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He certainly transplanted John Scott, the printer, from London to St. Andrews, for the express purpose of multiplying a sufficient number of copies, by means of the typographic art, for the common use of the Scottish clergy. It is a handsome quarto of upwards of 400 pages. “It is,” says Bishop Keith, “a judicious Commentary upon the Commands, Belief, Lords Prayer, Magnificat, and Ave Maria : and the author shews both his wisdom and moderation, in avoiding to enter upon the controverted points.” The late Lord Hailes, did not, however, concur with Bishop Keith, in his character of this Catechism; and even disputed its being printed “be the command and expensis” of Archbishop Hamilton.
A Psalm-Book was also published at Edinburgh, in 1568, by Thomas Bassandyne. At the beginning of this Psalme-Buik, as it was called, was a treatise, entitled “ The fall of the Romain's Kirk, naming our King and Soveraigne supreame head of the primitive Kirk ;" and at the end a “lewd song, called Welcome Fortunes.". This book gave great offence to the general assembly, which met the same year, at that city, who very properly ordered the printer to expunge the offensive song; and enjoined him to submit the treatise to the inspection of Alexander Arbuthnot, afterwards principal of King's College, Aberdeen. The printer was not deterred, however, from printing a Psalm-Book, of a different kind; for, in 1575,. he published, “The CL. Psalmes Of David, in English metre. With the forme of prayers, and ministration of the Sacraments, &c. used in the church of Scotland. Whereunto, besydes that was in the former bookes, are also added sundrie other prayers, with a new and exact kalender, for xvi yeres next to come. Printed at Edinburgh, by Thomas Bassandyne, dwelling at the
(59) Beloe's Anecdotes of Literature, Il. pp. 308-310. (60) Ibid. II. pp. 328, 329.
Irvine's Lives of the Scottish Poets, II, p. 171, Edinb. 1810, 8vo.
Nether Bow, 1575, cum privilegio. The same printer had also the honour of being the printer of the first edition of the Scriptures, known to have been printed in Scotland. It comprehended the OLD Testament, the APOCRYPHA, and the New TestaMent; and was printed “at Edinburgh, by Thomas Bassandyne, M.D.LXXVI. cum priuelegio,” in folio; with a sharp Roman letter. It is dedicated, in the Scottish dialect, to King James ; and is accompanied with a brief Table of the Interpretation of the Propre Names, which are chiefly founde in the Olde Testament; The Roman Calendare, compared with The Hebrew Calendare ; and ‘Rules for understanding this double Calendare," by R [obert] Pont, a scientific ecclesiastic, who, with the leave of the Kirk, was appointed a lord of session, and died on the 8th of May, 1608, aged 81. To the Calendares are annexed some verses “On the incomparable treasure of the Holy Scriptures ;" to which are subjoined “a Prayer for the true use of the Holy Scriptures,” and a Chronological Table of the kings of Judah and Jerusalem, and of the principal events of their reigns, “translated out of the Hebrew.” The Title Page is embellished with the Royal Arms, and God save THE KING ; notwithstanding the late reproof of the general assembly, for considering the sovereign as The Head of the Kirk. The translation is a transcript of that of Geneva.“
THOMAS BASSANDYNE, or BASSENDEN, the printer, was a native of Scotland, but educated at Antwerp. He learned the art of printing at Paris and Leyden, and returned home in 1558. He joined himself to the reformers, and printed several valuable books. He died in 1591.62
Another edition of the Bible, in folio, is said to have been printed in 1579, by Alexander Arbuthnott, the king's
(61) Beloe's Anecdotes of Literature, II. pp. 329-331. (62) Lempriere's Universal Biography, art. BASSANDYNE
printer, at the Kirk in the field, Edinburgh, for the use of Scotland, by the commissioners of the Kirk.
The reformers had nevertheless to repel the most virulent attacks of the adherents of the church of Rome, who strove to pour contempt on the purer worship of the reformed; they also found it necessary to check the baneful influence of dramatic representations, and superstitious spectacles and shows. In a letter from Randolph, the English resident, to Sir William Cecil, dated March 20th, 1561-5, he informs him that "a schoolmaster at Haddington made a play, to exercise bis scholars against the ministers; and baptized a cat, in the nameof the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:" and that, “One of the queen's chapel, a singing man,” whose name was Alexander Stephan, “said that he believed as well a tale of Robin Hood as any word (which) is written in the Old Testament, or New."
In opposition to superstitious dramatic representations, the General Assembly constituted at Edinburgh, on the 7th of March, 1575, enacted, that “no comedies, nor tragedies, or such plays, shall be made on any history of canonical Scriptures, nor on the Sabbath-day: If any minister be the writer of such a play, he shall be deprived of his ministry. As for plays of another kind, they also shall be examined before they be propounded publicly.” In 1576, the assembly refused its permission to the bailie of Dunfermline, to represent on Sunday afternoon, a certain play which was not founded on the canonical part of the Scriptures. And, in 1577, it was ordered by the Assembly, "that the plays of Robin Hood, king of May, and such others on the Sabbath-day, be discharged.” Two years afterwards, it was resolved, that “such individuals as after due admonition persisted in frequenting Mayplays, should not be admitted to the communion of tbe
(63) Beloe's Anecdotes of Literature, II. p. 331.
church, without yielding satisfaction for the specified offence.” The parliament held at Edinburgh, October 20th, 1579, forbade “all markets and fairs to be keept on the Sabboth-day, or in any church, or church-yaird; so all handy-work on the Sabboth-day, all gaming, playing, passing to taverns and aile-houses, and wilfull remaining from their parish church, in time of sermon or prayers; and a pecuniall mulct layd upon the transgressours respective, to be paid for the use of the poor of the
The friends of the Reformation, convinced of the importance of Scriptural knowledge to the general diffusion of pure religion, were also studiously careful to promote an acquaintance with the Sacred Writings among the people. With this view Readers were established in the churches, whose office it was to read chapters out of the Bible, and prayers out of the “Book of Common Order," every morning and evening, in the parish church. Sometimes, also, they were authorized to exhort, especially where there was no minister. Many parishes, for many years after the establishment of the reformed religion, had no other teachers than the readers, because of the difficulty of obtaining proper ministers; and as very few of the people of that day had learned to read, the public reading of the Scriptures was of singular service. Other methods were employed and found useful, for exciting persons to be diligent in learning the principles of religion. No parent could have his child baptized unless he could repeat the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments : and, no persons were to be contracted for marriage, or have their banns proclaimed, until they had previously been so well instructed by the
(65) Irvine's Lives of the Scotish Poets, I. Dissert. on the Early
Scotish Drama, pp. 213, 214.
p. 401. Hague, 1662, fol.
"Reader," as to be able to declare to the ministers and elders, the holy purposes of the institution. The parliament also decreed, in 1579, that "Every householder hav., ing lands or goods worth 500 pounds, should be obliged to have a Bible,” (which at that time was printed in folio,) “and a Psalm-Book, in his house, for the better instruction of themselves, and their families, in the knowledge of God."67
On the 8th of February, 1587, MARY STUART, Queen of Scots, was beheaded at Fotheringay-Castle, in Northamptonshire, by order of Elizabeth, queen of England, to whom she had fled for protection, in 1568, after having been obliged by the nobles to resign her crown, on the 15th of July, 1567, in favour of ber infant son, James VI. of Scotland; who, on the death of Elizabeth, ascended the throne of England, under the title of James I. A catalogue bas been preserved of the Royal Library of Scotland, or rather of the remains of it ; delivered over with the other chattels of Queen Mary, by the regent Morton, to James VI. We find in it but very few parts of the Bible, and many of the articles it contains are only odd volumes. The following extract will show the nature of this collection :
The third volume of Titus Livius,
Ane parte of Plutarche in Frenche,
Esaias in Greik and Hebreu be Munster.
(66) Scott's Lives of the Protestant Reformers in Scotland, p. 183.