or Carstairs, William, 1649–1715, Scottish statesman and Presbyterian divine. While studying theology at Utrecht, he became a friend of William of Orange (later William III of England). He was imprisoned in Edinburgh (1674–79) for alleged coauthorship of An Account of Scotland's Grievances and again imprisoned and tortured in Edinburgh (1683) as a suspect in the Rye House Plot . He returned to Holland where he was made chaplain to William of Orange. He accompanied William to England in 1688 and became so powerful in his efforts to reconcile the new king and the Scottish church and to frustrate the Episcopalian Jacobites that he was nicknamed
the Cardinal.His influence continued under Queen Anne as he worked for the union of England and Scotland, served as principal of the Univ. of Edinburgh from 1703, and was four times moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland.
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