design for ‘reconciliation with popery.’ On the arrival in Aberdeen (20 July 1638) of the deputation, charged with the task of procuring adhesion to the ‘national covenant’ of 28 Feb. [see Henderson, Alexander, (1583?–1646)], the same six doctors, with the temporising adhesion of William Guild [q. v.], presented further ‘demands,’ questioning the lawfulness of the covenant. Answers, replies, further answers and ‘duplies,’ brought the negotiation to a deadlock. Sibbald had been elected to the general assembly which opened at Glasgow on 21 Nov. He did not attend. On 28 March 1639, four days before the reduction of Aberdeen by the covenanting forces under Montrose, he sailed for Berwick with Robert Baron (1593?–1639) [q. v.], other leaders of his party, and a small armed force, for the service of the king. They were coldly received. Sibbald returned to Aberdeen in August, and resumed his ministry on 13 Oct., practically accepting the situation, but resolutely declining to subscribe the ‘national covenant.’ On 22 Dec. he admonished his parishioners not to keep Christmas day, this being forbidden by ecclesiastical authority (Act of Assembly, 10 Dec. 1638). On 24 May 1640 he was silenced by commission of assembly; on 7 July he was suspended till the meeting of assembly; on 6 Aug. he was deposed by the general assembly meeting at Aberdeen. In addition to his refusal of the covenant, he was charged with Arminianism and with doctrines tending to popery, a charge partly grounded on his circulation of the (unpublished) writings of William Forbes [q. v.] Under examination, he maintained the regeneration of all baptised infants; and while admitting the pope to be antichrist, he ‘knew not whether a greater antichrist would arise after him.’ His books and papers were seized, but returned to him. In October he again sailed for England, but returned to Aberdeen at the beginning of 1641, having received no encouragement from the king. He made his way to Ireland, and obtained some ministerial charge in Dublin. He was probably the ‘Ja. Sybold’ who joined (August 1646) in the address to Ormonde, thanking him for ‘the free exercise of the true reformed religion according to the liturgy and canons of the church,’ and who signed (9 July 1647) the ‘declaration’ maintaining that the directory was without royal authority, and seeking permission ‘to use the Book of Common Prayer.’ Grub doubts whether he was the Dr. Sibbald who attended Hamilton on the scaffold in Palace Yard, Westminster (9 March 1649), on the ground that the divines then in attendance are described as presbyterians. But this term is not inapplicable to Sibbald, a Scottish churchman, strongly attached to primitive doctrine, but accepting the ecclesiastical arrangements made by lawful authority. Ten years after leaving Aberdeen he died in Dublin of the plague, probably in July 1650. He married Elizabeth Nicolson, and had issue. The Scottish parliament on 21 June 1661 granted 200l. to his widow and children.
He published: 1. ‘Theses Theologicæ de primatu B. Petri,’ Aberdeen, 1627, 4to. 2. ‘Holinesse to the Lord’ (a sermon in the ‘Funerals’ of Bishop Patrick Forbes), Aberdeen, 1635, 4to; reprinted, Spottiswoode Society, 1845, 8vo. Posthumous was 3. ‘Diverse Select Sermons,’ Aberdeen, 1658, 4to (fifteen sermons).[Hew Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scoticanæ, iii. 462; preface to Sibbald's posthumous sermons; Mant's Hist. of the Church of Ireland, 1840, i. 584 sq.; Grub's Eccl. Hist. of Scotland, 1850, ii. 371 sq., iii. 13 sq.]
SIBBALD, JAMES (1745–1803), bookseller and author, was the son of John Sibbald, farmer of Whitlaw, Roxburghshire, where he was born on 28 April 1745. After leaving the Selkirk grammar school young Sibbald leased the farms of Newtown and Whitehillbrae from Sir Francis Elliot of Stobs. Botany and classical studies occupied his leisure hours; the farming venture failed. In May 1779 he gave up his lease, went to Edinburgh, and entered the house of his friend Charles Elliot the publisher as a volunteer shopman. Having purchased from a Mrs. Yair in 1780 the circulating library—the first of the kind in Scotland—which formerly belonged to Allan Ramsay (1686–1758) [q. v.], he carried on business as a bookseller and publisher in the Parliament Square. In the account of his own early life Scott writes: ‘I fastened also, like a tiger, upon every collection of old songs or romances which chance threw into my way, or which my scrutiny was able to discover on the dusty shelves of James Sibbald's circulating library in the Parliament Square. This collection, now dismantled and dispersed, contained at that time many rare and curious works, seldom found in such a collection. Mr. Sibbald himself, a man of rough manners but of some taste and judgment, cultivated music and poetry, and in his shop I had a distant view of some literary characters,’ Burns among others (Lockhart, Memoirs, 1837, i. 46).
Sibbald conducted his bookselling and publishing with much enterprise, and was suc-