Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/122

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492 KEV. JOHN LOGAN.


but prevented from being acted by an order from the chamberlain, who, in the recent feeling of the American war of independence, took alarm at several of the breathings in favour of liberty. Logan then printed it, and had it acted in the Edinburgh theatre ; but in neither form did it meet with decided success. This, with other disappointments, preyed upon the spirits of the poet, and he now betook himself'to the most vulgar and fatal means of neutralizing grief. It is to be always kept in mind, that his father had died in a state of insanity, the consequence of depressed spirits. Hence it is to be presumed, that the aberra- tions of the unhappy poet had some palliative in constitutional tendencies. From whatever source they arose, it was soon found necessary that he should resign the charge of the populous parish with which he had been intrusted. 1 An agree- ment to this purpose was completed between him and the kirk-session, in 1786, and he retired with a certain modicum of the stipend, while Mr Dickson was appointed his assistant and successor.

In the autumn of the preceding year, Logan had proceeded to London, ap- parently with the design of devoting himself entirely to literature. He was engaged in the management of the English Review, and compiled a view of ancient history, which passed under the name of Dr Rutherford. In 1788, he published an anonymous pamphlet, entitled " A review of the principal charges against Mr Hastings ;" which, being construed into a breach of the privileges of the house of commons, caused a prosecution of the publisher, Stockdale, who, however, was acquitted. This was the last production he gave to the world. After a lingering indisposition, he died in London, December 28, 1788, about forty years of age.

Dr Logan destined legacies to the amount of 600 to certain of his friends and relations, to be realized out of his books and manuscripts. The latter con- sisted of sermons, miscellaneous prose pieces, lectures, and a few small lyrical poems. In 1790, the first volume of the sermons was published, under the superintendence of Drs Robertson, Hardy, and Blair. The second volume ap- peared in the following year; and, before the end of 1793, both volumes had undergone a second impression. None of his other posthumous works have been published.

Except in the latter part of hig life, when rendered irritable and sottish by the results of his constitutional temperament, Dr Logan is allowed to have been a man of the most amiable character, full of refined sensibility, and free from all mean vices. Of his poetry, which has been several times reprinted in the mass, it is no small praise to say that it advances before the age in which it was written, having more of the free natural graces which characterize modern verse, than the productions of most of his contemporaries. It is also character- ized in many instances by singularly happy expressions, as it is in general by extreme sweetness of versification. His Ode to the Cuckoo and his hymns, are the pieces which may be expected to last longest A selection from the latter, omitting portions of some of those chosen, was embodied in the volume of paraphrases, sanctioned by the church of Scotland as an addition to the psalmo- dy. " The sermons of Logan," says his earliest biographer, Dr Anderson, " though not so exquisitely polished as those of Blair, possess in a higher de- gree the animated and passionate expression of Massillon and Atterburyv His

1 An aged parishioner of Dr Logan, mentioned to a friend of the editor of this work, that he was present in church one day, when thu conduct of the reverend gentleman was such as to induce an old man to go up, and, in no very respectful language, call upon the minister to descend from the pulpit which he disgraced. Such an anecdote, if read immediately after perusing one of the elegant discourses of Logan, would form a singular illustration of the propinquity which sometimes exists between the pure and impure, the lofty and the degrad- ed, in human elm -acter.