James Beattie, a Scottish poet, born in Kincardineshire, Oct. 25, 1735, died in Aberdeen, Aug. 18, 1803. He obtained a scholarship at Marischal college, Aberdeen, and in 1758 became one of the masters in the Aberdeen grammar school, and married the daughter of the head master. In 1760 he was appointed professor of moral philosophy in Marischal college. In 1765 he published a poem, "The Judgment of Paris," which gained no celebrity. The work which won him the greatest fame was an "Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth," designed as a reply to Hume, which was translated into several languages, and procured for its author the degree of LL. D. from the university of Oxford, and a private conference with George III., who granted him a pension of £200. While in London he became intimate with Dr. Johnson, Dr. Porteus, and other distinguished literary characters. His famous poem "The Minstrel" appeared in parts from 1771 to 1774. In 1783 he published "Dissertations, Moral and Critical," and in 1786 "The Evidences of the Christian Reli-gion," written at the request of the bishop of London. In 1790 he published the first volume, and in 1793 the second, of his "Elements of Moral Science; " subjoined to the latter was a dissertation against the slave trade.
His last publication was an account of the life, writings, and character of his eldest son, James Hay Beattie.