7th of December

St Ambrose, bishop and confessor, doctor of the church, 397. St Fara, virgin and abbess, 655.

 

Born. – Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, architect and sculptor, 1598, Naples; Rev. Richard Valpy, D.D., compiler of classic grammars, &c., 1754, Jersey.
Died. – Cicero, Roman orator, assassinated 43 B.C.; Marshal Ney, general of Napoleon, shot at Paris, 1815; Abbé Macpherson, rector of the Scotch College, Rome, 1846.

 

On this Day in Other Sources.

 

The next of the documents collected and published with the Abbey Register furnishes the best illustration of the working of the law of Clan Macduff which has yet been discovered. It appears that Sir Alexander de Moravia was accused of the slaughter of William de Spaldyne, and indicted for the crime in the court of the High Justiciar, held by his deputies, Sir John and Morice de Drummond, at Foulis. On the 7th day of December 1391, he appeared with his forespeakers, protested that inasmuch as he had been once before called in judgment for that slaughter, and re-pledged to the law of Clan Macduff by Robert, Earl of Fife, he was not obliged to plead before any other judge to that charge until the said law of Clan Macduff should have had its privilege in regard to him thus re-pledged to its jurisdiction; and he demanded to be lawfully discharged. The judges made answer that they would not discharge him, but would respite him, until the Lord of Brechyn, the principal justiciar, should take order in the matter.1

– Sketches, pp.204-219.

1  The law tradition of the privilege of Clan Macduff is thus given by Skene:-
“The croce of Clan Makduffe dividis Stratherne fra Fife abone the Newburgh beside Lundoris. The quhilk had priviledge and liberty of girth; in sik sort that when ony man-slayer, being within the ninth degree of kin and bluid to Makduffe sumtime Earle of Fife, came to that Croce and gave nine kye and ane colpindach, he was free of the slauchter committed be him.” He further tells us – “I saw ane auld evident bearand that Spens of Wormestoun, beand of Makduffe’s kin, injoyed the benefit and immunity of this law, for the slauchter of ane called Kynnynmonth.” – De Verbor. Sign. ad Voc.
There is evidence of the privilege of Clan Macduff having saved Hugh de Arbuthnot and his accomplices from being proceeded against for the slaughter of John de Melvil of Glenbervy in 1421. (Analect. Scot. II. 30.) A very curious ancient notice of this privilege occurs in one of the fragments of laws collected at the end of the first volume of the Act. Parl. Scot. 382, c. 26.

 

In the beginning of the sixteenth century we have in the same records examples of the attempts which had begun to be made by the citizens to assert their independence, and of the collision into which they came with the archbishop, in consequence. In December, 1510, there is a record of proceedings taken at the instance of the commissaries against the bailies of the city and other citizens, who had “incurred the greater excommunication” for having done certain acts and made certain statutes against the jurisdiction of the Church, “namely, that none of the citizens of Glasgow ought to summon another citizen before a spiritual judge ordinary respecting a matter which could be competently decided before the bailies in the Court House of Glasgow; and because they had fined one Alan Lethame a citizen, because he complained to the Official against another fellow-citizen.” The provost, the Earl of Lennox, appeared before the chapter “as pleader for the said bailies, and procurator for the citizens to defend them,” and demanded to be furnished with a copy of the citation. This bears to have been “done, Sabbath, 7th Dec. 1510.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215.

1  Ibid., No. 498.

 

The nation partook in [Mary of Guise’s] misfortunes, when she lost both her sons, soon after the birth of the second. She had the consolation, however of bringing her husband, while he was dying of an afflicted spirit, a daughter, on the 7th of December 1542, in the palace of Linlithgow. 

– Life of Mary, pp.9-15.

 

The Privy Council issued, but in vain, an edict against the wearing of culverins, dags, pistolets, or other “firewerks.” 

The latter seem to have been adopted or in use earlier in Scotland than in the sister kingdom. At the raid of the Redswire, the English archers were routed by the volleys of the Scottish hackbuttiers; and here we find, as the author of “Domestic Annals” notes, “that sword and buckler were at this time (1567) the ordinary gear of gallant men in England – a comparatively harmless furnishing; but we see that small fire-arms were used in Scotland.” 

On the 7th December, three years after this, the Hoppringles and Elliots chanced to encounter in the same place – hostile parties knew each other well then by their badges, livery, and banners – and a terrible slaughter would have ensued had not the armed citizens, according to the “Diurnal of Occurrents,” redd – i.e., separated – them by main force.   

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.191-198.

 

On the first day of the sitting of Parliament, the 7th December, 1597, Archibald Jardine, master-stabler and servitor to the Earl of Angus, was slain, through some negligence, by Andrew Stalker, a goldsmith at Niddry’s Wynd head, for which he was put in prison. 

Then the cry of “Armour!” went through the streets, and all the young men of Edinburgh rose in arms, under James Williamson, their captain, “and desirit grace,” as Birrel records, “for the young man who had done ane reckless deed. The King’s majesty desirit them to go to my Lord of Angus, the man’s master, and satisfy and pacify his wrath, and he should be contentit to save his life.” 

James Williamson thereupon went to the Earl of Angus, and offered, in the name of the young men of the city, “their manreid,” or bond of man-rent, to be ready to serve him in war and feud, upon which he pardoned the said Andrew Stalker, who was immediately released from prison. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.242-246.

 

Dec. 7 [1597]. – A homicide committed at this time brings out a remarkable illustration of the exclusive rule of master over man which then prevailed. On the first day of the sitting of parliament, Archibald Jardine, servitor and master-stabler to the Earl of Angus, was slain negligently by Andrew Stalker, goldsmith, at Niddry’s Wynd head. ‘The said Andrew was apprehendit and put in prison. The young men of the town being all in arms, as they used to be in the time of the parliament, they came to his majesty, and desirit grace for the young man wha had done ane reckless deed. The king’s majesty desirit them to go to my Lord of Angus, the man’s master, and satisfy and pacify his wrath, and he should be contentit to grant his life. James Williamson, being captain to the young men, came to my Lord of Angus, offered him their manreid [bond of mutual support] to be ready to serve him gif he had to do: upon the whilk, he grantit them his life, and sae the said Andrew was releasit out of prison upon the said day at even.’ – Bir

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

 

Dec. 7 [1604]. – ‘Ane hour before the sun rose, the moon shining clear two days before the change, in a calm and pleasant morning, there was at ane instant seen great inflammations of fire-flaughts in the eastern hemisphere, and suddenly thereafter there was heard ane crack as of a great cannon, and sensibly marked a great globe or bullet, fiery coloured, with a mighty whistling noise, flying from the north-east to the south-west, whilk left behind it a blue train and draught in the air, most like ane serpent in mony faulds and linkit wimples; the head whereof breathing out flames and smoke, as it wald directly invade the moon, and swallow her up; but immediately the sun, rising fair and pleasant, abolished all. The crack was heard of all, within as without the house; and sic as were without at the time, or hastily ran out to see, did very sensibly see and mark the rest above rehearsed. Here was a subject for poets and prophets to play upon…’ – Ja. Mel. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-277.

 

In the diary of Mr. Brown, already referred to – a Glasgow merchant in prosperous circumstances, and who amassed a considerable fortune – there occurs, under date 7th December, 1745, this entry: “Read the fourteenth chapter of first Corinthians and prayed; then went to keep the city guard at ten o’clock at night, where I continued till near four in the morning, when I went to bed.”1 This was at the time when the rebel army was expected, and within a few days afterwards it entered the city with Prince Charles at its head. 

– Old Glasgow, pp.289-299.

1  Diary of George Brown, printed for private circulation, p. 41.

 

“ENGLISH JURISDICTION IN SCOTTISH CASES.

December 5, 1883.  

   SIR, – I am sure all true Scotsmen will thank your correspondent ‘Thistledown’ for his letter, which appeared in your columns on Tuesday last, on the jurisdiction of English Courts over Scotsmen. If ‘Nemo,’ who writes as an Anglo-Scot in your columns of to-day, would buy ‘Thistledown’s’ pamphlet on the Treaty of Union he might get his eyes opened.  

   I don’t know what right the English Lords have to overrule any decision of the Court of Session (the highest Court in this country.) If they have the right, it has been given to them by such men as ‘Thistledown’ calls ‘the meanest thing that crawls’ – viz., Anglo-Scotsmen. I have met them both at home and abroad – men who, when they get on among Englishmen, are ashamed of the land of Bruce and Wallace, and even some of our law Lords when they get an English Judgeship in the Court of Appeal forget that they should be Scotsmen first, instead of sitting on an English bench like dummies – witness the report in your columns of the Orr-Ewing case.  

   The Irish teach us a lesson in nationalism. – I am, &c.  

A. BRANDANE.”

—————

“Perth Road, Dundee, December 6, 1883.  

   SIR, – I have read with pleasure the letters of your correspondent ‘Thistledown’ and others in yesterday’s Scotsman. It is quite clear that by the Treaty of Union, English Courts were never intended to have any jurisdiction in Scotland, and it is an open question whether any appeal to the House of Lords from the Supreme Courts in Scotland should be tolerated.  

   It would seem that our Scottish Courts are, however, not altogether free from blame, for the best method of testing the jurisdiction of the English Courts would have been to refuse to enforce their decrees, and this would have brought matters to a crisis. The whole matter of the relations of Scotland, England, and Ireland requires a thorough overhaul. The fact is, London is to a certain extent a huge sponge, sucking the life-blood of both Scotland and Ireland; and no other country in Europe, excepting, perhaps, France, is so cursed with centralisation as the British Islands; and to its shame be it said, the present Government has not been altogether free from blame, as it has not set its face against centralisation as it ought. If England thinks, however, that she can reduce Scotland to the condition of a province like Wales, she is greatly mistaken, and also if she thinks that Scotland will submit to become a mere milch cow for Courts of Chancery and needy London lawyers. Rather than that this should occur, we will agitate for a repeal of the present form of a Union, and the substitution of a Federal one.  

   The present form of Union has not been so beneficial to Scotland as some Englishmen would have us believe; but our prosperity is due entirely to our own industry, and had we had a Federal Union instead of the present, a great deal of Scottish money at present flowing into London would remain at home. Should an agitation for a repeal of the Union arise here, it will be a most serious affair for the English – more so than in Ireland, as it will be conducted in a different manner, Scotland having greater wealth than Ireland to conduct and carry on an agitation; and Scotsmen abroad will join in the movement also. And should we join hands with Ireland, we will bring England to her senses.  

   Should Scotland be, therefore, driven into returning Scottish Home Rule members of Parliament, the English will have themselves to blame, as they are stirring up towards themselves in Scotland a feeling similar to what exists in Ireland.  

   It is to be hoped that the national meeting to be held in Edinburgh in January will convince them that Scotland is in no mood to be trifled with. – I am, &c.  

ANGUS.”

– The Scotsman, Friday 7th December 1883.

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

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