19th of October

Saints Ptolemy, Lucius, and a companion, 166. St Peter of Alcantara, confessor, 1562.

Born. – James Gronovius, scholar and author (Thesaurus Antiquitatum Græcarum), 1645, Deventer; John Adams, distinguished American statesman, 1735, Braintree, Massachusetts.
Died. – Jacobus Arminius (Jacob Harmensen), celebrated Dutch theologian, 1609, Norwich; Dean Jonathan Swift, humorous and political writer, 1745, Dublin; Francis Joseph Talma, great French tragedian, 1826, Paris.

On this Day in Other Sources.

This year, about the 19th of October, [1200,] the King communicates the estates of his realm, from whom he exacts an oath of fealty to his son, Prince Alexander, which was performed with great solemnity at Musselborough. 

– Historical Works, pp.19-38.

The King, to be revenged on England, who, with the [forfeited] Earl of Douglas, and Percy of Northumberland, had spoiled his borders, calls a parliament of his estates at Edinburgh, the 19th of October this year [1456]

– Historical Works, pp.166-189.

On the nineteenth day of October fourteen hundred and sixty-one, the earl of Ross, Donald Balloch, and his son John de Isle, held a council of their vassals and dependants at Astornish, at which it was agreed to send ambassadors to England to treat with Edward. On the arrival of these ambassadors a negotiation was entered into between them and the earl of Douglas, and John Douglas of Balveny, his brother, both of whom had been obliged to leave Scotland for their treasons in the previous reign. These two brothers, who were animated by a spirit of hatred and revenge against the family of their late sovereign James II., warmly entered into the views of Edward, whose subjects they had become; and they concluded a treaty with the northern ambassadors which assumed as its basis nothing less than the entire conquest of Scotland. Among other conditions, it was stipulated, that, upon payment of a stipulated sum of money to himself, his son, and ally, the Lord of the Isles should become for ever the vassal of England, and should assist Edward and his successors in the wars in Ireland and elsewhere. And, in the event of the entire subjugation of Scotland by the earls of Ross and Douglas, the whole of the kingdom, on the north of the Frith of Forth, was to be divided equally between these Earls and Donald Balloch, and the estates which formerly belonged to Douglas, between the Frith of Forth and the borders, were to be restored to him. This singular treaty is dated London, the eighteenth February, fourteen hundred and sixty-two.1 

– History of the Highlands, pp.163-177.

1  Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. ii. 407. 

We find, in 1480, all the money in the Faculty purse devoted to the repairing of “the pedagogy or College” – pedagogii seu collegii. On the 19th of October 1485, the houses of the “pedagogy” were again in need of repair against the approaching winter. Next year repairing the “riggin stainis” of the “pedagogy” cost £4, 10s. In 1491, Mr. Covyntre’s chamber in the “pedagogy” required repair; and three years later “Master John Hutchison, having been active in building the new kitchen, and probably also in the repairing of the new hall of the pethagogy, and having already held the honourable office, was re-elected Dean of the Faculty, in consideration of the great benefits he had conferred in the building and repair of the “College of the Faculty of Arts.” 

– Sketches, pp.220-253.

[Mary of Guise’s] death-bed was peaceful and affecting, and by her own desire she was attended by Knox’s particular friend, John Willox, an active preacher of the Reformation. Around her bed she called the great leaders of that movement, and with cold and hard hostility they gazed upon her wasted but once beautiful features, as she conjured them in moving terms to be loyal men and true to Mary, the girl-queen of Scotland and of France, and touchingly she implored the forgiveness of all. The apartment in which she expired is one of those in the royal lodging, within the present half-moon battery. The rites of burial were denied her body, and it lay in the Castle lapped in lead till the 19th October, [1560,] when it was borne to Leith by a party of soldiers, and conveyed to Rheims, in Champagne, where her sister was prioress of a convent. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.32-47.

My Lord Regent thinking they wald get advertisement, he prevented the day, and came over the water secretly, and lodged in Dalkeith; this upon the 19 day [October, 1567]; and upon the morrow he departed towards Hawick, where he came both secretly and suddenly, and there took thirty-four thieves whom he partly caused hang and partly drown; five he let free upon caution;.. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.35-44.



xix October [1591] 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. 19 [1637]. – A quantity of gold had been brought into the kingdom by ‘the adventures of Guinee.’ It was ordered to be formed into coin by Nicolas Briot and John Falconer, masters of the cunyie-house, according to the arrangements ordered by the Privy Council in April 1625. – P. C. R. Some gold subsequently brought from the same country to England by the African Company, ‘administered the first occasion,’ as Clarendon tells us, ‘for the coinage of those pieces which, from thence, had the denomination of guineas.’ 

The digging of gold in Guinea is connected in a melancholy way with Scotland, for fifteen hundred of the Scottish prisoners taken at Worcester in September 1651, [during the English civil war,] were granted to the Guinea merchants, ‘to be transported to Guinea to work in the mines there.’ 

– Domestic Annals, pp.257-277.

The merchants of Edinburgh, according to Arnot, were erected into a body-corporate by royal charter, dated 19th October, 1681, under the name of The Company of Merchants of the City of Edinburgh. By this charter they were empowered to choose a Preses, who is called “The Master,” with twelve assistants, a treasurer, clerk, and officer. The company were further empowered to purchase land, and to make bye-laws for their good government, &c. But a saving clause was inserted of the rights of the different incorporations of the city. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.373-382.


(To the Editor of the Glasgow Herald.) 

Glasgow, 18th Oct., 1855.

   SIR, – the article in the London Times of Monday last on the Crimean Banquet lately celebrated here has naturally excited your notice and animadversion, as it must that not of Scotsmen alone, but of all who value patriotism and other noble aspirations of the human mind. The Duke of Hamilton is sneered at because he said he was proud of being a Scotsman. Sir A. Alison is charged with ‘paltry provincialism,’ and other choice figures of rhetoric, of which the Times is a better master than it is of plain reason or quiet common sense. Now what has roused the ire of this would-be dictator of the British nation? Is it the fact that Scotsmen will not somehow sink their nationality even at the dictation of the Times – call their country a ‘province,’ as the Times says it now only is – the allusion to the deeds of Scotsmen only ‘paltry provincialism,’ and as such only to be laughed at when alluded to, a certain Treaty of Union notwithstanding saying somewhat the contrary? One would really think that the Times is jealous of the industry and enterprise of Scotland, and Glasgow in particular; and yet, considering what Scotsmen have done in this war, and the very large sum raised by Glasgow to aid a noble purpose, we might expect more civil treatment. If the Times thinks to intimidate Scotsmen from speaking sometimes of nationality (they certainly have as much reason to be proud of their nationality as the English have of theirs) it mistakes the character of Scotsmen considerably. Though, no doubt, the fear of ridicule is our weak side; that fear has made us submit to much positive injustice; still it is pressing rather strong upon that weakness to make game of feelings hitherto generally respected. The poor Greenlander or Lap loves his icy home; and shall the Scotsmen be subject to ridicule for looking back, it may be, to the heroic deeds of his countrymen in days gone by, or glancing at the gallantry of Scotsmen of the present day?  

   Attacks such as that of the Times will do good, and not harm, if they but rouse, as it is not unlikely, the latent patriotism of Scotsmen, and incite them to stand up more manfully on all fitting occasions for the status of this ancient kingdom, notwithstanding the sneers of the would-be omnipotent dictator about ‘paltry provincialism.’ If praiseworthy deeds of Scotsmen are to be so insolently characterised, what shall we say of the modesty and legality of those who would monopolize all the gallant acts of the present war, and who talk habitually of the ‘English navy’ and ‘English army’ even at a time when the most brilliant incidents of the war are attributable to Scotsmen? I am, sir, your very obedient servant, G. L.”  

– Glasgow Herald, Friday 19th October, 1855. 

Treaty of Union Articles, 1850-1875.

To this let me add a letter from Mr. Torrie, now a student at Edinburgh College, who has collected stories for me, and lives in Benbecula.  


19th October 1861.  

   MY DEAR SIR, – As I have conversed with almost all those from whom POEMS have been collected in this quarter, I flatter myself that I am now in a position to furnish you with my quota of information on this interesting subject.  

   Besides these POEMS which have been collected, the proof sheets of which I have perused, a great variety of other poems, which go under the name of “Ossian’s Poems,” are commonly recited by the people. A few of these I have already sent you; and I have still in my possession two long ones, called respectively – “Teanntachd mhor na Feinne,” and “Cath mac Righ na Sorcha.” “Laoidh Dhiarmid,” “Laoidh Fhraoich,” “Laoidh an Amadain Mhoir,” “Mhuileartach Bhuidhe,” and “Laoidh a Choin duibh,” are, however, the most common. Fragmentary pieces of these I have heard recited by some of our highest class; but those who have them most entire, are, comparatively speaking, the poorest and most illiterate in the land – those from whom they might be the least expected – so circumstanced that they have had no access to books, and even should they have, the most of them could not make any use of them. Neither were they in a position to mingle among those who could read, and had books. Books, however, which contain collections of Ossian’s Poems, are not so common here as might be expected. None of the reciters that I have met, ever heard of Gillies’, MacCallum’s, or Stewart’s. I have never seen any of these in the islands; and if they are to be found at all, it is with those who prize them too much to lend to such of the poorer classes as could read, to run the risk of being disfigured with black drops, and sure to have the not very agreeable odour of peat-reek. Donald Macintyre, Aird, Benbecula, the best reciter of poems that I have met, and who can read Gaelic well, never saw any book of the kind until I shewed him Dr. Smith’s collection. I have traced out another copy of Dr. Smith’s at Iochdar, which was presented to one Peter McPherson, a bit of a poet, by the Reverend Duncan McLean, now Free Church Minister at Glenorchy, when missionary here about thirty-five years ago. Every person with whom I have conversed about Ossian’s Poems, and who knows anything about them, admires them very much, and believes them to be the genuine composition of Ossian, as pure as might be expected, considering that they were handed down by tradition, and consequently lost a great deal of their pristine splendour; and received additions which, instead of adding, detracted considerably from their original merit. I believe there are very few in the Highlands, especially adults, but know something of Ossian’s Poems. Like the “Popular Tales,” which are universally found throughout the Highlands, Ossian’s Poems have formed a very important part of the Highlanders’ pastime through the long winter nights. When on my way home from Edinburgh last spring, I read “Laoidh Dhiarmid” to a few in Skye. They remembered to have heard it before; and some old men remarked that, when they were young, tales and poems were very common, and regretted very much that they were so much out of vogue with the present generation. I never met with any of Ossian books there but one, the Rev. Mr. MacLauchlan’s “Gleanings,” presented to a “guide” by an English tourist. I never heard of any Irish book containing these pieces in the islands, nor have I ever seen any myself. As I have not MacPherson’s, which is the best known of them all, nor Gillies’, nor Stewart’s, I cannot say whether those who repeat, recite passages a la MacPherson, a la Stewart, or a la Gillies. Donald Macintyre recited to me a poem entitled “Cath MacRigh na Sorcha,” which I find in Dr. Smith’s collection, not page 176 They resemble each other very much; in some passages the language is the same; Macintyre’s version, however, is longer, though Dr. Smith’s, upon the whole, is more beautiful. In the course of a conversation lately with a gentleman of no mean authority, on the Ossianic controversy, he expressed his surprise that the anti-Ossianics would use such futile arguments as that MacPherson was the author of these poems, or that the people get them from books, while he himself had a distinct recollection of hearing one Rory McQueen, commonly called Ruairi Ruadh, who was a catechist in this parish, recite poems which can be found in MacPherson’s. This McQueen died about thirty years ago at the advanced age of eighty. He had a great many of Ossian’s poems which he learned when a boy by hearsay, and with which he afterwards used to entertain his hosts when travelling from village to village on his catechetical visits. A niece of his, who now resides at Paible, North Uist, has the same hereditary talent which procured her uncle more celebrity than his catechetical acumen. This MacQueen was no less than fifty years of age when MacPherson’s Gaelic was published, and fifty-seven before Stewart’s, or McCallum’s appeared. In whatever way, therefore, people came to have these poems, it is a well-known fact that they never got them from books, for nothing can be more patent than the fact that these poems existed long before MacPherson’s, or Stewart’s, or McCallum’s, or Gillies’, or Miss Brookes’ came into existence. Nor is it consistent to suppose that MacPherson, were he really the author of the poems, would give them unto the world as the composition of Ossian, while they were of themselves sufficient to raise him to the pinnacle of fame, and establish his name as the greatest poet that Scotland ever produced. I do not believe, however, that these minor pieces are the composition of Ossian. They differ as much from them as a school-boy’s attempts at painting do from the sublime efforts of Raphael or Michael Angelo. As to the question whether these are Irish or Scotch, I cannot give a definite answer. After some reflection, however, my opinion preponderates to the latter, for though there are some words and phrases which to me were unintelligible until the reciters explained them, and which they considered Irish, still I would not be justified in calling such ballads as contain them Irish, on the slender ground of this mere “ipse dixit,” for they may have retained that much of the language in which they were originally composed, and which may have been the dialect common in Scotland at that time. They are apparently very old, and it is possible at the time they were composed the language of both countries was the same, considering they had one common origin. By whom they were composed, or at what time they were composed, cannot, with any decree of certainty be determined. They stretch back into a period of whose history I know very little, and, consequently I am precluded from adding more. – Meanwhile, I remain, yours very faithfully,  


   J. F. Campbell, Esq., etc., etc.

– Popular Tales, vol.4, pp.197-209.

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