17th of July

Saints Speratus and his companions, martyrs, 3d century. St Marcellina, eldest sister of St Ambrose, about 400. St Alexius, confessor, 5th century. St Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, confessor, 521. St Turninus, confessor, 8th century. St Leo IV., pope and confessor, 855.

Born. – Adrian Reland, oriental scholar and author, 1676, Ryp, North Holland
Died. – Robert Guiscard the Norman, Duke of Apulia, 1085, Corfu; Jacques Arteveldt, brewer in Ghent, and popular leader, slain, 1344; Janet, Lady Glammis, burnt as a witch on Castle Hill of Edinburgh, 1537; Marchioness of Brinvilliers, noted poisoner, executed at Paris, 1676; Charlotte Corday, assassin of Marat, guillotined, 1793; Sir Francis Nathaniel Conyngham, Marquis Conyngham, 1876, London.


Some beggars have been remarkable quite as much for their eccentricity, as for the amount of money they left behind them. Such was the case with William Stevenson, who died at Kilmarnock on the 17th of July 1817. Although bred a mason, the greater part of his life was spent as a beggar. About the year 1787, he and his wife separated, making this strange agreement – that whichever of them was the first to propose and reunion, should forfeit £100 to the other. According to the statements in the Scotch newspapers, there is no evidence that they ever saw each other again. In 1815, when about 85 years old, Stevenson was seized with an incurable disease, and was confined to his bed. A few days before his death, feeling his end to be near, he sent for a baker, and ordered twelve dozen burial-cakes, a large quantity of sugared biscuit, and a good supply of wine and spirits. He next sent for a joiner, and instructed him to make a good, sound, dry, roomy, ‘comfortable’ coffin. Next he summoned a grave-digger, whom he requested to select a favourable spot in the churchyard of Riccarton, and there dig a roomy and comfortable grave. This done, he ordered an old woman who attended him, to go to a certain nook, and bring out £9, to pay all these preliminary expenses: assuring her that she was remembered in his will. Shortly after this he died. A neighbour came in to search for his wealth, which had been shrouded in much mystery. In one bag was found large silver pieces, such as dollars and half dollars, crowns and half-crowns; in a heap of musty rags, was found a collection of guineas and seven-shilling pieces; and in a box were found bonds of various amounts, including one for £300 – giving altogether a sum of about £900. A will was also found, bequeathing £20 to the old woman, and most of the remainder to distant relations, setting aside sufficient to give a feast to all the beggars who chose to come and see his body ‘lie in state.’ The influx was immense; and after the funeral, all retired to a barn which had been fitted up for the occasion; and there they indulged in revelries but little in accordance with the solemn season of death. 

One curious circumstance regarding a beggar connected with the town of Dumfries, we can mention on excellent authority: a son of his passed through the class of Humanity (Latin), in the university of Edinburgh, under the superintendence of Professor Pillans.

On this Day in Other Sources.

In the year 1215, Donald Bane, the son of mac Uilleim, and Kenneth mac Heth, with the son of a petty King of Ireland, and a good army, invaded the highlands. Against whom [Ferquhard] Mac in Sagart [of Ross] levies an army, and with them fights a very bloody and cruel battle, whom he totally overthrows, the 17th of July, and solemnly presents the rebels heads to the King; for which [such] good service the King solemnly knights Mac in Sagart, and gives him a yearly pension during his life. 

– Historical Works, pp.38-57.

In the year 1327, the 17th day of July, at Berwick, Prince David solemnly married the Lady Joan [of the Tower], sister to King Edward III. of England; at which marriage there was great triumph and revels. 

– Historical Works, pp.88-104.

The Governor and Chancellor consult how to entrap the author of all the mischiefs of the kingdom, [16 year old William Douglas,] the Duke of Touraine, Earl of Douglas; whom they cunningly invite to a meeting in Edinburgh castle, accompanied with his brother [12 year old] David, and Malcolm, Lord Fleming, his most inward counsellor, the 17th day of July [1439], off whose bodies they chopped of the heads on a beam in the great hall of the castle. This same year the young King, with tears, begged their lives from the Governor and Chancellor, who told him roundly, he was but a child, and did not know what he demanded, for the sparing of them would be the ruin of him and his whole kingdom. To this William, Duke of Touraine, in the earldom of Douglas, succeeded James Douglas, Lord of Abercorn, as nearest in blood. 

– Historical Works, pp.166-189.

A more terrible execution was soon to follow – that of Lady Jane Douglas, the young and beautiful widow of John Lord Glammis, who, with her second husband, Archibald Campbell of Skipness, her son the little Lord Glammis, and John Lyon an aged priest, were all committed prisoners to the Castle, on an absurd charge of seeking to compass the death of the king by poison and sorcery. “Jane Douglas,” says a writer in “Miscellanea Scotica,” “was the most renowned beauty in Britain at that time. She was of ordinary stature, but her mien was majestic; her eyes full, her face oval, her complexion delicate and extremely fair; heaven designed that her mind should want none of those perfections a mortal creature can be capable of; her modesty was admirable, her courage above what could be expected from her sex, her judgment solid, and her carriage winning and affable to her inferiors.” One of the most ardent of her suitors, on the death of Glammis, was a man named William Lyon, who, on her preferring Campbell of Skipness, vowed by a terrible oath to dedicate his life to revenge. He thus accused Lady Jane and the three others named, and though their friends were inclined to scoff at the idea of treason, the artful addition of “sorcery” was suited to the growing superstition of the age, and steeled against them the hearts of many. 

Examined on the rack, before the newly-constituted Court of Justiciary, extremity of agony compelled them to assent to whatever was asked, and they were thus condemned by their own lips. Lady Jane was sentenced to perish at the stake on the Castle Hill. Her son, her husband, and the old friar were all replaced in David’s Tower, where the first remained a prisoner till 1542. 

Mercy was implored in vain, and on the 17th of July – three days after the execution of the Master of Forbes – the beautiful and unfortunate Lady Jane was led from the Castle gates and chained to a stake. “Barrels tarred, and faggots oiled, were piled around her, and she was burned to ashes within view of her son and husband, who beheld the terrible scene from the tower that overlooked it.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.79-87.

At that treasonous moment, the Scotish Queen was not inattentive to the interests of her people, or to the suggestions of her own feelings. She issued assurances under her own hand, that as she had never disturbed any of her Protestant subjects, in the exercise of their religion, so would she be careful to protect them, in the complete enjoyment of their worship, according to their own forms. And she not only warned, by proclamation, all her people to attend her in warlike manner, as their duty required, but she wrote, specially, to particular persons, urging them to come to her aid. The rebellious nobles thus foiled, by Mary, and encouraged by Elizabeth, met, at Stirling, on the 17th of July [1565]. They, here, entered into a traitorous engagement, which was founded on the analogous demands of the church assembly, in June; and those faithless nobles bound themselves, first to the Lord, their God; secondly, to each other, for the faithful performance of their engagement: And, with consummate hypocrisy, they declared to the whole world, that they meant nothing, in all their proceedings, but humble reverence to Almighty God, and faithful obedience to their sovereign lady. Such audacity of impudence, the world never saw before, except in the proceedings of the same miscreants, in 1560, who called Parliament, under a treaty, which themselves had forged, for the occasion. 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

In Scotland, the church assembly, as was to be expected, declared, for the King; whose party, after the death of Murray, could hardly support itself against the Queen’s friends. The warfare, and devastation of Elizabeth, were intended to give a decided superiority to the King’s interests, and her own. She had early sent down the Earl of Lennox, who had few friends; but was chosen Regent, on the 17th of July [1570], with Morton, for his lieutenant. Such were the legacies, which Murray’s ambition left to the Scotish people, for their infatuation.  

– Life of Mary, pp.235-244.

At the dictation of Elizabeth – for the Protestant lords in Scotland were wholly subservient to her – Matthew, Earl of Lennox, paternal grandfather of the young king, was elected Regent (July 17, 1570). The real ruling spirit was the Earl of Morton, who lost no time in proceeding against some friends of Queen Mary in the north. Taking the town of Brechin, which had been held for her, he caused thirty-one of the garrison to be mercilessly put to death. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.45-55.

On the 17th of the month of July [1592], [Francis Stewart] the [forfeited] Earl of Bothwell intended to have surprised the King at Falkland; but that [deceit] failed him; for the palace was valliantly kept against him, until the neighbouring towns coming to the King’s [rescue], the traitor took himself to flight; and 18 of his men being taken near to Caddermuir, were brought to Edinburgh and hanged. The King, some days thereafter, did publicly, in an eloquent speech to the people, in the great church of Edinburgh, shed the madness of the traitor Bothwell in this [Raid] of Falkland. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

July 17 [1611]. – This day, John Mure of Auchindrain, James Mure, his son, and James Bannatyne of Chapeldonald, were brought to trial in Edinburgh for sundry crimes of a singularity atrocious character. The first of these personages has been before us on two former occasions (see pages 146 and 172), to which reference may be made for an introduction to what is now to be related. 

Auchindrain, it appears, felt that the boy William Dalrymple, who had carried the letter making the appointment for a meeting with Colzean, was a living evidence of his having been the deviser of the slaughter of that gentleman. He got the lad into his hands, and kept him for a time in his house; then on his wearying of confinement, sent him to a friend in the Isle of Arran; thence, on his wearying of being ‘in a barbarous country among rude people,’ he had him brought back to his own house, and, as soon as possible, despatched him with a friend to become a soldier in Lord Buccleuch’s regiment, serving under Maurice, Prince of Orange. Dalrymple had not been long in the Low Countries, when he tired of being a soldier, and came back to Scotland. Once more he was at large in Ayrshire, and a source of uneasiness to Mure of Auchindrain. It was now necessary to take more decisive measures. Mure and his son (September 1607) sent a servant to the young man to take him to the house of James Bannatyne of Chapeldonald, and arranging to join them on the way, ‘held divers purposes, speeches, and conferences with him, tried of him the estate of the Low Countries and sundry other matters,’ and finally placed him as a guest in Chapeldonald House, under the name of William Montgomery. 

According to appointment, at ten o’clock of the evening of next day, James Bannatyne came with Dalrymple to meet the two Mures on the sands near Girvan. There, the elder Mure explained to Bannatyne the cause of his fears regarding the young man, telling him ‘he saw no remeed but to redd Dalrymple furth of this life, since he could not otherwise be kept out of his way. Whereunto Bannatyne making answer, that it was ane cruel purpose to murder the poor innocent youth, specially seeing they might send him to Ireland, to be safely kept there… Auchindrain seemed to incline somewhat to that expedient; and, in the uncertainty of his resolution, turning toward the part where his son stood, of purpose, as appeared, to consult with him, young Auchindrain perceived them no sooner near, but, thereby assuring himself of their assistance in the execution of that whilk his father and he had concluded, he did violently invade Dalrymple, rushed him to the ground, and never left him till, helped by his father, with his hands and knees he had strangled him.’ 

The horrid deed being accomplished, the Mures, with spades they had brought, tried to bury Dalrymple in the sand; but, finding the hole always fill with water, they were at length obliged to carry the body into the sea, going in as far as they could wade, and hoping that an outgoing wind would carry it to the coast of Ireland. Five nights after, it was thrown back upon the beach at the very scene of the murder, and was soon found by the country-people. The Earl of Cassillis heard of it, and caused an account of the discovery to be published throughout the district. By the mother and sister of Dalrymple, it was at once pronounced to be his corpse, and suspicion instantly alighted upon the Mures. A relative, advised with about the rumour, said it could not be safe for them to brave the law in the teeth of so much prejudice; neither, supposing they absconded under such a suspicion, could their friends stand up for them. The only expedient was to make an excuse for going out of the way – assault, for instance, Hugh Kennedy of Garriehorn, a servant of the Earl of Cassillis, a man against whom they had many ‘probable quarrels.” The Mures actually adopted this expedient, setting upon Garriehorn in the town of Ayr, and only failing to slay him by reason of the vigour of his defence. The earl then saw that it was necessary to take strong measures against enemies capable of such doings, and he accordingly had them summoned both for Dalrymple’s murder and for the assault of Garriehorn. They allowed themselves to be put to the horn – that is, denounced as rebels for not appearing – but loudly professed that, if freed on the score of the assault, they would stand their trial for the murder, alleging their entire innocence of that transaction. The king was now made acquainted with the case, and, by his orders, Auchindrain the elder was seized, and thrown into the Tolbooth in Edinburgh. The two culprits nevertheless continued to feel confidence in the want of proof against them, believing that, if Bannatyne were out of the way, it would be impossible to bring the fact home to them. The younger Mure, still at large, accordingly dealt with Bannatyne to induce him to go to Ireland. It is a wonder he did not at once send his friend to a more distant bourn. When Bannatyne was gone, young Mure came boldly forward to take his trial, somewhat to the embarrassment of the officers of justice. However, by the suggestion of his majesty, he was not allowed to depart till he should have suffered the torture, with a view to making him confess. To the admiration of all, he bore this treatment with unflinching fortitude, and confessed nothing. 

Public sentiment now rose in favour of the Mures as persecuted men, and the Privy Council was inclined to let them off; and would have done so, had not the king continued firm in his belief of their guilt, and ordered them to be detained. Some years passed on, and proof seemed still past hope, when the Earl of Abercorn contrived to find out Bannatyne in Ireland, and caused him to be brought over to his own house in Paisley. There, Bannatyne gave a full account of the murder, but claimed, as fulfilment of a condition, that he should be allowed his freedom. The earl told him he had had no such understanding of the matter; but, to take away all ground of complaint, he would liberate him for the meantime, but at the end of ten days make every possible effort to take him unconditionally, whether dead or alive. At this Bannatyne hesitated; he knew that already the Mures had been laying plots to get him cut off in Ireland – now, between their vengeance and the extreme persecution threatened by Lord Abercorn, he could see no chance for safety. He therefore avowed his inclination to make a full confession before a court of law, and trust to his majesty’s clemency. 

On being confronted with Bannatyne, the Mures appeared as obstinate in their protestations of innocence as ever, contradicting everything he said, and denouncing him as a tool of their enemies. They were, nevertheless, brought to trial, along with Bannatyne, on the day above noted – found guilty, and condemned to be beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh, with forfeiture of all they possessed to his majesty’s use. So ended this extraordinary tissue of crimes, old Auchindrain being at the time about eighty years of age.1Pit

Domestic Annals, pp.177-227. 

1  While Pitcairn was editing his Criminal Trials, he sent some proof-sheets to Sir Walter Scott, containing an account of the above crimes: and the latter was so impressed with the story that he founded upon it his drama of Auchendrane; or, The Ayrshire Tragedy, with a prose introduction, in which he gives a powerful and graphic narrative of the facts which suggested the drama.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century Glasgow, then growing in importance, began to use armorial bearings: whether under the authority of the Lord Lyon does not appear. The probability is it was done without any official sanction, and certainly the authorities adhered to no fixed blazon. On the contrary, it appears to have been left very much to the caprice of stone-masons and seal engravers to represent the arms from time to time as they thought fit, and this loose practice continued down to a very recent period. The first example, of which I am aware, in which the devices now borne by the corporation appear on a shield, occurs on a stone built into the wall over the entrance to the Tron Church, and which bears the date 1592; and the first mention which is made of “the tounes armes” is in an entry in the council records under date 17th July, 1630. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.99-104.

”17th July 1648. – It is aggreid that all the Universities concur with and assist ane another in everie comone caus concerning the commonweill of all the Universities.” 

– Sketches, pp.254-324.

[Doctor Clephane] writes from Quebec on the 17th July 1760, to his grandnephew, Hugh Rose of Kilravock, announcing his being wounded – “I am sorry I can’t accompany you with the fiddle any more, my left hand being rendered useless… The many battles, sieges, and skirmishes we have had, fell heavier on us than any other regiment; having thirteen officers killed between Luisburg and Quebec, and a great number of men, among whom is poor Sandie Rose of Littletown. But I hope this summer will put an end to any more fighting. I assure you, dear Hugh, my curiosity that way is entirely satisfied… If there is a peace, I hope soon to be with you, and see you kill some muifowl on the muirs about Culmoney, or a fox in the mickle park or birken-ward. I shall grow melancholy if I continue in tis stain, considering the prodigious distance I am from these happy places.” Of Arthur’s subsequent fate we are ignorant. 

– Sketches, pp.437-490.

In 1761, the accomplished and genial General William Caulfield had succeeded Wade in command in the north, and was now resident at Castle-hill, near Inverness, to which he had given the name of Cradle Hall, from a pleasant invention in lieu of stairs for conveying his guests to the upper floors of his house. Two letters from him show the impression the life at Kilravock made upon a stranger:- 

“CRADLE HALL, July 17, 1761      
     “MY DEAR SIR, – I viewed the Castle Kilraick with greater pleasure than I imagined I ever could be capable of in the absence of your family, who always made us so happy in it. Never give yourself pain about what some pencil-bred critics or imaginary connoisseurs may censure in your alterations – you have made a most decent, comfortable dwelling; and all this family join in their wishes that Lady Kilraick and you may enjoy it in health and happiness as long as your hearts desire. Had we known of a road for carriages (except slide carts) from Dulsie to Culmony, we would have waited on you, though your landlord has never come near me; for his heart is good, and I pardon his faults.” 

– Sketches, pp.437-490.

[Dr. Thomas Snell Jones] preached the funeral sermon on the demise of Lady Glenorchy on the 17th July, 1786, in her forty-fourth year. She was buried, by her own desire, in a vault in the centre of the chapel. By a settlement made some time before her death, she endowed the latter with a school which was built near it. Therein, a hundred poor children were taught to read and write. It was managed by trustees, with instructions which secure its perpetuity. Lady Glenorchy’s Free Church school is now at Greenside.  

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.359-363.




   At a time like the present, it may not be uninteresting to refer to the period when a discussion took place in Parliament for dissolving the union with Scotland. In the 6th volume of the Parliamentary History of England, page 1,215, it is stated –

   ‘1713. MAY 22. – The engrossed bill (Malt) was read the third time, and passed by a majority of 197 against 52, to the disappointment of the Scots. 

   MAY 23. – The endeavours of the Scots members in the House of Commons for easing, their countrymen of part of the malt tax having proved ineffectual, they had several private meetings with the Scots peers sitting in Parliament; and, laying aside all invidious distinctions, consulted together how to redress their grievances. On the 26th of May they deputed four of their number, viz. the Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Mar, Mr. Lockhart, and Mr. Cockburn, who by their order attended the Queen, and, by word of mouth, humbly remonstrated to her Majesty, ‘that their countrymen bore with great impatience the violation of some articles of the union, and that the laying such an insupportable burden as the malt tax upon them, was like to raise their discontents to such a height as to prompt them to declare the union dissolved.’ To this unexpected verbal remonstrance the Queen answered, ‘This was a precipitate resolution, and she wished they might not have reason to repent it; but, however, she would endeavour to make all things easy.’ The Scots members being met the next day, and their deputies having made their report of her Majesty’s answer, it was unanimously agreed, that, before they proceeded further, they should lay their grievances before the House of Lords. Accordingly on the 28th of May, after the Lords had adjourned the debate about the 8th and 9th articles of the treaty of commerce, the Earl of Finlater made a motion, that some day might be appointed to consider the state of the nation; whereupon the Lords appointed the 1st of June, when all the Lords in town were summoned. Between one and two o’clock the debate began, opened by the Earl of Finlater, who represented the grievances of the Scottish nation, and concluded by moving, ‘That leave be given to bring in a Bill for dissolving the said union, and securing the Protestant succession to the house of Hanover, the Queen’s prerogative in both kingdoms, and preserving an entire unity and good correspondence between the two kingdoms.’ The debate which followed is curious and interesting; and on the question being put on the Earl of Finlater’s motion, the same was carried in the negative by four voices, there being 54 lords present on each side, and 17 proxies for the negative and only 13 for the affirmative. 

   Thus was the union with Scotland preserved by a majority of four peers. The Malt Bill passed on the fifth of June; nineteen Scotch peers entered their protest against it, as a violation of the 14th article of the union; several of the lords who signed that protest took an active share in the rebellion which afterwards broke out in Scotland; some of them forfeited their titles and estates, one of them, Lord Balmerino, lost his head. The malt tax was continued, and it made a fruitful theme for the discontent which then prevailed among the supporters of the Pretender. In every Scottish glen, in every hovel of the “far north,” were heard the Jacobite songs with which Wilson, the eminent vocalist, now delights an English audience in the Hanover Rooms, and every man, woman, and child chaunted with enthusiasm – 

‘We scarce can brew a peck o’ maut 

 But Geordy he’d be finding faut; 

 And to our kail he’d scarce gie saut: 

 Oh, you’re welcome, Royal Charlie!’ 

   Thank God, we have no ‘Pretenders’ here to the throne. The Queen lives in the hearts and affections of her subjects, and her Majesty would say, as her royal predecessor said more than a century ago, when Scottish nobles and commoners demanded a repeal of the union, ‘I will endeavour to make all things easy.’ The grievance of the malt tax was forgotten with the continued increasing prosperity of Scotland; but the advisors of Queen Anne also violated the treaty of union by ‘restoring to patrons their ancient rights’ in the year 1712 – a violation which the people of Scotland have never yet forgotten, and which, although 130 years have passed away. has lately occasioned the secession in the church of Scotland, and in all probability will soon break up the establishment. Let the responsible advisors of our beloved Queen ponder well, in the present state of this country, and then let them consider and redress the grievances of Ireland before it is too late.” 

– Morning Chronicle, Monday 17th July, 1843.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1800-1850.



(Edinburgh News.)

   … Of the sums voted, that of L.8300 for the new Edinburgh museum forms the most interesting item for our citizens, because that is but the beginning of a series of votes which must be granted to Edinburgh, as the metropolis of Scotland, for the commencement and completion of great national objects here as elsewhere throughout the country. For the obtaining of this grant the zeal of the Lord Provost has done much, but we unquestionably award the largest share of thanks to the Association for the Protection of Scottish Rights, without whose timely and upon the whole judiciously conducted agitation in favour of national interests this grant at the present moment might never have been listened to, either by Government or the House of Commons. Even in a time of war, demanding a double income tax, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as the other members of Government, could not venture to overlook the glaring fact, that while London and Dublin were year after year receiving their ten or twenty or more thousands for objects of a strictly national character pertaining to the propagation of arts and sciences in their respective localities, Edinburgh, as the capital of Scotland, was left without a sixpence from that general fund to which Scotland was so large a contributor. That had gone on for years, and might have gone on for generations, had not the indignant spirit of Scotland found embodiment in this National Association; and through this combination our country’s wrongs have been made more patent to Government in a year than they could have been made through individual or isolated efforts for 30 years to come. This and the other ‘allowances’ which the Treaty of Union stipulated should be ‘equal,’ but which Scotland has this year for the first time obtained, we ascribe directly to the benefits arising from the agitation of the National Association; and it is to be hoped that the success which has so conspicuously attended their labours in other matters as well as this will only stimulate to renewed exertion on their part to continue demanding for Scotland that which is just and equal until it be obtained, not in isolated instances, but in all matters considered necessary for the capitals of either England or Ireland. If through the existence of such an association Scotland derives benefits now which have always been denied heretofore, both the country and the directors of this association can afford to despise the ribald nonsense of a few hireling scribes ready to write up or write down anything according to the order of employers. If the nation gets the solid pudding now, which it never got before this association was started, Scotland may laugh at those who consider ridicule or abuse necessary as an antidote to the pounds sterling paid over. If it pleases them it does no harm to others, and if Government continue to show the same disposition to pay which they have done during the last year for things just and equal to the country, our people will not quarrel with their scribes for smearing the money with abuse. Before this National Association started, Scotland had its grievances rewarded with kicks without halfpence; since the association has become an organised power, our country has not received half the number of kicks, while the pounds sterling granted have been multiplied manifold. It has no doubt been subjected to a fire of paper bullets from the hacks of office; and if vulgar-minded, virulent, and time-serving abuse could have done it, a large portion of our countrymen would have been utterly consumed; but neither hard words nor froth have broken any bones, while Scotland is reaping the substantial rewards of the society’s operations in this and other kindred grants for purposes equally useful and national.”

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 17th July, 1854.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1850-1875.

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