10th of July

The Seven Brothers, martyrs, 2d century. Saints Rufina and Secunda, virgins and martyrs, 3d century.


Born. – John Calvin, theologian, 1509, Noyon, Picardy; John Ernest Grabe, religious controversialist, 1666, Konigsberg
Died. – Emperor Adrian, 138; Pope Benedict VII., 983; Pope Benedict VIII., 1024; Henry II. of France, 1559; William, first Prince of Orange, assassinated at Delft, 1584; Louis Moreri (Historical and Critical Dictionary), 1680, Lyon; Francois Eudes de Mezerai, historian, 1683; Dr Alexander Monro, professor of anatomy, 1767, Edinburgh; David Rittenhouse, astronomer, 1796, Philadelphia, U.S.



The Korban Beïram, or feast of sacrifices, is one of the greatest solemnities of the Mohammedan religion. On this day every family of the true believers offers a sheep to God, and the streets of their cities are filled with men carrying the destined victim on their backs. Among the Arabs the festival begins at the early hour of four A.M., when immense crowds collect at the residence of the nearest pacha or bey, awaiting his appearance in the court of the palace. The fanciful style of eastern costume renders the scene both original and picturesque. All the sheiks are arranged on one side: in the front stand the officers and ministers of the pacha. At five o’clock his highness, accompanied by the members of his family and his staff, makes his entrée: cannon are fired, the peculiar bands of the East play airs suitable for this religious ceremony. The chief-captain of the hussars of the palace announces to the crowd, in a solemn voice, that the hour of sacrifice has arrived, and that his highness, after prayer, will be present at this important act. All then adjourn to the mosque, the body of imams or priests entering with the suite of the pacha. As soon as the sacrifice is over, the pacha re-enters the court, and seated on an elevated throne, all those of high rank have the privilege of kissing his hand; the inferiors slightly touch it with their lips. This occupies an hour, when all retire to take coffee; the captain thanking the crowd for their presence as a mark of attachment to their ruler.



On this day, in the year 1781, Mr Methven Erskine, a cadet of the Kellie family, married at Edinburgh Joanna, daughter of the deceased Adam Gordon, of Ardoch, in Aberdeenshire. A brother of the gentleman, named Thomas, had, ten years before, married Anne, another daughter of Mr Gordon. These gentlemen were in the position of merchants, and there were at one time seventeen persons between them and the family titles; yet they lived to become, in succession, Earls of Kellie, being the last who enjoyed that peerage, separately from any other.1

It was by a series of very singular circumstances, hitherto unnarrated, that these two marriages came about. The facts were thus related to the writer in 1845, by a lady then upwards of ninety years of age, who had had opportunities of becoming well acquainted with all the particulars. 

At Ardoch Castle – which is situated upon a tall rock overlooking the sea – the proprietor, Mr Gordon, was one evening, a little after the middle of the last century, alarmed by the firing of a gun, evidently from a vessel in distress near shore. A storm was raging, and he had every reason to fear that the vessel was about to be dashed against that iron-bound coast. Hastening down to the beach with lights and ropes, he and his servants looked in vain for the distressed vessel. Its fate was already accomplished, as the floating spars but too plainly shewed; but they looked in vain for any, dead or alive, who might have come from the wreck. At length they found a sort of crib which had been rudely cast ashore, containing, strange to say, a still live infant. The little creature, whose singular fate it had been to survive where so many stronger people perished, was carefully taken to the house and nursed. It proved to be a female child, evidently from its wrappings the offspring of persons of no mean condition, but with nothing about it to afford a trace as to whom these were. 

Mr Gordon made some attempts to find the relatives of this foundling, but without effect. Hoping that she in time might be claimed. he caused her to be brought up along with his own daughters, and treated in all respects as one of them. The personal graces and amiable character of the child in time make him feel towards her as if she had actually stood in that relation to him. When she had attained to womanhood, a storm similar to that already spoken of occurred. An alarm-gun was fired, and Mr Gordon, as was his wont, hurried down to the beach, but this time to receive a shipwrecked party, whom he immediately conducted to his house, and treated with his characteristic kindness. Amongst them was one gentleman-passenger, whom he took into his own parlour, and entertained at supper. After a comfortable night spent in the castle, this stranger was surprised at breakfast by the entrance of a troop of blooming young ladies, the daughters of his host, as he understood, but one of whom attracted his attention in a special manner. ‘Is this young lady your daughter too?’ he inquired of Mr Gordon. ‘No,’ replied his host; ‘but she is as dear to me as if she were.’ And he then related her story. The stranger listened with increasing emotion, and at the close of the narration, said he had reason to believe that the young lady was his own niece. He then related the circumstances of a sister’s return from India, corresponding to the time of the shipwreck, and explained how it might happen that Mr Gordon’s inquiries for her relations had failed. ‘She is now,’ said he, ‘an orphan; but, if I am not mistaken in my supposition, she is entitled to a handsome provision which her father bequeathed to her in the hope of her yet being found.’ 

Ere long, sufficient evidence was afforded to make it certain that the gentleman had really, by the strange accident of the shipwreck, found his long missing niece. It became necessary, of course, that she should pass under his care, and leave Ardoch – a bitter necessity to her, as it inferred a parting with so many friends dear to her. To mitigate the anguish of this separation, it was arranged that one of her so-called sisters, the Misses Gordon, should accompany her. Their destination was Gottenburg, where the uncle had long been settled as a merchant. Here closes all that was romantic in the history of the foundling, but there was to be a sequel of that nature in favour of Mr Gordon’s children. Amongst the Scotch merchants settled in the Swedish port, was Mr Thomas Erskine, a younger son of a younger brother of Sir William Erskine of Cambo, in Fife, an offshoot of the family of the Earl of Kellie. To him was Miss Anne Gordon of Ardoch married in 1771. A younger brother, named Methven, who had pursued merchandise in Bengal, ten years later, married a sister of Miss Gordon, as has been stated. No one then dreamed that these gentlemen would ever come near to the peerage of their family; but in 1797 the baronet of Cambo became Earl of Kellie, and two years later, the title lighted on the shoulders of the husband of Anne Gordon. In short, these two daughters of Mr Gordon of Ardoch, became, in succession, Countesses of Kellie in consequence of the incident of the shipwrecked foundling, whom their father’s humanity had rescued from the waves, and for whom an owner had so unexpectedly been found.


1  The title, in 1829, fell to the head of the Erskine family, John Francis, Earl of Mar.


On this Day in Other Sources.


This year died likewise Hugh, Lord Chancellor of Scotland, [10th] of July [1199]; to whom succeeded, the 16th of September, William de Malveisin;.. 

Historical Works, pp.19-38.


This year, also, died that valiant and noble warrior, Edward, Prince of Wales, (called the Black Prince,) the 10th day of July [1376], leaving issue [of] a son, Richard, who thereafter succeeded to his grandfather Edward III. after whose death he was King of England. 

– Historical Works, pp.124-133.


This year, according to the ordinance of the last parliament, the Bishops of Glasgow [Andrew de Durisdeer] and Orkney [William Tulloch], the Lord Chancellor [Andrew Stewart], and Thomas Boyd, Earl of Arran, are sent ambassadors to Denmark, for procuring the Lady Margaret, eldest daughter to  [Christian I.,] King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, in marriage to the King. Her they brought home to Scotland, [on] the 6th of the month of July, 1468, accompanied [by] a royal train of Lords and Ladies, where she was solemnly married to the King in the abbey church of Holyroodhouse, 10th of July [1468], with very great state and triumph. Amongst the conditions of this marriage, one was, the Danish King’s renunciation of all right and claim that he or his successors could claim forever to [the] Isles of Orkney and Shetland, in favour of King James and the heirs of this marriage, which failing, in favour of King James and his heirs, Kings of Scotland. 

– Historical Works, pp.189-214.


In the treasurer’s accounts we have many curious entries concerning the various Scottish harpers, fiddlers, and English pipers, that performed here to amuse James IV. “July 10, 1489; to Inglish pyparis that cam to the Castel yet and playit to the king, viij lib. viij s. [£8 8 shillings.]” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.32-47.


A great change had now taken place, on the 10th of July 1559, when Henry II. demised. On the same day, Francis II., aged fifteen, mounted the throne. He found the court divided into two factions; that of the house of Guise, and that of the Constable Montmorency: After the revolt of the Constable de Bourbon, the princes of the blood did not find themselves in a condition to form a third. The youth, and weakness, of Francis, induced him to leave the cares of government to the Queen, his mother, who thought, that she had prudence, and address, quite equal to such a task: she knew how to balance all parties; but she hated the Constable Montmorency; and fearing the princes of the blood, she preferred the princes of Lorraine: The Cardinal she nominated chief minister, and she placed the Duke of Guise, at the head of the army. Francis was so far happy, that he was married to a wife, who, besides other virtues, dedicated her whole attention to him; resembling more the painful, and solicitous regards of wives in common life, than a queen, by right, as well as by marriage. The people thanked God, for this courteousness, in her: and as every nation, ordinarily, resembles that of their governors, the population of that great kingdom began to hope, for many tranquil years, under a marriage so peaceful, and happy. 


The Queen was denuded of her kingdom, while her government remained, apparently, in the hands of the duke, her presumptive heir, though it was, really, possessed by Lord James, her father’s bastard. Even before the treaty was settled, summonses seem to have been issued, by whatever power, to assemble a Parliament, which met, at Edinburgh, on the 10th of July, four days only after the signature of the treaty. But, this convention, immediately, adjourned to the 1st of August then next. Nor was there any attempt made, before this important meeting, to obtain the Queen’s ratification of a treaty, which deprived her of so much, and left her so little: Neither was it ever ratified, by her, or by any one having authority, from her. 

– Life of Mary, pp.15-41.


The 10 of July [1559], this year, Henry [II.], the French King, departs this life; and to him succeeds his son Francis [II.]

Historical Works, pp.275-340.


While Elizabeth thus incited a rebellion in Scotland, she wrote to the Scotish Queen, with her usual duplicity, on the 10th of July [1565]; advising her, to regard her subjects with more favour; and her lords would behave, as lovers of the religion, and as good subjects to her: Yes, but did the Christian religion warrant Elizabeth’s dissimulation, much less the rebellious practices of the religious lords.  

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.


In Aberdeen, in 1577, the magistrates fixed the hire of a horse for leading peats of other fuel at “xiid, ilk day” – being three halfpence of English money – “witht mannis meit and horss meit, and to haff four gang ilk day.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.313-324.

1  Records of Burgh of Aberdeen, 10th July, 1577.


I have mentioned the stringent measures which the session took to compel attendance at church. When the people were got there they were subjected to an equally rigorous censorship. In 1587 the session enacted “that all persons in time of prayer bow their knee to the ground.” In 1588 they ordered some ash-trees in the High Church yard to be cut down “to make forms for the folk to sit on in the kirk.” But this was for the accommodation of the male sex only, for in the following year they ordain “that no women sit upon or occupy the forms men should sit on, but either sit laigh or else bring stools with them.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215.

1  10th July, 1589.


July 10 [1598]. – ‘… ane man, some callit him a juggler, playit sic supple tricks upon ane tow [rope], whilk was fastenit betwixt the top of St Giles’s Kirk steeple and ane stair beneath the Cross, callit Josia’s Close head, the like was never seen in this country, as he rade down the tow and playit sae mony pavies on it.’ – Bir

Practitioners of such dangerous arts were not uncommon in those days. The death, in Edinburgh, of one Kirkaldy, ‘who had before danced at the cock of the steeple [St Giles’s],’ is noted in the history of the civil broils of 1571. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.


July 10 [1633]. – On his return to Edinburgh, from a visit to Perth, the king crossed the Firth of Forth, in fair weather; nevertheless, a boat perished in his sight, containing thirty-five of his domestics, all of whom excepting two were drowned. ‘His majesty’s silver plate and household stuff perished with the rest; a pitiful sight, no doubt, to the king and the haill beholders… betokening great troubles to fall betwixt the king and his subjects, as after does appear.’ – Spal

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.


July 10 [1689]. – A poor young woman belonging to a northern county, wandering southwards in search of a truant lover, like a heroine of one of the old ballads, found herself reduced to the last extremity of distress when a few miles south of Peebles. Bewildered and desperate, she threw her babe into the Haystoun Burn, and began to wander back towards her own country. A couple of the inhabitants of Peebles, fishing in the burn, soon found the body of the infant, and, a search being made, the wretched mother was discovered at a place called Jedderfield, brought into town, and put in confinement, as a suspected murderess. The magistrates of the burgh applied to the sheriff, John Balfour of Kailzie, to have the supposed culprit taken off their hands and tried; but he refused to interfere, owing to ‘the present surcease of justice’ in the country. Consequently, the magistrates were ‘necessitate to cause persons constantly guard the murderer, the prison not being strong enough to secure her.’ On their petition, the Privy Council allowed the Peebles authorities to send Margaret Craig with a guard to Edinburgh, and ordained her to be received into the Tolbooth of Leith, till she be processed for the murder. – P. C. R

This miserable young woman must have lain in prison three years, for she was tried by the Court of Justiciary in June 1692, and condemned to be hanged. – Justiciary Record

Domestic Annals, pp.342-354.


July 10 [1694]. – We get an idea of what was at this time considered a fair price for land in proportion to rent in Scotland, from a case now before the Court of Session. Sir John Clerk of Penicuik and Archibald Primrose of Dalmeny had bought the baronies of Nicolson and Lasswade at a roup or auction, the one estate at twenty-four, the other at twenty-two years’ purchase, which they afterwards represented as ‘a dear rate.’ There being a doubt as to the party who should receive the price, the purchasers would have to pay six per cent. on the purchase money, by way of interest, until that point was settled, while only realising about four per cent. for their outlay: hence they applied to the court for leave to consign the money – which was refused. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.342-354.


NISBET in his Heraldry (vol. i. p. 78), speaking of the family of Douglas lord Mordington, says that Sir James Douglas married Elizabeth, grandchild and heiress of Michael lord Carlyle, and was in her right Lord Carlyle, of Torthorwald; that their son James married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, but having no issue, resigned his honours to William, first Earl of Queensberry, in 1638, and that the title is extinct. Some years ago I saw the following curious note by some American “descendant,” written in ink, on the copy of Nisbet in the British Museum reading room, after the words “having no issue”:- “This is a great mistake; he had a son William, who, before his father’s utter ruin and extinguishment, left Scotland, and in 1640 went to New England, where he had a numerous progeny wreckoned (sic) by thousands. Wm. Balbirnie, of Philadelphia. London, 10 July, 1883.” 

– Scots Lore, pp.280-282.

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