William Carstares

1649-1715. Scottish churchman and statesman. His influence with William of Orange did much to ensure that the form of church government of the Church of Scotland was settled as Presbyterian rather than Episcopalian at the time of the 1688 Revolution. His influence was decisive also in the consummation of the Union of Scotland and England, for he secured the support of the Church of Scotland for the cause of union. He spent much of the two decades preceding the Revolution in Holland as a refugee from the tyrannical Scottish government of Charles II, but acted from time to time as a link between William of Orange and dissident elements in both Scotland and England. His discretion when captured and tortured earned William's gratitude, and he had a place of weight during William's reign. After the king's death his power declined, and in 1703 he accepted the principalship of Edinburgh University, where he did much to raise academic standards. As one of the ministers of Edinburgh and moderator on four occasions of the general assembly, he was a main architect of the form of church government which survives to the present day.