30th of October

St Marcellus the Centurion, martyr, 298. St Germanus, bishop of Capua, confessor, about 540. St Asterius, bishop of Amasea in Pontus, beginning of 5th century.

Born – Jacques Amyot, translator of Plutarch, 1513, Melun; Cardinal Cæsar Baronius, historical writer, 1538, Sora; Richard Brinsley Sheridan, dramatist and politician, 1751, Dublin; James Perry, editor of the Morning Chronicle, 1756, Aberdeenshire.
Died. – Antinous, favourite of the Emperor Hadrian, drowned in the Nile, 130 A.D., James Sturmius, Protestant champion, 1553, Strasburg; Charles Alexandre de Calonne, financier to Louis XVI., 1802, Paris; Rev. Charles Maturin, dramatist and tale-writer, 1824; Thomas, Earl of Dundonald, distinguished naval commander, 1860, Kensington.

On this Day in Other Sources.

William Elphinstone (the Bishop) was born in 1437,1 educated at the pædagogium and University of Glasgow, and only, at the mature age of twenty-four, received his degree of Master of Arts, at the same time that he took priest’s orders, having been for some years diverted from study by family and secular affairs. He studied canon law for several years at Glasgow, and practised as an advocate in the church courts. Then he retired to Kirkmichael, where he rusticated for some years on his father’s benefice, devoting himself to the cure of the parish.2 From this life he was roused by his uncle, Lawrence Elphinstone, vir optimus, who stimulated his ambition, and assisted him with the means to study at the most celebrated schools of the Continent. He spent a long time at the University of Paris. Elphinstone’s biographer describes his habits while studying at the University – “All day hearing preachers or professors of the canon law; by night, in solitude, recalling what he had heard during the day: most sparing of sleep and of food; most patient of labour, so that it was hard to say whether he studied more by day or by night.” We read this of Elphinstone, with a wish to believe it true, though our biographer’s unlucky rhetorical turn makes us suspect he might have said as much for one not so deserving. But, in the facts which follow, there can scarcely be a mistake. After completing his studies, he was appointed to fill the place of primarius lector in the University – an office, as Boece remarks, conferred only on the most learned – and he “read” canon law for six years there. Then, having received his degree of Doctor of Decrees, he migrated to the University of Orleans, and stayed some years studying the most abstruse and difficult parts of law with the professors there, who, at that time, had the highest reputation in legal science. His learning, and some opportunities he had of expounding law in public, brought him so much into notice, that his opinion was asked on great questions even by the Parliament of Paris. Boece records Elphinstone’s extreme intimacy and friendship with Jean de Ganai, who afterwards rose to great distinction as a lawyer and statesman, and was, successively, First President of the Parliament of Paris and Chancellor of France,3 a friendship that may have been serviceable afterwards to the Bishop and Chancellor of Scotland on his several embassies to the French court. 

– Sketches, pp.254-324.

1  Crawfurd cites no authority for the date of his birth, and is probably wrong. Boece says he was in his 83d year when he died: the Epistolare of Bishop Dunbar states that he was in his 84th. – Regist. Episc. II. 249.
2  Pastorali cura ei collatu. We do not know whether Boece meant that the benefice was conferred on him, as Keith imagined, or, what is more probable, that he acted as his father’s curate. In the loosest times, the Canon was very strict against a father and a son serving at the same altar.
3  It may help us to dates, which Boece never furnishes, to observe that De Ganai was admitted Councillor in the Court of Aids, 30th October 1481; Fourth President of the Parliament, 27th June 1490; First President of the Parliament, and Chancellor of France, 31st January 1507: Died 1512. – Moreri.

Oct. 30 [1567]. – Bessie Tailiefeir, in the Canongate, Edinburgh, having slandered Bailie Thomas Hunter by saying ‘he had in his house ane false stoup [measure],’ which was found not to be true, she was sentenced to be brankit and set on the cross for an hour.

The punishment of branking, which was a customary one for scolds, slanderers, and other offenders of a secondary class, consisted in having the head inclosed in an iron frame, from which projected a kind of spike, so as to enter the mouth and prevent speech. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.35-44.

It was not till the 30th of October [1568], that the new enquiry was opened, at Hampton court, when Cecil stated the mode of proceeding; threatened Mary with more strait imprisonment, and avowed the purpose of removing her to Tutbury. As he knew, from Knollys what she had in contemplation, with regard to Murray, he meant to meet her with menaces. 

– Life of Mary, pp.206-234.

The payments to people in destitute circumstances are frequent, and there are also repeated instances of a kind consideration for those not actually in poverty, but requiring temporary encouragement and assistance. For example, a working man had his horse stolen, and the magistrates “ordain the Master of wark to pay him four rex dollars for helping to mak vp the loss.” A poor “student of philosophie presently lawried or to be lawried” – that is, laureated, about to take his degree – is allowed twenty-four pounds Scots “for supplying his present wants and helping him to buy cloathes and books.” Another poor scholar has a gift of six pounds scots “to help to buy him a coat.” On another occasion the master of work is ordained “to buy and provyde for ane poor boy going to the College, being a burges sone, ane cloak goune, and ane hatt, of the qualitie as the magistrats sall appoynt him.” Again, one John Gemmell, merchant, “in respect he is knowne to be ane verie honest man and hes lost his stock by sea venter,” is granted a loan of 200 pounds scots. Early in the seventeenth century (1626) there is a payment of “fourtie merk to ane Grecian bishop.” A sum of “twenty pundis” is paid to “ane distressed gentleman.” There is an order “to pay to Antoine Nauder a Frenchman thrie rex dollars to help to carry him and his wyfe off the town, he having left his countrie for his religion.” The magistrates on another occasion send certain persons “throw the toune for collecting a contributioune for releiving of Walter Gibsone Skipper at Innerkeithing and Jon Reid his mate, from their slaverie, being prisoners with the Turks;”1 and there are many similar cases. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.215-237. 

1  30th October, 1676.

James Duke of Albany and York succeeded the odious Duke of Lauderdale in the administration of Scottish affairs, and won the favour of all classes, while he resided at Holyrood awaiting the issue of the famous Bill of Exclusion, which would deprive him of the throne of England on the demise of his brother, and hence it became his earnest desire to secure at least Scotland, the hereditary kingdom of his race. On his first visit to the Castle, on 30th October, 1680, Mons Meg burst when the guns were saluting – a ring near the touch-hole giving way, which, saith Fountainhall, was deemed by all men a bad omen. His lordship adds that as the gun was charged by an English gunner, hence “the Scots resented it extremely, thinking he might, of malice, have done it purposely, they having no cannon in all England so big as she.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.47-66.

2674. The Spirit of the Union. Vol. I. No. 1, October 30th, 1819, to No. 11, January 8, 1820.

Printed by G. McLeod & Co. for the Editor, at W. Carse’s Printing Office, 127 Trongate. 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.

   “The next extract which I shall submit to you, Moderator, is from a paper of the Secession Church in Scotland, entitled, “The Acknowledgement of Sins:” – “Our iniquities and back-slidings have increased more and more, particularly when by the treaty of Union with England, in the year 1707, we were incorporated with our neighbours in England upon terms opposite to, and inconsistent with, our COVENANT-UNION with them, in regard that the maintenance of the hierarchy and ceremonies of the Church of England, is made by the said treaty a fundamental and essential article of the union of the two kingdoms – And thus, with our consent, the Antichristian hierarchy, and a superstitious worship in England, have all the security that human laws can give them, whereby this whole nation hath again not only given openly up with her solemn engagements to the Lord, but also involved themselves in the guilt of consenting to, and thereby approving of the Antichristian hierarchy, and a superstitious worship in England.”  

Morning Chronicle, Tuesday 30th October, 1827. 

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1800-1850.

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