Blackwood, Adam (DNB00)

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BLACKWOOD, ADAM (1539–1613), Scottish writer, was descended from a family in good circumstances, and was born at Dunfermline in 1539. His father, William Blackwood, was slain in battle before the son reached his tenth year, and his mother did not long survive the loss of her husband. Thereupon he was taken in charge by her uncle, Robert Reid, bishop of Orkney, who, recognising his exceptional abilities, sent him to the university of Paris, where he enjoyed the tuition of the two celebrated professors, Turnebus, and Auratus or Dorat, from the latter of whom he acquired an ambition to excel in Latin poetry. After the death of Bishop Reid in 1558, Blackwood went to Scotland; but finding, on account of the disquiet of the times, no prospect of continuing his studies, he returned to Paris, where, through the munificence of Queen Mary, then residing with her first husband, the dauphin, at the court of France, he was enabled to resume his university course. After prosecuting the study of mathematics, philosophy, and oriental languages, he passed two years at Toulouse, reading civil law. On his return to Paris he begun to employ himself in teaching philosophy. In 1574 he published at Paris a eulogistic memorial poem on Charles IX of France, entitled 'Caroli IX Pompa Funebris versiculis expressa per A. B. J.C (Juris Consultum), and in 1575, also at Paris, a work on the relation between religion and government, entitled 'De Vinculo; seu Conjunctione Religionis et Imperii libri duo, quibus conjurationum traducuntur insidiæ fuco religionis adumbratæ.' A third book appeared in 1612. The work was dedicated to Queen Mary of Scotland, and, in keeping with his poem commemorating the author of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, was intended to demonstrate the necessity laid upon rulers to extirpate heresy as a phase of rebellion against a divinely constituted authority. The work was so highly esteemed by James Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow, that he recommended Queen Mary to bestow on him the office of counsellor or judge of the parliament of Poictiers, the province of Poitou having by letters patent from Henry III been assigned to her in payment of a dowry. Some misunderstanding regarding the nature of this office seems to have given rise to the statement of Mackenzie and others that Blackwood was professor of civil law at Poictiers. He now collected an extensive library, and, encouraged by the success of his previous work, he set himself to the hard and ambitious task of grappling with George Buchanan, whose views he denounced with great bitterness and severity in 'Apologia pro Regibus, adversus Georgii Buchanani Dialogum de Jure Regni apud Scotos,' Pictavis, 1581; Parisiis, 1588. During Queen Mary's captivity in England he paid her frequent visits, and was untiring in his efforts to do her all the service in his power. After her death he published a long exposure of her treatment in imprisonment, interspersed with passionate denunciations of her enemies, especially Knox and Elizabeth. The work bears to have been printed 'à Edimbourg chez Jean Nafield, 1587,' but the name is fictitious, and it was in reality printed at Paris. It was reprinted at Antwerp in 1588, and again in 1589, and is also included in the collection of Jebb 'De Vita et Rebus gestis Mariæ Scotorum Regime Autores sedecim,' tom. ii., London, 1725. The title of the work is 'Martyre de la Royne d'Escosse, Douairiere de France; contenant le vray discours des traïsons à elle faictes à la suscitation d'Elizabet Angloise, par lequel les mensonges, calomnies, et faulses accusations dressées contre ceste tresvertueuse, trescatholique et tresillustre princesse son esclarcies et son innocence averse.' At the end of the volume there is a collection of verses in Latin, French, and Italian, on Mary and Elizabeth. A fragment of a translation of the work into English, the manuscript of which belongs to the end of the sixteenth or beginning of the seventeenth century, was published by the Maitland Club in 1834. The work contains no contribution of importance towards the settlement of the vexed question regarding the character of the unhappy queen, but is of special interest as a graphic presentment of the sentiments and feelings which her pitiable fate aroused in her devoted adherents. In 1606 Blackwood published a poem on the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne, entitled 'Inauguratio Jacobi Magnæ Britauuitæ Regis,' Paris, 1606. He was also the author of pious meditations in prose and verse, entitled 'Sanctarum Precationum Procemia, seu mavia, Ejaculationes Animæ ad Orandum se præparantis,' Aug. Pict. 1598 and 1608; of a penitential study, 'In Psalmum Davidis quinquagesimum, cujus initium est Miserere mei Deus, Adami Blacvodæi Meditatio,' Aug. Pict. 1608; and of miscellaneous poems, 'Varii generis Poemata,' Pictavis, 1609. He died in 1613, and was buried in the St. Porcharius church at Poictiers, where a marble monument was erected to his memory. By his marriage to Catherine Courtinier, daughter of the 'procureur de roi' of Poictiers, he left four sons and seven daughters. His collected works in Latin and French appeared at Paris in 1644, with a life and eulogistic notice by Gabriel Naudé. The volume contains a portrait of the author by Picart, in his official robes.

[Life by Naudé in collected ed. of his Works; Mackenzie's Writers of the Scots Nation, iii. 487-613; Irving's Scottish Writers, i. 161-9; Chambers's Biog. Dict. of Eminent Scotsmen, i. 142-3.]

T. F. H.