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Account of an old Pamphlet, entitled, PRESBYTERIAN INQUISITION, as it was lately practised against the Professors of the COLLEGE of EDINBURGH, August and September 1690. Licensed November 12. 1691. Lon. don.
is the title of a pamphlet which was published by a zealous anti-presbyterian, and perhaps one secretly attached to the Stuart cause, As I find it is little known, a short abstract of it may not be uninteresting.
The proceedings of which the writer complains, were grounded upon a suspicion that the Professors were secretly attached to popery and the cause of the Stuarts. The writer, however, undertakes to prove that "the Masters of that Universities' greatest crimes, were their places and preferments."
An act was passed in 1690, by the Parliament of Scotland, enjoining all members of the universities to sign the confession of faith, and to swear the oath of allegiance. The execution of this act being entrusted to a certain number of visitors, many of whom were presbyterian ministers, they, says he, were not wanting in their diligence, to screw up every thing to the greatest height against the episcopal ministers." Accordingly messengers were sent to the market cross of Edinburgh, and other large towns in Scotland, to call publicly upon all professors and teachers to conform to the above act, and also "to summon and warn all the leidges who have any thing to object against the said principal, professors, regents, masters of the said Universities, and schoolmasters, to compear, and give in objections against the principal, professors, regents, and others aforesaid." Of this clause, our author complains grievously, and seemingly not without reason. The presbyterians, however,
followed up this measure, by appointing a certain number of visitors for each of the Universities. These visitors, besides clergymen, consist of many persons, the most distinguished for rank and consideration in the country, who seem to have acted with the occasion. Among great zeal or these were the Duke of Hamilton, the Earls of Argyle, Crawford, Morton, Cassils, Kintore, Marshall, Lothian; Viscounts Stairs and Arbuthnot Lords Carmichael, Cardross, Elphinston, Ruthven; Sir John Hall, Sir Patrick Home, Sir William Hamilton, Sir John Maxwell, &c. These persons are empowered to try and enquire if any of the masters be erroneous in doctrine, Papists, Arminians, or Socinians; and this is to be discovered, either by their own dictates or the information of others; if any be scandalous or, immoral in their life and conversation; if any be negligent, and how many conveniendums they have, &c. to enquire into their sufficiency, and if any be suspect of insufficiency, to try and examine him, also to enquire, "what has been the carriage of the Masters since the late happy revolutions, as to their Majesty's government and their coming to the crown, and what are their principles as to the constitution of the government by king and parliament, &c.”. Having settled these and other rules of trial, the Committees were appointed to meet at the respective universities on the 20th of August. That appointed to visit the university of Edinburgh, accordingly met in the upper hall, and Sir John Hall was chosen preses. For some reason or other the meeting was delayed till that day se'enight. Dr Monro, Principal of the College, was then called in, and had a number of charges read against him, which he was required to answer.. His replies are given at length, of which we shall make a short abstract,
1. He renounced the protestant religion, and subscribed himself a Papist beyond sea. The Doctor replies, that this charge was impossible, since the Papists require no subscription; that it was supported by no evidence, and that he could even prove its falsehood by those who knew him while he was abroad; had he been so inclined, he had a fair opportunity of declaring himself, before the restoration. Yet did they not remember the sermons he preached against popery in the High church of Edinburgh, and the Abbey of Holyroodhouse, when our zealous reformers were very quiet.This article was dropt.
2. He favoured and procured scholars for a Mr Burnet, who was suspected of popery. He declares in answer, that so far from favouring Mr Burnet's entrance into the college, he opposed it with all his might; he wished, instead of him, a gentleman in the old college of St Andrews, for whom he had a high esteem. "But Mr Burnet, says he, being thrust in upon us (more by the Duke of Gordon than the Earl of Perth,) what could I do with him? My care of this house obliged me to make him as useful as I could: He lay under the suspicion of being popish, but this I knew to be a calumny; and if I had not endeavoured to get him some scholars, we should have wanted one entire class in the college."
intercepted by Hamilton of Kinkell, which was thought to betray disaffection to the government, both in church and state. He had complained, it seems, of the oppression of the clergy, and had used the words fanatic and presbyterian as synonimous. This the Doctor either explains away, or apologizes for, as having been written in a fit of ill humour; complaining grievously of Hamilton for breaking open his letter.
5. He demitted his charge in the High Church, lest he should be obliged to pray for K. William and Q. Mary. The Doctor states, that in his demission he had assigned no such reason; that he could name others; and that the allegation rested on mere conjecture. He asserts that the Presbyterians had expressed no displeasure at the time, but seemed extremely happy to get the church into their own hands.
6. Herejoiced at Lord Dundee's victory. The Doctor calls upon his accuser, to name any outward sign or expression of joy. "He thinks I rejoiced, says he, and therefore sets it down as a ground of accusation. But to make his story pass, why did he not name the usual and extravagant frolics that attend such mirth? where was it? and with what company? was he invited to this merry meeting himself?-The libeller does not think I rejoiced at the fall of my Lord Dundee; I assure him of the contrary, for no gentleman, soldier, scholar, or civilized citizen, will find fault with me for this; I had an extraordinary value for him; and such of his enemies, as retain any generosity, will acknowledge he deserved it. And he should consider, that the victories obtained in a civil war are no true cause of joy."
7. He persecuted a Mr Gourlay for being presbyterian, exactly at the time of his being licensed to preach by the presbytery. This persecution Dr M. throws entirely upon the students. The fact, he says, with regard to this trifle, was,
that Mr Gourley had attempted to teach the second class in Mr Kennedy's absence; "but the boys then found him quite out of his element, and drove him out of the schools with snowballs, to the foot of the college wynd.ly This, he says, happened some years before he came to the college; but Mr G. having again' attempted to beach, experienced similar insults. He then applied to Dr Monro, who, even before hearing the students in their own defence, imposed on some of them a pecuniary mulct. The students, however, on learning these proceedings," caballed themselves into a more numerous combination, so that Mr Gourley found it convenient to retire, as he could not live in the college without a guard." But the Doctor says, that on this occasion no names were given in to him and he appears accordingly to have taken no charge of the matter: upon the whole, he seems at heart rather to approve their conduct, and declares that they are as obedient and regular, as so many youths in any part of the world.
8. He heard, without answering, Dr Pitcairn ridicule the Westminster confession, and impugn the existence of a Deity. He was not in his desk on that day, nor called upon to answer Dr Pitcairn. His good friend, however, was well qualified to answer for himself; and so far had he been from impugning the existence of a Deity, that he merely endeavoured, like a true philosopher, to load some parts of the Thesis with that absurdity!
9. He presented to the Lord Chan sellor an Eucharistic poem, composed on the birth of the Prince of Wales. Where his accuser had the epithet Eucharistic, Dr Munro knows not; but is sure the bonefires, illuminations, glasses, and wine flung over the cross, were at least as Eucharistic as his poem. The town of Edinburgh therefore should answer for it, not he.
There are several other charges, but
as they do not contain any thing very interesting, I shall not recapitulate them. In consequence of this examination, however, a Report is drawn up, which, as might be supposed, is extreme
unfavourable, and which is immediately followed by a sentence of deprivation, signed by the Earl of Crawford. The author has added long commentaries upon every sentence of the Report. The only thing in his part of this performance, which is very interesting, is one from which it appears, that it was then customary for the Principal to deliver public instructions every Wednesday on the first principles of the Christian religion, which were attended by all the students without exception. The charge against the Doctor is, that one year he catechized instead of giving dictates: to which he replies, that such a method appeared to him better suited to the capacity of the younger students; that Bishop Leighton had merely delivered lectures viva voce, without obliging the students to copy them, and that Principal Adamson had, like himself, catechized.Qu. When, and why, was this prac tice discontinued?
Dr Strachan's examination follows next. He is much bolder than Dr Monro, declares his zealous attachment to episcopacy, and laments the "unchristian and barbarous courses, which were taken to prevent its orderly establishment here when that loyal martyr, of blessed and glorious ine-. mory, was endeavouring to do it for the good of the church and kingdom." He even expresses a wish that a reconciliation with the church of Rome might be effected by means of mutual concession. He declares, that he considers the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance to be sound points of divinity, duly stated and qualifted. His sentence was of course the same with that of Dr Monro.
This pamphlet does not carry on the history of the transaction any farther. But we are informed by another
ther episcopal publication*, that besides Dr Monro and Dr Strachan, five of the masters were turned out. These were the two professors of divinity, Mr John Drummond, professor of philology, Mr Alex. Douglas, professor of the Oriental languages, and Mr Thomas Burnet, professor of philosophy. Dr. Gregory, professor of the mathematics, was connived at for a while.
Lord Carmichael, who was president of the Committee for visiting Glasgow college, is said to have been a man of much greater moderation than Sir John Hall. Dr Fall, the Principal, however, having refused the test, was necessarily turned out, as was Dr Weem, professor of Divinity, Professors Blair and Gordon. But the most severely treated of all was the University of St Andrews, where Lord Crawford presided, and in which the Professors were turned out ad unum omnes. The University of Aberdeen was left for the present unmolested. This the writer charitably imputes to its remoteness, and to the incapacity of the presbyterians for lecturing in Latin.
pounded of Cru-Dan, i. e. the slaughter of the Danes. Dundee has been rendered Donum Dei, &c. &c. This muir is of great extent, and nearly level. It contains many antiquities, such as remains of ancient fortifications, sepulchral tumuli, &c. but the most prominent of these is the ancient Mon-reidh, or place of execution. It stands a little to the east of an extensive encampment, which tradition ascribes to the Picts. These Gallow hills are frequent over all Scotland, and, from their peculiar structure, easily distinguished from all others. For the benefit of such of your correspondents as are not acquainted with the Gaelic, I must observe that Reidh is pronounced Ri. As to Mon, and muir, they are modern adjections, the origi nal name being Mon-ri. Thus Benloch, i. e. the hill of the loch, by the modern adjection of mont and law, has been tortured into Benlomondlaw.— But with what propriety can any antiquarian render this muir Mons Romanus, with the ancient Mon-ri staring him in the face.
Penpont, i. e. Pen-Punt, i. e. the Weight-Hill, is the name of a parish on the banks of the Nith, about 25 miles distant from its influx into Solway Firth. It has also been tortured into Pene Pontus, i. e. almost a sca. The ingenious analysers, it seems, chose rather to make Solway Firth climb over hills and precipices, and inundate the country to the distance of 25 miles, than be driven out of their favourite It is well etymology, Pene-Pontus. known that, in the Hebrides, the Craig of the money rent, and the Craig of the rent in kind still remain. Penthose hills where the rent in kind Punt appears to have been one of (such as wool, butter cheese, &c.) was weighed over to the landlord, and hence it seems to have taken
the name of Pen Punte, or the weighing hill. I need hardly point out that Pen and Ben are synonimous, and that Punt is the radix of the Scots Pund the