John Colville (politician)

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For other politicians of this name, see John Colville (disambiguation).

John Colville (c. 1540–1605), Scottish clergyman, judge, politician and author, was the son of Robert Colville of Cleish, in Kinross.

Educated at the University of St Andrews, he became a Presbyterian minister, but occupied himself chiefly with political intrigue, sending secret information to the English government concerning Scottish affairs. He joined the party of the Earl of Gowrie, and took part in the Raid of Ruthven in 1582. In 1587 he for a short time occupied a seat on the judicial bench, and was burgh commissioner for Stirling in the Parliament of Scotland.

In December 1591 he was implicated in the Earl of Bothwell's attack on Holyrood Palace, and was outlawed with the earl. He retired abroad, and is said to have joined the Roman Church. He died in Paris in 1605.

Colville was the author of several works, including an Oratio Funebris on Elizabeth I of England, and some political and religious controversial essays. He is said to be the author also of The Historie and Life of King James the Sext (edited by T. Thompson for the Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1825).

Colville's Original Letters, 1582–1603, published by the Bannatyne Club in 1858, contains a biographical memoir by the editor, David Laing.

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