New College Library record of Jacobite Edinburgh

On 15 September 1745 a Jacobite army was at the gates of Edinburgh. Charles Edward Stuart had arrived to attempt to regain the Scottish throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The gates of the city were opened on the 17th and the Jacobites entered. On 18 September King James VIII was proclaimed with Charles as his Regent.

A true account of the behaviour and conduct of Archibald Stewart, Esq., late Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1748) New College Library W.a.11/1

This pamphlet, A true account of the behaviour and conduct of Archibald Stewart, Esq., late Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1748), looks back on this moment in time. Although anonymous, it is known to have been written by David Hume, the Scottish philosopher. Stewart was Provost at the time of the Jacobite Rebellion and refused to arm the city against the Jacobite highland army. For this decision he was tried at the High Court for neglect of duty and misbehaviour in 1747 and acquitted. Hume’s pamphlet was written in his defence.

This item is part of New College Library’s Pamphlet Collection and has been catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects – see the University of Edinburgh Library online catalogue.

New College Library welcomes the Yale-Edinburgh Conference

The Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh is hosting the Yale-Edinburgh Group Conference on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity this week, with the theme of  Religious Movements of Renewal, Revival, and Revitalization in the History of Missions and World Christianity.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
The distinguishing marks of a work of the spirit of God : applied to that uncommon operation that has lately appear’d on the minds of many of the people in New-England ; with a particular consideration of the extraordinary circumstances with which this work is attended. Edinburgh : 1742
New College Library B.b.c.17/1

We have set out a small display of pamphlets from New College Library’s Special Collections on the theme of revival in the display case in the Funk Reading Room. The display includes this pamphlet on the  revival & awakening of the Holy Spirit in New England, United States.  The author, Jonathan Edwards, was a prominent American preacher and theologian, who was closely involved in the spiritual revival of the 1730s, the Great Awakening. His pamphlet deals with the revival’s controversial  phenomena : the swoonings, outcries and convulsions of believers overwhelmed by their powerful spiritual experiences.

This pamphlet was catalogued recently as part of the Pamphlets Cataloguing Project, funded by the Funk Donation. A similar item is also held by Yale University. University of Edinburgh users can read it online via Eighteenth-Century Collections Online.

Treasures of New College Library : the Pamphlets Collection

 “… but that religious pamphlets, especially if they had a shade of allegory in them,  were the very rage of the day.”[1]

In the days before radio, television and instant news pamphlets allowed theological debate and comment to be carried on in cheap, portable and accessible print. New College Library has an exceptional Pamphlets Collection with over 30,000 items. Spanning the development of the Scottish Church from the time of the Reformation to the present century, the sermons, theological debates and reports of Church government and discipline which are contained in this collection are a reflection of the parallel development of Scottish history, and of the establishment and disestablishment of a national Scottish Church.

The Church of Scotland’s lament. Pamphlets Collection, New College Library B.c.4.28/9

  “The Church of Scotland’s lament over the Pride of Her Ministers, with their Top Wiggs, and Long Gravates …” is just one example of the Pamphlets in this collection. Dating from the 1700s, it is a humorous poke at a well to do Church of Scotland minister, with the writer contrasting the minister’s comfortable existence with the struggles of the Covenanters in times past.

As I write the 2012 General Assembly is in full swing, and many Church of Scotland ministers are coming and going – but I haven’t spotted any wigs or ‘Gravates’  (cravats, I think). Nevertheless comment, discussion and criticism of the Church’s activities will be just as much in the news as when this pamphlet was written.

This pamphlet  is newly catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library, which has enabled the cataloguing of over 12,000 pamphlets. 

[1] Hogg, James The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner (London: A.M. Philpot Ltd., 1824)