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things that could be suggested against this prelate, yet makes no mention either of his glutting himself inhumanly with the spectacle of Mr. Wishart's death, nor of any prophetical intermination made by Mr. Wishart concerning the cardinal; nor does Mr. Fox take notice of either of these circumstances, so that I am much of the mind, that it has been a story trumped up a good time after the murder."
This proceeding, however, made a great noise throughout the kingdom; the zealous papists applauded his conduct, and the protestants exclaimed against him as a murderer ; but the cardinal was pleased with himself, imagining he had given a fatal blow to heresy, and that he had struck a terror into his enemies.
Soon after the death of Mr. Wishart, the cardinal went to Finhaven, the seat of the earl of Crawford, to solemnize a marriage between the eldest son of that nobleman and his daughter Margaret. Whilst he was thus employed, intelligence came that the king of England was making great preparations to invade the Scottish coasts.
Upon this he immediately returned to St. Andrew's, and appointed a day for the nobility and gentry of that country, which lies much exposed to the sea, to meet and consult what was proper to be done upon this occasion.
He likewise began to fortify his own castle much stronger than ever it had been before. Whilst he was busy about these matters, there came to him Norman Lesley, eldest son to the earl of Rothes, to solicit him for some favour; who, having met with a refusal, was highly exasperated, and went away great displeasure. His uncle Mr. John Lesley, a violent enemy to the cardinal, greatly aggravated this injury to his nephew; who, being passionate and of a daring spirit, entered into a conspiracy with his uncle and some other persons to cut off the cardinal. The accomplices met early in the morning, on Saturday the 29th of May. The first thing they did was to seize the porter of the castle, and to secure the gate : they then turned out all the servants and several workmen. This was performed with so little noise, that the cardinal was not waked till they knocked at his chamber door; upon which he cried out, “Who is there?" John Lesley answered, “My name is Lesley." " Which Lesley?" replied the cardinal, “ Is it Norman ?" It was answered, “ that he must open the door to those who were there ;" but being afraid, he secured the door in the best
manner he could. Whilst they were endeavouring to force it open, the cardinal called to them,
“ Will ġou have my life?” John Lesley answered, “ Perhaps we will." “ “Nay,” replied the cardinal, “ swear unto me, and I will open it.” Some authors say, that upon a promise being given that no violence should be offered, he opened the door; but however this be, as soon as they entered, John Lesley smote him twice or thrice, as did likewise Peter Carmichael; but James Melvil, as Mr. Knox relates the fact, perceiving them to be in choler, said, “This work and judgment of God, although it be secret, ought to be done with greater_gravity; and, presenting the point of his sword, said, Repent thee of thy wicked life, but especially of the shedding the blood of that notable instrument of God, Mr. George Wishart, which albeit the flame of fire consumed before men, yet cries it for vengeance upon thee; and we from God are sent to revenge
For here, before my God, I protest, that neither the hatred of thy person, the love of thy riches, nor the fear of any trouble thou couldst have done to me in particular, moved or moveth me to strike thee; but only because thou hast been, and remainest, an obstinate enemy against Christ Jesus and his holy gospel.” After having spoken thus, he stabbed him twice or thrice through the body : thus fell that famous prelate, a man of great parts, but of pride and ambition boundless, and withal an eminent instance of the instability of what the world calls fortune. This event is said to have taken place May 29, 1546. Though cardinal Beaton's political abilities were undoubtedly of the highest kind, and some false stories may have been told concerning him, it is certain that his ambition was unbounded, that his insolence was carried to the greatest pitch, and that his character, on the whole, was extremely detestable. His violence, as a persecutor, must ever cause his memory to be held in abhorrence, by all who have any feelings of humanity, or any regard for religious liberty. It is to the honour of Mr. Guthrie, that, in his History of Scotland, he usually speaks of our prelate with indignation.
With respect to the story of cardinal Beaton's having forged king James the Fifth's will, the fact is considered as an undoubted one, by the generality of modern, as well as the more early historians. Dr. Robertson and Mr. Guthrie both speak of it in this light. Mr. Hume, in the following words, expresses himself with a certain degree
the subject. “ He (Beatori) forged, it is said, a will for the king, appointing himself, and three noblemen, regents of the kingdom during the minority of the infant princess : at least, for historians are not well agreed in the circumstances of the fact, he had read to James a paper of that import, to which that monarch, during the delirium which preceded his death, had given an imperfect assent and approbation.”
The story of Wishart's prediction, concerning the fate of his malignant persecutor, seems to be controverted on good grounds. If there be any thing in the fact, it cer. tainly was not a prophecy properly so called, but a mere denunciation of the divine vengeance, which Wishart might naturally think would fall upon the cardinal for his iniquities. He could not but know, too, how hateful Beaton was to many persons, and that he might be expected to become a victim to his arrogance and cruelty. Mr. Hume, who admits the prediction, says that it was probably the immediate cause of the event which it foretold. Whatever becomes of this
part of the story concerning Wishart's martyrdom, the other part of it, relative to the cardinal's viewing the execution from a window, is highly credible, and perfectly suitable to his character.
The sons of the archbishop were James, Alexander, and John. They were all legitimated in his own life-time, and are termed the natural sons of the right reverend, &c.
We shall add Dr. Robertson's character of our prelate, when he mentions his pretensions to the regency. cardinal was by nature of immoderate ambition ; by long experience he had acquired address and refinement; and insolence grew upon him from continual success. His high station in the Church placed him in the way of great employments; his abilities were equal to the greatest of these; nor did he reckon any of them to be above his merit. As his own eminence was founded
power of the Church of Rome, he was a zealous defender of that superstition, and for the same reason an avowed enemy to the doctrine of the reformers. Political motives alone determined him to support the one or to oppose the other. His early application to public business kept him unacquainted with the learning and controversies of the age : He gave judgment, however, upon all points in dispute, with a precipitancy, violence, and rigour, which contem porary historians mention with indignation.
Cardinal Beaton wrote, if we may depend upon Dempster, “ Memoirs of his own Embassies;" treatise of Peter's primacy,” which had been seen by William Barclay, and is Letters to several persons :” Of these last there are still some copies, said to be preserved in the library of the French king.'
BEATON, BETON, or BETHUNE (JAMES), archbishop of St. Andrew's in the reign of James V. was uncle to the preceding. We have no certain account of his birth, or of the manner of his education, except that, being a younger brother, he was from his infancy destined for the church. He had great natural talents, and having im. proved them by the acquisition of the learning fashionable in those times, he came early into the world, under the title of Provost of Bothwell; a preferment given him through the interest of his family. He received his first benefice in 1503, and next year was advanced to the rich preferment of abbot of Dumferling. In 1505, upon the death of sir David Beaton, his brother, his majesty honoured him with the staff of high-treasurer, and he was thenceforward considered as one of the principal statesmen. In 1508 he was promoted to the bishopric of Galloway, and before he had sat a full year in that cathedral chair, he was removed to the archiepiscopal see of Glasgow, on which he resigned the treasurer's staff, in order to be more at leisure to mind the government of his diocese: and indeed it is universally acknowledged, that none more carefully attended the duties of his functions than archbishop Beaton while he continued at Glasgow; and he has left there such marks of concern for that church, as have baffled time, and the rage of a distracted populace: the monuments of his piety and public spirit which he raised at Glasgow, still remaining to justify this part of his cha
It does not appear that he had any hand in the counsels which drove king James IV. into a fatal war with England. On the death of this monarch in the battle of Flodden-field, the regent John duke of Albany appointed our prelate to be high-chancellor. In 1523 he became archbishop of St. Andrew's, not only by the favour of the regent, but with the full consent of the young king, who was then, and all his life, much under the influence of the archbishop's nephew David, the subject of the preceding
| Biog. Brit.-Mackenzie's Scotch writers, vol. III, 19.-Hume and Robert son's Histories, &c.
article. The power of the regent, however, being abrogated by parliament, and the earl of Angus having placed himself at the head of government, our archbishop was dismissed the court, and obliged to resign the office of chancellor; but when the Douglases were driven from court, and the king recovered his freedom, the archbishop came again into power, although he did not recover the office of chancellor. He now resided principally at the paa lace of St. Andrew's, and, as some say, at the instigation of his nephew, the cardinal, proceeded with great violence against the protestants, and is particularly accountable for the death of Patrick Hamilton, the protoniartyr of Scotland, a young man of piety, talents, and high birth, whom he procured to be burnt to death, although it is but justice to add that the same sentence was subscribed by the other archbishop, three bishops, six abbots and friars, and eight divines. He is even said to have had some degree of aversion to such proceedings. The clergy, however, were for stopping the mouths of such as preached what they disliked, in the same manner as they had done Hamilton's. The archbishop moved but heavily in these kind of proceedings; and there are two very remarkable stories recorded to have happened about this time, which very plainly slew he was far enough from being naturally inclined to such severities. It happened at one of their consultations, that some who were most vehement pressed for going on with the proceedings in the Archbishop's court, when one Mr. John Lindsey, a man in great credit with the archbishop, delivered himself to this purpose : “ If you burn any more of them, take my advice, and burn them in cellars, for I dare assure you, that the smoke of Mr. Patrick Hamilton has infected all that it blew upon." The other was of a more serious nature; one Alexander Seton, a black friar, preached openly in the church of St. · Andrew's, that, according to St. Paul's description of bi. shops, there were no bishops in Scotland, which being reported to the archbishop, not in very piecise terms, he sent for Mr. Seton, and reproved him sharply for having said, according to his information, “ That a bishop who did not preach was but a dumb dog, who fed not the flock, but fed his own belly." Mr. Seton said, that those who had reported this were liars, upon which witnesses were produced, who testified very positively to the fact. Mr. Seton, by way of reply, delivered himself thus : “My