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LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9. 1792.
MEMOIRS OF DR JAMES ANDERSON
PHYSICIAN AT MADRAS.
It is a trite observation that the life of a literary person furnishes few materials for the biographer: It is still more true, that a person, whose exertions have been uniformly directed by beneficence, goes on in a smooth and uniform tract in his progress through life, that exhibits none of those tremenduous scenes, which, by fhocking the mind, rouse the attention of the vacant spectators, so as to afford them amusement. Hence the life of a Howard or a Hanway is passed over with indifference; while that of Jenghiz Khan rouses the active faculties of the mind.
The object of the present memoir has been in India upwards of thirty years; and during all that time has been engaged in enterprises, calculated to promote the welfare of the natives of that country. Instead of applying his talents to the acquisition of wealth as his principal object, which is so generally the case with those who go to that country from hence, he has ever VOL. ix,
considered that object of inferior importance to those of beneficence and kindness; and though he has long occupied a place of such consequence in India as might have enabled him to acquire, in an honourable way, such a fortune as might have satisfied the wishes of the most avaricious, he has contented himself with applying what wealth came in his way, to acts of kindness to those who have merited it at his hands, and to generous efforts, to better the state of the poor people around him. To accumulate wealth for other purposes is a study that he despises. has adopted that country as his own: nor can he ever feel the effects of languor, while he is engaged in the active pursuits of measures that promise to diffuse immediate happiness around him, and to pave the way for general prosperity, after he fhall be reanoved from this active scene.
A character so uncommon, when joined with superior talents, and a liberal education, could not fail to attract, in time, the notice of gentlemen in India; but time was required to ascertain the real bent of that character. In India, as well as in Europe, there are to be found, men who strive to advance their own interest, under the specious pretext of general philanthropy; so that there, as well as here, it is not at once that the true value of all such pretensions can be ascertained; for many years, therefore, the efforts of this man were confined only to a narrow sphere; they were known only to his intimate acquaintance, nor did he make any particular efforts to make them be publicly taken notice of. His operations, however, weresteady and uninterrupted. He took pleasure in useful researches, and pursued them; nor did he