Слике страница
PDF
ePub

the holiness, which becomes our spiritual calling, far as they surpass all vulgar conceptions, were yet realized to the utmost, that human weakness seems capable of attaining, in his own habitual walk and conversation.

LONDON, 21st December, 1824.

THE LIFE

OF

ARCHBISHOP LEIGHTON.

THE name of Leighton occurs in some of the oldest annals of Scottish history. It belonged to a reputable family, proprietary of the barony of Ulishaven, otherwise called Usan, which is a demesne in Craig, a considerable fishing-village in the county of Forfar. Of this name the spelling is very various, as will commonly be the case with the patronymic of a family, of which the scattered vestiges appear, at wide intervals, in the wilderness of the unlettered ages. It is spelt, Leichtoune, Lichtoun, Lyghton, Lighton, and in several other fashions, which are not respectively fixed to certain dates, but seem to have obtained indiscriminately in the same eras. One may remark, however, that the modern orthography of the name is the same, which presents itself in registers of the greatest antiquity. In the Rotuli Scotiæ, which have lately been published from the original records in the Tower, we read that A. D. 1374 John de Leighton, clericus de Scotia, obtained a safe conduct to Oxford, there to prosecute his studies. Whether or not this zealot of literature were of the Usan race cannot now be certainly determined. To the ancestors of that family, however, may be assigned the meed of sturdy warriors, on the authority of a quaint chronicle which relates, that

Schir Walter of Ogilvy, that gud knycht,
Stout and manful, bauld and wycht,

being sheriff of Angus, was killed in 1392 at Gasklune or Glenbrerith near Blairgowrie in Perthshire, by a party of three hundred Highlanders. Ogilvy, with Sir Patrick Gray, Sir David Lindsay of Glenesk, and about sixty men, encountered the enemy. Gray and Lindsay were wounded; and Sir Walter Ogilvy, his uterine brother Walter Leighton of Ulishaven, and some of their friends were killed.

Besides this testimony to the prowess of a Leighton in the days of feudal lawlessness, there is proof of the same family, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, having been inscribed in the lists of eccle. siastical dignity and political importance. Mention is made by Keith, in his Catalogue of Scottish Bishops, of one Henry Leighton, parson of Duffus and chantor of Moray, “legum doctor et baccalaureus in decretis," a son of the ancient family of the Leightons of Ulyshaven, who was consecrated Bishop of Moray in 1414 or 1415, and was translated about ten years afterwards to the see of Aberdeen. He was one of the commissioners sent to London to negotiate the ransom of James I., with whom he

a

returned to Scotland ; where he is supposed to have died A. D. 1441.

Although it may be received for a fact, that the subject of our memoir was descended of this ancient and respectable family, yet it has been found impossible to trace all the steps of his pedigree. The family itself had undoubtedly declined in wealth and credit, before the birth of the individual, who was destined to reflect upon it a new and transcendent lustre: for it is on record, that A. D. 1619, a part at least of its original estates had been alienated; and in 1670, there is a grant under the great seal to Charles Maitland of Halton of the barony of Ullishaven, escheated to the king by the death of John, earl of Dundee, without male issue.

The father of Archbishop Leighton was Dr. Alexander Leighton, a presbyterian clergyman of unhappy celebrity. His sufferings and the causes of them are notorious. In the reign of Charles I., he was sentenced by the Star-Chamber, for a virulent attack upon episcopacy, to be whipt and pilloried, to have his ears cropt, his nose slit, and his cheeks branded. This barbarous punishment was rigorously inflicted; and to it were superadded, during a long imprisonment, such atrocious severities, as savoured more of yindictive malignity than of judicial retribution. No apology would be valid, or even decent, for cruelties, which were alike revolting to justice, to humanity, and to religion. That the wretched sufferer, however, was of a cross untowardly disposition, may be conjectured from his having brought himself under

[ocr errors]

the lash of the law, in the preceding reign, by stubbornly refusing to abandon the irregular practice of medicine. There is a fact, moreover, not generally known, which may account for the extreme rigour, with which his subsequent offences were visited. Not only was the book, for which he was so maltreated, and which is entitled “ Zion's Plea against Prelacy,” outrageously scurrilous and inflammatory in its contents, but there were collateral circumstances attending its publication, that betokened a mischievous purpose in the writer. In the first edition, neither the name of the author nor of the printer is given, and instead of the date in the usual way, we find; “ Printed the year and moneth wherein Rochell was lost.” The frontispiece exhibits on one page a lamp burning, supported by a book, and guarded by two men with drawn swords; which hieroglyphic is explained by the legend :

Prevailing prelats strive to quench our light,

Except your sacred power quash their might. On the other page is the representation of an antique dilapidated tower. Out of its ruins

Out of its ruins grows an elderbush, from the branches of which several bishops are tumbling, one of them holding in his hand a large box. This device is interpreted by the motto:

The tottering prelats, with their trumpery, all
Shall moulder down, like elder from a wall.

[ocr errors]

The place of Archbishop Leighton's birth has been much debated. It is commonly believed that he

« ПретходнаНастави »