17th of June

Saints Nicander and Marcian, martyrs, about 303. St Prior, hermit in Egypt, 4th century. St Avitus, or Avy, abbot, near Orleans, about 530. St Molingus, or Dairchilla, bishop and confessor in Ireland, 697.

Born. – Ferdinand Freiligrath, German poet, 1810. 
Died. – John Sobieski (John III. of Poland), 1696, Warsaw; Louis Hector, Duke de Villars, illustrious French commander, 1734, Turin; Claude-Prosper Joliot de Crebillon, French poet, 1762; Madame Sontag, vocalist, 1854, Mexico.

On this Day in Other Sources.

On the 17th of June [1567] the insurgent nobles began to show their zeal, for punishing various persons, who were, and some, who were not, guilty, of the King’s murder: They probably allowed Sebastian, a Frenchman, to escape. Captain William Blackadder was tried, condemned, and executed, for the King’s murder. But, at his death, he would no ways confess himself guilty

– Life of Mary, pp.155-184.

Upon the 17th day of June [1567], this year, the Queen was committed to prison in Lochleven castle, in Fife; and the English ambassador Nicholas Throckmorton, as also the French ambassadors, [Nicolas de Neufville] Villeroy and [Philibert du] Croc, were denied access to her. Notwithstanding that all the kingdom was in effect incensed against her, yet could not her subjects condescend among themselves what course to take with her. Some would have her restored to liberty upon the conditions, that the murderers of the King should be punished according to law; the Prince’s safety provided for, Bothwell divorced, and religion established. 

– Historical Works, pp.275-340.

Mary, as one suspected of horrible crimes, was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle (June 17 [1567]), and forced to sign a deed of abdication in favour of her infant son, who was consequently crowned as James VI., with the Earl of Moray as regent during his minority. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.30-34.

Bowes, and Davison, reported to Walsingham their negotiations, and their endeavours to counteract de la Motte. Soon after, Elizabeth, and her ministers, took into consideration the whole negotiation; and seem to have felicitated themselves, that they had prevailed, in their negotiations at Edinburgh; and disappointed the hopes of the Scotish Queen.  

But, they could not so easily answer Mary’s energetic letter of grievances, which Mauvisiere, pressed upon them, in April 1583. But, in order to amuse the injured Queen, negotiation, after negotiation, ensued, till the 17th of June, when Mildmay wrote to Burghley, “that he left the Queen of Scots, with some difficulty to believe, that the treaty would proceed towards a match for her, when she had passed forty-one.” It was much more easy, for Elizabeth, to prompt her guilty faction, in Scotland, to raise a violent outcry against the association of Mary, with her son, in his government. 

– Life of Mary, pp.274-281.

On the 17th of June, 1605, there was fought in the High Street a combat between the Lairds of Edzell and Pittarrow, with many followers on both sides. It lasted, says Balfour in his Annales, from nine at night till two next morning, with loss and many injuries. The Privy Council committed the leaders to prison. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.191-198.

June 17 [1605]. – ‘Ane combat or tulyie [was] foughten at the Salt Tron of Edinburgh betwixt the Laird of Ogle [Edzell], younger, and his complices, and the young Laird of Pitarrow, Wishart. The faught lasted frae 9 hours till 11 at night, twa hours. There were sundry hurt on both sides, and ane Guthrie slain, which was Pitarrow’s man, ane very pretty young man. The 18th, they were accusit before the Council, and wardit.’ – Bir

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

On the 17th of June [1633, Charles I.] was again in [Edinburgh] Castle, when the venerable Earl of Mar gave a magnificent banquet in the great hall, where many of the first nobles in Scotland and England were, as Spalding states, seated on each side of Charles. To that hall he was conducted next morning, and placed on a throne under a velvet canopy, by the Duke of Lennox, Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland. The peers of the realm then entered in procession wearing their crimson velvet robes, each belted with his sword, and with his coronet borne before him. The Chancellor, Viscount Dupplin, addressed him in the name of the Parliament. Charles was then conducted to the gate, from whence began a procession to Holyrood; and long it was since Edinburgh had been the scene of anything so magnificent. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.47-66.

2364. Boyd (Zacharie). Ad Carolvm Magnæ Britanniæ Regem, Oratio Panegyrica. Edinburgi, 1633.

Excudebat Iohannes Wreittoun. 

Zachary Boyd’s Address to Charles I. at Holyrood was delivered on June 17, 1633. 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.

June 17 [1652]. – ‘It pleased God to lay the town of Glasgow desolate by a violent and sudden fire… The far best part of the fore streets and most considerable buildings were burnt, together with above fourscore lanes and closes, which were the dwellings of above a thousand families, and almost all the shops and warehouses of the merchants, many whereof are near-by ruined. Besides, a great many more of widows, orphans, and distressed honest families, having lost what they had, are now put to starving and begging. The like of this fire has not been formerly heard of in this nation.’ – Nic. ‘It was said 1060 houses burnt.’ – C. P. H

– Domestic Annals, pp.278-301.

After removing the arms and stores into the king’s ships, the naval commander caused the castle [of Bute] to be blown up. The Earl’s army, after leaving Bute, thought only how to get to their respective homes. Argyle himself was taken prisoner at Inchinnan on the 17th of June, [1685,] and being conveyed to Edinburgh, was there beheaded. Soon after, a brother of Argyle’s surprised the castle, and burnt it.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, pp.177-178.

In 1775 one or two houses of St. James’s Square were built on the very crest of Moultray’s Hill. The first stone of the house at the south-east corner of the square was laid on the day that news reached Edinburgh of the battle of Bunker’s Hill, which was fought on the 17th of June in that year. “The news being of course very interesting, was the subject of popular discussion for the day, and nothing but Bunker’s Hill was in everybody’s mouth. It so happened that the two builders founding this first tenement fell out between themselves, and before the ceremony was concluded, most indecorously fell to and fought out the quarrel on the spot, in presence of an immense assemblage of spectators, who forthwith conferred the name of Bunker’s Hill upon the place, in commemoration of the combat, which it retains to this day. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.364-372.


   The Earl of ROSEBERRY moved that the house should resolve itself into a committee of the whole house upon the law of Parochial Settlements in Scotland. 

   The house having resolved itself into a committee, 

   Lord MELVILLE stated, that, on a former occasion he had taken the liberty of offering some observations in opposition to this bill, and all he had since been able to learn had only tended to confirm him in those opinions. He assured their lordships, that this was a bill which required their most serious consideration. The title of the bill stated, that it had for its object the extension of the period by which a settlement was gained in Scotland. But the bill, as it at present stood, would do no such thing; it would not extend that period to the people of Scotland. That period was at present three years; and by the bill it would extend it to seven years, not to natives of Scotland, but to English or Irish persons residing in that country. The body of the bill, therefore, was at variance with its title. The true and real object of the bill was to exclude from settlement the Irish poorer classes who annually visited Scotland; but it was not, he supposed, thought decent to exclude the Irish only, and therefore it was thought proper to include natives of England also. He maintained that any law of this kind ought to be so framed as to bear equally upon the inhabitants of the three branches of the empire; that an Englishman or an Irishman should be equally privileged in Scotland, with its natives, and vice versa. Besides, this bringing in of the people of England was contrary to the 4th article of the treaty of union with Scotland, which provided that the natives of the two countries should enjoy equal privileges in both countries, unless there existed some law to the contrary. Now the law proposed by the noble earl opposite was at variance with this clause. They might as well say to the people of Ireland – “your corn is produced at a cheaper rate than ours – you are blessed with a more fertile soil, and, therefore, you must pay 30 per cent upon importing your corn into Scotland.” If this were proposed, it would be at once resisted, and yet it would be as just as that now proposed to their lordships. Were they by that bill to prevent the labouring Irish from that intercourse with Scotland from which they derived so much advantage at present? If this were to be done, there was no end to the extent to which the argument might be carried. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might say to English or Scotchmen visiting or residing in Ireland – “Ireland is not so much taxed as your own country, and, therefore, while you reside in that country, you must be taxed, not as her natives are taxed, but in the same way that you were taxed at home.” But it would be endless to point out the extent to which that argument might be carried.” 

London Evening Standard, Tuesday 17th June, 1828.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1800-1850.

   “HER ancient ballads form no inconsiderable part of the literary wealth of Scotland. They rank next in value to the songs of Burns and the romances of Scott. Some people would place them higher; and it may be that their existence made possible the poetry of Scott and Burns. Nobody, not even the envious foreigner has disputed their beauty, and their suggestiveness of a world of beauty lying all about them. A man may not be able to give a definition of poetry, but he can take those old Scottish ballads in his hand and say of them ‘This is poetry.’ It is not alone in respect of quality that they are allowed to rank high as the products of genuine poesy; their volume and variety are scarcely less remarkable. No nation, it is universally acknowledged, has such a body of traditional poetry. It is rather late in the day to snatch at this green branch from the laurels of Scotland and place it on a foreign brow. It is no wonder, perhaps, that the attempt should have been made when Scotland first began to give herself airs and challenge the attention of her neighbours to the wealth of her native poetry. Her collected ballads made such a rich display that the envy of her neighbours was stirred, and they began to inquire into the Scottish rights to ownership. They coveted, and they laid claim. Now this and now that gem in the Scottish collection was pounced at; it was claimed for France, for Germany, for Denmark. Its original ownership was confidently supposed to be made out by the claimant, generally on the scantiest evidence. But the gems are still in the Scottish collection, and the covetous foreigner has either foregone his former claim or is cherishing his paste imitation. the most recent attempt to spoil the Scottish ballads and transfer them to Devonshire is foredoomed to the same fate. It is feebleness itself. 

   Mr Baring-Gould has hitherto been known to ephemeral fame as one of the most prolific novelists of this prolific age of novels. His activity in authorship, if mere activity be a merit, is undeniably praiseworthy. Not long ago, if we remember rightly, he all but monopolised the field of serial fiction; he was driving his five-in-hand through the most popular of our current magazines. This was surely ambition enough to satisfy any of the ruck of our respectable novelists. The exploit was duly trumpeted, and may or may not have been a ‘tout’ on the genuine horn; at best it was a transitory blast; but Mr Baring-Gould must be talked about or die. He therefore elects, as our cousin across the sea-ditch say, to be notorious rather than be unknown; and accordingly he makes an audacious assault upon the old Scottish ballads. The audacity is only equalled by the absurdity of the attack. His motive is partly jealousy of Scotland, partly English prejudice. It is amusing to observe the successive increments of audacity which the sympathy of his Cockney audience, credulous of the superiority in all things of the Southron, seems to have inspired in his infatuated breast. In his lecture at the Royal Institution the other day he demanded that the ballads of Scotland, confessedly rich in the extreme, and those of England, confessedly ‘mediocrity itself,’ should be thrown into one common stock, and labelled hereafter the Ballads of Britain or – which is the same thing, for England is bounded on the north by the Pentland Firth – the  Ballads of England. This was insidious move the first. The motto of his move is the well-known one – What is yours is ours, and what is ours is our own. The next advance was to arrogate to England – England proper – as rich and varied a bundle of native ballad products as the Scottish collection, if (much virtue in this if) only they had been gathered at the right time some hundred years ago. It is admittedly too late now. The wish is here apparently parental to the belief. There is none but a speculative foundation for it. Its piety is its only merit. The last stop was taken amid the rapturous applause of Cockaigne. The lecturer claimed the Scottish ballads as originally English. Hear the report:- ‘He believed the Scottish ballads were not Scottish originally, but English, and that they acquired a Scottish flavour (generous concession!) across the Tweed was undoubtedly due a good deal to those who gathered them, or to the people among whom they were (not made but) preserved. This might surprise English people.’ No doubt! There are few intelligent people, whatever their nationality, whom the statement is not calculated to surprise. The peculiar humour of Mr Baring-Gould’s three stages on the path of appropriation seems to have escaped his audience. It will scarcely elude the rational faculty of an Irishman in the following brief formula into which it admits of being condensed:- 1. The Scottish ballads, being Scottish, are British. 2. They are very good, but no better than English ballads, which never were, and never can, be collected. 3. They are really English ballads which the Scots stole from us. 

   The statements – it would be a misuse of words to call them arguments – by which Mr Baring-Gould seeks to support his second and third positions are cheaply manufactured, and may be cheaply disposed of. As for the first, it is true that what is Scottish is, by the Treaty of Union, British, but the inference he obviously wishes to draw – viz., that what is British is English – is a false conclusion. Mr Gould may as well insist that black is white because both are colours. As for his assertion that the native English ballads were rich because they were not collected, it seems to us more logical to infer that they were not collected because they were non-existent. English collectors there were, to the full as zealous as those of Scotland, and if they went to the museums and libraries to glean, it was probably because there was no gleaning of the grain they wanted elsewhere that was worth the while. On what basis of fact or fancy does Mr Gould rest his claim that the Scottish ballads are after all of English origin and growth? On a song or two, ‘The Jolly Trooper,’ ‘The Trees that are so high,’ and a few more, one ‘taken from an absolutely illiterate man, now dead, who had lived at Dartmoor,’ another ‘taken down from an utterly illiterate hedger [presumably of Devonshire] who got it from his father, for he belonged to a family who had been musical for generations’ – which all, some with deficiencies, some with additions, more or less ‘similar to ballads in Scotch collections.’ On the strength of these – the matter and nature, the similarity of which we have not the means of discussing – the claim is made. Even allowing them to be the original and superior copies of ballads which are present in the Northern collection – a liberal allowance to Baring-Gouldish avarice! – was ever more audacious conclusion drawn from induction so miserably meagre? ‘A few ballads gathered in the West of England are somewhat similar to Scottish ballads; ergo, all the so-called Scottish ballads really belong to the West of England!’ But Mr Baring-Gould, while supremely satisfied that what is gathered on Dartmoor is English, denies her native products, maugre their ‘Scotch flavour,’ to Scotland. There is no reasoning with such a man; he has been too long wedded to the art and manufacture of fiction to pay much respect to fact and fair reasoning. 

   If Mr Baring-Gould’s demands were a trifle more modest, and if he came a little nearer the Scottish Border – but he refuses to meet us half-way – we should be prepared to deal generously with him. We can easily afford to do so. We should lose none of the best of our genuine collection. But he would seize at one fell swoop upon the whole bundle. As it is, there are scores that are thirled to the Scottish lowlands and borderlands, the undeniable country of their nativity. Sir Patrick Spens haunts ‘the gray toun,’ and the narrow northern seas. Jamie Telfer refuses to cross the Cheviots, except in the hostile array of the ancient regime: the fair Dodhead is not more immoveable. It is only in bonny Teviotdale that a battle could have been fought for ‘ten milk ky’ by the light of ‘a gryming of new-fa’n snaw.’ 

“‘Revenge! revenge!’ auld Wat ‘gan cry;
‘Fy, lads, lay on them cruellie!
We’ll ne’er see Tiviotside again
Or Willie’s death revenged shall be!’
“Then he’s ta’en aff his gude steel cap,
And thice he’s waved it in the air;
The Dinlay snaw was ne’er mair white
Nor the lyart locks o’ Harden’s hair.”

   The Dinlay snaws are not to be lifted lightly to the top of any of the tors of Devonshire. The pathetic wail that echoes all down Yarrow will not ‘fly the vocal vale.’ Our fairies, too, will not budge. They are of a different strain from the Warwickshire fairies, and never entered Shakspeare’s dream; 

“For aye, at ilka seven years,
They pay the teind to hell.”

   Such ballads as these, and many other representatives, like ‘The Twa Brothers,’ ‘The Gay Goshawk,’ ‘The Demon Lover’ – their name is legion – are indisputably indigenous to Scotland. Only madness, or Mr Baring-Gould, would venture to appropriate them. They are steeped in the native Castaly. The geography and history of the country are inextricably woven into the texture of their every stanza. The local colouring of idiom and imagery is part and parcel of their very fabric. Their beauty and their bouquet are as undeniably native to Scotland as are the gowans to her burn-banks or the heather to her hills.” 

– The Scotsman, Tuesday 17th June, 1890.

Treaty of Union Articles, Scottish Ballads and Their Appropriation.

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