14th of April

Saints Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus, martyrs in Rome, 229. Saint Carpus of Thyatira, and others, 251. St Benezet, patron of Avignon, 1184. Saints Antony, John, and Eustachius, martyrs, about 1342. B. Lidwina, of Schiedam, 1433.

 

Born. – Dr George Gregory, miscellaneous writer, 1754, Dublin
Died. – Earl of Bothwell, 1577; Madame de Sévigné (Letters), 1696, Grignan.

 

On this Day in Other Sources.

 

The 14th day of April, 1286, King Alexander, hunting a little west [of] Kinghorn, apart from his train, the courser whereon he rode rushed to the ground with him, with a full strength, and flings the King quite from him; by which fall he broke his neck bone, and so presently departed this life, without speaking one word. His corpse was embalmed, and solemnly interred at Dunfermline amongst his predecessors. Never was there more lamentation and sorrow for a king in Scotland, than for him; for the nobility, clergy, and, above all, the gentry and commons, bedewed his coffin for 17 days space with rivulets of tears. 

– Historical Works, pp.57-77.

 

The cases in which the discipline of the church was invoked to redress acts of violence are numerous, and in the worst of them the delinquents are priests… Sir John Wanles, also a priest, is cited before the archbishop, “to see and hear himself declared irregular and deprived of his rank, and to be thrown into prison by the secular authorities and otherwise punished, for the cruel slaughter of Adam Moscrop, scholar.”1 Many other cases of the same kind occur – acts of violence and licentiousness, and in one instance of theft – all committed by priests.2 In one instance a priest, for using “loose and profane words” in presence of the chancellor, is ordained to confess his fault and ask pardon of the judge and the archbishop “flexis genubus on the floor of the court.”3

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215.

1  14th April, 1511, Idem, No. 516. 
2  Vide Ibid., Nos. 569, 570. 
3  Ibid., No. 442.

 

The Queen kept her Easter, which happened on the 14th of April [1566], in the castle. But, she had little solace, and less hilarity, with Darnley, whose conduct, in Rizzio’s assassination, she was completely acquainted with: And, as he had thus shewn, his own, and his father’s purpose, to have been, to seize her sceptre, it was not easy to remove her jealousy of his future conduct. 

– Life of Mary, pp.127-136.

 

The death of Murray made a great impression upon Elizabeth; having lost so subservient an agent. She prepared to avenge it, and to supply his place. She sent the notorious Randolph to intrigue, at Edinburgh. She committed the Bishop of Ross a prisoner to the Bishop of London. Sussex, as lieutenant-general of the north, was dispatched, to assume the command of an army, which was to chastise, and overawe Scotland. He entered Teviotdale, on the 14th of April [1570], and laid waste the country. He did infinite mischief, in a very short time; his army returning, on the 22d of the same month. Lord Scroope made a similar inroad on the western border, with equal success, and equal damage. Elizabeth not only made formal war on Scotland, in order to frighten the people into obedience to her dictates, but, she prevented any justification of the Scotish Queen, before the public, from the charges, and calumnies, which had been so abundantly cast upon her, by the undoubted murderers of her husband, under the eye of Elizabeth. 

– Life of Mary, pp.235-244.

 

According to the usual policy in such cases, the government (April 14, 1578) issued a proclamation commanding the possessors of grain to thrash it out before the 10th of June, under the pain of escheating, and that no person should keep more victual than was sufficient to serve him and his family a quarter of a year, the rest to be brought to the market within twenty days. It was also ordered, that no grain should be taken forth of the kingdom, but ‘strangers bringing in victual should be favourably enterteened and thankfully paid.’ – Cal. This proclamation, being entirely accordant with the prejudices of the masses, was ‘mickle commendit.’ – Moy.

– Domestic Annals, pp.56-80.

 

Speaking of the religious life of the people, Mr. Chorley says – “The Lord’s days are strictly observed: all the scholars called to the several classes, where after religious exercises, all attend the Primar and Regents to church, forenoon and afternoon, and in the same order from church. Then in the evening they are called again to the classes, and then come under examination concerning the sermons heard, and give account of what was appointed the foregoing Sabbath in some theological treatise, and then to supper and chambers.” And he adds: “There is also a comely face of religion appearing throughout the whole city, in the private exercises thereof in the families, as may appear to any that walks through the streets; none being allowed either in or out of church time to pay or saunter about; but reading scriptures, singing psalms, &c., to be heard in most houses.”1 There is reason to fear, however, that in many cases it was only “a face of religion.” Absence from church was in those days a grave offence, and persons who were guilty of it, or of “playing or sauntering about,” were severely dealt with. The duty of looking after such delinquents was imposed by the kirk session on the magistrates and ministers, who, by a minute of session of 14th April, 1642, were directed “to go through the streets on Sabbath nights to search for persons who absent themselves from church: the town officers to go through with the Searchers.” By another minute the session directs the searchers, on the Sabbath, to pass into the houses and “to apprehend absents from the kirk.” These searchers, or “compurgators” as they were called, were also employed in perambulating the streets on Saturday nights, and when at the approach of twelve o’clock they heard any noisy conviviality going on, even in a private dwelling-house, they entered and dispersed the company. Another of their duties was to perambulate the streets and public walks during the time of divine service on Sunday, and compel every one they met abroad, not on necessary duty, to go to church. At a later period it was left optional to the delinquents to go home, and if they refused to do so they were taken into custody. This practice was continued till so late as the middle of last century, when the searchers having taken into custody Mr. Peter Blackburn, father of Mr. Blackburn of Killearn, for walking on the Green one Sunday, he prosecuted the magistrates and succeeded in his suit. This caused the practice to be abandoned.2

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215.

1  Pref. to Munimenta Universitatis, p. xxv. 
2  Notes by Dugald Bannatyne, Esq., quoted in Statistical Account, vol. vi. p. 231.

 

The character of Wilson the smuggler was not without some noble qualities, and he felt poignant regret for the selfish obstinacy by which he had prevented the escape of young Robertson; thus he formed the secret resolution of saving his comrade’s life, at any risk of his own. On the Sunday before the execution, according to the custom of the period, the criminals were taken to that part of St. Giles’s named the Tolbooth kirk, to hear the sermon preached for their especial benefit, but under custody of four soldiers of the City Guard, armed with their bayonets. On the dismissal of the congregation, Wilson, who was an active and powerful man, suddenly seized two of the soldiers, one with each hand, a third with his teeth, and calling to Robertson, “Run, Geordie, run!” Saw, with satisfaction, the latter knock the fourth soldier down, and achieve an escape, which no one for a moment thought of marring. 

The success of this daring achievement, though it doubly sealed his own fate, removed a load of remorse from the mind of Wilson, and excited so much sympathy in his behalf, that it was currently rumoured an attempt would be made to rescue him at the place of execution. When the day for that came – the 14th April, 1736 – it was found that the magistrates had taken ample precautions to enforce the law. Around the scaffold was a strong body of the City Guard, while a detachment of the Welsh Fusiliers – which young Elliot of Stobs, the future Lord Heathfield, had just joined as a volunteer – was under arms in the principal street. Vast multitudes had assembled, but their behaviour was subdued and orderly until the terrible sentence had been executed, and the body of Wilson swung from the lofty gibbet in the Grassmarket. Then a yell of rage and execration burst from the people, who broke through all restraint, and assailed the City Guard with every missile they could find. The body of Andrew Wilson was cut down, and an attempt made to carry it off. 

Old and New Edinburgh, pp.123-138.

 

When Prince Charles Edward rode out from Inverness eastward, to support his party retiring from the fords of Spey before Cumberland’s army, he stopped at the Castle of Kilravock, and was received there with becoming respect. He made himself very agreeable, asked to see the children, kissed each of them, and praised their beauty. Observing a violin, he inquired if the Laird played, begged a tune, and of course was pleased; walked out with the Laird to see his planting operations. “How happy are you, Mr. Rose,” said he, “who can enjoy these peaceful occupations when the country round is so disturbed!” That was on Monday the 14th of April [1745]. The following day was the Duke of Cumberland’s birth-day, and he spent it at Kilravock, and lay there that night. He remarked, “You have had my cousin here!” But when the Laird would have apologized for entertaining him, on the ground that he had no means of resistance, the Duke stopped him, and said he had done quite right – that he could not refuse to receive Charles Edward, and receiving him, he must treat him as a Prince. Next day the “cousins” met at Culloden! Such is the tradition of the house. 

– Sketches, pp.437-490.

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