8th of November

The Four Crowned Brothers, martyrs, 304. St Godfrey, bishop of Amiens, confessor, 1118.

Died. – Pope Boniface II., 532; Louyis VIII., king of France, 1226, Mo0ntpensier; Duns Scotus, theologian and scholar, 1308, Cologne; Cardinal Ximenes, governor of Spain during minority of Charles V., 1517; Madame Roland, revolutionist, guillotined at Paris, 1793.

On this Day in Other Sources.

William Elphinstone, Bishop  of Aberdeen, Keeper of the Privy Seal, counsellor to King James III., IV. and V., dies this year, [1514,] the 8th day of November; a wise, learned and religious prelate. 

– Historical Works, pp.238-275.

The only other of Boece’s original coadjutors whom he commemorates, is John Vaus the grammaticus, or humanist, as that teacher was afterwards called – in hoc genere disciplinæ admodum eruditus, sermone elegans, sententiis venustus, labore invictus.1 Little is known of him; yet it can never be said we are altogether unacquainted with one who has written and printed books. 

– Sketches, pp.254-324. 

1  The next work which we know of Vaus, is Rudimenta puerorum in artem grammaticam, per Joannem Vaus Scotum. The first edition is not known. The second gives no introduction nor personal notice of its author. It is a small quarto, not paged, with signatures, double letters A-H, all of eight leaves, except G and H, which have each only six. A fine colophon of the Ascensian press, gives Hœc rudimenta Grammatices impressa sunt rursus prelo Iodici Badii Ascensii Scoticæ linguæ imperiti: proinde si quid in ea erratum est, minus est mirandum. Finem autem acceperunt viii Calend. Novemb. 1531. This is a good specimen of early printing, especially the part in black letter, and beyond measure valuable to a Scotchman studious of the early language of his country, a great part of the book being in Scotch, though devoted only to Latin Grammar. Indicativo modo is translated “schauand mode;” Optativo modo, “yarnand mode.” In the chapter de verbo we find – “The imperative mode, it biddis or exhortis, as, ama, lwf thow: amemus, lwf we. The optative mode it yairnes or desiris, as vtinam amarem. The coniuntive mode it spekis of dowt, as cum amem, quhen i lwf.” The chapter de constructione oratoria ends thus: “Bot yit of ane thing vill ye be aduertit, that rewlis of oratre ar changeable eftyr the iugment of weill imbutit eiris, for nay thing is mair delectable in eloquens thane variete, and craiftius spekyne without greit apperans of the sammyn, for les offendis the eir (at the leist in our quotidiane spekyne) facile fluand congruite thane thrawine effekkit eloquens apperand ouyr crafty.”

The treaties with England had, scarcely, been relinquished, by the Estates of Scotland, when the Governor began to think, the Scotish Queen would make a convenient wife, for his son, the master. This project of selfish folly did not long escape the vigilant penetration of the dowager Queen. And they both began to intrigue, for their several objects, among a corrupt nobility. The Queen mother even attempted, in November 1544, to deprive the Governor of his high office, for which he had shewn himself unworthy. On the 8th of November 1544, the Governor, by the advice of Parliament, appointed commissioners to treat with the dowager Queen, and her nobles, for the adjustment of differences. 

– Life of Mary, pp.9-15.

Nov. 8 [1576]. – The trial of Elizabeth or Bessie Dunlop of Lyne, in Ayrshire, for the alleged crime of witchcraft. Bessie was a married woman, apparently in middle life, and her only offence was giving information, as from a supernatural source, regarding articles which had been stolen, and for the cure of diseases. ‘She herself had nae kind of art nor science sae to do;’ she obtained her information, when she required it, from ‘ane Tom Reid, wha died at Pinkie,’ that is, at the battle fought there twenty-nine years before. Her intercourse with a deceased person seems to have given herself little surprise, and she spoke of it with much coolness. 

Being asked, ‘what kind of man this Tom Reid was, [she] declarit, he was ane honest, weel, elderly man, gray-beardit, and had ane gray coat with Lombard sleeves of the auld fashion; ane pair of gray breeks and white shanks [stockings], gartenit aboon the knee; ane black bonnet on his head, close behind and plain before; with silken laces drawn through the lips thereof; and ane white wand in his hand. Being interrogat how and in what manner of place the said Tom Reid came to her, [she] answerit, as she was ganging betwixt he awn house and the yard of Monkcastle, driving her kye to the pasture, and making heavy sair dule with herself, greeting very fast for her cow that was dead, her husband and child that were lying sick in the land-ill, and she new risen out of gissan [childbed], the said Tom met her by the way, halsit her [took her round the neck, saluting her], and said: “Gude day, Bessie;” and she said: “God speed you, gudeman.” “Sancta Maria,” said he, “Bessie, why makes thou sae great dule and sair greeting for ony warldly thing?” She answerit: “Alas, have I not cause to make great dule? for our gear is traikit [dwindled away], and my husband is on the point of deid, and ane baby of my awn will not live, and myself at ane weak point; have I not gude cause, then, to have ane sair heart?” But Tom said: “Bessie, thou hast crabbit [irritated] God, and askit something you should not have done; and therefore I counsel thee to mend to him, for I tell thee thy bairn shall die, and the sick cow, ere you come hame; thy twa sheep shall die too; but thy husband shall mend, and be as haill and feir as ever he was.” And then was I something blyther, frae he tauld me that my gudeman wald mend. Then Tom Reid went away from me in through the yard of Monkcastle; and I thought he gaed in at ane narrower hole of the dyke nor ony eardly man could have gane through; and sae I was something fleyit [frightenend].’ 

Bessie from time to time consulted her ghostly friend about cases of sickness for which her skill was required. ‘Tom gave out of his awn hand ane thing like the root of ane beet, and bade her either seethe or make ane saw [salve] of it, or else dry it, and make powder of it, and give it to sick persons, and they should mend… She mendit John Jack’s bairn, and Wilson’s of the town, and her gudeman’s sister’s cow… Interrogate, gif she could tell of ony thing that was away, or ony thing that was to come, [she] answerit, that she could do naething of herself, but as Tom tauld her… mony fols in the country [came to her] to get wit of gear stolen frae them… The Lady Thirdpart in the barony of Renfrew sent to her and speerit at her, wha was it that had stolen frae her twa horns of gold, and ane crown of the sun, out of her purse? And after she had spoken with Tom, within twenty days, she sent her word wha had them; and she gat them again.’ 

Bessie states that Tom asked her to go with him to Elfame, that is, Fairyland. He used to come chiefly to her at noon. She had seen him walking among the people in the kirkyard of Dalry; also once in the High Street of Edinburgh, on a market-day, where he laughed to her. Having once ridden with her husband to Leith to bring home meal – ‘ganging afield to tether her horse at Restalrig Loch, there came ane company of riders bye, that made sic ane din as heaven and eard had gane together; and incontinent they rade into the loch, with mony hideous rumble. Tom tauld it was the gude wights that were riding in middle-eard.’ 

Being found guilty of sorcery and other evil arts laid to her charge, Bessie Dunlop was consigned to the flames. – Pit

– Domestic Annals, pp.56-80. 

Beal had two other conversations with the Queen of Scots, some days after, who was still in bed, but somewhat better. She now wished, for the liberty of sending into Scotland, with the consent of Elizabeth, regarding several matters, which concerned the weal of both realms: But, this was deferred, from an apprehension of treachery. And, Beal had not yet proceeded to the matter, contained, in the second part of his instructions; to show the Scotish Queen her letter, which she had written in cypher, during the northern rebellion, to the Bishop of Glasgow. This last instruction proceeded upon the principle of Elizabeth’s letter, on Palm Sunday 1572, wherein she had said, “that the Queen of Scot’s head, should never be quiet.” Whatever may have been the end of those conversations, particularly, the Queen’s promise not to transfer her rights, in Scotland, without Elizabeth’s knowledge, every stipulation was made, on certain conditions, though Beal construed them, as absolute: Mary, in her famous letter to Elizabeth, of the 8th of November 1582, desired her good cousin “not to give credit to the suggestions of Beal; I promised nothing, but under certain conditions, to which I am not bound, except they be performed, by you.” This was a very common artifice, in the school of Elizabeth, to regard conditional engagements, as absolute. 

– Life of Mary, pp.260-274.

The Queen, said Blackwood, at the reported seizure of her son, by Lord Gowry, having received an intimation of her son’s captivity fell so sick, that she thought she should die; as the English physicians reported, she would, to their mistress; who wanted nothing better; having the son already in her power, or, which was the same, in the hands of people, who were devoted to her: With which the poor mother being greatly agitated, in her mind, after she had addressed her prayers to God, put her hand to the pen; thinking to obtain favour from, and to soften the heart of her cousin, by this address, which I have here subjoined: 


   Upon that which has come to my knowledge, of the last conspirators executed, in Scotland, against my poor child, having reason to fear the consequence of it, from the example of myself; I must employ the very small remainder of my life, and strength before my death, to discharge my heart to you fully, of my just, and, melancholy complaints: of which I desire, that this letter may serve you, as long as you live after me, for a perpetual testimony, and engraving upon your conscience; as much for my discharge to posterity, as to the shame, and confusion of all those, who, under your approbation, have so cruelly, and unworthily, treated me to this time, and reduced me to the extremity, in which I am. But, as their designs, practices, actions, and proceedings, though as detestable as they could have been, have always prevailed with you against my very just remonstrances, and sincere deportment; and as the power, which you have in your hands, has always been a reason for you among mankind; I will have recourse to the living God, our only judge, who has established us, equally, and immediately, under him, for the government of his people. 

   I will invoke him to the end of this my very pressing affliction, that he will return to you, and to me, (as he will do in his last judgment) the share of our merits, and demerits, one towards the other. And remember, madam, that to him we shall not be able to disguise any thing, by the paint and policy of the world; though mine enemies, under you, have been able, for a time, to cover their subtle inventions to men, perhaps to you. 

   In his name, and as before him sitting, between you, and me, I will remind you; that by the agents, spies, and secret messengers, sent in your name into Scotland, while I was there, my subjects were corrupted, and encouraged to rebel against me, to make attempts upon my person, and in one word, to speak, do, enterprise, and execute that, which has come to the said country, during my troubles Of which I will not at present specify other proof, than that, which I have gained of it, by the confession of one, who was afterwards, by his antient intelligencies, renewed the same practices against my son; and had not procured for all my traitourous and rebellious subjects, who took refuge with you, that aid, and support, which they have had, even since my detention on this side; without which support, I think the said traitours could not since have prevailed, nor afterwards have stood out so long, as they have done. 

   During my imprisonment at Lochleven, the late Trogmarton [Throkmorton] counselled me on your behalf, to sign that demission, which he advertised me would be presented to me; assuring me, that it could not be valid.And there was not afterwards a place in christendom, where it was held for valid, or maintained, except on this side; [where it was maintained] even to having assisted, with open force, the authors of it. In your conscience, madam, would you acknowledge an equal liberty, and power, in your subjects? Notwithstanding this, my authority has been, by my subjects, transferred to my son, when he was not capable of exercising it. 

   And since I was willing to assure it, lawfully, to him, he being of age to be assisted to his own advantage, it is suddenly ravished from him, and assigned over to two or three traitours; who having taken from him the effectiveness of it, will take from him, as they have from me, both the name, and the title of it, if he contradicts them in the manner he may, and perhaps his life, if God does not provide for his preservation. 

   When I was escaped from Lochleven, ready to give battle to my rebels; I remitted to you, by a gentleman, express, a diamond jewel, which I had formerly received as a token from you, and with assurance to be succoured by you against my rebels; and even that, on my retiring towards you, you would come to the very frontiers, in order to assist me; which had been confirmed to me by divers messengers. 

   This promise coming, and repeatedly, from your mouth (though I had found myself often abused by your ministers) made me place such affiance on the effectiveness of it; that, when my army was routed, I came directly to throw myself, into your arms, if I had been able to approach them. But while I was planning to set out and find you, there was I arrested on my way, surrounded with guards, secured in strong places, and at last reduced, all shame set aside, to the captivity, in which I remain, to this day, after a thousand deaths, which I have already suffered from it

   I know that you will allege to me what passed between the late Duke Nortfolk [of Norfolk] and me. I maintain, that there was nothing in this to your prejudice, or against the publick good of this realm; and that the treaty was sanctioned with the advice, and signatures, of the first persons, who were then of your council, under the assurance of making it appear good to you. 

   How could such personages have undertaken the enterprise, of making you consent to a point, which should deprive you of life, of honour, and your crown; as you have shown yourself, persuaded, it would have done, to all the embassadours, and others, who speak to you, concerning me? 

   In the mean time my rebels perceiving, that their head-long course was carrying them much farther than they had thought before, and the truth being evidenced concerning the calumnies, that had been propagated of me at the conference, to which I submitted, in full assembly, of your deputies and mine, with others of the contrary party, in that country, in order to clear myself publickly of them; there were the principals, for having come to repentance, beseiged by your forces, in the castle of Edinbourgh, and one of the first among them poisoned, and the other most cruelly hanged; after I had two times made them lay down their arms at your request, in hopes of an agreement, which God knows, whether my enemies aimed at. 

   I have been, for a long time, trying, whether patience could soften the rigour, and ill treatment, which they have begun, for these ten years, peculiarly to make me suffer. And accommodating myself exactly to the order prescribed me, for my captivity in this house; as well in regard to the number, and quality of the attendants, which I retain, dismissing the others; as for my diet, and ordinary exercise, for my health; I am living, even as present, as quietly, and peaceably, as one much inferiour to myself, and more obliged, than with such treatment, I was to you, had been able to do; even to deprive myself, in order to take away all shadow of suspicion, and diffidence from you, of requiring to have some intelligence with my son, and my country, which is what, by no right, or reason, could be denied me, and principally with my child; whom, instead of this they endeavoured by every way to persuade against me, in order to weaken us by our divisions. 

   It was permitted me, you will say, to send one to visit him there, about three years ago. His captivity then at Sterling, under the tyranny of Morton, was the cause of it; and his liberty afterwards, of a refusal to make the like visit. All this year past, I have several times entered into divers overtures, for the establishment of a good amity between us, and a sure understanding between these two realms in future. To Chatsworth, about ten years ago, commissioners were sent me, for that purpose. A treaty has been held upon it with yourself, by my embassadours and those of France. I even myself made, concerning it, the last winter, all the advantageous overtures to Beal, that it was possible to make. What return have I had thence? My good intention has been despised, the sincerity of my actions has been neglected and calumniated, the state of my affairs has been traversed by delays, postponings, and other such like artifices. And, in conclusion, a worse and more unworthy treatment from day to day, any thing which I am compelled to do in order to deserve the contrary, my very long, useless and prejudicial patience, have reduced me so low; that mine enemies, in their habits of using me ill, think this day they have the right of prescription for treating me, not as a prisoner, which in reason I could not be, but as some slave, whose life and whose death, depend only upon their tyranny. 

   I cannot, madam, suffer it any longer; and I must in dying, discover the authors of my death, or, living, attempt, under your protection, to find an end to the cruelties, calumnies, and traitorous designs of my said enemies, in order to establish me in some little more repose for the remainder of my life. To take away the occasions pretended for all differences between us, clear yourself, if you please, of all which has been reported to you, concerning my actions; review the depositions of the strangers taken in Ireland; let those of the Jesuits last executed be represented to you; give liberty to those who would undertake to charge me publickly,and permit me to enter upon my defence: if any evil be found in me, let me suffer it, it shall be patiently when I shall know the occasion of it: if any good, suffer me not to be worse treated for it, with your very great commission before God and man. 

   The vilest criminals, that are in your prisons, born under your obedience, are admitted to their justification; and their accusers, and their accusations, are always declared to them. Why then shall not the same order have place, towards me a Sovereign Queen, your nearest relation and lawful heir? I think, that this last circumstance has hitherto been, on the side of my enemies, the principal cause of it, and of all their calumnies, to make their unjust pretensions slide between the two, by keeping us in division. But alas! they have now little reason and less need, to torment me more upon this account. For I protest to you upon mine honour, that I look this day for no kingdom, but that of my God; whom I see preparing me, for the better conclusion of all my afflictions and adversities past. 

   This will be to you [a monition] to discharge your conscience towards my child, as to what belongs to him on this point after my death; and in the mean time not to let prevail to his prejudice, the continual practices and secret conspiracies, which our enemies in this realm are making daily for the advancement of their said pretensions; labouring on the other side with our traitorous subjects in Scotland, by all the means which they can, to hasten his ruin; of which I do not demand other better verification, than the charges given to your last deputies sent into Scotland, and what the said deputies have seditiously practised there, as I believe, without your knowledge, but with good and sufficient solicitation of the earl my good neighbour at York. 

   And on this point, madam, by what right can it be maintained, that I the mother of my child, am totally prohibited, not only from assisting him in the necessity so urgent in which he is, but also from having any intelligence of his state? who can bring him more carefulness, duty, and sincerity, than I? to whom can he be more near? At the least, if sending to him to provide for his preservation, as the Earl of Cheresbury [Shrewsbury] made me lately understand that you did, you had pleased to take my advice in the matter; you would have interposed with a better face, as I think,and with more obligingness to me. But consider what you leave me to think, when forgetting so suddenly the offence which you pretended to have taken against my son, at the time I was requesting you that we should send together to him; you have despatched one to the place where he was a prisoner, not only without giving me advice of it, but debarring me at the very time from all liberty, that by no way whatever I might have any news of him. 

   And if the intention of those, who have procured on your part this so prompt a visit of my son, had been for his preservation, and the repose of the country; they needed not to have been so careful in concealing it from me, as a matter in which I should not have been willing to concur with you. By this means they have lost you the good-will, which I should have had for you. And, to talk to you more plainly upon the point, I pray you not to employ there any more such means or such persons. For, although I hold the Lord de Kerri [Cary, Lord Hunsdon] too sensible of the rank from which he is sprung, to engage his honour in a villainous act; he has had for an assistant a sworn partizan of the Earl of Huntingdon’s, by whose bad offices an action as bad has nearly succeeded to a similar effect. I shall be contented then, only at your not permitting my son to receive any injury from this country (which is all that I have ever required of your before, even when an army was sent to the borders, to prevent justice from being done to that detestable Morton;) and that none of your subjects directly or indirectly intermeddle any more in the affairs of Scotland, unless it is with my knowledge, to whom all cognizance of these things belongs, or with the assistance of some one on the part of the most Christian King, my good brother; whom, as our principal ally, I desire to make privy to the whole of this cause, because of the little credit that he can have with the traitours, who detain my son at present. 

   In the mean time, I declare with all openness to you, that I hold this last conspiracy and innovation, for pure treason against the life of my son, the good of his affairs, and that of the country; and that while he shall be in the state, in which I understand he is, I shall esteem no word, writing or other act, that comes from him, or is passed under his name, as proceeding from his free and voluntary disposition, but only from the said conspirators, who, at the price of his life, are making him to serve as a masque to them. 

   But, madam, with all this freedom of speech, which I can forsee, will in some sort displease you, though it be the truth itself; you will find it more strange, I assure myself, that I come now to importune you again with a request of much greater importance, and yet very easy for you to grant, and release to me. This is, that having not been able hitherto, by accommodating myself patiently so long a time to the rigorous treatment of this captivity, and carrying myself sincerely in all things, yea, even to the least, that could concern you a very little, to gain myself some assurance of my entire affection towards you; all my hope being taken away by it, of being better treated, for the very short time, which remains to me of life; I supplicate you, at once to permit me to withdraw myself out of your realm, into some place of repose; to search out some comfort for my poor body, so wearied as it is with continual sorrows: and with liberty of my conscience to prepare my soul for God, who is calling for it daily. 

   Believe, Madam, and the physicians, whom you sent me this last summer, are able sufficiently to judge the same; that I am not for a long continuance, so as to give you any foundation of jealousy or distrust of me. And, notwithstanding this, take of me such assurances and conditions, just and reasonable, as you shall choose. The greatest power rests always on your side, to make me keep them; though for nothing whatever would I wish to break them. You have had sufficient experience of my observance of my simple promises, and sometimes to my prejudice; as I showed you upon this very point,about two years ago. Recollect, if you please, what I then wrote you; and you will not know how to bind my heart to you so much, as by kindness, though you keep for ever my poor body languishing between four walls; those of my rank, and nature, not leaving themselves to be gained, or forced, by any rigour. 

   Your prison without any right and just foundation, has already destroyed my body; of which you will shortly have the  end, if it continues there a little longer; and my enemies will not have much time, for glutting their cruelties on me; nothing remains of me, but the soul, which all your power cannot make captive. Give it then room for aspiring a little more freely after its salvation; which alone it seeks for at this day, more than any grandeur of this world. It seems to me, that it cannot be to you any great satisfaction, honour, and advantage, for mine enemies to trample my life under foot, till they have stifled me in your presence. Whereas, if in this extremity, however late it be, you release me out of their hands, you will bind me greatly to you,and bind all those, who belong to me, particularly my poor child; whom you will perhaps make sure to yourself by it. 

   I will not cease to importune you with this request, until it be granted me. And, on this account, I pray you to let me understand your intention; having, in order to comply with you, waited even to the present day for two years, to renew my urgency for it; for which the miserable state of my health presses me more, than you can think. In the mean time provide, if you please, for the bettering of my treatment on this side, that I may not suffer any longer; and remit me not to the discretion of any other whatever, but your own self, from whom alone (as I wrote to you lately) I wish for the future to hold all the good and the evil, which I shall receive in your country. Do me this favour, to let me have your intention in writing, or the embassador of France, for me. For to tie me up to what the Earl of Scherusbery [Shrewsbury], or others, shall speak, or write about it, on your behalf; I have too much experience, to be able to put any assurance in it; the least point, which they shall capriciously fancy, being sufficient, to innovate the whole from one day to another. 

   Besides this, the last time that I wrote to those of your council, you made me understand, that I ought not to address myself to them, but to you alone (and so to extend their credit and authority only to de me hurt, could not be reasonable; as has happened in this last limitation; in which, against your intention, I have been treated with much indignity.) This gives me every occasion for doubting, that some of my enemies in your said council may have procured it with a design, of keeping others of the said council from being made privy to my just complaints; lest the others should see perhaps their companions, adhere to their wicked attempts upon my life; of which, if they should have any knowledge, they would oppose them, for the sake of your honour, and of their duty towards you. 

   Two things I have principally to require at the close: the one, that, near as I am to going out of this world, I may have with me, for my consolation, some honourable churchman; to remind me daily of the course, which I have to finish, and teach me how to complete it according to my religion, in which I am firmly resolved to live and to die. 

   This is a last duty, which cannot be denied to the most mean and miserable person that lives: It is a liberty, which you grant to all the foreign embassadours; as also all other Catholic Kings give to your embassadours; the exercise of their religion. And even I myself have not hitherto forced my own subjects, to any thing contrary to their religion; though I had all power and authority over them. And that I in this extremity should be deprived of such freedom, you cannot with justice require. What advantage will redound to you, when you shall deny it to me? I hope that God will excuse me, if, oppressed by you in this manner, I do not render to him any duty, but what I shall be permitted to do in my heart. But you will set a very bad example to the other princes of christendom, to act towards their subjects with the same rigour, that you shall show to me, a Sovereign Queen, and your nearest relation; which I am, and will  be, as long as I live, in despite of mine enemies

   I would not now importune you concerning the augmentation of my household; of which for the time that I see remaining me to live in this world, I will not have so much care. I require then from you, only two women of the chamber, to assist me, during my sickness; attesting to you before God, that they are very necessary to me, now I shall be a poor creature among this simple people. Grant these to me for the honour of God; and show, in this instance, that mine enemies have not so much credit with you against me, as to exercise their vengeance and cruelty, in a point of so little consequence, and depending upon a simple office of humanity. 

   I will come now to that, with which the earl of Scherusbery [Shrewsbury] has charged me, if such a one as he can charge me; which is this; that contrary to my promise made to Beal, and without your knowledge, I have been negotiating with my son, to yield to him my title to the crown of Scotland; when I had obliged myself not to proceed in it but with your advice, by one of my servants, who should be directed by one of yours in their common journey thither. These are, I think, the very words of the said count. 

   I will tell you upon this, Madam, that Beal has not ever had a simple and absolute promise of me: but indeed overtures conditional, to which I cannot remain bound, in the fashion, in which the business is, unless the conditions, which I annexed to it, might be previously executed; about which, so far is he from being satisfied, that on the contrary, I have never had any answer from him, or heard mention of it since on his side. And on this account I remember very well, that the Earl of Scherusbery [Shrewsbury], about last Easter, wanting to draw from me a new confirmation of what I had spoken to the said Beal; I replied to him very fully, that it was only in case the said conditions might be granted, and consequently effectuated, to me. The one and the other are yet living to testify this to you, if they will tell the truth about it. Then seeing that no answer was made me; but, on the contrary, that by delays and neglects mine enemies continued  more licentiously than ever their practices, formed since the residence of the said Beal with me, in order to traverse my just intentions in Scotland, so as the effects have been well witnessed there; and that, by this means, the door remained open to the ruin of my son and of myself, by express letters, as well to you as to your council, from all that I had treated upon with the said Beal. 

   I made you fully privy to what monsieur, the King, and madame, the Queen, had written to me, with their own hands, upon this business; and I asked your advice upon it, which is yet to come, with which it was in truth my intention to proceed, if you had given it me in time, and you had permitted me to send to my son; assisting me in the overtures, which I had proposed to you, in order to establish between the two realms a good amity and perfect intelligence for the future. But, to bind myself, nakedly, to follow your advice, before I knew what it would be, and, for the journey of our servants, to put mine under the direction of yours, even in my own country; I was never yet so simple, as to think of it. 

   Now I refer to your consideration, if you knew of the false game, which mine enemies on this side have played me in Scotland, to reduce things to the point, at which they stand; which of us has proceeded with the greatest sincerity. God judge between them and me, and avert from this isle the just punishment of their demerits. 

   Send back again at once the intelligence, which my traitorous subjects of Scotland can have given you. You will find, and I will maintain it before all the christian princes, that no one thing whatever has there passed on my side, to your prejudice, or against the good and repose of this realm; which I affect not less than any counsellor, or subject that you have, having more interest in it than any of them. 

   There was a negotiation, for gratifying my son with the title, and name of King; and for making sure, as well the said title to him, as all impunity to the rebels for their offences past; and for replacing every thing in repose and tranquillity for the future, without any innovation of any thing whatever. 

   Was this to take away the crown from my son? Mine enemies, as I believe, wished not at all that the crown should be made sure to him; and on that account are very content that he should keep it by the unlawful violence of some traitours, enemies, from all antiquity, to all our family. Was this then to seek for justice upon the past offences of the said traitours, which my clemency has always surpassed? 

   But an evil conscience cannot ever be assured, carrying continually its fear in its very great trouble within itself. Was it to wish a change in the repose of the country; to procure it by a mild pardon of every thing past, and a general reconciliation between all our subjects? – This is the point, which our enemies on this side fear, as much show as they make of desiring it. What prejudice would be done to you by this? Mark then, and verify, if you please, by what other point: I will answer to it upon mine honour. 

   Ah! Will you, madam, let yourself to be so blind to the artifices of mine enemies, as to establish after you, and perhaps against yourself, their unjust pretensions to this crown; will you suffer them in your life time, and look at them, while they are ruining, and so cruelly destroying, those who concern you so near both in heart and blood? What advantage and honour can you hope for, in suffering them to keep us, my son, and me, so long separated, and him and me from you. 

   Resume the ancient pledges of your good nature; bind your relations to yourself; give me the satisfaction before I die, that seeing all matters happily settled again between us, my soul, when delivered from this body, may not be constrained to display its lamentations before God, for the wrong, which you have suffered to be done me here below; but rather, that being happily united to you, it may quit this captivity, to set forward towards him, whom I pray, to inspire you happily upon my very just and more than reasonable complaints and grievances. 

   At Sheffield, this 8th of November, one thousand five hundred eighty-two. 

Your very disconsolate, nearest relation, 

and affectionate cousin,


– Life of Mary, pp.348-360.

THE Scotish Queen’s celebrated letter of the 8th of November 1582, made some impression on the court of Elizabeth, as a representation of grievances. And, what was deemed an answer was sent to her, in the beginning of the year 1583. But, the chief complaint, Why do you detain me, in prison? was not answered, and could not be satisfactorily answered.

– Life of Mary, pp.281-293.

This forcible, and pathetic letter, says a great writer, is rendered obscure, in places, by that which is incident to all letters, the quick glancing of the mind to, and from circumstances, familiar to the writer, and to the receiver, and therefore noticed in a cursory manner only. But it has been considered, as so pathetic, and so forcible, that Blackwood inserted it in his MS. history of Mary’s sufferings, even before 1585, and actually published it, in his history, so early as 1587. Camden, also, formed an abridgement of it, and placed it in his annals [Origin. i. 332-7; Translat. 276-80.] Dr. Stuart too, has equally interrupted the course of his narrative with it, after he had spoken of it in these terms:  

“When the intelligence of the captivity of her son,” he says, “and of the bold proceedings of the conspirators reached Mary, her care, agitation, and anguish, were driven to the most affecting extremity; And giving vent to her sensibility, she addressed a letter to Elizabeth, in which she maintains her dignity, while she yields to her resentments; and in which she has intermingled, in an admirable manner, the most fervent protestations of innocence, and the boldest language of expostulation, and reproach. Its ability, and vigour, are uncommon,and give it a title to survive, in the history of the Scotish nation.” [ii. 164.] 

From the interesting nature of distress, the elevating force of innocence, and the ennobling dignity of religion; the sick, and dying Mary here appears, with a majesty, before which the low souled Elizabeth shrinks abashed, and confounded. Every honest, and generous feeling of our hearts comes forward to the aid of the oppressed Queen. And we think of her oppression, with disgust, with disdain, and with detestation. [The letter of Mary thus published, in English, is from the translation of her very able vindicator, iii. App. xvii.] 

– Life of Mary, pp.361-362.

Nov. 8 [1608]. – ‘There was an earthquake at nine hours at night, sensible enough at St Andrews, Cupar, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, but more sensible at Dumbarton; for there the people were so affrayed, that they ran to the kirk, together with their minister, to cry to God, for they looked presently for destruction. It was thought the extraorinar drouth in the summer and winter before was the cause of it.’ – Cal

At Perth, this earthquake shook the east end of the Tolbooth, insomuch that ‘many stones fell aff it.’ – Chron. Perth. 

At Aberdeen, where the shock excited great alarm, the kirk-session met, and accepting the earthquake as ‘a document that God is angry against the land, and against the land, and against this city in particular, for the manifold sins of the people,’ appointed a solemn fast to be held on the ensuing day, and ‘the covenant to be renewed by the haill people with God, by halding up of their hands publicly before God in his sanctuary, and promising by his grace to forbear in time coming from their sins.’ There was one particular sin which was thought to have had a great concern in bringing about the earthquake – namely, the salmon-fishing practised on the Dee on Sunday. Accordingly, the proprietors of the salmon-fishings were called before the session and rebuked. ‘Some,’ says the session record, ‘promist absolutely to forbear both by himselfs and their servands in time coming; other promised to forbear upon the condition subscryvant; and some plainly refusit anyway to forbear.’1

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

1  The fishing of salmon in the river Dee on Sunday was a custom of some antiquity, as it had been expressly warranted by a bull of Pope Nicholas V. in 1451. The privilege was limited to the Sundays of those five months of the year i which salmon most abound; and the first salmon taken each Sunday was to belong to the parish church. The bull recites that both by the canon and the common law, the right of prosecuting the herring-fishing on Sunday was conceded to all the faithful. – Reg. Epis. Aber. (Spalding Club).

This notable comet was observed in Silesia, Rome, and Ispahan [in Iran]. From Skipton’s observations, Halley afterwards computed its orbit. It passed its perihelion on the 8th of November, [1618,] at little more than a third of the earth’s distance from the sun. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

The governing charter is considered to be one dated 8th November, 1634, by which the town is specially erected into a free burgh-of-barony, and the power of incorporating it is conferred on Robert, Earl of Roxburgh, and his heirs.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, Kelso, pp.79-87.

The Bishop was fortunate in the time of his death (1635), escaping the storm which destroyed the Cathedral he had laboured to restore, and which threatened to involve his renovated University in the common ruin. With more feeling than he usually expresses, Gordon of Rothiemay concludes his account of the Assembly of 1640, which “purged” the University. “Thus the Assembly’s errand was thoroughly done; thes eminent divynes of Aberdeen, either deade, deposed, or banished; in whom fell mor learning then wes left behynde in all Scotlande besyde at that tyme. Nor has that cittye, nor any cittye in Scotland, ever since seene so many learned divynes and scollers at one tyme together as wer immediatly befor this in Aberdeene. From that tyme fordwards, learning beganne to be discountenanced; and such as wer knowing in antiqwitie and in the wryttings of the fathers, wer had in suspitione as men who smelled of poperye; and he was most esteemed of who affected novellisme and singularitye moist; and the very forme of preaching, as wealle as the materialls, was chainged for the most pairt. Learning was nicknamed human learning; and some ministers so farr cryed it doune in ther pulpitts, as they wer heard to saye, ‘Downe doctrine and upp Chryste!’ “1

– Sketches, pp.254-324.

1  8th and 14th November 1641. Marischal College evidently was opposed to the union, and impeded its being carried into effect.

Hugh Rose of Kilravock, having finished his elementary education at the parish school of Auldearn, left his old tower on the Nairn for the University, on the 8th November 1657, accompanied by his tutor, a young man who had taken his master’s degree seven years before, and now wrote himself “Master William Geddes,” and “Jacobus Rose” his page. They rode the journey to College, and home again in May, on horseback. The expenses of all three, including journeys, and a visit to the young gentleman’s kinsfolk at Achlossen, amounted to little more than £420 Scots. This included board paid to the Economus for two quarters (£80 a quarter), furniture for chambers, fee to the Regent (£30 Scots), fire and candle, clothes (including a “muffe” and “four-tailed coat”), washing, and a few customary fees to servants, and “to the printer, £6, 8s.”1

– Sketches, pp.254-324.

1  The Family of Kilravock, Spalding Club, p. 351.

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