26th of February

St Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria, 326. St Parphyrius, bishop of Gaza, 420. St Victor, of Champagne, 7th century.

Born. – François J. D. Arago, natural philosopher, 1786; Victor Hugo, fictitious writer, 1802. 
Died. – Manfred (of Tarento), killed, 1266; Maximilian (of Bavaria), 1725, Munich; Joseph Tartiné, musical composer, 1770, Padua; Dr Alexander Geddes, theologian, 1802, Paddington; Sir William Allan, R.A., painter, 1850; Thomas Moore, lyrical poet, 1852.


The 26th of February, N.S., corresponds to the day which used to be assigned for the rooks beginning to search for materials for their nests, namely, the twelfth day after Candlemas, O.S. 

The Rev. Dr Waugh used to relate that, on his return from the first year’s session at the University of Edinburgh, his father’s gardener undertook to give him a few lessons in natural history. Among other things, he told him that the ‘craws’ (rooks) always began building twelve days after Candlemas. Wishful to shew off his learning, young Waugh asked the old man if the craws counted by the old or by the new style, just then introduced by Act of Parliament. Turning upon the young student a look of contempt, the old gardener said – ‘Young man, craws care naething for acts of parliament.’

On this Day in Other Sources.

“It began then to snow and freeze till the 22nd day of February, on which day men and women might well pass on the ice of Lyon in sundry places, and little tilth till the 26th day of February [1555,] and but in lyth (sheltered) places.’

– Sketches, pp.341-394.

After sermon and supper, on the 26th of February [1565,] said Randolph to Cecil, at the Lord Murray’s, and Darnley had seen the Queen, and divers ladies dance, he being required, by my Lord of Murray, danced a galliard with the Queen, who, for all the cold, and storms, came home, at the end of five weeks, lustier, than when she went forth.

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

This was the town residence of Sir Thomas Craig of Riccarton, a man of eminent learning and great nobility of character, and who practised as a lawyer for fully forty years, during the stormy reigns of Mary and James VI. In 1564 he was made Justice Depute, and found time to give to the world some very able poems – one on the birth of James, and another on his departure for England, are preserved in the Delitiæ Poetarum Scotorum. He steadily refused the honour of knighthood, yet was always called Sir Thomas Craig, in conformity to a royal edict on the subject. 

He wrote a treatise on the independent sovereignty of Scotland, which was rendered into wretched English by Ridpath, and published in 1675. He was Advocate for the Church, when he died at Edinburgh, on the 26th of February, 1608, and was succeeded in the old house, as well as his estate, by his eldest son, Sir Lewis Craig, born in 1569, and called to the bench in 1604, as Lord Wrightslands, while his father was still a pleader at the bar.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.219-227.

On 26 February, 1642, [Patrick Bell, Provost of Glasgow] was in London, for the town council deputed him to endeavour to get remedy for the plague of unpunished thieves, then infesting Glasgow.

– Scots Lore, pp.141-148.

Although the war pressed sorely on the resources of England, Paterson calculated securely that there was enough of spare capital and enterprise in London to cause the new Scottish trading scheme to be taken up readily there. When the books for subscription were opened in October, the whole £300,000 offered to the English merchants was at once appropriated. By this time, the fears of the East India Company and of the English mercantile class generally had been roused; it was believed that the Scottish adventurers would compete with them destructively in every place where they now enjoyed a lucrative trade. The parliament took up the cry, and voted that the noblemen and gentlemen named in the Scottish act were guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour. Irritated rather than terrified by this denunciation, these gentlemen calmly proceeded with their business in Scotland. The subscription books being opened on the 26th of February 1696, the taking up of the stock became something like a national movement. It scarcely appeared that the country was a poor one. Noblemen, country gentlemen, merchants, professional men, corporations of every kind, flocked to put down their names for various sums according to their ability, till not merely the £300,000 devoted to Scotsmen was engaged for, but some additional capital besides.

– Domestic Annals, pp.355-378.

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