Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/324

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118 JOHN PATERSON.


Mr Paterson, not disheartened by the failure of his Darien project, instead of repining, revived the scheme in a form to induce England, whose hostility had hitherto thwarted all his measures, to share in the undertaking, and he suc- ceeded; when the sudden death of king William stopped the design; and queen Anne's ministers, who approved of it, had no vigour to carry it out.

Mr Paterson died at an advanced age, in poor circumstances. After the Union, he claimed upon the Equivalent Money for the losses he had sustained at Darien, and in 1715 obtained his indemnity. Had Paterson's scheme suc- ceeded, and it was no fault of his that it did not, his name had unquestionably been enrolled among the most illustrious benefactors of his species ; and if we examine his character in the light of true philosophy, we shall find it greatly heightened by his failure. We never hear from him a single murmur. When disappointed or defeated, he did not give way to despair, but set himself coolly and calmly to another and still greater undertaking. When this failed, through the injustice of those who ought to have been his protectors, and the imbecility of those whom he ought to have commanded, he only sought to improve his plan. There is one part of his character which, in a man of so much genius, ought not to pass unnoticed : " He was void of passion ; and he was one of the very few of his countrymen who never drank wine."

PATERSON, JOHN. This last Protestant archbishop of Glasgow, was the son of John Paterson, bishop of Ross, and born some time in the year 1632. He was trained in episcopalianism, with a view to the ministry ; and his first charge was that of the parish of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, but from which he was transferred (in October, 1662) to the Tron church, Edinburgh.

Soon afterwards, he was appointed dean of Edinburgh. As the delegate of archbishop Sharp, in the year 1670 he attended a conference between the peace-loving archbishop of Glasgow (Robert Leighton) and the leaders of the presbyterian church, with a view, on the part of the latter amiable divine, to a reconciliation, but which the prelate of St. Andrews intended should mis- carry. Unfortunately the presbyterians, mistrusting the intentions of the over-hopeful Leighton, thought the advances he made them were intended to ensnare their chief men ; and, consequently, nothing came of the well-meant attempt, but increased mutual estrangement. Leighton, finding he could do nothing with the presbyterian clergy, appealed, as it we're, to their flocks, and obtained the appointment of six episcopal divines, supposed to be the most moderate in their opinions, and least obnoxious to the presbyterians, to go round the Lowlands, preaching in vacant churches, and arguing the grouflds of an accommodation with all comers. Among these were dean Paterson and the famous Gilbert Burnet. This attempt, too, proved a failure : " The people of the country, indeed," avers the latter, " came generally to hear us, though not in great crowds. We were amazed to see a poor commonalty so capable to argue upon points of government, and on the bounds to be set to the power of princes in matters of religion. Upon all these topics they had texts of Scripture at hand, and were ready with their answers to anything that was said to them. This measure of knowledge was spread even among the meanest of them, their cottagers and their servants."

Notwithstanding the defeat Paterson and his colleagues thus received in col- loquies with these sturdy rustic theologians, his promotion, at least, was secure, through the potency of the duke of Lauderdale, to whom he paid assiduous court. It was through his favour, or by means of a solatium to his rapacious