16th of February

St Onesimus, disciple of St Paul, martyr, 95. Saints Elias, Jeremy, Isaias, Samuel, and Daniel, Egyptian martyrs, 309. St Juliana, virgin martyr at Nicomedia, about 309. St Tanco (or Tatto), of Scotland, bishop, martyr at Verdun, about 815. St Gregory X. (Pope), 1276.

Born. – Philip Melanchthon, reformer, 1497, Bretten; Gaspard de Coligny, Admiral of France, and Protestant leader, 1516, Chatillon; Baron Trenck, 1726. 
Died. – Alphonso III. (of Portugal), 1279; John Stoffler, German astronomer, 1531; Peter Macquer, French chemist, 1784, Paris; Giovan Batista Casti, Italian poet, 1803, Paris; Lindley Murray, grammarian, 1826; Dr Kane, American Arctic explorer, 1857, Havana.

On this Day in Other Sources.

On the 16th February 1505, Parliament ratified “the creation and making of the baronys of new create and maid within the Kings Earldom of Stratherne, within thir thre yeris last bipast, nd relaxit the said baronyis and landis annexit to thaim, fra all service aucht therof in the Stewart Courts of the Kings Earldom of Stratherne, and will that the said seruice be paid in the Kings sheriff court of Perth, in all tymes to cum.”1

– Sketches, pp.204-219. 

1  Act. Parl. II. 267.

The Queen, shutting herself up, in a close apartment, within Edinburgh castle, without light, or air, feeling “a world of wo and sorrow,” soon endangered her health, and would have very soon brought her life into hazard, if her physicians had not represented those circumstances of danger to the privy council, who advised her to retire into the country, for a time. The Queen saw the fitness of this advice, which suggested to the forger of Murray’s journal, to misrepresent the fact, in the following manner: “They [the Queen and Bothwell] on the 21st of February 1567, passed together to Seaton; and there passed their time, merryly, together, to the 10th of March, when Le Croc, the French ambassador, persuaded her to return to Edinburgh. 10th of March they [the Queen and Bothwell] returned to Edinburgh, by persuasion of Le Croc, where they remained till the 24th of the same month; earnestly trying the upsetting of the placards; but, never a word of the King’s murder.” – Thus much then, of the slander of Buchanan, which only evinces the odious guilt of Murray’s faction.  

Let us, however, collate with that slander a dispatch from Sir William Drury, from Berwick of the 17th of February 1567, to Secretary Cecil, on the same subject. Drury had been informed, that the Queen of Scotland was come, this “night to Dunbar: She this last night [the 16th of February] lay at the Lord Seaton’s accompanied, by Argyle, Huntley, Bothwell, [he was high sheriff of this shire] Arbroath, the Archbishop of St. Andrews, the Lords Fleming, and Livingston, with the secretary, who followed, amounting to a hundred people.” [On the 23d of February, Secretary Maitland wrote, from Seaton, to Cecil, a letter of recommendation, and compliment: But, not a word of the murder.]  

We thus see, that the Queen, with her court, consisting of a hundred people, left Edinburgh castle, and retired to the fine seat of Lord Seaton, on the 16th of February 1567:..

– Life of Mary, pp.151-155.

Feb. 16. [1598] – It was now six years since the tragic death of the Earl of Moray, and yet his corpse lay unburied. So also did that of Lord Maxwell, killed in a conflict with the Johnstons in December 1593. 

Stigmatising this as an abuse that ‘of late has croppin in,’ and in order to prevent the example from being followed, the king and Council issued an order to the respective relatives of the two noblemen that they have the bodies buried in their ordinary places of sepulture within twenty days, under pain of rebellion. – P. C. R

Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

The more opulent class of burgesses, constituting the merchant rank, had, in Glasgow and other considerable burghs, enjoyed for a long time a monopoly of influence and power, and they viewed with distrust the growing importance of the artisan burgesses or craftsmen. These, on the other hand, rising as they now rapidly were to wealth and importance, viewed with jealousy the position of the merchants, and their attempts to exclude them not merely from a participation in municipal government, but even from those mercantile adventures which were becoming such sources of wealth to the enterprising trader. The parties were ultimately brought together by friendly mediation, and an arbitration was entered into which, in 1605, resulted in the well-known decree called the Letter of Guildry, which was ratified by the magistrates and subsequently confirmed by the king and parliament. By this important deed the Dean of Guild Court was established, and its jurisdiction defined; the relative rights of the merchants and craftsmen were finally adjusted; and, as expressed in a minute of the town council in 1605, it was settled that there was to be no more at any “muster, weapon-shawing or other lawful assembly, any question strife or debate betwixt merchant and craftsman for prerogative or priority, but they and every one of them, as one body of the commonweill shall rank and place themselves together but [without] distinction as they shall happen to fall in rank.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.237-239. 

1  16th Feb. 1605.

Leith, Feb. 16 [1706]. This day came in to our Port the Mary Galley, David Preshu, Commander, laden with Wine and Brandy.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.282-290.

   “Continuation of the Abstract of the ACT Ratifying and Confirming the Treaty of Union, with the Additions and Explanations, &c. 

   XIV. Article. That the Kingdom of Scotland be not charged with any other Duties laid on by the Parliament of England before the Union, except those consented to in this Treaty, &c. [The following Words are added, in the Middle of this Act, viz. With this further Provision, That any Malt to be made and consumed in that Part of the united Kingdom now called Scotland, shall not be charged with any Imposition upon Malt during this present War.] 

    XV. Article. Whereas by the Terms of this Treaty, the Subjects of Scotland, for preserving an Equality of Trade throughout the united Kingdom, will be liable to several Customs and Excises now payable in England, &c. [Near the Middle of the Article, the following Words are omitted in the Act of Ratification, tho’ a Part of the Articles, viz. ‘And whereas, from the Expiration of seven Years after the Union, Scotland is to be liable for the same Duties for Salt made in Scotland, as shall be then payable for Salt made in England; It is agreed, That when such Duties take place there, an Equivalent shall be answered to Scotland for such Part thereof as shall be applied towards Payment of the Debts of England; of which Duties an Account shall be kept, to the end it may appear what is to be answered to Scotland as the said Equivalent’. – And as for the Uses to which the said Sum of three hundred, ninety eight thousand, eighty five Pounds ten Shillings, to be granted as aforesaid, and all other Monies which are to be answered or allowed to Scotland as aforesaid; It is agreed, That out of the said Sum of three hundred ninety eight thousand, eighty five Pound, ten Shillings, all the publick Debts of the Kingdom of Scotland [Here the last Words, viz. all the public Debts of the Kingdom of Scotland, are omitted in the Act of Ratification,] as also, the Capital Stock or Fund of the African and Indian Company of Scotland advanc’d, together with the Interest for the said capital Stock, after the Rate of five Pounds per Cent. per annum, from the respective Times of the Payment thereof, shall be payed, &c.

   XVI. Article. That from and after the Union, the Coin shall be of the same Standard and Value throughout the united Kingdom, as now in England; and a Mint shall be continued in Scotland, under the same Rules as the Mint in England, [here the following Words are added, viz. And the present Officers of the Mint continued

   XVII. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation. 

   XVIII. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation. 

   XIX. Article. That the Court of Session, or College of Justice, do, after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof, remain in all Time coming within Scotland, as it is now constituted by the Laws of that Kingdom, and with the same Authority and Privileges as before the Union; subject nevertheless to such Regulations, for the better Administration of Justice, as shall be made by the Parliament of Great Britain; [here the following Words are added, viz. And that hereafter none shall be named by Her Majesty or her Royal Successors to be Ordinary Lords of Session, but such who have served in the College of Justice as Advocates or Principal Clerks of Session for the Space of Five Years, or as Writers to the Signet be capable to be admitted a Lord of the Session, unless he undergo a private and publick Tryal on the Civil Law before the Faculty of Advocates, and be found by them qualified for the said Office Two Years before he be Named to be a Lord of the Session; yet so as the Qualifications made or to be made for capacitating Persons to be named Ordinary Lords of Session, may be altered by the Parliament of Great Britain

   XX. Article. That all Heretable Offices, [Here the Word SUPERIORITIES is added] Heretable Jurisdictions, Officers for Life, and Jurisdictions for Life, be reserved to the Owners thereof, as Rights of Property, in the same Manner as they are now enjoyed by the Laws of Scotland, notwithstanding of this Treaty.

   XXI. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation. 

   XXII. Article. That by virtue of this Treaty, of the Peers of Scotland at the Time of the Union, Sixteen shall be the Number to sit and Vote in the House of Lords, and Forty five the Number to sit and Vote in the House of Lords, and Forty five the Number of the Representatives of Scotland in the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain, &c. No Addition or Explanation. 

   XXIII. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation. 

   XXIV. Article. That from and after the Union, there be one Great Seal for the united Kingdom of Great Britain, &c. [At the End the following Words are added, viz.] And that the Crown, Sceptre and Sword of State, the Records of Parliament, and all other Records, Rolls and Registers whatsoever, both publick and private, General and particular, and Warrants thereof continue to be keeped as they are within that Part of the United Kingdom now called Scotland, and that they shall so remain, in all Time coming, notwithstanding of the Union

   XXV. Article. No Addition, nor Explanation.”  

– Caledonian Mercury, Tuesday 16th February, 1725.

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

   “Yesterday the Lords heard Mr. Dod, as Council against the Scotch Episcopal Bill, and afterwards Read the same a second time and Committed it, and went through it in a Committee, making an Amendment that as well the Episcopal as Presbyterian Ministers shall be obliged to take the Abjuration Oath. The Judges are to be Consulted to see that nothing in it be against the Act of Union.”  

– Newcastle Courant, Saturday 16th February, 1712.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1700-1750.


   Lord FRASER, said that the College of Justice had had a glorious career for more than three centuries and a half; and he ventured to say it never at any previous period in its history stood so high in the estimation of the people of Scotland than it did at present. One of the most pitiful pages in Scottish history was that where Lord Hailes told them of the misery of Baliol, who, when King, was told by Edward that cases from Scotland must come up to Westminster Hall, and that he himself must come up to defend them. They thought that that kind of thing had been put an end to by the Treaty of Union, but eight years ago an attempt was made to carry cases from Scotland to what? To a Court in London composed of English lawyers, ignorant of the laws and history of Scotland. But the outbreak of indignation soon extinguished the proposal. (Applause.) Since the Union, there had been various attempts made to nibble away that famous Treaty. But there was a limit to everything; and now, apparently, the Scottish people had awoke to the necessity of vindicating their independence. Reference had been made especially to the way in which Scotland had been treated with regard to grants to public institutions. They might hope from what they heard the other day that there would be a serious recognition of the claims of Scotland on the part of the Government. (Applause.)”  

– Scotsman, Saturday 16th February, 1884.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.


Edinburgh, February 12, 1886.

   SIR, – Having in my former letters discussed some of the general bearings of this great question, it may not be amiss now to consider what effect Home Rule would have upon Scotland and her capital. Let me ask them, Does Scotland need Home Rule, and do the people want it? If you do not think your readers are weary of me I would like to address them on this subject as briefly as possible.  

   Having been a careful observer of public affairs for over thirty years I have no hesitation in affirming that Scotland most urgently needs Home Rule, paradoxical as it may appear, even more so than Ireland. This opinion is based on the fact that the history of our country, its manners and customs, laws, and institutions are distinctly different from England, form a more complete contrast than English institutions do to Irish – the criminal law, for example, with its public prosecutors and jury trial. In Scotland a majority of the jury carries conviction, but in England and Ireland the jury must be unanimous – an absurdity to a logical people like the Scotch, where twelve men hardly ever could agree upon anything. With such a system the marvel is how any criminals are convicted at all. In England and Ireland the jury have only two verdicts, but in Scotland they have three, which is also in harmony with the prevailing sentiment of the people. It is not the Scottish law, be it remembered, that is odd. Our laws are founded on the same principles as the jurisprudence of other European States. It is the English that is peculiar and unsuited to us. Then, if our laws are worthy of being maintained, it follows that we must not starve our superior Courts, but bring everything we can into them; for, being a small people and requiring to keep an efficient bar, if the richest part of the practice is carried to London our advocates will be impoverished, and the best of our lawyers will leave a country where the most lucrative part of their profession is given over to strangers. I need say no more on this point; it is self-evident. If private bill legislation were managed in Edinburgh a number of very considerable advantages would accrue to Scotland. In the first place, any expense incurred would be given to our own people, and serve to maintain the efficiency of our bar. The cost to the promoters would also be very much smaller, for legal talent could be secured for twenty guineas here which would cost in London from fifty to a hundred; for Parliamentary lawyers are there overgorged with prey, and are negligent and saucy to a degree. Moreover, the greater proportion of the population of Scotland being within easy distance of the capital, parties interested in private bills could be called by telegram when they were required and return the same evening to their homes. The result of this arrangement would be that private bills would cost about one fourth what they do in London, and the costs would go to enrich our own people and not be squandered upon strangers. Scottish lawyers may also be credited with a knowledge of Scottish wants unknown to English barristers.  

   It is in public legislation, however, that Scotland has most cause of complaint, having only seventy representatives in a House of over six hundred. She is left entirely at the mercy of the English members, who, having consumed the whole available time, thrust Scottish business into the small hours of the morning. It is impossible for our business to be properly managed at these unseasonable hours; it is worse than an insult, it is a cruel injury to have our laws and institutions mangled by sleepy legislators. How different would things be is the members sat in Edinburgh under the eye of Scotland; not a drowsy hour at midnight, but a whole summer’s day would be spent in providing us with wise reforms. Is there a man in Scotland who cannot see the immense advantage of Home Rule in providing us with wholesome laws? Now, though we are a small people, we have a great past, and I trust a great future, the variety of our needs are as great as England’s, and will give ample works to a Scottish Parliament.  

   If, then, the laws of Scotland were amended in the country, our nobility and gentry would be compelled to reside in the capital, and the millions that are drained from Scotland would be spent at home. It is the highest testimony to the amazing industry of the country that she has been able to stand this drain on her resources so long. But there is a sense which, to the generous mind, will commend Home Rule more than the saving of wealth, and that is, the retaining at home our own men of genius. The Royal Scottish Academy is starved by having her best members drafted to London in search of patrons which, if Scottish wealth was spent at home, would be found at their own door. Edinburgh would become indeed a royal city, a second Paris, but not second to her in beauty. Society being enriched by a real nobility and gentry, would at once extinguish that narrow professional cast which is sometimes referred to as the reproach of Edinburgh society. Literature and art would follow, music and the drama would rise to a level worthy of the genius of Scotland. Our best sons have been drained from us, our music and poetry have been degraded, and even such journals as the Edinburgh Review, founded by our own Jeffrey and Scott, are carried to London. In fact, sir, our nationality has been all but extinguished, and in violation or contempt of the Treaty of Union, we hear Cabinet Ministers speaking of the English Government, English Army, English Fleet, English Ministers, and other insulting terms daily used in Parliament.  

   But so the people of Scotland want Home Rule? That, sir, is impossible for any one to answer till they are asked. Many worthy Scotsmen do, the Convention of Royal Burghs have so declared themselves, but I fear the bulk of the people have not thought of it; when they do I am certain what will be their verdict. If, then, it is a desirable object, let me entreat those who can speak not to be silent in this great crisis in our history. – I am, &c.  


– Scotsman, Tuesday 16th February, 1886.

– Treaty of Union Articles, Collection of Charles Waddie, AKA Thistledown’s, Correspondence.

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