Biography James Beattie

James Beattie

photo of James Beattie
  • Time Period1735 - 1803
  • Place
  • CountryScotland

Poet Biography

Beattie, son of a shopkeeper, was born on 25 October 1735 in Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire. He studied at Manschat College, Aberdeen, then was a schoolteacher in Fordoun until 1758, when he became a master at Aberdeen Grammar School. In 1760 he was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, and held the post until 1790, when rheumatism caused his retirement on a state pension. He was a distinguished intellectual figure of his day, a supporter of James Macpherson in the Ossian controversy, and an opponent of David Hume's philosophy; which shows that he had quite a knack for choosing the wrong side. He published a dictionary of Scoticisms, as an aid to correct usage for those Scots had "no opportunity of learning English from the company they kept". He died on 18 August, 1803, in Aberdeen.