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ACCORDING TO THE USAGE OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND,
REV. JOHN LOGAN, F. R. S. E.
ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF LEITH,
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED,
PRINTED BY W. FALCONER, HIGH STREET.
THE private history of the author who is the sub
ject of this memoir, is but imperfectly known.A particular account of his life and writings seem to have been expected from the gentleman (himself conspicuous in the walks of literature) whom Mr. Logan appointed one of his executors, and to whom he entrusted the care of his manuscripts. These, together with the claim of twenty years correspondence and friendship, had imposed a duty on Dr. Robert. son, which it is to be regretted he never endeavoured to discharge. '
Logan was born in the year 1748. He was the son of George Logan, who at that time occupied a small farm at Soutra in the parish of Fala, on the southern border of the county of Edinburgh, but who afterwards removed to Gosford in East Lothian. John was the younger of two sons. His brother, soon after the death of his father, betook himself to the study of medicine, and afterwards went to America in the capacity of a Surgeon.
The love of learning and the shoots of genius which were early conspicuous in young Logan, were fondly cherished by bis parents. Both were religious,-attached to the communion of those dissenters denominated Burghers. They indulged the hope, so grateful to the mind of a Scotch farmer, of one day seeing
the listening peasantry receiving instruction from their younger son ; and Mr. Logan was thus early devoted to the ministry.
He received the rudiments of his education in the parochial school of Gosford, and thereafter was sent to the university of Edinburgh, where he prosecuted with ardour and success the study of the languages.
While collecting the treasures of literature, and moulding his taste upon those models of simplicity and elegance which Greece and Rome bequeathed to the world, he was no less assiduously occupied with the physical, but more particularly the moral sciences. After a satisfactory investigation concerning the truth of the Christian religion, and the nature of the evidence by which it is supported, he entered upon the study of theology. During his attendance at the University, he found leisure to cultivate his taste for poetical composition, to which his mind seems to have received an early bias. The works of the English poets, particularly those distinguished by sublimity, or romantic and picturesque description, he read with delight : Spenser, Milton, Collins, Akenside, and Gray, were his favourite authors. Shortly after his arrival in Edinburgh, he became acquainted with the Poet Michael Bruce, his fellow-student at the College. The similarity of their pursuits, as well as of their character, produced an intimacy which lasted till the Poet of Lochleven dropt immaturely into the grave. It was at this period also, and through the same cause, that Mr. Logan's acquaintance with Dr. Robertson commenced, with whom he ever afterwards lived in terms of the most intimate correspondence and friendship. During the recess of the College, while Logan resided in the country, bis reputation as a scholar and poet procured him the friendship of Lord Elibank, then residing at Aberlady; and it was probably through the means of his Lordship that Logan was introduced, when he had completed his academical studies, into the family of Mr. Sinclair of Ulbster, in the quality of private tutor to his son, now Sir John Sinclair. The situation was certainly not congenial with the spirit of independence which Logan possessed. Whether from this feeling, or from any other motive, he had determined to leave his pupil is unknown; but shortly after his acceptance of the office, he was succeeded in it by his friend Dr. Robertson.
Of his employment or studies during this period, till the year in which he was ordained a minister of the Church of Scotland, nothing is known. After the usual probation, he received a licence from the Presbytery of Edinburgh; and such was his popularity as a preacher, that in the 25th year of his age (A. D. 1773,) he received an unanimous call from the Kirk Session and Incorporations of South Leith, to be minister of that parish.
He continued for six years devoted to the proper duties of his office : at least if he gave to the public any specimens of his future eminence in literature, the author must have been known only to his friends.In 1779, however, his reputation came to be known beyond the limits of his parish; and his abilities were put to the test in a department not connected with the duties of the pulpit. During the winter of this year he delivered in Edinburgh a course of Lectures on the Philosophy of History.
In this undertaking, Mr. Logan was patronized by Dr. Robertson, principal of the university, by Dr. Blair, Dr. Ferguson, and other gentlemen of distinction and learning. The approbation of names such as these induced him to repeat the same lectures during . the winter session of the following year.
In the second course his success was equal to his warmest hopes; and the general acknowledgement of his merit seemed to point him out as successor to the Chair of Universal History, when it became vacant by the resignation of Professor Pringle; an of·fice wbich it appears Logan himself had in expecta.