Jedburgh Scottish Borders
DAVID BREWSTER K.R.
David Brewster was born in Jedburgh in 1781 and died in Edinburgh in 1868. David Brewster was one of the most important inventors of our time inventing the kaleidoscope, lenticular stereoscope, binocular camera, polyzonal lens, lighthouse illuminator, polarimeter. He also was instrumental in the development of fibre optics and lasers. His statue can be found in the King’s Buildings, one of the University of Edinburgh campus.
Mary Queen of Scots last letter.
It explains to the King of France, brother of her beloved first husband, that her Catholicism would not allow her to accept the stay of execution offered by Elizabeth if she agreed to renounce her faith.
Translation of Mary’s last letter from French
Queen of Scotland
8 Feb 1587
Royal brother, having by God’s will, for my sins I think, thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, at whose hands I have suffered much for almost twenty years. I have finally been condemned to death by her and her Estates, I have asked for papers, which they have taken away, in order that I might make my will, bit I have been unable to recover anything of use to me, or even get leave either to make my will freely or to have my body conveyed after my death, as I would wish, to your kingdom where I had the honour to be queen, your sister and former ally.
Tonight, after dining, I was advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning. I have not had time to give you a full account of everything that has happened, but if you will listen to my doctor and my other unfortunate servants, you will learn the truth, and how, thanks to God, I scorn death and vow that I meet it innocent of any crime, even if I were their subject. The Catholic faith and the assertion of my God given right to the English crown are the two issues on which I am condemned and yet I am not allowed to say that it is for my Catholic religion that I die, but for fear of interference with theirs. The proof of this is that they have taken away my chaplain and, although he is in the castle, I have not been able to get permission for him to come and hear my confession and give me the Last Sacrament, while they have been most insistent that I receive the consolation and instruction of their minister, brought here for that purpose. The bearer of this letter and his companions, most of them your subjects, will testify to my conduct at my hour. It remains for me to beg Your Most Christian Majesty, my brother-in-law and former ally, who has always protested your love for me, to give proof now of your goodness on all these points: firstly by charity, in paying my unfortunate servants the wages due them – this is a burden on my conscience that only you can relieve: further, by having prayer offered to God for a queen that has borne the title Most Christian, and who dies a Catholic, stripped of all her possessions. As for my son, I commend him to you in so far as he deserves, for I cannot answer for him. I have taken the liberty of sending you two precious stones, talismans against illness, trusting that you will enjoy good health and a long and happy life. Accept them from your loving sister-in-law, who, as she dies, bears witness of her warm feeling for you. Again I commend my servants to you. Give instructions, if it please you, that for my soul’s sake part of what you owe me shall be paid, and that for the sake of Jesus Christ, to whom I shall pray for you tomorrow as I die. I be left enough to found a memorial mass and give the customary alms.
Your most loving and most true sister,
To the Most Christian King and brother and former ally.
Jedburgh Mercat Cross
Jedburgh Cast and Jail
Mary Queen of Scots House Museum