« PreviousContinue »
money point of view than because it gave him a status in the Church Courts to deliberate upon, advise, and direct the settlement of various ecclesiastical questions pressing for settlement in his time. Melville was—from deliberate conviction, it may be assumed-hostile to every modification of Prelacy, and in the Assembly held at Edinburgh, March, 1575—the first which had occurred since his admission to Glasgow—not only spoke as a Professor of Divinity against that mode of ecclesiastical government, but became a member of a committee appointed to prepare the Second Book of Discipline. Amid the discussions relating to the new Constitution for the Church, University education received a fair share of the Assembly's attention, and the resolution to erect a theological seminary within St. Andrews led to the removal of Melville from Glasgow. His office of Principal was formally resigned towards the end of November, 1580, “with infinite tears on both sides, those who had at first misliked and opposed him being forward to testify their regret at his departure.” Isaac Walton, in like manner, although displeased with the freedom which Melville took with his favourite Church, does justice to his talents, judging him as second only to Buchanan, who may be said to belong to an earlier period, although he died advanced in age two years after Melville took up his residence in St. Andrews. The time spent in Glasgow, it will thus be seen, was a few months over six years. The only writing he is known to have published within that period was his “Carmen Mosis," a poetical paraphrase of the song of Moses, and a chapter of the book of Job, printed in Latin at Basle, 1573.
So far as the serious statement made by Archbishop Spottiswood is concerned, if the advice to pull down the Cathedral was ever given at all, it must have been among the last years of Melville's residence here—probably 1579—as King James, born May, 1567, is incidentally spoken of as not quite thirteen years of age. The Archbishop's narrative, written it may be partly when he filled the See of Glasgow, to which he was elevated on the death of Archbishop Bethune, 1603, thus proceeds :—“In Glasgow the next spring there happened a little disturbance by this occasion --The Magistrates of the City, by the earnest dealing of Mr. Andrew
Melvil and other ministers, had condescended to demolish the Cathedral, and build, with the material thereof, some little churches in other parts for the ease of the citizens. Divers reasons were given for it, such as the resort of superstitious people to do their devotion in that place; the huge vastness of the church, and that the voice of a preacher could not be heard by the multitudes that convened to sermon; the more commodious service of the people; and the removing of that idolatrous monument (so they called it) which was, of all the cathedrals in the country, only left unruined and in a possibility to be repaired. To do this work a number of quarriers, masons, and other workmen were conducted, and the day assigned when it should take beginning. Intimation being given thereof, and the workmen, by sound of a drum, warned to go into their work, the crafts of the City, in a tumult, took armes, swearing, with many oaths, that he who did cast down the first stone should be buried under it. Neither could they be pacified till the workmen were discharged by the Magistrates. A complaint was hereupon made and the principals cited before the Council for insurrection; where the King, not as then thirteen years of age, taking the protection of the crafts did allow the opposition they had made, and inhibited the ministers (for they were the complainers) to meddle any more in that business, saying 'that too many churches had been already destroyed, and that he would not tolerate more abuses in that kind." So far Spottiswood, as printed in the “Church and State of Scotland" by Spottiswood Society, vol. ii., p. 258. The reader must remember that the above tumult, from whatever cause it may have arisen, is not to be confounded with any excitement which may have been caused by the action of the Royal Commissioners under the somewhat drastic minute for “purification” of such edifices, passed by the Reformers in the summer of 1560. It is this earlier throwing out of the “idolatrous statues of saints” Scott is understood to have made Andrew Fairservice describe with such graphic force rather than an occurrence of twenty years later, when the images had been broken, the shrines rifled, and the fabric itself, much as it was prized by the City authorities, was fast hastening to decay, apparently through the poverty rather than the apathy of the people. Spared as the bare walls were at the time through the earnest intercession of the inhabitants, the architectural glory of the West had, as Sir Walter mentions, nearly “slipped the girths in gaun through siccan rough physic." Indeed the veneration entertained for the old fabric furnishes the best possible indirect answer to the charge brought against Melville and the City authorities of his day. Amid all the troubles which beset our local magistrates at and for years after the Reformation, few are more creditable to their enlightened zeal than those relating to watching and maintaining the Cathedral, of which they then became custodiers. Broken as the very earliest records are in sequence, those relating to this period are happily preserved in fair condition, and have been printed quite recently (1883) for the Burgh Records Society. Entries of the kind referred to regarding the Cathedral are so numerous that it is not easy to accept any statement regarding its proposed demolition in Melville's time, whether coming from friendly or hostile sources, without having corroborative evidence either from Council Minutes or Treasurer's Accounts, both of which are in existence, so far as known, in a complete form. But no entry, direct or indirect, lends any colour to such a charge. There are, on the other hand, as has been said, many tending to disprove it. With a circumstantiality hardly, it must be admitted, in keeping with pure invention, Archbishop Spottiswood makes mention of an appeal being made to the Council—presumably the Scottish Privy Council, although this need not be rashly accepted, the “Council of the King" continuing to be a term of varying import during the reign of James VI., as it had ever been from its first appearance in constitutional history. Sometimes it was subordinate to, and sometimes it overawed, three very distinct bodies concerned in the administration of justice—the Lords of the Articles, the Lords Auditors for Complaints, and the Court of Session. But if the Archbishop's reference is to the Council, as generally understood, here also the Records are silent as to any such complaint, or any other proceedings connected with the proposed destruction of the Cathedral. A recent volume of the series of Privy Council Records, edited under the authority of the Lord Clerk-Register by Professor Masson, embraces a period long anterior and subsequent to that in dispute (1579), and no such case is found recorded. Nor is there, so far as known, any corroboration to be had from other ecclesiastical historians-say Bishop Keith or Calderwood, or from any letter or memoir of the time. However frequently it may have been repeated, the whole story rests on Spottiswood, and for reasons above suggested, needs clear confirmation from other sources, especially as the Archbishop himself is known to have interfered without much ceremony in the election of Glasgow Magistrates.
LORD PROVOST PATRICK COLQUHOUN, LL.D.
CENTENNIAL celebrations have now become so common in connection with events as well as with individuals, that a fresh occurrence of the kind hardly calls for more than a passing notice, even although it may combine features peculiar to both. And yet the presentation to our Chamber of Commerce of a portrait so suggestive of by-gone days as that of Lord Provost Colquhoun, LL.D., is of more than ordinary interest, because such events in the nature of things must be of rare occurrence. The present year (1883) is the centenary of the Doctor's magisterial reign, and the centenary also of some of the useful local institutions originated by him in the course of his long and active public life. Then Patrick Colquhoun was something more than even a Glasgow Magistrate, important as such an honour is justly considered. Serving his own City well in early life, and held in high esteem by all classes, he removed to London about middle life, and exercised a power in the police administration of the Metropolis as salutary at the time as it is likely to be of long continuance. Faithful and painstaking in discharging the onerous duties of a police magistrate, Patrick Colquhoun yet found time through his rare gifts of method and application to make such contributions to the social, educational, and commercial questions of his day as might have made a lasting reputation for any writer, devoting his whole time to a single branch of such studies. This latest addition to the Chamber Gallery has therefore a double interest, attaching in the first place to the character of an enlightened philanthropist as represented by the artist, and to citizens who may worthily desire to emulate his usefulness. Patrick Colquhoun started in the race of life with no gifts of fortune beyond what all may acquire through a moderate education joined to unflagging perseverance. He was born, it may be mentioned, in that year of turmoil and peril, 1745, in the west end of Old Kilpatrick parish, and therefore almost within the family inheritance of the ancient Colquhoun race. His father, who died at the early age of forty-four, while holding the office of Keeper of Sasines for the county of Dumbarton, had been a class-fellow of Tobias Smollett in the Burgh School, and it was there young Patrick received the first part of his education. He went to America early in life, pretty much, it may be surmised, on his own account, being an orphan, and, settling in Virginia, conducted affairs so successfully as to be able to return to Glasgow in a position for carrying on the business of a merchant when only twenty-one years of age. Mr. Colquhoun's residence (long since removed) was on the north side of Argyll Street, nearly opposite the Buck’s Head Hotel, and here in 1775 he took home his young wife, a namesake of his own, and daughter of James Colquhoun of Newlands, Provost of Dumbarton, 1783–89. Patrick Colquhoun was elected Provost of Glasgow on the death of Hugh Wylie, February, 1782, and about the same time he was appointed to take a general superintendence of the Tontine Buildings at the Cross, a project which the Chief Magistrate is thought to have originated, and certainly promoted with his customary vigour. The name of Patrick Colquhoun stands first on the list of proprietors for two shares, in name of his sons, Adam and James, followed by Walter Stirling, Campbell of Clathick, and other well-known Glasgow merchants. In the year of his Provostship he also obtained a Royal Charter for the present Chamber of Commerce, originated by him to promote and improve such branches of trade as are peculiar to this country, to establish rules for the