Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Geddes, Michael

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GEDDES, MICHAEL, LL.D. (1650?–1713), divine of the church of England, was born in Scotland about 1650, and educated in the university of Edinburgh, where he took the degree of M.A. in 1668 (Laing, Cat. of Edinburgh Graduates, p. 95). He was incorporated at Oxford on 11 July 1671, being one of the first four natives of Scotland who benefited by Bishop Warner's exhibitions intended for Balliol College. Some demur being made at Balliol, these scholars were first placed in Gloucester Hall (now Worcester College), but in 1672 they were removed to Balliol (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 330). Previously to their incorporation these four Scotchmen called on Anthony à Wood, and ‘afterwards A. W. had them to the taverne against Alls. coll., and there liberally treated them with wine’ (Life of Wood, ed. Bliss, p. lxviii). In 1678 Geddes went to Lisbon as chaplain to the English factory. In 1686 he was forbidden by the inquisition to continue his functions, although he pleaded a privilege which had never been called in question, founded on the treaty between England and Portugal. The English merchants wrote immediately to Compton, bishop of London, to protest against this invasion of their rights; but before their letter reached its destination Geddes was suspended by the ecclesiastical commissioners appointed by James II. They were therefore forbidden all exercise of their religion till the arrival of Mr. Scarborough, the English envoy, under whose authority, as a public minister, they were obliged to shelter themselves. Finding matters in this situation, Geddes thought proper to return in May 1688 to England, and after the promotion to the see of Salisbury of Dr. Burnet, that prelate collated him to the chancellorship of that church on 12 June 1691. The Lambeth degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him, 16 April 1695, by Archbishop Tenison (Gent. Mag. cxvi. 636). He died in the early part of 1713. Bishop Burnet says: ‘He was a learned and a wise man; he had a true notion of popery, as a political combination, managed by falsehood and cruelty, to establish a temporal empire in the person of the popes. All his thoughts and studies were chiefly employed in detecting this; of which he has given many useful and curious essays in the treatises he wrote, which are all highly valuable’ (History of the Reformation, iii. 306).

His works are: 1. ‘The History of the Church of Malabar, from the time of its being first discover'd by the Portuguezes in the year 1501. … Together with the synod of Diamper, celebrated in … 1599, done out of Portugueze into English. With some remarks upon the faith and doctrines of the Christians of St. Thomas in the Indies,’ London, 1694, 8vo. 2. ‘The Church-History of Ethiopia. Wherein the two great … Roman missions into that empire are placed in their true light. To which are added an epitome of the Dominican History of that Church, and an account of the practices and conviction of Maria of the Annunciation, the famous nun of Lisbon,’ London, 1696, 8vo. 3. ‘The Council of Trent no free Assembly: more fully discovered by a collection of letters and papers of the learned Dr. Vargas and other … Ministers who assisted at the said Synod. Published from the original manuscripts in Spanish … with an introductory discourse concerning Councils, showing how they were brought under bondage to the Pope,’ London, 1697, 8vo. The manuscripts consisted of original letters addressed to Cardinal Granvelle, chief minister of the Emperor Charles. They came into the possession of Sir William Trumbull, who placed them in the hands of Bishop Stillingfleet, and that prelate requested Geddes to translate them (Burnet, Hist. of the Reformation, ed. Pocock, iii. 305). 4. ‘Miscellaneous Tracts,’ 3 vols. London, 1702–6, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1709; 3rd edit. 1715. 5. ‘Several Tracts against Popery: together with the Life of Don Alvaro de Luna,’ London, 1715, 8vo. 6. ‘The most celebrated Popish Ecclesiastical Romance: being the Life of Veronica of Milan. Begun to be translated from the Portuguese by the late Dr. Geddes, and finish'd by Mr. Ozell,’ London, 1716, 8vo.

[Cat. of Printed Books in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, iii. 348; Anderson's Scottish Nation, ii. 285; Birch's Tillotson, p. 333; Burnet's Hist. of the Reformation; Chambers's Biog. Dict. of Eminent Scotsmen; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. 377; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), ii. 653; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn); Cat. of Oxford Graduates (1851), p. 254; Preface to Geddes's Tracts on Popery; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

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