Beaton, James

, another nephew of the preceding, and archbishop of Glasgow, was educated chiefly at Paris, and was early employed in political affairs but we have no account of the various steps by which he arrived at the archbishopric of Glasgow, to which he was consecrated in 1552, as some writers report, at Rome, whither he was very probably sent, to lay before the pope an acco.unt of the ecclesiastical affairs in Scotland after the murder of his uncle. He was, however, no sooner advanced to this dignity than he began to be considered as one of the ablest as well as most powerful persons in the kingdom. In 1557, he was one of the commissioners appointed to witness the marriage of the young queen Mary to the dauphin of France, a commission to which the historians of the ti-ue affix great importance. After his return, he acted as a privy-counsellor to the queen dowager, who was appointed by her daughter regent of Scotland, and laboured, although in vain, to preserve internal peace. When the reformers became powerful enough to make a successful stand against the court, our archbishop retired to France, carrying with him the treasures and records or' the archiepiscopal see, and carefully deposited them in the Scots college in Paris. On his arrival in France, he was extremely well received by queen Mary, then sovereign of that country, and by the court of France. Immediately after his departure, the reformers in Scotland appointed a preacher at Glasgow, seized all the revenues of the archbishopric, and would no doubt have proceeded against his person had he appeared.

When it was found that he could not return in safety, Mary, now a widow, and inclined to visit her hereditary dominions, determined to secure his services and residence in France, by making him her ambassador to the French, court, which she first declared in 1561, and confirmed in 1564. Under this commission he acted as long as he lived, and the papers and letters he preserved would have no doubt formed valuable materials for future historians; but there is reason to think the greater part have been taken away or destroyed. While he remained at Paris, a? ambassador of Scotland, he received very little, if any | thing, from thence: for we find Mr. James Boyd appointed superintenclant of that diocese after the death of Mr. Willock; and upon the death of Mr. Boyd in 1578, it was bestowed on Mr. Robert Montgomery, who, in 1587 resigned it to Mr. Erskine, by whom the best part of the revenues of tue see were granted away to t <e family of Lenox. But not long after, king James VI. becoming of age, and having a full account of our author’s fidelity to his mother, restored him both to the title and estate of his archbishopric, of which he had been so long deprived. Before this, however, he had obtained several ecclesiastical preferments in. France, for the support of his dignity, which he enjoyed as long as he lived, king James continuing him there as his ambassador, to whom he rendered many important services. He was universally and deservedly esteemed for his learning, loyalty, and hearty affection to his country. He was uniform in his conduct, sincere in his religion, and unb tameable in his morals, and lived in credit abroad, beloved and admired by all parties, and left his memory unstained to posterity. He died April 24, 1603, aged eighty-six, and was succeeded in his see by the celebrated Spotswood, Archbishop Beaton is said, by Dempster, to have written, 1. “A Commentary on the book of Kings.” 2. “A Lamentation for the kingdom of Scotland.” 3. “A book of Controversies against the Sectaries.” 4. “Observations upon Gratian’s Decretals” and 5. “A collection of Scotch proverbs.” None of these have been printed. 1


Biog. Brit.