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The Scots in Germany
The Church (Part 1)


It is a remarkable fact that in the history of the development of the human mind the great spiritual movements did not always proceed from the most famous and the most powerful nations or cities, the so-called centres of intelligence, but, similar to the mighty rivers of the world, had their sources in localities small, hidden and unknown. Eisleben and Haddington were joined to Nazareth, Marbach to Stratford, Ecclefechan to Königsberg.

This being true, it need not excite our astonishment when we observe how the ecclesiastical and religious life of the Vth, VIth and VIIth Centuries in Europe, from Iceland to Italy, from Paris to the Alps, was fanned by an almost unknown country, filled by half-savages—Ireland. Not only was ecclesiastical art in the North of Ireland at a very early time in a remarkably flourishing condition, but the spirit of Christianity itself; combined with the fiery and venturesome spirit of the Celts, had produced a number of Christian men, who in zealous enthusiasm sailed across the sea, and with wallet and staff traversed France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Thus St Catald, the Patron Saint of Tarentum, left the seminary of Lismore; his brother Donat (Donncadh) becoming Bishop of Lupice in Naples. St Columbanus (615) founded the monasteries of Luxeuil in France and Bobbio in the Appennines. The Irish monk Gallus gave his name not only to a town but to a whole canton of Switzerland, while St Kilian (ab. 689) is inseparably connected with Wurzburg, Marianus with Ratisbon.

There can hardly be any doubt that the oldest of the so-called Scottish Monasteries on the Continent owe their origin to the Irish "Scoti." At the same time, we must not forget the fact that these "Scoti" soon crossed the narrow water that divided their country from what we to-day call Scotland, but was then named Albania, and settled in the Highlands and the county of Argyle, with the far-famed lona as their centre. In the course of centuries they became amalgamated with the Picts and formed the great nation which gave their name to the country, while the Scoti of Ireland, a small remnant excepted, soon succumbed. There may have been, therefore, Scotch as well as Irish among the "Scoti," who in later years entered the Scotch Monasteries in Germany. In tradition and popular history, however, these foundations were never separated from the inhabitants of Scotland proper, and when quarrels arose among the new arrivals and were referred to arbitration, the decision of the superior courts was always given in favour of the Scottish.

During the XIVth and XVth Centuries, however, these monasteries were entirely filled with Irishmen, and their gradual decay is chiefly attributed to this cause. Obedient and gentle at first, they became proud and overbearing, enriching themselves with the property of others. Their buildings and their morals showed an equal decline in spite of the Councils of the Church at Basle and Constance. In the Scottish Monastery of Nurnberg in 1418 they sold wine; mitre and staff of the abbot were pawned; the library contained only two volumes and no vestments. If a husband was looking for his wife, the common reply was: Go and find her "apud Scotos." Nor was the state of matters better in Vienna. Here the buildings of the monastery were in a ruinous condition, bells and chalices in pawn. Both these foundations were therefore transferred to the German monks. Ratisbon alone and its Monastery of St James of the Scottish Benedictines outlasted the storms of the Reformation and the mismanagement of Irish Abbots, and it was only in 1862 that the Bavarian Government bought it from the Scottish for the low price of £10,000, to convert the building into a clerical seminary. There had been only Scottish Abbots at Ratisbon from the year 1515 onward.

After these general remarks we must now follow the history of this monastery, the head and mother of so many other religious houses, a little closer.

About 1067 Marianus Scotus, along with some other monks, came from Ireland to Bamberg in Bavaria, where be became a Benedictine. On his later pilgrimage to Rome he passed through Ratisbon, where he was prevailed upon by his countryman the monk and "inclusus" Mercherdach to make a short stay. When he was about to continue his journey with his companions, his friend advised him first to seek a revelation from God by prayer and fasting. In the last night, the legend continues, Marianus received the divine command to set out very early on the next day, and to remain where he should first see the light of the sun. In obedience to this vision he took up his staff long before daybreak, and walking along he came to a very old church, built in honour of St Peter. Here he entered to say his prayers. Scarcely had he risen to go on his way comforted when the first rays of the sun shone across his path. Marianus then settled permanently in Ratisbon, to the great joy of the city, in which the Benedictines were then in great favour, on account of their strict obedience to religious duties and their love of learning. The pious Abbess of Obermunster handed over to him the church and a plot of ground, and thus arose, aided by rich contributions in money from other quarters, the first monastery of the Scottish Benedictines in Germany, the so-called Priory of Weih St Peter (1075). In the course of time the settlement increased, and already in 1090 the larger Monastery of St James was founded and taken under his special protection by the Emperor Henry V. Another letter of protection, dated March 26, 1112, endowed it with the estate of Monespach and freed it from all imposts and services. Nor were the popes behindhand. Calixtus (1120) and Eugen III (1148) issued bulls in favour of the new establishment, according to which the monastery was immediately subject to the Holy See only. In the year 1152 Abbot Christian set out for Scotland (‘ad nostrum regem’) to King David I in order to collect further sums for the building of a new church and the enlargement of the abbey, which was afterwards rebuilt "lapidibus quadris ac politis." With rich presents and accompanied by several monks he returned in 1153, and it was not long before the very beautiful church of St James, one of the finest specimens of the Norman style of architecture and of Celtic ornament in Germany, was built. Then there began a time of great prosperity. A monk completed the "Vita Sti Mariani," valuable as the oldest source of information concerning the Scottish foundations at Ratisbon; the abbots tried to preserve discipline and the dignity of the monastery; presents and pious donations were received from many parts. But above all the mother-house renewed itself in a number of young foundations. As such are mentioned, the monasteries of the Virgin and St. Gregory at Vienna; the St. James’ monasteries at Erfurt and Wurzburg; St. Giles at Nurnberg; St. James again at Constance; St. Nicholas at Memmingen; the monastery "Sanctae Crucis" at Eichstadt, and the priories of St. John at Kehlheim and Altenfurt near Nurnberg. These eleven monasteries were formed into one body at the Lateran Council of 1215. Every three years the combined Chapter assembled with the Abbot of Ratisbon as president. He also became the provincial of the Order and the "General Visitator" (head inspector); the right to wear the Mitre and the other Pontificalia was granted to him in 1286.

Unfortunately this flourishing condition was not of long duration. Vienna was handed over to the German Benedictines by order of the Council of Constance for reasons already alluded to (1418); Constance ceased to exist in 1530. The half ruinous buildings were pulled down by the Magistrate, the garden made into a burial-ground. The last abbot, John, signed an agreement in 1533 waiving all his claims for an annual payment of 40 gulden. Nor did the priories fare better. Weih St Peter at Ratisbon was razed to the ground by the troopers of Count Eberstein in the Schmalkaldian War "for military reasons." Only the bells and the altar were saved. In St James’s prosperity had been succeeded by a period of decay. Two abbots, named Macrobius, are mentioned towards the end of the XIIIth century as "yin vere prodigi et bonorum monasterii dilapidatores," i.e. as great prodigals and squanderers of the property of the monastery. Then matters changed for the better for some time; the monastery recovered under the honest and energetic administration of one Henry of Rotteneck. The small estate of Einbach and some houses in the city were acquired as donations. But then a series of Irish abbots followed and the mismanagement steadily increased up to the time of the Reformation. The first of them was called Nicolaus (1326-1332). Of him it is said: "Those Irish had been received by the Scottish for some years past; but latterly they had increased to such an extent, that they were able to elect their countryman Nicolaus abbot. He was deposed by the Bishop of Ratisbon as a prodigal and banished." Of his successors, Nicolaus II, Eugenius and Matthaeus V, we are told that they assumed the title "prince," though neither emperor nor king had given permission. Philippus II (1401-1418) and Mauritius II (1446) were again prodigals, and Benedictus (1442-1444), "multa mala fecit," did much evil. Thus the disgraceful catalogue continues to the last Irish abbot, Walterus or Gualterus (1449-1515), who was not only deposed on account of his misrule, but was kept a prisoner in the bishop’s castle at Worth. Add to this a destructive fire in 1433, and it does not surprise us, that at the beginning of the end of the Reformation the once wealthy monastery was nearly reduced to beggary. To stave off complete ruin the hand of an energetic and upright ruler was wanted. To accomplish this object Pope Leo X took the important step of giving back the monastery to the Scottish and of appointing a very able Scotsman, John Thomson, who had hitherto lived at Rome, to fill the vacancy as abbot; "being," as the Bull of Confirmation has it, "the true and legitimate owner of the Monastery, since he is Scottish by birth and not an Irishman." Serious dissensions arising out of Walterus’s protests were quelled by the firmness of Leo and the Duke of Bavaria. Joannes called around him monks from Dunfermline, Inchcolm and Paisley, and thus gradually the condition of the Scottish Benedictine Abbey began to improve. Unfortunately the number of monks still remained small, falling as low as two during the rule of Abbot Thomas (Anderson). To remedy this help was forthcoming from Scotland, whence help was least expected. There the rapid spread of the Reformation had been followed by wholesale banishment and flight of the adherents of the old faith. A great number of monks were driven out of the country, and sought refuge on the Continent. Among them was one of the most zealous and gifted defenders of the Catholic Religion, a man blameless in life and famed for scholarship: Ninian Winzet, formerly schoolmaster of Linlithgow. He had been born in 1518 at Renfrew in the diocese of Glasgow, obtained his degree of Master of Arts, and was made priest in 1540. Eleven years later we find him again holding school in the old royal residence of Linlithgow, the birthplace of King James V, and then a centre of ecclesiastical activity. Expelled in 1566, he sought an asylum with Queen Mary at Edinburgh, who probably made him her chaplain and confessor also. It was here that he entered the arena against John Knox, and while the palace resounded with the blows, cuts and thrusts of theological disputants, Queen Mary was reading Livy every day after dinner with her teacher Buchanan. Here also he wrote his first book entitled, Four Score and three Questions, a work which, on account of its outspoken concessions on the one hand, and its unshaken firmness on the other, exercised no small influence on vacillating minds at that time. The author of such a book could not long remain unmolested in Edinburgh. The magistrate endeavoured to seize him, and it was only with great difficulty that Ninian escaped to Flanders on board a ship. Thence he went to Louvain, the place of refuge for many Roman Catholics (1562). Later, he visited Paris, in order to finish his studies, and Douay, a university then newly founded, where he obtained the degree of licentiate of theology (1575). In the same year he accompanied Bishop Leslie, Mary’s ambassador, to Rome, at the express desire of the Queen.

Two years afterwards, when the death of the abbot of Ratisbon, Thomas Anderson, became known in the Vatican, both the Pope himself and the Bishop of Ross being convinced of the necessity of placing an energetic, and withal a prudent and moderate man at the head of the monastery, a man who might bring about a new season of prosperity, Ninian Winzet was elected abbot and duly confirmed (1577). Nor did he disappoint his superiors in their expectations. For the present, indeed, there were but few monks to welcome him at St James’s, and the condition of the buildings was still deplorable. But the new abbot soon succeeded in mending matters. A secular seminary was opened where he not only supervised the teachers conscientiously, but taught the higher branches of education himself. In the year 1583, the estate of Hopfengarton was acquired for the monastery, the purchase-money amounting to 2000 guldens, and an agreement was concluded with the Abbess of Obermunster concerning the revenues of Weih St Peter. To all these efforts must be added Winzet’s unwearied exertions on behalf of those religious houses in Germany, which had formerly belonged to Scotland. In this he was supported by Queen Mary herself; his friend and patron, Bishop Leslie, and many crowned heads. It was Leslie’s special mission to obtain from the Emperor and the other Catholic Princes of Germany, protection for the Scots who were exiled on account of their faith, and at the same time to urge the restoration of these monasteries. In a letter dated April 30th 1578, the unfortunate Queen explained her wishes to the Emperor Rudolph, and the latter answered by sanctioning the claims of the Scots with regard to Ratisbon, Würzburg and Erfurt, they being the "original owners." But he refused the prayers of Abbot Ninian, which he had laid before the Emperor in a pamphlet, entitled, "Eleven reasons for the restitution of the Scottish Monastery at Vienna." Nor could Nurnberg or Constance be resumed. In Nurnberg the magistracy held out promises to Leslie, and revelled in polite words,—but nothing more. As to Constance, new negotiations were entered upon in 1608, when Joannes VII was Abbot of Ratisbon. But the magistracy answered, that there was not a stone left of the old monastery, the former revenues had been expended "ad pias causas." The only result was a sum of 1500 guldens which was paid to the Monastery of Ratisbon as compensation, and that the duty entered upon by the city of Constance of maintaining regular divine worship in the "Friedhofskapelle" (Mortuary Chapel).

Winzet displayed a like energy in the affairs of the Scottish monastery at Erfurt. He restored the buildings and gave it an excellent abbot in the person of John Hamilton. In the meantime the Pope had interceded on his behalf with the German Emperor, the Dukes of Bavaria, and the Bishop of Ratisbon, whilst Queen Mary wrote again recommending him to the Archbishop of Mainz, Duke Albert of Bavaria and his consort, a princess of Lorraine. All these high dignitaries of Church and State replied in terms of friendship and commiseration, and promised their protection to the new abbot.

With all his labours in Ratisbon and elsewhere, Ninian did not neglect his literary work. In 1581 he published at Ingolstadt his commentaries on the Epistles of St Paul, and in 1582 his polemical "Flagellum sectarium," the Sectarians’ scourge, which he dedicated to the Duke of Bavaria. Besides this he wrote epigrams and occasional verses in his leisure hours and translated the large Catechism of Canisius, the Jesuit, into the Scottish vernacular. With his friend Professor Robert Turner of Ingolstadt, a Scotsman by extraction, if not by birth, he frequently exchanged letters until death put an end to his active life in 1592. In him the Catholics lost a candid friend, the Protestants an honest foe, and the world of letters an independent thinker; an advocate of practical reform, though a faithful adherent of the old Church.

Winzet’s successor was Joannes VII, whose family name was White or Wight. He discharged his office till 1623, when he retired. The chroniclers call him "a scholarly man and one well versed in polemics." It was during his rule that those negotiations with Constance took place of which we have spoken. Renewed appeals to the Emperor for the purpose of regaining the Scottish establishment at Vienna were again fruitless; in spite of the assistance of Cardinal Berberini and the Bull of Pope Urban VIII of April 27th, 1624 in which the Emperor was called upon to restore the monastery to its owners, German Benedictines retained possession of it. Wurzburg, however, which since the year 1497 had been occupied by the Germans, was returned to the Scots by Bishop Julius, whose statue adorns the place in front of the Hospital, and peopled with six monks from Ratisbon.

Then there came the Thirty Years’ War with its frightful train of plague and plunder, of war contributions and impoverishment. Ratisbon was occupied by the Swedes under Duke Bernhard of Weimar in 1633 and great damage was done to the town and the Monastery. Of the 75,000 florins exacted from the clergy, the Scottish abbey of St James had to pay 1000 gulden. The buildings decayed, a great number of monks died, the revenues were reduced to 1200 gulden a year or a little more, scarcely sufficient for the maintenance of four "patres." During ten years, from 1630-1640, there were no abbots but only managers (‘administratores’).

It was not till 1646 that an attempt was made to improve this sad state of matters. In that year the energetic and learned Alex. Bayllaeus (Baillie), who had formerly been Abbot of Erfurt, was chosen for the same dignity at Ratisbon. He took pains first of all to redeem such of the monastery’s property as had been pawned, to restore the buildings and to buy new Church vessels. Then he turned his attention to the political interests of the Monastery. Owing to his skill the attempts of Ferdinand III and IV to hand it over to the Carmelites (1641), or even to the Irish (1653), failed, and Pope Urban VIII as well as Innocent X expressed themselves again in favour of the Scottish Benedictines. With the University of Salzburg, excellently conducted by the Benedictines, an agreement was concluded by which the Abbot of St James’s at Ratisbon was to take the place of the Abbot of St Peter’s, Salzburg, at the time of the election of a new Rector.

After Baillie the most eminent abbot was Placidus Fleming (Flaminius), under whose long and beneficent rule the monastery greatly recovered its former flourishing condition. He was born at Kirkoswald in Ayrshire, and was related to the Earls of Wigton. In his youth he is said to have been a naval officer and to have been once captured by pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. As Abbot of St James’s he showed uncommon energy, learning and zeal in matters of education. The library owed, if not its existence, its rich book-treasures to him. He founded a professorship of Philosophy at Erfurt, always to be held by a Scotsman. He built a Seminary for young Scottish boys of better families, first at a small place called Griesstätten (1713) and later in Ratisbon (1719); and finally he formed the three remaining Scottish Religious Houses of Ratisbon, Erfurt and Wflrzburg into a closer union, in which the abbot of the first-named should always take the highest rank on account of the "great age of the Monastery and its many privileges granted by Popes and Emperors."

It was during Fleming’s rule that the Monastery of St James’s began to be used as an asylum for members of the old Scottish aristocracy, who, like George Gordon, the brother of the Earl of Aboyne, desired to spend their last years in peaceful retirement, or who used their utmost efforts secretly to restore the Stuart dynasty. Between Paris, Ratisbon and Rome an unceasing communication took place; but all the Stuart letters were lost, when Strahlheim, one of the estates of the monastery, where these documents had been deposited, was consumed by fire.

Fleming’s successor was the leaned Maurus Stuart. During sixteen years he had been a professor at Erfurt. He died before his consecration and was succeeded by Bernard Baillie. Well versed in history and philosophy he had likewise filled a professor’s chair at Erfurt, but had been recalled by Fleming to superintend some improvements and additions to the buildings of the monastery at Ratisbon. He took a great interest in the library and gained the affection of his monks. After his death in 1742 Bernard Stuart, a nephew of the above-named Maurus, was raised to the dignity of abbot. He was a man of great natural gifts, but of a character little noble or loveable. Excelling in provinces of learning far removed from the requirements of his office, he very frequently absented himself from Ratisbon. Born in Scotland in 1706, he early showed great aptitude for mathematics. He was educated at St James’s seminary, and became priest in 1726. Some years after he obtained the chaplaincy of the Nonnberg near Salzburg, which enabled him to prosecute his studies in that University with a view mainly to perfect himself in Canon law. During 1733-1741 he himself taught as professor of mathematics, filling at the same time a number of other important offices. Thus the Prince-Archbishop appointed him his clerical adviser and inspector of buildings (‘rei aedilis director’). As such he successfully drained a large bog near Salzburg after a labour of three years, and drew the plan of the Archbishop’s castle Leopoldskron. In 1742 he visited at St Petersburg his brother, who was a general in the Russian service. After his return the city of Augsburg nominated him her "director aedilitiae" with a salary attached of 1800 florins. A theatre or public-hall for the pupils of the Jesuit seminary is his work; more useful was a strong embankment which he built on the river Lech, and which can be seen to this day. For this the grateful city presented him with a gold cup. The Imperial Court of Vienna likewise employed him as Inspector of Fortresses in Swabia. In 1743 he was chosen Abbot of St James’s at Ratisbon. During his term of office the above-mentioned estate of Strahlfeld was acquired for the monastery after a long law-suit, and the Jacobite intrigues culminated in 1745, when a messenger from the monastery to the "King" at Rome, Father Macdonnell, actually proposed the raising of a regiment of Bavarians to assert the rights of the Royal Stuart. The "King" was prudent enough to thank the messenger for his good intentions, but to decline the proposal. Another priest of St James’s accompanied the Pretender on his invasion of England as confessor, and was wounded at Culloden. Only with great difficulty and after many adventures he succeeded finally in escaping to the Continent disguised as the servant of the Bavarian ambassador’s secretary. This was Gallus Leith. Born in 1709 he had early entered the Ratisbon seminary. After having professed he studied divinity and Canon law at Salzburg, and was then sent to Rome on business (1736). In 1756 he was chosen abbot and proved himself a capable ruler, only "too narrow-minded with regard to himself and others," as the chronicler puts it.

In brilliant gifts, aristocratic bearing and a lofty and amiable disposition however, he is far surpassed by Benedict Arbuthnot the last abbot, a true prince of the Church. The long period (1775-1820) during which he held office was very eventful for Ratisbon. For no sooner had the Diet meeting within its walls roused deeper interest in science, literature and art, promoting at the same time a refined social intercourse, than the troublous events in the world of politics made the country resound with the tumult and rumours of war, and brought the French within the very gates of the city. We possess a graphic account of the life in Ratisbon then from the pen of Thomas Campbell, the poet, who was, at the beginning of the century, the guest of the monastery; and the skirmish, which he witnessed under the walls of the building, gave rise to one of the most famous lyrical poems of the language.

Particularly interesting is Campbell’s description of Arbuthnot himself as we find it in his letters. After praising his unusually tolerant views he adds: "Dr. Arbuthnot is one of the handsomest and strongest men I have ever seen." . . . "Not to love him was impossible."... "The whole of Bavaria," they told me, "lamented his death. When I knew him, he was the most commanding human figure I ever beheld. His head was then quite white, but his complexion was fresh and his features were regular and handsome. In manners he had a perpetual suavity and benevolence. I think I see him still in the cathedral with the golden cross on his fine chest, and hear him chanting the service with his full, deep voice."

Our sketch of the abbot would be incomplete, however, without having mentioned his scientific achievements. He was especially learned in mathematics and chemistry. His lectures on these subjects were well attended, and several of his essays were printed in the Publications of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, of which he was a member. Well stricken in years, he died in 1820, after having ruled the monastery for forty-four years.

Two other remarkable men, who lived at St James’s during his government, were P. Archibald M’Ivor and Romana Robertson. M’Ivor was a teacher of the Crown Prince of Bavaria and later Dean of Ratisbon Cathedral; Robertson served his monastery and England on several occasions in matters of political import. It is said of him that, when Napoleon decreed the secularisation of monasteries in 1803, Robertson wrote a petition, which he personally presented to Napoleon at Paris, and thus gained a postponement of the measure for the benefit of his Order. But according to tradition of a more trustworthy kind, it was Marshal Macdonald, Duke of Taranto, one of Napoleon’s most famous generals, that successfully interceded for the monastery of his countrymen.

The second affair in which Robertson was implicated is as well attested as it is strange. There was at that time a Spanish general, called the Marquis of Romaña, a fearless man, whose intense love of liberty had lost him the favour of Napoleon, then about to conquer Spain. In order to get rid of the patriot and his troops, he sent him to the Danish island of Funen, in the far north of Europe, ostensibly with the purpose of co-operating with Bernadotte. Here the proud Marquis wasted away his days in hateful inactivity. To rescue him from this ignominious position, England accepted the services of Robertson, whose fitness for a mission of daring and secrecy had strongly impressed itself on the Duke of Richmond, then on a visit to the Scottish monastery at Ratisbon. He had proposed the name of the humble prior to the Duke of Wellington, and after an interview in London, when Robertson’s reward was fixed and also the promise given to provide for his mother and two sisters in Scotland in case of failure, the bold messenger started on his journey (1808). His message to the general was that. English ships were ready to carry him and his troops to any port he wished, and that, if an insurrection against the usurper should take place in Spain, England would be ready to throw in her lot with that country. After many adventures Robertson left Heligoland, then English, and landed in Germany on board a smuggling vessel. A revenue cutter, the captain of which had been bribed, next brought him to Bremen, a city then in the hands of the French. Here he succeeded in procuring a passport under the name of an acquaintance of his, a German, who had died lately. On he went on his journey, heeding no warnings, by way of Lubeck to Kiel. Having laid in a stock of cigars and chocolate, he resolved to continue his expedition as a commercial traveller. At last Fünen was reached. But now the difficulty was to approach the Marquis so as not to rouse suspicion. After some futile attempts he in the end succeeded in obtaining an audience for the purpose of effecting a sale of his wares. Having given an account of himself by producing his papers, he was told by the Marquis, after some hesitation, that he accepted the English proposals. Robertson’s mission was effected, and Romafia, making use of the opportunity of a grand parade of troops, which had been ordered by Bernadotte, and at which he himself intended to be present, collected as many soldiers as possible at Nyborg, his headquarters; and when the Commander-in-Chief arrived there, already some 10,000 men had embarked on English ships, which had been lying ready opposite the little town. They sailed first to England, thence to Spain, where Romafla’s assistance was highly welcome. As to Robertson, he reached the coast of Germany and London after many escapes and on all sorts of round-about ways cleverly contrived. He had been closely but ineffectually pursued by the French.

Arbuthnot was the last abbot of the Scottish Monastery of Ratisbon. After him there were only priors, the number of monks gradually decreased, and, although a few Scotch boys were still taught at the seminary, the final extinction could no longer be staved off. All appeals to the fact that the monastery for centuries had done good work in secular education also, were of no avail. Primate Dalberg prohibited the further reception of novices or pupils. This prohibition was withdrawn by King Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1827, but when the Bishop of Ratisbon declared that he wanted the buildings of the monastery for the extension of the clerical seminary, the Scottish Episcopacy acquiesced, an agreement was at last arrived at between Bavaria and the Vatican, and the Monastery was dissolved by a Breve of Pope Pius IX on the 2nd of September 1862 for the sum mentioned above. The old, time-honoured foundation of Marianus passed into German hands.

With regard to the "Schottenkloster" at Erfurt, the foundation of which is likewise lost in the obscurity of the XIth Century, we have to add that its existence, much chequered by the reverses of fortune, never produced any deep and lasting impression on its surroundings except in its connection with the University. In 1198 it was granted a privilege, afterwards confirmed by the Emperor Rudolf of Habsburg, according to which every damage done to its present or future property was punished by a fine of 100 talents "of pure gold." Towards the end of the XVth Century it was, as one of the chroniclers relates, "almost entirely ruinous," so that nobody trusted himself to live in it. About the same time Irish monks seem to have been received. There was a series of Irish abbots from the end of the XIVth Century. In the year 1450, Thaddaeus II, the last of them, presented a pamphlet to all the teachers of the University, in which he defended himself against a certain Magister Heynemann, and others, who had publicly maintained that the monastery did as much belong to them as to him, he being Irish. Abbot Matthaeus commenced the building of a new monastery; but this edifice was burned down to the ground, together with the church, at the time "when the fatal conflagration took place" at Erfurt in 1472. Then, indeed, misery and distress reached their height. "The abbot, however, did not become discouraged," the old chronicler continues; "he collected contributions from his countrymen in Germany and received a ‘considerable’ writing, with seals attached to it, from the abbots of Ratisbon, Wurzburg and Constance and other prelates, who all of them spoke in moving terms of the pitiable condition of the Scottish Monastery at Erfurt, exhorting pious Christians to contribute their donations. The sum collected, however, was not sufficient to repair the damage in any way. The abbot therefore saw himself obliged to pawn fields, vineyards, houses and other property of the Monastery, in order to make the most urgent repairs and to have a roof over his head again."

At the beginning of the next century Abbot Benedictus was in a similar plight. He also was anxious to rebuild the ruined edifice (1510), but not having the means, and the "great Lords rather putting him off with letters of recommendation than affording him any real assistance, he likewise resorted to the sale of monastic property, by which means he was able to restore the church in the way it remained until the year 1724."

In 1514 the altar dedicated to St Ninian and given and endowed by two citizens of Erfurt, Scotsmen by birth, named Balthasar Barding (?) and Jacob Flamingk (Fleming), was erected.

During the period of the Reformation there was temporarily only one monk in the monastery. But he continued regularly to say mass. Matters became still worse after the occupation of Erfurt by the Swedes in 1632. The monastery of the Scots was then made a present to the community and afterwards sold by the magistrates. It had, however, to be given back to the Order after the Peace of Prague in 1635.

Finally, the use of the church of the monastery was granted to the congregation of St Nicholaus in 1744; the definite property of which it became in 1820 when the secularisation took place. Joseph Hamilton was the last prior, a man whose great benevolence is repeatedly mentioned. Every morning between nine and ten o’clock he gave free advice to the sick, and tried to cure them with the help of electricity. He also willingly paid visits to poor patients in their houses, carrying with him his electric machine.

The former monastery served for some time as military store-house; afterwards the military academy was built on its site (1858).

We are better informed of the history of the Scottish monastery at Würzburg (Herbipolis) in Bavaria. To the north of the Marienberg, afterwards strongly fortified, on the western banks of the Main River, rises the hill of Girsberg or Geiersberg. At the time of the foundation of the monastery in the XIIth century there was no human dwelling on it; a bare and bleak mountain, waiting for its cultivation from the industrious hands of the monks. Here then Bishop Embricho, in answer to the prayer of an Irish-Scottish monk, named Christian, granted the foreign pilgrims a home for the sake of St Kilian, the apostle and martyr of Franconia. Thus the primary destination of the building appears to have been a resting place (hospitium) for the Irish pilgrims to Rome and for the missionaries. As coat-of-arms the young foundation showed a shield with a scallop-shell and two crossed pilgrim-staves. Pope Coelestin in 1195, Clement IV in 1348, and the Emperor Charles IV in 1355, confirmed all its privileges, liberties and possessions.

And these were already large. Embricho had given his estate of Wolfsthal, with all its "meadows, forests and waters," to the monastery, and endowed the chapel with a "meadow along the Main," and with the river itself, "as wide as the meadow" (1142). Other pious men and women left other estates, houses and vineyards. Sums of money also were forthcoming, nay, even serfs and their services were handed over to the monastery as legacy.

The political events of the times, however, did not allow this flourishing condition to continue long. Already the year 1400 proved disastrous to the free development of the new foundation, in consequence of a war waged by the citizens of Wurzburg against their Bishop Gerhard. How severe these losses must have been appears from a convention arrived at by Bishop Johann and the citizens of Wurzburg in 1402, when the latter agreed to pay the sum of 40,000 pounds’ weight of pence for damage done to various religious houses. On other occasions also rapacious hands tried to possess themselves of monastic property. It required a bull of Pope Martin V in 1418 to stem this course of spoliation.

An important resolution was arrived at by the Abbots of Würzburg and Erfurt, and the Prior and Monks of St James’s at Ratisbon, after the death of their Abbot John in 1479 (October 22nd); according to which the Abbot of Wurzburg had the right to nominate a candidate for the abbacies of Constance and Memmingen with the consent of the other Scottish abbots. If he had no other suitable individual, the monastery of Ratisbon was to furnish one. Other paragraphs aimed at the restriction of the power of the Abbot of Ratisbon, who, it would appear, had exercised it somewhat arbitrarily and too severely. It was further agreed, that no prelate should be allowed to sell any property of the house, except with the consent of the other prelates; that no benefice of the Scottish nation should be given to a German, and that all the elections for vacant offices had to take place at Ratisbon.

In spite of all these efforts the tide of decay that set in towards the end of the XVth Century, could not be stemmed. At the death of Abbot Philip (1497), there was not a single monk left; there was no grain nor wine in barn or cellar, and the walls of the building threatened to come down. The reason of this seems to have been partly the mismanagement of the abbots, partly the unruly times, partly the ignorance of the foreign monks of German law in their frequent legal difficulties arising out of property, tithes, and other questions.

Be this as it may, Pope Alexander VI, taking charge of the deserted monastery, tried to mend matters by introducing German monks. But his hopes were doomed to disappointment. The Peasants’ War had plundered and destroyed the sacred buildings, and the Germans in 1547 arrived at the same end, after an administration of only about fifty years, as the Scots after three hundred.

It was then that a new helper arose in the person of the excellent Bishop Julius. When attending the Diet of Ratisbon in 1594, he took up his quarters in the Monastery of St James, and was received and entertained with princely honours by its abbot John James White (Albus), a scholarly and generous man, who did not lose the opportunity of pressing the claims of the Scots to the foundation of Würzburg, with his noble visitor. This reason would have been quite sufficient to explain the Bishop’s later actions with reference to the Scottish monastery. But the people’s mind in those days required more than cold logic; it loved to trace back every great event, every ancient foundation of Church or Cloister to a miracle, a direct interference of Providence. It was a dream that once led the old Irish monk to build his narrow cell at Ratisbon; it was an illness unto death that made Bishop Julius vow to restore the monastery at Würzburg to its rightful owners, and thus become its second founder in the case of his recovery. The violent fever left him, he returned to Würzburg, restored the monastery, paid its debts, and requested the Abbot of Ratisbon to send some learned Scottish monks. These were most solemnly, in the presence of the most noble men of Franconia, reintroduced into their own. After this time the existence of the monastery was no longer disturbed, although it continued to suffer much from the war. Many good abbots directed their attention to missionary and educational work; the library was increased; a guest-house built, the other buildings were enlarged and improved. At the same time the fortifications of Wurzburg gradually encroached upon the Girberg. One large vineyard after another was lost, besides many houses and properties, which paid their rents to the monastery. The owners, of course, were compensated, but the fact of being now placed within the rayon of fortifications led to many hardships. At various periods the precincts of the monastery were requisitioned by the military for their stores. Latterly the difficulty of obtaining monks and novices from Scotland was experienced as in Ratisbon, so here also. In 1803 the old foundation was secularised; the books were incorporated with the Royal University Library; the archives now formed a part of the Royal Archives; the wonder-working relics of St Macanus, the first abbot, were transferred to St Mary’s Chapel on the Market Square, and the whole buildings were converted into a military hospital.

To this short sketch of the history of the "Schottenkloster" at Wurzburg, we now add some biographical notices of its monks and abbots. The first abbot was Makarius; he was early reverenced as a saint, and died in 1153. His burial place was for a long time unknown, until it was miraculously rediscovered in 1614 by a monk Gabriel. Abbot Philippus was made chaplain to Charles IV (1355), and showed great diplomatic skill. Franciscus Hamilton, one of his successors, obtained his degree of divinity at the University of Wurzburg, and was elected Abbot in 1602. As such he worked hard to pay off the debt of the monastery. In 1609 he resigned and went to Munich in the service of William and Maximilian of Bavaria. He was followed by Guilelmus Ogilbaeus (Ogilvie), who increased the number of monks and decorated the buildings. It was during his tenure of office that the town was besieged by Gustavus Adolfus, and after a last desperate resistance surrendered. Ogilvie met the conqueror with the keys of the city in his hands, and by his pleading succeeded in assuaging the anger of the King (1631).

A man of equally high character and untiring energy was Abbot John Audomarus Asloan. A friend of the Bishop he ruled wisely and well, always mindful to have the account-books and the tithe-rolls of the house in good order. So well known were his excellent business qualities, that the monks at Ratisbon desired him for their abbot, when in 1639 Algacus had left their monastery in a deplorable condition. For a time he seems to have gone and assisted there as temporary "administrator." He died in 1661.

Ambrosius Cook, who ruled the monastery from 1689-1703, was a man of a very different type. He showed a weak, vacillating, worldly character; now rigorous, now lax; often abroad, preferring the intercourse with boon companions to the solitary life of a religious house. In 1697, when one of the Patres, Macanus Brown, had died in Scotland and left a legacy to Wurzburg, he set out himself for that country, to receive it. But instead of four weeks he stayed a year, without writing a single line either to his monks or to the Bishop. When summoned (Feb. 18, 1699) to appear in person before his superiors, he replied from Paris, that he intended to enter the religious fraternity at La Trappe, asking at the same time that his post might be kept open for him during his novitiate. But the severity of the Trappist rules appears to have been too great for him. He returned to Wurzburg and for a time seems to have lived soberly and honestly. But he relapsed again; his way of living became so offensive, that after having been shut up in the fortress for his misdeeds, he was deposed in 1703. Towards the end of his life he travelled much and finally retired to the Cistercian Monastery of Dusselthal, in the diocese of Cologne, where, piously obedient to the strictest rules, he at last found peace. He died in 1727.

There were no abbots from 1703-1713 nor from 1753-1756. The last two filled their office worthily. Augustine Duff from Fochabers in Scotland is called the type "of a good shepherd." He was an excellent scholar and a patron of the library. His death in 1753 prevented him from finishing the reconstruction of the chapel of St Makarius. Placidus Hamilton, finally, the last abbot, was of noble descent and united great prudence with scholarly attainments and a large experience of men and manners, which he had gathered on extensive travels. But as a ruler he was scarcely successful. Having retired to London in 1763 with a pension of 200 gulden from the Prince-Bishop, he died there in 1786.

From this time to the dissolution of the monastery there were only priors at the head of it.

Among the monks, a list of whom is given in the Appendix, Gabriel Wallace deserves a special notice. He is described as a man of great humility and excelling in the mortification of the body. He slept only three or four hours and was girt with a heavy, stout iron-chain. Like many other ascetic monks he was given to visions and dreams. During one of his prayerful nights he heard, as the story goes, repeatedly and long continued "music of angels’ voices" issuing from a certain place of the church, where it was said, but now forgotten, that St Makarius slept his last sleep. Having reported the matter to his superior he received permission to make a search, and when he had raised the floor he came upon a stone with the inscription: "Hic jacet Macanus, primus Abbas hujus ecclesiae, per quem Deus vinum in aquam convertit." He also found other written documents testifying the same thing (1614). Bishop Julius then had the relics with great solemnity transferred to the main church and deposited in a stone coffin (1615).

Of monks and priors, who excelled in literature, we shall have to speak elsewhere. It only remains to mention the sad fate of Marianus Gordon of Banff, who, a descendant of the Marquis of Huntly and the Dukes of Gordon, entered the monastery in the 14th year of his age as a pupil. He showed great aptitude for learning, and having obtained a degree in arts as well as in theology, he went to St Gall for the study of Oriental languages, and remained there about a year and a half. After his return to Würzburg he was made a priest. It appears that Marianus had for some time past corresponded with Protestants, and not only read Protestant books, but taken steps to escape from the monastery and embrace the Lutheran doctrine. Some of his letters to Protestant authors were intercepted; Protestant books were discovered in his cell together with writings of his own, which were sufficient to convict him of heresy. He was sentenced to imprisonment for three years (1732). At first he was detained in St James’s Monastery, but, when new letters of his to his Protestant friends were discovered, his prison was changed to the so-called "Pfaffenthurm" (Priest’s-tower) in the fortress of Marienberg. Here the unfortunate young man, against whose moral conduct not a voice was raised, died by his own hand on the 12th of November 1734.

At the time of the secularisation of the monastery in 1803 there were still eight patres in it, viz.: Placidus Geddes from Edinburgh, prior; Kilian Pepper from Crieff, for some time missionary in England; Columban Macgowen from Balquhain, an excellent disciplinarian and a zealous monk, who was prior twice; Gallus Carmichael from Perth, who died as octogenarian at Wurzburg in 1824; Andreas Geddes from Cairnfield; Maurus Macdonald from the Hebrides, a good botanist; Joannes Bapt. Anderson, who during an eventful life had been a slave in Africa, and who died at Würzburg in 1828, reverenced and loved for his piety; and lastly, Benedictus Ingram, who removed to Frankfort-on-the-Main.

The last prior, and also the last Scottish monk in Wurzburg, was Placidus Geddes, who died at Wurzburg at the ripe age of 82, in 1839.

Once again at the time of the Reformation an intimate intercourse in matters of religion, a mutual giving and taking, took place between Scotland and Germany. In the early centuries of the Middle Ages the question was one of working out a monastic ideal to the glory of Rome; now scores of Scottish pilgrims went to Wittenberg to enrich their armoury and to sharpen their swords in defence of a new doctrine.

Already in 1525 (July 17th) the Scottish Parliament had passed an Act prohibiting the introduction and the reading of "Luthyr’s" books. In August of the same year the King issued an order to the Magistrates of Aberdeen (the University of which town was then upholding the Erasmian teaching), mentioning not only strangers in possession of Luther’s, the heretic’s, books, as did the Act of Parliament, but others as well. The law is to be rigorously enforced. All those that favour the new doctrine are to be deprived of their goods. To this the Lords of Council, disquieted at the rapid spreading of the reformer’s opinions, added two riders in 1527, explaining that all subjects of the King being "assisters" to the heresy should likewise be punishable, and that the permission formerly granted of "disputing and rehersing" those "opunyeouns" should be restricted to "clerkis of the sculls alanerlie."

But no restriction could quench the new spirit.

One of the first that felt its influence and was to seal it with his blood was that noble Patrick Hamilton, the precursor of Knox and the protomartyr of the Scottish Church. The year of his birth cannot now exactly be fixed; generally 1504 is adopted as such. During 1524-25 Hamilton studied at St Andrews where he incurred the suspicion and the hatred of Cardinal Beaton. He had formerly, probably during his stay at Paris, become acquainted with Luther’s writings, but not till 1525 did he publicly express his adherence or at least his sympathy with the prescribed doctrines. To study these at their source and to avoid further proceedings on the part of the Cardinal, he left Scotland in 1526, accompanied by John Hamilton, Gilbert Winram, and a servant. In Wittenberg he made the acquaintance of Luther and Melanchthon. As, however, his name as "cives academicus" does not occur in the album of that University, but appears as the thirty-fourth among the names of the one hundred and four students who signed the roll at the opening of the newly-founded University of Marburg, the hypothesis "that he left Wittenberg on account of the plague which raged in the city and necessitated even a temporary removal of the University," seems to be deserving of some credit. Hamilton stayed at Marburg for six months only; a time too short, one would think, to commence the study of theology, but long enough for him to receive powerful impressions and to purify and strengthen his faith. He was particularly influenced by the venerable Lambert of Avignon, then Professor of Theology, and by Hermann von dem Busch; one of the leading humanists of the day. It was Lambert that persuaded him to write the only little treatise we possess from his pen, his so-called "loci" or "theses," in which he explains Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith in the words of the New Testament. He had much intercourse besides with Tyndale and Frith, his friend, who having left Worms had sought the protection of the Hessian prince. It is a remarkable fact that the small town, so picturesquely perched .on a hill above the Lahn River, should thus have harboured at the same time three future martyrs of the New Faith within its walls. Tyndale died at the stake at Vilvoerde on the 6th of August 1536; Frith suffered martyrdom three years earlier.

In the meantime there arose in Hamilton, after he had strengthened his views in personal contact and friendly communion with the greatest reformers of Germany, the ardent wish to speak and to proclaim this faith to his countrymen. His time of flight and of preservation of life was followed now by the time of fight and self-sacrifice. He left Marburg, in spite of the urgent advice of his remaining Scottish friends, in the autumn of 1527. His fate is known. On the 28th of February 1528 he gave up the ghost after long-continued terrible sufferings at the stake. Lambert says of him: "His learning was for one so young uncommonly great, and his judgments in matters of divine truth extremely clear and well founded. His intention in coming to Marburg was to become still more rooted in the truth, and I can honestly say that I seldom met anyone that could talk of the Word of God with greater depth of insight and with a firmer conviction. We often conversed about these subjects."

In close connection with Hamilton the history of the Scottish Reformation mentions Alexander Alesius, whose proper name was Alane. He was born on the 23rd of April 1500 at Edinburgh, and was in his youth a canon of the St Augustinian Monastery at St Andrews, and a zealous opponent of Luther. He even undertook to convert the imprisoned Hamilton. But the contrary happened; he himself, profoundly moved by the firmness of the martyr, began to be doubtful about the truth of the Roman doctrines. More and more convinced of his own errors, he attacked the luxurious life of the priests, especially that of his prior Hepburn, who, having been educated in France, had grown up a proud and prodigal prelate. As a consequence he was several times cast into prison by his enraged superior, from which finally not even the intercession of the King could save him. With the help of his fellow-canons he succeeded, however, to escape and to gain the shores of the Firth under the protection of night. Neither did his hope of meeting a vessel there deceive him. Before daybreak he was on board, and when the troopers of his enemy appeared on the scene he was already on his way to Dieppe. A violent storm, however, carried the ship away to the north, as far as the Sound and the town of Malmoe in Sweden. Here Alesius encountered, to his astonishment, a community of Scottish merchants who, as they commonly did in foreign lands, kept their own preacher and had accepted the new teaching two years ago. At last the ship reached Antwerp and Bruges, from which latter place our exile went to Cologne (1532). But in spite of the friendly reception of Hermann von Wied he did not stay long. He was drawn towards Wittenberg. There in the enjoyment of most familiar intercourse with the great reformers, especially with Melanchthon, who confessed to a predilection for the Scots, he declared his adhesion to the Articles of the Augsburg Confession, or, in other words to the Lutheran Church, although, as he expressed himself, "in some things he missed moderation and a certain sense of justice," remaining an advocate of conciliation to the end. During this his first stay at the University he chiefly studied Greek and Hebrew and composed his treatise against the prohibition of the Scottish bishops to read the Bible in the mother tongue. It was this pamphlet that prepared the victory of the Reformation in Scotland, although the right which Alesius claimed was only granted to the people of Scotland ten years later, in 1543. It was this pamphlet also which drew upon him the censure of the famous controversialist on the Catholic side, Dobeneck or Cochlaeus, against whom he frequently entered the lists with his pen or his spoken word. In 1535 he went to England as the bearer of Melanchthon’s letters to King Henry VIII and Archbishop Cranmer. He was well received, the Court at that time being anxious for a union with the Protestant princes of Germany. The post of public lecturer at Cambridge was given to him, and he taught Hebrew and Greek in the same college where Erasmus had been lecturing before him. Soon, however, on his friendship with Melanchthon becoming known, he was subjected to all kinds of indignities. A leader of the Roman Catholic party, who had challenged him to a public debate, but had failed to appear on the appointed day, now secretly agitated against him. Riots among the students followed, and Alesius’ life was in danger. Thus compelled, he returned to London, where for about three years he gained a scanty livelihood by the practice of medicine, to the study of which he had already given some attention. But when the King tried to enforce the doctrine of transubstantiation and the celibacy of the priests, he resigned his office as public teacher, sold whatever he possessed, and, being timely warned by the Archbishop, fled to the house of a German sailor, who conveyed him in the disguise of a sailor on board a vessel bound for Holland. Two friends, John Macalpine and John Fyffe or Fidelis, accompanied him. Having safely reached Wittenberg, he accompanied Melanchthon soon afterwards to Worms. But the greatest service that his friend rendered him was that of procuring for him the appointment as Professor of Divinity at Frankfurt on the Oder. Thus Alesius became the first academical teacher of the new doctrine in Brandenburg. In his inaugural dissertation, "De restituendis scholis," he energetically advocated the necessity of a University training for clergymen. After a stay of two years the "perfervidum ingenium" attributed to Scotsmen led him into what seems to have been an unseemly quarrel with the magistrates of the city on the subject of the suppression of prostitution. Being thwarted, he resigned his office suddenly, much to the disgust of his friend Melanchthon, and went to Leipzig, where he was honourably received and made Professor of Theology in 1544. Now at last the "wanderer" was at rest. The remaining twenty-one years of his life he spent at this famous University. Twice, in 1555 and 1561, he was chosen Rector. Here he published most of his exegetical and apologetical writings, one of the most important of which was his Cobortatio ad concordiam pietatis ("Exhortation to unity in love"), dedicated to the Scottish nation, its barons and prelates. In it he eloquently pleads for brotherly union, a cause which Knox took up after him with much energy. The whole tendency of his mind in religious matters was, indeed, one of conciliation, like that of his great German teacher and friend. The extreme views of the Lutheran party he disliked. Accordingly, when at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1541 a mutual approach of the two hostile parties among the Evangelicals appeared possible, we find him heading a deputation, which was sent to Luther at the instigation of the two brothers Georg and Joachim of Brandenburg, to try and make this man of iron yield.

Honoured by his colleagues and his Prince, loved by Melanchthon; courageous, where courage was needed, and yet showing a moderation rare among the reformers of his adopted country, Alesius died in 1565 on the 17th of March. His only son had at a tender age preceded him. Probably the father rests in the same grave in the church of St Paul, though there is no stone to mark his last resting-place. Ben says of him: "He was dear to all scholars and beloved by them, and would have been an ornament to Scotland if the light of the Gospel had been granted earlier to that country. Rejected by Scotland and England, he was warmly welcomed by the Evangelical Church of Saxony, and highly esteemed to the end of his life."

As to the above-mentioned friends of Alesius, they also obtained high positions among the scholars of the age. Macalpine, or Maccabaeus, as Melanchthon had christened him, became Doctor of Divinity at Wittenberg, Luther himself presiding at the ceremony, and afterwards accepted a call from King Christian III to his University of Kopenhagen, having been recommended by the two German reformers. There he laboured as Professor of Divinity till his death in 1557. He was a very learned, pious and moderate theologian. Denmark owes to him and some of his friends the Bible translated into Danish.

Joannes Fidelis, alias Faithus or Fyffe, was for a time evangelical preacher at Liegnitz in Silesia, after having obtained a thorough mastery of the German tongue. Afterwards he was called to Frankfurt-on-the-Oder as the successor of Alesius.


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