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scollera" of Queen Mary's visit; but the quieter state of the country, and the comparative subsidence of the war of opinions, might, in a great measure account, for that improvement.
The history of the University during the seventeenth century— the government of the College funds—the discipline and studies— the dangers from without, and the greater perils from intestine discord—the partial decay and the restoration of the venerable school of learning—the steady inerease of students through all the impediments of a turbulent age—are to be gathered, in general with sufficient accuracy and detail, from the records collected in this volume, especially the series of "Visitations."1 We must not expect that any memorials of that period of church dissension should be free of party bias, especially where recorded by churchmen; but in the midst of prejudice and misrepresentation, some events, and fortunately some characters, stand above them and cannot be misunderstood.
Patrick Forbes of Corse, a gentleman of a competent estate in Aberdeenshire, having been induced by some peculiar causes to take orders, was made Bishop of Aberdeen in 1618. Of a presbyterian family, and educated by Andrew Melville, he had imbibed his master's love of learning, and the principles of the straitest sect of the kirk. The views of that body, when developed, appearing
'For those who wish to study the subject more fully, the following books will be useful. Gordon of Rothieraay's "History of Scots Affairs," Spalding Club, edited with notes full of accurate information, biographical, ecclesiastical and literary, by Mr. Joseph Robertson and Mr. Grub. The "Funerals" of Bishop Patrick Forbes, reprinted and also edited with copious and valuable notes and biographical preface, by Mr. C. F. Shand, for the late Spotliswood Society. Spalding's "Memorials of the Trubles in Scotland," a much improved edition con
tributed by the late Lord Saltoun to the Spalding Clnb, and edited by its Secretary. The Correspondence of Principal Baillie, very carefully edited, with similar literary apparatus, by Mr. I). Laing, for the Bannatyne Club. "Original Letters relating to the Ecclesiastical Affairs of Scotland, 160328," the contribution to the Bannatyne Club of Mr. B. Botfield, where Mr. Laing's care and accurate knowledge are again visible. It may be necessary here to state that these works have been used in this Preface frequently without special acknowlegement.
to him almost inconsistent with discipline or civil government, at length drove him from them, and threw him heartily into the party of the church as then established. Spottiswood says of him that he was the best prelate in the church of Scotland since Elphinstone, and adds—" So wyse, judicious, so grave and graceful a pastor, I have not known in all my time in anie church." Judging not by his writings alone, but by the impression he made upon his age—gathering our opinion even from the vehement denunciations of his opponents—it is easy to see that that high character is not beyond the truth. Of his desire to enforce conformity by the secular arm—of his equal antipathy to Papists and Puritans—we need not speak: toleration was then unknown to Churchmen in power, of whatever sect. His pastoral care of his people was an example to the humblest minister of a parish; his discharge of his duties as Bishop of a great diocese, was regarded with admiration by those most averse to the office. As Chancellor of the University his attention was perhaps too exclusively devoted to rendering it a school of sound theology; but, like Elphinstone, who had the same object in view, he knew that it could only be reached by the legitimate and severe discipline of secular learning and philosophy. Like Elphinstone, also, his care was to draw round his College and his Cathedral, men, who by their own accomplishment, might command respect for the lessons they taught.
He was alike vigilant concerning the fabric and the funds of the College, and the discipline of the members of the University. It appears that his care for these matters was much required. The Royal commissioners in 1619 represent the internal economy of the College as exceedingly faulty, and its affairs as verging to ruin, through neglect or dishonesty,' and the Bishop writing to the King, speaks in even stronger terms—" as your Hienes' pleasure
1 p. 276-7, infra.
must be a law to us, so wish I heartely that your Majestie understood particularly the distresse of that poor House through the abominable dilapidatioun of the meanes mortified thereto, by miserable men who, in bad times, not being controulled, have so securely sacked all that estait, as if nather a God hade bene in heaven to count with, nor men on earth to examin their wayes!"1 These eensures may point at the alleged dilapidations of the last Roman Catholic Principal; but they may also have been called for by the misconduct, fortunately not irremediable, of the Principal then in office, Mr. David Raitt.
Leaving the records of his visitations to tell of his reformation of the College economy and his zealous care of the fabric, we may throw some light from other sources upon the exertions he made for literature. Immediately upon his promotion, he began to fill the pulpits and the academic chairs with that remarkable band of scholars who remained to meet the storm which he escaped. Their names are now little known except to the local antiquary; but no one who has even slightly studied the history of that disturbed time is unacquainted with the collective designation of "the Aberdeen Doctors" bestowed upon the learned * querists' of the ultra-Presbyterian Assembly of 1638, and the most formidable opponents of the solemn League and Covenant.
Of these learned divines, Dr. Robert Barron had succeeded Bishop Forbes in his parish of Keith, and from thence was brought on the first opportunity to be made Minister of Aberdeen, and afterwards Professor of Divinity in Marischal College. He is best judged by the estimation of his own time which placed him foremost in philosophy and theology. Bishop Sydserf characterises
1 " Letters relating to ecclesiastical aflairs" A favourite phrase of his, in writing to
p. 634. Mr. Shand has observed the offen- James VI. is—" your Majesty is an angel
rive servility in the letters of that period, to of God!'' the King. But Forbes is worse than any.
him as "vir in omni scholastica theologia et omni literatura versatissimus:" "A person of incomparable worth and learning," says Middleton, "he had a clear apprehension of things, and a rare facultie of making the hardest things to be easily understood." 1 Gordon of Rothiemay says "he was one of those who maintained the unanswerable dispute (in 1638) against the Covenante, which drew upon him both ther envye, hate, and calumneyes; yet so innocently lived and dyed hee, that such as then hated him, doe now reverence his memorye, and admire his works." Principal Baillie, of the opposite party, speaks of him as "a meek and learned person," and always with great respect; and Bishop Jeremy Taylor, writing in 1659 to a fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, recommending the choice of books for "the beginning of a theologicall library," named two treatises of Barron's especially, and recommended generally, "everything of his."2 That a man so honoured for his learning and his life, should receive the indignities inflicted on Barron after his death, is rather to be held as a mark of the general coarseness of the time, than attributed to the persecuting spirit of any one sect.3
Another of the Aberdeen doctors, William Leslie, was successively Sub-principal and Principal of King's College. The visitors of 1638 found him worthie of censure, as defective and negligent in his office, but recorded their knowledge that
'Appendix to Spoltiswood, p. 29. 3 Upon an allegation of unsoundness of
-' Dr. J. H. Todd, who first published this doctrine in some of his works, the General
letter, (English Churchman, Jan. 11,1849.) Assembly of 1640, dragged his widow in
supposed Bishop Taylor to be speaking of custody of a "rote of musketiers," from her
Dr. Peter Barron of Cambridge, but after- retreat in Strathislay, to enable them to search
wards on the evidence being communicated his house for his manuscripts and letters, a
to him, was entirely satisfied, and corrected year after his death. The proceedings add
his mistake. "The author referred to, some circumstances of inhumanity to the old
(writes Dr. Todd) is certainly Dr. Robert revolting cases not unknown in Scotland,
Barron of Aberdeen, a divine of whom the where a dead man was dug out of his grave
Church of Scotland may be justly proud."— to be placed at the bar for trial and sentence. (Irish Ecclesiastical Journal, March, 1849.)
he was "ane man of gude literature, lyff, and conversatioun."1 "He was a man," says James Gordon, "grave, and austere, and exemplar. The University was happy in having such a light as he, who was eminent in all the sciences above the most of his age."2
Dr. James Sibbald, Minister of St. Nicholas, and a Regent in the University, is recorded by the same contemporary :—" It will not be affirmed by his very enemyes, but that Dr. James Sibbald was ane eloquent and painefull preacher, a man godly, and grave, and modest, not tainted with any vice unbeseeming a minister, to whom nothing could in reason be objected, if you call not his ante-covenanting a eryme."3 Principal Baillie while condemning his Arminian doctrines, says—" the man was, there, of great fame."
Dr. Alexander Seroggy, Minister in the Cathedral Church, first known to the world as thought worthy to contribute to the "Funerals" of his patron and friend Bishop Forbes,4 is deseribed in 1G40 by Gordon as "a man sober, grave, and painefull in his calling,"5 and by Baillie, as "ane old man, not verie corrupt, yet perverse in the Covenant and Service-book." His obstinacy yielded under the weight of old age and the need of rest, but he is not the more respected for the questionable recantation of all his early opinions.6
Dr. William Forbes, who died, Bishop of Edinburgh, another of the Aberdeen Doctors, was more immediately connected with Marischal College, having received the beginning of his education there, and being afterwards its Principal. "He was," says the Parson of Kothiemay, "one of the learnedest men, and one of the most eloquent preachers of his age, or that ever Aberdeen, the nursery of so many great spirits, ever brought forthe."7 Bishop
'p. 288. "In tho Presbytery of Aberdeen, 26th
: Vol. III., p. 231. May, 1642. Ho died in 1639, in the ninety.
'History of Scot* Affairt, 111., p. 231. fifth year of his age.
Aberdeen. 1635. 7 History of Scott Affairt, 111., p. 211. '111., p. 227.