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certainly not the best of his performances; and it is likewise so expensive, as to be above the reach of many who would otherwise wish to be purchasers; and who would also be gratified by a perusal of some anecdotes of his life not generally to be met with. Such a selection, therefore, from his prose-writings only, together with a critique on his style and manner of writing, it was thought would be a most acceptable present to the admirers of Addison. Nor did we know any one so fit for the task as Dr Beattie, whose good taste, added to his enthusiastic admiration of that author, whom he had chosen as his own model in composition, qualified him highly for such an undertaking. On its being proposed to him, he most cheerfully agreed to set about it without delay; and even promised to himself much gratification in the execution.

The original intention was to have published the whole of Addison's prose-works, to which Dr Beattie proposed to prefix a biographical and critical preface, in the latter part of which he meant to insert a Critique on the style of Addison, so as to have shown its peculiar merits, as well as to have pointed out historically the changes which the English language has undergone from time

to time, and the hazard to which it is exposed of being debased and corrupted by the innovations which have of late years found their way into the style of our best and most esteemed writers. Such a preface, however, if properly executed, he found would run the length of half a volume, and would require both more time and application than the state of his health and other avocations would permit him to bestow upon it. He was therefore compelled, though reluctantly, to abandon a plan, from the performance of which we had looked forward with such high expectations of intellectual delight. He gave hopes, indeed, that he might resume the design, at some future period, of commenting on the prose-writings of Addison; but he did not live to carry it into execution. All that he was able to do, therefore, on occasion of the republication of these periodical papers, (to which were added his ' Evidences of the Christian Religion,') was to subjoin Tickell's Life of Addison' entire, which, though brief, is authentic, and extremely well written, together with some extracts from Dr Johnson's 'Remarks on Addison's Prose.' This Dr Beattie has accordingly done; adding a few notes to make up for any material deficiency there may be

thought to be in Tickell's narrative, and illustrating Johnson's critique by a few occasional annotations. Slight as those additions are which Dr Beattie has made to his stock of materials, with which he originally set to work, the admirer of Addison will be much gratified by some new information, and to which Dr Beattie has given a degree of authenticity, by adhering, even in this instance, to his general practice of putting his name to every thing he wrote.*



Aberdeen, 13th November, 1786.

"I mean instantly to set about the preface to Addison. I beg you will inform me, whether the printing of the edition be actually begun, and when Mr Creech thinks it will be finished. my preface will be printed last, it will come in good time (I suppose) five or six months hence.


* This work was printed at Edinburgh, in four volumes, 8vo, for W, Creech and J. Sibbald, 1790,

I intend to give in it, first, a brief account of Addison's life (in which I shall have occasion to contradict some of Johnson's remarks); and, secondly, a sort of criticism on his writings, particularly his prose-style. On this head, it will fall in my way to speak of the present rage of innovation in our language; a subject which I have touched upon in the preface to the Scotticisms, but which I purpose to consider with some minuteness in the other preface."



Aberdeen, 30th November, 1786.

"I am greatly obliged to you, my dear Sir, for your very kind letter of the 16th; no part of which gave me more pleasure, than the account you favour me with of your son's proficiency. You did very right in sending him to pass some months in England. At his age it is not so difficult, as it comes to be afterwards, to get the better of a provincial dialect; and I am very happy to understand that he has acquired so much of the

English pronunciation; Greek and Latin he had in sufficient abundance before. It will likewise be of singular use to him to have been in a strange country for a little time; for such we may call England, notwithstanding we all live under the same government; so very different are the customs and modes, both of thinking and speaking, from those of Scotland. His passing a few months in France next year, will tend still more to his improvement, by presenting him with a system. of manners still more different from those of his own country, and by preparing him betimes for a correct pronunciation of the French tongue. Youth is the best time both for acquiring languages, and for getting the better of those national prejudices, which are so apt to adhere to the man who has never stirred from home; and which are equally unfriendly to Christian charity, to true politeness, and, I may add, to the advancement of a man's interest even in this world.

"The opposition to the projected scheme of uniting the colleges is much to be regretted; but, as the voice of the country is so clearly on the side of those who favour the union, I would fain hope, that in time the opposition may become more faint, and at last be withdrawn altogether.

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