26th of April

Saints Cletius and Mercellinus, popes and martyrs, 1st and 3rd centuries. St Riquier, or Ricardus, French anchoret, about 645. St Paschasius Radbert, abbot of Corwei, in Saxony, about 865.


Born. – Thomas Reid (moral philosophy), 1710, Strachan, Kincardineshire; David Hume, philosopher and historian, 1711, Edinburgh; Johann Ludwig Uhland, German poet, 1787. 
Died. – Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese navigator, killed, 1521, Isle of Matan; Eyre Coote, military commander, 1783, Madras; Carsten Niebuhr, traveller, 1815, Meldorf in Holstein; Henry Cockburn, author of ‘Memorials of Edinburgh,’ &c., 1854.



The exact or parochial nativity of David Hume has never been stated. It was the Tron church parish in Edinburgh, as appears from a memorandum in his father’s handwriting among the family papers. The father was a small laird on the Whitadder, in Berwickshire, and the family mansion, where David must have spent many of his early years, was a plain small house, as here represented, taking its name of Ninewells from a remarkable spring, which breaks out in the steep bank, descending from the front of the house to the river. 


The sketch of Ninewells House here given – the mor4e curious, as the house had long since been superseded by a neat modern mansion – is from Drummond’s History of Noble British Families. The eccentric author of the work says, underneath: ‘It is a favourable specimen of the best Scotch lairds’ houses, by the possession of which they think themselves entitled to modify their family coats, and establish coats of their own.’ 

A remarkable circumstance in the early history of the philosopher has been little regarded. Though of good descent, and the nephew of a Scotch peer, he was compelled, by the narrow circumstances of the family, to attempt a mercantile career at Bristol when a little over twenty years of age. We know nothing of what he did, with whom he was placed, or how he chiefly spent his time while aiming at a mercantile life in the city of the west; but we are made aware by himself that the scene was an alien one. He seems to have looked back with some degree of bitterness to his sojourn in Bristol, if we may judge from a little quiet sarcasm at the place which he utters in his History of England. He is there describing James Naylor, the Quaker’s, entry into the city at the time of the civil war, in imitation of that of Christ into Jerusalem. ‘He was mounted,’ says Hume, ‘on a horse;’ then adds, ‘I suppose from the difficulty in that place of finding an ass.’ Doubtless, David believed there could have been no difficulty in finding an ass in Bristol. 

It is a curious fact, sometimes adverted to in Edinburgh, but which we cannot authenticate, that in the room in which David Hume died, the Bible Society of Edinburgh was many years afterwards constituted, and held its first meeting.


On this Day in Other Sources.


The 26th of April, 1199, died Jocelin, Bishop of Glasgow, at the abbey of Melrose. 

– Historical Works, pp.19-38.


After Scotland had been completely recovered from the English in consequence of the battle of Bannockburn, a parliament was held at Ayr, on Sunday the 26th of April 1315, in the church of St. John, at which fealty was sworn to the king, and in case of his dying without male issue, his brother Edward Bruce an approved warrior was declared his successor. Marjery Bruce, the king’s daughter, gave her consent to this as necessary from the exigency of the time. Edward Bruce, however, it is known did not live to enjoy this destination of the crown; for within a few days thereafter, he embarked at Ayr on his unfortunate Irish expedition in which he was killed. 

– Select Views, pp.153-158.


On 26th April, 1532, “John Wallas and Alleson Gayne, his spous, ar rentalit in ane merk of ferme land of the Kowcaldens, be consent of Jhon Gayne, his gud fadyr, the said Jhon brokand (i.e., enjoying or retaining the use) for his tym.”1

– Scots Lore, pp.397-399.

1  Ibid. p. 100.


Apr. 26 [1615]. – ‘Amang the mony abuses whilk the iniquity of the time and private respect of filthy lucre and gain has produced within the commonwealth’ – thus gravely commences an act of the Privy Council – ‘there is of late discoverit a most unlawful and pernicious tred of transporting of eggs furth of the kingdom.’ ‘Certain avaritious and godless persons, void of modesty and discretion, preferring their awn private commodity to the commonweal, has gone and goes athort the country and buys the haill eggs that they can get, barrels the same, and transports them at their pleasure.’ As an unavoidable consequence, ‘there has been a great scarcity of eggs this while bygane,’ and any that are to be had have ‘risen to such extraordinar and heich prices as are not to be sufferit in a weel-governit commonwealth.’ ‘Moreover,’ proceeds this sage document, ‘if this unlawful tred be sufferit to be of ony langer continuance, it will fall out that ina very short time there will no eggs nor poultry be funden within the country.’ 

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.


2399. Glasgow Courant. April 26, 1746.

This number contains a printed Plan of the Battle of Culloden. 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.



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