1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Skinner, John

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22325861911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 25 — Skinner, John

SKINNER, JOHN (1721–1807), Scottish author, son of John Skinner, a parish schoolmaster, was born at Balfour, Aberdeenshire, on the 3rd of October 1721. He had been intended for the Presbyterian ministry, but, after passing through Marischal College, Aberdeen, and teaching for a few years, he took orders in the Episcopal Church, and was appointed to the charge of Longside in 1742. Very soon after Skinner joined the Episcopalians they became, in consequence of the Jacobite rebellion in 1745, a much persecuted remnant. Skinner's church was burnt; his house was plundered ; for some years he had to minister to his congregation by stealth; and in 1753 he suffered six months' imprisonment for having officiated to more than four persons besides his own family. After 1760 the penal laws were less strictly en- forced, but throughout the century the lot of the Episcopalian ministers in Scotland was far from comfortable, and only the humblest provisions for church services were tolerated. He died at the house of his son, John Skinner, bishop of Aberdeen, on the 16th of June 1807. It is by his few songs that Skinner is generally known. A correspondence took place between him and Burns, who considered his " Tullochgorum " " the best Scotch song Scotland ever saw," and procured his collaboration for Johnson's Musical Museum. Other of his lyrics are: " The Monymusk Christmas Ba'ing," a football idyll; " The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn " and " John o' Badenyon." His best songs had stolen into print; a collection was not published till 1809, under the title of Amusements of Leisure Hours. Throughout his life Skinner was a vigorous student, and published in 1788 an Ecclesiastical History of Scotland (2 vols.) in the form of letters.

A Life of Skinner, in connexion with the history of Episcopacy in the north of Scotland, was published by the Rev. W. Walker in 1883. His songs and poems were edited by H. G. Reid (1859).