20th of August

St Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, 1153.

Born. – Louis Bourdaloue, celebrated preacher, 1632, Bourges.
Died. – Count Ricimer, celebrated Roman general, 472; Pope4 John XIV., 984; St Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, 1153; Jerome Osorio, Portuguese prelate and author, 1580, Tavila; Martin Optiz, poet and philologist, 1639, Dantzic; Pope Pius VII., 1823; William Maginn, LL.D., miscellaneous writer, 1842, Walton on Thames.

On this Day in Other Sources.

In 1383 Robert II. Was holding his court in the Castle when he received there the ambassador of Charles VI., on the 20th August, renewing the ancient league with France. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.26-31.

At a much later period we have in the Memorie of the Somervilles, an account of a very unfortunate accident, produced by a too great indulgence in the favourite fruit of Clydesdale. Of the second Lord Somerville it is there said that “he died suddenly upon the twentieth of August 1456, of a surfith of fruit that came from Cambusnethan to Cowthally, as was supposed; for, haveing eaten plentifully of thir fruit at dinner, he dyed before sex [six] at night, being then but in the fyftieth or fourtieth and nynth year of his age.” 

– Select Views, pp.31-34.

Nevertheless of the King’s death, at the animation of the widow Queen, they gave a general assault to [Roxburgh] castle, and took it, the 20th day of August this same year [1460]; which the nobility caused to be razed to the ground, lest hereafter it should become a cage for such ravenous birds. 

– Historical Works, pp.166-189.

On the 20th August, 1561, Queen Mary landed at the town, to take possession of the throne of her ancestors, and attracted such demonstrations of joy as gave it a widely contrasted appearance to that which it had worn for a series of years. No vestige now remains of the pier which received her, and which must have been constructed subsequently to the destruction of the original one by the Earl of Hertford.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, Leith, pp.235-249.

On the twentieth of August [1639], General Leslie crossed the Tweed with his army, the van of which was led by Montrose on foot. This task, though performed with readiness and with every appearance of good will, was not voluntarily undertaken, but had been devolved upon Montrose by lot; none of the principal officers daring to take the lead of their own accord in such a dangerous enterprise. There can be no doubt that Montrose was insincere in his professions, and that those who suspected him were right in thinking “that in his heart he was turned Royalist,”1 a supposition which his correspondence with the king and his subsequent conduct fully justify. 

– History of the Highlands, pp.314-341.

1  Guthrie’s Memoirs, p. 70. 

On 20th August, 1642, some work on the bridge was in progress, and an act of council ordained it to be finished, after which the old Trongate port and flesh market were directed to be taken down and a new flesh market erected…1

– Scots Lore, pp.15-29.

1  Council Records, i. 439.


[From the Legal Examiner.]

   Hitherto we have been accustomed to look upon the Scotch as a quiet people, who, under an unobtrusive exterior, united natural shrewdness of intellect and determined energy of character to a kind and hospitable disposition. Generous in their sympathies, but cautious in action. Swayed by reason and calculation, rather than creatures of sudden impulse or excitement. Yet, when once roused, firm and unflinching in the prosecution of the object on which they are bent. To a people so constituted we had thought that the acts of agitation and clamour were utterly incongruous; and that, however sensible of injury or insult, they would seek redress rather by dignified remonstrance than by mimicking the noisy nationality of our Milesian fellow subjects. If we may form any judgement, however, from the list of names attached to the document issued by the Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights, we should be inclined to the opinion that this is one of those exceptions which confirm the general rule we have adopted in the estimate of our northern brethren, notwithstanding even the fact that the name of an amiable and deservedly popular nobleman figures as president of the occasion. We cannot forget that the noble lord is but fresh from the recent honours of Irish viceroyalty and Irish popularity. Of all the Scottish M.P.s, Mr Cowan’s name is the only one that appears on the Committee, and we can scarcely feel surprised, seeing that the largest portion of that Committee consists of Edinburgh gentlemen; although we might have expected that this Parliamentary experience would have led him to the conclusion that such a mode of advocating the redress of Scottish grievances was likely to meet with ridicule rather than with sympathy. 

   Let us not however be misunderstood. We would cast no ridicule on the objects of this association, but simply on the mode adopted for attaining them. No doubt some of the grievances named are deserving of redress. But we think that to start with the untenable assumption that the Treaty of Union was an irrevocable contract, tends much to weaken the case of the complainants. To charge our co-contractors with bad faith is an easy method of diverting on others the censure which our own negligence may deserve. If the articles of Union have been departed from, or as the phrase is – have been violated, they have been departed from or violated by the joint Parliament of England and Scotland – and if any injury has been thereby inflicted on the land o’ cakes, her own representatives have been to some extent at any rate consenting parties. A ready answer may then be given to those who found their case on the so called violation of the Articles of Union, since according to the well known legal maxim, Volenti non fit injuria [to one who is willing, no harm is done]. 

   The true means of obtaining redress for Scottish grievances is through the Scottish representatives; and certainly a proportionate increase in the number of these should be among the foremost objects of all the Scottish reformers. Let us however in passing remind those who stickle by the Union, that we have now a larger number of representatives than was stipulated for under that treaty. Still Scotland has not her fair proportion – and this she is entitled to demand whether by an increase in the number of Scotch members, or a decrease in the number of English, does not much signify, although we rather incline to the latter alternative. The House of Commons is already numerous enough, and we do not think it would suffer any slight reduction. 

   There is one thing in which we cordially agree with the statement in the address before us, and that is the absolute necessity of the appointment of a Secretary of State for Scotland. We have ourselves on former occasions adverted to this point, and as is very appositely remarked by the framers of the address, ‘The necessity for a Secretary of State must be apparent to all who understand that the Lord-Advocate is unable to attend to the treble duties of adviser to the Crown or public prosecutor, and superintendent of the whole proceedings of Scotland; of Secretary of State and framer of bills for a country daily increasing in wealth, population, and legislative business; and of attendance to his private practice as an advocate, which he cannot be expected either to forget or forego. It is absurd to conceive that the mere fraction of one man’s time, however able, is sufficient to govern the most industrious country in Europe, or that every Lord Advocate must infallibly be a statesman and fit to undertake the cast amount of legislation appertaining to such a country as Scotland.’ 

   We fully concur in these observations, and we would add to them a remark which a committee of Edinburgh gentlemen may fairly be excused for passing by. And the remark we would add is, that the Lord Advocate is far too likely to be linked closely with the interests of the Parliament House and the lawyers. He cannot therefore act with that freedom and independence, which are required for the administration of the interests of the whole Scottish community. Even our present Lord Advocate, with all his ability and ingenuity, is a striking instance in illustration of our remark.”

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 20th August, 1853.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1850-1875.

William Miller

Necropolis 30

The monument to William Miller (August 1810 – 20 August 1872) who wrote the Glasgow poem Wee Willie Winkie was born a short distance away at Ark Lane. His ambition to become a surgeon was ended by serious illness and he was eventually apprenticed as a wood–turner. William was buried in the family plot in Tollcross Cemetery in an unmarked grave near the main entrance at the North wall. 

Glasgow’s City Necropolis.


The Rev. DAVID MACRAE moved the following resolution:-

   Names and words, he remarked, were the symbols of things, and to misname was to confuse, mislead, and falsify. They objected to have Scotland included in the term ‘England,’ as if it were a mere English County, because the name falsified their position. Scotland was not a part of England – no more a part of England than a part of Ireland. (Applause.) They objected to be spoken of as Englishmen, because they were not Englishmen, but Scotchmen. They spoke English, they used the English language, but that no more made English people of them than the wearing of Scotch tweeds or the drinking of Scotch whisky turned an Englishman into a Scotchman. (Laughter and applause.) It was not a question of whether it was better to be an Englishman or a Scotchman, but a question of what they were. (Hear, hear.)” 

– Dundee People’s Journal, Saturday 20th August, 1892.

Treaty of Union Articles, Collection of the Rev. David Macrae.

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