FYI March 11, 2018


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On This Day

1708 – Queen Anne withholds Royal Assent from the Scottish Militia Bill, the last time a British monarch vetoes legislation.
The Scottish Militia Bill (known formerly as the Scotch Militia Bill) is the usual name given to a bill that was passed by the House of Commons and House of Lords of the Parliament of Great Britain in early 1708. However, on 11 March 1708,[1] Queen Anne withheld royal assent on the advice of her ministers for fear that the proposed militia created would be disloyal.[2]

The Bill’s long title was An Act for settling the Militia of that Part of Great Britain called Scotland. Its object was to arm the Scottish militia, which had not been recreated at the Restoration. This happened as the unification between Scotland and England under the Acts of Union 1707 had been passed.

On the day the Bill was meant to be signed, news came that the French were sailing toward Scotland, and there was suspicion that the Scottish might be disloyal. Therefore, support for a veto was strong.


The Scottish Militia Bill is the last bill to have been refused royal assent. Before this, King William III had vetoed Bills passed by Parliament six times. Royal assent to Bills and governments generally came to be viewed as a mere formality once both Houses of Parliament had successfully read a Bill three times, or a general election had taken place.

In the British colonies, the denial of Royal assent had continued past 1708, and was one of the primary complaints of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776: that the King “has refused his Assent to Laws, most wholesome and necessary for the public Good” and “He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance”.


Born On This Day

1854 – Jane Meade Welch, American journalist and lecturer (d. 1931)
Jane Meade Welch (March 11, 1854 – 1931) was a 19th-century American journalist and lecturer from New York. She was the first woman in Buffalo to become a professional journalist, the first American woman to lecture at Cambridge University, and the first American woman whose work was accepted by the British Association. Welch was a pioneer among American women in developing an extensive group of American history lecture courses.

Early years and education

Jane Meade Welch, daughter of Thomas Cary Welch and Maria Allen Meade Welch, was born in Buffalo, New York on March 11, 1854. Of New England ancestry, she was descended from John Alden, Priscilla Alden, and Samuel Seabury.[1]

Welch graduated from Buffalo Female Academy (now, Buffalo Seminary) at the age of 16.[1] At Elmira College,[2] she was the best historian of her class, often rising at four o’clock in the morning to study David Hume and Thomas Babington Macaulay.[3] Her studies were interrupted in her sophomore year by an almost fatal illness.[4]


Welch was an invalid for two years before she regained her health and became a practical journalist,[4] beginning as a music critic.[5] For a year, she served as a general writer on the Buffalo Express. She next joined the staff of the Buffalo Courier (now Buffalo Courier), writing anonymously.[5] During the 10 years she served at the Courier, Welch worked in a variety of areas, from writing advertisements to pieces on a political leader. She served as society editor and occasional contributor of editorial articles, as well as preparing and conducting a woman’s work column.[4] Welch was the first woman in Buffalo to make a career of journalism.[6][4]

While working as a journalist, Welch instituted history classes at her home in Buffalo inviting her female friends. The success of these classes induced Welch to devote herself full time to history.[3] She became a regular lecturer on American history at the Buffalo Seminary, St. Margaret’s school, Buffalo; Mrs. Sylvanus Reed‘s school, New York; The Misses Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, New York; and Ogontz school, Pennsylvania (now Penn State Abington), Cornell University, and the Chautauqua Assembly. In February, 1891, she gave a series of six lectures in the Berkeley Lyceum Theater in New York City,[6] on the advice of her friend and former townswoman, Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston. With every lecture, Welch’s audience grew in numbers; some of the attendees included Preston, Mrs. William Collins Whitney, Anne Wroe Scollay Curtis, Mrs. Edwin Lawrence Godkin, Rev. Dr. Morgan Dix, President Seth Low of Columbia University, Dorman Bridgman Eaton, and the Rev. Dr. Charles Deems.[4]

Welch was the first American woman to lecture at Cambridge University, and whose work was accepted by the British Association.[2] She was a pioneer among American women in talking about American history in the form of extended lecture courses. Her writings on this topic were voluminous and valuable.[3]

Personal life
Welch traveled extensively in the US, as well as in Great Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.[2] She lived at 514 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo for 30 years.[1] Welch died in 1931 and was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery.[5]



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