29 JUNE 1912, Page 11


The Bishops of Scotland. By the late John Dowden, D.D, Bishop of Edinburgh. Edited by J. Maitland Thomson, M.D.

(James Maclehose and Sons. 125. 6d. net.)—This is one of the books which are not likely to got the credit duo to them. It must have cost the author very great labour indeed, and the result, so

far as the general reader is ooncerned, is unsatisfactory, not because he can find any fault with it, but because he cannot appreciate its merits, What we have of details about the individuals who appear in the list, when it is not formal, is seldom edifying. Ecclesiastical dignities, especially in the later times —Bishop Dowden's work is not carried beyond the Reformation— were too often provisions for the bastard sons of kings and nobles. Here is the story of the last Bishops of St. Andrews (Primates of Scotland). Alexander Stewart, the illegitimate son of James IV., at the age of four received a dispensation to hold benefices not.. withstanding the default of his birth; at nine he was made "arelidene " of St. Andrews; at eleven ho was Archbishop and Primate of Scotland; at twenty he was killed at Flodden. The see was vacant for two years. Then Forman, Bishop of Moray, succeeded, but did not obtain the tem- poralities till after more than a year. He died in 1521 and was succeeded by James Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, whom we find committed to prison in 1524. His nephew Beaton came next in 1538; eight years later he was assassinated. John Hamilton, natural son of the Earl of Arran, was translated from Dunkeld after a year and a half : be was hanged at Stirling on April 7th, 1671. His offence was that he had been privy to the assassination of the Regent Murray. Our primatial see has not been wholly free from scandals, but there has been nothing like this. No wonder that the Reformation made so clean a sweep in Scotland I