Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/210

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ANDREW MELVILLE.


Angus, " Loose and living;" which pretty plainly intimates what they conceived would be the result, if he permitted himself to be made " fast." On leav- ing Edinburgh, Melville first proceeded to Berwick, and thence to London, where he remained till the November of 1585. The indignation of the king- dom having then driven Arran from the court, he returned to Scotland, after an absence of twenty months. The plague, which had raged in the country while he was in England, having dispersed his pupils at St Andrews, and the college being, from this and other causes, in a state of complete disorganization, he did not immediately resume his duties there, but proceeded to Glasgow, where he re- mained for some time. In the month of March following, induced by an appearance of more settled times, he returned to St Andrews, and recommenced his lectures and former course of instruction. These, however, were soon again interrupted. In consequence of the active part which he took in the excommunication of archbishop Adamson, who was accused of overthrowing the scriptural govern- ment and discipline of the church of Scotland, he was commanded by the king to leave St Andrews, and to confine himself beyond the water of Tay. From this banishment he was soon afterwards recalled; and, having been restored to his majesty's favour, through the intercession of the dean of faculty and masters of the university, he resumed his academical labours at St Andrews.

In the year following (1587,) he was chosen moderator of the General As- sembly, and appointed one of their commissioners to the ensuing meeting of parliament. A similar honour with the first was conferred upon him in 1589, and again in 1594. In the year following, he was invited to take a part in the ceremonies at the coronation of the queen, which took place in the chapel of Holyrood, on the 17th of May. On this occasion, although he did not know, until only two days before, that he was expected to take a part in the approaching ceremony, he composed and delivered, before a great concourse of noblemen and gentlemen, assembled to witness the coronation, a Latin poem, which, having been printed next day at the earnest solicitation of his majesty, who was much pleased with it, under the title of " Stephaniskion," and circu- lated throughout Europe, added greatly to the reputation which its author had already acquired. An instance of the generosity of 31elville's disposition, which occurred about this time, cannot be passed over, however brief the sketch of his life may be, without doing an injustice to his memory. Archbishop Adam- son, one of his most irreconcilable enemies, having lost the favour of the king, was reduced, by the sequestration of his annuity, which immediately followed, to great pecuniary distress. He applied to Melville for relief, and he did not apply in vain. Melville immediately visited him, and undertook to support himself and his family at his own expense, until some more effective and per- manent assistance could be procured for him ; and this he did for several months, finally obtaining a contribution for him from his friends in St Andrews. Such instances of benevolence are best left to the reader's own reflections, and are only injured by comment

In 1590, he was chosen rector of the university; an office which he conti- nued to hold by re-election for many years, and in which he displayed a firm- ness and decision of character on several trying occasions, that gives him a claim to something more than a mere literary reputation. Though a loyal sub- ject in the best sense and most genuine acceptation of that term, he frequently addressed king James in language much more remarkable for its plainness than ita courtesy. He had no sympathy whatever for the absurdities of that prince, and would neither condescend to humour his foibles nor flatter his vanity. A remarkable instance of this plain dealing with his majesty, occurred in 1596. In that year, Melville formed one of a deputation from the commissioners of the