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POSTSCRIPT

TO

MR. STEWART'S SHORT STATEMENT OF FACTS

RELATIVE

- TO THE ELECTION OF PROFESSOR LESLIE.

College of Edinburgh, Dec. 28, 1805. In a pamphlet, published a few days ago, professing to contain an “Examination of my Short Statement of Facts, relative to the late election of a Mathematical Professor in the University of Edinburgh,” I observe the following passage.

“None of those ministers of Edinburgh, who have been attacked by Mr. Stewart, originally intended to make any reply to his pamphlet, because, in their own opinion, they were not entitled, without some strong necessity, to continue the discussion of a question, in which the character of an individual was involved, after it had been refused by the competent court. But circumstances that were not foreseen, have rendered this publication indispensable.—The appearance of a third edition * of Mr. Stewart's pamphlet, revised and enlarged by himself, after the question, relative to Mr. Leslie, had been put to rest by the General Assembly,t and

*The third edition was published on the 12th of June.

t Of the respect which these gentlemen are now disposed to pay to this solemn decision of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court, a judgment may be formed from the following sentence in the concluding paragraph of the same publication: “When the leaders of a party in the state have sufficient influence to determine an assemblyvote, men of the moderate interest in the church do not account it dishonorable to be found in the minority.”

In direct contradiction of the insinuation which is here conveyed, I assert, with confidence, that if there ever was an instance, in which all recollection of political animosity was lost in one common sentiment of indignation, it was on this memorable occasion. Not the slightest allusion occurred, in the whole course of the debate, to any one of those questions, on which the two great parties in the state are accustomed to differ; and it is a fact known in every corner of Scotland, that men of the most opposite political leanings vied with each other in a laudable and a generous zeal to defend the endangered interests of their religion, and to vindicate the insulted honor of their country. The authors of the above insinuation have themselves intimated, that their pamphlet was chiefly intended for readers at a distance from the scene of the dispute ; and the historical fidelity it displays in the statement of facts which fell under the immediate cognizance of every inhabitant of this city, bears ample testimony to the truth and candor of their acknowledgment.

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when, of course, there was no apparent motive to the publication, but a desire to injure the reputation of a majority of the Ministers of Edinburgh, seemed to convert the matter at issue into a question between them and Mr. Stewart, directly challenging them to their own defence. And, though their confidence in the good sense of the public inclined them, even in these circumstances, to let the pamphlet and its author pass, without

, further notice than was bestowed upon them in the assembly of the church, something more has at length appeared absolutely necessary, for the satisfaction of men at a distance from the scene of the dispute, who have given credit to Mr. Stewart's GROSS MISREPRESENTATIONS OF FACT, merely because they had not been contradicted; and have even hastily acquiesced in the justice of certain charges, of a philosophical nature, against a body of the Edinburgh clergy, which, if more deliberately considered, could not have required refutation. «One of their number has therefore thought it his duty to review both the facts and the argument of Mr. Stewart's pamphlet.* And, if that learned gentleman, (who.complained of a former paper upon the same subject being anonymous) shall" desire to know why, in this case also, the name of the author is withheld, the question may be easily answered. The accustomed pledge of the author's name would be most cheerfully given, if the publication were not honored with a responsibility more extensive and satisfying. In the case of the former paper, the publishers were authorized to inform those who should inquire, that all the ministers of Edinburgh who had objected to Mr. Leslie's appointment,

* The reputed writer of this Examination of my Short Statement is the Reverend Dr. John Inglis. That it is not the composition (as some have supposed) of Dr. Finlayson, may, I think, be presumed from the profound silence which he maintained, not only at the meeting of the Senatus Academicus, when the answer to the Presbytery's letter was read publicly by the Secretary to the University; but when he himself appeared as a party at the bar of the General Assembly, in the reference from the Synod.

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held themselves equally responsible for its doctrine and argument. And though the pen of an individual has again been employed in this reply to Mr. Stewart, all the same gentlemen are ready to answer for both the facts and the doctrine contained in it."

The station which one of these reverend gentlemen* happens to hold, as head of that learned body to which I have had the honor to belong for more than thirty years, claims, on my part, an attention 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, unsanctioned 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.Whether I may not, at some after period, avail myself of the intimation which is here given, that the Principal of the University is himself ready to answer for the facts and doctrines contained in the pamphlet already alluded to, will depend on the urgency of my future engagements. At present, and for several months to come, my time is consecrated to objects, less ungrateful to myself, and, I trust, of somewhat greater importance to the public.—Of this circumstance, indeed, that reverend gentleman, and his nine Coadjutors, seem to have been sufficiently aware, from the season which (after a delay of seven months) they have selected for their publication. None of them could well be ignorant, that their attack was to find me occupied completely and indispensably with my academical labors ;-already engaged in one course of lectures, and on the point of beginning another.—Dr. Baird, at least, has the best access to know, that my office is not among the number of our College sinecures.

But whatever may be my final determination on this head, I feel it incumbent on me to take the earliest opportunity of calling the attention of our Reverend Principal to the prudence and propriety of that sanction

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which he has been pleased 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 Senatus Academicus,voted at a meeting uncommonly numerous, which had been summoned several days before for that express purpose ;-a meeting where he himself presided, without venturing to hint the slightest dissent from the general opinion ! *—I feel it also incumbent 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 honorable patrons, to the danger which so imminently threatens their illustrious Seminary, if the reputation of its members is to be traduced, and their honor 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 Hamilton, of Wishart, and of Robertson.-While Dr. Baird continued to move quietly in his official round, he cannot accuse 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 regard for his private character led me to receive him as a colleague, at a period when his appointment was the subject of almost universal regret and astonishment. But when his indiscretion and facility have combined to render him the tool of a cabal, in giving circulation to calumnious statements, the falseness of which, if he did not know, he might have easily ascertained 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 momentous duties of the University, or who are ambitious to illustrate, by

* See the extracts from the records of the University in the Appendix subjoined to this Postscript.

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