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(for Moore has himself long since gone to the worms) has blundered out a prediction that is to a certain extent verified ; and as this circunistance may chance to bring superstition a little into repute it may be worth while to examine for a moment the credit due to the Almanack maker in his character of prophet. Now, sir, if this is any thing more than a random assertion verified, it must be either an inspired prophecy, or an event foretold by consulting the planets. For the writer is either a prophet or an astrologer, or he is neither. Now as the belief of astrology is gone pretty well out of fashion, and as the blunders contained in the event foretold, prove it not to have been matter of actual inspiration, we can only ascribe it to what is called, in many cases, a lucky hit. A prophecy ought to be verified with exactness, of it is worth nothing as a prophecy.. But let us examine in the present case, how wide the prediction is given, and how much may be made to come within it. this time the Turkish emperor dies, or it may be hides his head," _Here it is clear this calculator could not tell whether he would do either the one or the other, so that he takes care by the convenient phrase or it may be' to slip in, as it were, between both, and to secure credit either way.
If he had died a natural death, it would have done for the prediction, or if he had been slair in an insurrection of his subjects in these revolutionary times, it would have just as well applied, he still would have died. But it was possible in case of any public revolt, he might effect an escape
and secret himself; in this case, he will be said to hide his head, or if it should be cut off, still it will be made to apply, for though he cannot be himself said to hide his head, yet his subjects hide it for him, and in these cases when we cannot suite the prophecy to the fact, we must square the fact to the prophecy. This is matter of no great difficulty, for those who are determined to make a dream or a prophecy come true, will always cut and contrive some fact till it fits. Well, but you must allow that the foretelling this event, considering in what manner it has happened, is extraordinary? But let us ask in return, suppose it had not happened? why in that case the prophecy would have been forgotten, or if the failure had been remarked, the astrologer had carved out for himself a way of
escape, for the words “near this time' give him a latitude which his believers will interpret in his favour, whether it be VOL. II,
greater or less, but if no such event had happened at all, still he saves his reputation, nay, in the opinion of many, would perhaps have encreased it, for he takes care to conclude thus: “if he can save his life let him, I give him fair warning of it.” Thus if matters go on right, it might still have been said, “the Turkish emperor had no doubt profited by this precaution, and had so concerted measures in consequence of it, as to save his life, otherwise he no doubt would have lost it” so that the astrologer takes care, like a cat, always to fall upon his legs. Lord Bacon speaking on the subject of these kind of prophecies, says, “ My judginent is that they ought all to be despised, aud ought to serve but for winter talk by the fire side. Though when I say despised, I mean it as for belief; for otherwise the spreading or publishing of them, is in no sort to be dispised, for they have done much mischief. That which hath given them grace,
and some credit, consisteth in three things. First, that men mark when they hit, and never inark when they miss, as they do generally, also, of dreams. The second is, that probable conjectures, many times turn themselves into prophecies ; while the nature of man, which covereth divination, thinks it no peril to foretell that which they do hut collect. The third and last is, that almost all of them, being infinite in number have been impostors, and by idle and crafty brains, merely ontrived and feigned after the event past."
PITY AND LOVE.
That pity leads to love is a sentiment confirmed by every day's experience, and remarkably exemplified at the present moment.
Numbers of English women have married exiled Frenchmen, and many instances have occurred, in which virgins, widows, mothers of families, and buxom abigails, have been seduced by these strangers, whose persons, tempers, and manners, were by no means attractive ; the lovers, in every instance I was acquainted with, had no other recommendation than genuine distress, and fortuues ruined beyond recovery.
“ La pitié," says one of their writers, “ toutes les passions, a ses sophismes, et ses erreurs.'
But if this amiable weakness sometimes leads to error and degradation, it occasionally is the handmaid of happiness and domestic comfort; a case strongly in point occurred in the life of Dr. John Burton, formerly fellow of Eton College, a man never recollected by his cotem. poraries without love and regret.
Dr. Burton having been presented by his college to the vicarage of Maple-Derham, in Oxfordshire, repaired to that place in order to be inducted; when a melancholy scene presented itself; the widow of his predecessor in that preferment, (Dr. Edward Lyttleton), with three infant daughters, without a home, and without fortune!!
The worthy doctor insisted that the lady should on no account be put to the trouble of quitting the parson, age'; he consoled her by every means in his power, and occasionally repeating his visits, became strongly inte. rested in her welfare, and, at the same time, so fascinated with her person, disposition, manners and accomplishments, that, after a decent time, they became man and wife,
Those who have a relish for learning, embellished by taste and guided by good sense, will find them happily united in the Opuscula of this excellent man; a Latin oration spoken before the university of Oxford, and afterwards published under tbe title of “ Heli, or an instance of a Magistrate erring through lenity," is well worthy the perųsal of vice chancellors, proctors, and heads of houses,
The following passage of his monumental inscription is strictly appropriate ; Vir, inter primos, doctus, inge niosus, pius, opum contemptor, ingenuæ juventutis fautor,
DOUBLE ACROSTIC. The following example of the double Acrostic is taken from Alexander Nevill's Lacrymäe Academiæ Cantabrigiensis tumulo nobilissimi Equitis D. Phllidpi Sidneii sacratæ ; a very curious and exceedingly rare tract.
PH-armaca mens spernens mediis stans dira trumphi-S
REVIEW OF BOOKS.
An Account of the Life and Writings of James Beattie,
L. L. D. late Professor of Moral Philosophy and Logic, in the Marischal College and University of Aberdeen : including many of his original Letters. By Sir William Furbes of Pitsligo, Baronet, one of the Executors of Dr. Beattie. 4to. 2 cols. London, 1806.
Dr. Beattie and his biographer are unconscious now both of censure and praise ; Sir William Forbes died very soon after the publication of these volumes, which give a faithful, feeling, and satisfactory account of Dr. Beattie's life and writings, and, perhaps, some will think too undiscriminating a selection of his epistolary correspondence : but Dr. Beattie's letters, though sometimes upon trifling subjects, cannot be read with. out interest, and as his acquaintance was extensive, and included nearly all the literary characters of his day, we are more inclined to thank his biographer than censure him for the copious stores to which he has admitted us.
The works on which Dr. Beattie's reputation is principally founded, are the Minstrel, a poem in every hand, and in alniost everybody's inouth ; and the Essay on Truth, a very elaborate composition, which does its author immortal honour, and is one of the best antidotes to infidelity which has ever issued from the press. One its greatest recommendations is its perspicuity ; the intricate speculations of former writers are thoroughly examined, and by 'appeals to facts and experience, by familiar illustrations and examples he solves every difficulty which scepticism has interposed to conceal the trųth, and detects all her arts and fallacies, by tracing the different kinds of evidence up to their first principles.
This admirable performance rendered the doctor very popular, and procured him a pension of 2001. a year, It also was the means of introducing him to a private
Rudience with the King and Queen, an interview of which he has given a particular account. It is curious, and, though it has been published before, our readers we think, will be pleased with an extract froin it,
“ We were received in the most gracious manner possible, by both their Majesties. I had the honour of a conversation with them (no body else being present but Dr. Majendje) for upwards of an hour. on a great variety of topics, in which both the King and Queen joined, with a degree of cheerfulness, affability and ease, that was to me surprising, and soon dissipated the embarrassment which I felt at the beginning of the conference. They both complimented me, in the highest terms, on my“ Essay,” which, they said, was a book they always kept by thein ; and the King said he had one copy of it at Kew, and another in town, and immediately went and took it down froní a shelf. I found it was the second edition. “I never stole a book but one,” said his Majesty, “and that was yours (speaking to me); I stole it from the Queen, to give it to Lord Hertford to read.” He had heard that the sale of “Hume's Essays" had failed, since my book was published ; and I told him what Mr. Strahan had told me, in regard to that matter. He had even heard of my being in Edinburgh, last summer, and how Mr. Hume was offended on the score of iny book. He asked many questions about the second part of the “ Essay,” and when it would be ready for the press. I gave him, in a short speech, an account of the plan of it; and said, my health was so precarions, I could not tell when it might be ready, as I had many books to consult before I could finish it; but that if my health were good, I thought I might bring it to a conclusion iu two or three years. He asked, how long I had been in composing my Essay ?" praised the caution with which it was written; and said, he did not wonder that it had employed me five or six years. He asked about my poems. I said, there was only one poem of my own, on which I set any value (meaning the “ Minstrel”), and that it was first published about the same time with the “ Essay." My other poems, I said, were incorrect, being but juvenile pieces, and of litile consequence, even in my own opinion. We had much conversation on moral subjects; frono which both their Majesties let it appear, that they were warın friends to Christianity ; and so little inclined to infidelity, that they could hardly believe that any thinking man could really be aan atheist, unless he could bring himself to believe that he made himself; a thought which pleased the King exceedingly; and he repeated it several times to the Queen. He asked, whether any thing had been writteu against me. I spoke of the late pamphlet, of which I gave an account, telling him, that I never had met with any man who had read it, except one quaker. This brought on soine discourse about the quakers, whose moderation, and mild behaviour, the King and Queen commended. I was asked many questions about the Scots universities, the revenues of the Scots clergy, their mode of praying and preaching, the medical college of Edmburgh, Dr. Gregory, (of whom I gave a particular character), and Dr. Calien; the length of our vacation at Aberdeen, and the closeness of our attendance during the winter; the number of students that attend my lectures, my mode of lecturing, whether from