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RAVIT, MULTAQUE VERBO, SCRIPTO, ET VITÆ EXEMPLO AD ÆDIFICATIONEM PROXIMORUM PRÆSTITIT, QUI POSTQUAM HUIC MÔNASTERIO SEXDECIM ANNOS SUMMA CUM LAUDE PRÆFUISSET, AC SUCCESSOREM CANONICE ET LEGITIME SIBI PROSPEXISSET, TANDEM XXI. SEPTEMBRIS Anno CHRISTI MILLESIMO QUINGENTESIMO NONAGESIMO SECUNDO, ÆTATIS VERO SUÆ SEPTUAGESIMO QUARTO, PIE ET PLACIDE OBDORMIVIT IN DOMINO.1
XIII.-ESTIMATES OF WINZET'S CHARACTER AND
As to the character of Winzet, it may be said he illustrated in himself the prestige and honour which the Scottish Catholic clergy had in their best days of missionary spirit and learning. Study seems to have been a passion with him. His social qualities were attractive : his accomplishments many. Contemporary co-religionists, as well as his successors, gratefully and lovingly acknowledged the talent and merit of one who had unflinchingly devoted himself to their cause in the time of extremest peril, and never permitted misfortune to tempt him from the pursuit of knowledge and his checkered career of duty, nor yet prosperity to tarnish a spotless reputation. He was an honest man, a frank friend, an independent thinker.
Leslie designates his old associate a man of exquisite erudition—"Winzetus quædam exquisitæ eruditionis"—who, with Robert Maxwell, rallied their scattered comrades in
1 Strachan MS., p. 97; Ziegelbauer, “Hist.,' pt. iii. p. 361. The Editor is much indebted to the Rev. Anselm Robertson, Fochabers,- religious in St James's till it was suppressed in 1862—for the details regarding the abbot's tomb. The monastery with all its revenues was given to the diocese of Ratisbon for a clerical seminary-£10,000 of the revenues being given to the Scots College, Rome. The tombstone, measuring eight feet by six, is still preserved. The Strachan MS. omits “Winzetus " in first line. The letters D.O.M. probably signify “Datur omnibus mori."
1560, and gained victories over the reforming party.1 Conn boasts that Ninian “smashed the shameless calumniator (Knox) with Catholic truth." 2
Barclay refers several times to Winzet's 'Velitatio' in a similar work of his own, wherein he deals with the rights and authority of kings, and of the Church. He quotes several pages of the Velitatio,' and adds a flattering estimate of its author, in which he emphasises his integrity, piety, Biblical knowledge, and experience :
“Donec spiritum commune duxit, multos vitæ integritate et pietate anteibat, a paucis etiam doctrinæ studio et sacrarum cognitione atque rerum experientia superabatur." 3 David Chalmers styled him “a most learned theologian,”
man eminently versed in classical, philosophical, and theological studies.4
Archbishop Spotiswood in his History recognises Winzet “as a man of reasonable learning," who “set furth a book of questions against the Confession of Faith, which went currant in the Court, and was much esteemed by them of his profession.” 5
Nicolson was of opinion that the author of the 'Velitatio,' and opponent of Knox, had "showed himself as great a master of the imperial law as of critical learning.”
Wassenbergius wrote an account of the religious orders in Ratisbon, which, in MS., lay in St James's, and was
1 Leslie, 'De Origine,' lib. x. pp. 582-584.
3 Barclaius, ‘De Regno et Regali Potestate,' &c., p. 182 et seq. Paris, 1600, 4to.
4 Davidis Camerarii Scoti, 'De Scotorum Fortitudine,' &c., pp. 45 and 277. Parisiis, 1631, 4to. “Ninianus Winzetus, vir in humanioribus literis nec non in philosophicis et theologicis studiis egregie versatus.”
5 Spotiswood, ‘Hist. of the Church of Scotland,' p. 183. Lond. 1655, fol. 6 Nicolson, 'Scottish Historical Library,' pp. 39-40. Lond. 1702, 8vo,
drawn upon by Ziegelbauer, and the writer of the Strachan MS., for their notices of Winzet. Wassenbergius gives the verdict of Ninian's contemporaries that the abbot was “beloved, honoured, and missed by all men."1
His latest critic, Dr Bellesheim, says that in him the Church lost “the most important Scottish apologist, who in a storm-tossed age defended her doctrines and institutions with reasons which to this day wait for refutation.”
Protestant opinion regarding Winzet is very scanty. One contemporary author, cited by Mr Gracie, deemed the ‘Four Scoir Thre Questions' worthy of notice.
In his work, entitled ' Ane Breif Gathering of the Halie Signes, Sacrifices, &c., translatit out of Frenche into Scottis be ane faithful Brother, printed at Edinburgh in 1565, the translator refers to the “ Buke of Questions,” published two years before, and remarks that since "the tractat is sa proper and perfite an answer to syndrie of the said Winzet's Questiounis," he had “ causit this litle buike be set furthe in our Scottis toung to make the treuth knawin to all our countrie men that hes not the knawlege of the uther leid [language), and that it may be partely ane answer to Winzet's Questiouns quhil the compleit answer be prepared for the rest. Sua that in my judgement, Papis men sal not haif greit occasioun, God willing, to brag thaim self in this behalfe."
Otherwise, no formal attempt to answer Winzet was made by the Protestant ministers.
1 Strachan MS., p. 97 ; Ziegelbauer, ‘Hist.,' p. 361.
2 Bellesheim, 'Geschichte der katholischen Kirche in Schottland,' vol. ii. p. 35; Mainz, 1883. Since this paragraph was written, part of Dr Bellesheim's work has been translated by D. Oswald Hunter Blair, O.S.B., Monk of Fort Augustus. Blackwood & Sons : 1887.
3 Certane Tractatis,' pref. p. xvii. Mait. Club. ed. 1835.
LIST OF WINZET'S WORKS.
1. Edinburgh, 1562, 21st May. “Certane Tractatis for Refor
matioun,' &c. Printed by John Scot (?). (Cf. Winzet, Certain Tractates,' Introduction, pp. lxxix, lxxxvii.
S.T.S. ed.) 2. Edinburgh, 1562, 31st July. "The Last Blast of the
Trompet of Godis Worde,' &c. Printed by John Scot.
(Cf. Introduction, pp. lxxxi, xcii.) 3. Antwerp, 1563. “The Buke of Four Scoir Thre Ques
tions,' &c. “Ex officina Ægidii Diest.” (Cf. Intro,c
” duction, pp. lxxxii, xcii.) 4. Antwerp, 1563. Vincentius Lirinensis of the Natioun of
Gallio for the Antiquitie and Veritie of the Catholic
lxxxii, xciv.) 5. (Antwerp, 1563-64?) Translations of Optatus, Tertullian,
and other Fathers, which remain unrecognised. (Cf.
Introduction, p. xlv.) 6. Paris, 1565. Translation of Benoist's treatise, 'Certus
Modus,' &c. Concerning composing Discords in
Religion.' (Cf. Introduction, pp. xxxvi, xlvi.) 7. (Ingolstadt, 1581?) 'In D. Paulum, Commentaria.' This
work is lost. (Cf. Introduction, p. lxvi.) 8. Ingolstadt, 1582. “Flagellum Sectariorum,' and `Velitatio
in Georgium Buchananum,' &c. Printed by David Sartorius. (Cf. Introduction, pp. lxvi, lxvii, lxxxiii
lxxxvii.) 9. (Ingolstadt ?) Translation of the Catechism of Canisius.
(Cf. Introduction, pp. lxviii-lxx.) 10. (Ingolstadt?) Epigrams, Poems, and Fugitive MSS. con
cerning Monastic Affairs. These apparently were not published in book form. (Cf. Introduction, p. lxx, note 3.)
Short biographies of Winzet are to be found in Mackenzie's 'Lives and Characters of the most Eminent Writers of the Scots Nation,' vol. iii. p. 148, Edin. 1708-22, 3 vols. fol.; in Zeigelbauer's ‘Historia Rei Literariæ Ordinis S. Benedicti, pt. iii. pp. 360, 361, Ed. R. P. Oliverius Legipontius. (He cites Mackenzie's 'Lives,' and refers to “Wassenbergius, Scriptor Germanus, in sua Ratisbona Religiosa Msc.," and to "Symbolis Bernardi Baillie, Abbatis Scotorum Ratisbonæ aliisque notitiis.") Augustæ Vind. et Herbipoli, 1754, fol.; in the Lives of Scotish Writers, by David Irving, LL.D., vol. i. pp. 98-121, Edin. 1839. A very interesting account of Winzet's career and works is given by Dr Alphons Bellesheim, Geschichte der katholischen Kirche in Schottland,' vol. ii. pp. 20-35, Mainz, 1883
MSS.-EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY LIBRARY MS.
No MS. of Winzet's works by the author is known to exist.
The Edinburgh University Library MS. of ‘The Buke of Four Scoir Thre Questions,' by a contemporary hand, &c., consists of forty-one leaves of closely written caligraphy. The MS. is an octavo, measuring, like the original edition of the 'Tractatis' and 'The Last Blast,' with both of which the MS. is bound in one volume, 8 inches by 572 inches.
The title of the MS. differs from that of the Antwerp edition, and runs thus: “Certane Articlis Twechinge