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The Scottish Nation
Atkins


ATKINS, ETKINS, AITKENS, or ASKEW, JAMES, bishop of Galloway, was born at Kirkwall, about the year 1613. He was the son of Henry Atkens or Aiken, sheriff and commissary of Orkney. He commenced his studies at the university of Edinburgh, and completed them at Oxford in 1638. On his return to Scotland, that year, he was appointed chaplain to James, marquis of Hamilton, his majesty’s high commissioner to the General Assembly, in which situation he behaved so well that on the marquis’ return to England he obtained for him from the king a presentation to the church of Birsa in Orkney. In the beginning of 1650, on the landing of the marquis of Montrose in that stewartry, Dr. Atkins was appointed by the presbytery to draw up a declaration of loyalty and allegiance to Charles the Second, which, with their consent and approbation, was published. For this step the whole presbytery was deposed by the General Assembly, while Atkins was excommunicated for holding correspondence with the marquis. An act of council was also passed for his apprehension; but receiving private notice thereof from his relative, Sir Archibald Primrose, clerk of council, afterwards lord register, he fled into Holland. In 1653 he returned to Scotland, and quietly resided with his family in Edinburgh, till the king’s restoration in 1660, when he accornpanied Dr. Sydserf, bishop of Galloway, the only surviving prelate in Scotland, to London to congratulate his majesty; at which time, lie was presented by the bishop of Winchester to the rectory of Winfrith in Dorsetshire. In 1677 he was consecrated bishop of Moray; and in 1680 he was translated to the see of Galloway, when, on account of his age, he received a dispensation to reside in Edinburgh, where he died of an apoplectic stroke, 28th October 1687, aged 74 years, and was buried in the church of the Greyfriars in that city. He showed himself very zealous in opposing the taking off the penal laws.—Keiths’s Scottish Bishops.


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