10th of September

Saints Nemesianus, Felix, Lucius, another Felix, Litteus, Polianus, Victor, Jader, and Dativus, bishops, and their companions, part martyrs, and part confessors, 3d century. St Pulcheria, virgin and empress, 453. St Finian or Winin, bishop and confessor, 6th century. St Salvius, bishop of Albi, 6th century. St Nicholas of Tolentino, confessor, 1306. 

 

Born. – Mungo Park, African traveller, 1771, Fowlshields, Selkirkshire
Died. – Louis d’Outremer, king of France, killed, 954; John, Duke of Burgundy, murdered at Montereau, 1419; Dr Thomas Sheridan, Irish scholar, translator of Persius, 1738; Ugo Foscolo, Italian republican and writer, 1827, London

 

THE CURFEW.

The lengthening evenings bring naturally to our minds their discomforts in the olden times, and the various customs and observations connected with them. Among these was the curfew-bell, which had been made well known to all ears by the frequent allusions to it in our poets, but which has been the subject of not a few ‘vulgar errors.’ In those old times, people in general, possessed nothing like clocks or watches; they learned, by the practice of observation, to judge roughly of the time of the day, but in cases where it was necessary to know the exact hour, they were entirely at a loss. Any implement for measuring time was rare, and belonged only to a pubic body, or institution, or to some very remarkable individual, and the only means of imparting to the public the knowledge gained from it, was by ringing a bell, or blowing a horn, at certain hours of the day. This practice was first introduced in the monastic establishments, where the inmates required to know the hours for celebrating the various services. It was probably adopted also in the great houses of the aristocracy, and in towns. There were, in fact, many customs to be observed at stated hours, besides the religious services, and some of these were required by public safety. 

In the middle ages there was a very much larger proportion of society which lived by cheating, plundering, and ill treating the rest, than in modern times. Owing to the want of any effective police, there was no safety out of doors at night; and even people who, by daylight, appeared to live honestly, sallied forth after dark to rob and assassinate. It was attempted, in towns especially, to meet this evil, by making it criminal to be found out of doors after a certain hour; and, as otherwise offenders might plead ignorance, it was ordered that the hour should be publicly sounded, generally by the town-bell, and when that was heard, all people were compelled to shut the doors of their houses, put out their fires, and retire to bed, those who were out of bed after the sounding of the bell being liable to severe punishment. It was an efficacious way of clearing the streets. The bell sounded for this purpose was, in France, called popularly the couvre-feu, or cover-fire, which, in the Latin documents in which it was alluded to, was translated by ignitegium. It was apparently, a municipal and not a state institution, and the utility of a general covering of fires at a reasonable hour is obvious. In those days, most houses were constructed wholly or mostly of wood, and were extremely liable to take fire when fire was used carelessly. To cover up the fire was an important regulation for safety, and a utensil was employed for the purpose – here represented. 

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The curfew-bell was used in the monastic establishments as well as in the towns. In Scotland, the hour of curfew was similarly retarded, until it was fixed, not at nine, but at ten o’clock, and that seems to have been, in later times, the usual hour of the Scottish curfew. 

It is quite a mistake to suppose that the curfew-bell was peculiar to this island – it was a natural expedient for serving a generally useful purpose, and was adopted in France, Italy, and Spain, and probably in all parts of continental Europe. Moreover, a corresponding bell was rung in the morning, to inform people of the hour at which it was customary to rise. In some instances, this is merely said to have taken place at daybreak, but a more usual hour appears to have been four o’clock in the morning.

 

On this Day in Other Sources.

 

The 10th of September, this same year [1508], a dreadful earthquake in Scotland and England, which lasted the 10th part of an hour, to the great terror and astonishment of all the inhabitants. 

– Historical Works, pp.214-238.

 

Considering the circumstances of the times, when every effort was made, by a too powerful neighbour, to obtain possession of the Queen’s person, either by force, or fraud: reflecting, also, that the whole power of Scotland had been worsted, on Pinkiefield, on the 10th of September 1547; it was deemed prudent, to remove the Queen, from Stirling castle, to an inaccessible isle, in the lake of Menteith, wherein were a castle, and a monastery. It was the dowager Queen, who inspired the Scotish councils, with persevering resolution, after so great a disaster, as a battle lost. 

– Life of Mary, pp.9-15.

 

The insurgents did not apply to England, in vain, whatever treaties might exist, between that country, and France. Secretary Cecil, in considering that application, in August 1559, said: “If the Queen, and Dauphin will not grant certain points: then may the Estates commit the government to the next heir of the crown: If the Queen (Mary) will not comply; then it is apparent, God Almighty is pleased, to transfer from her the rule of the kingdom, for the weal of all.” Beyond this jacobinical reasoning, which defied the established law, Goodwin, and Knox, could not have gone, in their wildest ebullitions of zeal. Cecil, following up this policy of superceding the legitimate government of Scotland, by the presumptive heir, sent Randolph to France, in order to bring the Earl of Arran into Britain; and he directed Sadler, to repair to Scotland, with such instructions, as were analogous to his reasoning. 

Incited by the favourable sentiments of the English court, the principal reformers again assembled, at Stirling, on the 10th of September 1559. They, immediately, obtained a great accession to their party, by the junction of the Duke of Chattelherault, the heir presumptive of the crown. This feeble statesman was now gained, by his son, Arran, who had imbibed Huguenoterie, while acting as a colonel, in the French guards. After these accessions, the chief reformers took higher ground. The duke, with other lords, sent remonstrances to the Regent, against fortifying Leith. They affected astonishment, that she should deviate thus early, after the late agreement, by planting a colony of foreigners, so near the metropolis: Wide is the distance, between popular topicks, and solid sense: The French were not foreigners, in Scotland, any more than Scotsmen were foreigners, in France: Neither were the two kingdoms foreign to each other: So it had been settled, in the year before, by the Estates of Scotland, in consequence of the Queen’s marriage. As the reformers were acting against established law; so were they acting against the will of the Estates, on this occasion. They intreated the Regent to desist, from her purpose, of averawing the country, into a tyrannical subjection, lest they should be driven, to seek the concurrence of their fellow subjects, for resisting force, by violence. A war of writing now began, in which the Regent had as much the superiority, as the insurgent lords had the advantage, in a war of tumult. 

– Life of Mary, pp.15-41.

 

[In Moray’s mansion, Ternway], was there held a privy council, on the 10th of September [1562]; wherein was there a proceeding against Sir John Gordon, who, as he had not entered himself a prisoner in Stirling castle, was charged to surrender into the Queen’s hands, his houses of Finlater, and Auchendown, on pain of treason. In the same council appeared the Earl of Mar, and producing his privy patent, for the earldom of Moray, now assumed the title. 

– Life of Mary, pp.62-77.

 

On the 10th of September [1565], Randolph wrote to Cecil, she had imprisoned several gentlemen of Fife: But, she could not find Murray’s lady, whom, she knew, had retired to Berwick, for her accouchement: She is offended with Dundee, and Perth, because they have assisted the lords. 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

 

Sep. 10 [1583]. – The king having now escaped from his Ruthven councillors, and fallen once more under the influence of the Earl of Arran, Sir Francis Walsingham came as Elizabeth’s ambassador to express her concern about these movements, and see what could be done towards opposite effects. Coming to a king with an unwelcome message has never been a pleasant duty; but it must have been particularly disagreeable on this occasion, if it be true, as is alleged by a Presbyterian historian, that Arran – who, says he, within a few days after his return to court, ‘began to look braid’ – hounded out a low woman, called Kate the witch, to assail the ambassador with vile speeches as he passed to and from the king’s presence. – Cal

– Domestic Annals, pp.81-98.

 

What the Bank of England has often in modern times been to the British government, Thomas Foulis, the Edinburgh goldsmith, was in those days to King James – a ready resource when money was urgently required for state purposes. On the 10th of September 1594, the royal debt to Thomas was no less than £14,598; and as a security so far for this sum the king consigned to him ‘twa drinking pieces of gold, weighing in the haill fifteen pund and five unce,’ which the consignee was to be at liberty to coin into ‘five-pund pieces,’ if the debt should not be otherwise paid before the 1st of November next, ‘the superplus, gif oney beis,’ to be forthcoming for his majesty’s use. The value of the gold of these drinking-cups at the present day would be about £950, which shows that the debt in question was expressed in Scottish money. It may be remarked, that on the same day the king consigned another gold drinking-cup, weighing twelve pounds five ounces, in favour of John Arnott, burgess of Edinburgh, who had lent him £6000. It further appears that Thomas Foulis very soon after lent the king £12,000 more ‘for out-redding of sundry his hieness’ affairs.’ 

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

 

On the Leith Wynd Port, as on others, the quarters of criminals were displayed. In September, 1672, the Depute of Gilbert Earl of Errol (High Constable of Scotland) sentenced James Johnstone, violer, who had stabbed his wife, to be hanged, “and to have his right hand, which gave the stroak, cut off, and affixed upon Leith-wind Port, and ordained the magistrats of Edinburgh to cause put the sentence to execution upon the 9th of that month.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.300-309.

 

44. THOMAS PETER of Crossbasket.

Born about 1640; died, 1721.

Merchant in Glasgow Treasurer of the City, 1689; Bailie, 1701, 1712; Dean of Guild, 1707, 1708. “Mortified to this House 3000 merks. Died 10th September, 1721; 81 years of age. Ordered the interest of said sum for ye annual supply of a poor merchant.”

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.

 

“HINTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SCOTLAND,

AS A SEPARATE DIVISION OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE,

BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR JOHN SINCLAIR, BART.

_____

   It is well known, that the power of a country principally depends on the revenue which it possesses, and consequently, that the real value of any portion of it ought to be estimated, according to the clear income which it produces to the national treasury. In that respect it is proposed to make a comparison between Scotland and Ireland, as separate divisions of the Empire, and then to prove the immense advantages which, in point of revenue, England has derived from its Union with Scotland.

    I. From the recent accounts which have been laid before Parliament, it appears that the population of Ireland and of Scotland, and the gross income and net revenue of the two kingdoms, for one year, ending on the 5th of April, 1822, were as follows:-

  

  

Population.

Country – 1821.

Gross Revenue, for

year ending

5th April,

1822.

Net Revenue, for

year ending

5th April,

1822.

Ireland                 6,846,949 

£5,181,208

£4,059,373

Scotland               2,092,014 

 4,292,567

 3,456,642

Difference            4,754,935 

£888,641

£602,731

   Hence it is evident that, comparing the population with the gross revenue, every Scotchman pays per head 2l. 1s. 0¾d. and every Irishman 15s. 1d.; but if a comparison is made according to the net revenue, every Scotchman pays 1l. 12s. 10¼d. and every Irishman but 11s. 9¼d. or little more than one-third.

   From these facts, the following deductions are to be made:-

    1. If the population of Ireland (6,846,949) gives a net revenue of 4,059,373l. what should the population of Scotland (2,092,614) produce in the same proportion?

   Answer, 1,254,188l.; consequently Scotland pays 2,202,454l. per annum beyond its proportion, comparing the population of the two countries.

    2. If the population of Scotland (2,092,014) produces a net revenue of 3,456,642l. what should the population of Ireland (6,846,949) produce at the same rate?

   Answer, 11,295,500l. or Ireland pays 7,256,207l. less than its proportion, comparing its revenue and population with those of Scotland.

    3. If Ireland, producing a net revenue of 4,059,373l. has 52 Peers and 100 Commoners, what number of Peers and Commoners ought Scotland to have, producing a net revenue of 3,456,642l.?

   Answer, 27 Peers and 85 Commoners; consequently Scotland ought to have 11 Peers and 40 Commoners additional.

    4. If Scotland, producing a net revenue of 3,456,642l. has only 16 Peers and 45 Commoners, how many Peers and Commoners ought Ireland to have, producing a net revenue of 4,059,373l.?

   Answer, 19 Peers and 53 Commoners; consequently Ireland has 15 Peers and 47 Commoners beyond its proportion, according to the net revenue payable by the two countries.

   This shews what a much better bargain the Irish made at their Union than the Scots did, when they were united to England, and it ought to make the Irish less hostile to that Union than many of them are inclined to be at present.

    II. It is next proposed to give some idea of the immense advantages which, in point of revenue, the English have derived from the Union with Scotland.

   The revenue of Scotland at the Union was only 110,694l., but in order that both nations, in the words of the Act of Treaty of Union, “might be put on equal footing,” an additional land tax was imposed, by means of which, with other resources, it was intended that the revenue of Scotland should be raised to 160,000l. per annum, which was then estimated to be its full proportion. The revenue which England produced at that time was 5,691,803l. Hence the following results may be drawn, which are calculated according to the gross revenue, the net income at the Union not being exactly ascertained:-

    1. If Scotland at the Union produced 160,000l. of gross revenue per annum, when England produced 5,691,803l. now that England produces 54,564,910l., what should Scotland pay, according to the original proportion settled at the Union?

   Answer, 575,191l., or 3,717,373l. less than it does at present.

   2. If Scotland now produces 4,292,567l. of gross revenue, what should England now produce, if its revenue had increased since the Union, in the same proportion as Scotland?

   Answer, 152,702,285l., or 98,137,875l. per annum more than it does at present.

   There can hardly be a doubt, if Scotland had insisted that it should not be subjected in future to heavier payments than in proportion to those which it had agreed to pay at the Union, the stipulation, being a fair one, would have been acceded to, and it is evident that Scotland does now produce a revenue, in proportion, much larger than ever was contemplated at the Union.

   It is likewise to be observed, that Scotland pays a larger revenue than what appears from the accounts laid before Parliament; for all the teas, groceries, porter, drugs, and a number of other articles consumed in Scotland, pay the taxes to which they are liable, previous to their being landed here; thus augmenting the revenue of England, and proportionably reducing that of Scotland.

   No one wishes more than the person by whom this paper is drawn up, that the three kingdoms should be cordially united together on just and honourable principles; and he is anxious, therefore, that the claims of Scotland should be made known to the Ministers of the United Kingdom, and to the people of both England and Ireland, that these claims may be duly appreciated. He entertains indeed no doubt, that every candid and honourable man who peruses these statements, will be willing to acknowledge their justice, and will be ready to support any measures calculated for the honour or the advantage of Scotland, that may be submitted to the consideration of the Sovereign, or the Government, or the Legislature of the country.

   N.B. The author has not been able to procure “The Public Expences” incurred on account of Scotland and Ireland respectively. He has hitherto only ascertained, that the civil expences of Ireland, for one year, ending on the 5th of January last (1822), amounted to 617,216l.; and those of Scotland only to 133,077l.; making a difference of no less a sum than 484,138l., or nearly half a million. The military and ordnance expences of Ireland, for the same period, came to 1,628,433l. 6s.; whereas those of Scotland cannot amount to even 100,000l., for there were in May last only two regiments of cavalry of about 290 men each, one regiment of infantry containing 568 men, and about 100 artillery.”

Morning Chronicle, 10th September, 1822.

– Newspaper Articles and Letter Relating to the Treaty of Union, Articles 1800-1850.

 

   “… As respects many other things names are of immense importance. Nations have gone to war about a name, and we believe the Scottish people are so proud of their name, that had the English Parliament previous to the Union stipulated that the United Kingdom was to be called England they would never have agreed to it on such a condition. To meet this feeling it was stipulated and agreed to that the two kingdoms of England and Scotland should be for ever united ‘into one realm, by the name of Great Britain and in the Treaty of Union the whole people are spoken of as ‘the subjects of Great Britain.’ Notwithstanding of all this care to prevent Scotland from being absorbed by England instead of being united to it upon equal terms and under a common name there has been a persistent determination exhibited by Englishmen to ignore both Scotland and Ireland, and to have everything national called English, and there are many weak renegade Scotsmen to aid them in this design. Small poets sing of the ‘Queen of merry England,’ great historians write of the victories achieved in the Peninsula at Waterloo, and in India by ‘the armies of England,’ and some of our representatives sometimes speak of ‘the English Parliament.’ When Scotsmen themselves exhibit so little respect for their own country it is less to be wondered at, that Englishmen should glorify their own nationality as they do, to the derogation of Scotland, but still it is annoying to find the leading newspapers in England and the leading public speakers keep with so much unanimity to the phraseology referred to that abroad even more than at home the style and title of ‘Great Britain’ is becoming, if it has not already become, quite obsolete. Thus, there, less than here, is anything else heard, and foreigners cannot be expected to think or call anything British which they see everlastingly termed English. As an instance of how far the wretched habit has grown at home we find not only that within these few days an English member of Parliament – Mr Roebuck – in addressing his constituency used ‘England’ and ‘English’ fifteen times, as ‘Government of England,’ ‘name of England,’ ‘influence of England,’ ‘people of England,’ ‘English colonies,’ ‘English House of Commons,’ ‘commerce of England,’ &c., instead of Britain and British, but at the recent review of the Rifle Volunteers belonging to the West of Scotland, Colonel McMurdo, himself a Scotsman, addressed them as ‘Volunteers of England.’ But whatever the English and the would-be English may do it is the unquestionable duty of every true Scotsman to maintain the national name. If we are not Britons we are Scotsmen, and we never can by any possibility become Englishmen. No doubt if we had been English, we would have been proud of the name, but being Scotsmen we are content with the honour which that confers, and want no other national character. Such is the power of names that when Scotland comes to be regarded at home and throughout the world as a province of England, Scotsmen will be no longer what they have hitherto been. It is impossible that Scotsmen in general could ever have the same aspirations in reference to anything merely English as in reference to something Scottish or British, for when the former word is used as applied to the whole of the United Kingdom it is an insult his own nationality. With a right to the name of Scotsmen or of Britons, but with none to that of Englishmen, they will be a people without a recognised name. Think of our Scottish soldiers and seamen being obliged to maintain amongst their English comrades that they are Englishmen as well as them! In every point of view there is evident degradation in this sinking of the name of Britain as well as that of Scotland, and unless the practice meets with uniform and determined opposition from every one who loves and honours his country, and who does not want the name of England and English imposed upon the United Kingdom and everything connected with it, the object, however slowly, will be surely and certainly accomplished.”

– Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser, Saturday 10th September, 1864.

– Newspaper Articles and Letter Relating to the Treaty of Union, Articles 1850-1875.

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