2nd of October

The Feast of the Holy Angel-Guardians. St Leodegarius or Leger, bishop and martyr, 678.

Born. – Cardinal Charles Borromeo, editor of the Noctes Vaticanæ, 1538, Arona; The Chevalier d’Eon, celebrated adventurer and pretended female, 1728, Tonnerre, Burgundy.
Died. – Aristotle, great Greek philosopher, 322 B.C., Chalcis; Thomas Thomson, legal and literary antiquary, 1852, Edinburgh.


Ritson had no patience for looseness of diction or assertion; and an amusing anecdote of this is given by Sir Walter Scott, who was intimate with him. He had visited Sir Walter at his cottage near Lasswade, and, in the course of conversation, spoke of the remains of the Roman Wall in the border counties as not above a foot or two in height, on the authority of some friend at Hexham. Sir Walter assured him, that near Gilsland ‘it was high enough for the fall to break a man’s neck.’ Ritson took a formal note, visited the spot afterwards, and then wrote to say he had tested the assertion, and thought it accurate. ‘I immediately saw,’ says Sir Walter, ‘what a risk I had been in, for you may believe I had no idea of being taken quite so literally.’ 


Sir Walter Scott said of Ritson, ‘he had an honesty of principle about him, which, if it went to ridiculous extremities, was still respectable from the soundness of the foundation. I don’t believe the world could have made Ritson say the thing he did not think.’ Surtees adds, ‘that excessive aspiration after absolute and exact verity, I verily believe, was one cause of that unfortunate asperity with which he treated some most respectable contemporaries.’ In Ritson, then, we may study the evil effects of a narrowed view of truth itself, when combined with an irritable temper. Hated as a critic, while respected as a scholar, he rendered himself unnecessarily an object of dislike and aversion, whilst with a little more suavity he might have fulfilled his mission equally well. To him we are undoubtedly indebted for a more exact rendering of our ancient authors, which has guarded them from that loose editorship which was Ritson’s abomination. His name and works, therefore, take an important place in literary history. His personal errors, and their consequences, should also be a warning to such critics as needlessly turn their pens to poniards, and their ink to gall.

On this Day in Other Sources.

Oct. 2 [1561]. – Before the queen had been settled for many weeks in her capital, the new-born zeal of the people against the old religion found vent in a way that showed in how little danger she was of being spoilt by complaisance on the part of her subjects. The provost of Edinburgh, Archibald Douglas, with the bailies and council, ‘causit ane proclamation to be proclaimit at the Cross of Edinburgh, commanding and charging all and sundry monks, friars, priests, and all others papists and profane persons, to pass furth of Edinburgh within twenty-four hours, under the pain of burning of disobeyers upon the cheek and harling of them through the town upon ane cart. At the whilk proclamation, the queen’s grace was very commovit.’ – D. O. She had, after all, sufficient influence to cause the provost and bailies to be degraded from their offices for this act of zeal. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.13-29.



The second of October being Satterday.

   Item giffin to the smyth for your broun geldin schone 

xiij s. iiij d.

– Sketches, Appendix VIII.

The 2nd of October, this year [1603], the notorious thief and rebel, Alister MacGregor, Laird of Glenstrae, who had escaped [John Campbell] the Laird of Ardkinlas’ hands, was taken by Archibald [Campbell], Earl of Argyll, who (before he would yield) had promised to him to convoy him safe out of Scottish ground; to perform which promise, he caused some servants [to] convey him to Berwick, and be south [of] it some miles, and bring him back again to Edinburgh, where he was hanged, with many of his kindred,.. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

Oct. 2 [1603]. – Campbell of Ardkinlas, set on by the Earl of Argyll, exerted himself to capture Macgregor of Glenstrae, who for some months had been under ban of the government on account of the slaughterous conflict of Glenfruin. He called Macgregor to a banquet in his house, which stands within a loch, and there made no scruple to lay hold of the unfortunate chieftain. Being immediately after put into a boat, under a guard of five men, to be conducted to the Earl of Argyll, Macgregor contrived to get his hands loose, struck down the guardsman nearest him, and leaping into the water, swam to land unharmed. 

Some time after, the Earl of Argyll sent a message to Macgregor, desiring him to come and confer with him, under promise to let him go free if they should not come to an agreement. He ‘came with the Earl of Argyll to Edinburgh’.., ‘with eighteen mae of his friends.’ The remainder of the transaction is narrated by the diarist Birrel. Macgregor ‘was convoyit to Berwick by the guard, conform to the earl’s promise; for he promised to put him out of Scots grund. Sae he keepit ane Hielandman’s promise, in respect he sent the guard to convoy him out of Scots grund; but they were not directed to part with him, but to fetch him back again… He came at even again to Edinburgh, and upon the 20 day, he was hangit at the Cross, and eleven mae of his friends and name, upon ane gallows; himself being chief, he was hangit his awn height above the rest of his friends.’ 

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

In the same year “a perfyt catallog” was ordered to be made up “of the haill names of the persons within this burgh able for weir,” and certain days were fixed for drilling. Three years later, as the troubles thickened, every one capable of bearing arms was called out. In that year – 1643 – Charles I. issued a proclamation for “putting of this haill kingdome on ane present postoure of war,” and the magistrates of Glasgow ordered that “in everie ane of the four quarters of the toun everie man be in readiness at all tymes with sufficient armes and that they use and exerce the same;” and directions are given as to this and officers appointed.1

– Old Glasgow, pp.162-175.

1  Minute of Council, 2d October, 1643.

Our burgh records contain but few notices of the prison discipline in the old tolbooths of Glasgow; but one curious incident may be quoted which illustrates the relations subsisting between the jailers and their prisoners. In the year 1666 an individual called “Johne Rowat merchand,” held the office of jailer of the Tolbooth at the Cross, and one of his prisoners – committed for what cause is not stated – was “the Laird of Branshoyle.” John had some dispute with his prisoner, which he ended by putting him in irons. Possibly the laird deserved it, but he had friends who brought the matter before the magistrates, and the jailer lost his place. He applied to be reponed, and his supplication and apology is recorded in the council minutes. After stating his appointment to the office of “keiper to their Lordships tolbuith quhilk he hes attendit theis divers yeares bygane,” it proceeds thus: “And laitlie ane of the prisoners therein, the Laird of Branshoyle, haveing far exceeded the bounds of ane prisoner towards the supplicant, his keiper, trew it is that in ane passioune the supplicant did exceid his power and commissioune, in laying him in the irones, for the quhilk he is very sore grieved from the bottom of his heart, albeit he was heighlie provocked therto: And trewlie he dar say that he hes dearlie payit for it, for with the anger he took at that time he hes never sensyne bein quyt of ane most cruell collick and gravell, quhairby he was very lyklie to have lost his lyfe and is not ʒit fullie quyt of it.” He then acknowledges the justice of his dismissal, and craves the council to pitie him at this tyme seing their Lordships know he hes lived honestlie heirtofoir, and come of honest and ancient parents within this burgh, besyde that he is awand fyfe thowsand marks and hes the burdone of four motherles childerin; and that your Lordships wald be pleased to readmitt the supplicant againe to his charge, and be the grace of God the lyk should never be sein in him againe.”1 He was reponed, but he lost his place again soon afterwards for allowing a prisoner to escape. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.140-150.

1  Burgh Records, 2d October, 1666.


   At Wednesday night’s ‘Social’ in the Gilfillan Memorial, Mr Macrae lectured before a large audience on ‘Scottish National Rights.’ As Scotchmen, he said, they were proud of their nationality, and with good reason. Froude had declared that three small nations had made deep marks in the fields of time – Judea, Greece, and Scotland. Scotland had done good work in the world; and her history was a fountain of perpetual inspiration to her children both at home and abroad. There was nothing selfish about her patriotism. It carried with it a sense of responsibility and fraternity. Love of home was a nursery for the larger sentiment of patriotism, and patriotism was a nursery for the still larger sentiment of international fraternity and the brotherhood of man. If Scotland sacrificed her national life and her sense of national honour and self-respect, she would be less worthy of the respect of other nations. He wished to call attention to two things that were inflicting deadly injury on that national life, and that needed to be resolutely and strenuously fought against. One was the evil of centralisation; the other was the practice of submitting to have Scotland spoken of as part of England, thus surrendering at one stroke Scotland’s claim to national existence, and therefore to national rights. Speaking on this point, he said that names were vital things. They were the landmarks and fingerposts of history. Why had Scotland made it an indispensable condition to union with England that the united name should be – not England, but ‘Great Britain?’ Why did she postpone the union until England accepted this condition? Because it enshrined a great historic truth, and put England’s seal to the fact that after centuries of conflict Scotland remained unconquered, and entered the union a free and independent nation to form along with England a still larger nationality under the name of Great Britain… Encouraged by the cowardly acquiescence of the Scottish members of Parliament, the Government had introduced the name of ‘England’ into the New Hebrides and Burmah Treaties, instead of the term required by the treaties of union between England and Scotland, and between Great Britain and Ireland. It was high time that Scotland looked to her rights.”  

– Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday 2nd October 1890. 

Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

   “I understand your able writer proposes to proceed with the history of most of the Scottish Earldoms. When he arrives at the period of the 16th century. I hope he will endeavour to write a separate history of Lord Kellie’s alleged new title of Mar, with documentary proofs of its creation and career; but I fear he will find this a somewhat difficult task, or it would surely have been published before the year of grace 1896!

   Perhaps some day we shall be enlightened as to why the authorities for the ‘Decreet of Ranking’ in 1606 failed to rank, and were ignorant of an Earldom of Mar of only forty years’ standing, on Lord Kellie’s assumption; why the Erskine family never held or claimed that alleged new peerage till 1875; in what manner was it attainted, or restored from the Jacobite attainder? and by what authority a London Committee for ‘Privileges’ can call into existence a new Scottish Earldom, not on the ‘Union Roll’ of authentic Peerages in 1707, while by the Treaty of Union the Crown and Parliament are precluded from creating a Scottish Peerage? These are questions into which an inquiry has been persistently refused. – Yours, &c.,


   Blaragie, Kingussie, October 2nd, 1896.”

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

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