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4th of December

St Clement of Alexandria, father of the church, beginning of 3d century. St Barbara, virgin and martyr, about 306. St Maruthas, bishop and confessor, 5th century. St Peter Chrysologus, archbishop of Ravenna, confessor, 450. St Siran or Sigirannus, abbot in Berry, confessor, 655. St Anno, archbishop of Cologne, confessor, 1075.

Born. – Thomas Carlyle, historical and miscellaneous writer, 1795, near Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire.
Died. – Pope John XXII., 1334, Avignon; Cardinal Richelieu, celebrated minister of Louis XIII., 1642, Paris; William Drummond, poet, 1649, Hawthornden; James Perry, editor of the Morning Chronicle, 1821, Brighton.


James Perry was one of those silent workers whose works do not perish; and who, even when the worker and the work both have disappeared, exert a lasting influence on those who follow them. He was an Aberdeen man, born in 1756. After receiving a good education, and commencing the study of the law, he was suddenly thrown upon his own resources through commercial disasters in his family. Coming to England, he obtained an engagement as clerk to a manufacturer in Manchester; and while thus employed, he greatly improved himself, during his leisure hours, by joining a literary association. The essays and papers which he contributed as a member of this society attracted much attention at the time. He went to London in 1777, to seek a wider sphere of usefulness; and feeling a kindred sympathy towards a newspaper called the General Advertiser, he wrote essays and fugitive-pieces, dropped them into the letter-box at the office of that journal, and had the pleasure of seeing them in print a day or two afterwards. An accidental circumstance brought him into communication with the proprietors. Calling one day at the shop of Messrs Richardson and Urquhart, booksellers, to whom he had letters of recommendation, he found the latter busily engaged reading, and apparently enjoying an article in the General Advertiser. After Mr Urquhart had finished the perusal, Perry delivered his message; and Urquhart said: ‘If you could write articles such as this, I could give you immediate employment.’ When Urquhart (who was one of the proprietors of the paper) heard that Perry was the author of the article, and had another of a similar kind with him in his pocket, they soon came to terms. Urquhart offered and Perry accepted a situation of a guinea a week, with an extra half-guinea for aiding in the London Evening Post, issued from the same establishment. Installed now in a regular literary capacity, Mr Perry threw the whole of his energies into his work. During the memorable trials of Admirals Keppel and Palliser, he, for six successive weeks, by his own individual efforts, managed to transmit daily, from Portsmouth, eight columns of a report of the proceedings, taken by him in court. These contributions, so very acceptable to the general public, raised the circulation of the General Advertiser largely. Even this arduous labour did not exhaust his appetite for study; and he wrote, in addition, papers on a large variety of subjects. In 1782, he conceived the plan, and commenced the publication, of the European Magazine, a monthly journal, intended to combine a review of new books with a miscellany on popular subjects. After conducting this for twelve months, he was appointed editor to a newspaper called the Gazetteer, with a salary of four guineas a week, and a proviso that he should be allowed to advocate those political opinions which he himself held, and which were those of Charles James Fox. To understand an innovation which he at once introduced, it will be necessary to bear in mind what constituted parliamentary reporting in those days. Both Houses of parliament, for a long series of years, had absolutely forbidden the printing of the speeches in newspapers; and it was only in an indirect way that the public could learn what was going on with the legislature. No facilities were offered to reporters; there was no ‘Reporters’ Gallery;’ the ‘Strangers’ Gallery’ was the only place open to them, and no one was allowed to use a note-book. William Woodfall, of the Morning Chronicle, became quite famous for his success in overcoming these difficulties. He used to commit a debate to memory, by attentively listening to it, and making here and there a secret memorandum; when the House rose, he went home, and wrote out the whole of the speeches, trusting to his memoranda, but chiefly to his memory. Though generally accurate, mistakes, of course, occurred; and now and then the report contained evidence of ‘poking fun’ at an honourable member. Mr Wilberforce once explained to the House, that in a report of a speech of his concerning the cultivation of the potato, he was made to say: ‘Potatoes make men healthy, vigorous, and active; but what is still more in their favour, they make men tall; more especially was he led to say so, as being rather under the common size; and he must lament that his guardians had not fostered him under that genial vegetable!’ Woodfall’s reputation became considerable; and when strangers visited the House, their first inquiry often was: ‘Which is the Speaker, and which is Mr Woodfall?’ As the visitors were locked into the gallery, and not allowed to leave it, or partake of any refreshment, till the debate was ended, Woodfall often has a very exhausting night of it. He would draw a hard-boiled egg from his pocket, take off the shell in his hat, and stoop his head to make a hasty meal, before the serjeant-at-arms could witness this infraction of the rules of the House. He was not a favourite with the other reporters; and on one occasion the well-known hard egg was filched from his pocket, and an unboiled one substituted by a practical joker who owed him a grudge. One of the reporters who had thus to retain in his memory the substance of the speeches, was Mark Supple, an Irishman full of wit and humour, and often full of wine likewise. One evening, being in his usual place in the gallery, a dead silence happened to occur for a few seconds, when he suddenly called out: ‘A song from Mr Speaker!’ William Pitt was nearly convulsed with laughter; Mr Addington, the speaker, could with difficulty retain his gravity; but the serjeant-at-arms had to punish the offender. 

Mr Perry, we have said, in the Gazetteer introduced a great improvement – that of employing several reporters in each House of parliament, instead of one only, as had been the usual custom. Many of the speeches had been wont to appear in print some days after they had been delivered; but Perry rightly thought that the public ought to be served more promptly. By employing, accordingly, a larger staff, he was enabled to surprise and gratify the readers of his paper each morning with very fair reports of the speeches of the previous evening. He conducted the Gazetteer for eight years, and also edited Debrett’s Parliamentary Debates. Mr Woodfall, who had gained celebrity in connection with the Morning Chronicle, sold it (apparently in 1790) to Mr Perry and Mr Gray, who had the money lent to them by Mr Bellamy, a wine-merchant, and housekeeper to the House of Commons. Perry at once took a high tone; he advocated steady liberal principles, avoiding alike bigoted Toryism on the one hand, and rabid Republicanism on the other; and at the same time, kept equally aloof from scandal and from venality. Although nearly always opposed to the minister of the day, he was only twice, in his newspaper career of forty years, exposed to ex officio prosecution, and was in both cases honourably acquitted. During a critical period of the French Revolution, Perry lived for twelve months at Paris, and acted there as reporter and correspondent for the Chronicle. He had many eminent men to assist him in the editorship; at one time, Mr (afterwards Serjeant) Spankie; at another, Mr (afterwards Lord) Campbell; at another, William Hazlitt. Perry was a general favourite, and he was thus characterised by a contemporary: ‘He was a highly honourable and brave man: confidence reposed in him was never abused. He was the depositary of many most important secrets of high personages. Generous in the extreme, he was ever ready with his purse and his services. His manner was manly, frank, and cordial; and he was the best of proprietors. Walter, of the Times, was a better man of business and Daniel Stuart, of the Post and Courier, knew better how to make money; but Perry was a thorough gentleman, who attracted every man to him with whom he was connected.’ 

Soon after Mr Perry’s death, the Morning Chronicle was sold for £42,000 to Mr Clements, proprietor of the Observer. In 1834, Sir John Easthope bought it for a much smaller sum. In later years, it sunk greatly in reputation; and the sale became so small, that it could no longer be carried on without loss. The proprietorship changed frequently; and an attempt was made to revive the sale by establishing the journal as a penny-paper. This also failing, the Morning Chronicle disappeared from the public eye altogether. Mr Perry’s reputation is not affected by these failures; he made the paper the best of all the London journals; the decadence was due to others.

On this Day in Other Sources.

We may conjecture, with sufficient probability, that Donald, Thane of Cawdor, who was one of the inquest on the extent of Kilravock and Geddes in 1295, had died recently before the granting of King Robert’s charter to Thane William. We know that Thane William lived to have a son, also named William, in manhood and acting along with himself, about 1350.1

– Sketches, pp.395-436.

1  In the Innes charter-chest at Floors is a careful transumpt (taken at the instance of Sir Walter of Innes in 1454) of two charters of Johannes de Haya de Tulybothvil, both granted to his brother-in-law, Thomas of St. Clair: the first, of lands in Strathpefir, in Ross, dated 4th December 1350. The second, of half of Urchany Beg in Nairn and the Davach of Petcarsky in Sutherland, is not dated, but must be granted somewhat earlier than the preceding. It is on the occasion of the marriage of St. Clair with Eufemia, the granter’s sister, and it is witnessed by Roger Bishop of Ross, Hugh de Rosse brother of the Earl of Ross, Henry called Falconer baron of Lethyn, Hugh de Rosse, Adam of Urchard, William Thane of Calder, William his son, etc.

“The castle of Dundonald,” says Chalmers, “became the retreat of Robert II., after his retirement from government, upon the death of James, earl of Douglas, at Otterburn, in 1388.” He must, however, before this date have occasionally made this the place of his residence. For Sir John Kennedy, of Dunure, having endowed a chapel adjoining to the burial-place of the parish-church of Maybole, this grant is confirmed by Robert II. at Domdouenald, 4th December, 1371. Robert II., after he ascended the throne, lived much in Dundonald castle, wherein he died in 1390. This event is particularly commemorated by the good prior of St. Serf’s Inch in Lochlevin: 

The secownd Robert of Scotland Kyng, 
As Gow purwaid, maid endyng 
At Downdownald in his cuntré. 
Of a schort seknes there deyd he. 
WYNTOUN, B. ix. c. 10, v. 3.

– Scotland Illustrated, pp.153-154.

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  Vit. Episc. p. 66. Vaus has left some interesting grammatical works, though now chiefly valued by the bibliographer. They are extremely rare. His first book – a commentary on the Doctrinale, or rhythmical elements of Latin Grammar of Alexandrinus – is printed by the Ascensii at Paris. It is a small quarto without pagination. The signatures are A-M, each of eight leaves. On M. vii. r. is the colophon, Sub prelo Ascensiano Ad Idus Martias, M D XXII. The introduction, by Iodocus Badius Ascensius, addressed Studiosis Abredonensis Academiæ philosophis, commends the labour of Vaus, and his courage in venturing through the dangers of pirates and a stormy sea to the press of Ascensius to get his rudiments multiplied. He speaks of him as nostri studiosus et nostræ professionis admirator insignis; and of his own favour for the new University, idque nominibus et multis et gravibusm primo quod ejus proceres et institutores fere ex hac nostra Parisiensi et orti et perfecti sunt. Then comes an address by Joannes Vaus himself to his scholars, who all knew, he says, quanta plusculis jam annis et mihi docendi et vobis discendi molestia ac difficultas fuerit ob librorum præsertim penuriam et scribentium dictata nostra negligentiam ac imperitiam. He boasts a little of his courageous journey to Paris – per maxima terrarum et marium discrimina, piratarumque qui injustissimi sunt latrocinia, and acknowledges his obligation to his printer, Ascensius, in re grammatica doctissimus. The volume concludes with an epistle from Robert Gray, who had been a pupil of Vaus, and a regent at Aberdeen, but dates from Paris ex collegio bonæ curiæ, exhorting the studious youth of Aberdeen to imitate his and their common preceptor, John Vaus – optimis literis, amœnissimo ingenio, suavissimis moribus singulari probitate, gravitate fide atque constantia preditum
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.” 
Another edition of the Rudimenta, with many changes and a different concluding chapter, has the title Rudimenta artis grammaticæ per io. vavs scotvm selecta et in duo diuisa… Parisiis ex officina Roberti Masselin, 1553. Vaus had been long dead, and at the end of this edition, is an address by Alexander Skene, congratulating Master Theophilus Stewart (the humanist) and the students at Aberdeen sub illius ferula militantibus, on the completion of the work which he had conducted. The book is of the same size with the former; the signatures A-E, all eights, except G, which has only five leaves, A-D all fours. At D ii are three pages of the Statuta et leges ludi literarii Grammaticorum Aberdonensium, which have been printed in the Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. v. p. 399. The boys might not speak in the vernacular, but were indulged in “Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, or Gaelic!” 
These several works or editions of Vaus, in the library of King’s College, are at present bound up with a tract of Joannes Ferrerius, defending the poetry of Cicero, Paris, 1540. This last is dedicated to Bishop William Stewart in an epistle (dated at Knylos, 4 Cal. [4th/29th] December 1534) which speaks of the University of Aberdeen as then of high reputation celeberrimam apud Scotos hoc potissimum tempore (absit verbo invidia) Academiam. Ferrerius does not help us to new names, but his notice shows that the continental scholar esteemed the teachers of the new school, while he excited them to greater exertions. Viros quos habes in ditione tua doctissimos et veteranos in re literaria milites, huc bene adigas, viz., ut scholas in tantum curent ne quid etiam apud Scotos in melioribus literis desiserari possit amplius. Nec est quod vereare ne non sint hi qui tuis in hac parte votis respondere possint. Sunt enim multi quos probe (nisi mea me fallit opinatio) novi, qui ab eruditione multiplici non Aberdoniis tantum sed et in præstantissima universi orbis academia principem locum meritissime ac preter omnen ambitionem retinere queant. Quid enim cum in cyclicis disciplinis omnibus tum historiis Hectore illo Boethio eruditius simul et elegantius! quid in sacrarum literarum mysteriis Gulielmo Hay expeditius et jucundius! ad sublevandas autem corporum ægrotationes, geographiæque peritiam, quid Roberto Gray doctore medico magis aptum atque blandum cogitari potest! In sacrorum vero canonum et pontificiarum legum responsis non facile invenies quem cum Arthuro Boethio componas. Postremo loco (ut reliquos interim ornatos et peritos viros omittam) quid illo Joanne Vaus nostro in re grammatica et omnibus bonis literis tradundis vigilantius! Prætereo et illud cum aliis multis referre, quibus videlicet moribus gentis vestræ universam nobilitatem jam olim ornare non desinat.”

Morton, the conspirator, asserted, that he had arrested one Dalgleish, a servant of Bothwell, carrying this box, from Sir James Balfour, the governor of Edinburgh castle, to Bothwell, at Dunbar. But, none of the contemporary writers mention when, and where, Dalgleish was arrested, with that box. Dalgleish, however, was apprehended, as one of the murderers of Darnley, on some day, immediately preceding the 26th of June: For, on that day, he appeared before the Privy Council; and was examined, about Darnley’s murder, by Morton, the intercepter of the box, by Athol, and other privy counsellors; yet, neither did they ask, nor he answer a single question, about the box, and letters.  

In all the consultations of the insurgent nobles, from the 20th of June till the 4th of December 1567, there is not the least intimation, of any box, letters, in any of the public papers. In the rebellious bond, which was entered into, for crowning the Queen’s son, and supporting his government, there is not any insinuation that any letters of the Queen had been found, which would have been so apposite; neither is there any charge. The noble insurgents chose to have, for their ruler, a boy thirteen months old, who had neither title nor ability, rather than his mother, who had the right, and competency. But, though those miscreants made no direct charge against their sovereign, they shaped their criminations of Bothwell, in such a manner, as to raise insinuations, as well as popular clamour, against her.  

– Life of Mary, pp.155-184.

At the hour, when she was to be called upon, with threatening tone, and a loud voice, to sign the instruments of her resignation, they had obtained, after more than five weeks inquiry, as we learn, from Throckmorton, documents, to prove the following charges: (1) of tyranny, while Murray, acted as her minion, and Maitland, as her secretary: (2) Of incontinency, with Bothwell, the conspirator with him, and others, of which they had sufficient proof, said they: (3) Of the murder of her husband, whereof, said they, they had apparent proof, as well of her hand writing, as sufficient witnesses. Thus, prepared were they, to criminate the Queen, at the epoch of her resignation. They would be still better prepared, no doubt, when the Parliament approached, to overwhelm her with proofs of every kind. When Murray, as Regent, called, the Privy Council, on the 4th of December, [1567,] eleven days before the meeting of Parliament, the wise men therein met, with Morton, as chancellor, at their head, could find no other way to justify their proceedings, since her capture, on the 15th of June then past, and no other means, to save harmless the insurgent nobles, but her private letters, which were written, and subscribed, with her own hand, and sent by her to Earl Bothwell, who acted, meantime, as a complotter with themselves, whom she afterwards married, improvidently. This, then, being the only charge against the Queen, on the 4th of December, it is fair to ask them, what had become of the three charges against her before mentioned: her tyranny; her incontinency; and the murder of her husband, with all the proofs, which they had recovered, and possessed, the answer must be, that they had mounted to the moon: If a graver answer be required, it must, necessarily, be, that such charges, and proofs, never existed any where, but in the confident talk of Secretary Maitland to Throckmorton, Elizabeth’s envoy. It is apparent, then, that in the period, from the 20th of July to the 4th of December, Murray, and Morton, and Maitland, had shifted their ground: Her private letters, written, and signed, and sent by her to Bothwell, were the only proofs, which they now brought against her: But, where, and when, and how, were those interesting letters found? Morton, the falsifier, averred, that not far from Edinburgh castle, on the 20th of June then passed, he had intercepted Bothwell’s servant, Dalgleish, bearing a gilt box, full of the Queen’s private letters, from Sir James Balfour, the governor of Edinburgh castle, to Bothwell, at Dunbar. Such is the averment of this falsifier; this assassin of Rizzio; this murderer of the King. Dalgleish was still alive; Was he sent for, and examined? No. Was he examined when taken? No. He was examined on the 26th of June, six days after his interception, about the King’s murder; yet, not a word was asked him, about the boxful of letters. Was Sir James Balfour, who was sitting in the Privy Council, on the 4th of December, examined, on this interesting subject? No. Was Morton, himself, examined? No. Were the box, and letters, laid before the Privy Council, on that occasion? No. The record of that Privy Council is silent, on this head; and it, only says, that such letters existed somewhere: They were not, therefore, produced, before the eyes of the privy counsellors: Now; what does not appear, must be supposed, in all fair discussion, not to exist. When the noble insurgents entered Holyrood-house, they took possession of the Queen’s plate, jewels, and other moveables, as well as her private papers, which were deposited there: But, did they find any letter, or paper, or writing, which would, in any manner, verify, or support, those supposititious privy letters, mentioned, in the act of Privy Council, but not produced? The answer must be, that no such discovery was ever pretended. Now; the only affirmative proof, which was brought of the existence of such supposititious letters, was the averment of Morton, the falsifier, the murderer, the traitor: But, those circumstantial negative proofs, which have been adduced above, would weigh down, in the fair estimate of reason, and judgment, a thousand such averments of such a man.  

In the meantime, the church assembly presented the following article to the Parliament, as they seem, also, to have done to the Privy Council of the 4th of December: “This present assembly considering the detention of the Queen’s grace, in the house of Lochleven, [no manifest declaration made of the occasion thereof:] Wherefore, they, as a member of the commonweil of this realm, not only for themselves, but also in the name of the common people thereof, desires, and most humbly desires the Lord Regent, and Estates, of Parliament, to open, and make manifest to them, and to the people, the cause of the detention of the Queen’s grace, in the said house; or else to put her to liberty furth of the samen; so, that they, and the people may… of… their hands.” The Parliament could not but find, that such a desire was reasonable. And this finding, and that desire, were followed, by the act of this same Parliament; touching the retention of our sovereign lord’s mother’s person. Now, this statute is nothing more than the abovementioned act of Privy Council of the 4th of the current month; charged, indeed, somewhat, in the wording of it, and a little, in the sense: Like the Privy Council, the Parliament now declared, that every thing done, by the insurgent nobles, to the Queen’s person, and property, was owing to the Queen’s own fault: In so far as, by divers private letters, written wholly with her own hand, [but not subscribed by her, as the act of Privy Council stated] and sent by her to Earl Bothwell, the chief murderer of her husband; and, by her pretended marriage with him, soon after, she appeared to be privy, and active, in the murder of her husband. Such, then, is the substance of this act of indemnity, which is exactly the same, as the indemnities stated, in the act of Privy Council; only the Queen’s letters, which formed the great justification, both of her imprisonment, and the justification of those, who imprisoned her, in the act of council was written, and signed, by her; but in this act, the letters are stated to be only written by her. Those important epistles were said, by themselves, to have been detected, by Morton, on the 20th of June 1567: But, what justified Morton, and his guilty associates, when they made the Queen a prisoner, on the 15th of June, upon her joining those nobles, on terms, which they instantly violated? what justified those nobles, when they imprisoned, the Queen, on the 16th of June, in Lochleven castle? The answer must be, that they had no justification; as we might, indeed, infer, from the inanity of the warrant of commitment. The chief justification, we see, was the Queen’s letters, whether written, and signed, or written only, by her, they could not tell; but, it is of more importance to enquire, what steps were ever taken to fortify the assertion of such a notorious falsifier, as Morton? The answer must be, that no steps were hitherto taken, to support Morton’s assertion, on which both the Privy Council, and the Parliament, relied without any inquiry. The letters, as we have seen, were not produced, in the Privy Council, on the 4th of the current month: We shall, immediately, perceive, that they were not laid before the Parliament. The act is quite silent, on this important point: It contains no recital, that the letters were laid before the house, or were ever seen, by any of the members. De non apparentibus, et non existentibus eadem est ratio: What does not appear, in nature, or art, or in policy, must be supposed, not to exist. The coincidence of the two acts of Privy Council and of Parliament, in their silence, on this important head, is satisfactory proof, that the Queen’s supposititious letters, were not laid before either. 

It seems now to be pretty apparent, that those supposititious letters were never shown, in Scotland, where they could have been detected. They were shown, however, in England. And the Queen, no sooner heard, that her opponents had such letters, in their possession, than she ordered her commissioners to protest, most solemnly, that she had never written such letters; that there were several persons, in Scotland, who could counterfeit her writing. Here, then, have we the Queen’s solemn denial, with probability, opposed to Morton’s falsehood, and Maitland’s forgery, with improbability. The four first letters, in Goodalls’ series, were said to be written, from Glasgow, in January 1567, while the Queen was elsewhere, if we may credit public records, rather than unauthorized assertions. The period chosen, for forging such supposititious letters, was the very moment, when, being reconciled to her husband, she went to Glasgow, to bring him to Edinburgh. We may thus perceive, then, that the four letters, which were supposed to be sent, from Glasgow, were obvious forgeries.  

– Life of Mary, pp.184-206.

The commissioners of the three powers; of Elizabeth, Mary, and Murray; at length met, at York, early in October 1568. As this enquiry was intended to be impressive, both at home, and abroad, the commissioners heard a sermon, and took an oath which was administered, by the Dean of York; obliging them “to be honest, godly, reasonable, just, and true.” The preliminaries being now settles, the Scotish Queen, as the complainant, charged Murray, and his associates, with dethroning her, and sending her to prison, with seizing her revenue, and government, and with compelling her, to resign her sceptre to her son. Instead of meeting these charges, directly, Murray gave in articles, to be first resolved; stating various positions, hypothetically, and desiring to know, what would be the result of different events. What is this, but an apprehension of the weakness of his proofs, and the feebleness of his cause. This sort of hesitation had been already reprehended, by Elizabeth, and Cecil, as an attempt, to decide the cause, without hearing both parties. Being again told this, by Elizabeth’s commissioners, Murray agreed to answer, pointedly: He, and his associates, professed, that in all their doings, they had proceeded upon good ground, and just causes; yet, were they loath, to proceed so far as, “to charge their King’s mother, with such things, as hitherto they have been content, rather to conceal, than to publish to the world to her infamy, and dishonour.” What falsehood! What impertinence! The very hypocrisy of their intimation was a demonstration of their own guilt. They had, already, charged the Queen before the Privy Council of Scotland, on the 4th of December 1567, with all that they had to lay to her charge; with her supposititious letters to Bothwell, the murderer of her late husband; and with marrying him, soon after, and thereby inferring her guilty knowledge of the murder: They had, already, laid the same charges before the Parliament, on the 15th of the same month, without hearing the Queen, or allowing an advocate to defend her; without even producing the supposititious letters, in evidence against her.  

Murray, however, was soon after content, to give in a formal answer to the Queen’s charge. He now retold the old story, mixed up, with fictions, and falsities, which heightened the tale against the Queen, and concealed what would have convicted his partizans of the odious guilt of the King’s murder. Bothwell, said they, was the chief murderer of Darnley; concealing that he acted, merely, as their own cat’s-paw: They charged her, secondly, with marrying the murderer, which evinced her privity of the crime; concealing that, they themselves had enabled Bothwell to seize her, on the high way; to carry her forcibly to his castle of Dunbar; and therein to coerce her, to marry him. Murray, also, defended himself, by saying, that the Queen had, voluntarily, resigned her sceptre, because she felt it too weighty, for her hand; but, we have seen what violence was put upon her, in Lochleven castle, and what tumult was used, to compel the officer, to affix the Privy Seal to the several instruments of resignation. We thus perceive, that Murray, in addition to his other villanies, now added the guilt of falsehood. But, in this sophistical answer, Murray said nothing of the supposititious letters: As he, and his coadjutors, had been afraid, to produce those epistles, before the privy council of Scotland, and still more, to lay them before the Parliament, which had legalized her resignation, without seeing those pretended letters; they now, clandestinely, made use of them, to make an impression against the Scotish Queen; while her commissioners had respected Murray’s convenience, not to say his guilt. 

– Life of Mary, pp.206-234.

Many rebels to the Queen, “formost among whom is Adam Fullerton,” were declared to have forfeited their lives, lands, goods, and coats of arms. His house in the Fountain Close was seized, and a battery erected on the summit thereof to assail the King’s men. In the “Historie of James Sext” we are told that the Regent Earl of Mar brought nine pieces of ordnance up the Canongate to assail the Netherbow Port, but changed their position “to a fauxbourg of the town, callit Pleasands,” from whence to batter the Flodden wall and to oppose a platform of guns erected on the house of Adam Fullerton. 

When this sharp but brief civil disorder ended, Adam returned to his strong mansion in the Fountain Close once more, and on the 4th of December, 1572, he and Mr. John Paterson appear together as Commissaries for the city of Edinburgh, and the supposition is, that the date, 1573, referred to repairs upon the house, after what it had suffered from the cannon of Mar. Thus, says Wilson, “the vincit veritas of the brave old burgher acquires a new force, when we consider the circumstances that dictated its inscription, and the desperate struggle in which he had borne a leading part, before he returned to carve these pious aphorisms over the threshold that had so recently been held by his enemies.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.274-282.

She desired what has seldom been refused to less considerable personages, to have a priest of her own religion, to perform to her the last offices of religion: But, the same zeal, which dictated those unworthy proceedings, denied her this request. If we were to compare the state of the two Queens, at that interesting moment, we should see Elizabeth full of fears, and agitation; and Mary, equally resigned, and firm.  

The intercession of L’Aubespine, the French ambassador, interposed some delay, in the publication of the sentence: But, on the 4th of December 1586, through the solicitation of some courtiers, the sentence was proclaimed throughout the realm: In this proclamation, Elizabeth acted up to her true character, by seriously protesting, that this avowal of the sentence was extorted from her, to her great grief, by necessity, and the prayers of her people; yet, as we learn, from Camden, there were some, who supposed this conduct of Elizabeth, to be mere artifice, as well as affectation. The character of that Queen was made up of artifice, and affectation: and she, only, laboured, in her vocation, when she acted, with artifice, and affectation, throughout the sad catastrophe of the Queen of Scots’s demise. 

The publication of this sentence of death being made known to the Queen of Scots, far from being dismayed, with a steady countenance, and uplifted hands, she gave thanks to God, for her speedy relief. And, though Paulet, with the harshness of his nature, divested her of all the badges of royalty, and treated her as a woman of the meanest condition; yet, she endured it, with her usual patience, and accustomed dignity. 

– Life of Mary, pp.304-328.

The Household Books show the usual provisions for the table. Oat-meal and malt furnished the ordinary bread and chief drink of the castle, where ale was distinguished as ostler ale, household ale, and best ale. There was beef and mutton, fresh in summer, and for the rest of the year “marts,” killed and salted when fat on the pasture; a small quantity of bacon; salmon of Loch Tay, and Glenurchy salmon. Loch Fyne herring was already appreciated,1 and when other fish got scarce there was the “hard fish” or stock fish, which still forms an article of Scotch economy even in Protestant families. Cheese, counted either by weight or in “heads,” was plentifully supplied by the “bow-men.” 

– Sketches, pp.341-394.

1  In the year 1590, the family spent their time between Balloch and Finlarg. The oat-meal consumed, deducting a quantity used as “horse-corn,” part of which here, as in England, was baked into loaves, was about 364 bolls. The malt, 207 bolls (deducting a small quantity of “struck” barley, used in the kitchen). They used 90 beeves (“marts,” “stirks,” or “fed oxen”), more than two-thirds consumed fresh; 20 swine; 200 sheep; 424 salmon, far the greater portion being from the western rivers; 15,000 herrings; 30 dozen of “hard fish;” 1805 “heads” of cheese, new and old, weighing 325 stone; 49 stone of butter; 26 dozen loaves of wheaten bread; of wheat flour 3½ bolls. The wine brought from Dundee was claret and white wine, old and new, in no very large quantities, though it might be difficult to fix the exact contents of the “barrekins” and “rubbours.” One kind, called “vlet” wine, may mean that brought home in flasks with oil at top, instead of corks. One barrel of English beer might be introduced to stimulate the native brewers to exertion by its rivalry. Of “spices and sweet meats,” we find only notice on one occasion, of small quantities of saffron, mace, ginger, pepper, “raisins of cure,” plumdamas, and one sugar loaf. No deer or game are entered this year; nor any poultry, probably from some omission in the system of accounting, which was then only beginning. In some subsequent extracts, made on account of their detailing the provisions for two marriages in the family (1621-26), these omissions are supplied. The marriage of Elizabeth Campbell with the young laird of Drum, was on 4th December 1621. There was a considerable gathering of Dee-side gentry and Campbells, as well as “comers and goers.” Besides the staple commodities, we find on this occasion entered, twenty capons, forty poultry, thirty geese, twelve wild-geese, twelve “meiss” of brawn, six “furtches” (both haunches?) of red venison, eight roes, seven dozen of wild-fowl, partridge, and black game, three “birsell fowls” (turkeys?), of rabbits only eight; and we find now a greater variety of sea fish and red herrings, and reisted (smoked?) hams, and mutton “louings” and salmon. At the wedding of “Jeilliane Campbell” with the Laird of Buckie, which took place on 18th June 1626, we find notice of trouts, wild-geese (not easily to be had at that season), three whole red deer and ten furches (I fear not in very good condition), and seventeen roes; of claret, white wine, and “Spanish wine,” aquavitæ, vinegar, etc.; for spiceries, pepper and ginger, sugar, cloves, cannel (cinnamon), saffron.

Dec. 4 [1637]. – In the night arose ‘ane horrible high wind,’ which blew down the rafters of the choir of Elgin Cathedral, left without the slates eighty years before. This fact reminds us how much of the destruction of our ancient ecclesiastical buildings was owing, not to actual or immediate damage at the Reformation, but to neglect afterwards. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.257-277.

Nor could he have died in London in 1640, for the town council records show that on 14th August, 1641, Patrick Bell was empowered by his brethren in council, to supplicate the king, then in Edinburgh, as to dividing the parsonage of Glasgow from the bishopric, and providing a minister in place of the bishop – and on 4 December in same year he was sitting on the town council, and was also Dean of Guild. On 26 February, 1642, he was in London, for the town council deputed him to endeavour to get remedy for the plague of unpunished thieves, then infesting Glasgow. These town council records show the impossibility of his commissionership for Charles I., for they abound with references to the collections ordered in the city, of plate, money, &c., from the inhabitants, in aid of “the common cause,” i.e., that of the Scottish estates against the king.  

– Scots Lore, pp.141-148.

Taken seriatim, the records of the Tolbooth contain volumes of entries made in the following brief fashion:-

“- Dec. 4 [1662]. – James Ridpath, tinker; to be qhupitt [whipped] from Castle-hill to Netherbow, burned on the cheek with the Toun’s common mark, and banished the kingdom, for the crime of double adultery.

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.123-138.

But the old mode of construction appears to have been very much adhered to, and fifteen years afterwards another great fire occurred, by which 136 houses and shops were destroyed. On this occasion the heat was so great at the Cross that it set fire to the clock of the tolbooth, and the people broke open the doors and liberated the prisoners, who were in danger of perishing – among them being the laird of Kersland, who had been confined on account of the part he had taken at the Pentland rising.1 By this fire between six and seven hundred families were rendered houseless. The distress was very great, and it engaged the anxious consideration of the magistrates. 

Their minute on the occasion, under date 4th December, 1677, is curious. It commences by noticing “the great impoverishment this burgh is reduced to throw the sad and lamentable wo occasioned by fyre on the secund of Novr. last that God in his justice hath suffered this burgh to fall under, and lykwayes the most pairt of the said burgh being eye-witnesses twyse to this just punishment for our iniquities by this rod which we pray him to make us sensible of that we may turn from the evill of our wayes to himselfe that so his wraith may be averted and we preserved from the lyk in tyme to come.” And then, feeling satisfied, no doubt, that providence helps those who help themselves, they proceed to practical measures – first stating the obvious cause of the calamity and then providing against it recurrence. This part of the minute is valuable, as containing a contemporary description of how the houses in Glasgow were at that time constructed. Such calamities, it bears, “are mor incident to burghs and incorporatiounes be reasone of their joyning houss to houssis, and on being inflamed is reddie to inflame ane uthir, especiallie being contiguouslie joyned and reared wp of timber and deall boards without so much as the windskew of stone.” To remedy this it is provided “that each persone building de novo on the Hie Street, or repairing, sall be obleiged to doe it by stone work from head to foot back and foir without any timber or daill except in the insett thereof, quhilk is understood to be partitions, doors, windows, presses, and such lyk.” This is ordered to be done “not only for their probable security, but also for decoring of the said burgh.”

– Old Glasgow, pp.68-80.

1  Memorials by Law.

   “There are no such things nowadays as an English monarchy, and English Parliament, or an English army and navy. England as a political entity ceased to exist at the Treaty of Union; and to speak of British institutions as ‘English’ is as egregiously erroneous as it would be to resuscitate the phraseology of the Heptarchy, and apply it to modern and altogether different circumstances. The very first article of the Treaty of Union expressly stipulates ‘that the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof and for ever after be united into One Kingdom, by the name of GREAT BRITAIN, and that the Ensigns Armorial of the said United Kingdom be such as her Majesty shall appoint, and the crosses of Saint Andrew and Saint George be conjoined in such manner as her Majesty shall think fit, and used in all flags, banners, standards, and ensigns, both at sea and land.’ So that even the ‘flag of England,’ which is still said to wave triumphantly in every sea, must long ago have been committed to the Tower to take its place among the curious armours and the honourable but antiquated insignia of ancient warfare. To speak of the Union Jack as an English any more than a Scotch standard is so boldly ridiculous that it is a wonder those who indulge in it do not laugh at themselves; and then it might have been left to inference  that if the name of the country was to be Great Britain, its Legislature must necessarily be called by that name. But to show the sense entertained by the framers of the treaty of the importance of this matter of nomenclature, it is specially declared in a separate article ‘that the United Kingdom be represented by one and the same Parliament, to be styled the Parliament of Great Britain.’ There cannot thus be a particle of doubt as to what the proper terminology for the new kingdom and its adjuncts was meant to be, and to which both nations solemnly bound themselves. In all public and official documents it is of course faithfully observed, but this only makes its violation in other circumstances the more gratuitously offensive and irritating. We are reminded by it of that ceremonious politeness which shows itself only on grand occasions, but takes revenge for the restraints of etiquette by indulging in the most supercilious rudeness whenever these restraints are withdrawn, or of that kind of regard for what is due to others which consists only in rigid observance of what the law compels, and refuses not to gratify its interests and ambitions, and even its spites, at any cost short of penal consequences.” 

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 4th December, 1865. 

Treaty of Union Articles, 1850-1875.

A friend had suggested I look out for gravestones with seashells decorating them. He wasn’t sure if they had any particular meaning. I did make a point of asking on the tour but was told they probably really are just for decoration rather than indicating a seafaring link to the occupant.

The inscription on the left reads:





Glasgow’s Cathedral and City Necropolis.


Edinburgh, December 3, 1883.

   SIR, – There are very few Scotsmen who have read your article on the Orr-Ewing case this morning but must feel grateful to you. In the rather dreary outlook for our national independence, it is no small comfort to see out leading journal standing up so manfully for the rights of our country. If you will pardon me saying a few words on this subject I will feel obliged. It seems to me that Scotsmen who go to London to defend cases brought against them by Englishmen commit a grave error of judgment. In the 19th article of the Treaty of Union are these words – ‘And that no causes in Scotland be cognoscible by the Court of Chancery, Queen’s Bench, Common Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster Hall; and that the said Courts, or any other of the like nature, after the Union shall have no power to cognosce, review, or alter the acts or sentences of the Judicature within Scotland, or stop the execution of the same.’ The Lord Chancellor of England has done what is here distinctly forbidden. But, in the name of common sense, why do Scotsmen not seek the protection of their own Courts? No Act of the British Parliament can set aside their rights; they are secured to them by solemn engagement, and it would be an act of treason to the Constitution to try and set them aside.  

   Unless Scotsmen are prepared to stand up for their rights our nationality will be snuffed out, and a country that survives its honour will have nothing left worth living for. The English Government, listening to the advice of that meanest thing that crawls, your Anglified Scot, have set themselves deliberately to extinguish our separate national existence. The process has been going on for years, but they will find they have to reckon with the people of Scotland, and it is not unknown in our past history that our worst enemies have been our own unworthy sons.  

   There is a dangerous habit crept into our land, and which, if not checked, will eat out the heart of the country, and that is the appeal to the House of Lords. At the time of the Union the appeal to the House of Lords was retained, because no one would go to London, and it would stop vexatious litigation. In ancient times, when Scotland had a separate Parliament, the appeal from the Court of Session to the Lords was an appeal to our highest Court – our own Lords; but as it is now managed in London, the appeal is from Scottish Judges to English – to Judges who know nothing of our law, and very little of our country. Every case is looked at through English spectacles; and our decisions are set aside, and English law imported into Scotland. In this Orr-Ewing case, the same English Judges will sit as a Scottish Court of Appeal from the Court of Session. Will they be likely to set aside their own judgment? If English lawyers had any modesty or sense of fair play, they would leave Scottish cases to Scotsmen; but they must dip their fingers into our dish and extract all the sweets out of it. Let the readers of ‘Bleak House’ think what they may expect, if Scotsmen are to be subjected to the Court of Chancery. That, and worse, will follow, unless Scotsmen speak out. – I am, &c.  


– The Scotsman, Tuesday 4th December, 1883. 

Treaty of Union Articles, Collection of Charles Waddie AKA Thistledown’s Correspondence.

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