17th of October

St Anstrudis or Austru, abbess at Laon, 688. St Andrew of Crete, 761. St Hedwiges or Avoice, Duchess of Poland, widow, 1243.

Born. – Augustus III., king of Poland, 1696.
Died. – Pope John VII., 707; Philip de Comines, historian, 1509, Argenton, in Poitou; Andrew Osiander, eminent Lutheran divine, 1552, Königsberg; Ninon de Lenclos, celebrated beauty and wit, 1705; Frederic Chopin, musical composer, 1849, Paris.

On this Day in Other Sources.

In 1346, while Edward III. was busy with the siege of Calais, David II., at the instigation of the French court, with whom the Scots were in alliance, assembled an army at Perth, and marched into England as far as Durham. The Archbishop of York, assisted by Henry Percy and Ralph Neville, called forth the array of the north of England to oppose the invasion. The two armies met near Durham on the 17th October and fought. The Scots suffered terribly from the English archers, and having no cavalry to disperse them as at Bannockburn, they were completely defeated. The Scottish king was taken prisoner. Four earls, two lords, the Archbishop of St. Andrews, and many others were captured. The slain were reckoned at 15,000. A cross was erected by Sir Ralph Neville to commemorate the victory, whence it was afterwards called “the battle of Neville’s Cross.” The English army crossed the Border and for a time held Tweeddale, Teviotdale, Annandale, and Galloway. King David was taken to London, conveyed through the city with great pomp, and imprisoned in the Tower. 

– A History of Scotland, Chapter IV. 

On 17th October [1488], he was created Earl of Bothwell. In 1492, he transferred the lands of the lordship of Bothwell, with the Castle, to the Earl of Angus, representative of another branch of the house of Douglas, in exchange for Liddesdale; but the superiority of Bothwell, with the patronage of the collegiate church, continued with the Earl of Bothwell, till the forfeiture of James, the fourth Earl, in 1567.

– Select Views, pp.47-52.

The 17th day of October, this year [1508], Adam Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, Lord Hailes, departs this life at Edinburgh; and to him succeeded, in the earldom, his son Patrick. 

– Historical Works, pp.214-238.

On the 17th of October [1566], the Queen was seized with a dangerous fever, which, during ten days, brought her into a very doubtful state. She seems to have lived, daily, in a feverish state; owing partly to the misconduct of her husband, and to her apprehension of some fresh conspiracy. 

– Life of Mary, pp.136-151.

[On 17th and 18th October still in Stirling.]

xix October being Tysday in Sterling.

   Item to Gillespik the fule 

vj s. viij d.

   Item ane point of Spenis wyne to your chalmer or ye raid to Kilbryd 

x s.

– Sketches, Appendix VIII.

Oct. 17 [1720]. – The genius of Scott, in The Heart of Midlothian, has lent an extraordinary interest to a murder perpetrated at this date. Nicol Mushet appears to have been a young man of some fortune, being described as ‘of Boghall,’ and he had studied for the profession of a surgeon; but for some time he had led an irregular and dissipated life in Edinburgh, where he had for one of his chief friends a noted profligate named Campbell of Burnbank, ordnance store-keeper in the castle. The unhappy young man was drawn into a marriage with a woman named Hall, for whom he soon discovered that he had neither affection nor respect; and he then became so eager to be free from the connection as to listen to a project by Burnbank for obtaining a divorce by dishonourable means. An obligation passed between the parties in November 1719, whereby a claim of Burnbank for an old debt of nine hundred merks (about £50) was to be discharged by Mushet as soon as Burnbank should be able to furnish evidence calculated to criminate the woman. Burnbank then deliberately hired a wretch like himself, one Macgregor, a teacher of languages, to enter into a plot for placing Mrs Mushet in criminative circumstances; and some progress was made in this plan, which, however, ultimately misgave. It was then suggested by Burnbank that they should go a step further, and remove the woman by poison. One James Mushet and his wife – a couple in poor circumstances – readily undertook to administer it. Several doses were actually given, but the stomach of the victim always rejected them. James Mushet undertook to knock his sister-in-law on the head for twenty guineas, and got one or two in hand by anticipation, part of which he employed in burying a child of his own.

At length, the infatuated Nicol himself borrowed a knife one day, hardly knowing what he wanted it for, and, taking his wife with him that night, as on a walk to Duddingston, he embraced the opportunity of killing her at a solitary place in the King’s Park. He went immediately after to his brother’s, to tell him what he had done, but in a state of mind which made all afterwards seem a blank to him. Next morning the poor victim was found lying on the ground, with her throat cut to the bone, and many other wounds, which she had probably received in struggling with her brutal murderer.

Mushet was seized and examined, when he readily related the whole circumstances of the murder and those which had led to it. He was adjudged to be hanged in the Grassmarket on the ensuing 6th of January. His associate Burnbank was declared infamous, and sentenced to banishment. the common people, thrilled with horror by the details of the murder, marked their feelings in the old national mode by raising a cairn on the spot where it took place; and Mushet’s Cairn has ever since been a recognised locality.

– Domestic Annals, pp.390-397.

From the Advertisement pages of the Caledonian Mercury, Midlothian – Thursday 24th July, 1794:




To be exposed to public Roup and Sale, within the Old Exchange Coffeehouse, Edinburgh, on Friday the 17th day of October 1794, between the hours of five and six after-noon.

A SUBSET of All and Whole the LANDS, GRAZINGS, and SHEEP FARM of CULLACHY, KYTRIE, and Others, as possessed by Lieutenant Evan Macpherson and his Subtenants, under lease, of which there are twelve years to run from Whitsunday 1794.

  This farm is situated close to Fort Augustus, in the county of Inverness, extending from the river Oich southward [lacuna] to the ridge of the high mountains of Corryerrack, along the military road leading by Garvamore to Perth and Edinburgh; and from east to west two miles, along the military road leading from Inverness by Fort-William and the [lacuna] Mount to Glasgow. It comprehends at least twenty-[lacuna] miles of surface, of which upwards of 200 acres are [lacuna] land of the best quality in that country, and a great deal of fine meadow ground, which yields fine crops of natural hay.

  The soil is in general very rich, producing a profusion of sweet and strong grass finely intermixed, and which has been found, from long experience, to be peculiarly well adapted for rearing and feeding sheep and black cattle at all seasons of the year, as the farm affords, from its abundant pasture and good shelter, perfect security in the most severe winters.

Along with the Sublease will be exposed,

  The WHOLE STOCKING on the Farms, conform to inventory. The present Stocking consists of near four thousand Black faced Sheep and Black Cattle are not inferior to any flock in the Highlands of Scotland, either for bone, fashion, or [lacuna]; and after seven years trial, the farm has proved itself perfectly equal to maintain this number, besides having a considerable portion of the arable land kept constantly under a corn crop.

  Within the last seven years about 700l. Sterling has been laid out in various useful improvements upon this farm which renders further expence unnecessary during the remainder of the lease, either in the erection of houses, sheep [lacuna], dykes, or inclosures of any kind; and the purchaser will also be intitled to draw certain meliorations from the proprietor, at the termination of the lease.

  There are upon the premisses a complete set of office-houses, in good repair, and an excellent garden, containing half an acre of ground, well stored with young fruit trees, and sufficiently inclosed.

  The dwelling-house is a commodious substantial new building neatly finished, and fit to accommodate a genteel family. It contains a large dining-room, a breakfasting parlour, four bed-rooms, three bed-closets, a kitchen, servants hall, three cellars, and three large garrets. The house, from its windows, commands a delightful view of the lake and banks of Lochness, the garrison and village of Fort Augustus, and of the wild and romantic scenes of Glentarse.

  This place is peculiarly well adapted for a Summer Residence or Shooting Quarters; the adjacent hills and mountains abound with red deer, grouse, black cock, and tarmagan, and low grounds with hare, partridge, woodcock, and wild duck. The lakes and rivers, which are numerous, produce a great variety of excellent trout; and Lochness and the river oich abounds with salmon.

  All necessary supplies from market can be easily and cheaply conveyed from Inverness, only 32 miles distant, by means of the navigation of Lochness, and the mail arrives at Fort Augustus three times a-week from Inverness, and as often from Fort William.

  The farms being in a high state of improvement, the purchaser may reasonably expect, by proper management, a free profit from 300l. to 400l. per annum, during the currency of the lease. The subtenant will be entitled to take possession as at Martinmas next; and the price only payable at Whitsunday thereafter.

  In a word, this purchase deserves the attention of sheep farmers in particular in point of profit – of the sportsman for his pleasure – and of every gentleman of taste, who wishes for a delightful, convenient, and healthy retirement in the country. In all these respects such an opportunity seldom occurs as the present sale offers.

  Any of the shepherds or servants at Cullachy will show the farms and stocking; and for further particulars enquire at Alexander Stewart, Esq. of Achnacoan, or the Rev. Mr John Kennedy, at Aucheraw [Auchterawe], by Fort Augustus, or James Robertson, writer, Castlehill, Edinburgh, who will show the principal lease, and articles of roup.

– Gloomy Memories, Contemporary Newspaper Advertisements of Highland Land.


1139. Gold Box, presented to Admiral Duncan, 1797, by the Town Council of Glasgow, in recognition of his services to the nation through his victory over the Dutch fleet at Camperdown, 1797. London make.

“From the City of Glasgow to Admiral Lord Viscount Duncan, in testimony of the high sense they entertain of his skill, conduct, and gallantry on the glorious 17th October, 1797.” 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 3.



   The formation of the National Association, leagued and bonded together, for the vindication of our Scottish Rights, is assuredly one of the most remarkable events of the present day. If we consider the rapidity with which the noble flame has spread from town to town, from man to man, and from heart to heart. Whigs, Conservatives, and Radicals, Free-Traders, and Protectionists – the adherents of every political section and religious sect, have sunk, forgotten, or merged their petty squabbles in one grand common cause, to demand Justice for their native country, to seek the common good, and with the determination to have Scotland for the Scottish people – to have Scotland as the Treaty of Union guaranteed she should be, united to England for Imperial purposes; but not to be merged into England, to be degraded to a nameless province, or to have her institutions violated, and her honour trampled on.  

   The future strength of the Association, after the meeting in November, will greatly depend upon the exertions of the local secretaries; but, we are assured, they require no exhortations to make them serve the righteous cause that brings this new Scottish party into the field.  

   All the countless evils complained of by our people have arisen from the false impression which prevails in England, and is so systematically adopted by the more ignorant and illiberal of her members of Parliament, that Scotland is no longer a kingdom in herself, but is a mere province merged into England, as Wales or Ireland were; but the time is coming when we shall teach their worships the difference.  

   By the Treaty of Union, Scotland was to remain within herself a kingdom intact; that Treaty has been violated; her people have been wronged, and can it be wondered at that, after all the neglects and insults they have endured, they add a little saltpetre to the “brimstone,” and take council among themselves as to what is to be done to preserve from future subversion and destruction, the few courts, institutions, and privileges that remain.  

   English influence has been the curse of Scotland, and from the wars of Edward I., to those of the Covenant, and from thence down to the present day, we can trace it; for PAID AND HIRELING PENS are now at work against her, even as paid and hireling lances were of old. Witness the lucubrations of Dryasdust and Macrowdy. Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, who, notwithstanding his project of a union between us and the Dutch, was one of the truest patriots that ever trod on Scottish ground, observed in one of his speeches to our Chancellor before the Union –  

   ‘All our affairs since the union of the Crowns, have been managed by the advice of English Ministers, and the principal offices of the kingdom filled only with such men as the Court of England knew would be subservient to their designs; by which means they have had so visible an influence upon our whole administration, that we have, from that time, appeared to the rest of the world more like a conquered province than a free and independent people. The account is very short; whilst our Princes are not absolute in England, they must be influenced by that nation; our Ministers must follow the direction of the Prince or lose their places; and our places and pensions will be distributed according to the inclinations of a King of England, neither shall any man obtain the least advancement who refuses to vote in Parliament and Council under that influence.’  

   Honest Andrew referred to the Royal prerogative; but the spirit and sense that dictated his speech come home to us in the present hour. We will no longer have the kingdom of Scotland governed by Ministerial placemen; but we must have our Secretary of State restored, with other and better means of local government than we now possess. We will no longer submit to the invidious policy that flatters while it robs, and smiles while it starves us, and leaves nothing undone to obliterate our nationality and demoralise our national character. We will no longer have Ich Dien substituted, in spirit, for the ancient motto that so well became the Thistle in times of old; although (God wot!) for these hundred years, Ich Dien has been better suited to us than the Nemo me Impune Lacesset, with which our gallant Kings encircled the hardy emblem of their native country.  

   The smallest county in England is now better cared for than the nation whose frontier formed of old the boundary of the Roman conquests, and the consciousness of long neglect has exhausted our patience. That tide of centralisation, corruption, and absorption, which overwhelmed the vast empire of the Cæsars, found a barrier at the base of our Scottish mountains; shall they be less a barrier against the centralisation, corruption, and absorption, which in violation of common justice and of common sense would make bloated London the sole heart and pulse of this united empire? We hope not.  

   ‘The Treaty of Union between Scotland and England,’ say the Association, ‘recognises the supremacy, asserts the individuality, and provides for the preservation of the national laws and institutions of Scotland. Any attempt to subvert or place the said institutions under English control, and under the pretence of a centralising economy to deprive her of Local Action, is an infraction of the true spirit of that treaty, injurious to her welfare, and should be strenuously resisted.’ ” 

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 17th October, 1853.

Treaty of Union Articles, Formation of the NAVSR.

Forbes MacKenzie’s Failure.

AIR – “Roy’s Wife of Aldivalloch.



Wot ye how your Act has failed

To hinder Scots frae drinkin’ toddy?

They sit and guzzle mair the noo,

Auld man and gudewife, chiel and hizzie,

And mony mair hae gotten fou’

Sinsyne ye made yoursel’ sae bizzy.

Daft FORBES, &c.

Awa wi’ Yankee Law o’ Maine,

Invented bythat ither noddie,

And dinna fash us wi your ain,

Ye daft auld FORBES MACKENZIE body.

Daft FORBES, &c. – October 17, 1857., p.158.

[The Forbes MacKenzie Act (1853) regulated opening hours, &c. for public houses in Scotland.]


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