James Beattie


James Beattie, the younger son of a farmer and shopkeeper, won a fellowship to Marischal College where he studied with Blackwell and Gerard (M.A. 1753). Before returning to teach at Marischal in 1758 he worked as a country schoolmaster and studied divinity and poetry. A popular teacher, Beattie was named professor of moral philosophy and logic at Aberdeen in 1760. While The Minstrel was much admired, Beattie was equally well known for his attacks on David Hume, which won the commendations of Samuel Johnson and the King (who granted a pension). His later years were clouded by poor health and personal tragedy.


1756On reading the Declaration of War in 1756.
1757A Pastoral. Damon and Thyrsis.
1762An Eclogue. In the Manner of Mr. Gay.
1765The Judgment of Paris. A Poem.
1765Verses occasioned by the Death of the Revd. Mr. Charles Churchill.
1766[To Thomas Blacklock, 22 September 1766.]
1767[To Thomas Blacklock, 20 May, 1767.]
1768[To John Gregory, January, 1768.]
1771The Minstrel: Advertisement.
1771The Minstrel; or, the Progress of Genius.
1772Letter to Lady Forbes, 12 October 1772.
1774The Minstrel; or, the Progress of Genius. A Poem. The Second Book.
1777Essay on Poetry and Music. [Poetical Words.]
1777On the Utility of Classical Learning.


Original poems and translations. 1760.
The judgement of Paris: a poem. 1765.
Verses occasioned by the death of Churchill. 1765.
Poems on several subjects. 1766.
Essays. 1766.
Gray, poems [ed. Beattie]. 1768.
An essay on the nature and immutability of truth. 1770.
The minstrel. 1771, 1774.
The minstrel, with some other poems. 1775, 1799.
Poems on several occasions. 1776.
Essays. 1776.
Scoticisms, arranged in alphabetical order. 1779.
Dissertations moral and critical. 1783.
Evidences of the Christian religion briefly stated. 2 vols, 1786.
The theory of language. 1788.
Elements of moral science. 2 vols. 1790-93.
Essays and fragments by James Hay Beattie [ed. Beattie]. 1794.
Correspondence in William Forbes, An Account of the life and writings of Beattie. 2 vols, 1806.
Works. 10 vols, 1809.
Beauties selected from the writings of James Beattie. 1809.
Poetical works, ed. Alexander Dyce. 1831.
Some unpublished letters, ed. A. Mackie. 1908.
The castle of scepticism, ed. E. C. Mossner. 1948.
James Beattie's London diary, 1773, ed. R. S. Walker. 1946.
James Beattie's day-book, 1773-98. 1949.