22nd of December

St Ischyrion, martyr, 253. Saints Cyril and Methodius, confessors, end of 9th century.

Died. – Emperor Vitellius, beheaded at Rome, 69 A.D.; Michael Baron, celebrated actor, 1729, Paris; Sir Philip Francis, reputed author of Junius, 1818, London; Dr James Cowles Prichard, distinguished ethnologist, 1848, London.

On this Day in Other Sources.

“The Queen,” as we are told by Le Croc, “behaved herself admirably well, during the baptism; and shewed so much earnestness to entertain all the goodly company, in the best manner, that this made her forget, in a good measure, her former ailments: But, I am of the mind, however,” said he, “that she will give us some trouble as yet; nor, can I be brought to think otherwise, so long as she continues to be so pensive and melancholy: She sent for me yesterday, the 22d of December [1566]; and I found her laid on the bed, weeping sore; and she complained of a grievous pain, in the side: And for a surcharge of evils, it chanced, that the day her majesty set out, from Edinburgh, for Stirling, she hurt one of her breasts on the saddle, which she told me is now swelled, I am much grieved,” said the aged Le Croc, “for the many troubles, and vexations, she meets with.” What an admirable subject was that scene, for a fine pencil!

– Life of Mary, pp.136-151.

Meanwhile, Cecil adopted a measure, for terrifying the Scotish Queen, from her measure of accusing Murray of the murder of her husband. On the 22d of December, [1568,] he drew up a memorial, concerning the Queen, which remains, in the Cotton library; and a part of which, he sent to Knollys, the warden of the Queen. Cecil concluded his memorial, by remarking, that the guilt of the Scotish Queen, in the murder, is sufficiently proved; and that Queen Elizabeth threatens to publish it every where; in order to oblige Queen Mary, to come to her will, particularly on England’s superiority over Scotland. And he sent enough of this disgraceful memorial to Knollys, for the Queen, his prisoner’s perusal.

– Life of Mary, pp.206-234.

James Carmichael, second son of the Laird of Carmichael, had killed Stephen Bruntfield, captain of Tantallon, in a duel at St Leonard’s Craigs, 22nd December 1596. Adam Bruntfield, brother of the deceased, ‘allegit that James Carmichael had slain his brother by treason, having promisit to meet him hand to hand, and had brought others with him to his slaughter, and therefore was a traitor. The other stood to his denial, and they baith seyit [tried] their moyen [influence] at his majesty’s hands for ane license to fecht, whilk with great difficulty was granted by his grace.’ They met (March 15) on Barnbougle Sands or Links, near Cramond Island, in the presence of a great multitude, and with the Duke of Lennox, the Laird of Buccleuch, Sir James Sandilands, and Lord Sinclair, to act as judges. ‘The one was clothed in blue taffeta, the other in red sattin.’ Carmichael, who was ‘as able a like man as was living,’ seemed at first to have great advantage over Adam Bruntfield, who was ‘but ane young man, and of mean stature;’ and at the first encounter he struck Adam on the loin. To the surprise of all, however, Bruntfield ‘strikes him in the craig [throat], and syne loups aboon him, and gives him sundry straiks with his dagger, and sae slays him. Adam Bruntfield is convoyit to Edinburgh with great triumph as ane victorious captain; and the other borne in deid.’ – Bir. Pa. And. C. K. Sc.

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

The first regular assessment for the support of the poor in Glasgow was made in 1638. The order to keep the poor off the street at the time of the meeting of the Assembly had proved a great success, and the magistrates determined to make perpetual what had only been intended as a temporary measure. Their minute bears that the magistrates, “understanding the great and comendable ordour that was keepit within this brught the tyme of last general assemblie, be reteiring of the poor off the calsay, and susteining of them in their awin houses, to the grait credit of the citie and contentment of all strangeris resorting heir for the tyme; and seeing the same is both godlie and honest, thairfoir they have statut and ordanit that the poor be keepit and sustenit in thair houses as they are now at this present, and the inhabitants of this burght to be stentit to that effect, and this day aucht days ilk counseller to propose his best overtour what way it can be best accomplishit.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.289-299.

1 22d Dec. 1636.

   “This Day the L–ds heard D. Hamilton by his Council, Sir Thomas Powis and Serjeant Prat, who argued, That the objecting against his Graces Sitting in the House as D. of Brandon, was a Restraint upon Her Majesty’s Prerogative, who had Power to create any Subject of France or Holland a Peer of England, as had been done in late Reigns, and much more one of her own Subjects. That several English Peers were Peers of Scotland, and several Irish Peers of England, That the Duke of Queensberry has sat in the House as D. of Dover uninterrupted, which is the same Case with this now in dispute, That if this be not allow’d it might be of ill Consequence, and even shock the Union, which (say they) is as yet Tender, tho’ hitherto happily preserved, That by the Articles of the Union, the Subjects of both Kingdoms, were to have equal Priviledges, and that consequently, the Peers of Scotland would never have parted with their Parliament, had they been rendred incapable of being Created Peers of Great Britain, &c.

   Many Speeches were made the House upon this Occasion (the Q. present) which lasted so late that I could not give the result.”

– Newcastle Courant, Saturday 22nd December, 1711.

Treaty of Union Articles, 1700-1750.

But we’re brought back to earth with proposed harsher punishments to deprive the guilty of life in as distressing a way as possible in 1735;

“… ‘tis thought it will be proposed to Parliament next Sessions to punish Murder, Robbery, Sodomy, and other Offences of the blackest Dye, with burning or breaking upon the Wheel, instead of hanging, a Death which hardened Villains perfectly laugh at.”

Caledonian Mercury, Monday 22nd December, 1735.

Pride in Scottish History.

2622. Letter from Major-General Campbell to Provost Cochrane regarding movements of the King’s troops. Inverary, 22nd December, 1745.

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.

   “The LORD-ADVOCATE, who was received with loud and prolonged cheering, said – I feel highly honoured by the presence of this large audience to hear my lecture on ‘Parliamentary Reform and Home Rule,’ and I shall at once proceed, without any prefatory remarks, to the subject of my lecture, promising, what I think the Lord Provost has already indicated, that it is this Scottish Home Rule, or government of the Scottish people by themselves, which is mainly the subject of my address. From time immemorial, and in various and characteristic modes, the people of Scotland have manifested their resolution to govern themselves according to their opinions and local traditions. During the century which intervened between the union of the Crowns of England and Scotland and the legislative union under the treaty of 1707, this spirit of independence took the form of a deep-seated jealousy of English intervention in our affairs… The Scottish Parliament, down to the last year of its sittings, displayed a very enlightened appreciation of the problems of social and legal reform brought before it, and its statutes have often been referred to as models of clearness and brevity. During the century which followed there was certainly much less of legislative activity than there was in the later years of the Scottish Parliament; and, indeed, it may be said with substantial accuracy that, during the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth centuries, Scotland had hardly any distinctive Parliamentary or political life. The Acts of the unreformed Parliament of Great Britain, which extend over a period of a century and a quarter – that is, from 1707 to 1832 – contain very few enactments applicable exclusively to Scotland; and the few chapters devoted to Scottish legislation are chiefly of the nature of administrative statutes, having a political rather than a social object – such, for example, as the well-known series of Acts passed after the rebellion of 1745, abolishing the military tenures, and taking away the jurisdiction in capital offences and the powers of inflicting capital punishment previously enjoyed by the Regality Courts of the great proprietors. I do not think that this remarkable surcease of legislative activity with respect to Scotland is to be attributed to mere indifference on the part of the Scottish representatives or to want of sympathy with the institutions of their country. It is evident that so small a body of representatives (they were only forty-five in number) could have no real influence in the British legislature, unless strongly backed by popular influence and support. But this attribute of popular influence was the one element in which the forty-five Scotch members were absolutely deficient. elected either by the few great proprietors or by the delegates of Town Councils, who were in their turn self-elected, the Scotch members of the unreformed Parliament were in no sense the representatives of real constituencies. One single English member elected and Scot or Lot, or what we now call household suffrage, or by the votes of the small country proprietors, would have more Parliamentary influence in the old House of Commons than the whole forty-five Scotch representatives taken together. It is to the votes of the English Liberal members in the unreformed Parliament, and to the exertions of the public out of doors, that we Scotchmen are mainly indebted for the gift of popular representation under the Act of 1832. Scotland has not been ungrateful for the boon, because she has ever since sent a powerful Liberal contingent to the House of Commons; and we know that in many a critical division the vote of the Scotch representatives has maintained the Liberal party in power, and enabled it to bring its measures to a successful issue. Since the passing of the Reform Act of 1832 the members for Scotch constituencies – although liable, of course, to be outvoted even on Scotch questions by the English and Irish members whenever they should choose to assert their powers – have in practice been allowed to manage the affairs of their own part of the kingdom very much as they pleased, and to vote, in the name and with their authority of the House of Commons, such measures of social and legal reform as were desired and were not in advance of the general public opinion of the country. I know that some of my Parliamentary friends have at times complained that the English members do not attend to their questions. We must be allowed to grumble like our neighbours; but I venture to doubt whether my countrymen would think it an improvement on the practice of Parliament, if English representatives who had not specially studied our institutions and laws were to begin to take a more active part in the discussion of Scotch measures than they have been in the habit of doing. Where the principle of a Scotch bill affects the United Kingdom, we must accept the challenge of a vote of the House of Commons as a necessary condition of the existence of a united Parliament. But in such cases – of which the Ground Game Act of last session is an example – the difficulty is generally avoided by bringing in a bill applicable to the United Kingdom, or by legislating for the three divisions of the kingdom in separate measure embodying the same principle. What is really to be desired in the interests of specially Scotch legislation, is not so much the co-operation of our friends from the South, as the presence in Parliament of a representation from Scotland commensurate with the population and wealth of this division of the kingdom.”

– Glasgow Herald, Wednesday 22nd December, 1880.

Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

    “Allowing for the probability that the movement will be condemned in England as meaning no more than ‘craft in danger,’ the legal profession in Scotland deserve praise for their efforts to save their country from the assumption of jurisdiction by the Law Courts in England. If it were only a movement to protect some Mr Dunup against having his just and lawful debts, otherwise irrecoverable, enforced by a competent court, there would not be so much to be said about the incursion, even though it be a breach of the Treaty of Union. But as it has been and can be worked, the jurisdiction assumed is becoming a protection to evil-doers and a terror to those who do well. Cases of very great hardship have arisen, and must constantly arise, where a pursuer does not justify his name, and follow his creditor or his wronger, to the courts of the country where the offence lies. It is quite clear the Scottish law and the law courts of Scotland cannot be killed by inches, and if a direct enactment to do away with the provisions made at the time of the Union were proposed, Scotland would have a word or two to say on that matter – and there might even be many amongst her sons who would be disposed to ‘couple it with something – make it a word and a blow.’ The main plea relied upon at the meeting in the Advocate’s library yesterday, was the claims of international law. Scotland has not bartered away her nationality, though consenting to be joined to her sister, and if only the proposal be made broadly and plainly enough, there may be yet another ‘benediction of the poinards’ enacted at Stafford House. The evil of the present attack is its insidious character, and also its great injustice, for on many legal points we occupy a higher platform than our neighbours, and many litigants suffer serious damage by being compelled in this way to appear before a foreign court and plead to a foreign law. Practically, the meeting of counsel and agents yesterday, in which all important districts in Scotland were represented, means an appeal to the Cabinet to make the matter a special one, for the Lord Advocate, Solicitor-General, and Under-Secretary of the Home Department, all rolled together, cannot move against the Lord-Chancellor, if the keeper of the Queen’s conscience should, as regards our international rights, have no conscience of his own.”

– Inverness Courier, Thursday 22nd December, 1881.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

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