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counsels, and seems to have been keeper of the Privy Seal from 1500 till his death. Apparently as soon as he was appointed to the Bishopric of Aberdeen, more especially after he had ceased to be Chancellor, Elphinstone, though still occasionally called to serve his country in foreign missions, and to guide the councils of the gallant young monarch, devoted his chief attention to the affairs of his diocese ; and it is not often that a Prelate has left such a tradition of goodness, or so many proofs, still extant, of great benefits conferred. His first cares were to reform his clergy and restore the service and the fabric of his Cathedral.1 Next was the University. His last undertaking was the Bridge over Dee, a more important, as well as a more arduous undertaking than men of this age can easily realise.
He did not live to complete all his great designs, but he had provided for their completion in substantial wise. With no private fortune, and without dilapidating his benefice, he provided for the buildings requisite for his University and Collegiate Church, and for the suitable maintenance of its forty-two members ; and the Cathedral Choir, the King's College, and the old grey Bridge spanning the valley of the Dee, are monuments to his memory that command the respect of those who have no sympathy with his Breviary, rich in legends of Scotch Saints, and who would scarcely approve of his reformed Gregorian chant. His picture we love to fancy a true likeness, though painted by a flattering artist:—" He was most splendid in the maintenance of his Establishment; seldom sitting down to dinner without a great company of guests
1 John Malison was employed by him to find a man of Aberdeen, well taught in the
restore the ritual books and the service of art of singing, who has not learnt of him."
the church, as well as its musie, which was Bishop Elphinstone began the restoration
to be of the ancient manner—prucus atque of the Choir of the Cathedral which had
palrum more cantus. "To this man," says been built, as Boece erroneously says, by
Boece, "the Aberdonians owe whatever of Robert I., but not of size or beauty suitable
music, whatever of perfect service is found to such a church, in the northern church. Seldom will you
of the gentry, and always with a well furnished table. In the midst of such temptations, he himself, abstemious, but cheerful in aspect, gay in conversation, took great delight in the arguments of the learned, in music, and in decent wit: all ribaldry he detested. He had talent and energy for any business of public or private life, and could adapt himself equally to civil or church affairs. He seemed of iron frame, and was of indomitable courage in enduring labour,—one, whom no toil, no exertion, no public or private duty, not age itself, could break. In his eighty-third year he discussed the weighty affairs of the State more acutely than any man; and showed no decay of mind, or any of the senses, while he preserved a ready memory, which, indeed, knew not what it is to forget. His old age was happy and venerable, not morose, anxious, peevish, low spirited. Age had worked no change on his manners, which were always charming; nor did he suffer anything till his very last sickness, for which he could blame old age." Having dissuaded the English war, and survived to mourn the fatal field of Flodden, he died, amid the universal love and sorrow of his diocese and his country, on the 25th October, 1514.
Long afterwards, a great philosopher, who, like Elphinstone, had been connected with both the Universities which he was comparing, observed that there were "two obvious defects in the ancient constitutions of the University [of Glasgow]; the first, that no salaries were provided for regular lectures in the high faculties; • • • the second defect, that there was not sufficient power over the University to remedy disorders, when these became general, and infected the whole body." And then, alluding to Aberdeen, he continues: "either from the experience of what Elphinstone had seen in the University of Glasgow, or from a deeper knowledge of human nature, he supplied, in his University, both the defects we have observed in that of Glasgow: for he gave salaries, not illiberal for the times, to those who were to teach theology, canon and civil law, medicine, languages, and philosophy, and pensions to a certain number of poor students; and likewise appointed a visitorial power, reserving to himself, as Chancellor, and to his successors in that office, a dictatorial power, to be exercised occasionally, according to the report of the visitors."1
To work out his great plan of mixed religion and education, Elphinston found qualified persons, for the most part, at home, and probably in his own chapter. Two only he brought from abroad, Hector Boece and William Hay. They were both natives of Angus, and had spent their school-boy days together at Dundee, and afterwards prosecuted their studies at the College Montaigu of Paris, where Boece was lecturing in philosophy, when Elphinstone himself, perhaps of the same College, induced him to undertake the duties of Primarius, or Principal of the infant seminary at Aberdeen.
It is not necessary to speak much of a person so well known as the historian of Scotland, and indeed there is little to tell of the events of his life. His estimation, as a teacher, is gathered partly from the tradition of the University, and partly from the list of eminent men whom he enumerates as instructed by him. He seems to have been rather a good Latinist than a scholar embued with the riches of classical study. That he was of the reforming party of the day—the humanists, as they were called in the continental schools—we learn from his own expressions, from his friends and associates, and especially from his profound admiration for Erasmus,2 with whom he had even the honor of corresponding. As a historian, he was at first admired and followed, and, latterly, condemned, in both cases much beyond reason. His object was, to give a classical dress to his rude native chronicles. One must
1 " Account of the Unrrersity of Glasgow," nollus pene locus est in Europa adeo inacby Dr. Thomas Reid. cessus ubi non ejus yiri decora."—Abtrd.
2" Nostra! cetatis splendor et omamentum: Episc. Vitce., p. 60.
doubt whether he really meant his grave readers to eredit his stories of * Veremund' and * Cornelius Campbell,' and the records from Iona. He found, over a large period of his history, bare lists of kings, and he took the pains of dressing them in what he thought suitable characters and actions. Quite unembarrassed by facts, he proposed to treat his subject like an artist, with the proper balancing of light and shadow, and studied to administer among the persons of his drama some sort of poetical justice. Leslie compares him to Livy, and his most fabulous portions are, perhaps, not more romantic than Livy's first decade. The difference lies in the genius of the writers.1
1 A few circumstances, less known, may be collected here concerning Hector Boece.
John Jonston, the anthor of the "Heroes," addresses some Latin verses—Hectori Boetio et duobus fratribus—among which are,
Concordes animas, clarissima lumina gentia,
One brother, Arthur, is mentioned with due honor by Hector Boece, in recording his. fellow labourers at Aberdeen: "Arthurus Boetius mihi germanus, in pontificio jure doctor, in civico (ut dicunt) licentiatus, vir mult® doctrinre, plus literarum indies consecuturus, quod studium ei permanet animo indefesso; nobiscum jura pie et scite profitetur. Est in eo vis et gravitas eloquendi a vulgari genere plurimum abhorrens." — Aberd. Epiic. Vitce, p. 63. He was reader in Canon Law in the University, Treasurer of the Cathedral of Brechin, a Canon of the Cathedral of Aberdeen, and a Lord of the Session, upon its institution in 1532. The Pollock MS. names, as one of the ambassadors to England in 1532-3, "Mr. Walter Boyis, persone of Snaw," that is, of the "Ecclesia B. Marias ad nives'' (Diurnal of Occurrentt, p. 17), supplying, perhaps, the
third brother, who was not hitherto known. The name of Boece, in all its varieties of spelling, was common among the vassals and tenants of the Abbey of Arbroath in the fifteenth century.—Reg. de Aberbr. v. II.
The accomplishment of Hector Boece was not confined to Roman literature. He had attained some reputation for his skill in physic. In the last illness of Thomas Crystall, abbot of Kinloss, when other hope had failed, Mr. Hector Boece was called in to prescribe for him—" virum percelebrem M. Hectora Bocthium ad se vocavit," etc. (Histor. Abbat. de Kynlot, p. 82.)—where perhaps commenced his acquaintance with John Ferrerius, who was at that time teaching the Abbey School, and who afterwards superintended an edition of Boece's history, adding a chapter to the work. Hector Boece took his Doctor's Degree in Theology in 1528, when the Council of the Burgh of Aberdeen made him a propine of a tun of wine, or £20 Scots, "to help to buy him bonnets.''—Extracti from the Burgh Recordt.
Boece's Lives of the Bishops of Aberdeen was printed at Paris in 1522. The reprint for the Bannatyne Club (1825) has been used in these notes. His History of Scotland
Of William Hay, his companion through life, we know little but what we learn from Boece. He records his friend's industry, and
was likewise published at Paris, without date, about 1527. A second edition, with a short continuation by Ferrerius, was printed at Lausanne, published at Paris, in 1574. The book was caleulated to produce impressions of admiration and distrust; and we may, perhaps, detect a mixture of both feelings in the notice of Paulus Jovius: "a prima origino Scotorum regum historiam La tine diligenter perscripsit, passim veteris chorographiae memor ct moderataj libertatis nusquam oblitus ita ut magnopere miremur extare de remotis ab orbe nostro Hchridum et Orcadum insulis mille amplius annorum memoriam quurn in Italia altrice ingeniorum,'' etc., cited by D. Buchanan "de Script. Scotis"—not verifitd.
The reader of Boece's history may be pardoned for wishing—if not that he had belonged quite to the opposite party in literature—at least, that his classicism had condescended to call common things by common names. He is averse to speak of barbarous native institutions, and when he docs, Scotch titles and offices, put with his laborious periphrasis into a Roman dress, arc often not recognisable. In this affectation he has been followed by abler historians.
Boece is not to blame for the invention of the fabulous antiquity of his University, as Strachan conjectured (panegyricus inaugurate 1631, p. 11). The Historian's words are, speaking of Alexander II.—" Alexander inde Abcrdoniam, jam ante a Gregorio, a Maleolmo inde secundo ac postca a Davide Wilhelmi fratre, privileges agrisquc donatam . . adiens, multis ct ipse privilegiis ornat.'' —Hut. fol. 293, v. This has plainly nothing to do with the University; of which Boece calls Elphinstonc "auctor ac institutor"—(vit. eptic. p. 60.) The fable ori
ginated with some of the learned and zealous Scots abroad,—with "Bertius,'' "Junius," or "Clerkius," to whom it is traced by Douglas. (Acadcmiarum Vindicic e in quibut novantium prejudicia contra academias etiam re/ormatas avemmcantur.—Aberdonice Jac. Brounus urbis et academics typographus, 1659.) David Chalmers takes some credit for forbearing to place the orgin of the University of Aberdeen as high as the Trojan war, but adds—" sufficiet ergo ad Alexandri Scotorum Regis tempora referre. Is enim sub annum Domini 1211 (this recklessness of chronology was then common) multis magnisque illam privilegiis ornavit. Quibusdam antiquior visa est; scd quod diximus est verissimum 1" Camerarii de Scot, fortititdine, etc., Parisiis, 1631, p. 56.
A rhyming translation of Boece's life of Elphinstone "be Alexander Garden, Aberdone, 1619/' is still extant, though not published among the author's poetry. It is in the manner of the worthy Master Zacchary Boyd. His allusion to the Bridge is as follows:—
"And yet a work als great
And necessar much more,
And both their greater gloir,
Resolved and first intends,
Admires yet and commends.
Which every man may mark,
A good and gallant wark;
Free all, incised and shorne;
Supported is and borne.
He both that breaks and byds
And strenth of summer tyds.
With ports and prickets four;