11th of January

St Hyginus, pope and martyr, 142. St Theodosius, the Cœnobiarch, 529. St Salvius or Sauve, bishop of Amiens, 7th century. St Egwin, bishop, confessor, 717.

 

Born. – Francesco Mazzuoli Parmigiano, painter, Parma, 1503. 
Died. – Sir Hans Sloane, M.D., 1753; FranCois Roubiliac, sculptor, 1762; Dominic Cimarosa, musician, 1801; F. Schlegel, German critic, 1829.
 

SIR HANS SLOANE, M.D.

Sir Hans Sloane, Bart., the eminent physician and naturalist, from whose collections originated the British Museum, born at Killeleagh, in the north of Ireland, April 16, 1660, but of Scotch extraction – his father having been the head of a colony of Scots settled in Ulster under James I. – gives us something like the model of a life perfectly useful in proportion to powers and opportunities. Having studied medicine and natural history, he settled in London in 1684, and was soon after elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, to which he presented some curiosities. In 1687 he was chosen a Fellow of the College of Physicians, and in the same year sailed for Jamaica, and remained there sixteen months, when he returned with a collection of 800 species of plants, and commenced publishing a Natural History of Jamaica, the second volume of which did not appear until nearly twenty years subsequent to the first; his collections in natural history, &c., then comprising 8,226 specimens in botany alone, besides 200 volumes of dried samples of plants. In 1716 George I. created Sloane a baronet – a title to which no English physician had before attained. In 1719 he was elected President of the College of Physicians, which office he held for sixteen years; and in 1727 he was elected President of the Royal Society. He zealously exercised all his official duties until the age of fourscore. He then retired to an estate which he had purchased at Chelsea, where he continued to receive the visits of scientific men, of learned foreigners, and of the Royal Family; and he never refused admittance or advice to rich or poor, though he was so infirm as but rarely to take a little air in his garden in a wheeled chair. He died after a short illness, bequeathing his museum to the public, on condition that £20,000 should be paid to his family; which sum scarcely exceeded the intrinsic value of the gold and silver medals, and the ores and precious stones in his collection, which he declares, in his will, cost at least £50,000. His library, consisting of 3,556 manuscripts and 50,000 volumes, was included in the bequest. Parliament accepted the trust on the required conditions, and thus Sloane’s collections formed the nucleus of the British Museum.

Sir Hans Sloane was a generous public benefactor. He devoted to charitable purposes every shilling of his thirty years’ salary as physician to Christ’s Hospital; he greatly assisted to establish the Dispensary set on foot by the College of Physicians; and he presented the Apothecaries’ Company with the freehold of their Botanic Gardens at Chelsea. Sloane also aided in the formation of the Foundling Hospital. His remains rest in the churchyard of St Luke’s, by the river-side, Chelsea, where his monument has an urn entwined with serpents. His life was protracted by extraordinary means: when a youth he was attacked by spitting of blood, which interrupted his education for three years; but by abstinence from wine and other stimulants, and continuing, in some measure, this regimen ever afterwards, he was enabled to prolong his life to the age of ninety-three years;1 exemplifying the truth of his favourite maxim – that sobriety, temperance, and moderation are the best preservatives that nature has granted to mankind.

Sir Hans Sloane was noted for his hospitality, but there were three things he never had at his table – salmon, champagne, and burgundy.

 

1  Sir Edward Wilmot, the physician, was, when a youth, so far gone in consumption, that Dr Radcliffe, whom he consulted, gave his friends no hopes of his recovery, yet he lived to the age of ninety-three; and Dr Heberden notes: “This has been the case with some others, who had many symptoms of consumption in youth.” 

 

On this Day in Other Sources.

 

ST GILES, EDINBURGH, RECEIVES ARM BONE.

An Act of Council dated twelve years before this event commemorates the gratitude of the citizens to one who had brought from France a relic of St. Giles, and, modernised, it runs thus:- “Be it kenned to all men by these present letters, we, the provost, bailies, counselle and communitie of the burgh of Edynburgh, to be bound and obliged to William Prestoune of Gourton, and to the friends and sirname of them, that for so much that William Prestoune the father, whom God assoile, made diligent labour, by a high and mighty prince, the King of France (Charles VII.), and many other lords of France, for getting the arm-bone of St. Gile, the which bone he freely left to our mother kirk of St. Gile of Edinburgh, without making any condition. We, considering the great labour and costs that he made for getting thereof, promise that within six or seven years, in all the possible and goodly haste we may, that we shall build an aisle forth from our Ladye aisle, where the said William lies, the said aisle to be begun within a year, in which aisle there shall be brass for his lair in bost (i.e., for his grave in embossed) work, and above the brass a writ, specifying the bringing of that Rylik by him into Scotland, with his arms, and his arms to be put in hewn work, in three other parts of the aisle, with book and chalice and all other furniture belonging thereto. Also, that we shall assign the chaplain of whilome Sir William of Prestoune, to sing at the altar from that time forth… Item, that as often as the said Rylik is borne in the year, that the sirname and nearest of blood of the said William shall bear the said Rylik, before all others, &c. In witness of which things we have set to our common seal at Edinburgh the 11th day of the month of January, in the year of our Lord 1454.”1

Old and New Edinburgh, pp.138-148.

1  Frag.: “Scotomonastica.”

 

LORD TREASURER OF SCOTLAND DIES.

John Laing, the Lord Treasurer, was provided by the Pope to the see of Glasgow, upon the recommendation of the king, on the 7th March 1473. He was made chancellor in 1481, and died 11th January 1482.

Sketches, pp.29-70.

 

SCOTTISH ROYAL REGALIA PROTECTED.

The Castle of Dunnottar was now [1652] almost the only place of strength in the kingdom which resisted the English arms. It held out with a small garrison, under the command of George Ogilvie of Barras, whose anxiety to maintain his post was increased by the consideration that within these sea-girt walls rested the regalia of the kingdom – the crown, sceptre, and sword of state – which had been consigned by the Committee of Estates to this fort, under the care of the Earl Marischal, as being the strongest place in the kingdom that remained untaken after the reduction of Edinburgh Castle. For many months, Ogilvie and his little garrison had defied the English forces; but now it was likely that he could not hold out much longer – in which case, of course, the regalia must fall into the hands of the enemy. The Earl Marischal had been taken with the Committee of Estates at Alyth, and shipped off the London as a prisoner. He contrived, however, to send by a private hand the key of the closet in which the regalia lay, to his mother, the Dowager Countess, who, by the advice of her son, opened a communication with Mr James Grainger, minister of Kinneff, a person in whom the family reposed great faith, with a view to his assisting in the conveying away of the precious ‘honours.’ The minister and his wife, Christian Fletcher (posterity will desire the preservation of her whole name), entered heartily into the wishes of the countess. Mrs Grainger, by permission of the English commander, visiting the wife of the governor of the castle, received from that lady, but without the knowledge of her husband, the crown into her lap. The sceptre and sword, wrapped up in a bundle of hards or lint, were placed on the back of a female attendant. When Mrs Grainger and her maid returned through the beleaguering camp, it appeared as if she were taking away some lint to be spun for Mrs Ogilvie. So far from suspecting any trick, the English officer on duty is said to have helped Mrs Grainger upon her horse. The castle was reduced three months afterward, when great was the rage of the English on finding that the regalia were gone. It was adroitly given out that they had been carried beyond sea by Sir John Keith, a younger brother of the earl, and handed to King Charles at Paris. 

In reality, on reaching the manse of Kinneff, Mrs Grainger had delivered the crown, sceptre, and sword to her husband, who took the earliest opportunity of burying them under the floor of his church, imparting the secret of their concealment to no one but the Countess Marischal. To the credit of the worthy minister and his wife, they preserved their secret inviolate till the Restoration, eight years afterwards, when ‘the honours’ were exhumed, and replaced under proper custody. An order of the Scottish parliament, dated January 11, 1661, rewarded Mrs Grainger with two thousand merks; Ogilvie was created a baronet; while Sir John Keith, whose immediate concern in the affair does not appear to have been great, was made Knight Marischal of Scotland, with a salary of £400 yearly; to which rewards was added in 1677 a peerage under the title of Earl of Kintore.

Domestic Annals, pp.278-301.

 

PROVOST OF EDINBURGH’S HOUSE STRUCK BY ARSON.

Jan. 11. [1681] – The house of Priestfield (now Prestonfield), near Edinburgh, was burnt this evening between seven and eight o’clock. Political circumstances gave importance to what would otherwise have been a trivial occurrence. Sir James Dick, the owner, was provost of Edinburgh, and a friend of the Duke of York. His having adopted energetic measures with some college youths concerned in a Christmas anti-papal demonstration, was supposed to have excited a spirit of retaliation in their companions; and hence a suspicion arose that the fire was designed and executed by them. The Privy Council were so far convinced of this being the case, that they shut up the College and banished the pupils fifteen miles from the city, unless they could give caution for their good behaviour. Sir James’s house was rebuilt at the public expense.

Domestic Annals, pp.322-337.

 

PLANS FOR REVENGE AGAINST THOSE IN GLENCOE.

The letters of Sir John Dalrymple from the court at London during the remainder of the year show that he grudged these terms to the Highland Jacobites, and would have been happy to find that a refusal of them justified harsher measures. It was all the better that the time of grace expired in the depth of winter, for ‘that,’ said he,[..] ‘is the proper season to maul them, in the cold long nights.’ In the midst of a letter on the subject, dated the 11th January [1692] (addressed to Sir Thomas Livingstone, commander-in-chief of the forces in Scotland), he says: ‘Just now my Lord Argyll tells me that Glencoe hath not taken the oaths; at which I rejoice – it’s a great work of charity to be exact in rooting out that damnable sect, the worst in all the Highlands.’ Particular instructions subscribed by the king followed on the 16th, permitting terms to be offered to Glengarry, whose house was strong enough to give trouble, but adding: ‘If McIan of Glencoe and that tribe can be well separated from the rest, it will be a proper vindication of the public justice to extirpate that sect of thieves.‘ On the same day, Dalrymple himself wrote to Colonel Hill, governor of Inverlochy: ‘I shall entreat you that, for a just vengeance and public example, the thieving tribe of Glencoe be rooted out to purpose. The Earls of Argyll and Breadalbane have promised they shall have no retreat in their bounds.’ He felt, however, that it must be ‘quietly done;’ otherwise they would make shift both for their cattle and themselves. There can be no doubt what he meant; merely to harry the people, would make them worse thieves than before – they must be, he elsewhere says, ‘rooted out and cut off.’

Domestic Annals, pp.342-354.

 

WALLACE STATUE PURCHASED FOR DUMBARTON.

“SCULPTURE. – We understand that the statue of Sir William Wallace, one of the earliest works of our townsman Mr Handyside Ritchie, and modelled immediately after his return from Rome, where he studied for three years under Thorwaldsen, has been purchased by Mr Alexander Denny, Dumbarton, for the purpose of being erected in that town, so intimately connected with the history of the Scottish hero, and in the castle of which the far-famed “Wallace Sword” is still preserved. Mr Peter Denny, Provost of Dumbarton, has also given the same artist a commission to execute a nude statue in marble, to be classically treated, and embodying a combination of the passions of horror and despair…”

Scots Lore, pp.280-282.

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Wednesday 11 January 1854, p. 2, Scotsman.

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