Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/325

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JOHN PATERSON. 119


duchess, that Paterson was named bishop of Galloway, October 23, 1674. From this see he was translated (March 29, 1679) to that of Edinburgh.

To make this piece of preferment the more sweet, the duke of York, doubt- less at Lauderdale's instigation, ordered, in the king's name, the town council of Edinburgh to take 18,000 merks (nearly 1000) out of a sum of money be- queathed, in trust, for founding an additional church in the city, and employ it to build a house for the new bishop. Subservient even to baseness as the city authorities then were, they yet scrupled to commit this sacrilege, and appealed to the conscience of Paterson in the matter, when he had the grace to waive the indecent claim made in his name. " This generous deportment of the bishop's,' 1 says Maitland, " was so kindly taken, that the town council returned him a letter of thanks, with au offer of 600 merks yearly, in name of house-rent." Their offer, however, he could not decently accept, for by this time due pro- vision was made for his accommodation by royal grant ; but, not to lose all chance of profiting by the opportune occasion, Paterson, in a letter full of pre- tentious self-denial, and expressive of his hatred of " all brybers and bryberie," demanded and got 2000 merks of the town's money, for having preached alone one year, on single salary, in a collegiate church, some sixteen years before !

A few days after the accession of James II. to the throne, he, by a royal man- date, appointed John Paterson and his successors, lord bishops of Edinburgh, to be the chancellors ex-officio of the university of that city for ever ! This compliment, and Paterson's next exaltation, were probably the reward of his courtly compliances; for he had, shortly before, in council with the duke (now king), expressed an opinion, that " the two religions popish and protestant were so equally stated (poised) in his mind, that a few grains of loyalty, in which the protestants had the better, turned the balance with him."

In conformity with this indifferent ism, he and Ross (whom Burnet calls " the two governing bishops " of the time) " procured an address, to be signed by several of their bench, offering to concur with the king in all that he desired with regard to religion, providing the laws might still continue in force against the presbyterians. With this document he went to London, but was dissuaded from presenting it, as something really " too bad." In 1686, the parliament being moved to sanction the king's arbitrary policy, secular and ecclesiastical, and a timid resistance made by Alexander Cairncross, archbishop of Glasgow ; James expelled him, without ceremony, from his charge, and gave it to Pater- son, who was but too happy to accept the equivocal distinction.

But the time of retribution was nigh. The expedition of the prince of Orange, in the autumn of 1688, so opportune in time, and so happy in its results, saved the nation from that slavery which none were so forward to plunge it into as the greater number of the Scottish prelates. To the besotted king, however, they evinced one virtue that of a canine fidelity; for they adhered to his cause when almost all others had given or were about to give it up. Thus, on the 3d of November, 1688 (two days before William's arrival), Paterson and eleven more signed one of the most fulsome addresses that was ever penned, thanking Providence "for miraculously preserving his sacred majesty's person from past perils ; magnifying the Divine mercy in blessing so pious, so wise, and so gracious a king with a son . . . not doubting but God would give him the hearts of his subjects, and the necks of his enemies."

Paterson's possession of his new dignity and temporalities was short and uneasy ; for the hatred of the Glasgow presbyterians towards the episcopal