Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/418

This page has been validated.
Spottiswood
Spottiswood
412

ing to his son, ‘in his last days, when he saw the ministers take such liberty as they did, and heard of the disorders raised in the church through that confused parity which men laboured to introduce, as likewise the irritation the king received by a sort of foolish preachers, he lamented extremely the case of the church to those who came to visit him,’ and ‘continually foretold that the ministers in their follies would bring religion in hazard’ (Spottiswood, History, ii. 336–7).

By his wife Beatrix, daughter of Patrick Crichton of Lugton and Gilmerton, he had, with one daughter, two sons: John (1565–1639) [q. v.], archbishop of St. Andrews, and James [q. v.], bishop of Clogher.

[Knox's Works; Histories of Calderwood and Spottiswood; Wodrow's Biographical Collections; Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scoticanæ, i. 173.]

T. F. H.

SPOTTISWOOD, SPOTTISWOODE, SPOTISWOOD, or SPOTSWOOD, JOHN (1565–1639), archbishop of St. Andrews and Scots historian, the eldest son of John Spottiswood (1510–1585) [q. v.], by his wife Beatrix, daughter of Patrick Crighton of Lugton, was born in 1565. He studied at the university of Glasgow under James and Andrew Melville, taking his M.A. degree in 1581; and in 1583, at the age of eighteen, he succeeded his father in the charge at Calder. Although he states that his father before he died had come to see the evils of ‘parity’ in the church, he appears himself for many years afterwards to have sided with the stricter presbyterian party. Thus when, in 1586, the king endeavoured to get the sentence against Patrick Adamson annulled, Spottiswood was one of those who refused to agree to the proposal (Calderwood, History, iv. 383). Calderwood also states that in a fight in the High Street of Edinburgh between the followers of the master of Graham and those of Sir James Sandilands, Spottiswood ‘played the part manfully that day in defence of Sir James’ (ib. v. 361). It was by supporting the policy of the stricter presbyterians that he gradually came into prominence as an ecclesiastical leader. In 1596 he was named one of a commission for the visitation of the south-western districts of Scotland (ib. p. 420); in 1597 he revised the apology of Robert Bruce and other recalcitrant ministers, and, according to Calderwood, appeared ‘to be so fracke [i.e. diligent] in their cause that he would needs give it a sharper edge’ (ib. p. 560); and in 1598 he was appointed by the commissioners to treat with Bruce as to his admission to his charge (ib. p. 721). But as the relations between kirk and king became more strained, he veered more decidedly towards the king. In 1600 he acted as clerk of those chosen for ‘the king's side,’ in the conference regarding the representation of the kirk in parliament by bishops (ib. vi. 3). Although also nominated by the assembly in 1601 to wait upon the Earl of Angus—accused of papal leanings—‘to confirm him in the truth,’ so little was he a bigoted partisan that when in July of the same year he accompanied the Duke of Lennox to France, he did not ‘scruple to go in to see a mass celebrated, and to go so near that it behoved him to discover his head and kneel’ (ib. p. 136). He remained abroad with Lennox for two years, and on his way home through England was presented at the court of Elizabeth.

On the succession of James to the English crown in 1603, Spottiswood accompanied him on the journey to London; but, the death of Archbishop Beaton having occurred soon after, he was nominated by the king to the vacant see, and sent back to Scotland to attend the queen on her journey south (Spottiswood, History, iii. 140). From the time that he became king of England, James was delivered from the bondage which from his infancy the kirk had strenuously endeavoured to impose on him, and he now resolved to make the most of his liberty. His chief aim now was to assimilate the church of Scotland to that of England, and especially to annihilate the pretensions of the ministers to dictate to the nation in regard to civil matters. In carrying out this policy the king, when dealing with the kirk, mainly made use of Spottiswood, and Spottiswood performed his difficult duties with great discretion. On 30 May 1605 he was admitted a member of the Scottish privy council (Reg. P. C. Scotl. vii. 52). In connection with the affairs of the kirk he paid frequent visits to London, and he made good use of his opportunities to place the revenues of his see on a satisfactory footing. During his journeys he had frequent interviews with his old professor, James Melville, then confined at Newcastle, but failed to effect any change in his attitude; and referring to his death in 1608, he characteristically describes him as ‘a man of good learning, sober, and modest, but so addicted to the courses of Andrew Melvill his uncle as by following him he lost the king favour, which once he enjoyed in a good measure, and so made himself and his labours unprofitable to the church’ (Spottiswood, History, iii. 190). The latter part of the sentence contains the sum and substance of Spottiswood's own ecclesiastical creed; he was an Erastian of the