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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume III. Renascence and Reformation.

VII. Reformation and Renascence in Scotland

§ 3. Alexander Alane

Associated with Hamilton in the beginnings of the Scottish reformation is a more voluminous writer, Alexander Alane (for this and not Aless was his real name, as appears from the registers of the university of St. Andrews), but better known by his Latin designation, Alesius. Born in Edinburgh in 1500, Alesius was trained for the church in the university of St. Andrews. In an attempt to convince Hamilton of the error of his ways, he was shaken in his own faith, and suspicions soon arose regarding his own orthodoxy. A Latin oration delivered against the vices of the clergy left no room for doubt regarding his religious sympathies, and he was thrown into prison, whence, with the aid of friends, he escaped to the continent (1532). Alesius never returned to Scotland, but, both in England and Germany, he played an important part in forwarding the cause of the reformation. He is the author of at least twenty-eight works, all written in Latin, partly consisting of commentaries on Scripture, but mainly of tracts and treatises on the theological controversies of the time. Of his controversial writings, three have special reference to religious opinion in Scotland—Epistola contra Decretum quoddam Episcoporum in Scotia, quod prohibet legere Novi Testamenti Libros lingua vernacula (1533); Responsio ad Cochlaei Calumnias (1533); and Cohortatio ad Concordiam (1544). The question discussed in all these productions is the liberty of reading the Scriptures in the original—a liberty which was first granted by the Scottish parliament in 1543, and to which Alesius may have materially contributed. To Alesius, also, we owe the earliest known description of his native city of Edinburgh, which he contributed to the Cosmographia of Sebastian Münster (1550).