1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Alexander Geddes

Satan, "Dr. Geddes" Gentleman's Magazine 72 (April 1802) 312.



April 6.

MR. URBAN,

I am desirous of taking the first opportunity to correct a mistake in your last Obituary in the account of the late Dr. Geddes. This gentleman is represented, p. 279, to have been "permitted, for a season, to concur with the Author of all evil in exercising the faith and patience of the Saints." You know, Mr. Urban, how much more mischief is laid to my door than I was ever accessory to; and I am not disposed to lessen the estimation in which I am held. But, sir, in justice to my own character, I do assure you that I never had any person knowledge of Dr. Geddes; neither was I ever conscious of his co-operating with me in any part of his life, conversation, or writings. I have, indeed, been informed of his name, and have heard with much regret of his virtues, his talents, and his learning; but have had no opportunity of cultivating his acquaintance, much less of obtaining his friendship, and engaging his services. Alas! I acknowledge with grief, he was my enemy, my implacable enemy; and, to such unreasonable length did he carry his animosity towards me, I am very credibly informed, that I was the only person with whom he was determined never never to be reconciled.

This testimony, so much against both my inclination and my interest, will, I trust, be received alike by my firmest and my luke-warm friends, notwithstanding I am, from vulgar prejudice, reputed to be "the father of lies."

Lest I should have made any mistake as to the matter of fact with respect to the result of Dr. Geddes's destination, I have called for, and examined, the attested returns of the increased population of my kingdom, and cannot discover his name in my rolls. I have summoned my officers, whose attention and vigilance have never been questioned; and they are ready to testify on oath, if required, that this supposed fugitive is not in any part of my dominion. They have, rather officiously indeed, pursued their enquiries even beyond the limits of their jurisdiction and duty; and have, in the instant I am writing this letter to you, brought me well-authenticated intelligence that he is gone quite a different road.

Not yours,

SATAN.