James Beattie (writer)

From Academic Kids

James Beattie (1735-1803) was a Scottish academic and writer.

He was born the son of a shopkeeper and small farmer at Laurencekirk in Kincardineshire, and educated at Aberdeen. In 1760, he was appointed a professor of moral philosophy there. In the following year he published a volume of poems, The Judgment of Paris (1765), which attracted attention. The two works, however, which brought him most fame were:

  1. His Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770), intended as an answer to David Hume, which had great immediate success, and led to an introduction to the King, a pension of 200, and the degree of LL.D. from Oxford; and
  2. his poem of The Minstrel, of which the first book was published in 1771 and the second in 1774, and which constitutes his true title to remembrance, winning him the praise of Samuel Johnson. It contains much beautiful descriptive writing.

The Essay on Truth and his other philosophical works are now forgotten. Beattie underwent much domestic sorrow in the death of his wife and two promising sons, which broke down his own health and spirits.

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