Geddes, James

, the eldest son of an old and respectable family in the shire of Tweedale, in Scotland, was born about 1710, and received the first rudiments of learning in his father’s family, under private tutors. His genius was quick, and, as he took great pleasure in reading, he soon made considerable progress in the learned languages, and the elements of philosophy. As soon as he understood Latin and Greek, he entered with remarkable spirit into the sentiments of the ancient writers, and discovered an ardent desire for a more intimate knowledge of them. He afterwards studied the different branches of philosophy at the university of Edinburgh, and particularly applied to mathematical learning, in which he made uncommon proficiency, under the tuition of the late learned Colin Maclaurin. After he had acquired a competent knowledge of philosophy, his thoughts were turned to the law, which he proposed to make the peculiar study and profession of his life. After the usual course of preparatory study for this employment, he was admitted advocate, and practised at the bar for several years with growing reputation; but he did not arrive to the greatest eminence in his profession, as he was cut oft“by a lingering consumption in 1749, before he was forty years of age. His character was in all respects amiable and worthy. He retained through his whole life that keen relish for ancient literature which he had imbibed in his youth and what time he could spare from the duties of his profession, and the necessary affairs of his family, was devoted to the study of the ancient poets, philosophers, and historians. The fruit of these studies was” An Essay on the Composition and Manner of Writing of the Ancients, particularly Plato," Glasgow, 1748, 8vo. He is said to have left papers sufficient to make another volume, but they have not been published. 1


From the second edit, of this Dict. 1784, Supplement.