Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/213

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ANDREW MELVILLE.


in France. Melville, who was now in the 66th year of his age, was exceed- ingly reluctant to go abroad ; but, as this was a condition of his liberty, and as there was no hope of the king's being prevailed upon to allow him to return to Scotland, he submitted to the expatriation, and sailed for France on the 19th of April.

On his arrival at Paris he was fortunate enough to fall in with one of his scholars then prosecuting his studies there, by whom he was kindly and affec- tionately received. After spending a few days in the French capital he repaired to Sedan, and was admitted to the place destined for him in the university.

In the year following he removed to Grenoble, to superintend the education of three sons of the treasurer of the parliament of Dauphiny, with a salary of five hundred crowns per annum ; but, not finding the situation an agreeable one, he returned within a short time to Sedan, and resumed his former duties. Melville continued to maintain a close correspondence with his numerous friends in Scotland, and particularly with his nephew, James Melville, to whom he was warmly attached. Of him, his best, most constant, and dearest friend, however, he was soon to be deprived. That amiable man, who had adhered to him through good and bad fortune, through storm and sunshine, for a long series of years, died in the beginning of the year 1614. The grief of Melville on re- ceiving the intelligence of his death was deep and poignant. He gave way to no boisterous expression of feeling ; but he felt the deprivation with all the keenness which such a calamity is calculated to inflict on an affectionate heart. With his fondest wishes still directed towards his native land, he requested his friends in London to embrace any favourable opportunity which might offer of procuring his restoration ; and in 1616, a promise was obtained from his majesty, that he would be relieved from banishment. This, promise, however, like many others of James's, was never realized. Melville, after all that he had done for his country, was doomed to breathe his last an exile in a foreign land. To compensate in some measure for the misfortunes which clouded his latter days, he was blessed with a more than ordinary share of bodily health, and that to a later period of life than is often to be met with. " Am I not," he says, in a letter to a friend written in the year 1612, " three score and eight years old, unto the which age none of my fourteen brethren came ; and, yet I thank God, I eat, I drink, I sleep as well as I did these thirty years bygone, and better than when I was younger in ipso flore adolescentias, only the gravel now and then seasons my mirth with some little pain, which I have felt only since the beginning of March the last year, a month before my deliverance from prison. I feel, thank God, no abatement of the alacrity and ardour of my mind for the propagation of the truth. Neither use I spectacles now more than ever, yea I use none at all nor ever did, and see now to read Hebrew without points, and in the smallest characters." With this good bodily health, he also enjoyed to the close of his life that cheerfulness of disposition and vivacity of imagination for which he was distinguished in earlier years, and in the seventy-fourth year of his age he is found vying with the most sprightly and juvenile of his col- leagues in the composition of an epithalamium on the occasion of the marriage of the eldest daughter of his patron the duke of Bouillon.

Years, however, at length undermined a constitution which disease had left untouched until the very close of life. In 1620, his health which had previ- ously been slightly impaired, grew worse, and in the course of the year 1622, he died at Sedan, in the seventy-seventh year of his age.

The benefits which Melville conferred on his country in the department of its literature are thus spoken of by Dr M'Crie : " His arrival imparted a new impulse to the public mind, and his high reputation for learning, joined to the