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eminence. His industry, however, and modesty, were conspicuous from his childhood; and it was foretold of him, by the parish schoolmaster, who initiated him in the first principles of learning, “ that he would turn out to be a man of good and well-wearing parts ;” a prediction which, although it implied no flattering hopes of those more brilliant endowments which are commonly regarded as the constituents of genius, touched, not unhappily, on that capacity of “patient thought,” which contributed so powerfully to the success of his philosophical researches.*

His residence at the university was prolonged beyond the usual term, in consequence of his appointment to the office of librarian, which had been endowed by one of his ancestors about a century before. The situation was acceptable to him, as it afforded an opportunity of indulging his passion for study, and united the charms of a learned society, with the quiet of an academical retreat.

During this period he formed an intimacy with John Stewart, afterward professor of mathematics in Marischal college, and author of a Commentary on Newton's Quadrature of Curves. His predilection for mathematical pursuits, was confirmed and strengthened by this connexion. I have often heard him mention it with much pleasure, while he recollected the ardor with which they both prosecuted these fascinating studies, and the lights which they imparted mutually to each other in their first perusal of the Principia, at a time when a knowledge of the Newtonian discoveries was to be acquired only in the writings of their illustrious author.

In 1736, Dr. Reid resigned his office of librarian, and accompanied Mr. Stewart on an excursion to England. They visited together London, Oxford, and Cambridge, and were introduced to the acquaintance of many persons of the first literary eminence. His relation to Dr. David Gregory procured him a ready access to Martin

*“ If I have done the public any service, it is due to nothing bụt industry and patient thought.” Sir Isaac Newton's First letter to Dr. Bentley.

Folkes, whose house concentrated the most interesting objects which the metropolis had to offer to his curiosity. At Cambridge he saw Dr. Bentley, who delighted him with his learning, and amused him with his vanity; and enjoyed repeatedly the conversation of the blind mathematician, Saunderson ; a phenomenon in the history of the human mind, to which he has referred more than once, in his philosophical speculations.

With the learned and amiable man who was his companion on this journey, he maintained an uninterrupted friendship till 1766, when Mr. Stewart died of a malignant fever. His death was accompanied with circumstances deeply afflicting to Dr. Reid's sensibility; the same disorder proving fatal to his wife and daughter, both of whom were buried with him in one grave.

In 1737, Dr. Reid was presented, by the King's college of Aberdeen, to the living of New Machar in the same county ; but the circumstances in which he entered on his preferment were far from auspicious. The intemperate zeal of one of his predecessors, and an aversion to the law of patronage, had so inflamed the minds of his parishioners against him, that, in the first discharge of his clerical functions, he had not only to encounter the most violent opposition, but was exposed to personal danger. His unwearied attention, however, to the duties of his office, the mildness and forbearance of his temper, and the active spirit of his humanity, soon overcame all these prejudices; and, not many years afterward, when he was called to a different situation, the same persons who had suffered themselves to be so far misled, as to take a share in the outrages against him, followed him on his departure with their blessings and tears.

Dr. Reid's popularity at New Machar, as I am informed by the respectable clergyman* who now holds that living, increased greatly after his marriage, in 1740, with Elizabeth, daughter of his uncle, Dr. George Reid, physician in London. The accommodating manners of this excellent woman, and her good offices among the sick and neccesitous, are still remembered with gratitude, and so endeared the family to the neighbourhood, that its removal was regarded as a general misfortune. The simple and affecting language in which some old men expressed themselves on this subject, in conversing with the present minister, deserves to be recorded. “We fought against Dr. Reid, when he came, and would have fought for him when he went away.

* The Rev. William Stronach.

In some notes relative to the earlief part of his history, which have been kindly communicated to me by the Rev. Mr. Davidson, minister of Rayne, it is mentioned as a proof of his uncommon modesty and diffidence, that long after he became minister of New Machar, he was accustomed, from a distrust in his own powers, to preach the 'sermons of Dr. Tillotson, and of Dr. Evans. I have heard also, through other channels, that, in his youth, he had cultivated the art of composition with less assiduity than might have been expected from his studious habits. The fact is curious, when contrasted with that ease, perspicuity, and purity of style, which he afterwards attained. From some information, however, which has been lately transmitted to me by one of his nearest relations, I have reason to believe, that the number of original discourses which he wrote while a country clergyman, was not inconsiderable.

The satisfaction of his own mind was probably, in this stage of his inquiries, a more powerful incentive to his philosophical speculations, than the hope of being able to instruct the world as an author. But whatever his views were, one thing is certain, that during his residence at New Machar, the greater part of his time was spent in the most intense study; more particularly in a careful examination of the laws of external perception, and of the other principles which form the groundwork of human knowledge. His chief relaxations were gardening and botany, to both of which pursuits he retained his attachment even in old age.

A paper which he published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, for the year 1748, affords some light with respect to the progress of his studies at the time when it was written. It is entitled, “ An Essay on Quantity, occasioned by read

ing a Treatise, in which Simple and Compound Ratios are applied to Virtue and Merit;" and shows plainly, by its contents, that, although he had not entirely relinquished the favorite researches of his youth, he was beginning to direct his thoughts to other objects.

The treatise alluded to in the title of this paper, was manifestly the “ Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue,” by Dr. Hutcheson of Glasgow. According to this very ingenious writer, the moment of public good produced by an individual, depending partly on his benevolence, and partly on his ability, the relation between these different moral ideas may be expressed in the technical form of algebraists, by saying, that the first is in the compound proportion of the two others. Hence Dr. Hutcheson infers, that “the benevolence of an agent, which in this system is synonymous with his moral merit, is proportional to a fraction, having the moment of good for the numerator, and the ability of the agent for the denominator.” Various other examples of a similar nature occur in the same work; and are stated with a gravity not altogether worthy of the author. It is probable that they were intended merely as illustrations of his general reasonings, not as media of investigation for the discovery of new conclusions; but they appeared to Dr. Reid to be an innovation which it was of importance to resist, on account of the tendency it might have, by confounding the evidence of different branches of science, to retard the progress of knowledge. The very high reputation which Dr. Hutcheson then possessed in the universities of Scotland, added to the recent attempts of Pitcairn and Cheyne to apply mathematical reasoning to medicine, would bestow, it is likely, an interest on Dr. Reid's Essay at the time of its publication, which it can scarcely be expected to possess at present. Many of the observations, however, which it contains, are acute and original; and all of them are expressed with that clearness and precision, so conspicuous in his subsequent compositions. The circumstance which renders a subject susceptible of mathematical consideration, is accurately stated; and the proper province of that science defined in such a manner, as sufficiently to expose the absurdity of those abuses of its technical phraseology which were at that time prevalent. From some passages in it, there is, I think, ground for concluding, that the author's metaphysical reading had not been very extensive previous to this period. The enumeration, in particular, which he has given of the different kinds of proper quantity, affords a proof, that he was not acquainted with the refined yet sound disquisitions concerning the nature of number and of proportion, which had appeared almost a century before, in the Mathematical Lectures of Dr. Barrow; nor with the remarks on the same subject introduced by Dr. Clarke in one of his controversial letters addressed to Leibnitz.

In the same paper, Dr. Reid takes occasion to offer some reflections on the disputes between the Newtonians and Leibnitzians concerning the measure of forces. The fundamental idea on which these reflections proceed, is just and important; and it leads to the correction of an error, committed very generally by the partisans of both opinions; that of mistaking a question concerning the comparative advantages of two definitions, for a difference of statement with respect to a physical fact. It must, I think, be acknowledged, at the same time, that the whole merits of the controversy are not here exhausted; and that the honor of placing this very subtle and abstruse question in a point of view calculated to reconcile completely the contending parties, was reserved for M. D'Alembert. To have fallen short of the success which attended the inquiries of that eminent man, on a subject so congenial to his favorite habits of study, will not reflect any discredit on the powers of Dr. Reid's mind in the judgment of those who are at all acquainted with the history of this celebrated discussion.

In 1752, the professors of King's college elected Dr. Reid professor of philosophy, in testimony of the high opinion they had formed of his learning and abilities. Of the particular plan which he followed in his academical lectures, while he held this office, I have not been able to obtain any satisfactory account; but the depart

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