8th of August

Saints Cyriacus, Largus, Smaragdus, and their companions, martyrs, 303. St Hormisdas, martyr.

Born. – Dominic Baudius, jurist and philologist, 1561, Lisle; Jacques Basnage de Beauval, Protestant theologian and historian, 1653, Rouen; Francis Hutcheson, moral philosopher, 1694, North of Ireland.      
Died. – Cardinal Peter d’Ailly, ecclesiastic and author, 1419, Compiègne; Pope Alexander VI. (Roderic Borgia), infamous pontiff, 1503; Dr Antoine Arnauld, celebrated opponent of the Jesuits, and friend of Pascal, 1694, Brussels; Louis François Armand du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, captor of Minorca, 1788; Thomas Crofton Croker, author of Irish Fairy Tales, 1854, London.


In the seventeenth century, there was no such term as editor, implying a literary man devoted to the general management of a journal, with a share in such original composition as it required. We only hear of the printer, or at most of the publisher. In those days, the printer found himself surrounded with difficulties, and often, from the imperfection and simplicity of his arrangements, he was thrown into positions by no means dignified.

When we go back a century, or a century and a half, we find that the journals of the empire were but a handful. There was not one north of Edinburgh till 1746; there was not one established on a permanent basis in Edinburgh till 1718. News were in those days sent about in private letters, and in the gossip of conversation. The wandering beggar, who came to the farmer’s house craving a supper and bed, was the principal intelligencer of the rural population of Scotland so late as 1780. 

One peculiarity of the newspaper management of old days is sufficiently obvious to any one who examines the files. There was no adequate system of home-reporting. It seems to have been mainly by private and arbitrary means that a domestic paragraph came to the office. An amusing illustration of this primitive system of reporting occurs in the Caledonian Mercury for March 3, 1724: ‘We hear,’ says the paper, ‘that my Lord Arniston, one of the ordinary lords of session, is dead.’ In next number appears this apologetic, but certainly very awkward, paragraph: ‘It was by mistake in our last that Lord Arniston was dead, occasioned by the rendezvous of coaches hard by his lordship’s lodging, that were to attend the funeral of a son of the Right Honourable the Earl of Galloway; wherefore his lordship’s pardon and family is humbly craved.’

On this Day in Other Sources.

The marriage of James IV. to Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. of England, on the 8th August, 1503,1 created the greatest possible enthusiasm throughout Scotland. Dunbar, the poet of the Court, gave sweetest voice to the common prayer in his poem, “The Thrissil and the Rois”:- 

“O blissit be the hour  
That thow wes chosin to be our principall!  
Welcome to be our princes of honour,  
Our perle, our plesans, and our paramour,  
Our peax, our play, our plane felicite,  
Chryst thé conserf frome all aduersite!” 

– Scots Lore, pp.341-364. 

1  Ex. Rolls, xii. pref. liii.

In the Castle there resided, about 1503, Lady Margaret Stuart, the daughter of James, by Margaret Drummond of that ilk, whom he is said to have married clandestinely, and who was removed by some Scottish conspirators “to make way for a daughter of England,” as an old historian has it. She was poisoned, together with her two sisters; and [on 8th] August, 1503, “the daughter of England” duly came in the person of Margaret Tudor, whose marriage to James at Edinburgh was conducted with great splendour and much rejoicing. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.32-47.

The 8th of August, this year [1555], Philip II., King of Spain, is married to Mary, Queen of England. 

– Historical Works, pp.275-340.

Aug. 8 [1588]. – Great excitement prevailed throughout all Scotland, in apprehension of invasion by the Spanish Armada. There was not wanting a party prepared to co-operate with the Spaniards, if they had landed in Scotland. In this exigency, the king was compelled to forget his anger at Elizabeth on account of the recent death of his mother; he made all possible preparation for resistance, and when Sir Robert Sidney, the English ambassador, told him that if the Spaniard took England, the king might expect no greater kindness at his hand, James ‘merrily answered: “That he looked for no other benefit of the Spaniard in that case than that which Polyphemus promised to Ulysses – namely, to devour him after all his fellows were devoured.” ‘ – Spot

– Domestic Annals, pp.99-123.

On the 8th of August in the same year [1646], “ordains that the Magistrats tack up ane list of the haill horses in the toune, and caus ane competent numbir of thame serve weiklie at the trinche.” 

This trench does not appear to have been completed. The work was renewed at the time of the rebellion of 1715, the projected size of the ditch being twelve feet wide and six feet deep. Barricades were at the same time erected, and there are repeated entries on the subject in the burgh records of that year. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.162-175.

Aug. 8 [1726]. – At an election for the county of Roxburgh at Jedburgh, a quarrel arose between Sir Gilbert Elliot of Stobbs, a candidate, and Colonel Stewart of Stewartfield, who opposed him. Colonel Stewart, who was ‘a huffing, hectoring person,’ is said to have given great provocation, and gentlemen afterwards admitted that Stobbs was called upon by the laws of honour to take notice of the offence. According to a petition to the Court of Session from the son of Stewart, Elliot stabbed him as he sat in his chair on the opposite side of a table, with his sword by his side. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.390-397.

The news of [Charles Edward’s] landing reached Edinburgh on the 8th of August [1745], and it was quickly followed by tidings of the muster in Glenfinnan, and the capture of a company of the 1st Royal Scots, at the Spean Bridge, by Major Macdonald of Teindreich. Early in July 5,000 stand of arms had been placed in the Castle, which Lieutenant-General Sir John Cope ordered to be provisioned, while he reinforced its ordinary garrison by two companies of the 47th regiment; and the Lieutenant-Governor, Lieutenant-general Preston, of Valleyfield (who had been appointed thereto in 1716), mustered the out-pensioners of Chelsea, and officered them, locally, from the half-pay list. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.322-329.

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