Monday, February 28, 2011

National Covenant

'It was in vain that [King of England] Charles sent down repeated and severe messages, blaming the Privy Council, the Magistrates, and all who did not punish the rioters, and enforce the reading of the Service-book. The resistance to the measure, which was at first tumultuous, and the work of the lower orders, had now assumed quality and consistency. More than thirty peers, and a very great proportion of the gentry of Scotland, together with the greater part of the royal burghs, had, before the month of December, agreed not merely to oppose the Service-book, but to act together in resisting the further intrusions of Prelacy. They were kept in union and directed by representatives appointed from among themselves, and forming separate Committees, or, as they were termed, Tables or Boards of management.

Under the auspices of these Tables, or Committees, a species of engagement, or declaration, was drawn up, the principal object of which was, the eradication of Prelacy in all its modifications, and the establishment of presbytery on its purest and most simple basis. This engagement was called the National Covenant, as resembling those covenants which, in the Old Testament, God is said to have made with the people of Israel. The terms of this memorable league professed the Reformed faith, and abjured the rites and doctrines of the Romish Church, with which were classed the newly imposed Liturgy and Canons. This covenant, which had for its object to annul all of prelatic innovation that James's policy, and his son's violence, had been able to introduce into the Presbyterian Church, was sworn to by hundreds, thousands, and hundreds of thousands, of every age and description, vowing, with uplifted hands and weeping eyes, that, with the Divine assistance, they would dedicate life and fortune to maintain the object of their solemn engagement. (1st March, 1638)...'

In "Tales of a Grandfather", Sir Walter Scott discusses the signing of the Second National Covenant at a ceremony in Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, which occurred on February 28, 1638.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Battle of Ancrum Moor

The Battle of Ancrum Moor, which occurred on February 27, 1545, is well covered in Notes on the Eve of St. John, in Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border". The note, some of which is contained below, discusses the actions of Lords Ralph Evers (or Eure) and Brian Latoun (or Layton), and how these actions pushed the people in the area to seek the security of King Henry VIII.  Scottish Earls Arran and Angus - James Hamilton and Archibald Douglas - turned this day into a Scottish victory, with Evers and Latoun both being slain.

'In 1545, Lord Evers and Latoun again entered Scotland, with an army consisting of 3000 mercenaries, 1500 English Borderers, and 700 assured Scottishmen, chiefly Armstrongs, Turnbulls, and other broken clans. In this second incursion, the English generals even exceeded their former cruelty. Evers burned the tower of Broomhouse, with its lady (a noble and aged woman, says Lesley), and her whole family. The English penetrated as far as Melrose, which they had destroyed last year, and which they now again pillaged. As they returned towards Jedburgh, they were followed by Angus, at the head of 1000 horse, who was shortly after joined by the famous Norman Lesley, with a body of Fife-men. The English, being probably unwilling to cross the Teviot, while the Scots hung upon their rear, halted upon Ancrum Moor, above the village of that name; and the Scottish general was deliberating whether to advance or retire, when Sir Walter Scott (1), of Buccleuch, came up at full speed, with a small, but chosen body of his retainers, the rest of whom were near at hand. By the advice of this experienced warrior (to whose conduct Pitscottie and Buchanan ascribe the success of the engagement), Angus withdrew from the height which he occupied, and drew up his forces behind it, upon a piece of low flat ground, called Panier-heugh, or Paniel-heugh. The spare horses being sent to an eminence in their rear, appeared to the English to be the main body of the Scots, in the act of flight. Under this persuasion, Evers and Latoun hurried precipitately forwards, and, having ascended the hill, which their foes had abandoned, were no less dismayed, than astonished, to find the phalanx of Scottish spearmen drawn up, in firm array, upon the flat ground below. The Scots in their turn became the assailants. A heron, roused from the marshes by the tumult, soared away betwixt the encountering armies: 'Oh!' exclaimed Angus, 'that I had here my white goss-hawk, that we might all yoke at once !'—Godscroft. The English, breathless and fatigued, having the setting sun and wind full in their faces, were unable to withstand the resolute and desperate charge of the Scottish lances. No sooner had they begun to waver, than their own allies, the assured Borderers, who had been waiting the event, threw aside their red crosses, and, joining their countrymen, made a most merciless slaughter among the English fugitives, the pursuers calling upon each other to 'remember Broomhouse !'—Lesley, p. 478.

In the battle fell Lord Evers, and his son, together with Sir Brian Latoun, and 800 Englishmen, many of whom were persons of rank. A thousand prisoners were taken. Among these was a patriotic alderman of London, Read by name, who, having contumaciously refused to pay his portion of a benevolence demanded from the city by Henry viii., was sent by royal authority to serve against the Scots. These, at settling his ransom, he found still more exorbitant in their exactions than the monarch.—Redpath's Border History, p. 563.

Evers was much regretted by King Henry, who swore to avenge his death upon Angus, against whom he conceived himself to have particular grounds of resentment, on account of favours received by the Earl at his hands. The answer of Angus was worthy of a Douglas: 'Is our brother-in-law offended,'' said he, 'that I, as a good Scotsman, have avenged my ravaged country, and the defaced tombs of my ancestors, upon Ralph Evers? They were better men than he, and I was bound to do no less—and will he take my life for that? Little knows King Henry the skirts of Kirnetable (2):' I can keep myself there against all his English host.'—Godscroft.

Such was the noted battle of Ancrum Moor. The spot, on which it was fought, is called Lilyard's Edge, from an Amazonian Scottish woman of that name, who is reported, by tradition, to have distinguished herself in the same manner as Squire Witherington (3). The old people point out her monument, now broken and defaced. The inscription is said to have been legible within this century, and to have run thus:—

'Fair maiden Lylliard lies under this stane,
Little was her stature, but great was her fame;
Upon the English louns she laid mony thumps,
And, when her legs were cutted off, she fought upon her stumps.'

-Vide Account of the Parish of Melrose.

(1) The Editor has found no instance upon record, of this family having taken assurance with England. Hence, they usually suffered dreadfully from the English forays. In August 1544 (the year preceding the battle), the whole lands belonging to Buccleuch, in West Teviotdale, were harried by Evers; the outworks, or barm-kin, of the tower of Branxholm burned; eight Scotts slain, thirty made prisoners, and an immense prey of horses, cattle, and sheep carried off. The lands upon Kale Water, belonging to the same chieftain, were also plundered, and much spoil obtained; 30 Scotts slain, and the Moss Tower (a fortress near Eokford), smoked very sore. Thus Buccleuch had a long account to settle at Ancrum Moor.—Murdin's State Papers, pp. 45, 46.

(2) Kirnetable, now called Cairntable, is a mountainous tract at the head of Douglasdale. [See notes to Castle Dangerous.— J. G. L.]

(3) [See 'Chevy Chase.'—J. G. L.]'

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Panic of 1797

'And, ...when any panic arose, who was the first to rush forward to secure his property? The poor man. And thus was the panic commenced. Example, however, was contagious. It appeared, therefore, that the power of issuing these notes was one great source of the insecurity of country bankers. Men placed in such situations, and liable to such influences, could not be said to hold their credit upon permanent and secure foundations. Was not, then, the remedy to be found in getting rid of the dangerous part of this paper circulation, and in making the attempt, was he proposing anything new? Quite the contrary. The propriety of restricting the circulation of small notes was never questioned. Fifty years ago parliament passed an act (in 1773) prohibiting the circulation of any notes under 20£. In 1777 this restriction, for the better accommodation of the increasing trade of the country, was removed, and permission granted to issue notes not under 5£; and in 1787, that act, which had been passed for a temporary purpose, was made perpetual. In that state the law continued until 1797, when one and two pound notes were first brought into circulation. When the Bank Restriction Act of 1797 was passed, it was clear, that unless the prohibition were withdrawn from the circulation of the smaller notes, the country would be altogether deprived of the means of carrying on its business.'
The text above is from the Edinburgh Annual Register for1826; by Walter Scott.  This piece appeared at a time when Scott was facing his own personal crisis with the Panic of 1825/6.  Scott authored his famous Malagrowther Letters during 1826, which helped Scotland stave off English efforts to eliminate small pound notes.  From the English perspective, these notes were not backed by specie.

The Bank of England itself had to suspend cash payment during the Panic of 1797, issuing its own notes instead.  These were war years, with efforts against France adding to the national debt, and resulting in transmission of coin overseas to fund soldiers.  As in Scott's poorer Scotland, England found specie becoming scarce.  The economy depends on circulation, and on February 26, 1797, the British Government authorized notes of the BOE as legal tender.

Friday, February 25, 2011

French Fleet off the Coast

The Jacobite Rising of 1745, with Charles Edward Stuart entering Scotland from France, formed the backdrop for Walter Scott's "Waverley".  The year prior to that, partly in response to Jacobite requests, the French themselves toyed with an invasion of England.  French ships were seen off the coast early in 1744.  Just as the French were readying their invasion, a major storm developed, and by the 25th of February the French Fleet dispersed, ending the threat.  Unfortunately for the English, the storm also prevented Sir John Norris from encountering some of the French ships when he had a distinct advantage.  The situation is described in a letter written by Horace Walpole a few days later:

'To Sir Horace Mann.

March 1st, 1744.

I wish I could put you out of the pain my last letters must have given you. I don't know whether your situation, to be at such a distance on so great a crisis, is not more disagreeable than ours, who are expecting every moment to hear the French are landed. We had great ill-luck last week: Sir John Norris, with four-and-twenty sail, came within a league of the Brest squadron, which had but fourteen. The coasts were covered with people to see the engagement; but at seven in the evening the wind changed, and they escaped. There have been terrible winds these four or five days, our fleet has not suffered materially, but theirs less. Ours lies in the Downs; five of theirs at Torbay-the rest at La Hague. We hope to hear that these storms, which blew directly on Dunkirk, have done great damage to their transports. By the fortune of the winds, which have detained them in port, we have had time to make preparations; if they had been ready three weeks ago. when the Brest squadron sailed, it had all been decided. We expect the Dutch in four or five days. Ten battalions, which make seven thousand men, are sent for from our army in Flanders, and four thousand from Ireland, two of which are arrived. If they still attempt the invasion, it must be a bloody war!..'

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Napoleon's Father

'The father of Napoleon, Charles Buonaparte, was the principal descendant of this exiled family. He was regularly educated at Pisa to the study of the law, and is stated to have possessed a very handsome person, a talent for eloquence, and a vivacity of intellect, which he transmitted to his son. He was a patriot also and a soldier, and assisted at the gallant stand made by Paoli against the French. It is said he would have emigrated along with Paoli, who was his friend, but was withheld by the influence of his father's brother, Lucien Buonaparte, who was Archdeacon of the Cathedral of Ajaccio, and the wealthiest person of the family.

It was in the middle of civil discord, fights, and skirmishes, that Charles Buonaparte married Loetitia Ramolini, one of the most beautiful young women of the island, and possessed of a great deal of firmness of character. She partook the dangers of her husband during the years of civil war, and is said to have accompanied him on horseback in some military expeditions, or perhaps hasty flights, shortly before her being delivered of the future emperor...'
Carlo Buonaparte died on February 24, 1785, probably of stomach cancer.  Sir Walter Scott introduces his son Napoleon, with the background above, in his "Life of Napoleon Bonaparte".

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Omen

February 23. ...'Read a little volume called The Omen—very well written—deep and powerful language. Aut Erasmus aut Diabolus, it is Lockhart or I am strangely deceived. It is passed for Wilson's though, but Wilson has more of the falsetto of assumed sentiment, less of the depth of gloomy and powerful feeling.'

Scott's comments on "The Omen" come from his Journal: February 23, 1826.  Fellow Scot John Galt published "The Omen", his twentyfourth work, in 1825.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crown passes from David II to Robert II

'THE genealogy of the Stewart family, who now acceded to the throne of Scotland, has been the theme of many a fable. But their pedigree has by late antiquaries been distinctly traced to the great Anglo-Norman family of Fitz-Alan in England; no unworthy descent, even for a race of monarchs.  In David I.'s time, Walter Fitz-Alan held the high post of seneschal or steward of the king's household; and the dignity becoming hereditary in the family, what was originally a title was converted into a surname, and employed as such. Walter, the sixth high-steward, fought bravely at Bannockburn, defended Berwick with the most chivalrous courage, and was unanimously thought worthy of the hand of Marjory Bruce, the daughter of the liberator of Scotland; and to their only child, the seventh lord high-steward, often mentioned during the last reign, the crown descended, on the extinction of the Brace's male line in his only son David II.'

On February 22, 1371, King David II of Scotland died.  He was succeeded by the first Stewart king, Robert II.  The text above is from Walter Scott's "Scotland".

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dr. John Moore

Physician and author John Moore, died on January 21, 1802.  His novel "Zeluco" influenced Lord Byron in his development of "Childe Harold".  In an article published in the periodical Eighteenth Century Fiction, author Gary Kelly draws a comparison between Moore's writing and Sir Walter Scott's, arguing that Moore properly should be considered a product of the Scottish Enlightenment.  According to Kelly, 'Moore's novels do contain Scottish characters and celebrate the poetry of Robert Bums (with whom Moore corresponded), and "national character" is one of the recurring themes, but there is not enough of the kind of stuff found in Maria Edgeworth's "Irish tales, Sir Walter Scott's, John Galt's, and James Hogg's Scottish novels to make Moore a "Scottish" novelist in the eyes of modem critics. Hart's book on The Scottish Novel, for example, does not mention Moore.  This is wrong. Moore's
novels in their form and subject matter are, as I have tried to argue, products and manifestations of the Scottish Enlightenment, a movement as Scottish as Scott's folk antiquarianism-indeed, Scott himself, in his folk antiquarianism (in Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, the poems, and Waverley novels), was carrying out one of the lines of development of the Scottish Enlightenment. Moore's novels also reveal the same ambivalence about the relation of court, gentry, and professional classes found in Scott's far more popular exercises in the "invention of tradition" and the "imagined community" of the nation based in print culture.'

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Tyrolean Innkeeper

'...But not all the courage of the Tyrolese, not all the strength of their country, could possibly enable them to defend themselves, when the peace with Austria had permitted Bonaparte to engage his whole immense means for the acquisition of these mountains. Austria too— Austria herself, in whose cause they had incurred all the dangers of war, instead of securing their indemnity by some stipulations in the treaty, sent them a cold exhortation to lay down their arms. Resistance, therefore, was abandoned as fruitless; Hofer, chief commander of the Tyrolese, resigned his command, and the Bavarians regained the possession of a country which they could never have won back by their own efforts. Hofer, and about thirty chiefs of these valiant defenders of their country, were put to death, in poor revenge for the loss their bravery had occasioned. But their fame, as their immortal spirit, was beyond the power of the judge alike and executioner; and the place where their blood was shed, becomes sacred to the thoughts of freedom, as the precincts of a temple to those of religion...'

Andreas Hofer led a force of Tyroleans in a rebellion against Napoleon in 1809.  Sir Walter Scott provides the results in his "Life of Napoleon".  Hofer's execution took place on February 20, 1810.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chronicle of the Good Knight Messire Jacques de Lalain

Scott writes in his journal on February 19, 1826: '...Being troubled with thick-coming fancies, and a slight palpitation of the heart, I have been reading the Chronicle of the Good Knight Messire Jacques de Lalain—curious, but dull, from the constant repetition of the same species of combats in the same style and phrase. It is like washing bushels of sand for a grain of gold. It passes the time, however, especially in that listless mood when your mind is half on your book, half on something else. You catch something to arrest the attention every now and then, and what you miss is not worth going back upon; idle man's studies, in short. Still things occur to one. Something might be made out of the Pass or Fountain of Tears, a tale of chivalry,—taken from the Passages of Arms, which Jacques de Lalain maintained for the first day of every month for a twelvemonth. The first mention perhaps of red-hot balls appears in the siege of Oudenarde by the citizens of Ghent. Chronique, p. 293. This would be light summer work...'

Scott's read of this French work, which is based on a historical person, is reflected in "Count Robert" in at least two references: 'And yet so passionate a Rodomont is Count Robert, that he would rather risk the success of the whole expedition, than omit an opportunity of meeting a worthy antagonist en champ-clos, or lose, as he terms it, a chance of worshipping Our Lady of the Broken Lances.'...

And, exemplifying fair fight:'..."I acknowledge the debt," he said, sinking his battle-axe, and retreating two steps from his antagonist, who stood in astonishment, scarcely recovered from the stunning effect of the blow by which he was so nearly prostrated. He sank the blade of his battle-axe in imitation of his antagonist, and seemed to wait in suspense what was to be the next process of the combat. "I acknowledge my debt," said the valiant Count of Paris, "alike to Bertha of Britain and to the Almighty, who has preserved me from the crime of ungrateful blood-guiltiness. —You have seen the fight, gentlemen," turning to Tancred and his chivalry, "and can testify, on your honour, that it has been maintained fairly on both sides, and without advantage on either. I presume my honourable antagonist has by this time satisfied the desire which brought me under his challenge, and which certainly had no taste in it of personal or private quarrel. On my part, I retain towards him such a sense of personal obligation as would render my continuing this combat, unless compelled to it by self-defence, a shameful and sinful action."...'

Friday, February 18, 2011

Battle of Montereau

'...The situation of Bonaparte, even after the victory of Montereau, and capture of Troves, was most discouraging. If he advanced on tne grand nrmy of the allies, which he had in front, there was every likelihood that they would retire before him, wasting his force in skirmishes, without a possibility of his being able to force them to a general action while, in the mean time, it might be reckoned for certain that Blueher, master of the Marne, would march upon Paris. On the contrary, if Napoleon moved with his chief force against Blucher, he had, in like manner, to apprehend that Schwartzenberg would resume the route upon Paris by way of the valley of the Seine. Thus, he could make no exertion upon the one side, without exposing the capital to danger on the other...'

Napoleon won a battle at Montereau on February 18, 1814, but his tactical options were not simple, as Walter Scott relates in his 'Life of Napoleon Bonaparte".  In this battle, Napoleon defeated Austrian Prince Schwartzenberg and King Frederick I of Wurttemberg. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sir Alexander Dick


'Prestonfield, Feb. 17, 1777.

'SIR, I had yesterday the honour of receiving your book of your Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, which you was so good as to send me, by the hands of our mutual friend, Mr. Boswell, of Auchinleck; for which I return you my most hearty thanks; and after carefully reading it over again, shall deposit in my little collection of choice books, next our worthy friend's Journey to Corsica...The truths you have told, and the purity of the language in which they are expressed, as your Journey is universally read, may, and already appear to have a very good effect. For a man of my acquaintance, who has the largest nursery for trees and hedges in this country, tells me, that of late the demand upon him for these articles is doubled, and sometimes tripled...'

Sir Alexander Dick's letter to Samuel Johnson refers to Johnson's comments in his account of the trip he took with James Boswell that there were scarcely any trees to be found in Scotland.  Dick was a well known physician, who is remembered for his benevolence.  Dick factors into some background material employed by Sir Walter Scott in his "The Highland Widow".  Samuel Johnson is again involved.  From the notes (Note G on the Countess of Eglington):

'At Sir Alexander Dick's, from that absence of mind to which every man is at times subject. I told, in a blundering manner. Lady Eglintoune's complimentary adoption of Dr. Johnson as her son; for I unfortunately stated that her ladyship adopted him as her son, in consequence of her having been married the year after he was born. Dr Johnson instantly corrected me. 'Sir, don't you perceive that you are defaming the Countess? For, supposing me to be her son, and that she was not married till the year after my birth, I must have been her natural son.' A young lady of quality who was present, very handsomely said, 'Might not the son have justified the fault." My friend was much flattered by this compliment, which 1 never forgot. When in more than ordinary spirits, and talking of hisi journey in Scotland, he has called to me, 'Boswell, what was it that the young lady of quality said of me at Sir Alexander Dick's?' Nobody will doubt that I was happy in repeating it." '

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


On February 16, 1804, US Lieutenant Stephen Decatur retook the USS Philadelphia from Barbary Coast pirates burning the ship to render it useless to pirate or anyone.  This event was part of the First Barbary Coast War. 

The Barbary Coast has long been a rough one and Sir Walter Scott includes this anecdote in "The Monastery":

'Thomas Stukely, another distinguished gallant of the time, was bred a merchant, being the son of a rich clothier in the west. He wedded the daughter and heiress of a wealthy alderman of London, named Curtis, after whose death he squandered the riches he thus acquired in all manner of extravagance. His wife, whose fortune supplied his waste, represented to him that he ought to make more of her. Stukely replied, "I will make as much of thee. believe me, as it is possible for any to do ." and he kept his word in one sense, having stripped her even of her wearing apparel, before he finally ran away from her.
Having fled to Italy, he contrived to impose upon the Pope, with a plan of invading Ireland, for which he levied soldiers and made some preparations: but ended by engaging himself and his troops in the service of King Sebastian of Portugal. He sailed with that prince on his fatal voyage to Barbary, and fellwith him at the battle of Alcazar.'

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Knights Hospitallers

‘…The crusades were in reality military expeditions to the Holy Land to recover the sepulcher of Christ, which was in the possession of the Mohammedans. Of the eight expeditions the first four were the most important. The first occurred in 1096-1099.

The military orders were the three orders of knights: the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the Teutonic Knights.

It was in the interval between the crusades that the two orders known as the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers grew up. There had long been monks at Jerusalem who received travelers and cared for sick pilgrims at their hospital. When the need of soldiers to defend the city became great, these monks were enrolled as soldiers and became the Knights Hospitallers. Founded in 1092, forty years after the first crusade, "the servants of the Hospital of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem" became "a military order of monks, the first body of men united by religious vows, who wielded the temporal sword against the enemies of the Church." They are sometimes called the Knights of Rhodes, from their first great conquest, which was the island of Rhodes, which in two centuries they rendered one of the strongest places in the world. In 1522 they were driven out of the island by the Turks; they then established themselves in the island of Malta, which fact gave to them the name of Knights of Malta, by which they are also known in history. "Their chief seat in England was at Clerkenwell; this property was destroyed by an insurrection under Wat Tyler, but their priory was afterward restored."— Timbs. …‘

From the introduction to Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe”. On February 15, 1113, Pope Paschal II issued a bull which sanctioned the establishment of the Knights Hospitallers.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Captain Cook

'...Some interesting particulars were this year communicated by a peculiar channel respecting the Tonga, or, as we were taught to call them by Captain Cook, the Friendly Islands, in the Pacific Ocean. They were taken from the deposition of William Mariner, who, in the manner to be now related, had been detained in them for several years. He had sailed in 1806 in the Port-au-Prince, a vessel destined for the southern whale-fishery. On arriving at Lefooga, a dispute between the master and crew prevented due precautions from being taken. A body of 300 natives having got on board the vessel, seized it, after massacring all the crew, except Mariner and another, who were below in the magazine. Aftermuchdismay, and seeing no hope of escape, Mariner determined to come up and get himself killed at once ; but on Ins presenting himself in an unresisting posture for that purpose, he was told that they were now masters of the ship, and that he would not be hurt. He was carried before several chiefs, and at length to I'inow, the How or king of the island, who being a man of an active and curious mind, took much pleasure in the conversation of the stranger. He was ordered, however, to deliver up his books and papers, as no witchcraft was allowed to be practised in the island. This led to an explanation of the fate which had overtaken the missionaries left there- by Captain Wilson, from the ship Duff. It ha I been from the first observed, that they built a house, in which they shut themselves up to sing and perforin ceremonies. This, however, would not have led to any serious consequence, had there not been on the island one Morgan, a convict escaped from Botany Bay. The missionaries having represented this person in unfavourable, and doubtless true colours, excited his resentment, which he gratified in the most criminal manner. He informed the natives, that these strangers had come among them with the sole view of introducing the pestilential disease, which was then raging ; that their books were instruments of magic ; and their secret assemblies held tor the purpose of carrying on incantations to produce this effect. The chiefs took these statements into serious consideration, and became more and more persuaded of their truth, from the loud noise which took place at these ceremonies, and from the care taken, we know not why, to exclude the natives. At length it was represented, that if the strangers continued singing in this manner, the whole island would soon be depopulated. Inflamed with fury, they at length rushed in and made a general massacre...'

The text above comes from the Edinburgh Annual Register, volume 10 (1817), which Walter Scott edited.  Barely 50 when he died, Captain James Cook ended up on a beach in Kealakekua Bay, stabbed and being hacked to pieces.  Cook had landed to attempt to take hostage Hawaiian King Kalaniʻōpuʻu-a-Kaiamamao, in order to settle the theft of an English boat by one of the Hawaiian tribemen.  The explorer James Cook died on February 14, 1779.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kenneth MacAlpin

Kenneth I, King of the Picts, died on February 13, 858.  Nearly a milleneum later he was remembered in the name Buccleuch as referred to in Sir Walter Scott's "The Lay of the Last Minstrel":


The dwarf, who feared his master's eye
Might his foul treachery espie,
Now sought the castle buttery,
Where many a yeoman, bold and free,
Revelled as merrily and well
As those that sat in lordly selle.
Watt Tinlinn there did frankly raise
The pledge to Arthur Fire-the-Braes;
And he, as by his breeding bound,
To Howard's merrymen sent it round.
To quit them, on the English side,
Red Roland Forster loudly cried,
'A deep carouse to yon fair bride!'
At every pledge, from vat and pail,
Foamed forth in floods the nut-brown ale,
While shout the riders every one;
Such day of mirth ne'er cheered their clan,
Since old Bucclench the name did gain,
When in the clench the buck was ta'en.
Note on Line 154. Since old Buccleuch the name did gain.

A tradition preserved by Scott of Satchells gives the followmg romantic origin of that name. Two brethren, natives of Galloway, having been banished from that country for a riot, or insurrection, came to Rankleburn, in Ettrick Forett, where the keeper, whose name was Brydone received them joyfully, on account of their skill in winding the horn, and in the other mysteries of the chase, Kenneth MacAlpin, then King of Scotland, came soon after to hunt in the royal forest, and pursued a buck from Ettrickbeuch to the glen now called Buckeleuch, about two miles above the junction of Rankleburn with the river Ettrick. Here the stag stood at bay; and the king and his attendants, who followed on horseback, were thrown out by the steepness of the hill and the morass.  John, one of the brethren from Galloway, had followed the chase on foot and now coming in seized the buck by the horns, and being a man of great strength and activity, threw him on his back, and ran with his burden about a mile up the steep hill, to a place called Cracra-Cross. where Kenneth had halted, and laid the buck at his sovereign's feet.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


'...He glanced over the parchment, and instantly replied,--"Oh! my dear and royal mistress, only treason itself could give you other advice than Lord Seyton has here expressed. He, Herries, Huntly, the English ambassador Throgmorton, and others, your friends, are all alike of opinion, that whatever deeds or instruments you execute within these walls, must lose all force and effect, as extorted from your Grace by duresse, by sufferance of present evil, and fear of men, and harm to ensue on your refusal. Yield, therefore, to the tide, and be assured, that in subscribing what parchments they present to you, you bind yourself to nothing, since your act of signature wants that which alone can make it valid, the free will of the granter."...'

Ambassador Throgmorton in Walter Scott "The Abbot" or Sir Nicholas Throckmorton as he is better known, first served Henry VIII of England.  Throckmorton accompanied Henry in battle against France.  After Henry's death, he served Katherine Parr and Princess Elizabeth.  Throckmorton supported Mary Tudor's claim to the throne, and later worked for Elizabeth when she became Queen.  Elizabeth commissioned Throckmorton to negotiate with Mary Queen of Scots not to marry Lord Darnley.  He also worked in an official capacity to restore Mary to power when Scottish Barons imprisoned her at Lochleven.  Nicholas Throckmorton died on February 12 1571.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Church of England

On February 11, 1531, Henry VIII of England became supreme head of the Church of England.   This institution was important to Edward Waverley's pro-Hanoverian family as shown in Walter Scott's "Waverley".  From the chapter titled The Adieus of Waverley:

'...My dear Edward, it is God's will, and also the will of your father, whom, under God, it is your duty to obey, that you should leave us to take up the profession of arms, in which so many of your ancestors have been distinguished. I have made such arrangements as will enable you to take the field as their descendant, and as the probable heir of the house of Waverley; and, sir, in the field of battle you will remember what name you bear. And, Edward, my dear boy, remember also that you are the last of that race, and the only hope of its revival depends upon you; therefore, as far as duty and honour will permit, avoid danger--I mean unnecessary danger--and keep no company with rakes, gamblers, and Whigs, of whom, it is to be feared, there are but too many in the service into which you are going. Your colonel, as I am informed, is an excellent man--for a Presbyterian; but you will remember your duty to God, the Church of England, and the--' (this breach ought to have been supplied, according to the rubric, with the word KING; but as, unfortunately, that word conveyed a double and embarrassing sense, one meaning de facto and the other de jure, the knight filled up the blank otherwise)--'the Church of England, and all constituted authorities.' Then, not trusting himself with any further oratory, he carried his nephew to his stables to see the horses destined for his campaign. Two were black (the regimental colour), superb chargers both; the other three were stout active hacks, designed for the road, or for his domestics, of whom two were to attend him from the Hall; an additional groom, if necessary, might be picked up in Scotland...'

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lord Darnley Murdered

'Young Darnley was remarkably tall and handsome, perfect in all external and showy accomplishments, but unhappily destitute of sagacity, prudence, steadiness of character, and exhibiting only doubtful courage, though extremely violent in his passions.'

-Sir Walter Scott

The second husband of Mary Queen of Scots, and the father of James VI of Scotland/I of England, Henry Stuart was murdered on February 10, 1567.  Lord Darnley was found strangled at Kirk o'Field in Edinburgh while Mary was attending a wedding.  An explosion occurred at provost's house where Darnley had been staying, but it was not the cause of Darnley's death.  James Hepburn, who Mary married three months later was widely held to be responsible for the murder, but this was never proven.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Burns and Byron

February 9, 1826 finds Walter Scott in a reflective mood.  He notes that his mind was at ease.  The latter part of his journal entry for that day contains comments on his friend Lord Byron, and Robert Burns:

'...Byron used to kick and frisk more contemptuously against the literary gravity and slang than any one I ever knew who had climbed so high. Then, it is true, I never knew any one climb so high; and before you despise the eminence, carrying people along with you, as convinced that you are not playing the fox and the grapes, you must be at the top. Moore told me some delightful stories of him. One was that while they stood at the window of Byron's Palazzo in Venice, looking at a beautiful sunset, Moore was naturally led to say something of its beauty, when Byron answered in a tone that I can easily conceive, "Oh! come, d—n me, Tom, don't be poetical." Another time, standing with Moore on the balcony of the same Palazzo, a gondola passed with two English gentlemen, who were easily distinguished by their appearance. They cast a careless look at the balcony and went on. Byron crossed his arms, and half stooping over the balcony said, "Ah! d—n ye, if ye had known what two fellows you were staring at, you would have taken a longer look at us." This was the man, quaint, capricious, and playful, with all his immense genius. He wrote from impulse, never from effort; and therefore I have always reckoned Burns and Byron the most genuine poetical geniuses of my time, and half a century before me. We have, however, many men of high poetical talent, but none, I think, of that ever-gushing and perennial fountain of natural water...'

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Battle of Eylau

'... The eventful action commenced with day-break on the 8th of February. Two strong columns of the French advanced, with the purpose of turning the right, and storming the centre, of the Russians, at one and the same time. But they were driven back in great disorder by the heavy and sustained fire of the Russian artillery. An attack on the Russian left was equally unsuccessful. The Russian infantry stood like stone ramparts—they repulsed the enemy—their cavalry came to their support, pursued the retiring assailants, and took standards and eagles. About mid-day, a heavy storm of snow began to fall, which the wind drove right in the face of the Russians, and which added to the obscurity caused by the smoke of the burning village of Serpallen, that rolled along the line.

Under cover of the darkness, six columns of the French advanced with artillery and cavalry, and were close on the Russian position ere they were opposed. Bennigsen, at the head of his staff, brought up the reserves in person, who, uniting with the first line, bore the French back at the point of the bayonet. Their columns, partly broken, were driven again to their own position, where they rallied with difficulty. A French regiment of cuirassiers, which, during this part of the action, had gained an interval in the Russhm army, were charged by the Cossacks, and found their defensive armour no protection against the lance. They were all slain except eighteen.

At the moment when victory appeared to declare for the Russians, it was on the point of being wrested from them. Davoust's division had been manoeuvring since the beginning of the action to turn the left, and gain the rear, of the Russian line. They now made their appearance on the field of battle with such sudden effect, that Serpallen was lost, the Russian left wing, and a part of their centre, were thrown into disorder, and forced to retire and change their front, so as to form almost at right angles with the right, and that part of the centre which retained their original position.

At this crisis, and while the French were gaining ground on the rear of the Russians, L'Estocq, so long expected, appeared in his turn suddenly on the field, and, passing the left of the French, and the right of the Russians, pushed down in three columns to redeem the battle on the Russian centre and rear. The Prussians, under that loyal and gallant leader, regained in this bloody field their ancient military reputation. They never fired till within a few paces of the enemy, and then used the bayonet with readiness and courage. They redeemed the ground which the Russians had lost, and drove back in their turn the troops of Davoust and Bernadotte, who had been lately victorious.

Ney, in the meanwhile, appeared on the field, and occupied Schloditten, a village on the road to Konigsberg. As this endangered the communication of the Russians with that town, it was thought necessary to carry it by storm; a gallant resolution, which was successfully executed. This was the last act of that bloody day. It was ten o'clock at night, and the combat was ended.

Fifty thousand men perished in this dreadful battle—the best contested in which Buonaparte had yet engaged, and by far the most unsuccessful. He retired to the heights from which he had advanced in the morning, without having gained one point for which he had struggled, and after having suffered a loss considerably greater than that which he had inflicted on the enemy. But the condition of the Russian army was also extremely calamitous. Their generals held a council of war upon the field of battle, and without dismounting from their horses. The general sentiment which prevailed among them was, a desire to renew the battle on the next day, at all hazards. Tolstoy undertook to move forward on the French lines—L'Estocq urged the same counsel, They offered to pledge their lives, that, would Bennigsen advance, Napoleon must necessarily retire; and they urged the moral effect which would be produced, not on their army only, but on Germany and on Europe, by such an admission of weakness on the part of him who had never advanced but to victory. But Bennigsen conceived that the circumstances of his army did not permit him to encounter the hazard of being cut off from Konigsberg, and endangering the person of the King of Prussia; or that of risking a second general action, with an army diminished by at least 20,000 killed and wounded, short of ammunition, and totally deprived of provisions. The Russians accordingly commenced their retreat on Konigsberg that very night. The division of Count Ostreman did not move till the next morning, when it traversed the field in front of Preuss-Eylau, without the slightest interruption from the French, who still occupied the town....'

The indecisive Battle of Eylau concluded on February 8, 1807, with human loss exceeding 10,000 on each side. Russian forces were led by Count Bennigsen, while the French fought under Napoleon. There is more text on this battle in Walter Scott's "The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte".

Monday, February 7, 2011

Battle of Glenfruin

‘…Notwithstanding these severe denunciations,— which were acted upon In the same spirit in which they were conceived, some of the clan still possessed property, and the chief of the name in 1592 is designed Allastcr MacGregor of Glenstrae. He is said to have been a brave and active man; but, from the tenor of his confession at his death, appears to have been engaged in many and desperate feuds, one of which finally proved fatal to himself and many of his followers. This was the celebrated conflict at Glenfruin, near the south-western extremity of Loch Lomond, in the vicinity of which the MacGregors continued to exercise much authority by the coir a ylaite, or right of the strongest, which we have already mentioned.

There had been a long and bloody feud betwixt the MacGregors and the Laird of Luss, head of the family of Colquhoun, a powerful race on the lower part of Loch Lomond. The MacGregors' tradition affirms that the quarrel began on a very trifling subject. Two of the MacGregors being benighted, asked shelter in a house belonging to a dependent of the Colquhouns, and were refused. They then retreated to an out-house, took a wedder from the fold, killed it, and supped off the carcass, for which (it is said) they offered payment to the proprietor. The Laird of Luss seized on the offenders, and, by the summary process which feudal barons had at their command, had them both condemned and executed. The MacGregors verify this account of the feud by appealing to a proverb current amongst them, execrating the hour (Mult dhu an Carbail ghil that the black wedder with the white tail was ever lambed. To avenge this quarrel, the Laird of MacGregor assembled his clan, to the number of three or four hundred men, and marched towards Luss from the banks of Loch Long, by a pass called Raid na Gael, or the Highlandman's Pass.

Sir Humphrey Colquhoun received early notice of this incursion, and collected a strong force, more than twice the number of that of the invaders. He had with him the gentlemen of the name of Buchanan, with the Grahams, and other gentry of the Lennox, and a party of the citizens of Dumbarton, under command of Tobias Smollett, a magistrate, or bailie, of that tow n, and ancestor of the celebrated author.

The parties met in the valley of Glenfruin, which dignifies the Glen of Sorrow—a name that seemed to anticipate the event of the day, which, fatal to the conquered party, was at least equally so to the victors, the " babe unborn" of clan Alpine having reason to repent it. The MacGregors, somewhat discouraged by the appearance of a force much superior to their own, were cheered on to the situation by a Seer, or second-sighted person, w ho professed that he saw the shrouds of the dead wrapt around their principal opponents. The clan charged with great fury on the front of the enemy, while John MacGregor, with a strong party, made an unexpected attack on the flank. A great part of the Colquhouns' force consisted in cavalry, which could not act in the boggy ground. They were said to have disputed the field manfully, but were at length completely routed, and a merciless slaughter was exercised on the fugitives, of whom betwixt two and three hundred fell on the field and in the pursuit. If the MacGregors lost, as is averred, only two men slain in the action, they had slight provocation for an indiscriminate massacre. It is said that their fury extended itself to a party of students for clerical orders, who had imprudently come to see the battle. Some doubt is thrown on this bet, from the indictment against the chief of the clan Gregor being silent on the subject, as is the historian Johnston, and a Professor Koss, who wrote an account of the battle twenty-nine years after it was fought It is, however, constantly averred by the tradition of the country, and a stone where the deed was done is called Leck-a-Mhinisteir, the Minister or Clerk's Flag-stone. The MacGregors impute this cruel action to the ferocity of a single man of their tribe, renowned for size and strength, called Dugold, Cair Mhor, or the great Mouse-coloured Man. He was MacGregor's foster-brother, and the chief committed the youths to his charge, with directions to keep them safely till the affray was over. Whether fearful of their escape, or incensed by sot to sarcasms which they threw on his tribe, or whether out of mere thirst of blood, this savage, while the other Macgregorc were engaged in the pursuit, poniarded his helpless and defenceless prisoners. When the chieftain, on his return, demanded where the youths were, the Ciar (pronounced Kiar) Mhor drew out his bloody dirk, saying in Gaelic, "Ask that, and God save me!" The latter words allude to the exclamation which his victims used when he was murdering them. It would seem, therefore, that this horrible part of the story is founded on fact, though the number of the youths so slain is probably exaggerated in the Lowland accounts. The common people say that the blood of the Ciar Mhor's victims can never be washed off the stone. When MacGregor learnt their fate, he expressed the utmost horror at the deed, and upbraided his foster-brother with having done that which would occasion the destruction of him and his clan. This homicide was the ancestor of Rob Roy, and the tribe from which he was descended. He lies buried at the church of Fortingal, where his sepulchre, covered with a large stone is still shown, and where his great strength and courage are the theme of many traditions…’

From the introduction to Walter Scott’s “Rob Roy”. The Battle of Glenfruin took place on February 7, 1603.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Queen Anne

'There was some sense in Jeanie's reasoning; yet she was not sufficiently mistress either of the circumstances of etiquette, or the particular relations which existed betwixt the government and the Duke of Argyle, to form an accurate judgment. The Duke, as we have said, was at this time in open opposition to the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, and was understood to be out of favour with the royal family, to whom he had rendered such important services. But it was a maxim of Queen Caroline, to bear herself towards her political friends with such caution, as if there was a possibility of their one day being her enemies, and towards political opponents with the same degree of circumspection, a3 if they might again become friendly to her measures. Since Margaret of Anjou, no queen-consort had exercised such weight in the political affairs of England, and the personal address which she displayed on many occasions, bad no small share in reclaiming from their political heresy many of those determined tories, who, after the reign of the Stewarts had been extinguished in the person of Queen Anne, were disposed rather to transfer their allegiance to her brother the Chevalier de St. George, than to acquiesce in the settlement of the crown on the Hanover family. Her husband, whose most shining quality was courage in the field of battle, and who endured the office of King of England, without ever being able to acquire English habits, or any familiarity with English dispositions found the utmost assistance from the address of his partner; and while he jealously affected to do every thing according to his own will and pleasure, was in secret prudent enough to take and follow the advice of his more adroit consort. He intrusted to her the delicate office of determining the various degrees of favour necessary to attach the wavering, or to confirm such as were already friendly, or to regain those whose good-will had been lost...'

Queen Anne Stuart is referenced in the text above from Sir Walter Scott's "The Heart of Mid-Lothian".  Anne was born on February 6, 1665.  She succeeded her brother-in-law William III on March 8, 1702.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Carlyle on Scott

'...Whether Sir Walter Scott was a great man, is still a question with some; but there can be no question with any one that he was a most noted and even notable man. In this generation there was no literary man with such a popularity in any country; there have only been a few with such, taking-in all generations and all countries. Nay, it is farther to be admitted that Sir Walter Scott's popularity was of a select sort rather; not a popularity of the populace. His admirers were at one time almost all the intelligent of civilised countries; and to the last included, and do still include, a great portion of that sort. Such fortune he had, and has continued to maintain for a space of some twenty or thirty years. So long the observed of all observers: a great man or only a considerable man; here surely, if ever, is a singular circumstanced, is a 'distinguished' man! In regard to whom, therefore, the 'instinctive tendency' on other men's part cannot be wanting. Let men look, where the world has already so long looked. And now, while the new, earnestly expected Life 'by his son-in-law and literary executor' again summons the whole world's attention round him, probably for the last time it will ever be so summoned; and men are in some sort taking leave of a notability, and about to go their way, and commit him to his fortune on the flood of things, - why should not this Periodical Publication likewise publish its thought about him? Readers of miscellaneous aspect, of unknown quantity and quality, are waiting to hear it done. With small inward vocation, but cheerfully obedient to destiny and necessity, the present reviewer will follow a multitude: to do evil or tw do no evil, will depend not on the multitude but on himself. One thing he did decidedly wish; at least to wait till the Work were finished: for the six promised Volumes, as the world knows, have flowed over into a Seventh, which will not for some weeks yet see the light. But the editorial powers, wearied with waiting, have become peremptory; and declare that, finished or not finished, they will have their hands washed of it at this opening of the year. Perhaps it is best. The physiognomy of Scott will not be much altered for us by that Seventh Volume; the prior Six have altered it but little; - as, indeed, a man who has written some two hundred volumes of his own, and lived for thirty years amid the universal speech of friends, must have already left some likeness of himself. Be it as the peremptory editorial powers require...'

Thomas Carlyle was a prolific writer.  His death on February 5, 1881 was posted on last year.  His birth also (December 4, 1795).  That post focused on Carlyle's focus on great men.  Today's post provides a bit more of Carlyle's thinking on Sir Walter Scott. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Honours of Scotland

On February 4, 1818 Sir Walter Scott wrote to John Wilson Croker about the experience he'd had that day of opening the chest that stored Scotland's crown jewels.  The jewels had been placed in the chest, and stored at Edinburgh Castle after the Act of Union, on March 7, 1707.


EDINBURGH, 4th Feb. l8l8

MY DEAR CROKER,-I have the pleasure to assure you the Regalia of Scotland were this day found in perfect preservation.1 The Sword of State and Sceptre showed marks of hard usage at some former period ; but in all respects agree with the description in Thomson's work.  I will send you a complete account of the opening tomorrow, as the official account will take some time to draw up. In the meantime, I hope you will remain as obstinate in your belief as St. Thomas, because then you
will come down to satisfy yourself. I know nobody entitled to earlier information, save ONE, to whom you can perhaps find the means of communicating the result of our researches. The post is just going off.
Ever yours truly,                                                                          WALTER SCOTT

The letter is taken from Herbert Grierson's "The Letters of Sir Walter Scott", available at Edinburgh University's Walter Scott Digital Archive.  Scott wrote to Croker again on February 7, with additinal details.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Silken Thomas

'The influence of these bards upon their patrons, and their admitted title to interfere in matters of the weightiest concern  may be also proved from the behavior of one of them at an interview between Thomas Fitzgerald, son of the Earl of Kildare, then about to renounce the English allegiance, and the Lord Chancellor Cromer, who made a long and goodly oration to dissuade him from his purpose. The young lord had come to the council “armed and wcaponed”,  and attended by seven score horsemen in their shirts of mail; and we are assured that the chancellor, having set forth his oration " with such a lamentable action as his cheekes were all beblubbered with tears, the horsemen, namelie  such as understood not English, began to divine what the lord-chancellor meant with all this long circumstance; some of them reporting that he was preaching a sermon, others said that he stood making of some heroical poetry in the praise of the Lord Thomas.   And thus as every idiot shot his foolish bolt at the wise chancellor his discourse.. who in effect had nought else but drop pretious stones before hogs, one Bard de Nelan, an Irish rithmour, and a rotten sheepe to infect a whole flocke, was chatting of Irish verses, as though his toong had run on pattens, in commendation of the Lord Thomas, investing him with the title of Silken Thomas, bicaus his horsemens jacks were gorgeously imbroidered with silkc: and in the end he told him that he lingered there ouer long; whereat the Lord Thomas being quickened," as Holinshed expresses it, bid defiance to the chancellor, threw down contemptuously the sword of office, which, in his father's absence, he held as deputy, and rushed forth to engage in open insurrection.'

Thomas Fitzgerald, or Silken Thomas, was executed by Henry VIII on February 3, 1537.  His crime was insurrection, including an attack on Dublin Castle.  The text above appears in a note to "The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Battle of Inverlochy

'It was about the middle of December that Argyle was residing at his castle of Inverary, in the most perfect confidence that the enemy could not approach him, since he used to say he would not for a hundred thousand crowns that any one knew the passes from the eastward into the shire of Argyle. While the powerful Marquis was enjoying his fancied security of his feudal dominions, he was astounded with the intelligence that Montrose, with an army of Highlanders, wading through drifts of snow, scaling precipices, and traversing the mountain paths, known to none save the solitary shepherd or huntsman, had forced an entry into his country, which he was laying waste with all the vindictive severity of deadly feud. There was neither time nor presence of mind for defence. The able-bodied men were slaughtered, the cattle driven off, the houses burnt; and the invaders had divided themselves into three bands, to make the devastation more complete. Alarmed by this fierce and unexpected invasion, Argyle embarked on board a fishing boat, and left his country to its fate. Montrose continued the work of revenge for nearly a month, and then concluding he had destroyed the influence which Argyle, by the extent of his power, and the supposed strength of his country, had possessed over the minds of the Highlanders, he withdrew towards Inverness, with the purpose of organizing a general gathering of the clans. But be had scarce made this movement, when he learned that his rival, Argyle, had returned into the Western Highlands with some Lowland forces; that he had called around him his numerous clan, burning to revenge the wrongs which they had sustained, and was lying with a strong force near the old Castle of Inverlochy, situated at the western extremity of the chain of lakes through which the Caledonian canal is now conducted.

The news at once altered Montrose's plans.
He returned upon Argyle by a succession of the most difficult mountain-passes covered with snow; and the vanguard of the Campbells saw themselves suddenly engaged with that of their implacable enemy. Both parties lay all night on their arms, but by break of day, Argyle betook himself to his galley, and, rowing off shore, remained a spectator of the combat, when, by all the rules of duty and gratitude, he ought to have been at the head of his devoted followers. His unfortunate clansmen supported the honour of the name with the greatest courage, and many of the most distinguished fell on the field of battle. Montrose gained a complete victory, which greatly extended his influence over the Highlands, and in proportion diminished that of his discomfited rival...'
The text above comes from Walter Scott's "Tales of a Grandfather" (volume 49).  The Battle of Inverlochy was a victory for Royalist James Graham over Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck.  The battle took place on February 2, 1645.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Selkirk Rescued

Per Rampant Scotland, Alexander Selkirk, the probable inspiration for Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" was rescued from the island of Juan Fernandez, off the coast of Chile on February 1, 1708.

In an 1836 publication of this work by John Ballantyne, which includes Walter Scott's brief bio of Defoe, there is a discussion of Selkirk in the appendix:

'Woodes Rogers, who relieved Selkirk from his solitude, was commodore of a commercial expedition round the world, which sailed February 1709, and returned to Britain 1711. A project for the re-settlement of the Bahama Islands having been submitted to Mr. Addison (then secretary of state) in 1717, the measure was determined on, and Rogers was appointed to head the expedition. He died governor of those islands in 1732. The following is the account he gives of his meeting, off the island of Juan Fernandez, with Alexander Selkirk:—

"On February 1st, 1709, we came before the island of Juan Fernandez, having had a good observation the day before, and found our latitude to be 5 degrees 10 minutes south. In the afternoon, we hoisted out our pinnace; and Captain Dover, with the boat's crew, went in her to go ashore, though we could not be less than four leagues off. As soon as the pinnace was gone, I went on board the Duchess, who admired our boat attempting going ashore at that distance from land. It was against my inclination: but to oblige Captain Dover, I let her go. As soon as it was dark, we saw a light ashore. Our boat was then about a league off the island, and bore away for the ships as soon as she saw the lights. We put our lights aboard for the boat, though some were of opinion, the lights we saw were our boat's lights; but, as night came on, it appeared too large for that. We fired our quarter-deck gun and several muskets, showing lights in our mizen and fore-shrouds, that our boat might find us whilst we were in the lee of the island: about two in the morning our boat came on board, having been two hours on board the Duchess, that took them up astern of us; we were glad they got well off, because it began to blow. We were all convinced the light was on the shore, and designed to make our ships ready to engage, believing them to be French ships at anchor, and we must either fight them, or want water. All this stir and apprehension arose, as we afterwards round, from one poor naked man, who passed in our imagination, at present, for a Spanish garrison, a body of Frenchmen, or a crew of pirates. While we were under these apprehensions, we stood on the back side of the island, in order to fall in with the southerly wind, till we were past the island; and then we came back to it again and ran close aboard the land that begins to make the north-east side.

" We still continued to reason upon this matter; and it is in a manner incredible, what strange notions many of our people entertained from the sight of the fire upon the island. It served, however to show people's tempers and spirits; and we were able to give a tolerable, guess how our men would behave, in case there really were any enemies upon the island. The flaws came heavy off the shore, and we were forced to reef our topsails when we opened the middle bay, where we expected to have found our enemy; but saw all clear, and no ships, nor in the other bay next the north-east end. These two bays are all that ships ride in, which recruit on this island; but the middle bay is by much the best. We guessed there had been ships there, but that they were gone on sight of us. We sent our yawl ashore about noon, with Captain Dover, Mr. Fry, and sis men, all armed : Meanwhile we and the Duchess kept turning to get in, and such heavyflaws came off the land, that we were forced to let go our topsail-sheet, keeping all hands to stand by our sails, for fear of the winds carrying them away: But when the flaws were gone, we had little or no wind. These flaws proceeded from the land, which is very high in the middle of the island. Our boat did not return; we sent our pinnace with the men armed, to see what was the occasion of the yawl's stay; for we were afraid that the Spaniards had a garrison there, and might have seized them. We put out a signal for our boat, and the Duchess showed a French ensign. Immediately our pinnace returned from the shore, and brought abundance of cray-fish, with a man clothed in goats' skins, who looked wilder than the first owners of them.

He had been on the island four years and four months, being left there by Captain Stradling in the Cinque Ports; his name was Alexander Selkirk, a Scotchman, who had been master of the Cinque Ports, a ship that came here last with Captain Dampier, who told me, that this was the best man in her. I immediately agreed with him to be a mate on board our ship : It was he that made the fire last night when he saw our ships, which he judged to be English. During his stay here he saw several ships pass by, but only two cane to anchor. As he went to view them, he found them to be Spaniards, and retired from them, upon which they shot at him : Had they been .French he would have submitted; but chose to risk his dying alone on the island, rathcr than fall into the hands of the Spaniards in these parts; because he apprehended they would murder him, or make a slave of him in the mines; for he feared they would spare no stranger, that might be capable of discovering the South Seas.

" The Spaniards had landed, before he knew what they were; and they came so near him, that he had much ado to escape; for they not only shot at him, but pursued him to the woods, where he climbed to the top of a tree, at the foot of which they made water, and killed several goats just by, but went off again without discovering him. Me told us that he was born in Scotland, and was bred a sailor from his youth. The reason of his being left here, was a difference between him and his captain; which, together with the ship's being leaky, made him willing rather to stay here than go along with him at first; but when he was at last willing to go, the captain would not receive him. He had been at the island before, to wood and wafer, when two of the ship's company were left upon it for six months, till the ship returned, being chased thence by two French South-Sea ships. he had with him his clothes and bedding, with firelock, some powder, bullets, and tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a Bible, some practical pieces, and his mathematical instruments and books. He diverted and provided for himself as well as he could; but for the first eight months, had much ado to bear up against melancholy, and the terror of being left alone in such a desolate place. He built two huts with pimento-trees, covered them with long grass, and lined them with the skins of goats, which he killed with his gun as he wanted, so long as his powder lasted, which was but a pound; and that being almost spent, he got fire by rubbing two sticks of pimento wood together upon his knee. In the lesser hut, at some distance from the other, he dressed his victuals; and in the larger, he slept, and employed himself in reading, singing psalms, and praying; so that he said, he was a better Christian, while in this solitude, than ever be was before, or than, he was afraid, he should ever be again.

" At first he never ate anything till hunger constrained him, partly for grief, and partly for want of bread and salt: Nor did he go to bed, till he could watch no longer; the pimento-wood, which burnt very clear, served him both for fire and candle, and refreshed him with its fragrant smell. He might have had fish enough, but would not eat them for want of salt, because they occasioned a looseness, except cray-fish, which are as large as our lobsters, and very good : These he sometimes boiled, and at other times broiled; as he did his goats' flesh, of which he made very good broth, for they are not so rank as ours. He kept an account of 500 that he killed while there, and caught as many more, which he marked on the ear, and let go. When his powder failed, he took them by speed of foot; for his way of living, continual exercise of walking and running, cleared him of all gross humours ; so that he ran with wonderful swiftness through the woods, and up the rocks and hills, as we perceived when we employed him to catch goats for us : We had a bull dog, which we sent with several of our nimblest runners, to help him in catching goats; but he distanced and tired both the dog and the men, caught the goats, and brought them to us on his hack.

" He told us, that his agility in pursuing a goat had once like to have cost him his life; he pursued it with so much eagerness, that he catched hold of it on the brink of a precipice, of which he was not aware, the bushes hiding it from him; so that he fell with the goat down toe precipice, a great height, and was so stunned and bruised with the fall, that he narrowly escaped with his life; and, when he came to his senses, found the goat dead under him : He lay there about twenty-four hours, and was scarce able to crawl to his hut, which was about a mile distant, or to stir abroad again in ten days.

" He came at last to relish his meat well enough without salt or bread; and, in the season, had plenty of good turnips, which had been sowed there by Captain Dampier's men, and have now overspread some acres of ground. He had enough of good cabbage from the cabbage-trees, and seasoned his meat with the fruit of the pimento-trees, which is the same as Jamaica pepper, and smells deliciously. He found also a black pepper, called Malageta, which was very good to dispel wind, and against griping in the guts.

" He soon wore out all his shoes and clothes by running in the woods; and, at last, being forced to shift without them, his feet became so hard, that he ran everywhere without difficulty; and it was some time before he could wear shoes after we found him; for not being used to any so long, his feet swelled, when he Came first to wear them again.

" After he had conquered his melancholy, he diverted himself sometimes with cutting his name on the trees, and the time of his being left, and continuance there. He was at first much pestered with cats and rats that bred in great numbers, from some of each species which had got ashore from ships that put in there to wood and water. The rats gnawed his feet and clothes whilst asleep, which obliged him to cherish the cats with his goats' flesh, by which many of them became so tame, that they would lie about him in hundreds, and soon delivered him from the rats. He likewise tamed some kids; and, to divert himself, would, now and then, sing and dance with them, and his cats : So that by the favour of Providence, and vigour of his youth, being now but thirty years old, he came, at last, to conquer all the inconveniences of his solitude, and to be very easy.

" When his clothes were worn out, he made himself a coat and a cap of goatskins, which he stitched together with little thongs of the same, that he cut with his knife. He had no other needle but a nail; and when his knife was worn to the back, he made others, as well as he could, of some iron hoops that were left ashore, which he beat thin, and ground upon stones. Having some linen-cloth by him, he sewed him some shirts with a nail, and stitched them with the worsted of his old stockings, which he pulled out on purpose. He had his last shirt on when we found him in the island.

" At his first coming on board us, he had so much forgot his language, for want of use, that we could scarce understand him; for he seemed to speak his words by halves. We offered him a dram; but he would not touch it, having drank nothing but water since his being there; and it was some time before he could relish our victuals. He could give us an account of no other product of the island than what we have mentioned, except some black plums, which are very good, but hard to come at; the trees which bear them growing on high mountains and rocks. Pimento-trees are plenty here; and we saw some of sixty feet high, end about two yards thick; and cotton-trees higher, and near four fathoms round in the stock. The climate is so good, that the trees and grass are verdant all the year round. The winter lasts no longer than June and July, and is not then severe, there being only a small frost, and a little bail; but sometimes great rains. The heat of the summer is equally moderate; and there is not much thunder, or tempestuous weather of any sort. He saw no venomous or savage creature on the island; nor any sort of beasts but goats, the first of which had been put ashore here, on purpose for a breed, by Juan Fernandez, a Spaniard, who settled there with some families, till the continent of Chili began to submit to the Spaniards; which being more profitable, tempted them to quit this island, capable, however, of maintaining a good number of people, and being made so strong, that they could not be easily dislodged from thence."

We are indebted for the following additional particulars, respecting the life and fate of this singular character, to the research of the late A. Gibson Hunter, Esq. of Balskelly, in Scotland; who, we believe, was in possession of his will, and some other curious relics. Through this gentleman we learn, that Selkirk was born at Largo in Fife, in the year t67G, where he possessed some trifling landed property. When young, he manifested a violent and turbulent disposition, which was not probably improved during his bucaneering trips, but received a sudden and permanent check by his solitary confinement on this desolate island. He went mate with Captain Stradling, in the Cinque Ports, on a trading voyage round the world, in 1704. In the course of which, a difference arising betwixt him and his captain, the causes of which must now remain for ever unexplained, Selkirk, with all the hardihood of a seaman's character, desired to be landed on the island of Fernandez. Here he remained in perfect solitude, existing as he has described himself, until discovered by Captain Rogers. Selkirk died on board a king's ship, the Weymouth, of which he was mate, in 1725; leaving his effects, by will, to sundry " loving female friends," with whom he had contracted intimacies in the course of his peregrinations. His chest, his gun, and his drinking cup, the last made of a cocoa-nut shell, are, or were till lately, the property of his descendants at Largo.'