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The station which one of these reverend gentlement happenis to hold, as head of that learned body to wbich I have had the honoutr to belong for more than thirty years, claims, on my part, an atten. tion to the foregoing passage, to which I should not otherwise have conceived it to be entitled; and will, I hope, furnish some apology for the notice which I am thus compelled to take, of a performance, upsanctioned by one single name known in the republic of letters; and, in itself, not a fit object of criticism to any person who possesses the liberality of a scholar or the feelings of a gentleman. ." I feel it incuinbenton me to take the earliest opportunity of calling the attention of our reverend principal to the prurlenco and propriety of that sanction which he has been pleaserl to bestow on these vindictive effusions of disappointed intrigue and detected ignorance ; more particularly, to the propriety and consistency of his conduct, in lending his name to an abusive libel on a deliberate and unanimous act of the Senatis Academicus, voud at a meeting uncommonly numerous, which had been summoned several days betore for that express purpose ; a meeting where he himself presided, without venturing to hint the slightest dissen: from the general opimon ! I feel it also incumbeut on me, as a duty still more imperious and sacred, and it is a duty which no regard to personal consequences shall deter me from discharging), to call the attention of my fellow-citizens, and, above all, of our honourable patrons, to the danger wbich so imminently threatens their illustrious seminary, if the reputation of its members is to be traducer, and their honour insulted, from that very chair, to which they and their predecessors had been so long accustomed to look with attachment and with pride ;--the chair of Rollock, of Leighton, of Carstairs, of Hamil, ton, of Wishart, and of Robertson-While Dr. Baird continued tu move quietly in his official round, he cannot acru e me of having failed in that deference which my disposition prompted me to pay to his station, by whatever individual it might chance to be filled : Nor can he reasonably impute to me, even at present, any feelings of undue hostility, if he recollects the kindness with which my re. gard for his private character led me to receive him as a colleague, at a period when his appointment was the subject of almost univer: sal regret and astonishment. But when bis indiscretion aud faci. lity have combined to render him the tool of a cabal, in giving circufatiou to calumnions statements, the falseness of which, if he did not know, he might have easily ascertainer to a demonstration, it is time to remind him, (and when I do so, I am confident I shall be seconded by the public voice), that such of his colleagues as devote themselves to the active and momenrous duties of the uni. versity, or who are ambitious to illustrate, by their writings, this
+ Dr. Gcorge Baird.
* See the extracts from the records of the university in the appendix subjoised to this postscript..
seat of learning and of science, HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT AND TO DEMAND that he will no louger interrupt, with the ignoble and restless politics of an ecclesiastical junto, those liberal and tranquil pursuits in which he does not participate; nor employ the consequence he derives from his casual elevation to ruin the interests of a society, which so many others are studious to adorn.-As for his associates among the ininisters of Edinburgh, if their late publication should ever draw from me any farther animadversion, it will be indebted for this distinction solely to my apprehension of the weight which his high academical situation may give, (" at a distance from the scene of the dispute"), to the details and innucndos, which, in common with his reverend brethren, he has covered with his responsibility. The pledge which I originally gave, when I stood forth as their accuser, has been long ago redeemed. - I promised to remain at the bar of the public, till they should receive their doom. That doom I had the satisfaction to hear pronouniced (not many hours after*** these words were written) in the general assembly of the church of Scotland ; and the ratification which it has since received from that more awful tribunal, whose unbiassed and paramount sanction the justice of my cause emboldened me to invite and to solicit, has now fixed and sealed their destiny for ever.-IN THE PLACE WHERE THE TREE HATH FALLEN, THERE MUST IT LIE. 'D. S.'
A regular analysis of the bitter invective, entitled 'An Examination of Mr. Dugald Stewart's Pamphlet,' is a task to which we should have stooped with reluctant condescension, had the specious imputations which it exhibits remained hitherto unrefuted. That painful office, however, has already been performed by a judge whose candour and integrity are at least equal to his extraordinary intellectual abilities. The name of professor Playfair is a sanction at once to the soundness of reason, and fidelity of representation, which his pamphlet contains. It will be more agreeable to our own feelings, and more 'satisfactory to our readers to pursue the path of vindication which he has adopted, than to venture alone into the scene of contest, with our feelings of indignation unallayed by any of that tenderness or respect for the personal characters of the opposing party, which can proceed only from a personal acquaintance with their merits. Our review of the controversy must nevertheless be cursory, and rapid.. . 'It will be recollected that the two most important circumstances, revealed in Mr. Stewart's Short Statement of Facts relative to the Election of Professor Leslie,' are the following: 1st, That a numerous, and therefore powerful party among the ministers of Edinburgh, has for some time been struggling to annex to their clerical functions, the offices and the emoluments of professors of the university ; 'and
edly, That this ecclesiastical junto has recently united to oppose the election of a respectable individual to the mathematical chair, on no other tenable or even plausible grounds than bis interference with the pretensions of one of their own body to the same honour. To these two considerations therefore we shall endeavour to confine our remarks, deviating only occasionally into those topics of contention, which the anger or refinement of Mr. Stewart's and Mr. Playfair's opponents have prompted them to eurploy. The letter which was addressed to the Lord Provost by the latter of these respectable gentlemen, was occupied entirely in demonstrating the Aagrant impolicy of suffering academical professorships to be united with clerical benefices either in the city or vicinaye of Edinburgh. It was impossible to expose fully the danger of such an innovation, without hinting that the mischief so much to be dreaded was at that time impending. An additional motive both of caution and resolution was thus urged upon the consideration of a person whose influence was considerable enough to be courted by one party, and apprehended by the other. The fact is notorious to all who have bad the opportunity of watching the proceedings of a large body of the Edinburgh ministers, that they have long had it in active contemplation, to secure for themselves and each other the vacant academical chairs. Such an union of sentiment and coincidence of determination deserves, if : any thing can deserve, the name of combination; a term at wbich it appears the apprehensions of the party startle with amazement, as though they had ventured on a conduct for which till now they had not dared to give a name. At the word combination,' says Mr. Playfair, addressiug himself to the author of the Examination, at the word combination you take fire.
Another effect of it is stated in my letter to the Lord Provost. "Laymen would be almost necessarily exeluded, and, when they came forward as candidates, would always have a powerful combination against them.” At the word combination you take fire, and ? would håve us believe, that it is unreasonable and uncandid in the highest degree, to suppose that the Ministers of Edinburgla can possibly combine. But there is no occasion, Sir, for all ibis anger; every body knows, that men who are accustomed to consult and to act together, to pursue the same object, and to be influenced by one common interest, whether they are clergymen or layinen, are very apt to combine. That they are not the less so for being of the former description, is not quite a new nor paradosical opinion, nor wholly discountenanced by the history of the world. I therefure mcant no obscure hint when I spoke of a combination among the
ministers of Edinburgh ; nor did I insinuate any thing that I was afraid to speak out fully. I meant to say, that the clergymen od Edinburgh, with a view to aggrandize, or accommodate their own body, might on many occasions unite to get possession of chairs in the University, and even to exclude candidates of acknowledged superiority. I looked upon this, when I wrote my letter to the Lord Provost, as a thing possible, and a future contingency that might happen, in times less virtuous than the present. I did not know that the moment was at hand when this prediction was to be fully verified. For, is it not notorious, Sir, to all the world, that the ministers of Edinburgh have combined ; that they bare combined to oppose Mr. Leslie's election, by means that it is impossible to justify? Still you affirm that they have not. 'They unite in writing a pamphlet, and virtually set their names to it, in order to support the measures in question ; and yet, with this Round Robin in your hands, you come forward exclaiming, that there is no combination. You advance at the head of this ecclesiastical phalaux, crying, Woe to him that says we have combined together! There can hardly be a greater outrage on comimon sense than such conduct as this; the more loudly you raise your voice, the more violence and anger you betray, the more difficult do you Tender it to give credit to your assertions. If any of the combinations for raising wages, that happen to be the objects of legal ani. madversion, were proveri with half the evidence that this admits of, the punishment of the ringleaders would be inevitable...
"But we have not yet done with the subject of combinations. You have chosen, on occasion of Mr. Siewart having alluded to some. thing of i his sort, to pour ont against him a very ample share of abuse. The diligence and impartiality with which you distribute reproach, must, no doubt, be very edifying to your readers. You suffer no degree of talents, or of worth ; no eminence in public character, nor of amiableness in private life, to interrupt your favorite grauitcation. This was to be looked for ; envy will be excited in propor. tion to the pre-eminence that gives rise to it; and you perhaps are sensible, as well as the world at large, that in Mr. Stewart you have an antagonist, whose fame, already exterided so widely, will continue to flourish, long after oblivion has rescued his enemies from disgrace.?
The beautiful and well merited compliment with which the preceding extract is closed, will be regarded with more than usual respect as proceeding from the pen of one whose ability is exceeded only by his disposition to pronounce the sentiment of truth and justice. Situated as we are at a con.siderable distance from the northern metropolis, we have nevertheless imbibed no small degree of veneration for the learning and genius of that enlightened philosopher. With
unrivalled skill in the abstruse sciences of moral and meta. physical philosophy, he has combined a spirit of inquiry at
once sound and liberal. His keen and comprehensive specudation has already surveyed the limits of his science; whilst 'with a firm but cautious band he is engaged in demonstrating their course to his numerous disciples. Withi admiration have we observed, and with gratitude will posterity acknoirledge the signal service which be has lately rendered to the cause of learning, by resisting the combination which is the subject of the present controversy. A more momentous duty could not have been required of him; and the voice of an enlightened public can be divided only in extolling the candour, the eloquence, and the success which have sigoan lized his exertions.
The trumpet of ecclesiastical orthodoxy being once sonnd. ed by the ministers of Edinburgh, it is not difficult to conceive that a host of accusing and avenging spirits would flock around them with charges of every possible complexion, against the supposed chainpions of revolt. Thevarious degrees and denominations of religions heresy and political disaffection could not fail to be revived, and ascertained in their precise relation to each individual. Loud clainours and secret criminations mighl obviously be made to subserve the same purpose of propagating the scandal and precluding its, justification; whilst ihe implacable spirit of aggression could with equal convenience assume the mask of caution and of enterprize. With indefatigable zeal did the ecclesiastical decemvirate study to fix the odious impulation of political discontent, upon men whose loyalty differed from that of their accusers only in being of a firmer consistence; and whose allachment to the laws of order and subordination was contrasted with theirs only in the soundness of the principles from which it was derived. It would be am using (if the occasion were less momentous) to observe the pliant ingenuity with which the ministers of Edinburgh have varied and adapted their feeble but insulting accusations., It were indeed impossible to forbear a smile at their proceedings, when, hurried by rashness or folly into the modern Anti-Gallican armoury, they seize indiscriminately a load of offensive and defensive weapons, which their abortive efforts. barely enable then to scalter at the feet of their adversaries. At one and the same moment they echo the senseless clamour against experiment and innovation, whilst they are calling loudly for a trial to be inade whether academical duties cannot be rendered compatible with the ecclesiastical benefices. The demonstrative argument of Mr. Playfair against such an experiment is too precious to be overlooked, and too Guccinct to be epitomized.