9th of February

St Apollonia, virgin martyr at Alexandria, 249. St Nicephorus, martyr at Antioch, 260. St Attracta, virgin in Ireland, 5th century. St Theliau, bishop of Llandaff, circ. 580. St Ansbert, archibishop of Rouen, 695. St Erhard, of Scotland, 8th century.

Born. – Daniel Bernouilli, a celebrated Swiss mathematician, 1700, Gröningen; C. F. Volney, French philosopher, 1757.
Died. – Agnes Sorel, 1450, Memel; Henry Lord Darnley, consort of Mary Queen of Scots, murdered, 1567; Dr John Gregory, author of A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters, 1773, Edinburgh; Nevil Maskelyne, astronomer-royal, 1811, Flamsteed House.


Dr Maskelyne, the astronomer-royal, amongst many investigations in astronomy and general physics, distinguished himself in a special manner by one which had for its object directly to ascertain the attraction of mountains, and remotely the mean density of the earth. The scene of this great labour was the mountain Schiehallion, in Perthshire. Arriving there in the latter part of June 1774, the philosopher and his assistant, Mr Burrow, had a station prepared for themselves half way up the south side of the hill; afterwards another on the north side. It is a long bare mountain of 3,500 feet in elevation, in the midst of a country purely Alpine, and subject to the dreariest climatal influences. Three weeks elapsed before the learned investigator got a clear day for the ascertainment of a meridian line wherein to place his astronomical quadrant. Amidst the greatest difficulties – for the season was the worst seen for several years – he was just enabled, before November, to fix approximately the declination which the plumb-line made from the perpendicular on the respective sides of the mountain, being 5” 8; whence it was afterwards deduced by Dr Charles Hutton, that, if the rock of the hill be taken as that of free-stone, or 2.5 of water, the earth’s density will be 4.5 of the same measure (subsequently corrected by Professor Playfair into 4.867). 

The writer of this notice has often amused himself by reflecting on what would be the feelings of the English philosopher, fresh from the Greenwich Observatory, and Crane-court, Fleet-street, on finding himself in a wilderness, whence, but thirty years before, there had poured down a host of half-naked barbarians upon the plains of his native country, and where there had recently died an old Highland chief and bard (Robertson, of Struan) who had been out with both Dundee and Mar. What, also, would be the conception of his enterprise, his instruments, his measurements and surveyings, adopted by the Clan Donnochie, of the Moor of Rannoch? What would they think when they were told that a man had come to Schiehallion to weigh it, – nay, to weigh the earth? Maskelyne tells us, however, in his paper in the Philosophical Transactions, that Sir Robert Menzies, the chief gentleman near Schiehallion, paid him many hospitable attentions, and that he received visits from Wilson, Reid, and Anderson, professors in Glasgow, and from various other men of science, throughout the autumn – ‘so great a noise had the attempt of this uncommon experiment made in the country, and so many friends did it meet with interested in the success of it.’ 

The mountain Schiehallion was adopted for the experiment, because it was a lofty and narrow one, whereof the longer axis lay nearly east and west, thus giving a small difference of latitude between the two stations in proportion to the bulk of the mass lying between. Maskelyne himself, and even his geological friend and visitor Playfair, might have felt some additional interest in the affair, if they had known that the mountain had been shaped for their purpose by the great ice-flow of the glacial period, the marks of whose passage can be clearly traced along its sides and ridge, up to nearly the summit.


On the night of the 9th of February 1567, Lord Darnley was murdered, the house in which he slept beside the Kirk of the Field having been blown up by gunpowder. And just about a year before, on the 9th March 1566, David Rizzio, the Italian secretary of Mary of Scotland, was murdered in Holyrood Palace, by certain Protestant leaders of her court, with the assistance of her husband, Lord Darnley. The poor foreigner was torn from her side as she sat at supper, and dragged through her apartments to the outer door, where he was left on the floor for the night, dead with fifty-six wounds, each conspirator having been forced to give a stab, in order that all might be equally involved in guilt and consequent danger. The queen, who was then pregnant of her son (James VI.), deeply resented the outrage. This murder was the first of the series of tragic events in which the queen was involved.

The floor at the outer door of the queen’s apartments presents a large irregular dark mark, which the exhibitor of the palace states to be the blood of the unfortunate Rizzio. Most strangers hear with a smile of a blood-stain lasting three centuries, and Sir Walter Scott himself has made it the subject of a jocular passage in one of his tales,1 representing a Cockney traveller as trying to efface it with the patent scouring drops which it was his mission to introduce into use in Scotland. The scene between him and the old lady guardian of the palace is very amusing; but it may be remarked of Scott, that he entertained some beliefs in his secret bosom which his worldly wisdom and sense of the ludicrous led him occasionally to treat comically or with an appearance of scepticism. In another of his novels – the Abbot – he alludes with a feeling of awe and horror to the Rizzio blood-stain; and in his Tales of a Grandfather, he deliberately states that the floor at the head of the stair still bears visible marks of the blood of the unhappy victim. Joking apart, there is no necessity for disbelieving in the Holyrood blood-mark. There is even some probability in its favour. In the first place, the floor is very ancient, manifestly much more so than the late floor of the neighbouring gallery, which dated from the reign of Charles II. It is in all likelihood the very floor which Mary and her courtiers trod. In the second place, we know that the stain has been shewn there since a time long antecedent to that extreme modern curiosity regarding historical matters which might have induced an imposture; for it is alluded to by the son of Evelyn as being shewn in 1722. Finally, it is a matter of experiment, and fully established, that wood not of the hardest kind (and it may be added, stone of a porous nature) takes on a permanent stain from blood, the oxide of iron contained in it sinking deep into the fibre, and proving indelible to all ordinary means of washing. Of course, if the wearing of a blood-stained floor by the tread of feet were to be carried beyond the depth to which the blood had sunk, the stain would be obliterated. But it happens in the case of the Holyrood mark, that the two blotches of which it consisted are out of the line over which feet would chiefly pass in coming into or leaving the room. Indeed, that line appears to pass through and divide the stain, – a circumstance in no small degree favourable to its genuineness.

1  Introduction to Chronicles of the Canongate.

On this Day in Other Sources.


On 9th February, 1490, the king bestowed on “his friend” [the architect, John Morow,] the lands of Grevistoun.1

– Scots Lore, pp.364-374.

1 Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. ii. 1927.


Up Blackfriars Wynd, past the house of the late cardinal, Queen Mary proceeded on the fatal night of the 9th of February, 1567, about the same time nearly that Bothwell and his accomplices passed down the next alley, on their way to the Kirk-of-field. She had dined that day at Holyrood, and about eight in the evening went to sup with the Bishop of Argyle. At nine she rose from the table, and accompanied by the Earls of Argyle, Cassilis, and Huntly, escorted by her archer-guard and torch-bearers, went to visit Darnley in the lonely Kirk-of-field, intending to remain there for the night, but returned home. As she was proceeding, three of Bothwell’s retainers, Dalgleish, Powrie, and Wilson, in their depositions, stated that after conveying the powder-bags to the convent gate, at the foot of the Blackfriars Wynd, they saw “the Quenes grace gangand before them with licht torches,” on which Powrie, as if conscience-stricken, exclaimed to Wilson, “Jesu! Pate! What na gate is this we are ganging? I trow it be not gude.”

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.258-266.

BELOW Blackfriars Street opens Toddrick’s Wynd, to which a special interest is attached, from its association with one of the darkest deeds of a lawless age, for it was by that dark and narrow alley that James Hepburn Earl of Bothwell and his heartless accomplices proceeded towards the gate of the Blackfriars monastery in the Cowgate, on the night of the 9th of February, 1567, to fire the powder lodged in the vaults of the provost’s house in the Kirk-of-field, 

– “and blew a palace into atoms, 
Sent a young king – a young queen’s mate at least, 
Into the air, as high as e’er flew night-hawk, 
And made such wild work in the realm of Scotland 
As they can tell who heard.”

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.266-274.

[Mary], with several of the nobles, spent the evening of the 9th of February with him, and only left him at eleven o’clock; to give her presence, at an entertainment, in Holyrood-house, to two of her domesticks. At parting she kissed her husband, and took a ring, from her own finger, which she put upon his; as a sincere tribute of her kindest affections. On the morrow, about two o’clock, in the morning, the King, with his servant Taylor, were found dead, in the adjoining garden, without any marks of violence, on their bodies; and the house blown up, with gunpowder. Thus perished the wayward Darnley, whose fortune and whose fate, will, for ever, give him that place, in history, which his insignificance, and unkingly conduct, would have denied him.

– Life of Mary, pp.136-151.

A few days after, [Queen Mary and Darnley] set out for Edinburgh, where they arrived on the last day of January. The sick man was taken neither to Craigmillar nor to Holyrood, but to an old house, close to the city wall, at a place called Kirk of Field, near to the site of the present university. There the queen visited him daily, and slept for two nights in a room below the king’s bed-chamber. On Sunday the 9th of February, [1567,] she came at ten o’clock, went straight to his room and spent some time with him, talking cheerfully and kindly. It was understood that she was to pass the night, as she had done before, in the chamber below the king’s, but she seemed suddenly to remember that she had promised to take part in a masked ball to be held that night at Holyrood, on the occasion of the marriage of a favourite French valet, called Bastiat, to one of her women. Bidding her husband an affectionate good-night, she passed the door of her chamber without entering it. Had she gone into the room she would have seen that her bed had been removed, and would have noticed the sacks of gunpowder that Bothwell had, a little before her arrival, caused to be placed there. 

– A History of Scotland, Chapter XIV. 


Feb. 9. [1592] – ‘… the Earl of Moray’s mother, accompanied with her friends, brought over her son’s and the sheriff of Moray’s dead corpse, in litters, to Leith, to be brought from thence to be buried in the aile of the Great Kirk of Edinburgh, in the Good Regent’s tomb, and, as some report, to be made first a spectacle to the people at the cross of Edinburgh; but they were stayed by command from the king.

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.


The 9th of February, this same year [1602], [Alister] the Laird of MacGregor, with 400 of his name and kindred, enters the county of Lennox, spoils it, and kills above 200 men, women and children, using all the acts of hostility that a merciless and barbarous enemy could do.

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

Feb. 9. [1603] – This is the date of an outbreak of private warfare which throws all contemporary events of the same kind into the shade. 

In pursuance of a quarrel of some standing between the Clan Gregor and Colquhoun, Laird of Luss, the former came in force to the banks of Loch Lomond. The parties met in Glenfruin, and the Colquhouns, out-manœuvred by the enemy, were overthrown. The Macgregors, besides killing a number of persons, variously stated at three score and four score, in the battle, are alleged to have murdered a number of prisoners (amongst whom, by the way,was Tobias Smollett, bailie of Dumbarton, very likely an ancestor of the novelist, his namesake), and also some poor unarmed people. The whole slaughter is set down at 140 persons. Besides all this, they carried off 600 cattle, 800 sheep and goats, fourteen score of horse and mares, ‘with the haill plenishing, gudes and geir, of the four-score-pound land of Luss, burning and destroying everything else.’ It has been alleged that they killed the laird after taking him prisoner, and murdered a number of school-boys from the college or school of Dumbarton; but these would appear to be groundless charges. Such as their guilt was, it proved the commencement of a long course of oppression and misery endured by this clan. According to a contemporary writer, a mournful procession came to Edinburgh, bearing eleven score of bloody shirts, to excite the indignation of the king against the Macgregors. There being no friend of the Macgregors present to plead their cause, letters of intercommuning were immediately issued against them.

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.


In the beginning of the seventeenth century (1604) we find the Presbytery of Glasgow complaining of “a plurality of schools: they consider the school taught by John Buchanan, and the Grammar School quite sufficient.” Some thirty years after this the town council, proceeding on the same principal of restriction, “statut and ordainit that na mae Inglische Scooles be keipt or haldin within this burghe heireftir bur four onlie with ane wrytting schooll.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.276-289. 

1  9th Feb. 1639.


   “Abstract of the Act made in the Fourth Session of the First Parliament of our late most High and Dread Sovereign Queen ANNE, &c, holden and begun at Edinburgh, the third Day of October, 1706. Entituled, ACT, Ratifying and Approving the Treaty of Union of the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England. 

January 16, 1707.

   THE Estates of Parliament considering, That Articles of Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England, were Agreed on the twenty second of July, One Thousand seven Hundred and six Years, by the Commissioners Nominated on Behalf of this Kingdom, under Her Majesties Great Seal of Scotland, bearing Date the twenty seventh of February last past, in pursuance of the fourth Act of the Third Session of this Parliament, and the Commissioners Nominated on Behalf of the Kingdom of England, under Her Majesties Great Seal of England, bearing Date at Westminster the Tenth Day of April last past, in pursuance of an Act of Parliament made in England the Third Year of Her Majesties Reign, To Treat of and concerning an Union of the said Kingdoms; Which Articles were, in all Humility, presented to Her Majesty, upon the twenty third of the said Month of July, and were recommended to this Parliament by Her Majesties Royal Letter, of the Date the thirty one Day of July one Thousand seven hundred and six; And that the said Estates of Parliament, Resolving to Establish the Protestant Religion on, and Presbyterian Church Government within this Kingdom, has past, in this Session of Parliament, an Act Entituled, Act for securing of the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government, which by the Tenor thereof, is appointed to be insert in any Act Ratifying the Treaty, and expressly Declared to be a Fundamental and Essential Condition of the said Treaty or Union, in all Time coming. THEREFORE Her Majesty, with Advice and Consent of the Estates of Parliament, in Fortification of the Approbation of the Articles as above mentioned, and for their further and better Establishment of the same, upon full and mature Deliberation upon the foresaid Articles of Union, and Act of Parliament, Doth Ratify, Approve and Confirm the same, with the Additions and Explanations contained in the saids Articles, in Manner and under the Provision after-mentioned, whereof the Tenor follows. 

    I. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation.

    II. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation.

   III. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation. 

   IV. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation.

    V. Article. Instead of the Words, at the Time of signing this Treaty, ‘tis said, at the Time of Ratifying the Treaty of Union of the Two Kingdoms in the Parliament of Scotland. And, instead of the Words, within twelve Months after the Union, ‘tis said, within Twelve Months after the First of May next. Instead of the Words, making Oath, that the same did belong to him or them, ‘tis said, making Oath, that the same did, in Haill or in Part, belong to him or them.

    VI. Article. That all Parts of the United Kingdom, for ever from and after the Union, shall have the same Allowances and Encouragements, [there the Word DRAWBACKS is added] and be under the same Prohibitions, Restrictions and Regulations of Trade, and liable to the same Customs and Duties on Import and Export: And that the same Allowances, Encouragements, [here again the Word DRAWBACKS comes in] Prohibitions, Restrictions and Regulations of Trade, and the Customs and Duties on Import and Export settled in England; when the Union commences, shall, from and after the Union, take place throughout the whole United Kingdom. [Whereunto the following Words are added, viz. Excepting and reserving the Duties upon Export and Import of such particular Commodities, from which any Persons, the Subjects of either Kingdom, are specially liberated and exempted by their private Rights, which, after the Union, are to remain safe and entire to them, in all Respects, as before the same: And that, from and after the Union, no Scots Cattle carried into England, shall be liable to any other Duties, either on the publick or private Accounts, than these Duties to which the Cattle of England are, or shall be liable within the said Kingdom. And seeing by the Laws of England, there are Rewards granted upon the Exportation of certain Kinds of Grain, wherein Oats grinded or ungrinded are not expressed, That from and after the Union, when Oats shall be paid Two Shillings and Sixpence Sterling for every Quarter of the Oat Meal Exported in the Terms of the Law, whereby, and so long as Rewards are granted for Exportation of other Grains; and that the Bear of Scotland have the same Rewards as Barley. And in respect the Importation of Victual into Scotland from any Place beyond the Sea, would prove a Discouragement to Tillage; Therefore, that the Prohibition, as now in Force by the Law of Scotland, against Importation of Victual from Ireland, or any other Place beyond Sea into Scotland, do, after the Union, remain in the same Force as now it is, until more proper and effectual Ways be provided by the Parliament of Great Britain for discouraging the Importation of the said Victual from beyond Sea.

   VII. Article. That all Parts of the United Kingdom be for ever, from and after the Union, liable to the same Excises upon all Exciseable Liquors, [Here are added the following Words, viz. Excepting only, That the Thirty-four Gallons English Barrel of Beer or Ale, amounting to Twelve Gallons Scots present Measure, sold in Scotland by the Brewer at Nine Shillings, Sixpence Sterling, excluding all Duties, and Retailed, including Duties and the Retainers Profit, at Two Pence the Scots Pint, or Eighth Part of the Scots Gallon, be not, after the Union, liable on account of the present Excise upon Exciseable Liquors in England, to any higher Imposition than Two Shillings Sterling upon the foresaid Thirty-four Gallons English Barrel, being Twelve Gallons the present Scots Measure] And that the Excise settled in England on such Liquors [these two last Words are altered to all other Liquors] when the Union commences, take place throughout the whole united Kingdom.   

This to be continued.”

– Caledonian Mercury, Tuesday 9th February, 1725.

– Treaty of Union Articles, Abstract of the Act, Ratifying and Approving the Treaty of Union.


   Sir, – At the present moment, when two millions of hitherto unenfranchised men are about to be given a voice in the government of the nation, it may not be amiss to say a few words regarding a matter which could not fail to bring contentment to a most important portion of the empire, facilitate the progress of legislation, and prove very beneficial to England and Scotland. National self-government, as expressed in the simple words ‘Home Rule,’ is unfortunately misinterpreted by the majority of the people of Great Britain, who understand it to mean ‘separation,’ and who are, therefore, opposed to any such arrangement. This parrot-cry has in large measure served its purpose just as did the shrieks regarding ‘the rights of property’ and ‘confiscation’ keep back for a time much-needed reform of the Irish land laws. But our working-men of today are, I rejoice, a reading, thinking class. Education is doing its work well, and a few years will discover not only a strong Irish cry for legislative independence, but this demand will be endorsed by a most influential British democracy, and the sooner it is recognised that Mr Parnell’s scheme for the restoration of the ‘Parliament of Grattan’ is not outside the pale of practical politics the better. ‘Disintegration of the empire’ is so often dinned into our ears that the unthinking are apt to suppose that there is really something in it. Let us look around and discover for ourselves. The Isle of Man is self-governed; Australia has her own Legislature; the Canadians govern themselves; and who will have the audacity to assert that England is weaker in consequence? Hungary, having the right to make her own laws, increases the security of Austria. The most admirable feature of American government is her State Parliaments. And why not allow this system which has proved so very beneficial elsewhere to have a fair trial in the sister country? What is advocated by Irish Nationalists is neither ‘separation’ not parochial nor county government. Most people fail to see the medium – are ignorant of the federal arrangements existing betwixt many countries. Home Rule is simply the making of Irish laws in Ireland by Irishmen. The connection would continue, imperial affairs be managed by the representatives of the three kingdoms, Ireland contribute her fair share towards the upkeep of the army, navy, &c., and the work of Parliament would thus be minus Irish legislation. At the present time we hear frequent complaints regarding the insufficiency of the machinery of the House of Commons, the delay in the passing of much-needed measures, and a remedy is eagerly sought. The real remedy lies in allowing an Irish Parliament to legislate for Ireland, a Scotch Parliament to make Scotch laws, an English Chamber to rule England, and have an Assembly to settle Imperial affairs. The governing of Ireland from London has now gone on for eighty-four years, and during that period we find that there has ever been discontent, that coercion and bayonets have been constantly in requisition, that even to-day an army of occupation consisting of some forty thousand armed men is necessary to maintain your grip of ‘the tight little island.’ Cockney rule is, therefore, a failure. It has created and fostered discontent, ruined native industries, caused periodical famines, has the country steeped in poverty, her children from necessity flying her shores, her population – and her people are very prolific – rapidly decreasing, and the mode in which she is governed a by-word amongst the nations. An English king, after the battle of Fontenoy, had reason to curse the laws which robbed him of such subjects as the daring fellows – Clare’s dragoons – who there saved the honour of France and brought discredit on the English arms. May not a day yet come when we shall regret that bigotry and prejudice so blinded the British people as to allow them to tolerate the tyranny which has given millions of wealth producers to America, and statesmen, scholars, and soldiers to nearly every civilised country? Should we read that in Russia a portion of the empire was governed from a place in which sodomy was prevalent, that the perpetrators of this horrible crime held high positions, and that the important office of Crown prosecutor was entrusted to a man of the stamp of George Bolton, we would unhesitatingly denounce such rule. Yet we tolerate it at our own doors. Dublin Castle government is indefensible – is a disgrace to the enlightened England of to-day. Abolish it, and gain the friendship and goodwill of the Irish nation by substituting Home Rule which would mean a union based on equality and not on the infamous practices of Castlereagh. – Yours sincerely,  


– Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, Monday 9th February, 1885.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

3 thoughts on “9th of February

Leave a Reply