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The Scottish Nation
Blackwood


BLACKWOOD, ADAM, a learned but bigoted writer of the sixteenth century, who distinguished himself as the antagonist of Buchanan and the defender of Queen Mary, was born at Dunfermline in 1539. He was the son of William Blackwood, a gentleman by birth, by his wife, Helen Reid, granddaughter of John Reid of Aikenhead, who was slain at Flodden. Her uncle, Robert Reid, bishop of Orkney and president of the court of session, bequeathed eight thousand merks for the foundation of a college in Edinburgh, and has, therefore, some claim to be considered the founder of that university. [See REID, ROBERT, an eminent prelate.] Blackwood’s father was slain in battle before he had reached his tenth year, and his mother did not long survive him. His grand-uncle, the bishop of Orkney, having undertaken the charge of his education, sent him at a proper age to the university of Paris. At the age of nineteen he lost his relative and benefactor, who died at Dieppe, on the 15th September 1558. Soon after, young Blackwood returned to Scotland. Bu the munificence of Queen Mary, at that time residing with her first husband, the dauphin, at the court of France, he was enabled to resume his academical career at Paris. He now applied himself to the study of mathematics and philosophy, and also to the acquirement of the oriental languages. He afterwards attended a course of law at the university of Toulouse, where he resided for two years. On his return to Paris he sought for employment as a teacher of philosophy. In 1574 he published his earliest work, a poem on the death of Charles the Ninth of France, whose reign has been for ever rendered infamous by the massacre of St. Bartholomew. In the following year appeared his first two books on the connexion of religion and government. A third book was added in 1612. On the recommendation of James Bethune, archbishop of Glasgow, then living in exile in Paris, Queen Mary bestowed upon him the office of a counsellor, that is, judge, of the parliament of Poitiers. The province of Poitou had been assigned to her for the payment of her dowry, and her letters patent were confirmed by the French king, Henry the Third. According to Dr. Mackenzie [Lives of Scots Writers, vol. iii. p. 488] he was likewise appointed professor of the civil law in the university of Poitiers, but this is evidently a mistake. A list of his works is given below. Among them is his ‘Apologia pro Regibus,’ which appeared in 1581, intended as an answer to the eloquent and masterly dialogue of Buchanan on the rights of the crown of Scotland. He inscribed his work to the queen, who had nominated him a privy councillor and to her son, afterwards James the Sixth. When Mary was a prisoner in England, in the hope of rendering her some material service during her captivity, he made more than one voyage to England; and soon after her tragical death he published in French a long account of her treatment, under the title of “Martyre de la Reyne d’Escosse,’ with a zealous vindication of her character. In this work he bitterly reviles the enemies of Mary, not sparing John Knox and Queen Elizabeth in his wrath; describing the former as “a true member and apostle of Satan,” and recommending a general crusade of Christian princes against the latter as “a foul murderess.” To this work was added a collection of poems in Latin, French, and Italian, upon Mary and Elizabeth, those on the latter written in a style of the most intense vituperation.

      In 1604, Blackwood again visited London, and having been present to King James, he was honoured with a very gracious reception. In 1606 he published a Latin poem which he had written on the accession of James the Sixth to the throne of England. He also wrote some pious meditations in prose and verse, and projected a continuation of Boyce’s History of Scotland, which, from his extreme and bigoted views, it is as well that he did not live to finish it. He died in 1613, in the 74th year of his age. and was interred in St. Porcharius’ church at Poitiers, where a marble monument, with a long inscription, was erected to his memory.

He had married Catherine Courtinier, daughter of the “procureur de roi” of Poitiers. His wife bore to him four sons and seven daughters. One of his sons became a judge of the same court. Another fell in battle during the civil wars of France. One of his daughters was married to his countryman, George Crichton, doctor of the canon law, royal professor of Greek in the university of Paris; after whose death, she became the wife of François de la Mothe le Vayer. Of the rest of the family there are no memorials. In France the name is Blacvod. [Irving’s Lives of Scottish Writers, vol. i.]

      Adam Blackwood’s works are:

      Caroli IX. Pompa Funebris versiculis expressa per A. B. J. C. [Juris Consultum.] Paris, 1574, 8vo.

      De Vinculo; seu Conjunctione Religionis et Imperii libri duo, quibus conjurationum traducuntur insidiae fuco religionis adumbratae. Ad illustrissimam serenissimamque principem, D. Mariam Scotiae Reginam, et Galliae Dotariam. Paris, 1575, 8vo.

      Apologia pro Regibus, Adversus Georgii Buchanani Dialogum, de Jure Regni apud Scotos. Pictavis 1581, 4to. Paris, 1588, 8vo.

      Martyre de la Reyne d’Escosse, Douariere de France; contenant le vray discours des tralsons à elle faictes à la suscitation d’Elizabet Angloise, par lequel les mensonges, calomnies, et faulses accusations dressées contre ceste tresvertueuse, trescatholizue, et tresillustre princesse son esclarcies, et son innocence averée. This work is said to have been printed “A Edimbourg, chez Jean Nafield,” 1587, 8vo; but this was not the case, and the publisher’s name is fictitious. It was reprinted at Antwerp in 1588, and again in 1589. It is to be found in the collection of Jebb, De Vita et Rebus gestis Mariae Scotorum Reginae Autores sedecim, tim. ii. p. 175. London, 1725, 2 tom. fol.

      Sanctarum Precationum Proemia, seu maris, Ejaculationes Animae ad Orandum se praeparantis. Dedicated to Archbishop Bethune of Glasgow. Angustorti Pictorium, 1598, 12mo. Aug. Pict. 1608, 16to.

      Inauguratio Jacobi Magnae Britanniae Regis. Paris, 1606, 8vo.

      In Psalmum Davidis quinquagesimum, enjus initium est, Miserere mei Deus. Adami Blacvodaei Meditatio. Aug. Pict. 1608, 16to.

      Varii generis Poemata. Per Adam. Blacvodaeum, in Presidali Pictonum Consessu, et in Metropolitano Decurionum Collegio Consiliarium. Pictavis, 1609, 16to.

      An elegant edition of Blackwood’s works in Latin and French, appeared at Paris in one volume, thirty-one years after his death, under the title of ‘Adami Blacvodaei, in Curia Praesidiali Pictonum, et Urbis in Decurionum Collegio, Regis Consiliarii, Opera Omnia, cum ejus Vita, à Gabriel Nandeo. Paris, 1644, 4to. This volume, says Dr. Irving, contains a portrait of the author by Picart. He appears in his official robes.

BLACKWOOD, HENRY, physician, elder brother of the preceding, was, about the year 1551, a teacher of philosophy in the university of Paris, where he had been educated. Having applied himself to the study of medicine, and taken the degree of M.D., he became dean of that faculty and was at one time physician to the duke of Longueville. He died about 1613, at an advanced age. He was the author of various medical and philosophical treatises. His son, who bore the same name, and followed the same profession, became professor of physic in the Royal College, and died at Rouen in 1634. According to the Biographie Universelle, (tom. iv. p. 549), the younger Henry Blackwood “était un homme de beaucoup de talent, mais très inconstant, phIlosophe, orateur, médecin, soldat, courtisan, voyageur, et intriguant dans tout ces états.” He published an edition of Hippocratis Coi Prognosticorum libri tres, ad veterum exemplarium fidem emendati et recogniti, Paris, 1625, 24to.

      Another brother of Adam Blackwood was George Blackwood, who was also educated in Paris, and taught philosophy in that city about the year 1571; but having subsequently entered into holy orders, he obtained considerable preferment in the French church [irving’s Lives of Scottish Writers, vol. i. p. 168.]

BLACKWOOD, WILLIAM, an eminent publisher, and founder of the magazine that bears his name, was born at Edinburgh, November 20, 1776, His parents were respectable, though in a humble station; and he received an excellent education. In 1790 he entered on his apprenticeship with Messrs. Bell and Bradfute, the well known publishers; and while in their employment he stored his mind with reading of all sorts, especially Scottish history and antiquities. In 1797, after the expiry of his apprenticeship, he was engaged by Messrs. J. Mundell and Co., extensive booksellers in Edinburgh, to go to Glasgow to take the superintendence of a branch of their business in that city; where, having the sole charge, he acquired those habits of decision and promptitude for which he was so remarkable. At the end of a year he returned to Bell and Bradfute, with whom he continued another year. In 1799 he entered into partnership with Mr. Robert Ross, bookseller and book auctioneer, but this connection being dissolved in the course of a few years, he went to London, to the shop of Mr. Cuthell, where he obtained a thorough knowledge of the old book trade. In 1804 he returned to Edinburgh, and commenced business on his own account, on the South Bridge, as a dealer in old books, in which department his knowledge was allowed to be unusually great. He soon after became agent for several of the London publishers, among whom were Messrs, Murray, Baldwin, and Cadell, and also commenced publishing for himself. Among other works brought out by him were ‘Grahame’s Sabbath,’ “Kerr’s Voyages and Travels,’ 18 vols. 8vo, and the ‘Edinburgh Encyclopedia,’ 18 vols. 4to. In 1812 appeared his celebrated catalogue, containing upwards of fifteen thousand books in various languages, all properly classified, which, we are told, continued to the present day to be a standard authority for the prices of old books. In 1816 he disposed of his extensive stock of classical and antiquarian books, and removed to the New Town of Edinburgh, where he thenceforth devoted his energies to the business of a general publisher. In April 1817 he brought out the first number of ‘Blackwood’s Magazine,’ which speedily acquired a high character and an extensive circulation. Among its first contributors were Mr. John Wilson, author of ‘The Isle of Palms,’ elected in 1820, professor of moral philosophy in the university of Edinburgh, and Mr. John G. Lockhart, Advocate, afterwards editor of the ‘Quarterly Review.’ Mr. Blackwood himself never wrote more than two or three articles for its earlier numbers; but the whole management and arrangement of the magazine devolved upon him, and he executed the editorial duties with unusual tact, skill, and vigour. Besides the publications already mentioned, he published the principal works of Messrs. Wilson, Lockhart, Hogg, Galt, Moir, and other distinguished contributors to his magazine, as well as several of the productions of Sir Walter Scott. He was twice chosen a magistrate of Edinburgh, and while in that capacity, he took a prominent part in the affairs of the city. Mr. Blackwood died at Edinburgh, September 16, 1834, in the 58th year of his age. He was a man of straightforward and independent character, enlarged understanding, and liberal disposition. “No Man,” says the obituary notice which appeared in the magazine after his decease, “ever conducted business in a more direct and manly manner than Mr. Blackwood. His opinion was on all occasions distinctly expressed; his questions were ever explicit; his answers conclusive. His sincerity might sometimes be considered as rough, but no human being ever accused him either of flattering or of shuffling; and those men of letters who were in frequent communication with him soon conceived a respect and confidence for him, which, save in a very few instances, ripened into cordial regard and friendship. The masculine steadiness, and imperturbable resolution of his character, were impressed on all his proceedings; and it will be allowed by those who watched him through his career, as the publisher of a literary and political miscellany, that these qualities were more than once very severely tested. He dealt by parties exactly as he did by individuals. Whether his principles were right or wrong, they were his, and he never compromised or complimented away one tittle of them. No changes, either of men or of measures, ever dimmed his eye, or checked his courage.” He left a widow, seven sons, and two daughters. His two eldest sons succeeded to his business. His third son was an officer in the service of the Hon. East India Company. – Blackwood’s Magazine for 1834.


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