9th of March

St Pacian, Bishop of Barcelona, 4th century. St Gregory, of Nyssa, bishop, 400. St Frances, widow of Rome, foundress of the Collatines, 1440. St Catherine, of Bologna, virgin, 1463.

Born. – Lewis Gonzaga (St Aloysius), 1568; Dr Joseph Franz Gall, founder of phrenology, 1757, Tiefenbrunn, Suabia. 
Died. – Sultan Bajazet I., Antioch; David Rizzio, 1566, murdered, Holyrood; Cardinal Jules Mazarine, 1661, Vincennes; John Calas, broken on the wheel, 1762, Toulouse; William Guthrie, historical and geographical writer, 1771, London; Professor Oersted, Danish natural philosopher, 1851.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The arched gate at the foot of the first bend in the Bow is distinctly shown in Rothiemay’s map [see chapter 12]. Within this and the old city wall, on the west side, was an ancient timber-fronted tenement, known as “Lord Ruthven’s Land,” being the residence of the gloomy and daring Patrick third Lord Ruthven, whose son was the first Earl of Gowrie – the same dark and terrible lord who rose from his sick-bed (a few months after to be his death-bed, though he fled to Newcastle in the interim), and, donning his armour, drew back the arras of the Queen’s chamber, looking like a pale spectre under his steel-barred helmet, on that fatal night [9th] March of 1566, when he planted his dagger into David Rizzio, whose death was mainly his contrivance; and in the demolition of this house a singular relic of him apparently was discovered. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.315-321.

“Upon the 9th day of March [1566,] we being at even, about seven hours, in our cabinet, at our supper, sociated with our sister, the Countess of Argyle, our brother, the commendator of Holyrood-house, the laird of Creich [Beaton] Arthur Erskin, and certain others our domestic servitors, in quiet manner, especially by reason of our evil disposition [illness] being counselled to sustain ourselves with flesh, having then passed almost to the end of seven months in our birth, the King, our husband, come to us, in our cabinet, and placed himself beside us, at our supper. The Earl of Morton, and Lord Lindsay, with their assisters, boden in warlike manner [properly armed] to the number of eighteen persons, occupied the whole entry of our palace of Holyrood-house, so that, as they believed, it was not passable for any person, to escape forth of the same. In that mean time, the Lord Ruthven, boden in like manner [equally armed] with his accomplices, took entry perforce, in our cabinet; and there seeing our secretary David Riccio, among others our servants, declared he had to speak with him. In this instant, we required the King, our husband, if he knew any thing of that enterprize, who denied the same: Also, we commanded the Lord Ruthven, under the pain of treason, to avoid him forth of our presence, (he [Riccio] then for refuge took safeguard, having retired him behind our back) but Ruthven, with his complices cast down our table upon ourself put violent hands on him, struck him over our shoulder with whinyards [hangers,] one part of them standing before our face, with bended dags [cocked pistols,] most cruelly took him out of our cabinet, and at the entry of our chamber, gave him fifty six strokes with whinyards, and swords. In doing whereof, we were not only struck with great dread, but also by sundrie considerations was, most justly induced to take extreme fear of our life. After this deed, immediately the said Lord Ruthven, coming again into our presence, declared how they, and their complices, were highly offended with our proceedings, and tyranny, which was not to them tolerable; how we were abused, by the said David, whom they had actually put to death, namely, in taking his counsel, for the maintenance of the ancient religion; debaring of the lords, who were fugitives, and entertaining of amity with foreign princes, and nations, with whom we were confederate; putting also upon council, the lords Bothwell, and Huntley, who were traitors, and with whom he [Riccio] associated himself.” 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

This year, 1566, the 9th day of March, David [Rizzio,] an Italian, secretary to the Queen for the French tongue, was forcibly drawn out of the parlour where the Queen was at supper, to [another] room, and stabbed by some noblemen, animated to that homicide by the King, the Queen’s husband; his corpse was interred in the [churchyard] of Holyroodhouse abbey. The Queen being great with child, did all she could to have saved his life; yea, when strength could not do, she bitterly wept, but to no end, he was so quickly dispatched. 

– Historical Works, pp.275-340.

Riccio was assassinated at Holyroodhouse, in the queen’s presence (March 9, 1566). The horrible outrage took a strong hold of Mary’s feelings, and was allowed too much to sway her subsequent actions. She seemed, however, to be reconciled to her husband; and not long after, her son, who afterwards became James VI., was born. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.30-34.

The result of this compact was that on the 9th of March, 1566, Morton, the chancellor, having the king with him, took possession of the great gate and all the outlets of the palace of Holyrood. Darnley took some of the conspirators to his own room, whence he led Ruthven by a secret stair to the queen’s apartments. [Queen Mary] was seated on a couch at a small table. Beside her sat the Lady Argyle and Rizzio with his cap on. They seemed to have no thought of danger. Darnley put his arm round the queen’s waist. Ruthven, clad in armour and haggard from recent sickness, said to the queen, “Let yonder man, Davie, come forth of your presence, for he hath been overlong there.” The queen desired to know why her servant was wanted, and on being told, she stood up, while Rizzio crouched behind her, clutching at the folds of her gown. The queen’s attendants laid hold of Ruthven, but he shook them off, while the other conspirators rushed in and filled the room. Ruthven placed the queen in her husband’s arms, telling her not to be afraid. Rizzio was dragged out of the queen’s presence, and all that could get near enough stabbed him until “they slew him at the queen’s far door in the outer chamber.”

– A History of Scotland, Chapter XIV.

Mackay and his countrymen were encamped on the river of Marle, and in order to detach him from the earl of Caithness, Mackintosh crossed that river and had a private conference with him. After reminding him of the friendship which had so long subsisted between his ancestors and the Sutherland family, Mackintosh endeavoured to impress upon his mind the danger he incurred by taking up arms against his own superior the earl of Sutherland, and entreated him, for his own sake, to join the earl; but Mackay remained inflexible. 

By the mediation of mutual friends, the two earls agreed to a temporary truce on the ninth of March fifteen hundred and eighty-seven, and thus the effusion of human blood was stopped for a short time. As Mackay was the vassal of the earl of Sutherland, the latter refused to comprehend him in the truce, and insisted upon an unconditional submission, but Mackay obstinately refused to do so, and returned home to his own country, highly chagrined that the earl of Caithness, for whom he had put his life and estate in jeopardy, should have acceded to the earl of Sutherland’s request, to exclude him from the benefit of the truce. Before the two earls separated, they came to a mutual understanding to reduce Mackay to obedience; and that he might not suspect their design, they agreed to meet at Edinburgh for the purpose of concerting the necessary measures together. Accordingly, they held a meeting at the appointed place in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-eight, and came to the resolution to attack Mackay; and to prevent Mackay from receiving any intelligence of their design, both parties swore to keep the same secret; but the earl of Caithness, regardless of his oath, immediately sent notice to Mackay of the intended attack, for the purpose of enabling him to meet it. Instead, however, of following the earl of Caithness’ advice, Mackay, justly dreading his hollow friendship, made haste, by the advice of Mackintosh and the Laird of Foulis, to reconcile himself to the earl of Sutherland, his superior, by an immediate submission. For this purpose, he and the earl first met at Inverness, and after conferring together they made another appointment to meet at Elgin, where a perfect and final reconciliation took place in the month of November, fifteen hundred and eighty-eight.

– History of the Highlands, pp.199-212.

The winter 1634-5 is described by a contemporary as ‘the most tempestuous and stormy that was seen in Scotland these sixty years past, with such abundance of snow and so rigid a frost, that the snow lay in the plains from the 9th of December to the 9th of March.’ – Bal

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.

In consequence of an order from the supreme committee of the covenanters in Edinburgh, every man capable of bearing arms was called out and trained. Experienced Scottish officers who had spent the greater part of their lives in military service in Sweden and Germany, returned to Scotland to place themselves at the head of their countrymen, and the Scottish merchants in Holland supplied them with arms and ammunition. The king advanced as far as York with an army, the Scottish bishops making him believe that the news of his approach would induce the covenanters to submit themselves to his pleasure; but he was disappointed in this vain idea, for instead of submitting themselves, they were the first to commence hostilities. On Friday the ninth of March, sixteen hundred and thirty-nine, General Leslie, the covenanting general, at the head of one thousand men, surprised the castle of Edinburgh, and on the following day the earl of Traquair surrendered Dalkeith house, and on the Sunday during the observance of a solemn fast, the covenanters obtained possession of the castle of Dumbarton. The king, on arriving at Durham, dispatched the marquis of Hamilton with a fleet of forty ships, having on board six thousand troops, to the Frith of Forth; but as both sides of the Frith were well fortified at different points, and covered with troops, he was unable to effect a landing. 

– History of the Highlands, pp.314-341.

On the 9th March, 1659, “there were,” says Nicoll, “fyve wemen, witches, brint on the Castell Hill, all of them confessand their covenanting with Satan, sum of thame renunceand thair baptisme, and all of them oft tymes dancing with the devell.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.79-87.

   “… The speeches, eloquent in many respects though they were, scarcely unfolded a single point that has not been times without number repeated, and with which every one must be quite familiar. The two following resolutions, which, with others, were heartily and unanimously approved of, will give some idea of the matters treated:-  

   ‘That in violation of the terms and spirit of the Treaty of Union, the Privy Council of Scotland, the office of Secretary of State for Scotland, the Scottish High Court of Admiralty, and Board of Customs, and Excise, and other branches of local administration, have been abolished or placed under English control, to the great loss and detriment of the people of Scotland. That Scotland is entitled to claim their restoration, and that the same should be restored accordingly.’  

   ‘That the representatives returned by Scotland to the House of Commons, and as contemplated by the new Reform Bill, are not in the relative proportion of the number of the people or the amount of the revenue as compared with those of England; and that this meeting is of opinion that, in order to give the voice of Scotland its just weight in Parliament, their members should be increased to its fair proportion.’  

   At the conclusion of the speeches a vote of thanks was awarded the speakers and the chairman, and the meeting retired, having occupied about three hours.”  

– Northern Warder and General Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Perth and Forfar, Thursday 9th March, 1854.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1850-1875.

THE EDINBURGH ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION visited (9th March [1895]). – Liberton House, the former residence of the Littles, the owners of the barony. The house belongs to a transition period when defensive architecture, even in the case of structures without any claim to rank as castle of fortress, had not yet been wholly abandoned, and when the state of society made it necessary to retain safeguards against sudden attack. Though disfigured extremely by an alteration in the height of the walls, which have been considerably raised, and in the pitch of the roof, which has been depressed, the outlines of the original elevation are still clearly traceable. The bold and picturesque corbelling in the upper part of the tower and the quaintly-inscribed sundial, built into the angle of the outer walls, were pointed out. The interior part of the house has undergone a complete though strictly conservative restoration. It was explained how, by the removal of modern lath and plaster, one by one the many interesting features of the building were opened out and eventually brought back as far as possible to their original condition. 

– Scots Lore, pp.231-236.

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