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of 'reading' graduates receiving a small fee from each student, for a limited number of salaried teachers. This new system was followed by Bishop Elphinstone, and he engrafted upon the papal erection of the University, ten years after its date, a full collegiate body,1 sufficiently endowed, for teaching the several faculties, and for the service of the church which he founded in immediate connection with his University. The endowment of the College was all obtained by the Bishop's own means or influence. The young King made a small donation in aid of the new fabric, when he passed by in one of his pilgrimages to Saint Duthace; but it does not appear that he assisted the foundation otherwise, except by consenting to the annexation of the Hospital of St. Germains, and allowing the new University to bear his name.
The papal erection declared the Bishop ex officio Chancellor of the University. No provision was made for the appointment of the only other University high officer, the Rector; his election being left to the common University law which placed it in the votes of the general body of the University. In like manner, the election of Proctors by the nations, according to the ancient and uniform practice of Universities, is taken for granted, not preseribed.
The Rector of the University, if a stranger, or the Official, if the Rector was himself a member of the College, with the advice of four masters chosen by the four nations of the University, had the duty of yearly visitation of the College.
The persons composing the College were elected in such a manner, that, though the Rector of the University and the Proctors of the four nations had voices, the real power lay with the chief members of the College.
The obtainer of the Papal and Royal privileges for the Univer
1 He himself calls it a " Collegiate Church or College." The ecclesiastical purposes were very prominent. The whole endowed
members of the College were at first thirtysix, increased by the second foundation to forty-two.
sity, himself the founder and endower of the College and its Church, Bishop William Elphinstone, has left a name to be reverenced above every other in the latter days of the ancient Scotch Church. His biographer, Boece, sufficiently zealous, and living so near in time and situation that he could not be uninformed, has given only a general account of his descent "ex veteri Elpinstonorum familia;" and the same silence might be thought allowable now, were it not for the mis-statements of later writers. There is no doubt that he was, like so many well educated men of his time, the offspring of a churchman, who could not legally marry, but whose connection and family, in violation of his vows, were then tolerated by society, and almost sanctioned by the practice of the highest of his order.1 His father was William Elphinstone, rector of Kirkmichael, and archdeacon of Teviotdale, whom there is better reason than tradition for believing to have been of a branch of the baronial house which was ennobled as Lords Elphinstone, and enriched with the Lordship of Kildrummy by James IV.2 He is asserted by Keith, following Crawfurd, to have died in 1486, "after he had the comfort of seeing his son Bishop of Aberdeen." If we are to rely on the same authorities, William Elphinstone (the Bishop) was born in 1437,3 educated at the psedagogium and University of Glasgow, and only, at the mature age of twenty-four, received his degree of
1 Crawford and Keith have covered this disgrace under the convenient and pious fiction that the Bishop's father took orders "after he hccame a widower."—Officers of State—Catalogue of Sc. Bishopt.
'. Elphinstone went abroad at the expense of an uncle, Lawrence, who lived at Glasgow. Boece tells us that the Bishop was very bountiful in gifts to the family unde ei origo, and raised many Elphinstoncs to opulence (p. 69.) Andrew Elphinstone of Selmys, who was undoubtedly a son or very near kinsman of the chief family, had two brothers, named Lawrence and Nicholas. In 1499,
Andrew of Selmys resigned the lands of Glak which he held of the Bishop, in favour of his brother Nicholas and the heirs male of his body, whom failing, to his own heirs male, whom all failing, to return to the Church at Aberdeen.—Boece, Vit. Episc.—-Reg. Mart. Sig.,and Morton Charters at Dalmakoy.
'Crawfurd cites no authority for the date of his birth, and is probably wrong. Boece says he was in his 83rd year when he died: the Epistolarc of Bishop Dunbar states that he was in his 84th. Regist. Episc, vol. II., p. 249.
Master of Arts, at the same time that he took Friest's orders, having been for some years diverted from study by family and secular affairs. He studied canon law for several years at Glasgow, and practised as an advocate in the church courts. Then he retired to Kirkmichael, where he rusticated for some years on his father's benefice, devoting himself to the cure of the parish.1 From this life he was roused by his uncle, Lawrence Elphinstone, "vir optimus," who stimulated his ambition, and assisted him with the means to study at the most celebrated schools of the continent. He spent a long time at the University of Paris. Elphinston's biographer deseribes his habits while studying at the University— "All day hearing preachers or professors of the canon law; by night, in solitude, recalling what he had heard during the day: most sparing of sleep and of food; most patient of labour, so that it was hard to say whether he studied more by day or by night." We read this of Elphinstone, with a wish to believe it true, though our biographer's unlucky rhetorical turn makes us suspect he might have said as much for one not so deserving. But, in the facts which follow, there can scarcely be a mistake. After completing his studies, he was appointed to fill the place of primaries lector in the University—an office, as Boece remarks, conferred only on the most learned—and he "read" canon law for six years there. Then, having received his degree of Doctor of Deerees, he migrated to the University of Orleans, and staid some years studying the most abstruse and difficult parts of law with the professors there, who, at that time, had the highest reputation in legal science. His learning, and some opportunities he had of expounding law in public, brought him so much into notice, that his opinion was asked on great questions even by the
'" Pastorali cura ei collata." We do not father's curate. In the loosest times, the
know whether Boece meant that the benefice Canon was very strict against a father and
was conferred on him, as Keith imagined, or, son serving at the same altar, what is more probable, that he acted as his
Parliament of Paris. Boece records Elphinstone's extreme intimacy and friendship with Jean de Ganai, who afterwards rose to great distinction as a lawyer and statesman, and was, successively, First President of the Parliament of Paris and Chancellor of France,' a friendship that may have been serviceable to the future Bishop and Chancellor of Scotland on his several embassies to the French court.
Elphinstone returned to Scotland in the ninth year after he had gone abroad, according to his biographer.2 He was Official General of the Diocese of Glasgow, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the University in 1471-2. In 1474 he was chosen Rector of the University. Boece says that the office of Official was of great dignity, and given only to the most learned. We know that, at that time, the church courts, besides the load of properly consistorial cases, monopolised a great part of civil business. They were, in
1 It may help us to dates, which Boece never furnishes, to observe that De Ganai was admitted Councillor in the Court of Aids 30th October, 1481; Fourth President of the Parliament 27th June, 1490; First President of the Parliament, and Chancellor of France, 31st Jan., 1507: Died 1512. —Uortri.
'It is impossible perfectly to reconcile Boeee's narrative with the dates fixed by the records of the University of Glasgow. Some confusion arises also from the identity of name and sometimes of office, in the father and the son. But, it would seem, that even more than two persons of the name must have held benefice in the Church, and place in the University of Glasgow at the same time.
William Elphinstone, apparently our Bishop's father, is styled Canon of Glasgow, from 1451 down to 1483, holding the offices of Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1468), Prebendary of Ancrum (1479), Archdeacon of
Teviotdale (1482). The following dates
1459. He took his Bachelor's degree;
Kirkmichael, was a regent in the
1471-2. W. Elphinstone was Official-general of the Diocese of Glasgow, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts.
1473. Master William de Elphinstone, Of
ficial, took the degree of Licentiate in Canon Law, and was Dean of the Faculty.
1474. W. de Elphinstone, Official, a Master
of Arts, Licentiate in Decrees, and Rector of Kirkmichael chosen Rector of the University.
truth, the only settled and organised judicatures in Scotland, and were alone presided over by educated lawyers. Boece says, Elphinstone was a severe judge, keeping in his mouth the adage —" He hurts the good, who spares the bad." His reputation in the office at Glasgow obtained him, in 1478, promotion to the place of Official of Lothian, then probably the second judicial office in the kingdom,1 which he filled for two years, sitting in Parliament and serving on the judicial committees, which formed the supreme civil jurisdiction in Scotland. In 1481 he was made Bishop of Ross, though some delay took place in his conseeration, perhaps on account of his birth.
Elphinstone was nominated Bishop of Aberdeen in the autumn of 1483.2 According to his biographer, he went on an embassy to France before that time ; for, though he gives no date, he tells us, it was to Louis XL, who died iu that year, and adds, that his first bishopric was the reward for his service in it. The oration which he puts in the Ambassador's mouth, we may safely trust was not delivered ;3 and it will not lessen the good Bishop in our eyes, if we abate something of the influence which Boece attributes to him in the councils of the weak and unfortunate James TIL We know, from evidence of record, that he was employed in embassies to France, England, Burgundy, and Austria,4 and that, for a few months before the death of King James III., he held the office of Chancellor of the kingdom.6 He lost his great office on the accession of the young king, but was speedily restored to favor and to the royal
1 The Great Justiciar of Scotland being '"Orationis non sententiam solum sed et the first, whose functions were not merely verba, ne quid varietur, visum est referre." in criminalibus. The Official of St. Andrews Some of the words are not wise, principal was higher in rank, but, perhaps, * Resist. Episc. Aberdon.,-p. 304.
with less business in his court than the Of- 6 From 21st February, 14S7-8 till the
ficial of the Archdeaconry of Lothian, which death of the King on St. Barnabas' day, 11th
included Edinburgh. June. 1488.—Pleadingt in Montrose Duke.
2 Apparently between 14th October and dom Case, 1853. 20th November. His consecration took place
between 17th Dec, 1487, and April, 1488.