15th of April

Saints Basilissa and Anastasia, martyrs, 1st century. Saint Paternus, Bishop of Avranches, 563. St Ruadhan, abbot, 584. St Munde, abbot, 962. St Peter Gonzales, 1246.

Died. – Dominico Zampieri (Domenichino), Italian painter, 1641, Naples; Madame de Maintenon, 1719, St Cyr; Madame de Pompadour, mistr4ess of Louis XV., 1764, Paris; Dr Alexander Murray, philologist, 1813; John Bell, eminent surgeon, 1820, Rome; Thomas Drummond, eminent in physical science, 1840, Dublin.


The nightingale is pre-eminently the bird of April. The patriotic Sir John Sinclair, acting on the general rule that migratory song-birds almost always return to their native haunts, endeavoured to establish the nightingale in Scotland, but unfortunately without success. The attempt was conducted on a scale large enough to exhibit very palpable results, in case that the desired end had been practicable. Sir John commissioned a London dealer to purchase as many nightingales’ eggs as he could get at the liberal price of one shilling each; these were well packed in wool, and sent down to Scotland by mail. A number of trustworthy men had previously been engaged to find and take especial care of all robin-redbreasts’ nests, in places where the eggs could be hatched in perfect safety. As regularly as the parcels of eggs arrived from London, the robins’ eggs were removed from their nests and replaced by those of the nightingale; which in due course were sat upon, hatched, and the young reared by their Scottish fosterers. The young nightingales, when full fledged, flew about, and were observed for some time afterwards apparently quite at home, near the places where they first saw the light, and in September, the usual period of migration, they departed. They never returned.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The founder of the hospital in Leith Wynd died at Edinburgh on the 15th of April, 1480, and was buried in the north aisle of Trinity College church, near his foundation. 

Old and New Edinburgh, pp.300-309.

James Bethune, Bishop-elect of Galloway, was postulated to the see of Glasgow, 9th November 1508, and consecrated on the 15th April 1509, at Stirling. He was previously Lord Treasurer, but resigned that office on his being preferred to the archbishopric. He held other great church benefices, as the abbacies of Arbroath and Kilwinning. He was made chancellor of the kingdom in 1515, and took a leading part in the politics of the time against the party of the Douglases. In 1523, he was translated to the see of St. Andrews. 

– Sketches, pp.29-70.

On the 15th of April 1563, she departed from Lochleven, dined at Strathhenry, and rode to Falkland, in the evening. On the morrow, she dined at Newark, and rode to Coupar, in the evening. 

– Life of Mary, pp.78-98.

Secretary Cecil continued, meantime, to watch the successive movements of the Queen, and Darnley, in order to perceive the very moment, in which the growing affections of Mary should settle on their proper object: and, on the 15th of April [1565], he cried out, Now is it plainly, discovered, that the Queen will have Lord Darnley! 

In the meantime, the treaty with Darnley held its course, accelerated, perhaps, rather than retarded, by his several illnesses; of the measles first, and of the ague [fever and shivering], afterwards. The Queen being resolute, not only communicated her purpose to Elizabeth, but to the queen mother of France, and also to the Pope, whose dispensation she solicited, as she, and Darnley, were first cousins. It was known to well informed persons, in Scotland, as early as the 15th of April, two months after his arrival, that she intended to marry Darnley. 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

On the 15th of April, 1567, Queen Mary granted to the magistrates, council, and community of Dundee, for behoof of the ministry and hospital, all lands, &c. which had belonged to any chaplainries, altars, or prebendaries, within the liberty of the town, with the lands which belonged to the Dominican and Franciscan friars, and the Grey sisters, which were incorporated into one estate, to be called the foundation of the ministry and hospital of Dundee. This charter was confirmed by James VI., in 1601. The property of the hospital, though under charge, nominally, of an hospital master, is, in fact, under the administration of the magistrates of Dundee.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, pp.371-384.

   “Sir EDWARD SUGDEN said, that this admission proved what he had all along believed, viz. – that this unfortunate bill had been brought forward without sufficient consideration (hear, hear). Ministers had pledged themselves to stand or fall by the bill. Now, the principle and the details of that bill were involved in the admission of the noble Paymaster. The noble lord admitted that ministers were wavering – he admitted that they were convinced of the impropriety of their original plan. He (Sir E. B. Sugden) was not sorry of course for this. He was glad of it – he was glad that the people of England were not to be disenfranchised in order to satisfy Ireland (cheers from the opposition). There should be no compromise of principle or right for the purpose of securing the acquiescence of that country. Why should England lose forty-six members and Ireland get an increase of five (hear, hear)? And this, too, at a time when Ireland was dissatisfied altogether with the Union. The plan of the noble lord was in violation of the treaties of union with Ireland and Scotland, and he (Sir E. Sugden) could not conceive why such a proposition should be persevered in. 

   Lord JOHN RUSSELL said, he felt himself compelled to correct a misunderstanding under which the honourable and learned member for Weymouth seemed to labour. He (the noble lord) had not said that any of the boroughs named in schedule A or B were to be retained; what he said was, that if there was an unanimous feeling in that house that the whole number of its present members (658) ought to be retained as the future number, the government would not feel, if they found that to be the sense of the house, that they were altering a vital or essential principle of the measure, if they consented to alter that part. His honourable and gallant friend near him (General Gascoyne) had misunderstood him likewise, if he thought that his Majesty’s government would agree to any motion relative to the proportion of members between England, Scotland, and Ireland, fixed at the periods of their respective unions. He did not understand that any proportions had ever been so fixed, and he believed that if that house were to declare it now, they should be fixing that proportion for the first time. In the Union with Scotland there was indeed a proposition that fifty should be given to that part of the united kingdom; the English commissioners, however, had proposed 38, and the number 45, being a kind of compromise, was ultimately agreed to; but in the act of Union, no stipulation was contained to preserve the existing proportion of 513 to England, and 45 to Scotland.

   Mr. O’CONNELL – I am much surprised at the observations of the gallant General and the honorable and learned member. They both profess a great kindness for Ireland; but they take the most extraordinary way of showing it. What, says the learned gentleman, are we to give more members to Ireland? Sir, I say you ought – and I say you ought to increase the representation of that country even more than is contemplated. It is said that the treaty of Union defined the number of members. I deny it. That act was no treaty. It was carried in defiance of public opinion. Meetings, convened by the Sheriffs, to petition against the measure, were routed by cavalry, bayonets, and artillery (hear.) But even in that act, so carried, a future change is contemplated – (hear, hear.) 

   Sir E. SUGDEN – No. no. 

   Mr. O’CONNELL – I say yes, yes (hear.) But is it fair that when the Union was carried by a paltry majority of 18, at an expense of three millions in bribery (hear,) England should have 543 members, while Ireland, with nearly two-thirds of the population of the two countries (England and Scotland) was given only 100? But it is said that wealth as well as population should be represented. I take my stand upon that point. You first make us poor, and then you turn upon us, and say we shall not be properly represented. Ireland is impoverished, because she is misgoverned and wants representatives here to guard her interests (hear.) But the learned member says that England should not suffer for the sake of Ireland. I thought, Sir, we had a Union. I had thought that we were one and an united kingdom (hear.) If we be what we are represented to be, why this distinction? (hear.) Why not legislate for Ireland as for Yorkshire? The reason, Sir, is obvious. We are, Sir, a different people and a distinct country. The gallant general and learned gentlemen avow it. Now, Sir, I take them at their word (hear.) They are, very properly, friends of England; I am the friend of Ireland. I prefer that country to this (hear, hear.) Yes, gentlemen may cry “hear,” but I repeat, Sir, I always shall prefer Ireland to this or any other country. I always shall guard the interests of that country particularly. But when you talk of a union, let your talk be real. I think great credit is due to the government for the candid statement of the Noble Lord.”

Freeman’s Journal, Friday 15th April, 1831.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1800-1850.

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