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Scots Who Made A Difference
KEITH, SIR ARTHUR (1866-1955)
Arthur Keith from Aberdeen deserves to be remembered as an anatomist and physical anthropologist whose work on fossil man and early hominid forms contributed greatly to the understanding of our distant past. Rector of Aberdeen University, professor at the Royal College of Surgeons, London and professor of physiology at the Royal Institution, Keith produced many insightful writings including The Antiquity of Man (1915); Concerning Man's Origin (1927) and A New Theory of Human Evolution (1948). The fact that outstanding anthropologists such as the Leakeys have tended to play down the theories of Keith concerning man's aggressive, competitive and racist nature does not diminish his contributions to his chosen field.
KEITH, GEORGE, KEITH ELPHINSTONE, Viscount (1746-1823)
George Keith was born at Stirling one year before John Paul Jones (John Younger). He too became an admiral, but in the British navy, And he too, fought with distinction, earning several important victories both in Europe and in North America. Keith made his name by capturing Charleston, South Carolina in the spring of 1780. Later, during the French Revolutionary War, he helped capture Toulon from the French (1793); the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Town, South Africa from the Dutch (1795) and Ceylon also from the Dutch (1796). Keith took part in the British campaigns that drove Napoleon's French forces out of Egypt, after which he commanded the British naval forces that prevented his country from being invaded by Napoleon. It was Admirable Keith who supervised the deposed French Emperor's removal to his final exile on the island of St. Helena in 1815.
KEITH, JAMES (Frances Edward) (1696-1758)
Also called Marshall Keith, James was yet another of that breed of Scots soldier who fought with so much distinction outside his own country. A Jacobite forced to leave Scotland after the failures of the uprisings in the early part of the 18th century; Keith earned distinction in the armies of Frederick the Great of Prussia after service in the armies of Spain and Russia. He was created Field Marshall by Frederick, commanding Prussian forces at the siege of Prague in the Seven Years' War and successfully defending Leipzig against the Austrian army. Keith was killed at the Battle of Hochkirch in 1758. A monument was erected to his memory by William l of Prussia at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, where Keith had been born at Inverugie Castle.
KEILLER, JOHN MITCHELL (1851-1899)
John Keiller was born in Dundee to the Keiller family who owned the firm that made and distributed marmalade. The orange-based product had been first made by his great aunt Margaret, but demands had outstripped the confines of the family kitchen and led to the establishment of the Keiller factory in Dundee by John's father, James. John invested wisely and widely, using his income to greatly expand the firm; one of his first trade marks (registered after the 1876 legislation) was "Keiller's Dundee Orange Marmalade." The product is sold world-wide today and has a fine reputation for quality and taste. No self-respecting Scot would have anything else on his morning toast that accompanies his fried kipper.
KELVIN, WILLIAM THOMSON (1824-1907)
Lord Kelvin was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as William Thomson, but he is to be considered as a Scot. Raised in Glasgow from the age of eight, Thomson became professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Cambridge University. He was a prolific inventor and many of his inventions made him a wealthy man. Co-ordinating the discoveries of the past century, Thomson gave a complete account of thermodynamic theory. He is included here because of his discovery of the second law of thermodynamics that followed the first law formulated by English physicist J. P. Joule in 1840 concerning the transfer of heat.
Thomson also laid the foundations for the theory of electric oscillations that later was to lead to the discovery of radio waves by German physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1887. He also introduced the absolute (Kelvin) temperature scale. His accomplishments led to his being created Lord Kelvin, 1st Baron of Largs.
KENNETH I, MACALPIN (d. 858)
Kenneth MacAlpin earns his place in Scottish history as the first king of the united Scots of Dalriada and the Picts, making him virtual king of Scotland north of a line between the Forth and the Clyde. By the year 843, he had created a semblance of unity among the warring societies of the Picts, Scots, Britons and Anglos after he had defeated the Picts in battle. MacAlpin created his capital at Forteviot, in Pictish territory; he then moved his religious center to Dunkeld, on the River Tay, in present-day Perthshire, to where he transferred the remains of St. Columba from Iona.
At roughly the same time that the people of Wales were separated from the invading Saxons by the artificial boundary of Offa's Dyke, MacAlpin was creating a kingdom of Scotland. MacAlpin's successes in part were due to the threat coming from the raids of the Vikings, many of whom became settlers. The seizure of control over all Norway in 872 by Harald Fairhair caused many of the previously independent Jarls to look for new lands to establish themselves.
One result of the coming of the Norsemen and Danes with their command of the sea, was that the kingdom of Scotland became surrounded and isolated; the old link with Ireland was broken; the country was now cut off from southern England and the Continent; thus the kingdom of Alba established by MacAlpin was thrown in upon itself and united against a common foe. According to the Huntingdon Chronicle, he "was the first of the Scots to obtain the monarchy of the whole of Albania, which is now called Scotia."
KENNETH II (d. 995)
As king of the united Picts and Scots, Kenneth II earns his place because his submission to the Anglo-Saxon King Edgar gave him command of Lothian, which included all the land between the Tweed and the Forth. This grant not only moved the Scottish border southward, but it was the first time that the Tweed was recognized as the Scottish-English border.
KENTIGERN, SAINT (d. 612)
Of the life of Kentigern, also known as Mungo, very little is known except from legends. The two names of the early Christian missionary and traditionally the first Bishop of Glasgow translate from the Celtic as High Lord and Dear Friend, respectively. Kentigern's missionary activities took place mainly in Cumbria, the Welsh-speaking kingdom of southwest Scotland, where he founded the See of Glasgow. He also traveled to Wales, met David (later that country's patron saint) and founded a monastery at Llanelwy, now called St. Asaph, after the bishop appointed by Kentigern to succeed him. The heraldic arms of Glasgow display a ring and a fish, commemorating an early miracle of the Scottish saint.
KIDD, WILLIAM (1645-1701)
Captain Kidd was hanged in 1701, but his legends live on untarnished by time. Born in Greenock, Renfrew, he became the most famous pirate of all (though some would give the dubious honor to contemporary Welsh pirate and deputy Governor of Jamaica, Captain Morgan). Model for countless tales of swashbuckling heroes (and villains) and the search for treasure, Kidd fully earned his special place among the colorful romantic outlaws of English history and literature. Turning from "legitimate" pursuits in charge of privateers in the service of the British Crown, mainly against the French fleets in the West Indies and the North American coast, Kidd decided to turn to piracy.
After a most unsuccessful start, including a bout with a mutinous crew, Kidd captured the valuable ship Quedagh Merchant in 1698 swapping it for his own older unreliable vessel. Stripping his prize in Hispaniola, he then sailed to New York City on his newly purchased Antonio. There, Governor Bellomont sent him to England to be tried for the murder of his former gunner on the Adventure Galley, a ship that had been partly financed by Bellomont. In London, Kidd was found guilty of Moore's death and five acts of piracy. Some of his looted treasure was later discovered off Long Island, New York.<
KIDSTON, ROBERT (1852-1924)
Renfrew-born and Edinburgh-trained Robert Kidston, paleobotanist, contributed greatly to our knowledge of Devonian plants, many of which he discovered and described. An outstanding and respected scholar, he cataloged Paleozoic plants for many world-class institutions, including the British Museum. Kidston described much of his work in his The Fossil Plants of the Carboniferous Rocks of Great Britain (in six parts: 1923-25) completed after his death.
KNOX, JOHN (1514-72)
John Knox, was the foremost leader of the Scottish Reformation and therefore a leading Scot whose influence has lasted to this day. Knox studied for the Catholic priesthood (he was later to call the Catholic Church "the synagogue of Satan"), yet it was his influence, above that of all others, that set the austere moral tone of the Church of Scotland. In addition and perhaps in the long run of more importance, is his shaping of the democratic form of government of the church, a form later mirrored in the government of the state itself.
It is not too much of a surprise to find that the Reformation took hold of Scotland so readily while, at the same time, it failed to influence Ireland. It was the Scottish Lowlands where most of the wealth and power of Scotland was concentrated; it was here that commerce thrived and it was here that English influence was most felt. It was indeed a fertile ground for the spread of Protestantism.
Much has been written about the corruption of the Scottish Church, the wealth amassed by a few leading Bishops and the ignorance of most of the clergy. Suffice to say, that when the newly translated Scriptures were appearing in England, they were eagerly welcomed over the northern border. English influence and settlement had been so pervasive in the Lowlands that, unlike the situation in Wales, an English language Bible had an immediate impact in Scotland, fostering a spontaneous movement of popular dissent that can be called revolutionary.
As in many parts of Europe, the answer of the established Church to the spread of new ideas was to execute those who brought them. Patrick Hamilton thus became an early Scottish martyr when he was slowly roasted to death on the orders of the Bishop of St. Andrews in 1528. The fires that burned under Hamilton, however, spread throughout much of the country. It was up to Cardinal Bishop David Beaton, who had ordered them, to try to extinguish them. This proved to be a futile attempt in the face of a whirlwind: Father John Knox had arrived on the scene.
The young priest Knox, who had been born in East Lothian and educated at St. Andrew's arrived back in Scotland in 1544 with Protestant leader George Wishart, who had sought refuge on the continent to escape the eager clutches of Bishop Beaton. In addition to his Bible, Knox managed to carry a huge, two-handed sword. He came to conquer with the Word, however, not the sword. He had been well taught by the teachings of Thomas Gwilliam, the former prior of the Black Friar's Monastery at Inverness. The eager pupil's zeal in winning converts gave rise to a period known as The Rough Wooing.
Henry VIII of England (still called himself "the defender of the faith" despite the many reforms being carried out by his lieutenant Thomas Cromwell) had offered a large reward for the murder of Cardinal Beaton. On a charge of participation in Henry's plot, and for collaboration with the English, the prelate had Wishart burned at the stake in 1546. Two months later came revenge; the last words spoken by the Cardinal were "Fie, Fie, All is gone" as he was stabbed to death and his body thrown from a window of his castle at St. Andrews by a group of Protestant leaders.
For his part in the assassination of the Bishop, the young John Knox, captured with the other conspirators with the aid of a French fleet ordered by Marie de Guise, was ordered to slave in the ships' galleys, no doubt to await further dispensation. He was released two years later with enthusiasm undimmed. Often traveling incognito, in times of danger he used the name John Sinclair (after his mother's maiden name).
Henry VIII of England died in 1547. His son Edward VI was destined to die early. Strange as it seems in retrospect, it looked as if the Protestant movement in Scotland would not succeed, especially since the Council of Trent had begun the Church's long-awaited, sorely needed and far-reaching reforms. More important than that, however, was the assumption of the Regency in Scotland by non other than the Catholic Marie de Guise and the inauguration of a reform-minded Bishop to succeed the murdered Beaton.
In Scotland, as in many countries in northern Europe, efforts to turn back the clock and restore the old religion were all too late. Single-minded, hard-nosed individuals determined to end the corruption of the Church had been inspired by "the Word" and John Knox was, perhaps, the most inspired of all. King Edward 's government sent him back to Scotland to preach. When the extreme Protestant Duke of Northumberland assumed virtual rule of England, Knox was free to spread his message. Thousands flocked to his call and eagerly accepted his teachings.
Upon the accession of the Roman Catholic Mary Tudor to the throne in 1553, Knox once again had to flee the country. He spent some time in Geneva, sopping up with unbridled enthusiasm the teachings of John Calvin and arguing that the fate of the Reformation in England should not depend upon the whims of one woman, let alone a Catholic ruler. He formulated the policy that magistrates and the nobility have the right and the duty to resist by force such rulers who threaten the safety of "true religion." He returned to Scotland to continue his work in 1559, being warmly received in a country that had rapidly accepted his teachings. He then returned to his beloved Geneva, but leaving behind his polemics against the three women who were in control of government in England, France and Scotland.
Before Knox's return to Geneva, the Protestant lords had signed their famous Covenant to foster and defend the faith and its ministers. After Spain and France ceased hostilities in 1559, Mary de Guise, the regent in Scotland saw her chance to invite French intervention to prevent the spread of the Protestant faith in Scotland. She summoned the Protestant leaders to Stirling, Knox returned home and the crisis began.
Mary de Guise wished to depose Elizabeth I of England and unite the three kingdoms under Francis II, of France and Mary Tudor. It was therefore necessary for the English Crown, despite its earlier reservations, to come to an agreement with the Scottish Protestant lords. Secretary Cecil needed no convincing, but it was Knox's leadership that saved the day in Scotland, where French armies were doing their best to exterminate Protestant strongholds. Elizabeth finally sent an army north. The Queen regent died and the French lost heart to continue the struggle in a most unwelcome climate. Under Knox's direction, with Queen Mary absent in France, the Scottish lords (in the Parliament or Estates) adopted the Scots Confession as the faith of the country; papal jurisdiction was abolished and the mass prohibited.
Knox's Liturgy, laid out in The Book of Common Prayer became the rule of the day. Rules for government of the church were specified and in The Book of Discipline an elaborate educational scheme was outlined, from elementary to university level. Then Queen Mary arrived back in Scotland in 1561 a sworn enemy of John Knox and all he stood for. The Privy Council, however, refused to convict him on her charge of treason. She then dismissed her Protestant advisors but in 1567 her abdication and the murder of the Earl of Moray led to the bitter struggle between the various factions. Even after suffering a debilitating stroke, John Knox managed to deliver a powerful sermon at St. Giles Church in Edinburgh that warned his people of the dangers of a return to Catholicism. It struck home. The Massacre of French Protestants on St. Bartholomew's Day had imprinted its severe warning on northern Europe.
Though he had earlier studied for the Catholic priesthood, the dynamic Knox as the foremost leader of the Scottish Reformation set the austere moral tone of the Church of Scotland. It was he who inserted into The Book of Common Prayer the denial of the doctrine of trans-substantiation. To his credit, seeing the dangers inherent in sectarianism, he insisted that the Puritan movement, which he did much to foster, stay within the English Church.
More important, however, was Knox's shaping of the democratic form of government that the church adopted, for it was a form later mirrored in the government of the state itself. Knox, thoroughly anglicized in speech and outlook, did much to extend English political and cultural influence in a land where the Gaelic religion and way of life were increasingly being pushed aside. As far as the Reformation is concerned, Knox's greatest work came as a pamphleteer. As G. Donaldson points out (in Daiches), almost one third of his History of the Reformation in Scotland consists of documents and his pre-eminence may be due more to his autobiography, History of His Own Times, than to his actual work in the field.
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