14th of October

St Calixtus or Calistus, pope and martyr, 222. St Donatian, confessor, bishop of Rheims and patron of Bruges, 389. St Dominic, surnamed Loricatus, confessor, 1060.


Born. – James [VII. of Scotland & II. of England & Ireland], 1633. 
Died. – Pierre Gassendi, mathematician and philosopher, 1655, Paris; Paul Scarron, humorous writer, 1660, Paris; James, Marshal Keith, killed at Hochkirchen, 1758; Prince Gregory Alexander Potemkin, favourite of Empress Catherine, 1791, Cherson.



Among the eight generals of Frederick the Great, who, on foot, surround Rauch’s magnificent equestrian statue of the monarch in Berlin, one is a Briton. He was descended of a Scotch family, once as great in wealth and station as any of the Hamiltons or the Douglases, but which went out in the last century like a quenched light, in consequence of taking a wrong line in politics. James Edward Keith, and his brother the Earl Marischal, when very young men, were engaged in the rebellion of 1715-16, and lost all but their lives. Abroad, they rose by their talents into positions historically more distinguished than those which their youthful imprudence had forfeited. 

The younger brother, James, first served the czar in his wars against Poland and Turkey; but, becoming discontented wit5h the favouritism that prevailed in the Russian army, and conceiving himself treated with injustice, he gave in his resignation in 1747, and was admitted into the Prussian service as field-marshal. Frederick the Great made him his favourite companion, and, together, they travelled incognito through Germany, Poland, and Hungary. Keith also invented a game, in imitation of chess, which delighted the king so much, that he had some thousands of armed men cast in metal, by which he could arrange battles and sieges. On the 29th of August 1756, he entered  with the king into Dresden, where he had the archives opened to carry away the documents that particularly interested the Prussian court: he also managed the admirable retreat of the army from Olmutz in the presence of a superior force, without the loss of a single gun; and took part in all the great battles of the period. He was killed in that of Hochkirchen, 14th of October 1758. His correspondence with Frederick, written in French, possesses much historical interest. He was of middle height, dark complexion, strongly-marked features, and an expression of determination, softened by a degree of sweetness, marked his face. His presence of mind was very remarkable; and his knowledge, deep and varied in character; whilst his military talents and lively sense of honour made him take rank among the first commanders of the day. His brother, the lord-marshal of Scotland, thus wrote of him to Madame de Geoffrin: ‘My brother has left me a noble heritage; after having overrun Bohemia at the head of a large army, I have only found seventy dollars in his purse.’ Frederick honoured his memory by erecting a monument to him in the Wilhelmsplatz, at Berlin, by the side of his other generals.


On this Day in Other Sources.


The 14th of October this year [1318], was fought the battle of Dundalk, in Ireland, wherein the Lord Edward [Bruce], elect King of Ireland, was killed. 

– Historical Works, pp.88-104.


Oct. 14 [1574]. – ‘The pest came to Leith by ane passenger wha came out of England, and sundry died thereof before it was known.’ On the 24th, it entered Edinburgh, ‘brought in by ane dochter of Malvis Curll out of Kirkcaldy.’ The Court of Session abstained from sitting in consequence. ‘My Lord Regent’s grace skalit his house and men of weir, and was but six in household; I know not whether for fear of the pest or for sparing of expenses.’ – D. O. 

– Domestic Annal, pp.56-80.




The xiiij day of October 1591, being Fuiresday in Lithe.

   Item for braid to your hors the morning 

xl d.  

– Sketches, Appendix VIII.



Born at Kirktonhill, 14th Oct., 1687; died, 1st Oct., 1768. 

Professor of Mathematics in the University of Glasgow. He was the eldest son of John Simson, of Kirktonhill, and educated at Glasgow University, where, his mathematical capacity being recognised, he was appointed professor in 1711. He occupied the chair for fifty years, and acquired great reputation both as mathematician and as teacher. He is now best known by his edition of Euclid, of which all modern editions are little more than reprints. Among his pupils were Colin Maclaurin, James Stirling, Mathew Stewart, and Professor Robison of Edinburgh. 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.



That of the marker on the right reads: 









Glasgow’s Cathedral & City Necropolis.


Glasgow Evening Citizen, Monday 14th October 1889, p.2. 



   On Saturday information of a mysterious death was forwarded to Mr. Langham, the City of London coroner. The deceased has been identified as Mr. G. B. Phillips, aged forty, a jute merchant of Dundee. At half-past six o’clock he arrived at Cannon-street Railway Station by the tidal train. He had been to Paris to visit the Exhibition. Whilst en route from Boulogne to Folkestone he made the acquaintance of a young woman, and from inquiries that have been made it is evident that he travelled in her company to London. On the arrival of the train at Cannon-street Station the deceased got out, and immediately afterwards sank to the platform as if dead. He was carried to the Cannon-street Hotel, where he expired about two hours afterwards. It is understood that the identity of the deceased was ascertained through certain papers found in his pockets, but whether the young woman referred to had been detained is not known. The inquest will probably be held on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Curious and Interesting Deaths.

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