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was a Scotch gentleman, who lived in the sixteenth century, and

, was a Scotch gentleman, who lived in the sixteenth century, and has furnished a sort of biographical romance. His endowments both of body and mind were esteemed so great, that he obtained the appellation of “The admirable Crichton,” and by that title he has continued to be distinguished down to the present day. The accounts given of his abilities and attainments are indeed so wonderful, that they seem scarcely to be credible; and many persons have been disposed to consider them as almost entirely fabulous, though they have been delivered with the. utmost confidence, and without any degree of hesitation, by various writers. The time of Crichton’s birth is said, by the generality of authors, to have been in 1551; but according to lord Buchan, it appears from several circumstances, that he was born in the month of August, 1560. His father was Robert Crichton of Elliock in the county of Perth, and lord advocate of Scotland in queen Mary’s reign, from 1561 to 1573; part of which time he held that office in conjunction with Spens of Condie. The mother of James Crichton was Elizabeth Stuart, the only daughter of sir James Stuart of Beath, who was a descendant of Robert duke of Albany, the third son of king Robert II. by Elizabeth Muir, or More, as she is commonly called. It is hence evident, that when the admirable Crichton boasted, as he did abroad, that he was sprung from Scottish kings, he said nothing but what was agreeable to truth. Nevertheless, Thomas Dempster, who sufficiently amplifies his praises in other respects, passes a severe censure upon him on this account; which is the more remarkable, as Dempster lived so near the time, and was well acquainted with the genealogies of the great families of Scotland. James Crichton is said to have received his grammatical education at Perth, and to have studied philosophy in the university of St. Andrew. His tutor in that university was Mr. John Rutherford, a professor at that time famous for his learning, and who distinguished himself by writing four books on Aristotle’s Logic, and a commentary on his Poetics. But nothing, according to Mackenzie, can give us a higher idea of Rutherford’s worth and merit, than his being master of that wonder and prodigy of his age, the great and admirable Crichton. However, it is not to this professor alone that the honour is ascribed of having formed so extraordinary a character. There are others who may put in their claim to a share in the same glory; for Aldus Manutius, who calls Crichton first cousin to the king, says that he was educated, along with his majesty, under Buchanan, Hepburn, and Robertson, as well as Rutherford. Indeed, whatever might be the natural force of his genius, jnany masters must have been necessary, in order to his acquiring such a variety of attainments as he is represented to have possessed. For it is related, that he had scarcely reached the twentieth year of his age, when he had run through the whole circle of the sciences, and could speak and write to perfection in ten different languages. Nor was this all; for he had likewise improved himself to the highest degree in riding, dancing, and singing, and in playing upon all sorts of instruments. Crichton, being thus accomplished, went abroad upon his travels, and is said to have gone to Paris; of his transactions at which place the following account is given. He caused six placards to be fixed on the gates of the schools, halls, and colleges belonging to the university, and on the pillars and posts before the houses of the most renowned men for literature in the city, inviting all those who were well versed in any art or science to dispute with him in the college of Navarre, that day six weeks, by nine o'clock in the morning, where he would attend them, and be ready to answer to whatever should be proposed to him in any art or science, and in any of these twelve languages, Hebrew, Syrlac, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, English, Dutch, Flemish, and Sclavonian; and this either in verse or prose, at the discretion of the disputant. During this whole time, instead of closely applying to his studies, he regarded nothing but hunting, hawking, tilting, vaulting, riding of a well-managed horse, tossing the pike, handling the musquet, and other military feats; or else he employed himself in domestic games, such as balls, concerts of music, vocal and instrumental; cards, dice, tennis, and other diversions of youth. This conduct so provoked the students of the university, that, beneath the placard that was fixed on the Navarre gate, they caused the following words to be written: “If you would meet with this monster of perfection, to search for him either in the tavern or t)ie brothel is the readiest way to find him.” Nevertheless, when the day appointed arrived, Crichton appeared in the college of Navarre, and acquitted himself beyond expression in the disputation, which lasted from nine in the morning till six at night. At length, the president, after extolling him highly for the many rare and excellent endowments which God and nature had bestowed upon him, rose from his chair; and, accompanied by four of the most eminent professors of the university, gave him a diamond ring and a purse full of gold, as a testimony of their approbation and favour. The whole ended with the repeated acclamations and huzzas of the spectators; and henceforward our young disputant was called “The admirable Crichton.” It is added, that he was so little fatigued with the dispute, that he went the very next day to the Louvre, where he had a match'at tilting, an exercise then in great vogue; and, in presence of some princes of the court of France, and a great many ladies, carried away the ring fifteen times successively, and broke as many lances on the Saracen, whatever that might be; probably a sort of mark.