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SIR THOMAS DICK LAUDER

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 279 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR THOMAS DICK LAUDER, Bart. (1784-1848), Scottish author, only son of Sir Andrew Lauder, 6th baronet, was born at Edinburgh in 1784. He succeeded to the baronetcy in 182o. His first contribution to Blackwood's Magazine in 1817, entitled to bring his conduct under a charge of high treason proving hopeless, an attainder was substituted and sent up to the Lords on the 22nd of November. In these proceedings there was no semblance of respect for law or justice, the Lords yielding (4th of January 1645) to the menaces of the Commons, who arrogated to themselves the right to declare any crimes they pleased high treason. Laud now tendered the king's pardon, which had been granted to him in April 1643. This was rejected, and it was with some difficulty that his petition to be executed with the axe, instead of undergoing the ordinary brutal punishment for high treason, was granted. He suffered death on the loth of January on Tower Hill, asserting his innocence of any offence known to the law, repudiating the charge of " popery," and declaring that he had always lived in the Protestant Church of England. He was buried in the chancel of All Hallows, Barking, whence his body was removed on the 24th of July 1663 to the chapel of St John's College, Oxford. Laud never married. He is described by Fuller as " low of stature, little in bulk, cheerful in countenance (wherein gravity and quickness were all compounded), of a sharp and piercing eye, clear judgment and (abating the influence of age) hrm memory." His personality, on account of the sharp religious antagonisms with which his name is inevitably associated, has rarely been judged with impartiality. His severities were the result of a narrow mind and not of a vindictive spirit, and their number has certainly been exaggerated. His career was distinguished by uprightness, by piety, by a devotion to duty, by courage and consistency. In particular it is clear that the charge of partiality for Rome is unfounded. At the same time the circumstances of the period, the fact that various schemes of union with Rome were abroad, that the missions of Panzani and later of Conn were gathering into the Church of Rome numbers of members of the Church of England who, like Laud himself, were dissatisfied with the Puritan bias which then characterized it, the incident mentioned by Laud himself of his being twice offered the cardinalate, the movement carried on at the court in favour of Romanism, and the fact that Laud's changes in ritual, however clearly defined and restricted in his own intention, all tended towards Roman practice, fully warranted the suspicions and fears of his contemporaries. Laud's complete neglect of the national sentiment, in his belief that the exercise of mere power was sufficient to suppress it, is a principal proof of his total lack of true statesmanship. The hostility to " innovations in religion," it is generally allowed, was a far stronger incentive to the rebellion against the arbitrary power of the crown, than even the violation of constitutional liberties; and to Laud, therefore, more than to Strafford, to Buckingham, or even perhaps to Charles himself, is especially due the responsibility for the catastrophe. He held fast to the great idea of the catholicity of the English Church, to that conception of it which regards it as a branch of the whole Christian church, and emphasizes its historical continuity and identity from the time of khe apostles, but here again his policy was at fault; for his despotic administration not only excited and exaggerated the tendencies to separatism and independentism which finally prevailed, but excluded large bodies of faithful churchmen from communion with their church and from their country. The emigration to Massachusetts in 162q, which continued in a stream till 1640, was not composed of separatists but of episcopalians. Thus what Laud grasped with one hand he destroyed with the other. Passing to the more indirect influence of Laud on his times, we can observe a narrowness of mind and aim which separates him from a man of such high imagination and idealism as Strafford, however closely identified their policies may have been for the moment. The chief feature of Laud's administration is attention to countless details, to the most trivial of which he attached excessive importance, and which are uninspired by any great underlying principle. His. view was always essentially material. The one element in the church which to him was all essential was its visibility. This was the source of his intense dislike of the Puritan and Nonconformist conception of the church, which afforded no tangible or definite form. Hence the " Simon Roy, Gardener at Dunphail," was by some ascribed to Sir Walter Scott. His paper (1818) on " The Parallel Roads of Glenroy," printed in vol. ix. of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, first drew attention to the phenomenon in question. In 1825 and 1827 he published two romances, Lochandhu and the Wolf of Badenoch. He became a frequent contributor to Blackwood and also to Tait's Magazine, and in 183o he published An Account of the Great Floods of August 1829 in the Province of Moray and adjoining Districts. Subsequent works were Highland Rambles, with Long Tales to Shorten the Way (2 vols. 8vo, 1837), Legendary Tales of the Highlands (3 vols. 12mo, 7841), Tour round the Coasts of Scotland (1842) and Memorial of the Royal Progress in Scotland (1843). Vol. i. of a Miscellany of Natural History, published in 1833, was also partly prepared by Lauder. He was a Liberal, and took an active interest in politics; he held the office of secretary to the Board of Scottish Manufactures. He died on the 29th of May 1848. An unfinished series of papers, written for Tait's Magazine shortly before his death, was published under the title Scottish Rivers, with a preface by John Brown, M.D., in 1874.
End of Article: SIR THOMAS DICK LAUDER
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