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Paterson, John (1632-1708) (DNB00)

PATERSON, JOHN (1632–1708), the last archbishop of Glasgow, born in 1632, was eldest son of John Paterson, bishop of Ross. The father, born about 1604, graduated at Aberdeen in 1624, and was appointed to the church of Foveran, Aberdeenshire, in 1632. He refused to sign the covenant of 1639, and fled south to the king. In July of the following year, however, he recanted in a sermon before the general assembly, and was restored to his church at Foveran. He was a member of the commission of the assembly in 1644, 1645, 1648, and 1649, and in 1661 he was named a commissioner for the visitation of the university of Aberdeen. In 1649 he had left Foveran to become minister of Ellon in Aberdeenshire. He was among the benefactors contributing to the erection of a new building at King's College, Aberdeen, in 1658 (Fasti Aberdonenses, Spalding Club, 1854, p. 541). In 1659 he was translated to the ministry of Aberdeen (the third charge). In 1662 he was promoted to the bishopric of Ross, being consecrated on 7 May. He died in January 1679, leaving, besides the archbishop of Glasgow, George, of Seafield, commissary; Sir William of Granton, bart., clerk to the privy council; Thomas; Robert, principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen; and a daughter Isabella, who married Kenneth Mackenzie of Suddie (Gordon, Scots Affairs, Spalding, Memorials, and Diary of the Lairds of Brodie, all published by the Spalding Club; Guthrie, Memoirs; Scott, Fasti Eccl. Scot. iii. 454, 602, 607).

The son John, who may possibly have made some preliminary studies at King's College, Aberdeen, was admitted as a student of theology at St. Andrews on 13 March 1655, and he is entered as regent in St. Leonard's College under date of 3 Feb. 1658, indicating that he had taught the junior class in the preceding year (information from Mr. J. M. Anderson, keeper of the records at St. Andrews). He probably continued to teach there until called to succeed his father (not without some opposition, Synod Records of Aberdeen, Spalding Club, 1846, p. 260) at Ellon on 6 Nov. 1659, to which charge he was admitted before 15 July 1660. On 24 Oct. 1662 he was elected by the town council of Edinburgh as minister of the Tron Church, and was admitted 4 Jan. following. From that charge he was promoted to the deanery of the High Kirk on 12 July 1672, and was admitted a burgess and guild-brother of the city on 13 Nov. 1673. He strongly opposed the proposal of the more moderate party in the Scottish church in 1674 to hold a national synod. Through the influence of his patron, the Duke of Lauderdale, he was appointed on 20 Oct. 1674 to the see of Galloway, but was not consecrated until May 1675 at Edinburgh (Lawson, Hist. of Scottish Episcopal Church, p. 34; Grub, Eccl. Hist. of Scotl. iii. 249). For a few years father and son were thus occupants of Scottish sees at the same time. On 27 Sept. 1678 he was appointed a privy councillor. He was translated to Edinburgh on 29 March 1679. In the previous January he had obtained license from the king to reside in Edinburgh, on the ground that he had not a competent manse or dwelling-house in Galloway (Stephens, Life of Sharpe, p. 568). A pension of 100l. per annum was granted him on 9 July 1680. He is found assisting on 15 March 1684–5 at Lambeth at Sancroft's consecration of Baptist Levinz [q. v.], the bishop of Sodor and Man. On 20 July 1685 an order was made for an annual payment to him by the city of Edinburgh of twelve hundred marks until the city should build him a house and chapel. He went to London in February 1686, returning at the end of March to give the king assurances that the bishops would support his proposed toleration, although it was reported by the Duke of Hamilton in the following year that he was not in favour of such an entire repeal of the penal laws as the king desired (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. vi. p. 175). He was rewarded by being nominated to the see of Glasgow on 21 Jan. 1687, upon the illegal deprivation of Archbishop Alexander Cairncross [q. v.] On 29 Jan. 1688 he preached a thanksgiving sermon at Edinburgh for the queen's being with child, in which he mentioned that she often spent six hours at a time on her knees in prayer. At the Revolution he, with the majority of the bishops, adhered to James II. At the meeting of the estates in April 1689, when nine bishops were present, of whom seven were against declaring the throne vacant, ‘the Bishop of Glasgow made a long discourse of passive obedience’ (ib. 12th Rep. App. vii. p. 237). He remained in Edinburgh, living in privacy, after the Revolution, but is said in W. Nelson Clarke's preface to a ‘Collection of Letters,’ &c. (Edinburgh, 1848, p. xxxi), to have been arrested in 1692 on suspicion of holding correspondence with the exiled court, and to have been imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. The authority for this statement is not given; and a further statement that he remained in prison until 1701 is incorrect, as, at some date previous to 1695, he was banished from Scotland to England, and was restrained to London. Among the papers of the Earl of Rosslyn at Dysart House (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1871, 2nd Rep. p. 192) there is a journal kept by Paterson in London in 1695–6, in which he records interviews with statesmen while seeking permission from William III to return to Scotland. Leave was at that time refused, and he was also forbidden to reside in any of the northern counties of England. He was, however, shortly afterwards permitted to return to Edinburgh, and probably regained complete liberty upon the accession of Queen Anne in 1702. In that year he wrote a letter from Edinburgh to Bishop Compton of London on the subject of toleration for the episcopal clergy. He exerted himself in the following years, together with the other Scottish bishops, in endeavouring to obtain grants from the government for relief of poor clergymen, as well as some allowance for themselves out of the revenues of their sees. It was the queen's intention that such grants should be made, but it was not carried into real effect, except with regard to Bishop Alexander Ross [q. v.] of Edinburgh and Paterson himself. On 7 Dec. 1704 Paterson and Bishop Rose, with others, accredited Dr. Robert Scot, dean of Glasgow, as an agent to make collections in England. Their letters, with a list of contributions, were printed in 1864 in the ‘Antiquarian Communications of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society’ (ii. 226–231). At the beginning of 1705 he went to London to personally approach the queen on the subject. He was favourably received, and obtained a promise of 1,600l. annually, out of which George Lockhart [q. v.] of Carnwath charges him with securing 400l. for himself, although he was then worth 20,000l., or, as the archbishop of Canterbury reported (according to Paterson's own statement), 30,000l. But Paterson declared that he never had a third of the latter sum. On 25 Jan. 1705, in consequence of the number of surviving bishops being reduced to five, he, with Bishops Rose and Douglas of Dunblane, consecrated, in a private chapel in his own house at Edinburgh, Bishops Fullarton and Sage. He died in his house on 9 Dec. 1708, and was buried on the 23rd in the Chapel Royal of Holyrood, at the east end of the north side, at the foot of Bishop Wishart's monument.

His character has been represented by enemies in the blackest colours. He deposed a namesake, Ninian Paterson, in 1682, from his ministry at Dunfermline for accusing him of adultery. William Row, in his continuation of Robert Blair's ‘Life’ (published by the Wodrow Society in 1848, p. 542), calls him ‘one of the most notorious liars of his time, and a vicious, base, loose liver;’ and Kirkton (Hist. of the Church of Scotland, 1817, p. 182) records some gross stories against him. George Ridpath (fl. 1704) [q. v.] dedicates to him in the most scurrilously abusive terms his ‘Answer,’ published in 1693, to the ‘Scottish Presbyterian Eloquence,’ and accuses him of scandalous offences. And these charges are found also in Scottish pasquils of the time. He was certainly actively engaged in all the intolerant measures of the government, and opposed, until the accession of James II, the granting of any indulgences. But many of the charges brought against him were clearly libellous, and Dr. Alexander Monro (d. 1715?) [q. v.], in his reply to Ridpath's pamphlet, says that ‘the world is not so besotted as to think that the archbishop needs particular answers.’ The accusations, however, are so definite that it must be feared they were not altogether groundless. Lockhart of Carnwath describes Paterson as proud, haughty, and avaricious.

Nothing is known of any published writings by him, except that Kirkton mentions (p. 185) a pamphlet which ‘he wrote to fix Dr. Oats his popish plot upon the presbyterians, and so to divert the inquiry from the papists.’ This has not been traced. An anonymous pamphlet, published in 1703, contains a vindication of a sermon by him on passive obedience. He was supposed to be about to write, in 1683, the life of Charles I, being encouraged to do so by Charles II (Lauder of Fountainhall, Diary, p. 425). Of his correspondence much remains, in print and manuscript. Some is to be found among the episcopal records formerly kept at Glenalmond, and now in the Theological College at Edinburgh. From these some remarks by him on a copy which he made in 1680 of proposed instructions approved by the king in 1670 with relation to ecclesiastical affairs are printed, with the instructions, in Stephens's ‘Life of Archbishop Sharpe’ (pp. 430–8). In the same volume (pp. 480–2) are a letter from him to Sharpe, of 6 May 1675 (before his consecration), and a ‘Representation of the Evils of a further Indulgence,’ dated 10 Feb. 1676 (pp. 499–504). Five letters written to Sancroft in 1681–5, one dated 20 Dec. 1688, excusing his compliance with King James's toleration, and enclosing a declaration made in 1686 in favour of a relaxation of the penal laws, and another on the prospects of the church in 1689, are printed from the Tanner MSS. in the Bodleian Library in Dr. W. Nelson Clarke's ‘Collection of Letters relating to the Church in Scotland,’ Edinburgh, 1848. A letter to Lauderdale, 4 June 1674, against a national synod, and another, of 17 June 1680, about debates in the council, are in Mr. O. Airy's ‘Lauderdale Papers’ (Camd. Soc. 1885, iii. 46, 199). His attestation, dated 5 Jan. 1703, of a copy made by him of Burnet's ‘Arguments for Divorce’ is printed in John Macky's ‘Memoirs,’ 1733. A letter to the Duke of Hamilton, 13 Feb. 1703, sending a copy of Sir J. Turner's observations on Bishop Guthrie's ‘sillie Memoirs,’ is calendared by the ‘Historical MSS. Commission,’ 11th Rep. vi. 199. Several letters now at Edinburgh, assigned to him in the Second Report of the Commission (p. 203), are really from his predecessor at Glasgow, Alexander Burnet; and one to Lauderdale, among the Malet Papers now in the British Museum, entered in the Fifth Report, page 314, is not from him, but from James Hamilton, bishop of Galloway. Correspondence with Bishop Compton of London in 1698–1707, which reveals disputes with his co-bishops, and relates to relief from Queen Anne, is in Rawlinson MS. C. 985 in the Bodleian Library.

The name of his wife and the date of marriage do not appear to be known. She had died before 1696, in which year he records in his diary an offer of marriage from Lady Warner. He speaks in several letters of his numerous family.

[In addition to authorities quoted above, Dr. H. Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scoticanæ, pt. vi. passim; Lauder of Fountainhall's Diary (Bannatyne Club), pp. 204, 268, 361, 656, 708, 850; information kindly furnished by the Bishops of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Mr. G. F. Warner, and others.]

W. D. M.