26th of August

St Zephyrinus, pope and martyr, 219. St Gelasinus, martyr, 297. St Genesius (a comedian), martyr, end of 3d century. St Genesius of Arles, martyr.

Died. – Lopez Felix de la Vega, Spanish poet and dramatist, 1635, Madrid; Christopher Christian Sturm, author of the reflections, 1786; Karl Theodor Körner, martial lyrist, killed, 1813; Dr Adam Clarke, eminent divine and author, 1832, Haydon Hall, Middlesex; Louis Philippe, ex-king of France, 1850, Claremont, Surrey.

On this Day in Other Sources.

Then did the whole army dislodge the 26th of August [1460], conducting the body of the deceased King to the monastery of the Holy Cross, near Edinburgh, where they royally interred the same, with the tears of his people and whole army. 

– Historical Works, pp.166-189.

After all those measures of vigorous preparation, for a hostile campaign, Mary, and Darnley, departed, from Edinburgh, on the 26th of August [1565], for Linlithgow. 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

In 1704, Sir Hugh published an Essay on the Lord’s Prayer. He wished that it should form a necessary part of the daily church-service of Scotland. His pleading was evaded by the Church Courts, and received coldly by the public, which stimulated him to more urgent appeals. Some sharp things were said and written on both sides, and at length, in 1709, Sir Hugh put forth a small volume of the correspondence, together with a new edition of his Essay, which produced little more effect than the first publication. One of Sir Hugh’s letters (26th August 1707) is interesting. He had been twitted with lukewarmness for Presbytery, and even with that sin of sins, lapsarianism. The old man replied, – “Since ever I came to the age of a man, I made it my business to do every honest minister of the Gospel all the good offices and service that was in my power, as I could find occasion; and God honoured me so much that I relieved many honest ministers out of prison, kept more from trouble, and to be an instrument to save the lives of severals who were pious, eminently pious and knowing beyond many of their brethren, such as Mr. William Guthrie, Mr. William Veitch, and several others; and I can say I spared neither my pains nor what credit I had with any who governed the state, nor my fortune nor purse. I ventured these, and my office and life too, to save honest people, who walked according to their light, without flying to extremities, and taking arms against the King and Government; so that all the time, from 1662 to the late Revolution, there was not one man payed a fine in the shire of Nairn, except two or three.”1

– Sketches, pp.395-436.

1  A collection of letters relative to an Essay upon the Lord’s Prayer, by Sir Hugh Campbell of Calder. Edinburgh, 1709, p. 126.


   ANOTHER rag of intolerance has been swept away. Her Majesty, disregarding the unseemly and impertinent request preferred by the Established Church Commission, has given her sanction to the University Test bill; and now the lay chairs of the Scotch Universities are open to the most competent Professors, without reference to their religious creed. So far as Scotland is concerned, this is the greatest and best measure of the session. It is important as the public and legislative recognition of a sound principle – important as the settlement of a long agitated question – and equally important viewed in its bearing on other questions yet to be disposed of. The principle on which the bill is founded is, that the Scotch Universities are national, not denominational institutions – a principle which, if fully carried out, would lead to the abolition of the theological chairs. Meantime, it is restricted to branches of science and learning; and, thankful for even this partial recognition, it is probable that the Established Church may be allowed to teach her students their divinity for some time longer at the public expense. But one thing is self-evident: if tests are inexpedient and prejudicial to learning in the non-theological chairs of the universities, they are equally, and even more so in schools: what, therefore, has taken place with regard to the higher seminaries, must assuredly follow with the lower. Principal Macfarlane, however far wrong in some of his statements, was unquestionably right in saying that if the universities go, the schools must follow. And gratifying as it is to find denominational and sectarian barriers removed from the lay chairs of our universities, the full importance of the test bill is only realised when it is viewed as the initiative of a thorough-going educational reform. 

   We hope the clergy of the Established Church have learned a lesson from the manner in which this question has been settled. From the first, a majority of their number set their faces like a flint against any modification of the antiquated tests. No later than the week before last, the Commission gave forth its deliverance in very pompous tones. ‘The Commission take this opportunity to renew, in the most earnest manner, the expression of the mind of the church [i.e. clergy] against the bill, as an unmerited and unwarrantable aggression on her rights and Privileges, guaranteed by the Scottish Parliament, and by the Treaty of Union – as a flagrant infringement of a solemn international compact, and as involving a change in the constitution of the universities most prejudicial to the interests of sound education.’ The Lords spiritual and temporal paid no attention to the solemn remonstrance; but, following up the significant expression of opinion given by the House of Commons, passed the bill without even a division! Not content with remonstrating, the same reverend court asked the Queen to veto the deliberate act of both Lords and Commons.* This, too, was unheeded; so that the Church of Scotland nominally (but in reality her clergy) is forsaken in a matter which she declares to be absolutely essential to the national well being. The Queen, Lords, Commons, and almost the entire body of the people are on the one side; a majority of the clergy, and a few elders, who allow themselves to be tools in the hands of their ministers, are on the other. And thus the church which calls herself national, stands out from and opposed to the opinions of the great body of the population. There is not only no sympathy between her and them, but even the national representatives, who generally exhibit for this church at least a formal, theoretical respect, turned their backs upon her on this occasion. The natural result of taking up an untenable position, is loss of influence. It is so with individuals as well as with collective bodies; and it is peculiarly so when a church sets herself up against reason, common sense, and the unanimous voice of the people. What has happened to her in the case of the universities, will take place in regard to schools – unless she assume a very different mien in the one case than she has done in the other. The fulminations and protests of ecclesiastics are very harmless in these times; and whatever adventitious aid the Established Church may receive through her connexion with the State, she only makes herself a laughing stock when she sets up her dictum in opposition to what the public opinion of the country has pronounced to be ‘wise, just, and beneficial.’ It may not be immediately, but certainly at no distant day, the same public opinion, and, it may be, the same government, that have so successfully thrown open the universities, will also free the schools from ecclesiastical control, whether the Established Church will or no. This is not a prediction, but a legitimate inference from the history of the test controversy.” 

– Elgin Courier, Friday 26th August, 1853.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1850-1875.

* The arguments from those of the Established Church of Scotland concerning the requirement of new professors to sign the Confession of Faith were numerous from about 1805 and their arguments regarding the proposed Test Act were touted in the newspapers often and for quite some time prior to the decision of Parliament and the Queen to outright ignore their arguments. See the last paragraph quoted from the Aberdeen Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday 13th August, 1853, which is related to Dr. Macfarlane’s appeal to her majesty.

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