1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Anderson, James (Genealogist)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ANDERSON, JAMES (1662-1728), Scottish genealogist, antiquary and historian, was born at Edinburgh on the 5th of August 1662. He was educated for the law, and became a writer to the signet in 1691. His profession gave him the opportunity of gratifying his taste for the study of ancient documents; and just before the union the Scottish parliament commissioned him to prepare for publication what remained of the public records of the kingdom, and in their last session voted a sum of £1940 sterling to defray his expenses. At this work he laboured for several years with great judgment and perseverance; but it was not completed at his death in 1728. The book was published posthumously in 1739, edited by Thomas Ruddiman, under the title Selectus Diplomatum et Numismatum Scotiae Thesaurus. The preparation of this great national work involved the author in considerable pecuniary loss; and soon after his death, the numerous plates, engraved by Sturt, were sold for £530. These plates are now lost, and the book has become exceedingly scarce. After the union of the crowns, Anderson was appointed in 1715 postmaster-general for Scotland, as some compensation for his labours; but in the political struggles of 1717 he was deprived of this office, and never again obtained any reward for his services. He died on the 3rd of April 1728. He published, during the controversy about the union, An Historical Essay showing that the Crown and Kingdom of Scotland is Imperial and Independent (Edin., 1705,), and later Collections relating to the History of Mary Queen of Scotland (in 4 vols., Edin., 1727-1728).