Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/30

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Beattie
Beattie
26

project he abandoned on becoming engaged to be married to a young lady of fortune, and 'no inconsiderable attractions,' Miss Elizabeth Limner. He accordingly spent three months in Paris, attending the hospitals, returned to London, was married in the autumn of 1822, and was about to commence a medical practice at Dover when he received a summons from the Duke of Clarence (afterwards William IV), to whom he had been introduced by Admiral Child, a connection of Mrs. Beattie's, to attend the duke's family on a visit to the courts of Germany. At the close of the winter he resumed his studies in Paris, and the next two years he spent travelling and studying in Italy, Switzerland, and on the Rhine. At the end of 1824 he entered upon a medical practice at Worthing (the salubrity of whose climate he recommended in a pamphlet published in 1858), but left it in the following March to again accompany the Duke and Duchess of Clarence to Germany. On this occasion, at Gottingen, he made the acquaintance of Blumenbach, of whom he says: 'Though I have been in company with some of the prime spirits of the age, I have met none from whose conversation I have derived so much solid and original information.' He also busied himself in investigating the medicinal properties of the most renowned German spas. In recrossing the Channel in October on the steamer Comet he was nearly wrecked on the Goodwin Sands. On his return to London he published 'The Heliotrope' and 'The Courts of Germany,' which he completed in a new edition in 1838. Early in 1826 he for the third time formed one of the suite of the Duke of Clarence on a German visit, and ingratiated himself with the Queen of Würtemberg, Princess Royal of Great Britain. When she visited England he was sent for to attend her at Hampton Court and Windsor. He repaid her majesty's good opinion by a flattering memoir of her in 1829. The only recompense Dr. Beattie ever received for all his services to the Duke of Clarence, extending over some fourteen years, including, during three years, those also of private secretary, were a service of silver plate and a letter certifying him to be 'a perfect gentleman.' Dr. Beattie, however, appears to have been grateful. The duchess added 'a pair of bracelets for Mrs. Beattie, knit by her own hands,' and, after her coronation, a gold medallion, as a mark of her majesty's esteem and regard; while the King of Prussia, whom he had professionally attended, also sent him a gold medallion accompanied by 'a complimentary autograph letter.'

In 1827 Dr. Beattie was admitted a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, London, and established himself in Hampstead, where for eighteen years he enjoyed an extensive practice. In 1836 and 1836 he travelled in Switzerland and in the land of the Waldenses, and in the former year was in Paris at the time of Fieschi's attempt upon the life of Louis-Philippe, and in the immediate vicinity of the explosion. He was too a frequent contributor to the periodicals, and he published during this period two poems — 'John Huss' and 'Polynesia' — 'Ports and Harbours of the Danube,' and a series of descriptive and historical works, beautifully illustrated by his friend and fellow traveller, the well-known W. H. Bartlett [q. v.], on 'Switzerland,' 'Scotland,' 'The Waldenses,' 'Castles and Abbeys of England,' and 'The Danube.' He also edited the 'Scenic Annual,' for which the poet Campbell was supposed to be responsible, 'Beckett's Dramatic Works,' and 'Lives of Eminent Conservative Statesmen.' Of the 'Scenic Annual' a leading critical journal observed, 'The name of Campbell is a sufficient pledge for its poetic character;' while Beattie, in a memorandum for the year 1838, wrote: 'Published "Scenic Annual," by which I gained for Campbell 200l. clear; all the pieces, three excepted, are mine. 'Scotland Illustrated' passed through several editions, and elicited the acknowledgment from its publisher, Mr. Virtue, 'that the prosperity he had attained was mainly owing to Dr. Beattie's literary assistance.'

In 1833 Dr. Beattie was introduced by her biographer, Madden, to the Countess of Blessington, and became her very useful friend. She frequently availed herself of his services as a poetical contributor to her 'Book of Beauty' and other annuals, bestowing upon him in return for his verses 'a large amount of fluent flattery, and a general invitation to Seymour Place for any 'evenings between ten and half-past twelve,' a privilege of which Beattie could not avail himself in consequence of the state of his eyes. When Lady Blessington was deserted by many, Beattie remained her firm friend. Madden tells us that 'the very last letter, a very short time before the crash at Gore House, was one of entreaty for his exertions among the publishers to procure for her "any kind of literary employment;" and the answer to that application was a letter of pain at the failure of every effort to accomplish her wishes.' Beattie's relations with Lady Byron also would appear to have been confidential. A friend of Beattie's, whose obituary of him may be found in the 'Dumfriesshire and Galloway Herald' (24 March 1876), says that Beattie told him that Lady Byron 'had imparted to