppofe fuch an alTertion 
having never profoundly engaged in the fcience: 
but it is well knov/n that the author of it has 
been able, by the application of its principles, to 
make fome very fhrewd gueiTes at the tempers of per- 
fons who were total llrangers to him. One inilance 
indeed deferves to be recorded : a young lady, who 
was a particular friend of the dodor's, was ad- 
dreifed on the fubje£t of matrimony by a gentle- 
man of ample fortune and good perfon, and ffie 
was on the point of accepting his offers. She firft 
of all introduced her lover to Dr. Geddes, and fo- 
licited in private his rifiognomonic opinion of his 
predominant charadier and difpofition. TJ'he 'doc- 
tor replied, 'that fuch an opinion v/as not to be ex- 
pelled from him ; that he fludied the fcience of 
ihe nofe, (as we would advife every other perfon to 


fiudy it,) for individual ufe alone ;' and that if he 
were to communicate his ideas to the public, 
whether juft or unjuft, he fhould foon make more 
than half the world his enemies. The lady was how- 
ever importunate, and our phyfiognomift, really 
beheving he might render her an effential fervice, 
at length told her in confidence, that " the man was 
a confirmed mifer, and that if fhe married him fhe 
would find he would foon grudge her the very 
clothes on her back." The lady departed with 
much diffatisfadion, and for the firfl time in her 
life difcredited the infallibility of her oracle. She, 
who had had better opportunities of knovv^ing her 
lover, was convinced that he was pofTeiTed of gene- 
rofity, franknefs of hearty and every amiable quali- 
fication. She gave him her hand, and in three 
months afterwards found the prediction fhe had ex^ 
torted verified in its utmoft extent, and only regretted 
her infidelity at the timic of its having been delivered* 
Dr. Geddes himfelf, hou^ever, does not feem to 
have been fo fanguine in his own fyflem towards 
the lall three or four years of his life as at an ear- 
lier period : he fpoke lefs of its powers as a general 
llandard of equitable decifion j and, upon his 
death, not a fmgie fcrap of paper relative to the 
fiibjed could be detedied among his writings. Ke 
had cither defpaired of offering it to the public in 
the manner he defigned. or had been chagrined at- 


repeated mifcalculations, and in a fit of irritability- 
had committed the whole of it to the flames. The 
cynic may perhaps obferve that the public has fuf. 
tained no great lofs by fuch a conflagration. As 
a curiofity, the work mufl neverthelefs have been 
entertaining ; and, as exhibiting a deep and accu- 
rate ftudy of an important feature of the human 
countenance, it muft have been fomething more- 
it muft have been highly fcientific and ufeful. 

To this fyflem of Rifiognomy he has appealed in 
feveral parts of his writings. Thus in L'Avocat 
du Diable, of which I have given an account in 
the lafl chapter, fpeaking of the painters and the 
devil, he fays, in the character of his orator, 

Then, tertio, my lords ! they have given him a noft 
That he tokens a mifer, which every one knows 
My client is not — 

But more particularly in his " Norfolk Tale," 
a poem which yet remains to be noticed ; but 
from which I fhall extra£l, in the prefent place, the 
following defcription of one of the young ladies 
of the hofpitable manlion in which he was vifit- 

' — The NOSE of our Ann" 

Gets nigh to perfedions original pla?i : 
For know, Catharina ! when woman was born, 
1 mean, from the fide of her yoke-fellow torn; 


The NOSE was by far the mod beautiful feature 
That adorn'd the fweel face of the nev/-fafhion'd creature* 
But when, hcatk'ning, alas ! to the voice of a fnake^ 
That apple forbidden fhe ventured to take, 
Her form was disfigured (the Rabbis fuppofe) 
And a part of the punifhment fell on her nofs : 
- Hence, rarely we find in the face of a Fair 
A nofe that completely comes up to the fquare. 
Have you ever yet feen one — that was not or crooked, 
Or Jlattciid, or bottled, or turnd-upy or hooked; 
Too large ^ or too Uttle, too Jhort, or too long-y 
Jn a word — that had nothing about it war- ivro7ig ? 
Not ten 1 believe, fince the world firft began, 
Had lefs imperfeftion than that of our Ann : 
From which I conclude, that on her but a fmall 
Share of fm was entall'd by her grandmother*s fall. 
And yet, that ihe's fauUlefs, I cannot well think ; 
This moment {he chode me for fpilling her ink ! 
And when Henneagc difturbs or her pencil, or paint, 
She (hows that (he's no canonizolJe faint. 
Nay once, if not oft'ner, I plight you my troth, 
I he?ird her pronounce the one half oizn oath. — 
But I will not the foibles of Fair ones expofe : 
If Anna have any — pray look at her nose. 

Our author, v/ho had hitherto contented him- 
felf with lodgmgs in difterfent parts of the town, 
finding his library begin to fwell to a magnitude 
that required more fpace than lodgings could 
eafily afibrd, engaged about this time a houfe in All- 
fop's buildings^ New-road, Mary-le-bone, which 
promiled hun every convenience his heart could 


defire. It polTefled a garden before and behind ; 
and, while pieafant in front, commanded for its 
back view the whole compafs of the iiPcer hills of 
Highgate and Hampftead, aiiording one of the 
moft lovely and luxuriant fceneries in the neigh- 
bourhood of the metropolis. Dr. Geddes, who was 
too independent a man to be indebted to any one, 
even a mechanic, for any thing he could perform 
himfelf, now found as much labor carved out for 
him as Alexander Selkirk when thrown without a 
companion upon the iilarid of Juan Fernandez. 
His firft objed was to arrange his library; and 
having no one to pleafe but himfelf, he extended it 
to every room in the houfe, excepting the kitchen 
and a chamber for his houfekeeper. He purchafed 
a large box of carpenters' tools, laid in a confider- 
able flock of deals and mahogany, and began to 
renew the building fyftem purfued at Auchinhal- 
rig. He planed, fawed, and completed his (helves, 
which he equally hung round parlours, drawing 
rooms, and chambers; and which, though not 
finiihed with all the fkill of the profefTional cabi- 
net maker, were neat and commodious, and, 
being edged with mahogany, by no means de- 
ficient in elegance. One contrivance introduced 
into the room in which he commonly wrote w^as 
peculiarly advantageous to the purpofes of fludy. 
Our book-cafes in general, after allowing fpace for 


two tiers of folios from the floor, recede and be- 
come narrower for books of fmaller dimenfions; 
leaving at the point of recefs a kind of fhelf of 
too little width to be of any real utility. This 
fhelf or covering for the fohos below, which he 
fprmed of mahogany flab, our felf-taught artifl 
projected a few inches over the folios themfelves, 
and carried the projection regularly all round the 
room; by which means he more effectually fe- 
cured them from dufi:,and obtained a kind of circu- 
lar defk (for, by fuch contrivance, it was rendered 
wide enough for this purpofe) on which to open 
the various books he might have occafion to con- 
fult, while he himfelf fat in the centre at his table. 
By this ingenious fcheme he avoided a confider- 
able portion of labor; fmce, inflead of examining a 
few volumes at once, and making nlanufcript refer- 
ences to particular paiTages as he clofed them, to 
admit others to his table in their flead, he opened 
at one time all the books for which he had occa- 
fion, and confulting each in rotation as he paffed 
round the room, reverted inflantaneoufly to that 
he was determined to follow, copied it without 
trouble, and with the fame facihty gave references 
in his text to feveral others, without the neceflity 
of a fmgle previous memorandum, or having re- 
peatedly to open and clofe the fame volume before 
he had done with it. 


Having completed his library and arranged his 
books, he next devoted his leifure hours to his 
garden ; and in this he toiled, vi^ith all the induftry 
of a laborer and all the zeal of a botaniil, till he 
could boaft of produdions both for ornament and 
ufe intrinfically of prime excellence, but ilill 
fweeter to himfelf as being the fruits of his own 

Primus vere rofam, atque autumno carpere poma 5 
Et cum triliis hyems etiam nunc frigore faxa 
Rumperet, et glacie curfus frssnaret aquarum, 
Ille comam mollis jam turn tondebat hyacynthi, 
j£ftatem increpitans leram, Zephyrofquc niorantes *. 

Georg. iv, 134. 

To the pure pleafure refulting from the cultiva- 
tion of indigenous plants, our indefatigable la- 
borer now began to think of adding the luxury of 
a little green houfe and a few exotics. He 
thought, refolved, and executed. The expenfe 
offuch an additional indulgence under his ma- 
nagement was but trifling, for he was once mors 

* At fprlng-tide firft he plucked the full-blown rofc, 
• From autumn firft the ripened apple chofe j 
And e'en when winter fplit the rocks with cold 
And chained the " reftlefs'* torrent as it rolled. 
His blooming hyacinths, ne*er known to fail, 
Shed fweets unborrowed of tjpe vernal gale. 
As, mid their rifled beds, he wound his way, 
Chid the flow fun, and Zephyr's long delay. Sothejsy; 


his 0^11 mafon and carpenter, and tlie green houfes 
or gardens of his friends ftipplied him with a pa- 
rent flock. This confervatory he erected in t^e 
front of his houfe, and fo completoly adjoining the 
houfe itfelf that one of the parlour windows 
fenced Iiim for an entrance into it. Plere, by a va- 
riety of Httle plans which the fertility of his fancy 
perpetually fuggefied, and as perpetually induced 
him to exchange for others, he confiderably 
amufed himfeif during the months of winter. At 
one time his flue was heated by a flove opening 
into the front area; at another time, in a fit of 
economy, he annulled the flove altogether, and by 
carrpng the flue to the parlour chimney endea- 
vored to heat it from the fire of his own room. At 
one period he chofe to moiilen his plants v/ith a 
common water pot ; at a fecond, by a pipe com- 
municating with the ciilern; and at a third, at- 
tempting boldly to imitate the reviving dews of 
the atmofphere, he contrived, by a large copper 
velTel and a l-ong copper pipe, to fupply them with 
water in the form of tepid vapor. In this man- 
ner invention fucceeded invention; and though no 
one fatisfied him long, it at leail befcov/ed its fhare 
of amufement, and afforded him that interchange 
of nugatory recreation which the mind occafion- 
ally requires . in the midfl of fevere and habitual 
^ ftudyj and has frequently recalled to my memory 

- ^ 313 

an obfervation of the amiable but unfortunate Cow- 
per, who, with a fancy flill idler, was often accuf- 
tomed, at the clofe of day, to watch in folitude the 
brighc-red cinders of his fire, -aiTuming to his 
imagination the fantaflic forms of trees, towers, 
churches, and uncouth vifages; or from the footy 
films that played penduloufly upon the bars, to 
calculate uy the laws of old Englifli tradition the 
arrival of letters or the approach of flrangers : 

*T!S thus theunderftanding takes repofe 
Jn Indolent vacuity of thought. 
And fleeps and is refreflied. 

Yet Dr. Geddes was by no means a reclufe. No 
man w^as fonder of fociety than himfelf, and, ex- 
cepting when under the influence of high-wrought 
irritability, no man was pofleifed of mor€ compa- 
nionable qualities. His anecdote was always ready, 
his wit always brilliant: there was an originality 
of thought, a fnrew^dnefs of remark, an epigram- 
matic turn of exprellion in almoft every thing 
w^hich efcaped him., that was fure to captivate his 
companions, and to induce thofe w^ho had once 
met him, notwithftanding his habitual infirmity, 
to wiih earneflly to meet him again. 

Neither company, however, nor manual labor, 
nor the ferious duties of his pen, nor the fleeting 
recreations of his fancy, could altogether reftrain 


him from his beloved intercourfe with the miifes. 
The politics of France again furnilhed him with a 
fubje6t, and, in imitation of a former poem in 
Sapphic verfe, he this year committed to the prefs 
two other Secular Odes, of which the one, indeed, 
was compofed a few months antecedently, and 
flill relates to the French king's acceptance of a 
limited monarchy; while the othsr, written and 
printed in the prefent year 1793, ridicules the ab- 
furd manifeflo of the duke of Brunfwick, and his 
difgraceful retreat before the army of Dumourier. 
They are both compofed with confiderably more 
Ipirit than the Carmen S^culare for the year 1 789; 
and, in feveral verfes, are pofTeiTed of true poetic 
infpiration. In each of them, however, the infpira- 
tion of the poet is far fuperior to that of the pro- 
phet : and the bard appears more profoundly in- 
ftrudled in the general wifhes of man than in the 
infcrutable decrees of Heaven. In the former of 
thefe two odes we therefore meet with the follow- 
ing predidion, in which he apoflrophizes the ene- 
jnies of France : 

Creditis, Francos iterum eaten is 
Colla conftringi rigidis daturos ? 
Flammifer Phoebus citius negabit 
Lumina terris. 

Of this, for want of a better, the reader mufl ac- 
cept of the following verlion : 

Think ye that Frenchmen e'er again 
Will ftoop to wcAf the galling chain ? 
No : — fooner fnall the fun withhold 
From earth his lireams of lucid gold. 

To the fame effect is the enfuing verfe from, 
his Secular Ode for the year 1793, after the flight 
of the king, the retreat of the duke of Brunfwick, 
and the eflabHfhment of the republic : 

JEqua Libertas folida columnil 
Siftitur tandem j removenda nullia 
Viribus, nidlo ruitura cafu 

Cun6la per aiva. 

Lo! EauAL Liberty, at length, 
Stands with the column's folid llrcngth ) 
No power can (hake the pile fubiime^ 
Vidtor alike o'er chance and time. 

If our poet erred, he erred only, however, with 
many of the wifeft politicians and mod benevo- 
lent phiiofophers of his age. The revolutions of 
France have of late taken a turn which it was im- 
poflible for human forefight at this period to cal- 
culate, and which is as widely different from the 
anticipation of Mr. Burke as from that of Dr. Ged- 
des. This iaft of the three Secular Odes clofes with 
the following ftanzas, in which the Tree of Li^ 
berty is addreffed with more animation than I re- 
member to have feen it in any other fugitive piecef 


Planta fis fcmper vlridis, decora ct 
Fru6\ibus ; rami teneri per omncm 
Pallulent oibem, citius daturi 

Dulcia poma. 

Fas mihi, fas fit, Pater O Supreme! 

His dies iftas occuJis vldere : 

Turn libens cedam, faturatus hofpes, 

Alteram ad auram. 

Interim caram citharam vircntis 
Arboris, Galli tibi quam dicarunt, 
Sacra Libert as! liceat vel imo 

Pendere ramo. 

Green be thy leaf, thy branches fhoot 
O'er earth, fair tree! adorned with fruity 
And fliortly be the precious load 
On man's rejoicing race bellowed. 

O give me, give me, Sire Supreme! 
To fee this plant thus nobly teem : 
Then, gladly, fated with the fight, 
I'll yield where fate dire6t my flight. 

Meantime, O let me from 'the tree 
The Gauls chafte Freedom! rear to thee. 
Hang my loved harp, of voice benign. 
Though e'en the lowliefl: bough be mine. 

It will readily occur to the reader that the 
period of time in which thefe odes were jprinted 
exactly correfporids to that of the commencement 
of the late war and of Mr. Pitt's .adminiftration ; 
and as this ssra was not very propitious to politi- 
cal liberty of opinion, the friends of the author 


flrenuoufly advifed hiin to fupprefs their public 
cation for the prefent. Vv^ith this advice, as they 
were adually printed in conjim6i:ion with a fecond 
edition of his firil Carmen Sasculare, and very ele- 
gantly printed too on a fuperfine woven quarto, 
richly gilt at the edges, and accompanied with a 
beautiful tinted vignette for -each ode, it was no 
eaf/ talk to prevail on him to comply. Dr. Ged- 
des, neverthelefs, at length yielded to their en- 
treaties, and locked them up in his efcrutoire till 
the ciofe of the war ; at which period they were 
again brought forwards to the public, and offered 
either with or without another Latin Sapphic ode, 
which he addrelTed to returning peace. Such, 
however, h?id been the numerous verfatilities of the 
conftitution of France, and the relative fituadon 
of Europe, that they v/ere altogether unadapted 
to the meridian of thefe latter times, and have 
never therefore been able to claim the attendon 
to which they are intrinfically entitled. 

In addition to this frefh trial of his powers in 
Latin Sapphics, Dr., Geddes in the fame year offer- 
ed to the public a tranilation in iambic rhyme of 
GfeiTet's elegant and entertaining poem, endtled 
Ver-Vert, or the Parrot of Nevers. — Jean BaptiH 
Greffet was born at Amiens, in the beginning of 
the lait century. lie- entered at an early age into 
the fociety of the Jefuits, but quitted it a few years 
afterwards — married a^ lady poireifed of confider- 


able wealth, and was fortunate enough to obtain, 
independently of his wife's property, a lucrative 
pod: in the finances. In 1 748 he was received 
into the French academy in the place of M. Dar- 
chet, and was ennobled by the unfortunate Lewis 
XVI, in confequence of having had. the honor of 
complimenting him, on his acceflion to the crown, 
in the name of his co-academicians. He died at 
Amiens, childlefs, in June 1777, aged 68^ and his 
eloge^ if I recoiled aright, Vv-as pronounced in the 
academy by the amiable but ill-fated Baillie. 
Greflet was the author of a variety of poems ax 
well as plays, but V er-Vert has generally been re- 
garded as his mailerpiece. It is divided into four 
cantos, and is of the fame clafs of poetry as the 
Secchia Rapita of TalToni, the Lutrin of Def- 
preaux, or the Rape of the Lock of Pope, but 
without the ufe of preternatural machinery : hav- 
ing for its fubjecl the playful hiftory of a parrot of 
the name of Ver-Vert, given to it by the nuns of 
Never3, with mod of whom the writer, from his 
connexion in early life with the order of Jefus, 
was intimately acquainted ; and which, on account 
of the beauty of his plumage, the fweetnefs of his 
tejnper, and the facility with which he learned all 
the pure and pious languages of the nunnery, as 
well as the confidential filence which he obferved 
with refped to its numerous little intrigues, ob- 
tained in the highefi degree the friendlhip of every 


one, and formed the life and fplrit of the cloiflers 
in which he was confined. 

No faucy coxcomb paroquet was he ; 
Such as in barbers' Ihops we fometimes fee 5 
And who, in accents infolent and loud. 
Blatter abufe ui.>on the gaping crowd. 
' Ver-'Vert's difcourfe was decent and devout : 
He learn'd no evil, and no evil thought. 
No word obfcene his modeft lips efcap'd ; 
For wicked ivordlings he had never ap'd. 
But hymnsy and pfalms, and canticks he knewj 
And rare ejaculations n©t a few : 
Could promptly fay his lenedicite^ 
And notre mere^ and fvotre cbaritL 
Nay, 1 have heard, he fometimes tried his voice 
On Mary Alacoqnes* Soliloquies !f 

* Margaret Mary Alacoque was a vifionary of the fame 
order ; of v/hom we have a very curious life, wri^tca by Lan- 
guet, archbifhop of Sens. 

■j- II n'etoit point de ces fiers perroquets 
Que I'air du fiecle a rendu trop coquets, 
Et qui, fifles par des bouches mondaines, *^ 

N'ignorent rien des vanites humaines. 
VER-VfiaT etoit un perroquet devot, 
■ Une belle ame innocemment guidee j 
Jamais du mal il n'avoit eu I'idce^ 
Ne difoit point un immodcite mot : 
Mais en revanche il favoit des cannques, 
Des oremus, des colloques milliques, 
II difoit bien fon hncdidte, 
Et noire mere^ et 'uotre char'iti. 
H favoit memc un peu dufollloque, 
Et des traits tinsde ^Ja^ie Alacoqut. 


Unfortunately for his future happlnefs the nuns 
of Nantes had heard of his fame, and felt fuch a 
longing defire to converfe with him, that they could 
not avoid fending a letter to the holy fifterhood of 
Nevers, requeuing that this miraculous bird might 
be fufPered to pay them a month's vifit. The re- 
queil produced a general fhriek of lamentation 
through all the grated walls : but it was at length 
com.phed with. Ver-Vert was embarked upon the 
Loire, and took his voyage tov/ards Nantes in a 
galliot filled* with company of a very different 
kind from that to which he had hitherto been ac- 
cuilomed within the immaculate cloiflers of Ne- 

In truth, poor Ver-Vert fadly felt tliechange : 
Their garb, their gait, their language — all was ftrange. 
For not one fyllable of gofpel-lore. 
Which he with fo much care had learn'd before. 
Fell from their antichriltian lips, I ween ; 
But filthy words, and purpofes obfcene. * 

The modefty of Ver-Vert was at firfl fhocked, 
:»ind he became penfive and filent; but by degrees 

* Aufii Ver-vekt, ignorant leurs fa9ons, 
Se tr.wiiva-Ia comme en terre ctrangere^ 
Nouvelle iangiie 3c nouvelles lemons. 
L'oifeau lurprls n'entendoit point leur ftile ; 
Ce n'etoit plus paroles d'evangile 3 
Ce n'ctoit plus ces pieux enlretiens, 
Ces traits de bible & d'oraifons mentales, 
Qu'ii entendoit chez nos douces veilales : 
Mais de gx-os n^otSj & non des plus chretiens. 


he began to drop his diflafle for the converfation 
which alTailed his ears, and in a Ihort time com- 
pletely exchanged his former vocabulary for the 
more bold and manly tongue of his fhipmates. 
Thus unexpectedly metamorphofed, he at length 
reaches the great parlour of the Nantine convent, 
and mothers, nuns, and novices, all prefs with equal 
precipitation to behold the v/onderful traveller. 

All conie, all fee this obje6\ of delight -, 
And all are raviHied at the charming fight. 
Nor without reafon — for the rogue had not 
Of his attra6lions loft a finglc jot. 
His crimes had nothing in his form derang'd : 

> A fingle plume its colour had not changed. 
Nay, his nev/, pert, and petit-maitre air, 
Jiis warlike look, and confidential ftare, 

Enhanc'd his other beauties — Why, juft heav'n I 
Should fuch attra6lions to a knave be giv'n? 
- Why (hould not thofe who are devoid of grace. 
Have reprobation's marks upon their face ?* 

* On voit enfin, on ne peut fe repaitre 
AlTez Ics ycux des beautes del'oifeau : 
C'etcit raifon ; car Ic fripon pour etre 
' Moins bon garcon, n'en etoit pas moins beau. 

> Get ceil guerrier, et cet air petit- maitrc 
Lui pretoieht meme un agrement rouveau. 
Faut"Jl, Grand Dieu, que fur le front d'un traitre? 
Brillent ainfi les plus tendres atraits ! 

Que ne peut on diftinguer et conno-itre 
Les cceurs pervers a d;; difformcs traits ? 


Firfl: caufe of fcandal this. — The priorefs 
Would now the brr>.zen-fronted fowl addrefsj 
And, in a ferious, half commanding flrain, 
Rebuk'd his petulance. — The bird, amain. 
Replies (the anfwer ev'ry fifter ftuns) 
** Wbatfoohy egad ! ivbatfooh be alltbe NunsP* 
This wicked fragment of a wicked fong 
The vympbs had taught him, as he failed along. 
** Good Heavens !'* cried mother Paula 3 " fuch a phrafc^ 
*' I never, never heard, In all my days : 
** Fie, brother I fie 3 fuch naughty tricks give o'er. ** 
The brother, rhyming richly, anfwer'd, Wh^-^c! 
<* Vive Jifus P' Mother Magdalcna cried : 
«< Vive Jefus P' Mother Monica replied: 
<' Sure he's a forc'rcr in a bird's difgulfe : 
" How could our lifters fuch a parrot prize ? 
<* How could they fuflfer fuch a cannibal 
** To live among them ?" Devil burjl you all.' 
Was his r^fw/^.— Alternately, they try 
His talk prophane to mend, or mortify. 
They try without cffedl: for he makes fun 
Of ev'ry novice and of ev'ry nun. 
He imitates, with a pedantic air. 
The precious prattle of the younger fair : 
But apes, with a more grave, important face, 
The nafal gruntings of the antique race. 

At laft, worn out his patience, he exclaims. 
To the aftonifhnnentofall the dames: 
•' Garcs! bougre ! J outre ! /acre ! ventre-hleu P' 
And all the other horrid terms he knew ! 
Struck filent, here, each rev'rend mother ftands ; 
And lifts to heaven her eyes and trembling hands : 

325 i 

While the more fimple as they hear him fpeak | 

Such hard, har(h words^ imagine it is Greek.* j 

A holy convocation is now fammoned to de- i 

termine upon the fate of the reprobate bird, and I 

•* Premier grief. Cet air trop effronte j 

Fut un fcandale a la communaute. 

En fecond lieu, quand la mere prieure, 

D'un air augufte, en fille interieure, ; 

Voulut parler a I'oifeau libertin, ^ l 

Pour premiers mots, & pour toute reponfc, ( 

Nonchalamment, & d'un air de dedain. 

Sans bien fonger aux horreurs qu'il prononce, 

Mon Gars repond, avec un ton faquin, ' 

Par la corihu ! ^le les nones font folks f j 

L^hiftoire dit qu'il avoit, en chemin, j 

D'un de la troupe entendu ces paroles. 

A ce debut, la Soeur Saint Auguftin, 

D'un air fucre, voulant le faire taire, ' 

Et lul difant, fi done, mon trcs cher frerc \ i 

Le tres cher fr^re, indocile & mutin, j 

Vous la rima tres richement en tain. \ 

Vive Jefus ! II et forcier, ma m^re, 

Reprend la fceur. Jufl DIeu ! Quel coquin ! 

Quoi ! Cell done-la ce perroquet divin ? ] 

Ici Ver-Vert, en vrai gibierde grcve. - • ' 

L'apoftropha d'un La -pefte te cvevi. \ 

Chacune vint pour brider le eaquet 

Du grenadier, chacune cut Ton paquet 5 

Turlupinant les jeunes prccieufesj ! 

II imitoit leurs courroux bablllard ; i 

Plus dechaine fur les vieilies grondeufes, i 

Xl bafouoit leur fermons nazillard \ 



at length It is decided to fend him back ab- 
ruptly with . an account of his naughty beha- 
viour. He returns to Nevers — exhibits the fame 
proofs of rebrobation — and is fentenced to bread 
and water and folitary confinement for four 
months. In this ftate he foon difcovers figns of 
the moft fmcere contrition, and exchanges all 
his impious oaths for devout prayers and ejacula* 

Such fymptons of repentance could not fail 
With the moit rigid cafuift to prevail. 
Had ftcrn Nicole y ox Ohjiraet*, been his guid^. 
His abfolution had not been dcny'd. 
In the Divanit, then, was wifely judg'd. 
That Ver -Vert's penance ought to be abridged. 
No time fo fit as when there hap'd to be 
O'er all the church a gen'ral jubilee : 

Ce fut bicn pis, quand d'un ton de corfairc, 
Las, excede de icurs fades propos, 
Boufii de rage, ecumant de colere, 
II entonna tous les horribles mots 
Qu'il avoit fu raporter des bateaux: 
Jurantj facrant d'un voix diifolue, 
Faifant paflcr tout Tenter en revue,, 
JLes B. les F. voltlgeoient fur fon bee, 
Les jeunes fosurs crurent qu'il parloit Grcc. 

* Two celebrated rigidifts of the laft century. 


And He who holds on earth, the keys of heav'n. 
Had then z plenary indulgence - giv'n : 
By which, as every theologue can tell, 
The greateft rogue may 'fcape, not oniy hell. 
But ev'n that purging fire and tranfient pain 
Which fouls, not perfe6lly contrite, luftain 
In the next world ; if they have not in this 
By due atonement pav'd their way to blifs. f 

The day of jubilee arrives — the reconverted 
parrot is fet at liberty, and unfortunately fo gorged 
with fweetmeats, cciffe au-creme and liqueurs of 
various kinds, that he dies by the very glut of 
luxury provided for him. He is interred in the 
midil of a flood of grief, under the fhade of a 
myrtle tree; a marble monument is erected to 
him, fupporting an urn of polifhed porphery, on 
which the following epitaph is engraven in golden 
letters : 

'^ Young Novices, whene'er ye hap to rove, 
"Without the Sifters' knowledge, to impart 
To one another, in this facred grove,^ 
The genuine feelings of a tender heart: 

* A remittance of all the temporal puniflimrnt due to fin, 
both in this life and in the next. 

t Quand on fut fur de fa converfion, 
Lc vieux Divan defarmant fa vengeance, 
De I'exile borna la penitence. 

Our tranflator is here not a little paraphraftic : but he ftill 
keeps up the fpirit of Grelfet. 

_ 328 

Sufpcnd, fweet fouls, if poffible, your talk * 

One moment, my misfortunes to bewaitj 

And, as around this monument you walk. 

Read, and rehearfe this fhort, but moving talc ? 

A (ingle line this fimple talc imparts : 

Here Ver-Vert lies, with all the Sisters' 


'TIs faid, however, with no fmall degree 
Of analogic probability, 

That Ver-Vert's felf not in this tomb repofes : 
But that He ftill, by a metempfycbojisy 
Tranfmits, like an hereditary chattel. 
From Nun to Nun, his Spirit and his PratiJe ! 

Upon the whole, this verfion of Dr. Geddes is 
poffeffed of no fmall degree of merit ; it is eafy, 
fpirited, and perfpicacious. His rhymes are, how- 
ever, occafionally feeble, and in feveral paflages 
he deviates with an unnecefTary freedom from the 
original. The part in which he mod fails is in the 
epitaph with which the poem concludes, and which 
in the French of Greffet is exquifitely tender and 
elegant, I copy it that the reader may form ^ 
comparifon : 

*' Novices, qui venez caufer dans ccs bocages 

A rinfu de nos graves foeurs, 
Un inftant, s'il fe peut, fufpendez vos ramages, 

Aprcnex nos malheurs. 


Vous vous taifez : fi ce'ft trop vous contraiudrc, 

Parlez, mais parlez pour nous plalndrc; 
Un mot vous inftruira de nos tendrcs douleurs, 
Ci git Vj;r-Vert, Ci gifent tous les cceurs." 



Dr. Geddes's Tranjlation of the Bible — Ohfervattons 
upon his Tranjlation-— 'Critical Rejnarks upon the 
Pentateuch — Ohfervations wpon the Remarks — Anti^ 
tipated Verjion of the Vfalms — Ohfervations upon the 
Verfion, A. D. 1792 — 1793. 

"W^E now advance to the great and important 
work for which our author feems almoft wholly to 
have lived, and to which for upwards of twenty- 
years he directed the full force and concentration 
of all his faculties and talents; I mean his verfion 
of '' The Holy Bible, or the Books accounted fa- 
cred by Jews and Chriflians : otherwife called the 
Books of the Old and New Covenants, faithfully 
tranllated from corrected Texts of the Originals, 
with various Readings, explanatory Notes, and cri- 
tical Remarks. '* Such is the title v/ith which this 
elaborate work is ufhered before the public i and 
fuch was the entire fcope of the author's inten- 
tion had Providence prolonged his life to a fuf- 
ficient date to have enabled him to have ful- 
filled it. Intention, however, is all that belongs 
to man — its execution is the fole prerogative of 
Heaven. • Dr. Geddes was fummoned from his 


5irduous and recondite labors, after having barely 
finifhed three out of at leafl eight large quarto 
yolum235 to which the entire work mull have 
extended: leaving a mere fragment of this iiluf- 
trions and elaborate undertaking, in -which the 
noblefi powers of an enlightened mind are ap- 
plied tothenobleftof purpofes. I well know that, 
from the freedom of his language, and the undif- 
guifed fmcerity with which, in his critical Remarks, 
he lays open every idea of his foul, this event has 
been a fource of mutual congratulation among 
ma.ny chriftians, v/ho were alarmed at the audacity 
of his opinions, and fufpicious of the motives by 
whidi he was aduated: while others have exlii- 
bited afufficient degree of bigotry and iuperftition 
to blefs God for his removal, and to trace an im- 
mediate interference of Providence in the abrupt 
termination of what they have been taught to 
regard as an infidel work. 

In writing the biography of Dr. Geddes, I am 
not called upon to be his vindicator or even apo- 
logift. I Vvill freely acknowledge that in perufmg 
die volumes before me I have often wifhed he 
had fuppreiTed many expreffions they contain, and 
that upon many points he had conjectured differ- 
ently; but I neverthelefs cannot ceafe to regard 
the whole as a mod valuable and excellent per^ 
formance ; and inflead of bleffing God for the 


death of the writer, and the abrupt termination 
of his undertaking, I mofl fmcerely lament that 
he did not live to complete it, and to have fuper^ 
added that corredive hand which he himfelf was 
well convinced it flood in need of, and vv hich 
probably might have foftened many of its bolder 
and more obnoxious features. '' I am fenfiDle/* 
fays he, " that the pidure is imperfed -, nay, I 
fear its imperfedions are numerous ; and I fliall 
make it the great bufmefs of my future life to re* 
touch or amend whatever the remarks of my 
friends, or my own obfervations, may point out as. 
a blemifh *. 

In noticing this voluminous work it cannot be 
fuppofed that, in the Ihort fpace to which I am 
necelTarily confined, I can enter into a critical in- 
velligation, or even analyfis, of its total contents. 
I fhall merely offer a few detached examples of its 
text and annotations, as indicative of its general 
merit; and though publifhed at long and diffin£t 
intervals, for the fake of greater perfpicuity, I fhall 
unite its different volumes in the prefent inflance, 
and fubjed them to one individual confideration. 
In thus acling I am well aware that I am guilty of 
a double anachronifm, for while volume the firfl 
was publifhed in the year 1792, a few month* 

* Vol. i. Pref. xx. 


anterior to fevcral of the articles adverted to itk 
the foregoing chapter, volume the fecond did not 
appear till 1797, and volume the third, contain- 
ing the critical Remarks upon the Pentateuch, till 
1 800 s each conflituting a term of feveral years 
beyond many pubUcations which yet remain to be 
noticed. But fmce to take a view of thefe volumes 
feparately would be to deftroy their totality and 
accordance, the reader will, I truft, excufe the 
inconfiftency of the arrangement for the fake of 
its advantage. 

As a fair fpecimen of the verfion, I fliall extrad 
the account of the creation as it occurs in the firft 
chapter of Genefis; which I am the more difpofed 
to do, becaufe thofe who are in poffeffion of the 
pamphlet which contains our author's propofals 
may compare it, in its prefent form, with that in 
which he then offered it to the pubhc, and may 
perceive his readinefs to admit of any emendation 
when fairly propofed to him. I ihall for the pre- 
fent omit the notes. 

Gen. 1. — Iliftory cf the Six Bays Creation. 

" In the beginning God created the heavens 
and the EARTH. The earth was yet a defolate 


walle, with darknefs upon the face of the deep, 
and a vehement wind overfweeping the furface of 
the waters ; when God faid : ' Let there be 
Xight;" and there wash'ght. And God faw that 
the light was goodj and God diflinguiflied the 
light from the darknefs; and God called the Hght 
PAY, and the darknefs he called night. 

" The evening had come and the morning had 
come, ONE days Vv^hen God faid; ' Let there be an 
EXPANSE amidll the v/aters,- Vv^hich may feparate 
waters from waters;' and fo it was. For God 
' made the expanfe, and feparated the waters below 
the expanfe from the waters above the expanfe ; 
and God called the expanfe heavens. This, alfo, 
God faw to be good. 

'' The evening had come and the m.orning had 
come, a second day ; when God faid : ' Let the 
w^atcrs below the expanfe be collected into one 
place ; that the dry land may appear ;' and fo 
it v^^as. For the waters below the expanfe were 
coUccled into their places, and the dry land ap- 
pe?trcd. And God called the dry land earth, 
and the collection of waters he called seas. This, 
alfo, God faw to be good. 

"• ^' Again God faid: ' Let the earth be green 
with GRASS, with feed-bearing herbs according 
to their kinds, and with fruit-bearing trees, with 
their feed in them, according to thdr kinds ;' and 


fo it was. For green was the earth with grafs^ 
with feed-bearing herbs according to their kinds, 
and with fruit-bearing trees, with their feed ia 
them, according to their kinds. This, alfo, God 
faw to be good. 

" The evening had come and the morning had 
come, a third day^ v/hen God faid : ' Let there 
be LUMINARIES in the expanfe of the heavens, t<$ 
illuminate the earth, and to diflinguilh the day 
from the nighi: let them, alfo, be the fignals of 
terms, times, and years. [And let them be for 
luminaries in the expanfe of the heavens, to illu- 
minate the earth ;'3 ^i^<^ ^o it was. For God hav- 
ing made the two great luminaries (the greater 
luminary for the regulation of the day, and th«* 
fmaller luminary for the regulation of the night), 
and the ilars; he difplayed them in the expanfe 
of the heavens, to illuminate the earth, to regulate 
the day and the night, and to diftinguifh the light 
from the darknefs. This, alfo, God faw to be 

" The evening had come and the morning had 
come, a fourth day ; when God faid : ' Let the 
waters fwarrn with living reptiles; and let fly^ 
ING-CREATURES fly ovcr the earth, through the 
wide expanfe of the heavens;' andfo it was.' For 
God created the great fea-monllers, and all the 
other reptiles, with which the waters fwarmed, ac- 


cording to their kinds ; and every flying-creature 
according to its kind. This, alfo, God faw to be 
good. And God blefled them, faying : ' Be fruit- 
ful and multiply, and fill the waters ofthefeas; 
and let the flying-creatures multiply upon the 

*^ The evening had come and the morning had 
come, a fifth day; when God faid : ' Let the 
earth bring forth animals according to their kinds ; 
ing to their kinds;' and fo it was. For God made 
the cattle according to their kinds, the wild-beafl:s 
according to their kinds, and every ground-reptile 
according to its kind. This, alfo, God faw to be 

" Again God faid: * Let us make man after 
our own image, and according to our own like- 
nefs; who may have dominion over the fifties of 
the fea, over the flying-creatures of the air, over 
the cattle and all the wild-beafts, and over every 
reptile that creepeth upon the earth.' So God 
created mankind after his own image; after the 
divine image he created them ! He created them 
MALE and female; and blefled. them, and faid to 
them : ' Be fruitful and multiply ; fill the earth and 
fubdue it ; have dominion over the fifties of the 
feas, over the flying-creatures of the air, over the 
cattle and the vvild beaft;s, and over every reptile 


that creepeth upon the ground. And, lo ! (faid 
God) I give to you every feed-bearing herb on tke 
face of the whole earth, and every tree in vi^hich 
there is a feed-bearing fruit; to be food both for 
yourfelves, and for all the beafls of the earth, and 
for all the flying-creatures of the air, and for 
every reptile upon the earth, in which there is 
vital breath: — ^all forts of vegetables, for food.' 
Thus it was, when God, reviewing all that he had 
made, faw it to be excellent." 

. In the firfl: edition of this paflage, as it occurs in 
the Propofals, the phrafe. Gen. i. 3, here rendered 
" a vehement wind overfweeping the furface of the 
waters,'^ was tranflated " a mighty wind blowing 
on the furface," &c. The correded reading is 
perhaps the better of the two, though neither of 
tlie terms, overfweeping or blowing cn^ give us the 
fair meaning of the Hebrew nsnm, which in 
both the other inftances, (for there are but three), 
in which the word occurs m the Bible, implies /;;- 
ternal commotion^ and mfght here perhaps have 
been rendered much more pertinently agitating. 
Thus, Deut. xxxiL 11,. "as an e^igle Jluttereth 
or hovereth over her young" — that is " agitateth 
them with kindly warmth;" fo, Jer. xxiii. 9, '* all 
my bones yZ^^^^ — I am like a drunken man," that 
is, *' all my limbs arj agitated^'' ho,. Our author, in 



his Critical Remarks, contends that every thing m 
the conflru^tion of the text determines thefe words 
to appertain to the preceding rather than the 
fucceeding period : and the tranflators of our efta- 
blifhed verfion appear, by their punduation, ta 
have thought the fame. If this be true, the phrafe 
mighty or vehement wind is certainly more perdnent 
than that in common \x{e^Jpirit or breath of God^ 
which is neverthelefs the literal meaning of the 
original; for it can fcarcely be conceived that the 
fpirit or breath of God could move upon or agitate 
the heterogenous fluid of the chaos anterior to the 
commencement of the creadon. Notwithftanding 
however what is advanced by Dr. Geddes, it does 
not appear to me decifive that this pafTage is ne- 
ceflarily connected with the antecedent period : 
I would rather couple it, on the contrary, with 
that which folk)v;s, and retain the common read- 
ing, breath or fpirit of God^ apprehending that 
it difclofes the very firfl procefs in the order of cre- 
ation. But in this cafe the punftuation in our 
common Bibles muft be varied, and the full paufe 
be removed from the clofe to the middle of the 
fecond verfe, thus : " In the beginning God cre- 
ated the heavens and the earth. The earth was 
yet a defolate wafle, with darknefs upon the face 
of*the deep. And the fpirit of God agitated the 
"wdXers evm to the furface. Then faid God, * Be 
lijjht.' And light was." 


Dr. Geddes has been reprehended by fome of 
our profeflional critics for not having adopted or 
rather reflored this more concife and energetic 
reading of " Be light, and light was;" inftead of 
continuing the more tame and circuitous verfion 
of the ftandard text. For myf :!£, I heartily wifh 
he had made fuch an exchange ; yet it would have 
been but fair in the reviewer, who here reproves 
him for want of tafte, to have added our author's 
own remark upon the fubjed, which is as follows: 
** Let there be lights and there was light, ^* The 
original, 11^""'^ llh} TT', is more concife and em- 
phatical : " Be light, and light was/' And this is 
the rendering of our firft tranilator "Wickli£fe; wha 
uniformly, in all fimilar phrafes, ufes the fimple 
imperative : Be light — be a firmament — 'produce 
earth — make we mam And here I cannot help 
wondering that our language has not got rid of 
that vile expletive there^ than which I know none 
more ufelefs or infignificant. For example, in the 
following : " There vj2& a man in the land of Uz." 
The phrafe is jufl as bad, or rather more improper, 
than the vulgarifm that there man. It feems to 
have crept into our dialed from the Dutch : 
Daer was een man, &c. How much more fimple 
and elegant our Wickliffe: "A man, Joob by name, 
was in the land of Hus." So the Italian of Ma- 
lermi, " Nella terra de Hus era un' huomo;" and 


Bruccioli, " Nel paefe de Us fu un huomo." So 
alfo the Spanlfh of Ferrara, " Varon fue in tierra 
de Hus.*' The French phrafe, indeed, " II y avoit 
un homme," is more ridiculous than ours; yet flill 
it equally keeps its hold : fo difficult is it to purify 
a language from inveterate and authorized errors. 
There^ as an expletive, is bad enough alone: but 
when the word let precedes it, a double pleonafm 
arifes; and the phrafe is not only more clumfy 
and improper, but, when put in the mouth of 
God, impertinent and degrading. Let is the fame 
as permit ; and when God is made to fay, " Let 
there be light," or even " let light be," he is 
made to fay " permit light to be:" fo, " let there 
be an expanfe," is equivalent to " permit an ex- 
panfe to be;" and " let us make man" — " permit 
us to make man !" Will no writer of eftabliflied 
credit be bold enough to deviate from the beaten 
track? or fhall the dread panic of innovation 
prevent us from any attempt at meliorating 
either our language or our government*?" 

It is truly wonderful that, pofTeffing thefe 
ideas, our author, who has manifelled even a fur- 
plus of audacity on many other occafions, Ihould 
have been fo deficient in the prefent inftance. 
The fublimity of this pafTage in the original, 

. * Critical Remarks, i. page 15. 


which has been fo much praifed by critics of every 
nation. Pagan and Mahoinmedan, as well as JewiHi 
and Chrlflian, depends principally upon its fimpli- 
city and brevity : of which the former is nearly, 
and the latter altogether, loft in our common En- 
gliih verfions. " He faid," fays the Pfalmift, hap- 
pily commenting upon it, " and it was done :'* 
^'^''') 1Q,S Kin. The parallel eulogy of Longinus 
is known to every one; and the Alcoran, by 
an equally elegant rendering of the Pfalmift, has 
beftowed an equal panegyric upon the hiftorian, 

(Mj-^^ {^ Jl^* DixitESToet FuiT. ThePer- 

fians and Arabians have indeed many allufions to 
this admirable pidure, of which the following may 
fuffice, quoted from an Arabian poet by Ebn 

Fear not : — what God ordains thou yet (halt fee; 
Be, let him fay — and it Oiall inftant be : 
S;'ift as the glancing eye can re?l or rove, 
The faving Pcwer is prcfcnt from above. 


In verfe 4, the word here tranflated difiinguijhed, 
our author firfl rendered /d-i'^rd"^, and the altera- 
tion is in no refped for the better. It is difficult 
to find a term in our own language that offers the 
comprehenfive meaning of the original ; and per- 
haps the eftabliflied reading, divided^ is preferable 
to either of thefe expreffions. Yet the Hebrew does 
not mean fimply to divide, but to divide by affign- 
ing a limit: " he partitioned, or divided by a houn-^ 
dary, the light from the darknefs." In the lan- 
guage of Michaelis, " Er heftimmete darauf dem 
lichte und der finilernifs ihre granzen." No 
modern meaning of the verb to diftinguifh com- 
prizes this idea. It applies much better, in ver. 1 8, 
where the fame word in the original recurs : but 
the Englifh word partition might here^ alfo have 
been introduced with perhaps greater accuracy. 

In the reading before us our author has made a 
parenthefis of ver. 1 6, which does not occur in his 
firft copy, in which he followed the divifiori of the 
flandard text. By this variation he has acquired 
a greater degree of elegance, and, what is of more 
confequence, has maintained a clofer adherence to 
the brevity of the original. 

In verfe 21, the expreffion, great Jea monfters-^ 
"was at firfl VvTitten great croccdiles. In the ftandard 
verfion it is great '^jhales. The meaning pf the 
original, a^:">2n, is uncertain : but it appears rather 


to refer to the crocodile than the whale. It 
feems here however to be ufed as a generic term, 
and the more extenfive meaning conveyed in the 
text before us is therefore an improvement. 

In verfe 24, his iirft reading, " cattle, reptiles, 
and other terreftrial animals," is advantageoufly ex- 
changed for " cattle, wild-beafts, and reptiles." 
The word reptiles is indeed well fubflituted for the 
common rendering, " creeping things.*' 

The fpecimen text of verfe 31 is as follows : 
" Thus it was when God viewed all that he had 
made; and lo! it was very good." I prefer this 
reading to the amended copy before us : but I very 
much prefer the ftandard punduation to that in 
both cafes introduced by our author; and can fee 
no reafon why he fhould not have continued the 
paufe after the expreffion " And it was fo," as oc- 
curs uniformly in the antecedent parts of his own 
verfion; nor why the term good fliould in the 
amended copy, and in this inflance alone, be exr 
changed for excellent, " And it was fo. And 
God reviewed all that he had made, and behold! 
it was \erj good,'^ 

Thefe are the chief variations between our au- 
thor's fpecimen text printed in 1788, and his cor^ 
reded copy, as it occurs in his tranflation of the 
Bible before us. The changes were principally 
introduced at the fuggeflion of correfpondents, 


(bme of whom were anonymous; and while they 
are fufficient to prove that he was not obflinately 
wedded to his own opinion in matters of fair de- 
bate, they cannot but make us regret that he was 
fo abruptly fummoned away in the miidft of his la- 
bors, wit.'iout having c. en fuffered to avail himfelf 
of the fame liberal fources of 'mprovemexiL with 
which he would unqueflionably have enriched a 
fecond edition of his elaborate undertaking, had 
he hved to have feen fuch an edition demanded. 

In fpeculatively diicufnng the Mofaic narrative 
of the creation, our author, following the path of 
Eichorn and Rofenmiiller, regards it as allegory 
combined with literal truth. In his own w^ords, 
" I beHeve it to be a mod beautiful mythos, or 
philofophical fiction, contrived with great v/ifdom, 
dreffed ifp in the garb of real hiftory, adapted to 
the (hallow intellects of a rude barbarous nation, 
and perfectly well calculated for the great and 
good purpofes for which it was contrived ; namely, 
to eflablifh the belief of one fupreme God and 
Creator, in oppofition to the various and wild 
fyflems of idolatry which then prevailed, and to 
enforce the obfervance of a periodical day to be 
chiefly devoted to the fervice of that Creator, 
and the folacing repofe of his creatures*." For 
tljis hypothefis I3r. Geddes fuftained much ob- 

* Critical Remarks, i. 26. 


loquy ; yet he modeflly advanced it^ leaving him- 
felf fcill open to the correction of other philo- 
fophers and critics who might be more fortunate in 
their theories*; and the hypothefis itfelf fuppofes 
a far lefs departure from the letter of the facred 
page than tiiat contended for by the mod learned 
of the Jewifh Rabbis, as v/ell as by Origen, and 
almoil all the fathers of the chriilian church, ex- 
cept EpiphaniQs and Jerom, who regarded the en* 
tire defcription as allegoric, and appears to differ 
in no etTendal point from that of che more mode- 
rate Auilin, who affigned to the hiflory a fenfe 
partly literal and partly fpiritual f, and whofe au- 
thority contributed in no fmall degree to eflabhfh 
this opinion almoil exclufively among the weflerix 

Every geologic invefligation hov/ever tends 
progreflively to demonflrate the literal truth of 

* " I have now fairly and candidly delivered my opinion of 
the nature and purport of the Hebrew cofmogony. But I fet 
not up for a dogmatift. I have read much on the fubjeft. I 
have long revolved it in my mind, and placed it in every pof- 
fible point of view. I have not drawn my conclufions with 
precipitation, nor till after a very ferious and minute invefli- 
gation; and the refult is what you have been juft now reading. 

' Si quid novifti reftius iftis 

Candidus impertij li non, his utere mccum." 

Critical Remarks, i. 2p. 

t Auguftin de Genefi ad lit. torn. ii. 137, edit. Par. 1555, 


the Mofaic narrative, and confequently to con- 
firm our faith in the whole volume of the fcrip- 
tures. Nature herfelf witnefTeth to the attentive 
geologift that the earth mufl neceflarily have ex- 
ifled in a flate of chaos — that the chaotic mafs was 
an aqueous and not a volcanic fluid — that its pre- 
fent arrangement and phenomena were hence 
educed ; and this not inftantaneoufly^ but by a 
feries of feparate and creative operations — and that 
this procefs of creation followed mofl precifely the 
order of the Hebrew hiftorian, as divided into va- 
rious and diftincl ads or periods. That the diffe- 
rent fluids of vapor and water were, firft of all, 
fecerned from the entire mafs — that the water, 
for a confiderable duration of time, covered the 
entire furface of the globe — that it, at length, gra- 
dually fubfided, and difclofed the fummits of our 
primary mountains^ which were foon covered over 
with vegetable verdure-^and that the various ge- 
nera of herbs and fruit-trees followed in eafy fuc- 
ceflion. It is equally obvious, confiftently with the 
Mofaic account, that the waters were firfl animat- 
ed with living creatures, the fhells and exuviae of 
fuch being traced in immenfe quantities, even tQ 
the prefent moment, on the fummits of theloftiefl 
and mofl inland primary mountains; whence it is 
certain that they exifled, and that in prodigious 
{hoals, even prior to the fubfidence of the waters 


and the difclofure of the dry land. It is at leafl 
natural to fuppofe, and is fupported by the beft 
principles of ornithology, that the atmofphere was 
next inhabited, and that the different genera of 
birds, many of which have long fmce become ex- 
tin 61, and perhaps exifted but for a fhort period 
from the date of the general creation, but whofe 
Ikeletons are ftill occafionally dete£led on the fur- 
face, or but a little below the furface of our lof- 
tiefl hills — that thefe different genera drew their 
nutriment from the fummits of our primary moun- 
tains, which now began to be difclofed and to be 
covered with verdure; being the only animals, ex- 
cepting fifhes, v/hich hitherto poffeffed a habita- 
tion. It follows of necellity, therefore, as dated 
in the fame authentic writings, that terreftrial ani- 
mals mufl have had a poflerior creation, the 
furface of the earth now gradually aifuming a 
more folid and extenfive appearance, and accom- 
modating them with an augmenting theatre of ex- 
iftence: and that as the more fimple ofthisclafs 
of animals was created firfl, fo man, the lord and 
maflcrpiece of the whole, and for whofe ufe the reft. 
were refpe^tively formed, completed the beautiful 
climax, and clofed the order of creation. Accord- 
ing to minute obfervation, and the exprefs tefti- 
mony of nature, this procefs, indeed, mufl have 
been fo extremely How and gradual as to have de- 


manded not only fix days, but perhaps as many 
centuries : yet if we once admit that the Almighty 
did) not create the whole by a fmgle inftantaneous 
effort, which he unquellionably might have done 
if he had chofen, but by a diflind and regular fe- 
ries of exertions— there is no more difficulty in 
conceiving him to have confumed fix years or fix 
centuries than fix days in the entire operation : 
and we have from the volume of nature as ample 
a proof that the term day implies a longer period 
in the prefent inflance than its literal interpretation 
would juflify, as we have in any of the prophetic 
writings, in which fuch a fuppofition is mutually ac- 
ceded to by Jews and Chriftians. Thofe who wifh 
to be more profoundly inftrucled upon this fubject, 
may perufe Mr. Kirwan's Geological Elfays, in 
which the fame accommodation of the Mofaic hif- 
tory to the actual phssnomena of nature is purfued 
with a very maflerly hand, and with an equal de- 
gree of benefit to the caufe of religion and fcience. 

The fpeech of Lamech, the mod ancient frag- 
ment of poetry in the world, and which preceded 
the era of the deluge, is thus rendered by our 
author. Gen. iv. 23 : 

" And Lamech faid to his wives : ' Ada and 
Zilla! hear my voices wives of Lamech! liften 
to my fpeech. A man I have killed ! but to my 
own wounding : a young man ! but to m.y own 


bruifmg. If feven-fold vengeance be taken for 
Cain, for Lamech mud feventy times feven-fold.'* 
The hiftory of Lamech is given fo concifely, 
that it is matter of mere conjedure upon what 
occafion this fpeech was delivered. " As I am 
totally ignorant of its meaning," fays the illuflri- 
ous Lowth, " I have fatisfied myfelf with fub- 
joining the interlineary verfion of Santes Pagni- 
nus*/' He neverthelefs ventures to divide it into 
the three following diftichs, of which each con- 
tains two parallel flanzas, and has rendered it highly 
probable that fuch was its original arrangement. 

'''71P ivn^:? rtT) my 

rp Dp'' iD-^nvy^ o 
inyn^i D>yar id^i 

Dr. Geddes fuppofes that the fpeech was dell- 
veted to his two wives Ada and Zilla, in. confe- 
quence of his having Hain a man who began 
the aflault, and of courfe in mere felf-defence; 
having moreover been feverely WQunded in the 

* Cum plane nefciam quae (it bujus loci fentcntla, contentus 
fum fubjunxifle verfionem interlincarem Santis P&gnini. Praj- 
left, Academ, 


Cdnteft. To appeafe their fears on his account he 
refers to the protection afforded by the Almighty 
even to his anceftor Cain, and legitimately de- 
duces, that if a fafeguard were granted to the 
wretch who flew liis brother tvithout a caufe, it 
would certainly be extended to himfelf in a ten- 
fold degree. Mr. Green has anticipated our au- 
thor in this fuppofition, though his name is not re- 
ferred to ; and his verfion is, in my judgment, 
fuperior to that before us. It is more explicit, and 
divided, like the original, as arranged by Dr. 
Lowth, into three diftichs of two parallel ftanzaa 
each. The paflage being fliort, I fhall quote it for 
a comparifon. 

Lamech faid to his wives- 

Adah and Zillah, hear my voice j 

Yc wives of Lamech, give ear to my fpeech. 

I have indeed (lain a man for my wound. 
Even a young man for my hurt. 

But if Cain (hall be avenged feven-fold. 
Surely Lamech feventy times feven. 

All the commentators have been perplexed to 
find a meaning for Exodus xviii. 10, 1 1. In our 
flandard verfion the paflage occurs thus: — And Je- 
thro faid, " Blefledbe the Lord who hath deli- 
vered you out of the hands of the Egyptians, and 
out of the hands of Pharaoh, who hath delivered 
the people from under the hand of the Egyptians ► 


Now I know that the Lord Is greater than alt 
gods f for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he 
was above them»'^ The rendering of this lafl paf- 
fage is paraphraftic, with a view of forcing a mean- 
ing for the Englifh reader; which after all is flill 
very obfcure and indefinite* Our author, differ- 
ing from every prior expofitor, happily tranfpofes 
it to the end of ver. 10;. and by this trivial variation, 
renders the whole period clear and perfpicuous. 
In his text it occurs thus: — And Jethro faid," Blef- 
fed be the Lord who hath refcued you from the 
hands of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh 5 who hath" 
refcued (Ifiy) the people from under the hands 
of the Egyptians; hecauje they had dealt haughtily 
with them* And now I know that the Lord 
is greater than all other gods." 

The following is a perfpicuous corre^lion of the 
common reading in the latter part of the fecond 
commandment, Exod. xx. 5, 6: "For I the Lord 
thy God am a jealous God, punifhing the iniquity, 
of fathers, when they disregard me, in their 
children, unto the third or fourth generation; 
but fhowing mercy unto the thousandth, when 
they love me and keep my commandments." 

By afligning to n2~i% Nuijib. xxvi. 3, the mean- 
ing of to count or mufter^ inftead of to /peak ^ which 
has hitherto been its general acceptation, but to 


which our author fhows very plaufibly it is not ne- 
ceflarily confined, he frees the original from a 
difficulty which has uniformly^attached to it in the 
contemplation of every critic. " So Mofes and 
Eleazar muftered them on the plains of Moab, by 
the Jordan, oppofite to Jericho \ from the age of 
twenty years upward, as the Lord had given in 
command to Mofes." Our tranflators of the efta- 
blifhed verfion, not knowing what to make of the 
paifage, have paraphrafed it by the introduction of 
the following fentence ; " Take the fum of the 
people :" of which not a word occurs in the ori- 

The phrafe, Deut. xxvii. 2, T^n Dns^ rrW\^ in 
our public verfion rendered " and plafler them 
with plafter," is happily given in the text be- 
fore us, '' and join them with lime.'' Thus, " And 
when ye fhall have pafTed over the Jordan into 
the land which the Lord your God giveth to you, 
ye fliall ered large ftones, and join them with lime.^* 

The exquifite ode of Deborah upon the tri- 
umph of the Ifraelites over the forces of Jabin, 
Judges V, is tranflated with different degrees of 
merit J but upon the whole is, in my eflimation, by 
far the beft we yet poffefs. The following paflage 
is rendered with unrivalled beauty, and I have now 
Mr. Green's verfion principally in view : 


Bkfled, above other women, be Jael, 

The wife of Heber, the Kenite! 

Above all tent-inhabiting women be Ihe blcffed! 

Water h« allced, milk (he gave : 

In a coftly bowl (he prefented butter-milk. 

With her left hand (he feized a pin, 

And with her right a ponderous hammer: 

She fmote Siferah : (he fmote him on the head : 

She pierced and perforated his temples ! 

At her feet he tumbled and fell down : 

At her feet he tumbled and fell : 

Where he tumbled, there he lay ghaftly dead! 

The latter part of this extrad is, in the original, 
uncommonly beautiful, and perhaps altogether in- 
imitable. Our public verfion, however, has a 
high degree of merit, and need not fhrink from a 
comparifon with any tranllation whatever : 

At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down : 

At her feet he bowed, he fell ; 

Where he bowed, there he fell down dead. 

This exquifite iteration cannot but remind us of 
the pathetic lines in Dryden's Alexander's Feall, 
in which the fame figure is indulged with an equsJ 
degree of effed : 

Fallen! fallen! 

Fallen! fallen! 
Fallen from his high eftate 
And weltering in his blood i 



On the bare ground expofed he lies, 
Without a friend to clofe his eyes. 

tn the refponfe of Siferah's mother to her oxvn 
inquiries, or rather perhaps to thofe of her ladies 
in waiting, as given by Dr. Geddes, there is one 
line that difcovers a flrange want of tafle, though 
I know that the fame colloquial phrafeology has 
been adopted by fir William Jones, in his tranf- 
lation of the odes of Perfian and Arabic poets : 

Surely they have found, and are dividing a booty ! 
A girl, a couple of ghh, to each brave man *. 

But to make extracts would be endlefs; and I 
fliall clofe the confideration of this part of our 

* It is not in this Inftance alone that our author, with a 
view of rendering hirafelf more clear and perfpicuous, has 
adopted, with too little difcrimination, the colloquial dialeft 
of his day : thus Gen. xliii. 25, " and they made ready the 
prefent againft Jofeph came at noon, for they heard that they 
Jhould eat bread there,' as it occurs in our eftablilhed verfion, 
is given by Geddes, " for they heard that they ivcre fa dine 
there.'* So again, ver. 31 of the fame chapter, *' and he 
.wafhed his face and faid, fet on head" is rendered by our au- 
thor, *' and he wafticd his face and faid,y^r'z;^ up dinner.'' So 
alfo, Exod. xii. 11, for " it is the Lord's /•^x'^r," we hare, 
** it is ^Jlzip- offering to the Lord !" It is needlefs to multiply in- 
ftances : and it becomes me to ftate, refpefting the laft example, 
that he himfclf was foon diflatisfied with the change, and, in 
his Critical Remarks on the paflagc, begs the reader would 


author's laboi*s by quoting a fingle additional fpea 
cimen, and, for the fake of brevity, without any 
critical remarks whatfoever. In doing this, I 
open the fecond volume at random, and I find 
prefented to me 1 Sam.iii. 3. The chapter is fhort^ 

alter the word Jkip-ovefy wherever it occurs, to Phafah, the ori- 
ginal term, and which is adopted with little variation in moft 
of the verfions. 

The diaion of every writer is influenced in no fmall degree 
by his common habit and manners. Thofc of Dr. Gcddes 
were plain and fimple— his wifh was to reduce every fubje6l 
upon which he touched to the comprehenfion of the vulgar 5 
and his idiotifms are occafionally therefore deficient in grace 
and dignity. His friend Wakefield, on the contrary, wa*s ac- 
cuftomed to devote the principal part of his time to the poets 
and philofophers of Greece and Rome; Mr. V^akefield's lan- 
guage is in confcquence fcholaflic and recondite; and in his 
Verfion of the New Tellament, inftead of finking below, he 
often foars too confiderably above, the common ftandard, as 
in James i. 17, which in his firft edition is rendered « the 
Father of lights with whom is i\o pa- all ax nor troficaJJha- 
dow.'' If another example were necelfary 1 might refer to 
Dr. Horfley, one of the profoundeft fcholars and moft able 
critics of the prefent day. In his admirable verfion of Hofea, 
the palfage vi. j, in our common Bibles, « therefore I have 
hewed them by the prophets,'' he has rendered, " it is 
for this that I have belaboured them/' How this fentencc 
ivould have been given by Geddes or Wakefield I know not 5 : 
but every oi.e mull perceive it to be charaaeriltic of the bifhop 
himfelf, a man poileiTed of twiqe the mufcular i^rength of 
citherof them, and the mofl renowned champion of his'time, 
whether in ecclefiaflic or legiflative polemics. 


and I fhall copy the whole: the reader may'com* 
pare it with the public verfion at his leifure. 

The Lord rev ealeth himjelf to Samuel^ kc, 

*^ The young man Samuel flill miniflered to the 
Lord, under Elif the prieft. In thofe days, di- 
vine oracles were rare : vifions were not frequent. 
Now it happened, at that time, that, when Eli, 
whofe eyes were grown fo dim that he could not 
fee, had lain down in his own Jleeprng-iphce-^ and 
Samuel had alfo lain down in the tabernacle of the 
Lord, where the ark of God was (the facred lamp 
not yet extinguilhed) ; the Lord called to Samuel; 
who anfwered : ' Here am L' Then, running to 
Eli, he faid : ' Here am I : thou calledfl me/ 
He replied: ' I called not : return to bed.' — Again 
the Lord called to Samuel : and Samuel arofe 
and went to Eli, and faid : ' Here am I : thou cal- 
ledfl me.' He anfwered : ' I called not, my fon I 
return to bed.' — Now Samuel knew not that it 
was the Lord : for as yet no divine oracle had 
been revealed to him. — Again, the Lord, a third 
time, called to Samuel; who arofe and went to 
Eli, and faid : ' Here am I : thou calledfl me.' Eli 
now underflood that the Lord had called to the 
young man: So Eli faid to Samuel : ' Go to bed; 

«* Vau R4ad,'-'\ Sep. Syr. Arab, and i MS." 


and, if one call to thee, thou (halt fay : "^ Speak, 

Lord! for thy fervant heareth." — Samuel re- 
turned and lay down in his own place; when the 
Lord accoftedhim, and called to him as before : 
* Samuel! Samuel 1' Samuel anfwered : ' Speak, 
to Lord 1 for thy fervant heareth.' — The Lord 
then faid to Samuel : ^ Lo! I am about to do a 
thing in Ifrael, at which both the ears of every 
one, who fhall hear of it, will tingle. In that day, 

1 will bring upon Eli all that I have fpoken from 
firft to lafl, concerning his family. For I have 
warned him, that I am about to execute judg- 
ment on hishoufe for ever; becaufe, although he 
knew that his fons difgraced themfelves, he re- 
buked them not: therefore I have fworn, with re- 
fped to the houfe of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's 
houfe Ihall never be expiated, either by vidim-fa- 
crifice, or donative.' 

" Samuel lay flill until morning; when he 
opened the doors of the tabernacle of the Lord. 
Samuel was afraid to tell the vifion to Eli : but 
Eli called to him, and faid: ' Samuel, my fon!' 
He anfwered : ' Here am L' Eli faid : ' What is 
it, that the Lord hath imparted to thee ? I pray 
thee, conceal it not from me. May God dofo and 
fo to thee, nay> more than that; if thou conceal 

<' Far. Read. — f Syr. Arab.Vulg. and fome copies of Sep. 
See C. R,— V. :?i. Sept. and partly Vulg, See C. il." 


aught from me, of all the things, that he fald to 
thee!' Samuel then told him every thing, and con- 
cealed from him nothing. ^ He is the Lord,* 
faid Eli : * let him do what, to himfelf, feemeth 
right.' — Meanwhile, Samuel grew up, and the 
Lord was with him : and all the Ifraelites, from 
Dan to Beer-flieba, underflood that Samuel was 
truly a prophet of the Lord : for the Lord con- 
tinued to appear in Shilo; and to Samuel, in Shi- 
lo, he revealed his oraclesi which Samuel an* 
liounced to all Ifrael." 

In his tranllation our author has uniformly 
confined him^felf to the duties of a faithful inter- 
preter. In a few doubtful palTages he may per- 
haps have overilepped the modeily of his office : 
but in general his corrections are well fupported 
by original arguments, by criticifms of prior com- 
mentators, or the common confent of approved 
readings. His ftyle is for the moil part plain and 
perfpicuous, conveying the fenfe of the original 
in its native fimphcity. But his language is oc* 
canonally unequal, and flrongly partakes of the 
alternations of his ovm phyiical conftitution ; in 
confequence of which, in the midft of a pafTage, 
inoft, exquifitely rendered in the main, we are at 
times furprifed with fcholaflic and extraneous ex« 
prtflious, or difgufted with intolerable vulgarifms. 


It fhould never be forgotten, however, that the 
"whole is the work of an individual unaffifled by 
fellow-laborers, and that it conflitutes his firil at- 
tempt. Had he lived to have realized his own 
wiflies, and to have revifed it by a fecond edition, 
publifhed in twelves without his Critical Remarks, 
there would have been little room for many of the 
obfervations which the caufe of truth has thus 
compelled me to hazard. As it is, it offers, fo far 
as it proceeds, the moil intelligible verfion of the 
facred records in the Englifh, or perhaps in any 
language whatever 3 and there are few obfcure paf- 
fages in our eftablifhed tranflation which this ver- 
fion will not illuminate. 

But though in his interpretation he faithfully 
reftrided himfelf to the duties of a tranflator, in 
his volume of Critical Remarks our author con- 
ceived himfelf at liberty to throw off every reflric- 
tion whatever : and this part of his labors has, in 
confequence, been open to much feverity of attack, 
and the fource of no fmall degree of undeferved 

" In my tranflation and explanatory notes," 
fays he, " I have made it a rule to confine myfelf to 
the limited province of a mere interpreter; endea- 
vouring to give a faithful verfion of my corrected 
originals, without comment or criticifm. In the fol- 
lowing Remarks I haVe taken a wider and bolder 
range; I have throughout a<^ed the critic, and occa. 


fionally the commentator; although the office of the 
latter has always been made iubrervient to that of 
the former. In both thefe characters I have freely 
ufed mine own judgment (fuch as it is) v/ithout 
the fmallefl deference to inveterate prejudice or 
domineering authority. The Hebrew fciiptures I 
have examined and appreciated, as I would any 
other writings of antiquity; and have bluntly and 
honeftly delivered my fentiments of their merit or 
demerit, their beauties or imperfections, as be- 
comes a free and impartial examiner. — I am well 
aware, that this freedom will, by the many, be 
confidered as an audacious licenfe; and the cry of 
herefy! infidelity! irreligion ! will refound from 
fliore to fhore. But my peaceful mind has been 
long prepared for, and indeed accuflomed to, fuch 
harfh Cerberean barkings: and experience has 
made me (not naturally infenfible) callous to every 
injury that ignorance or malice may have in (tore 
for me. 

*' I only enter my proteft againfl downright 
mifreprefentation and calumny. I difclaim and 
fpurn the imputation of irreligion and infidelity. 
I believe as much as I find fufficient motives of cre- 
dibility for believing : and without fufficient- mo^ 
tives of credibility, there can be rio rational belief. 
Indeed, the great mafs of mankind have no rational 
belief. 1 he vulgar Papifl and the vulgar Protefl- 
ant are here on almoft equal terms : few, very fe\Y 


of either clafs ever think of ferioufly examining 
the primary foundations of their faith. 

'' The vulgar Papifl reds his on the fuppofed 
infaUibility of his church; although he knows not 
where that infallibility is lodged, nor in what it 
properly confifls : it is to him a general, vague, in- 
• definite idea, which he never thinks of analyling. 
He reads in his catechilm, or is told by his cate- 
chifl, that the church cannot err in what fhe teaches \ 
and then he is told that this unerring church is 
compofed only of thofe who hold communion with 
•the biihop of Rome, and precifely believe as he, 
and tlie bifhops who are in communion with 'him, 
believe. From that moment reafon is fet afide; 
authority ufurps its place, and implicit faith is the 
neceffary confequence. He dares not even ad- 
vance to the firfi: (Icp of Des Cartes's logic; he 
dares not doubt: for in his table of fms, which he 
is obliged to confefs^ he finds doubting in matters of 
faith to be a grievous crime. 

" But, on the other hand, is the faith of the 
vulgar Proteflant better founded ? He refts it on a 
book, called the Holy Bible, which he beheves to 
be the infallible word of God. Is it by reading 
the Bible, and unbialTedly examining its contents, 
that he is led to this precious difcovery ? No : he is 
taught to beheve the Bible to be the infallible 
word of God, before he has read, or can read itj 


and fits do^^Ti to read it with this prepofTefTion in 
his mind, that he is reading the infallible word of 
God. His belief, then, is as implicit as that of the 
vulgar Papifb; and his motives of believing even 
lefs fpecious. ' Both give up their reafon, before 
they are capable of reafoning; the one on the au- 
thority of his parents, or of his priefls the other 
on the authority of his parents or of his parfon : 
but the priefl: urges his plea with more dexterity, 
and with a fairer outfide fhow of probability. If 
the parfon be alked how he himfelf knows that 
the book which he puts into the hand of his cate- 
chumen is the infalhble word of God; he cannot, 
like the prieft, appeal to an unerring church; he 
acknowledges no fuch guide : and yet it is hard to 
conceive what other better argument he can ufe. 
If he fay that the book manifefls its infallibility by 
its own intrinfic worth, he begs the queftion. If 
he affirm, that he knows it to be infallible by the 
workings of the Holy Spirit in his heart, he plays 
the enthufiafl; and his enthufiafm can be no ra- 
tional motive of credibility for any ether individual, 
who feels not the like operations of the fame Spirit. 
Twenty other difficulties furround his hypothefis, 
which it certainly is not eafy to remove; and the 
beft folutions he can give are but gilded fophifms. 
— On reading the popifi controverfy^ as it is called, 
from the days^of EHzabeth to the prefent day, one 


is apt, at leaft I am apt, to think that the Ro- 
manifls had, on this point, the better fide of the 
queflion; by fome of their controverfiaHfls not 
improperly called the quefiion of queftions. — Yet 
this fame queflion of queftions has never been 
fatisfadorily foived by the Romanifts themfelves. 
They always reafoned in what is termed a vicious 
circle-^ and proved the infallibility of the church 
from the authority of fcripture, and the authority 
of fcripture from the church's infallibility, I know 
what (hifts have been made by Bellarmine, Becan, 
and many others, to get out of this coil; but 1 have 
never met with any one who had fucceeded. — 

" The gofpel of Jesus is my religious code : his 
doctrines are my deareft delight : ' his yoke (to 
me) is eafy, and his burden is light :' but this yoke 
I would not put on; thefe dodrines I could not 
admire; that gofpel I would not make my law, if 
Reafon, pure Reafon were not my prompter and 
preceptrefs. I willingly profefs myfelf a fmcere, 
though unv/orthy disciple of Chrift : Chrijiian is 
my name, and Catholic my furname. Rather than 
renounce thefe glorious titles, I would fhed my 
blood : but I would not fhed a drop of it for v/hat 
is neither Catholic nor Chriitian, Catholic Chri- 
flianity I revere wherever I find it, and in whatfo- 
ever fed: it dwells : but I cannot revere the loads 
of hay and ftubble which have been blended with 


its precious gems ; and which flill in every feci, 
with which I am acquainted, more or lefs tamifli 
or hide their luflre. I cannot revere metaphyfical 
unintelh'gible creeds, nor blafphemous confefTions 
of faith. I cannot revere perfecution for the fake 
of confcience, nor tribunals that enforce orthodoxy 
by fire and faggot. I cannot revere formulas of 
faith made the teft of loyalty, nor penal laws made 
the hedge of church-eflablifhments. In fhort, 1 
cannot revere any fyilem of religion that, for di- 
vine doctrines, teacheth the dictates of men; and by 
the bafe intermixture of ' human traditions maketh 
the commandments of God of none elFed.' This I 
fay even of Chriftian fyftems, and fhall I grant to 
fyftematic Judaifm what I deny to fyftematic Chri- 
flianifm? Shall I difbelieve the pretended miracles, 
the fpurious deeds, the forged charters, the lying 
legends of the one, and give full credit to thofe of 
the other ? May I, blamelefs, examine the works of 
the Chriftian dodors and hiftorians by the com- 
mon rules of criticifm, explode their fophiftiy, 
combat their rafh aifertions, arraign them of cre- 
dulity, and even fometimes queflion their veracity; 
and yet be obliged to confider every fragment of 
Hebrew fcripture, for a feries of 1000 years, from 
Mofesto Malachi; every fcrap of prophecy, poefy, 
minftrelfy, hiftory, biography, as the infallible 
communications of heaven^ oracles of divine truth? 


Truly, this IS to require too much from credulity 

*' In the Hebrew fcriptures are many beauties, 
many excellent precepts, much found morality : 
and they deferve the attentive perufal of every 
fcholar, every perfon of curiofity and taile. All 
thofe good things 1 admit and admire, and would 
equally admire them in the writings of Plato, 
Tully, or Marcus Antoninus : but there are other 
things in great abundance, which I can neither ad- 
mire nor admit; without renouncing common 
fenfe, and fuperfeding reafon : a facrifice which I 
am not difpofed to make, for any writing in th^ 

" This language will, I doubt not, feem ftrange 
to the fyflematic Chriftian, who has founded his 
creed, not upon reafon or common fenfe, but on 
the prejudices of education; who is a Papill at 
Rome, a Lutheran at Leipfic,^ and a Calvimil at 
Geneva; a Prelatiil in England, and a Prefbyte- 
rian in Scotland ; a Neflorian in Syria, in Arme- 
nia an Eutychian— for fuch local nominal Chriflians 
my Remarks were not intended, they would fpurn 
them with zealous indignation. But if there be, ' 
as I trufl there are, in each of thofe comm.unions, 
men who have learned to think for themfelves, in 
matters of faith as well as in matters of philofophy, 
and who are not Chriitlans merely becaufe they 



were bom of Chrlflian parents, and bred up in 
Chriflian principles; but becaufe, on the mod fe- 
rious and mature examination, they find Chrifli- 
anity a rational, a moil rational religion — to fuch 
I addrefs myielf v»'ith confidence; and by fuch I 
expert to be liflened to with patient candour*/* 

This addrefs to the reader our author courteoufly 
fubmitted to me in manufcript when firft compof* 
ed; and it was the fubjed of much private difcuf- 
lion. I thought many of his conclufions illogical, 
and attempted to prove that the comparifon be- 
tween the writings of the Pentateuch, and the le- 
gends and pretended miracles of many of the 
chriflian churches was unfair and inadmiffible* 
Either the dodor, however, was too much at- 
tached to his perfonal opinion^ or which is more 
likely, I did not do fufficient juflice to my own ar- 
gument: in confequence of which the addrefs 
was prefixed to his volume of Remarks, and pub* 
lifhed with little or no alteration a few days after- 

The chief objection that has been fairly urged 
againfl him, upon a general perufal of the Remarks 
themfelves, and it is an objection upon which almofl 
every other is founded, is his difbelief in the di- 
vine mifTion of Mofes and of the authority under 

* Crit, Rem. Addrefs to the Reader, p. ir. 


which he pretended to ad. " The fadl is,*' fay^ 
he, " that all the antient legiflators required a 
greater or lefs degree of implicit obedience to their 
refpedive laws; and for that purpofe feigned an 
intercourfe with fome Divinity to make that obe- 
dience more palatable to the credulous multi- 

" But was this, it will be faid, the cafe with 
Mofes? Why not ? And where is the proof that 
Mofes did not, in this, adi: like other legiflators ? 
This conceffion^- fo far from diminilhing the cha- 
rader of Mofes and the wifdom of his laws, greatly 
enhances both; and is perfedly compatible with 
the only divine infpiration^ which fenfe and reafon 
can admit — at leail, which my fenfe and reafoa 
can admit*. 

" Indeed, I cannot conceive how Mofes could 
have governed fo rude, fo flubborn, fo turbulent a 
nation; and made them fubmit to fuch a code of 
laws as he devifed for them; without feigning an 
immediate intercourfe with the Deity, and afcrib- 
ing to him every injundion laid upon them. If, 
in fpite of this precaution, and in defiance of God, 
they were conftantly murmuring and rebelling; 
what mull it have been, if Mofes had only fpoken 
as from himfelf ? 

* ** For every good gift and every perfect boon cometh 
down from above, from the Father of lights. Jam, i. 17.*' 


*' But although his communications with God 
were frequent, and ahnofl on every emergency, 
he was particularly careful to keep the people at 
a diilance from the intercourfe : no one mult ap- 
proach the mount while he is receiving the Deca- 
logue, under pain of death : no one muft hear 
the refponfes given from the oracle, but through 
him; no one but he fees God ' face to face :' 
no one mufl reafon againU: any of his ordinances; 
no one objedt to any of his decifions : becaufe his 
ordinances and decifions are all from the mouth 
of God. In a word, the people mufl have no 
more religious or political knowledge than he is 
pleafed to parcel out to them, by himfelf or his 
brother Aaron, whom he makes his prophet and 
prieft: the refl have nothing to do with the law 
but to obey it*.'* 

It is an infuperable objedllon to this part of our 
author's creed that it is contradictory to itfelf. Dr. 
Geddes admits his mofl ample belief in the divine 
authority of Jefus Chrift, " whofe gofpel is his re- 
ligious code, whofe dodrines are his dearefl de- 
light:" but Jefus Chrifl uniformly avowed the in- 
fpiration of Mofes, by exprefsly adverting to fuch 
mfpiration in the delivery of one prediction ful- 
filled in his own perfon. It is in every refped in- 

* Crit. Rem. p. 41. 


confiftent and Illogical therefore to accredit the 
divine miiTion of the author of the chriflian faith, 
and yet to deny the fame authority to the Hebrew 
legiilator. One principal reafon that operated 
upon our author in fupport of this denial was, the 
many a6ls of cruelty which were perpetrated at 
the inftigation of Mofes, and from which he was 
anxious to exculpate the Deity; and particularly 
the total deftrudion and extermination of the 
feven Canaanite nations, and the transfer of their 
land and poiTeflions to the Ifraehtes. " I cannot 
poiTibly believe,'' fays he, " that ever a juil, bene- 
volent Being, fuch as I conceive my God to be, 
gave fuch a fanguinary order to Mofes and the 
Ifraelites as in the book of Deuteronomy is faid to 
have been given*.*' The explanation of this 
tranfadion, advanced by the very learned and 
liberal bifhop of Landaff in his Apology for the 
Bible ^ is known to every one, and is fatisfadory to 
mod. But our author not only acknowledges 
himfelf not fatisfied with it, but labors, in a long 
and argumentative note, to prove its impotence and 
irrelevancy. He will not allow any fimile drawn 
from the phasnomena of nature, fuch as the ra- 
vages of earthquakes, peftilences, or inundations, 
to be coincident with this event as recorded in the 
Bible. '^ When the earthquake," fays he, " fwai- 

* Crit. Kern. p. 425. 


lows up, the fea overwhelms, the fire confumes, 
the famine flarves, or the plague deflroys ; we are 
totally ignorant by what laws of nature, or conca- 
tenation of caufes, the defolating events happen, 
we fee only the difmal effeiSts : and no confe- 
quence can rationally be deduced from them, 
againil: the principle of moral equity, fo often be- 
fore mentioned. From fuch events no one could 
derive an argument for the lawfulnefs of difpolfelT- 
ing or injuring his neighbour, either in his pro- 
perty or perfon; no argument for the lawfulnefs 
of burying alive idolators, drowning heretics, llarv- 
ing atheifts, &c. &c. From fuch events the fa- 
mous bifnop of Cagliari, Lucifer, could never 
have inferred, that it was the duty of the orthodox 
to kill the Arians, and even the emperor Con- 
ftantius who abetted Arianifm. Frora the earth- 
quakes at Catania, Lima, Lifbon, the Holy Inqui- 
fition could never have concluded that it was law- 
ful and meritorious to burn the bodies and con- 
fifcate the goods of Moors, Jews, and wicked in- 
fidels. But the exprels command of God to ex- 
tirpate whole nations, on account of their fms,and 
to transfer their goods and chattels to another 
chofen people, was a precedent exadly fuited to 
their fanguinary purpofes, and triumphantly em- 
ployed by them to obviate all objections on the 
fcore of cruelty. 


'' The fame Inferential arguments were made 
ufe of in the Valdenfian perfecution, and indeed in 
every perfecution for the fake of religion, fmce 
perfecutlon began. The fuppofed divine com- 
miffion given to the Jews to extirpate the Chanaan- 
ites and Amaleldtes, has ever been in the mouths 
of Judalzing Chriilians a pofitive and plaufible plea 
for committing the mofh cruel injuftices*." 

I freely confefs I cannot fee the difference here 
contended for: and even Dr. Geddes himfelf mufl 
have admitted the poflibility of God's, predeter- 
mining and prognoflicating, as well as immedi- 
ately operating the total extermination of a whole 
people, or mufl have diibelieved the tremendous 
hifloiy of the deflru6lion of Jerufalem, and the 
propagation of his predi6led curfe upon the He- 
brew race to the prefent moment. Here I think the 
fimile is at lead admiilible; and I am furprifed 
that our modern polemics have not occafionaliy 
adverted to it. If it be confiftent with the juftice 
and benevolence of the fupreme Being that the 
Jewifli nation, his own peculiar people, fhould, on 
account of the enormity of their fms, be in their 
turn attacked in their inheritance; be fubjugated to 
a foreign power; become the prey and plunder of 
a long fuccellion of capricious, cruel, and avari- 

" Crit. Rem. p. 425. 


cious tyrants; have their city and temple at length 
aflfaulted; be loaded v/ith every poflible calamity 
which peftilence, famine, and torture, their own 
mutual treacheries and animofities, and the impla- 
cable enmity and ingenuity of their adverfaries 
could invent, during the continuance of this tre- 
mendous fiege — if it be confiftent with the fame 
adorable attributes that upwards of a million of 
them fhould fall victims to fo complicated a 
fcourge, and that the wretched remnant who ef- 
caped fliould be fuffered to wander about as out- 
calls and vagabonds over the face of the whole 
earth, equally defpifed and derided by every na- 
tion among whom they might acquire a temporally 
abode — if it be confiflent with thefe attributes 
that this tremendous vifitation fliould be perfe- 
vered in for a period of at leaft eighteen centuries, 
thus punilhing from age to age the children for the 
fins of their fathers — if the cafe before us, which 
we cannot but believe, be confiflent with the juftice 
and benevolence of the Deity — furely the cafe re- 
corded (a cafe of far inferior vengeance) demands 
no great credulity to obtain our allent, nor 
llrength of reafoning to reconcile it with the moral 
perfcdions. of the fupreme Being. 

It is in confequence of this difbelief of the in- 
fpiration of Mofes that our author either totally re- 
jects the various miracles afcribed to him, or la^ 


bors to reduce them to the ftandard of natural 
phasnomena. This indeed is not a new attempt, 
either in antient or modern times, by biblical com- 
mentators who would wifh to wrefl from the Pen- 
tateuch all , thofe appearances of preternatural 
agency in favor of one eleci and ifoiated people, 
•which are fuppofed to have been a ferious flum- 
bling-block with profeffed infidels. He has not, 
however, been more fuccefsful than his prede- 
ceflbrs: and I trufl that the frequent failure of fuch 
an attempt, even in the hands of fcholars of high 
mental endowments, and who are honeilly engaged 
in the purfuit of truth, will deter pofterity from 
fo fruitlefs and injudicious an effort. 

Where this unreafonable incredulity however 
does not obtrude itfelf, our author's obfervations 
may uniformly be read with a high degree of en- 
tertainment and inflrudion. They will be found 
to comprife an aftonifhing mafs of biblical erudi- 
tion, and to evince a perfeverance and energy of 
mind that fall to the lot of few theologians. In the 
following inftance, and it is the lafl I fhall feled:, 
we have a happy proof of the fuccefsful appli- 
cation of his critical powers to a cafe of real diffi- 
culty among both Jews and Chriftians of every de- 
fcription.— Exod. vi. 2, 3. '• Again the Lord 
fpake toMofes and faid to him : ' I am the Lops.d 
who manifefled myfelf to Abraham, to Ifaac, and 


to Jacob, as God the omnipotent (Shadi); but 
my name Jeve (he that will he) to them I did not 
manifeil/ '' 

From a curfory view of the Hebrew Scriptures 
in their frejentftatc^ it fliould appear that the name 
Jeve, or Jehovah as v/e commonly write it, was 
known to all the patriarchs here enumerated, not- 
withftanding this affertion to the contrary; and 
confequently that the period of the delivery of 
the Ifraelites from their Egyptian bondage was 
not the sera in which the Deity firfl communed 
with them under this appellation. Upon this point 
Dr. Geddes gives us the enfuing note, which I 
fhall take the liberty of copying at large : 

" But my name lEVE [Jehovah] to them I did 
not manifeft. urb TiyTO N^*? mn^ ''Dt:71. So both 
Heb. and Sam. texts without any notable variety of 
reading; and fo, negatively, all the Ant. verfions, 
f^ive Saadias, who has this fmgular renderingn'?'?^^ 
*'QDi<') But God is my name, — But how can the name 
Jehovah be faid not to have been manifefted to the 
more ancient patriarchs, when it occurs fo fre- 
quently in their hiftory? With refped to the mere 
hiilorical narrative, the anfwer is obvious : the He- 
brew hiitorian, whoever he was, to whom the 
name Jehovah was known, might without any im- 
propriety ufe it proleptically in fpeaking of the pa- 


triarchs, and even in writing the hiflory of the cre- 
ation. But there are paflages where the patriarchs 
themfelves are found addr effing their God under 
the very name Jehovah \ which they could not 
have done, if it had been unknown to them I Cer- 
tainly not, and here hes the great difficulty in ex- 
plaining the prefent paffiige. Two principal ex- 
pedients have, by commentators, been employed 
to remove the difficulty. 1. It has been fuppofed, 
that N*? is here equivalent to ^r\\ and that the 
comma fliould be rendefed : ' and by my name 
Jehovah was I not manifefted to them?' But this 
interpretation is not only contrary to the common 
rules of grammar, but deftroys the analogy of the 
context, and would never have been thought of, 
but for the fake of reconciling contradictions. — 
Another more fubtle folution is given by Vatable,; 
and retailed by Dathe and Rofenmiilier. I ffiall 
give it in the very words of Vatable: 'Quod fi 
quis contendat nomen rr\TV fuiffie etiam patribus 
ante Mofen cognitum et ufitatum; nihilominus 
tamen erit hujus loci fententia, quud Deus proma- 
ferit quidem patribus terram Chanaan, non tamen 
impleverit temporibus patrum : nunc autem reipfa 
impleturus fit; ut confirmetur Veritas nominis fui, 
quo dicitur mri'', i. e. confiftens^ conftans^firmus ct 
verax in promijjionibusfuis. In banc fententiam 
quidam edam magni nominis apud Iiebra?os ex- 


ponit locum iftum in hsec verba: " Promifi eis pro. 
mifTiones, et in omnibus eis dixi ad eos : Ego fum 
Deus omnipotens: at in nomine meo 7V)r['> non fum 
notus faccus eis. Hic non fcribitur Non notum fe- 
ciy fed Non notus fa5ius Jum: i. e. 7ion cogmtiis fac^ 
tusfum eis in froprietate veritatis me^e^ propter quam 
vocatiir nomen meum mn*': i. e. Verax, Fidelis, 
CoNSTANS : quia ecce prordfi eis, et nondum pra- 
Jiitiy feu co7ijirmavir ' Such is the amphibological 
language which eminent Jewiih and eminent Chri- 
ftian interpreters put in the mouth of the Lord. — 
But what then are we to fay of thofe paflages 
where the patriarchs addrefs the Lord by his 
name Jehovah ? We mud fay that they are cor- 
rupted palfages, and that T\XV has flipt into them 
for DTi^^s^ or '»n«. It is well known how often 
thefe words have been interchanged ; and what va- 
riety of ledlion is in different copies, with refped 
to them. — But let us review the feveral palfages 
where the name Jehovah is put in the mouths of 
the patriarchs, before Mofes. — The firll: inftance 
is an early one indeed : it is in Gen. 4. 1 . where 
Heva is made to fay mn'» nt^ t^^hi Tl^^P, literally, 
' I have gotten a man Jehovah j* or, as fome render, 
' from Jehovah.' But here Sep. Vulg. and both 
Arabs have God inftead of Jehovah : and I have 
no doubt that this is the genuine reading. ' See the 
Rem. on the place. — The next inftance is that of 

> 377 

Noah, Gen. 9. 26. who in his benediaion of 
Shem fays a£7 '•n^J^ mn*' 11^2 commonly rendered 
' BleffedbetheLord God of Shem;' but which I 
render ' BlelTed of the Lord be Shem!' leaving tb^ 
Lord in the verfion, becaufe it is in all the Hebrew 
and Samaritan copies, and in all the verfions fave 
the two Arabs : but believing it a real interpolation, 
as I have faid in my Rem. on that place. 

" The third inftance is in Gen. 15. 2. where 
Abraham is made to fay mn'' >n^} Aly Lord Jeho- 
vah, But here there is a variety of ledion to 
which I refer my reader at p. 94, of thefe Re- 
marks, The fame words occur again ver. 8 ; but 
here alfo is a variety of le£lion both in the Text and 
Verfions, Two MS. have ' Jehovah, my Lord;' 
^nd two, with Vulg, Syr. One. have ' Lord God.' 

^' The fourth inftance is in Gen. 1 6. 2. where 
Sara is made to fay : ' Jehovah hath denied me 
children:' and here indeed there is no variety of 
lection, fave that both Arabs have ' God.' — Again 
in ver. 5. the fame Sara fays : ' May Jehovah be 
judge between me and thee :' but here all the co- 
pies of Sep. as well as both Arabs, have ' God.' 

'' In Gen. 19. 13. the angels fay to Lot: ' So 
great before Jehovah, &c.' and ' Jehovah hath 
fent us, &c.' and here the Arabs only have ' God.* 
In ver. 1 4. Lot ufes the fame term, fpeaking to his 
fons-in-law; where again the Arabs only have 
' GoL' 


" In Gen. 22. 14. Abraham is made to call the 
altar which he builded on Mount Moria ' Ieve- 
IRAE,' Jehovah ijcill provide : and here all the ver- 
fions, fave the Arabs, have alfo ^ the Lord.* 

'' In Gen. 24. 3. Abraham adjures his fervantby 
* Jehovah;' nor is there here any variety of ledion, 
fave in the Arabs. — The fame is the cafe in ver. 7. 
where Abraham fays : ' Jehovah the God of the 
heavens, &c.' 

" In ver. 1 2. Abraham's fervant fays : * O Je- 
hovah, the God of my mailer, &c.' But here 2 
MSS. have y^doni inilead of Jehovah^ and 1 MS. 
has Adont Jehovah, The Arabs, as ufual, have ^ O 
God, the God of my mailer, &c.' 

" In ver. 27. the fame fervant fays : ' BlelTedbe 
Jehovah, the God of my mailer, &c.' where all 
the verfions accord : except the Arabs. So again 
in the fame verfe, and in verfe 2^5. 40. 42. 48. 
52. 56. 

" Li Gen. 26. 28. Abimelech fays to Ifaac : 
*• We have clearly feen that Jehovah is with thee.* 
Where the Arabs only have God: and yet it is 
highly improbable that a king of Palestine ihould 
ufe the word Jehovah, 

" In Gen. 27. 7. Ifaac bids Efau bring him ve- 
nifon : * that I may blefs thee (fays he) in the pre- 
fence of Jehovah ;' where the Arabs only have 
God, — In the fame Ch. ver. 20. Jacob fays: ' Jeho- 
vah ^ thy God, put it (the venifon) irt my way.* 


Here Vulg. has only voluntas Bet tut, — In ver. 
27. Ifaae fays that the fragrance of his fon's gar- 
ments is like the fragrance of a full-grown field 
* which Jehovah hath bleffed.' 

" In Gen. 28. 20. 21. Jacob twice mentions the 
name Jehovah-^ according to Sep. and once ac- 
cording to all the copies, fave the Arabs. 

" In Gen. 99. 32, Lea is made to fay, on the 
birth of Reuben : ' For Jehovah hath given me a 
fon.' Here not only both Arabs, but alfo Syr. 
andPerf. have God : and indeed it is barely cre- 
dible that Lea would ufe the name Jehovah. — 
Yet in the next verfe fhe is made to ufe ir again; 
and likewife in ver. 35; in both which places the 
Perfic verfion, a very literal one, and both Arabs, 
have G^ J. — In Ch. 30. 18. fhe fays : ' God [not 
Jehovah~\ hath given me my reward.' But here 
Onk. and the Thargums have Jehovah, 

" In Gen. 30. 23. Rahel fays : ' G^ihath taken 
away my reproach:' but here Onk. and the Thar- 
gums, with three Hebrew MSS. have Jehovah,^^ 
Again, ver. 24. fhe fays: ' May Jehovah add to 
me, &c.' but Sep. Syr. Perf. and both Arabs have 
God, — In the fame Ch. ver. 27. Labanfays: ' Je- 
hovah, I guefs, hath blelfed me, &c.' But Sep. 
Syr. Vulg. Perf. and both Arabs have God: nor 
is it Kkely, that Laban, a Syrian, would ufe the 
other name.—In ver. 30. Jacob fays : ' Through 


my conduct Jehovah bleffed thee :' where fome 
copies of Sep. Perf. and both Arabs have God, 
Some copies of Sep. have both, Ku^/o^ l 0£o^; but 
mofl copies have Kup/c^ only. 

" In Gen. 31. 49. Laban fays: ^ May Jehovah 
fpy between me and thee, &c.' but Sep. Perf. and 
both Arabs have God, 

" In Gen. 32. 9. al. 10. Jacob fays, ' Thou, Je- 
hovah^ who faidft to me :' and to this agree all the 
verfions, fave the two Arabs. 
- " Gen, 49. 18. Jacob fays, or fome one for 
him : ' Jehovah! from thee I wait for falvation:* 
but this has very much the air of an interpolation; 
as I have obferved on that pafTage. 

" Thefe, if I miftake not, are all the places 
where the Patriarchs, from Adam to Jacob inclu* 
fively, have diredly mentioned the name Jehovah : 
and they are certainly more than enough to prove, 
that that name was known to them before the vo. 
cation of Mofes ; if we were fure that they had ac* 
tually fpoken the very words put in their mouths 
by the compilers or copiers of the Pentateuch, 
But who will afErm that this is the cafe ? The 
number of places where iD^H^t^ and XWTS* ^^ve 
been interchanged is very great; and the variety of 
ledion between the Verfions and the Text, and be- 
tween the copies of the Text itfelf, is aftonifhing. 
Need we wonder then, that the word TW<^-y once 


become the peculiar name of the God of the He- 
brews, fhould, by hiftorians pofterlor to that pe- 
riod, be often fubftituted for the more ancient and 
more general name D^H^?^? even in addrefles to the 
Deity, or in relations concerning him? A prolep- 
fis is readily granted with refped to the latter; and 
we mufl either grant it with refped to the former, 
or fay that the writer of Exodus is in contradidion 
with the writer of Genefis: for it is, in my appre- 
henfion, impolTible to reconcile the palTage of Ex- 
odus that gave rife to the above obfervations, with 
the name Jehovah*^ being known to the preceding 
patriarchs. — If the name Jehovah were known be- 
fore it was here communicated to Mofes, and 
were the common appellation of the God of the 
Patriarchs, the queftion of Mofes, Exod. 3. 13. 
was needlefs, was impertinent : for God had be- 
fore told him, ver. 6. that he was ' the God of 
his (Mofes's) fathers, the God of Abraham, the 
God of Ifaac, and the God of Jacob.' It is clear 
then that Mofes, by alking what was the name of 
this fame God of his fathers, knew not that he 
had any particular name; and that particular name 
Jehovah is now for the firfl time made known as 
the peculiar God of the Ifraelitic nation. All this 
is perfedly conformable to the prefent declaration, 
Exod. 6. 3. 'I am Jehovah; who manifefted my- 
felf (or appeared) to Abraham, Ifaac and Jacob, 


as God the Omnipotent nt^ ; S^^ but my name 
lEVE (Jehovah) to them I did not manifeft.' — 
In fad it is by the former name he calls himfelf 
to Abraham, Gen. 17. 1. Hti^ ^K *JK " I am 
God the Omnipotent.' — To Jacob, Gen. 35. 11. 
he makes the fame declaration ; which Jacob him- 
felf alludes to in his lad fpeech to Jofeph, ^ God, 
the Omnipotent, appeared to me at Luz.' Gen. 
4^^, 3. I know that in Gen. 28. 1 3. he is made 
to fay : ^ I am Jehovah^ the God of thy fathers.' 
But the word Jehovah is wanting in the befl co- 
pies of Sep. and muft be charged on the interpo- 
lators or correcting copyiils of the Hebrew Text. 
For the general manner in which God announces 
himfelf to the Patriarchs is, merely by calling 
himfelf the God of their father s\ as Gen. 28. 13. 
— or the very Godoi their fathers; as Gen. 46. 3. 
— or by denominating himfelf from the place of 
his appearance: as the God of Bethel^ Gen. 30. 3Q>. 
^and 31. 13. and Jacob more than once denomi- 
nates him by the fame title. It is obfervable that, 
although the patriarch Jofeph mentions the name 
of God about twenty times, he never once men- 
tions him by the name Jehovah. It may be faid' 
that he abflained from mentioning that name in 
Egypt, either not to give offence, or becaufe they 
would not have underRood him; but what fliall we 
fay, when we fee him ufmg the fame caution to 


his own brethren, after his making himfelf known 
to them ? He tells them not that ' Jehovah fent 
him before them, for their prefervation;' but 
' God,' Gen. 45. 5. and repeats the fame words in 
theverfes 7. 8. and 10. — A 'more remarkable in- 
stance ftill is in Gen. 50. 17. and 19. In the for- 
mer his brothers requeft him to forgive their tranf- 
greffion againft him, becaufe they are the fervants 
of his ' father's God :' and in the latter, he de- 
fires them not to fear : ' for (fays he) a reverer of 
God am I.' — Surely here was the place for ufmg 
the name Jehovah^ if that name was known either 
to Jofeph or his brothers. Again, when in the 
fame Ch. ver. 24, he adjures his brethren to carry 
his bones into the land of Chanaan; he fays not : 
* Jehovah will certainly vifit you — ' but ' God will 
certainly vifit you;' and repeats the fame words 
in the next verfe. 

" The benedidions of the patriarchs tend to efta- 
bhfli the fame reafoning. ' May God, the Omni' 
ptent^ nt^ ^K (fays Ifaac to Jacob, Gen. 28. 3.) 
blefs thee and make thee fruitful. — ' May the 
God, whom my fathers worfliipped (fays Jacob 
Gen. 48. 15.) the God who hath tended me until 
this day, blefs the lads.'— And in the moll folemn 
benediaion of Jofeph, Gen. 49. 25. Jehovah is 
never mentioned — but ' the God of Jacob' — ' the 
God of his father' — ^ the Omnipotent/ nt^*. 


^' It matters not whether thefe were the very- 
words of Jacob and Ifaac, or of the poetical hifto- 
rian who put them in their mouths. The' poetical 
hiflorian mufh have made them fpeak fomething 
like the language of their age, and ufe terms that 
were then known. In fhort, unlefs we fuppofe the* 
Pentateuch to be a compilation of jarring elements 
aifemblaged by different hands, we muft allow 
that the name Jehovah has been put in the mouths 
of the patriarchs prior to Mofes, and in the mouth 
of God himfelf by fome poflerior copier : for the 
lame perfon w ho wrote the third verfe of the fixth 
chapter of Exodus could not have been fo incon- 
fiflent with himfelf, as to make the name Jehovah 
familiar to the patriarchs before that period. 

" Let me jull add, that it is a ftrong prefump- 
tlon againll the name Jehovah being known be- 
fore Mofes, that it enters not into the proper names 
of either perfons or places; fave in the name lEVE- 
IRAE, already noticed : whereas we find ^j^ fre- 
quently in fuch names. The very name of Ifrael 
himfelf is of that clafs. But veiy early indeed 
this ufage feems to have taken place. Two of 
Cain's fons were fo denominated, Mehiijael and 
MethuJaeL Befides thefe, we have in the book of 
Genefis, Mahalalsel^ Ijhmael^ Kemiiel^ Bethuely 
Magdicl^ Jahelel^ Jemuel^ Malchiel^ — and in a dif- 
ferent combination, Eldaah^ and Eliphaz^ whereas 


there is not a fmgle perfon's name which has any 
part of Jehovah in it, either in its firil or lafl fyl- 
lable. — Jochabed^ the mother of Aaron, has, in- 
deed, been alleged as one inllance to the con- 
trary : ' Ex hoc nomine (fays Simonis) colligunt 
faifum effe, quod quidam putant, Mofis demum 
tempore nomen Jehovah revelatum fuilTe, ob lo- 
cum Exod. 6. 3.' Onomaft. p. 517. The infe- 
rence is rafh, and unwarranted. For, in the firft 
place, it is not certain that all names beginning 
with V are compounded of T\\T\^ and fome other 
word : perhaps none of them are fo compounded. 
Clearly to entitle Jochahed to fuch an etymology, 
it ought to be written ^ 3:51 H^ — But waving this, 
and granting that Jochahed nni)V is a compound 
of n^ and I^D, may not this name have been given 
her by way of honour, even after her death ? Or 
may {'i\e not have been dill alive at the time of 
her fan's mifTion to Egyptj and then received this 
name? —At any rate, this fmgle nami?, whenfo- 
ever it be derived, or whonfoever it were given, 
cannot (land as a proof that the name Jehovah 
was known priorly to Mofes, againfl fo pofitive a 
tellimony as that of the paiTage in Exodus which 
gave rife to this difcufficn." 

The regular feries of our author's tranfiation 
terminates with the Book of Ruth. At the re- 



p Gated and urgent requeft, however, of many of 
his warmcft friends, he confented to anticipate the 
time in which the Book of Pfalms would appear 
in their proper order, aiid to prepare them for a 
feparate pubhcation in twelves, accompanied with 
fuch critical notes along as might be abfolutely ne- 
cefikry for their elucidation. Thefe he expedited 
to the prefs as he completed their verfion, but he 
died in the very midft of their tranflation and 
impreiTion, Pfalm cxviii. conflituting the lafl to 
which he applied his correcting hand. Though 
printed, they have not yet therefore been pub- 
liihed; but it is intended they fhould be jQiortly, in 
conjunction with a preface which he had drawn up 
for the purpofe, the autograph of which is at this 
time in my polTeflion. UpOn thefe Pfalms he ap- 
pears to have beflowed an uncommon degree of 
attention, and moil of the difficulties v/hich at- 
tach to them are fatisfadorily folved or confider- 
ably diminifhed. Many of them indeed are ad- 
mirably tranflated; though I will not deny that 
while they are generally enriched with an ampler 
portion of our author's common beauties, they are 
at times degraded by his common defects. "We 
meet with terms occafionally introduced which are 
inconfiftent with either elegance or fimplicity of 
ilyle, and with phrafes inharmonioully involved 
and dellruclive of the very rhythm they are intended 

to convey. There are two grand points in which 
in his verfion of the Pfahiis, he has deviated from 
the plan he propofed in his Profpeftus and Letter 
to the Bifhop of London, and which, excepting in 
one or two inilances, he has uniformly adhered to 
in his regular feries of tranllation. The one is in 
rendering the Hebrew term niH* (Jeve) Jeho- 
VAH, inftead^of Lord, and the other in dividing 
the text into parallel lines correfpondent with the 
idea of a poetic meafure in the original. 

Having been neceffarily led into a notice of this 
pofthumous remain of our author in the prefent 
place, the reader may perhaps exped: I fhould 
offer fome fpecimen of its merit. I will not difap- 
point him, and fhall for this purpofe Med Pfalm 



^ HOW lovely are thy tabernacles, Jehovah, God of 


3 my foul longeth, nay langulfheth for the courts of Je- 


mine heart and my fleOi cry aloud for the llvmg Got) ! 

4 'The very fparrows find an abode, 

and the fwallows a neft, where they may lay their 

by thine altars, Jehovah, Gffd of hofts ! 
«fty king, and my Goc I 


5 ^appy ^^^-y, ^'ho dwell in thy houfe, 
and are continually founding t'ly praife. 

6 Happy they whofe ftrtngth thou art : 
fecurily reigns in their hearts. 

7 If they pafa through a defolate valley, 
they fliall drink from a fountain : 

nay, the rain itftlf (hall befiow ils bleflings. 

8 They fhall go on, from ftage to ftage, 
until they appear before God, in Zion 1 

9 Jehovah, God of holts ! hear my prayer : 
give car to me, O God of Jacob ! 

lo O GuD, our protecSlor, behold! and regard thine an- 
J I For better is a day, in thy courts, 

than a thoufand elfcivbere! 

1 would rather live at the threfhold of the houfc of my 

G 'D, 

than dwell in the tabernacles of the wicked. 
12 For a fnn and a fhield Is the God Jehovah: 
Jehovah glveth grace and glory : 
he withholdetfi nothing that is good 
from thofe who walk in innocence. 
Jehovah, God oiho^sl 
happy thofe who truft in thee." 

** Notes. — Ver. 2. The fivalloiDs. From a fin^alarlty of 
found, the Hebrew word dcror, or darur^ is fuppofed to be the 
Arabic dururi; which Forfkal faw in Egypt. But as he gives 
not the Arabic name either in Arabic or Hebrew charafters, 
tlie fimilarity of found is an unfure authority. I have there- 
fore, with the antients, kept to the fwallow, which we know 
builds in the walls of houles as well as the fparrow. For the 
retl, fome interpreters, thinking it indecent that birds fhould 
uertle in the temple of God, have violently wte.led the text 

to a different meaning: and our Green thus d'Tpofes of it: 
'Even i-he fparrow findeth herfelfa houfe, and the ring-dove 
a neft, where Oie may lay her young — but ivben /hall I ap- 
proach thy houfe and thy al.ars ?' A ftrange eilipfis tiiis! — 
But temples of tv^xy fort h ve been t^try where the refort 
of certain birds : and the orientalifts coiilider this fo far from 
beir.g a profanation, tha- they will not allow the ncftlers to be 
difturbed. — Ver. 6, 7. Thcfe verfes are to me altogether un- 
intelligible in all the verfions that I have leen. I have tried 
to make fenfe of them, without changing a fingle letter in the 
text ; but only giving new, and I Iruft well founded meanings 
to three or four of them. But fee C. R." 

Of the C. R. or Critical Remarks, here referred to, 
unfortunately not a fyllable was ever written. And 
it is the more unfortunate, becaufe there is a confi- 
derable.deviation in the prefent verfion from every 
one that has preceded it, and an elegance and per- 
fpicuity which are well worth fupporting. I do 
not know that I (hall be rendering our tranflator 
any fervice by offering my feeble afPiftance on the 
prefent occafion, or that he himfelf would be fa- 
tisfied with any obfervation I may be able to ad- 
vance; but I will at lead hazard the attempt, as 
fome explanation feems abfolutely neceflary. 

The chief deviations in the prefent from all prior 
renderings are in ver. 6, 7, 8, as here numb ered; 
refpeding which, whoever will take the trouble of 
examining the common Engliih verfion, thofe of 
Pagninus, Montanus, and the Septuagint — the 

expofition of Theodoret upon this laft, or of Je- 
rojii upon the original itfelf, and of comparing 
them with each other, will at once perceive the 
truth of our author's aflertion, that all of them are 
altogether, and he might have added equally, un- 
intelligible. He appears to have divided the paf- 
fage into the following metrical arrangement of 
feven lines, which is a diiferer^t conflrudion from 
that generally chofen, by which it is limited to fix. 
The divifion however is a matter of mere arbitrary 
tafte, and produces little or no influence on the 

in iinv D^^^ nti?N^ 

Dan*?! ni?m 

KiDnn pnyn nnir 

Ver. 6. " Security reigns in their hearts'* In 
the flandard verfion, " in whofe heart are the ways 
of them :" the whole of which is unintelligible, 
though nearly half is added to what occurs in the 
original in order to make it fenfe. The tranfla- 
tors followed the rendering of Pagninus, who has 

given it juH as obfcurely as themfelves: " Beatus 
homo cujus fortitudo eft in te, et vi^ in corde 
EORUM." The verfion of the Septuagint is very 
different, and trends, fo far as it is capable of a 
meaning, rather nearer to that before us, A>^.gcicrc7; 
^cv T-/] Kap^icL avTov lis9s7o, " he has placed exaltations, 
(exalted feelings) in his heart :" or, as it is explained 
by Theodoret, " pious thoughts upon God." The 
expreffion " exalted feelings," however, even as ini- 
plied in the Suptuagint, is a paraphrafe; for ocvcc'^oiG-ig 
means fimply " affent," « exaltation,'' " fubhmity." 
I have faid that this interpretation verges in fome 
degree towards that of Dr. Geddes : the original 
term which the Seventy have rendered ex^vaJZoiosig is 
all^D^, the general meaning of which is neither 
exaltation with the Septuagint, nor fecurity with 
the text before us, but fmiply zvays, as ren- 
dered in our common verfion; yet the radical 
verb ^D allows of its being tranllated " high-ways'^ 
or '' acclivities^' and hence " mounds^' or '' muni^ 
tions;'' 3.11 which ideas are allotted to different rami- 
fications of this radix in different parts of our com- 
mon Bible, and particularly Jer. i. 26, Kai. xlix. 1 1 , 
Job xix. 12. While the Septuagint therefore has 
taken the former of thefe fenfes, and applied it 
figuratively. Dr. Geddes has taken the latter, and 
applied it in the fame manner : " in their heart 
' dwell' munitions" or " fecurities;" or in his own 


language, " fecurity ' reigns' in their hearts." . In 
Mendelfohn's German verfion : 

Heil dem der ftandhaft ii\, durch dich ! 
Dies machl in ihrem linn gebahnte ileige. 

Joy to him, who is ftedfaft through thee — 

It is a power which iiovANCEs progreflively in their heart. 

Ver. 7. '^ J dejolate valley:' In the efla- 
blifhed text " valley of Baca.'* The meaning of 
Baca we know not : it v/as probably fome bitter 
and difguflful fhrub, which we no longer recog- 
, nize, but which required a confiderable portion of 
moiflure, and hence only flourifned in low fitua- 
tions : on which account, " the valley of Baca" 
v.^as perhaps a proverbial phrafe for the " valley 
of tears ^'' or that depreffion of fpirits which is 
uniformly produced by perpetual grief: and it is 
thus, indeed, rendered both by the Septuagint and 
Aquila ; the former of whofe verfions, inftead of 
KDnn (Abaca), has xKccvOixouvogy " the valley of the 
place cf mcitrners^' and the latter -nXavQi/.cv^ the 
'' valley of weepyig^'' or " of tears ^" while Jerom, 
with a bolder image flill, renders it per vallum 
mortis^ " through the valley of death J' The paf- 
fage, however, when ftriclly rendered, is as fol- 
lows : '' Fafs they through the valley of Baca — 
theypofrefsawell-fpring;"i. e. " Pafs they through 
the valley of bittern cfs — they ' ililP poffefs a ' re- 


frefhing' fountain;" or, in the language of Dr. 

Jf they pafs through a defolate valley, 
They (hall drink fiom a fountain. 

Id. — '' The rain it/elf JJoall heftow its bless- 
ings." In the common verfion, " the rain alfo 
iilleth the pools." The Hebrew term noi^l 
may be rendered, with equal propriety, fools or 
hlcjjlvgs : and from the extreme value of a beauti- 
ful fheet or current of water, and the delightful 
fenfation produced by its appearance in the arid 
foil of Paleftine, as well as in many other ori- 
ental countries, the ufe of one general term to 
exprefs the two ideas is ftill common. Thus in 
i^rabic L^ <^' rain," ^j " a river," ^Vaxn* " a 

torrent," imply alfo " kindnefs" or " liberality." 
The Perfian (m[;Lj extends equally to both ideas, 
as does alfo the term (^ JvJ which in its primitive 

fenfe is dew^ and in its figurative benignity. In 
the prefent inflance, however, the primitive fenfe 
is with our author, for nD*)2 can only fignify 
a fool or river ^ by a fecondary interpretation. His 
own rendering is that uniformly preferred by the 
Septuagint, Jerom, and Montanus, all of whom 
write blejfing or hleffings : thus the firft of thefe 
three, noci y^p ETAOFIaS §a;crf/ o vop^fr^y ; and 
the fecond, who is followed by Montanus, " B£- 


NEDicTioNi quoque amicietur doclor/' The 
tranHators of our common veriion, in their ren- 
dering of this paifage, as in that of ver. 6, have 
followed Pagninus, and with too clofe a flep, who. 
tranllates " etiam piscinas operit -pluv'ia,^* Pisci- 
KAS, however, which is literally fish ■/'o^/j, is a 
mod inappropriate interpretation, confidering the 
general fcenery of the original, which can fcarcely 
be fuppofed to have fupplied fiihes with an habi- 

Ver. 8. " They Jhall go onr Almoft all the 
verfions, except that of Pagninus, ufe the future 
tenfe both here and in ver. 7, inllead of the pre- 
fent, which is adopted by himfelf, and confe- 
quently by our authorized tranflation : " they go, 
hzr for " they fliall go ;' " they make," for 
" they /?^// make, &c.'* 

Id — *' From ftage to fiage'* In the original 
b^n^t^ 7*n/!3 ; and I much prefer the common 
rendering, " from flrength to ftrength," which 
is a mere Hebraifm for " with progreflive" or 
" increafmg flrength," to the tranflation before 
us. Th'*r\ niay unqueflionably imply a Jlage or 
refting place in a journey, as well as the ftrejtgth or 
vigor which is hence derived : but the latter fenfe 
is mofl agreeable to our interpreter's own context, 
" happy they v/hofe strength thou art, — secu- 
rity reigns in their hearts-," and is the common 


yerfion of all the tranflators. Thus the Septua- 
mnt^sK ^vvo^iJiscog eig Ivvccixiv, So J erom^ de for titU" 
dine in fortitudinem. So alfo Montanus, de vir- 
tute ad virtutem. In like manner Mendelfohn, 

So wallen fie von kraft zu haft, 

Pagninus forms almoft an individual exception ; 
and, in this inflance, our 'authorized Bible has 
laudably deviated from him, " Eunt,'* fays he, 
*' de turma ad turmam;" " they go from com-, 
pany to company," or, as it might be rendered in 
reference to the different forces of an army, 
*' they go from force to force.'' 

In perufmg Mr. Reeves's Collation, which is an 
ingenious and excellent performance, I find that, 
in order to make fenfe of the period before us, 
he has been compelled to alter jllbOD into n^Sy^, 
and to break the unity of the pafiage by the in- 
trodu6lion of two parenthefes. The prefent ver- 
fion, if^I miftake not, renders fuch an arbitrary 
variation unneceflary. 

The Githith or Gathith, for which, according 
to the title, this Pfalm v/as compofed, is imagined 
to have been a mufical inflrument mvented at 
Gath. The Nehiioth, mentioned Pfal. v. was a 
wind inflrument, a fort of pipe or hautboy : the 
Githith was, in all probability, a fort of lute or 
lyre, an inflrument with firings. 


Of the term- Tho (Aa, or, as it Is generally 
written, felah), which occurs at the end of ver. 4 
and 8, our tranllator has taken no notice. It is 
generally agreed to have been a mark annouPxcing 
a change of modulation in the mufic. Accord- 
ing to Hederic, it was a dire6tion to the chorifters 
in the temiple-fei*vice to rai/e their voices on their 
inflruments. This can fcarcely, I think, be correct, 
as it generally occurs in pfahns of a plaintive air ; 
and in a note on Pfalm iii. Dr. Geddes has this ob- 
fervation: " The precife meaning of the word is not 
well known. To me it appears to refemble what 
the Italians call adagio, or mark oijlow time^ and 
perhaps our word JIgw al.JIaw is derived from it." 
The firll part of this conjecture is by no means im- 
probable; and if there be much fancy in the laft, 
it is a fancy which has been exceeded in the deriva- 
tion of this very term by mod of our etymologifts, 
and which Mr. Whiter, at leail, may enlarge upon 
to great advantage. 



Additional ohfervaflons upon Dr. Geddes*s Bibh- — Va- 
rloiis oppofitions he had to encounter — HoJliVity of the 
catholic hi/hops rejident In England, after having 
hitimated their ap))rohation — Death of hijhop James 
Talipot, and appointment of bijhop Douglas by the 
Roman fee, in opfofition to the addrefs cf the Eng- 
Vifh catholics — Animofity of the great body of the ca- 
tholics to Dr. Geddes — Encyclical prohibition of his 
Tranfiation of the Bible, fbfcrihed by bifhops f'Falm- 
fley, Gibfon, and Douglas, bid refujed to be fubfcribcd 
by biffmp Thomas Talbot — Dr. Geddes' s Addrefs to 
the Public — Vrl-vate correfpondence between bifhop 
Douglas and himfelf — His fufperfion by Mr. Douglas 
from all ecclejiafilc fun&ions — ^His public Letter to 
the Right Rev. John Douglas, Bijhop of Centuria, 
and l^lcar Apoftolic in the London DifrlB — Ohfer- 
vations upon the controverfy, A. D. 1793 — 1794. 

It cannot be fuppofed that a work, pretending 
to fuch an independence o£ mind as the tranflation 
we havejufl been revie\^dng, compofed by a man 
who was determined on every occafion to think 
for himfelf, and on many occafions to deviate from 
the beaten track, however fanftified by a fuccef- 
fion of ages, or the common confent of mankind, 


jfhould make Its entrance en the public theatre of 
the world without producing fome degree of com- 
motion, and exciting a greater portion of alarm 
than of approbation. What may thus fairly be 
conjedured was adlually realized; and the oppo* 
fition and diiliculties our author had to encounter 
are amply related by himfelf, in an Addrcjs to the 
Public, which he brought out in the enfuing year 

It fhould not be forgotten that at this period, 
however, he had only appeared in the character of 
a tranflator, and not of an expofitor of the facred 
writings; his volume of Critical Remarks not hav- 
ing been fubmitted to the public eye till at leaft 
feven years afterwards. " I have not," fays he, 
" fet up for an interpreter of fcripture; my humble 
walk is that of a mere explainer] of a laborious 
pioneer who endeavours to fmooth the way for fu- 
ture commentators. I have not to my knowledge 
thwarted a fxugle word of holy writ to fupport 
any one fyflem of religion. I have not fo much 
as attempted to difclofe its allegories or its ana- 
gogies, but have flriftly confined myfelf to the 
bare Hteral meaning*.'' His fpecplative opi- 
nions were neverthelefs fufpeded; and in fad 
he never attempted to conceal, or even to foftcn 
them, upon any occafion : he might at times 

* Addrcfs to the Public, p. a. 


have been liable to the charge of imprudence in 
advancing them when there was no abfolute ne- 
cefTity, but his moll inveterate enemy could never 
accufe him of hyprocrify. 

While his friends therefore approved of his la- 
bors, and flrongly exhorted him to perfevere, he 
found that the voice of his friends and the en- 
couragement of the liberal and unprejudiced was 
flrenuoufly oppofed by the repeated clamors of ig- 
norance, bigotry, and fuperftition. He refilled the 
torrent of abufe to which he was daily expofed with 
the courage of a man who was felf-confcious of rec- 
titude of intention, and might fearlefsly appeal to 
the Almighty as to the honeily of the motives by 
which he was actuated. " Verging,'* fays he, 
'' towards the end of my labour and of my life, I 
confefs it would make the evening of the latter 
unpleafantif I fliould be found to have laboured in 
vain. I truft, however, that fuch will not be my 
lot*." But though he flill hoped and courageoully 
refilled the calumnies and contumehes which were 
excited againfl him, they funk heavily upon his 
heart, and highly exacerbated his irritable fyfleni. 
A fever, the joint offspring of difappointed hope 
in a favorite purfuit, and of abufe where he ex- 
pected approbation, was the fpeedy confequence, 

* A4drer$ to the Public, p. i. 


and It was nearly a twelvemonth before he reco- 
vered from the efFeds of its feverity. 

What principally affli£^ed him in the midfl of 
his complicated trials, was the violent oppofition 
he experienced from the very church into which 
he had been initiated from his birth, to whofe au- 
thority in all lawful points he readily and honeflly 
fubmitted, and whofe fellovv^-members he had 
chiefly hoped to benefit by his elaborate undertak- 
ing. To prevent any hoftility from this quarter, he 
had with more than ordinary prudence abftained 
fi'om all perfonal or at lead nominal interference, 
in the controverfy which I have already flated to 
have taken place refpe£ting the bill for the relief 
of Roman catholics, as well as refpeding the ap- 
pointment of bifhop Douglas to the office of vicar 
apoftolic to the London diflrid, inftead of bifhop 
Berington, who was almoft unanimoufly recom- 
mended for this purpofe to the Roman fee by the 
catholic body at large : and to influence his fellow 
catholics in his favor,, he had waited upon bifhop 
James Talbot, the predeceffor of Mr. Douglas, 
npon the commencement of his verfion, frankly to 
inform him of his' defign, and, ifpoffible, to ob- ■ 
tain his patronage. The hberality of this worthy 
prelate I have had occafion to notice already, and 
his condud upon the application of Dr. Geddes 
was in perfect accordance v/ith the charadter he 


had uniformly evinced. He told him that he 
would be very far from oppoftng his defign, though 
there were two reafons which would prevent him 
from publicly patronizing it : the one was', a fear 
of being himfelf cenfured by many confcientious 
but prejudiced catholics, who he well knew would 
difapprove it; and the other, that himfelf and 
his brother vicars apoflolic had fome thoughts of 
giving a revifed edition of the Douay tranflation, 
vn\h. which the verfion of Dr. Geddes might in 
fome meafure perhaps interfere, and which, added 
he, is in fome degree our ov/n property. They 
feparated in the moil perfed friendfhip and good 
humor. His lordfhip lived long enough to fee 
and read our author's Profpedus, his Propofals, 
and his Specimens; and though, confiflently with 
his hrll and ingenuous declaration, he never be- 
came a fubfcriber to his work, he informed lord 
Petre, in a correfpondence upon this fubject, that 
he only withheld his name left it fhould be infer- 
red that he officially approved it; and he urged 
the fame motive for his filence to Dr. Geddes, in 
perfon, a few months only before his deceafe. 

Thus far therefore our author had no reafon 
to expert any general want of countenance, far 
lefs any avov/ed and official hoftility on the part 
of his own church. To enfure his fuccefs ftill 
more completely however, and, as an ad of com- 



moil refpect and courtefy, at the fame time that he 
fent his different introdu6tory pamphlets upon 
his Bible verfion to bilhop James Talbot, under 
whofe jurifdiclion he rcfided, he alio fent copies 
of them to the vicars apoftolic of two other catho- 
lic dillriiSts, bifhop Thomas Talbot and bilhop 
Gibfon, who felt the politenefs of this attention, 
and honored him with a vifit in return; in the 
courfe of which interview they thanked him for 
his repeated prefents, and fo far from infmuating 
the minuted difapprobation of his intention, hand- 
fomely complimented him upon his induftry and 
learning, and left him in the pleafmg hope that 
he ihould meet with their future applaufe. 

Such applaufe however never followed : inftead 
of encouragement he experienced abufe, and in- 
ftead of applaufe, perfecution. The death of the 
venerable bifhop James Talbot occurred fhortly 
afterwards; and it was well known to bifhop Dou- 
glas, his fucceffor, that notwithftanding his nomi- 
nal filence upon the late catholic controverfy, and 
the general prediledion which was manifefted by 
the catholics at large for his rival bifhop Bering- 
ton, Dr. Geddes had in his heart efpoufed, in both 
inftances, the popular caufe, and was in habits of 
the clofeft friendfliip and intimacy with many of 
the worthieff and moft opulent of its leaders. 
Mr. Douglas, therefore, upon his triumph at the 


Vatican, and his fucceding to the di(ln£t of bifhop 
James Talbot, felt himfelf from the firfl moment 
unfriendly, not merely to the works but to the 
very name of Dr. Geddes; and readily joined firft 
of all with bilhop Walmfley, and afterwards with 
bifhop Gibfon himfelf, neither of whom could yet 
bury in oblivion their inglorious oppofition and de- 
feat in parliament, in fruftrating, as much as lay 
in their power, our author's fanguine expe6:a- 

They commenced their perfecution prior to the 
appearance of his firfl volume, by charging him 
with an adherence to dodrines repugnant to the 
cathoKc religion, and by citing him before their 
tribunal, to reply to this heretical accufation. — 
It never was a part either of the practice or creed 
of Dr. Geddes to contend againfl the exercife of 
an authority whofe principles he admitted to be 
legitimate, be the organs of that authority who or 
what they might. He obeyed the fummons; and 
hotwithflanding the irrelevancy of many of the 
queflions propofed, one of which was, v/hether he 
approved of the French revolution of 1789 ? and 
feveral others which, to adopt his own language, 
" had no more to do with religion than with the 
antipodes*," he difplayed fo much candor, fo 
thorough a knowledge of the different queflions 

* Letter to the Bifhop of Centuriae, p. 36. 


propofed, and fo firm an attachment to the ge- 
nuine principles of primseval catholicity, while he 
flrenuoufly contended for the right of private judg- 
ment in all matters that were not abfolutely de- 
cided by the church, that his tbree judges ap- 
peared perfeftly fatisfied with his creed, or rather 
were them-felves completely filenced and con- 
founded, and fullered him to depart without fur- 
ther moleilation. 

Dr. Geddes was not forry that he had thus en- 
joyed an opportunity of flating officially before a 
court of com.petent jurifdidion his real opinions 
and principles. He trufled that both the voice 
and hand of malevolence would now no longer be 
exerted againil him; and to prove how thoroughly 
he banifhed every idea of enmity from his own 
bofom, upon the earlieil publication of the firll 
volume of his tranflation of the Bible he prefented 
a copy of it to bifhop Douglas, accompanied with 
the following letter : 

July 10, 1792. 
" I beg your lordfhip's acceptance of a 
copy of xhejirji volume of my new Verfion of the 
Bible; which I flatter myfelf you will find calcu- 
lated to promote the real interefts of religion; 
whatever fuperficial readers and little critics may 
think or fay to the contrary. 


" I fliould have liked, and indeed once expected, 
to fee your lordiliip's name in the lift of my en- 
couragers : but unaccountable prejudices have, 
moil probably, deprived me of that fatisfaftion. 
This, however, Ihall never hinder me to pay, at 
all times, that deference to your character, which 
I knovv to be due. It is to you, the bifhop of Cen- 
turias, my lord, as chief paflor of the catholics of 
this diilri£l, that I offer this mark of my catholi- 

" And have the honour to be, &c." 

The prefent was retained, but no anfwer, I be- 
lieve, was returned to the letter. Our author foon 
became fenlible, however, of the fort of anfwer he 
was likely to receive. Envy, ignorance, and ma- 
lice, in the various fhapes of monks, friars, and 
witlings, which for many years antecedently had 
been bufy in depreciating his labors, now'ftalked 
abroad more boldly than ever, and, countenanced 
by official approbation, alfallinated his reputatiori 
with redoubled fury. 

" It would be endlefs," fays he, in his Addrefs 
to the Public, " to enumerate the whole cata- 
logue of evil offices which thofe men have done, 
or endeavoured to do me. Every fpecies of de- 
tradion, from the fly infmuating whifpcr to th^ 


bold and barefaced calumny, has been employed 
to render me odious to the Englifli catholics. Eli- 
jah's vifion was here inverted, the ft ill f mail voice 
preceded the tempeft : but, furely, the Lord was 
neither in the tempeft nor in the ftill Jmall voice. It 
was a very different fpirit that prefided over this 
progrefTive florm : it was the fpirit w^hich repre- 
sented the precurfor of Jefus as a demoniac, be- 
caufe he was uncommonly abftemious; and Jefus 
himfelf as a wine-bibber, becaufe he ate and drank 
like other men ! 

*^' Even before my Profpedlus appeared, my very 
intentions were fcrutinized and fufpected. What- 
ever impartiahty I might profefs, they could not 
but think that I meant to favour the caufe of Pro- 
teflancy, and that my Bible (as they termed it) 
would turn out to be a Proteflant Bible. They 
knew me to be one, whofe principles were not 
flridly orthodox; who laviihed praifeson Heretics 
and Herefiarchs; who aflbciated with Church- 
men, Diifenters, Sociniansi who indulged para- 
doxes; who laughed at rofaries, fcapulars, agnus 
Deis, bleffed medals, indulgences, obiits, dirges, 
&c.; who was an enemy to religious orders, hoftile 
to the pope's prerogatives, diirefpectful of his vi- 
cars, and an open abettor oi profane innovations ! 
Thus blending fome truth with much falfehood 
they worked up a medley of imputations, which 


could not fail to make a deep impr(?fIion on the 
minds of their credulous devotees; who have ge- 
nerally no other criterion to judge of men or 
books, but the avro; i(px of their good direSlors, 
Here the directed feem to have taken their leiTon 
well. They feized on the wholefale cargo, and 
carefully retailed it, with fome fmall adulterations, . 
among their friends and familiars : the mouth of 
every devotee was converted into a trumpet of de- 

" The publication of my Prcfpecfus feems for a 
while to have blunted the Ihafts of Dander, and 
foftened the fiercenefs of the foe. It was not, in- 
deed, what they had expeded; at lead, not what 
they wifoed it to be : and, on that occafion, fome 
of them joined or affeded to join in the general ap- 
plaufe. But the demon of rancor foon returned 
to take poifeffion of his former hold; and, one 
would think, brought along with Mvccijeven other 
fpirits more wicked than himjelf. My Letters to the 
Bifhop of London* and to Dr. Prieftley, the few 
Critical Remarks that accompanied my Propofals 

* " It was imputed to me as a crime, that T applied to a 
proteftant bilhop for counfel ; it was like inquiring of the God 
of Ekron, as if th-r'^ had been no G.d in Jfruel. I (hall only 
fay, that if I had known either bifhop or prieft among the ca- 
tholics equally capable of folving my queries, to h'nn 1 Ihould 
certainly have applied. " 


and Specimen, and my General Anjwer to my cor- 
refpondents, but efpecially my known attachment 
to the catholic committee, and approbation of 
their meafures, ftirred up the half-fmothered em- 
bers, and rekindled the latent fparks of enmity 
into an open and running conjBagration. 

" Calumny, now grown fhamelefs, came ftark- 
nak^d abroad : it was no more the pefiilence^ that 
ftalked in darknejs^ hut the deftrv.Liion that wajietb 
' atnoo?i-day^ — It was nov/ evident, they faid, that 
my fcheme was inimical to catholicity (I fuppofe 
they meant pcpery^y favourable to herefy, injuri- 
ous to the church, and tending to infidelity. By 
one friar it was aiferted, that I had the intolerable 
prefumption to corre^f the Holy Ghoftl He claiTed 
me, indeed, with Houbigant, Kennicott, and Mi- 
chaelis, for which he has my thanks. Others 
went about warning the pious faithful not to fub- 
fcribe to my work, and in this their efforts were 
certainly not unfuccefsful : in the lift of my fub^ 
fcribers there are not fifty catholic pames ! A de- 
vout lady, of the firft rank, was fo fearful of 
being contaminated, that flie gave orders to her 
ftationer, five years before the work went to the 
prefs, by no means to take in for her Dr. Geddes's 
Bible, But the fhorteft and moft effeclual way to 

•^«*Pf. xc. 6." 


hurt a work is to blacken Its author's characler. 
For this purpofe all my Heps were watched; the 
vifits which I made or received, the companies 
which I frequented, the converfations which I 
held, the friendships I contracted, were all noted 
down in the black book of thofe inquifitors, as 
fo many choice topics of future animadverfion* 
Went I to Lambeth or Londo;n Houfe? I had 
gone thither to read my recantation, and was on 
the point of being a curate, a rector, a prebend, a 
dean of the eftabliflied church*! Went I to Edin- 
burgh or Glafgow? I had become a difciple of 
Calvin, and abjured my former faith before the 
General AlTembly! Went I to Hackney? I had 
been fed'uced into Arianifm by Price, or wheedle*d 
into Socinianifm by Prieftley ; and was foon to be 
one of the profeiTors of the New College ! Thus 
was I alternately a Churchman, a Prefbyterian, 
an Arian, and an Unitarian, jufl as it pleafed their 
fancy, or ferved their purpofe. It is fome wonder, 
that they never fent me to the Tabernacle to em- 
brace Methodifm, nor to the Synagogue to pro- 
fefs myfelf a Jew! They have fent me to worfe 
places than either, as will hereafter appear." 

* '* One man, at leaft, a friarlzed upholfterer, faw me with 
his own eyes, in broad day-light, going to officiate in an Eng- 
lifh chapel, in my caffock and furplice : and this lie was be- 
lieved by many a good catholic." 


At length, to finifh the climax of his perfecu- 
tion, forth iflues an ecclefiailical edicl, denomi- 
nated a Pafloral Letter, figned by Wahnfley, Gib- 
fon, and Douglas, as apoftolic vicars of the weft- 
em, northern, and London diftricts, in which 
this favorite undertaking of our author, and upon 
which he had expended upwards of twenty years, 
was authoritatively prohibited to the faithful under 
their refpe6live jurifdiclions. " As the church of 
God," fays this epifcopal interdict, " has at all 
times watched with a moft jealous care over the 
heavenly treafure of the Sacred Scriptures, and 
has condemned the practice of printing the faid 
Scriptures, or any expofitions of, or annotations 
upon the fame, unlefs fuch have been feverally ex- 
amined and approved of by due ecclefiaftical au- 
thority : hence it is incumbent upon us to warn 
the Faithful committed to our care againft the 
ufe and reception of a certain work of this kind, 
as far as it has yet appeared, which is deftitute of 
thefe requifites; and which is entitled The Hcly 
Bible^ or the Books accounted Jacred by Jews and 
Chrijiians : otherwife called. The Bocks of the Old 
and New Covenants-, faithfully tranflated from the 
Originals ; with Various Readings^ Explanatory 
Notes^ and Critical Remarks-^ by the Rev, Alexan- 
der Geddesy LL, D." 

It is very ob\ ious that this paftoral prohibition 


-proceeded rather from a fpirit of party and perfo- 
nal revenge than from any real regard to the caufe 
of religion, not only from the filence with which 
cur author had been fo long fufFered to perfevere 
in his tranflation, and the compliments upon his 
erudition wiih which he had previoufiy been flat- 
tered by one or two individuals of thefe fame vi- 
cars apollolic, but more efpecially from his hav- 
ing been united in this ecclefiaftical cenfure with 
his friend fir John Throckmorton, who, as I have 
obferved in a former chapter, had been one of the 
mod zealous members of the catholic committee, 
and had written feveral argumentative and un- 
anfwerable letters, both upon the fubjed: of the 
catholic bill, and the right inherent in Englifh 
as well as in French catholics of electing their 
own ordinary in cafes of prelatic vacancy, leav- 
ing to the tiara the mere power of confirming 
their choice. Thefe letters indeed, as more imme- 
diately affeding the interefts of the apoftolic vicars 
themfelves, are more feverely reprehended in this 
circular interdid than Dr. Geddes's- heretical ver- 
fion; for while not lefs than twelve propofitions 
are cenfured in the former, and " the Faithful in 
general committed to our care, as they tender 
their eternal falvation," are cautioned *^ againfl 
maintaining or adhering to the doctrines above 
cenfured j" and while the clergy under their re- 


fpective dillrlcls are prohibited ^''' from preaching, 
teaching, maintaining, or fupporting any of the 
aforefaid condemned cpinionSy under penalty of 
fufpenlion from all divine f mictions*,"^ the Tranf- 
lation of Dr. Geddes, comprifmg even the Expla- 
natory Notes and Critical Remarks, are only in- 
terdicted becaufe, fays the fame inilrument, " it 
wants the requifites which the church requires 
in publilhing works on fcripture:" that is, adds our 
author upon this paffage, " which the difcipline of 
the council of Trent requires." But the difcipline 
of the council of Trent is not the church, any 
more than the church is the difcipline of the 
council of Trent. The point directly referred to 
was, that it had not received the official imprima- 
tur of the author's ordinary. To which objec- 
tion I fliali have occafion to revert in the courfe 
of a few pages. 

Thefe, however, are not the only proofs that 
the catholic prelates, and the more violent of their 
adherents, were at this time highly exacerbated 
againil the members of the late catholic committee 
and all who efpoufed their caufe. Of the mem- 
bers of the committee itfelf there were few indeed 
to whom fome perfonal incivility had not been 
manifeiled; an unwarrantable perfecution had at 

- * Paftoral Later, p. 21. 


this very time been commenced and urged with 
great rigor againft Dr. Wilks, one of the very able 
writers of the Blue Books; and Mr. Jofeph Be- 
rington, whofe learning and liberality refle£i: credit 
on the whole body of Englilh catholics, had been 
refufed the religious faculties for which he had ap- 
plied, and was confequently incapacitated from 
teaching, preaching, and adminiltering the facra- 

It is not to be fuppofed that a condu61: thus ar- 
bitrary and uncharitable would be tamely fub- 
mitted to by a man of the irritable nerves and po- 
lemic powers of Dr. Geddes ; and while wdth real 
pleafure and exultation he thanked bifhop Tho- 
mas Talbot, the vicar of the middle diflrict, for 
withholding his name from fo unchriftian an in- 
terdiQ;, he immediately commenced hoflilities 
againft the fubfcribing prelates, by the follovdng 
letter to Mr. Douglas, apoftolic vicar of the dif- 
tricl: in which he ufuaily refided. 

" January- 4, 1793. 
" For the fake of your own charader, my 
lord, it truly grieves me to fee your name an- 
nexed to fuch an ignoble piece of writing as that 
which you have lately publilhed with two other 
pope's vicars. 

" The feeble weapons which you employ againll 
fir Johii Throckmorton he is well able to repel 


iiimfelf, and will probably repel them, with vigour 
and manlmefs, on his return to England; mean- 
while, fince you have been pleafed to go entirely 
out of your road for the purpofe of aiming a fide- 
thruft at me, you cannot take it amifs if I Ihould 
try to defend myfelf ; and, by way of requital, ex- 
pofe to the public viev/ the futilities, falfe reafon- 
ings, and ralh alTertions that abound in your Pa- 
floral Letter." 

He foon fulfilled his intention by his Addrefs 
to the Public, in which, as I have already ob- 
ferved, he minutely ftates the difficulties he had 
to contend with, and the fevere perfecution he had 
fufFered from the very body of chriflians in whofe 
fpiritual welfare he was principally interefled, and 
for whofe fpiritual benefit he had principally de- 
voted his time and talents. With his ufual candor 
and fimplicity of heart he confented to preadmo- 
niih bifhop Douglas of his intention, which he 
did in the following addrefs : 


"June 25, 1793. 

" You muii: remember that, on the 
firll appearance of your Faftoral Letter^ I hinted 
to you, that I meant to anfwer it; at leaft in as far 
as it regarded me. More important objedls have? 


hitherto prevented me from fulfilling my inten- 
tion : but I now, again, tell your lordfhip that an 
anfwer is preparing, and that I wifh you to fee it, 
before it go to the prefs. For although your coii- 
dudiy my lord, toward me, has been neither that 
of a chriflian bifhop nor a polite gentleman, I am 
not difpofed to imitate your conduct. — As a pre- 
lude to that Anfwer^ I have at prefent in the prefs 
An Addrejs to the Puhlic^ he, in which there is one 
paragraph that concerns your lordfliip. This pa- 
ragraph I here fubjoin, that if there be any fad: in 
it which you can deny, or any part of the cafe 
which you fhall think mif-ftated, you may have 
an opportunity of rectifying the one and contra- 
dicting the other. A written anRver is immedi- 
ately requefted, as I look for a proof-iheet in a 
day or two. Meanwhile I have the honour to 
be, &c. 

" Paragraph alluded to. 

" It is ufelefs now to mince the matter : three 
vicars apftolk^ who call themfelves the bifhops of 
Rama, Acanthos^ and Centuri^, have actually 
iffued a Faftoral Letter ; of which, indeed, the 
main and primary purpofe is to cenfure an excel- 
lent work of fir John Throckmorton's, which 
they could not anfwer : but into that cenfure they 


have made an awkward fhift to lug me head and 
ihoulders along with the baronet; and, in truth, I 
am not ill-pleafed to find myfelf in fuch company: 
but I am not, I cannot be well-pleafed to fee a 
work, on which I have fpent the better part of 
my Ihort days, condemned in the lump, and pro- 
hibited without a hearing. This is truly to erect 
a court of inquifition, and to introduce a tranfal- 
pine or tranfpyrenean mode of profcription in the 
face of Britifh liberty : to attempt to impofe upon 
us htbrary fetters, which neither we nor our fa- 
thers could bear. — I will pay my refpecls to thofe 
Right Rev. Prelates, as foon as I am at leifure : 
my prefent bufmefs is with the public at large, 
and to the public at large, both cathohc and pro- 
teftant, I appeal from this unjuft, informal, and ca- 
pricious fentence." 

The fort of anfwer he was likely to receive, 

provided he received any at all, the reader who 

has attended to the fpirit with which the entire 

controverfy was conducted on the part of the op- 

pofers of the catholic bill, will readily preconceive. 

It arrived two days afterwards in the following 

fhape : 

" London, June 27, J 793. 
" SIR, 

" Since it is evident from your letter to 
me that you adhere to and maintain the doctrines. 


which were cenfured by the Paftoral Letter, to 
which you allude i unlefs you fignify to me, in 
writing, on or before Friday the fifth day of July 
next, your fubmiflion to obferve the injundion con- 
tained in the 2lfl page of thefaid Paftoral Letter, 
viz. " We prohibit our clergy, in particular, from 
preaching, teaching, maintaining, or fupporting 
any of the aforefaid condemned opinions," I here- 
by declare you fufpended from the exercife of 
your orders in the London diftrid. 

"JOHN DOUGLAS, Vicar Apoflolic. 
« Rev, Alex, Geddes, LL, D/' 

Here the apoflolic vicar completely overfliot his 
mark. In prohibiting the Faithful from perufmg 
our author's tranflation, it was in his power to do? 
him an eflential injury, and under the effects of 
that injury he was laboring at the prefent moment; 
but I have already obferved that he had long vo^ 
luntarily relinquifhed the exercife of his religious 
fundlions, that he might enjoy the greater liberty 
of attending to his favorite biblical exertions. This 
Mr. Douglas muft necefiarily have been apprifed 
of from his own official fituation : and to fufpend 
his antagonill from the exercife of what he never 
had exercijed for many years paft, is, at the fame 
time, to commit a moll ridiculous blunder, and to 
evince the mod impotent malevolence. Oar au- 
' 2 E 


thor, however, was as ready ^t his pen as the 
bifhop, and inflead of waiting till the 2lft of the 
enfuing month, returned him the following an? 
fwer a few hours afterwards. 

"June 28, 1793. 


^' I thank you for having fo readily 
anfwered my l^fl letter, if that may be called an 
anfwer, which you have been pleafed to return. 
It is certainly not the anfwer I expeded : how- 
ever, as it is an anfwer, and a prompt anfwer, I 
am fatisfied : it is probably the bed you could 
piake : and, ad impoffibile nemo tenetur, 

" From your profound filence as to the main 
objed of my Letter, I may fairly conclude that 
my complaints were juft, and my fufpicions well 
founded : fo I will not prefs your lordfhip further 
on that topic. But, my lord, I mufl take the 
liberty to tell you, that you moft grievoully mif- 
take, when you fay, that " it is evident from my 
letter to you, that I adhere to and maintain the, 
doctrines which were cenfured in the Paftoral 
Letter." This, my lord, is not only not evident y 
but utterly falje.^^ln my whole letter, I have not 
faid a word about thofe dodrines, much lefs have 
I teflified my adherence to them, and ftill lefs yet 
have I maintained them. I have indeed called fir 


John Throckmorton's work an excellent one; 
and fo I deem it : but has your lordfhip yet to 
learn, that a work may be excellent on the whole, 
and yet exceptionable in fome of its parts ? I think 
the Annals of Baronius, on the whole an excellent 
work, although there are more than twice twelve 
propofitions in it which I highly difapprove. — - 
Hume's Hiflory of England I take to be the very 
bed work of its kind; but do I, for that, adhere 
to ox maintain-^ the principles of Hume? Truly 
this may be logic at Rome or Valladolid ; but it 
will never do in the meridian of London. 

" By calling {\x John's book an excellent 
work, then, I have not expreiled my adherence to 
any one of the proportions which you have cen-. 
fured in it. — But I have faid, " You could not 
anfwer his book.'* — I fay fo again, my lordj at 
leaft I have yet feen no anfwer to it : and indeed, 
if you could have anfwered it, I hardly think you 
would have had recourfe to cenfure. My faying 
then, that you could not anfwer it, is no evident 
proofs is no proof at all, that I adhere to the doc- 
trines which you have cenfured in it. Whether 
I. really do adhere to thofe doctrines, or not, is 
another queftion ; which has nothing to do with 
our prefent correfpondence : I may, pofTibly, let 
you into the fecret on fome other occafion : all 
that I iiow alTert, is, that there is no fort of evU 


dence before your lordfhlp that I adhere to or 
maintain the forefaid dodrines : confequently, my 
lord, your hypothetical declaration is ahfurd^ ahu- 
frce^ 2ind ;premature. 

" But perhaps, my lord, you wifh to have 
another occafion of exercifing your epifcopal au- 
thority, and of playing with cerifures^ as children 
do with a new ball. I wifh your lordfhip much joy 
of the bauble : but, beware, my lord, beware of 
playing too often with it. — Read St. Chryfoflom on 
Ecclefiaflical Cenfures; and learn from him a little 
more moderation. Permit an old priefi to tell you 
that it is a very great ornament in z young hifljof. — 
As to myfelf, my lord, I am not afraid of your 
threats, and fliall laugh at your cenfures, as long 
as I am confcious that I deferve them not. I will 
never fubmit to the injun5ficn contained in the 2l(i 
page of your P aft oral Letter^ becaufe I deem it a 
raih, ridiculous, and informal injunction. If this 
you think a fufficient rcafon for declaring me fuj- 
fended from the exercife of my orders in the London 
DiftriSi^ much good may that declaration do you ! 
The truth is, I exercife no pafloral fundion in 
your diflridl : I have neither taught, preached, 
nor adminiilered any facrament in it for many 
years back : I have not even faid prayers in any 
public chapel for iix years at lead. To oblige a 
friend or two, I have fometimes, not often, laid 


private prayers at their houfes : but fince you feem 
to envy me the pleafure of obliging a friend, I 
forego that too. But, my lord, you cannot hin- 
der me to pray at home; and at home / will pray, 
in defiance of you and your cenfure, as often as I 
pleafe. The chief Bijhop of our fouls is always 
acceffible; and, through him, I can at all times 
have free accefs to the Father j who will not re- 
ject me but for voluntary unrepented crimes. In 
the panoply of confcious innocence, the whole 
thunder of the Vatican would in vain be levelled 
at my head. 

" You fee, my lord, that I have not required 
even the fhort time you grant me, to fignify my 
difpofition to fubmit to the injunftion in your Pa- 
ftoral Letter. Such a fubmiffion, my lord, will 
never be made by 

« A Prieft of the Catholic Church. 
« To the R. R, John Douglas^ 

Bp. of Cent, and Vie, Ap. in 

the London JjtfiriB,''' 

Ke had nov7 completely broken all connexion 
with his apoflolic fuperjor, and nothing remained 
but to carry into effecl the farther menace con- 
tained in his Addrefs to the Public, of paying his 
refpeds to the Right R^v. Prelates who had thus 


iilterdided and injured him ex cathedra^ by ar- 
raigning them in return before the tribunal of 
the world at large. 

To threaten with our author was to execute, 
and before the expiration of the year we find an- 
nounced in the pubic prints a quarto pamphlet of 
55 pages, entitled " A Letter from the Rev. 
Alexander Geddes, LL. D. to the Right Rev. 
John Douglas, Bifhop of Centurise, and Vicar 
Apoftolic in the London Diftrid." This letter is 
introduced by a fhort preamble addreffed to the 
EngHfh catholics, in which he informs them that 
it is defigned as a diatribe againfl all the three 
vicars equally, who fubfcribed the pafhoral edid ; 
and that he merely confines himfelf in the title to 
the name of biHiop Douglas, as being the fupe- 
rior of the diilrift in which he generally refided. 
The letter itfelf is an examination of the unpopu- 
lar mode by which th3 bifhop obtained his ap_ 
pointment to the vicarial chair, and the unconci- 
liating charader he had evinced ever fmce his pof- 
fellion of it; the perfecution our author himfelf had 
fuflained from his unquiet fpirit; an impeachment 
of Mr .Douglas's condu6t as equally uncharitable, 
illiberal, and incompatible with the legitimate 
powers with which the vicarial chair had veiled 
bim ; a defence of fir John Throckmorton's publi- 
eatioji prohibited in conjundlion with his own \ 


and an examination of the dodrines and authority 
bf the council of Trent, to which alone the arbi- 
trary conduQ: manifefted againft himfelf could ap- 
peal for fupport; In adverting to his own perfo- 
nal injury he obferves, " Here, then, is a large, 
important, expenfive work, the darling child of 
its author, and the chief prop of his literary repu- 
tation, forbidden to all that clafs of readers, for 
whom it was more efpecially defigned; without any 
caufe afligned but the want of a mere formality, 
which is no where obferved, which wa§ never ob* 
ferved, fave in thofe places where an inqiiifition of 
fome fort or other had been eftablifhed. You fay 
not, that you have examined it- — You fay not, 
that it is an utifaithful verfion — You point not out 
a fmgle fentence, which you find contrary to faith 
or morality — And yet you take upon you to pro-^ 
fcribe it in toiol and all this, " becaufe it wants/* 
you fay, " the requifites which the ehuteh re^ 
quires*' in publilliing works on fcripture. Yoii 
fhould have faid, my lord, " which the difcipline 
of the council of Trent requires :" for the difci- 
pline of the council of Trent is not the church, any 
mors than the church is the difcipline cf the ccun* 
cil of Trent, — However, let us fee what the council 
of Trent fays on this point of difcipline." 

He then proceeds to examine the conduct of thf^ 
femous fynod, fo far as it relates to the point ia 


queflion — its mode of conftrtution — the validity 
of its authority, and how frequently it has been re- 
fifted by Bellarmine, Gretzer, Suarez, and others 
of the mofl celebrated and reputedly orthodox 
divines of the Roman church. Then adverting 
to himfelf ; " at any rate,'* fays he, *' I am not 
confcious of having tranfgrefled it in any fenfe, for 
I recoiled not a fmgle text of fcrlpture which I 
' have wrefted to a meaning contrary to the fenfe 
of the cathoHc church, or to the unanimous con- 
fent of the Fathers.' " He next proceeds to dif- 
cufs that part of the fame decree which more im- 
mediately concerns himfelf, in which the fynod 
forbids the fcriptures, or any expofitions of them, 
to be pubHfhed without the names of the printer 
and author; as alfo without a previous examina- 
tion and approbation by the ordinary ; which ap- 
probation fhall be given in writing, and appear 
.authenticated in the front of the book*. 

*' The firfl part of this injundlion," fays he," I 
have not violated : my own name, and my printer's, 

* •■' Nullique llceat Imprimere, vel Imprimi facere, quofvls 
libros de rebus facris fine nomine au6lori?, ncque illos in fu- 
turum vendere, aut etiam apud fe retinere, nili primum exa- 
minati probatique fueruntab ordinario, fub poena anathema- 
tis et pecuniae in canone concilii noviffimi Lateranenfia appo* 
fita. — Ipfa vero hujufmodi approbatio in fcriptis dctur j atque 
ideo in fronte libri, vel fcripti Yel impreffi, authentice appa- 
reat. Cone. Trid. ubi fupra." 


name, are confpicuous in the title-page. It mufl:, 
therefore, be on the latter part that you ground your 
frohibition^ or your warning equivalent to a pro- 
hibition; namely, becaufe my work has not been 
* examined and approved of by the ordinary.* 
This is a requifite which it furely has not; which 
it could not readily have, and which I never meant 
it fhould have. 

" The front of my book exhibits not the ap- 
probation of any ordinary \ nor has the book, as 
far as I know, been ever examined by any ordi- 
nary. But if I had wifhed to have my work ex- 
amined and approved of by an crdinary^ where 
was he to be found ? You, my lord, are no ordi- 
nary, in any fenfe of the word. You are neither 
an ordinary judge, nor an ordinary bifliop, nor an 
ordinary inquifitor, nor an ordinary licenfer of 
books; nor, in fhort, any thing to which r\\t term 
can be lawfully and canonically applied. You 
are a mere vicar apodolic, without any ordinary 
jurifdidion whatfoever : and even in your extra- 
ordinary vicarial capacity, my lord, I queftion 
whether you are empowered by your limited and 
revocable faculdes either to approve or to cen- 
fure books of any fort; at lead lach vicarial facul- 
ties as I have feen give no fuch power. I am not 
ignorant that you may claim feme fiich privilege, 
in confequence of your bull of coafecration : and 


there IS alfo a printed breve of Benedid XIV* 
which feems to grant fome fuch privilege. But, I 
repeat it, papal breves and bulls have no coercive 
authority in this country, and with me have no au- 
thority at all, when they run counter to the tenoi* 
of ancient canons, and infringe on the ordinary 
powers, whether civil or ecclefiaflical. 

" I fay, then, you are not, flridly and truly 
fpeaking, a canonical ordinary : but if you were a 
canonical ordinary, or even the ordinary of or- 
dinaries himfelf ; I fhould not have afked your ap* 
probation of my work, as a neceflary requifite fot 
its publication. If I had thought you capable of 
revifmg it, I might have fubmitted it to your re* 
vifal, and, in that cafe, would have liflened to 
your obfervations : but your approbation as an or- 
dinary I would not have requefled; much lefs 
printed it in the front of my work. No, my lord^ 
no imprimatur fhall ever appear in the front, or in 
the rear, of any work of mine. If, in my day^^ 
it happen that fuch a reflraint be laid on the prefs^ 
I fiiall ceafe to write, and weep over the expiring 
liberty of my enflaved country. 

*' The difcipline of the council of Trent I will 
never deem obligatory, but in as far as it fliall 
have been publicly received and promulgated in 
the country where I refide ; and as it has never" 
been fo received in this country (whatever Dod 


6r Mihier may fay to the contrary), I think myfelf 
fumcieiitly authorized to object to it wherever I 
find it objectionable. — But v/hat do I fay? Do you, 
my lord, admit and follow the difcipline of th$ 
council in all its parts? Have you always obferved 
and enforced its difcipline, even with refpecl to 
that injundion in confequence of which you have 
been pleafed to profcribe my verfion of the Bible? 
The injunction includes not only fcripture, and ex* 
pofitions of fcripturej but every book that treats 
on /acred things. Now tell me hov/ many books, 
written by Englilh catholics, fmce the council of 
Trent, carry on their front an authenticated appro- 
bation of any ordinary, or of any vicar apoflolic ?** 

He might have added, that fo far as he had been 
able to comply with this requifition he had in re- 
ality endeavored to ad: up to its fpirit: for, as I have 
already obferved, he had, from the commence-, 
ment of his undertaking, communed with bifhop 
James Talbot, his vicarial fuperior at that time, if 
not his ordinary, upon the fubje61:, and had re- 
ceived repeated alliirances from him that he would 
not interfere to oppofe his intentions. 

It is fufficlently clear therefore, fftmthefcope 
and hiflory of this debate, that although our au- 
thor's verfion was profcribed, it was profcribed 
not on account of any pecuHar fyflem of opinions 
introduced into its Critical Remarks; but merely 


from the motive of his not having complied 
with what were faid to be certain requifitions of 
the church, long fince obfolete, and devoid of 
force from non-ufage, and now revived for the 
firfl time, for the purpofe of being played off 
againfl himfelf and feveral other enlightened and 
liberal fcholars of the catholic church, who had, 
much to their credit, labored afliduoully to obtain 
for themfelves and their fellow catholics a more 
equal rank in the political fociety of which they 
'Were members. 

As to his own religious principles and even opi- 
nions, they were well known to his fellow catholics 
at large, although his volume of Critical Remarks 
was not at this time publifhed; and I cannot do 
better than terminate the prefent chapter with a 
recapitulation of them as contained in the clofe of 
his Addrefs to the Public, which he himfelf re- 
garded as only a prelude to the letter addrelTed to 
Mr. Douglas. " I am^' fays he, " a Catholic Chrij- 
tian^ who hclieve all that the catholic chriftian 
church has at all tiines believed and taught, ^od 
femper^ quod ah omnibus^ quod ubique creditum, id 
ego credo, f do not fay that I believe nothing 
elfe : but nothing elfe I hold to be an effendal ar- 
ticle of belief. What I find to have been taught by 
Chrift and his apoflles, and by their fucceifors, in 
every age and place, that I deem a point of genuine 


primitive catholicity : but whatever bears not ti/: 
charader, is, with me, no catholic principle. - Chrif- 
tianity was originally a very fimple yet accomplifhed 
beauty; as a pagan writer confelTes*. But, under 
the paint and patches of pofterior times, her linea- 
ments are barely difcernible ; and fuch a load of 
ufelefs ornaments has been added to her vellure, 
that little appears of its prifline fimplicity. O pre- 
lates! O pontiffs! what have ye not to account 

" Honeft, open-eyed catholic reader! I trull 
I have convinced thee, that I am an orthodox ca- 
tholic chriflian. But if I were not an orthodox 
catholic chriflian-, if I were as arch an heretic as 
ever dogmatized; might I not, for all that, be ca- 
pable of giving a good tranfiation of the Bible ? 
Did the pretended, or real, herefy of Origen make 
his biblical refearches lefs valuable ? Aquila and 
Theodotion were obdurate Jews; Symmachus was 
an Ebionite : yet their verficns of the Old Tefta- 
nient were fought^ read, and praifed by the chrif- 
tian Fathers; nay partly received into the Greek 
exemplars of the fcripture. The great Erafmus 
was greatly fufpeded of herefy : yet his labours on 
the New Teflament were approved of by a know- 
ing pope, and applauded by the learned world ; 
a few bigots excepted. Sacy was reputed a rank 

* * ' i? sjin^kx et ahfoluia. Am . Marcel. " 


Janfenift, and for his janfenifm was immured in 
the Ballile : yet his French verfion of the Bible, 
partly made in that dungeon, has been long in 
high eftimation in the Gallican church. — Now, 
without prefuming to compare myfelf with any of 
thofe celebrated men ; I furely may be allowed to 
fay, that I may make a good tranflation: and that if 
I do make a good tranflation ; the imputation of he- 
terodoxy cannot render it a bad one. In fhort, it 
mufl fland on its own intrinfic merit; and if it 
have none, it will foon fall, without the need of 
epifcopal or papal fulminations." 



fir, Geddes^s mind much affeBed hy the contumelies he 
received-— confoled bj his jriends, efpecially the titular 
hi/hop of Dunkeldy and bis patron lord Petre— Jinks 
into a loiu and irrita'le fever ^ which incapacitates him 
from all exertion for many months — progreffively re-- 
covers — Males a tour into Norfolk — compofes his Nor- 
folk Tale—feletlion of an anecdote from this poem 
highly credit a! le to his general hemvolence — Charac- 
ter of his poetry — Ode to the Hon, Thomas Pelham, 
occajioned hy hisfpeech in the Irifo Houfe of Commons 
on the catholic hill — Humorous metrical tranflation of 
JDr, Coulthufs Semon, preached before the univer" 
fity of Cambridge, 0£i, 25, l'](^6—'DiJpute between 
the bifhop of Bangor and Mr. Grindley — Dr. Ged- 
dei's Comic- Heroic Foem, entitled The Battle of Ban- 
gor — his anonymous Faf-Day Sermon and New 
Year's Gift, A. D. 1 7 94 — 1 799. 

It was during our author's recovery from the 
long and lingering illnefs which I have already 
ftated he fuflained from the anxiety of his mind, 
exacerbated by the backbitings of bigotry and 
the malevolence of facerdotal pride, that he wrote 
the various ktters and addrefles enumerated in the 


preceding chapter. So deeply was he affected by 
the undeferved feverity of his lot, that at one pe- 
riod his fpiiits became almofl defpondent; and no- 
thing but the afliduous attention and animating 
efforts of his dearefl and moil valued friends fuc- 
ceeded, even at laft, in aroufmg him from the 
melancholy into which he had gradually funk. 
To enumerate the names of thofe, whether ca- 
tholics or proteftants, who, at this critical pe- 
riod chiefly evinced their attachment to him, and 
principally fucceeded in difpelling the morbid 
gloom by which he was oppreffed, would be a ufe- 
lefs, and in fome degree an invidious taik; but 
the names of two diftinguifhed charaders of the 
former perfuafion I ought not to fupprefs, becaufe 
he himfelf has particularized them in his writings, 
and did not forget their prominent proofs of kind- 
nefs to the laft moment of his life. Of thefe, the 
one was his old fchoolfellow and much efteemed 
coufm, the titular bifhop of Dunkeld, whofe cor- 
dial participation in his injuries, . and animating 
exhortations to perfeverance, tended in a very 
confiderable degree to recall him to a fenfe of his 
duty, and to a contempt of the calumnies with 
which he was afperfed. The other was his noble 
and incomparable patron the late lord Petre, 
whofe confoling fympathies and generous expoflu- 
iations formed at all times a fource of his proudefl- 


and moft pleafing recolledions, and are thus af- 
fectionately adverted to in drains of tender melan- 
choly, while apoflrophizing the mufe of Zion, in 
the Elegy he compofed on his lordfhip's deceafe: 

Quis tua, nunc, memet veftigia. Diva, Icgentem 

Per vepres> feflum quis relevare velit ? 
Me prope cum piguit tantos tolerare labores, 

Dejcftos animos fuftulit ille meos. 
Me cum mordaci lacerarent dente maligni, 

Et contra fremeret caeca fuperftltio ; 
** Putida tu fperne illorum coavlcia (dixit) 

'* Cura tibi tantum — perficiatur opus.'* 

Who now fhall foothe me as my path I wind^ 

Thy footftcps following, through entangling briars ? 
When faint, the talk, at times, I half refigned, 

He cheered my foul, and roufed its latent fires. 
When malice grinned with fang fo oft that daunts, 

When bigots blind o'erflowed with frantic foani, 
*' Spurn, fpurn," faid he, " thefe vile opprobrious taunts^ 

** Care but for this — to clofe th' important tome'." 

The attentions of his benevolent patron did not 
terminate with perfonal condolences and advice. 
As foon as the doctor was fufficiently -recovered to 
derive benefit from the air and exercifes of the 
country, he earneflly preiTed him to a vifit at his 
feat in Norfolk, and advifed him to recruit himfelf 
as he proceeded, at Thorndon in EfTex, another 
country manfion of the illuflrious peer's, in the 

* See the entire Elegy, in chap. xiv. of the prefent v/ork, 
2 F 


courfe of his excurfion. Dr. Geddes acceded to the 
friendly recommendation, and as foon as he was 
able to commence his tour in his own way, pre- 
pared himfelf for the journey. The doclor was 
a pedeftrian as well from choice as principle. In 
the earlier part of his life, the flendernefs of his in- 
come rendered this a matter of abfolute neceflity, 
and a habit was hence introduced which termi- 
nated in a preference to this mode of travelling, 
and accompanied him through life. His means, 
however, at the prefent period, though amply ade- 
quate to the common routine of his wants, did not 
admit of any large furplus for even perfonal lux- 
uries, and what little he could fpare he always 
thought rather due to the neceffities of others 
than to the gratification of himfelf. " Freely," 
laid he, "have I received, freely ought I to give." 
Towards the end of Auguft 1783, therefore, 
after he had broken all connexion with his vi- 
carial fuperior, he began his walk through EfTex, 
Suffolk, and Norfolk. The increafmg purity of 
the atmofphere as he quitted the metropolis, and 
the inartificial beauties of the country, which now 
poured before him in a wide and wider theatre, re- 
created his fpirits, and banifhed, for a fliort time, 
from his memory both bifliop Douglas and his 
own tranflation. He wooed the ruftic mufe; he 
found her at h^nd, Jimplex munditiis^ " in all her 


artleflhefs of neat attire ;" (lie became compliant 
with his wifhes, and by her afTiflance he worked 
up the few incidents that occurred into a poem, 
which he fhortly afterwards printed and entitled 
" A Norfolk Tale, or a Journal from London to 

This poem is introduced into the world under 
the formidable arrangement of a prologue and epi- 
logue, and of a divifion of the work itfelf into 
three diitind parts. It is compofed with much 
good humor and amenity of heart, and in its ver- 
fification is eafy even to occafional negligence. It 
is literally indeed 2i/ermo pedeftris^ and aims not 
at the loftier flights and more daring imagination of 
the mufe when mounted on Pegafus. Mr. Johnfon, 
our author's bookfeller, has told me, that when he 
brought it to him, he advifed him not to pubhfh it, 
as conceiving that it would by no means fuffi- 
ciently interefl the world to enfure the fale of an 
adequate impreffion. This, however, was not 
Dr. Geddes's mode of reafoning ; he had written 
it, and the prefs mud follow as a matter of courfe. 
And in this inflance he feems not to have reafoned 
amifs; for if it did not interefl the worJd, it at lead 
interefted the circle of his own friends ; and either 
through their repeated demands for it, or his own 
liberal circulation, he not only difpofed of the firfl, 


but actually printed a fecond edition of it withia 
a few months of its compofition. 

Nothing is more demonftrative of the fountain 
whence a writer has imbibed his ideas, the foil in 
which he has been accullomed to labor,* than the 
peculiar train of images and allufions to which he 
has recourfe. They are not only indeed charac- 
teriflic of the bent of his mind, but meafure the 
degree of his application and refearch. With Dr. 
Geddes, the facred pages, both with refpecl to 
their dodrines and figurative language, were all 
in all. He had ^//&^ them almoft from his in- 
fancy with the zeal of a chriflian and the accuracy 
of a critic, and I have already had occafion to fhate 
that his metaphors and ornamental elucidations, 
inflead of being drawn from the more polluted 
ftreams of Homer and Horace, are almofl uni- 
formly deduced from this overflowing fountain of 
purity and fublimity. In the poem before us the 
charader of the man is equally confpicuous. I 
will adduce but two inilances in confirmation of 
this remark. Fatigued with his expedition by the 
time he had reached Bury St. Edmonds in Suf- 
folk, he retired at an early period to reft, and the 
goddess Fame, more favorable to him in his fleep- 
iiig than in his waking hours, appeared in a plea- 
fant dream, and in reward of all his troubles and 


perfecutions prefented to him a golden trumpet ', 
with her left hand, while with her right fhe fur- ] 
rounded his temples with a gay and verdant gar- 
land, J 


Compos'd of all the flowers that grow \ 
By Jehus or by Jericho 1 

With gracious look, fhe faid : '* My child. 
For twenty twelvemonths thou haft toil'd 

To earn a little honeft fame : I 

I come at length to grant thy claim. - 

Long as the ancient Hebrew page I 

Mankind's attention Ihall engage— \ 
Long as the fon of Amram's laws 
Shall meet with merited applaufc— 

Long as the tones of David's lyre \ 

All future minftrels fhall admire— .\ 

Long as the Song of Songs ihall prove ) 

Thai death is not more Jirong than lovf^^ \ 

Long as Ifaiah's ftyle \ 
The teft of true fublimlty — 
And Jeremiah's plaint remains 

The firll of elegiac (trains — ; 

Long as the Bible ihall be read — i 

This garland ihall adorn thy head ! 1 

And this loud trump's immortal found I 

O'er all the idand fhall rebound T' ; 

The next example needs no introduction. He 

is flill purfuing his journey : , ,' 

Eight fcore of furlongs yet I had ' 

To traverfe — and the ways were bad, j 

. 438 

Not IfraeVs difcontented hoft 
Such deferts met, on Edom's coaft ! 
Nor was there on the dreary ground 
A drop of Manna to be found. 

Two hours 1 thus my courfe purfue, 
When, unexpeded, to my view 
Appears a town of ancient fame : 
But Thetford is its modern name. 
'' Here, I opin'd, poor cred'lous man, 
I was not far from my Chanaan : 
And that the river Thet might be 
A Jordan^ pofiibly to me! 
Judge, then, what was my great furprife, 
When paffing on, I rais'd mine eyes, 
And faw Ihad to travel o'er 
A greater deiert than before. 

In Part 11. we meet with an anecdote which 
ought not to be negleded, fmce it is literally true, 
and flrongly illuftrative of our author's habitual 
benevolence : 

'Twas in the middle of a down, 
Remote frpm village or from town. 
Where a black-bellied cloud outfhed 
Its dire contents upon my head : 
And I, alas ! poor lucklefs fellow, 
Had neither great-coat nor umbrella. 

In this diftrefs, on my left hand, 
I fee a little cottage ftand : 
. Withjoylfee; and, belter- Hvelter, 
I to the cottage run for fhelter. 
The door was open — In I go : 
But ah! my Kit! what fcenes of woe 

439 ■'. 

Prefent tliemfelves ? FIrfl. on a bed i 

A hufband, in his prime, lies dead : 

Lies dead, with fcarce a rag to hide '• 

His lifelefs h'mbs. At the bed-lide 

A weeping widow fits and fighs, .-, 

And lifts to heaven her piteous eyes : ! 

While three fweet orphans, round her, cry 5 

For bread, which {lie cannot fupply. I 

" O God! (faid I, and riibb'd my brow) '' 

Why have I not a fortune now ? 

But can I nothing — nothing give, 

Thefe fellow creatures to relieve ! ; 

Yj£S ! — I can give a {hrowd to lay j 

That naked corfe in kindred clay, j 

Yes !— I can give, wherewith to fave ! 

His wife and children from the grave. 

This week — The next, kind Heav'n may fend 

A richer, not more feeling friend ;" 

So faying, from my purfe I drew, ! 

And on the lap of forrow threw '■ 

Three filver crowns— 'twas all, I fwear, I 

My little fcanty fob could fpare ! - 

Eager (he feized my hand and preli 

It clofely to her throbbing breaft : i 

And while it on her bofom lies, ) 
A paT of pearls drop from her eyes, 

Warm as the weeper's grateful heart, ,< 

A.nd fall on the uncovcr'd part. ' i 

Dear drops ! ah ! could your briny ftain * 

A lading mark on me remain; ! 

Not Francis' Stigmata'^ would be j 

A caufe of jealoufy to me ! , ; 

See the Legend in Bonavtnture^ or the Roman Breviary, 


Two other drops, before they fell, 
(Yes, Kit I I'm not aihamed to tell) 
I intercept, as down they flow 
Her cheeks, that now begin to glow : 
My face upon her face I fix j 
And with her tears my tears I mix. 

And now the heav*ns appeared ferenc, 
As if to witnefs this laft fcene : 
And Sol feemed willing to repay 
His abfence with a brighter ray 
Than ufual at the clofe of day. 

Three miles, I ween, or nearly fo. 
To Hinghaniy yet I had to go : 
But ne'er was fuch a fpace of ground 
Lefs tirefome to a trav'Ier found. 
Tho' cold, and wetted to the fkin, 
I fdt a foftcring flame within, 
Which made me totally forget 
That I was cold 1 that I was wet ! 

JESUS of Nazareth ! how true 
The doftrine firft announced by you ! 
Whether in a difciple's name, 
We, for a cup of water claim 
A recompenfe ; or for a flore 
Beftow'd of the mofl precious ore j 
This ore, that cup, ev'n here on earth. 
Are recompens'd beyond their worth. 
Can there a greater boon be giv*n 
To mortal man by bounteous heav*n, 
Than the delight fupreme that flows 
From mitigating human woes ? 

Here, for a moment, let me paufej 
And think on the myfterious laws 



Of Providence, whofe wondrous chain 
No human wifdom can explain. 

Had I, that morn, refused to hear 
The fpirit whifp'ring in mine ear 

" l^rocccd to Norwich.** Had I gone 

At any other hour but One. 

Had not keen hunger made me (lay 

An hour at Wottotit on my way^ 

I ftiould have pafled the difmal down. 

Before the Ikiee began to frown. « 

Or, had that providential ihow'r 

Fallen at any other hour, 

I to the cottage had not run 

That providential fhow'r to (hun ! ' 

Or had I been a man of gold. 

And in a gilded chariot loll'd ; 

I fhould have pafs'd the lonefome plain, 

Regardlefs of the falling rain ; 

And confequently ne'er had been 

A witnefs of the 'forefaid fcenc : 

Nor had the happlnefs to fay : 

** My friends ! I have not loft a day." 

Such were the recreations of body and mind 
by which this indefatigable fcholar endeavored 
to reacquire his accuftomed health and vigor. It 
was long, however, before he could fo far forget 
the contumelious treatment he had received as to 
be able to refume his biblical purfuits, and prepare 
for a fecond volume of his tranflation. He was 
ftill goaded by a variety of anonymous letters, 
which in fpite of all his philofophy, and the ani- 


mating efforts of his friends, damped his courage, 
and preffed heavily upon his heart. He, never- 
thelefs, at no period fuffered himfelf to be abfo- 
lutely indolent ; and when incapable of feverer 
fludies, amufed himfelf by an indulgence of his 
poetic talents. The pieces he at this time produced 
were for the moft part therefore ephemeral : they 
generally confided of addrelfes to his more inti- 
mate friends or favorites upon trifling occurrences, 
and neither merit nor were meant to be perpetu- 
ated. They neverthelefs fully accomplifhed the 
purpofe for which they were intended, and contri- 
buted more than any thing elfe to allay the irrita- 
tion of his mind. To adopt his own language on 
another occurrence. 

Me nam delt^lant dulces ante omnia mufae, 
Mufa mihi cun6lis eft medicina malis*. 

On one or two occafions however he endeavored 
to enlifi: the tuneful fifterhood into his fervice, and 
to employ them upon fubjeds of more public con- 
cern; and particularly in the affair of the catholic 
bill which was introduced into the Irifh parlia- 

* The mufes — every grief that beft beguile 3 
To me an antidote for every ill. 

Elegy addrelTed to the Shade of Gilbert Wakefield : 
fee the Ele^y at large in chap. xiv. 


rnent In the year l79->, by the great body of the 
catholics themfelves, through a hope of being ad- 
mitted to participate with their proteflant brethren 
in the offices, emoluments, and honors connected 
with the government of the country, from the 
whole of which they were excluded by their reli- 
gion. The bill, however, faikd of fuccefs; and as 
Mr. Pelham was one of the moil adive inilru- 
ments in oppofmg it, our indefatigable polemic, 
on this tranfaftion, compofed and publifhed an 
*' Ode to the Honourable Thomas Pelham, oc- 
cafioned by his Speech in the Irifh Houfe of Com- 
mons on the Catholic Bill." The mufes, how- 
ever, though duly wooed, were not very propi- 
tious to the poet's fuit in the prefent inflance, and 
granted him a reluctant and parfimonious fuccoun 
His prime objed; is to anfwer in verfe the chief ar- 
guments which Mr. Pelham had advanced in 
profe ; and he feems, from the conclufion of his 
Ode, to have perfuaded himfelf that this poetic re- 
ply could not be read with indifference even by 
the politician to whom he addreifes it; for the fok 
lowing are its final ftanzas : 

Pelham ! I now return to you. 
And bid you friendlily adieu 3 

With this advice fincerc : 
Be it your ftudy, night and day, 
To drive black |.rejudice away. 

And keep your confcience clear. 


So (hall you, when you fpeak again, 
Be more confiftcnt, pure, and plain j 

And reafon not fo badly. 
Pelham ! perhaps, you'll yet embrace 
The do£lrines which, to your difgrace. 

You now oppugn fo madly. 

On a tranfa£lIon which occurred fhortly after- 
wards he was more fuccefsful in his application 
to the maids of verfe. Dr. Coulthurft had preached 
a fermon before the univerfity of Cambridge, 
October 25, 1796, on the anniverfary of his ma- 
jefly's accelTion, which excited much converfation 
on its deHvery, but flill more on its pubhcation. 
Every body knows that difcourfes of this kind 
tend naturally to the poHtics of the period in which 
they are compofed ; and every body knows alfo 
(or at lead every preacher), that from their innu- 
merable repetitions all over the kingdom, it is ex- 
tremely difficult to drag forth ideas upon the fame 
Handing fubje6t which have not been anticipated 
by preceding orators. The doctor, it muft be 
confeiTed, made a daring effort; and his cou- 
rage was crowned with all the fuccefs it deferved. 
The politics of the day conflitute his fubje6t, and 
in common with his brethren in holy orders, he la- 
ments the origin of jacobinifm, its rapid flrides 
and pernicious influence among the intoxicated 
multitude : but while, in common alfo with his cle- 


rical colleagues, lie deplores the mifchiefs which 
have in this refpecl been produced by that " mo- 
dern high-priefl of infidehty *," Tom Paine, in con- 
junction with the French revolution, he deviates 
from prior preachers, who have afcribed to thefe 
caufes the prime origin of our evils, and with a 
deeper dip into the heraldry of pohtical events 
traces a genealogy which had hitherto been con- 
cealed from the eyes of our Forneys, our Heards, 
and our Dallaways. Jacobinifm, it feems, from cer- 
tain archives difcovered by Dr. Coulthurft, is of 
much earlier date than has yet been conjedured by 
any man : the m.onfter was born in paradife — he 
was the fruit of the criminal converfation of the 
" firft teacher of treafonf" with the common 
mother of mankind, and after having lain dormant 
for many thouf?-nds of years, was at length nur- 
tured into a ftate of a5five citizenjlnp by the Letter s^ 
cf Junius \. 

I felecl thefe Ideas as containing a mere fample 

* I quote from the doctor's Sermon, p. 7. 

f Ibidem. 

X *' One grand epoch of difloyalty may fairly be dated from 
the political exiftence of a certain cehhraied anonyniGin tvritcr 
in the earlier part of the prefenf re'gn, whofe profligacy and 
pertnefs bear no fmall proportion to the purity and elegance 
©f his didion." Id. p. 9. 


of the novelties which the do^lor had been fucceff' 
ful enough to cull from the flowery field of ima- 
gination after all the herborizing attempts of his 
predeceffors. When the fermon was firfl pubhlhed 
a copy of it was hurried by fome wicked wag of 
the univerfity to an old college affociate who refided 
in London, with a requeft that he would notice it 
in any way he chofe, fo as to increafe its merited 
reputation. Scarcely had the poll delivered the 
parcel, when fome playful fpirit led Dr. Geddes to 
. the door of the perfon to whom it was addreifed. 
A council was held upon the occafion, and it was 
inftantlv as^reed to turn the whole fermon into 
verfe. Our poet undertook the tafls:; he put the 
pamphlet into his pocket, and tranflated and re- 
turned a correcl copy of his verfion in about three 
days." In about three days more it was printed; 
and in the courfe of a fmgle week reached Cam- 
bridge, in due time to conteft the palm with its an- 
tagonift edition in profe. I have been informed, 
indeed, of a ludicrous circumflance refpeding it, 
with the truth of which the doctor is befl ac- 
quainted. It is faid that the perfon to whom the 
fermon in metre was addrelled, or a friend of his, 
waited upon Dr. Coulthurfl the. moment the 
packet arrived, meaning to prefent him with a copy 
in perfon. The dodor was abfent, and on his vi- 


fitor's requefting pen, ink, and paper, to leave a 
note, he was fhewn into a room, where he found a 
variety of profe copies parcelled out and addreffed 
to many of the doctor's friends who had not yet 
been favored with this valuable prefent. " Ex- 
change," faid the arch intruder, " is no robbery:'* 
and thus faying, he pocketed the profe fermons, 
and placed an equal number of his poetic ver- 
fions, with fuitable addreifes, in their flead; which, 
according to the doctor's orders, who did not re- 
turn till the enfuing day, were conveyed by his 
fervant the fame evening agreeably to their refpec- 
tive fuperfcriptions. Many of thefe were fent by 
the poft to a confiderable dillance : his friends, 
to whom they were addreffed, v/ere ailonifhed to 
find that the mufes had quitted Parnaffus for the 
pulpit, while they equally admired the doctor's 
new and original method of harmonizing holy 
writ, and of captivating all the heads, and, I may 
add, all the ears of the univerfity. 

As a fpecimen of our author's merit in the pre- 
fent fportive undertaking, I fliall exhibit his com.- 
mencement and conclufion of this two-fold dif- 
courfe — idem et alter — and, for a comparifon, 
fhall infert the fame portion of his exemplar at the 
foot of the page. . ' 


ECCLE81AST1S, X. 20. * 

Ciij:^ not the king, no not in thought"-nor curse 
Tha man, xoho hath a long and uieigkij/ purse : 
For courtlT/ parrots xdHI the secret chatter; 
And things uith wings trill hear, and tell thematten 

Although the book Ecclefiafies 
Of a peculiar typic cafl is j 
Or may, like other fcripture-ftories. 
Admit of types and allegories j 
Yet I, at prefent, think it better 
To be contented with the letter : 
And from its primary conftruftion 
I mean to draw my whole indu£lion. 

The exhortation of the text, 
Tho' fomewhat, feemlngly, perplext. 
Is neceflary in this day 
Of ftir, confufion, and affray ! 

When villains wantonly curfe kings, 
(Thofe Angularly facred things) 

^ " nCCLESlASTES, X. 20. 

*^ Curse 7iot the king, no, not in thy thought ; and curse not the rich 
in thy bedchamber : for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, 
and that xv/iich hath xvings shall tell the 7)tatier. 

*♦ The Book of Ecclefiafte?, as well as every other portion of 
fcripture, has been interpreted typically and figuratively. It 
is my prefent purpofe to content myfelf with the primary 
and literal conftruftion; and the exhortation in the text is pe- 
culiarly necefTary in this day of tumult and confufion — when 
* ki^^gs are wantonly curfed,' and infulted j and the rich and 


And rogues, without or fhocs or breeches, 

Prefume t' upbraid the rtian of lichtS, 

Call him ufurper, pirate, thief 1 

Can It be ever the beh\f 

Of any well-taught godly wight^ 

That fuch a f) ftem can be right ? 

No, certainly — but let us coolly 

The thing confider— for though, truly, 

'Tis not the province of the preacher 

To be of politics a teacher: 

Yet, if a metaphyfic pen 

Have meddled with the rights of men i 

And if, in Hume, it were no fault. 

As none it could be, to exalt 

Statiji'us to the rank o^ fcltnce ; 

Why may not we, in Paine's defiance. 

Deem it permitted us to mix 

Theo^.ogy with politics ? 

Indeed, of all politic aeras, 
(As far as hiftVy back will bear us) 

opulent are upbraided as the ufurpers and piratical invaders 
©f the common property of mankind. — Can this fyftem of 
policy be deemed right ? — Certainly not. — Let us, however, 
calmly confider this matter. It is by no means the duty of 
the clergy to difquiet themfelves too much with fecular inqui- 
ries: yet if fome metaphyficians * have been pleafed to exalt 
politics to the dignity of fcience, why may not we, at certain 
times and feafons, juftly deem thena to be a portion of facred 
fcience, and the fubjed of facred deliberation ? — And o*^ all 
the political periods in profane hiftory, none feems fo loadly 
* Hame- 



None fecms fo loudly to demand 
The exertion of the ckric band 
As this. — For, fure, the celebration 
And annual commemoration 
Of this bleft day * we cannot deem 
An idle rite of none efteera j 
Tho' reftlefs fpirits, time ago. 
May probably have thought it fo. 

No, no ;— if to invedigate 
The theory of civil ilate. 
And logically to explain 
Th* analyfis of man's domain— 
If to call into animation 
The public fpirit of the nation 
Was ever needful — then, allow 
'Tis doubly neceffary now, 
When WE, not for diftindlions fmall> 
Which capillary one may call 3 
Nor for thofe at07ns e-vanefcent. 
That are, beyond all fcnfe, decrcfcent. 
Contend— But when the very life 
Of government's thecaufe of ilrifej - 

to demand the attention and exertions of the clergy as thd 
prefent ; for certainly the celebration of this day's feftival 
cannot now be deemed ufelefs or problematical, though fome 
fuperficial and unquiet fpirits may have formerly thought it 
fo. No — If it was ever neceffary to inveftigate the theory of ci- 
vil fubordination, and logically to explain the analyfis of pro- 
perty ; if it was ever neceffary to call forth the pubhc virtue 
and publicfpirit of the kingdom, this neceffity is laid upon 
us' now — when wc contend, not for little capillary diflinc- 
tions, or evanefcent atoms of the grand fyftem — ^when ws 


Or, ftill more ftrongly to exprefs 
Th' idea in the noble drefs 
Of Tut LY : Non de ter mints ^ 
Sed de, Lh ! 

I fpcak not of thofe monfters fell. 
The laft abortive fpawn of hell, 
Whofe execrable ufurpatioa 
Over 3. free and happy nation. 
Has deluged Gallia vvith a flood 
Oiroyal and of noble blood : 
And who with g!owI;,g ardor pant 
The tree of Hbe) ty to plant 
In foils where, yet, it cannot grow, 
Or on the Rhine, or on the Po ; 
Yea, harrow antichriilian Rome ; 
I fpeak of enemies at home, 
Who their envenom'd fhafts dire6t 
'Gainft us, 'gainft us — the Lord's elefl. 
" Delenda eft," they proudly fay, 
«' Delenda efl Ecclefia* !" 

contend for the very exiftence of the government itfelf, or in 
the language of Cicero — " Non de terminis, fed de pofTef- 
fione tota contentio.'' 

I fpeak not of thofe inhuman monfters, who by their abo- 
minable ufurpations have dduged the wide-extended plains of 
France with blood, and have been panting with infatiable in- 
dignation to plow Ro ne and harro-v up Italy. 1 fpeak of 
our enemies at home. Their outcry is moft vehemently di- 
reded againft us. *' Delenda eft Ecclefia !" We aredeftined 
• "The church muftbe deftroyed.'' God defend us ' 


We are the victims firfl defign'd 
To glut their fanguinary mind : 
Yes, brethren ! yes — with frown indignant 



Whoe'er we be, who mount the rollium 

And preach up loyalty to kings, 

Are truly death-devoted things ! 

If ii be fo— the,will of God 

Be done ! — we to his awful rod 

Submit our backs. — And when the day ' 

And hour fhall come — God grant we may 

Be ftrong in him, and in his might : 

And now, while day precedes the night. 

Let us do our endeavour to 

The work of minifters to do j 

And teach the people what they owe 

To God above, and kings below : 

to be the firfl vi£l'ms. ** * Notant et dcfignant oculis ad 
cjedem unumquemquc noftrum." If it be fo, the will of God 
be done ! Let us comnjit ourfelves to him that judgeth righ- 
tcoufly — and when that day and that hour fliall come, " God 
grant that we may be ftrong in the Lord, and in the power of 
his might !" — and whilft we are yet fpared — " whiift it is. yet 
called to-day," let us humbly endeavour to do our duty as the 
minidersof God, and to teach the people their'? — let us teach 
them (what, greatly to their mifery and d:Tgrace, they 
feem now. to have forgotten) *' to rendtr unto Csefar the 
things that are Caef.-.r's, and unto God the things that arc 
God'iii" and ** knowing that ye all," among whom I have 

* Ci'jero contra CatiUnara. 


Teach them to give to God, their heart ; 
And to the king, their cajh impart. 
And knowing that ye all (among) 
Whom my fojournment has been (long) 
Will, peradventure, in this place 
Never again behold my face : 
Pray give me leave, with deference due^ 
And merited refpeA for you. 
To finifh this my peroration < 

With this pathetic exhortation : 
An exhortation, which, indeed. 
Our rev'rend fucceflbrs may need : 
Nay which — hcrrefco referens * j 
Ourftlves may need — fome few days hence. 

This exhortation my readers will find in the fa- 
cred text below, with which the profe extrad con- 
cludes. " Ihavenottranfiated,'* fays Dr. Geddes, 
'' this fcripture paflage for two reafons : firfl, it is 
already as clear as it can be made ; and, fecondly, 
it is too folemn and ferious to be turned into- 

long fojourned, will peradventure '* fee my face no more,'' 
may I be permitted, with all dfferc^nce and with all rtfpeft, 
to conclude with that glorious declaration of our Lord — 
a declaration which fome of our reverend fucctflbrp, or, to 
fpeak more to the purpofe, which we ourfeives (hone^co 
leferens) may one day moll affuredly need — '• Fear net them 
which kill the body, and afterwards have no more that they 
can do : but I will forewarn you whom ye fhal' fear ; fear 
him, who after he hath dettroyed, hath 'power to ca!^ both 
body and foul into hell; yea, 1 i^y unto you, fear hiai," 
* I tremble to tell the tale. 



About the fame time an ineident occurred of ftill 
more notoriety ; and which, as it attracted much 
of the public attention, could not poiTibly efcape the 
vifion of our polemic Argus. I allude to the me- 
morable eledioneering affray at Bangor, in which 
Dr. Warren, bifhop of the diocefe, made fo con- 
fpicuous a figure, and which afterwards became 
the lubjecl: of an indictment againfl himfelf and 
feveral of his clerical friends, at the fuit of 
Mr. Grindley, the deputy-regiftrar. Grindley, al- 
though appointed to the office he enjoyed through 
the interefl of the prelate himfelf, had for fome 
time manifefted fymptoms of a refractory fpirit, 
and had deferted the church and (late party for 
that of the frofanum vulgus^ or fwinifn multitude.. 
The bifhop was determined to take vengeance on 
the apollate, and fallied forth, accompanied by a 
blackfmith, at the head of feveral clerical fatellites^ 
to turn him out from his office by main force, fmce 
he had refufed to relinquifli it quietly : a fucceffion 
of lldrmiflies enfucd, in the courfe of which fortune 
feems to have held the balance with an even 
hand, fometimes inclining to the prelate and fome- 
times to the regiftrar. The latter, however, if I 
recolle£l aright, eventually prevailed in retaining 
polTeffion of his caftle, but he was fruftrated in his 
fuit at the Shrcwlbury affizes. The fubjed was 
certainly well calculated for the difplay of poetic 


wit and humour : and it was greedily feized by 
Dr. Geddes, who in a comic-heroic poem of nine 
cantos, entitled " The Battle of Bangor, or the 
Church's Triumph," labored with all his might 
to eternize the tranfadion. 

The Battle of Bangor is unqueflionably the 
bed production of our author's metrical pen. It 
exhibits more tafle and fancy in its imagery, and 
more corre£lnefs in its verfification, than any poem 
he ever wrote ^ and, what is no fmall addition to 
its merit, it abounds with good humour, and a 
playful amenity of heart. To analyze it would 
be altogether a work of fupererogation. It is mo- 
delled on Pope's Rape of the Lock, or rather the 
Lutrin of Defpreaux. I fhall confine myfelf to the 
feledlion of a fpecimen or two of its general merit. 
It opens as follows : 

Thepecrlefs Prelate, who, with well-aimM thruft^ 
Laid a prefumptuous layman in the duft, 
Chafed from the precincts of the facred fane 
A Registrar rebelh'ous, rafli, and vain> 
Who dar'd 'gainft Heav'n uplift his lawlefs rod, 
And bid defiance to the fons of God, 
• I fmg. — Be prcfent, mufc of Defpreaux ! 
And make my numbers like his numbers flow : 
Or, rather, ilill more powerful fuccours bring j 
A greater hero, mightier deeds I Cing, 
And thou, fweet nymph of a more noble flock. 
Who taught our bard to fing Bdinda's lock| 


Vouchfafc on thefe more humble drains to fmllc. 
And let ihem live — at leaft, a little while. 

The palace of Zealctijm^ or Bigotry^ and his ori, 
gin from the lovely and amiable nymph Zeala, in 
confequence of a rape committed upon. her by a 
lafcivious monk of Thouloufe, are thus clalTically 
conceived and exprelTed. It is with this paffage 
that Canto III. opens. 

*Mong the ctkftial goddefles above. 
That jjjrace the manfionof almighty Jove, 
A nymph there is, »vho{e province is to raife 
In man's cold heart devotion's melting blaze : 
For oft, too oft, forgetful of his God, 
Poor earthly man btrtrays his native clod. 
K,er name is Zeala — through the world fhe files. 
Love in her hjok?, and ardor in her eyes: 
Mor can the icicft mortal well withftand 
The glowing touch of her enchanting hand. 
Yet, neither (liff, nor ftern, fhe gently bends 
Her willing votaries to her pnrp )s'd ends. 
Martyrs (he mak s, but martyrs meek and mild y 
Who ne'er revilt, although they be reviled : 
In Virtue's caufe, a \\g>\ Ihe infpires ; 
But never kindles Perfecution's fires. 

O.tce on a time, as this celeftial maid. 
In quell of converts, through Tholofa ftray*d ; 
There in a convent (horrible to tell !) 
A lecherous friar compref^.'d her in his cell. 
From this commixtion a dire daemon came ; 
AndZELOTisMus is that daemon's name — 


Rapid 111" growth ; for his half heav'nly hirth 
Gave him advantage o'er the fons of earth. 
Fofter'd by popes and kings, behold him rifc^ 
In a fhort fpnce, to an erornncus f ze I 
His fanne by ftrolh'ng priefls is blazed abroad; 
And men miilake him for a demi-god. 
"Whole nations eagerly embrace his laws; 
But, chief, Iberia's fons fupport his caufe. 
There temples, there to him were alurs rear'd ; 
With hurnan blood thofc^ altars were befmear'd ; 
Religion fan<5\ionM the devouring flame, 
And infants trembled at this Moloch's name. 

Thus erd] but now he fees his pow'r decline: 
No bloody trophies more bedeck his flirine : 
No ^txy fan-henltos more adorn 
The Moor or Jew, condemn'd to public fcorn. 
Yet, yet a week of years ; the world fhall fee 
His throne o'erturn'd 5 and fair Iberia free ! 

Yet dill on Tajo*s banks he holds his court : 
Thither the zealots of the weft refort — 
A hooded band, th' emiflaries of Rome, 
Support his empire, and furround his dome. 

In the firfi: porch of this ftupendous place 
Stands Persecutfon, with an iron face. 
In h's right hand a fcorpion fcourge he bears, 
Beting'd with human blood and human tears j 
And in his left he grafps a brand of fire 
R'^ady to light the dread funereal pyre. 
Cut deep in ftone, above the monftei's head, 
ElAE KAl *OBOT clearly may be read. 


In the rcmoteft part of rhis abod? 
Is the apartmeHt of the grifly god. 
There Phoebus never fliews his cheerful faec| 
Tapers of yellow wax fupply his place ; 
Such as at difmal dirges are difplay'd 
To half illuminate the half-damn'd dead. 
High, on a throne of rough and nifty fteel, 
Sedately fits the fpurious fop of Zeal. 

Dame Superstition, his beloved bride. 
Sits, like another Tha'i's, by his fide. 
Pale is her vifage, peevifh is her mien : 
For Ihe is often troubled with the fpleen. 
Her weeds are black ; but with a copious ftorc 
Ofgaudy trinkets they are tinfeli'd o'er — 
Beads from Loretto, Agnus-Dei's from Rome, 
And chriften'd relics from a catacomb : 
Crofles and medals with indulgence fraught; 
And images, that miracles have wrought : 
Like that which lately, at Ancona, drew 
Juft adoration from the Turk and Jew • 
Behind his throne, to catch his dire commands. 
His armour-bearer, Fanatismus, flands. 
Screw?, racks and pulleys ; fulphur, pitch and ta?:; 
With other implements of holy war; 
Lie piled around him : all in order fair, 
As, in the Tow'r our guns and piftols are, 

I fhall clofe the poem with the following ex- 
tract. The redoubtable prelate fummoned and ar- 
ranged his clerical army, and like another Rolla 
endeavors, though not altogether with equal fuc- 

cefs, to mfpire them with courage, by appealing ta 
the facred caufe in which they are engaged, the 
obilinacy of the foe, and the abfolute neceflity cf 
florming his caftle by a coup de main. 

>" Servants of the Lord, 

*' Deans, do6iors, priefts, and levites, hear my word— > 
" HiscalHe mull be ftprmed, himfelf extruded : 
** Such is my will.^' — He fald, and (p concluded I 

Mute for a while his myrmidons rt-main : 
What priefl in ftorming caftles wwuld be flain ? 
Befides, fmall hopts of fure fuccefs they faw j 
They had no cannon, fave the canon-la^w : 
Nor battering-engine, fave the hand and head 5 
That was not iron, and this was not lead : 
And well th'ey knew that gates of folid oak 
Are not by common engines to be broke. 
Perpiex'd they Hand : yet how refufe to fight. 
Under a bifliop, for the church's right ? 
They bow affent — yet in their looks appear 
Some outward fymptoms of an inward fear. 

The Prelate faw the caufe, and fmiling faid, 
*' Our plan of war at dinner fhall be laid : 
" An empty ftomaqh lacks its ufual pow'r : 
** Retire, refic6l, and come again at four. 
f A turtle waits you; and a haunch of doe— 
*' That comes from Liverpool, and this from S *we ;-— 
** With ftore of wine — I hope you will not fpare it; 
** For I havejuftlaid in a pipe of claret." 

As, when the fun with his impreffiveray 
Difpels the fogs of a November day. 


The fullcn fkics their wonted face afTume, 
And feem but brighter from the previous g^com ; 
So, now, the bifhop's pow'rful woids replace 
Joy in each heart, and blood in every face. 
They thank his Lordfhip with a joint accord. 
And pledge thennfelves to join the feftal board. 

Such were the lighter and recreative employ- 
ments in which the dodor occupied the greater 
part of his leifure hours : yet he did not exclu- 
fively confine himfelf to metre. To expofe the 
abfurdity of what at this time overflowed the nation 
— war-fermons delivered in the pulpit of peace — 
he publifhed, under the fiditious name of Polemo- 
philus Brown, tw^o diftinct parodies upon feveral of 
the more violent difcourfes of this defcription, 
which had been printed by requeft. Of thefe the 
former is dated 1738, and entitled, " A New 
Year's Gift to the Good People of England j 
being a Sermon, or fomething like a Sermon, in 
Defence of the prefent War : preached on the 
Day of Public Thankfgiving." The latter bears 
the daLe of 1799, and is more laconically denomi^ 
nated '' A Sermon preached on the Day of Gene- 
ral Faft, Feb, 27." 

The " New Year's Gift'* is uifhered into the 
world without either text or motto of any defcrip- ' 
tion. " I have placed," fays the author, " no 


particular text at the head of mine oration, for the 
following reafons :— In the firfl place, I have long 
obferved that preachers never Jlick to their texts ; 
and, indeed, it appeareth hardly pofTible to make 
any fmgle text the fubiea of a whole difcourfe* 
There is not a pafTage in the Bible, that may not 
be as well explained in one minute as in one 
hour. Having, then, never heard or read a 
fermon in which the text was ftridly adhered 
to, I thought it would be prefumption in me to 
attempt to achieve what had never before been 

" Secondly, I have not been able to find, ei- 
ther in the Old or New Teflament, any fmgle /;/- 
Julated text perfe^lly fuited to my fubje^; al- 
though I turned over every leaf in Cruden's Con- 
c6rdance for that very purpofe." 

The Fail-Day Sermon bears the device of " No 
bifnop, no king; no king, no bifhop." Refped- 
ing which, he obferves, " Thefe words are not, I 
grant, to be found in any part of fcripture, ftriaiy 
canonical : but they are not, for that, the lefs de- 
ferving of attention. They were uttered by an au- 
thor, whom cur forefathers in God deemed to be, 
fometimes at lead, infpired. They were uttered 
by a great monarch, the Solomon of his age, and 
the arbiter of religious controverfies ; who crufhed 
both popery and prefbyteiy with a rod of iron 5 


and fhivered them in pieces, like a potter's vef- 
fel ! Why, then, may not his words be, in fome 
fort, confidered as canonical ; although they 
came too late to be inferted either in the Canon 
of Ezra, or the Canon of Chalcedon ? At any 
rate, they have as good a title to be made a text^ 
as any in the Book of Tobit, or other book apo- 

I refer to thefe writings of our author in the or- 
der in which they iland, without pledging my« 
feif by any means to fupport all the dodrines, or 
approve all the fentiments they inculcate. Much 
has been objected, and forcibly objected, too, 
againll the introdudion of politics into the pulpit ; 
but I have never yet feen a line drawn which has 
had even a profpedl of producing fatisfafticn to any 
party. No man who values the fociety in which 
he is placed, his family afEnities^ or even his own 
individual happinefs, can abilradl himfelf from the 
affairs of his country, or become totally indiffer- 
ent to its interefl. Were he never, therefore, to 
meet his fellow citizens in public with a view of 
joining in thofe penitential confefTions, thofe fuppli- 
cations and thankfgivings at the throne of the 
Great Parent of mankind, which are common to 
the fed or nation of which he is a m.ember, he 
could hot totally exclude the beautiful climax of 


relatives, friends, country, and mankind at large, 
from the private devotions of his clofet. His 
own happinefs is connected with the common 
weal of what furrounds him, and mediately or im- 
mediately he mull refer to it. But if, botii from 
the very conftitution of nature and the exprefs 
dictates of revealed religion, ^^ fuppUcaticns be'* 
thus " to be made for all men," to Him by whom 
all men have been created, why fhould the dif- 
courfe fubfequent upon fuch fupplications be de- 
barred from partaking of the very elfence of our 
prayers ; and, inftead of being rendered equally 
imprefTive and diverfified by a guarded and re- 
fpedful reference to the national fa6ls or politics 
of the day, be rigidly limited, from week to week, 
to the dodrines of revelation or the duties of mo- 
rality ? I admit the difficulty of drawing the line, 
the certi denique fines ^ tov/ards which we may de- 
cently approach, but ought never to overflep. I 
am aware of the temptation to which almofl every 
preacher is hence at times expofed. I fee the dan- 
ger of converting the pulpit into the roftrum ; but 
I cannot bring myfelf on tliis account to op- 
pugn what appears to me a duty incumbent upon 
every man both preacher and hearer ; and I 
would much rather pardon that defed of tafte, 
or excefs of feeling, which may occaiionally 


hurry a preacher beyond the bounds of critical 
exactitude, than confent to his banilhing, with 
cold and fpiritlefs forbearance, the memorial 
of every national concern from the facred defk, 
in which he appears in the twofold and vene- 
rable character of the organ and ijiftrudor of 
his auditory. 




Dr. Geddes perfeveres in his Tranjlation of the Bih1e--m 

Again oppreffld zuith pecuniary d'jjicultics — tlijltofcs 
his fituation to his friends — their generous and affec- 
tionate ajfijtance — again in a Jiate of eaf a^id inde- 
pendi nee — Puhlifhes his Modefl Aj^ologjyfor the Roman 
Cuthohcs of Great Britain — the caufe of his publifhing 
it at the prefent period — an analyjis of the wurk^ 
A. D. 1799 — 1800. 

The preceding chapter, which has been confined 
to a notice of feveral of the lighter exercifes and 
occupations of the fubjefl of thefe memoirs, 
exhibits him ahnoft as an idler in comparifon 
with thofe feverer and more elaborate purfuits to 
which his life was for the greater part devotid. 
Yet Dr. Geddes was at no time an idler, and lefs 
than any at the period of which we have juft been 
taking a furvey : for though his literary recreations, 
his garden, and his friends, made a happy diverfion 
in his employments, and fhared liberally in the di- 
vifion of his time, he ftill attentively appli d him- 
felf, m his more ferious hours, to his criiical and 
-voluminous Tranflation of the Bible. Towards the 


clofe of 1793 he found his health fufEciently re- 
ftored, and his fpirits fufficiently reanimated, to re- 
new the undertaking with afliduity : he perfevered, 
with few intervals of relaxation, through the two 
enfuing years, completed his fecond volume in the 
fpring of 1796, and publilhed it in 1797. The 
firfl volume, as in duty bound, he had dedicated to 
Lord Petre : and having difcharged this debt of 
gratitude, he infcribed the fecond " To her Royal 
Highness the Duchess of Gloucester, an 
early, fpontaneous, and liberal encourager of the 
Work ;" an infcription which, though unaccom- 
panied with the formality of an exprefs permifiion? 
was received, as I am alfured, 'with much benevo- 
lence and complacency. 

On the completion of thefe two volumes he fet 
ferioufly to work in arranging for the prefs his 
volume of Critical Remarks upon the Pentateuch. 
This, and this only, he Hved to finifli. It made its 
appearance in 1800, and was ufhered into the 
world without a dedication to any perfon. At its 
clofe, however, we meet with a poetic addrefs in 
Latin, not altogether free from thofe errors quos 
incur ia fundit^ fuperfcribed, "Ad Amicum mei 
amantiflimum, J. D.''— " To my very affedionate 
Friend, J. D :" the initials in which are well 
known to defignate the name of Dr. Difney, a gen- 
tleman of vvhofe friendlhip Dr. Geddes might well 


be proud, and who had indeed not only been his 
affectionate friend, but his perpetual benefador 
and counfellor. As the verfes in which this Ad- 
drefs is couched convey an explicit flatement of 
his opinion refpeCling the infpiration of Mofes, I 
fhall take the liberty of tranfcribing them. 


Num fuerit Moses ccelelli flamine motus ? 

Qu^osris — refponfum hoc habe, amice, meum. 
Motus erat certo coelefti flamine Mofes; 

Moti quo Teutas, Numa, Lycurgus erant. 
Nempe omnes Sophiae facro de fonte biberunt : 

Hauferunt large hi; larglus ille tamen. 
Nee tamen Hunc Temper latices haufifTe putato 

lUimes 'j luteas non femel haufit aquas. 
Uni homini tantum licult deducerc lymphas 

Omninopura« — ille homo Christus erat, 
Ille ctenim folus, divino numine plenus, 

Leges perfeftas, jus fine labe tulit. 
Ergo, alii fileant legum quicunque latores ; 

Mi Jesus Christus legifer unus erit. 
Ah! poffem tantum tua, Christe, abfolvere dida. 

Tunc eflent votis cunfta fecunda meis. 
Aft Tu, nate Deo, qui cum Patre omnia poflis, 

Tu mihi fperatam, spes mea! Tu fcr opem. 
Per Te concefTo, coelefti robore fultus, 

Promptus ego tua veftigia, Christe, premam. 
Nam tua calcanti veftigia facra falutera. 

Es Tu poUicitus — fed tua verba manent. 
** Me, me qui fequitur, tencbris non ambulat," inquis ; 

En ego Te, poiTum quomodo, Christe, fequor. 


Sis niih'iTu lurrten ; fis Temper clara luccrna; 

Sis certum indicium, dux finnul atque viae. 
Te duce, callis ego metuenda pericula fpernam 

Angufti, et tecum gnaviter ailra petarfi.* 

Of thefe three volumeSj I do not know the ex- 
a6l number of copies to which their fale has hi- 
therto extended ; and flill lefs the degree of com- 
parative preference with which they have been 
fought after by the public : but I have every reafon 
to beheve that the demand for them did not keep 

* The following is our poet's own tranflation of thefe verfes 
into En^l'rti ; -^'ith which, as well as feveral other documents, 
I have been obh'gingly favored by my friend Timothy Brown, 
Efq. at ihe requeft of whofe family the tranflation was made. 
It is but fair to obferve, however, that the Erglna, although 
freer from mere metrical dcfc(5ls than the Latin, is at the fame 
time lefs pointed and animated. It is here limply introduced 
as 3 tranflation. 

You aflc me,fcriouSf whether I believe 
That Mors was infpired ? — My ^iend, receive 
This/c'rioi^s anfvver : Ycs, he was jnfpired 
With that fame flame which Numa's bofom fired. 
Numa, Lycurgus, every other fage 
"Who legiflated for a barbarous age 
All drank from Wifdonis fount, or Wifdom's rill j 
Large draughts they drew — but Mofes larger flill. 
Yet think not all the draughts that Mofes drew 
Were limpid draughts — fomctimes a flimy hue 
Beting'd the waters : — fince the world began. 
One man drew purely — Jesus was that man! 
Jesus alone, full of the Godhead, brought 
A code of laws divine, that lacketh nought. 


pace with our author's firfl expeftations. In fuch 
a declaration, mdeed, the reader has already per- 
haps anticipated me. Some parts of his verfion, I 
have already obfervjd, are by no means rendered 
with dignity or felicity of didion : many of his opi- 
nions were unpopular ; and the perfonal and un- 
charitable oppofition which was excited againfl 
him by a variety of different perfuafions in the 
chriftian church, was highly injurious to the cir- 
culation of the v/ork : yet, after all, the tranflator 
himfelf v/as perhaps its great eft enem^y. The art 
of puiTiing a book into notice, and forcing it not 

Then dumb let other I^giilators be, 
And Jesus only legiHate for me. 

Ah ! Jeo us ! could I but thy law fulfil, 
I'd d-ern myftlf beyond the reach of ill. 
Each vvl-li complete : — but thou to whom is " given," 
By t',y great Sire, " all povv'r in earth and heaven,'' 
- Do thou, my Hope 1 the hoped-for aid impart, 
And with celeftial fuccour firing ray heart. 
Supported thus, I joyfully will trace 
Thy facred footileps with an eager pace. 
Since thou hall faid ( whofe words were never vain) 
That he who runs with thee the prize iliall gain, 
'* Me, me who follows, cannot mifs the mark j 

" He ne'er Hrail fall nor ihimble in the dark" 

Thee, Jesus ! thee I follow — as I may y 
Be thou my light and leachr on the way : 
Tho' ftrait the path, its dangers I defpife, 
And truft with thee to reach the ftarry flvies. 


only upon the view, but into the very hands of the 
public, be its merits or demerits, the general incli- 
nation or difmclination concerning it what they 
may, is altogether of modern birth ; and Dr. 
Geddes, who was never a man of the world even 
in his youth, was wretchedly calculated in the latter 
years of his life for an initiation into any fuch craft 
or myflery. Inllead, therefore, of fpending forty 
or fifty pounds upon advertifmg every feparate 
volume, Mr. Johnfon, one of his bookfellers, has 
informed me that he does not beHeve he ever fpent 
five guineas upon advertifmg the whole of them ; 
and that when, upon our author's informing him the 
volume containing the Critical Remarks was jufl 
ready for publication, he hinted the propriety of 
preffing it upon the public eye by a continuance 
of extenfive advertifements, his anfwer was, that 
for his own part he did not fee there was any ne, 
ceflity whatever for fuch a flep : he had already, 
he added, informed his friends of its being printed, 
and he fhould perhaps put an advertifement into 
the Mcrntyig Chronicle — a paper to which, more- 
ov3r, he generally had a gratuitous accefs in con- 
fequence of the affifliance which he alfo had gratui- 
toufly afforded it on particular occafions ! 

Dr. Geddes had either forgotten his pafl em-, 
barraffments, or had never poifeiTed the important 
talent of learning v/ifdom by misfortune. The want 


of knowledge which he manifefted In this mode of 
advertifing his work,he manifefted equally in all the 
reft of his tranfadlions with the world. Such, there- 
fore, being the fad, had he never engaged in the 
trade of authorfhip, and particularly in that branch 
of it which confifts in becoming his own vender, he 
muft neceflarily have exceeded the falary allowed 
him by his noble patron, " magmficent^''' as he efti- 
mated it, and juftly eftimated it, on its firft grant. 
But by plunging himfelf, with many incumbrances 
already on his back, and no capital whatever in 
hand, fave that of upright intention and mere 
hope of fuccefs, into fo confiderable an expence 
as the prefent, it was impofTible he fliould not once 
more become deeply embarralTed. His difficulties 
and burdens indeed preifed him at length fo heavily 
as to be altogether infupportable ; and the trifling 
afliftances he had received from feveral friends, 
who fufpeded his finances were not in the moft 
flourifliing ftate, had only mingled, like io many 
drops, in the general torrent of diftrefs, without 
producing the remoteft degree of fenfible varia- 
tion. To his friend lord Petre he did not choofe 
to unbofom himfelf ; he had no claim upon him 
for any additional generofity, and, encumbered as 
he was, he ftillfelt profoundly the liberality of the 
ftipend he received. 

To one pr two other friends he at length, howi- 


ever, muftered courage enough to diVo'*e his en- 
tire fituation ; and it is to the credit of the Britifh 
name, and particularly of the age in which we 
live, that the difclofure was no fooner communi- 
cated than a plan was devifed for his extrication ; 
almoil indeed without his knowledge, and cer- 
tainly in a way far more calculated to gratify than 
to wound the feehngs of a heart naturally irritable 
and impatient of misfortune. It is to the credit of 
the age in which we live, that without any further 
application on his own part^ perfons of every rank 
and religious perfuafion, proteflants and catholics, 
clergy arxd laity, nobility and gentry, feveral of 
"whom had never known him but by name, and 
many of whom had openly profeifed a diflike of 
his favorite tenets, united in one charitable effort 
to refcue him from anxiety and dillrefs ; nor fhould 
it be forgotten that fome part, at leaft, of the 
amount fabfcribed proceeded from the right reve- 
rend bench itfelf. The names o thofe who thus 
generoufly interfered, together with the total of the 
fums collcded, and the m.ode in which they were 
appHed, I have had an opportunity of minutely 
infpecling. Many of the accounts, thofe at lead 
which relate to the contributions of proteftants, 
are flill, I b:.lieve, in the pofTeffion of Dr. Difney 
and Mr. Brown, whofe united zeal is well known 
to have been indefatigable upon the occafion: 


and, from the calculations I have been able to 
make, I find that in about two years and a half, 
from the beginning of 1 738 to the middle of 1 800, 
there was col levied and expended on his account 
little lefs than 900/. fterling, independently of 
the annuity he dill, as ufueJ, continued to re- 
ceive from lord Petre. Moft of his involvements 
having, moreover^ been occafioned by the volumi- 
nous publication in which he was engaged, his ob- 
ligations to paper-makers and printers, an addi- 
tional propofal was at the fame time made, \vhich, 
if carried into efFjd (and nothing but his prema- 
ture death obi]:ru£tcd it), would have nfC-iTarily 
precluded him from every fimilar evil in future : 
this proposal was, that his friends ihould take upon 
themfelves the entire expenfe of his fubfequent 
volumes, receiving from time to time their various 
produce till fuch expenfe was completely Hqui- 
dated — provided the produce fhould be adequate 
to the liquidation — and . that the author fnould 
from this period rec2ive the furplus for himfelf. 

Never, therefore, was there any man thus re- 
peatedly entangled in pecuniary embarraffments, 
who, perhaps, found himfelf more fortunate 
than Dr. Geddes. -His heart on the prefent very 
liberal interference, as may naturally be expected, 
became lightened j he reaiTi^med his habitual vi- 


vacity ; all nature, to his delighted eye, appeared 
to Ite invefled with new charms — 

And, redolent of joy and youth. 
To breathe a fccohd fpring. 

He now ferioufly applied himfelf to a revifal for 
the prefs of a treatife upon the harmlefs nature 
of the catholic religion, in relation to fecular 
governments of every defcription, when reduced 
to its pure and primary principles, and divefled 
of thofe temporal and inconfiflent powers which 
the lawlefs ambition of the court of Rome has 
at different periods endeavored to introduce into 
it. This treatife, as I have already obferved*', 
was originally drawn up in 1782, during the riots 
in Scotland and England, upon the fubjed of fir 
George Saville's bill in favor of perfons profelT- 
ing the Roman catholic religion, but was fup- 
prefl in its publication in confequence of the pre^ 
judices and intemperance of the times. The times 
were, however, at length become more propitious ; 
the good faith of the Britifh catholics had been 
proved through a peiiod of nearly twenty years ; 
the fpirit of animofity had fubfided ; and the wif- 
dorn of thofe indulgences which had been accorded 
by parliament were rendered every day more 

* Chap. iii. p. 74. 


mamfeft. The catholics of Ireland fllll labored, 
however, under many grievances, to which thofe of 
the lifter kingdom were no longer expofed ; and 
this, notwithflanding the vail: majority of their po- 
pulation in comparifon with the members of the 
eilablifhed church, and the repeated promifes by 
which government had pledged itfelf to grant them 
relief. The expediency of fuch relief, and the con- 
du6i: of the exifling adminiftration in this refped', 
had now become a fubje6: of parliamentary in- 
quiry y the public mind was anxious for informa- 
tion, and our author feized, with laudable avidity, 
the opportunity which was thus prefenLcd to him, 
and brought forth his treatife under the title of 
*' A Modefl Apology for the Roman Catholics of 
Great Britain ; addrefled to all moderate Protefl- 
ants ; particularly to the Members of both Houfes 
of Parliament." It was publifhed anonymoufly. Dr. 
Geddes was well aware that the introduction of his 
own name would not, at this period, aflifl its cir- 
culation ; and, by fupprelTmg it, he gave an evi- 
dent token of his attachment to the caufe he thus 
attempted to ferve. He was foon known, however, 
to be the author of it, as well from the intrinlic 
teftimony of its flyle as from the various rumors of 
his friends. Yet it had now eflabliilied its reputa- 
tion upon the bafis of its ov/n real merit ; and 
while it was feduloufly fought after at home, it 
had met with equal fuccefs on the continent, and 


had been tranflated both into French and Ger- 

The object of this Apology, as the author informs 
us in his introduciion, is to prove that fo far 
from a necefTity for that intolerance which has 
been too generally pradifed in Ireland, there is 
nothing in the real principles of either Britiih 
or Irifli catholics to render even thofe compara- 
tively lighter difabilities necefiary, mider which 
the former are at prefent fufFering, notwithfliand- 
ing the two ftatutes in their favor, v/hich have 
been ena6ted in the reign of Geo. III.: and that 
every dif?-bility, if not a perfecution, is a difgrace, 
and as fuch ought to be removed from a commu- 
nity of fubjecls as loyal " as the diffenting pro- 
teftants, or any other protefliants of the land.'* 
He conceives that they are only allowed to con- 
tinue from fome fliil remaining mifapprehenfion of 
the real principles of this community ; and to era- 
dicate fuch a mifapprehenfion he proceeds to draw 
a parallel between the docViines and difcipline of the 
catholic and the Englifn churches. In the preamble 
to the work he thus liberally expreifes himfelf : 

" Before I enter upon the fubjecl, I mud beg 
leave to make a few previous obfervations. And, 
firll of all, in alTaming the character of an apolo- 
gift for thofe of m.y perfuafion, I mean not, in any 
refped, to juftify the conduct of all thofe who 
have, in different times and countries, borne the 


name of catholics; and, under that name, have 
been often guilty of the moll extravagant excelTes. 
It is, indeed, hard that this premonition ihould be 
rendered necelTary through the obflinacy of unge- 
nerous adverfaries, who will continue to rake in 
the rotten fepulchres of our criminal anceflors for 
filth to throw at their innocent pollerity, and to 
collect from the fcandals and facrileges of the ca- 
tholics of all ages a fubjed of impeachment againfl 
thofe of the prefent age. Of at leafl a hundred 
combatants, who have within' thefe lail tv/enty 
years declared themfelves the champions of pro- 
teilancy, or rather the adverfaries of popery, I am 
perfectly fafe to fay, that there are not: five who 
have not fhot at us from that envenomed quiver; 
and I am forry to be obliged to add that their 
Ihafts have too feldom mxilTed their aim. 

^-' Yet furely nothing can be more illiberal and 
iniquitous. iEfop's wolf quarrelled with the poor 
lamb for the pretended crimes of his immediate 
father, but our more unreafonable perfecutors 
would make us accountable back to the tenth ge- 
neration. What, pray, have we of the eighteenth 
century to do with the ignorance of the ninth, 
the fuperllition of the twelfth, or the fanaticifm 
of the fixteenth ? let who will paint the phrenfy 
of the Crufades, the horrors of the Valdenfian 
perfecution, the fury of the French league, the 


barbarity of the Irifli maffacre, and all the other 
common-place topics of party declamation. As a 
lover of truth, I might be provoked to ftrip the 
piece of a part of its colouring, where I were con- 
vinced it were overcharged ; but as a chriftian and 
a catholic, I am no further concerned, than feri- 
oufly to lament, that ever there fhould have ex- 
ited chriflians and catholics fo forgetful of their 
own principles, as to a£t in diametrical oppofition 
to them. 

" What need have we to be informed, by every 
pulpit rhetorician and polemical fcribbler, that 
there have been haughty, imperious, domineering 
popes; avaricious and fimoniacal bifhops; diflblute 
and diforderly monks; a licentious and libertine 
clergy? Have not our own Bernards, and Bennos, 
and Gerfons, and Guicciardinis, and Eadmers, and 
Ortuins, defcribed all that infamy, with equal ac- 
curacy, and much more eloquence? We read 
their inveclives with aftonilhment and indigna- 
tion, we bewail the misfortune of thofe who lived 
in times of fuch corruption and depravity, and 
blefs ourfelves that Providence has call our lot in 
better days; but we cannot be fo unjuft as to 
charge ourfelves with crimes and abominations, in 
which neither we nor our fathers had any fhare. 

" Nor are we any more accountable for the 
large crops of fpiritual cockle that have been, at 


different times, ^ while men llept,' fown by the 
enemy in the wide field of the catholic world; and 
which, at certain periods, feem almoU: to have 
choked the good grain — I mean the enervation 
of ancient church difcipline; the fabrication of 
falfe decretals; the multiplication of appeals, dif- 
penfes, exemptions, immunities and enormous 
privileges; the rage of idle pilgrimages; the bafe 
traffic of indulgences ; the propagation of lying 
legends; feigned miracles and apocryphal revela- 
tions; the doctrines of the pope's infallibility, 
temporal jurifdidion and depofmg power! All 
thofe tares have either happily been rooted out by 
the vigilance of zealous paftors, or, if there ilill 
remain fome undergrowths, 

Prifcpe veftlgia fraudls 


they are, for the mod part, fuch as it were, per« 
haps, better to leave till the lall great harveft, 
when the divine Mailer will ordain of them ac- 
cording to his good pleafure. 

" I mufl: alfo further declare, that I will not, in 
this Apology, pay the lead attention to any argu- 
ments or objedions drawn from the various opi- 
nions and decifions of our fcholaftic divines or ca- 
fuifls, againil which any catholic may argue as 
flrongly as any proteilant, and for which, they 
only who defend them are refponfible. 


*^ This will at onpe lop off from my fubjefl a 
large portion of extraneous matter, with which it 
is not neceifarily conneded ; and, by reducing the 
lines to a narrower compais, render the pofl I have 
taken more tenable againft a defperate attack. 
And, indeed, who would encumber himfelf with 
any thing not absolutely n^celTary for his de- 
fence? much lefs with what might endanger his 
fafety ? 

'' It would be hard, indeed, if I were obliged, 
to defend and reconcile the jarring fyftems of ca- 
tholic theologues ; Tranfalpine ideas of papal def- 
potifm with the liberties of the GalHcan church 
and declarations of the Gallican clergy, Thomifts 
with Scotifts, Rigorifls with Probabiliils, the pre- 
determination of the Dominicans with the con- 
gruifm of the Jefuits, Bellarmine with Barclay, 
Flavigny with Morinus, Knott with Petrus Aure- 
lius, Parfons with Witherington, &c. 

'^ I repeat it, then ; I will have nothing to do 
with all that. My bunnefs is to defend, or, if 
ye will, excufe the real and confefled principles 
of the catholic religion, ^vhich were at all times, 
and in all places, the indifputable principLs of ca- 
tholics, which every catholic will acknowledge, 
and which no catholic can realbnably deny." 

His fubjecl he divides into three fedions. " In 
the firfl," fays he, '' I fhall lay before the reader 


thofe articles of catholic belief, about which there 
is, or ought to be, no difpute ; becaufe they are 
articles in which we are perfectly agreed with all 
proteflants : and it will appear, I apprehend, that 
thofe articles are much more numerous and im- 
portant than it is generally imagined ; at lead than 
pragmatical fomenters of divifion are willing to 
have it known. 

" In the fecond feflion, I fhall mark more par- 
ticularly the points in which we are either perfectly 
agreed, or nearly coincide, with fome one or other 
proteflant communion; efpecially with the efla- 
blifhed church of England. 

'^ In the third feftion, I fliall fairly and can- 
didly fum up all the tenets that are peculiar to ca- 
tholics; afcertain what is certain, remove what is 
doubtful, and determine the flri6: fenfe in which 
a Britifh catholic receives them : and, which is the 
principal part of this undertaking, defend, or apo- 
logize for thofe tenets, the bell: I can; and endea- 
vor to (how that they merit neither profcription 
nor perfecution, nor even the privation of a fmgie 
privilege that other Britons enjoy. ' 

The firfl fedlion needs not detain us except to no- 
tice that the different denominations of protefrants 
to whom the author principally refers, are the 
church of England, the Lutherans, the CalviniUs, 
and the Socinians, In ^e^^:ion the fecond, he ob- 

2 I 


ferves that the catholic church is perfeftly agreed 
^^th thechurch of England in the dodrinesof the 
trinity, of the incarnation of the Word, of the fuf- 
feringS', death, and mediatorfhip of Jefus Chrift, 
and of the perfonality and efficacy of the Holy 
Ghoft. The catholic, he proceeds to affert, can 
cordially fubfcribe a confiderable number of the 
thirty-nine articles of the church of England : he 
believes that the vifible church of Chrift is a con- 
gregation of faithful men, &c.* : that this " church 
hath power to decree rites and ceremonies, and au- 
thority in controverfies of faithf;'* yet fo, that it is 
not lawful for her to ordain any thing which is con- 
trary to God's word ; and that " every national 
church hath authority to ordain, change, and abo- 
liih church rites or ceremonies ordained only by 
man's authority ];." With the church of England 
he admits a fpiritual hierarchy, confifling of 
bifhops, priefls, and deacons, together with the 
general principles upon which fuch a hierarchy is 
founded, as advanced in articles xxiii. and xxvi. 
He unites with the fame church in her articles 
upon the facraments of baptifm and the Lord's 
fupper§ : in acknowledging the utility of a public 
liti/rgy, and the expediency of fubjeding it to occa- 

♦Art. jp. f Art. 20. t Art. 34. 
§ Art. 2^, 27, 28. 


fional alterations * : and he fees that the liturgy of 
each church is fo nearly allied, that with very 
little variation the one might be fubftituted for the 

" Our ecclefiaflic polity/' fays the author, 
^^ was the platform on which that of the church of 
England's was laid — our canon law is flill, in a 
great meafure, the rule of her judicatories. — She 
has her fpiritual confiflorial courts, her decrees, 
her cenfures, from us. — She has her fubordinate 
church government, her primates, her prelates, 
her archbilhops and bifhops, her deans, preben- 
daries, canons, and other dignitaries — her diocefes, 
parifhes, cathedrals, and common churches; he;r 
benefices, her tythes, her perquifites, her Eafler- 
dues, and free-will offerings; her very furplices, 
lawn-lleeves and mitres — all from us. In thefe 
refpeds we are fo refemblant, that other proteft- 
ant fects confider us as two fifters of the fame fa- 
mily; which, like Ovid's fea-nymphs, have jbme- 
what different traits of countenance, but not dif- 
fimilar facesf; and on this account abufe them 
both alike.'* 

What then are the real or apparent differences 

* See " Concerning the Service of the Church," and <* The 

t . " Facies non omnibus una, 

Nee diverfa tamen, qualem decet qRq fororum." 


which adually fubfift between EngHfh Roman 
catholics and the proteilants of the eftablilhed 
church of England ? And here the firfl our author 
advances is the rule of faith : the church of 
Rome appeaHng to tradition, and the church 
of England to scripture. But what is at lafl 
the refult of all thofe violent controverfies and dif- 
putes that have been difplayed by the two parties 
upon this very point ? The former, which at one 
time contended for tradition only^^ now admits that 
the rule of faith is derived from the word of God 
whether written or unwritten^ that is from tradi- 
tion in conjundion with scripture; while 
SCRIPTURE, which in an earlier asra was folely 
combated for by the latter, is now owned, in the 
language of Stillingfleet, " to be our rule; and 
univerfal tradition the evidence on which we 
receive the books*. 

But WHO is the judge of religious con- 
troversies? Here is another difference which 
has often been regarded as extreme : the church 
of England profeiTrng to appeal to fcripture alone ; 
and the church of Rome, perfuaded that fcripture 
cannot interpret itfelf, and apprized that it is equally 
appealed to by chriftians of the mofh oppofite opi- 
nions — maintaining that fhe alone is the arbitrator. 

* Anfwer to Sergeant's Catholic Letters, p. 16. 


** One of the greateft controverfies which ever 
difturbed chriftianity," fays our author, " was that 
concerning the divinity of Jefus Chrifl. How was 
it ultimately decided? Not by fcripture: for both 
parties equally appealed to it; and, in my humble 
opinion, the Arians brought more plaufible argu- 
ments from that repofitory than the Athanafians, 
Nor was the queftion decided by tradition : for 
both quoted the earlier chriflian writers, as favour- 
able to themfelves; and it mud be confefled, I 
think, that the Antinicene fathers are, at moft, am- 
biguous witnelTes. — How then was the queflion, 
at length, refolved? Why, by a majority of fuf- 
frages in a council of 318 bifliops; by whom the 
conjiihftayitiality of the Son with the Father was 
declared to be an article of chriflian faith : and this 
article of chriflian faith makes a part, a principal 
part of the protefiant as well as of the cathohc 
creed. In the protefiant church of England, in 
particular, the creed of Nice is as much a \fi:and* 
ard of belief as in the church of Romej and is 
publicly recited in the liturgies of both. 

" I knov/ it has been faid, that the cluH'ch of 
England receives the article of ccnfubftantiation 
and the other articles contained in the -Nicene 
creed, not en the authority of the Nicene, or any 
other countil, but becaufe they are fcripture doc* 
trines. But is not this evidently begging the quef- 


tion? Many proteftants, and thefe not the leaff 
learned, find no fuch do6trine as conjuhftantiation 
in the fcriptures; and the whole body of ancient 
Arians, who once divided the chriflian world, af- 
firmed that no fuch doctrine could be proved 
from fcripture. — ^Scripture, then, cannot be a de- 
cifive judge of controverted points : and fome 
other tribunal mufl be fought, if a decifion is to 
be made in matters of religious controverfy.— 
^' In truth,*' continues he, " I cannot well con- 
ceive how any cGnfeJfion^ or prof effion of faith, creed 
or catechijm of any kind, could be impofed on the 
members of any fociety as a teil of orthodoxy, if 
the impofers did not confider themfelves as com- 
petent and lawful judges." > 

Our author therefore concludes, that the Ro- 
man catholic tenet " that the churchy not the Bible y 
is the ultimate judge in religious controverfies^^ is, if 
repugnant to the principles, certainly not to the 
practice of proteflants. 


" She is," fay the catholics; " Ihe is not,'' fay 
the preteftants : to which lad anfwer our author 
feems moft difpofed to incline. As to the per- 
fonal infallibility of the pope, he totally rejedls it, 
as it is alfo rejedted by the great body of , the En- 
glifh catholics^ as well as by moft of vhe catholic 
churches on the continent. Allowing, however. 


that infallibility is veded in the church, he pro- 
ceeds to affert that the Romanifts have feldom or 
never coincided in their idea of what foit of a 
church has a right to fuch a claim. '• In truth/' 
fays he, " when we confider that we ourfelves are 
not agreed about the feat of infallibility, any more 
than pfychologifls are about the feat of the foul — 
and that, wherefoever we place it, it has never 
been determined what are its boundaries, and how 
far its influence extends? how decifions about 
matters of faith are to be diftinguiflied from deci- 
fions concerning difcipline ? what councils are 
oecumenical, what not? when councils a6; conci- 
liariter or otherwife — or when a pope fpeaks ex 
cathedra^ or as a private divine, &c. — in a v/ord, 
what conditions and circumflances are necelTary to 
conflitute an infallible tribunal?—- we can hardly 
help agreeing with an anonymous writer on what 
is called the p-pijh cojitroverjyy ^ That after all that 
has been written on the church's infallibility, it at 
iafl dwindles away into fome arbitrary Tiutes and 
marks * of a church ; and is at beil but a moral 

• " " Our theologians labour to prove that the Romifti church 
is not only a true church, but the only true church ; becaufe* 
fay they, ib^ alone has the marhs of the tme church: vnity^ 
hoVmefs, un'rce-rfality^ and apoJioVidty, But here the onus pre- 
handi grows exceffively heavy on their (houlders : and even 
the gigantic Bellarmiue himfelf fuccambs under the load." 


certainty*/ Or, with bifhop Burnet, ' That the 
church's authority is rather an authority o^ order ^ 
than oUnfallihility: In which fenfe, I believe, every 
church, as well as the Roman church, without 
pretending to be infallible, ads as if (he were fo/' 
The difference refulting from the supre- 

TO THE POPE, involves our author, as he can- 
didly acknowledges, in a difficult talk. He does 
not conceive, however, that this tenet rightly un- 
derflood, and fuch as it is at prefent generally held 
by the catholics of Great Britain, as well as thofe 
of mod: other countries, has any thing in it dan- 
gerous to any ftate or government. " When cir- 
cumvefled," fays he, " with fuppofed infallibility, 
uncircumfcribed by canons, and in the hands of 
sn afpiring ambitious pontiff, fuch a power could 
not but be dangerous : and fo it proved. — From it, 
as from the Trojan horfe, iifued forth an Iliad of 
evils, which, for a time, deftroyed all lawful fub- 
ordination, and fubjeded crow^ns and tiaras to 
the will and pleafure of one abfolute ghoflly Aq:U 
pot, who governed a great portion of the v/orld 
with fovereign fway. 

" Yet. this ufurped empire was neither uni- 
verfal, nor, in its highefl altitude, of long duration. 

** *' Difcourfe concerning the Judge of Conlroverfies." 
J689 p. 62. 


It fell more rapidly than it rofe, and is now almoft 
totally annihilated. Kings no more dread the 
effects of pontific rage; Vatican fulminations are no 
longer formidable; Roman infallibility is laughed 
at even in Rome itfelf ; and a pope's biill^ or 
hre-ve^ is, as fuch, as little regarded at Paris, Vienna, 
Madrid, and Lifbon, as it would be at Peteriburg, 
Berlin, Copenhagen, or London. 

" ' Still (it will be urged) the pope's supre- 
macy is a Roman catholic tenet — it was once, 
confelTedly, a dangerous tenet — what was once 
dangerous may become fo again— and, therefore, 
every proteftant ftate Ihould be careful to prevent 
it from ever recovering its former pernicious influ- 
ence.' — Undoubtedly — and fo, too, fhould every 
catholic (late: and, in reahty, there is not, I be- 
lieve, any catholic (late in Chriflendom that is 
not as jealous of papal influence as we can be. — 
But, jealous as they are, they fee no danger from 
acknowledging the bifhop of Rome to be in rank^ 
hcncur^ and dignity^ the firfl prelate in the chrillian 
church — a privilege which was early conferred on 
him, partly from his being the fuppofed fucceffor 
of two great apoftles, but chiefly from his see 
being in the capital of the Roman empire ; a pri- 
vilege acknowledged by the councils of Nice, 
Conitantinople, and Chalcedon, and admitted even 
by the Greeks themfelves in the council of Flo- 


x'ence; although they foon repented, and retraded 
the concellion." 

The remaining difFerences, and which confHtute 
the lail divifion of the Apology, regard chiefly, 
" The number and nature of the Chrillian Sacra- 
ments — Grace — Good Works— Works of Super- 
erogation — Invocation of Saints — Veneration of 
Images and Relics— Purgatory, and Prayer for the 
Dead — Clerical Celibacy — Religious Orders — 
Pilgrimages — Confecration of Churches, Bells, 
Crucifixes, Images, Holy Water, Oil, Candles, 
Palm -Branches, Beads, Rofaries, Medals, Agnus 
Deis, &c. &c. of all which,'' fays our author, " I 
mean to give a fair and candid flatement, and leave 
to my proteflant readers to determine whether any 
of them be dangerous to civil fociety, fo as to 
merit the profcription of thofe who believe, or 
pradife them/' 

In the confi deration of thefe minor differences 
I fhall not follow our apologifl. From the ana- 
lyfis I have already given, the reader may per- 
ceive the path he is likely to take ; and will, I 
apprehend, be as ready- as himfelf to admit that 
they contain nothing dangerous to civil fociety. 
In general, he makes an ingenious effort to aiTimi- 
late, wherever he can, the dodrines and praftices 
here adverted to, with a variety of rites and prin- 
ciples in different proteflant churches j and in every 


inftance of the former afcribes far lefs impoitance 
to them than they are commonly conceived to 
polTefs; and on many occafions, far lefs than the 
body of cathohcsare difpofed to allow: the great 
defect of this excellent and admirable defence 
being, that it difcriminates with too little preciiion 
the opinions of its author as an individual man 
from ihofe of the general communion of which 
he was an individual member; a defeiSt for v/hich 
I have often heard it condemned by feveral of our 
apologifl's warmeft catholic friends; who, in eveiy 
other confideration, were ardent in its praifes. It 
neverthelefs advanced him very highly in the ge- 
neral eftimation of his own community; and, not- 
,withftanding the freedom with which he has uni- 
formly delivered his opinions, was regarded as a 
moft valuable and elaborate performance even at 
the Vatican, 



General ohfcrvnilons — Death of lord Vetre — 'Deep dif- 
trefs of Dr. Geddes — Kindnefs and condolence of his 
friends — Elegy on lord Vetre — Bequejl of his lordfhip 
— Generous offer ofT. Bro-wn, Efq. — Munifcentfa- 
larj of the prefent lord Vetre — Dr. Geddes endeavors 
to refunie his accujlomed cheerfulnefs — hii temporary 
amufements — Battle of the Bards— Ode on the Return 
of Veace — Jllnefs and gradual decay —Alternations 
from extreme piin to moderate eafe — Elegy to the Shade 
of Gilbert Wahefield — Laft inte^ vieuf between the bio- 
grapher and Dr. Geddes — his death, A. D. 1800 
— -1802. 

Dr. Geddes had at this period (1800) entered in- 
to his fixty-fourth year ; yet the vigor, adlivity, 
and even fprightlinefs of youth flill accompanied 
him, and with the recovery of his health he feemed 
to have obtained a nev/ leafe of his exigence. 
Without " overftepping the modeily of nature'* 
he was uniformly playful v/ith the young and fe- 
date with the old, jovial at the dining table, and un- 
conflrained in the drawing room ; the fpjrit of every 
party and the life of every converfation. Among 
the members of his own community he had re- 
acquired feme degree of popularity by the able 


apology he had written in their behalf, and the 
fame of his talents had induced feveral learned 
foreigners, and efpecially in Germany, to be foli- 
citous of the honor of his friendfhip and corre- 
fpondence*, and occafionally even of vifiting him 
in his own country. To the former he unbo- 
fomed himfelf with courteoufnefs and fnicerity : 
while he uniformly received the latter with frank- 
nefs and affability. Among the foreigners for 
whom he, at this perjod, difcovered the greatefl 
degree of attachment w^ere, if I miftake not, pro- 
felTor Timseus, of the royal college at Liineburg; 
general Miranda, who is well knovv^n for the ta- 
lents and heroifm he difplayed in the courfe of the 
late vvar, during the firfl fucceffes of the French 
army in Italy under the command of Bonaparte, 
but who, from an honefl avowal of his diilike to 
the violence which was aftenvards manifelled by 
the revolutionary government^ vvas fuperfeded, and 

* In the lift of his more intimate correfponclents and 
highly efteemcd fiit^nds were profelTor Paulus of Jena, and the 
juftly celebrated M. Eickhorn of Gottingen. From a variety 
cf autograph letters from thefe very able critics, now in my 
poflelTion, I have felefted two or three, as affording fpecimens 
of the (incere regard they entertained for Dr. Geddes, and 
the high value at which they appreciated his talents. The 
reader will find them introduced at the end cf the volume m 
the form of aa Appendix. 



even ftifpefted of royalifm, and compelled to find 
an afylum in England; and his own brother, the 
Rev. John Geddes, a monk of the order of Sta 
Bennet, whofe flated refidence was in the Scotch 
monallery at Wiirzburg, but who could not re- 
frain from paying the doclor a vifit of congratula- 
tion upon his recovery from the fevere illnefs to 
w^hich he had been fo long a vidim. 

Towards the clofe of this year he pubhlhed 
another Macaronic Poem in Latin, which he af- 
ter^vards tranilated into Englifh, having been fe- 
duced, by what was certainly a tempting fubjecl, 
the abfurd, but at that time celebrated battle be- 
tween two brother bards, in Mr. Wright's (hop in 
Piccadilly. The poem appeared under the title of 
" Bardomachia, or the Battle of the Bards;'* but 
as the fubjed itfelf was temporary and productive 
of no honor to either party, I fhall not attempt to 
arreil it in its flight to oblivion, towards which I 
moft heartily wifh it good fpeed, by copying a 
fmgle verfe from either the Latin or Englifh which 
employed our author's pen on this occafion. There 
are many of his unpubliflied jeux d'efprit written 
about the fame period, which are far better en- 
titled to notice. From thefe I have been permitted 
to felecl the follovving, which is well known to 
have been written impromptu, during ,a momen- 


tary fufpicion that the lady to whom they are ad- 
drefled had/orgotten her promife to breakfafl with 
him, and at lead prove the fluency and facility 
with which he wrote : 



Ungrateful girl ! is this the way 
My love and friendship you repay ? 
Did "you not fay, and fwear by heav'n 
You would be with me at eleven. 
With all your male and female train ? 
" I hop'd you would — but hop'd in vain. ^ 

Was it for this I got for thee 
A full half pound of Schoufong tea ? 
And then, that Schoufong tea to fweeten, 
A pound of fugar the beft in Britain ; 
With cream as white as any fnow. 
And fweet as any flow'rs that blow ! 
Butter from Epping ! bifcuits rare. 
Some round, fome oval, others fquare! 
New radifhes from mine oyn garden. 
Each worth, at leaft, a penny farthing ! 
With No'iaux de Martinique, 
To raife a blufh in the pale cheek ; 
Whence, as a little bit of blifs, 
I might have ftorn a little kifs. 

But all this blifs and all my plan 
Have been o'erturned by treach'roua Fai?! 


Thefc words T mutter*d in my mind. 
And ca'l'd ihee twenty times unkind; 
When lo ! I hear my fervant roar : 
" The gentle folks are at the doorl" 
" 'Tis well," — I faid, and quick forgot 
The tranfient ire that made me hot." 
Jj^rtl 30, 1800. 

How unliable Is the foundation of human hap- 
pinefs ! how brittle the thread from which the 
comforts of life are fufpended! It may be trite 
thus to moralize ; but it is natural ; and the heart 
which, upon any fudden and violent reverfe of for- 
tmie, though not immediately interelled itfelf, does 
not feel the fentiment, is at lead cold, if not crimi- 
nal. In the midft of this heighday of health and 
happinefs, of friendfhip and augmenting fame> 
Dr. Geddes was abruptly called upon to fuflain a 
lofs, in comparifon of which every lofs and difap- 
pointment he had before encountered was light 
and diminutive, and from the effe6ls of which he 
never fully recovered — he loft his patron, who 
died fuddenly of an attack of the gout, July 2, 
1801, aged 68^ equally lamented by the lower 
ranks of life, which he benefited, and the higher^ 
which he adorned. 

Confolation was now almcft in vain : for in the 
firft agony of his grief he refufed to be comforted. 


He had loft a benefa«Slor who^ for twenty years, had 
fupported, a counfellor who had advifed, a protec- 
tor who had defended him, and a friend to whofe 
houfe and whofe heart he could at all times ao-- 
ply, with a ready welcome, upon every doubt or 
emergency, and whence, upon every application, 
he was fure to derive benefit. He felt the void 
hereby produced in his happinefs, and almoft in his 
exillence, to be irreparable, and it was long before 
his mind recovered any fufficiency of calmnefs to 
reafon upon the fubject, or admit the fympathies 
of furviving friendiliip. He at length yielded 
however to the kind efforts of obtrufive condo- 
lence j his grief aflumed a milder character; and as 
foon as his fhattered fpirits would allow, vented its 
feelings in the following plaintive Elegy : 




Ergone abrlpuit mlbl mors crudelis amicum, 

Dulce decus, columen praelidiumque meuml 
Abripuit, medio vix lapfo temporis a^vo 

Quod dare terrlgenis fata benigna folent, 
Heu ! hen ! quam fubito mortalis labitur aetas j 

Quam celeri greffu nex inopina venit 1 
Nex atrox ! nulli parcens, et nefcia fiedlil 

Sic mihi delicias tu, truculental rapis ? 


Non Petri pietas, ncc fervida vota Tuorum 

Lethalem poterant jam cohibere manuml 
Diiix adfiint Parcae, truncantes ftamina vilae ; 

Nobilis ac animus corpus Inane fugit. 
Quam tibi turn fuerat, quam vivus, Julia, fenfus ; 

Tali, tarn juvenis, vae ! viduata Viro ? 
Scd tibifunt cafti cariffima pignora amoris : 

Haec tibi triflitise duici levamen erunt. 
Qui dolor excrucians invafit petStora nati, 

Cum Pater, ante occulos, jam moriturus erat I 
Sed nato eft fuavis conjux, fuaviOl ma proles : 
^ Prol^es et conjux dulce levamen erunt. 
Aft mlhi moeroris non ullum eft dulce levamen; 

Fomento nullo plaga levanda mea! 
Non mihi (uhndcns fo boles f non blandayi'^<7/w, 

Quaequeat aerumnas extenuare meas. 
Pro fponfa, fobole et, defun6lo proque parente, 

Inftar cunctorum, folus amicus erat : 
Solus amicus erat — fed quails ? — non mihi frater 

Germanus tarn, quam Petrus amatus erat ! 
Scilicet, Is, princeps, eft me dignatus amarej 

Et,locuples, inopem me cumulare bonis. 
Bis decics Phoebus coeleftia figna peregit 5 

Ex quo permliTum eft ejus amore frui ; 
Sum Temper fruitus, dum fallax vita manebat : 

Noluit, ac moriens, non meminiire mei, 
Illius alma manus, ftudiorum iida meorum 

Fautrix— his ftudiis otia grata dedit. 
Planglte, Picrides I et longos ducitc planftus : 

Mufarum conftans Petrus amicus erat, 
Tu, tu praecipue, quse carmina facra Zionis 

Pangis, tu gemitus ingeminato meos. 


O.ns tua, nunc, memet veiligia. Diva, legentem 

Per vepres, fcflfam quis relevare velit ? 
Me prope cum piguit t.mtos tolerare labores, 

Deje£los anfmos fuflulit ille ireiiS. 
Me cum mordaci lacerarent denre maligni, 

Ya contr^ fiemeret caeca fuperftiiio; 
** Putida tu fperne illorum convicia (dixit) 

•' Cura tibi tantum, ptrrficiatur opu<^." 
Ah ! fi, Te vivo, meliwr f rtuna dedilTet 

Huic operi fummo fummam adhibere manum j 
EtTiBi poliremos, ut primes, Petke, labores 

Sors mea donaflit pofle dicare meos : 
Gaudia quae ? quanta ac eret mea pura voluptas ? 

Hoc defiderii fumma, caputqiie mei I 
Aft aliter vifum fuperis — furtemque fubire 

Convenit — at fletus quis prchibere poteft ? 
Oninibus es flendus, queis notus, Petre, fuilll : 

Mi flendi finem no-n feret uUa dies. 
Ah ! quolies fubiit dilecti dulcis imago, 

Rigofas tingunt flumina faila genas! 
Singultus tremnli fpirantia vifcera pulfant j 

Rodit et occultus molUa corda dolor ! 
Sed fecura quies tua fors ! feJefque beatae 

Te capiunt — Fruere O ! forte, Be ate ! tua, 
Et, Ci res liceat quandoque agnofcere noftras, 

Sis bonus — et nobis, qua pote, Petre, fave ! 

A. G. 
Scrihebam In ledulo^ Solens et infirmus ; 

Pnd,Non. Jul. 1^01, 

Feeling too unwell to engage in the talk of an 
Englifh verfion of this Elegy himlelf, at his requtfl 


1 undertook It for him ; and, having obtained his 
promife to dine with me on the enfuing day, pre- 
fented him with the following ilanzas, which, 
whatever be their demerit, had at leafl the fatis- 
fa£lion of obtaining his approbation. 



Has cruel death, then, robbed me of my friend ! 

My guide, my guard, my ftrft and dearefl boaft ! 
Robbed — ere he fcarce had half-way reached his end, 

Had Heaven allowed the days allowed to moft ? 

How fwift, alas! this mortal being flies 3 
How eager Death his heedlefs prey to gain ! 

Dread Death ! remorfelefs ! deaf to human fighs ! 
Thou, barbarous ! thou ! who all my fweets haft (lain. 

Vain Petre's wlfhes ; vain the holy ftrife 

Of fervent prayers to fave him from the dead : 

The prefent fates, relentlefs, claimed his life. 
And from the fledi his generous fpirit fled. 

How, how fevere, O Julia^ then thy grief. 
Widowed fo young, fo vaft the lofs fuftained ! 

But in thy children fhalt thou find relief j 

Thefe are thy balm, the pledge of love unfeigned. 

What felt the fon ! how deep his filial groan 
When the laft pang he faw his father feize ! 

"Yet wife beloved, yet offspring are his own 3 

And wife and offspring fhall his wound appeafe. 


But nought of balm does Heaven to me aHign ; 

No folace fweet, with healing iiiHuence, flows; 
No fmiling infants, blanU companion, mine, 

With deeds of love to mitigate my woes. 

Spoufe, (ire, companion — he was all to me j 

Though but a friend : — a fiicnd? yet, ah, how dear! 

E'en with lefs joy my brorher's face I fee, 
Lefs feels my heart affinity fo near. 

And well my utmoft love did Pet re claim. 
Who, rich himfclf, my poverty endowed— 

Twice ten times traced the Sun tb' ethereal frame. 
While Heaven to me his tender love allowed : 

'Twas mine perpetual^ — long as life remained ; 

Mine, e'en in dea h, ti 1 ceafed his heart to beat; 
His foftering hand, my lludies that fuftained. 

Gave to thofe iludies recreation fweet, 

Wcfp, MufesI weep — long fighs your bofbms fill I 

1 atron of verfe was Petre ever tound : 
But chitfly thou,0 Mufe of Zion-hill, 

Groan with my groans, and loud our griefs refound. . 
Who now fhall footh me as my path I wind. 

Thy footfteps following, through entangling briars ?— 
When, faint, at times the talk I half refigned^ 

He cheered my foul, and routed its latent fires. 

When mali\-e grinned, with fang fo oft that daunts. 
When bigots, blind, o'erflowed with frantic foam, 

" Spurn, fuurn," faid he, " thefe vile opprobrious taunts^ 
*' Care bat for this — to clofe th' important tome." 

O 1 that, while Heaven allowed thee yet to be^ 
This uimoft vyork my utoioft hand bad paft , 


That fate had given to dedicate to thee, 

As my tirl\ labors, fo alike my laft: 
\V^at joy, what rapture had I then revealed! 

This my chief w'fh, the fummit of my prayer! 
But H-.aven denied : — to Heaven our hearts ftiould yield,'— 

But whoj meantime, from weeping can forbear ? 

All muft bewail theej PetreI all who knew 5 

For me, my forrows never (hall fubfide. 
As the loved image of my friend I view, 

Down my ploughed cheeks how flows the briny tide! 

peep, trembling fobsconvulfe my laboring breaft. 
And fecret anguifh every nerve corrodes ; 

But reft is thine — fecure, unfullied reft. 

The fongs of angels, and their bright abodes. 

Enjoy, bleft faint 1 enjoy the fweets that flow ! 

Unmingled fweets, whofe fountain ne'er (ball fail ! 
And, if thy powers can reach to man below, 

O ft<3op, benign — let friendfiiip Hill prevail. 

He has truly faid that lord Petre had not for- 
gotten him at the clofe of exiftence, nor even in 
the contemplation of that clofe. He granted him 
by his will an annuity of 100/. for life : a fum 
which, if it did not amount to more than the 
moiety of the falary he had hitherto been accuf- 
tomed to receive, derived much increafe of value 
from the legal permanency and certainty of the 
income it afforded, and had, perhaps, in the view 
of his lordfhip, at the time when he drew up his 


will, a profped of no fmall acceiTion from the ftate 
of forwardnefs the work he had fo munificently 
patronized had now aftually attained. It was foon 
fufpeded, however, that from the little wifdom of 
this world which Dr. Geddes had uniformly mani- 
fefted, fuch a fudden defalcation in his revenue 
would in a fhort period be feverely felt by himfelf, 
how fuperior foever to fuch a fenfation his mind 
might appear at the prefent moment, and would 
certainly involve him in new difficulties and di- 
lemmas ; and his friend, Mr. Timothy Brown, of 
Chiiwell-ftreet, with a laudable inftance of gene- 
i'ofity, and an inilance which truly ennobles the 
accumulation of wealth, fpeedily ftepped forwards, 
and engaged that the annual deficit fhould be fup- 
plied either by the voluntary contributions of fuch 
of his friends who had affifted him of late, or, in 
their failure, by an individual falary of his own. 
*' Providence," faid he, (for I heard him repeat 
the affertion) " has given m.e wealth, but it has 
given Dr. Geddes talents: it is in his pov/er to be- 
nefit the world by the exercife of thofe talents; and 
the Httle that I am called upon to perform is to en- 
courage him in doing all the good of which fuch 
talents are capable." This exercife of generofity, 
however, was not neceffary. The liberal fpirit of 
the late lord Petre did not die with him; !t is a fa- 


mily virtue, and will, I truil, be propagated to th« 
latefl generation of the name. The noble heir of 
his lordfhip no fooner learned the expediency of 
continuing the flipend to Dr. Geddes in the lati- 
tude to which he had been accuftomed to receive 
it, than he wrote to him in the mofl polite and 
friendly manner, and ilated that it was his inten- 
tion to add a falary of 100/. to the annuity of 
equal value bequeathed him by his father's will, 
fo as to render the joint fum adequate to what 
he had hitherto been in the habit of enjoying. 

It cannot be fuppofed that fuch repeated and 
affectionate proofs of attention fhould fail to ope- 
rate on a heart hke that of Dr. Geddes, overflow- 
ing with fenfibility. He exerted himfelf to reco- 
ver his accuftomed cheerfulnefs, and though he 
did not fully fucceed, and prophefied but too truly 
when he declared in his Elegy, 

Ml Hendi finem non feret ulla dles-^ 
l^or me, my forrows never fhall fubfide — 

he neverthelefs acquired a tranquillity of mind, 
which was only occafionally interrupted by obtru- 
five remembrances of the pafl; and at times, in- 
deed, exhibited proofs that the embers of his ha- 
bitual hilarity fliil' glowed with a few vital fparks, 
lie did not, however, feel his powers at any period 


fufSciently colle6led for a regular profecution of 
his favorite undertaking. At the requeft of his 
friends, who, on his own account, and from the 
moft benevolent motives, wifhed to flimulate him 
to his accuflomed habits of fludy, he confented to 
prepare for the prefs a feparate volume of the 
Pfalms, of which I have already taken notice ; but 
the mere verfion of which he never lived to finiih, 
and the Critical Remarks upon which he never at- 
tempted to begin. His life was now, therefore, a 
feiies of forced amufement rather than of volun- 
tary ftudy. Among other friends, I had occa- 
fionally the pleafure of his vifits ; and when we 
have been alone, he has gone fo far as to requell: 
a perufal of a manufcript tranflation of Lucretius, 
which he w^ll knew I had completed, and which, 
in conjunction with its annotations, will fhortly pay 
its refpe6ls to the public. This I cheerfully al- 
lowed, and he feemed to derive gratification from 
our peruling it together. The Mufe was indeed at 
this time, as in former affliftions, his chief folace, 
whether he joined her in her vifits to another pe- 
titioner, or found her at liberty and complacently 
difpofed to attend upon his own entreaties, for he 
dill entreated her, and on the eflablifhment of the 
prefent peace publifhed an ode in Latin Sapphics, en- 
titled " Paei feliciter reduci Ode Sapphica, Auc- 
tore A. G." which was not only written, but 


printed in 1 801 . This ode I have never regarded 
as poflelling merit equal to the occafion on which 
it was penned. It incidentally flafhes with a few 
corrufcations of poetic fire, but for the moil part 
is tame and inanimate. It has neverthelefs been 
more highly eftimated by many of the dodor*s cri- 
tical friends, and has been well tranllated into En- 
glifh by Mr. Ring, a gentleman whofe claffical tafte 
I have had too many opportunities of obferving to 
oppofe without deference. The following verfes 
may be feleded as a fair fpecimen of the whole ; 
in the conftrudlion of which our author informed 
me, at the time of writing them, that he found no 
fmall degree of perplexity, from the different 
modes by which public rejoicings are now tellified 
from what they ufed to be among the Romans. 

Eja nunc cives ! CLlebremus una 
Hunc diem Pact reduci dicatum : 
Et voluptatls ftudeamus omnes 

£dere figna, 

Splendeant noftrae radii's fentftrae 
Luminis rari — nitidique lychni 
Pendeant portis — ^jaculata fiamma 
Surgat ad auras. 

^tneje emittant machinae favillas, 
Et fonos edant Jovis asmulantes 
Fulmina— aft nullos globules gerente* 
Fulmina lethi. 


Fifiu^se ^aves fidihns canons 
Co ■ 'nant — ch( rdae et chelyos amaenat 
Pciluneut dulcts modules, perito 
Pollice tailae. * 

Critlclfm IS, however, mofl ungracioufiy em- 
ployed in hunting afttr defeds either in this or in 
any other pi^ce which he occafionally compofed at 
the prefent period ; for the do^lor was now la- 
boring not merely under incidental deprefiions of 
fpirit, but violent paroxyfms of corporeal pain 
arifing from a cancerous affection of the redlum ; 

* Of thefe ftanzas I fubjoin Mr. Ring's verfion, which is 
as follows : 

Let us together celebrate the rites, 
The feflal hour to focia! mirth invites j 
Peace, peace returns, and claims our votive lay, 
-Then 'ct us all with pleafure crown the day. 

Let ev'ry window (lied a blazing light, 

And pendent lamps diTpel the gloom of night; 

Let flames be hurl d,^ — let kindling rockets rife. 

And. with a train of glory, mount the fkies. 

Let cannans emulate almighty Jove, 

Launching- his lightning in the realms above 5 

And let the brazen tubes proclaim ourjoy 

In thunders, — not in thunders that deltroy. 

Let the fweet flute pour warbling notes, and join 

The trembling firings in harmony divine ; 

And bring the choicelt of the tunetul train. 

To fweep the lyre, and fwell th' enchanting ftrain. 


a pain indeed which was at times 'To excellive as 
to be almoft infupportable. " I am idling away 
my time/* faid he to me while he was compofmg 
this very ode ; " I can do nothing elle — I fhail ne- 
ver be fit for iludy any more, and my only objed 
at prefentis amufement.'* 

It was about the month of June 1801, the year 
at which we have now arrived, that he firft became 
fenfible of this dreadful difeafe. As is too cuf- 
tomary in incipient cafes, he paid but little at- 
tention to it ; it increafed, therefore, without op- 
pofition, and in a few weeks afterwards he was 
compelled, by excefs of torture, to think of apply- 
ing ferioufly for furgical affiftance. On informing 
me confidentially of his fituation, I was confiderably 
alarmed for the confequence, and flrenuoufly ad- 
vifed him to confult our common friend Mr. Ring, 
who had long preceded me in familiarity with him, 
whom he had been in the regular habit of con- 
fulting from the commencement of their ac- 
quaintance, and of whofe profeflional talents and 
veneration for himfelf I was well convinced. Me- 
dical or chirurgical advice was by this time, howr 
ever, equally become ufelefs ; and although, 
through the anxiety of his friends that he fhould 
obtain relief, he was compelled to receive progref- 
fively the opinion, and fubmit to the (kill of almoft 
every phyfician as well as furgeon of eminence in 


the metropolis, it was all to no purpofe—and he 
often lamented to me in private the additional 
trouble which fuch a multiplicity of advifers impofed 
upon him. The pro-egumenal or immediate caufe 
of this complaint I know not, but it is at leaft in- 
dubitable, that the augmented irritability of his ner- 
vous fyftem, which he had uniformly and progref- 
fively evinced ever lince the deceafe of his friend 
lord Petre, confiderably tended to exacerbate it, 
and confequently to diminifh every hope of cure. 

The alternations from excruciating torture to to- 
lerable eafe were, neverthelefs, for a long time ab- 
rupt and frequent : and often, upon vifiting him 
the enfuing day after that on which I had heard 
it was impoffible he could ever more rife from 
his bed, I have been furprifed to find him not 
only below flairs, but realTuming his habits of agi* 
lity, and in the very ad of carpentering or culti- 
vating his garden. It was in an interval of this 
kind that he compofed his Elegy on the Death of 
our friend Mr. "Wakefield ; the laft piece, I believe, 
either in Latin or Engliih that ever proceeded 
from his pen, and the only piece in which he has 
uniformly adopted the mythology of ancient 
Greece in preference to the figurative language of 
the Bible. The reafon, however, is obvious ; for, 
notwithftanding Mrc Wakefield's very valuable 
theological labors, he is chiefly known to the -world 


as a clailical critic — as an ardent admirer and 
moft excellent commentator upon the beft poets 
of Greece and Rome. As adventuring upon a 
new undertaking, Dr. Geddes may therefore be 
confidered as highly fuccefsful - though the talk 
does not feem to fit quite fo eafy upon him, nor 
is conduced with quite fo much difcrimination as 
when engaged in fubjeds that allow him to ex- 
change the fictitious fcenery of the Greeks for the 
folid fublimities of the Hebrews. It is an admi- 
rable Elegy, neverthelefs, confidering the circum- 
ftances under which it was produced ; and al- 
though, perhaps, not equal either in pathos or 
diftion to that compofed on the death of lord 
Petre, ranks, if I err not, immediately next to it, 
and confequently fecond in the whole clafs of his 
Latin exercifes. As it has never been regularly 
publifhed by himfelf, the reader will be pleafed to 
find it infertedin this place at length*. 




Te qnoque fubrlpuit nobis llbltlna fevcra 

Noftratis crilici gloria prima chori ! 
Sabripuit flenti fponfse, foboliqiie teneUae ; 

Flentibus agnatis, omnibus atque bonis, 

* The only form in which it has appeared before the pub- 
lic is in the Monthly Magazine for November 1801, uixdci 
the fignature of Mufaeus Junior. 


0^3? tua fors ? — Vixdum laetis reparatus amicls, 

E trifti exilio carceribufque cavi's ; 
En I fubito traheris torvi ad veftibula dftis, 

A queis nemo redit — nemo redire poteft. 

Scilicet, inlip-ens, fapiens, probus, improbus asquc, 
Obfcurus proavis, nobilitate tumens j 

Plebs, princeps, pannis fqualens et murice fulgens | 
Pauperie opprefTus, divitiis que valens : 

Serius aut citius mctam properamus ad unam, 
Quicunque banc auram haufimus aetheream ! 

Sed quem non doleat, cernentem vivere vitam 
Longaevam ftoh'dos, crirr.inibufque graves : 

Dum pius, innocuus, do6lus, vernantibus annis, 
Ceu rofa florefcens tabe perefa, jacet ? 

Aft tibi, quantumvis fueiit brevis orbita vitse. 
Nee fama abfuerat, nee bene partus honos. 

Vixifti, Wakefield ! et longos vivet in annoa 

Peftoribus noftris lucida imago tui. 
Interea ad campos felices dirige greflus j 

Rura beatorum ac elyfiumque pete. 

Nam te non Erebus fperet retinere barathro ; 

Nee piceas biberis tu Phlegetontis aquas. 
Non etenim hirfuto tua nunc fub judfce lis eft : 

Arbiter eft juftus, Gnoflius ille, Minos. 

Hunc, placido vultu, gratas effundere voces 
Audire has videor : '* Vir bone ! mitte metus ! 

** Novimus et qui lis, Wakefield ! quantafque tulilH 
** Noxas — haee Hermes omnia nos docuit. 

** Sed quicquid terrfs fit veftris, fafve nefafve, 

** Juftitise lex hie inviolata manet. 
** Nil hie vel tituli valeant, nee dura poteftas : 

** Hie VIRTUS, VIRTUS Temper, et una, valet. 


'* Perge igltui* qiiovis, et quafvis elige fedes ; 

*' CoUes, convalles — omnia aperta patent," 
" Si Sophlae lubeat claris te jungere alumni?, 

** En Tibi Pherecydes, Atticus atque fenex ! 

*' Ho3 propc Pythagoras, Thales, doftufque Epicurus; 

" Magnus Ariftoteles, major etipfe Plato. 
" Nee defunt Latiae notiffima nomina gentis f 

** Tullius infjgnis, Brutus, uterque Cato : 
'* Plinius, et Seneca, ac Marcus cognomlne Divus, 

'*/Cui nomen virtus, non diadema, dedit. 
" Hcs inter veftras Baconus, Lockius, atque 

*' Newto, Britannorum gloria, fama, decus ! 

" Quodfi oratoruni tenearis dulce loquentum 
" Flexanimisj verbis, lenibus atque fonisj 

'* ^olidis liceat niveas haurire loquelas j 
" Neftoris et liquido melle fluente favis 

" Dulcius eloquium — Periclis retonantia di^la, 
" Queis Hellas toties terrlta, qualTa, fuit 1 

" Vim Demoftheneam miraberis — et Ciceronis 
" Aurea verborum copia grata fluet 

** Auriculis avidis — Cum iilis, fimul, et tuus, olim, 

" Sedes nonimas Foxius ipfe premet, 
*' Sin mavis tete facris fociare poetis, 

" In vita ftudio deliciifque tuis ; 

" Linus, et Hefiodus, Mofchus> divinus Homerus, 
" Pindarus altivolans, mellifluufque Bion, 

*' ^fchylus, et grandis Sophocles, caftique cothurni 
** Princeps Euripides — ifta'vireta colunt. 

** Illic et Siculus jucunda idyllia cantat j 
• '* Ludit et argutis TeiaMufa jocis. 
" Illic Virgilius, Flaccufque, et Lufor Amorum, 
*' Jn^civo pcrili qui mijer ip[e [no. 


** lllic fublimis fpeftabilis umbra Lucreti, 
** MagBifice fcrzptis jam decorata tuis. 

** lUic Miltonus, Poplus, Drydenu8,et illc 
** Naturae potuit qui referare unus 

•* Shakfperius — fecus ac Cowperus, flebilis iftc, 
** Oreo quem ante diem bilis acerba dedit ! 

** Hos— -illos— iftos adeas ; Nam nulla cupido 
'* Vifendi heroas te capit — fpfe fcio : 

** Sunt generis vani, ac inflati pcftora faftu ; 

<* Semper geftantes trifte fupercilium." 
Sic fatus, tacuit — Cum tu, Gilberte, viciflim, 

Solvere ds vifus talibus ora modis : 

** SI mihi permiffum eft optat^ fidere fede, 
*' Sit cum philofophis faepe fedile meum : 

•* Philofophis, inquam, vcris ; niinimequc fophiftiai 
** Ifthsec mi femper turba odiofa fuit. 

*' Rhetoribusraro jungar : nam garrulagens eft> 

** Vendere quae fumum vanaque verba folet : 
** Qualia multlloquus fuevit depromere Pittus ! 

** Qualia fpumofo Windhamus ore vomit ! 
•* Saepius aft inter lim claros nomine vatesj 

*^ Cumque illls liceat fundere molle melos : 
** Inter fim vates — vates mea peAora fuavi 

" Carmine Isetificent, blandifonifque modi's, 

*' Nil mihi cum veftris heroibus — Arma gerebant 
'* Impia mente inopi, fanguineaque manu ! 

" Sacram libertatem fternentes cufpide Martis, 
** Cudebant miferls nontoleranda juga. 

*' Ah ! procul, ah ! femper procul a me cftotc profani, 
'* Nemo tyrannorum proximus efto mihi !'' 

Optanda optafti, Wakefield ! — O ! fors mihi tandem 
Sit fimilis — tecum ct carmina facra canam : 


Carmina facra canam, chordas ct pc^li'ne pulfcm, 

Indoft^ quamvis ac trepldante manu, 
Carmina facra canam, faveat modo Mufa canenti 

Suavis Terplichore, fuaviof am Erato : 
Me nam deleftant dulccs ante omnia Mufae ; 

Mufa mihi cunftis eft medicina mails. 
Harum colloquiis blandis, Gilberte, fruaris ; 

Atque his-cum liceat fnndcre moUc melos. 

Nee Ventura dies diftat qua, ftamine vltae 

Truncate, celeri te pede, Amice, fcquar. 
Morbificus languor jam feffos occupat artus. 
Paulatim emprior — Sed fatis — Umbra, vale' 
Londini,PiU» Non.08, i8oi. 

Of this Elegy no Englifh tranflation has hi- 
therto been offered to the public ; the reader may 
therefore accept of the following : 



Theb too, theboaft of every critic tongue, 

Has fate fevere fnatched headlong from our eyes j 

Snatched from a weeping wife, an offspring young. 
Friends dearly loved, and all the good and wife. 

How hard the doom ! — In dungeons long enthralled, 

Scarce flies thy joyous foot their dreary bourn, 
When lo ! to, Death's dark manfions art thou called. 

Whence man returns not — nor can e'er return. 
. True— good and bad, wife, fimple, rich and poor. 

Whoe'er has drank th' ethereal flood of day, 
Kings, courtiers, beggars, muft alike explore, 

Soon, or more late, \\\ irremeable way ; 


But who laments not that, while fools furvlve. 
While guilt grows old in infamy and crime. 

Worth, wifdom, piety, that chief fhould thrive, 
Fall like the rofe-bud weltering in its prime ? 

But though too (hort the date to thee afligned. 

Not fhort the genuine fame juft heaven imparts : 
Yes ! thou haft lived — and long (hall live, behind. 

Thy fplendid image, Wakefield ! in our hearts. 
Meanwhile betake thee to the fields of blifs, 

Th* Elyfian plains no cloud can e'er eclipfe ; 
For not for thee yawns Ereb's dread abyfs. 

Nor pitchy Phlegeton fhall foil thy lips, ' 

No gray-beard judge (hall now thy caufe decide ; 

Impartial Minos here the balance holds : 
Hark ! as he fees thy fpirit onward glide. 

His tongue the ready plaudit thus unfolds: 
" Fear not, pure fhade ! thy fufFerings all, wc know; 

" Thefe Hermes long has haftened to reveal : 
♦♦ Though right and wrong be oft mifnamed below, 

*' Subftantial juftice, here, alone we deal. 

** Here rank is nought, and nought imperious power j 
'* 'Tis VIRTUE, VIRTUE Only can avail. 

" Go — choofe thy lot— command each future hour, . 
" All, all is thine, plain, woodland, hill and dale. 

" Wouldft thou with Wifdom's fons divide the fcenc I 
" Lo ! Pherecydes, Solon at thy will; 

'* The Samian, Thales, Epicurus keen, 
** Stagira's fage, and Plato fagcr Hill. 

'* There, pride of Rome ! th' illuflrious Catos /hine; 

** Brutus and Pliny, Tully fweet of found; 
*' There Seneca and Marcus named divine 

" By rank imperial lefs than virtue crowned. 


** Compatriot with thyfelf, amid the throng, 
" See Locke, fee Bacon^ of coequal boaft j 

" See Newton, firft the fapient train among, 
'*^ The fame and glory of the Britifh coaft. 

*' Or docs thine ear fweet oratory pleafe, 

" With foothing found, and foul-compeUing power j 

" Lo ! where ^Eolides fufpends the breeze j— 
** The honeyed ftream from Nestor's h'p devour : 

" Feaft on the tones that Pericles of old, 

** Like thunder, threw o'er decp-diftrafted Greece 5 

" The torrent of Demosthenes behold ; 

" The golden periods, none would wi(h to ceafe, 

" Drink from the Ciceronian fount that flows 
*' Copious and calm : there Fox, in future time, 

'* Not meanly feated, mid them (hall repofe, 
" Or break in tones as cogent and fublime. 

<* Or wouldft thou mid thy favorite bards retreat, 
" And hear them ftill their melodies refume ? 

*' Lo ! Linus, Hesiod, Moschus, Bion fweet, 
" Homer divine, and Pindar bold of plume. 

** Euripides, the drama's perfect type, 

^^ /EscHYLUS there, and Sophocles refort 3 

^' The fwain Sicilian tunes his oaten pipe, 

** And, mid his fnows, Anacreon ftill would fpori. 

** There Maro, Flaccus, and the bard who fell 
** Vi6lim to love — to love the art he taught ; 

'* Sublime Lucretius, whom thy toils, fowell 

*' Spent while on earth, with fplendor new have fraught, 

** There roam they all confociate ; and with thefe 
*' The Britifh bards, ethereal Milton, Pope, 

*' Dryden, and he, who moft the foul could felze 
" With mimic terror, or celeftial hope. 


** Immortal Smakespere : nor remotely roves 
** Pale CowPER, dill by many a friend bewailed i 

<• Whom melancholy to th* infernal groves 
** Sent immature, e'er nature half had failed, 

** Bards, fages, patriots — go, attend at will -, 

" For thee the train of heroes boafts no charm : 
^' Spurn them—a race whom bafeft palTions fill, 

" Vain, proud, perverfe, intent on human harm.* 
He ceafed. And ftraight thy favored (bade, I thought, 

Thus, Gilbert! to the righteous judge replied : 
*' Since mine the boon to choofe my future lot, 

" Oh ! mid the fages let me e'er refidc : 

'^ Mid genuine fages, not the fophift race, 

'' Whom now, as ever, from my heart I hate; 

/* Nor give me oft mid orators a place, 

'* Vain, fenfelefs wranglers, full of fume and prate. 

*' Such, mid the fenate, feemed loquacious Pitt 5 
'' To pour the wordy torrent never loth : 

" Such Windham, when, by paffion roufed, he fpit 
" His burfting vomica of bilious froth. 

*' O ! let me oftener mid the bards renowned 
" My ftation take and join their dulcet lay : 

*' O ! let the bards, with foft melodious found, 
'^ Soothe me, revive, and all my bofom fway, 

" But from your heroes ever let me fly — 

" Arms, impious arms, their hands barbarian wield ; 

" Unawed by all the terrors of the (ky, 
" To all the charities of nature Heeled. 

*' Struck by their fpear, lo ! heavenly freedom falls, 
" And countlefs burdens crufli the crowds around : 

*' Hence, yc prophane ! your fight my foul appals ; 
** Let never tyrant near my paths be found.'' 


Moft wife thy choice, dear WAKr.riELD ! Such to mt 
Should fate vouchfafe, thy harpings I will join ; 

Yes, to thy heavenly harpings will I flee. 

And ftrike, with trembling hand, the ftrings divine. 

Loud will 1 ftrlke them if the Mufes fmile. 

Sweet Terpiicore, Erato fweeter ftill : 
The Mufes — every grief that beft beguile. 

To me an antidote for every ill. 

Hear them, mv friend ! and with them oft unite; 
Soon fliall I join thee as thefe tremors tell ; 

Faint are my limbs — already Death's in fight- 
But 'tis enough — refpefled Shade, farewell 1 

Our learned but unfortunate friend, Gilbert 
Wakefield, died Sept. 9, in the prefent year 
(1801)5 and the above Elegy was written Odo- 
ber 12, about a month after his deceafe. The 
Jaft two couplets contain all the truth of pro- 
phecy or adual prefentiment. 

Nee Ventura dies diftat qua, flamine vita? 

Truncate, celeri te pede, Amice, fequar. 
Morbificus languor jam feiTos occupat artua. 

Paulatim emorior 

Soon (hall I join thee as thefe tremors tell; 
Faint are my limbs — already Death's in fight. 

In efFe(5l, it was not more than a day or two af- 
terwards that the bed on which he died was re- 
moved from his own chamber on the fecond floor 
into the front room, or chief library, on the firil, in 


confequence of his being now incapable of moving 
either up or down flairs without extreme pain ; 
and from this bed he fcarc^ly ever rofe after- 
wards. To this affertion I neverthelefs remember 
one exception, and it affords a ft rong proof of the 
occafional triumph of the mind, when roufed to a 
high degree of excitement, over all the pains and 
infirmities of the body. I called at his houfe one 
morning, doubtful whether I fliould find him alive 
or dead : he had not a6l:ually expired, but had re- 
fufed admittance to all except his profefTional 
friends. He was alone, and requefted to fee me. 
He was lying on his bed agonized with torture, 
ghaftly in countenance, and extremely depreffed 
in his fpirits. He feized my hand with avidity ; 
** Forgive me, my dear friend I" faid he abruptly, 
while the tears ftarted from his eyes — " Forgive 
me this weaknefs ! I did think I fhould have been 
able to have endured fuffering with more fortitude 
and refignation ; but I cannot fupport it, and am 
impatiently wifhing for deatli,'* I endeavoured to 
confole him — and added, that inftead of accufmg 
him of weaknefs, all his friends were aftonifhed at 
the general tranquillity and ftrength of mind with 
which he fubmitted to his afflidion. By degrees 
I drew him into a converfation upon one or two 
fubjeds which I knew lay neareft his heart. I in- 
troduced his verfion of the Bible ; I requefted in- 


formation upon a paffage in the Song of Soloman, 
which I was then in the ad of tranflating : our 
ideas upon this paflage did not altogether coincide ; 
he became animated in the defence of his own 
opinion — he forgot the difeafe he was laboring 
under — fuddenly rofe from his bed — and to my 
utter aflonifhment ran rapidly up flairs in purfuit 
of fome annotations of his own, which he had for- 
merly written upon the controverted queflion. I 
remained with him for about half an hour after- 
wards, and he ftill continued to enjoy himfelf : he 
fufFered me to depart with great reludance, and 
thanked me moft cordially for the good I had 
done him. He foon, however, relapfed, and died 
a few days afterwards, February 26, 1802, in 
the fixty-fifth year of his age ; the rites of his own 
communion having been regularly adminiflered to 
him, and received with great confolation on his 
own part, by M. St. Martin, a catholic clergyman 
and confidential friend. 

It has been infmuated, in a Journal of extenfive 
circulation, and infmuated moreover in terms 
equally uncandid and untrue, that on his death- 
bed he recanted many of his opinions, and that 
fuch recantation has been ftudioujly concealed. 
What the opinions may be which are here re- 
ferred to, or to what incident fuch a rumor owes 
Its birth, I have not been able to learn, although I 


have fpared no pains in the mveftigation*. On the 
day anterior to his deceafe he was, as ufual, vifited 
by his friend M. St. Martin, profeiTor of theology 

* The paflage I refer to is in the Gentleman's Magazine for 
May 1803, page 442 j and poflelTes a fuperior authority as 
no^ introduced in the form of a cafual or anonymous letter, 
but conftituting a part of the feftion allotted by the proprie- 
tor to the review of new publications. It isas follows : 

*' Revelation was never attacked by a more uncandfd, dif- 
ingenuous, and artful opponent than Dr. Geddes. It muft 
be matter of wonder how he drew in fo many perfons of emi- 
nence in facred literature and criticifm to efpoufe his la- 
bours, all of whom, as well as his patron, a peer of his own 
communion, we hefitate not to fay, he beguiled j and, though 
he excited a civil war among the catholic party, who held 
him in deferved dcteftation, his dying recantation, like that of 
Voltaire, has been fludioufly concealed." 

Having never witnelTed the remoteft difpofition to any re- 
cantation whatever, nor heard the fmalleft intimation of fucK 
a faft from any of Dr. Geddes's friends, I could not but be 
extremely aftonifhed at the perufal of this very novel intelli' 
gencc; and, among other perfons to whom I applied for infor- 
mation, I addrefled myfelf to M. St. Martin, from whom I 
received the detailed account inferted in the text : a fliort 
ilatement of this I immediately communicated by letter to 
Mr. Nichols, who, with a candor and liberality for which I 
am obliged to him, inferted the communication in his Journal 
for the cnfuing month. In this letter I not only indeed re- 
quefted fuch infertion, but entreated that I might be pri- 
vately informed of the bafis on which this extraordinary in. 


and a dodor of the Sorbonne, who had officially 
attended him as his priefl during the whole of his 
illnefs. I have been minute in my inquiries of this 

tellfgence repcfed, and pledged myfelf to introduce it into 
this work th€ moment it fhould be rendered even probable. 
It becomes me now therefore to ftate, that not a fyllable of 
any explanation upon the fubje6^ whatever has fince been 
communicated, ieither privately or publicly; whence it is ob- 
vious, without any reference to the detailed account above, 
that inileau of Dr. Geddes, the reviewer himfelf has recanted 
his opinion ^xi^jtudlovjly concealed \i\^ recantation. 

I have not thefmalkft idea that this paragraph was inferted 
either with the confent or knowledge of Mr. Nichols, whom 
I readily acquit of every degree of blame that attaches to it : 
but I cannot avoid obferving that more apparent malevolence, 
as well as more pofitive errors, was never crowded into fo 
/hort a fpace. It is a triple flander, equally afperfing the 
character of Dr. Geddes, of his patron lord Petre, and of his 
friends who vifited him on his de^th-bed , and it is in every 
refpeft equally unfounded. So far as relates to himfelf, I 
have already proved it to be falfe ; and confcqucntly fo far as 
relates to his friends : for* if he never recanted, there never 
could be any Jiud'ud concealment of fuch recantation. And 
as to the late truly noble and public-fpirited lord Petre, I am 
authorized to fay, that inftead of his having been beguiled by 
any of the peculiar fcntiments of Dr. Geddes, he never for a 
moment afforded his patronage to the do6tor from the fmall- 
eft difpofition to embrace them, but becaufe he believed him 
to be an honed and deferving man, as well as a mod excellent 
biblical fcholar; and that for himfelf he lived and died in the 
avowed profefiion of the common articles of the catholic creed; 
affording to bigotry and illiberality an illuftiious proof that it 


gentleman as to the converfation that occurred in the 
courfe of this and former interviews, that I might 
have the fuller opportunity of proving the grofs falfe- 

is poffible for a munificent and enlightened man of one claCs 
of tenets to protect and patronize an indigent man of another, 
upon the fole grounds of individual merit and general utility. 

The reviewer's motive for refembling the dying Geddes to 
the dying Voltaire can be more ealily conceived than the re - 
femblance itfelf can be traced ; for never were two cafes more 
oppofite and unlike. The former was a profefTed chriftianj 
the latter a profeffed infidel. The whole life of the one was 
occupied in what he conceived to be an illuftration and re- 
commendation of the gofpel : the whole life of the other 
in turning the gofpel into ridicule and contempt. The houfe 
of the firft, during his dying (icknefs, was open to all parties, 
both catholic and proteftant, and his own creed was in many 
points different from the common creed of either : the houfe 
of the fecond was barricadoed by his friends alone, every one 
of whom was of his own infidel perfuafion. An avowed 
change in the fentiments of Geddes muft have neceffarily been 
acceptable either to the one or the other clafs of his viiitants, 
and, in .feme inftances, might have been acceptable to both : 
a change in the fentiments of Voltaire was the grand point 
which was dreaded by his attendants, and which they endea- 
vored to prevent by every poffible exertion and difTualive. 
Voltaire died in a ftate of agony and defperation, Geddes in 
perfe^l tranquillity and the very a6l of benedi6lion. — It may 
reafonably be queftioned whether revelation could ever fuflain 
fo much injury from what the writer of the above paragraph 
terms the at; ads ef fo d'fingenuous and artful an opponfnty as 
from the pious frauds, the malignr.nt and unfounded infinu- 
ations of fc injudicious a friend. 


hood of the charge thus advanced. On entering the 
room, M. St. Martin found the dodor extremely 
comatofe, and believed him to be in the utmoil 
danger : he endeavoured to roufe him from his 
lethargy, and propofed to him to receive abfolu- 
tion. Dr. Geddes obferved that, in fuch cafe, it 
was neceflary he fhould firfl make his confeffion. 
M. St. Martin was fenfible that he had neither 
ftrength nor wakefulnefs enough for fuch an ex- 
ertion, and replied that in extremis this was not 
neceffary : that he had only to examine the flate 
of his own mind, and to make a fign when 
he was prepared. M. St. Martin is a gentleman 
of much liberality of fentiment, but ftrenuoufly 
attached to what are denominated the orthodox 
tenets of the cathoKc church : he had long beheld, 
with great grief of heart, what he conceived the 
aberrations of his learned friend; and had flattered 
himfelf, that in the courfe of this laft illnefs he 
Ihould be the happy inflrument of recalling him 
to a full belief of every doctrine he had rejected; 
and with this view he was actually prepared upon 
the prefent occafion with a written lift of quef- 
tions, in the hope of obtaining from the dodor an 
accurate and fatisfaclory reply. He found how- 
ever, from the lethargic ftate of Dr. Geddes, 
that this regular procefs was impracticable. He 
could not avoid, neverthelefs, examining the 


ftate of his mind as to feveral of the more im- 
portant points upon which they differed. " You 
" fully," faid he, believe in the fcriptures ?*' He 
roufed himfelf from hisfleep, and faid," Certainly.'* 
— " In the dodrine of the trinity?" — " Certainly, 
but not in the manner you mean." — " In the 
mediation of Jefus Chrift?" — " No, no, no — not as 
you mean: in Jefus Chrift as our faviour — but not 
in the atonement." I inquired of M. St. Martin 
if, in the courfe of what had occurred, he had any 
reafon to fuppofe that his religious creed either 
now, or in any other period of his illnefs, had fuf- 
tained any fhade of difference from what he had 
formerly profelfed. He replied, that he could not 
pofitively flatter himfelf with believing it had : 
that the moil comfortable words he heard him 
utter were immediately after a (hort paufe, and be- 
fore the adminiflration of abfolution, ^* I con- 
fent to all ;" but that to thefe he could affix no 
definite meaning. I fhowed him the pafTage to 
which I now refer, in the Gentleman's Maga- 
zine : — he carefully perufed it, and immediately 
added that is was falje in every refpe5}, " It 
would have given me great pleafure," faid he, 
" to have heard him recant, but I cannot with 
certainty fay that I perceived the lead difpofition 
in him to do fo \ and even the exprefTion, " I con- 


fent to all," was rather, perhaps, uttered from 
a wifh to oblige me as his friend, or a defire 
to ihorten the converfation, than from any change 
in his opinions. After having thus examined 
himfelf, however, for fom^e minutes, he gave a 
fign of being ready, and received abfolution as I 
had propofed to him. I then left him: he fhook 
my hand heartily upon quitting him, and faid that 
he was happy he had feen me." 

It was the intention of this excellent priefl to 
have vifited him again in the evening, and to have 
pafled the v/hole of the night in his room. On 
returning to the houfe, however, he was informed 
that the doctor's phyficians had flriftly prohibited 
his being feen by any of his friends that evening, 
in confequenc'e of which M. St. Martin returned 
home with much relu&nce; and on renewing his 
vifit the next morning found he was juft dead. 
A domeftic of the catholic perfuafion who lived 
in an adjoining houfe, and had been frequent in 
her inquiries concerning the dodor, knocked at his 
door as he was in the veiy acl bf dying ; and his 
confidendal fervant, terrified at the appearance of 
her mailer, readily opened the door and requefled 
her to walk up Hairs. She beheld him aimofl at 
his kill gafp, and immediately repeated, according 
to the rites of her church, the Creed, Paterncder^ 


and Ave Maria: Dr. Geddes jufl opened his eyes 
as fhe had concluded, gave her his benediction, 
and expired. 

I am ferry I am compelled to add, that the con- 
dud of the liberal-minded, the truly catholic, and 
truly chriflian M. St. Martin was not followed by 
his clerical fuperiors ; and that the ceremony of 
faying pubHc mafs for the deceafed was prohibited 
by an exprefs interdidt of Mr. Douglas, his vicar 
apoflolic*. Let not the reader, however, con- 
demn the whole body of Englifli catholics for 
this a£t of malevolent bigotiy; a bigotry which 
would follow with Its perfecution an honefl and 
confcientious man into the next world, after hav- 
ing contributed all that was in its power to curtail 
his days in the prefent. I know, and am authorized 
to fay, that this malignant prohibition was lamented 
and objeded to by many of the mofl refpeclable 
laymen of the catholic church : and whatever be 
its blame therefore, it only attaches to that intole- 
rant and contracted fpirit which has been uniformly 
more obvious in the cathoHc priefthood than in the 

* It is hence alfo obvious, that the catholic church itfelf 
never for one moment beh'eved him to have recanted: the very 
prohibition indeed having been grounded upon a full perfua- 
fion, that Dr. Geddes died. with the fame fentiments with 
which he had lived. 


people at large, from the fanaticifm imbibed in 
the courfe of a foreign education, and which flre- 
nuoufly oppofed and had nearly fruflrated the 
two lall very important flatutes in favor of its own 
community. Such an interdid might, perhaps, 
have been juftified had Dr. Geddes been formally 
excommunicated from the catholic pale — ^but its 
vindication requires arguments not readily to be 
advanced by the keenefl cafuifl in the cafe of a 
member, who, like the deceafed, had neither 
voluntarily withdrawn himfelf, nor been forcibly 
rejected by his community — who had avowed, 
through the whole of his life, a zealous attach- 
ment to the catholic church, and in death had 
duteoufly complied with her moft foleran requifi- 



Such, as far as I have been able to colleci: it, 
is the hiftory of the late Dodtor Geddes ; a man of 
iio common chara^ler, and whofe energy of mind 
and activity of body feeiiied engaged in a perpe- 
tual conteft for the maflery. In his corporeal 
make he was flerider, and in the bold and formi- 
dable outlines of his countenance not highly pre- 
poiTeffing on a firfl interview : but never was there 
a face or a form through which the foul developed 
itfelf more completely than through his own. Every 
feature, and indeed every limb, was in harmony 
with the entire fyflenl, and displayed the refllefs 
and indefatigable operations of the interior of the 
machine. A play of cheerfuhiefs beamed uni- 
formly from his cheeks, and his animated eyes 
rather darted than looked ben-jvclence. Yet fuch 
was the irritability of his nerves, that a fligUt de- 
gree of oppofidon to his opinions, and efp^cially 
when advanced by perfons vvhofe mental powers 
did not v/arrant fiich oppofition, put to f:ight in a 
2 m 


moment the natufal character of his Countenance^ 
and cheerfulnefs and benevolence were exchanged 
for exacerbation and tumult. Of this phyfical and 
irrefiftible impulfe in his conflitution no man was 
more thoroughly fenfible than himfelf ; and if no 
man ever lefs fucceeded in fubduing it, no man ever 
took more pains to obtain a victory. Let us, how- 
ever, fairly ftrike the balance, and we fhall find, 
that if fuch a peculiar conflrudtion of body had 
its evil, it alfo had its advantage ; and that the 
very irritability of foul, which occafionally hurried 
him, againll his confent, into a violence of contro- 
verfy not perfectly confiilent with the polifhed 
manners of the day, hurried him a thoufand times 
oftener, and with a thoufand times more rapidity, 
becaufe affifled inftead of oppofed by his judg- 
ment, into ads of kindnefs and benevolence. The 
moment he beheld the poflibility of doing good 
by his own exertions the good was inilantly done, 
although it were to a man who, perhaps, had caufe- 
lefsly quarrelled with him a few hours before. It 
was not in his nature to paufe with our academic 
and cold-blooded philofophers of the prefent day, 
that he might firfl weigh the precife demand of 
moral or political jullice, and inquire into the ad- 
vantage that would accrue to himfelf, or in what 
manner the world at large might be benefited ei- 


ihev by a good a£lion or a good example — it was 
flimulus enough for him that diftrefs exifted, and 
that he knew it — and it afterwards afforded him 
fatisfa£tion enough that he had removed or miti- 
gated it. 

In inteliedual talents he had few equals, and 
fewer ftill who had improved the polTeirion of 
equal talents in an equal degree. To an ardent 
third after knowledge in all its multitudinous ra- 
mifications he added an aflonifhing facility in ac- 
quiring and retaining it ; and fo extenfive was his 
erudition, that it was difficult to flart a fubjedt into 
which he could not enter, and be heard with both 
attention and profit. But theology was the prime 
objed: of his purfuits, the darling fcience of his 
heart, which he had indefatigably fludied froiti his 
infancy, and to which every other acquifition was 
made to bend. From his verbal knowledge of the 
Bible he might have been regarded as a living con- 
cordance ; and this not with refped to any indivi- 
dual language alone, or the various and rival ren- 
derings of any individual language, but a concord- 
ance that fhould comprife the belt exemplars of 
the mod celebrated tongues into which the Bible 
has ever been tranflated. As an interpreter of it, 
he was flridly faithful and honefl to the meaning, 
or what he apprehended to be the meaning, of his 
original j and though in his critical remarks upon 

. S32 

the text he allowed himfelf a latitude and a boldnefs 
which injured his popularity, and drew down upon 
his head a torrent of abufive appellations*, how 
feldom have we feen a man fyllematically edu- 

* Thefedld not altogether ceafe with his death. In the obi- 
tuary of a Journal I have already had Occafio'n to advert to^ 
the Gentleman's Magazine for the month of March 1802,— 
his biographer, after noticing his deceafe, adds, *' How far 
it may be permitted to intereft Providence in fuch events 
others will determine ; it may not be unworthy feiious reflec- 
tion, that this libertine in religious and political fentiments is 
removed, after having been permitted to concur with the Au» 
il or of all Evil in exercifing the faith and patience of the 
faints." There can be little doubt that the writer of this pa- 
ragraph is the writer of that I have been compelled to notice 
in page 521. The caufe of this inextinguiftiable hatred I 
know not ; but the cciafor lliould at leaft have had mercy upon 
Mr. Nichols the proprietor of the Journal, if he could have 
found no mercy for Dr. Geddes. The world at large is not 
capable of difcriminating between the owner of a work and 
the work itfelf, and too generally vents its wit or its anger 
upon the former, for abufc of which he is totally incapable, 
and of whofe exiftence he is altogether ignorant. Thus it 
feems to have happened in the prefent cafe : a letter of a dif- 
ferent complexion, addrefled to Mr. Nichols under the cha- 
radcr of Mr. Urban, was, with the accuftomed liberality of 
this gentleman, admitted into the fame Journal the enfuing, 
month ; it was dated from Pandemonium, and actually figned 
Satan: in it the prince of darknefs infl:ru(f^s the journallft, that 
he knew nothing of Dr. Geddes perfonally, and was only ac- 
quainted with his-name by having been informed that he waa 
his implacable and irreconcileable enemy. This Author of all 
Evil adds, that to prevent any deception upon this poinjk 


cated In the charafterlfhic tenets of any eflabliflied 
community vvhatfoever, and efpecially of the 
church of Rome, who when he has once begun 
to feel his independence, and has determined to 

he had hlmfelf " called for and examined the attefted re- 
turns of the increafed population of his kingdom — and had 
fummoned his officers whofe attention and vigilance have 
^ever been queftioned"— -and he could pofitively anfv/er, 
therefore, that neither was his name on the public rolls of 
his court, nor was " the fuppofgd fugitive ifi any part of his 

This oppontion of evidence, or rather recantation of opi- 
nion, was thefubje£l of much convcrfation at the time among 
the doftor's friends. Air, Nichols himfelf was, asufual, fup- 
pofed to have written both accounts ; and among other epi- 
grams which were circulated upon the occalion, 1 remembtr 
having feen the following : 


Says Nichols to Nick — *' ' Tis well known to all earth 
*' That this biblical Geddes in hell had his birth j 
** Permitted by heaven, void of pains or reftraints, 
'* To try for a fpace the pure faiih of the faints." 

Says Nick to John Nichols — " You err, my dear friend ! 
** Search the lifts of our hofts — no fuch nanne there is penn'd : 
y^ None our forces, I grant, than yourfelf better knows, 
*' But this Geddes, dear John ! was our fierceft of foes." 

In another EngHfh journal however (the Montlily Maoj-a- 
zlne, April 1802) he is liberally allowed his merits in terms 
which I believe have been followed by no drawback, or fi- 
mrlar oppofition of evidence^ and is defcribed as " a man. 


fbake ofF his fetters, and to think for himfelf, has 
not flown much further from the goal at which 
he ftarted! The general ambition, corruption, and 

who by his acute and penetrating genius — his various, pro- 
found, and cxtenfive erudition — his deep refearch — his inde- 
fatigable application — and his independent, dignified, and 
unfettered fpirit, rifing fuperior to the prejudices of educa- 
tion, nobly difdaining the fhackles offyftem; fpurning the 
petty temporizing arts of unmanly accommodation ; and fet- 
ting at defiance all the terrors of malignity, bigotry, and into- 
lerance, was fupereminently qualified for the great, laborious, 
and important work in which he had, for a long feries of 
years been engaged, of giving an Englifh verfion of the ve- 
nerable literary remains of facred antiquity — the fcriptures of 
the Old and New Teftament.'' 

Nor were many of the foreign journals lefs forward to 
teftify, in their notice of his deceafe, his various literary ta* 
Icnts, and his unblemifhed moral virtues. To copy all thofc 
which 1 have myfelf perufed would be to fwell the prefent 
note to a moll immoderate bulk 5 as a fpecimen of the ge- 
neral efleem in which he was held on the continent, I (hall 
therefore confine myfelf to a lingle extrad from Ethinger's 
Gothaifche Gelehrte Zeitungen, No. 29, Apr, 10, 1802. 

'* Am. 26 Feb. litt die theol. Literatur in England, und 
die WifTenfchaft iieberhaupt, einen hochft empfindlichen 
und in mehr als einer hinCcht unerfetzlichen verluft durch 
den tod des gelehrten und wahrhaft vcrdienftvolen Dodors 
Alexander Geddes, der auch im Auflande fehr vortheilhaft 
bekannt ifl. Er war ein Mann von feltenen talenten, und ge- 
horte zu den aufgeklarteften, gelehrteften und fcharffinig- 
flen Theologen und Philologen in Englandt Seine bis zum 


profligacy of the catholic hierarchy — of thofe very 
pontiffs who claim to be the dire£t fuccelfors of the 
apoflles — and through whofe medium alone he 

dritten bandc erfchienene, Bibeliiberfetzung, nebft dem kri- 
tifch-phllologifchen Commentar, feine vlelen kleinen Schrif- 
ten, latcinifche — englifche — und frandzbfifche — Gedichte, 
wnd Flugblater, welche nur wenigen als feine arbelt bekannt 
wurden, find das fchonfte denkmal feines hellen kopfes, 
felner gelehrfamkeit, feines gefchmaks und des feinften le- 
bendigften witzes, der ihn bei dem fanfteften, wohlwollend- 
flen herzen und edelften charakter zu dem liebenfwiirdig- 
llen gefellfcb after, und alien die ihn niiher kannten unendHch 
theuer machte.'' 

** On the twenty-fixth of February, theological fcience in 
England, and literature in every quarter, fuilained a deep, 
a fenfible, and in more than one refpeft an irreparable lofs by 
the death of the learned, honert, and highly meritorious Doc- 
tor Alexander Geddes, whofe labors are well known to have 
been extenfively ufefal even to foreign countries. He was a 
man of fingular talents, and iiftened to by the moft enlight- 
ened, erudite, and fagacious theologians and philofophcrs in 
England. The three volumes of his Tranflation of the Bible 
which have already appeared, together with his critical and 
philological Commentary, his numerous little pieces in Latin, 
EngUfh, and French ; his fugitive and fanciful publications, 
which add in no trivial degree to his labors, are the faireft mo- 
nument of his clear head, of his erudition, of his tafte, and of 
the keen vivacious wit, which, in conjundion with a foft, be- 
nevolent heart, and an unblemifhed character, perpetually en- 
deared him to men of real worth, and efpecialJy to all vvhg 
were intimately acquainted with him." 


believed himfelf capable of being rcmowledged a 
member of Chrift's vinble church— whofe perfons 
he was bound to revere, and whofe ordinances 
implicitly to obey— became the firfl ftumb ling- 
block to his faith : and let thofe who conceive thafe 
the fituation of a mind thus Hberated from the 
bondage of its former creed, and all afloat in pur- 
fuit of a n-jw and a better, is not in the highefl 
degree critical and perilous — \vho find no ditticulty 
in fixing the precife point between blindly believ- 
ing too much and philofophically believing too 
littlcj once more return to the hhtor)^ of Voltaire, 
D'Alembert, Diderot, and their fellow encyclo- 
pedifts, who, indructed in revealed religion from 
the fame fource, difgufled with the fame crimr- 
nalities and contradictions, and refolved, upon 
fimilar grounds, to act and determine for them- 
felves — tied from, catholicifm to infidelity, and 
confounded the truths and fimpiicity of the gofpel 
with the frauds, fuperflitions, and m^ummeries, 
with which in their own country they had been 
too generally interwoven. 

To an univerfal knowledge of the Bible, Dr, 
Geddes added a deep and elaborate acquaintance 
with the hiftory of his own church; and fo tho- 
roughly was he verfed in its annals, in its jurifpru- 
dence, in its polemics, that I have good autho- 
rity for aiferting that even at the Vatican it was 


doubted whether the papal dominions themfelvea 
could produce his fuperior. 

His clafTical attainments, if not of the firfl: rate, 
were of a very diflinguiflied character ; and, when 
in his own language, he wrote with coohiefs and 
circumfpedion, his didion, which was always per- 
fpicuous, was peculiarly elegant and correal. His 
ftyle is neverthelefs extremely variable: he often 
compofed precipitately, and occafionally in a flate 
of high mental irritation; and though there be a 
character which flill adheres to what he wrote 
and fully deciphers the writer, his compofitions 
uniformly partake of the predominant fenfation of 
the moment. In few words he was a benevolent 
man, an accomplifhed fcholar, an indefatigable 
friend, and a fuicere chriflian. 

At his own particular defire his remains were in- 
terred in Paddington church-yard, being the parifh 
in which he died ; and his funeral was attended by 
a long procefTion of carriages, not indecently empty 
and fent for the mere purpofe of external parade, 
but filled with friends who were flrenuoufly at- 
tached to his perfon, and will long venerate his 
memory ; and who, though divided by different 
tenets into almoft every clafs of chriflian and even 
political fociety, here confented to forget every 
nominal fepa ration, and to unite in taldng one 
common and affedionate farewel of a man who 


had been an honor to the generation in which he 

A plain marble monument, with a fhort infcrip- 
tion engraven on it, fele6led from his own worksj 
has been ereded to his memory by his patroi.i lord 
Petre, and is affixed to the outfide of the entrance 
into the church. 


toe following IS a selection from the correspondence referred to 
in the note at the foot of page 49S. It might have been ex- 
tended, but the specimen here oifered is deemed sufficient* 


Jena Jul Jinem Marti l8oO# 
iNI oLi;, quaefo, vir celeberrime atque amiciffime, unquam fu£^ 
picari, gratiffimam recordationem virorum omnium^ quide mc 
ia Ariglia commovato bene meriti funtj meamemoria pofle ex- 
cldere. Immo vero quotidie benevolentise memini^ qua homi- 
nem jiivenem at peregrlnum excipere dignati funt viri erudf- 
tiflimij muneribus atque audloritate inter fuos graviflimi 5 in- 
ter quos quanti inprimis Te non poflim non facere^ non doc- 
trinse folum copia fed ingenii potifFimum elegantia^ ubertate, 
fubtllitate, morumque candore^ fuavitate,, liberalitate infignem, 
Tua ilia me filere jubet modeftia. Faciem Tuam omnemque 
jllam ingenuitatemj qua me prima ftatira occafione, cum Tc 
adirem, amplexus es, adhuc ante oculos habeo laetufque fsepc 
recoUigo. Sed is ell Jense noilrae fitus mediterraneusj ea a 
xnari, quod vos, Britannia jam ubique foli tenetis, disjun6lio, 
lit per hoc, quod Jena^ tranfegi, decennium de commercio lite- 
rarum non nimis interrupto cogitare non potuifTem. Etiam 
jnunera, quae fubicram, academicamagno erant impedimento. 
Poftquam nimirum literas orientales per aliquot annos docu- 
cram^ nunc ex preparatis banc \n rem ftudiis otium aliquod 
rtiihi captaturus, ecce ad Theologias Profeffionem ordinariam 
tranfire permotus tanquam de novo in fladium fere immcnfum 
jme immittere cogebat. In noftris Academiis quovis die binas 


vel tres leftlones diverfi argument! exponere, praeterca multos, 
cum nimis multi inter nos edantur, lilpros legert debemus, ut 
recentiflimarum in re theologica difquififionum feriem ct 
iilum manu quafi teneamus minime abiumpendum. Et in 
phllofophicis ap. d nos multa de novo pertraftantur, quae noT> 
pcTpendifTe Academico Theologo ignominiac foret. Quae qui- 
dem pHinia eo potiflimum fine commemoraflc liceat, ut mihi 
non Anglfcead Te peilcrlbenti facilius ignofceres. Non ne- 
glexi linguam veftram, qua librcs le^litans non paucos, veftris 
infulis of the dear old England propfus fiemper mihi admotus 
videor. Sed loquendi facultas, quas, ut bene nofll, perexigua 
fuit, deficlente exercitatione nimis, eheu, deminuca fe mirj 
fubtraxJt incauto. Quae tamen ut optimo velut incitamento. 
nutriatur, rogo etiam atque etiam, veb's, Vlr Amiclfiime ! 
femper vernacula veftia ad me fcribere, qua It6la Tuo^ ego, 
fonos placidos fuavefque iterum, aujcultare mihi videbor. 

Qureris ex me : ** Did you ever receive the liift two volumea 
of my Bible ? They were fent to you kil year {1797),, about 
this time." Doleo. admodura, me non poffe non refpondere: 
** Never, Sir ! I have not feen any fiieet of yours." De ja61ura 
tranfmiflorum exemplarium eft;, cur eo magis doleam, cum 
femper optaflem, in noftra Allgen?eine Litteratur Zeitung 
operis e^rimii. Tuique ipfms mentionem facere€am,quam anir 
mus in Te meus efflagiiaflet. Jamdudura etiam Cel. Holmefii, 
interim editos Accounts et de vaflo illo fuo coUationis Septua-. 
gintabiralis molimine^ atque editumpoftea illiusprimum volu-. 
men in Jcnefin me non accepifTe, dolui. Inde evenit, ut alius 
nefcio quis in ea ipfa Allg. Litteraturfeitung recenfionem 
primi ex Genefi Specimenis, quod ego adhucdum non vidi, 
inferendam daret non fane aquam fatis, fed illiberalem. 
Cujus cenfurae ut ne forte me audorem fufpicetur Vir, cui 
mukas debeo gratlas ac femper habebo, hifce meis verbis ut 
fignificare velis, Vir amiciffime, enixe a Te peto. Qua dat^. 
opportunitate reliquis etiam, qui Oxonii mihi faverunt, viiis 

<3o£lIffimis, ut Dr. Ford, Mr. iVhiJlafihyy Bibliotliecario Mr,- 
Pricey memorem mentem gratiffimamquc teftari pofle velim 
Do^ltiT. White an partem anni degat Oxonii, nefcio. Vir op- 
tima indolis etlam In me animo fuit benevolentiflimo Britan- 
niaque Veftra digniffimo, cujus rei in me fupereffe fenftis viva* 
dffimos, fi forte ex GloceOria fua Londinum adit, meo no- 
mine ipfi teixeris enixe obfecro. 

Oxonii etiam familiaritas mihi magna fait cum Mr. John. 
Bar/jam, qui poft meum abitum uxorem duxit virginem Jiih 
per Helvetiam peregrinatus eft, Jenam vero non attigic, fed . 
in Britanniam redux vivit in provincia nefcio qua. Utlnain 
felix fortunatufque ! / 

Nunc per Do<ftiir, et AmicifT. Prof. Tlm^um vobifcum 
aliquam communlcandi viam niihi aperiri, quara maximc lastor. 
Accipe mea " Selcda Capita Incrodudionis in N. T.'" nee 
non *' Commentarii m N. T. primam partem," junclo alio 
Schediafmatequalicunque. Doleo ceffafTe Veil rum Analytical 
Review. Optarem fane, Tuo beneficio ut libelli hi etiam 
in Anglia pofient innotefcere. Exegefeos enim fundamenti* 
mere hiftoricls nixse Syllema aliquod per hofce conatus incho- 
are fufcepij abfquc haerefeos, quae ingeri fortafGs pofict, metu. 
Multa fane hoc in genere non nifi per conjeduram poni pof- 
funt. Sed etiam ** poffibilitates," quasuvocant, exponi deberc 
videntur, de rebus, quas nimis feftinanter pro miraculis omni vx 
naturse leges habere folent, earn unice ob caufam, quod pauci 
rwv Tte^iS'Oihujv hiftorias naturales, caufas et phyfiologicas €t 
phychologicas in medium proferre audent bcerefiomailigum 
fomidine tadli. Explicatio alictijus pqffibiUidUSi licet forte rem 
geftam non acu tetigcrit, oftendit certe, veri nominis miracu* 
lum, hoc el>, fadlum per omnem naturse vim et concurfum 
plave non pofflbile ibi minime efle pr^rumendum. 

Vinarias (Weimar) quse metropolis hujus Ducatus Saxonici 
oon nifi 4 horis diftat Jenas, nunc deraum inftltuitur biblio- 
poiium cum Anglia rtdta via communicaturum. Spero, fort.*, 


lit, hoc inftituto fuccedente,raihi etiam vobiTcum faepiur aliquid 
communicandi ac veftra accipiendi aperiatur opportunitas, 
Londini vir do6lus, H'ulner, qui peregrinationi in Chlnam Ma- 
cartneyanse interfuit, eft the correfpondent of this Inftitute, 
called the " Induftrie Comtoir zu Weimar." Alio tempore 
plura. Vale Vir Amicitia et Dodlrina mihi Venerabilis atque 
^ftumatiffime, et me^ ut facis^ araare pergc. 



J. ANDEM aliquandoj amiciffime Geddes, adlitteras tuas per* 
Iiumaniter ad me datas refpondeo ; rion, quod iilentii, quod 
fegre tenui, rationes jam remotge fmt, verum ne ingratus tibi 
videar. Ex quo operis tui biblici partes adhuc editas, quse in- 
terioris tuae linguarum orientalium cognitionis, atque criticae 
tuae fagacitatis infignia documenta continent, tibi tuaeque 11- 
beralitati debto, ferlo cogitavi, ut veftigia tua legerem, II- 
brumqueunum atque alteram cognatum elaborarem^ quo ali- 
quid haberem, quod grati animi teftandi caufa et tibi tradere 
poiTem. Verum belli difficultates, quae Germaniam premunt, 
carnmque pcricula, in dies latius fefe extendentia, bibliopolas 
Teutonicos a redimendis libris ad litteraturam antiquam et 
biblicam pertinentibus abflerrent, quoniam et paucas emtorcs 
habent, et magnos fumtus poftulant, ut adeo ad hunc ufque 
diem bibliopolam nullum habeam, qui per ipfa belli tempora 
abrerumnoftraiEtateincertitudinem et inconftantiamcommen- 
tariis meis biblicis, tam Veteris quam Novi Tcftamenti, quos 
lingua Latina exarare conftitui, in vulgus emittendis fumtus 
erogare velit. Ne tamen per hos annos, qui Mufis parum fa- 
vent, donee meliora tempora illuxerint, ftudiis biblicis plane, 
dceflem, unum atque alterum poetam Hebraeum in Genna- 
nicamlinguamtranftuli J cujub verfionis fpccimenper asllatem 


prgeteritam typis exprimendum curavi, ejufque exemplar hit 
litteris adjuxi, ut meum qualem cunque laborem tuo iudicio 
fubmittertm, Tu enim fere unicus esj quern, ft liceret^judkem 
mihi exptterem ; quandoqwdcm tu in litteris blblicis babitas, in 
todemfiadio magna cum laude ddcurris, omnefque djfficullates et 
fnokfiiaSf qu<x talem curfum impcdiunt, ipfd expericnt'id edodus, 
noflif ut adeo nemo facile ad judicium iam cequius quam re^ius 
fertndum cogitari pojjit, 

Interea fi mihi contlngeret efle tarn felici, ut trecenta ex- 
cmpla coramcntariorum meorum ab Anglis emerentur, line mora 
eorum ad finem perducendorum et typis tradendorum operaia 
in me fufcriperem. Grieibachianae Nov! Teflamenti editioni 
rara haec et fingularis contigit fortuna, ut magna pars exem- 
planum ab unico dvnafta Anglico (Lord) emeretur, qu£e in- 
ter ecclefiaeminiftros, quibus res"anguila domi eft^dividenda cu- 
raret. Jnfigne omnino liberalitatis pise documeutunij cujus ta- 
men frudus non nijQ dubii et incerti efle pofTunt, cum ilia tdi^ 
tlo intra anguftos criticos limftes fefe Gontineat, nee ipli tex- 
tui explicando quicquam lucis afFerat j mei vero commentarii 
hanc rationem fequerentur, ut et textum quam accuratiffime 
recenferent, et prolixo commentario multifque epimetris etex- 
curfibus illuftrarent ; et, nlfi omnia me faliunt, infinitis locis et 
omnibus fere pericopis novam lucem accenderent, ex ea fere 
ratlone, cujus fp^cimina plura in bibliotheca litter aturie bibli- 
cae, quam adhuc edidi, leguntur. Verum omnem fere fpem 
abjicio, fore ut aliquando ad hoc opus^ quod di'u praeparavi^ 
perficiendum, perpcliendum ct typis mandandum me accingere 
poflim, quandoquidem per vegetiores vitae mes annos belli 
inoleftiis et difficultatibus impedior^ atque cum incertum fit, 
an futuro feculo litteris feverioribus meliora tempora Inllenr, 
nolim tempus meum, oleum et opernm libris exarandisperdere, 
qui futuro etiam tempore in publicam lucem prodeundi oppoi- 
tunitate carerent. 

Adjunxi his litteris, qu^ tibi a curfore publico Hannovc:* 


t'aho, qualibet quarta anni parte m Angliam profidifcentff 
(Quartal Couiir) perferentur, fafciculum iff. Part ix. biblfo- 
thecae meac biblicae, in qua ad lt6lores meos retuli de magnis 
Anglorum de Interiori Africa delegenda promeritis. Nufpiam 
adhuc talis recenfus ex flat, ut adeo in fpem ingredfar^ fore 
lit nee Africanas Societati, inprimis per illuftri Bankfio mea 
de itineribusad hue in Africam fufeeptis relatfo difpliceat. 

Vale,, amiciffinae G^^ddes, mequf, ut ad hue fecffti, porro 
ama; tibique perfuade, meam erga te obfervantfam nulli 
temporuni ac rerum viciffitudini effe obnoxiam adeoque for« 
perpe^uam* Scrfpfi Gottingae^ d. i Sept. 1800. 


Scripta- jam erant bae litterae, cUm mihi afferretur liber 
tuus apologelicLis, novum tuce erga me amicitfas pignus. 
Accfpe, quas tfbf refero gratias^ quas pofTum maximas : Na- 
vam mihi parafti voluptatem, qua proximis diebus librum 
tuum perlegendo fruar. Legi ante annum et quod excur- 
rit, parari Introduftionis meae in V. T. verfionem Anghcam : 
an in pubh'cum prodierit, comperiri nondum potui. Itcruia 
iterumquc x^^F^* 


LiTTEEiE tu32 mellltiflimce, Calcnd, Septembr. datas, ad mc 
tandtm viii. C.ilend. Decembr. perlatse funt : cum duobus pre- 
tiofis opufculfs, pro quibus gratfas habeo maxima-3. Jobum 
tuum, magna cum avfdftate, fammaque voluptate pcrleg'^ ct 
contuli cum verfione Theotlfca Michaelis. Miror vfrum cele- 
berrimum Redcmptorem et 'vltam altiram inveniffe in cap. xf*. 
2 5, &c. maxime cum fpfe Jobum antiquiorem Mofe cxfftumet. 
In tua, mi Efchhorni, hujufce perlcopes verfione, difplicct. 


quod 75^ am'icos efle Jobi putes. Metaphora nimis dura mihi 
vidctur, ut et Dathio vifa eft. Sed hoc modefte fit diftum : 
TIbi forfitan mea veiTio, quodammodo mihi propria, non mi- 
nus difplicebit. 

Optavi faepius, ut tu te ad fcribendos perpetuos in fcriptu- 
ras turn Veteris turn Novi Teftamenti commentarios convcr- 
tercs ; doleoque deefle bibliopolas, qui eos pnielo mandent. 
Spero tamen fore, ut dies fauftiores videamus : cum Bellonaj 
faturata fanguine;, locum Minervse fit cefTura. Hos commen- 
tarios te Latine fcripfiffe gaudeo : vix etenim eft credibile, 
quam pauci ex noftratibus Teutonicam callent. Trecenta ex- 
emplaria in Britannia totaemptum iri, nonaufim affirmare : fed 
fi vclis mihi Conditlones (PropofaJsJ tranfmittere, in nollris 
diariis imprimantur, curabo ; fenfus exploratum publicos. 
Hoc unum fpondeo, me pro te et nomina et nummus receptu- 
vum : fed timeo ut homines noftri prcenumerare vclint. 

Quod ad Ifssgogen tuam attinet, fi mca valuiiTent vota, 
jamdudum Angh'cana vefte induta evafiffet : et memet, 
fi per otium licuifTct, iiiterpretem haberes, Sed iter longum, 
vita brevis : et 

Non omnia poflumus omnes. 

Lloydius, quidem, in Academia Cantabrigenfi Heb. 1. pro- 

feffor, hoc nuper, meditatus eft opus, fed num perficiat, du- 

bito. Is, anno proxime elapfo, ad me fcripfit fe verfionem 

Anglicam Introdu6lioni Eichhornii parare^ rogavitque, ut 

fibi per fcriptas h'tteras fignificarem, an gratum mihi laborcm 

fubiturus effet. Refpondi : nihil mihi poffe fieri gratius — hor- 

tatus fum, ut tam utili labori fe extemplo daret — centum 

promili nominvifubfcribenthim. Adhuc hominem non videram: 

nam rarilhme ab urbe difcedo. Ille meis excitatus letteris hue: 

advolat— Profpeftum imprimit — epiftolas ad Ecclefiac prasfules 

ah'ofque docftores mittit : nil dubitans, omnes, uno ore, votis 

fuis fuffragaturos, et nomina daturos. — Ego vero : *' Noli 

2 N 


<^ Inquebam, nimis efTe credulus : In tuis fautoribus, noa 
^' eruntj Ci quid fclam, epifcopi: nolunt ilH opera Eichor- 
*■* niana idlomate Anglfco donari." — Rifit intemperantius ! 
Subrisi tantum, dicens : *^* videbimus." 

Elapfo vix mcnfe, ad me rediit, anhclans : '* Tu, inquit, 
noflras praefules reflius noviftl, quam ego novi." — Scilicet 
refponfa tulerat frigidiflima. Duo tantum epifcopi nomina 
dederant, quse poftea fubtraxere. Roffenfis (Horfley) Isete 
dedit refponfum quale non eft datum, ab origine mundi, a 
viro honefto, honefto alteri. Sed non tantum cum Epifcopis, 
ct Epifcopicob's, erat Lloydio lu6landum. Solent univerii- 
tates noflras opera profefTorum typis academicis gratis im- 
primere ; boc Lloydio negatum eft. An contra flimulos 
calcitret, et repugnantibus Epifcopis et Academise primori* 
bus, verfionem fuam publici juris faciat, dubito. 

Dynafta, Grieibachii patronus, eft Dux de Grafton; vir 
quidem bonarum litterarum amantilllmus, fed minime locu- 
pies. Fuit quondam Regis noftri Minifter primarius; fed 
Jiu eft, quo curiae valedixit ; et nunc otio cum dignltate, five 
fure five urbe^ fruitur. Is chartam Griefbachio fubpeditavit 
pro certo numero Exemplarium N. T. Grseci : fed hsec ex« 
emplaria non omnia gratis diftributa funt. Plurafunt vendita, 
mediocri quidem pretio : fed tamen funt vendita. — Quoad re- 
Jigionem, Dux eft Sociniaiius ; feu, ut nos loquimur, Unita- 
nanus ; llberalis tamen, fiquis alius; et, ut verbo dicam, vere 
Chriftianus. Solus eft, opinor, qui verfionem meam Pentateu- 
cbi cum Septuaginta exemplari contulit (nam Hebr. non. no- 
vit) legente AnglLcamuna ex filiabus, ipfo infpicicnte Graecara, 

Rara avis in terris, nigroquc fimillima cygno ! 

Obfervationes meae criticje, poft multas moras, jam lucera 
yiderunt, Earum exeir.plar tc quam primum falutabit : una 


eum all's qu'ibufdam lucubratiunculis, quas diverfis temporl- 
bus, lufitandi gratia fcripfi. — Nam illud 

Interpone tuis interdum gauJia curis 

semper in honore habui : nee fenefcenti difplicet, quod pla- 
cuit adolefcenti. 

Mihi faepe feribas oro : et quidem per tabellarium publicum 
ordinarium: nunquam enim libentlus zonam meara parvamfol- 
vo quam cum amicorum epiftolas redimo. Inter amicos autem 
meos nullum plurlsfacio quam amiciffimummihiEichhornium. 

Vale, et me, ut amas, ama. 


Datafunt 6 CaJ, Jan. 
Anno JEris Cbrif, 1 80 1. 


I'KlMll) ti\ K. VMLKs, CllANClkV-lA.Nh, 

Jujl fuhlijhed by /^^ Author of ibis Volujne^ 

1. SONG of SONGS: or SACRED IDYLS. Translated 
from the orii2,inal Hebrew, in Prose and Verse, with Notes criti- 
cal^ and explanatory. Printed for G. Kear^ley, Fleet-street. 

Jjihexi:ise published by the same Author, 

o. SKETCH of the REVOLUTION in 1688, with Obser- 
vations on the Events that occurred. Second Edition, enlarged 
and illustrated. 1792. 

POOR-HOUSES. Published at the Request of the Medical So- 
ciety of London. Printed for C. Dilly, Poultry, 1795. 

vations OP the Phaenomena that occurred. Printed for C. Diik, 
Poultry, 1795. 

5. HISTORY of MEDICINE, &c. from the earliest Accounts 
to the present Period. Published at the Request of the General 
Pbarmaceutic Association 'of Great Britain. Second Edition. 
Printed for C. Dilly, Poultry, 1796. 

6. DISSERTATION on the best MEANS of maintaining and 
employing the POOR in PARISH WORK-HOUSES. Published 
at the Request of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, 
Manufactures and Commerce. Cadell and Davies, Strand, 1798. 

PORATION of SURGEONS of LONDON. Published by Re- 
quest of the Committee of the Corporation, 1799« 

Speedily will he fuhli/Jjed by the fame Author, 

Jn Three Volnmcs, 4 to. 
8. THE NATURE of THINGS, a Poem in Six Books, 
translated from the Original of 


Accompanied with a large Body of Notes, Critical and Ex- 




G. Kearsley, Fleet-street, London. 

SPEARE. Handsomely printed in small octavo, on a super- 
fine foolscap paper, and hot pressed. Each Play is embellished 
-with two Desii^ns from the Pictures and Drawings of Loulher- 
bourg, Stothard, Tresham, and Westall, Royal Academicians ; 
and of Messrs. Thurston, Burney, &c. To be engraved in the 
first Style of Elegance and Beauty,' by 

Angus, Delatre, Raimbach, 

Armstrong, Milton, A.Snnth, A.R.A. 

Bromley, Neagle, Ske4ton,and 

Cromek, Parker, ^ A\ arien. 

The First Number, containing the Tkmpfst, of this elegant 
Edition of the Plays of Shakespeare, will be published on Satur- 
day next, with t\vo Engravings by Messs. Biomley and Parker, 
from the Designs of the late Mr. Sherwin and Mr. Stothard. 

The Second Number, the Two Gentlemen or Verona, 
will be published on the following Saturday, with two Engrav- 
ings by Messrs. Anker Smith, A.R.A. and Warren, from the 
Designs of Messrs. Tresham and Thursto-n : and one Play will be 
published every Fortnight, till the Work is completed, which 
will be in Forty' Numbers or les^. 

The Price is Three Shillings each Play. A few Copies on 
large Paper, with Proof Impressions of the Plates, at Six Shil- 

The Text is corrected by the last Edition of Dr. Johnson and 
Mr. Steevens j and at the End of each Play is a Selection of (heir 
Notes, as well as those of other Commentators, independent of 
■verbal Criticism, illustrative of the Text, the Manners and Cut- 
toms of i:he Age in which the Poet lived, 

Late of Exeter College, Oxon. 

When the Whole of the Plays are published, one or two Num- 
bers will be devoted to the Life of Shakespeare, with a fine Por- 
trait from the mosc authentic Picture) the Preface of Dr. John- 
son; and other preliminary Matter, desirable in a complete Edi- 
tion of the Dramatic Works of our immortal Bard. 

Books pullished ly G. Kearsley. 

In One large Volume octavo, with Nine folding Plates, 
Price Fifteen Shillings in Boards, 
?. A TREATISE on AS TROISOMY : in which the Elements of 
the Science are deduced in a natural Order from the Appearances 
of the Heavens to an Observer on tne Earth-, demonstrated on Ma- 
thematical Principles, and explained by an Application to the 
rarious Phaenomena. 


Late Teacher of Mathefnatics, Cambrids^e., and nov.^ of the Royal 
Military Academyy Wooltoich, 

** There is undoubtedly much to commend in Mr. Gregory's 
plan : but how is it executed? This is the most important ques- 
tion. We may briefly answer, — with ability. Many of the chap- 
ters are written with great perspicuity: some subjects of discus- 
sion, which are in general loosely treated, are stated with un- 
usual precision, and those truths, which at most are but probable, 
ate not "dogmatically maintained as certain. That the bonk 
sliould contain much new matter could not reasonably be ex- 
pected ; nor does the Author rest his claim to distinction on this 
point: bnt there are few things in Astronomical Science which it 
does not notice. The Author seems, with great care and dili- 
gence, to have consulted all preceding Astronomical Treatises ; 
and his selections reriect credit on his judgment. Satisfied, 
therefore, with this result of his researches, and this specimen of 
his talents, we cannot but wish that be could devote more time to 
the improvement of Science." 

** We cannot conclude without recommending 

this Performance as, on the whole, valuable and useful; nor 
■without hoping that tbe Author's zeal and indefatigable industry 
may meet with a suitable reward from the favour of the Public.'* 

Monthly Reviexv, Atig, 1802. 

For other Characters of this Work, the Reader is referred (q 
the British Critic for September last; Nicholson's journaJ, 
Mo. a; and Philosophical Magazine, No. 45. 

In Four large .Volumes 8vo. with Ninety-six Quarto Plates, ele- 
gantly engraved. Price Three Guineas in Boards, 
PHILOSOPHY; containing amusing dissertations and inquiries 
concerning a variety of subjects, the most remarkable and proper 
to excite curiosity and attention to the whole langeof the mathe- 
matical and philosophical sciences; the whole treated in a pleas- 
ing and easy manner, and adapted to the comprehension of all 
who are the, least initiated in those sciences. 


And Professor of Mathematics in the Royal Military Academy, 
V\ oolwich.