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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

OF

THOMAS CAMPBELL.

“I sit down to take a retrospect of my life. Why should the task make me sad? Have I not many blessings and many friends? Yes! thanks to God, very many. But life, when we look back upon it, has also many painful recollections ; and pain, when viewed either as past or to come, makes a deeper impression on the imagination than either the past pleasures or comforts of life that can be recalled. In the remembrance of our lives we are like unfair tradesmen, who omit a part of their debts in their balance of accounts. We resign ourselves to forget-myriads of the easy, tranquil, or even pleasing though anxious hours of our being ; but for an hour of pain we make a large charge in our estimate of compared misery and happiness. I do not think that it is a fair argument to urge against individual-comparative happiness, that because most of us, if the question were put_Would you wish to spend your life over again ?- would probably say--No,

Retrospect of life, written by himself.

But why,

I thank you ; I have had enough of it. This is just as if you were to ask me, after I had finished a narrative book that had much amused me How should you like to read it over again? Why, possibly, unless the book were Robinson Crusoe, I should say — No, I cannot now read the book with the same curiosity as before. Even so it is with life. Its evils are sweetened by hope, novelty, and curiosity. How can we imagine ourselves animated by these feelings a second time, if we were to enter on a second existence ? it may be asked, if the retrospect of life be in the least sad, should I set down to the task of noting its memoranda ? Why, unimportant as I am, I know that some account of me will be written. Dr. Beattie has even volunteered to be my biographer. He is likely to survive me by fifteen years, and a better biographer I could not find, except that he would be too laudatory. I know not, however, what business Dr. Beattie may have on his hands at the time when it may please God to call me away, and to leave my friend to grope his way through letters collected from my correspondents, or through confused memoranda of my own writing, would be but a sorry bequest to my best of friends.

“ I shall leave to you, therefore, my dear niece, a series of the recollections of my life, as distinctly connected as I can make them, and he and you, after my death, may make what use of them you think most proper.

“ I was born, as our family Bible states (for this is none of my own recollection), in Glasgow on the 27th of July, 1777, at 7 o'clock in tida

* Mary Campbell, now Mrs. W. Alfred Hill

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