Spotswood, John

, archbishop of St. Andrew’s in Scotland, was descended from an ancient and distinguished family in that country. His grandfather was killed in the battle of Floddon-field with his king, James | IV.* He was born in 1565; and the writer of his life telU us, as something very important, that among the rest r were present at his birth, “not ordinary gossipers,” says he, “but women of good note,” there was one who, in a sober, though prophetic fit, taking the child in her arms, called aloud to the rest in these or the like terms, “You may all very well rejoice at the birth of this child-, for he will become the prop and pillar of this church, and the main and chief instrument in defending it.” He shewed from his childhood a very ready wit, great spirit, and a good memory; and, being educated in the university of Glasgow, arrived so early to perfection, that he received his degree in his sixteenth year. Having made himself a thorough master of profane learning, he applied himself to sacred; and became so distinguished in it, that at eighteen he was thought fit to succeed his father, who was minister of Calder.

In 1601, he attended Lodowick duke of Lenox as chaplain, in his embassy to the court of France, for confirm; the ancient amity between the two nations; and returned, in the ambassador’s retinue through England. In 1603, upon the accession of James to the throne of England, he was appointed, among other eminent persons, to attend his majesty into that kingdom; and, the same year, was advanced to the archbishopric of Glasgow, and made one of the privy council in Scotland. In 1610, he presided in the assembly at Glasgow and the same year, upon the king’s command, repaired to London about ecclesiastical affairs. He was so active in matters which concerned the recovery of the church of Scotland to episcopacy, that, during the course of his ministry, he is supposed to have made no less than fiftyjourneys to London, chiefly on thar. account. Having filled the see of Glasgow eleven years, he was translated in 1615 to that of St. Andrew’s; and thus

* His father, John Spotswood, one ers was one of the compiler;! of

of the reformers in Scotland, was born first “Boo':; of Discipline” and < i

in 1509, and studied at Glasgow. When “Confession of Faith” and when tl; j

the doctrines of the reformation were pre&byteciao religion <as introduced,

promu‘ga’ed, they made considerable Ums i.idained to the office of superir?­imprei:.ion on his mind, but perceivii:^ ttndant, a kind of office like that of a

how dangerous it was to profess them bishop, but without superiority of title,

openly, he went to England, and was or emolument. He died Dec.5, \5%^.

introduced to archbishop Cranmer, who A full account, of his life is give:

cr, uiume el him in his new principle;. the “History of the Lives of tl> 5 ­About \b--io, he returned to Scotland, testant Refortrars w Scotland,” In

and fco-opcraU-il with the other reform- rev. Jamesr. ft gyo. | became primate and metropolitan of all Scotland. The year following-, he presided in the assembly of Aberdeen: as he did likewise in other assemblies for restoring the ancient discipline, and bringing the church of Scotland to some degree of uniformity with that of England. He continued in high esteem with James I. during his whole reign; nor was he less valued by Charles I. who in 1633 was crowned by him in the abbey church of Holyrood-house. In 1635, he was made chancellor of Scotland; which post he had not held full four years, when the popular confusions obliged him to retire into England. Being broken with age and grief, and sickness, he went first to Newcastle; and continued there, till, by rest and the care of the physicians, he had recovered strength enough to travel to London; where he no sooner arrived, than he relapsed, and died in 1639. He was interred in Westminster abbey, and an inscription upon brass fixed over him. He married a daughter of David Lindsay, bishop of Ross; by whom he had several children. Sir Robert Spotsvvood, his second son, was eminent for his abilities and knowledge in the laws; was preferred by king James, and afterwards by king Charles; but was put to death for adhering to the marquis of Montrose. Clarendon calls him “a worthy, honest, loyal gentleman, and as wise a man as the Scottish nation had at that time.

In 1655, was published at London, in folio, his “History of the Church of Scotland, beginning the year of our Lord 203, and continued to the end of the reign of king James VI.” In his dedication of this history to Charles I. dated Nov. 15, 1639, only eleven days before his death, he observes, that “there is not among men a greater help for the attaining unto wisdom, than is the reading of history. We call Experience a good mistress,” says he, “and so she is; but, as it is in our Scottish proverb, ‘ she seldom quits the cost.’ History is not so: it teacheth us at other men’s cost, and carrieth this advantage more, that in a few hours reading a man may gather more instructions out of the same, than twenty men living successively one after another can possibly learn by their own experience.” This history was begun at. the influence and command of king James, who, as already observed, had a high opinion of the author’s abilities. It is a work composed from scanty materials, but with great impartiality. There is throughout the whole an air of probity and candour, which is said to | have been the peculiar character of the writer. Upon expressing a diffidence to king James about that part of it which relates to his mother, and which had been the stumbling-block of former historians, he replied, “Speak the truth, man, and spare not.” With regard to the archbishop’s political conduct and principles, historians have given very opposite accounts. We shall refer to two of the most recent and most candid. 1


Life prefixed to his history. Laing’s Hist, of Scotland. C, -A the Church of Scotland. BiKnet’s Own Times. Granspr. Gen. Dict.