St Ephrem of Edessa, doctor and confessor, 378. The martyrs of Gorcum, 1572.
Born. – Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory, 1634, Kilkenny Castle; Alexis Piron, 1689, Dijon.
Died. – Emperor Anastasius I., 518; Emperor Leopold III. of Austria, killed at Sempach, 1386; Philip V. of Spain, 1746, San Ildefonso; General Braddock, killed at Du Quesne, North America, 1755; William Strachan, publisher, 1785; Zachary Taylor, President of the United States, 1850, Washington, U.S.
SUPERSTITIONS ABOUT NEW-BORN CHILDREN.
It is unlucky to weigh them. If you do, they will probably die, and, at anyrate, will not thrive. I have caused great concern in the mind of a worthy old monthly nurse by insisting on weighing mine. They have, however, all done very well, with the exception of one, the weighing of whom was accidentally forgotten to be performed.
The nurses always protested against the weighing, though in a timorous sort of way; saying that, no doubt it was all nonsense, but still it had better not be done.
It is not good for children to sleep upon bones – that is, upon the lap. There seems to be some sense in this notion; it is doubtless better for a child to be supported throughout its whole length, instead of hanging down its head or legs, as it might probably do if sleeping on the lap.
Hesiod, in his Works and Days, forbids children of twelve months, or twelve years old, to be placed έπ’ άχινήτοισι – upon things not to be moved – which some have understood to mean sepulchres: if this is right, perhaps there is some connection between his injunction, and that which condemns the sleeping upon bones, though the modern bones are those of the living, and not of the dead.
Cats suck the breath of infants, and so kill them. This extremely unphilosophical notion of cats preferring exhausted to pure air, is frequently a cause of great annoyance to poor pussy, when, after having established herself close to baby, in a snug warm cradle, she finds herself ignominiously hustled out under suspicion of compassing the death of her quiet new acquaintance, who is not yet big enough to pull her tail.
When children first leave their mother’s room, they must go upstairs before they go down-stairs, otherwise they will never rise in the world.
Of course it frequently happens that there is no ‘upstairs,’ that the mother’s room is the highest in the house. In this case the difficulty is met by the nurse setting a chair, and stepping upon that with the child in her arms as she leaves the room. I have seen this done.
A mother must not go outside her own house-door till she goes to be ‘churched.’ Of course the principle of this is a good one. It is right, under such circumstances, the first use a woman should make of her restored strength, should be to go to church, and thank God for her recovery; but in practice this principle sometimes degenerates into mere superstition.
If you rock an empty cradle, you will rock a new baby into it. This is a superstition in viridi observantiâ, and it is quite curious to see the face of alarm with which a poor woman, with her tenth baby in her arms, will dash across a room to prevent the ‘baby-but-one’ from engaging in such a dangerous amusement as rocking the empty cradle.
In connection with this subject, it may be mentioned that there is a widely-spread notion among the poorer classes, that rice, as an article of food, prevents the increase of the population. How the populousness of India and China are accounted for on this theory, I cannot say; probably those who entertain it never fully realise the existence of ‘foreign parts,’ but it is certain that there was not long ago a great outcry against the giving of rice to poor people under the poor law, as it was said to be done with purpose.
Suffolk C. W. J.
On this Day in Other Sources.
The next most remarkable event was in 1668, when, on Saturday the 9th of July, James Sharpe, Archbishop of St. Andrews, whose residence was then in the Wynd, so narrowly escaped assassination.
His apostacy from the Covenant, and unrelenting persecution of his former compatriots, its adherents, had roused the bitterness of the people against him. He was seated in his coach, at the head of the Wynd, waiting for Andrew Honeyman, Bishop of Orkney, when Mitchell, a fanatical assassin and preacher, and bosom friend of the infamous Major Weir, with whom he was then boarding in the house of Mrs. Grisel Whiteford in the Cowgate, fired a pistol at the primate, but, missing him, dangerously wounded the Bishop of Orkney. He was immediately seized, and, with little regard to morality or justice, put to the torture, without eliciting any confession; and after two years seclusion on the Bass Rock, he was brought to Edinburgh in 1676, and executed in the Grassmarket, to strike terror into the Covenanters; but history has shown that their hearts never knew what terror was.
– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.258-266.
July 9 . – ‘A star was seen at twelve hours of the day by a great company of people met for sermon on Gargunnock Hills, and that when the sun was shining.’ – Law.
– Domestic Annals, pp.322-337.
455. ANDREW COCHRANE of Brighouse.
Born in Ayr, 1693; died in Glasgow, 9th July, 1777.
Merchant and banker. An early trader to Virginia – first as Andrew Cochrane & Co., and then (in partnership with his brother-in-law Provost John Murdoch, No. 50) as Cochrane, Murdoch & Co. Founder, in 1750, of the Glasgow Arms Bank. Provost, 1744, 1745, and again, 1760, 1761. As Provost throughout the ’45, and during the occupation of Glasgow by the rebels, he safe-guarded both the interests and the honour of the City; the greatest of our Provosts. A monument in the nave of the Cathedral records his merits; but his best monument is in the “Cochrane Correspondence,” published by the Maitland Club. He married Janet, eldest daughter of Peter Murdoch (No. 49), and had issue.
– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 6.