6th of May

St John before the Latin Gate, 95. St Eadbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, confessor, about 698. St John Damascen, 780.

Born. – Andrea Massena, French general, 1758, Nice
Died. – Charles, Duc de Bourbon, killed at Rome, 1527; Cornelius Jansen (Jansenius), Bishop of Ypres, theologian, 1638; Samuel Bochart, French Protestant divine and orientalist, 1667, Caen; Emperor Leopold I., 1705; Andrew Michael Ramsay, author of Travels of Cyprus, 1743, St Germain-en-Laie.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The 6th of May this year [1471], the King holds a parliament at Edinburgh; wherein, amongst other laws, it was enacted that no clergymen purchase benefices or office of collection at the court of Rome, [who] was not [there] before; that merchants bring in no spears to the country, without [them being almost 7 metres in] length, under pain of confiscation of the same; and that each yeoman that can not handle the bow, [should] have a good axe and [shield] of leather. As also that the nobility, barons, and burgesses, with rich [church]men, [should obtain or have made] ships, pinks (small sea-going boats), and bushes with nets and all [other] necessaries pertaining [to] fishery. 

– Historical Works, pp.189-214.

During the short war, which ensued, experience evinced, that confidence does not always ensure success. The confederated Scots, and English, after several attempts discovered, that the vigilance of the French was not to be surprised, nor their discipline to be overcome, by whatever valour. The assailants, were repulsed, in their assault, on the 6th of May [1560]. The besiegers, perceiving that Leith was not to be soon taken, either by their skill, or bravery, grew weary of warfare. Negotiators were already on the road towards Edinburgh, to treat of pacification. 

– Life of Mary, pp.15-41.

On [the] 6th day of the same month [May, 1590], the King [James VI.] and Queen [Anna] came to the palace of Holyroodhouse from Leith, with their [whole] train. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

On the 6th May, 1590, James VI., after lying six days in the roads, landed at the pier with his queen, Anne of Denmark, and excited shouts of jubilation from the inhabitants.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, Leith, pp.235-249.

Before we come to record the great national tragedy which the Parliament House witnessed in 1707 – for a tragedy it was then deemed by the Scottish people – it may be interesting to describe the yearly ceremony, called “the Riding of the Parliament,” in state, from the Palace to the Hall, as described by Arnot and others, on the 6th of May, 1703. 

The central streets of the city and Canongate, being cleared of all vehicles, and a lane formed by their being inrailed on both sides, none were permitted to enter but those who formed the procession, or were officers of the Scottish regulars, and the trained bands in full uniform. Outside these rails the streets were lined by the Scottish Horse Grenadier Guards, from the Palace porch westwards; next in order stood the Scottish Foot Guards (two battalions, then as now), under General Sir George Ramsay, up to the Netherbow Port; from thence to the Parliament House, and to the bar thereof, the street was lined by the trained bands of the city, the Lord High Constable’s Guards, and those of the Earl Marischal. The former official being seated in an arm-chair, at the door of the House, received the officers, while the members being assembled at the Palace of Holyrood, were then summoned by name, by the Lord Clerk Registrar, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, and the heralds, with trumpets sounding, after which the procession began, thus:- 

Two mounted trumpeters, with coats and banners, bareheaded. 
Two pursuivants in coats and foot mantles, ditto. 
Sixty-three Commissioners for burghs on horseback, two and two, each having a lackey on foot; the odd number walking alone. 
Seventy-seven Commissioners for shires, mounted and covered, each having two lackeys on foot. 
Fifty-one Lord Barons in their robes, riding two and two, each having a gentleman to support his train, and three lackeys on foot, wearing above their liveries velvet coats with the arms of their respective Lords on the breast and back embossed on plate, or embroidered in gold or silver. 
Nineteen Viscounts as the former. 
Four trumpeters, two and two. 
Four pursuivants, two and two. 
The heralds, Islay, Ross, Rothesay, Albany, Snowdon, and Marchmont, in their tabards, two and two, bareheaded. 
The Lord Lyon King at Arms, in his tabard, with chain, robe, bâton, and foot mantle. 
The Sword of State, borne by the Earl of Mar. 
The Sceptre, borne by the Earl of Crawford. 
Borne by the Earl of Forfar. 
The purse and commission, borne by the Earl of Morton. 
With his servants, pages, and footmen. 
Four Dukes, two and two. 
Gentlemen bearing their trains, and each having eight lackeys. 
Six Marquises, each having six lackeys. 
The Duke of Argyle, Colonel of the Horse Guards. 
A squadron of Horse Guards. 

The Lord High Commissioner was received there, at the door of the House, by the Lord High Constable and the Earl Marischal, between whom he was led to the throne, followed by the Usher of the White Rod, while, amid the blowing of trumpets, the regalia were laid upon the table before it. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.157-166.

The arbitrary committing of suspected persons to prison – often on the mere verbal orders of a magistrate, and without ever bringing them to trial, was a practice not confined to Glasgow. Mr. Hector gives many instances of the same kind occurring in Paisley even so late as the end of the last century. Here is one taken out of many from the judicial records: “May 6, 1791, Archibald Bogle incarcerated by order of Bailie Brown on suspicion of desertion. May 17 liberated by order of Bailie Brown.” Thus, adds Mr. Hector, Bogle was imprisoned eleven days without a warrant, and liberated probably after the bailie had discovered that there was no foundation even for suspicion.1

– Old Glasgow, pp.215-237.

1  Judicial Records of Renfrewshire (second series), p. 221.

Glasgow Evening Citizen, Thursday 6th May 1869, p.2.



   On the morning of Wednesday last, whilst a man of the name of Archibald Martin was on his way to his work, he found John Storey, late gamekeeper, Dunse Castle, lying in a state of great agony on the roadside, on the Oxendean-road, nearly opposite the road which leads to Castlemuir. Storey spoke of his suffering great pain, adding something like the words, “It will soon be over.” No aid being near, Martin came to Dunse to get a conveyance to take him home. In the meantime, Storey was removed by carts passing on their way to Dunse. About the head of the Stoney Moor, Storey’s son met the carts and spoke to his father, but could get no rely except “It would soon be over.” At this time the pain was so great that he had to be lifted out of the cart to the road-side. His son then left him to procure medical aid and a conveyance to take him home, but before these could be obtained he expired. He had been in his own house at tea-time that evening and was quite sober, but after that had not been seen by his wife. there are no external marks on his body. the cause of death is not yet known. A post-mortem examination is to take place on the body to-morrow, when the cause may be learned. 

Curious Deaths.


   A public meeting was held last night in the Kinnaird Hall, Dundee, ‘to protest against the misuse of national names.’ There was a large attendance, the hall and galleries being filled… 

   In his note Mr Thornton said – ‘I am heart and soul with you in the object of the meeting. It may be true enough that a rose would smell as sweet by any other name; yet nobody would like it name changed. Names are not small things. The Athenians were Greeks, but they were first of all Athenians. In this island of ours there is ample room for a healthy Scotch nationality combining with, without being supplanted by, the nationality of England. Hence the imperial name Britain. Being a Scotchman first of all, I prefer to admire Englishmen rather than to be included in the name.’ (Applause.) Mr Macrae then said they had met to protest against the growing practice of using the terms ‘England’ and ‘English’ instead of ‘Britain’ and ‘British’ – to protest against it as an outrage on their national honour and self-respect, and also as a direct violation of the Treaty of Union with England. (Applause.) They were continually hearing of the English Parliament – which had never had any existence since the Union; of the English army – which existed in the days of Bannockburn – (laughter) – of the English fleet, the English Premier, the English Government, England’s policy, and so forth, as if Scotland were a mere English county, and Ireland were not worth speaking of at all. (Laughter.) After the battles in Egypt, where the Scotch and Irish regiments had the heaviest part of the fighting, the General in command complimented the troops on maintaining the honour of England. Had there been defeats, he supposed they would have been styled ‘British defeats.’ (Laughter.) Many of those who wrote so glibly of the English policy, the English Government, the English army, the English Empire, and so forth, might not be aware of the mischief they were doing, but they were doing it; while many must be aware that they were irritating Scottish feeling and violating the Treaty of Union. Their object seemed to be to have Scotland regarded as a mere dependency of England. (A Voice – We will not allow it.) He was sure they would not allow it. (Applause.) Had Scotland been content 600 years ago to be counted a part of England there would never have been a Wallace, a Bruce, a Bannockburn, a Scottish name, or a Scottish nation. (Hear, hear.) It was surely time this cowardly and weak acquiescence should come to an end, and he appealed to the electors to take advantage of the opportunity at the forthcoming general election to let the candidates know that they must be loyal to their country, and not speak of Scotland as a part of England. (Applause.) 

   … The grievance was of comparatively recent origin. He did not know how it began, but supposed that in the course of a speech some English member of Parliament, after a dinner not carried out on Blue Ribbon principles, had been unable to articulate ‘Britain,’ and used the term ‘England’ instead. (Laughter.) It was a curious fact that alcohol had a detrimental effect on the powers of speech, and the first letter of the alphabet which disappeared was generally the letter ‘t,’ so that ‘British’ became ‘Brish.’ (Laughter.) Whether that was the origin of the custom or not, they knew that of late years it had been growing and extending in the most deplorable way, and it became them to do what they could to check and if possible to abolish it. (applause.) If they changed the name of the country they destroyed the unity, weakened the loyalty, and tampered with the spirit wherein consisted the real strength and wealth of nations. (Applause.) It was more than a mere name for which they were contending; it was more than a vague sentiment for which they were doing battle. It was a great reality, and one which would make itself felt more and more if this wrong went on as it had been doing. But he was not without hope that the crusade which had been inaugurated would in the end be crowned with success, and that the odious custom would disappear even more rapidly than it had appeared. (Applause.)” 

– Dundee Advertiser, Wednesday 6th May, 1885.

– Treaty of Union Articles, Collection of the Rev. David Macrae on Centralisation & Promotion of Home Rule.

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