Ruddiman, ii. 85). These conditions were apparently agreed to, and, although the bishop's nephew was admitted to the office of abbot of Kinloss in 1553, the bishop also continued to be styled abbot. On 3 Dec. 1541 the bishop set out on an embassy to Henry VIII (Hamilton State Papers, ed. Bain, i. 132, 137). He also undertook a second embassy in September 1542 (ib. p. 205). After the death of James V the bishop, though appointed one of the privy council of Arran, was a supporter of Cardinal Beaton. He was employed by the anti-English nobles in March 1542–3 to persuade Arran and his supporters to consent to the liberation of the cardinal and to other arrangements hostile to England; and in an interview with Sir Ralph Sadler, on 26 April 1543, endeavoured to persuade him to have a private interview with the cardinal at St. Andrews, assuring him that ‘his journey would be well bestowed’ (Sadler State Papers, ed. Scott, i. 167). He also signed the cardinal's secret band of 24 July (Hamilton State Papers, i. 631).
On 1 Feb. 1548–9 the bishop was named president of the court of session. He was one of the churchmen who sat at the trial of Adam Wallace for heresy in 1550. He specially questioned Wallace in regard to his views as to the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine in the sacrament of the Supper, and on hearing his statements exclaimed, ‘It is an horrible heresy’ (Calderwood, History, i. 550). In June 1551 the bishop was named one of a commission to arrange a peace with England at Norham, on 1 May 1554 curator to the young sovereign Mary Stuart, in 1555 a commissioner for the introduction of a universal standard of weights and measures, and in 1556 a commissioner for settling disputes on the borders. In 1558 he was sent to the court of France as one of the commissioners empowered to grant the sanction of the estates of Scotland to the marriage of Queen Mary Stuart with the dauphin of France, on condition that provision was made in the marriage contract for guarding the rights of Scotland as an independent kingdom. On the way thither the ship in which he sailed was wrecked near Boulogne, but he and the Earl of Rothes were saved by a fishing-boat. On the way home he and other commissioners were seized with illness, suspected to have been caused by poison, and he died at Dieppe on 15 Sept. According to Knox, when the bishop found his illness to increase, ‘he caused make his bed betwixt his two coffers (some said upon them); such was his god the gold that therein was enclosed, that he could not depart therefrom, so long as memory would serve him’ (Knox, Works, i. 264). Knox also states that on his deathbed the bishop was visited by Lord James Stewart (afterwards Earl of Moray), who previously had had frequent discussions with him on religious topics, and to whom he now said: ‘My Lord, long have you and I been in play for purgatory: I think that I shall know or it be long whether there be such a place or not’ (ib. p. 265).
Knox's assertion as to the bishop's miserliness is opposed to the estimates of his character both by Buchanan and Lesley, and to all the known facts. Buchanan styles him ‘a good man and of consummate wisdom’ (History, bk. xiv.); and Lesley describes him as ‘of singular wit, judgment, good learning and life, and long experience’ (History, Bannatyne Club, p. 267). These eulogiums seem to have at least partial justification. In many respects his rule, both as abbot and bishop, was enlightened and enterprising. His love of learning is shown by the construction, in 1538, of a fireproof library at Kinloss. He also greatly improved the buildings of the abbey, and his initials still appear in a sculptured stone above the doorway of the tower. He took a special interest in gardening, and brought a gardener from France skilled in the grafting of fruit-trees, who greatly advanced fruit culture, not merely in the garden of the abbey, but in the surrounding district. In 1540 Reid built the nave of the church of Beauly, and restored the bell-tower; and on his promotion to the bishopric of Orkney, he enlarged and adorned the cathedral church of Kirkwall. His interest in education was shown, not merely by the erection in Kirkwall of a college for the instruction of youths in grammar and philosophy, but by the bequest of eight thousand marks towards the founding of a college for the education of youth in Edinburgh. In Gordon's ‘Earldom of Sutherland’ (p. 137) it is asserted that Reid ‘left a great sum of money for building the college of Edinburgh, which the Earl of Morton converted to his own use and profit, by punishing the executors of Bishop Reid for supposed crimes;’ but there is no evidence that Morton either appropriated any of the money, or punished any of the executors. On the contrary, letters were raised before the privy council in 1576 by the lord-advocate to convey the eight thousand marks from the executors into the hands of such persons as Morton, the lord regent, might direct, that it might be applied to its proper purpose (Reg. P. C. Scotl. ii. 520). These letters were, however, ineffectual, and on