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YOUTH'S INSTRUCTER

AND

GUARDIAN.

SEPTEMBER, 1854.

GEORGE BUCHANAN.*

(With a Portrait.) GEORGE BUCHANAN was born in the village of Killerne, in Drummakill, Scotland, February 1st, 1506, of a family rather ancient than rich. His father died in the flower of manhood, while his grandfather was yet alive, and left the family reduced to a condition of extreme poverty. His mother, however, by dint of industry, brought up creditably five sons and three daughters, all of whom reached mature age. Of these children, the grandfather, James Heriot, took George, who had displayed considerable talent at school, and sent him to study in Paris. After he had been there two years, devoted to literary pursuits, and chiefly to writing poetry, partly by the impulse of necessity, and partly by that of inclination, he fell seriously ill, and was driven back to his friends by want.

After spending about a year at home for the recovery of his health, he joined a regiment of French auxiliaries which were then in Scotland, to learn to be a soldier. That regiment went on an expedition, all but useless, to the English border, and he had to march back with it in the depth of a very severe winter, through deep snow, and was confined to his bed, in consequence, until the spring. Then he was sent to St. Andrew's, to hear John Major, who, in his extreme old age, lectured on logic, or, to speak more

• Written by Buchanan in Latin, at the request of some friends, particularly Thornas Randolph, an Englishman. It is prefixed to the edition of his works published by Ruddiman, Leyden, 1725.

VOL. XVIII. Second Series.

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correctly, on sophistry. Following him into France, the next summer, he caught the fire of the Lutheran sect, then spreading far and wide, and, after struggling for two years with adverse fortune, was at length admitted into the college of St. Barbe, and taught grammar there during three years. At that time Gilbert, a Scottish Earl," a truly noble young man, lodged in the neighbourhood, took a liking to him for his talent and good company, retained him in his society for five years, and then took him back to Scotland.

Just as he was intending to return to France, for the prosecution of his early studies, he was retained by the King, and appointed to teach James Stuart, his illegitimate son. While so engaged, a trifling elegy that he had written in leisure moments, in which he said that St. Francis had appeared to him in a dream, and invited him to join his order, fell into the hands of the Franciscans. It contained a few words rather too freely spoken; and those men, who make profession of meekness, took them up somewhat more angrily than fathers, commonly reputed to be so very pious, ought to have done, considering how slight was the offence. But as they could not find anything of sufficient magnitude to justify their excessive anger, they had recourse to the common accusation of heresy, which they were wont to lay against all whom they disliked. While they were thus giving way to their weakness, the licentiousness of the Priests increased his dissatisfaction, and made him less unfriendly to the cause of the Lutherans.

Meanwhile, the King came over from France with his wife Magdalen, not without causing fear to the massPriests, who thought it likely that the young Queen, brought up

under the instruction of the Queen of Navarre, would introduce some change of religion. But this fear was quickly ended by her death. Suspicions, too, rose at Court against certain of the nobility, who were said to have conspired against the King. And the King, persuaded that in this matter the Franciscans had not conducted them

Comes Cassilisse.

selves very honestly, called for Buchanan, who was then at Court, and commanded him to write a poem against them. For his own part, fearful of offending either party, he wrote a poem, indeed, but short, and susceptible of a double interpretation. This, however, did not satisfy the King, who wanted to see something sharp and stinging; and they, on the other hand, were indignant that any one should presume to speak of them, except in the most honorific terms. Commanded, therefore, to write something sharper, he composed a piece which now passes under the title of The Franciscan,” and submitted the first part of it to His Majesty. But soon after this, he was informed by friends at Court that Cardinal Beaton was intent on buying his life of the King for money, and, escaping from his keepers, (for he was, with others, imprisoned on the charge of heresy,) he made his way into England.

But everything there was uncertain ; for on the same day, and in the same fire, Henry VIII., now advanced in age, more intent on taking care of himself, than on guarding the purity of religion, burnt persons of both parties. This insecurity in England, and his old friendships in France, with the great kindness of that people, induced him to go thither. When he reached Paris, he found Cardinal Beaton there, in capacity of Legate, and burning with fury against himself, He therefore withdrew to Bourdeaux, at the invitation of André Gouvea.

There he taught, during three years, in a public school, and wrote four tragedies, which were afterwards published. But the first written, bearing the title of “ The Baptist," was the last to see the light; and then the “Medea of Euripides.” These compositions were executed in compliance with a custom of the school, which required a fable to be written every year, and performed by the boys, in order to entice them to an imitation of the ancients. As these pleased, beyond his expectation, he elaborated the others, Jephtha and Alcestes, rather more carefully. But he was not without anxiety all this time, between the threats of the Cardinal and those of the Franciscans. For the Cardinal wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Bourdeaux,

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