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The Scottish Nation

FORMAN, ANDREW, archbishop of St. Andrews, commendator of Pittenweem, and of Cottingham in England, said to have been one of the best statesmen of his age, was the son of the laird of Hutton in the parish of that name, in Berwickshire. The only trace of the possessions of his family that is left is a small field which still retains the name of “Forman’s land.” In 1499 he was proto-notary apostolic in Scotland, and in 1501 he was employed, along with Robert Blackader, archbishop of Glasgow, and Patrick, earl of Bothwell, to negociate a marriage between James the Fourth of Scotland and Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry the Seventh of England, which the following year was ratified by the Scottish ambassadors. In 1502 he was appointed bishop of Moray, and, together with that see, held, in commendam, the priories of Pittenweem in Scotland, and of Cottingham in England. He was afterwards employed as mediator between Pope Julius the Second and Louis the Twelfth of France, and had the satisfaction of composing the difference which had existed between them.

      On his return from Rome he passed through France, where he was graciously received by the king and queen, who bestowed upon him the bishopric of Bourges, from which he annually derived four hundred tuns of wine, ten thousand francs of gold, and other smaller matters. He was also most liberally rewarded by Pope Julius, who, in 1514, promoted him to the archbishopric of St. Andrews, conferred on him the two rich abbeys of Dunfermline and Aberbrothock, and made him his legate a latere. The archbishopric, however, being claimed by the learned Gavin Douglas, bishop of Dunkeld, (who had been nominated by the queen,) and by John Hepburn, who was preferred by the monks, Forman only obtained possession of it by surrendering the bishopric of Moray, as wall as giving up some years’ revenue of the archbishopric itself, and paying Hepburn three thousand French crowns annually out of his ecclesiastical revenues.

      In 1517, Archbishop Forman was appointed by the States one of the lords of the regency during the minority of James the Fifth, on the occasion of the duke of Albany’s going to France. The archbishop, who was frequently employed as ambassador to England, France, and Rome, had the good fortune to reconcile a difference between the duke of Albany and the nobility, which at one time threatened to lead to bloodshed. Mackenzie, in his Lives, informs us that in the Collection of Letters of the Scottish Kings from 1505 to 1626, preserved in the Advocates’ library, there is an epistle from the Pope to James the Fourth, dated May 6, 1511, commending Forman highly, and promising that, at the first creation of cardinals, he should be made one. His death, however, prevented him from fulfilling his intention. In the same Collection there is a letter from the duke of Albany to Leo the Tenth, the successor of Julius, in which he urges the Pope to advance Forman to the dignity of a cardinal, promised him by his predecessor, and to continue him as legate a latere. Archbishop Forman died in 1521, and was buried at Dunfermline. Dempster records that he wrote a book against Luther, a Treatise concerning the Stoic Philosophy, and a Collection out of the Decretals. Historians differ in their estimate of Archbishop Forman’s character, and at this distance of time it would be somewhat difficult to pronounce a correct opinion as to its real features.

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