Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
255
BALFOUR, SIR J.—BALGUY

the development of several organs in the Vertebrates, in particular of the uro-genital and nervous systems. His next work was to write a large treatise, Comparative Embryology, in two volumes; the first, published in 1880, dealing with the Invertebrates, and the second (1881) with the Vertebrates. This book displayed a vigorous scientific imagination, always controlled by a logical sense that rigidly distinguished between proved fact and mere hypothesis, and it at once won wide recognition, not only as an admirable digest of the numberless observations made with regard to the development of animals during the quarter of a century preceding its publication, but also on account of the large amount of original research incorporated in its pages. Balfour's reputation was now such that other universities became anxious to secure his services, and he was invited to succeed Professor George Rolleston at Oxford and Sir Wyville Thomson at Edinburgh. But although he was only a college lecturer, holding no official post in his university, he declined to leave Cambridge, and in the spring of 1882 the university recognized his merits by instituting a special professorship of animal morphology for his benefit. Unhappily he did not deliver a single professorial lecture. During the first term after his appointment he was incapacitated from work by an attack of typhoid fever. Going to the Alps to recruit his health, he perished, probably on the 19th of July 1882, in attempting the ascent of the Aiguille Blanche, Mont Blanc, at that time unscaled. Besides being a brilliant morphologist, Balfour was an accomplished naturalist, and had he lived would probably have taken a high place among British taxonomists.

BALFOUR, SIR JAMES, Bart. (of Denmylne and Kinnaird) (c. 1600-1657), Scottish annalist and antiquary. He was well acquainted with Sir William Segar and with Dugdale, to whose Monasticon he contributed. He was knighted by Charles I. in 1630, was made Lyon king-at-arms in the same year, and in 1633 baronet of Kinnaird. He was removed from his office of king-at-arms by Cromwell and died in 1657. Some of his numerous works are preserved in the Advocates' library at Edinburgh, together with his correspondence—from which rich collection Haig published Balfour's Annales of Scotland in 4 vols. 8vo (1824-1825).

See Sibbald, Memoria Balfouriana (1699).

BALFOUR, SIR JAMES (of Pittendreich) (d. 1583 or 1584), Scottish judge and politician, son of Sir Michael Balfour of Montquhanny, was educated for the legal branch of the church of Scotland. In June 1547, together with Knox and others taken at St Andrews, he was condemned to the French galleys, but was released in 1549, abjured the reformers, entered the service of Mary of Guise, and was rewarded with some considerable legal appointments. Subsequently he went over to the lords of the congregation and then betrayed their plans. After Mary's arrival in Scotland he became one of her secretaries, in 1565 being reported as her greatest favourite after Rizzio.[1] He obtained the parsonage of Flisk in Fife in 1561, was nominated a lord of session, and in 1563 one of the commissaries of the court which now took the place of the former ecclesiastical tribunal; in 1565 he was made a privy-councillor, and in 1566 lord-clerk-register, and was knighted. According to Mary his murder was intended together with Rizzio's in 1566. An adherent of Bothwell, he was deeply implicated in Darnley's murder, though not present at the commission of the crime. By his means Darnley was lodged at Kirk o' Field, his brothers' house. He was supposed to have drawn up the bond at Craigmillar for the murder; he signed it, was made under Bothwell deputy-governor of Edinburgh Castle, and is said to have drawn up the marriage-contract between Bothwell and Mary. When, however, the fall of Bothwell was seen to be impending he rapidly changed sides and surrendered the castle to Murray, stipulating for his pardon for Darnley's murder, the retention of the priory of Pittenweem, and pecuniary rewards. He was appointed president of the court of session on resigning the office of lord-clerk-register. He was present at the battle of Langside with the regent in 1568, and was accused of having advised Mary to leave Dunbar to her ruin, and of having betrayed to her enemies the casket letters. The same year, however, in consequence of renewed intrigues with Mary's faction, he was dismissed, and next year was imprisoned on the charge of complicity in Darnley's murder. He succeeded in effecting his escape by means of bribery, the expenses of which he is said to have paid by intercepting the money sent from France to Mary's aid. In August 1571, during the regency of Lennox, an act of forfeiture was passed against him, but next year he was again playing traitor and discovering the secrets of his party to Morton, and he obtained a pardon from the latter in 1573 and negotiated the pacification of Perth the same year. Distrusted by all parties, he fled to France, where he seems to have remained till 1580. In 1579 his forfeiture was renewed by act of parliament. In January 1580 he wrote to Mary offering her his services, and in June protested his desire to be useful to Elizabeth, lamented the influence of the Jesuits, and intended a journey to Dieppe to hear some good Protestant preaching.[2] On the 27th of December of the same year he returned to Scotland and effected the downfall and execution of Morton by producing a bond, probably that in defence of Bothwell and to promote his marriage with Mary, and giving evidence of the latter's knowledge of Bothwell's intention to murder Darnley. In July 1581 his cause was reheard; he was acquitted of murder by assize, and shortly afterwards in 1581 or 1582 he was restored to his estates and received at court. His career, one of the blackest in the annals of political perfidy and crime, closed shortly before the 24th of January 1584. He was the greatest lawyer of his day, and part-author at least of Balfour's Practicks, the earliest text-book of Scottish law, not published, however, till 1754. He married Margaret, daughter and heir of Michael Balfour of Burleigh, by whom, besides three daughters, he had six sons, the eldest of whom was created Baron Balfour of Burleigh in 1607.[3]

Bibliography.—See article in the Dict. of Nat. Biog. and authorities there quoted; Balfour's Practicks (1754) and introductory preface; A. Lang's Hist. of Scotland, vol. ii. and authorities (1902); Sir J. Melville's Memoirs (Bannatyne Club, 1827); Cal. of State Papers—Register of Privy Council of Scotland, i.-iii.; Scottish Series (Thorpe), i. and ii. (Bain), ii.-iv.; The Border Papers, i.; Hamilton Papers, ii. (Foreign).

 (P. C. Y.) 

BALFOUR, ROBERT (known also as Balforeus) (1550?-1625?), Scottish philosopher, was educated at St Andrews and the university of Paris. He was for many years principal of the Guienne College at Bordeaux. His great work is his Commentarii in Organum Logicum Aristotelis (Bordeaux, 1618); the copy in the British Museum contains a number of highly-eulogistic poems in honour of Balfour, who is described as Graium aemulus acer. Balfour was one of the scholars who contributed to spread over Europe the fame of the praefervidum ingenium Scotorum. His contemporary, Dempster, called him the “phoenix of his age, a philosopher profoundly skilled in the Greek and Latin languages, and a mathematician worthy of being compared with the ancients.” His Cleomedis meteora, with notes and Latin translation, was reprinted at Leiden as late as 1820.

See Dempster, Historia Ecclesiastica Gent. Scotorum; Irving's Lives of the Scottish Writers; Anderson's Scottish Nation, i. 217.

BALGUY, JOHN (1686-1748), English divine and philosopher, was born at Sheffield on the 12th of August 1686. He was educated at the Sheffield grammar school and at St John's College, Cambridge, graduated B.A. in 1706, was ordained in 1710, and in 1711 obtained the small living of Lamesley and Tanfield in Durham. He married in 1715. It was the year in which Bishop Hoadley preached the famous sermon on “The Kingdom of Christ,” which gave rise to the “Bangorian controversy”; and Balguy, under the nom de plume of Silvius, began his career of authorship by taking the side of Hoadley in this controversy against some of his High Church opponents.

  1. Cal. of State Pap. (Scottish), ii. 218, 250.
  2. Cal. of State Pap. (Foreign), 1579-1580, p. 294.
  3. The title was attainted in 1716, through the 5th baron's complicity in the Jacobite rising of 1715. In 1869 it was restored to Alexander Hugh Bruce (b. 1849), as 6th baron; he became one of the most influential of contemporary Scottish noblemen, on the Conservative side in politics, and was secretary for Scotland from 1895 to 1903.