6th of February

St Dorothy, virgin martyr, 304. St Mel, bishop of Ardagh, 488. St Vedast, bishop of Arras, 539. St Barsanuphius, of Palestine, 6th century. St Amandus, 675.

Born. – Antoine Arnauld, French theologian, 1612, Paris; Augustine Calmet, 1672. 
Died. – Jacques Amyot, Great Almoner of France, 1593; Charles II., 1685, Whitehall; Pope Clement XII., 1740.


The annals of precocity present no more remarkable instance than the brief career of Christian Heinecker, born at Lubeck, February 6, 1721. At the age of ten months he could speak and repeat every word which was said to him: when twelve months old, he knew by heart the principal events narrated in the Pentateuch: in his second year he learned the greater part of the history of the Bible, both of the Old and New Testaments: in his third year he could reply to most questions on universal history and geography, and in the same year he learned to speak Latin and French: in his fourth year he employed himself in the study of religion and the history of the church, and he was able not only to repeat what he had read, but also to reason upon it, and express his own judgment. The King of Denmark wishing to see this wonderful child, he was taken to Copenhagen, there examined before the court, and proclaimed to be a wonder. On his return home, he learned to write, but, his constitution being weak, he shortly after fell ill; he died on the 27th of June 1725, without, it is said, shewing much uneasiness at the approach of death. This account of him by his teacher is confirmed by many respectable contemporary authorities. Martini published a dissertation at Lubeck, in which he attempted to account for the circumstances of the child’s early development of intellect. 

It cannot be too generally known that extreme precocity like this is of the nature of disease and a subject for the gravest care. In a precocious child, the exercise of the intellect, whether in lessons or otherwise, should be discouraged and controlled, not, as it too often is, stimulated, if there be any sincere desire that the child should live.

On this Day in Other Sources.

Ragnor Lodbrog with his fierce Danes infested the country round the Tay on the one side, and the Strathclyde Britons on the other, wasted the adjoining territories, and burnt Dunblane. Yet Kenneth overcame these embarrassments, and made frequent incursions into the Saxon territories in Lothian, and caused his foes to tremble. After a brilliant and successful reign, Kenneth died at Forteviot, or Abernethy, the Pictish capital, on the sixth day of February, in the year eight hundred and fifty-nine, having ruled the Scots seven years, and the Scots and Picts jointly sixteen years, being a reign of twenty-three years. Kenneth was a prince of a very religious disposition, and, in the midst of his cares, did not forget the interests of religion. He built a church in Dunkeld, to which, in eight hundred and fifty, he removed the relics of St. Columba from Iona. He is celebrated also as a legislator, and it is extremely probable that the union of the two nations rendered some legislative enactments for their mutual government necessary; but no authentic traces of such laws now appear, the Macalpine laws which have been attributed to the son of Alpin being clearly apocryphal. 

– History of the Highlands, pp.79-95.


By the year 1561 the Tolbooth, or Pretorium burgi de Edinburgi, as it is named in the early Acts of the Scottish Parliament, had become ruinous, and on the 6th of February Queen Mary wrote a letter to the magistrates, charging the Provost to take it down at once, and meanwhile to provide accommodation elsewhere for the Lords of Session.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.123-138.


Reverence to parents was strictly enforced in these times. On one occasion we find the presbytery dealing with a young man because of his being “gudget stubborne and a disobedient sone to his father” – a chief cause of his offence being that he had “cum by his father and his bonnet on his heid, not salutand his father.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215. 

1   6th February, 1598.


Feb. 6. [1621] – The church historian Calderwood notes the occurrence of three fires in Edinburgh in one day as being regarded by people as ‘foretokenings of some mischief.’ ‘About the same time,’ he adds, ‘there came in a great whale at Montrose, which was also apprehendit to be a forerunner of some trouble.’

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.


JAMES, Duke of York, succeeded his brother in the three kingdoms (February 6, 1685) at a mature period of life, being fifty-three years of age. While reckoning as James II. in England and Ireland, he was the seventh of the name in Scotland.

– Domestic Annals, pp.338-341.


The Lounger, to which Lord Craig contributed largely, was commenced, by the staff of the Mirror, on the 6th of February, 1785, and continued weekly till the 6th of January, 1787.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.118-123.



   It is somewhat remarkable that the seaport of the metropolis, which has been supposed to be for years the peculiar care of successive Lord Advocates, has more grievances to complain of than any other port on all the coast of Britain.  

   For the present, we have to refer to a portion of that injustice which has resulted from the abolition of the Scottish Customhouse, in violation of the Treaty of Union; and what Sir Walter Scott mentions ‘as that sort of absolute and complete tutelage to which England seems disposed to reduce her sister country, subjecting her in all her relations to the despotic authority of English Boards, which exercise an exclusive jurisdiction in Scottish affairs, without regard to her local peculiarities, and with something like CONTEMPT for her claims as a country.’  

   Certain inhabitants of Leith have forwarded the following documents to the office of the National Association:-

‘Leith. 27th January 1854.

   ‘As Scotsmen, we beg to draw your attention to one of the many grievances that Scotland has to complain of, viz., the Customs Department, and the pay of the officers in Scotland as compared with those of England. 

   ‘As citizens of Leith, we are in a position to know that in the port every effort on the part of the officers themselves to have justice done them has failed, we therefore sincerely trust, that in the honourable position taken by the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights, it will bring this subject before the nation, as nothing but the united voice of the people will ever gain for Scotland and for Scotsmen the rights of which they have been robbed.

   ‘Inclosed is a copy of a petition presented to the Treasury, by Mr Inglis, Lord Advocate, under the Derby Government, from the officers in the port of Leith, contrasting their pay with that received by those of Hull. By perusing the enclosed table, you will at once see how miserably short the pay of the officers in this port is, when compared with the pay of those at Hull. The lockers and weighers receiving L.12 14s., and the tidewaiters L.19 3s. per annum less at the former than the latter port. 

   ‘Leith is a first-class port in Scotland; Hull is a second-class port in England; and for many years the revenue of the former has exceeded that of the latter by upwards of L.200,000 per annum. The duties of the respective officers are the same, yet an officer in a first-class port in Scotland must perform the same amount of Government work for a QUARTER less pay than an officer in a second-class port in England! 

   ‘In the name of common justice, why should this be? 

   ‘In July 1853, the port of Leith was arranged upon the same system as Hull and Liverpool, the officers were to perform the same duties, and wear a uniform dress, without receiving the same advance of pay. 

   ‘As citizens of Leith, we have learned that a petition was submitted to the Board of Customs in November last, craving more pay to meet the extra expenses, but the usual reply was given ‘we cannot comply with the request‘ – NOTHING CAN BE GRANTED TO SCOTLAND!! 

   ‘The ports of London and Dublin are more handsomely dealt with; a tidewaiter at the latter receives L.10 per annum more than any similar officer in Scotland. As the friends and relations of those employed by Government here, we have furnished you with these facts, for the truth of which we vouch.’ 

   The following tables prove the truth of the statements contained in the foregoing letter:- 








First……… L78   10   0 L60   16   0 L70   12   0 L20   2   6 
Second…..   73   10   0   55   16   0   65   12   0   20   2   0 


First……… L91     4   0 L63   10   0 L89   15   0 L66   10   0 
Second…..   81     4   0   60   10   0   84   15   0   61   10   0 
Third……..   76     4   0   58   10   0   74   15   0   56   10   0 

   Such is the justice for Scotland! These weighers, lockers, tidewaiters, and boatmen have to perform the same amount of duty as their brother officials in England; but because they have the misfortune to be born in Scotland, or rather stationed in that most unlucky portion of the British empire, they must be glad to content themselves with a quarter less pay. No doubt the Honourable Board of Customs believe that the English officials require many comforts which the Scottish, in their simple hearts, never dream of; and that, while the former may dine on their proverbial beef and pudding, the latter may rejoice upon kail-blades and plain oatmeal. 

   At this time, when Government have it in contemplation to take away our Post-Office, with its secretary and other officials, and to strip our letter-carriers of their red coats – thus, as it were, insultingly throwing down a glove of defiance to Scotland, when she is engaged in an extensive system of national organisation – we cannot do better than close this article by the humble petition, a copy of which was forwarded to the office of the Association, by its friends in the neglected burgh of Leith.

   ‘To the Right Hon. the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury. – the petition of the undersigned day-pay officers of the port of Leith, – 

   Humbly showeth. – That your petitioners would most respectfully lay before your Lordships the annexed statement, showing the difference between their salary and day-pay, and those of the officers of the port of Hull. 

   That the port of Leith, being a first-class port in Scotland, and the revenue collected there under the management of your Lordships, being greater than that of the port of Hull, your petitioners feel much at a loss to understand why the amount of their salaries and day-pay are so far beneath those of the officers of the above port, they having equal responsibility and the same amount of duty to perform

   Your petitioners humbly submit to your Lordships that the sums paid by them for house-rents, and for other demands necessary for themselves and their families, are as high as those paid by the officers at any of the English out-ports. 

   That your petitioners, therefore, feeling as they do the justice as well as the importance of their request, dutifully but earnestly submit their memorial to your Lordships, and humbly crave that your Lordships may be pleased to place them on an equality as to class, salary, and day-pay with the officers of the port of Hull. 

   And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. 


   Customhouse, Leith, Feb. 1852.’

   The Lords of the treasury referred this petition to the English Commissioners of the Board of Customs, whose answer was, that the Scottish officers should be severely reprimanded for daring to forward any such petition for equality of allowance; which reprimand was accordingly given by the collector.”  

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 6th February, 1854.

– Treaty of Union Articles, Formation of the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights.

   “Signs are not wanting in the north country that, if England does not speedily mend its manners, Scotland will be reluctantly compelled to cancel the Treaty of Union. There was a great meeting in Dundee this week, convened for the express purpose of thanking Mr. Jacks, M.P. for Leith. Mr. Jacks is the gentleman who, as the resolution unanimously passed says, did resolutely protest in the House of Commons, ‘on the evening of the 22nd of January, against the use of the terms ‘England’ and ‘English’ in an imperial sense, instead of ‘Britain’ and ‘British,’ in violation of the express conditions of the Treaty of Union.’ The reckless southerners who have so far looked upon this ‘protest’ as at the most hardly a matter of national importance, will now see that they have underestimated it. Should ‘Britain’ be called ‘England’ again, the relations between the two countries may be strained to the point of snapping. That, among other disasters, would deprive us of four Cabinet Ministers.”  

– St James’s Gazette, Saturday 6th February, 1886.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

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