Skip to main content

Full text of "Old Edinburgh : a historical sketch of the ancient metropolis of Scotland"

See other formats




A \^ . '-.^'-'■-x*.-; .f^. w.i.' 





/^ ' ^e /• 




^^''%-N.*V.5,V' V 





or THE 



Imtituted 1799. 

























MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS . . .... 121 




THE king's and QUEEN'S MEN 147 




THE RESTORATION .... . . 169 






The romantic capital of Scotland owes not a 
little of the peculiar cliaracter which renders it 
so remarkable among the cities of Europe to 
the singularity of its site. The central county 
of the Lothians, in which it is situated, forms 
towards the south-east an extensive and wild 
hilly district, rising at some points to upwards 
of two thousand feet above the level of the sea. 
The Muirfoot, the Soutra, and the Lammer- 
muir hills, all range, with varying elevations, 
around the same pastoral district ; while be- 
yond these, and within a few miles of the Frith 
of Forth, are thePentland Hills, with their out- 
lying heights nearly reaching to the sea. On 
the lower group of these, at the base of Arthur's 
Seat, the ancient Caledonians fixed the singular 
site of the Scottish capital. 

The history of all great cities is in some 
degree linked with that of the district in which 
they are situated, and few capitals of northern 


Europe can compete with Edinburgh, either in 
the imposing grandeur of its aspect, or in the 
romantic associations which cling to it. Tlie 
veracious chroniclers of the middle ages as- 
signed to it an origin nearly coeval with 
Jerusalem, and on more trustworthy evidence 
it is ascertained to have been occupied while 
the Koman legions retained precarious hold of 
the country north of the Tyne. The true era, 
however, in which its authentic history begins, 
is that of Malcolm Canmore, and his amiable 
queen Margaret, sister of the Anglo-Saxon 
prince, Edgar Atheling, who brought with her 
to Scotland the more advanced civilization of 

The victory at Hastings, which brought the 
Anglo-Saxon kingdom in England to a close, 
exercised a remarkable, though indirect in- 
fluence on Scotland in various ways, and iu 
none more so than by the changes effected 
by means of the Saxon princess whom Mal- 
colm Canmore promoted to share his throne. 
Christianity had then been introduced into 
Scotland by St. Ninian, St. Columba, and 
other primitive missionaries, for upwards of six 
centuries. We have little reason to believe 
that it had not partaken of the decline and 
corruption which so speedily marred the beauty 
of the spiritual edihce established by its 
Divine Founder. There were, however, among 
the Scots and Picts of the north, few of the 
worldly attractions by which it was so 
speedily debased at Korne ; and its errors appear 


rather to have arisen from the extravagances of 
asceticism than from the corruptions of wealth 
aid dissohiteness. Much has been -written on 
tlie early history of the Scottish Culdees, or 
servants of God, as their Celtic name implies ; 
and there is not wanting evidence indicative of 
great simplicity and earnest zeal, as well as the 
cultivation of learning and piety, among these 
primitive fraternities. At the period of the 
Anglo-Saxon princess's marriage, there appears 
to have been little intercourse Avith Rome, and 
scarcely any attempt to conform to its usages. 
The existing fraternities, or fiimilies as they 
were termed, were associations of a much more 
voluntary character that the monastic institu- 
tions of a later age, and many of the practices 
of the Romish church, including even the 
celibacy of the clergy, appear to have been 
either set aside or never adopted in Scotland. 

The reform of all this, according to the 
standards of the Romish church, if to such a 
change the word reform can be applied, was 
the work of the princess Margaret, the queen 
of Malcolm Canmore. There can be no doubt, 
however, that she found much requiring re- 
formation among a barbarous people, fresh from 
recent struggles with the Norse invaders, and 
the distraction of civil war. The king, her 
husband, appears also to have been one of 
those stern and bloody warriors whom a 
life of struggle moulds out of a fierce and in- 
domitable spirit. His aiFection for his queen, 
however, seems to have been both sincere 


and lasting. Her gentle disposition, tinctured 
though it was by the asceticism of the period^ 
softened his impetuous fierceness, and made h:s 
"ivild nature bend subservient to her designs. 
In these she "was no doubt mainly guided 
by Turgot, her confessor and biographer, 
■whose great aim appears to have been zo 
assimilate the church of Scotland to that of 
Rome. Provincial councils were accordingly 
summoned, at Avhich Malcolm acted as the 
interpreter between the Celtic clergy and their 
Saxon queen. 

The favourite palace of Malcolm and his 
queen ^was at Dunfermline, on the north side of 
the Frith of Forth, but the stronghold of Edin- 
burgh Castle was a more suitable residence 
amidst the troubles of a warlike age, and there 
accordingly the queen appears to have most 
frequently abode, and to have fixed her court 
during the absence of her husband on his 
martial expeditions. We accordingly find 
abundant evidence of the extensive additions 
which she made to the castle in the descriptions 
furnished of it even so late as the sixteenth 
century, where such names occur as St. Mar- 
garet's Gate, St. Margaret's Well, her tower, her 
chamber, etc. ; all of which appear to have 
remained until the siege of the castle in 1572, 
when it was held out by the gallant sir William 
Kirkaldy, of Grange, on belialf of queen Mary, 
until the cannon of sir William Durie had 
nearly battered it to a shapeless heap of ruins. 
One highly characteristic relic of " the good 


queen," as she was long termed, has however 
escaped the waste of time and war, and still at- 
tracts the interest of curious visitors by its asso- 
ciation with its royal foundress. This is the little 
oratory, a plain but handsome Norman chapel, 
built by Margaret on the very summit of the 
rock, where for eight hundred years it has 
withstood the ravages of time, while all else 
around it has been transformed by the tastes 
and necessities of later ages. This interest- 
ing little chapel, after being long devoted 
to the base and dangerous uses of a powder 
magazine, was re-discovered only a few years 
since, and has been restored with considerable 
taste, for the purpose of forming a baptistry 
to the Episcopal chaplain of the garrison. Few 
architectural relics of old Edinburgh are likely 
to have stronger attractions for the curious 
tourist, Avho may love to explore such storied 
memorials of the past. 

The queen, according to her earliest bio- 
graphers, was regarded as a model of piety 
during her life, and the Romish church con- 
firmed this popular canonization by a bull of 
pope Innocent iv., which permitted her to rank 
among the saints of the kalendar. The 
Breviary commends her virtues in the lessons 
appointed for her festival, and the old metrical 
chroniclers have recorded sundry quaint and 
extravagant legends in confirmation of the 
same. Archdeacon Barbour, for example, the 
metrical historian of " the Bruce," after nar- 
rating the surprise of Edinburgh Castle by 
A 2 


William Francis, one of the followers of earl 
Kandolph, about the year 1312, adds, "that 
the event was revealed in prophecy to St. 
Margaret, * the good holy queen,' who caused 
it to be painted upon the walls of her chapel ; 
and there," adds the poet, who wrote about the 
year 1 380, or nearly three hundred years after 
the death of the queen, " it remains." Even 
now, after the old chapel has been devoted for 
centuries to the use of a powder magazine, the 
chapel still shows some faint traces of colour, 
so that it is not impossible but further investi- 
gation may disclose less dubious indications of 
the painting to which the venerable father of 
Scottish poetry ascribed such prophetic import. 
A beautiful little Gothic well, in the vicinity 
of Holyrood Abbey, built apparently about 
the beginning of the fourteenth century, and 
dedicated to St. Margaret, still yields a limpid 
stream, to which superstition ascribed mira- 
culous virtues for healing the sight ; while a 
quaint legend connects the name of queen Mar- 
garet with " the Balm Well of St. Katherine," 
which stands on the southern outskirts of the 
town. According to this tradition, during 
Margaret's residence in the Castle of Edinburgh, 
she commissioned her friend St. Katherine to 
make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to bring her 
some oil from Mount Sinai. The saint executed 
her commission, and after long and sore travel, 
and escaping many perils on the way, she arrived 
on the height from which the southern traveller 
catches the first sight of Edinburgh, bearing 


with her a vessel filled with the precious oil. 
The saint, it would seem, was so entranced 
with delight on once more catching a view of 
the city, with the lofty fortress in which the 
"good queen" dwelt, that she forgot all else, 
and letting fall the vessel, the sacred oil was 
all spilled on the ground. The pilgrim saint 
stood affrighted at the irreparable loss, for 
which such toil and dangers had been encoun- 
tered in vain ; when, lo ! there sprang up on 
the spot a medicinal well of miraculous efficacy, 
on whose waters still floats the inexhaustible 
fount of holy oil — an unfailing cure for all 
cutaneous diseases. Such is the legend of the 
origin of the Balm Well of St. Katherine, where 
the sceptical may still have pointed out to them 
what was once regarded as the veritable oil 
brought from Mount Sinai. 

The reformers of the sixteenth century 
demolished a beautiful little chapel erected 
beside it, in honour of St. Katherine, by one 
of the queen's royal descendants, and threw 
down the richly sculptured well, as a monu- 
ment of superstition and idolatry. James vi., 
after his accession to the throne of England, 
restored the old well, but only to last for a 
brief period, the reformers of the Common- 
wealth having again demolished its carved 
mason work. The well, however, still remains, 
nor has the popular faith in the healing virtues 
of its waters entirely disappeared even in our 
own day. Unfortunately, however, for the 
reign of superstition, modern science is a more 


effectual reformer of ignorance than even 
iconoclastic zeal, and the miraculous balm 
which seemed to the credulous to iioat on the 
water as if to shame the unbeliever, is now 
recognised as j»7efro^ei«H, a bituminous sub- 
stance derived from the coal strata, and com- 
mon in similar localities both in Europe and 

The era of Malcolm Canmore, the supplanter 
of the usurper Macbeth, was a period of dis- 
order and strife, for which the whole tastes and 
habits of the Scottish monarch peculiarly 
suited him, and his gentle queen w^as accord- 
ingly very frequently left to her own resources 
in the palace of Edinburgh Castle. A character- 
istic incident is related of him, ontlie authority 
of his son, David i. Malcolm, having received 
intelligence that one of his nobles had formed a 
design against his life, sought an opportunity of 
meeting him in a solitary place while they were 
hunting. " Now," said he, drawing his sword, 
" we are alone and armed alike ; you seek my 
life, take it!" The penitent traitor threw him- 
self at the king's feet, imploring forgiveness, and 
obtained it. 

Margaret bore to Malcolm six sons, three of 
whom successively occupied his throne ; and 
two daughters, of whom INIatilda became the 
wife of Henry i. of England, and Mary, of 
.Eustace, count of Boulogne. The care of her 
i'amily, doubtless, beguiled many an hour in 
the old Castle of Edinburgh, and the austerities 
of her mistaken vigils, fasts, and long prayers. 


Upon wliich her biographer never wearies to 
enlarge, filled up much of the remainder of her 
time — so that the ancient Norman chapel still 
standing in the Castle of Edinburgh, with its 
sculptured chancel arch, forms a singularly 
appropriate memorial of the Saxon princess. 

In 1003, William Kufus, the son of the 
Norman conqueror, having made war on Scot- 
land, and surprised the Castle of Alnwick, Mal- 
oolm forthv.ith mustered an army and marched 
to its recovery, accompanied by his eldest son, 
Edward, leaving his queen and children in 
Edinburgh Castle. But Margaret, to whom he 
had hitherto intrusted the government in his 
absence, was now a prey to deadly sickness, 
and Malcolm's brother, Donald Bane, took 
advantage of the opportunity to lay siege to the 
castle, in the hope of gaining possession of the 
children and securing the succession to himself, 
in accordance with the ideas of Celtic rights, 
l)y which the succession passed to the next 
brother. Meanwhile, Malcolm pressed the 
siege of Alnwick Avith such vigour that the 
Norman garrison were hourly expected to sur- 
render, when both he and his son were slain, 
the former, it is said, by treachery. 

The queen, already wasted by long and 
severe sickness, and distracted by many anx- 
ieties, died of grief on learning the death of 
borh her husband and son. Donald Bane now 
plied the siege of Edinburgh with renewed 
vigour, in the hope of obtaining possession of 
Edofar. the vouthful heir to the throne. But 


while the usurper, relying on the general 
steepness of the rock on which the castle stands, 
■was intent only to guard the usual access, the 
body of the queen was conveyed through a small 
postern in the western wall, and down the 
steep declivity, to Dunfermline Abbey ; while 
the royal children were at the same time carried 
off, and committed to the protection of their 
uncle, Edgar Atheling. 

The bodies of the king and liis eldest son 
were also ultimately interred beside the queen 
at Dunfermline, and various superstitious 
monkish legends attest the sanctity of the 
royal remains. According to one chronicler, 
tlie corpse of queen Margaret escaped the 
guards of Donald Bane by means of a mira- 
culous mist, which rose from the earth as the 
bearers lifted it to proceed on their journey, 
and continued to envelop them till they reached 
Queensferrj' on the Forth, nine miles distant. 

Another miraculous attestation to the sanc- 
tity of the queen, minutely narrated by Wyn- 
ton and other monkish historians, may, perhaps, 
notwithstanding the palpable extravagances of 
its character, be accepted as a tradition of the 
strong attachment borne by her to her husband. 
On the canonization of the queen, her body 
was removed from the original grave to be 
deposited in a costly shrine before the high 
altar. While the monks were thus employed, 
they approached the tomb of her husband 
Malcolm with their precious burden. The 
body, however, so runs the legend, became on 


a sudden so heavy that they were obliged to 
set it down. Still, as more of the fraternity 
were called in to aid in lifting, it, the body 
became heavier. The spectators stood amazed, 
and imputed the phenomenon to the monks' 
unworthiness, when it was suggested that the 
queen desired to retain her husband's com- 
pany. On this hint Malcolm's body also was 
removed, and then that of the queen was carried 
to her shrine with ease. 

Such were the childish legends and lying 
wonders which beguiled our fathers in these 
old times. But though that age of darkness is 
happily long past, the spirit of the erring church 
of Rome remains unchanged. Within these 
few years a convent has been established at 
Edinburgh, dedicated to this same favourite 
saint Margaret, and underneath the altar of its 
chapel have been deposited the canonized bones 
of some unknown saint, brought, by papal 
authority, from the catacombs at Rome, and 
placed in their new shrine, it is said, with a 
pomp of ceremonial unknown in Scotland since 
John Knox assailed the strongholds of Romish 
superstition, and, according to the homely adage 
ascribed to him, dug down the nests that the 
rooks might be forced to flee away I 




The death of Malcolm and his eldest son, 
followed as it \vas almost immediately by that 
of queen Margaret, left the newly formed Saxon 
kingdom of Scotland totally destitute of a leader ; 
and Donald Bane, at the head of the fierce 
Celtic tribes of Argyle, the seat of the Dalriadic 
kingdom of the Scots, found no difficulty in 
securing the succession to his brother's throne. 
He was immediately proclaimed king, with the 
full concurrence of the Norwegian monarch, 
Magnus Barefoot, whose favour he purchased 
by the concession of certain islands wrested 
from him by Malcolm. Had Donald Bane 
succeeded in his attempt to obtain possession of 
Edinijurgh Castle while his nephews remained 
within its walls, he would have made a speedy 
end of the succession of Malcolm and Margaret, 
through whom oiu' present queen Victoria 
traces her descent from the great Saxon Alfred. 
The children, however, were carried safely 
be3''ond his reach before the castle fell into his 
hands, and a few years afterwards, Edgar, a son 


of Malcolm, avenged himself on the usurper, 
and ascended his father's throne. The young 
iiionarch took up his residence in his mother's 
favourite palace within the Castle of Edinburgh, 
but his reign was of brief duration. He is 
said to have been interred in the castle, probably 
Avithin the little oratory to which we have 
before alluded. 

The influence of the Saxon princess, and the 
predominating effects of her zealous domestic 
training, are apparent in the history of her 
sons, who successively occupied the throne. 
The island of Inch Colm, on which Alexander 
founded a monastery dedicated to the favourite 
Scottish teacher St. Colomba, is visible from 
the Castle of Edinburgh ; with its beautiful 
ruins, forming an attractive and most pic- 
turesque feature in the Frith of Forth. But it 
is his younger brother, David i., or St. David, 
as he is styled, to whom we must look as the 
true successor of St. Margaret. It was reserved 
for him to carry out the ecclesiastical changes 
projected by his royal mother, and to him we 
owe the foundation of the larger number of the 
great Scottish abbeys, including the celebrated 
abbey of the Holyrood, which became the 
favourite residence, and finally the chief palace 
of the Scottish kings. 

David T., after his accession to the throne, 
resided for the most part in the Castle of 
Edinburgh, and thereby conferred on the 
neighbouring town all the advantages arising 
from its position as a royal demesne, and the 


principal seat of the court. The idea, however, 
which we are able to form of the chief Scottish 
city of the twelfth century from such authentic 
notices as remain to us, furnishes a sufhciently 
homely and primitive picture of the progress of 
the country in civilization. Edinburgh was 
then an unwalled town, occupying only the 
higher ridge of the hill in the immediate 
vicinity of the castle, where the oldest portions 
still stand, and would, in all probability, have 
borne no very favourable comparison with 
some of the larger English villages of our OAvn 
day. In the central place stood then, as now, 
the venerable church of St. Giles, of the exist- 
ence of which we have conclusive evidence 
so early as tlie middle of the ninth centurj', 
while the style of some of its oldest portions, 
demolished about the year 17G0, leaves no 
room to doubt that it had shared in the revived 
taste for ecclesiastical architecture which so 
remarkably distinguished the reign of David i. 
The castle itself partook of the rude simplicity 
of the age, its main feature being a massive 
keep, which occupied the site of the present 
Half-moon Battery. 

Around the old parish church of St. Giles, 
and crowding the narrow ridge between it and 
the castle, the rude thatched habitations of the 
citizens were clustered together, courting the 
protection of the fortress, in addition to the 
natural defences of their lofty site. On the 
one side they were protected by the north loch, 
filling the valley which now extends, as a 


beautiful garden, between the old and new 
town ; while on the other side, an equally effec- 
tive marsh appears to have rendered impass- 
able the loAv grounds occupied by the Cowgate 
and Grass-market. On the west side, the rude 
old Saxon fortress reared its frowning battle- 
ments ; while the lower eastern ridge, which 
has been occupied for centuries by the ancient 
burgh of Canongate, was then covered by the 
copse and spreading oaks of the forest of 

Here, according to the relation of one of the 
ancient service-books of Holyrood Abbe}', 
occurred the incident which gave rise to the 
well-known legend of the White Hart. " King 
David," says the chronicler, " in the fourth 
year of his reign, was residing in the Castle of 
Edinburgh, then surrounded Avith * ane gret 
forest, full of harts, hynds, todds, and sic like 
manner of beasts ;' and on Rood-day, the 14th 
of September, after celebration of mass, he 
yielded to the solicitation of the young nobles 
of his train, and rode out to hunt in the neigh- 
bouring forest, notwithstanding the earnest 
dissuasions of Alkwine, his confessor, a canon- 
regular of St. Augustine, who urged him to 
devote the sacred festival to devotion rather 
than to pastime. The royal cavalcade rode 
gaily through the chase, ' with sic noise and ' 
din of bugils that all the beasts were raisit fra 
their dens,' The king, separated from his 
train in the ardour of the chase, was thrown 
from his horse, and about to be gored by a 


\vlnle hart, ' Avitli awful and braid tyndis,' 
Aviien a miraculous cross was suddenly put into 
his hand, at sight of which the hart vanished. 
The king was thereafter admonished in a vision 
to found and endow a monastery for the canons- 
regular of St. Augustine, on the spot where he 
had been thus miraculously preserved ; and 
hence the origin of the monastery of the Holy- 
rood, so intimately associated with many later 
incidents of Scottish history. 

The legend, absurd as it is, is curious, from 
the glimpse it affords us of the city at that early 
period, contracted within its narrow limits, and 
encircled by a royal chase, where the fox, the wild 
boar, and the deer found their abode on the very 
site of some of the most venerable edifices of 
the Scottish capital. The narrative, in all pro- 
bability, had its origin in some real occurrence, 
magnified by the superstition of a rude and 
illiterate age ; though authentic history assigns 
an earlier date to " The Black Eood of Scot- 
land," — a mysterious relic brought thither by 
queen Margaret, and clasped by her dying 
hands. It was bequeathed by her to her chil- 
dren, in accordance with the superstitious 
veneration of the period, as a treasure above all 
price, and was long regarded by the whole 
nation as one of its most sacred treasures. 
When Edward i. achieved the temporary sub- 
jugation of the Scots, the Black liood of 
Scotland was carried to England and deposited 
in the shrine of St. Cuthbert, at Durham, where 
it continued to be an object of awful regard so 



long as such relics commanded the veneration 
of the British nation. 

The oldest known seal of the Abbey of Holy- 
rood bears engraved on it the representation of 
an ancient ecclesiastical edifice of singularly 
rude and primitive form. Of this the author 
of '• The Pre-historic Annals of Scotland" re- 
marks : " A very curious seal, attached to one 
of the older charters of Ht)lyrood Abbey, repre- 
sents a structure so entirely differing from all 
the usual devices of the earliest ecclesiastical 
seals, that I am strongly inclined to look upon 
it as an attempt to represent the original 
■u-ooden church, reared by the brethren of the 
Holyrood Abbey, on their first clearance in the 
forest of Drumselch. It manifestly represents 
a timber structure. The round tower is also 
curiously consistent with the older Scottish 
style, which the Eomanesque was then re- 
modelling or superseding. Viewed in this 
light, the old Holyrood seal is one of the most 
interesting ecclesiastical relics Ave possess, figur- 
ing, it may be, the primitive structure first 
reared on the site which is now associated with 
so many of the most momentous occurrences, 
both in the ecclesiastical and civil history of 
Scotland. The earliest charter to which it 
has been found attached is a notification by 
Alwyn, abbot of Holyrood, a.d. 1141 ; but 
both the style of workmanship and the curi- 
ously mixed lettering manifestlj' belong to an 
earlier period, and perhaps point to the exist- 
ence of a familia, or Christian community, 


established in the glades of Drumselch forest, 
long before the royal foundation of the Holy- 

Whether this ingenious supposition of the 
existence of an ancient Culdee establishment 
prior to the reign of David i. be well founded 
' or not, it is undoubted that David established 
there the Augustine abbey dedicated to the 
Holyrood, and committed to its charge the 
venerated relic which St. Margaret had be- 
queathed to her sons. The custodiers of what 
was deemed so precious a charge were not left 
without the means of adequately maintaining 
the royal foundation. David i. largely endowed 
it, as he did many other abbeys, acquiring 
thereby the quaint title long after conferred on 
him by a royal descendant of being " A Sore 
Saint for the Crown." In sir David Lindsay's 
ingenious " Satyre of the Three Estaitis," he 
introduces John Commonweal thus reasoning 
with the abbot on the corruptions of the 
church : — 

" What, if king; David were living in thir days; 
The whilk did found so mony gay abbeys; 
Or out of hevin, what if lie luikit down ? 
And saw the great abomiiiatioun 
Amang their Abbeys, and their Nuneries, 
Their public scandals, and their harlotries : 
He wald repent lie narrowed so his bounds, 
Of yearly rent, of threescore thousand pounds; 
His successors make little praise, I guess, 
Of his devotion or his holiness." 

To such unpalatable arguments the abbot re- 
plies by roundly rating John Commonweal for 
his presumption in daring to meddle with " sa 


heich a matter ; " on which John quotes the 
judgment abeady pronounced by his betters : — 

" King James the first, roy of this regioun, 
Said that he was ane sair sanct to the crown ; 
I hear men say that he was something blind 
That gave away mair nor he left behind." 

Many changes, however, were to be effected on 
the commonwealth before the superstitious faith 
of the twelfth century, and its veneration for 
crosses, relics, and childish legends, was to be 
exchanged for the new opinions which sir 
David Lindsay so greatly contributed to render 
popular in Scotland. Meanwhile, the constant 
residence of David i. in Edinburgh Castle, and 
the erection of Holyrood in its immediate 
vicinity, largely contributed to lay the foun- 
dation of the future, which we are now to trace 
in the history of Edinburgh. 

David's example was followed by his imme- 
diate successors. Malcolm iv., surnamed the 
Maiden, his grandson and immediate successor, 
resided frequently in the castle, and w^as a 
liberal benefactor to the brethren of the Holy- 
rood. Nor were these examples of royal muni- 
ficence without imitators ; nobles not only 
augmented its revenues, but sought admission 
among its brethren, as in 1160, when Fergus, 
the turbulent Thane of Galloway, after being 
thrice defeated by the royal forces, resigned for 
ever the use of arms, and exchanged his helmet 
for the cowl and tonsure of the brethren of St. 




JMalcolm the I\Iaiden was succeeded on the 
Scottish throne by William, surnamed the 
Lyon, one of the most brave and chivalrous 
princes of all the royal line ; but, as happened 
vvith others of his gallant race, his chivalric 
deeds were frequently more glorious than pro- 
fitable to his country. After successfully re- 
pulsing Henry ii., who had invaded Scotland, 
he retaliated by crossing the border at the 
head of a numerous force, and wasting the 
northern counties of England with fire and 
sword. AVhile before Alnwick, however, 
William was treacherously betrayed into the 
English liands, and, as was then conmionly the 
case, the whole army retreated and dispersed 
on the capture of their leader. The captive 
monarch was not liberated until he had become 
bound to pay an enormous ransom, and had 
surrendered Edinburgh Castle, with three other 
principal fortresses of the kingdom, as security. 
Happily, however, the loss thus sustained by 
the reverses of war was restored by peaceful 


means ; for an alliance having been concluded 
between William and Ermengarde de Beau- 
mont, cousin to king Henry, Edinburgh Castle 
was gallantly restored as the queen's dowry, 
after having been held by an English garrison 
for twelve years. 

The reign of Alexander ii. is marked by 
another important addition to the ecclesiastical 
foundations of the Scottish capital. In the year 
1230, this monarch founded and endowed the 
monastery of Black Friars, of the Order of St. 
Dominic ; bestowing, as seems probable, on the 
friars one of the royal residences for their first 
abode, styled in the earlier charters Mansio 
regis. All traces of the monastery have long 
disappeared, and its site is now occupied by 
the Surgical Hospital, but the ancient approach 
to it still bears the name of the Black Friars 
Wynd, and attracts the antiquary and the 
tourist by its picturesque old tenements, and 
the quaint legends of early date inscribed on 
the lintels of doors and windows. Alexander ir. 
dates many of his charters from Edinburgh 
Castle, but the monastery which he had founded 
in its neighbourhood appears to have been 
his favourite residence, and his munificent 
example was followed by several of his royal 
successors, who added to its revenues. 

In the reign of Alexander in., the son and 
successor of Alexander ii., the Castle of Edin- 
burgh became the permanent royal residence, 
and the depository of the national records and 
regalia, as well as the chief place foi* dispensing 


justice. In 1251, the English princess Mar- 
garet, the daughter of Henry in., was brought 
thither to her young husband, then a youth of 
only ten years of age. As usual during the 
minorities of the Scottish lungs, the kingdom 
was divided into rival factions, and the youthful 
king and queen were held safely in durance 
within the royal fortress, while the faction who 
retained possession of it governed in their 
name. The queen Avas two years older than 
her boy husband, and resented the restraint 
and loneliness of their abode, which, under the 
jealous care of their keepers, seemed to possess 
more of the character of a prison than a palace. 
She accordingly contrived to convey a private 
letter to her father, complaining that "• she was 
confined to the Castle of Edinburgh, a sad and 
solitary place, and by reason of its vicinit}'^ to 
the sea, unwholesome." Henry was already 
employed in secretly organizing an English 
faction, with a view to bring Scotland per- 
manently under his dominion, and this supplied. 
a sufficient pretext for more active measures, if 
indeed it did not originate with him. When 
we consider that the singular isolated rock on 
which the castle stands has an area of upwards 
of six acres inclosed on its summit, and that it 
then included a palace which had been a 
favourite residence of the Scottish court for 
fully a century and a half, we can scarcely 
suppose that a girl of fourteen years of age 
could experience any very oppressive sense of 
restraint within its walls, unless other means 


were resorted to, to awaken discontent in her 
mind. The earl of Gloucester was despatched 
to Edinburgh, accompanied by John IMaunsell, 
the secretary and chief favourite of the EngHsh 
monarch, and after a secret consultation with 
the earls of Dunbar and Carrick, and other 
leaders, a hostile collision took place between 
the tAvo factions in the streets of Edinburgh. 
Such contests continued to be of common 
occurrence in the Scottish capital until the 
final removal of the coui't to England. The 
English faction succeeded in surprising the 
Castle, and the young king, freed from the 
control of the rival party, assumed nominal 
rule. Alexander, however, as was afterwards 
abundantly pi^oved, lacked only the wisdom 
and experience of years to enable him to shake 
off all factious incumbrances, and during his 
long and prosperous reign the independence of 
his country remained intact. His favourite 
residence was Edinburgh Castle, and his queen, 
we may presume, found it neither sad nor 
solitary when once her royal husband attained 
to the rights of manhood, and ruled not in 
name only, but in reality. 

Alexander in. reigned for thirty-seven years, 
and proved himself a sagacious and brave ruler, 
an impartial legislator, and a wary politician. 
His death took place suddenly in 1286 ; his 
horse having fallen with him over a precipice, 
an event which filled the whole nation with 
grief. Wynton has preserved a short contem- 
porary elegy on his death, which Ellis justly 


remarks is far superior to any English song of 
that early date. It is as follows : — 

" When Alexander our king was dead, 

That Scotland led in love and lee. 
Away was sons of ale and bread, 

Of wine and wax, of ^amyn and glee; 
Our gold was chan.^ed into lead. 

Christ! born into virginity. 
Succour Scotland and remede, 

That stad is in peipkxity." 

Gloomy as were the forebodings of the people 
on the sudden death of their favourite monarch, 
their worst anticipations could not exceed the 
real calamities in which their country was 
speedily involved. His granddaughter — fami- 
liarly known as the Maid of Norway — died 
not long after, and the contested succession to 
the crown between Baliol, Bruce, and others, 
followed, leaving Edward i. of England abundant 
scope for carrying out the ambitious schemes 
so frequently entertained by his predecessoj's. 
By intrigue and politic craft he got himself 
nominated umpire between the rival claimants 
to the Scottish crown. His next step was to 
get the strongholds of the kingdom lodged in 
his keeping, under the shallow pretext of 
holding them in readiness to hand over to the 
rightful successor. Sir Radulpho Basset de 
Drayton, a brave Norman knight, assumed the 
governorship of Edinburgh Castle, at the head 
of an English garrison. Other strongholds 
were occupied in like manner, and soon the 
whole kingdom seemed to lie prostrate in 
Edward's grasp. The Black Rood of Scotland, 
the special relic of Ilolyrood Abbey, fell into 


his hands, along with the national regalia, as 
well as the most sacred treasures secured in 
the Castle of Edinburgh, including the docu- 
mentary evidence which established the ancient 
independence of the kingdom. 

The patriots of Scotland, under her " ill- 
requited chief," could dispense with such 
evidences of independence as require " charter 
proof." In the long and bloody struggles that 
followed, Edinburgh Castle was repeatedly be- 
sieged and taken. More than once its whole 
garrison was put to the sword, and its fortifica- 
tions thrown down. In 1312, Robert the Bruce 
had followed up his first success with such 
vigour that, of all the Scottish strongholds, 
Edinburgh and Roxburgh Castles alone re- 
mained in the hands of the English. At this 
crisis the noble Randolph, a nephew of Bruce, 
■whom he had recently created earl of JMoray, 
resolved by a bold coup de main to complete 
the conquests which the Bruce had already 
conducted so nearly to a fortunate issue. He 
had previously had some secret communica- 
tions with sir Piers Lombard, the English 
commander, with no better result than the 
incarceration of the governor in the dungeons 
of the castle by his own soldiery, when one of 
his followers offered to be his guide into the 
citadel of the garrison. 

The father of William Frank, renowned as 
one of the boldest followers of the earl of Mora}', 
had been in happier times the constable of 
Edinburgh Castle under the good king Alexan- 


der. It chanced that his son then became 
attached to the daughter of one of the burghers 
in the neighbouring town ; and, as the soldier 
now told his chief, it had been his custom to 
let himself over the wall at night at a place 
where the exti'eme steepness of the rock seemed 
to render any guard unnecessary. The bold 
lover had found for himself a path up the appa- 
rently inaccessible cliff, and by this he now 
proposed to lead earl Randolph and his followers 
within the walls. A dark and stormy night, 
the 14th of March, 1312, was chosen for the 
execution of this perilous project. William 
Frank led the way up the precipitous cliff, 
followed by Randolph, sir William Gray, and 
thirty trusty Scots, bearing with them a scaling 
ladder, with which to mount the wall. 

As this gallant little band stealthily clam- 
bered up the rock, a singular incident occurred, 
which had well nigh rendered the whole scheme 
abortive. As Barbour relates, they overheard 
from the ramparts above them the challenge 
of the English commander, as he went his 
rounds to see that the garrison was on the 
alert, and the sound had scarcely died away, 
when one of the English soldiers, hurling a 
stone over the battlements, shouted — " Away ! 
I see you well!" This, as it proved, was a 
mere wantoti frolic ; but the critical position of 
the escalading party may well be conceived, as 
they crouched in silence on their perilous path, 
and listened for any further sounds that should 
prove they were betrayed. But the noisy 


bluster of a March gale, added to the darkness 
of the night, effectually concealed them, and 
the first warning the English garrison had of 
their presence was when they raised their slogan 
as they engaged hand to hand with their sur- 
prised antagonists. After a brief but bloody 
conflict the castle was won, and according to 
the shrewd policy of the Bruce, its fortifications 
were levelled, so as to leave the entire Scottish 
force unfettered for service in the field, without 
permitting Edward to entrench himself again 
in the national strongholds. 

The Castle of Edinburgh repeatedly served 
very effectually the purposes of Edward. He 
was there in 1291, when both town and castle 
were surrendered to him. Twice in the course 
of the following year we find, from the evidence 
of charters executed there, that it had been the 
residence of the English monarch ; and, in 
May, 1296, he received within the church in 
the castle, the unwilling submission of many of 
the Scottish nobles, acknowledging him as lord 
paramount — an example in which they were 
followed, a few months later, by William de 
Dederyk, provost of Edinburgh, with the chief 
burghers of the town. Earl Randolph, by dis- 
mantling the castle, effectually put an end to its 
further diversion to such anti-national pur- 
poses, and for twenty-four years thereafter it 
appears to have lain a desolate ruin, with per- 
haps the exception of the little chapel of 
St. Margaret, where some poor priest or monk 
may have maintained service. 


Edinburgh has few associations ^Yith the 
Bruce ; nor was it till after the great dehverer 
of his country was in his grave, that the long 
dismantled fortress was re-edified, to serve 
once more as the stronghold of the southern 
foe. Edinburgh, indeed, lay much too open to 
the inroads of the invader to form a safe 
residence for the Scottish court during so unset- 
tled a period. In 1333, Edward iir. visited 
Edinburgh on his route to Perth, and ordered 
the castle to be rebuilt and garrisoned. Sir 
John de Striveling was appointed governor ; 
and the fortress put in a state of complete 
defence, as one of a chain of such strongholds, 
by means of which the invader hoped to hold 
the nation in subjection. But though sir John 
de Striveling held Edinburgh, the adjacent 
country was filled with bands of hardy Scots, 
ever ready to take advantage of a fovourable 
moment for attack, and to intercept the sup- 
plies sent to the garrison. Sir Alexander .Kam- 
say, of Dalhousie, in particular, after having 
succeeded, with a band of only forty resolute 
men, in raising the siege of Dunbar, retired 
with his followers to the caves still existing in 
the romantic glen of Koslin. The most exten- 
sive of these are excavated in the cliffs beneath 
the house of Hawthornden, celebrated long 
afterwards as the residence of the Scottish poet 
Drummond. These Avere so ingeniously con- 
structed for concealment, as to elude the vigi- 
lance of the most cunning foe ; the entrance 
being still shown in the side of the deep draw- 


^7eI], which served at once to cloak its purpose, 
and to secure for the occupants a ready supply 
of water. From this retreat Kamsay and his 
followers sallied out whenever opportunity 
offered, so as to keep the enemy in perpetual 
fear, and prevent them from turning their 
position to account for the main object of the 

Sir William Douglas, the black knight of 
Liddesdale, another hardy Scot, maintained a 
similar band of followers further to the south, 
and in like manner harassed the Edinburgh 
garrison. Prendergast, a Scottish follower of 
Baliol, chanced at this time to have rendered 
some signal service to the English governor, 
which was not, however, sufficient to make the 
southern knight forget the feeling with which a 
renegade and traitor to his country must ever 
be regarded even by an opponent. Prendergast 
resented some indignities wantonly put on him 
by the governor, and this only leading to 
further insult, he resolved to be avenged. 
Renouncing his allegiance to Enghmd, he 
escaped from the castle, and watching on the 
morrow, when the governor rode into the city 
attended only by a few followers, he sprang 
suddenly from a place of concealment, and 
plunged his sword into the heart of his foe. 
Prendergast immediately leaped to the saddle 
from which he had hurled the English governor, 
and dashing down the street at his utmost 
speed, he sought sanctuary within the church 
of Holyrood Abbey. 


It furnishes a curious evidence of the powerful 
influence of the Eomish church, that even at such 
a moment the supposed sanctity of the abbey- 
was respected. The English pursuers found the 
assassin on his knees before the high altar in the 
chapel of the abbey, and superstitious awe, and 
the terror of the church's ban, compelled them 
to repress their fury. A guard was placed by 
them around the abbey, and for twelve days and 
nights Prendergast remained beside the high 
altar, dependent entirely on the supplies secretly 
conveyed to him by some of the monks, who 
longed to see the invaders banished from the 
kingdom. At the end of that time he effected 
his escape, disguised as a monk, and joining 
the black Douglas, he led him with a chosen 
body of followers in an attack on a part of the 
garrison, in which above four hundred English 
soldiers were left dead on the streets of Edin- 

The new governor appointed to hold the 
castle for Edward was sir Thomas Rokesby ; 
but the charge appears to have devolved 
shortly afterwards on sir Richard de Limoisin, 
under whose governorship one of the most 
signal exploits of the predatory bands of Scots 
was effected which mark the annals of that 
troubled and eventful era. The Douglas, with 
William Bulloch, Simeon Frazer, Joakim of 
Kinbuch, and a chosen body of two liundred 
Scots, set out for Dundee, where they were 
received into a ship by one Walter Curry, with 
whom Bulloch, the contriver of the plot, had 


already made the requisite arrangements. 
Having taken on board a cargo of provisions, 
they set sail, and casting anchor in Leith roads, 
William Bulloch presented himself to the 
governor of the castle, as master of an English 
vessel just arrived with a valuable cargo of 
wines and provisions on board, which he 
offered to dispose of for the garrison. The 
bait took ; and the pretended trader appeared 
at the castle by appointment early on the 
following morning, attended by a dozen armed 
followers disguised as seamen ; while Douglas, 
with the rest of the party, lay concealed in the 
gorse and underwood of the neighbouring 
slope. Upon entering the castle, Bulloch con- 
trived to overturn a rude carriage laden with 
the pretended supplies, so as to obstruct the 
closing of the gates, and springing with his few 
attendants on the guard, he raised the v/ell- 
known war-cry — "A Douglas! a Douglas!" 
At the appointed signal, Douglas and his party 
sprang from their concealment, and after a 
fierce conflict the English garrison was over- 
powered and put to the sword. Only the 
governor and six of his squires escaped the 
general massacre, and the castle, restored to the 
rightful possession of David ii., was never again 
held by an English garrison, till it yielded to 
the summons of Cromwell after the battle of 




It is scarcely necessary to remark, tliat the 
progress of the Scottish capital must have been 
greatly retarded by the long protracted wars 
which drove the court from its castle, and left 
it alternately the prey to invaders, or the battle- 
field on Avhich their indomitable assailants 
were wont to harass and waylay straggling 
parties of the English garrison. For a quarter 
of a century, as we have seen, the castle lay in 
ruins ; during the whole of that time, however, 
we must remember that the ecclesiastical 
establishments remained, though deprived of 
some of their sources of revenue, and generally 
forced to accept of abbots and superiors imposed 
on them by the invader. Edinburgh had 
then its Holyrood and Blackfriars' Abbeys, 
St. Giles's Church, St. Cuthbert's, St. Tri- 
duana's at Restalrig, and probably also St. 
INIary's-in-the-Fields, all parochial churches, 
with their priests and services — common alike 
to the invaders and the natives. We have 
already seen how the former respected the right 
of sanctuary, even in favour of the assassin of 


their own leader ; and, erroneous as was the 
principle upon which they acted, we may infer 
from the fact Avhat a restraining influence 
Christianity exercised in the rude mediaeval 
era, overlaid and perverted though it was by 
so many of the gross errors and superstitions 
which the Reformation at length swept away. 

Within a month after the surprise of Edin- 
burgh Castle by the ingenious stratagem 
recorded at the close of the last chapter, the 
young king, David ii., landed from France with 
his consort Johanna, and Edinburgh once more 
shared in the privileges and the burdens of a 
capital. "When, a few years later, the disastrous 
raid of Durham terminated in the captivity of 
the king, the merchants and burgesses of 
Edinburgh became boun-d, along with those of 
Aberdeen, Perth, and Dundee, for themselves 
and all other merchants of Scotland, for the 
payment of his ransom. 

After the return of David Bruce from 
England, he resided during his latter days in 
Edinburgh Castle, to which he made large 
additions. He built, on the site of the present 
half-moon battery, a lofty keep, afterwards 
known as DcwicVs Tower, which stood for 
upwards of two hundred years, and is specially 
referred to in the minute narrative of the siege 
of 1572, in which it was battered to pieces. 
Within this royal fortress he died in the forty- 
second year of his age, and Avas buried in the 
choir of the abbey church of Holy rood. With 
this brave and gifted, but unhappy prince, the 


direct line of the Bruce terminated. He fell 
on evil days, and appears to have been one who 
in moi'e peaceful times might have elevated the 
character of his people. Tradition represents 
him as beguiling his tedious captivity with his 
pencil ; and Barnes relates that he left behind 
him, in a vault in Nottingham Castle, the 
whole story of our Saviour's passion, curiously 
engraven with his own hand. 

With the accession of Robert ii., the first of 
the Stuarts, a new era begins in the history of 
Edinburgh, which may indeed be emphatically 
styled the capital of the Stuarts. We now 
obtain some glimpses of its condition from con- 
temporary records, which furnish a sufficiently 
humble picture of its early progress, and of the 
consequences of the repeated vicissitudes to 
which it was exposed. In 1383, the ambas- 
sador of Charles vi. of France was entertained 
there by the Scottish court, and in the follow- 
ing year it was in the hands of the English, 
under the duke of Lancaster. It chanced that 
the duke had been hospitably entertained by 
the monks of Holyrood, while an exile in 
former years from the English court, and in 
gratitude for this the abbey was spared when 
all else was given up to the flames. The pro- 
gress of the invaders is thus quaintly noted by 
Wynton : — 

"With all their men the way they took 
To Scotland, and at Melrose lay, 
And there they brynt up that abbay. 
Dryburgh and Newbottle, they twa, 
In till their way they brynt alsua. 


Of Edynburgh the kirk brynt they, 
And would have done so that abbay. 
But the duke for his courtesy 
(Since he had vvylom there herbry * 
When he was out of his country :) 
Gart it at that time saved be." 

The respite, however, was a brief one, for 
the Scots having retaliated, according to their 
wont, by a foray across the border so soon as 
the invaders had withdrawn, they returned the 
following year and destroyed whatever the 
gratitude of the duke had at first induced 
them to spare. Edinburgh was still an un- 
walled town ; and such repeated invasions, 
which exposed its citizens to the full brunt of 
all the horrors of war, must have effectually 
checked its advance, however much favoured 
by the Scottish court. The town, nevertheless, 
was already rising to an importance which 
rendered its defenceless state a matter of serious 
moment, and the evil was now partially reme- 
died by granting the citizens of good fame the 
novel privilege of building their houses within 
the fortress. 

A curious contemporary account of Edin- 
burgh at this period is furnished by Froissart, 
in giving a narrative of the reception of 
De Kenne, the admiral of France, who had 
been despatched to the assistance of the Scottish 
king. "Edinburgh," says he, "though the 
king kept there his chief residence, (and that is 
Paris in Scotland) yet it is not like Tournay or 
Valenciennes ; for in all the town is not four 

* Harboured. 


thousand houses ; therefore it behoved these 
lords and knights to be lodged about in the 
villages." The reception which these alUes 
met with was even worse than their accommoda- 
tion. We are told that the Scots " did murmur 
and grudge, and said, Who hath sent for them ? 
Cannot v.-e maintain our war with England well 
enough without their help ? They understand 
not us, nor we them ; therefore, we cannot 
speak together. They will anon rifle and eat 
up all that ever we have in this country ; and 
do us more despites and damages than though 
the Englishmen should fight with us ; for 
though the English burn our houses we care 
little therefor ; we shall make them again 
cheap enough." 

The picture thus furnished of the Scots of 
the fourteenth century is a sufficiently graphic 
one, and represents a state of manners which 
prevailed on the more exposed border districts 
to a much later period. The constant liability 
to have their houses plundered and burned, 
rendered the citizens indifferent about their 
furnishing or fitting, so that the straw roof of 
the dwelling was frequently carried off by its 
owner on his retreat, leaving the enemy to 
wreak their futile vengeance on its rude furni- 
ture and bare walls. At the same time they 
were proportionably anxious to make up for the 
absence of all household display by personal 
ornaments ; and hence the costly brooches, 
bracelets, and collars, and the general extrava- 
gance in dress, which was frequently attempted 


to be restrained within due bounds by the 
enactment of stringent sumptuary hiws. 

Some of the early Scottish sumptuary enact- 
ments afford a curious insight into the manners 
of the age. The dress of lords, knights, yeo- 
men, burgesses, and labourers, are each specially 
restricted within due limits, while that of the 
ladies is placed under such restraints as prove 
that female love of display is no taste of modern 
growth. One act, for example, passed in the 
reign of James ir., imposes on the citizens the 
somewhat onerous duty of making their wives 
and daughters dress in a way corresponding to 
their estate, and especially enacts that " no 
women wear tails of unfit length ;" an evil 
which the satires of sir David Lindsay show to 
have remained equally in need of curtailing 
in the folloAving century ; and which, indeed, 
some of the more zealous reformers of female 
dress appear to regard as still open to improve- 
ment even in our own day. By the same 
enactment, " Baron's and other puir gentle- 
men's wives" are forbid the use of silks or 
furs, as well as various other costly adornments, 
except on holidays ; v/hile husbandmen are 
restricted to gray and white, and their wives 
to "courchies of their awin making, not ex- 
ceeding the price of 12 pennyes the ehie." 

Other acts of the same period, which relate 
to the prevention of fires, and to the accommo- 
dation of travellers, serve to show that the 
burghers' dwellings continued to be rude 
wooden tenements, of one or two stories, 
B 2 


thatched with straw. For the encouragement 
of innkeepers, all travellers are forbidden to 
lodge with their friends, or anywhere but in' 
the public hostles, unless when they travel with 
a numerous body of followers, in which case, if 
their horses and baggage are harboured in the 
hostle, they are at liberty to find lodging else- 
where. Such were the habits of society in Scot- 
land, and such was the condition of Edinburgh, 
in the middle of the fifteenth century ; that 
mediaeval era Avhich has been supposed by 
some modern enthusiastic revivalists to have 
been a period remarkable for contented happi- 
ness, and the diffusion of moral and social 
blessings in wise gradation through all the 
various ranks of society. 




The forced residence of the royal poet, James I., 
at the English court during his earlier years, 
Avas the means of introducing some of the 
refinement of the more polished southerns 
among the Scottish nobles. During this reign, 
however, the favourite residence of the king 
was at Perth ; nor is it till his assassination iu 
the convent of the Dominicans there, in 1488, 
that Edinburgh again, and permanently, takes 
its place as the Scottish capital. Thither his 
queen Jane, celebrated long before in '' The 
King's Quair," fled, and took refuge with the 
young king, in its secure fortress ; and within 
less than forty days after the murder of the 
king, the assassins had been apprehended and 
brought to Edinburgh for trial. Little form of 
law was deemed requisite to sanction the cruel 
vengeance with which the parricidal deed of the 
conspirators was visited. The meaner agents 
were left to the hangman, while, with respect 
to the others, all the ingenuity of a barbarous 
age was employed to devise such novel am) 


exquisite tortures as should satisfy the indigna- 
tion of the people. 

The scenes that follo^ved are sufficiently 
characteristic of the times, and show how little 
the royal pupil of Gower and Chaucer had 
succeeded in instilling into his people the 
refinement which follows in the train of poesie 
and the arts of civilization. The sufferings of 
the earl of Athol, an old man on the verge of 
seventy, were prolonged through three days. 
On the second of these he was exhibited to the 
gaze of the people, bound to a pillar at the 
cross of Edinburgh, and crowned, in cruel 
derision, with a hot iron coronet as the King 
of Traitors. His sufferings were terminated on 
the third day by the executioner's axe. The 
extreme age of the victim was not without its 
influence on the sympathy of the populace. 
But no feeling of pity was excited when the 
arch-traitor, sir liobert Graham, was subjected 
to still more barbarous and protracted cruelties, 
furnishing a scene of feudal vengeance which it 
is impossible to read of without loathing and 
horror. Yet it would be unjust to infer from 
such an account that the citizens of Edinburgh, 
or even the barons of Scotland, in the fifteenth 
century, were pre-eminently distinguished for 
barbarity. The scenes thus enacted at the 
cross of Edinburgh completely accorded with 
the prevailing spirit of the age, when the 
common death of every traitor was accompanied 
with torture. JEneas Sylvius, an Italian eccle- 
siastic, who afterwards filled the papal chair as 


Pius II., Avas at that time resident in Edinburgh 
as the pope's nuncio for Scothmd ; and the only 
horror he expresses is at the crime of the regi- 
cides, Avhile the cruel justice of the nation -wins 
his admiration. 

The young king, James ii., Avas only in his 
seventh year when he Avas brought from the 
castle to Holyrood Abbey, attended by tlie 
three estates of the kingdom, and there croA\med 
Avith unwonted magnificence. The castle had 
been his birthplace ; and from this time the 
fortress and the pleasantly situated abbey in 
the neighbouring valley at the foot of Salisbury 
Crags, became the principal permanent resi- 
dences of the Scottish court. 

Queen Jane Avas nominated as the guardian 
of the young king, Avith a suitable allowance, 
while Archibald, earl of Douglas and Angus, 
was appointed lieutenant-general of the king- 
dom. It Avas the lot of Scotland to suiFer, to 
an extent that has no parallel in the history of 
any other European nation, from a succession 
of minorities, during AA'hich the country Avas 
too often left a prey to hostile factions, and all 
its best interests sacrificed to the ambitious 
projects of unprincipled riA'als. The guardians 
of the nominal sovereign became for the time 
being the real possessors of kingly power, and 
hence the most unseemly stratagems Avere fre- 
quently resorted to in order to gain possession 
of the king's person. At this period the 
chancellor, sir ^Yilliam Crichton, was the 
most poAverful and sagacious statesman in the 

4(> 01 D EDINBURGH. 

kingdom, and, under his vigilant management, 
the queen and her party soon found the young 
king placed entirely beyond their control. 
This state of things continued for two years, 
at the end of which time the queen visited 
Edinburgh, professing great friendship for 
the chancellor, and desiring to see her son. 
Having won her way to the good-will of the 
old statesman, she readily obtained access to 
the castle, and took up her abode there along 
with her retinue. After residing for some time 
and effectually lulling all suspicion, she gave 
out that she had made a vow to pass in 
pilgrimage to the white kirk of Brechin, a 
favourite resort of religious devotees of the 
period ; and bidding adieu to the chancellor 
over night, with many earnest recommendations 
of her son to his care, she withdrew to prepare 
for her departure at early dawn. No sooner 
•was she thus left at liberty, than, getting the 
young king to her own apartment, she set to 
■work with her maidens, and pinning him up 
among her linen, he was thus conveyed in a 
chest to Leith, and was far on his way to 
Stirling Castle before the chancellor was aware 
of the trick that had been played on him. 

Stirling Castle was at this period in possession 
of sir Archibald Livingstone, and the latter no 
sooner found the king in his power, than he pro- 
ceeded to raise an army for the purpose of laying 
siege to Edinburgh Castle. The chancellor was 
too crafty a diplomatist to risk even the appear- 
ance of open Avarfare against the king. A com- 



promise was proposed by him which met his 
rival's views ; and the next scene witnessed in 
the old hall of Edinburgh Castle was the 
formal presentation of its keys to the boy-king, 
who had been so recently carried off from it 
hid in his mother's linen. That same evening, 
Crichton and Livingstone supped together with 
the king, and before they parted, the rivals 
amicably agreed on a division of the power that 
had fallen into their hands. 

Not the least potent cause of the truce thus 
concluded between the rival statesmen, was 
their common enmity to the powerful house of 
Douglas, the head of which now made little 
concealment of his contempt for both as mere 
political knight-errants, who owed their ibrtunes 
to the mean wiles of state-craft. Favourably 
for their schemes, the haughty earl, of whom 
both stood in awe, was suddenly cut off by 
malignant fever at this very time, while lodg- 
ing at the village of Eestalrig, which lies 
between Holy rood Palace and the sea. He 
was succeeded by his son William, then a 
youth of sixteen ; and the wily old chancellor, 
watching like a hawk for his prey, now saw 
with delight the probability of accomplishing 
the destruction of the detested, but dreaded 
house of Douglas. 

The young earl abated in no degree the 
pride of his family, but far surpassed the king 
in the magnificence of his retinue, and the 
number of his suite. This was made the 
pretext of Crichton's advances. The young 


earl and liis brother, lord David Douglas, were 
invited to join the court as friends most suit- 
able for the king, alike by age and rank. No 
ihittery Avas spared to ensnare the intended 
victims. In the castle of the chancellor, the 
magnificent quadrangular ruins of which still 
stand in tlie vale of Tyne, distant about eleven 
miles from Edinburgh, they were entertained 
with the most magnificent hospitality of the 
age. The spot is celebrated by Scott, in Mar- 
mion, nor is the enmity between the liouses of 
Crichton and Douglas forgotten : — 

" The castle rises on the steep 

Of the green vale of Tyne : 
And far beneath, where slow they creep, 
From pool to eddy, dark and deep, 
\Vhere alders moist and willows weep, 

You hear her streams repine. 
The towers in different ages rose ; 
Their various architecture shows 

The builders' various hands; 
A mighty mass that could oppose, * 

When deadliest hatred fired its foes, 

The vengeful Douglas' bands.". 

It was not, however, the design of the crafty 
chancellor to make his own stronghold the 
scene of revenge on the vengeful Douglas. 
The suspicions of the inconsiderate young earl 
having been completely lulled, he was induced 
to proceed to the Castle of Edinburgh, accom- 
panied by his brother, lord David, sir IMalcolni 
Fleming, and other adherents. There they 
were received with every show of favour, and 
dined at the same table with the king ; but 
under all this treachci'ous dis})lay of wel- 
come, the most deadly designs were concealed. 


Already the axe and fatal block were prepared, 
and before the entertainment closed, a bull's 
head — the well-known Scottish symbol of 
destruction — was set before them. They re- 
cognised the fatal signal, and sprang from the 
board, but being immediately surrounded by 
armed men, they were led forth, in defiance of 
the tears and entreaties of the young king, and 
beheaded in the western court of the castle, 
while the king's presence was made use of to 
give legal force to a mock trial, by which they 
were condemned as his enemies. In the year 
1753, some workmen employed in digging the 
foundation of a new storehouse within the castle, 
found the golden handles and plates of a coffin, 
supposed — though on no very satisfactory evi- 
dence — to have belonged to that in which the 
victims of Crichton and Livingstone's vengeance 
were interred. The popular estimation of this 
base deed may be inferred from the rude old 
rhymes quoted by Hume of Godscroft, the 
historian of the house of Douglas : — 

*' Edinburgh Castle, town, and tour, 
God grant ye sinke for sin ; 
And that even for the black dinour 
Earl Douglas gat therein.'' 

In this cruel deed was laid the foundation 
of a long train of civil strife, involving botli 
the king and the country in its miserable 
consequences. James, the seventh earl of 
Douglas, succeeded in ingratiating himself with 
the young king, and found little difficulty in 
inducing him to call the murderers of his kins- 


men to account for mal -administration during 
the early years of James's minority. Crichtou 
and Livingstone appealed against a decision 
granted by the king while under the influence 
of their avowed enemy ; and while the chan- 
cellor held out, in the name of the king, the 
Castle of Edinburgh during a blockade of nine 
months, even while he was personally abetting 
the besiegers, the city and its neighbourhood 
were ravaged and spoiled by both factions ; the 
besieged were declared traitors, the castles of 
Crichton and Livingstone stormed, their baronies 
seized, and their honours attainted. These 
wrongs the chancellor and his friends failed 
not to retaliate on their rivals, and thus the 
wretched kingdom became a scene of anarchy 
and bloodshed. The Douglas faction at length 
succeeded in bringing the heir of the Living- 
stones to the block. But the chancellor's 
shrewd cunning outwitted the Douglas' power ; 
and the earl no sooner withdrew from court, 
than the former regained the entire favour of 
the facile young king. 

Crichton had owed his safety so frequently to 
the security aiforded him by the strength of 
Edinburgh Castle, that he took the first favour- 
able opportunity for adding to its fortifications, 
as appears from the evidence of various claims 
for restitution of the expenses thus incurred. 
In 1450, be received the lands of Castlelaw 
from the king to repay not onl}^ the large sums 
expended by him on the fortification, but also 
in return for £400 lent by him to the monarch. 


Sir William Crichton lived to an old age, 
though beset by a host of powerful enemies. 
The Douglases transmitted their hereditary- 
quarrel to each successive heir, but the crafty 
statesman outwitted their persevering revenge, 
and the Douglas at length perished by a blow 
of the young king's own dagger, in Stirling 
Castle. The chancellor sought to atone for the 
deeds of a life of craft and violence according to 
the wont of the old Romish creed. He founded 
and endowed a collegiate church, beside his 
castle in the vale of Tyne, and vainly hoped 
that in purchasing the favours of a corrupt 
and venal priesthood, he was making his peace 
with God. His family suffered the retaliation 
which he himself escaped ; and the old church 
still stands in the imperfect and mutilated 
state in Avhich it was left at his death. The 
era to which we now refer was, indeed, equally 
remarkable for the grossness of the clergy, 
and for the liberality with which the laity 
strove to win the Divine favour by the endow- 
ment of churches, the founding of chantries, 
and the like vain oblations substituted for that 
pure and undefiled religion of the heart which 
is alone acceptable to God. 

The death of James ii., in 1460, by the 
bursting of a cannon at the siege of Roxburgh 
Castle, once more involved the kingdom in all 
the miseries attendant on a minority, from 
which they had so recently escaped. His young 
queen, Mary de Gueldres, a heroic but licentious 
princess, abandoned herself after his death to 


such vicious courses as soon deprived her of 
all the influence otherwise pertaining to her 
position as the mother of the infant king, 
James in. Yet she also accompanied the neg- 
lect of the virtues which most adorn a woman, 
with such largess to the church as was styled 
piety in the language of that grossly corrupt 
age. She founded and endowed a beautiful 
collegiate church at Edinburgh, and dedicated 
it to the Holy Trinity, appointing masses to be 
said for the soul of her royal husband and his 
predecessors on the throne, as well as for her 
own. The regulations established for control- 
ling the conduct of clergy appointed to the 
royal foundation furnish a curious insight into 
the manners of the age ; and the sculptures 
with which the church was decorated, though 
exceedingly rich and varied in design, evinced 
the same impure and profane tastes. " Many 
of the details of the church," says the author of 
the Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden 
Time, " are singularly grotesque. The monkey 
is repeated in all variety of positions in the 
gurgoils, and is occasionally introduced in the 
interior among other figures that seem equally 
inappropriate as the decorations of an ecclesias- 
tical edifice, though of common occurrence in 
the works of the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies. The varied corbels exhibit here and 
there an angel, or other device of beautifuh 
form ; but more frequently they consist of such 
crouching monsters, labouring under the bur- 
den they have to bear up, as seem to reaUze 


Dante's Purgatory of Pride, where the iinpiirged 
sonls dree their doom of penance underneath a 
crushing load of stone." Some of these! sculp- 
tures, even above the very site of the high 
altar, included caricatures of monks and friars 
— a singular evidence of the irreverent and 
faithless spirit of the age. All these incon- 
gruous, grotesque, and profane decorations 
added, however, to the value of the old church as 
a historical memorial ; while as a whole it was 
pronounced by Mr, Rickman to be " a small but 
very beautiful cross church," and its interior 
Avas described in still more glowing terms, as 
" a very beautiful decorated composition with 
the capitals of the piers enriched with foliage, 
not exceeded in design or execution in any 
English cathedral." 

Unhappily this beautiful example of mediaeval 
Scottish art no longer exists. It was demo- 
lished in 1848 by the North British Railway 
Company. The city corporation, however, 
having been a|)pealed to, to avert the destruc- 
tion of so fine a specimen of national architec- 
ture, have had its materials removed under the 
direction of a skilful architect, and it is under- 
stood to be their intention to rebuild it, with 
the original materials, on a new site. 

The collegiate church of the Holy Trinity 
was still in progress when its royal foundress, 
Mary de Gueldres, died, and was interred, 
according to the directions of the foundation 
charter, in the church. On its recent demo- 


lition her remains were disinterred, and being 
placed in a new coffin, with a suitable inscrip- 
tion, were deposited in the royal vault in Holy- 
rood Abbey, where they now lie. 




The long minority of James m, drew to a close 
amid the usual difficulties and dangers attendant 
on delegated authority unrestrained by well- 
defined rules. In 1469, the Scottish capital 
once more witnessed a royal coronation. In 
the month of July, Margaret, princess of 
Denmark, landed at Leith, amidst the liveliest 
demonstrations of popular welcome. She was 
married to king James, with great pomp and 
solemnity, in the abbey church of Holyrood, 
the royal bridegroom being then in his eigh- 
teenth and the bride in her sixteenth year. 
Not the least acceptable feature of this royal 
wedding was the gift of the islands of Orkney 
and Shetland, tendered in security for the* 
queen's promised dowry. This important ter- 
ritorial pledge, though mortgaged for the com- 
paratively small sum of eight thousand florins, 
the Danish court failed to redeem, and these 
northern islands have ever since continued to 
form a part of the Scottish dominions. 

These wedding festivities were speedily fol- 


lowed by a struggle for freedom from the 
nobles, who had, as usual, held the young 
kmg in pupilage, and ruled in his name. The 
duke of Albany, the king's brother-in-law, fled 
to the continent ; but the younger earl of Mar 
was seized and committed a prisoner to the 
ancient Castle of Craigraillar, the beautiful 
ruins of which still form so striking an object 
on the rising ground to the south of Edinburgh. 
Considerable uncertainty rests on his fate, but 
he is said by one historian to have been bled 
to death in Craigmillar Castle ; and this old 
tradition of his fate was recalled to mind, when, 
in 1818, a skeleton was discovered in one of 
the lower vaults of the castle, which had been 
walled up, while the wretched victim of abso- 
lute power appeared to have been secured by a 
chain to the floor of his dungeon. 

In due time a prince, the destined successor 
of his father, was born ; and when, on attaining 
the age of twenty-five years, the king had, 
according to a usual form, revoked all aliena- 
tions of crown property, and especially the 
custody of the royal castles, ceded during his 
minority, he delivered over the Castle of Edin- 
burgh to his queen, with an annual pension, 
and full power to appoint her deputies, and 
intrusted to her the keeping and government 
of their son, prince James. 

Alexander, duke of Albany, the younger 
brother of the king, a scheming and ambitious 
man, plays a prominent part in the incidents of 
this reign. A romantic escape, effected by 


him from Edinburgh Castle, adds another to 
the many historic events connected with the 
old fortress. The duke of Albany was con- 
fined in a tower which overhung the northern 
face of the rock towards the town, with only 
one attendant, or chamber-chield, as he was 
called, when a small trading vessel arrived in 
the neighbouring Firth, with a cargo of Gascon 
wine. Negotiations having been opened with 
the castle, the duke was permitted to receive 
two small casks of wine, one of which contained 
a letter, warning him of the necessity of im- 
mediate escape, and a coil of rope to aid him 
in effecting it. The new supply of wine 
afforded an excellent excuse for inviting the 
captain of the guard to sup with him, while he 
supplied the soldiers with such abundance of 
liquor that the way for escape was soon clear. 
The rope was then fastened to the window of 
their apartment, and the attendant, letting him- 
self down first, fell and broke his thigh. The 
duke, following with more caution, reached the 
ground in safety, and, taking up his disabled 
chamber-chield on his back, he made good his 
escape to the French ship, and was in full sail 
down the Firth before his absence was known 
to the governor of the castle. 

It was during this period of extreme weak- 
ness of the crown, and division among the 
nobles, that the city of Edinburgh obtained 
some of its most important and valued privi- 
leges ; and the office of heritable sheriff within 
the town, which is still claimed and exercised 


by the lord provost, was first conferred on its 
chief magistrate. Along with these gifts, the 
complete control of the trained bands and 
armed citizens by their own magistrates was 
confirmed by the gift of the craftsman's ban- 
ner, styled the Blue Blanket. According to 
ancient traditions, this banner was wrought by 
the fair hands of queen Margaret. It has ever 
since been a special object of regard to the 
burghers of the Scottish capital, and has been 
unfurled in many a battle, both for royal and 
civic rights. Its use in the latter capacity is 
referred to in no very satisfactory terms by 
king James vi. in his Basilicon Doron, where 
he says, " The craftsmen think we should be 
content with their work, how bad soever it be ; 
and if in anything they be controlled, up goes 
the Blue Blanket." On the 8th of June, 
1488, the unhappy James iii. fell by the hands 
of his rebellious nobles on the field of Stirling, 
when fleeing from the traitorous band, headed 
by his own son, James iv., then a youth of 
seventeen years of age. 




James iv. was crowned at Edinburgh in June, 
1488, under circumstances that seemed to 
promise anything rather than beneficial resuhs 
to his distracted country. He was only in his 
seventeenth year, and in the hands of coun- 
cillors who had already made a tool of him in 
their rebellion against his father ; yet his reign 
of twenty-live years is one of the brightest in 
the history of Scotland, and furnishes some 
peculiarly interesting associations connected 
with the Scottish capital. 

Immediately after the coronation, which 
took place in the Abbey of Holyrood, the 
young king sent his heralds to demand the 
restitution of the castle in his name. This was 
conceded, as well as the other royal strongholds 
throughout the kingdom, and he began his 
reign with the full powers of sovereignty, 
though at the head of a distracted nobility. 
Soon after the royal coronation, a parliament 
was held in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, in 
which the victorious faction enacted various 


liarsh and severe laws against the adherents of 
the Lnte king, suspending or depriving all 
officers of state, and handing over all church- 
men taken in armour to be punished by their 
ecclesiastical superiors. All this, however, was 
but as the clouds that give way at the dawn. 
The king already gave evidence of a peculiar 
affability and sagacious wisdom, which ren- 
dered him one of the most popular sovereigns 
that ever occupied a throne ; while his chival- 
rous tastes, and his liberal patronage of learning 
and the arts, made his court the most illustrious 
of his day in Europe. 

During this reign the castle was a favourite 
residence of the sovereign, and a tilting ground 
inclosed on the plain immediately below the 
rock to the south of the castle, w^as the scene of 
many a royal tournament and gallant passage 
of arms, the fame of which attracted knights 
from the chief courts of Europe. One notable 
encounter is recorded, which took place between 
sir John Cockbevis, a famous cavalier of the 
Low Countries, and sir Patrick Hamilton. 
The king overlooked the field of contest from 
the castle wall. The Scottish knight's horse 
having failed him in the second onset, they 
encountered on foot, and continued the contest 
for a full hour, until at length the foreign 
knight was struck down to the ground, and 
about to be slain — for the challenge was to 
fight to the death. At this critical moment 
king James threw his bonnet over the castle 
wall, as a signal to the marshals of the lists to 


stay the combat ; while tlie heralds proclaimed 
the Scottish knight the victor. 

But the court of James iv. was no less cele- 
brated for its scholars and poets, than for its 
chivalrous knights and its feats of arms. In 
this reign the printing-press was introduced, 
and the earliest examples of Scottish typo- 
graphy were produced at Edinburgh, under the 
special patronage of the king. Gawin Douglas, 
afterwards bishop of Dunkeld, the well-known 
translator of Virgil's yEneid into Scottish verse, 
and the author of " The Palace of Honour," 
dedicated the latter poem to the king, as his 
gracious prince. The poet was promoted to 
the provostship of the collegiate church of St. 
Giles at Edinburgh, and enjoyed the favour of 
the king throughout his whole reign. Walter 
Kennedy, sir John Ross, Roull, and other early 
poets, were also fostered under the genial 
patronage of the king. But the most cele- 
brated of all the royal favourites, and one whose 
genius still remains uneclipsed by all who have 
succeeded him, was William Dunbar, justly 
pronounced by Ellis to be " the greatest poet 
that Scotland has produced." 

The poems of Dunbar contain some curious 
allusions to Edinburgh, as, for example, in part 
of a play, where a dwarf is introduced in the 
character of Wealth ; he thus speaks : — 

For sekerly the truth to tell, 
I come among' you here to dwell ; 
Fra sound of St. Giles's bell 
Never think I to flee. 


Wherefor in Scotland come I here, 

With you to bide and persevere 

In Edinburgh, where is merriest cheer ; 

Pleasant disport, and play ; 
"Which is the lamp, and A per se 
Of this region, in all deijree 
Of wellfare, and of honesty, 

Renown and rich array." 

In another pocm, Dunbar paj's the Scottish 
capital the singularly choice compliment, " Were 
honour tint, or lost, it might be found in thee." 
His verse, however, is not always so lauda- 
tory ; and one of the most graphic and lively 
of his minor poems is a satire, entitled " An 
Address to the Merchants of Edinburgh," 
written probably about the year 1500, and 
exhibiting a most curious picture of the state 
of the Scottish metropolis at that early period. 
One single stanza will suffice to give an idea of 
the highly graphic character of this interesting 
delineation, where the poet pictures the com- 
mon street minstrels, whose skill was confined 
to one or two hackneyed tunes : — 

"Your common minstrels have no tune. 
But * now the day daws,' and ' into June;' 
Cuninger men maun serve saint cloun, 
And never to other craftis claim ; 

Think ye no shame 
To hold sic mowis on the moon. 
In hurt and slander of your name ! " 

Various other equally interesting local allu- 
sions are to be found in his poems. But an 
incident of more general interest gave rise to 
one of his two chief works, " The Thistle and 
the Eose," written to celebrate the union of 
James iv. wdth Margaret, the daughter of 
Henry vii. of England. Up to this time, 


thongli the Scottish kings had frequently re- 
sided at Holyrood Abbey, it was only now, in 
anticipation of the arrival of the English 
princess, that the king set earnestly to work to 
build a palace beside the abbey, worthy of the 
royal residence. While this work was in pro- 
gress, and every preparation was making for 
the royal nuptials, messengers arrived at Edin- 
burgh from pope Julius ii., bearing as gifts to 
the Scottish king a SAVord and diadem, richly 
wrought with acorns and oak-leaves of gold, 
and which had been consecrated by the pontift 
on Christmas eve. The beautiful large sword 
and rich gold scabbard are still preserved in 
Edinburgh Castle, along with the ancient 
regalia of Scotland, which include the crown 
of Robert the Bruce. 

On the 7th of August, 1503, the princess 
Margaret of England made her public entry 
into Edinburgh, amidst rejoicings and costly 
displays, such as probably the Scottish capital 
never before witnessed. Entering the city 
from the west, they were entertained by a 
romantic play suited to the occasion, in which a 
knight-errant engaged with a rival, and rescued 
his distressed lady-love from the hands of her 
ravisher. At the city gate the Grey Friars, 
whose monastery they had to pass in the Grass- 
market, received the royal pair, and presented 
their most valued relics for them to kiss. At 
another gate, a band of virgins, attired as 
angels, sang a joyous welcome, and then pre- 
sented the keys of the city to the young queen ; 


and so in like manner, along the whole way 
down the High -street and the Canongate, 
they were entertained with religious mysteries, 
allegorical plays, and processions of monks and 
priests. The Somerset herald, who attended the 
princess, along with the archbishop of York, 
the bishop of Durham, the earl of Surrey, and 
other English nobles, has preserved an account 
of the reception at Holyrood, and of the costly 
hangings and furniture of the palace, which 
proves that the Scottish court at that period 
equalled in taste and magnificence that of any 
capital in Europe. 

Two princes successively born at Holyrood 
Palace died in infancy, and the third, who 
speedily succeeded to the throne as James v., 
w\is born at Linlithgow in 1512. But the 
alliance with England, though it ultimately led 
to the accession of James's great grandson to 
the English throne, did not prevent war, with 
all its disastrous consequences, from breaking 
out between the king and his royal brother- 
in-laAv, Henry viir. 

Among the warlike preparations made by 
king James long prior to this collision with 
England, his master gunner, Robert Borthwick, 
was employed in casting a set of brass ordnance 
for him in Edinburgh Castle, and seven of 
these guns, remarkable for their size and 
beauty, obtained from the king the name of 
the Seven Sisters. On one occasion, when 
trying a new culverin from the castle ramparts, 
he narrowly escaped the fate of his grandfather, 


the piece having burst and flown in fragments 
around him. The Seven Sisters, with ten other 
pieces of ordnance, fell into the hands of the 
English at Flodden, and were boasted of by 
the earl of Surrey, their captor, as being more 
beautiful than any cannon which king Henry 

The author of Marmion has conferred a new 
popularity and interest on the singular super- 
natural warnings which, both at Linlithgow 
and Edinburgh, v^-ere believed to have an- 
nounced to the king the fatal results that 
would foUovv', if he persisted in the meditated 
war v/ith England. The ancient city cross was 
an octagonal structure, surmounted by a lofty 
Gotliic pillar, on the summit of which the 
Scottish unicorn upheld a small cross. From 
this structure the heralds published all acts of 
parliament and public citations ; it was, there- 
fore, a vision pregnant with peculiar meaning 
when the phantom heralds of the unseen world 
appeared on the cross summit, and cited the 
king and the Scottish leaders by name, to 
appear before its dread tribunal : — 

" Then on its battlements they saw 
A vision passing Nature's \a.\v, 

Strange, wild, and dimly seen ; 
Figures that seem'd to rise and die, 
Gibber and sign, advance and lly, 
"While nought confirm'd could ear or eye 

Discern of sound or mien. 
Yet darkly did it seem, as there 
Heralds and pursuivants prepare, 
With trumpet sound, and blazon fair, 

A summons to proclaim : 
But indistinct the pageant proud, 
As fancy forms of midnight cloud, 



AVhen flings the moon upon her shroud 

A wavering tinge of flame ; 
It flits, expands, and shifts, till loud, 
From midmost of the spectre crowd, 

The awful summons came." 

The poet has here in no way exaggerated 
history ; nor, singular as this supernatural event 
may appear, do Ave doubt that it did actually 
occur. Its explanation probably is to be sought 
for in the desire of the Scottish nobles to induce 
the king to abandon his rash design of war, 
which they thus tried by playing on his super- 
stitious fears. If so, however, it was in vain. 
In defiance, as it seemed, of earth and Heaven, 
the headstrong monarch led forth the flower of 
Scottish chivahy to perish on the bloody field 
of Fiodden. So ended the prosperous reign of 
James iv. 

JAMES V. 67 



The first enclosure of Edinburgh with fortified 
Avails took place, as has been already said, in 
the reign of James ii. One consequence of the 
great prosperity enjoyed under the reign of 
James iv. appears to have been the rapid 
extension of the town beyond these limits. A 
large suburb, including the Cowgate, where 
many of the nobles' and bisliops' palaces were 
built, had sprung up to the south of the walled 
town. Now all was consternation. A wall 
was rapidly built to protect this new suburb, 
and such was the effect of the panic, and of the 
check produced by its causes on the progress of 
the Scottish capital, that scarcely a single house 
was erected beyond the second wall for upwards 
of two centuries. Considerable portions of 
this old wall and one of its towers remain, 
the latter of which still bears the name of 
the " Flodden Tower." 

Another long minority was to succeed, for the 
infant, James v., was only two years old ; and 


the streets of Edinburgh exchanged the gor- 
geous pageants of the chivah-ous James iv. for 
fierce tulzies, in which blood \vas shed as 
on the open battle-field. The most celebrated 
of these was the famous " Cleanse the Cause- 
way," a street broil, which yet had many of 
the characteristics of a pitched battle betv.'cen 
rival factions in civil war. The queen, I\Iar- 
garet of England, had accepted Archibald, 
earl of Angus, in marriage, whereupon the earl 
of Arran marched to Edinburgh at the head of 
a numerous body of kinsmen and retainers, and 
laid claim to the regency, as the nearest of 
blood to the king. The earl of Angus mus- 
tered five hundred armed followers, and like- 
wise repaired to Edinburgh to assert his rights, 
which he claimed through his ro3'al countess. 
Arran meanwhile had assembled the chief 
nobility of the w'est at the palace of James 
Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow, still a stately 
though decayed mansion, standing at the foot 
of Blackfriars Wynd, in the Cowgate. So soon 
as he learned of Angus' arrival, he ordered the 
city gates to be secured, little dreaming of the 
formidable host he was enclosing. The earl 
of Angus received early intimation of the rash 
proceedings of his rival, and lost no time in 
mustering his followers, whom he drew up in 
battle array in the lower part of High-street, 
within the Nether- row. 

While things were in this critical position, an 
incident occurred peculiarly characteristic of 
the clergy of the period, and which has been 

JAMES V. 69 

frequently narrated, from the interest attacliing 
to the principal actors. Gawin Douglas, the 
poet, who was uncle to the earl of Angus, and 
at that time bishop of Dunkeld, resided in his 
palace in the Cowgate, very little apart from 
that of the archbishop of Glasgow, where the 
rivals of his nephew held their deliberations. 
Gawin Douglas accordingly repaired to the 
archbishop, and appealed to him as a church- 
man to use his influence with his friends to 
compromise their differences, and prevent the 
bloodshed which otherwise must ensue. The 
archbishop excused himself on various accounts ; 
and when closel}' pressed by Douglas, at length 
exclaimed, " On my conscience I cannot help 
it!" As he uttered this, he struck his breast 
in the heat of his asseveration, and thereby 
betrayed a concealed coat of mail under his 
churchman's robes, whereupon Douglas retorted, 
with a happy play upon the words : " How 
now, my lord? methinks your conscience 
clatters!" ■ 

A fierce and bloodj'' contest ensued. The 
citizens for the most part sided v/ith the earl 
of Angus ; nearly a hundred of the earl of 
Arran's followers were slain, including his own 
brother, the master of Montgomery, and other 
leaders of distinction ; and the treacherous arch- 
bishop of Glasgow, after being dragged by the 
incensed Douglases from behind the altar of 
the church of the Blackfriars, whither he had 
fled fur refuge, owed his life to the mediation of 
the worthy bishop of Dunkeld, whose attempts 


to avert tlie conflict he had only a few hours 
before repelled. 

While scenes such as this di?graced the 
capital, and filled the whole country with lawless 
violence, the young king pursued his studies 
under the direction of Gawin Dunbar, after- 
wards archbishop of Glasgow ; and his sports, 
■with the aid of the poet, sir David Lindsay, 
the future lord lyon herald. Their residence 
was for the most part in the Castle of Edin- 
burgh, but so little did either faction heed the 
nominal sovereign in whose name they pro- 
fessed to act, that the furnishing of his apart- 
ments had to be paid for by his tutor, and 
eA''en his wearing apparel was supj)lied by his 
sister, the countess of Morton. 

Sir David Lindsay gives some curious in- 
sight into the privacy of the royal boy, during 
this period of faction and civil strife ; and 
describes with pleasant and lively truthfulness, 
the pastimes by which the leisure of the young 
king was beguiled. The Castle of Edinburgh 
was his abode for safe protection from the frequent 
feuds without ; but when not prevented by the 
disturbed state of the town and neighbourhood, 
he frequently rode forth with his attendants in 
the neighbouring chase, and even occasionally 
took up his residence in the adjacent castles of 
Craigmillar and Dalkeith. But, as Lindsay 
tells us in one of his liveliest satires, in which 
he has pictured the obsequious rivalry of the 
fawning courtiei'S in humouring the juvenile 

JAMES V. 71 

" Imprudently, like witless fools, 
They took the young prince fra the schools, 
Where he, under obedience, 
Was learning virtue and science, 
And hastily put in his hand 
The governance of ail Scotland." 

The ]w3^-king was only twelve years of age 
when thus taken from school to assume the 
reins of government. The duke of Albany 
had deserted the kingdom, the queen's party 
was struggling for possession of the king's per- 
son as a tool of faction, and all true government 
seemed to be at an end, when a number of 
the nobles adopted the device of investing the 
young king with the full powers of royalty, in 
the hope of thereby terminating the frightful 
anarchy that prevailed. On the 22nd of 
August, 1524, the king made his solemn entry 
into Edinburgh, attended by the lords, and pro- 
ceeded to hold a council in the Tolbooth, with 
sceptre, crown, and all the insignia of royalty. 
An old historian gives an amusing account of 
the result of this novel experiment in govern- 
ing : — The king and the lords remained together 
at Holyrood for the space of a year, with great 
triumph and merriment, till a benefice chanced 
to fall vacant, and then the whole quarrelled 
together about the disposing of it. Three 
years of faction and lawless turbulence ensued. 
But the king now drew near manhood, and 
already showed evidences of decision and ability 
beyond his years. 

It is in this reign, and about the period ot 
James v. attaining to his majority, that the first 


indications of the movements which brought 
about the reformation of religion in Scotland 
began to appear. The church in Scotland, 
as elsewhere, had become grossly corrupt. 
The clergy, instead of being the teachers of 
virtue, and examples of a consistent and holy 
life, had ceased even to respect common decency. 
Simony, licentiousness, ignorance, and the 
most base tampering with their public and 
official trusts, were notorious as existing among 
the great body of them, insomuch that the 
name of a priest or monk, instead of suggesting 
the idea of a teacher of religion, and a prac- 
tiser of the highest virtues, was synonymous 
with the impersonation of indolence and vice 
The influence of such a state of things it is not 
difficult to conceive. It realized once more the 
picture drawn by an inspired prophet : — " My 
people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. 
They eat up the sin of my people, and they set 
their heart on their iniquity ; and there shall 
be, like people, Hke priest." 

In the midst of this terrible state of things, 
aggravated by the prevailing lawlessness of a 
country of whom it could so long be truly said, 
" Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is u 
child!" there was raised up by Divine Provi- 
dence one who was in some sense the precursor, 
sent to bear witness of the coming light of the 
Eeformation. This distinguished personage in 
so important a crisis of Scottish history was 
sir David Lindsay, the poet. I'inkerton has 
said of him : " Sir David was more the re- 

JAMES V. 73 

former of Scotland than John Knox : for he 
had prepared the ground, and John only sowed 
the seed." His position gave him peculiar 
influence. As a special favourite of the king, 
he "was beyond the reach of the enmity of the 
licentious churchmen whom he satirized. His 
mode of attack, moreover, was enjoyed by 
many who only looked to the amusement of the 
passing hour, without perceiving the results 
that nuist flow from such a system of popidar 
instruction. The dramatic w-orks of the poet, 
and especially his " Satire of the Three 
Estates," were accordingly enacted before both 
court and people, to the delight of all. On 
the north-west side of the Calton Hill, at Edin- 
burgh, a deep natural amphitheatre still bears 
its old name of Greenside, where this popular 
drama was played in presence of Mary de Guise, 
the queen of James v., and of the nobles and 
people. In it the excesses of the clergy and 
the gross corruptions of the church were exposed 
with a freedom never surpassed by John Knox, 
and hence some writers have assumed that the 
king was not averse to reformation. Yet if 
such was the case, it did not prevent the same 
malignity being manifested in Scotland as 
elsewhere, to all wdio dared to differ in doctrine 
from the church of Rome ; and the reign of 
James v. was accordingly signalized by the 
execution of sundry heretics, Lollards, or 
favourers of Martin Luther, as they are Aari- 
ously termed, several of whom were burned on 
the Castle Hill of Edinburgh. 
c 2 


James v. married, in 1537, the princess 
I\Iagdalen, eldest daughter of Francis i. of 
France ; and her reception at Holy rood, and 
her entry in state into Edinburgh, were marked 
by the utmost magnificence and loyalty of an 
age specially fond of such displays. But the 
rejoicing was of brief duration. Ere six weeks 
had elapsed, king James followed the remains 
of his fair young bride, and saw them laid in 
the royal vault of Holyrood Abbey, amidst the 
greatest public mourning that had ever been 
known in Scotland. Buchanan, who was an 
eye-witness, mentions that it was the first 
occasion on which mourning dresses were worn 
hy the Scots. 

Mary de Guise, the second queen of James v., 
plays a part in the history of Scotland, and of 
its capital, inferior only to that of her haj^less 
daughter, queen Mary. All the parliaments 
during this reign assembled at Edinburgh ; and 
it more and more assumed the exclusive cha- 
racter of the capital of the kingdom. The 
palace which had been begun by James iv., 
beside the Abbey of Holyrood, was continued 
by his successor ; and tradition still assigns to 
him the erection of the north-west towers of 
the palace, the only portion of the original 
building which has survived the successive con- 
flagrations and demolitions to which it has been 




It was impossible that the collision between the 
grossly corrupt church of Scotland and the 
people could be long averted, in the reign of 
James v., when the neighbouring country of 
England was passing through the singular 
ordeal by which it was prepared under Henry 
vni. for the Reformation. But the marriage of 
James V. to Mary of Lorraine, daughter of the 
duke of Guise, undoubtedly tended to increase 
the violence of the strife between the reformers 
and the adherents of Rome. Throughout the 
whole reign, the influence of sir David Lindsay's 
writings was widely felt, and it cannot be 
doubted that his private interest with the king, 
whom he had tended from his childhood, was 
directed to the same end. But in the new 
queen, the churchmen had a much more 
powerful agency for their immediate purpose, 
though the reforming poet finally triumphed. 
The queen was undoubtedly a woman ol 
ability, and characterized by such virtues as 
might have shone with great lustre, and been 


productive of the happiest effects on her adopted 
country under more favourable circumstances ; 
but her lot was cast in the midst of that 
momentous strife of great principles, in which 
luihappiiy she was led by her liereditary associa- 
tions and early education to take the side of 
error and persecution. Plence her name is 
associated with the struggle for liberty of con- 
science in Scotland, as the great upholder and 
instigator of the persecution and bloodshed 
which prevailed during the long minority of 
her ill-fated daughter, queen Mary, and which 
paved the way for all that has given her name 
so sad a pre-eminence in the national annals. 

Whether under the direct countenance of 
the queen, or merely encouraged by her known 
partiality to the Komish cause, there is no 
doubt that soon after her arrival in Edinburgh 
the persecution against all who favoured the 
reformed doctrines became more violent, while 
the proceedings of Henry viii.- of England 
added to the virulence of the incensed church- 
men. Many iled to England and the continent 
to escape the danger which threatened them ; 
while others were induced, through fear, to 
bear a fsiggot, or as the old Scottish Avriters term 
it, " to burn their bill," in token of recantation. 
"The form of burning one's bill," says Keith, 
" or recanting, was this : — the person accused 
was to bring a faggot of dry sticks and burn it 
publicly, by which ceremony he signified that 
\u\ destroyed that which should have been the 
instrument of his death." 


In 1534, sir William Kirk, Mr. Henry Hen- 
drj'son, master of the Grammar School of 
Edinburgh, and sundry other inhabitants of 
the town and of the neighbouring port of Leith, 
■were summoned to appear beibre an assembly 
of the bishops in llolyrood Abbey, some of 
whom abjured and publicly burned their bills, 
and others fled to ibreign lands ; but two of 
them, of \vhom Knox has preserved a parti- 
cular account in his History of the Reformation 
in Scotland, were brought to trial in the pre- 
sence of the king at Holyrood Abbey, These 
were David Straiton, a gentleman of property, 
and INIr. Norman Gourlay, whom the historian 
describes as a man of reasonable erudition. 

In David Straiton, as in so many others 
of that age, the first movements of rebellion 
against the intolerant sway of the corrupt 
church of Rome, flov/ed from the lively indig- 
nation at the pride and avarice of the priest- 
hood, and a resolute opposition to their unjust 
claims. He had provided for himself a fishing- 
boat, with which it was his frequent custom to 
go to sea to fish. Thereupon the prior of St. 
Andrew's and his factors came upon him for 
the tithe of the product of his labours. His 
answer was sufliciently explicit. If, said he, 
they must have the tiend of what my servants 
won from the sea, it is only reasonable that they 
should come and receive it where the v.hole 
stock was got ; and so, as was afterwards wit- 
nessed against him, he caused his servants to 
throw every tenth fish into the sea. The prior 


forthwith brought an action against him for 
non-payment of tithes ; and on his failing to 
make good his charge, he summoned him to 
answer for the more heinous crime of heresy. 
The account which the great reformer, John 
Knox, gives of his conversion is nearly as 
follows : — He was greatly troubled at this charge 
of heresy, and forthwith began to frequent the 
company of such as were godly ; though before 
he had been of a stubborn and worldly character, 
and one who specially despised all religious 
discourse or reading. But now a marvellous 
change appeared. He delighted in nothing but 
such reading, and was a vehement exhorter of 
all men to concord, peaceableness, and contempt 
of the world. It chanced on one occasion that 
the laird of Lowriston, a kinsman of his own, 
was reading to him from the New Testament, 
in a quiet place in the fields, and as God had 
appointed, he chanced to read these words of 
our Divine Master : " Whosoever shall deny 
me before men, him will I also deny before my 
Father which is in heaven." At these words 
he suddenly, as one ravished, cast himself on 
his knees, and looking up to heaven, with 
hands extended for some time, he at length 
burst forth in these words : " O Lord, I have 
been wicked, and justly mayest thou withdraw 
thy grace from me. But, Lord, for thy mercy's 
sake, let me never deny thee nor thy truth, for 
fear of death or corporal pain." The issue, as 
Knox observes, proved that his prayer had not 
been made in vain. 


A solemn conclave of the bishops and chief 
dignitaries of the church was held in the Abbey 
of Holyrood, presided over by the king in per- 
son. Great exertions were made to induce 
Straiten to recant, but in vain. He stood on 
his defence, maintaining his opinions, but 
alleging that he had committed no offence 
worthy of punishment. He was then con- 
demned to be burned, as an obstinate heretic. 
He appealed to the king for mercy, which, says 
Knox, he would willingly have granted to him, 
but the bishops proudly answered that the 
king's hands were bound in the case of a 
heretic, and that he had no grace to extend to 
those who were condemned for sins against the 

The place where Straiten and Gourlay were 
led forth to be burned, was the same green 
hollow on the northern slope of the Calton Hill, 
already described as the scene of some of the 
earliest known dramatic performances at Edin- 
burgh, and Avhere public sports, tournaments, 
and the burgher musters, called the weapon- 
shaws, had been customarily held since the 
reign of James n. These early Scottish mar- 
tyrs failed not to witness a good confession at 
the stake ; and Straiten, especially, remem- 
bered that solemn warning of his Divine Master, 
which had so deeply impressed his heart, and 
exhorted the people to renounce their supersti- 
tion and idolatry, and to learn for themselves, 
from God's word, what was the pure fliith of 
which the church was now the persecutor 


instead of the teacher. They were led, says 
the old Scottish reformer, to a place beside the 
Rood of Greenside, and there they two were 
both hanged and burned, " according to the 
mercy of the papistical kirk." Among those 
who escaped from sharing in the like fate at 
this period, was James Hamilton, sheriff of 
Linlithgow, and brother of Patrick Hamilton, 
titular abbot of Feme, one of the earliest of the 
Scottish reformers, who was burned at St. 
Andrew's in 1527. In August, 1535, as we 
learn, Cranmer introduced j\Ir. James Hamil- 
ton to Cromwell, as a gentleman who had left 
his country for no cause but " that he favoured 
the truth of God's word." Two years after 
this, David Beaton became archbishop of St. 
Andrew's, and was raised to the dignity of a 
cardinal, and under his influence the flames 
of persecution were rekindled with redoubled 
fury. Notwithstanding their tyranny, says 
Knox, the knowledge of God did wondrously 
increase within this realm, partly by reading, 
and partly by brotherly conference, which in 
those dangerous days was used to the comfort 
of many ; but chiefly by merchants and 
mariners, who, frequenting other countries, 
heard the true doctrine aflirmed, and the vanity 
of the papistical religion openly rebuked. Dun- 
dee proved, along with the port of Edinburglf, 
the most formidable source of such danger to the 
exasperated upholders of the old and corrupt 
church. A very strait inquisition was made in 
both places by cardinal Beaton, and divers per- 


sons were compelled to abjure andburn their bills, 
some in St. Andrew's, and some in Edinburgh. 
About the same time, captain John Borthwick 
Avas burned in effigy, but, by God's good ])ro- 
vidence, his person escaped their fury. This, 
the historian adds, was done for a spectacle and 
triumph to Mary of Lorraine, lately arrived 
from France as wife to the king James v. 

The flames of persecution being thus effec- 
tually kindled, they were not allowed to be 
extinguished during the remainder of the king's 
reign ; and however much he may have per- 
sonally disliked such proceedings, he was com- 
pelled not only to permit them, but to witness 
and countenance them by his presence. Yet it 
is marvellous to think that on the very spot, on 
the green slopes of the Calton Hill of Edin- 
burgh, where some of the martj-rs of this reign 
witnessed a good confession at the stake, the 
court and clergy, with the queen at their head, 
patiently beheld the exhibition of sir David 
Lindsay's satire of the Three Estates. A few 
extracts from this early dramatic performance 
Avill show how wonderfully the good providence 
of God was employing the favourite of the 
king, Avith his bold satiric pen, to compass the 
downfal of the corrupt and persecuting church. 
The first part introduces a number of allegorical 
characters, such as Diligence, Wantonness, Sen- 
suality, Falsehood, Deceit, etc. Among the rest, 
Verity appears, and most solemnly, and with 
much beauty, exhorts both king and prelates 
to rule justly, and to teach not only by precept 


hut by example. Thereupon, Deceit, Flattery, 
and Falsehood hold council together, and resolve 
on accusing her to the spirituality of heresy, as 
the readiest means of getting rid of an unwel- 
come intruder. The plot succeeds ; — the abbot, 
the parson, and the spirituality all unite in 
putting down Verity, lest she should come 
within hearing of the king. In answer to a 
threat of the stake and faggots if she ventures 
to teach any more in the kingdom, she replies : — 

" I have said nothing hut the verity ; 
But, with the king, what time that I be known 
1 doubt, ye freres of spiritualitie 
Shall rew that ever I came to this countrie ; 
For if the verity plainly was proclaimed, 
And specially to the king's majesty, 
For your traditions you will be defamed." 

On this Flattery bursts in exclaiming : — 

" What book is that, harlot, into thy hand? 
Out ! well away ! 'tis the New Testament, 
In English tongue, and printed in England, 
Heresie! heresie! fire! tire! incontinent!" 

Verity replies, by declnring that the New 
Testament contains no heresy but Christ's own 
word, most sweet, a well of sincerest verity ; 
and then kneeling down, she solemnly prays 
God to arise and strive with those who thus 
trampled under-foot his gracious w^ord ; where- 
upon she is put in the stocks. 

Chastity appears and meets •with a similar 
reception ; the prioress telling her that Dame 
Sensuality had warned her of such dangerous 
company ; and after being rejected and buffeted 
by the abbot, parson, and all the ecclesiastical 
dignitaries, and being turned out of doors by 


the nuns, she resorts at length to the laity, and 
receives a kindly -welcome from a poor shoe- 
maker and tailor. 

The whole satire is of the same free and 
plain-spoken character. The Pardoner plays 
an important part in succeeding scenes, and 
exposes the vice and greed of the clergy in 
a similarly popular and truthful style. The 
effect of such exhibitions on the popular mind 
could not fail to be strong and lasting ; and 
that the clergy would gladly have put down 
the bold satirist we have good evidence from 
the fact that, not long after, Kyllor, a black- 
friar, prepared a play, or religious mj-stery, in 
the same style, for which he was condemned 
to the flames. " A blackfriar," says Knox, 
" called friar Kyllor, set forth the history of 
Christ's passion in the form of a play," that is, 
one of the miracle plays which so commonly 
formed a part of the service on the principal 
holidays of the church in the middle ngos. 
This he both preached and acted openly in 
Stirling, in the presence of the king, on the 
morning of Good Friday, 1539. In this play 
all things were so livelily expressed, that the 
common people understood and confessed that, 
as the priests and Pharisees persuaded the 
people to refuse Christ Jesus, and caused 
Pilate to condemn him, so did the bishops and 
priests of their own day blind the people, and 
persuade princes and judges to persecute and 
condemn such as profess Jesus Christ and his 
blessed Evangel. 


This popular exposure of tlie persecuting 
spirit of these modern Pharisees roused their 
utmost indignation, and as the poor friar had 
no such friends at court as had sufficed to 
secure impunity to sir David Lindsay's satirical 
exposures, he was forthwith summoned to 
answer for his offences before a consistory, 
held, as usual, at the Abbey of Holyrood. 
The Scottish cardinal David Beaton ; Gawin 
Dunbar, king James's former tutor, now arch- 
bishop of Glasgow and lord chancellor ; and 
George Crichton, bishop of Dunkeld, took the 
lead in this proceeding, by which they were 
to furnish fresh proof of the justice of the poor 
friar's allegory. Along with the chief offender, 
they also summoned before them sir Dun- 
can Symson, Eobert Forrester, dean Forret, 
vicar of Dolhir, and canon-regular in the 
monastery of Inch Colm, and friar Beveredge, 
all of whom were condemned to the stake on 
the 28th of Februar}^ 1539, and were the 
same day burned to death on the Castle-hill of 
Edinburgh. The charge against Robert For- 
rester, a gentleman, as appears from Pitcairn's 
Criminal Trials, was that he had in his pos- 
session books suspected of heresy. Knox 
describes dean Forret as a man of upright life, 
and Foxe has preserved an interesting account 
of him in his Book of Martyrs. His father 
was master of the king's stables in the reign of 
James iv., and his name repeatedly occurs in the 
treasurer's accounts among those attending on 
the court. It appears from other instances of 


trials for heresy, tliat the archbisliop of Ghisgow, 
vho was a man of learning and a liberal patron 
of letters, had little inclination for these violent 
proceedings, and would willingly have spared 
some whom these zealous Scottish inquisitors 
burned at the stake. 

How far the moderate views of the king's 
former tutor, superadded to the influence of 
his favourite courtier, sir David Lindsay, might 
have affected the policy of James v. in relation 
to the increasing demands of the people for the 
reformation of the church, it is now difficult 
to determine. But Knox relates in his history 
some curious accounts of visions with which 
the king was troubled, and warnings of judg- 
ments he believed himself to have received, 
which seem to indicate a mind preyed on by 
remorse for his part in such cruel and unjust 
persecutions. Little further time, however, 
was left for repentance or amendment. In- 
volved by the influence of the cardinal, and 
other leaders of the Romish party, in an impru- 
dent war with England, and in a hopeless 
struggle with his own subjects, he died at his 
palace of Falkland of a broken heart, on the 
13th of December, 1542, in the 31st year of 
his age. Both of the king's sons were dead, 
and as he lay, racked by the fever which 
preyed on his wasted frame, intelligence was 
brought him that the queen had given birth to 
a daughter at Linlithgow Palace. The news, 
which in happier hours might have cheered 
him, seemed only to add to his hopeless 


despondency. With a melancholy ]"efleclion on 
the fortunes of an infant born to the crown 
which had brought him such sorrow, he gave 
the friends around his couch a parting look of 
recognition, turned himself on his pillow, and 
expired. He was interred in the Abbey of 
Holyrood with the wonted pomp that waits on 
the obsequies of kings, and not Avithout some 
of the more valued accompaniments of true 
mourning. His favourite adherents appear to 
have been most strongly attached to him ; and 
his early servitor and faithful friend, sir David 
Lindsay, as lord lyon herald, directed the 
mournful ceremony Avhich laid his royal master 
by the side of his first young bride, queen 
Magdalen, in the vault of Holyrood Abbey. 
The daughter Avhose birth was announced 
under such sorrowful circumstances, was the 
beautiful, but unhappy, Mary queen of Scots. 

Among those citizens we have mentioned as 
summoned before the bishops at Holyrood, in 
1534, to answer the charge of heresy for their 
adoption of the scriptural doctrines of the re- 
lormers, it is interesting to find the name of 
Henryson, one of the masters of the High 
School of Edinburgh. The precise date of the 
foundation of this celebrated seminary is un- 
certain ; but an act of the town council, in 
1519, prohibits all parents and guardians from 
placing their 3'outh at any other school under 
pain of incurring a heavy fine. About the 
middle of the sixteenth century, a venerable 
mansion, still standing at the foot of Blackfriars 


WyncI, ill the Cowgate — and which has been 
noted as the scene of more than one remark- 
able occurrence while occupied as the archiepis- 
copal palace — was hired for the accommodation 
of the Grammar School, In 1557, a handsome 
new school was built on the site of the old 
monastery of the Blackfriars ; and that was 
again replaced in 1777, by the building at the 
foot of Infirmary-street, now occupied as a 
surgical hospital. We may be permitted to 
depart from chronological order, to remind the 
reader that in this latter building were edu- 
cated sir Charles Bell, sir Walter Scott, lord 
Brougham, lord Jeffrey, and many more of the 
most distinguished Scotchmen of recent times. 
In 1829, the Edinburgh High School was 
removed to a noble Grecian building on the 
Galton Hill ; and there, with all the facilities 
and advantages which modern improvements 
can bestow, it may be expected to add not a 
few to the honourable names of its distinguished 




The infant princess, sole lieir to the crown, and 
to more than all the cahimities of James v., was 
only six days old Avhen she inherited the un- 
enviable honours of royalty, and once more 
involved the Scottish nation in all the evils of 
a protracted minority. Scotland became the 
scene of dissension, strife, and civil war, such 
as had usually marked the minorities of its 
princes, but now rendered doubly virulent by 
the fierceness of theological rancour, and the 
treacherous effects of Ibreign influence. In 
the disastrous strife which preceded the death 
of the king, many of the Scottish nobility had 
been taken prisoners by the English, and the 
wily councillors of Henry vm. found no diffi- 
culty in persuading them to co-operate with 
him in designs for subverting the plans of the 
cardinal and his faction. The grand scheme of 
the English monarch was to bring about a 
marriage between the Scottish queen and his 
son, and afterwards his successor, Edward vi. 
The plan was one dictated by sound poHcy, but 


the cardinal and the queen-dowager both saw in 
it the certain downfal of the Romish church, 
and employed all their arts to oppose it. Hence 
arose all the enmity subsequently manifested 
against Scotland, and most of the miseries 
inflicted on it, in the reigns both of Henry viii. 
and Edward vi. 

Meanwhile, the dominant Scottish party 
adopted means for strengthening their cause, 
and the regent Arran put the fortresses of the 
kingdom into good repair. Edinburgh Castle 
especially was happily committed to the care of 
sir James Hamilton of Stainehouse, a brave 
soldier, under whose directions it w^as once 
more put into good condition for resisting any 
attempt on it. 

On the 12th of March, 1543, a parliament 
assembled at Edinburgh, at which sir Ralph 
Saddler appeared as ambassador from the 
English court, Avhile the Scottish prisoners, 
now secretly engaged to further the plans of 
the English monarch, also repaired thither, and 
employed their influence in promoting the 
negotiatioiis for the marriage. These were the 
earls of Cassillis and Glencairn, the lords 
Fleming, Maxwell, Somerville, and Oliphant, 
most of whom afterwards played a prominent 
part among the reforming party. The pro- 
ceedings of this parliament were wise, tempe- 
rate, and truly patriotic. They approved of tlie 
proposed marriage, but under such restrictions 
as efFectually guarded the liberties of tlie king- 
dom from the encroachments of the English 


crown, and at the same time the first important 
step in the Scottish reformation was taken, on 
tlie motion of lord Maxwell, by enacting that 
all might have liberty to read the Bible in an 
approved Scottish or English translation, pro- 
vided they avoided disputes on controverted 

The patriotic measures adopted by the parlia- 
ment for protecting the liberties of the country 
excited the liveliest indignation in the mind of 
Henry viii., Avho had calculated on getting the 
infant queen into his own possession. In the 
most treacherous manner he seized all the 
Scottish merchant ships which arrived at any 
of the English harbours, and confiscated their 
cargoes. On the news of this reaching 
Edinburgh, the populace rose in a body, sur- 
rounded the house of the English ambassador, 
and threatened his life in case their ships were 
not returned. 

IMeanwhile, the old factions revived, and in 
the midst of a threatened rupture with Eng- 
land, they seemed bent only on each other's 
overthrow, when, on the 1st of May, 1544, a 
fleet of two hundred sail, under the command 
of lord Lisle, high-admiral of England, appeared 
in the Forth. The cardinal, who had borne 
the most prominent part in the proceedings 
M'hich provoked this war, had utterly failed to 
provide for repelling the invaders. The earl of 
Hereford, who commanded the English army, 
was provided with instructions sufficiently cha- 
racteristic of the ferocious and sanguinary 


spirit of the English monarch. The citizens 
of Edinburgh, though deserted by the governor 
and the rational forces, flew to arms for the 
defence of the capital, while their provost pro- 
ceeded to the English camp and tried to effect 
an amicable adjustment of their grievances ; 
but the only condition he had to propose was 
the delivery of the young queen into the hands 
of the English monarch — a step which, rather 
than agree to, the citizens declared their 
intention of submitting to the utmost extremi- 
ties of war. To these the instructions of Henry 
insured their subjection ; for the earl was com- 
manded to put all to fire and sword ; to burn, 
raze, and sack Edinburgh ; to beat down the 
castle and level it with the ground ; to sack 
Holyrood Abbey, and all the towns and villages 
he could reach ; and specially to sack, burn, 
and overthrow Leith ; putting man, woman, 
and child to fire and sword. 

After occupying and plundering Leith for 
three days, Hereford marched on Edinburgh ; 
but the citizens had employed the interval in 
removing their most valuable effects, and pro- 
viding means for their own retreat. To attempt, 
indeed, to hold out the town with no garrison 
but its own burghers, against a well-appointed 
army, provided with heavy ordnance, would 
have been folly ; and it had ever been the 
policy of the Scots to retreat before an invading 
army, and renew the attack on its return from 
the profitless assault on their empty dwellings. 

The English army entering by the Water- 


gate, ill tlie vicinity of Holyrood Abbe}--, 
assaulted the Nether Bow Port, and easily 
battered in its gates. They then dragged their 
cannon up the High-street, to the old Butter 
Tron, which subsequently served both Ciomwell 
and prince Charles for a guard-house when 
they made similar attempts on the castle. On 
emerging in front of the fortress, and trying a 
shot at its entrance, liowever, they found that 
they had a serious opposition to encounter. 
Their guns were dismounted, and the gunners 
slain by the vrell-directed fire of the garrison ; 
and on their attempting the construction of 
trenches, sir James Hamilton made a sudden 
sortie with a part of the garrison, and not 
only put the besieging party to flight, but cap- 
tured a part of their artillery. 

The earl of Hereford now proceeded to put 
his cruel orders in execution. We learn from 
the old Scottish acts of parliament relating to 
the construction of dwellings, and the pre- 
vention or extinction of fires in boroughs, what 
were the usual characteristics of the houses of 
the period. The High-street was then adorned 
with goodly houses, many of them erected in 
the prosperous reign of James iv., decorated 
with heavy overhanging oaken fronts, and 
with arcades and open galleries of ornamented 
timber ; while here and there among them 
rose the more substantial structures of stone, 
including the hereditary town mansions of some 
of the chief nobility, and the palaces of the 
bishops and mitred abbots of the great abbeys. 


To all these the torches of the invaders Avere 
ruthlessly applied. They fired the city in 
numerous quarters at once, and continued the 
work of devastation and plunder, till compelled 
to abandon it by the smoke and flames, as well 
as by the continual firing on them from the 
castle. They renewed the work of destruction 
on the following day ; and for three successive 
days they returned with unabated fury to the 
smoking ruins, till they had completely effected 
their purpose. 

The invaders then proceeded to lay the whole 
surrounding country waste. Craigmillar, which 
was surrendered on the promise of being pre- 
served scathless, was immediately devoted to 
the flames. Roslin Castle shared the same 
fate ; and while part of the army proceeded 
southward by land, burning every abbey, town, 
and village in their line of march, the re- 
mainder returned to Leith, and after plunder- 
ing it, they set both the town and shipping on 
fire, and then re-embarked, leaving behind them 
a wilderness of blackened and bloody ruins. 

This disastrous invasion forms an important 
era in the history of Edinburgh. With the 
exception of the older portions of the castle, the 
churches, and the remains of the palace of 
James V. at Hoiyrood, it may be doubted if any 
])uildings which survived this conflagration now 
exist in Edinburgh, though some of an earlier 
date have been destroyed within the last few 
years. The hand of destruction has been pecu- 
liarly busy of late, and the modern innovators, 


who levelled the venerable Trinity College 
Church, founded by the queen of James ii., 
also destroyed an interesting and curious group 
of buildings, latterly occupied as the Trinity 
Hospital for decayed burghers, but which had 
originally formed the collegiate buildings for 
the residence of the prebends attached to the 
royal foundation of Mary de Gueldres. 

Such a sacking and spoiling might have 
seemed sufficient to quench the spirit of Scottish 
burgher and peasant for many a day ; but it 
Avas not so. The invaders were scarcely over 
the borders, when a body of about thirteen hun- 
dred men mustered, with their wonted pertina- 
city, for a raid into England. They who had 
suffered most, we may presume, were foremost 
in this retaliator}'' movement. Without waiting 
for the leaders, who had deserted them in 
their hour of need, they crossed the borders, 
burned and plundered the nearest towns, drove 
off the cattle, and returned in safety with a 
spoil which in some degree compensated for 
their recent losses. Henry vni. had, indeed, 
conducted his invasion with far more ot the 
character of an angry and resentful suitor, than 
of a politic foe. His army had retreated with- 
out effecting any permanent hold on the coun- 
try, and in their indiscriminate spoliation had 
aroused a spirit which served to unite for the 
common good many who had before bsen more 
inclined to side with the English monarch than 
the cardinal. The insincerity of Henry's pro- 
fessions of friendly intentions was proved by 


the cruel and indiscriminating ravages he had 
ordered to be executed on the country, and all 
classes of the population recoiled from the 
thought of a union Avhich they were called 
upon to celebrate amidst the flames of the Scot- 
tish capital, and the murder of its citizens. 
Eeprisals ensued, in which both parties perpe- 
trated many acts of cruelty ; and in the battle 
of Ancrum, fought the same year, the English 
were totally routed, Avith a loss of eight hun- 
dred slain, and upwards of a thousand taken 

In the interval of truce or border warfare 
that followed, Edinburgh was visited by Wish- 
art, the noble Scottish reformer, and one of the 
most distinguished of its martyrs. He preached 
both at Edinburgh and Leith, during the year 
1545, and it was at this time that John Knox 
became deeply impressed by his instructions, 
and earnestly attached himself to liis party. 
But Wishart knew that he went forth with his 
life in his hand, and when Knox pressed to be 
permitted to take a more active part with him 
immediately before his capture by the emissa- 
ries of cardinal Beaton, he charged him to 
return to his pupils, saying, " One is sufficient 
now for a sacrifice." Edinburgh Castle was for 
a brief period the scene of his imprisonment, 
after his seizure by Bothwell, before he was 
delivered up to the cardinal at Elphinstone 
Tower, still standing a few miles from the 
capital, on the border of East Lothian. 

The jdeath of Henry . vm., in 1547, in no 


degree lessened the animosity between the two 
kingdoms. Heniy on his death-bed urged the 
prosecution of his schemes against Scotland, 
and the councillors of the young king Edward 
vr., including Hereford, now duke of Somerset 
and lord protector of England, lost no time in 
completing arrangements for their accomplish- 
ment. In a very short time the duke appeared 
on the borders at the head of a numerous army, 
while a large fleet co-operated with him by a 
descent on the Scottish coast. 

At Edinburgh no lack of zeal was wanting 
to resist the invaders. The earl of Arrau 
dispatched the heralds with the ancient national 
symbol of the fierij cross, seldom resorted to 
but in cases of extreme peril ; and all men, 
clergy as well as laity, were Avarned to repair to 
Edinburgh, fully equipped for war. The duke 
of Somerset meanwhile entered Scotland, and 
gave notice to the governor of the sole con- 
ditions on which peace would be granted, the 
first of which was the hand of the young queen 
for his royal master. But the strongest spirit 
of opposition was now roused ; and though on 
the bloody field of Pinkie, distant only about 
six miles from Edinburgh, the Scottish army 
was defeated with terrible slaughter, the spirit 
of the nation was not subdued. Immediately 
after the battle the English advanced and took 
Leith, while many of tliose who escaped from 
the frightful rout entrenched themselves within 
the walls of the neighbouring capital. Many 
of the Scottish nobles* were taken prisoners at 


Pinkie, and being carried by their captors to 
Leith, they were confined in St. Mary's church, 
— whicli still forms the principal phice of Avor- 
ship in the old seaport, — Avhile treating with 
the duke of Somerset for their ransom. " They 
also," says the author of the Memorials of 
Edinburgh, " made an imsuccessful attempt 
on the capital, whose provost had fallen on 
the field, and it is recorded that this fatal 
battle had alone made three hundred and sixty 
widows ; but finding the Scottish nation as 
resolute as ever in rejecting all terms of accom- 
modation, they again pillaged and burned the 
town of Leith, spoiled the Abbey of Holyrood, 
from which they tore off the leaden roof, and 
re-embarked on board their fleet. They 
wreaked their vengeance on some defenceless 
fishing towns and villages along the coasts of 
the Firth, and then returned to England, 
where a general thanksgiving, to be used 
throughout all the churches in the kingdom, 
for the great victory God had vouchsafed over 
their enemies was prepared ! So differently 
are the same actions estimated according as 
our interests are affected ; for the duke of 
Somerset had so exasperated the Scottish 
nation by his cruelty, and disgusted even the 
barons who had inclined to the English party 
by his impolitic conduct, that they were more 
unanimous than ever against the proposed 
alliance." It was, indeed, a strangely short- 
sighted policy that dictated such savage cruel- 
ties and bloodshed, in the hope of thereby 


forcing a free and peculiarly sensitive people 
into a matrimonial alliance. When, at a later 
period, Edward vi. availed himself of the pre- 
sence of the queen-regent at Whitehall, on her 
return from France to Scotland in 1551, to 
urge his own suit for her daugljter's hand, she 
answered him with characteristic shrewdness 
and spirit, that the fault must be charged to 
those who, by fire and sword, had compelled the 
Scottish nobles to seek a friendly alliance else- 
where, and that such fashion of dealing was not 
the likeliest way to win a lady and princess in 
marriage, who should rather be sought by 
courteous and gentle behaviour, than by cruelty 
and violence. One of the Scottish barons 
stated the case somewhat more bluntly, but 
with no less point, when lie said, " He disliked 
not the match so much as the manner of 
the wooing!" And Tytler no less aptly com- 
ments on the impolicy of the whole course of 
procedure adopted by the duke of Somerset, 
when he remarks : " The idea that a free 
country was to be compelled into a pacific 
matrimonial alliance, amidst the groans of its 
dying citizens and the flames of its seaports, 
was revolting and absurd." 




The short-sighted policy of England had solely 
contributed to force Scotland into a closer 
alliance with France. The queen - dowager, 
who had all along coveted the supreme power, 
now availed herself of the strong popular feeling 
to summon the nobility together, and under 
her influence ambassadors were dispatched to 
France to renew the ancient league with that 
kingdom. The fruits of this were soon appa- 
rent. In the month of June, 1548, the citizens 
of Edinburgh and Leith were delighted by the 
arrival of a large French fleet in the Firth, on 
board of which was Andre de Montalembert, 
lord d'Esse, with a reinforcement of six thou- 
sand men, and an excellent train of artillery. 
D'Esse was introduced to the parliament, assem- 
bled at Edinburgh, to which he was the bearer 
of the warmest assurances of aid in troops, 
money, and arras, from the French king, and 
a proposal that the ancient amity subsisting 
between the two nations should be cemented 
by the marriage of the heirs of their respective 

100 OLD EDlNBUiiGH. 

crowns. The French monarch, while willingly 
undertaking to defend Scotland against her 
foreign foes, and to educate the young queen 
at his court, solemnly pledged himself to respect 
the laws and liberties of the kingdom. It can- 
not be wondered at that an alliance proposed 
in so different a manner from that with Eng- 
land should have been promptly acceded to, 
and thus the differences with England were 
rendered more lasting and inveterate. Shortly 
after the young queen, then a beautiful child, 
in her sixth year, set sail for France, accom- 
panied by her governors, the lords Erskine and 
Livingstone, and her natural brother, the lord 
James, after\vards the famous regent Moray, 
then in his seventeenth year. Along with her 
also embarked the queen's four Marys, famous 
in Scottish song, selected as her playmates 
from the families of Fleming, Seton, Beaton, 
'and Livingstone. 

The port of Leith still lay in ruins, and the 
neighbouring capital was only beginning to 
attempt the re-edification of its desolate streets ; 
but from this period we are able to trace the 
rise of many important structures both in 
Edinburgh and Leith. On the disembarkation 
of the French auxiliaries it was found impos- 
sible to accommodate them in the ruined towns, 
and they had to be distributed in companies 
through the neighbouring vilhiges. But d'Esse 
now undertook the fortification of Leith, and 
thereby conferred on it an importance alto- 
gether unknown before. People crowded from 


all parts to shelter themselves ^vithin its walls ; 
and when the conclusion of a peace with Eng- 
land once more permitted the rival factions to 
gain head, and come to open rupture, it became 
one of the places of chief importance in the 

One of the most interesting relics of this 
memorable period in the history of the Scottish 
capital was the palace of Mary de Guise, Avhich, 
after standing for three centuries, was demo- 
lished in 1845, to make way for the New 
College erected at the top of the mound. This 
mansion of Mary de Guise, the queen of James 
v., has been supposed to have been built after 
the destruction of the town and of the Abbey 
of Ilolyrood in 1544, and its site has been 
assumed to have been selected in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the castle, to place its royal 
occupant under the shelter of the guns of 
the fortress, and enable her to retreat within 
its walls on the approach of any imminent 
danger. The inscription above its main en- 
trance, however, was rather calculated to prove 
an earlier origin for the building, as it bore 
the initials of the king, i. n. Between these 
was the favourite inscription, cut in bold 
Gothic characters, Laus honou Deo, with shields 
bearing monograms of the Saviour and the 
virgin Mary. Within, the decorations were of 
a remarkable character, including richly carved 
oak, sculptured stone niches, and painted and 
emblazoned ceilings, all of which tended greatly 
to increase the singular effect which this ancient 


abode of royalty presented in its latter years, 
when it had become the squalid abode of 
poverty and vice. A richly carved oaken 
doorway from one of the apartments is now 
in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of 
Scotland, and a series of carved armorial bear- 
ings, executed with great vigour and beauty, 
have been transferred to Dunrobin Castle, the 
residence of the duke of Sutherland. These 
latter decorations included the arms of the 
queen-regent, of Henry ii. of France, and of the 
duke of Chatelherault, the predecessor of Mary 
de Guise in the Scottish regency. All these 
point umnistakably to that period of the queen- 
regent's history, when she was likely to prefer 
a residence within the city walls, and in the 
vicinity of the castle, while the burning of the 
capital, and the royal palace attached to the 
abbey of Holyrood, were of so recent an 
occurrence that it may be doubted if the 
palace had then been restored.* Adjoining to 

* Mr. Chambers gives an amusing account, in his "Tradi- 
tions of Edinburgh," of the consequences resulting to the 
tenants of this decayed abode of royalty from its popular 
attractions. The carved door was an object of special interest 
with all, from its two ])rincipal figures being- supposed to re- 
present James V. and the queen, its occupant. "The 
door," says Mr. Chambers, " is regarded as an object of 
great curiosity by the tenants of the house — though those who 
occupy the room told us when we called to inspect it, tliat 
they had much better want a door altogether than have one of 
so curious a sort, seeinjr they never got either night's rest or 
day's ease on account of it, and could sometimes scarcely ca' 
the house their ain for antiquarian gentlemen like ourselves 
who came to see it. When we ventured to suggest the expe- 
diency of charging a certain honorarium from every vis'tor, 
in imitation of other exhibitors of palaces, they told us of an 
Irishman, their predecessor in the habitation, who became so 


the queen-regent's palace was an ancient edifice, 
pointed out by very old tradition as her oratory, 
or private chapel. A beautiful large tind highly 
decorated recess was believed to indicate the 
site of the altar ; and an ancient reliquary, or 
iron casket, found built up within it, was pre- 
served by sir Walter Scott, and now ibrms part, 
of the singular collection amassed by him at 
Abbotsford. Various other ancient mansions 
of the Scottish nobility, erected on the Castle- 
hill, in the immediate vicinity of the castle, 
appear to have owed their origin, and the 
choice of their site, to the same cause which 
induced the queen- regent to forsake the royal 
palace attached to the old Abbey of Holyrood 
for her civic mansion on the Castle-hill. 

The driving of the English beyond the 
border, and the occupation and garrisoning of 
Leith with French troops, were not long in pro- 
ducing the usual heart-burnings and animosi- 

incensed about the matter, that he would admit no person 
under half a crown, and at last threatened to burn the door 
for tirevvood, on finding the impossibility of substantiating 
his charges, which he was only prevented from doinji' by the 
interference of the landlord. ' But, for my part,' said the 
good woman, as she wiped the dust from the qnoen's nose 
with her apron, ' I would scorn any such in.positions— and I 
like the door very weei, only ye see, sirs, its black and uae 
look of a thhig. and a good tir-deal door would answer our 
purpose as wee! .... but I can assure \e, sir, there's 
many grar.d folk come here to see the door; the queer ane 
society came a' in a buiulle ae day — and i laistly every ane o' 
them had silver spectacles, and were i'k ane mair civil than 
anither.' We were ohiiged to acknowledge the [)oor woman's 
case sufficiently distressing — though we could not but thiuic 
at the same time that she . \\. even more than the usual 
resource of those who ar*^ t.oabled with their visitors — 
we mean, that she had noliung to do but shoic them the 


ties. The foreigners behaved to the citizens 
with an insolence scarcely less irritating to 
them than the spoilings and burnings of the 
enemy they had helped to expel. Matters 
having reached this pass, a very slight cause 
served to bring about a collision. A French 
soldier having insulted one of the citizens in 
the High-street of Edinburgh, the two came 
to blows. The citizens rushed to aid their 
companion, and the comrades of the soldier 
mustered in his defence, till at length the 
High-street became the scene of a bloody fight, 
in which many were slain, including sir James 
Hamilton, the provost and governor of the 
castle, his son, and several citizens of rank ; 
besides which, many men, women, and children 
fell by the random shots of the French soldiers. 
As a reparation for such an outrage, the soldier 
who had begun the affray was hanged at the 
Market-place, where the quarrel originated. 
" A very unpropitious state of things," as one 
of the historians of Edinburgh justly observes, 
" and the only alternative seemingly left to the 
Scots from another English harrying." 

The difficulties resulting from the burning 
of Edinburgh bore some resemblance to those 
occasioned by the great fire of London. The 
precise sites of properties were no longer dis- 
coverable. Claims for ground rent, clerical 
dues, and other obligations, were pressed on 
those who had not been able to rebuild the 
property so attached ; and one curious act 
passed by the Scottish parliament, Avhich had 


assembled at Edinburgh in 1551, was designed 
to right some of these difficulties aiFecting the 
Scottish capital, being entitled, " Anent the 
annuals of lands burnt by our auld enemies 
of England, ^Yithin the burgh of Edinburgh, 
and other burghs." 

It Avas not till the year 1554 that the Scot- 
tish regency was transferred to the queen- 
dowager, though the earl of Arran had long 
ceased to retain any influential party among 
the Scottish nobles. While he continued to 
maintain the forms of government at Edin- 
burgh, surrounded by a small body of his adhe- 
rents, the queen-dowager was holding a brilliant 
court at Stirling, and winning the most influen- 
tial of the nobility to her party. At the time 
her exertions were thus directed to strengthen 
her party, she had not been less zealous in 
providing means for transferring to herself the 
titles as well as the actual power and influence 
of her daughter's vicegerent. While the feeble 
earl was intimidated by threats of a rigid 
reckoning being required for the dilapidation of 
the royal revenues and crown lands, he was 
offered, through the duke of Guise and the 
cardinal of Lorraine, the brothers of the queen- 
dowager, the splendid bribe of the dukedom of 
Chatelherault, with ample provision for his 
eldest son at the French court, if he would 
resign the regency. Liberal promises and gifts 
were not neglected for others of the nobility ; 
and when all things were in readiness, the 
Scottish parliament was summoned to assemble 
D 2 


at Edinburgh, on the 12th of April, 1554, to 
witness the transfer of the government to her 
hands. The earl of Arran, or, as he was now 
styled, duke of Chatelherault, rose in the parlia- 
ment, and the articles of agreement having 
been read, and ratified by the subscriptions and 
signets of the assembled barons, he presented 
the royal crown, sword, and sceptre, the ensigns 
of government, or, as they were wont to be 
called, the honours of the kingdom, to monsieur 
d'Oysel, the French ambassador, who received 
them in the name of queen Mary. Immediately 
thereafter he produced a commission and man- 
date from the queen, then in her twelfth year, 
in obedience to which he delivered these insig- 
nia of government to the queen- dowager. The 
new regent acknowledged her acceptance of the 
office, and received the homage and congratula- 
tions of the assembled nobility. She was then 
conducted in public procession, with great 
pomp, through the city to the palace of Holy- 
rood, and forthwith entered upon the admi- 
nistration of the government. 

The citizens of Edinburgh hailed the transfer 
of the government to the firm hands of Mary de 
Guise with the heartiest acclamations. The 
feeble rule of Arran, and the divided state of 
the factions of the nobles, had exposed the 
capital to disorders and tumults, and left the 
whole government in an unsettled state. The 
streets of Edinburgh had become, as usual in 
such periods of dissension, the scenes of con- 
stant feud among the rival barons, who, as 


bishop Lesley remarks, found the time very 
convenient for revenging their quarrels. Deadly 
combats again and again took place on the open 
street, in one of which sir Walter Scott of Buc- 
cleugh was slain on the High-street, bj a party 
of the Kerrs with whom the border Scotts were 
at open feucj for long-cherished grievances. 
Our own sir Walter has celebrated the fate of 
the old chief of his clan in the " Lay of the 
Last Minstrel," — 

" Bards long shall tell 
How lord Walter fell ! 
When startled burghers fled, afar. 
The furies of the border war ; 
When the streets of high Dunedin 
Saw lances gleam, and falchions redden, 
And heard the slogan's deadly yell — 
Then the chief of Branksome fell." 

The strife of the border clans was no such 
rarity, however, on the High-street of Edin- 
burgh, as greatly to startle the affrighted 
burghers. About the same time, as bishop 
Lesley relates, the master of Ruthven slew a 
valiant gentleman, sir John Charteris of Kin- 
clevin, in Edinburgh, upon occasion of an old 
feud, and for staying an action which he pursued 
against him in the court of session — a deed 
which led to the passing of an act by the Scottish 
parliament, which somewhat naively declares 
that whosoever shall slay a suitor who is pur- 
suing an action against him, shall forfeit the 
right of judgment in the action, in addition to 
any other liabilities he may incur. The same 
year the lord Semple slew the lord Crichtoun 
of Sanquhar in the governor's own house in 


Edinburgh, and by the interest of the arch' 
bishop of St. Andrew's and other friends, he 
escaped all consequences of the crime. Such 
were some of the fruits of the earl of Arran's 
feeble government, producing a state of things 
well calculated to make the people at large 
rejoice in witnessing any change that trans- 
ferred the regency to vigorous hands. 

Few rulers have succeeded to powers with 
such general approbation as that which now 
hailed the transfer of the reins of government to 
Mary de Guise. She had displayed equal per- 
severance, tact, and ability, during the four 
years that she had intrigued to obtain her 
object. She had conciliated the Protestant 
party by the greatest show of toleration, while 
she won over the nobility by promises which 
tempted their avidity or gratified their ambi- 
tion. To the Romish clergy she was already 
the centre of their highest hopes ; and thus, 
while her success still further enfeebled the 
regent Arran, the miseries resulting from his 
vv'cak rule gave an additional force to the hope 
with which all looked forward to her accession 
to the regency. But the wisest and most just 
rulers have ever found it easier to acquire 
authority than to maintain it. Not a little of 
her influence with the Scottish nobles had 
been purchased Avith the aid, and under the 
direct advice of the cardinal of Lorraine and the 
duke of Guise, the object of both being to 
make Scotland the mere tool of France. Fol- 
lowing out the policy they had dictated, some 


of the greatest offices of the kingdom were 
forthwith conferred on Frenchmen, and her 
confidential advisers Avere chosen by the same 
rule. Hence arose jealousies, lieart-burnings, 
and dissensions, and to this policy was owing 
the final termination of that alliance which had 
bound France and Scotland together in the 
bonds of mutual interest and friendly relations, 
for upwards of two centuries. 

Such was the state of affairs when John 
Knox returned from France, where he had 
passed four years chained as a prisoner in the 
galleys, for his share in some of the earlier 
deeds of the Scottish reformers. This was not a 
process likely to lessen the unfriendly feeling 
now springing up against the French. The 
bold relbrmer began forthwith to denounce the 
mass as an idolatrous worship, and to expose 
the grossness of the lives of the clergy by whom 
it was maintained. For this he was summoned 
before the ecclesiastical judicatory held in the 
monaster}' of the Bhickfriars ; an ancient royal 
foundation already mentioned, which occupied 
the site of the present Surgical Hospital of 
Edinburgh. Already, however, the clergy 
were learning to dread the popular sympathy 
which leaned so manifestly to the side of their 
opponents, and the proceedings against John 
Knox were allowed to drop. But they had done 
enough to increase the reformer's popularity ; 
and bishop Keith remarks, " It is certain that 
Mr. Knox preached to a greater auditory the 
very clay he should have made his appearance 


before them, than ever he did before." The time, 
however, was not yet ripe for his effectual 
labours. The same year he accepted an invi- 
tation to undertake the pastoral charge of an 
English congregation at Geneva ; and he was 
no sooner gone than the clergy anew cited him 
before them, and in default of his appearance 
he was condemned to death as a heretic, and 
burned in vffigy at the cross of Edinburgh. 

During the remaining years of the queen- 
regent's life, Edinburgh was the scene of fre- 
quent strife, violence, and bloodshed, occasioned 
by the French party co-operating with those 
who strove to maintain the old Komish church, 
against the reforming party, which was now 
rapidly gaining influential adherents. The 
latter assumed the position of the national 
party, in opposition to the foreign interests 
which continued to prevail at court ; and thus 
all the most influential popular motives were 
brought into play against the regent. Guided 
by her French councillors, she matured a plan 
for substituting a standing army in lieu of the 
de[)endence of the crown, as heretofore, on the 
popular musters, or the vassals and retainers of 
the barons. But this was a scheme little likely 
to be sanctioned either by barons or people. 
Three hundred of the barons and lesser gentry 
assembled in the abbey church of Holyrood, 
almost within the precincts of the palace, to 
remonstrate against such an innovation on the 
ancient liberties of the kingdom ; and two of 
their number were forthwith dispatched to the 


queen-regent and her council with such a reso- 
lute protest as compelled the abandonment of 
tlie unpopular scheme. Another cause con- 
tributed largely to increase' the divided feelings 
which were thus estranging the regent and the 
people. So soon as queen Elizabeth succeeded 
to the English throne, the reforming party in 
Scotland found their cause great!}' strengthened, 
while tliey were encouraged to look with 
jealousy on the French party as being the ene- 
mies of England, chiefly in consequence of the 
reformation of its church, and its renounce- 
ment of rll allegiance to the pope of Rome. 
Frequent outbreaks now occurred. In 1556, a 
mob of excited citizens broke into St. Giles's 
Church, overthrew some of the altars, and de- 
molished the statues of the virgin Mary, St. 
Francis, and others of the saints. The regent 
indignantly remonstrated with the magistrates 
against such violence ; but they could only 
offer their own subservient reverence to the 
luipopular services of the church, one of the 
special marks of which was an order by the 
town council, requiring, as a mark of honour 
conferred on the jjrovost, that the servants of 
the citizens should wait on him with lighted 
torches from his attendance on vespers at St. 
Giles's Church to his own house. This was 
probably only a part of the arrangements which 
we find about this period first introduced for 
lighting up the streets of the Scottish capital. 
By an entry in the register of the town 
council, in 1554, it is ordeied that, owing to 


the frequent robberies and assaults committed 
in tbe streets of Edinburgh at night, " hmterns 
or bowets be hung out in the streets and closes, 
by such persons and in such places as the 
magistrates should appoint, to continue burning 
from five o'clock in the evening till nine, which 
was judged a proper time for people to repair to 
their respective habitations." The account is 
curious, as indicating the introduction of this 
element of modern civilization at so early a 

In 1557, a parliament which assembled at 
Edinburgh empowered James Stuart, prior 
of St. Andrew's, afterwards the celebrated 
regent Moray, and other leaders of the influ- 
ential Protestant party, to proceed to Paris, 
and give their assent to the marriage of the 
young queen of Scots, then in her fifteenth 
year, with the dauphin of France, who was 
further to assume the title and arms of king of 
Scotland, during the continuance of the mar- 
riage. They accordingly proceeded to Paris, 
and there, on the 24th of April, 1558, they 
witnessed the solemnization of the marriage, 
with the utmost pomp and magnificence, in the 
cathedral of Notre Dame. 

The same year which witnessed the mar- 
riage of the young Scottish queen, amidst all the 
pomp of ecclesiastical ceremonial, in the cathe- 
dral of Paris, was signalized at Edinburgh by 
a riot, which furnished sufficiently immistak- 
able evidence how thoroughly the bands of 
Romish superstition were losing tlieiv hold 


on the minds of the people of Scotland. The 
patron saint of Edinburgh was St. Giles, to 
whom the great collegiate church, afterwards 
constituted the cathedral of the bishop of Edin- 
burgh, was dedicated. The saint was accord- 
ingly the object of profound popular veneration. 
Just one century before, the city granted a 
special charter to William Preston, of Gorton, 
because of his having got from France " the 
arm-hone of St. Geill,'" which precious relic 
he presented to. the church of St. Giles. The 
charter secured to him and his lineal descen- 
dants the privilege of bearing the saint's arm- 
bone in all public processions, and thereafter 
large sums were expended on silver-Avork, 
rings, jewels, and other costly decorations for 
the supposed relic of the patron saint. The 
special occasion for its display was the 1st of 
September, the festival of St. Giles, when the 
whole college of priests, with the magistrates, 
corporations, and civic dignitaries of all sorts, 
were wont to walk in grand procession, bearing 
a huge wooden statue of the patron saint, along 
with his relics. Sundry n(;tices of outlays for 
repairing, painting, and decorating this image 
appear in the old records of the town ; but the 
time had at length come when the veneration 
and worship of such stocks and stones was to 
have an end in Scotland ; and not the least 
influential cause of this happy change was 
the celebrated reformer and poet, sir David 
Lindsay. Only five years before the occasion 
now referred to, his Monarchic was finished, 


in which he thus graphically describes the 
superstitious honours rendered by the citizens 
to their patron saint, and warns the clergy of 
the recompense that awaits them : — 

" Of Edinburgh the great idolatry, 
And manifest abomination, 
On their feast day ail creatures may see, 
They bear an auld stock image through the town, 
TVith tabret, trumpet, schaim, and clarion; 
Which has been used mony a year bygone, 
With priests and friars in procession, 
Sic like as Bell was borne through Babylon. 

" Fye on you, friars ! that uses for to preach 
And does assist in such idolatry; 
Why do you not the iirnorant people teach 
How a dead image carved o' a tree. 
As it were holy snould not honoured be, 
Nor borne on burgess' backs thus up and down ; 
But ye show plainly your hypocricy 
When ye pass foremost in procession. 

" Fye on you, fosterers of idolatry ! 
That to a dead stock do such reverence, 
In presence of the people publicly ; 
Fear ye not God, committing such offence? 
I counsel you do yet your diligence 
To cause suppress sic great abusion; 
For if you fail, I dread your recompence 
Shall be nought else but clean confusion." 

The leaven thus introduced in strains so well 
adapted to the understanding of the people, was 
not allowed to work long without producing its 
fruits. The festival of the saint drew near, 
when the wonted honours should be paid to 
him, and the mob, watching their oppor- 
tunity, contrived to gain entrance to the 
church, and to get hold of the image. This 
they bore in triumpli to the North Loch — a 
favourite place for ducking certain classes of 
offenders — and after treating St. Giles to an 
immersion in the impure waters, they carried 


it to a bonfire, and burned it to ashes. The 
utmost wrath and consternation filled the 
minds of the clergy on missing the image and 
learning its fate. The magistrates were com- 
manded to restore it, or be at the cost of pro- 
viding another ; but the times were now greatly 
changed, for they resolutely refused, alleging 
the authority of Scripture for the destruction of 
idols, and replying to the order of the bishop 
for its restitution, that " they understood God 
had in some places commanded idols and images 
to be destroyed, but where he had commanded 
images to be set up they had not read ; and 
therefore desired the bishop to find a warrant 
for his commandment." 

The clergy, however, were resolved that St. 
Giles's day should not pass without its wonted 
procession. A small image of the saint was 
borrowed from the Grey Friars' monastery in 
the Grassmaiket, and firmly secured to the 
shrine on which it was usually borne. " There 
as3embled," says Knox, " priests, friars, ca- 
nons, and paj)ists, with tabors and trumpets, 
banners and bagpipes, and who was there to 
lead the ring but the queen-regent herself, with 
all her sliavellings, for honour of the feast." 
The regent had been induced to bear her share 
in the proceedings the more fully to honour the 
occasion, and add a dignity to a service which 
had so wonderfully lost its reverence in popular 

The presence of the queen-regent had the 
desired effect, and the saint was borne down 


tbe High-street, to the Canongate Cross unmo- 
lested ; but she had engaged to honour one of 
the citizens with her company to dinner, and 
no sooner did she withdraw than the populace 
proceeded to testify their estimation of the 
honours thus rendered to " the Little St. Giles," 
as they contemptuously termed the borrowed 
image. The old reformer thus graphically 
pictures the scene that followed : — " Imme- 
diately after the queen had entered the lodging, 
some of those engaged in the enterprise drew 
near to the idol, as if willing to help in bearing 
him, and getting the fertour on their shoulders, 
they began to jolt it, thinking thereby to have 
thrown the idol down ; but that was prevented 
by the iron nails with which it was secured, so 
the cry began, * Down with the idol !' and St. 
Giles was soon brought to the ground, like his 
predecessor. One of the rioters then taking 
him by the heels, dashed his head on the 
causeway, and left Dagon without head or 
hands, exclaiming, ' Fye upon thee, young 
St. Geile, thy father would have withstood such 
usage fourfold ! ' 

"Some boasting made. the priests at first," 
adds the old reformer, " but when they saw the 
feebleness of their god, the monks and friars 
fled faster than they did at Pinkie Cleuch. 
There miglit have been seen so sudden a fray 
as rarely has been witnessed amongst that sort 
of men within this realm ; for down go the 
crosses, off go the surplices, and round caps 
that cover bare crowns. The Grey Friars 


gaped, the Black Friars blew, the priests 
panted and fled ; and happy M-as he that first 
got home, for such a sudden fra}^ came never 
among the generation of antichrist within this 
realm before." 

This incident of the St. Giles's day riot is 
singularly characteristic of the remarkable 
change which a very few years had wrought 
on the people, since they witnessed in silence, 
if not with approbation, the burning to death 
on the Castle-hill, or at the cross of Greenside, 
the Christian confessors, whose only crime was 
the reading of the Bible and the rejection of 
the mass. The last days of the Romish church 
in Scotland were manifestly near at hand, and 
the last provincial assembly of the clergy, con- 
vened in the Blackfriars monastery for the 
purpose of devising measures to save the 
church from its threatened peril, was dissolved, 
it is said, without having been able to suggest a 
remedy, on the very day that John Knox 
landed at Leith on his return from the continent. 

The lords of the congregation noAv appear as 
an influential agency in the progress of Scottish 
history. Including among their numbers the 
chief of the reforming barons, they speedily 
organized a movement for ridding the country 
of the grosser evils of the Romish church. 
The populace lost no time in pushing such an 
example to the uttermost. Mobs in Edinburgh 
attacked the monasteries of both the Black and 
the Grey IViars, and left only the bare walls 
standing. The reformers sought merely to 


remove the images, altars, and monuments of 
idolatry ; but uhen the work commenced, it 
was difficult to keep the populace within 
bounds. St. Giles's Church, Holyrood Abbey, 
the Kirk of Field, the Trinity College, and other 
churches were all visited ; their altars thrown 
down, the images destroyed or burned, and 
much of their beautiful carved work and stalls 

The queen-regent and the Protestant party, 
after a few ineffectual attempts at compromise, 
at length came to an open rupture. The regent 
retreated within the protection of the fortifica- 
tions of Leith, which was held for her by the 
French garrison ; while the Protestant party 
mustered their forces and invested it, with the 
resolution of driving the French troops from 
the kingdom. As the sti'ife became more vio- 
lent, new elements were added. The English 
queen openly espoused the cause of the Pj'O- 
testant party, and in 1560, lord Grey of 
Wilton arrived to their aid with six thousand 
English troops. The queen-regent already felt 
ihe approaches of that illness of which she died, 
and was soon glad to escape from the dangers 
and privations incident to a siege, by retiring 
within the Avails of Edinburgh Castle. From 
its ramparts she daily watched the operations 
against Leith, where the French garrison were 
at length reduced to the necessity of eating the 
horses of their men-at-arms. But she did not 
live to witness the fall of Leith. Suffering 
alike from bodily pain and mental anguish, 


she once more resumed the conciliatory spirit 
which had secured her so much influence at 
an earlier date, and now strove to effect a 
reconciliation between the contending parties, 
that she might, if possible, resign the sceptre 
to her daughter free from the contentions which 
had imbittered nearly the whole period of her 

When IMary de Guise found her end ap- 
proaching, she requested an interview with the 
lords of the congregation. The lord James 
Stuart, and the earls of Argyle, Marischal, and 
Glencairn, forthwith repaired to the castle, 
where they were received by the dying regent 
with such tenderness as greatly moved them. 
She extended her hand to each as she sought 
their forgiveness, and prayed them to be loyal 
and true men to her young daughter, Mary 
queen of Scots. She expressed deep grief for 
the evils which had resulted from her adminis- 
tration, and besought their forgiveness. 

John Willock, one of the gentlest of the 
reforming preachers, was present, and, with the 
others, was moved to tears. He conversed 
with her long on the momentous questions 
which alone have value at so solemn an hour. 
Pie besought her to seek mercy through the 
death of Christ, and to hope for justification 
by God's free grace, through faith in the peace- 
speaking blood of his Son. At the same time, 
the preacher urged her to acknowledge the 
mass to be a relic of idolatry. She assured 
him that she looked for salvation ia no other 


way than tliroiigli the deatli of the Saviour ; 
and without replying to his further exhortation, 
she bade him fiirewelL The queen-regent died 
on the following day, June 10th, 1560. The 
reformed preachers refused to permit her 
burial according to the rites of the Romish 
church ; for whatever may be the ideas of 
toleration now entertained, these stern old 
reformers, who had tliemselves witnessed the 
fruits of Romish superstition, alike in its cruel 
spirit of persecution, and the antagonism of its 
idolatrous creed to all true Christian teaching, 
deemed the permission of any popish service a 
sanctioning of sin. Her body was accordingly 
placed in a leaden coffin, and lay in the castle 
nnburied till the Och of October, when it was 
conveyed on board a vessel at Leith, and trans- 
ported to France. There it was removed to the 
Benedictine monastery of Rheims, whereof the 
sister of Mary de Guise Avas abbess ; and was 
at length interred with unmaimed rites. 




The reign of Mary queen of Scots, and her 
active interest in the government of her king- 
dom, may be dated from the death of her 
mother, the regent, Mary de Guise, Avho had so 
long struggled to maintain the cause of the 
Romish church, and the influence of the French 
party in Scotland. In both, however, she had 
signally failed ; and the triumph of the Pro- 
testant party, with which queen Elizabeth was 
in close alliance, had become inevitable. The 
death of the queen-regent, however, helped to 
facilitate the arrangements now entered into, 
which sealed the triumph of the Congregation, 
as the Protestant party was called. On the 8th 
of July, 1560, a treaty was signed at Edin- 
burgh, which secured the immediate abandon- 
ment of the country both by the French and 
English troops, that had been the allies of tlie 
rival parties into which Scotland was divided. 
As soon as the dominant party thus saw all 
their fondest wishes realized, a solemn public 
thanksgiving was held by the reformed nobles 


and the leaders of the Congregation in St. Giles's 
Church, where John Knox officiated, and 
acknowledged the mercy of God in delivering 
them from that corrupt and erring church, 
■whose worship he pronounced to be abominable 
and idolatrous. The first steps were then taken 
for establishing the Protestant religion in Scot- 
land on a permanent footing. John Knox was 
appointed to the ministerial charge of Edin- 
burgh, and other ministers were nominated to 
the pastoral charge of St. Andrew's, Perth, 
Aberdeen, Dundee, Leith, and other principal 
towns of Scotland. Superintendents were also 
chosen, whose functions were not greatly dif- 
ferent from those of the bishops whom they 
were to supersede, though they abjured the 
hated name, and the church, when it finally 
assumed its later Presbyterian form, dispensed 
with them altogether. 

But the preachers who were thus sent all 
over the kingdom had other duties to perform. 
The parliament, which was to give permanent 
shape and legal authority to all they had been 
struggling for during the long minority of the 
queen, was to assemble at Edinburgh on the 
1st of August, and it may be well believed that 
the preacliers failed not to employ all their 
inriuence at this momentous crisis, to secure the 
assembly of such a parliament as sliould per- 
manently sanction by the highest constitutional 
authority the alteration of the religious consti- 
tution of Scotland. On this point their influence 
proved of no slight importance. To the inferior 


nobles the attendance on parliament had long 
been felt ms a costly and irksome duty, and the 
great majority of them had ceased to make 
their appeanmce. But these were the very 
class among whom the reformed doctrines had 
made most way, and they now resumed their 
rights, bringing thus an accession of about a 
hundred votes to the Protestant party. The 
ecclesiastical benches, on the contrary, were 
nearly deserted ; for fear, despondency, and 
an unwillingness to witness the downfal of 
their church, whose overthrow they could not 
avert, kept the most of them away. With this 
exception, however, the attendance of all ranks 
was more numerous than had ever been seen by 
any men of that time. 

It was })leaded by some, who were inclined 
to temporize, and by more who were opposed to 
all reform, that the parliament could take no 
steps till a commission arrived from the queen. 
The Scottish parliament, however, had been too 
long and frequently accustomed to the mere no- 
minal control of sovereigns in their minorities, 
or under the sway of defeated factions, to attach 
much importance to this point, and they were 
now, least of all, likely to yield to it, with a 
triumphant majority within, and the great mass 
of the people in their favour without. Mait- 
land of Lethington was accordingly chosen 
speaker, the crown and sceptre were placed on 
the vacant throne as the emblems of majesty, 
and thus fortified with the formalities of 
constitutioual order, the Scottish parliament 


proceeded to complete the ^vork of reformation, 
which had progressed with varying success for 
upwards of twenty years. A petition, composed 
in all probability by Knox, was laid before this 
parliament, demanding the restoration of the 
primitive discipline of the Christian church, the 
proscription of Popery, the suppression of the 
Eomish clergy, the condemnation of the doc- 
trine of trausubstantiation, and the denounce- 
ment of the mass, purgatory, pilgrimages, 
prayers for the dead, and all the essential ele- 
ments of the Eomish church. The parliament 
abundantly satisfied the reformers on matters 
of faith. The opponents of change were, indeed, 
extremely few ; and even the archbishop of St. 
Andrew's, and the bishops of Dunkeld and 
Dunblane, while refusing to concur in the 
sweeping measures of the reformers, craved 
delay only, as they professed, that abuses might 
be amended with mature dehberation. On this 
point, however, even their right to have any 
share in such deliberations was no longer 
recognised ; and the interested sympathy ol' the 
nobility in the new order of things was secured 
by their obtaining in various ways a large 
share of the property pertaining to the sup- 
pressed monasteries. In some cases the great 
abbey lands were converted into temporal 
lordships ; and thus the singular anomaly 
helps to confuse the new page of Scottish his- 
tory, of titular priors, bishops, and abbots, 
appearing the foremost among the reformers 
who aimed at the overthrow of the Romish 


cliurch, and the establishment of that simple 
Presbyterian polity still maintained in Scotland, 
which recognises no difference of degrees in 
the rank of the clergy. 

It was by no timid or temporizing measures 
that this parliament secured the overthrow ot 
Popery in Scotland. Knox and others, who 
now most largely influenced its movements, had 
themselves passed weary years in prison and 
exile, and in the cruel slavery of the French 
galleys, at the hands of the Romish priests, and 
many more had learned the practical value of a 
purer faith in witnessing its power to sustain 
the martyrs of the truth amidst the flames of the 
faggot and stake. The blood of these martyrs, 
who perished on the Castle-hill of Edinbui'gh, 
and at the rood of Greenside, was the seed of 
the church ; and we need not Avonder, if in 
putting down the system which led to such 
cruelties, the reformers were little inclined to 
tolerate Popery under any form. It was indeed 
a struggle, as it had been in Germany and 
England, between the old and new faith, wherein 
neither dreamt of the possibility of life while 
the other remained. 

The ministers of the reformed church of 
Scotland proceeded in like manner, at the 
desire of the parliament, to draw up a Confes- 
sion of Faith, the Book of Discipline, and other 
important documents, by which the entire 
aspect of Scottish history has been largely 
modified. In particuhir, it was in obedience to 
the Book of Discipline that those parish schools 


were established throughout the country which 
have so largely contributed to the prosperity 
and true moral worth of the peasantry and 
middle ranks from that time to our own day. 
The results, indeed, of this famous Edinburgh 
convocation of 1560 were of the most important 
and lasting character. The immediate effect 
was to constitute Scotland a sort of Protestant 
republic, governed by its old nobility and new 
clergy, and depending meanwhile more on the 
countenf.nce and protection of England, than on 
any favour it could hope for from its own 
nominal sovereign. The deputation which pro- 
ceeded to Paris to communicate to the queen 
the proceedings of this parliament which had 
abolished Popery in Scotland, was headed by 
one of the singular lay impropriators of the 
ecclesiastical titles and property of the old 
church, sir James Sandilans, titular grand prior 
of the Knights of St. John, who continued to 
take a prominent share in the proceedings of 
the reforming nobles. 

It was not to be expected that all this popular 
liberty could be so speedily secured without it 
degenerating in some cases to licence. The 
Book of Discipline gave large powers to the re- 
formed clergy for the suppression of vice, and 
the earliest attempts to enforce such discipline 
were not always quietly submitted to. The 
city council registers of the same year, 1560, 
bear record of a serious riot originating in this 
way. " That the work of reformation might 
not be retarded, Sanderson, deacon of the 


fleshers, or butchers, was ordered by the council 
to be carted for adultery." As deacon, he was 
the head of his trade, and his punishment was 
accordingly resented as an insult to the whole 
body. They mustered for defence of their 
rights, and being joined by many others of 
their own class, they broke open the prison 
and released their deacon ; nor were they sup- 
pressed till the privy council interfered, and 
after putting them down by force, committed 
the ringleaders to safer durance in the castle. 

A still more serious riot serves even better 
to illustrate the manners of the age. Among 
the favourite pastimes derived from an earlier 
period, against which the reformers both of 
Scotland and England directed their keenest 
hostility, was the game of Kobin Hood. Both 
this, and that of the Abbot of Unreason, or Lord 
of Misrule, were more or less connected with the 
practices of the Romish church, and were 
usually celebrated on special holidays. That 
of Robin Hood was played, on a Sunday or 
holiday in May, and was, no doubt, attended 
with a reprehensible degree of popular licence. 
Bishop Latimer, it may be remembered, com- 
plains in one of his sermons, preached before 
Edward vi., that having given notice of his 
intention to preach in a certain town on a par- 
ticular holiday, when he came to the church 
he found the door locked, and after being kept 
half an hour waiting for the key, he was told 
by one of his unwilling attendants, " This is a 
busy day with us ; we cannot hear you. It is 


Eobin Hood's day. The parish are gone 
abroad to gather for Itobin Hood ; I pray yoii 
hinder them not." " I thought," says the 
bishop, " my rochet should have been regarded, 
though I Avere not ; but it would not serve ; 
it was fain to give place to Robin Hood's men." 
The Scottish clergy, however, had no idea of 
giving place in such a manner, and the magis- 
trates were called upon to put down the Robin 
Hood play. The craftsmen and apprentices, not 
choosing to be so balked, united together, and 
resolved to revive the old pastime. The magis- 
trates having interfered, a determined riot 
ensued, which was carried so far that one of 
the ringleaders was condemned to be hanged. 
The gallows was accordingly erected at the 
cross, and all preparations completed for the 
execution of this severe sentence, when the 
craftsmen once more resumed their weapons, 
broke down the gallows, and put the magis- 
trates to flight. The Tolbooth was next 
assaulted and all the prisoners released, peace 
being only restored at last by the magistrates 
publishing a proclamation engaging that no one 
should be punished for any share in the riots. 

But a new character was now to add fresh 
interest to the proceedings which mark this 
period in the history of the Scottish capital. On 
the 19th of August, 1561, the little fleet v/hich 
brought from France the Scottish queen, cast 
anchor in the Frith of Forth. A thick fog 
concealed it as it entered on the previous day, 
and Mary Stuart landed in the harbour of 


Lcitli before she was expected. As soon as the 
news of her arrival became known, the people 
flocked from all quarters to welcome her, and 
the nobility hiistened to conduct her to the 
palace of lloljrood. Nothing was wanting to 
testify the hearty loyalty and affection of her 
subjects. But the fogs of the Scottish coast 
contrasted unftivourably with the sunny skies 
of France ; and the young queen could not 
help mournfully comparing the poor cortege 
and rough mountain ponies brought for her 
retinue, with the gorgeous pageants to which 
she had been accustomed at the court of France. 
Even the demonstrations of popular loyalty 
served to remind her how completely she was 
a stranger among her own people. During the 
evening the citizens assembled beneath her 
window in the palace of Holyrood, to play on 
their three-stringed violins, and to sing psalms, 
in demonstration of their joy at her return. 
" The sound of their discordant music," says one 
of her latest biographers, " and the hymns of a 
creed which she deemed gloomy and heretical, 
added to the melancholy impressions experienced 
by Mary Stuart on returning to a country 
where she felt she was a stranger ; whose 
manners she had not adopted, and whose faith 
she no longer shared." 

It would not be easy to conceive a more try- 
ing position for a sovereign than that which the 
young queen of Scots was called upon to fill. 
Fresh from the gay court of Roman Catholic 
France, she had to deal with Prolcstant nobles 


who had long been accustomed to independence 
and revolt, and -with a people just awaking to 
all the ideas of personal liberty resulting I'lom 
the struggle in which they had triumphed. 
Her position, moreover, was peculiar, as the 
Roman Catholic sovereign of a Protestant peo- 
ple; and much as we must sympathize in the 
triumph of the truth over Komish errors and 
corruptions, it is impossible to overlook the 
fact that the intolerance experienced by her 
from her Protestant subjects was little calcu- 
lated to wean her from the faith in which she 
had been nurtured, or to induce her to look 
with a favourable eye on that which her people 
had adopted with so resolute a zeal. Her first 
proceedings were characterized by wisdom and 
moderation. She placed herself, to a great 
extent, under the guidance of lord James 
Stuart and lord Lethiiigton, the two Protestant 
leaders; and declared that, as she meant to 
constrain none of her subjects on matters of 
faith, she trusted that they would not wish to 
constrain her. But this toleration was more 
than the zealous reformers deemed themselves 
justified in permitting. They had already put^ 
down the mass as a national sin in the sight of 
God, and they regarded its restoration, even 
under circumstances so limited and peculiar, 
as the re-establishment of idolatry. " One 
mass," said Knox, " is more fearful to me than 
if ten thousand armed enemies were landed in 
any part of the realm." Accordingly, when, on 
the first Sunday after the queen's arrival, mass 


was celebrated in her private chapel at Holy- 
rood, the rumour almost excited the citizens 
of Edinburgh to insurrection. The ministers 
threatened, and the general exclamation was, 
as John Knox says, " That idol shall not be 
suffered « gain to take place within this reahni" 
A party ot" the more zealous citizens was soon 
excited to action; and the master of Lindsay, 
clad in mail, and followed by a troop of men 
armed and ready for the utmost violence, 
rushed into the court-yard of Ilolyrood Palace, 
crying out that " the idolatrous priests should 
die the death, according to God's law!" Lord 
James Stuart had made preparations for pre- 
venting any interruption to the services con- 
ducted in accordance with the queen's religious 
opinions, an interruption which he knew Irom 
the temper of the times to be by no means 

The opinion of the early reformers, as to 
the utter impossibility of extending toleration, 
or permitting any religious freedom to Roman 
Catholics, is sufficiently manifested in a letter 
written by Knox at this time to his friend 
Calvin, to whom he observes, " The queen had 
scarcely been back three days, before the idol 
of the mass was again set up." He then refers 
to the opinion of the more moderate Protestant 
party: " That it is not lawful lor us to prevent 
the queen from practising her religion. Al- 
though," he adds, " I contradict this rumour, 
which appears to me very false, it has taken 
such deep root in men's hearts, that it will be 


impossible for me to dislodge it, unless I learn 
from you the opinion of the church." Such, it 
must be owned, was not the spirit most likely 
to wean the young queen from the faith in 
which she had been reared, or from the pre- 
judices which she could not fail to imbibe at the 
court of France, against all who maintained (he 
doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. In 
justice to the reformers, however, it must be 
remembered, that religious toleration was then 
a doctrine almost entirely unknown, and that 
they were too recently escaped from the yoke 
of the Romish church to have thoroughly eman- 
cipated themselves from its intolerant spirit. 

The zeal of the Protestant party found rather 
a novel mode of displaying itself before the 
queen, on her first public entrance into the city. 
Preparations w^ere made for her reception on a 
magnificent scale. After having dined in the 
castle, she proceeded towards the west gate of 
the city, where she was met by a train of fifty 
black slaves, gorgeously apparelled, while twelve 
of the chief citizens, dressed in rich velvet 
gowns and crimson satin doublets, bore a 
canopy of violet-coloured velvet, under which 
she rode in state, accompanied by the nobility 
and principal burgesses. The whole prepara- 
tions for fitly receiving the queen were of the 
like costly description. All the citizens were 
required to appear in gowns of fine French 
satin and coats of velvet, and the young men 
were commanded to devise for themselves some 
befitting habiliments of taffeta or other silk, to 


convey the court in triiimpli. Immediately on 
the queen's entry Avithin the precincts of the 
city, a lovely boy of six years of age descended 
from a globe, and addressing her in congratu- 
latory verses, at Avhich she was seen to smile, 
presented lier Avitli the keys of the city, a 
Psalter, and the Erjglish Bible. Had the zeal 
of the citizens stopped here it would have been 
well. But it was a fashion of the age to pre- 
sent on such occasions masks and pageants, 
derived for the most part from the old mys- 
steries of the Komish church, and this custom 
was now turned to full account. The royal 
procession was stopped at a convenient spot, 
and one of these mysteries was performed, 
in which Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were 
swallowed up by the earth, Avliile offering 
strange fire upon the altar, as a warning of 
the vengeance of God upon idolaters. Nor did 
even this significant interlude satisfy the po- 
pular desire to set forth the new opinions 
before the queen. Another had been provided, 
in which a priest Avas to have been burned r.t 
the altar while elevating the host ; but the 
e;irl of Huntly persuaded the parties with some 
difiiculty to desist from so gross an outrage on 
the queen's feelings and religious opinions, and 
to content themselves with the abstruser 

Thus strangely did the citizens of Edinburgh 
endeavour at once to hail Mary as their sove- 
reign, and to menace her as a Eoman Catholic. 
She was inclined , however, to overlook such 


excesses of popular feeling, and had no reason 
otherwise to complain of any want of loyalty. 
All the public way through which she passed 
was adorned with splendid hangings and de- 
vices, and she was entertained by the magis- 
trates at a public banquet, given in the ancient 
archiepiscopal palace, which still stands — a 
strangely faded memorial of such olden times — 
in the Cowgate of Edinburgh. 

Queen Mary was at this time, we may 
observe, guided almost entirely by her brother 
the lord James's counsel, and she pursued a 
wise and conciliating policy to all. At this 
period, as we learn from various public do- 
cimients, the ancient Tolbooth, or Hotel de 
Ville of Edinburgh, where the Scottish parlia- 
ments usually assembled, and the courts of jus- 
tice were held, had become ruinous ; and, in 
accordance with a royal letter issued by the 
queen, it was removed, and the building 
erected in its stead which became famous in 
later days under its more popular name of the 
" Heart of Midlothian." During the progress 
of the new erection, accommodation was pro- 
vided for the meetings of the council and the 
court of session in one of the transepts of St. 
Giles's Church, known as the IIoli/ Blood Aisle; 
a sufficiently significant name, suggestive of 
one of the favourite miraculous relics of the 
Romish church. 

The arms of the city of Edinburgh appear, 
up to this date, to have been the insignia of the 
patron saint, St. Giles, who is usually represented, 


in accordance Avith the old legend of the "Romish 
chnrch, with a fawn beside him. This, however, 
could no longer be tolerated, when all other 
emblems and memorials of superstition were 
being swept away. An act of the town council 
of the year 1562, accordingly, orders the idol 
to be cut out of the town's standard, and a 
thistle to be put in its room. The latter w^as 
afterwards replaced by a more regular specimen 
of the herald's pictorial art, and the saint's fawn 
alone now appears as one of the supporters o^ 
the city arms. 




A BRIEF period of peace, succeeded by another 
of resolute triumph over her opponents, marked 
the first years of queen Mary's reign, and then 
followed the terrible incidents which to this day 
confer a singular interest on Edinburgh to the 
eye of strangers. The opposition of the citizens 
to any toleration of the mass, however privately 
celebrated, continued unabated. During the 
queen's absence at Stirhng, her private chapel 
at Holyrood was broken into, and the queen's 
domestics, as well as the officiating priest, 
threatened with the terrors of the law for con- 
ducting and abetting the Romish services. 

A still more serious display of zeal was 
manifested at Easter, in 15G5, when sir James 
Tarbet, a Roman Catholic priest, was seized by 
an Edinburgh mob, headed by one of the 
bailies, as he was riding home from celebrating 
mass. He was imprisoned in the Tolbooih, 
along with several of his assailants ; but this 
by no means satisfied the populace, who broke 


into tlie prison, brought him forth, and clothing 
him in his sacerdotal robes, set him up in the 
pillory at the Market Cross, where he was ex- 
posed for an hour to the pelting of the mob. 
lie was then brought to trial, and again con- 
demned to the pillory for having celebrated 
mass contrary to law. On this second occasion, 
the common hangman was appointed to preside 
at the pillory, and so rudely was the poor priest 
maltreated by the rabble, that he was reported 
to be dead. Such proceedings could not fail to 
exasperate the queen, and from this time for- 
ward she became more and more alienated 
from the Protestant party. 

On the 28th of July, 1565,Darnley was pro- 
claimed king at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, 
and on the following day he was married to the 
queen in the chapel of Holyrood, by the dean 
of Eestaliig. Lord Henry Darnley, the son of 
the earl of Lennox, a member of the royal 
liouse of Stuart, and of lady Margaret Douglas, 
the granddaughter of Henry vii. of England 
through Margaret Tudor, the widow of James 
IV., was as suitable a marriage as the queen 
could make among the subjects of Scotland or 
England, and mutual affection seemed at the 
time to give promise of the happiest results. 
Bat reasonable and auspicious as it appeared, 
this was a fital union. Politically, it awoke 
the jealousy of England, and excited fresh fears 
in the minds of Mary's Protestant subjects ; 
while Darnley himself proved a weak, vain, 
ambitious youth, Avho became the tool of his 

E 2 


own and his Avife's opponents, and involved 
both in misery and ruin. 

On the 9th of March, 1566, the queen was 
at supper in her cabinet at Holy rood Palace, 
in company with the countess of Argyle and 
lord Robert Stuart, her natural sister and 
brother, and other members of the court, 
among whom was her private secretary, David 
Rizzio, when her husband Darnley admitted a 
body of armed assassins into his apartments in 
the north-west tower of the palace, immediately 
below those of the queen, and communicating 
with them by a private staircase. The chief 
conspirators included lords Morton and Lind- 
say, who, with a body of about two hundred 
armed men, occupied the court-yard, and seized 
the gates of the palace ; while lord Kuthven, 
Ker of Fawdonside, Patrick Bellenden, and 
George Douglas, followed Darnley to execute 
the bloody purpose for which they were assem- 
bled. Darnley himself first ascended the stair, 
and throwing back the tapestry, which is still 
shown, concealing the secret door, he entered 
the small apartment in the north-west turret 
where the queen and her friends were seated at 
supper. On entering, he took his seat behind 
the queen, who turned towards him and em- 
braced him affectionately. A minute had 
scarcely ela[)sed when lord Ruthven, clad in 
complete armour, and pale and haggard fjoni 
disease, stalked into the room, lie was followed 
immediately by the other conspirators, armed 
"with pistols and daggers ; and the queen, who 


was now fiir advanced in pregnancy, sprang up 
in alarm, and demanded by whose permission 
they had dared thus to intrude on Jier presence. 
She then ordered Ruthven to retire, on pain of 
treason; but without vouchsafing her a reply 
he drew his dagger, and attempted to lay hold 
of Rizzio, who sprang behind the queen, and 
clinging to her dress, wildly besought her to 
save his life. Darnley, who had hitherto affected 
ignorance of the objects of the conspirators, now 
interfered, and loosing the hands of the wretched 
Italian from the queen's robes, and grasping the 
queen in his arms, he withheld her from further 
attempts to save him, while the conspirators 
dragged him from her cabinet, and through her 
bedroom to the entrance of her presence-cham- 
ber. Morton and Lindsay wished to have kept 
him for execution with some show of justice, 
but George Douglas, more impatient than they, 
struck him as he reached the outer doorway 
with the king's dagger, which he had got hold 
of, and the others immediately rushing upon 
him, pierced his body with their daggers, 
leaving a pool of blood on the chamber floor, 
the marks of which are believed still to remain, 
and are pointed out to the credulous visitor at 
the present day. So determined were the con- 
spirators in their bloody purpose, that the body 
was mangled with fifty-six wou.ids, and the 
corpse was then thrown out of the window into 
the court- yard. 

The utmost consternation was excited both 
in the palace and town by this iai'ing assassi- 


nation. The earls of Huntly, Bothwell, and 
Athol, the lords Fleming and Livingstone, and 
sir James Balfour, were all in Holyrood when 
the conspirators effected an entrance, and hastily 
fled ; the first two of them effecting their escape 
by means of a rope from one of the palace 

The provost of Edinburgh having been ap- 
prised of the tumult in the palace, sounded the 
tocsin, and assembling a body of armed citi- 
zens, presented himself at Holyrood, and de- 
manded admission to the queen. The chief 
actors in the deed made their escape by a small 
and picturesque lodge, still existing, on the 
north side of the palace garden, popularly 
known as Queen Maiy's Bath. In the course 
of some repairs executed a few years since on 
the roof of this building, a rusty dagger, with 
the blade richly inlaid, was discovered sticking 
in one of the planks. This the discoverers sup- 
posed, not without some appearance^ of proba- 
bility, to have remained there from the flight 
of the murderers of Eizzio. As the provost and 
citizens insisted on admission, Darnley went 
out to them, and thanking them for their loyal 
zeal, assured them of the safety of the queen, 
and informed them that no harm had happened 
to any one but the Italian secretary, who had 
been put to death " because he had conspired 
with the pope and the king of Spain to intro- 
duce foreign troops into the country, to conquer 
it, and restore the ancient religion." 

A flat stone, with some nearly obliterated 


carving upon it, is pointed out in the aisle which 
connects the modern quadrangle of the palace 
with the remains of the ancient abbey church, 
as marking the grave of Eizzio. 

This cruel deed was the turning point in the 
history of the unhappy Scottish queen. In the 
struggle which preceded the seizure of her 
doomed secretary, the supper table was over- 
turned upon her, and she received considerable 
injury; yet during the whole of that terrible 
night she remained captive in her room, with- 
out being permitted access even to her servants, 
or any of the ladies in waiting. Accustomed to 
control her feelings, she now felt herself com- 
pelled to dissemble her wrath. By means of 
the winning blandishments which won so many 
to her aid, even when a captive and for ever 
shut out from the throne of her kingdom, she 
soon succeeded in detaching her weak and 
facile husband from the conspirators wdth 
whom he had leagued in the murder of Rizzio. 
Escaping from the palace at midnight, they fled 
first to Seaton, and then to Dunbar. After an 
Jibsence of a few days, the queen returned to 
Edinburgh; but she shuddered at the thought 
of re-entering the blood-stained apartments of 
Holyrood Palace, and she and Daruley took up 
their abode in the house of a private citizen in 
the High-street. From thence the queen re- 
moved, after a few days, nearer the castle, her 
residence being in all probability the mansion 
built by her mother on the Castle-hill, to which 
allusion has previously been made. 


Lord Euthven, the chief actor in the assassi- 
nation of Eizzio, had risen from a sick bed to 
bear his part in the cruel deed. He fled to 
Newcastle, and died there. The other pro- 
minent sharers in the deed escaped for the time 
beyond reach of the queen, and only two of 
their humbler agents suffered for the crime : 
Thomas Scott, the deputy of lord Euthven as 
sheriff of Perth, and Henry Yair, one of his 
inferior retainers. They are the first criminals 
known to have been executed by the Scottish 
maiden — a curious ancient guillotine of rude 
workmanship, still preserved in the IMuseum of 
the Scottish Antiquaries at Edinburgh, and by 
which, as is stated in the synopsis of that in- 
teresting collection, were subsequently beheaded 
" the regent Morton, sir John Gordon of Haddo, 
president Spottiswoode, the marquis of Ar- 
gyle, the earl of Argyle, besides many others of 
the noblest and best blood in Scotland." 

The period of the queen's accouchment now 
drew near, and with the advice of her council 
she took up her residence within the old palace 
in Edinburgh Castle, in one of the rooms of 
which her mother, Mary de Guise, had expired. 
Over the entrance to this part of the castle, a 
stone tablet, put \ip, as is believed, preparatory 
to the visit of James vi. to Scotland in 1617, 
bears the letters II: A: M: wrought into a mo- 
nogram for Hknuy and ]\Iaky, with the date 
1566, commemorative of the birth of James on 
the 19th June of that year. The small room 
which was the scene of this important event is 


an irregular chamber, in the south-east angle of 
the old castle, measuring little more than 
eight feet in its greatest length. The original 
panelled ceiling is decorated with the roj^al ini- 
tials I.E. and M. R., in alternate compartments, 
each surmounted by a crown, and on the wall 
is the following quaint distich, put up, as its 
contents show, during the life of the queen : — 

Lord Jesu Chryst, that crownit was with Thornes, 
Preserve the Birth, quhais Badgie heir is borne, 
And send hir Sonne successione to Reigne still 
Lang in this realme, if that it be thy will, 
Als, grant, O Lord, qiiliat ever of Hir proseed 
Be to thv Honor and Prais, sobied. 
19th IVN 11, 1566. 

The room in which the infant was born, in 
whom the rival crowns of Elizabeth and Mary 
were afterwards united, has recently been re- 
stored, with judicious care, as nearly as possible 
to its original condition, and it now forms one 
of the most popular attractions to the numerous 
visitors who proceed to the ancient fortress to 
examine the crown of Bruce, the sword of 
James iv., the Stuart jewels, — restored on the 
death of cardinal York, the brother of prince 
Charles Edward, — and the other interesting 
relics which contribute to crowd so many his- 
torical associations on the mind in connexion 
with the old Castle of Edinburgh. 

The birth of a prince, and an heir to the 
Scottish throne, was a source of the liveliest 
joy to the citizens. A public thanksgiving was 
offered up on the following day in the church of 
St. Giles, and sir James Melvil was despatched 
to London to communicate the intelligence to 


the English court ; and, as the author of the 
" Memorials of Edinburgh " says, " posted with 
such speed that he reached London on tlie 
fourth day thereafter, and spoiled her majesty's 
mirth for one uiaht, at least, with the ' happy 
news.' " 

The queen had dissembled her wrath at the 
murder of Eizzio, and weaned her imbecile 
husband from co-operating with the conspira- 
tors wlio had leairued with him to effect that 


barbarous deed. There is little doubt, hov/- 
ever, that from that moment she resolved on 
taking vengeance on the perpetrators of the 
crime, and the conduct of Darnley was in no 
degree calculated to make her forget the part 
he had played in that gross outrage on her 
person, and on her rights as a sovereign, as 
well as on her character as a woman. He was 
a vain, weak, and unstable man, who by his 
folly alienated from him the interest and affec- 
tions of every political party, and by his gross 
licentiousness rendered himself an object of dis- 
gust to the queen. His destruction had already 
been resolved on, when he was seized at Glas- 
gow with a loathsome disease, described by 
some writers as smallpox. On his partial re- 
covery he was removed to Edinburgh, and 
lodged in the mansion of the provost of the 
collegiate church of St. Mary- in -the -Field, 
as a salubrious place. This ancient church 
stood on the site of University Buildings, and 
the infirmary now occupies the ground of the 
provost's mansion where Darnley was lodged. 


There he was frequently visited by the queen, 
nnd she spent the evening of the 9th of Feb- 
ruary, 1567, with him, leaving him at eleven 
o'clock to return to Holyrood Palace, where a 
banquet was to be given on occasion of the 
marriage of one of her servants. The most 
minute account of the proceedings of this night 
are preserved to us in the depositions afterv\'ards 
taken in investigating into the murder which 
was then perpetrated ; and one of Bothwell's 
servants states in his evidence, that when re- 
turning from the Kirk of Field to the lodging 
of his master, he saw the queen going before 
liim with lighted torches, as he went up Black- 
friars Wynd; so that it would appear the queen 
walked home with a few attendants, passing up 
the close, and proceeding by the Canongate to 
the palace, much as any ordinary citizen would 
have done. 

About three hours after the queen's de- 
parture, a loud explosion, which shook the 
whole town, blew the lodging of Darnley into 
the air, and his body, with that of his servant, 
were found at some little distance, under cir- 
cumstances which seemed to prove that they 
had been strangled before the explosion took 
place, and afterwards carried to the spot where 
they were found. The queen's implication in 
this dark deed has been the subject of much 
dispute, and there may perhaps still exist ad- 
vocates to maintain her innocence ; but her 
latest biographer, Mignet, who has many of 
the requisites for a candid and impartial 


historian, entertains no doubt of her guilt ; and 
her immediate intercourse and speedy mar- 
riage with Bothwell, the active agent in the 
murderous deed, unhappily furnishes such 
corroboration of the charge as cannot easily 
be set aside. But whether innocent or guilty, 
the murder of Darnley proved fatal to Mary 
queen of Scots. After the brief interval which 
transpired between that deed and her marriage 
Avith the murderer, she surrendered to the earl 
of Morton, at Carbery-hill, near Musselburgh, 
on the 15th of June, 1567; and late the same 
evening she entered her capital a prisoner in 
the hands of her captors. 

Dark as it was, the captive queen was 
recognised as she passed along the streets, and 
was assailed with insulting cries by the rude 
populace. She was lodged for the night in an 
ancient building in the High-street, called the 
Black Turnpike, the town mansion of the pro- 
vost, sir Simon Preston ; and the following 
evening she quitted Edinburgh for the last 
time, on her way to the scene of her first cap- 
tivity in the Castle of Lochleven. On that 
night, the IGt.h of June, 1567, the sceptre of 
Scotland passed away for ever from her grasp; 
and the historian of Edinburgh is no longer called 
upon to follow out the incidents of that sad and 
sorrowful career, wdiich, by the wrongs and suf- 
ferings that were crowded into it, has served to 
cast into the shade those darker incidents which 
mark the period of her life from the marriage 
of Darnley to his sudden and violent death. 

THE king's and QUEEn'S MEN. 147 


THE king's AND QUEEN's MEN. 

The defeat of queen Mary's small hand of 
adherents, and the steps which followed on her 
forced abdication, placed the crown of Scotland 
nominally on the head of her infant son, James 
VI., and once more subjected the kingdom to 
the oft-experienced evils of a long minority. 
The residence of the young king was almost 
entirely at Stirling, and Edinburgh ceased to 
be enlivened with the presence of royalty. The 
successive regents, however, frequently abode 
there, and the councils of the nation continued 
to hold their chief deliberations within its walls. 
The queen still found adherents, and the 
country was divided into king's and queen's 
men, who were for the most part, in other 
words, Protestants and Roman Catholics. In 
England also, where the Scottish queen was 
lield a prisoner, under circumstances strongly 
calculated to excite sympathy in her behalf, 
the Romish party plotted and secretly devised 
plans for the restoration of the old faith in her 


name; and thus the interests of Elizabeth were 
closely linked with all the movements of the 
king's party in Scotland. One of the proceed- 
ings resulting from this, connected with the 
history of Edinburgh, was the famous siege of 
the castle in 1572. 

When the regent IMurray obtained possession 
of the fortress, after the defeat of queen Mary at 
Langside, he committed it to the care of the 
celebrated sir William Ivirkaldy of Grange. 
Maitland of Lethington, however, the most subtle 
of all the Scottish statesmen of the period, was the 
secret and persevering agent of the queen's party 
both in England and Scotland; and under his 
influence the new governor of Edinburgh Castle 
was before long gained over to the cause of Mary. 
This was an important accession, securing as 
it did one of the chief fortresses of the kingdom 
for her adherents; and when, after the brief 
duration of Murray's regency, he fell by the 
hand of an assassin, in January, 1570, the 
queen's party once more acquired hope and 
courage. The citizens of Edinburgh were now 
placed, as it were, between two contending 
forces. The earl of Lennox having been 
appointed to the vacant regency, resolved to 
hold a parliament in Edinburgh : this the 
governor of the castle was bent on preventing, 
and for that purpose took possession of St. 
Giles's Church, and manned its tower with 
musketeers. The regent's adherents marched 
on the town in great force, erected batteries on 
the Calton, and other available points, and 

THE king's AND queen's MEN. 149 

battered the town, while the parliament as- 
sembled in the Canongate, without the walls. 
Sir William Ivirkaldy thereupon transferred his 
soldiers to the old monastery of the Blackfriars, 
and erecting a battery there, kept up a constant 
firing on the quarter where the estates held 
their meeting. Many houses, both in the city 
and Canongate, were damaged, and the citizens 
kept in danger of their lives. 

This frightful state of aifairs continued with 
little change till the month of July, 1572. The 
earl of Mar cast up trenches in the Pleasance, 
a suburb on the south side of the town, and 
mounted artillery on Salisbury Crags, where- 
with to batter the town ; while the governor of 
the castle, with no less resolute zeal, rebuilt the 
Nether Bow Port, the chief gate of the town, 
fortified and renewed its walls, and spared no 
pains to prepare the city for withstanding a 
siege. At the same time, as if to encourage 
the citizens by the promise of a freedom under 
the queen's rule preferable to the restraints 
imposed on them by the strict principles of the 
reformers, the discarded sports of Eobin Hood 
and Little John were renewed with the return 
of IMay. 

On the 27th of June the threatened siege 
was averted, and the ominous strife brought 
for the time to a close, a truce being procUiimed 
at the city cross by the heralds, with the hearty 
rejoicings of the people. 

In the following month John Knox returned 
to Edinburgh, after an absence of nearly two 


years. The house of the great reformer, which 
still stands, is within a few yards of the site of 
the Nether Bow Port, the principal gate of the 
town,. and must therefore have been specially 
exposed to the dangers arising from the siege. 
The venerable reformer's life was now drawing 
rapidly to a close, and his last days were 
imbittered by the terrible news of the massacre 
of St. Bartholomew, by which nearly all the 
Protestants of France were exterminated, amidst 
atrocities more horrible even than those of the 
later reign of terror. 

This frightful event, which occurred on the 
24th of August, 1572, produced a powerful, 
though very varying sensation throughout 
Europe, and exercised a strong influence on the 
movements of parties in Scotland. In France, 
the horrible excesses of the populace at length 
alarmed even the monarch who had instigated 
them. But the courts of Rome and of Spain 
were filled with joy and exultation at the news. 
The pope went in procession to the church of 
St. Lewis to render public thanksgiving for 
such a signal triumph ; medals were struck in 
commemoration of the deed of blood ; and the 
Komanists throughout Europe ilattered them- 
selves that Pj-otestantism had received its death- 
blow. But it was not so. England, indeed, 
heard it with terror, and when the fearful 
tidings reached Scotland, its dying reformer 
lifted up his expiring breath to God in prayer 
on behalf of his suffering church. But at the 
same time it helped to show more vividly to 

THE king's and QUEEN'S MEN. 151 

the Protestants of Europe the true character of 
the church of Rome, and in England and Scot- 
land more especially, it gave fresh impulse to 
the exertions of the Protestant party. 

In both countries the unhappy Scottish queen 
was the centre of all the hopes of the Romish 
party, and queen Elizabeth now resolved to 
employ her influence in establishing on a per- 
manent and indisputable footing the Protestant, 
or king's party, in the neighbouring kingdom. 
Sir William Drury, governor of Berwick, was 
ordered therefore to enter Scotland at the head 
of a considerable force, to co-operate with those 
acting in the name of the infant king. 

Sir William Kirkaldy had adopted every 
means for strengthening the garrison, and pre- 
paring the Castle of Edinburgh for a lengthened 
siege. Murray had been succeeded as regent 
by Lennox, Lennox by Mar, and Mar by 
Morton ; and it was the last of these, James 
Douglas, earl of Morton, who, in laying the 
dust of the great Scottish reformer, John Knox, 
in his grave in St. Giles's Church, on the 26th 
of November, 1572, pronounced over him the 
emphatic words, which have been remembered 
for their aptness and truth, " There lies he who 
never feared the face of man." It was indeed a 
singular evidence of the strange confliction of 
parries in that age in which the Scottish Re- 
formation was brought forth, that its leadt-r, 
after bearding haughty prelates, queens, and 
rulers, even in their palaces, after being con- 
signed a prisoner and galley-slave to the French 


hulks, and forced more than once to flee to 
foreign lands from the rage of his enemies, by 
whom he was burned in effigy at the cross of 
Edinburgh, should at length return to die in 
peace there, in the house provided for him by 
its magistrates, and be interred within the 
precincts of the ancient collegiate Church of 
St. Giles, amidst a nation's grief. 

The keen feelings aroused in all men's minds 
by the horrible deeds of the popish party in 
France, encouraged the Protestants of Scotland 
to take steps for rooting out the last remnant 
of the queen's party. The siege of Edinburgh 
Castle was now resolutely proceeded with. 
Batteries were cast up around it, and all sup- 
plies cut off. Its brave governor, one of the 
most gallant captains of the age, failed not to 
retaliate with equal resolution and bravery, 
and as his operations involved great injury 
to the town, and inflicted much suffering 
on the citizens, a keen feeling of exasperation 
was thereby excited against him. It was im- 
possible, however, for the most resolute bravery 
to maintain a fortress against the combined 
forces of Scotland and England. There was 
no army in the field to co-operate with the 
garrison, or hold out the slightest hope of 
relief; and at length, when the castle was 
nearly reduced to a heap of ruins, and its only 
remaining well was completely choked up with 
the rubbish, sir William Kirkaldy offered to 
capitulate. Such was its ruinous condition that 
when a parley was demanded, the messenger 

THE king's and QUEEN'S MEN. . 153 

had to be let over the wall by a rope. The 
victors acted with unworthy vindjctiveness. 
Instead of treating the vanquished captain as a 
prisoner of war, he was dealt with as the 
meanest felon. Sir William Drury delivered 
him up to the regent, who was his bitter per- 
sonal enemy, and by him both the governor of 
the castle, his brother, sir James Kirkaldy, and 
two citizens, who had been employed in coining 
money in the name of the queen, were igno- 
miniously hanged at the cross of Edinburgh, 
and their heads exposed on the castle wall. 

Amidst the scenes of civil strife and violence, 
however, to which we have thus adverted, the 
great, work of the Reformation in Scotland had 
gradually acquired increasing strength, and 
been settled upon a comparatively solid basis. 
The notices which we have incidentally given 
of the superstitions and ignorance that pre- 
vailed during the period in which the papal 
church was in the ascendant in Scotland, must 
have satisfied the intelligent reader how much 
that event was required. In no country, per- 
haps, which the Ileformation visited, have its 
beneficial effects been more apparent than in 
Scotland. The nation aroused itself as from 
a slumber. " Before this blessed era," to use 
the language of an eloquent divine, " Scotland 
hjid no arts but the arts of war ; no philosophy ; 
no literature save her songs of love and chivahy, 
and little government of law. Yet no sooner 
did the breath of truth from the living oracles 
of God breathe over her, than the wilderness 
and the solitary place became glad, and the 


desert rejoiced and blossomed like the rose, 
lieligious principles chose to reside within the 
troubled land, bringing moral virtues in their 
train ; and they begot a national character for 
knowledge, industry, and enterprise, and ibr 
every domestic and public virtue, which has 
made her children an acceptable people to all 
the nations of the earth." 

Great as were the national advantages which 
the Reformation brought in its train, the indi- 
vidual blessings which it bestowed were no less 
precious. It broke the seal which had pre- 
viously been fixed upon the word of God, and 
enabled all to study for themselves the solemn 
truths relating to their immortal destinies 
which that volume contains. Men were taught 
to abandon vain oblations and superstitious 
rites for a pure and living faith in Christ. They 
learned their true relations to their Creator ; 
the holiness of the Divine character, the per- 
fection of his moral law, the unbroken obedience 
in thought, word, and deed, which it required ; 
the radical corruption of their nature, and the 
necessity of a great and vital change to be 
accomplished by the regenerating influence of 
the Holy Spirit. Thus renewed and Divinely 
taught, the burdened conscience felt peace, 
while those who had ineffectually toiled by 
weary penance and monastic vigils to recom- 
mend themselves to the favour of tiieir Creator, 
had the fetters struck off irom their souls, and, 
influenced by the faith which works by love, 
sprang forward to run the arduous, but happy 
race of evangelical obedience. 




In October, 1579, king James vl summoned a 
parliament to assemble at Edinburgh, and made 
his first public entry to his capital. He was 
received at the Westport by the magistrates, 
under a pall of purple velvet, and was appro- 
priately entertained by a representation of the 
Judgment of Solomon, an allegory designed 
to flatter the vanity of the young king. Various 
other splendid pageants and equally appropriate 
allegories followed, as the king passed down 
the High-street, until on his approach to St. 
Giles's Church he was addressed in Hebrew by 
an allegorical personage, styled Dame, Religion^ 
who desired his attendance at church. He 
entered St, Giles's accordingly, and listened to 
a sermon preached there by one of the reform- 
ing clergy. 

In 15;30, the marriage of the king to Anne of 
Denmark, and her reception on her arrival in 
Edinburgh, led to many gay festivities, as well 
as to some of the singular displays of learning 
and scholastic disputations for which the king 


at all times showed a special favour. On the 
coronation of the queen, the principal of the 
college addressed her in an oration of two hun- 
dred Latin verses ; and on her entry to the 
capital, similar learned and lengthy orations 
were delivered by a curious variety of alle- 
gorical personages. A few days after, the 
magistrates entertained the ambassadors and 
Danish nobles who had accompanied her to 
Scotland, at a splendid banquet given in the 
great hall of the Mint House, which still stands 
in the Cowgate, though long since divested of 
much of its ancient magnificence, and now 
applied to the humble purposes of a broker's 

Within the last half of the present century, 
the spirit of modern improvement and inno- 
vation has obliterated many venerable memo- 
rials of the times of queen INIary and James vi. 
A glance at one or two of these may help to 
rccal some idea of the manners of these olden 
periods. King James was brought up as the 
pupil of George Buchanan ; and while his 
teacher duly instilled into him all requisite 
learning — it not indeed rather more than his 
capacities enabled him to turn to any good 
account — he was at the same time accustomed 
to a freer intercourse with the citizens than had 
been usual with former princes. When he 
came to the throne, a very limited exchequer, 
and the risks to which he was frequently ex- 
posed during the collisions of rival i'actions, 
both inclined him to turn the hospitalities of 


his civic acquaintances to account; it was ac- 
cordingly no uncommon thing, when the larder 
at Holyrood was exhausted, or its precincts 
rendered unsafe by factions at court, for the 
king to take up his lodgings with some wealthy 
burgher in the High-street. 

One of these old resorts of king Jamie was a 
substantial quadrangular building in Niddry's 
Wy nd, called Lochart's-court, whither, as Moysie, 
an officer of the royal household, informs us in 
his I\Iemoirs, both the king and queen withdrev/ 
in 1591, when the earl of Both well had ren- 
dered the palace somewhat too hot for them; 
and the officers of state following their majesty's 
prudent example, " the chancellor lodged him- 
self in Alexander Clark's house, at the same 

The king's host was Nicol Udward, the 
builder of the civic mansion, and styled in its 
tvi'ifs " a citizen of auld descent in the burgh." 
Over one of the mantel-pieces was a fine piece 
of oak carving, containing the arms of this well- 
descended burgher, with the following quaint 
anagram peculiarly characteristic of the period : 

" VA d'UN vol X CHRIST," 

Go with one flight to Christ, — a pious effusion 
which it will be seen is made out of the 
Latinized name of the owner, Nicholaus Edu- 
ARTUS. A secret subterranean dungeon also 
existed in the same mansion, entered only by 
a concealed trap-door, which we may presume 
sorved the wealthy citizen for a place of con- 
cealment of his hoards. 


Another favourite haunt of king James was 
a little booth at the west end of St. Giles's 
Church, where the famous royal goldsmith, 
George Heiiot, had his forge and workshop. 
This homely resort of the king, demolished 
within the last few years, measured only seven 
feet square, yet there the financial difficulties of 
the court of Holy rood were most frequently put 
to rights, and if tradition is to be credited, king 
James made no objection to wind up such 
negotiations by partaking of a flagon of the 
goldsmith's wine in his little booth. By the 
transactions settled in this amicable fashion 
between George Heriot and his royal master, 
much of that wealth was acquired which was 
afterwards devoted to the founding of the cele- 
brated scholastic institution at Edinburgh which 
bears the goldsmith's name. 

The same period witnessed the foundation of 
the University of Edinburgh, with its single 
college, which retains the name of king James as 
its founder. In reality, however, the king con- 
tributed little more than his name. The first 
contributor towards tlio establis^hment of this 
celebrated seat of learning was Robert Eeid, 
bishop of Orkney, who in 1558 bequeatheil ihe 
sum of 8,000 marks, Scots' money, towards 
founding a college in Edinburgh for the educa- 
tion of youth. He died at Dieppe, when re- 
turning from witnessing the marriage of queen 
Mary to the dau[)hin; and according to some 
authorities his original bequest greatly exceeded 
the above sum, but was appropriated by the 


eari of Morton to his own use. It was not till 
1581 that tlie town council of Edinburgh 
actuall}'' began to build, and two years after- 
waid.s the infant university commenced with the 
labours of a solitary professor, Mr Robert 
Rolloch, transferred from the ancient College 
of St. Salvator, St. Andrew's. Notwithstanding 
the nominal favour of the king for " King 
James's College," the contributions of private 
citizens, and grants from the city funds, were 
the chief sources of its extension, and it retains 
to this day certain peculiarities arising from 
these causes. In opposition to the practices of 
the great universities of England, the town coun- 
cil of Edinburgh are its absolute patrons and 
governors; and the Lord Provost exercises the 
office of Lord Rector by right, and without any 
election either of the senatus or the students, 
with whom the choice lies in the other Scottish 
universities. This system of things has been 
at various times attempted to be modified, but 
hitherto without success, as the town council, 
in the exercise of their patronage, have gene- 
rally shown such judgment and impartialit}^ as 
contrasts favourably with the exercise of the 
same duties by more learned bodies elsewhere. 
The annals of the High School preserve an 
account of a remarkable resistance to the au- 
thority of these civic patrons of learning on the 
pait of its more juvenile students. In the year 
1595, the magistrates had taken upon them to 
abiidge certain old-established holidays of the 
school, and to this the pupils were determined 


not to submit. They are described iu the Diary 
of BiiTell, an old citizen of the period, as "a 
niiml)er of scholars, being gentlemen's bairns." 
They had learned, no doubt from the example 
of their elders, the fashion of resisting consti- 
tuted authorities, and a regular barring-out 
took place. The juvenile garrison armed 
themselves, and threatened death to any -who 
approached, unless Avith the assurance of the 
concession of their claims. At length, baillie 
Macmoran, one of the magistrates, headed 
a posse of ofFicials, and proceeded to attack 
the young I'ebels in their stronghold, Avhen 
William Sinclair, one of the boldest of the 
mutineers, shot the magistrate dead on the 
spot. The contemporary chronicle adds : "Pre- 
sently the hail townsmen ran to the school, and 
took the bairns, and put them in the Tolbuith." 
The rash youth, however, -was a son of the 
chancellor of Caithness, and his father's power 
and influence secured his escape from the con- 
sequences of his fatal rebellion. Until the 
demolition of the old High School, the boys 
used to point out in one part of the building 
Avhat was called the baillie's window, being that 
through which the fatal shot was fired. 

The escape of young Sinclair gives no 
uncertain insight into the influence of court 
favour, and the subjection of the citizens 
to the interests or caprice of the king at this 

Tlie authority established by the magistrates 
of Edinburgh over the college of king James, 


^Yas, no doubt, in part at least, due to the im- 
])ortant changes which transferred the king of 
Scotland to the English throne. So long as he 
remained in Edinburgh lie watched with curious 
jealousy everj-^ proceeding, either of the citizens 
or clergy, Avhich he deemed likely to trench on 
the royal prerogative, and some of his debates 
and contentions, with the clergy especially, are 
peculiarly characteristic of the age in which the 
Presbyterian church of Scotland assumed its 
permanent form. The death of queen Eliza- 
beth, in 1603, at length opened the way to 
James's long-coveted accession to the English 
throne. The king before his departure attended 
public service in St. Giles's Church, where he 
had often held disputations with the clergy from 
the royal gallery. An immense crowd assem- 
bled on the occasion, and heard with hvely in- 
terest the discourse addressed to his majesty, on 
the important change by which the crowns of 
the two rival kingdoms were at length to be 
placed peaceably on his head. The king then 
addressed his people, bidding them farewell in 
kind and gracious terms ; and many were 
deeply affected at his words, and at the pro- 
spect of their monarch's departure. 

In whatever light the accession of king 
James to the English throne might be viewed 
by his new subjects, it was generally regarded 
])y the Scottish nation as anything rather than 
a benefit. In Edinburgh especially this could 
not fail to be the case, where the removal of 
the court and of the chief nobility deprived 



the citizens of so important a source of wealth. 
Fourteen years elapsed ere James again visited 
his native capital, when he was received, as 
the town clerk expressed it in the oration 
with which his majesty was welcomed at the 
city gate, as " our true phoenix, the bright 
Btar of our northern firmament, our sun, by 
whose removing from our hemisphere we were 
darkened ; a king in heart as upright as 
David, as wise as Solomon, and as good as 
Josias ! " Language so grossly flattering must 
fill, we need hardly say, every right-minded 
reader with disgust. 

The king had other objects in view on this 
occasion besides the mere pleasure arising from 
the flattery of the citizens, and the display of 
his magnificence to their wondering eyes. He 
longed to assimilate the form of church govern- 
ment in Scotland to that which existed in 
England. By his orders the ancient palace of 
Holyrood was completely repaired and put in 
order, and the chapel decorated and furnished 
with an organ. The Scottish parliament was also 
summoned to meet the king, and he availed 
himself of the popular feelings excited by his 
return to his ancient kingdom to secure the 
first steps in his favourite project for establish- 
ing episcopacy in Scotland. What he begun 
with caution, his son, Charles i., endeavoured 
to carry out with a high hand, and Avith what 
result it is scarcely necessary to say. 

In the year 1G18, the eccentric genius, John 
Taylor, generally known as the water-poet, 


visited Edinburgh, and in his " Pennylesse 
Pilgrimage," published soon after his return to 
London, he thus describes the city and its in- 
habitants, after having noticed the castle: — 
"I descended lower to the city, wherein I 
observed the fairest and goodliest street that 
ever mine eyes beheld, for I did never see or 
hear of a street of the length, the buildings on 
each side of the way being all of squared stone, 
five, six, and seven stories high, and many by- 
lanes and closes on each side of the way, 
wherein are gentlemen's houses, much fciirer 
than the buildings in the High-street, for in 
the High-street the merchants and tradesmen 
do dwell, but the gentlemen's mansions and 
goodliest houses are obscurely founded in the 
aforesaid lanes ; the walls ai'e exceedingly 
strong, not built for a day, a week, a month, 
or a year, but from antiquity to posterity, for 
many ages. There I found entertainment 
beyond my expectations and merit ; and there 
is fish, flesh, bread, and fruit, in such variety 
that I think I may, offenceless, call it super- 
fluity and satiety." 

The picture thus furnished by Taylor, the 
water-poet, of the condition of Edinburgh, may 
be contrasted with the somewhat earlier de- 
scription of Fynes Moryson, another English 
traveller, who visited the Scottish metropolis 
in 1598, and thus details the impression left 
on his mind: — "The houses are built of uu- 
poliished stone, and in the fore-street good part 
of them is of freestone, which in that broad 


street would make a fair show, but that the 
outsides of them are faced with wooden gal- 
leries, built upon the second story of the 
houses; yet these galleries give the owners a 
fair and pleasant prospect into the said fair and 
broad street, when they sit or stand in the 
same." Such galleries may still be seen on 
some of the old houses in the High-street, and 
from one of these balconies it is that the author 
of IVIarmion pictures the lady abbess and De 
Wilton witnessing the spectral heralds fore- 
telling the doom of Flodden from the city 
cross : — 

" When, with deep charge of secrecy, 
She named a place to meet, 
Within an open balcony 
That hung; from dizzy pitcli and high. 

Above the stately street ; 
To which, as common to each home, 
At night they might in secret come. 

The anticpie buildings, climbing high, 
Whose gothic frontlets sought the sky, 

Were here wrapt deep in shade ; 
There on their brows the moonbeams broke, 
Through the faint wreaths of silvery smoke, 

And on tlie casements play'd, 

And other light was none to see. 
Save torches gliding far. 

Before some chieftain of degree. 

Who left the royal revelry 
To bowne him for the war. 

In 1633, Charles i. paid a visit to Edinburgh, 
and ^VRS received with no less hearty loyalty 
than his father had been. The poet Drummond 
of Hawthornden took a prominent lead in the 
preparations for the occasion, including the 
composition of sundry long prose and metrical 
addresses, which were delivered by various 


allegorical characters, such as Ediiia, Cale- 
donia, Apollo, Fergus i., etc. The coronation 
of Charles, as king of Scots, followed on the 
18ih of June, in the abbey church of Holy- 
rood, with the utmost pomp and splendour. But 
the king had resolved on carrying out his father's 
ecclesiastical projects with all the characteristic 
vehemence of his chief adviser. Laud, and he 
now proceeded to confer certain honours and 
privileges on Edinburgh which its citizens 
were little incHned to appreciate. Edinburgh 
was erected into an episcopal see, and its iincient 
collegiate Church of St. Giles became, for the 
first time, a cathedral. The consequences are 
well known. Archbishop Eaud prepared a 
service book, which, though expressly designed 
for the Scottish church, contained portions cal- 
culated to offend the honest Protestantism of 
every member of his own church of England. 
This, after considerable delay, was produced in 
the Scottish churches on Sunday, the 23rd 
July, 1637. In the new cathedral church the 
lord chancellor, the lords of the privy council, 
the bishops, judges, and a numerous assembly, 
awaited the novel services of the day with 
varied feelings. The dean of St. Giles's as- 
cended the reading-desk and opened the ser- 
vice book, but his attempts to proceed were 
the signal for the utmost confusion and uproar, 
which at length reached its climax when Jenny 
Geddes, an old woman, seized the cutty-stool 
on which she had been seated, and hurled it 
at the dean's head, as she exclaimed, " Out, 


thou fause thief! dost thou say mass at my 
lug?" An ancient Scottish folding-stool, with 
the date 1565 carved on it, is preserved among 
the curious relics of the Society of Antiquaries' 
Museum at Edinburgh, as " the cutty-stool with 
which the immortal Janet Geddes struck the 
initial stroke in the great civil war, by hurling 
it at the dean of St. Giles's head, on his pro- 
ceeding, for the first time, to read the liturgy 
in the cathedral church of St. Giles, Edin- 

In the outbreak that immediately followed, 
Dr. Lindsay, the bishop of Edinburgh, was 
hustled and pelted by the mob, from whose 
rude violence he was at length rescued by the 
earl of Wemyss when in danger of his life. A 
church thus established in defiance of all the 
most firmly established opinions and prejudices 
of the people, could not be expected to stand 
in a country where the throne had been vacated 
and the queen driven into exile on like grounds. 
The multitudes of all ranks who were attracted 
to Edinburgh by the reports of the first pro- 
ceedings determined to unite for mutual pro- 
tection. They formed themselves into a national 
league for the defence of religion, each section 
being classified according to their different 
ranks; and thus arose the famous committees 
called the Fouii Tables. On the royal edict 
for the maintenance of the hated service book 
being proclaimed at the city cross on the 22nd 
of February, 1638, a deputation of nobles 
attended by appointment of these committees, 


and roarl aloud a solemn protest against the 
edict as an encroachment on their rights and 

In the Cowgate of Edinburgh stands one of the 
old corporation halls, -which formed the place of 
meeting of the national leagu(>, and is still an 
ol\ject of interest on that account. This is the 
Tailors' Hall, the exterior gateway of which is 
decorated with a sculj)tured tablet, bearing the 
shears and other insignia of the craft, along 
with a quaintly pious inscription ; Avhile within 
the spacious quadrangle are sundry other de- 
corations and inscriptions, such as — 

" God give the busing to the tailzer craft 
in the good tovn of edinburgh." 

On the 27th of February, only five days after 
the proclamation of the edict al)ove referred to, 
a body assembled in this hall, including 
between two and three hundred clergymen and 
citizens, with various influential nobles and 
gentry, and took into consideration the national 
COVENANT. The earl of Rothes, who had a 
prominent share in the proceedings, has left a 
particuhir account of them, lie, and the earl 
of Loudoun, were appointed by the nobles to 
deal specially with the commissioners of pres- 
byteries, and the summer-house existed till 
very recently in the adjoining gardens, where, 
as he informs us, the more refractory were 
taken aside, and dealt with for the removing of 
their scruples. The important document thus 
prej)ared was presented to the vast multitude 
who assembled on the following day in the 


Greyfriars' Church and the adjacent churchyard, 
and after being signed by the nobles and others 
in the church, it was laid on a flat tombstone 
in the churchyard, and eagerly signed by all 
ranks of the people. The parchment on which 
it was engrossed measured four feet in length, 
and when there was no longer space lelt on 
either side for their names, the eager multitude 
subscribed their initials round the margin. 
The proceedings thus vigorously begun did not 
stop till they had not only effectually banished 
episcopacy from Scotland, but had cost the king 
both his throne and his life. 

In the changes which followed, the old corpo- 
ration hall of the tailors of Edinburgh was once 
more in vogue for a very different purpose. 
After the battle of Dunbar, the victorious Crom- 
well established his head-quarters in the old 
mansion of the earls of Moray, still standing in 
the Canongate, while the Tailors' Hall was used 
as the court of the Scottish commissioners 
appointed by him for the administration of the 
forfeited estates. 




The restoration of Charles ir. to his fiither's 
throne was nowhere more joyously celebrated 
than in the ancient capital of the Stuarts, and 
the court in front of the old Scottish Parliament 
House is still decorated with the line equestrian 
statue of the king erected on the occasion, and 
with an inscription on the pedestal describing 
the restored monarch as the sun rising in his 
brightness, and dispersing the noxious clouds and 
mists that had surrounded them ! The expe- 
rience of his Scottish subjects soon dispelled the 
joy with which they had too hastily welcomed 
his return. The re-establishment of episcopacy 
in defiance of the most solemn engagements, 
satisfied the people that no faith could be put 
in the word of the king. 

One of the first scenes witnessed in Edin- 
burgh, characteristic of the change of policy, 
w:is the trial and execution of the marquis of 
Argyle. He was condemned by judges, each 
of whom Avas as deeply implicated as himself in 
the acts for which, in defiance of all justice, he 


Iiad been called to answer. He was beheaded 
by the maiden, at the cross, and his head was 
exposed on the Tolbooth. Bishops were once 
more consecrated and restored to seats in par- 
liament, and the king resolved, as he said, " to 
settle the church government in Scotland." But 
this was a thing difficult to accomplish, where 
the will of the people was so little considered. 
The chief incidents connected with the history 
of Edinburgh during the reigns of Charles ii. 
and James ii., are the cruelties and barbarous 
executions by means of which the religion of 
the nation was attempted to be suppressed, that 
that of the court might be substituted for it. 

Johnston of Warriston, one of the most 
eminent lawyers and statesmen of the age, who 
had been selected as one of Cromwell's abortive 
house of peers, was hanged ignominiously at 
the cross. Mitchell, a fanatic who attempted 
the life of archbishop Sharp, was tortured and 
then executed in the Grassmarket. Men of 
every degree of rank and worth were made 
the victims of the court party, till from the 
many heroic martyrs who there laid down 
their lives in defence of liberty of conscience, 
the Grassmarket of Edinburgh acquired an 
interest equal to that with which Smithtield is 
regarded by English Protestants, as the scene of 
martyrdom during the reign of bloody INIary. 
It is painful, however, to think that the Scottish 
Smith field reflects its infamy on the memory of 
Protestant rulers and bishops ; though Charles 
evinced the real spirit from which deeds of 


this character spring, when on his death- 
bed he secretly received such consolations as a 
Romish priest could offer to one of the most 
licentious and profligate men that ever abused 
the sacred trust of a crown. 

During the reign of Charles n., his brother, 
who succeeded to his throne, was wont to pre- 
side at the meetings of the " Scottish Star 
Chamber," held in an apartment which now 
constitutes one of the rooms of the Advocates' 
Library, and to share with Dalziell and sir 
George Mackenzie in that barbarous infliction 
of torture on the Covenanters, which has ren- 
dered the names of their persecutors infamous, 
and a byword in the country. Sir George 
Mackenzie, whom we have just named, was 
without question an able lawyer, a man of 
great learning, and a liberal encourager of 
literature, yet he is only remembered by the 
title of '' bloody Mackenzie." At this period of 
tyranny and religious persecution, not only were 
the boots, thumbkins, and other instruments of 
torture employed without mercy, but every 
form of decency was set aside by those Avho 
undertook the sanguinary work. Fountainhall, 
the old Scottish judge, describes, for example, a 
scene at one of the trials, where the sole crime 
alleged against the prisoners was their " reli- 
gion and fanaticism." Yet upon one of these 
victims of intolerance railing at his judge, the 
infamous Dalziell, the latter sprang up in a 
passion, and struck him on the mouth with the 
pommel of his sword till the blood flowed. 


In the reign of James ii., Poj^ery ceased to deem 
any further disguise requisite. Holyrood Chapel 
was fitted up fur the celebration of the service 
of the Komish church, and duly provided with 
a college of priests. The abhorrence with which 
the latter were regarded led to such violent 
outbreaks that two of the rioters were executed, 
while others were publicly whipped through 
the streets. Such proceedings only tended still 
further to exasperate the minds of men, and 
when the news of the landing of the prince of 
Orange reached Scotland, the Presbyterian 
party were filled with the utmost joy. The 
country had indeed reached a crisis even more 
perilous than that of England. The only form 
of Protestantism which was tolerated was one 
hateful to the people, and opposed to all their 
prejudices ; while tlie pious and devout adhe- 
rents of the faith of their fathers, which they 
had inherited as a birthright achieved by pro- 
tracted struggles, were subjected to imprison- 
ment, torture, and violent death, for holding 
fast what they believed to be the doctrines of 
the Bible and the commands of God. The 
people who had rebelled against the private 
masses of queen I\Iary in her own chapel, as an 
offence to God and a toleration of idolatry, 
calculated to bring down Divine judgments on 
the nation, were now forced to look on while 
a Romish monastery was once more established 
within the abbey of Holyrood, where for 
upwards of a century the simple rites of 
Presbyterian worship liad alone been permitted. 


Those, too, who had risen in riglitcoiis indigna- 
tion ngainst the corrupt church which incited the 
civil powers to enkindle tlie fires of persecution, 
and condemn the maintainors of a purer faith 
to the dungeon and the stake, had been sub- 
jected to a system which seemed once more to 
realize, though under the nominal sanction of 
a Protestant church, the fruits of faith recorded 
by the apostle Paul of the Old Testament con- 
fessors. They " had trial of cruel mockings and 
scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and impri- 
sonment: (of whom the world was not Avorthy :) 
they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, 
and in dens and caves of the earth." * 

* Without vindicating eA'erything which the persecuted 
party, commonly known by the name of the " Covenanters," 
said and did about this period of Scottish history, it can- 
not be doubted that amongst them were many men who, 
from their spirit of Christian heroism and resignation, would 
have been worthy of admission to the clmrch'sroU of martyrs 
in the most trying age. From a numerous catalogue we 
select one example. The sufferer was a young preacher, named 
William Mackail, twenty-six years of age, vvho having given 
offence by some bold expressions in a sermon, was cruelly 
tortured and then executed in the Grassmarket. His last 
moments are tlms described bv a popular writer : — "Tlie 
extreme youthfulness and delicacy of his appearance, the 
comeliness and composure of his countenance, struck every 
beholder, and a thrill of mingled pity and horror ran through 
the crowd. After deliverinof his last si)eech, and on taking 
hold of the ladder to go up, he said in an audible voice, ' I care 
no more to go up this ladder and over it than if I were going 
to my father's house.' Then turning to his fellow suiterers 
he cried, ' Friends, be not afraid, every step in this ladder is a 
degree nearer to heaven.' Before being turned over he re- 
moved the napkin from his face, saying, ' I hope you perceive 
no alteration or discouragement in my countenance or car- 
riage, and as it may be your wonder, so I profess it is a 
wonder to myself, and I will tell you the reason of it. Besides 
the justice of my cause, this is my comfort, what was said of 
Lazarus when he died, that the angels did carry his soul to 
Abraham's bosom ; so that as there is a great solemnity here, 
a confluence of people, a scaffold, a gallows, and people looking 


The old spirit of the Scottish Reformation, 
which in John Knox's days had waged such 
determined war against Popery, was not dead, 
though it had been forced to smoulder unseen 
under the iron despotism of James and his 
cruel agents. With the first news of coming 
succour it burst into a flame. Holyrood Chapel 
was attacked with the most resolute determina- 
tion. A body of an hundred men defended it 
with fire-arms, which they freely used against 
the assailants. Twelve of the latter were shot 
dead, and many more were wounded ; but this 
only increased the fury of the mob. They 
persevered, in spite of the cries of the wounded 
and dying, with that resolute and cool determi- 
nation which has been frequently noted as the 
characteristic of an Edinburgh mob when 
roused to action. The armed defenders of the 
royal chapel were at length overpowered, and 
the place delivered up to the will of the popu- 
lace. It had been newly fitted up with magnifi- 
cently carved stalls and costly appurtenances, 
while the altar had been decorated with a 
gorgeousness designed to aid in presenting the 
worship of the Romish church in its most 

out of windows, so there is a greater and more solemn pre- 
paration of angels to carry niy soul to Christ's bosom.' He 
then ended with that noble burst of Christian eloquence so^ 
much admired and so often imitated : ' And now I leave off 
to speak any more to creatures, and begin my intercourse with 
God, which shall never be broken off. Farewell, father and 
mother, friends and relations; farewell the world and all 
delij:;hts ; farewell meat and drink ; farewell sun, moon, and 
stars. Welcome God and Father; welcome sweet Jesns 
Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant ; welcome blessed 
Spirit of gvace, the God of all consolation ; welcome glory ; 
>Yelcome eternal life ; and welcome death.' " 


attractive form. A new organ-loft also had 
been erected, and a fine instrument (recently 
sent by the king from London) put up in it. 
All these were at once devoted to destruction, 
and the venerable fabric was only abandoned 
when the newly completed decorations destined 
for the service of the Romish priesthood had 
been reduced to an unsightly heap of ruins. 

While these proceedings were going on at 
the palace, the students of the university 
assembled in a body, and marching in proces- 
sion to the cross, with bands of music and the 
college mace borne before them, they erected a 
huge bonfire and burned the pope in effigy. 
On the 11th of April, 1688, William and Mary 
were proclaimed at the cross, king and queen 
of Scotland ; but the castle was still held by 
the duke of Gordon for king James, and the 
rival parties in Scotland each looked on in 
hope of triumph. From the flight of the 
chancellor till March, 1689, when a convention 
of the Scottish estates was summoned to meet 
at Edinburgh, all law was practically suspended, 
except such as the magistrates enforced with 
the countenance and aid of the citizens. 

The sack of Holyrood completely established 
the superiority of the Presbyterian party in 
Edinburgh, most of whom were familiar with 
the use of arms, and the royalist soldiers had 
to confine themselves exclusively to the castle. 
The mob now pursued their triumph by as- 
saulting the houses of the wealthy Roman 
Cath(ilics, and the most hateful officers of the 


crown, who then resided chiefly in the Canon- 
gate. These they " rabbled," as the phrase 
then was, gutting them, and sometimes setting 
them on fire. "When at length," says the 
author of the Memorials of Edinburgh in the 
Olden Time, " the convention met, the adhe- 
rents of the exiled king crowded to the capital 
in hopes of yet securing the majority in his 
favour. Viscount Dundee openly marched 
into the town with a train of sixty horse, while 
the Whigs, (as the Presbyterian party were 
then called,) with equal promptitude, but more 
secretly, gathered an armed body of the perse- 
cuted Presbyterians, whom they concealed in 
garrets and cellars, ready to sally out at a con- 
certed signal, and turn the scale in fiivour of 
their cause. The sumptuous old oahen roof of 
the Parliament Hall then witnessed as stirring 
scenes as ever occurred in the turbulent 
minority of the Jameses within the more ancient 
Tolbooth. Dundee arose in his place in the 
convention, and demanded that all strangers 
should be commanded to quit the town, declar- 
ing his own life and those of other of the king's 
friends to be endangered by the presence of 
banded assassins. On his demand being re- 
jected, he indignantly left the assembly, and the 
convention, with locked doors and the keys on 
the table before them, proceeded to judge the 
government of king James, and to pronounce 
iiis crown forfeited and his throne vacant, 
beneath the same roof where he had so often 
sat in judgment on the oppressed." . 


As viscoTint Dundee, retreating, left the town 
at the head of his dragoons, he stopped beneath 
the castle, and clambering up the rock, held a 
conference with the duke of Gordon, in which lie 
strove in vain to induce him to accompany him 
to the north. Finding him resolved to remain 
in charge of the fortress which had been com- 
mitted to his trust, Dundee then engaged the 
duke to hold it out, while he proceeded to the 
Plighlands to raise forces and muster the 
friends of king James. The citizens were 
filled with the utmost alarm at this interview, 
dieading that the guns of the castle would be 
turned on the town. The drums beat to arms, 
and a body of troops which the duke of Hamil- 
ton })ad quartered in the city, was called out to 
pursue Dundee ; but the latter made good his 
retreat, and the duke of Gordon being nearly 
destitute of provisions, and but lukewarm in 
his adherence to a failing cause, at length 
yielded up the castle on the 13th of June, 1689 
— the last considerable stronghold in Scotland 
that had remained in the interest of its exiled 
and dethroned monarch. Under the new 
dynasty a new era opened for Edinburgh, and 
here therefore appropriately terminates our 
sketch of the history of the old metropolis of 




Edinburgh, as is well known, is divided by the 
area of the ancient North Loch into the old and 
iieAv town ; the former containing the relics of 
those periods of its history which have been 
sketched in the preceding chapters, the latter 
being the creation of modern tastes in the pre- 
sent century. The bridging over the deep valley 
wherein the waters of the North Loch were 
accumulated of old, first by the erection of the 
north bridge, completed in 1772, and subse- 
quently by the gradual formation of the earthen 
mound, literally paved the way for the rising of 
the modern city, which excites such universal 
admiration, no less from its architectural 
uniformity and elegance, than by the contrast 
it presents to the massive and picturesque 
grouping of its venerable neighbour, where — 

" Such dusky grandeur clothes the height, 
Wliere the huge castle holds its state, 

And all the steep slope down, 
"Whdse ridgy back heaves to the sky, 
Piled deep and massy, close and high, 

Mine own romantic town ! " 

It is with the ancient city that we have alone 


to deal in the present volume ; and having in 
the preceding chapters traced out the varied 
incidents of its history, we shall now endeavour 
to present to the reader a concise guide to its 
local antiquities. We shall suppose him to 
accompany us first to the ancient fortress, which 
forms the central nucleus of the city. Here is 
tlie venerable little chapel of St. Margaret, 
already described, with its old chancel arch 
and simple apse, seemingly little altered since 
the grand-niece of Edward the Confessor made 
this the place of her monastic devotions and 
austerities. This chapel is in every respect 
the fittest point from whence to begin our 
topographical explorations, for it is, without 
exception, the oldest building now existing in 

Crowning the summit of the lofty rocks 
which overhang the Grassmarket, are the 
ancient royal apartments ; the great hall, where 
the Scottish parliament occasionally assembled; 
the room where the regent Mary de Guise 
expired, and that in which queen Mary gave 
birth to the prince who was to inherit the long 
rival crowns of England and Scotland, and to 
close the dissensions of these ancient foes by the 
peaceful recognition of one common rightful 
heir to the double throne. Not the least strik- 
ing feature of the curious little apartment 
which is so interestingly associated with the 
union of the two kingdoms, is the remarkable 
prospect conmianded by its lofty site. " The 
view from the windows on this side of the 


palace," says Dr. Wilson, in Lis ^Memorials of 
Edinburgh in the Olden Time, " is scarcely 
surpassed by any other in the capital. Imme- 
diately below are the picturesque old houses of 
the Grassmarket and West Port, crowned by 
the magnificent towers of Heriot's Hospital. 
From this abyss the hum of the neighbouring 
city rises up, mellowed by the distance into 
one pleasing voice of life and industry ; while, 
beyond, a gorgeous landscape is spread out, 
reaching almost to the ancient landmarks of the 
kingdom, guarded on the far east by the old keep 
of Craigmillar Castle, and on the west by Mer- 
chiston Tower. Between these is still seen the 
wide expanse of the Borough Moor, on which 
the fanciful eye of one familiar with the national 
history will summon up the Scottish hosts 
marshalling for southern war ; as when the 
gallant Jameses looked forth from these s;une 
towers proudly, and beheld them gathering 
around the standard of the * Ruddy Lion,' 
pitched in the massive * bore stane' still remain- 
ing at the Borough IMoor Head." 

Adjoining the old royal apartments of the 
castle is the massive bomb-proof vault, wherein 
the regalia of the ancient kingdom of Scotland 
are secured, along with the iron-bound oaken 
chest, in which these national treasures lay, 
from the union of the two kingdoms till the 
year 1818. Sir Walter Scott, who formed one 
of the commissioners appointed to search for the 
regalia, thus describes their feelings during the 
final proceedings by which these valued memo- 


rials of the ancient independence of the Scottish 
crown were once more brought to light. " The 
general persuasion that the regalia had been 
secretly removed, weighed heavy on the minds 
of all while the labour proceeded. The chest 
seemed to return a hollow and empty sound to 
the strokes of the hammer ; and even those 
•whose expectations had been most sanguine, 
felt at the moment the probability of disap- 
pointment, aiid could not but be sensible that 
should the result of the research confirm these 
forebodings, it would only serve to show^ that a 
national affront and injuiy had been sustained, 
for w'hich it might be diflicult, or rather impos- 
sible, to obtain any redress. The joy was 
tlierefore extreme, when the ponderous lid of 
the chest being forced open, at the expense of 
some time and labour, the regalia were disco- 
vered lying at the bottom, covered with linen 
cloths, exactly as they had been surrendered 
a hundred and ten years before by Williani 
the ninth earl mareschal." The discovery was 
announced by the display of the royal standard 
from the castle ; and the universal rejoicing 
which foUow-ed showed that, amidst all tlie 
changes Avhich the preceding century had 
wrought, the people of Scotland still regarded 
" the honours of the kingdom " with all the old 
national enthusiasm. These interesting relics — 
the crown of the Bkuce ; the sword of state, pre- 
sented by pope Julius n. to James iv., in 1507; 
the sceptre of James v. ; the lord-treasurer's 
rod ; and the York jewels, bequeathed by 


cardinal York to George iv. — are now open to 
the inspection of the curious Ansitor, and form 
not the least among the many attractions of 
the Scottish capital and its venerable citadel. 

Leaving the castle, the explorer finds himself 
in a narrow but picturesque street, styled the 
Castle-hill, where stood till very recently the 
palace and oratory of Mary de Guise, and 
"which still includes the mansion of the old 
regent Morton, and other similar memorials of 
former days, nestling amidst the dark and 
narrow alleys which lead off on either hand 
down the steep slopes of the ridge on which the 
old town is built. Passing along one of those on 
his left, the stranger is surprised by coming 
suddenly on some of the finest of the modern 
buildings, which there reach across the deep 
ravine, that elsewhere holds apart the old and 
new — " their soft outlines and white walls con- 
trasting with the sterner proportions of the dark 
and warlike structures, like the fair hands of a 
* lady bright' enclosed in the gaufitleted grasp 
of her knightly lover." 

Beneath the lanes and closes which thus 
lead towards the bed of the old North Loch, an 
ancient tradition, still credited by some, affirms 
that a subterranean passage exists, once con- 
necting the castle and the palace of Holyrood. 
According to the favourite tale of the old town 
gossips, an intrepid Highland piper engaged to 
explore the mysterious passage, of which the 
entrance was formerly known. His success 
was to be suitably rewarded, and his progress 


was to be announced to those above ground by 
the sound of his bagpipes, which he engaged 
to play all the way through. The bold High- 
lander accordingly entered, and the people fol- 
lowed the sound of the subterranean music 
from the castle down to the Tron Church, where 
it suddenly ceased, and the poor piper was 
never more seen or heard of. Where the Castle 
Hill widens into the broad place, known as the 
Lawnmarket, a curious ancient fabric marks 
the entrance of the close which formerly led to 
the abode of the queen-regent, Mary de Guise. 
It is built of polished ashlar, in the style which 
prevailed in the early part of the sixteenth 
century, and its front is decorated with the 
inscription curiously wrought in iron : lavs 
DEO. 1593. M. R. Immediately fronting this 
old mansion is the precipitous and crooked 
street called the "West Bow, from the ancient 
hoio, or arch, one of the city gates erected by 
James n. in 1450, and which long formed the 
Temple Bar of Edinburgh. 

Few parts of the old town still remaining 
have suffered more from modern innovations 
than this ancient thoroughfare. " In the centre 
of the ancient city," says the author of the 
Memorials of Edinburgh, " there stood till a 
few years since, a strange, crooked steep, and 
altogether singular and picturesque avenue 
from the High-street to the low valley on the 
south, in which the more ancient extensions of 
the once circumscribed Scottish capital are 
reared. Scarcely anything can be conceived 


more curious and whimsically grotesque tlian 
its array of irregular stone gables and timber 
galleries, which seemed as if jostling one another 
for room along the steep and narrow thorough- 
fare ; while the busy throng were toiling up or 
hurrying down its precipitous pathways, amidst 
the ceaseless din of braziers' and tin-smiths' ham- 
mers, for which it was famed, and the rumbling 
of wheels, accompanied with the vociferous shouts 
of a host of noisy assistants, as some heavy- 
laden wain creaked and groaned up the steep. 
Here were the Templar lands, with their 
antique gables surmounted by the cross that 
marked them as beyond the reach of civic cor- 
poration laws, and with their old world asso- 
ciations with the knights of St. John of Jeru- 
salem. Here was the strange old timber-fronted 
tenement where rank and beauty held their 
assemblies in the olden time. Here was the 
provost's lodging, where prince Charles and his 
elated counsellors were entertained in 1745, and 
adjoining it there remained till the last a me- 
mento of his royal ancestor, James ii.'s massive 
wall, and of the Old Port or Bow whereat the 
magistrates were wont to present the silver keys, 
with many a grave and costly ceremonial, to each 
monarch who entered his Scottish capital in state. 
Down this steep the confessors of the Covenant 
were hurried to execution. Here, too, was the 
old-fashioned forestair over which the amazed 
and stupified youth, who long after sat on the 
bench under the title of lord Monboddo, gazed 
in dreamy horror as the wretched Porteous was 


dragged to tlie scene of bis crime, on the night 
of the 7lh of September, 1736 ; and near by 
stood the booth at Avhich the rioters paused, and 
with ostentations deUberation purchased the 
rope wherewith he was hung at its foot." 

Such are some of the curious antiquities of 
the West Bow which have disappeared, along 
with the old " clockmaker's hand," and " lord 
Euthven's hand," — the mansion of the grim 
baron who stalked into the chamber of queen 
Mary on that dire night of the 9th of March, 
1566, and struck home his dagger into the 
unhappy royal favourite, Rizzio. But the 
most remarkable of all the old mansions of the 
West Bow still remains. This is the house 
of the celebrated Scottish wizard, major Weir. 
No story of witchcraft and necromancy ever 
made- a deeper or more lasting impression 
on the popular mind than that of major Weir, 
nor was any spot ever more celebrated in the 
annals of sorcery than the little court at the 
head of the Bow, where the wizard and his 
sit-;ter dwelt. A contemporary writer describes 
liiui, in a manuscript preserved in the Advocates' 
Librarj'', as a tall black man, with a grim coun- 
tenance and a big nose^ and who ordinarily 
looked down to the ground. He had a black 
staff which he never went without ; and this 
staff, according to the popular tradition, was 
frequently known by his neighbours to step iu 
to their shops and tap at their counters on 
some errand of its master, or running before 
him with a lantern as he went out on nocturnal 


business, and gravely walked down the Lawn- 
market behind this mysterious link-boy. 

The major, who had made great professions 
of devoutness, was at length driven to despair, 
and yielding to the stings of conscience, called 
in some of his neighbours and confessed to 
them crimes of the most loathsome description. 
His history is strangely blended with the super- 
stitious credulity of the age. It is, however, 
an undoubted historical fact, that he was tried 
on the 9th of April, 1670, and was condemned 
to be strangled and burned. The sentence was 
carried into execution on a spot still pointed out 
in the ravine on the north side of the Calton 
Hill, and the contem])orary writer already 
quoted adds : " His black staff was cast into 
the fire with him, and whatever incantation 
was in it, the persons present aver that it gave 
rare turnings, and was long a burning, as also 
himself." His sister Grizel, who appears to 
have been more a victim than an accomplice of 
his crimes, was likewise condemned and exe- 
cuted. One of the evidences of her supposed 
witchcraft was the possession of a spinning- 
wheel, which, by the aid of its magical and 
unearthly charms, enabled her to surpass all her 
neigh l)ours in the product of her industry with 
the lint. 

Whatever be now thought of these strange 
products of the popular credulity of the aeven- 
teenth century, it is not only certain that they 
obtained universal credence at the period, but 
though nearly two centuries have elapsed, it is 


believed that the major's house has never since 
been occupied as a dwelling. It is now used as 
a broker's store. " It is not to be wondered," 
says the author already quoted, " that major 
Weir's house should have been deserted after 
his death. The enchanted staff was believed 
to have returned to its post, and to wait as 
porter at the door. The hum of the necro- 
mantic wheel Avas heard at the dead of night, 
and the deserted mansion was sometimes 
seen blazing with the lights of some eldrich 
festival, when the major and his sister were 
supposed to be entertaining the prince of dark- 
ness. There were not even wanting those, 
during the last century, who were affirmed to 
have seen the major issue at midnight from the 
nfjrrow close, mounted on a headless charger, 
and gallop off in a whirlwind of flame. Time, 
however, wrought its usual cure. The major's 
visits became fewer and less ostentatious, until 
at length it was only at rare intervals that some 
midnight reveller, returning homeward through 
the deserted Bow, was startled by a dark and 
silent shadow that flitted across his path as he 
approached the haunted corner." 

Not far from the head of the West Bow is 
another alley, opening from the Lawnniarket, 
which still bears the old aristocratic name of 
Lady Stair's Close. The close is associated 
with more than one old citizen of distinction; 
for the mansion of the celebrated countess of 
Stair bears over the doorway the shield and 
initials of its original proprietor, sir William 


Gray, of Pittendrum — the ancestor of the pre- 
sent lord Gray — with the date 1622. Lady 
Stair's Close derives its name from Elizabeth, 
dowager-countess of Stair, who, as the wife of 
the viscount Primrose, forms one of the most 
remarkable characters associated with the 
romantic traditions of Old Edinburgh. Her 
ladyship was afterwards married to the cele- 
brated general and statesman, John, second 
earl of Stair, and she long survived him, to 
occupy the place of the leader of fashion in the 
Scottish capital. It gives a curious as well as 
amusing glimpse of the fashionable society of 
Edinburgh in the earlier part of the eighteenth 
century, to picture the leader of ton condescend- 
ingly receiving the elite of fashionable society 
in the second flat of a common stair in the old 
town ; yet such were the habits of society in 
the eighteenth century, when admission to her 
select circle was one of the highest objects of 
ambition among the smaller gentry of the period. 

Itiddle's-court, another ancient aristocratic 
nook of the Lawnmarket, still contains the man- 
sion of baillie Macmoran, already mentioned as 
the unhappy victim of juvenile rashness, during 
a rebellion of the pupils of the High School, in 
1595. No less interest attaches to the locality 
from the fact of its including among its \^hy 
tenements the first residence of David Hume, 
when he commenced his great literary work, 
the History of England. 

The progress of modern improveuients has 
swept away of late years many buildings of 


local celebrit}', and " the great fire," which 
devastated the High-street in 1824, destroyed 
many more of considerable historical interest. 
Among those that still remain, however, may 
be pointed out Dunbar's Close, in which Crom- 
well's guard-house was established after the 
victory of Duubar, and where may be seen 
one of the pious old mottoes, with which the 
citizens were wont to inscribe their lintels : — 


Many of these memorials of ancient piety still 
remain, reminding the wayfarer of the Old 
Testament injunction which they seem so 
literally to fulfil : — " These words, which I com- 
mand thee this day, shall be in thine heart. . . . 
thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine 
hand, and they shall be as frontlets between 
thine eyes ; and thou shalt write them upon the 
]JOsts of thy house, and on thy gates." Some of 
these mottoes are directly taken from Scripture ; 
the oldest of them in the Latin of Guttenberg's 
Bible, printed at Mentz in 1455. Others again 
are such pious ejaculations as Onlie be Cuyst, 
and AiiYis, O Lord, both of which appear over 
a lintel marked with the date 1573. Another, 
of the year 1614, recently demolished, bore the 
following devout confession of faith : — 


]\[any other examples of the same religious 
spirit manifested by the builders of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries, have survived the 


remodeliings and demolitions which have re- 
cently obliterated so large a number of the 
like memorials of the past. 

In the Cowgate, the traces of former grandeur 
strikingly contrast with the squalor of poverty 
and vice. Some of the most remarkable build- 
ings of this ancient thoroughfare have been 
already referred to in the course of our his- 
torical sketch. Here may still be seen the 
palace of cardinal Beaton, where queen Mary 
was feasted by the citizens on her return from 
France ; the INIint House, built in 1574, as 
appears by the date on its inscribed lintel, 
whereon is cut, in large Roman characters, the 
brief prayer — 


In 1590, the great hall of the Mint was the 
scene of a splendid banquet given to the 
Danish nobles and ambassadors who came 
over to Scotland in the train of queen Anne of 
Denmark. Among somewhat more recent 
buildings in the Cowgate, is the mansion of 
sir Thomas Hope, the king's advocate and 
zealous leader of the Covenanters in the reign 
of Charles i. ; while near to it is the Tailors' 
Hall, which has already been described as the 
scene of the preparation and signature of the 
famous national document, the Solemn League 
and Covenant, in 1638. 

While the castle forms the termination of the 
ancient city towards the west, it is bounded on 
the east by the old burgh of Canongate, once 
the court end of the town, and terminated bj 


the ancient abbey and palace of Holjrood. 
Behind the latter, on one of the lower heights 
of Arthur's Seat, stands the hoary ruin of St. 
Anthony's Chapel, wiih the old well, so often 
sung of in the poet's lays. Many other spots 
and objects of interest might be pointed out 
among the relics of the past which still remain 
in the romantic capital of Scotland, but enough 
has been done to indicate its most prominent 
and characteristic features, and to guide the 
stranger through its old streets and alleys with 
a fresh interest, awakened in his mind by many 
links, uniting its faded and wasted glories with 
the thrilling incidents of the storied past. 

Thus terminates our sketch of the history of 
" Old Edinburgh." Brief as has been our 
narrative, we have traversed in it centuries 
full of eventful interest, and have seen succes- 
sive generations rise and disappear. In such a 
retrospect, how naturally is the thoughtful 
reader reminded of the fleeting and evanescent 
character of all earthly pursuits ! Man does 
indeed walk in a vain show. The place that 
once knew him soon knows him no more. The 
actors in the chequered scenes which we have 
been contemplating have long since passed into 
the unseen world, that solemn point to which 
the writer and the reader are alike inevitably 
verging. Could we summon them back to the 
stage of life, how different would now appear 
their estimate of things temporal in comparison 
"with those which are eternal I How insignificant, 


too, would they confess all earthly pursuits to 
have been, save in so far as they tended to the 
benefit of tlie immortal soul ! IMay we, then, to 
whom life yet remains, wisely improve our 
allotted period ! Repenting of all sin, and re- 
nouncing every form of dependence on our woiks 
or righteousness, may we cleave in faith to the 
Saviour as all our hope and all our salva- 
tion ; and through the influence of his Holy 
Spirit, (freely imparted to all who ask aright,) 
adorn his gospel by bringing forth those fruits 
of love to God and man, which, while they 
prove our faith to be genuine, will evidence to 
others also that we are the heirs of a glorious 
immortality ! 




" What the tour of Europe was necessary to see elsewhere I 
now find congregated in this one city. Here are alike the 
beauties of Prague and of Salzburgh ; here are the romantic 
sites of Orvietto and Tivoli ; and here is all the magnificence of 
the admired bays of Genoa and Naples ; here, indeed, to the 
poetic fancy, may be found realized the Eoman ('apitol and the 
Grecian Acropolis."— Sir David Wilkie. 


JnstituUd 1799. 





































Modern Edinburgh derives not a little of the 
singular charm which almost every visitor 
recognises in it, from the striking contrast pre- 
sented by the union of the old and new. The 
modern town, if spread out on a level area, 
would be nearly as formal as the blocks of an 
American city of the west ; but while this 
symmetrical arrangement is relieved by the 
varying undulations of its remarkable site, it 
is sufficiently strongly marked to afford one of 
the most striking contrasts, when the stranger 
crosses the beautifully terraced bed of the old 
North Loch, and enters within the picturesque 
precincts of the ancient city. 

The history of most large towns, like that of 
the great metropolis itself, exhibits to us the 
results of a gradual growth and extension, 
arising simply from the yearly additions to its 
suburban streets ; but Edinburgh has pro- 
gressed only at long intervals, as it were by a 


succession of bounds, when it has leaped from 
one height to another, and then hastened to 
occupy the new acquisition. When Edinburgh 
first became a walled town, in 1450, it occupied 
only the upper area of the Castle-hill, but a 
most rapid extension followed during the next 
fifty years. The very construction of the civic 
Avails would seem to have awakened a desire to 
escape beyond their confines. The period, 
moreover, was one of great prosperity; and so 
the New Town of the fifteenth century arose in 
the open valley to the south, with the CoAvgatt 
as the chief thoroughfare of this fiishionable 
suburb, which appears, within the single half 
century to have nearly equalled in extent the 
old intra-mural capital. 

" This expansion of the town," says the author 
of the "Traditions of Edinburgh," ''is to be 
considered a proof of the prosperity of Scotland 
during the reigns of James iii. and his succes- 
sor, testifying that our country saw no brighter 
period till the reign of George in. — an era by 
far the most splendid in her annals. The first 
wall was built, as may be gathered from the 
grant for its erection, under the dread of inva- 
sion from England. But so secure had the 
kingdom afterwards become in its own internal 
strength, that Edinburgh was suffered to luxu- 
riate into twice its original extent, without any 
measures being taken for additional defence. 
The necessity of enclosing the Cowgate after 
the fatal field of Flodden, seems to have come 
upon the citizens in the most unexpected 


manner, and they no doubt regretted that hixui-y 
and taste for improvement had led them so far 
out into the unprotected country. But they 
certainly did afterwards retrieve their native 
character of prudence ; as scarcely a house 
arose beyond the second wall for two hundred 
and fifty years ; and if Edinburgh increased in 
any respect, it was only by piling new flats 
upon the tenements of the ancient royalty, 
thereby adding to the height rather than to 
the extent of the city." 

Such are the elements which have combined 
to produce what we may here fitly enough style 
the modern old town of Edinburgh ; the an- 
cient city which still exists as the heart and 
nucleus round which the recent and more 
ornate additions have gathered. It was in- 
deed by another, and no less sudden outburst 
than that of the fifteenth century, that the new 
suburbs arose on the neighbouring heights 
surrounding the long narrow ridge which, with 
its southern valley, had formed for three cen- 
turies the entire site of the Scottish capital. 
Topham, in his letters from Edinburgh, pub- 
lished in 1774, thus describes the appearance 
of the town at that comparatively recent date: — 
" Tlie situation of Edinburgh is probably as 
extraordinary a one as can well be imagined 
for a metropolis. The immense hills, on which 
great part of it is built, though they make the 
views uncommonly magnificent, not only in 
many places render it impassable for carriages, 
but very fatiguing for walking. The principal 


or great street runs along the ridge of a very 
high hill, -which, taking its rise from the palace 
of Holyrood House, ascends, and not very gra- 
dually, for the length of a mile and a quarter, 
and after opening in a spacious area, terminates 
in the castle. On one side, as far as the eye 
can reach, you view the sea, the port of Leith, 
its harbour and various vessels, the river Forth, 
the immense hills around, some of which ascend 
above even the castle ; and on the other side 
you look over a rich and cultivated country, 
terminated by the dark, abrupt, and barren 
hills of the Highlands. 

" You have seen the famous street of Lisle, 
la Rue Ivoyale, leading to the port of Tournay, 
which is said to be the finest in Europe ; but 
which, I can assure you, is not to be compared 
either in length or breadth to the High-street 
of Edinburgh ; and would they be at the ex- 
pense of removing some buildings which obstruct 
the view, by being placed in the middle of the 
street, nothing could be conceived more mag- 
nificent. Not content, however, with this, they 
suffer a weekly market to be held, in which 
stalls are erected nearly the whole length of it, 
and make a confusion almost impossible to be 
conceived. All sorts of iron and copper ware 
are exposed to sale ; here likewise the herb 
market is held, and the herb women, who are 
in no country either the most peaceable or the 
most cleanly beings upon earth, throw about 
the roots, stalks, etc., of the bad vegetables, to 
the great nuisance of the passengers. 


" 'J'lie style of building here is much like 
the French ; the houses, however, in general 
are higher, as some rise to twelve, and one in 
particular to thirteen stories in height. But 
to the front of the street nine or ten stories is 
the common run ; it is the back part of the 
edifice which, by being built on the slope of a 
hill, sinks to that amazing depth so as to form 
the above number. This mode of dwelling, 
though very proper for the turbulent times to 
which it was adapted, has now lost its con- 
venience ; as they no longer stand in need of 
the defence from the castle, they no more 
find the benefit of being crowded together 
so near it. The common staircase which 
leads to the apartments of the different in- 
habitants, must always be dy:ty, and is in 
general very dark and narrow. It has this 
advantage, however, that as they are all of 
stone, they have little to apprehend from fire, 
which in the opinion of some would more than 
compensate for every other advantage. In 
general, however, the highest and lowest tene- 
ments are possessed by artificers, while the 
gentry and better sort of people dwell in fifth 
and sixth stories. 

" Iti London you know such a habitation 
would not be deemed the most eligible, and 
many a man in such a situation would not be 
sorry to descend a little lower. The style of 
building here has given rise to different ideas ; 
some years ago a Scotch gentleman who went 
to London for the first time, took the upper- 
A 2 


most story of a lodging house, and was very 
much surprised to find what he thought the 
genteelest place of the whole at the lowest 
price. His friends who came to see him, in 
vain acquainted him with the mistake he had 
been guilty of; ''He hen'd vary tveel,'' he said, 
^what gentility was, and after having lived all 
his life 171 a sixth story, he ivas not come to 
London to live upon the ground !' 

" From the High-street you pass down by 
a number of different alleys, or, as they call 
them here, wynds and closes. They are 
many of them so very steep that it requires 
great attention to the feet to prevent falling : 
but so well accustomed are the Scotch to 
that position of body required in descending 
these declivities, that I have seen a Scotch 
girl run down them with great swiftness in 

Such may be accepted as a clear and toler- 
ably impartial picture of the Scottish metropolis 
as it continued to be even in the earlier years 
of the present century. It is difficult for us 
now thoroughly to realize the social changes 
which resulted from the abandonment of this 
curious and time-honoured system, by which 
the Scottish nobility and gentry had been so 
long pent up within these narrow limits. With 
all its evils, it had many redeeming features. 
Such mansions and such avenues were better 
than the most stringent sumptuary laws, for 
enabling a poor nobility and gentry, deprived 
of the wealth and patronage of a resident court, 


to maintain their dignity with a very limited 
income. A costly equipage "was altogether 
useless in a town where scarcely a single public 
thoroughfare, except its main street, was wide 
enough for anything but a sedan chair. Private 
assemblies were equally out of the question 
where some of the oldest and proudest families 
were suitably lodged on a fourth or fifth flat ; 
and the most distinguished of the Scottish nobles 
were content to approach their town mansions 
through a narrow close and up a still narrower 
turnpike stair, such as may still be seen in 
dwellings which were occupied by the noble 
families of the Gordons, the Sempills, and the 
Stairs, even in the present centur3^ We shall 
form a most mistaken idea if we imagine that 
such customs involved any sacrifice of the 
dignity or privileges of social rank. Never, 
probably, was an aristocracy more exclusive, 
or less liable to have its claims disputed by 
its plebeian neighbours, thus often separated 
from it literally by no more than a thin 

Peter Williamson, a curious old Edinburgh 
character, after spending a considerable period 
among the Bed Indians of the great American 
forests, established himself as a vintner in 
Edinburgh, and Avas the first to introduce the 
luxury of a local penny-post system within the 
city. To this he afterwards added a street 
directory for the town ; and from some of 
the pages of these old volumes not a little 
curious information may still be gleaned, as to 


the mode by v.'hicli the nice lines of demar- 
cation were preserved between the various 
ranks of society. Similar information of an 
older date, derived from legal inventories on 
the sale or transference of property, serves to 
show that towards the close of the eighteenth 
century, Edinburgh society retained all its 
social characteristics unchanged since the de- 
parture of the Scottish court. One example 
of an old tenement or land of six stories, 
situated in the Lawn jMarket, may serve as a 
sample of the whole. The ground-floor, sub- 
divided into two, sufficed for the accommoda- 
tion of a baker and grocer ; on the first floor 
above resided general Lockhart, of Carnwath ; 
the second was occupied by the widow of a 
gentleman of property ; the third by sir Islay 
Campbell, lord advocate, and afterwards lord 
president of the court of session ; the fourth 
by Mr. Bell, a respectable writer to the 
signet ; the fifth, by John Hume, esq., of 
Ninewells, the representative of an old Scottish 
family ; and, with more than usual demand 
for accommodation, the attics were retained for 
additional rooms used by general Lockhart's 
family and servants. In other cases, the top 
story is found occupied by a dress-maker, or 
tailor, or even by a char-woman or sick- 
nurse. Such is a sample of the mode by 
which the varied ranks of life were packed 
together Avithin the densely crowded dwellings 
of Old Edinburgh, one public stair serving as 
Ihe common access of all ; and the ladies of 


my lord president, general Lockliart, or the 
laird of Ninewells, being liable at all times to 
meet with their baker's or grocer's wife, on 
common ground. No very troublesome sense 
either of intrusive collision or of repulsive 
hauteur, seems to have resulted from this. 
Society moved on with even fewer jars than 
now ; and the dignity of no modern countess, 
amidst all the costly appliances of a London 
palace, is more fully recognised and freely 
conceded to her, than was that of the leaders 
of fashion in those old times of our grand- 
mothers, when the countess of Stair enter- 
tained the elite of Scottish society on the 
second-floor of a house, still standing in one 
of the closes of the High-street. 

It is curious, indeed, to see from the de- 
scriptions supplied to us by old title-deeds, that 
those humble dwellings which we now see 
deserted, even by the decent mechanic, as too 
straitened for his moderate wants, actually 
supplied so recently to our ancestors a com- 
plete suite of apartments, according to the 
most refined notions of aristocratic life. One 
fashionable half of a fourth Hat in a high 
street, alley, or close, for example, once the 
town mansion of a wealthy landed proprietor, 
has its little closets and passages thus grandi- 
loquently described in its legal title deeds : *'Ane 
large fore-chamber, with a study, upon the 
south side of the turnpike, (or spiral stair- 
case,) off the right hand of the entry, with 

transe (passage) leading to the rest of the 


house, and a kitchen on the west side of 
the said transe, with a hanging gallery on 
the west side thereof, divided into two rooms 
and a back hall within ; and upon the north 
side of the said chamber, with a summer 
dining-room on the west side of the same, 
a chamber of dais within the said back hall, 
and a study on the east side thereof, and 
loft above the said chamber of dais and back 
hall aforesaid." Thus it will be seen, that 
the Scottish grandee of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, while " cribbed, cabined, and confined," 
within his dingy half-flat on the fourth floor, 
had, according to his ideas of domestic 
economy, as complete a suite of apartments 
as Burlington or Northumberland Houses now 
furnish to their noble occupants. Certain it 
is, that a reference to one of the street direc- 
tories of Peter Williamson, whose death took 
place so lately as 1797, supplies us with 
lists of noblemen and heads of old families, 
crowded together in a single close, such as 
could not now be equalled in the most mag- 
nificent quarters of the New Town, West- 
End. Much, doubtless, was gained in point 
of health and personal comfort, by the aban- 
donment of these old straitened dwellings, 
yet it cannot be doubted that something also 
was lost ; and that by that very change, one 
of the great barriers against the extrava- 
gances and excesses of fashionable life was 
broken down — a barrier which, it is not too 
much to say, exercised its influence in help- 


ing the poorer country to maintain its ground 
in the earlier part of its struggle v/ith the 
sister kingdom of England. 

We designate our volume, "Modern Edin- 
burgh ;" but under this title may fairly be 
included much that pertains to older gene- 
rations than our own. The interest, indeed, 
of the modern city is still derived chiefly 
from the past. Between the lofty tower-clad 
rocks of its hoar castle, and the grey walls 
of St. David's Abbey, at the foot of the Salis- 
bury Crags, lie still the chief attractions of 
the Scottish capital in the eye of the stranger ; 
nor can we more appropriately introduce these 
notices of the history and associations of its 
ancient and modern walls, than by a glance 
at the historical incidents which pertain to the 
transition period of its history, from the last 
sitting of the Union Parliament to our own 
day. From the foundation of the Scottish 
monarchy under Malcolm Canmore in the 
eleventh century, till the union of the two 
crowns on the death of queen Elizabeth, 
Edinburgh partook of all the grandeur and 
of all the vicissitudes and sufferings of the 
capital of a warlike kingdom. From the 
occurrence of the latter event, till the Union 
in 1707, it was practically the capital of an 
independent kingdom, though visited only at 
few and rare intervals by its sovereigns. But 
with that event, the ancient history of Edin- 
burgh closes. 

Though still the chief city of Scotland, its 


history is no longer political, but social, lite- 
rary, and domes Uc. To the incidents which 
form the connecting link between these ancient 
and modern periods, we shall devote our next 




The stranger, or tourist, who passes along the 
great thorough Aire leading by the Earthen 
Mound and George iv. Bridge, from the new 
town, right through the old, to a second new 
town, known as the southern districts, is not 
unlikely to have his attention called to an 
old-fashioned building, with a curious, high- 
pitched roof, in the French style which pre- 
vailed in the reign of William ni. This is the 
old Darien House, a sufficiently melancholy 
and desolate-looking memorial of the unfortu- 
nate Darien enterprise. This forlorn character 
is not a little heightened by its later use as a 
pauper lunatic asylum, and in this capacity 
still more melancholy associations attach to it 
as the scene where poor Ferguson, the Scottish 
poet, that hapless child of genius, so wretchedly 
terminated his brief career. The building 
still bears some faded relics of the original 
grandeur which characterized it while yet the 
centre of so many golden dreams. Externally 
a series of niches decorate the front; and on 


an ornamental tablet above the doorway, and 
surmounted by a sundial, is the date 1698. 
Internally, a broad staircase leading to the 
first floor is adorned with a handsome, though 
somewhat heavy and massive balustrade ; but, 
otherwise, the glory has long departed from it, 
and with its later inmates, it bears all the 
melancholy and desolate aspect which the fancy 
could conceive as most suitable for the memo- 
rial of that disastrous national enterprise. 

The proceedings of the Edinburgh populace 
in the earlier years of the eighteenth century, 
in retaliation for the fi^ilure of the favourite 
national scheme, amply bore out the character 
acquired by the mobs of the Scottish capital 
for a stern and resolute daring, and an unflinch- 
ing tenacity of purpose. While the people 
were still suffering from the ruinous failure of 
their scheme, which the Scottish speculators, 
with only too good reason, ascribed to the 
sacrifice of their interests for their Englisli 
rivals, the Scottish government took the bold 
step of seizing, by way of reprisal, a vessel 
belonging to the East India Company which 
entered the Forth. The sole plea originally 
advanced for this was the right of retaliation 
for the unjust seizure and detention of the 
Annandale, a ship belonging to the Scottish 
compan}'-, in the Downs, at the instance of 
the English East India Company. In the pro- 
ceedings which followed, however, other, and 
much more substantial reasons were discovered 
or devised. While the vessel lay in the Forth, 


under embargo, the unguarded fepeeclies of the 
crew led to their being implicated in the 
crimes of piracy and murder, committed on 
a Scottish vessel and its crew in the East 
Indies. In all these proceedings, Scotland 
appears acting, not only to a great extent as 
an independent kingdom, but with much of 
the ancient hereditary rancour with Avhich it 
had been accustomed of old to regard its 
" auld enemies of England." Captain Thomas 
Green and fourteen of the crew were brought 
to trial, and the bitter national hatred excited 
against them was further increased by their 
attempting to deny the jurisdiction of the 
court. Whether it was possible at that period 
to find an impartial jury in Edinburgh for 
such a trial, may reasonably be questioned. 
The evidence, however, which has been pre- 
served, was sufficient to have justified any 
jury in returning their verdict of guilty ; and 
the court accordingly sentenced captain Green 
and his associates to be hanged on the sands 
of Leith. 

Arnot, in his " Celebrated Criminal Trials," 
remarks : — '' As the factions into which Scot- 
land was then divided about the depending 
treaty of Union, did each of them take up this 
cause as a matter of party, the faction Avhich 
fiivoured the Union maintained the prisoners' 
innocence, and on this ground solicited a 
pardon for them. The party, again, that op- 
posed the Union, which was much more 
numerous, and fully more violent, held the 


evidence of the prisoners' guilt as equal to 
demonstration, and resented the attempt to 
obtain a pardon for the prisoners with the 
highest indignation." Under such circum- 
stances it is easy to see that the unfortunate 
prisoners had but a poor chance of obtaining 
an impartial hearing, or an unprejudiced judg- 
ment on the evidence advanced. The justice 
of the whole proceedings, and the probability 
of the evidence stumbled upon with such re- 
markable opportuneness, have accordingly been 
the subject of very conflicting opinions, and, 
apart altogether from the political motives 
above referred to, there were found influential 
persons at the time who thought the evidence 
insufficient to justify the condemnation. Their 
influence was accordingly directed strongly in 
their favour ; nor indeed did more than three 
eventually suffer for the alleged crimes. These 
three, however, were the captain, mate, and 
chief gunner, who, as the supposed instigators 
and ringleaders in the crime, were the special 
objects of popular indignation. 

In this case, as in the later one of Porteous, 
the prospect of royal pardon being extended to 
their victims excited the utmost indignation 
among the populace ; and on the report benig 
circulated that a reprieve had been granted, a 
mob assaulted the lord chancellor while passing 
down the High-street in his carriage, on his 
return from the privy council. The windows 
of his carriage were immediately smashed, and 
the chancellor was dragged out and thrown 


upon tlie street, Avhere he was at length, with 
great difficult}^, rescued from the fury of the 
mob by an armed body of his friends. The 
2X)piihir feeling, however, was so strong and 
universal on the subject, and the conviction 
had so generally gained ground that Scotland 
had no justice to hope for except such as she 
secured for herself, that it Avns found impossible 
to attempt the pardon of the accused pirates, 
and the tumult was only appeased at last by 
their public execution. 

Such was the state of popular feeling in the 
Scottish capital when the project of a Union 
of the two kingdoms Avas first entertained. In 
a, parliament which met at Edinburgh only 
three years after the execution of captain Green 
and his associates, steps were taken for bring- 
ing about this object, which has proved so 
great a blessing to both countries. It would 
have been difhcult, however, to have selected a 
more unfavourable period for making such a 
proposal to the Scottish nation. The failure of 
the favourite scheme of colonization, entirely, as 
it i'.ppeared, through the jealousy of rival inte- 
rests in England, had excited all the old feelings 
of national antipathy, and the plan for a Union 
was almost universally regarded as a covert 
attempt to sacrifice the independence of the 
country to the interests of its ancient rival. 
So soon as the proposed Articles of Union were 
made public, the utmost uproar ensued. When 
the parliament assembled, the adjoining square, 
or Parliament Close, as it was then called, was 


crowded with an excited multitude, wlio mani- 
fested their displeasure at the supporters of the 
scheme by hootings and opprobrious epithets, 
and even by personal violence. The roj'al 
commissioner, the duke of Queensberry, Avas an 
especial object of the popular resentment ; and 
as the discussion advanced, the people pro- 
ceeded to more violent acts of hostility against 
the promoters of the scheme. The house of 
sir Patrick Johnston, the representative of the 
city in Parliament, and formerly a great fa- 
vourite when provost, was attacked Avith the 
utmost violence, and sir Patrick himself nar- 
roAvly escaped failing a victim to the lliry of 
the mob. 

The old days when the streets of Edinburgh 
formed the chief battle-field of the rival Scot- 
tish factions seemed once more revived. Three 
regiments of foot were on constant duty, and 
the Nether Bowport, and other of the most 
important points of the city, were taken pos- 
session of by the military. Yet the mob con- 
tinued to keep the parliament in awe, and to 
hold the town nearly at their mercy. The 
duke of Queensberry and all who acted wath 
him were kept in terror of their lives. A 
strong battalion protected Holyrood Palace, and 
guards were stationed at the approaches to the 
Parliament Close to prevent any but members 
obtaining admission. His grace, the commis- 
sioner, walked from the Parliament House to 
his coach between a double file of musketeers, 
and he was driven from the Cross at full 


gallcip to his residence at the palace, hooted, 
cursed, and pelted by the rabble. A proper 
city police uas then unknown in Scotland. 
The only substitute for it in Edinburgh was 
the town guard, an inefficient body of old sol- 
diers ; and unless when it came to open warfare 
with fire-arms, the mol) was supreme in any 
question on which the popular feeling Avas 
unanimous. Even when fire-arms were resorted 
to, and the military called out, the peculiarly 
cool and dogged pertinacity of the mobs of the 
Scottish capital, added to the great advantages 
they possessed from the singular construction 
of the old town, Avith its numerous courts, nar- 
row lanes, and alleys, so frequently enabled the 
latter to secure the victory, that the govern- 
ment rarely risked such a contest. 

The favour of the mob was no less zealously 
manifested than their displeasure. The duke 
of Hamilton, who, as hereditary keeper of 
the palace, had his lodgings there, was nightly 
escorted home by immense multitudes, with 
flambeaus and fire-arms, cheering and ap- 
plauding his fidelity to the popular cause. It 
was on one of these occasions, after having 
seen the duke home, that the mob proceeded 
in a body to the house of the city member, and 
after scaring him into a hasty retreat, sacked' 
it, and flung its contents into the street. 

At this period the stately mansion of Moray 
House, still existing in th« Canongate, and 
which formed the residence of Oliver Cromwell 
during his abode in Edinburgh, was occupied 


by the lord chancellor Seafield, and its fine old 
halls were the scenes of numerous secret meet- 
ings and deliberations preceding the final 
ratification of the treaty. A picturesque 
summer-house still stands in its terraced 
garden, adorned with quaint old lions, whither 
tradition tells that the chancellor and other 
unionists withdrev/ to place their signatures to 
one of the final documents by which the union 
of the two kingdoms was ratified. But the 
ever-watchful mob got news of the proceedings 
in time to set them to flight, and the deed was 
at length accomplished in a laigh shop, or 
cellar, on the north side of the High-street, 
still popularly known as the " Union Cellar." 
On the 25th of March, 1707, the treaty of 
Union was ratified by the estates, and on the 
22nd of April following, the parliament of 
Scotland adjourned, never again to meet as a 
national assembly. " The lord chancellor 
Seafield," says Dr. Wilson, '' the chief agent in 
this closing scene of our national legislature, 
exclaimed on its accomplishment, with heart- 
less levity, ' There is the end of an auld sang ; ' 
but the people brooded over the act as a 
national indignity and wrong ; and the legiti- 
mate line of their old Scottish kings anew 
found favour in their eyes, and became the 
centre of hope to many who mourned ovel 
Scotland as a degraded province of her old 
southern rival." 




It was -well for Scotland that the popular 
clamour proved unavailing to prevent the 
union of the two kingdoms, though the distrust 
and opposition of the people were amply 
justified by the corrupt means employed for 
securing many of the votes by which the 
measure was carried that put an end to the 
deliberations of the Scottish parliament. The 
immediate results flowing from it were, more- 
ever, little calculated to diminish the odium 
with which it Avas universally regarded, and 
this was peculiarly the case in Edinburgh, 
where trade suffered ; the rank and character 
of society were deteriorated, and the last ties 
were broken which bound the Scottish nobility 
to the ancient capital of the kingdom. The 
general discontent and irritation produced by 
this measure received fresh stimulus shortly 
after by the appearance of English tax- 
gatherers, and other government officials — all 
of whom were looked upon its aliens and 
extortioners; so that it became the universal 


custom to ascribe all grievances, from what- 
ever source they sprang, to the odious Union. 
The copestone was put on all these grievances 
by the fact that the Scottish members met 
with a very different reception in the British 
parliament from what they had been accus- 
tomed to in their own national assembly. All 
these causes united to aid the movements of 
the party which had never ceased secretly to 
cherish the hope of seeing the banished Stuart 
liing resume his throne. Former evils were 
forgotten or slighted when compared with those 
under which they were at present suffering, 
and thus the thoughts of a large and increasing 
portion of the people were gradually directed 
anew to the exiled family of the Stuarts. 

Edinburgh had no share in the first rising 
against the house of Hanover in 1715. The 
magistrates anticipated the movement, and took 
effectual measures I'or the defence of the city. 
The walls and gates Avere repaired and forti- 
fied ; the sluice at the east end of the North 
Loch was dammed up, and trenches were dug 
at the most accessible points. Equally efficient 
means were pursued for providing an effective 
force to man the walls ; so that Avhen a party 
of the insurgents marched towards Edinburgh, 
they found it so Avell defended that they aban- 
doned the attempt to assault it, and retreated 
to the citadel at Leith, from whence they were 
soon after driven, and the whole ill-concerted 
and feeble effort of rebellion was effectually 
suppressed. It was only twenty years after this 


3ast occiirrence, that that remarkable riot took 
place, so widely known as the Porteous mob. 

The Edinburgh city guard, which consti- 
tuted at that period its sole police, consisted 
principally of discharged veterans, whose duty 
it was to preserve the public peace, and sup- 
press any attempt at tumult, such as was 
then so easily raised among the excitable 
populace. No portion of the citizens had 
learned to look on these guardians of the town 
with much respect, and to its rabble they were 
objects of mingled derision and fear. No 
opportunity was missed of showing the feeling 
entertained towards them, and the numerous 
indignities they suffered did not tend in any 
degree to mollify the moroseness of their tem- 
pers. This state of feeling continued to be 
cherished as long as this corps of veterans were 
retained in the service of the city ; and Dr. 
Wilson has sketched the following lively pic- 
ture of one of their annual field-days in 
his " Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden 
Time :" — 

" Among the more homely associations of 
the old Parliament Close, the festivities of the 
king's birthday demand a special notice, as 
perhaps the most popular among the long- 
cherished customs of our ancestors, which the 
present generation has beheld gradually expire. 
It was usual on this annual festival to have a 
public repast in the Parliament-hall, where 
tables were laid out at the expense of the city, 
covered with wine and confections, and the 


magistrates, judges, and nearly all the chief 
citizens, assembled for Avhat was styled * the 
drinking the king's health.' On the morning 
of this joyous holiday, the statue of king 
Charles was gail}'' decorated with flowers by 
the ' aidd callants,'' as eleves of Ileriot's Hospital 
are still termed, who claimed this office by long 
prescription, and their acknowledged skill in 
the art of royal decoration, acquired in the 
annual custom of decking their own founder's 
statue. This formed one of the chief attrac- 
tions to the citizens throughout the day, as 
well as to their numerous rustic visitors, who 
crowded into the capital on the occasion. 
Towards the afternoon, tlie veteran corps of the 
city guard was called out to man the eastern 
entrance into the Parliament Close, while the 
guests were assembling for the civic entertain- 
ment, and then after to draw up in front of the 
great hall, and announce Avilh a volley to the 
capital at large each loyal toast of its assem- 
bled rulers. Never did forlorn hope undertake 
a more desperate duty. The first volley of 
these unpopular guardians of civic order was 
the signal for a frenzied assault on them by 
the whole rabble of the town, — commemorated 
in Fergusson's lively address to the muse on 
' The King's Birthday.' Dead dogs, cats, and 
every oftensive missile that could be procured 
for the occasion, were now hurled at their 
devoted heads, and when at last they received 
orders to march back again to their old citadel 
in the High-street, the strife became furious ; 


the rough old veterans dealt their blows right 
and left with musket and lochaber axe, wielded 
by no gentle hands ; but their efforts were hope- 
less against the spirit and numbers of their 
enemies, and the retreat generally ended in an 
ignominious rout of the whole civic guard. 
All law, excepting mob law, was suspended 
during the rest of the evening, the windows of 
obnoxious citizens were broken, the effigies of 
the most unpopular men frequently burnt ; 
and for more than half a century, the notorious 
Johnny Wilkes^ the editor of the * North 
Briton,' and the favourite of the London ap- 
prentices, was annually burnt in %i^gj at the 
Cross, and other prominent parts of the town, — 
an incremation hardly yet altogether fallen 
into desuetude." 

Such was the town guard of Edinburgh, in 
which John Porteous, a man of low origin and 
profligate character, filled the office of captain. 
One of the special duties devolving on the 
body which he commanded, was to surround 
the scaffold on the occasion of public execu- 
tions ; and it was at one of these, as is w^ell 
known, that Porteous committed the outrage 
for which he paid the penalty of his life. 

The criminal on the occasion referred to 
commanded the sympathy of the populace, 
because his offence was against the odious 
excise laws, which they looked upon as one of 
the treasonable fruits of the Union ; and their 
commiseration had been greatly increased by 
the generous courage displayed by him in 


securing the escape of his accomplice. On 
these grounds it was very generally thought 
that an attempt would be made to rescue the 
prisoner, and preparations were accordingly 
devised for resisting it. One of these, the 
introduction of a detachment of infantry into 
the city, was looked upon by Porteous as an 
insult to his own corps, and helped to increase 
the irritation of his naturally surly and brutal 
temper. Awed, most probably, by the prepara- 
tions for opposing any resistance to the execu- 
tion of the criminal, the mob remained passive 
until the fatal work was accomplished ; but the 
dead body had not hung long upon the gibbet 
when the mob became excited, assailed Porte- 
ous and his men with stones and other missiles, 
ond at length one of the most venturous of 
them sprang on the scaffold, and cut the rope 
by which the criminal had been suspended. 

It was at this stage of the proceedings, when 
the execution had been effected, and the re- 
sistance to the mob Avas, according to the 
usages of the period, greatly less required, that 
Porteous seized the musket of one of the guards, 
and giving the Avord to his men to fire, he at 
the same moment discharged the piece and 
shot a man dead on the spot. Several others 
were killed and wounded by the fire of his 
men ; but an Edinburgh mob in those days 
was not easily scared. The attack on the guard 
continued with redoubled fury. Several more 
fell under a second volley, including some 
peaceful spectators who chanced to be watching 


the scene from some of the neighbouring win- 
dows ; but the assailants still continued to press 
on the hated guard, and the tumult was only 
brought to a close when they had compelled 
them to retreat to their guard-house in the 

Captain Porteous was brought to trial for 
murder, in consequence of his share in the 
proceedings, and the High Court of Justiciary 
sentenced him to be executed. The ordinary 
antipathy of the populace to this civic func- 
tionary had risen to a feeling of the most deadly 
vengeance in consequence of his wanton and 
fatal recklessness, the consequences of which 
had led to his own condemnation ; and when 
the day appointed for his execution arrived, it 
was welcomed as a special season of just ven- 
geance, no less than of popular triumph. This 
feeling, however, was doomed to disappoint- 
ment. Efficient influence had been employed 
on his behalf at court, and her majesty queen 
Caroline had been induced to grant him a 
reprieve for six weeks, with the intention of 
probably commuting his sentence to some much 
milder punishment, if not of entirely pardoning 
him. This, in the state of popular feeling 
at the time, was looked upon as another of the 
wrongs inflicted on Scotland by those who had 
robbed her of independence. The crowd Avhich 
had assembled to witness the execution of its 
expected victim, slowly dispersed amidst the 
suppressed mutterings of disappointed revenge. 
But no violence was attempted ; and so com- 


plete was tlic confidence of Porteous in Lis 
final escape, that he invited a party of his boon 
companions to join him in the Tolbooth, and 
the evening of his reprieve was devoted to the 
coarse orgies only too well suited to that abode 
of misery and vice. 

Such was the occupation of the reprieved 
criminal as the night set in ; but its darkness 
was about to introduce another set of actors in 
the strange drama. It was in the month of 
September, when the nights had already en- 
croached largely on the shortening day ; and 
as soon as it was dark enough to conceal the 
persons of the conspirators, a drum was heard 
beating to arms through the principal streets, 
and the populace hastened from every court 
and alley to join the gathering throng. Though 
only a few hours had elapsed since the e-^ent 
which originated this movement, it was marked 
by all the characteristics of a well-concerted 
scheme. As the number of the mob increased, 
they separated into diiTerent parties, and took 
possession of the gates and other important 
points in the city, posting sentinels at each of 
them, so as effectually to prevent any interfer- 
ence with their further proceedings. Tliey 
then surrounded the city guard, disarmed the 
force, and having possessed themselves of their 
weapons, they were thus doubly prepared for 
commanding the uncontrolled mastery of the 
town during the night. The magistrates find- 
ing themselves thus utterly deprived of any 
civic force to oppose to the mob, and being 


precluded from all commimication beyond tlie 
gates, attempted to obtain assistance from the 
castle ; but tins also had been looked to, and a 
vigilant band of insurgents effectually pre- 
vented all intercourse with the garrison. 

Porteous was in the height of his ill-timed 
festivities in the prison of the old Tolbooth, or 
Heart of Midlothian, when the rioters, at length 
satisfied of the efficiency of the preliminary 
steps we have described, made their appearance 
before the prison door. The glare of their 
torches revealed the excited multitude to the 
wretched man, as he gazed on them through 
the prison-bars, which seemed now to offer his 
only chance of safety. He well knew the 
hatred with which he was universally regarded, 
and had been triumphing in the idea of having 
outwitted such a host of determined foes. 
" Surely," he had said, "the bitterness of death 
is past," and now all hope of escape seemed gone, 
for he well knew the determined character of 
an Edinburgh mob. Sledge-hammers and 
crowbars had been plied in vain against the 
massive prison-door ; but fire soon found them 
a way through its solid oak, and the wretched 
man was dragged from his hiding-place, where 
he had scrambled up the chimney, and laid 
hold of the iron bars inserted there on purpose 
to cut off any possibility of escape in that 
direction. Hurried along by the road to the 
usual place of execution, the rioters stopped 
their victim in the old West Eow, while they 
deliberately forced their way into a shop where 



ropes were sold, and left on the counter a 
guinea to pay for the one which they carried 
off for the purpose of his execution. A dyer's 
pole, only a few yards from the site of the 
gallows, supplied its want. With the utmost 
coolness and deliberation all the preparatory stops 
were gone through, and the deed of stern ven- 
geance resolved on having been carried out by 
the suspension of the unhappy man from the 
dyer's pole, he was watched until all possibility 
of his rescue in life was at an end, and then 
the actors in this bold deed of lawlessness 
threw away the weapons of which they had 
possessed themselves, and quietly dispersed. 

Such was the Porteous mob, one of the most 
remarkable civic tumults on record, and which, 
though got up within a few hours after the 
cause of popular indignation had transpired, 
was managed with such secresy, that none of 
the offenders were ever discovered, though the 
magistrates used their most strenuous efforts, 
and the government offered tempting rewards 
to induce some of their accomplices to reveal 
the ringleader, in what may with much more 
propriety be styled a daring conspiracy, than 
the mere act of a conmion mob. 

The ordinary magistrates of the city resumed 
their power on the morroAv, not without trem- 
bling at the late experience of the fragility of 
its tenure. To march troops into the city, 
and commence a severe inquiry into the trans- 
actions of the preceding night, were the first 
marks of returning energy which they dis- 


played. But these events had been conductc"! 
on so secure and Avell-concocted a plan ol' 
safety and secresy, that there was little or 
nothing learned to throw light upon the 
authors or principal actors in a scheme so 
audacious. An express was despatched to 
London with the tidings, where they excited 
great indignation and surprise in the council of 
the regency, and particularly in the bosom of 
queen Caroline, who considered her own 
authority as exposed to contempt by the 
success of this singular conspiracy. Nothing 
was spoken of for some time save the measure 
of vengeance that should be taken, not only on 
the actors of this tragedy, so soon as they 
should be discovered, but upon the magistrates 
who had suffered it to take place, and upon 
the city which had been the scene where it 
was exhibited. On this occasion, it is still 
recorded in popular tradition, that her majesty, 
in the height of her displeasure, told the cele- 
brated John, duke of Argyll, that sooner than 
submit to such an insult, she would make 
Scotland a hunting-field. " In that case, 
madam," answered that high-spirited noble- 
man, with a profound bow, "I will take leave 
of your majesty, and go down to my ovm 
country to get my hounds ready." 

The idea of wreaking the vengeance of 
mortified authority on the city and its civic 
rulers was no empty threat. The lord provost 
was imprisoned, and not admitted to bail for 
three weeks, and a bill brought into parliament 


was carried through the House of Lords, in" 
capacitating him from holding any magisterial 
office in Great Britain, and condemning him to 
imprisonment fur a year. Still further, it was 
provided that the Nether Bow Port, the chief 
gate of the city, should be demolished, and the 
town-guard disbanded ; the last a proceeding 
which seemed rather like a reward than a 
punishment of the rioters. In the House of 
Commons, however, a wiser moderation pre- 
vailed, and the whole affair ended in the city 
having to pay the sum of £1,500 to Porteous's 

Such was the curious condition of society, 
and the unsettled state of public feeling in 
Edinburgh, in the earlier part of the eighteenth 
century. The union with England was re- 
garded with a jealousy and distrust similar to 
that with which we have seen the Irish union 
regarded in our own day by some of the Irish 
people. The state of things we have described 
abundantly accounts for what so speedily fol- 
lowed. Only nine years had elapsed since the 
deeds of the Porteous mob had been productive 
of such commotion throughout the kingdom, 
when the news reached Edinburgh that prince 
Charles Edward had landed, and was on his 
march thither. To the great majority of the 
citizens the news was neither unexpected nor 
unwelcome. Steps, however, were t.dcen for 
the defence of the capital. A portion of the 
royal forces were marched into the neighbour- 
hood ; the city guard was increased, the walls 


were hastily repaired, and ditches throv;n up 
for additional defence. 

The prince had crossed the Forth above 
Stirling, and the king's troops, along with the 
city guards, were posted at Corstorphine and 
Coltbridge, to the west of the city, to repel his 
advance. A volunteer force was also raised 
among the citizens ; but the utmost lukewarm- 
ness, added to an undefined dread of the 
approaching Highland host, prevailed ; and 
when they did at length present themselves, 
the whole force fled precipitately, and com- 
municated such a panic to the citizens, that 
scarcely any could be found even to encourage 
the idea of shutting the city gates, and stand- 
ing on the defensive. While the citizens were 
still undetermined as to the ultimate line of 
policy they should pursue, the Nether Bow 
Port was unwarily opened to give egress to a 
carriage — not, however, as was shrewdly sus- 
pected, without the secret connivance of the 
lord provost, whose Jacobite leanings were 
but thinly disguised. A party of Highlanders 
who had been waiting outside the gate, imme- 
diately rushed in, took possession of the city, 
seized and disarmed the guards, and compelled 
the heralds to publish at the Cross the com- 
mission of regency which the prince held from 
his father, with all the wonted ceremonies 
attending royal proclamations. 

The young cavalier speedily followed the 
advanced guard of his faithful Highland force. 
His army encamped in the royal park, on the 


eastern and southern slopes of Arthur's Seat, 
and the j^rince, after passing a night at Dud- 
dingston, advanced on the folloAving day, and 
took pos^es^yon of the royal palace of his 
ancestors. All the cruel miseries inflicted on 
Scotland by the Stuart race, and the pro- 
tracted years of misgovernment, treacher}^, and 
oppression which they had endured — almost 
from the union of the two crowns on the 
death of queen Elizabeth, to their forfeiture by 
the grandfather of the prince who had now 
returned to occupy his palace — were forgotten. 
The inhabitants flocked in multitudes from the 
city to the neighbouring camp, and mixed in 
friendly familiarity with the clansmen ; while 
the palace was crowded with numbers of the 
higher classes of the citizens, who hastened to 
pay their homage to the prince, and to testify 
their fidelity to the exiled family. 

The battle of Preston Pans followed, and the 
prince was victorious on the field, Avhere the 
noble Christian soldier, colonel Gardiner, fell. 
The dragoons of sir John Cope fled igno- 
miniously, leaving their baggage, artillery, and 
military chests to the victors. The prince 
returned to Holy rood Palace in triumph ; and 
revived once more, in its long deserted halls, 
festive scenes which had been wont to grace 
them in the olden times, when Scotland was a 
distinct kingdom, and Edinburgh was the seat 
of a royal court and a national parliament. 

Even in the prince's brief hour of triumph, 
however, there were not wanting those who 


clearly discerned, through the popular glare of 
a false nationality, and the exaggerated esti- 
mate of present grievances, that the fruit to 
be looked for from the overthrow of the Hano- 
verian famil}^, Avas the restoration of a race of 
popish princes, ^vho had so signally failed in 
all the duties which kings owe to their people. 
After the victory of Preston Pans, the prince 
issued a proclamation, giving the ministers of 
the city full liberty to continue the usual 
religious services on the following Sunday, 
and only making the moderate stipulation, that 
in praying for the royal family, no name 
should be mentioned. One only of the city 
clergy availed himself of the permission, bur- 
dened by this condition, and lectured in the 
forenoon in the Tron Church ; but St. Cuth- 
bert's, an extra-mural parish, was then filled 
by an incumbent, the rev. Neile M' Vicar, 
famous in his day, and still commemorated 
among the faithful pastors of the church of 
Scotland, as one whom no dread of personal 
danger could deter from fullilling his duty as 
a minister of Christ. This- worthy successor 
of the faithful band that sufTcred to the death, 
rather than submit to the tyranny of Charles 
and James ir., gave public notice that he would 
continue the regular services of the day, and 
proceeded to the pulpit, accordingly, as usual. 
The church was crowded with an imusually 
numerous auditory, attracted thither by various 
motives, and among them he recognised many 
Jacobites, as well as a considerable number of 


the Highland soldiers, led to attend from the 
report of the intentions, and the knowledge of 
his intrepid character. Nothing daunted by 
such an assembly, Mr. M'Vicar prayed, as 
usual, for king George, by name, desiring for 
him every temporal and spiritual blessing ; the 
establishment of his throne in righteousness, 
and the upholding of it against every foe ; and. 
then he added : "As for this young man 
who has come among us seeking an earthly 
crown, we beseech Thee that he may obtain 
what is far better, a heavenly one!" No evil 
consequences followed on this bold and faithful 
exercise of duty. The prince would have 
been ill-advised, indeed, to have revived the 
memory of dark days so recently gone by, by 
rekindling the spirit of religious persecution at 
such a time. On the worth}' minister's prayer 
being reported to him, he is said to have 
smiled, and expressed himself highly pleased 
at the courage and charity he had displayed. 

What followed on these events forms no part 
of the history of Edinburgh. In less than six 
months, the duke of Cumberland returned 
from the field of Culloden, where the last 
hopes of the ill-fated Stuart had perished, and 
occupied the same apartments in the palace of 
Holyrood, which had so recently been the 
scene of festivities, graced by an enthusiasm 
that, however unwise and ill-founded, was as 
hearty and sincere as the reception of the 
victor of Culloden was hollow and distrustful. 
And so, may we say, ended the old honours of 


Holy rood, and the royal pageants of the 
Scottish capital. The next of our British 
sovereigns Avho appeared there, to revive the 
ancient glories of the palace and capital of the 
Stuarts, was George iv., and his ■welcome 
lacked no feature that could serve to testify the 
hearty loyalty of the people towards the younger 
line of the royal family, through whom the 
rights of Malcolm Canmore and St. Margaret, 
and the privileges and honours of jMary Stuart, 
have descended on her loved and honoured 
descendant, queen Victoria, who, as is w^ell- 
known, has added her name to the associations 
of the ancient palace of Plolyrood, 





In 1679, James, duke of Albany, (afterwards 
James ii. of England,) was received Vv^ith all 
the pomp of a royal visitation, on bis coming 
to Edinburgh in the capacity of king's com- 
missioner to the Scottish parliament — a sort of 
honourable banishment devised for him while 
the famous Exclusion Bill still hung in sus- 
pense. His duchess, Mary D'Este of Modenn, 
and the princess, afterwards queen Anne, ac- 
companied him, and the festivities at Plolyrood 
iiad almost the effect of a restoration. It was 
during this temporary revival of the old 
Scottish court, that the first project of the 
neAv town was devised, although nearly a 
century elapsed before even the foundation 
stone of the North Bridge was laid. 

In accordance with the more absolute powers 
of the period, James granted to the city in 
perpetuity, for the purpose of carrying into 
effect the project of an extended royalty and 
North Bridge, thus early devised, such rights 
as even parliament would now enact only for 


a very limited period. In this charter, James 
bestows on the citizens this, among other 
privileges — " That Avhen they should have 
occasion to enlarge their city, by purchasing 
ground without the town, or to build bridges or 
arches, for 'accomplishing the same, not only 
are the proprietors of such lands obliged to 
part with the same on reasonable terms, but 
these, when acquired, are to be erected into a 
regality in favour of the citizens." Unfor- 
tunately, for Edinburgh at least, her royaJ 
guest departed with all his court and retinue, 
after a stay of only two years and a half; and 
when, as the first-fruits of the Union, the privy 
council, the parliament, and, as a natural con- 
sequence, nearly the whole of the nobility 
left also, all prospect of further extension 
seemed at an end. 

In 1720, Allan Kamsay, in one of his 
earliest poetical effusions, entitled " Edin- 
burgh's Salutation to the marquis of Carnar- 
von," who was then on a visit to the city, thus 
represents her addressing her noble guest, — 

"Lang syne, my lord, I had a court. 

And nobles filled my cawsy ; 
But since I have been fortune's sporty 

I look nae half sae gawsy. 
Oh that ilk worthy British peer, 

Wad follow your example, 
:My auld grey head I yet wad rear. 

And spread my skirts mair ample." 

But more desponding is the picture which 
Maitland draws of the Canongate, so late as 
the middle of the eighteenth century. " This 
place," he says, " has suffered more by the 


union of the kingdom than all the other parts 
of Scotland ; for having been, before that 
period, the residence of the chief of the Scottish 
nobility, it was then in a flourishing condition ; 
but being deserted by them, many of their 
houses are fallen down, and others are in a 
ruinous condition. It is a piteous case." 

The first stone of the new bridge, which was 
to form the connecting link between the ancient 
city and those long-coveted fields, on which the 
new town was destined to arise, was laid on 
the 21st of October, 1763 ; and four years 
later, Mr. James Craig, architect, a nephew of 
the illustrious poet of the " Seasons," submitted 
to the approving town council the plan 
adopted for the intended city ; along with a 
host of competing designs from rival architects 
and amateurs. To the original engraving of 
Craig's plan, its author appended the following 
lines from his uncle's poem of " Liberty :" — 

" August, around, what public works I see ! 
Lo, stately streets ! lo, squares that court the breeze ! 
See long canals and deepened rivers join 
Each part with each, and with the circling main, 
The whole enlivened isle." 

The regular array of formal parallelograms, 
says the author of the " jMemorials of Edinburgh," 
"thus sketched out for the future city, was 
received by the denizens of the old town with 
raptures of applause. Pent up in narrow and 
crooked wynds, its broad, straight avenues 
seemed the heau ideal of perfection, and the 
more sanguine of them panted to see the mag- 
nificent design realized. Some echo of their 


enthusiastic admiration," adds the memo- 
rialist of Old Edinburgh, " still lingers among 
us, but it waxes feeble and indistinct. The 
most hearty contemners of the dingy, smoky 
old town, now admit that neither the formal 
plan, nor the architectural designs of the new 
town, evince much intellect or inventive genius 
in their contriver; and, perhaps, even a pro- 
fessed antiquary may venture to hint at the wis- 
dom of our ancestors, who carried their road 
obliquely down the steep northern slope, from 
Mutrie's-hill to Silver-mills, instead of de- 
vising the abrupt precipitous descent from 
where the statue of George iv. now stands 
to the foot of Pitt-street — a steep which strikes 
the stranger with awe, not unmingled with 
fear, on his first approach to our modern 
Athens from the neighbouring coast. When, 
some two or three centuries hence, the new 
town shall have ripened into fruit for some 
twenty- second century imp7'ovement commission, 
their first scheme will probably lead to the 
restoration of Gabriel's-road, and its counter- 
part from Charlotte-square to Pitt-street 1 " 
Such are a modern critic's remarks on the 
plan which appeared so faultless to the previous 
generation ; and it must be confessed, that 
however admirably the streets which cross the 
new town from north to south serve for 
opening magnificent vistas, stretching away 
beyond the Forth to the highland hills, they 
are certainly planned without the slightest 
consideration of the requisites for a public 


thoroughfare. A Londoner, accustomed to 
complain of the dangers of Holborn-hill or 
Snow-hill, would stand aghast if placed for the 
first time at the foot of Pitt-street, surmounted 
in the fav distance with the statue of George 
IV., and the beautiful S23ire of the Assembly 
Hall behind it ; and would also think it a feat 
of danger to guide a horse up such a steep. 
Both men and horses, however, are well accus- 
tomed to such feats in the northern capital ; 
and few things are more likely to attract a 
stranger's attention at first, than the apparent 
recklessness with which hackney-coach and 
cabmen drive swiftly down these precipitous 
streets, esjDecially if the stranger chance to be 
inside the flying vehicle. Accidents, however, 
are probably of as rare occurrence there as on 
the nearly level thoroughfares of London. 

The new town, though not yet numbering 
as such more years than some of its oldest sur- 
viving inhabitants, has nevertheless its ancient 
associations and traditional memorials also. Li 
the Museum of the Scottish Antiquaries, indeed, 
are preserved more than one primitive cinerary 
urn, discovered in the process of excavating 
for the foundations of its modern structures, 
and carrying the imagination back to that dim 
pre-historic era of our island's story, before the 
Iloman legionary had come as the bloody mis- 
sionary of civilization ; and paved the way for 
the more glorious conquests of the gospel of 
peace and glad tidings to the poor skin-clad 
barbarians of Caledonia. In the "Pre-historic 


Annals of Scotland," also, tolerably conclusive 
evidence is adduced in proof of the fact, that a 
Koman colonia existed on the site of Edinburgh, 
and that one of the great Roman militar)'- roads 
passed to the westward through the north-east 
quarters of the new town. Then, too, it has 
its traditionary associations linking it with the 
media3val era ; and, like most other expanding 
cities, the local antiquary detects in some of 
its modern names the sole survivinaj memorials 
of old suburban villages, once distant from the 
close-piled city, gathered within its walls on 
the castled steep ; and to which its older 
citizens can still remember their summer ram- 
bles through green fields, and by hedge and 
rustic stile. — 

"But Caledonia's queen is changed. 
Since on her dusky summit ranged. 
Within its steepy limits pent, 
By bulwark, line, and battlement, 
And flanking towers, and laky flood, 
Guarded and garrison'd she stood. 
Stern then, and steel-girt was thy brow : 
Dun-Eedin ; oh, how altered now ! 
When safe, amid thy mountain court 
Thou sitt'st, like empress at her sport. 
And liberal, unconflned, and free, 
Flinging thy white arms to the sea." 

In this progress sea-ward, the village of 
Greenside, willi its old Leper hospital, its 
cross and well, and its interesting associations 
with some of the earliest scenes of the down 
of the Scottish reformation — already described 
in another volume of this series;* the vilhige 
of Silver-mills ; the village and Barony of 
* " Old Edinburgh," p. 73. 


Broughton, celebrated in the annals of witch- 
craft; with other precursors of the new town, 
exist now only in name. Even the name of 
" Mutrie's Hill " has entirely disappeared from 
the local nomenclature, superseded by its 
modern title of St. James's-square, though 
here a village had arisen in the latter end of 
the seventeenth century, and become the resort 
of so many industrious non-freemen, that the 
jealous burgesses, in the year 1700, actually 
succeeded in inducing the magistrates to close 
the nearest city port, at the foot of Halker- 
ston's-w^nd, so as to cut off these rival traders 
from their intercourse with the chartered cus- 
tomers of the burghal corporate trades. 

On the small area surrounding the central 
spot now occupied by St. James's-square, the 
local historian can indeed recover the traces 
of many successive waves which have left their 
ripple-marks as time went by. The name of 
Moutray's, or IMutrie's-hill, is derived from an 
ancestor of the earls of Galloway, as old as the 
famous Flodden-field. On its north side a 
broad modern street, bearing the name of 
Picardy- place, occupies the site of a hamlet 
reared there by a body of French Protestant 
refugees, who fled thither on the revocation of 
the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, and settling on 
the open common which then lay betwixt the 
vilhige of Broughton and the old capital, at- 
tempted to establish a silk manufactory. A 
large plantation of mulberry trees is said to 
have been planted by them on the slope of 


IMutrie's-liill ; but doubtless the poor refugees 
found too many reasons for contrasting pain- 
fally the difference between our bleak northern 
climate, and their own native province of 
Picardy, in the sunny valley of the Somme. 

On the southern side of Mutrie's-hill, and 
still nearer the old town, stood an ancient for- 
talice, called Dingwall's Castle, as is believed, 
from John Dingwall, provost of Trinity College, 
and archdeacon of Caithness, who was nomi- 
nated one of the original judges of the Court of 
Session on the spiritual side, at the institution 
of the College of Justice in 1532. He is 
referred to in Knox's *' History of the Eeforma- 
tion" in no very flattering terms. The last 
remains of the old castle only disappeared on 
the erection of Shakspeare-square, a portion of 
its walls being indeed believed to be still extant 
in one of the cellars there. 

Immediately beyond this, and nearly on the 
margin of the old Nortli Loch, was erected the 
Orphans' Hospital, a valuable and wisely con- 
ducted charitable institution, which attracted 
the special notice of Howard, when other esta- 
blishments of the old city, and especially the 
ancient Tolbooth, excited only his commisera- 
tion for their wretched inmates. The celebrated 
AVhitefield also took a deep interest in its suc- 
cess, and an exceedingly characteristic portrait 
of that eminent preacher now hangs in the 
hall of the hospital, in evidence of the estima- 
tion in which his valuable services to the in- 
stitution were held. The long green slope 


extending from Mutrie's-bill to the hospital, 
derived from it the name of the Orphans' Park; 
and here, during the earlier visits of Whitefield 
to Edinburgli, he was wont to address the con- 
gregated thousands who gathered from the 
neighbouring city to Hsten to those soul-stir- 
ring appeals, which were made the means of 
fiwakening so many to a sense of their lost state 
as sinners, and leading them for the first time 
believingly to comprehend and embrace the 
grand scriptural doctrine of justification by 
faith in the atoning blood and spotlesss righte- 
ousness of Christ. Whitefield is reported to 
have expressed peculiar delight at the evi- 
dences of a Divine blessing so manifestly fol- 
lowing his labours. The feelings of the preacher 
may be conceived when, on returning to the 
city for the first time after the extension of the 
royalty, and proceeding to the spot which had 
been, as it were, consecrated by the seals of his 
ministry, he found a theatre in the process of 
erection on the very spot. The name of the 
great English dramatist was bestowed on the 
surrounding buildings ; but the honour was a 
very questionable one, for their occupants have 
been for the most part such as are usually 
found to congregate around a playhouse, giving 
only too unequivocal evidence of the demoraliz- 
ing effects of the modern stage. 

The Calton-hill subsequently supplied White- 
field Avitli an undesccrated place of worship, 
when visiting Edinburgh in his later evangelical 
tours. It Avould seem, however, as if such 


consecrated spots were doomed here to special 
desecration. A hollow on the higher ground 
formed a sort of natural amphitheatre, pecu^ 
liarly well adapted for the purpose in view, 
There Whitefield's later addresses were deli- 
vered ; and there, also, during three successive 
visits to Edinburgh, the no less celebrated 
Eowland Hill preached, as was computed on 
one of the occasions, to upwards of twenty 
tliousand people. But the most conspicuous 
portion of this new arena was selected, in 1816, 
as the site for a new county jail, destined to 
supersede the old Tolbooth, or " Heart of 

The Orphans' Park, where Whitefield's evan- 
gelical labours were so abruptly superseded, 
lay at the northern end of the new, or North 
Bridge, and was consequently one of the earliest 
areas built upon. But at a very early period 
the single communication supplied by the 
bridge, which spanned the valley and the loch, 
was looked upon as insufficient; and Chambers 
is probably right in ascribing to a suggestion 
of the oldest historian of Edinburgh, the origiri 
of the lumpish deformity which now furnishes 
another link between the old town and the new. 
The question of extending the city to the fields 
on the north side of the loch was being strongly 
agitated when Maitland wrote in 1750, though 
a long time elapsed before the talk resulted in 
action. With most cities, indeed, expansion is 
so gradual and imperceptible that no date 
could be affixed to their commencement of the 


movement. But old Edinbnrgli was like a 
princess shut up in some enchanted castle, for 
whom escape was impossible, till some knight 
was found gallant and chivalrous enough to 
break the spell. This knight appeared at 
length in provost Drummond, one of the greatest 
benefactors the city has ever known. He was 
seven times chosen as lord provost of Edin- 
burgh ; and his services in one single, but 
most important charity, are thus commemorated 
on the pedestal of a marble bust of this good 
citizen, which stands in the hall of the Royal 
Infirmary : — " George Drummond, to whom this 
country is indebted for all the benelits which it 
derives from the Royal Infirmary." To him, 
also, as we have said, v/as due the carrying out of 
the oft-projected North Bridge ; but JNIaitland's 
older suggestion was more easily accomplished. 
" There has of late," says he, in his history of 
Edinburgh, published in 1753, " been much 
talk about erecting a bridge across the North 
Loch, for a communication with the country 
on the northern side ; which, or something 
better, may easily be accomplished at little 
expense, by obliging all builders and others to 
shoot their rubbish, made at the building or 
repairing of houses, into such a part of the 
said loch as shall be agreed upon; whereby in 
a few years a ridge or earthen bank might be 
raised to the required height, which woidd 
answer other good ends besides that of a 
bridge." This suggestion, IMr. Chambers re- 
marks, " seems to have given the hint for the 


creation of that hideous deformity, the Earthen 
Mound, which sir Walter Scott has well termed 
the greatest and most hopeless error that has 
been fallen into in the course of these improve- 
ments." Since sir Walter Scott thus wrote, 
the mound itself has been subjected to im- 
provements. A railway tunnel has pierced it, 
and somewhat relieved its lumpish tameness ; 
and now the larger portion of its surface has 
been levelled as a platform whereon to erect a 
suite of galleries for paintings, with such archi- 
tectural decorations as must in some further 
degree help to alleviate the deformity of this 
*' hopeless error." Since then, too, the eastern 
portion of the bed of the old loch, which, in sir 
Walter Scott's time, still lay an unreclaimed 
waste, has been converted into a beautiful 
public garden ; and on the broad level of its 
)iorthern terrace noAv stands the graceful Gothic 
monument erected to the memory of sir Walter 




The great hindrance to the extension of the 
city over the long-coveted fields beyond the 
North Loch, was the want of a proper and con- 
venient mode of access ; that however being 
provided by the new bridge, there was no very 
remarkable symptom of haste among the citi- 
zens to enter on the possession of their new 
conquest. It may be questioned, indeed, whe- 
ther the prospect of crossing the Atlantic, and 
settling on the unoccupied wastes of the new 
world, excited half so much trepidation in the 
minds of some adventurous youths, as did the 
idea of emigration to these ncAv fields across 
the North Loch in the minds of the staid old 
citizens of Edinburgh seventy years ago. They 
had been so long accustomed to nestle in their 
old dwellings sheltered in the narrow closes, 

" Piled deep and massy, close and high," 
that they seemed to regard the exposure to 
open streets and broad thoroughfares pretty 
much as some etiolated hot-house exotic might 
be supposed to reflect on its being turned out 
to the open garden. 


Edinburgh is well known for the ample share 
it enjoys of strong westerly gales, and keen 
easterly winds, with the varying seasons of the 
year, to which its elevated site so peculiarly 
exposes it. But were we to judge from many 
of the accounts, and even from some more 
substantial evidence preserved, it might be 
presumed that the crossing of the North Bridge 
exposed the adventurer to hurricanes of a 
character somewhat akin to those which the 
mariner encounters in the Bay of Biscay, and 
that some remarkable meteorological improve- 
ments must have taken place since the era of 
such dangerous navigations of this middle pas- 
sage. Arnot, the historian of Edinburgh, writing 
in 1779, after enlarging on the advantages of 
the site, the regularity and beauty of the place, 
and the magnificence of the prospects of the 
New ToAvn, adds : " It is, however, in a special 
manner, exposed to very violent winds, which 
rage in Edinburgh with incredible fury. Houses 
blown down, large trees torn up by the roots, 
people carried off their feet and beat down 
upon the pavement, are no uncommon circum- 
stances in Edinburgh. It will hardly be cre- 
dited, that on Saturday, the 3rd of January, 
1778, the Leith guard, consisting of a serjeant 
and twelve men of the 70th regiment, were all 
of them blown off the Castle-hill, and some of 
them sorely hurt." The equinoctial gales espe- 
cially are still known not unfrequently to do 
considerable damage ; but certainly some por- 
tion of the newly discovered terrors for the 


gales of Edinburgh, must be ascribed to the 
novelty of new town breezes to those whom cus- 
tom had long reconciled to its old town odours. 
]\Iany amusing notices of the inconveniences 
experienced by these gales are preserved in 
some of the old satirical poetry of the day. 
It was scarcely possible, however, for a sa- 
tirist to exaggerate his picture of the appre- 
hensions seriously entertained. Citizens not yet 
past the meridian of life, can remember when 
a stone wall existed along the ridge of the 
Earthen. Mound, with a paving on either side, 
that the passenger might be able to make his 
choice according to the direction of the wind, 
while passing this treacherous "Hellespont;" 
and the north bridge still retains the stone 
slabs placed against its originally open balus- 
trades, for the purpose of providing for the 
wayfarer a similar screen. Still further to 
illustrate this state of things, Mr. Chambers 
observes, wdth reference to one of the first 
houses in Prince's-street, erected as a building- 
speculation so early as 1769: "It was pur- 
chased by Mr. Shadrach JMoyes, secretary of 
customs, who, before he concluded his bargain, 
had the builder bound to erect another house 
to the right, in order to shelter him from the 
luesterbj vjinds. "What a mass of stone and 
lime, and streets and squares," adds the author 
of the " Traditions of Edinburgh," "would Ze- 
phyrus have now to penetrate before he could 
reach this tenement!" 

Tliis may account, in part at least, for the 


tardiness with which the completion of tlie long 
projected bridge was followed by any decided 
steps towards the erection of the ne^v town ; 
and also for the minuteness of the information 
which has been preserved regarding the first 
proceedings of those who were bold enough to 
lead the forlorn hope in so hazardous an enter- 
prise. A premium of twenty pounds was 
offered by the magistrates to the first person 
who should build a house in the extended 
royalty, and was awarded to a Mr. John Young, 
who erected a house there in 1766. " When 
it was erected," says Mr. Chambers, " the New 
Town was hanging m cliibio, and it Avas un- 
certain if it would ever be more than a retired 
rural villa ; wherefore the interest excited on 
its foundation was very great, and an immense 
concourse of people was gathered to witness the 
ceremony." Older houses than this, however, 
still exist, which were once solitary mansions 
in the country, to which their owners Avithdrew 
as to quiet retreats far removed beyond the 
reach of civic noise or cares, though now they 
are hemmed in by acres crow^led only with 
streets and squares stretching away for miles 
on every side before the first suburban glimpse 
of country is reached. 

The first edifice for which ground w^as 
fenced, after the plans for the new town were 
completed, is the large building immediately 
to the west of the Register Oflice, now occupied 
as the Crown Hotel ; and to which the privilege 
pertains, by special grant of the magistrates. 


in consideration of this priority, that it is for 
ever exempted from the payment of all burghal 
taxes. This favoured edifite has a higher 
interest from the associations connected with 
it, as having long been occupied as the premises 
of Messrs. Constable and Co., the well-known 
booksellers ; whither was transferred, from the 
old shop at the Cross, " that labyrinth of rooms 
which formed the extensive back-settlements 
of that celebrated publishing-house." This 
was the haunt of a great many distinguished 
men of letters, Avhose names still linger among 
the associations of the northern capital, like a 
literary halo surrounding its classic heights. 
But, as has before been said, the new town has 
alread}'- its obsolete memories and traditions, 
as well as the old, pertaining to a state of 
things now entirely of the past. 

St. Andrew-square, which formed one of the 
main features of Mr. James Craig's plan, was 
the earliest of all the improvements to be com- 
pleted. Escaping from the confined and strait- 
ened accommodation of the old town, it Avas 
an additional feature to the broad avenues of 
the new town to erect mansions around a wide 
unoccupied area of some five hundred and 
twenty feet square — wide enough, as it seemed, 
to accommodate half the population of Edin- 
burgh, according to its time-honoured mode of 

According to the accounts of old citizens, 
the intercourse of neighbours, arising from the 
facilities of such close vicinage as the old town 


alleys afforded, was made fully available. The 
mere opening of their windows sufficed to 
bring the faniiU(?s, on opposite sides of some of 
its most fa.shionable closes, within easy distance, 
for the most familiar tete-a-tete; and many a 
conversation over a cup of tea was thus carried 
on, without the ladies needing to leave their 
own parlours. Nor were the gentlemen a whit 
behind their partners in availing themselves of 
the facilities which their proximity to their 
neighbours afforded for a friendly chat. Thus 
?ilr. Chambers describes the gentlemen of the 
long robe as being in the habit, after an early 
breakfast, of leaning over their parlour win- 
dows, while waiting till the neighbouring bell 
of St. Giles's announced the daAvn of the legal 
daij, and discussing the morning's news with 
a neighbouring advocate, or even a judge of 
the supreme court, on the opposite side of the 
alley. " In this manner, the Advocates-close, 
or even one less filled with the sons of Themis, 
AYOuld sometimes ]-esemble a modern coffee- 
room more than anything else." It is not easy 
to conceive of a much more abrupt social 
change than that which transferred these 
iiiuiiliar neighbours to the great new toAvn 
square, where nothing short of a telescope 
could enable them to recognise the dwellers in 
the opposite houses. 

No wonder is it, when once the move had 
begun, that St. Andrew-square became an 
aristocratic quarter of the city ; though even 
after so brief an interval, the time has already 


arrived ^vhen it seems little less strange to 
conceive of noblemen residing in St. Andrew- 
square, than in Niddry's-wynd, or the old 
Mint-close. Here, about 1775, resided the 
earls of Buchan, Haddington, and Leven, 
lord Aukerville, lord Dreghorn, the countesses 
of Dalhousie and Errol, sir John Whitefoord, 
sir James Stirling, and sundry other citizens 
of note, including Andrew Crosbie, the advo- 
cate, David Hume, the historian, and Henry 
Brougham, the future lord chancellor. 

The corner house on the north side of the 
square, looking into St. Andrew-street, was the 
residence of the ingenious but eccentric earl of 
Buchan, and there, in 1780, the Society of Anti- 
quaries of Scotland was founded, and its first 
meetings were held. The house of Andrew Cros- 
bie, an eminent advocate, now forms Douglas's 
Hotel ; while at the head of South St. David- 
street in the angle corresponding to that of the 
carl of Buchan, is the house where the great 
sceptical philosopher and historian passed the 
latter years of his life, and where that final death- 
l:)ed scene took place, as recorded by his friend 
Dr. Adam Smith, when he passed away to the 
experience of those unseen realities of an 
eternal world, which all the profoundness of 
his philosophical speculations had failed to 
reveal to him. The apparent calmness of his 
last moments, though unexpected by many, 
was perha])s even more terrible to reflect upon 
than the ravings of the awakened conscience, 
in the last struggles of unavailing remorse. 


Surely this great philosopher died '' as the 
fool dieth ;" and all that his wisdom had 
taught him, was to believe of his soul as no 
more immortal than the beasts that perish. 
How truly has St. Paul said, " The world by 
wisdom knew not God. — For the Jews require 
a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom : but 
we preach Christ crucified, imto the Jews a 
stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolish- 
ness ; but unto them which are called, both 
Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, 
and the wisdom of God." 

Among the distinguished circle of literary men 
which then adorned the Scottish capital, Hume 
moved on the most friendly terms ; and on the 
4th of July, 1776, a circle of his acquaintances 
assembled in his house in St. David-street, in- 
vited by him to a farewell dinner; the last, as he 
truly anticipated, which he Avas ever to partake 
of with them. This mournful festival was 
attended by lord Elibank, Dr. Blair, Dr. 
Black, the celebrated chemist, Adam Smith, 
professor Fergusson, and John Home, the 
author of " Douglas." 

Not the least remarkable among the build- 
ings in the old town, is the huge square pile, 
rising story above story, which meets the eye 
of the wondering stranger, as he traverses the 
Mound on his way from the new to the old 
town. Here, among the numerous dwellings 
into which its floors were economically sub- 
divided, was the residence of Boswell, when he 
received and entertained Paoli, the patriot 


Corsican chief, in 1771 ; and the still more 
illustrious Dr. Johnson, when he visited Edin- 
burgh in 1773, on his way to the Western 
Isles. Thither, in the month of August, 
Boswell conducted the great object of his 
devoted veneration, from the White Horse Inn 
in the Canongate, where he had found the 
doctor in a violent passion with the waiter, for 
having sweetened his lemonade without the 
ceremony of a pair of sugar-tongs. The doctor, 
in his indignation, threAv the lemonade out of 
the window, and seemed inclined, it is added, to 
use the waiter with equal violence. In St. 
James's-court he met with the most assiduous 
attention from the e lite o{ Edinburgh, society ; and 
after reserving his attentions almost exclusively 
for Margaret, duchess of Douglas, who formed 
one of Mr. Boswell's party, he has described 
her as " an old lady who talks broad Scotch 
with a paralytic voice, and is scarce understood 
by her own countrymen." Lord Stowell, who 
was Johnson's travelling companion on this 
visit, related that the doctor was treated by 
the Scottish literati with a degree of deference 
bordering on pusillanimity ; but he excepted 
from that observation JNIr. Crosbie, the cele- 
brated advocate, already referred to, whom he 
characterized as an intrepid talker, and the only 
man who w\as disposed to meet Dr. Johnson in 

In this once fashionable and aristocratic 
quarter, David Hume also resided, from 1762 
till the completion of the house erected b}'- him 


in winch he died. In 
Hume's day, the North Loch hiy beneath in the 
valley directly below his house, with gardens 
extending to its southern margin, while the 
site of the modern city was then farms and 
green fields, stretching away uninterruptedly to 
the sea. Even now, though the huge pile has 
been so long deserted by its once aristocratic 
occupants, the upper windows of James's-court 
command a view such as few dwellings in any 
other city in Europe could parallel. This inte- 
resting and curious locality of the old town is 
thus described by a recent writer: — " Entering 
one of the doors opposite the main entrance, 
the stranger is sometimes led by a friend wish- 
ing to afford him an agreeable surprise, doAvn 
flight after flight of the steps of a stone 
staircase ; and when he imagines he is descend- 
ing so far into the bowels of the earth, he 
emerges on the edge of a cheerful, crowded 
thoroughfare, connecting together the old and 
new town, the latter of which is spread before 
him ; a contrast to the gloom from which he 
has emerged. When he looks up to the build- 
ing containing the upright street through which 
he has descended, he sees that vast pile of tall 
houses standing at the head of the Mound, 
which creates astonishment in every visitor of 
Edinburgh. This vast fabric is built on the 
declivity of a hill, and thus one entering on the 
level of the Lawn Market is at the height of 
several stories from the ground on the side 
next the old town. " I have ascertained," 


adds Mr. Burton, " that by ascending the 
western of the two stairs facing the entry of 
James's- court to the height of three stories, we 
arrive at the door of David Hume's house, 
which, of the two doors on that landing-place, 
is the one towards the left." 

From the windows of this lofty dwelling, the 
historian looked down on the green slopes 
whereon the design of the architect, James Craig, 
was about to be sketched out ; and so recent 
is this marvellous change, that the author of 
this little volume has often conversed with an 
elderly lady, who had a familiar recollection of 
strolHng in her rare country walks to drink 
warm milk at Wood's farm-house, which then 
stood amidst its ploughed fields, in what is 
now the west end of Queen-street; while citizens 
still living can remember when the greater part 
of the area now crowded with the streets and 
squares of the new town, changed from spring 
to autumn under the rich tints of its ripening 
crops of grain. David Hume brooded, as it 
were, over the incipient new town, of which 
he had nearly a literal bird's-eye view from 
his airy height, and at length overcoming his 
dislike to change, he fixed on, as already 
pointed out, the corner site betv/een St. David- 
street and St. Andrew-square. 

Directly opposite to Mr. Hume's house, is 
one forming the corner of North St. David- 
street, which will possess an interest as long as it 
stands, as that in which Henry lord Brougham 
was born. The house remains in the Cowgate, 


wliere tAe elder Brougham first dwelt, and 
married. From this, however, he soon after- 
wards removed to the new town, and on the 
upper flat of the building referred to — for so 
early was the old town fashion of common 
stairs, or " perpendicular streets," transferred 
to the new — the future chancellor first saw 
the light. From thence, as a boy, he pro- 
ceeded daily to the old High School, and shared, 
with characteristic vivacity and eagerness, in 
the wild sports which then marked the juvenile 
pastimes of that ancient seminary. 

" ' Tis sixty years since." Of such a lapse 
of time are we now speaking ; and uneventful 
as that period has been in any great internal 
convulsions, how marvellous are the changes 
which impress the mind, even in looking 
round the modern, trim, New-Town-square. 
Since the beginning of these sixty years, art 
and architecture have wrought a marvellous 
revolution upon it. Its old aristocratic occu- 
pants have one and all disappeared, to give 
place to banks, insurance offices, hotels, and 
Avarerooms ; yet, with this altered occupation, 
the architectural adornments of the sons of com- 
merce have so greatly exceeded those of the 
old gentry, that the few mansions of the latter 
still intact, appear as ungainly intruders among 
their showy and beautiful neighbours. The 
British Linen Company's Bank is specially 
worthy of a stranger's visit. Externally, its 
disengnged columns, each surrounded by a 
colossal emblematic statue, cannot tail to attract 


the eye; while internally, its beimtiful Lirge 
banking-room, decorated with polished red 
granite columns, with bronze capitals, and other 
decorations to correspond, conveys an idea of 
taste such as vividly illustrates the prosperity 
of Scotland, and its rapid strides in commerce, 
arts, and manufactures, during the last half- 

The central and most conspicuous ornament 
of St. Andrew-square is Melville's monument, 
an elegant column, one hundred and thirty-six 
feet high, surmounted by a colossal statue of 
the earl of Melville, who acquired a somewhat 
unenviable notoriety by means of the impeach- 
ment brought against him for supposed tamper- 
ing with the public funds. He was, however, 
greatly esteemed by a numerous circle of 
friends, added to which, the influence he long 
exerted in the disposal of most of the govern- 
ment patronage in Scotland, secured for him 
many keen political adherents, by whom this 
beautiful structure was reared in 1822. 

in the centre of the east side of the square, 
sx handsome edifice, now occupied as the lioyal 
Bank of Scotland, was originally built for a 
private mansion, by sir Lawrence Dundas of 
Kerse, long the representative of the city in 
parliament. In front of this building now stands 
the monument of James, earl of Ilopetoun, the 
friend and companion in arms of sir John Moore. 
It is an equestrian statue, of colossal propor- 
tions, in bronze, representing the earl standing 
beside his horse, and is justly admired as a 


work of great beauty. The house of the ear], 
while yet he lived among the aristocratic 
citizens of old Edinburgh, still stands on the 
south side of the Canongate, at the head of 
St. John-street. 




The highest part of the new town, exclusive 
of the Cal ton-hill, is St. James's- square, oc- 
cupying what of old was called Mutrie's-hill. 
It changed its name, however, for a more popu- 
lar title, about the time when its old heights 
wore first invaded by the encroaching city. 
The fiunous battle of Bunker's-hill was fought 
on the 17th of June, 1775, and the date of the 
same year, carved on the house in the south-east 
corner of the square, was contemporary with 
that memorable event. The first stone of this 
house, as old Edinburgh traditions record, 
was lai4 on the very day when the news of 
the battle reached the city. The laying of 
the foundation stone, even of a private build- 
ing, is still, by a custom which it were well 
to permit to full into desuetude, celebrated by 
some " drink silver " being distributed among 
the workmen. It so happened, that the enter- 
tainment in honour of this first foundation on 
the heights of Mutrie's-hill was accompanied 
with such excesses that the builders beciune 


considerably excited, and some cause of mis- 
understanding having followed, a quarrel ensued, 
which at length ended in a general battle. The 
conspicuous scene attracted many spectators, 
some of whom joined in the affray; and the 
news of the contest on the shores of Massa- 
chusetts Bay being then the most prominent 
subject of the day, this squabble received the 
name of the " Battle of Bunker's -hill." 
Trifling as was the circumstance, this epithet 
adhered to the' locality, and among older 
citizens of the last generation, the name of 
Bunker's-hill was most frequently applied to 
St. James's-square. 

The range of houses, of which the first was 
founded under such curious circumstances, is 
built, like other edifices both of the old and 
new town, on the steep side of a hill, though 
now the tall houses in Leith-street effectually 
conceal their true height from view. The 
most southerly house on the west side of the 
square possesses a peculiar interest, as having 
been the lodging of the poet Burns during 
part of the period he resided in Edinburgh. 
It was then occupied by Mr. Cruikshanks, one 
of the masters of the High School, and is 
specially described by the poet in one of his 
letters to Mrs. McLehose, the lady with whom 
he carried on a romantic correspondence under 
the name of Sylvander, while he addressed her 
by that of Clarinda. Pier residence was in a 
venerable, but now sorely decayed mansion, 
which still preserves some memorials of the 


characters with which its history is associated, 
and is thus linked in its latter traditions with 
the newer edifices of the modern city. 

The visitor to Edinburgh, who finds a guide 
to such antiquated memorials of the past, will 
follow his cicerone from the new town by the 
Mound and George the Fourth's Bridge, until, 
continuing in the same course, he has nearly 
reached the point of junction of Bristo-street 
with Potter-row ; when, if he be at all a lover 
of the picturesque, he will hardly fail to bo 
struck with a building turning its crow-steppea 
gable to the street, while along its southern 
front appear a range of sculptured dormar 
windows, and other architectural ornaments 
in the highly decorated style of the seventeenth 
century. Pleraldic devices and monograms 
ornament its front, and a curious sundial, 
which has only very recently disappeared, bore 
the quaint, punning inscription, " We shall die 

Should the visitor be tempted by these 
traces of former grandeur to pursue his inves 
tigations further, he will find that the old 
edifice encloses a little, irregular, and desolate- 
looking court of antique buildings, called 
General's Entry. Tradition has long assigned 
this as the residence of general i\Ionk, during 
his command in Scotland under Oliver Crom- 
well. Its name, however, is not derived from 
the hero of the Commonwealth, but from John, 
second earl of Stair, who served under Marl- 
borough, and was promoted to the rank of 


lieutenant-general after the bloody battle of 
Malplaqiiet. His arms and initials are sculp- 
tured on the house, and on one of the floorfi 
into which the quadrangular group of buildings 
Avas subdivided in later days, lived the Clarinda. 
of the poet Robert Burns, in 1788. The 
letters of both contain allusions to the missives 
which then passed between St. James's-square 
and General's Entry, and to the visits paid by 
the poet to the latter. 

The haunts of two other distinguished 
Scottish poets lie in the same neighbourhood. 
In an equally humble and obscure localit}^, 
Alison-square, Potter-row, Thomas Campbell 
lived, while engaged in the composition of tliG 
Pleasures of Hope ; and to the same residence 
we believe the poet of " Hope " refers, in the 
following pleasing reminiscences of James 
Grahame, the author of the " Sabbath:" — 

" One of the most endearing circumstances 
which I remember of Grahame was his singing. 
I shall never forget one summer evening that 
we agreed to sit up all night, and go together 
to Arthur Seat to see the sun rise. We sat, 
accordingly, all night in his delightful parlour 
• — tlie seat of so many happy remembrances. 
We then went out and saw a beautiful sunrise. 
I returned home with him, for I was living in 
his house at the time. He was unreserved in 
all his devoutest feelings before me ; and from 
the beauty of the morning scenery and thQ 
recent death of his sister, our conversation 
toolc a serious turn, on the proof of infiiiito 


benevolence in the creation, and the goodness ^ 
of God. As I retired to my own bed I over- ' 
heard his devotions — not his prayer, but a \ 
hymn of praise which he sang, and with a 
power and inspiration beyond himself; and 
beyond anything else. At that time he was a ] 
strong-voiced and commanding man. The re- \ 
membrance of his large, expressive features, j 
when he climbed the hill, and of his organ-like : 
voice in praising God, is yet fresh and ever I 
pleasing in my mind." 

There is something exceedingly delightful in i 
this glimpse of the young Christian poet in his j 
hours of relaxation, while yet his muse was 
only pluming its wings for flight. At this i 
time he was studying the law ; but from his i 
subsequent pursuits we may infer that he did j 
not seek " the priest's office for a morsel of < 
bread," but that he entered on the sacred office | 
of the Christian ministry with a deep sense of ! 
the momentous responsibility thenceforth to | 
rest on him as " an ambassador of Christ," and j 
accounting it his highest privilege to proclaim 
the gospel message, " God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only begotten Son, that who- • 
soever believeth in him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life." 

Old Edinburgh is rich in the haunts of the 
poets. The various localities associated with 
the memory of Allan Kamsay, the author of i 
the " Gentle Shepherd," have already been no- j 
ticed in our volume entitled " Old Edinburgh;" 1 
and there also we have referred to the early 


poets Dunbar, Gawin Douglas, and sir David 
Lindsay, all of them long resident in Edinburgh, 
and intimately associated with its early history. 
In the Canongate, the old mansion of the dukes 
of Queensberry was also the residence of the 
poet Gay, the favourite of lady Catherine Hyde, 
duchess of Queensberry, the beauty of the 
court of George i., whose uprightness and wit 
have been commemorated in the lines of Pope, 
Swift, and Prior, and whom Horace Walpole, 
earl of Orford, celebrated in his old age'. 
Time, however, has wrought strange changes 
on the ducal mansion ; for after various vicis- 
situdes, the abode of the eccentric beauty, and 
the retreat of the poet, is now converted into 
the " House of Refuge for the Destitute." 

The name of Goldsmith is associated with 
the College- wynd, the author of " The 
Deserted Village" lodged while studying medi- 
cine at the university of Edinburgh ; and at 
the head of the same wynd, sir "Walter Scott 
was born. 

The fine old cavalier poet, Drummond of 
Hawthornden, is also intimately connected with 
the history of Edinburgh and of its university ; 
and Dr. Wilson has pointed out, in his " Me- 
morials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time," the 
house of his uncle William Fowler, also a poet, 
and the son of the author of " The Triumph of 
Death," which still stands in the Anchor-close, 
High -street. He was secretary to Anne of 
Denmark, the queen of James i., and his sister 
was the mother of Drummond of Hawthornden, 


one of the sweetest of the minor poets of 

Like Ben Jonson, Drummond, and even 
Milton, Fowler was employed in arranging the 
court masks and pageants, which formed so 
grave and serious a feature in all holiday pro- 
ceedings of that age. On the occasion of the 
baptism of prince Henry, the son of James vr., 
the preparation of the pageants, with " deep 
moral meanings," was committed to Fowler, 
though he was not allowed to finish so import- 
ant a commission without the aid of his sapient 
master, the moral interludes of Neptune being 
expressly recorded as the fruitful product of 
his majesty's own royal brain. On this occa- 
sion, queen Elizabeth despatched the young 
earl of Sussex to represent her at the baptism 
of the young prince, committing to his care a 
letter of congratulation and advice, in which 
she thus writes : — *' I make a note of my happy 
destiny, my good brother, in beholding my 
luck so fortunate as to be the baptizer of both 
father and son." 

It is not unworthy of note here, that the 
original manuscripts, both of Drummond of 
Ilawthornden, and of Fowler, are preserved in 
the library of the Society of Antiquaries of 
Scotland. From these the following sonnet of 
Drummond, in praise of Edinburgh, is not un- 
suitable for insertion here. Its local allusions 
still hold true, after the lapse of upwards of 
two centuries; the seat of justice being now, as 
of old, in the Parliament House, in the heart of 


tlie metropolis ; -while the old abbey of the 
Holyrood, ^vhich served the poet as his symbol 
of religion, remains, though in rnins ; and 
IMars's lofty towers surmount, as of yore, the 
western steeps which terminate the ridge occu- 
pied by the old town : — 

" Install'd on hills, her head neai' starry bowers, 
Shines Edinburgh, proud of protecting powers. 
Justice defends her heart ; Religion cast 
With temples; JMars with towers doth guard the west; 
Fresh Nymphs and Ceres serving', wait upon her, 
And Thetis, tributary, doth her honour. 
The sea doth Venice shake, Rome Tiber beats, 
"SVhile she but scorns her vassal water's threats. 
For sceptres nowhere stands a town moi'e fit, 
Nor place where town, world's queen, may fairer sit ; 
But this thy praise is, above all most brave. 
No man did ere defame thee but a slave." 

The original of this highly flattering encomium 
on Edinburgh is a Latin poem by the celebrated 
scholar, Dr. Arthur Johnstone. 

The melancholy associations with Fergusson, 
the poet, have already been referred to; but by 
far the moct interesting memorial of him which 
remains is that wliich so intimately connects 
him with his more gifted successor, Eobert 
Burns. To Fergusson, Burns undoubtedly owed 
some slight obligations for the suggestive influ- 
ence which his poems exercised on his mind. 
But his estimate of such obligations was such 
as only the exaggerating modesty of true genius 
could entertain. He thus wrote of him at the 
time to which we now refer : — 

*' O thou, my elder brother in misfortune. 
By far my elder brother in the muses, 
With tears I pity thy unhappy fate ! " 

Influenced by such feelings, the Ayrshire poet; 


on his first arrival in Edinburgh, sought out 
the grave of his brother poet, and found it 
altogether undistinguished from the many 
" mouldering heaps" of a croAvded urban 
churchyard. He thereupon addressed a letter 
to the managers of the Canongate churchyard, 
in which he remarked: — 

" I am sorry to be told that the remains of 
Eobert Fergusson, the so justly celebrated poet, 
a man whose talents for ages to come will do 
honour to our Caledonian name, lie in your 
churchyard among the ignoble dead, unnoticed 
and unknown. 

" Some memorial to direct the steps of the 
lovers of Scottish song, when they wish to shed 
a tear over the * narrow house ' of the bard 
who is no more, is surely a tribute due to 
Fergusson's memory — a tribute I wish to have 
the honour of paying. I petition you, then, to 
permit me to lay a simple stone over his revered 
ashes, to remain an inalienable property to his 
deathless fame." 

The monument erected by the poet in fulfil- 
ment of his design was a very simple one ; but 
it is not too much to say of it, that it is a far 
more interesting memorial of himself than even 
the fine Grecian temj)le erected -to his memory, 
within sight of the lowly grave of Fergusson, 
on the neighbouring heights of the Calton- 
hill ; and is one of those relics of the past 
which the tourist will not be ungrateful for 
having pointed out to him. The inscription 
on the stone is as follows : — 


" Here lies Robert FEnoussox, Poet. 
'« Born September 5th, 1751.— Died I6tli October, 1774. 
** No sculptured marble here, nor pompous lay, 
* No storied urn, nor animated bust ; ' 
This simple stone directs pale Scotia's way 
To pour her sorrows o'er her poet's dust." 

A few years since, this stone having fallen into 
decay, and become displaced, it was restored 
by subscription, with such additions as give it 
a more fitting prominence, and now direct 
attention to the brother poet in whose genero- 
sity it had its origin. 

The period of Burns's connexion with Edin- 
burgh is that on which we can look back with 
feelings least mingled with the sadness which 
clouds the remembrance of him who once 

" Walk'd in glory and in joy. 
Following his plough along the mountain side." 

A prospect of virtuous independence seemed 
opening before him ; and it appeared as if the 
author of " The Cotter's Saturday Night" might 
eventually realize at his own fireside some of 
those scenes of piety and moral worth which 
he had witnessed under his parents' roof, and 
which he has so beautifully depicted in that 
noble poem. Alas ! how sad are those later 
scenes in the gifted poet's life, which supply us 
with a warning instead of an example ! The 
poet's Edinburgh abode, during the brief period 
of his brightest hopes and prospects, is thus 
described by his latest biographer : — 

" Tlie house was composed of the two upper 
floors of a lofty building, in an airy situation 
in the new town — then marked No. 2, now 30, 


Bt James's-square. The poet's room had a 
window overlooking the green behind the lle- 
gister House, as well as the street entering the 
square. It was by far the most agreeable place 
in which he had ever had more than the most 
temjDorary lodging. "We are told by the his- 
torian of the High School, that Mr. Cruikshank 
V/as regarded as a person of no mean acquire- 
ments. He had a daughter, Janet, a young 
girl of much promise as a pianist. To her the 
poet was indebted for many pleasant hours in 
listening to his favourite Scottish airs. Dr. 
Walker says : * About the end of October, 
1787, I called on him at the house of a friend, 
whose daughter, though not more than twelve, 
was a considerable proficient in music. I found 
him seated by the harpsichord of this young 
lady, listening with the keenest interest to his 
own verses, which she sang and accompanied, 
adjusting them to the music by repeated trials 
of the effect. In this occupation he was so 
totally absorbed, that it was difficult to draw 
his attention from it for a moment.' " 

The poet celebrated the fair little songster 
in more than one poem, under the title of 
the " Eose-bud." 

One other spot, associated with poetical 
memories, must, however, be noticed before 
closing this chapter. In passing along George- 
street, we arrive at Castle-street, upon the east 
side of wdiich is the town residence of sir Walter 
Boott — " The Dear Thirty-nine^'' as he himself 
termed it ; a place associated with some of the 


happiest, and also Avith some of the most 
mournful years of his life ; and ^vhich he 
finally left under such mournful circumstances 
in 1826. It was remarked of it by an intel- 
ligent foreigner, on being directed to look for 
No. 39, that *' a more appropriate number 
could not have been devised to distinguish the 
dwelling of such a man ; as the first figure 
represented the number of the Graces^ and the 
last that of the Muses.''' * 

* Varied emotions must fill the mind in visiting the mansion 
of this remarkable and most amiable man, whose character is 
thus ably drawn by a modern writer : — 

" Combined with many excellences, there were, however, in 
his, as in every human character, some striking and mournful 
dv-fects. Regarding him merely with reference to this pre- 
sent life, he would seem to have been the victim of one great 
and ruinous mistake. Had he rested content with the fame 
and the station— and they were of the highest— which his 
acliicvemcnts in literature, together with the successful pur- 
suit of an honourable profession, could confer upon him, his 
earthly career had been in all probability far happier, and its 
close less clouded, than it proved. But the strange, almost 
unaccountable, perversity of the bias of his mind was this— 
tliat while far from bein;? insensible to, he niade compara- 
tively little, after all, of literary or professional renown ; while 
li'j most sedulously desired and endeavoured to be celebrated 
with the comparatively paltry honour of being the possessor 
of an extensive estate, the founder of a wealthy and distin- 
guished family — the head, in short, of a clan like those of 
whom he wrote— of being, in a word, sir Walter Scott of 
Abbotsford. Surely, in this there is a melancholy instance 
of the obliquity of even the most gigantic mind when not 
primarily directed towards and governed by Him without 
whom the world's best wisdom, even as such, is utter folly — 
a proof of how, in such case, the heart's purpose, like the 
arrow from an ill-strung bow, strays altogether wide, not 
only of the object at which it ought to have been aimed, but 
also of that at which it would seem to have been actually 
directed : for utterly, in this respect, has his life's object 
failed. The fame which ne did not seek, at least did not 
primarily seek, he has achieved; while the stranger's footfall 
echoes sadly through the halls of Abbotsford: the grave 
amidst the ruined cloisters at Dryburgh is scarcely more 
mournful to look upon ; and the family which ho was to have 


founded, within a few brief years after his death has become 
extinct. The two childless sons and orphan daughters, each 
in the prime of life, soon followed the fond, proud father to 
the tomb.— • Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is 
A'anity ! ' 

" The great vital defect, however, in the character of sir 
"Walter Scott, as exemplified in his bioo;raphy, would seem to 
have been the absence of personal, intiuential religion. He 
knew, indeed, and respected the truths of the gospel ; he was 
strict in his own attendance, and in requiring that of his 
family, upon the public ordinance of sabbath worship; and 
liis desire, dining his last illness, for the reading to him of 
the word of God, and his apparent appreciation of its con- 
tents, leave us (though it is an awful thing to risk the in- 
terests of eternity on such a slender issue) not without a hope 
that he may have been savingly impressed by them before he 
passed into the world of spirits. The nature of his illness 
afforded, however, but little opportunity for evidence of his 
actual state of mind; and during life and health, we look, 
alas ! in vain for any proof of that habitual realisation of the 
hopes and prospects of eternity which supplies its possessors 
with the motives and affections of a new and a better state of 
being. Had he been through life possessed of such, we can- 
not doubt but that its course would have been far happier, 
and its close less clouded, than it proved. Tribulation, bank- 
ruptcy, bereavement, he might have experienced ; but amidst 
them all, he would have possessed the peace which the world 
cannot take away — the joy with which the stranger may not 
intermeddle; while his dying bed would have been illumined 
\>ilh a light, and his memory encircled with a glory, such as 
genius, integrity, and amiability, however rare and excellent, 
are utterly inadequate to bestow." 




The medical schools and other educational 
institutions of Edinburgh may be said to be 
the elements of its prosperity, as much as the 
cotton mills of Manchester and Glasgow, or the 
cutlery and metal -works of Birmingham and 
Sheffield, are the sources of wealth to those busy 
towns. Education may, indeed, be designated 
one of the staple manufactures of Edinburgh, 
and the raw materials on which it operates 
undergo a change no less marvellous and per- 
manent than the cottons and steel of the manu- 
facturing phices which we have just named. 

Strictly speaking, the Colleges of Surgeons 
and Physicians, and the extra-Academical 
Medical School, are distinct from the university. 
All, however, are linked by certain common 
ties, and they are now becoming more closely 
connected by the general enlargement of the 
various educational institutions of the country, 
and the necessity of adapting the schools of 
Edinburgh to the less restricted system of 
education which the establishment of the 
London University College, and the Queen's 


Colleges of Ireland, along -with other kindred 
institutions, has thrown open to nearly all classes 
of the community. 

Robert Ecid, bishop of Orkney, is justly 
regarded as the first founder of the University 
of Edinburgh. He was a man of great learning 
as well as an accomplished politician, and as 
such was selected as one of the commissioners 
despatched to France to Avitness the marriage 
of the youthful queen Mary with the Dauphin, 
in 1558. From this embassy the bishop never 
returned, having died at Dieppe on the 14th 
day of September, Avhen on his Avay home. He 
bequeathed by his will the sum of eight thou- 
sand marks (as mentioned in a former volume 
of this series*) towards founding a college in 
Edinburgh for the education of youth ; but 
this, it is believed, formed only a very small 
portion of the destined bequest. According to 
the historian of the Sutherland family, he left 
a great sum of money for building the college 
he designed to be founded in the Scottish capital, 
but the greater portion of it the earl of Morton 
converted to his own use, and the remainder 
was squandered and lost. It was not, there- 
fore, till 1581 that the university was actually 
founded, and its progress, amidst the political 
and religious convulsions of that eventful period, 
was very slow. 

It is not a little to the credit of the citizens 
of Edinburgh, that from the very first its 

* See "Old Edinbursjli," one of tlie volumes of the 
Monthly Series. 


university has OAred its progress to their foster- 
ing care, and to the liberality of the civic cor- 
poration. ^Vith the exception of the bishop of 
Orkney, no ecclesiastic of any note bore a share 
in its foundation, and the chief opponents of its 
institution were the archiepiscopal chancellors 
of St. Andrew's and Glasgow, and the ecclesi- 
astical dignitaries connected with the see and 
university of Aberdeen, all of whom, not un- 
naturally, watched with a jealous eye the 
establishment of a rival college and school of 

In 1581, the magistrates of Edinburgh ac- 
quired the site of the church of St. INIary in the 
Fields, with the collegiate buildings attached 
thereto, celebrated as the scene of lord Darnley's 
mysterious murder. The area also included the 
ducal mansion of the Hamilton family, built from 
the ruins of older ecclesiastical structures soon 
after the burning of Edinburgh by the English 
army, in 1547 ; and this appears to have sup- 
plied the chief accommodation for the infant 
university. When Rollock, the first professor 
of divinity, began his lectures, in 1583, it Avas 
" in the low^er hall of Hamilton House." Nor 
did the college ever assume any architectural 
symmetry, or imposing external magnificence, 
until the erection in our own day of a noble 
quadrangular structure, not yet entirely com- 
pleted according to the original design. 

In 1580, Mr. Clement Little, advocate, be- 
queathed his extensive library for the use of 
the citizens, and this the magistrates imme- 


diately npprojn'iated to the service of tlieir 
rising college. To this collection the poet 
Drummond made many valuable additions, and 
thus the infant seminary was provided at a very 
early period with the important requisite of a 
good library. 

Dr. Wilson points out, in his " Memorials 
of Edinburgh in the Olden Time," a highly 
picturesque building, still standing at the foot of 
the Castle-hill, as the ancient dwelling of Bar- 
tholomew Somerville, merchant burgess, " the 
most conspicuous among those generous citi- 
zens, to whose liberality we are mainly indebted 
for the establishment of the University of Edin- 
burgh on a lasting basis. He, as Craufurd says, 
having no children, mortified [bequeathed] to 
the college twenty thousand marks, to be em- 
ployed for maintenance of a professor of divinity, 
and six thousand marks for buying sir James 
Skeen's lodging and yard for his dwelling." 

In 1617, James iv., with ostentatious con- 
descension, assumed the foundership of the 
university, which its unpretending civic insti- 
tutors had already brought into practical 
working order, and by his majesty's command 
it received the name of " The College of King 
James." To this he added what he called " a 
royal God-bairn gift," in the shape of certain 
lands and tithes in the counties of Fife an/ 
Lothian. ' Cromwell, who always took a lively 
interest in such institutions, bestowed upon it 
an annuity of £200 sterling ; and William iir. 
Ibllowed his example, l)y endowing it with a 


yearly revenue of £300, to be paid out of his 
treasury and bishops' rents in Scotland. These 
royal gilts, ho\vev<ir, have been either maimed 
or entirely withdrawn by the successors of 
their royal donors, and the University of 
Edinburgh continues to receive its chief sup- 
port from its civic patrons. 

From this cause have sprung certain pecu- 
liarities of the university, which have exercised 
no inconsiderable influence on its history. The 
exclusive patronage of the greater number of 
its chairs is in the hands of the civic corpora- 
tion ; the lord provost of Edinburgh is, ex 
officio, lord rector ; and on many important 
points the magistrates, as patrons of the uni- 
versity, claim and exercise an important influ- 
ence even in the internal management of the 
university. Some of the more modern chairs 
have, however, been founded by the crown, 
and the patronage of these is exercised by the 
queen's ministers, generally through the lord 
advocate for Scotland. One recent bequest 
also, that of general Keid, founding a chair of 
music, left the patronage, as well as the manage- 
ment of the funds, entirely in the hands of the 
senatus ; and this body being now composed 
of regius professors, nominated by the crown, 
as well as professors deriving their appoint- 
ments in part, or entirely, from other sources 
than the civic corporation, ver}'' considerable 
jealousy has been of late evinced at the claims 
of superiority by the magistrates, and more 
than one costly lawsuit has resulted from such 


differences and rivalry. In every case, how- 
ever, the magistrates have been successful in 
establishing their claims as superiors ; nor has 
their mode of exercising the important riglits 
to which they thus successfully lay claim, fur- 
nished, hitherto, any just grounds for regretting 
that such a trust should have devolved on the 
successors of those to -whose enlightened zeal 
and liberality the foundation of the university 
is mainly due. 

It was long felt that the college buildings 
were imworthy of its reputation, and inade- 
quate to its requirements, before any efficient 
steps were taken to effect the requisite im- 
provements. In 17G8, a proposal for rebuild- 
ing the entire fabric on a uniform plan was 
entertained, but the American war arrested the 
project, and nearly twenty years elapsed before 
anything further was done. The magistrates 
then set on foot a public subscription for 
erecting a new college ; designs were prepared 
by the celebrated architect Adams ; and in 
1789, the foundation stone of the present 
edifice was laid with masonic honours. Not- 
withstanding the great liberality of the citi- 
zens, and other contributors, the extent of 
building required was such as could not be 
accomplished from the sources of private gene- 
rosity and munificence ; and the plans, as sub- 
sequently modified by Playfair, have since been 
completed, with the exception of a dome de- 
signed to surmount the principal front, chiefly 
by parliamentary grants from the public funds. 


The principal objects of attraction to stran- 
gers are the university museum and library. 
The former was founded by sir Andrew Bal- 
four in 1694, but was afterwards so entirely 
neglected, that on professor Jamieson succeed- 
ing to the chair of natural history in 1801, he 
found its remains in a state of miserable decay. 
From its contents he carefully selected all that 
was worth preserving, and to this he generously 
added his own private collections. A few years 
afterwards it was further enriched by the 
valuable mineralogical cabinet of the late Dr. 
Thomson of Naples. The museum being thus 
placed on a satisfactory basis, adequate accom- 
modation was provided for it in the new 
building, and it has since received such 
numerous and valuable additions, that though 
one side of the large quadrangular building is 
entirely devoted to its use, it has outgrown 
this, and must speedily be provided with much 
more extensive rooms, if it is to be allowed to 
expand in a degree commensurate with the 
progress of science and the liberality of the 
graduates and friends of the university. The 
present museum consists of two great rooms, 
each ninety feet long and about thirty feet 
wide, with galleries, and smaller side rooms. 
It is particularly rich in its ornithological col- 
lection ; and, botli in mineralogy and concho- 
log}', its cabinets present treasures well deserving 
of study by the intelligent investigator of 
science. The cases in the upper gallery con- 
tain a magnificent collection of birds purchased 


for the college from M. Dufresne of Paris ; 
and under the indefatigable superintendence 
of professor Jamieson, its cases have been annu- 
ally enriched, during the last half century, by 
contributions sent from every quarter of the 

The accommodation of the university library 
in a suitable building, is of considerably more 
recent date than that of the museum, though 
it has been of so much longer standing, and 
has at all times been an object of care and 
general interest. It contains between seventy 
and eighty thousand volumes, including some 
of considerable rarity and value. Special 
interest attaches to some of the earliest speci- 
mens of Scottish typography, from the press of 
Chapman, by whom, indeed, the printing-press 
was first introduced into Scotland. The ex- 
treme rarity of some of these makes them 
receive a higher value than many manuscripts. 
One of the most valued examples of this class 
is an entire copy of the "Aberdeen Breviary," 
which was the second book printed in Scotland. 
A few finely illuminated missals, and several 
oriental and other manuscripts, are also much 
prized, but the library is by no means rich in 
such treasures. The visitor who is curious in 
regard to historic documents cannot fail to look 
with special interest on two such preserved 
here: — a protest sent to the Council of Con- 
stance against the burning of John Huss, in 
1417, and to which the seals of one hundred 
and fifty noblemen of Bohemia and Moravia 


are attached ; and the original contract of 
marriage of queen Mary ^vith the dauphin of 

The library buildings form the south side of 
the college quadrangle, and the principal apart- 
ment is without question the finest library hall 
in Scotland, not excepting that of the writers 
to her majesty's signet, adjoining the Parlia- 
ment House, though that also will not fail to 
excite the stranger's admiration by its beauty, 
as well as its convenient adaptation to the pur- 
poses for which it is designed. The stranger 
who visits for the first time the venerable library 
of Trinity College, Cambridge, rich with all 
the associations which concentrate around the 
memory of Newton, looks with feelings more of 
surprise than of sympathy on the marble 
statue of the poet Byron, which there termi- 
nates the vista. The surprise can scarcely be 
less in looking for the first time on Flaxman's 
marble statue of Robert Burns, forming the 
central point of attraction as he glances along 
the lofty pillared gallery of the Edinburgh 
University library, measuring nearly one hun- 
dred and ninety feet in length. The statue 
originally occupied the classic monument dedi- 
cated to the poet's memory on the south- 
eastern slope of the Calton-hill ; but the difiiculty 
attendant on securing public access to it with- 
out, risk to the statue, has led to the introduc- 
tion of the peasant bard into those halls of 
learning in the advantages of which while 
living he had uo share. 


Edinburgh is chiefly celebrated for its medi- 
cal school ; students of law and divinity, how- 
ever, swell considerably the number of pupils 
at the university. The anatomical museum, 
which is entirely apart from that of natural 
history, possesses considerable attraction to 
those interested in the branch of study which 
it illustrates ; but a much more extensive and 
valuable museum of anatomical and surgical 
preparations is preserved in the museum of the 
Koyal College of Surgeons. 

The building in which the college of sur- 
geons is accommodated is an exceedingly 
handsome classical structure, in the vicinity of 
the university buildings, and its museum is, 
with becoming liberality, rendered easily ac- 
cessible to strangers. By this body, surgeons' 
diplomas are granted, and it also licenses cer- 
tain lecturers, who constitute an efficient aid 
to the staiF of university professors, and add 
to the advantages of Edinburgh as a medical 

The Royal College of Physicians was the 
first of all the learned bodies to desert the 
ancient haunts of the metropolis for the broad 
thoroughfares of the new town. Incorporated 
so early as 1681, by a charter of Charles ir., 
the college had acquired considerable wealth ; 
and so soon as the current set in towards the 
newly chosen site on which Craig's favoured 
plan was to be carried out, the physicians 
secured a spot in George-street, and in 1775 
erected a handsome and chaste hall, adorned 


^vitll a Corinthian portico, after a design by 
James Craig. Directly facing it, on the oppo- 
site side of the street, St. Andrew's Church 
was erected, and as their porticoes thus formed 
a fine architectural centre to the fa9ade of the 
eastern division of the street, they were re- 
garded with no slight degree of admiration in 
the earlier days of the rising city. Time, 
however, has already wrought many changes 
on the new town, and among the rest, this 
physicians' hall has partaken of the influences 
which have converted the adjoining mansions 
of St. Andrew-square from the residences of 
nobles and landed gentry into the marts of 
commerce. The Commercial Banking Company, 
one of the most important monetary corpora- 
tions in Scotland, having long been in search 
of a suitable site for a new bank, at length 
negotiated the purchase of the Physicians' 
Hall, and its fine Corinthian portico is now 
replaced by one of greatly larger proportions, 
surrounded by a pediment, filled with a bold 
and highly effective group of sculpture from 
the chisel of Alexander Handyside Ritchie, a 
native artist, who studied under the Danish 
sculptor Thorwaldsen. 

The new Hall of the College of Physicians 
is in the east division of Queen-street. Its 
front is adorned with colossal statues of Galen, 
Harpocrates, and the goddess Hygeia ; and it 
contains a seletit library, a good museum, and 
a fine hall for the meetings of the fellows. 

The Veterinary College of Edinburgh has 


acquired well-merited distinction of late years, 
and its diplomas are higlily valued as evidences 
of sound professional attainment in veterinary 

To these various schools of learning may 
also be added, the theological institutions of 
the different Scottish Presbyterian bodies, all of 
•which are located in Edinburgh. Their students, 
however, freely partake in the advantages of 
the university ; no tests or restrictions of any 
kind being allowed to interfere with the attend- 
ance even on the classes of those professors 
who are specially appointed for the training of 
students of divinity of the established church. 
The United Presbyterians have their hall and 
library in Queen-street, nearly adjoining the 
Physicians' Plall, where lectures on divinity, 
church history, and other kindred topics, arc 
delivered by their own professors. 

The college erected by the Free Church of 
Scotland is a much more extensive building, 
occupying a prominent site at the head of the 
mound, and presenting a gothic fepade towards 
Prince's-street, surmounted by three towers. 
The architecture is, however, considered by 
some to be unsuccessful ; and the heavy 
pinnacles which crown the towers contrast 
ungracefully with the fine details of the 
Assembly Hall tower, seen beyond. The 
interior quadrangle is more successful in 
design, but only a part of the original plan 
has been carried out. In this college, Dr. 
Chalmers lectured during the closing years of 


his life, and a marble statue of him now in 
course of execution, by Mr. John Steel, is 
destined to adorn the hall. 

The preparatory institutions for the educa- 
tion of youth form no unimportant branch of 
the scholastic institutions of Edinburgh. Of 
these, the early history of the Pligh School has 
already been traced in the volume devoted to 
" Old Edinburgh," and its successive changes 
are there noted, from its location in the old 
archiepiscopal palace at the foot of Black- 
friars-wynd, about the middle of the sixteenth 
century, till its transference in 1829 to the 
beautiful classic building on the Calton-hill 
Avhich it now occupies. Another most im- 
portant seminary for youth is the New 
Academy, which was projected to supply the 
wants of the higher classes in the new town, 
while the High School was still located on the 
site of the ancient Blackfriars INIonastery, near 
the Kirk of Field. The Edinburgh Academj'-, 
as it is styled, is accordingly situated at the 
northern extremity of the 'New Town, Avhere 
the boundary of the water of Leith has served, 
like some artificial dam, to arrest its further 
progress in that direction for a time. 

The building, which is a comparatively plain, 
yet tasteful structure, in the Grecian Doric 
style of architecture, was erected at a cost of 
£12,000. The institution is superintended by 
a board of directors. In its general plan it is 
copied from that of the High School, each (>f 
the institutions having a rector and four 


classical masters, with the addition of teachers 
of modern languages, mathematics, writing, 
and arithmetic. The class fees are considerably 
higher than those of the High School, and a 
certain degree of rivalry between the two 
establishments supplies a wholesome stimulus 
to both. The position taken by pupils of the 
Edinburgh Academy, not only in the Scottish 
Universities, but in those of Oxford and 
Cambridge, has already won for that institution 
a just distinction among the educational 
institutions of the country. The stranger 
who may be desirous of examining more 
closely the arrangements of the various edu- 
cational institutions referred to, and the system 
pursued in them, will find little difficulty in 
obtaining access to them on application. 




It would require mucli ampler space than a 
single chapter of this little volume, to convey 
any adequate idea of the many schemes of 
Christian zeal and philanthropy of which 
Edinburgh is the centre ; but no sketch of its 
modern history would be complete without 
some allusion to these. The eldest of all its 
religious institutions is the Society for Propa- 
gating Christian Knowledge, the old " local 
habitation" of which, immediately below John 
Knox's house, at the Nether Bow, is. still 
marked by the name of Society Close, applied 
to the alley which formed the approach to its 
hall. It had its origin in the desire of some 
pious individuals, towards the close of the 
seventeenth century, to adopt more effectual 
measures than they had yet been enabled to 
do, for rooting out the seeds of Popery, which 
had been planted anew under the maHgn 
influence of Charles ii. and his popish suc- 
cessor. The history of its rise is no less 
interesting to us, as disclosing one of the very 
earliest traces of the dawn of that missionary 


spirit ^vhich ■vvc linve witnessed in the full 
blaze of its later effulgence, re-animating the 
Christian church, and renewing the glorious 
commission given by its Divine founder to his 
apostles, " Go ye into all the world, and preach 
the gospel to every creature." 

In the year 1701, the design was at length 
matured for framing a Society, having for its 
object "the propagation of Christian knowledge, 
the raising subscriptions for planting schools in 
the Highlands, for instructing children in 
reading and writing, and in the principles of 
our religion ; for rooting out the errors of 
Popery, and for converting of foreign and pagan 
nations''' This Society Avas erected into a body 
corporate by queen Anne, with powers to them 
to receive subscriptions, and to hold lands, etc., 
not exceeding the yearly value of £2,000. 
The powers of the Society were greatly ex- 
tended at a later date, and it continues to 
exist, and to maintain an extensive agency, 
especially in the Highlands, devoted to the 
o])jects of education and the propagation of 
Christian knowledge. 

Among the religious institutions of more 
recent origin, few have exercised a more 
beneficial effect than the Edinburgh Bible 
Society, and the stand which it took during 
the famous " Apocrypha Controversy," tended 
to give it a very great celebrity. The leading 
champions for the distribution of the pure 
word of God, unadulterated by any spurious or 
apocryphal additions, were Dr. Chalmers, 


Mr. Robert Haldane, and Dr. Andrew 
Thomson — the last, long one of the most popu- 
lar of Scottish preachers, and the minister of 
St. George's Church, the dome of ^Yhich ter- 
minates the vista of George's-street, towards 
the west, as the IMelville Column does towards 
the east. 

The churches and chapels of Edinburgli 
serve, as in other towns, to indicate to some 
extent the relative strength and number of the 
different religious bodies. When Dr. Samuel 
Johnson visited Edinburgh in 1773, the retreat 
of the old non-juring episcopacy, deposed at 
the revolution settlement, was in an humble 
building, still used as a place of Christian 
worship in Carrubbers-close ; while the loyal 
and constitutional adherents of episcopacy 
found refuge in an equally humble structure, 
founded by the lord chief baron Smith, in 
1722, at the foot of Blackfriars-wynd. Here 
it was that Dr. Johnson attended worship 
during his visit to Edinburgh, at a time when 
this homely building was probably attended by 
a greater array of rank and fashion than any 
that now assembles in Edinburgh. A little 
above its old site, on the opposite side of the 
narrow wynd, a simple memorial of the piety 
of a former age appears in the inscription 
carved over the lintel of a doorway : — 


Two new episcopal chapels "were founded 


about the year 1746, to accommodate the 
increasing numbers of this communion ; and 
in these the ministers withdrew from the 
Jacobite church of non-jurors, and took the 
requisite oaths to government. The various 
chapels thus scattered about in mean and 
narrow wynds were small and inconvenient, 
and while accommodating very limited con- 
gregations, each necessarily required its own 
minister. The evils resulting from this state 
of things led to a plan for erecting a suitfible 
place of worship to accommodate the whole, in 
consequence of which a large church was com- 
menced in 1771, on a piece of ground on the 
south side of the Cowgate, purchased from 
the Royal College of Physicians, and was 
opened for public worship in 1774, although 
the original design was left incomplete, by the 
omission of a range of pillars and pediment, 
designed for its principal front. This chapel 
was designed according to the taste of the 
period, with a degree of splendour unknown 
since the restoration of episcopacy by Charles i. 
The chancel on the east side of the chapel was 
entrusted to Runciman, a native artist of high 
repute, to adorn with suitable subjects for an 
altar piece ; including the Ascension, Christ 
talking with the woman of Samaria, and the 
Prodigal Son. In the last of these the painter 
introduced the portrait of the poet Fergusson as 
the prodigal. 

At this period, the new town was scarcely 
dreamed of as a thing ever to be realized, and 


the Cowgate was regarded as a locality well 
suited for the accommodation of the most 
fashionable congregation in town. Since then, 
however, the Cowgate chapel has been forsaken 
for a more costly Gothic edifice in the new 
town, and it is now the property of a dissent- 
ing Presbyterian congregation, by whom the 
paintings of Eunciman have been suffered to 
remain. The structure, therefore, forms the 
one singular exception in Great Britain of 
a Presbyterian place of worship being decorated 
with an altar-piece, and adorned with pictured 
rejiresentations of Scripture subjects. The 
senior clergyman of the Cowgate Episcopal 
Chapel at the j^eriod above referred to Avas 
Dr. Myles Cooper, formerly principal of the 
College of New York, from which he had been 
compellpd to flee in consequence of his fidelity 
to the British interests, as opposed to those of 
the colonial insurgents. 

Among the distinguished men who have 
since occupied the pulpits, and officiated in the 
services of that communion, one stands pre- 
eminent, the rev. Archibald Alison, author of 
the Essays on the Principles of Taste — the 
friend and adviser of the poet Campbell, and 
the intimate associate of the most distinguished 
literary men during the most remaikable 
epoch of Scottish literature. He was the 
senior minister of St. Paul's Chapel, in York- 
place, where a tasteful marble monument from 
the chisel of Steel has since been erected to 
his memory. 


In the year 181G, a beautiful Gothic structure, 
designated St. John's Chapel, was erected at the 
west end of Princes-street Gardens, by the 
Episcopal congregation over which, according 
to the primitive practice of Scottish episcopacy, 
the bishop presided. Close to this well-chosen 
site there had existed from the earliest intro- 
duction of Christianity to the Lothians, a 
church dedicated to the old Saxon saint, St. 
Cuthbert. Patched, and renovated from age 
to age, this venerable structure had at length 
become so hampered and insecure as to be no 
longer capable of accommodating the parish- 
ioners, and the last relics of the ancient edifice 
were swept away, to give place to what has, in 
point of architectural merit, not inaptly been 
styled the hiigest ham in Scotland. It is said 
that when the heritors determined upon remov- 
ing their place of worship, they pitched upon 
the architect whose estimate was least expen- 
sive, and who excluded from his plan the un- 
necessary ornament of a steeple ; but after 
getting time to contemplate the ground cum- 
bered by an enormous oblong barn, with huge 
disproportioned windows, they regretted the 
error which they had sanctioned, and en- 
deavoured to repair it by building a steeple, 
in a style of ornamented and florid architec- 
ture, as if the finery of such an appendage 
could relieve the heaviness of the principal 
building, which it only rendered more deformed 
by the contrast. In truth, however, even the 
steeple is by no means burdened with any 


excess of ornament, though, from its large pro- 
portions and prominent situation, it forms a 
marked and not unpleasing feature in some of 
the finest general views of the city. The two 
ecclesiastical edifices thus oddly contrasting 
together have not inaptly been compared to an 
ornate Dutch toy, with the clumsy packing- 
case out of which it has just been taken. 

It is not our purpose to enumerate the 
various churches and chapels which abound in 
every quarter of the city. Eeckoning all the 
places of worship of the various evangelical 
denominations, there is an unusually large 
amount of church accommodation. But un- 
happily also, wretchedness, vice, and an utter 
regardlessness of the sabbath and all its 
sacred privileges exist, as in most large towns, 
and often bid defiance to the most zealous 
labours of benevolence and Christian zeal. 
One humble and obscure place of worship, 
however, has a claim to our notice, such as 
pertains to none of the costly and ornate struc- 
tures of the new town. The heart of the great 
and good Dr. Chalmers was filled with the 
deepest anxiety and alarm, at the evidences of 
increasing infidelity, dissipation, vice, and pro- 
fanity of every kind, which he saw coming in 
like a flood, and threatening to sweep before it 
the whole body of the lower classes of the 
people. He accordingly resolved on one great 
experimental effort to deal practically with this 
mass of '•' nnexcavated home heathenism," and 
selecting the West Port, one of the lowest and 


most wretched districts of the old town, he 
began his generous work. Here it was that, 
only a few years before, the horrid atrocities of 
Burke and Hare had been committed. Intem- 
perance abounded ; violence, profanity, and 
neglect of all the decencies of life, were the 
common characteristics of the district, and 
seemed enough to appal the stoutest heart, and 
fill it with hopeless despondency. Such, how- 
ever, was the fittest field for the veteran Chris- 
tian warrior who had resolved to encounter 
vice and godlessness in their stronghold. Au 
humble attic w^as hired, where the great divine, 
who could command eager thousands of the 
magnates of the land, was to be seen week 
after week preaching to an increasing audience 
of ragged outcasts of society, the great majority 
of whom had never entered a place of worship, 
or heard before the word of life, though living 
in a Christian land, and within the sound of 
a sabbath bell. 

The eager missionary had no difficulty in 
enlisting a phalanx of zealous coadjutors. 
The district was subdivided. Tract distri- 
butors went from house to house, and soon the 
homely upper room became too straitened for 
the crowds who sought admission. The co- 
operation of the wealthy was now invited, and 
soon money enough was contributed to build 
a plain, but neat and commodious chapel, and a 
large school-house. A minister was chosen 
whose heart was in the work, and the *' Chal- 
mers Territorial Church " of the West Port 


still continues to produce its abundant fruits, 
though he into whose large heart God put it 
to devise this scheme has gone to his rest. 
Truly he " rests from his labours, and his works 
do follow him." The change which has been 
produced on that wretched locality has been 
altogether remarkable, and the means which 
continue to be employed are alike varied and 
judicious. Besides the week-day and sabbath 
schools, the services of the sabbath, and 
weekly meetings for prayer, laymen have been 
induced to help in the good cause, by means 
of lectures on useful and attractive subjects. 
By these and similar means, it has been found 
that dissipation is most effectually assailed, 
fresh incentives to virtue are supplied, a taste 
for instructive reading is developed, especially 
among the young ; and thus a great experi- 
ment has been carried out with such success 
as abundantly to encourage others to go and 
do likewise. 

It would be impracticable, as we have already 
said, to attempt to convey to our readers, 
in a limited chapter, anything like a full 
description of the various schemes of Christian 
usefulness carried on in connexion with the 
metropolis of Scotland. There exist many 
which we cannot even attempt to name ; 
while in its pulpits there is a large body of 
faithful evangelists, who preach in all their 
simplicity and fulness the doctrines of the 
everlasting gospel, warning the sinner of his 
lost and ruined state by nature ; of the neces- 


sity of his regeneration by the Holy Spirit^ 
before he can see the kingdom of heaven ; and 
pointing him to the Saviour, as the way, the 
truth, and the life. 




Amidst all the remarkable and striking attrac- 
tions of Edinburgh, few of its features make a 
stronger impression on a stranger than the 
number and architectural beauty of its hospitals. 
This peculiarity is thus happily depicted by Dr. 
Guthrie, in his eloquent " Plea for Ragged 
Schools," which mainly contributed to the 
adding of these to the other useful charities of 
the town. " On approaching Edinburgh," says 
he, " from the west, after the general features 
which distance presents, — dome, and spire, and 
antique piles of buildings, the castle standing 
in the foreground, while Arthur's Seat raises its 
lion-like back between the city and the sea, — 
the first object which attracts the eyes of a 
stranger is a structure of exquisite and sur- 
passing beauty. It might be a palace for our 
queen: — it is a hospital. Near by, embowered 
in wood, stands an edifice of less pretensions, 
but also of great extent :--it is another hospital. 
Within a bow-shot of that again, some fine 
open towers rise from the wood over a fair 
D 2 


structure, witli its Grecian pillars and graceful 
portico: — it is another hospitiil. Now in the 
city, and wheeHng round nigh to the base of 
the castle rock, he drives on bj^ Lauriston. 
Not far away, on the outskirts of the town, 
pleasantly planted in a beautiful park, bor- 
dered with trees, stands an old-fashioned build- 
ing: — it is another hospital. In his way along 
Lauriston, within a stone-cast of him, his eye 
catches the back of a large and spacious edi- 
fice, which looks beautifully out on the mea- 
dows, the low Braid hills, and the distant 
Pentlands : — it is another hospital. A few 
turns of the wheel, and before him, within a 
fine park, or rather ornamental garden, stands 
the finest structure of our town, — a master- 
piece of Inigo Jones, with a princely revenue of 
£15,000 a year: — it is another hospital. The 
carriage now jostles over a stone ; the stranger 
turns his head, and sees only some hundred yards 
away, a large Dutch-like structure, stretching 
out its long lines of windows, with the gilded 
ship (the sign of commerce) for weather-vane, 
on its sunmiit: — that is another hospital. Our 
friend," adds the depictor of this singular, yet 
unexaggerated delineation — " our friend con- 
cludes, and not without some reason, that 
instead of ' Modern Athens,' Edinburgh might 
be called the City of Hospitals." 

Donaldson's Hospital, the first in the above 
enumeration, may well be described as fit to 
be a palace for the queen. It was founded by 
the late James Donaldson, esq., whose fortune 


was acquired as a printer and publislier in 
Edinburgh, and the building alone has cost 
nearly a hundred thousand pounds. It was 
designed by its founder to be applied as nearly 
as possible to the same ends as the older insti- 
tution founded by George Heriot, the celebrated 
goldsmith of James VL ; but the administrators 
of the funds have wisely exercised their discre- 
tionary powers by requiring that one-half of 
the inmates shall be the deaf and dumb, and 
for these well-instructed teachers have been 

The older institution, which has served as 
the model for this and so many other charita- 
ble institutions, not of Edinburgh alone, but 
■throughout Scotland, has, as above stated, the 
princely revenue of £15,000 a year ; and of 
this sum, upwards of £3,000 is now annually 
expended in the maintenance of free schools, 
which have been erected in the poorer districts 
of the city, where the children of the trades- 
man and mechanic enjoy the advantages of an 
excellent education, under the superintendence 
of teachers of high standing. 

The other hospitals enumerated above, in 
the order in which they are introduced to the 
stranger's notice, include John Watson's Insti- 
tution, the Orphan Hospital — already particu- 
larly referred to in a former chapter ; Gillespie's 
Hospital, an alms-house for decayed and aged 
burgesses; the Merchant Maiden Hospital; and 
Watson's, or the Merchant Company's Hos- 
pital — the "large Dutch-like structure, with 


the gilded ship, the sign of commerce, for 
weather-vane, on its sunnnit," -which concludes 
the enumeration by Dr. Guthrie of his " Cit}^ 
of Hospitals." The list, however, is not com- 
plete. Another pair of rich Gothic towers has 
since risen beyond the Dean-bridge, pointing 
out Stuart's Hospital, an institution destined to 
provide board and education for poor children ; 
while large funds, left by sir AVilliam Fetters, 
who died in 1836, are now in the hands of 
trustees, for the purpose of erecting and en- 
dowing a kindred institution; and another body 
of trustees have to carry into effect the will of 
Chalmers, a plumber, who, dying the same 
year, left the sum of £30,000, to accumulate 
for the establishment of a hospital for the 
sick and hurt. It is to be noted, however, in 
regard to these, and other hospitals not enu- 
merated, that the majority of them assume a 
metropoHtan character, and are accessible, like 
the Koj^al Infirmary, to suitable objects for 
benevolence and charity from every part of 
Scotland. Under wise and judicious manage- 
ment, therefore, there can be no difficulty in 
rendering such foundations a source of great 
good to the country. 

It was felt, however, by the benevolent cler- 
gyman above referred to, as well as by many 
others, that there still existed a large and niost 
important class, lying altogether beyond the 
range of Edinburgh's numerous charities. The 
author of " A Plea for Kagged Schools " thus 
represents his stranger-companion addressing 


him, after he has gone the round of the citj^'s 
palace-hospitals : — " You have splendid hos- 
pitals, -where children are fed, and clothed, and 
educated, whose parents, in instances not a 
few, could do alf that for them ; you have beau- 
tiful schools for the gratis education of the 
children of respectable tradesmen and me- 
chanics ; ^Yhat provision have you made for 
those children of crime, misery, and misfortune? 
Let us go and see the remedy Avhich this rich, 
enlightened, Christian city has provided for 
such a crying evil." And what is the remedy ? 
After describing a child found by him begging 
on the street, at midnight, the fatherless orphan, 
Avho helped to keep a drunken mother by such 
means, the writer adds, of such as these : 
*' Nevertheless, they might get education, and 
secure some measure both of common and 
Christian knowledge. But mark how and 
where. Not as in the days of our blessed 
Saviour, when the tender mother brought her 
child for his blessing. The jailor brings them 
now. Their only passage to school is through 
the police-office ; their passport is a conviction 
of crime ; and in this Christian and enlightened 
city, it is only within the dark walls of a prison 
that they are secure either of school or Bible. 
When one thinks of their own happy boys at 
home, bounding free on the green, and breathing 
the fresh air of heaven, — or of the little fellow 
that climbs a father's knee, and asks the oft- 
repeated story of INIoses or of Joseph,— it is a 
sad thing to look in through the eyelet of a cell 


door, on the weary solitude of a child spelling 
its way through the Bible. It, makes one sick 
to hear men sing the piaises of the fine educa- 
tion of our prisons. How much better and 
holier were it to tell us of an education that 
would save the necessity of a prison-school ! 
I like well to see the life- boat, with her brave 
and devoted crew ; but with far more plea- 
sure, from the window of my old country 
manse, I used to look out at the Bell Rock 
Tower, standing erect amid the stormy waters, 
where in the mists of day the bell was rung, 
and in the darkness of the night the light was 
kindled ; and thereby the marin^ers were not 
only saved from the Avreck, but saved from being 
wrecked at all. Instead of first punishing 
crime, and then, through means of a prison 
education, trying to prevent its repetition, we 
appeal to men's common sense, common in- 
terest, humanity, and Christianity, if it were 
not better to support a plan which would re- 
verse this process, and seek to prevent, that 
there may be no occasion to punish?" 

Happily this description has ceased to be 
true. Dr. Guthrie having taken this good 
cause in hand, rested not till the Edinburgh 
Eagged Schools — or Dr. Guthrie's Schools, as 
they are more frequently styled — were esta- 
blished ; and a visit to no institution is calcu- 
lated to afford the benevolent stranger greater 
gratification than to this, which is situated on 
the Castle-hill. Another institution of the 
same kind, termed the Industrial School, has 


been established by Roman Catholics for the 
instruction of destitute children of their creed. 

Besides the hospitals and schools enumerated 
above, Edinburgh is not behind other cities in 
the number of its charitable associations main- 
tained by private subscription. Of these it 
may suffice to mention the House of Refuge, 
the House of Industr}-, the Blind Asylum, the 
Deaf and Dumb Institution, and the Night 
Asylum for the Houseless ; all of which pos- 
sess large claims of interest and sympathy on 
the benevolent, and are well Avorthy of in- 
spection by the stranger. Among those whose 
operations alone make their presence felt, may 
be mentioned the Society for the Relief of Indi- 
gent Old Men, which possesses a peculiar 
interest from its having originated in the 
juvenile charities of the pupils of the High 
School ; being still maintained, to a large 
extent, by those whose common bond of union 
is their former connexion with that venerable 
scholastic institution. This excellent and well- 
managed charity, originally set on foot by a 
few schoolboys, has since served as the model 
of various similar societies in other towns, both 
of Scotland and England. 




In the centre of tlie nortli end of the Mound, 
with its main front to Prince's-street, stands 
the Roj'al Institution, one of tlie handsomest 
modern buildings in Edinburgh, and which has 
been mainly devoted to the requirements of the 
students of art in Scotland. Here the annual 
exhibition of the works of modern artists 
takes place, in the months of February, March, 
and April ; and during the remainder of the 
year the suite of galleries affords space for a 
small, but very fine collection of the works of 
ancient masters — the nucleus, it is to be hoped, 
of a future national gallery for Scotland. 

The incorporated body of Scottish artists, 
now established with a royal charter, under the 
name of the Royal Scottish Academy, have 
established a native school of art, amidst the 
greatest difficulties and discouragements, and 
already assume a position highly creditable to 
the country, and calcuhited to prove of tlie 
very highest value from its influence on Jthe 
decorative arts and ornamental manufactures, 
on which prosperity so much depends. The 


ivorks of sir William Allan, the late president 
of the Academy, are known and admired for 
their high and varied excellence, not in this 
country only, but throughout Europe. And, 
since his decease, other painters of distin- 
guished ability honourably co-operate in main- 
taining the rising reputation of the Scottish 
school of painting, -while in sculpture also, the 
artists of Edinburgh claim a distinguished 

It is to an earlier period, however, and to 
other sources than the proceedings of the Scot- 
tish Academy of Artists, that the development 
of the latent powers of Scottish artistic genius is 
due. After the last unfortunate rebellion of 
1745, in which so many of the Scottish nobles 
and landed gentry risked their all in the vain 
struggle to restore the Stuart line to the throne 
of their royal ancestry, the forfeited estates 
were placed in charge of a body of trustees 
appointed by the crown, to be expended in the 
encouragement of Scottish manufactures and 
fisheries. Under the management of this 
board, a school was instituted for instruction in 
drawing and the arts of design ; and the office 
of teacher, or director of the School of Design, 
as it is now termed, constituted the first go- 
vernment appointment directly contributing- to 
the patronage of art in Scotland. It has been 
successively filled by Alexander Runciman, 
David Allan, sir AVilliam Allan, Thomas Dun- 
can, and Ivobert Scott Lander ; and has num- 
bered among its pupils sir David Wilkie, sir 


Henry Raeburn, John Burnet, David Roberts, 
David Scott, William D)'ce, William Calder 
INlarshall, and many others whose names are 
now honourably distinguished among the artists 
of Great Britain. 

By the expenditure of the funds placed at 
the disposal of the Scottish Board of Trustees, 
a collection of casts from the antique, as well 
as of some of the finest examples of medigeval 
art, has been formed. There are also selections 
from the works of Michael Angelo, Lorenzo, 
Ghiberti, Benvenuto Cellini ; and from Thor- 
wald.sen, Canova, and Fliixman. Its collection 
of busts from the antique, including many of 
the finest historical portraits, is believed to be 
without a rival in the kingdom. 

Another valuable collection is the Gallery of 
Paintings, derived from various sources, and 
already forming a national collection of such 
importance that government have been induced 
to co-operate with the board of trustees in 
providing more ample accommodation both for 
ancient and modern art ; and accordingly a fine 
building, now in progress on the Earthen 
IMound, imder the architectural superintendence 
of Playfair, is to constitute a National Gallery, 
divided, like that in Trafalgar-square, London, 
l)etween the Koyal Academy and the collection 
of ancient and modern masters. 

This Scottish National Gallery includes pic- 
tures acquired for the purpose, and now secured 
to the nation, by a body of noblemen and gen- 
tlemen styled the Eoyal Institution for the 


Encouragement of Arts ; and also a small, but 
valuable collection, bequeathed to the University 
of Edinburgh by sir James Erskine of Tory. 
To these the Royal Scottish Association for the 
Encouragement of Arts have added several 
modern works. 

One specimen of Scottish art, although not 
in this exhibition, is worthy of being specially 
referred to here. David Scott, a painter of 
great genius, which was marred in some degree 
by a certain amount of eccentricity in the prac- 
tice of his art, produced various pictures, prov- 
ing the possession of great artistic powers. He 
is in some degree known to the lovers of art by 
a series of highly vigorous illustrations to Cole- 
ridge's " Ancient Mariner." He has also illus- 
trated an edition of the " Pilgrim's Progress." 
But his chief work was a painting of colossal 
proportions, representing Vasco de Gama, the 
celebrated Portuguese navigator, passing the 
Cape. The traditions of his age represented 
him as opposed in his passage by the Spirit of 
the Cape, with all the fury of the tempests 
which procured for the southern promontory of 
Africa its older name of the " Cape of Storms." 
'J'his the painter availed himself of; and the 
deck of Vasco de Gama's ship is seen in the 
midst of the tempest, with his crew quailing 
around him at the visible manifestation of the 
Spirit of the storm. This picture was pur- 
chased by public subscription, and placed in 
the Trinity House at Leith, where it now hangs. 
The last hours of the dyinp- artist were cheered 


(if the empty gratification of fame at such an 
hour can be said to deserve the name of con- 
solation,) by learniiig, after a series of heavy 
discouragements, this evidence of the inibHc 
appreciation of his work ; but he was Laid in 
his grave, in the beautiful Dean Cemetery, on 
the banks of tlie water of Leith, to the north- 
west of the city, before the purchase coukl be 
completed, and the transference of the picture 
to its destined resting-place effected. 

In the same cemetery where the painter of 
the " Vasco de Gama" now lies, are also de- 
posited the remains of lord Jeffrey, sir William 
Allan, and other distinguished citizens recently 
deceased ; and that taste which distinguishes 
the modern cemetery from the old unsightly 
and weed-grown churchyard, is here greatly 
aided by the natural beauties of the Dean- 
haugh, a steep sloping bank, as its name im- 
ports, above the water of Leith, and covered 
with venerable trees, which once surrounded 
the fine old mansion of the Nisbets of the Dean, 
an ancient Scottish family now extinct. The 
beauty of this cemetery renders it a favourite 
resort in summer ; and this circumstance has 
already co-operated with other causes to induce 
an attention to the tastefulness and architectural 
effect of sepulchral monuments, which had been 
nearly universally neglected for upwards of a 
century and a half. 




It is not without a just, though at first sight, 
perhaps, a remote connexion, that we pass on 
from the consideration of the fine arts of the 
Scottish capital to its cemeteries. Only a very 
few years since, its churchyards and burial- 
grounds were, like those of most other large 
cities, as devoid of all taste or architectural 
adornment as it was well possible they could 
be. Crowded with the accumulated mortality 
of many generations, and constantly disturbed 
for fresh interments, some of them became at 
length such unsightly and pestiferous scenes 
of rank corruption, as to awaken a reasonable 
alarm in the minds of many. Added to this 
was the usual fruit of monopoly, greatly 
aggravating the sufferings of the poor by the 
costly fees demanded of them at a time when 
the mourning survivors feel with peculiar 
acuteness any such pressure. 

Influenced b}' the conviction of these cry- 
ing evils, a number of liberal and philan- 
thropic citizens united together a few years 


since, and formed themselves into a company, 
for the purpose of establishing one or more 
cemeteries to supply the wants of the com- 
munity. The result of this was the establish- 
ment of the Warriston Cemetery, on a well- 
chosen site to the north-east of the city, and 
this proved so successful, even as a pecu- 
niary speculation, that the example of its 
originators was followed with impatient eager- 
ness. Cemeteries started up, to the east, west, 
north, and south of the city, and rival com- 
panies hastened to purchase ground in a rash 
spirit of speculation, which ended in consider- 
able loss to the shareholders. The result, 
however, has been the benefit of the public. 
The cost of funerals and interments has been 
greatly reduced, and not only are the new 
cemeteries adorned with a tasteful display of 
flowers and bowering trees, which add to the 
beauty of these last resting-places of the dead, 
without detracting from the solemnity which 
is so appropriate to them, but their example 
has been followed ; and the old city church- 
yards, which a few years since were filled only 
with rank hemlock and nettles, are now laid 
out and tended with judicious care. 

The Grange Cemetery, lying to the south of 
the city, is visited by many strangers, as well 
as citizens, to view the last earthly resting- 
place of Dr. Chalmers, alongside of whom lie 
two distinguished citizens, who adorned a high 
position in life by th(^ practical evidences of 
the influence which Christian principle can 


exert in every social rank. The name of 
sheriff Spiers will long be had in remembrance 
as one Avho adorned the Christian profession, 
■while faithfully and zealously fulfilling his 
duties as a judge. That of sir Andrew Agnew 
is too ^Yell and widely known to need any 
eulogium. The sphere of Christian duty to 
Avhich he devoted himself with such untiring 
zeal is happily commemorated on the massive 
granite monument, erected over his tomb by 
public subscription, and bearing the appro- 
priate motto, " Remember the Sabbath day, 
to keep it holy." 

Such of the attractions of the other modern 
cemeteries as are specially deserving of notice 
have already been recorded ; nor have some of 
the others — such as the grave of the poet 
Fergusson, in the Canongate churchyard — 
escaped our notice. In the same old cemetery 
lie the remains of Dr. Adam Smith, author of 
the "Wealth of Nations;" lord Cromarty, the 
last of a noble Scottish line, who was attainted 
for his share in the rebellion of 1745 ; and provost 
Drummond, whose civic worth and local cele- 
brit}'' have already been referred to, in con- 
nexion both with the projection of the new 
town, and the establishment of the Royal 

But the great cemetery of Edinburgh — at 
once the Westminster Abbey and the Pere la 
Chaise of the Scottish capital — is the Gr«^y- 
friars churchyard. No stranger should visit 
Edinburgh without devoting an hour to explore 


its eloquent memorials of the past, and amid its 
monuments and mouldering heaps, to reflect on 
the transitory nature of all earthly things, and 
the necessity of having our treasure, not here 
en earth, but laid up Avhere neither moth nor 
rust can corrupt, nor thieves break through 
and steal. 

In the days of queen Mary, the citizens 
appear to have had nearly the same evils to 
complain of in relation to the ancient cemetery 
around their mother church of St. Giles, as 
their successors in our own da}'' suffered under 
until the model ornamental cemeteries were 
provided. For a period, the commencement of 
which probably dates as far back as the first 
introduction of Christianity to the Lothians, 
the area around St. Giles's church had been 
used as a burying-ground. As the population 
increased, various devices were from time to 
time resorted to, for the purpose of meeting 
the wants of the community in the last rites of 
the dead. One of these w^as the apportioning, 
as the Laigh churchyard, a large area to the 
south of the church, on the slope of the hill, 
where now the law courts stand. Another 
provision, at a later date, was the prohibiting 
the use of oaken coffins, which from their 
durability gave to the dead a perpetual right 
in possession of their final resting-place. In 
the year 1800, as appears from a notice in the 
*' Edinburgh I\Iagazine," the decorated gateway 
of this ancient cemetery, wdiich had long sur- 
vived after it ceased to be the portal to the 


tomb, was at length rudely demolished. Its 
destruction is thus recorded : — " A long stone, 
on which was curiously sculptured a group re- 
sembling Holbein's Dance of Death, was some 
months ago discovered at the head of Forrester's- 
wynd, which in former days was the western 
boundary of St. Giles's High churchyard. This 
relic was much defaced and broken in two, by 
being carelessly tossed down by the workmen." 

There is at all times something touching and 
suggestive to the thoughtful mind in the con- 
templation of an ancient burial-ground, whether 
its mouldering heaps and monumental stones 
gather under the shadows of the ancient yew 
trees surrounding some venerable parish church, 
or lie crowded and jostled among the abodes of 
the living in the centre of the busy mart. 
There the wicked of countless generations 
have ceased from troubling, and there the 
weary have at length found rest. " There," too, 
*' the prisoners rest together; they hear not the 
voice of the oppressor. The small and the 
great are there ; and the servant is free from 
his master." There, also, the loved and the 
lost ones, most deeply mourned, are laid to rest 
in their long homes ; while to the Christian 
mourner, " the grave and gate of death " are 
associated with the triumph of Him who hath 
said, " I am the resurrection and the life ; he 
that believcth in me, though he were dead, yet 
shall he live ; and he that liveth and believeth 
in me shall never die." 

The crowded cemeteries have other, and 


most frequently less pleasing associations than 
the "clover sod" of the country churchyard ; 
but even more eloquent than either to the 
contemplative topographer is the sight of an 
extinct churchyard, where, unheeded and un- 
distinguished, beneath the thronging mart, 
sleep the countless generations of the past, until 
that morn come when " all that are in the 
graves shall come forth." Such is now the 
condition of the old churchyard of St. Giles at 
Edinburgh, though we have trustworthy autho- 
rity for affirming that for eight hundred yeara 
at the least it was the burial-ground of the 

The author of the " IMemorials of Edin- 
burgh in the Olden Time " has thus pictured 
some of the changes which it has undergone : — 
" The Parliament Close, which lies to the 
south of St. Giles's church, has passed through 
a series of stranger and more remarkable 
vicissitudes than any other portion of the old 
town. Could an accurate narrative now be 
given of all the circumstances accompanying 
these successive changes, it would suffice to 
associate this narrow spot with many of the 
most memorable events in Scottish history, till 
the adjournment of its last parliament there, 
on the 22nd of April, 1707, never again to 
assemble. While St. Giles's w^as the snuiJl and 
solitary parish church of the ancient unwalled 
town, there was the burial-place for * the rude 
forefathers of the hamlet,' and so it continued 
to the very end of the sixteenth century. In 


the Nether kirkyard, between St. Giles's 
church and the Cowgate, stood the ancient 
chapel of the Holy Rood, till the Reformation, 
Avhen it appears to have been demolished, and 
its materials used in building the new Tolbooth. 
Doubtless the erection of the latter building, 
\vhere all the great civic and national assem- 
blies of the period took place, must have had 
considerable influence in leading to the abandon- 
ment of the old churchyard of St. Giles as a 
place of burial. While its area continued 
enclosed with ecclesiastical buildings, and stood 
apart from the great thoroughfares of the 
town, it must have been a peculiarly solemn 
and fitting place of sepulture. ' But when tha 
readiest access to the new Tolbooth was through 
the open churchyard, and instead of the old 
monk or priest treading among its grassy 
hillocks, it became the lounge of the grooms 
and lackeys waiting on their masters during 
the meetings of parliament, or of quarrelsome 
litigants, and the usual retainers of the law, 
during the sessions of the College of the 
Justice, all idea of sacredness must have been 
lost ; such appears to have been the case, from 
the fact that no record exists to show any 
formal abandonment of it as a churchyard. 
Queen Mary granted the gardens of the Grey- 
friars monastery to -the citizens in the year 
1566, to be used as a cemetery, and from that 
period the old burial-place seems to have been 
gradually forsaken, until the neglected sepul- 
chres of the dead were at length paved over, 


and the citizens forgot that their Exchange was 
built over their fathers' graves." 

After glancing at various incidents of which 
the old churchyard was the scene, the author, 
quoted above, goes on to illustrate the rapid 
succession of changes which this nucleus of 
old Edinburgh has undergone, by noticing 
some of the most remarkable of them in chro- 
nological order. In the year 1496, the provost 
of St. Giles's church granted to the citizens the 
northern part of his manse, with the glebe, for 
augmenting the cemetery. In 1528, Walter 
Chapman, the celebrated printer, founded and 
endowed a chaplaincy in the chapel of the 
Holy Kood, in the Nether kirkyard ; in 1562, 
the chapel was demolished, to supply materials 
for building the new Tolbooth or Parliament 
House; having been, there can be little doubt, 
spoiled and broken down in the Reformation 
tumults of 1559. In 1572, the assembled 
nobles and citizens committed to St. Giles's 
churchyard the venerated remains of him whom 
Beza has not inaptly styled " The apostle of 
the Scots," and the regent Morton pronounced 
over the grave of John Knox the brief, but 
eloquent requiem, " There lies he who never 
feared the face of man." It Avas, perhaps, too 
characteristic of the age that even the grave of 
Scotland's greatest reformer could not rescue 
the old churchyard from secularization. In 
1617, on king James's return to his Scottish 
capital, so entirely had all traces of its use for 
centuries been erased from the churchyard, 


that it was selected as the scene of a magni- 
ficent civic banquet, with which the magistrates 
welcomed their sovereign back to his native 
city; and, not to be too minute in our chrono- 
logical reminiscences, it may suffice to add, 
that in 1685 the equestrian statue of king 
Charles ii. was erected in the Parliament Close, 
and, as certain traditions would seem to aiErm, 
above the very grave of the reformer — cer- 
tainly as strange a monument as could well be 
selected to place on such a spot. 

The Greyfriars' monastery, situated on the 
south side of the Grassmarket, has been re- 
ferred to among the ancient features of the 
capital in the previous volume of this series 
devoted to Old Edinburgh. Its gardens occu- 
pying the southern slope beyond, and granted 
as above mentioned to the citizens by queen 
Mary for the purposes of a cemeter}'-, constitute 
now a scene of peculiar interest. The old 
Greyfriars' church, as it was styled, though 
only built in the seventeenth century, was 
suddenly destroyed by a fire which broke out 
on the morning of Sunday, the 19th of January, 
1845, and presented to the astonished parish- 
ioners a blazing mass of ruins as they assem- 
bled for the services of the day. 

The old church, thus destroyed, had no 
architectural beauties to reconniiend it. It 
was a clumsy, inconvenient, and ungainly edi- 
fice ; with no other historical associations to 
make its destruction be regretted, excepting its 
having been the scene of the signing of the 


Covenant adopted by the leaguers in 1638, and 
the place of captivity, along with the nt-ighbour- 
iug churchyard, of the insurgent Covenanters 
afterwards taken in arms at Bothwell Bridge. 

Around the walls of this extensive cemetery 
are a number of beautiful and richly sculptured 
monuments of the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, in the ornate style of the period, 
many of them quaintly adorned with emblems 
and ingenious devices, representative of mor- 
tality, the resurrection, hope, etc., as well as 
with heraldic decorations, monograms, etc. To 
these the touch of time has added additional 
riches, and the effect of the whole is exceed- 
ingly striking, when we look on these monu- 
ments as the memorials of distinguished men 
whose graves lie crowded around. 

The general view "from this ancient cemeter}' 
will also repay the visitor, commanding as it 
does some of the most picturesque masses of 
the old town, and the castle, rising boldly 
from the intervening valley on its abruptly 
precipitous rock. Like other great cemeteries, 
this old burial-ground has supplied the last 
peaceful resting-place of rival statesmen and 
politicians, and of many others famous in their 
day, " when a large space little sufficed for 
those who now poorly fill their few feet of 
earth." Here mingle the ashes of the cele- 
brated historian and Latin poet, George Bu- 
chanan, the preceptor of James vi. ; George 
Ileriot, the father of the royal goldsmith ; 
Alexander Henderson, famous among the great 


men who guided the strnggles for liberty in 
the seventeenth centur}-, und whose monument, 
after being destroyed at the Restoration, was 
replaced at the Revolution ; sir George Macken- 
zie, the founder of the Advocates' Library ; 
sir James Stewart ; princip;d Carstairs ; sir 
John de Medina, the painter ; Allan Ramsay ; 
Colin Maclaurin ; and many others, distin- 
guished in their age for rank or genius. 

But far more than all these, a simple monu- 
ment, though on a somewhat large scale, styled 
" The ^Martyrs' Tomb," forms the chief object 
of unfailing popular interest. A small com- 
partment of this burial-ground was set apart 
in former days for the interment of malefac- 
tors. Thither the martyrs of the Covenant 
were brought, after they had suffered death at 
the hands of the public executioner in the 
adjacent Grass market; and their mangled and 
mutilated remains were crowded into this little 
spot, until from being the degraded burial- 
place of outcast criminals, it became, in the 
estimation of the citizens, holy ground. Here 
accordingly a monumental memorial was erected 
soon after the Revolution, and again renewed 
at a later date when suffering from decay. 

The central tablet of the martyrs' monu- 
ment is occupied with a metrical inscription of 
some length ; while a Bible, sculptured on the 
lower moulding, stands open at these words in 
the book of Revelation : — 

" And when he had opened the fifth seal, I 
saw under the altar the souls of them that were 


slain for the word of God, and for the testi- 
mony which they held : and they cried with a 
loud voice, saying. How long, O Lord, holy and 
true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood 
on them that dwell on the earth ? And white 
robes were given unto every one of them ; and 
it was said unto them, that they should rest 
yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants 
also and their brethren, that should be killed 
as they were, should be fulfilled. 

" These are they which came out of great 
tribulation, and have washed their robes, and 
made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 

" Be thou faithful unto death, and I will 
give thee a crown of life." 

Along with these appropriate inscriptions is 
the following brief summary of the sufferings 
in the cause of faith and truth, which the 
monument is designed to commemorate : — 

*' From May 27th, IGGl, that the noble 
marquis of Argyle suffered, to the 17th Feb- 
ruary, 1G88, that Mr. James Eenwick suffered; 
were executed at Edinburgh about one hundred 
noblemen, gentlemen, ministers, and others ; 
noble martyrs for Jesus Christ. The most 
part of them lie here." 

This ancient cemetery has shared in the 
improvements which the movements of late 
years have introduced into the public burial- 
grounds. It is now planted and laid out with 
considerable taste ; and monuments of modern 
style mingle and contrast with those of the 
olden time, including some dedicated to men 


not unworthy to mingle their dust with those 
already named ; such as Adam, the architect^ 
and Dr. McCrie, the biographer of John 
Knox. The spot is, indeed, one well calculated 
to excite in the thoughtful reader emotions of 
a chastened and solemnizing character. 

"Life's vain pursuits and time's advancing pace 
Appear with death-bed clearness face to face," 

as we wander amid the silent resting-places of 
so many generations of the human family. The 
martyr-patriot, the scholar, the statesman, the 
noble, and the obscure burgher, here alike share 
a common repose, and await the summons of 
the resurrection morn. They have departed to 
the scenes of truth and reality ; and as we 
linger by their tombs, the language of Chrysos- 
tom seems to fall with weighty cadence upon 
the ear : — " The present state of things is only 
a theatrical show ; the business of men a play ; 
wealth and poverty, the ruler and the subject, 
and such like ihings, are representations. But 
when the day shall have passed, then that fear- 
ful night will have come — rather, I should say, 
the day will have come, for night it indeed will 
be to the wicked, but day to the righteous — 
when the theatre will be closed, the masks 
thrown off, when each one shall be tried and his 
works; not each one and his wealth — not each 
one and his office — not each one and his dignity 
— not each one and his power — but, each one 
and his works 1 " 

"Blessed" — and they only — '''are the dead 
which die in the Lord." 




The old name of the Parliament House is still 
retained in use, though a century and a half 
have elapsed since the last parliament assem- 
bled in the Scottish capital, to close for ever 
that ancient guardian of the national inde- 
pendence. The name, though strictly applicable 
only to the old Parliament Hall — the West- 
minster Hall of Scotland — is applied to the 
whole group of buildings, including the court 
houses, law libraries, and all the accommoda- 
tion requisite for the civil and criminal judica- 
ture of the country. 

The present hall was built in 1640, at an 
expense of £11,000 sterling, and was designed 
for the meetings of the three estates of the 
Scottish parliament, which always sat toge- 
ther. Here, accordingly, they continued to 
a'ssemble from that time till their dissolution 
at the Union, and thus the fine hall lias asso- 
ciations of a highly interesting character to the 
stranger. The author of the " Memorials of 
Edinburgh" remarks of it : — " To a stranger 
visiting the Scottish capital, no one of its public 


buildings is so calculated to excite a lively 
interest as the scene of its latest legislative 
assemblies ; for while it shares with the de- 
serted palace and the degraded mansions of 
the old town in many grand and stirring 
associations, it still forms the hall of the College 
of Justice, founded by James v. — at once the 
arena of the leading Scottish nobles and states- 
men of the last two centuries, and the scene of 
action of many of the most eminent men of our 
own day. 

" Beneath the old roof the first great move- 
ments of the civil war took place, and the 
successive steps in that eventful crisis were 
debated Avith a zeal commensurate with the im- 
portant results involved in them, and with as 
fiery ardour as characterized the bloody strug- 
gles which they heralded. Here Montrose 
united with Rothes, Lindsay, Loudon, and 
others of the covenanting leaders, in maturing 
the bold measures that formed the basis of our 
national liberties ; and within the same hall, 
only a few years later, he sat with the calm- 
ness of despair, to receive from the lips of his 
old compatriot Loudon, the barbarous sentence 
which was executed with such savage rigour." 

After the overthrow of the Scots at the 
battle of Dunbar, new scenes were enacted 
within the same Parliament Hall, where Crom- 
well had established his quarters in Edinburgh. 
Nicoll, the contemporary diarist, tells of " sun- 
dry English troopers who openly taught there;" 
and it is even said that general Cromwell 


himself occasionally laid aside the temporal 
for the spiritual sword, and preached within 
the same august arena, to the no small scandal 
of the Presbyterian citizens, who were horrified 
to find that " men were not ashamed to take 
upon them the functions of the ministry, with- 
out a lawful calling." 

The Kestoration introduced new changes, and 
the " Laigh Parliament House," as the apart- 
ments under the great hall were termed, be- 
came the place of assembly of the Scottish Star 
Chamber, where James, duke of Albany, after- 
wards king James ii., presided, along with 
Claverhouse, Dalziel, and others, at the cruel 
torturings of the confessors of the Covenant. 
In 1680, the duke was entertained by the city 
at a grand banquet provided for him in the 
Parliament House, at which the lady Anne, 
afterwards queen iVnne, and the principal Scot- 
tish nobles, were present. The next public 
dinner in the same hall was in 1788, when the 
Scottish Revolution Club gave a grand enter- 
tainment, presided over by the lord provost, 
to celebrate the centenary of that grand po- 
litical change by which James ii. was banished 
from the British throne ; and in 1822 the next 
royal visitor, George iv., was welcomed to 
Scotland by another civic banquet in the same 

Such are some of the leading associations 
with the past, which give a historical interest 
to the old Parliament House ; we shall now 
glance at it in its modern aspect, as the Scottish 


"Westminster Hall. As a mere ball, the " Outer 
House" is not destitute of attractive features. 
Its open timber roof is a fine specimen of the 
latest style of carved oaken rafters, prior to the 
final abandonment of a fashion recently revived 
in our own day. Forming as it does the daily 
and favourite promenade, during the legal 
terras, of all connected with the law courts, this 
hall has been chosen as the appropriate site for 
various beautiful monumental statues of dis- 
tinguished members of the legal profession. 
A remarkably characteristic and vigorous statue 
of Duncan Forbes, of Culloden, from the chisel 
of Itoubilliac, represents that distinguished 
patriot and statesman in the exercise of his 
judicial faculties as lord president of the Court 
of Session. At the south end of the hall, 
another fine statue of lord president Blair, the 
son of the poet, is from the chisel of Chantry. 
Two other works by the same sculptor are 
also erected here — a colossal statue of the cele- 
brated lord Melville, and another of Dundas, of 
Arniston. To these are speedily to be added 
other statues in marble, now being executed by 
Steel, of lord Jeffrey, and lord justice clerk 
Boyle ; so that the artistic attractions of the 
old hall will of themselves form a source of 
interest and gratification to the visitor. 

On both sides of the principal entrance of the 
hall are recesses, each with a raised bench, and 
enclosing seats, where formerly the judges of 
the " Outer House," as it is still called, were 
wont to hear and determine causes in the midst 


of a noise and commotion that rendered them 
totally inaudible to a listener at a single 3'ard 
off. Court rooms, recently provided, have 
removed this unseemly exhibition, and now the 
hall is used exclusively as the legal promenade. 
Here, accordingly, the stranger who visits it in 
Term time finds himself suddenly ushered into 
a spacious and lofty hall, the floor of Avhich is 
crowded with an eager and greatly diversified 
throng. Lawyers, in gown and wig, promenade 
with agents, writers, or clients, gravely dis- 
cussing knotty points of law. Young advo- 
cates, with little more of the lawyer than 
the gown and wig, amuse themselves, with 
other loungers and legal expectants, equally 
destitute of professional cares. Clerks and 
messengers hasten in search of agents and 
pleaders, bearing bundles of papers and parch- 
ments professionally filed and secured with red 
tape ; and while the hall rebounds with the 
buzz of numerous voices mingling in a mono- 
tonous siisurnts, like the sound of flowing 
waters, the sameness is relieved at intervals 
by the entrance of one of the court criers, who, 
mounting a desk at the end of the hall, 
announces the names of the parties and counsel 
in some case just coming into court, and 
changing the marks on an index-table beside 
him, withdraws. The shrill summons breaks 
upon one or more of the knots of loungers, 
■who hasten to the adjoining court- rooms, and 
the rest of the promenaders proceed as before. 
Time has removed some of the most remark- 


able characters that only a few years since 
gave so deep an interest to this busy spot. 
Here was the daily resort of sir Walter Scott, 
as one of the clerks of session, for many years ; 
and here, till very recently, the acute and 
vigorous lord Jeffrey animated the scene. At 
no time, however, can it be without its attrac- 
tions to the intelligent visitor, exhibiting as it 
does the most learned and influential body of 
men congregated together which can be seen in 

The various members of the legal faculty, 
with the judges of the supreme, civil, and 
criminal courts, constitute what is styled the 
College of Justice, an institution of nearly four 
hundred years' standing. Churchmen con- 
tinued to form a part of the court of session, 
and to exercise judicial functions, till the reign 
of James vi. ," while the greatly more objection- 
able practice of noblemen or courtiers, nomi- 
nated at pleasure by the king as extra-judges, 
under the title of extraoixlinary lords, and 
taking their seats on the bench and voting 
when they thought proper, continued in prac- 
tice till the reform of the courts after the 
accession of the house of Hanover. The 
judges are styled lords of session, and as such 
have the title of lord, the head of the two 
divisions of the court being severally entitled, 
the lord chief justice-clerk, and the lord presi- 
dent, and the whole body of judges having the 
additional title of senators of the College of 


The Faculty of Advocates, corresponding to 
tlie English barristers, conduct all oral plead- 
ings, both in the civil and criminal courts. 
They constitute the body from whence the 
judges are selected, including not only those in 
the supreme courts, but also the sheriffs who 
preside in the local courts of the various 
districts or sheriffdoms throughout the country. 
They thus constitute an important and influ- 
ential class ; and as the passing at the bar, as 
it is styled, is a necessary qualification for 
many lucrative appointments under the crown, 
as well as a sort of literate degree, fully 
equivalent in value as evidence of scholarship 
to that of Master of Arts in the English uni- 
versities, many gentlemen become members of 
the faculty who have no intention of practising 
at the bar. " Advocates," says Mr. Chambers, 
" prepare all written pleadings, or, at least, are 
understood to do so ; as every paper, whether 
composed by themselves or by inferior prac- 
titioners, must at least be sanctioned by their 
signature. They also give opinions upon 
written statements of cases presented to them 
by the agents, both in their earlier and latter 
stages ; and they are sometimes employed as 
arbiters, in deciding such cases as the parties 
may join in desiring to withhold from the 
court. They alone have the right of inter- 
course with the judges, whether by written or 
viva voce discussion ; and it may be said that 
they occupy the most advanced rank in the 
grand battle-array of a process, the other prac- 


titioners being only the second's prompters, or 
esquires, to these chief men-at-arms." 

The class next to this in the legal body bears 
the title of Wiuters to her INIajesty's signet ; 
owing to their possessing the exclusive privi- 
lege of signing writs of summons and arrest- 
ment, bearing the royal signet — the king, 
according to a fiction of the Scottish supreme 
courts, being supposed to originate and sanc- 
tion all such proceedings. The reader will 
remember that the flither of sir Walter Scott 
was a member of this honourable legal frater- 
nity. Nearly similar to this body in most 
respects — though destitute of some of their 
privileges, and especially of that of executing 
the mandates of the royal signet — is the society 
of solicitors before the supreme courts, who 
unite with the other bodies already named in 
constituting w^hat is called the College of 

At the end of Prince's-street, facing the 
stranger as he crosses the North Bridge from 
the Old Town, stands the Register Office, 
which derives its name from the circumstance 
of it being the spot where deeds and other 
legal documents are registered — an admirable 
system, by which the intending purchaser of 
landed property can at once perceive whe- 
ther it has been burdened by any previous 





To the traveller or the tourist who visits Edin- 
burgh, its attractions are very naturally 
regarded as extending far beyond the limits 
of its old mural boundaries, or even of the 
small county -which bears its name. The three 
Scottish shires which are united under the 
common denomination of the Lothians, form a 
district apart, and may truly be regarded as 
the rural suburbs of the Scottish capital. A 
very large proportion of the landed proprietors 
have their mansions in town, and spend a con- 
siderable portion of the year in Edinburgh ;• 
and very few indeed, even among the most 
ancient and exclusive of the nobility, fail to 
bear some occasional part in the proceedings 
of the old capital. Nor are the associations 
which add an interest to many of the pictu- 
resque attractions of the environs of Edinburgh 
in any degree inferior to those which confer 
so peculiar a charm on the faded or crumbling, 
though still substantial fabrics in the closes and 
wynds of the old town. We shall now direct 


attention to some of the most remarkable 
features which are deserving of notice in the 
surrounding districts, arranging these in such 
a way as that, while the}' may gratify the 
taste of the general reader, and supply de- 
sirable information to the local student, they 
may also serve the practical purpose of a guide 
to those who may be tempted by our descrip- 
tions to explore some of the picturesque beau- 
ties of the Lothians. 

Leaving Edinburgh by the south, the tra- 
veller passes along the edge of Bruntsfield 
Links, the small remnant of the ancient Borough 
Moor, which once extended for several miles 
on every side, and with its ancient forest of 
oaks formed a harbour for the daring outlaw, 
and a muster-ground whereon the Scottish 
army was wont to marshal at the summons of 
its kings. It sAveeps away to the south Avard, 
gradually rising towards the heights of the 
Pentland Hills, which, with their outlying 
spurs, the Braid and Blackford Hills, bound the 
rich landscape to the south and west. Now, 
however, the ancient moor is crowded with 
villas, orchards, gardens, and cultivated farms; 
and we must fall back on the glowing, yet most 
truthful description of the author of " Mar- 
mion," if we would realize the former condition 
of this rich historic ground, of which Scott so 
truly says, 

" And I could trace each step they trode : 
Hill, brook, nor dell, nor rock, nor stone, 
Lies on the path to me unknown. 


Much might it boast of storied lore; 
But passing such digression o'er, 
Suftice it that their route was laid 
Across the furzy hills of Braid. 
They passed the glen and scanty rill, 
And climb'd the opposing bank, until 
They gain'd the top of Blackford Hill. 

Blackford ! on whose uncultured breast 
Among the broom, and thorn, and whin, 
A truant-boy, I sought the nest. 
Or listed as I lay at rest. 

While rose on breezes thin 
The murmur of the city crowd, 
And, from his steeple jangling loud, 

St. Giles's mingling din. 
Now, from the summit to the plain, 
Waves all the hill with yellow grain ; 

And o'er the landscape as I look, 
Nought do I see unchanged remain. 

Save the rude cliffs and chiming brook : 
To me they make a heavy moan. 
Of early friendships past and gone." 

The poet tlien pictures tlie scene, wliicli his 
descriptions have made familiar to the ima- 
ginations of man}^, ^vhen the Scottish host 
marshalled on these plains, under their de- 
voted leader, the gallant James iv., preparatory 
to their march to the fatal field of Flodden. 
It is impossible for the student of history to 
gaze on the spot, changed as it now is, -without 
recalling some of the associations of that scene, 
and of the many results which followed as its 
consequences, so important in their enduring 
influence both on Scottish and English history. 
Drummoud, the old poet and historian, who 
wrote in the reign of Charles i., describes the 
Borough Moor as " a field spacious, and de- 
lightful by the shade of many stately and aged 
oaks." The adornment of modern parks and 
pleasure-grounds is again contributing in some 


degree to reclothe its surface with such um- 
brageous honours. 

In the valley, or rather the narrow glen 
which skirts the base of the Braid Hills, lies 
the hermitage of Braid, the property of J. Gor- 
don, Esq., of Clunie, a place of wild, romantic 
beauty, well worthy of a visit. Through the 
rocky clefts of a narrow and thickly wooded 
dell, a small rivulet called the Braid Burn 
strays. Beautiful walks lead up and down in 
every direction through the shady glen ; and 
the wanderer, while almost within sound of 
St. Giles's bells, might fancy himself a hundred 
miles away from any of the populous habita- 
tions of men. The estate of Braid belonged of 
old to the family of Fairly, and one of the 
lairds of Braid, in the sixteenth century, was 
the personal friend and zealous defender of 
John Knox. The hermitage, however, as it is 
called, is a building of the last century, and 
most of the artificial aids which have helped to 
increase, or to render more accessible the 
natural beauties of this romantic glen, are the 
fruits of modern taste. 

Between this and the city rises the heathy 
ridge of Blackford Hill, with its noble pros- 
pect, which so filled the mind of young Scott 
with admiration of its beauties and fine histo- 
rical associations, as to lead at length to the 
production of that glowing passage, which has 
given to the scene an interest for all times. 
On the northern side of the hill, a chosen point 


of view has been fixed upon as lord Afarmion's 
site, Avliere 

" Still on the spot lord ilarinion stay'd. 
For fairer scene he ne'er surveyed. 
"When sated with the martial show, 
That peopled all the plain below, 
The wandering eye could o'er it go. 
And mark the distant city glow 
With gloomy splendour red ; 

"But northward far, with purer blaze, 
On Ochil mountains fell the rays ; 
And as each heathy top they kiss'd. 
It gleam'd a purple amethyst. 
Yonder the shores of Fife you saw ; 
Here Preston Bay, and Berwick Law ; 

And broad between tliem roU'd, 
The gallant Frith the eye might note. 
Where islands on its bosom float, 

Like emeralds chased in gold." 

The visitor who sees this fine view on a 
bright day, with the distant Frith burnished 
by the beams of tlie sun, shining through a 
clear northern sky, will not think that the 
fancy or enthusiasm of the poet has betrayed 
hirn into the slightest exaggeration. 

Beyond this, the road leading southward 
passes on the left the Buck Stone, a large 
monolith of. red sand-stone, the memorial of 
some ancient memorable deed — older perhaps 
than the dawn of Britain's history — in the 
landing of the legions of Julius Caesar on the 
southern shores of our insular home. On this 
ancient memorial stone the proprietor of the 
barony of Pennycuich, Avhich lies a few miles to 
the south, is bound by ancient charter to place 
himself, and to wind three blasts of a horn, 


when the king shall visit the Borough Moor. 
In. accordance with this ancient tenure, the 
Clerks of Pennycuich — of whom the present 
representative is sir George Clerk, bart. — bear 
as their crest a man winding a hunting-horn, 
with the motto, F'ree for a blast. 

Pennycuich House is a fine paladian man- 
sion, built during the last century, and has its 
principal room decorated with a series of paint- 
ings from the poems of Ossian, by Alexander 
Eunciman, already referred to, and celebrated 
in his day as a painter of distinguished ability. 
Ossian's Hall, as it is termed, is well deserving 
of a visit, and possesses a special interest, 
being a work unsurpassed in the comprehen- 
siveness of its purpose, or the vigorousness of 
its designs, by any modern production of 
Scottish art. Pennycuich House is also inte- 
resting on another account. It was the seat 
of baron Clerk, one of the most distinguished 
of Scottish antiquaries, and the patron of 
Gordon, the famous " Sandy Gordon," and the 
author of the " Itinerarium Septentrionale." 
The collections of baron Clerk are preserved 
as precious hereditary heir-looms of the ftmiily. 
Thry comprise a valuable collection of Roman 
antiquities, chiefly from the ancient Roman 
seaport of Alaterva, which lay on the shores 
of the Forth, where its site is now occupied by 
the humble little fishing village of Cramond, a 
favourite holiday resort of the citizens of Edin- 
burgh. Even now, after the lapse of some 
fifteen or sixteen centuries, the traces of its old 


Eomaii masters are not entirely obliterated, 
and the imperial eagle, sculptured by some le- 
gionary sculptor, may be seen on the " Hunter's 
Crag," a solitary rock on the sea-shore, imme- 
diately to the west of the embouchure of the 
river Almond. 

This, there is every reason to believe, was 
the most important Eoman seaport on the 
east coast of Scotland. The remains of the 
Eoman mole can still be traced. Altars have 
been dug up ; one dedicated to imperial Jove; 
another to the local field deities; and a third 
to Neptune, the patron presiding over this 
harbour of the Eoman fleets. The first of 
these altars is dedicated, by the fifth cohort of 
the Gaulish legion, to Jupiter, " the best and 
greatest;" and Stuart remarks of it, in his 
" Caledonia Eomana:" — " The fiither of Olym- 
pus, propitiated on the shores of the Forth by 
the CeltEe of Belgium or of Aquitaine — his 
altars smoking there with the incense of out- 
poured libations ; sprinkled perhaps with the 
wines of Spain and the blood of our Caledonian 
bulls — forms a singular picture to look back 
upon through all the changes Avhich have from 
first to last involved the condition of this 
island : yet here is the proof of its reality, and 
the stone in question as truly records the fact 
as if we saw it even now lit np with the sacred 
fire, and the priest bending over it in his sacer- 
dotal robes, with the sacrificial pato'a in his 
hand." The picture is, indeed, a striking one, 
and well calculated to awaken many interest- 


ing reflections in the thoughtful mind. By 
these altars, found in the neighbourhood of 
Edinburgh, we have impressively placed before 
us the fact, that in the second and third cen- 
turies of the Christian era, the native Briton 
was still offering up vain prayers to the Dii 
campestres, the vague creations of his dark- 
ened mind ; while the Roman legionary, who 
had perchance followed the eagles of Titus, 
and witnessed the terrible consummation of 
long-foretold prophecies in the desolation of the 
holy city, bowed down to stocks and stones, 
and worshipped the impure objects of pagan 
idolatry. Britain was then one of the obscur- 
est and remotest of the islands of the sea. 
The apostles of our Lord had sped on their 
glorious mission from land to land, and thou- 
sands had already bowed their knee at the 
name of Jesus, and witnessed for him a good 
confession. Yet still darkness brooded over 
our land, and gross darkness over its people ; 
though even then the forerunners of the glo- 
rious gospel were there ; for these pagan legions, 
Avho, on the shores of the Forth, ignorantly 
worshipped and poured out their libations to 
an unknown god, were making ready the way 
for the missionaries of Divine truth, and pre- 
paring for them a people among whom its 
glad tidings of great joy should find a welcome. 
Yet when v/e think on what Eome w^as then, 
and what she is now, it well becomes us to 
pause, and to reflect what Britain may be- 
come — nay, Avhat she must become, should she 


be found deserving of that rebuke which, ere 
her candlestick had been set up, or the candle 
of Divine truth lighted in her midst, was said 
of one of the first churches planted by the 
apostles, *' Thou hast left thy first love ! Ee- 
member, therefore, from Avhence thou art 
fallen, and repent, and do the first works ; or 
else I will come unto thee quickly, and Avill 
remove thy candlestick out of his place, except 
thou repent." 

Returning to our glance at the traveller's 
route by the road to the south, over the rising 
ground that sweeps awa}' from the outskirts of 
Edinburgh to the Pentland Hills, suburban 
seats, and rural cottages and farms, pleasantly 
diversify the scene. Colington, a village de- 
lightfully situated in a covered glen at the 
base of the Pentlands, is a fine specimen of a 
rustic village ; while the well-wooded grounds 
beside it enclose Colington House, the seat of 
lord Dunfermline. Rising gradually among 
the heights of the Pentlands, the traveller 
reaches Woodhouselee, pleasantly associated 
with more than one Scottish song, and more 
recently rendered memorable by its connexion 
with the name of the Scottish historian, Tytler 
of Woodhouselee. The ruins of the ancient 
house of Woodhouselee lie on the banks of the 
Esk. It was the property of Hamilton of 
Bothwellhaugh, but was forfeited for his share 
in the battle of Langside, and having been 
bestowed by the regent Murray on sir James 
Bellenden, one of his favourites, he proceeded 


to ■ take possession of it with such hasty and 
barbarous violence, that he turned out lady 
Bothwellhaugh, who then lay in child-bed, 
naked on a cold night into the open fields, 
where before next morning tradition tells she 
became a maniac. 

Hamilton vowed vengeance against the 
regent as the originator of his wrong, and 
watching for an opportunity to strike the 
meditated blow, he at length shot the regent 
dead as he rode through Linlithgow, on his 
way from Stirling to Edinburgh. Hamilton, 
after the accomplishment of this unhallowed 
deed, escaped to France, and was welcomed 
there by the Guise>, as one who had avenged 
the cause of their niece, queen Mary, upon her 
step-brother. The character of the Scottish 
refugee was, however, mistaken at the French 
court, and De Thou has recorded that au 
attempt was made to engage his services for the 
assassination of the famous Huguenot leader, 
admiral Coligny ; but Hamilton scorned the 
proposal, which imputed to him the character 
of a mercenary trader in blood, and rejected 
the advances of the court agents with indigna- 
tion and contempt. He had no authority, he 
said, from Scotland to commit murder in France ; 
he had avenged his own just quarrel ; but 
he would neither for favour nor prayer 
undertake that of another man, be he king or 

The ruins of the mansion, which Bothwell- 
haugh acquired by right of the Avife who was 


thus cruelly driven forth from its shelter, are 
still to be seen in the wooded glen above the 

Bej'ond the mansion of Woodhouselee, a 
road leads among the hills to Habbie's Howe, 
one of the most favourite holiday resorts of the 
citizens of Edinburgh. A sequestered valley 
is here entered, amid which is the old peel 
tower of Logan House, once the resort of a 
hardy freebooter, who was safe in his mountain 
fastnesses from all ordinary dangers of pursuit. 
The Logan water winds through the valley, 
and following up its stream to the head of the 
valley, the rambler is delighted to come on a 
fine cascade, which has long been associated 
with Allan Ramsay's pastoral poem of " The 
Gentle Shepherd ;" and although critical 
annotators have contradicted this, and con- 
tended that neither the appearance of the 
scenery, nor the localities specially described in 
the poem, countenance the popular idea, yet 
the poem and the locality have now become 
so intimately associated in the poinilar mind, 
that he must be a fastidious critic indeed who 
would desire to divorce them. 

The true seat of the famous Scottish pas- 
toral is believed to be Newhall, in the vici- 
nity of Fennycuich, which, in the poet's time, 
was the property of a cousin of the cele- 
brated lord president Forbes of Culloden. 
The scenery of the spot has nothing of that 
wild grandeur so conunon in the Scottish 
landscape. Tt is ju-t that quiet pastoral beauty 


which consorts with the character of the poem ; 
but such is the influence of genius, that thesji 
ideal associations with this quiet landscape hava 
conferred on it a lasting interest, and give it 
attractions altogether wanting to thousands of 
wild and mnjestic scenes, whose awe-inspiring 
charms no poet has yet sung into fame. 

On the road which leads to Newhall and 
Pennjcuich, a scene associated with remem- 
brances of a very different character meets the 
eye. Passing by the high road which leads to 
Woodhouselee, after crossing Logan AVater, or, 
as it is there more commonly styled, Glencorse- 
burn, we reach the House- oi-Muir, near which 
is the scene of a struggle with a party of the 
oppressed and persecuted Covenanters, on the 
28th of November, 1666. Sir James Turner, 
one of the agents in the infamous persecutions 
of Charles ii.'s I'eign, was employed to levy 
the arbitrary fines imposed on the Scottish 
Presbyterians, for their refusal to attend on the 
worship which was then attempted to be im- 
posed on them by penalties, personal sufferings, 
and death. Added to these cruel exactions for 
conscience sake, they had now to endure the 
brutal outrages of a ruffianly soldiery, and the 
cruelties too often sanctioned and encouraged 
by their leaders, who regarded the resolute 
adherence by the Scottish Presbyterians to 
their faith and mode of worship, as obstinate 
fanaticism and rebellion against constituted 
authority. Thus goaded beyond the limits of 


endurance, the persecuted Presbyterians at 
length took to arms in self-defence. They 
surprised and seized the person of sir James 
Turner, disarmed his soldiers, and finding they 
had taken an irretrievable step, they resolved 
to march towards Edinburgh, in the hopes of 
being there joined by their friends, and obtain- 
ing as a concession to their demands Avhat had 
hitherto been refused, notwithstanding every 
prayer and remonstrance they made as helpless 
suppliants. The rising, however, was onl)- the 
unpremeditated movement of men driven to 
despair. Their numbers, instead of increasing, 
soon diminished by the desertion of the timid 
and lukewarm. They drew up on the Pent- 
land Hills, at a place called Rullion Green, and 
here they w^ere attacked by the relentless 
general Dalziel, with a powerful body of 
cavalry. They had arranged themselves with 
considerable skill in a strong and well-chosen 
position, and they gallantly withstood several 
charges of the cavalry ; but at length their ranks 
were broken and utterly dispersed ; upAvards 
of fifty were hewn down by the soldiers, and 
many more were taken prisoners, to await a 
more cruel fiite. A rude stone, inscribed with 
stanzas commemorative of the sufferers, now 
marks the spot where the victims of persecution 
were interred ; and many an annual pilgrimage 
is made to the place by those who still delight 
to look back with an honest and a virtuous 
satisfaction on fathers, whose firm suffering in 


the cause of liberty of conscience achieved such 
a birthright for their sons : — 

"The life and death of martyrs, who sustain'd 
With will inflexible those fearful pangs 
Triumphantly displayed in records left 
Of persecution and the Covenant— times 
Whose echo rings through Scotland to this hour." 

Of all the rare attractions which the environs 
of the Scottish capital present, none is more 
frequently visited by its citizens than the 
village of Eoslin, with the fine old castle of the 
St. Glairs perched on its rocky site, above the 
murmuring Avaters of the North Esk, and the 
far-famed Roslin Chapel on the higher banks 
above. The vale of lloslin is one of those 
beautiful, sequestered dells which are met with, 
often most unexpectedly, alike in the low 
country and among the highlands of Scotland. 
By the shortest road from Edinburgh, leading 
past the old village of Liberton and its finely 
situated church, looking down from its lofty 
site on the city, the tourist passes along one of 
the least interesting of all the approaches to 
Edinburgh. Travelling by this route, a dis- 
tance of about seven miles, he arrives at a 
village in no way remarkable for its rural 
attractions or picturesque beauty, and present- 
ing no object visible either in art or nature to 
tempt to such a journey ; for even the fine chapel 
lies out of sight. To the admirer of gorgeous 
sculptiu'e, and all the quaint and beautiful 
eccentricities of the most elaborate mediaeval 
architecture, however, Roslin Chapel presents 
attractions sufiicient to reward a much longer 


journey. Though small, it is not surpassed in 
beauty or interest by any architectural relic 
in the country. ItMvas founded in 1446 by 
William St. Clair, e;irl of Orkney, and lord 
of Eoslin. Legend and story combine to add 
romantic interest to its fine architectural fea- 
tures. The " Prentice Pillar," with wreathed 
foliage, so skilfully sculptured, has a legend 
which lends fresh attractions to its exquisite 
v.'orkmanship, as the master-piece of its archi- 
tect's successful rival. The master-builder, it 
is said, being unable to execute a design of 
adequate beauty, proceeded to Italy that he 
might inspect a column in one of the churches 
there, which was reported as a fit model for 
the crowning piece of workmanship in this 
gorgeous edifice. During his absence on this 
journey, his apprentice had the boldness to 
undertake the work, and executed the beautiful 
pillar, which, according to the popular tale, 
commemorates his genius and his fate. On 
the master's return with the designs he had 
obtained in his travels, he found the " Prentice 
Pillar" completed as it now stands ; and stung 
with envy at an achievement so far surpassing 
his best endeavours, he seized a mallet, and 
with a blow on the head killed his successful 
rival on the spot. Three of the corbel heads 
from which the ribs of the roof spring are 
usually pointed out by the cicerone of the 
chapel as those of the master, the apprentice, 
and the mother of the latter. Upon the archi- 
trave, extending from th^ Prentice Pillar to an 


adjacent one, is inscribed this concise inscrip- 
tion, derived from tlie apocryphal book of 
Esdras : — 

" Forte est viiium, fortior est rex, fortiores sunt 
mulieres ; super omnia vincit Veritas^ 

Another legend tells, that on the night before 
the death of the heir of Roslin, the chapel 
appears wrapped in flames, a popular belief 
which has been turned to fine account in Scott's 
beautiful ballad of " Rosabelle," — 

*♦ O'er Roslin, all that dreary night, 

A wond'rous blaze was seen to gleam ; 
'Twas broader than the watch-fire's light, 
And redder than the bright moon-beam. 

It glared on Roslin's castled rock, 

It ruddied all the copse-wood glen ; 
'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak. 

And seen from caverned Hawthorndeu. 

Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud. 
Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffiu'd lie, 

Each baron for a sable shroud, 
Sheathed in his iron panoply. 

Seem'd all on fire, within, around. 

Deep sacristy, and altar's pale; 
Shone every pillar foliage-bound, 

And glimmered all the dead men's mail. 

Blazed battlement and pinnet high- 
Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair ! 

So still they blaze, when fate is nigh 
The lordly line of high St. Clair." 

Elegant, however, as is the chapel founded 
as a collegiate church by the old St. Clairs, 
it would form a less seductive attraction if 
removed from the rich natural beauties which 
lie in its immediate vicinity. The road to 
Eoslin, we have said, is one of the least attrac- 
tive of all those around Edinburgh ; and this 


contributes not a little to the wonder an( 
delight with which the stranger, on passing 
down a steep lane behind the village, and 
traversing a singularly picturesque rural burial- 
ground, embosomed in old trees, suddenly finds 
himself in a sequestered dell, the Eoslin dean, 
abounding with all the romantic beauties of 
rocky cliffs, ivied turrets and precipices, rich 
copse-wood and waterfall. The castle is situ- 
ated on a peninsular rock overhanging the 
Esk, and the clustering ivy, climbing from the 
glen below, has covered both rocks and ruined 
walls, adding new charms to its rugged beauty. 
The castle was one of great strength ; but its 
position, surrounded on every side by higher 
grounds, rendered it peculiarly exposed to the 
destructive effects of artillery, Avhen that later 
invention had been brought to sufficient per- 
fection. It was spoiled and burned in 1544 by 
the English army, under the earl of Hertford; 
and finally reduced to ruins by general Monk, 
in 1G50 ; though a picturesque restoration of 
part of its own quadrangle, executed soon after, 
still stands, and afforded a lodging to the heirs 
of Roslin till the line expired in the person of 
William St. Clair, the last of his race, about 
the middle of last century. The present earls 
of Roslin have no connexion with the ancient 

Passing along the embowered walks which 
lead through Roslin woods and glens, the wan- 
derer conies on the caves of CTorton, situated 
in the front of a high cliff on the south side of 


the stream, and celebrated as the shelter of 
some of the Scottish patriots in the reign of 
David ir. Still lower down the stream, and 
amidst scenery of undiminished beauty, are the 
ancient and modern mansions of Hawthornden 
— the former the classic haunt of the poet 
Drummond, the friend of Shakspeare and Ben 
Jonson ; and the latter still occupied by the 
descendants of the poet. The whole scene is, 
indeed one of exquisite beauty, and we cannot 
better close this chapter than by recording the 
impressions of the spot formed by a modern 
writer : — 

" The river winds far below over a bed of 
rock ; and such is the nature of its course and 
its banks, that you never see more than a few 
broken and far-off glimpses of its clear waters 
at the same time. On the side on Avhich we 
stood, the banks consist of green and woody 
knolls, whose inextricable richness and pomp 
of verdure is carried down, deepening as it 
descends quite to the channel of the stream. 
Opposite, there shoots up a majestic screen of 
hoary rocks, ledge rising square and massy 
upon ledge, from the river to the horizon — but 
all and everywhere diversified with fantastic 
knots of copsewood, projecting and clinging 
from the minutest crannies of the cliffs. Far 
as the eye can reach down the course of the 
stream, this magnificent contrast of groves and 
rocks is continued — mingling, however, as they 
recede from the eye, into one dim magnificent 
amphitheatre, over which the same presiding 


spirit of soothing loneliness seems to hover like 
a garment. The castle itself is entirely ruined, 
but its yellow mouldering walls form a fine 
relief to the eye, in the midst of the dark foliage 
of pines and oaks which everywhere surround 
it. We passed over its airy bridge, and through 
its desolate portal, and descending on the other 
side, soon found ourselves treading upon the 
mossy turf around the roots of the cliff on 
which it stands, and within a few yards of the 
river. From thence we pursued our walk — 
sometimes springing from stone to stone, along 
the bed of the stream — sometimes forcing our- 
selves through the thickets which drop into its 
margin — but ever and anon reposing ourselves 
on some open slope, and gazing with new de- 
light from every new point of view, on the 
eternal, ever- varying grandeur of the rocks, 
woods, and sky. 

" The whole party, however, were congregated 
where the river washes the base of the caverned 
rocks of Hawthornden — the most beautiful in 
itself, and, in regard to recollections, the most 
classical point of the whole scenery of the Esk. 
The glen is very narrow here, even more so 
than at Eoslin, and the rocks on the right rise 
to a still more magnificent elevation. Such, 
indeed, is the abruptness of their sheer ascent, 
that it is with some difficulty the eye can de- 
tect, from the brink of the stream, the pic- 
turesque outlines of the house of Hawthornden, 
situated on the summit of the highest crag. 
The old castle in which Drummond received 


Ben Jonsou, has long since given way ; but 
the more modern mansion is built within the 
dilapidated circuit of the ancient fortress ; and 
the land is still possessed, and the hall occupied, 
by the lineal descendants of the poet. I know 
not that there is any spot in Britain, made 
classical by the footsteps of such a person as 
Drummond, one's notions respecting which are 
thus cherished and freshened by finding it in 
the hands of his own posterity, bearing his own 
name. We climbed the steep banks by some 
narrow paths cut in the rock, and entered at 
various points that labyrinth of winding caves, 
b}' which the interior of the rock is throughout 
perforated, and from which part of the name of 
tlie place has, no doubt, been derived. Nothing 
can be more picturesque than the echoing 
loneliness of these retreats — retreats which 
often afforded shelter to the suffering patriots of 

* Peter's Letter*?, vol. iii., pp. 124-128. 




From Hawtliornden it is not uncommon for 
the tourist to pass to Dalkeith, a busy country 
town, the centre of a rich agricultural district, 
and the seat of the duke of Buccleugh. Dal- 
keith Palace was built by the duchess of 
Buccleugh and Monmouth, the widow of the 
unhappy son of Charles ii., on the site of the 
ancient strongholds of the earls of Morton and 
Buccleugh. Since the union of the crowns, 
Dalkeith Palace has been the temporary resi- 
dence of three British sovereigns. Kii^g 
Charles I. resided in it for a time during his 
return to his native country in 1633; George iv. 
occupied apartments here on his visit to Scot- 
land in 1822 ; and her present majesty, queen 
Victoria, also made it her temporary residence 
in 1842. Externally the architectural decora- 
tions of the ducal dwelling are little deserving 
of the character of palatial. The interior, 
however, is fitted up with taste and splendour, 
suited to the rank of its noble occupants ; and 
the fine collection of pictures which adorn the 
walls is well calculated to reward the visitor. 


The extensive park which surrounds the pidace 
is also exceedingly beautiful and diversified ; 
with the mixture of the richest floral garden- 
ing, and the wildness of natural beauty. The 
North Esk, after passing through the beautiful 
glen of Roshn and Hawthornden, and the pretty 
village of Lasswade — in the vicinity of which 
sir Walter Scott spent the earliest and happiest 
years of his wedded life — unites with the South 
Esk, a little below the ducal mansion, and the 
river thus augmented to a stream of some im- 
portance, passes on by the village of Inveresk 
— the scene of interesting discoveries of Roman 
remains at various periods — to the ancient 
burgh of Musselburgh, where it joins the sea. 

All along the banks of the Esk, richly 
wooded grounds, and fine mansions, diversify 
the scenery. At Auchindinny, the wanderer 
comes upon the still perfect arch of a Roman 
bridge, amid its clustering Avoods ; and near 
Lasswade is the modern castle of Melville, 
erected by the celebrated Henry Dundas, the 
first viscount Melville. In the vicinity of the 
latter was the homely rural retreat of the 
young poet, Walter Scott ; and the deep im- 
pression made on his mind by the beauty of 
the surrounding scenery, is apparent from his 
frequent and minute references to its charms, 
and to the favourite legends and traditions of 
its more noted localities. The various scenes 
to which we have referred along the banks of 
the Esk, are thus happily referred to in his 
verse : — 


"Sweet are the paths— oli, passing sweet! — 
By Esk's fair streams that run, 
O'er airy steep, through copse-woods deep, 
Impervious to the sun. 

From that fair dome where suit is paid. 

By blast of bugle free, 
To Auchindinny's hazel glade. 

And haunted Woodhouselee. 

Who knows not Melville's beechy grove, 

And Roslin's rocky glen, 
Dalkeith, which all the virtues love, 

And classic Hawthornden?" 

The Nortli British Eailway affords ready 
access to Dalkeith, and the means of returning 
to town, when the tourist has followed the 
route we have described, and made his way 
from Eoslin to Dalkeith. A few miles beyond 
this, the same line of railway passes over the 
Lammermoors, and affords the traveller equally 
ready access to the fine ancient castles of 
Crichton and Borthwick in the vale of the 
Tyne. Both of these fine old strongholds have 
been particularly referred to in our former 
volume on Old Edinburgh ; they are intimately 
associated with important events in Scottish 
history, and present many attractions to the 
admirer of mediaeval architecture, as well as to 
the lover of picturesque beauty. The valley 
of Borth-\vick is a secluded and peaceful rural 
spot, with its ancient castle and church — still 
beautiful in ruin and decay — occupying a 
peninsula nearly surrounded by the winding 
stream. In the aisle of the ancient church, 
two beautiful recumbent figures of a lord and 
lady of the adjacent castle still remain, in good 


preservntion. The modern cluircli has no pre- 
tensions to beauty ; but with the adjoining 
manse, farmhouses, and scattered cottages, the 
whole group presents a pleasing and sequestered 
scene of rural life. In this pleasantly situated 
Scottish manse, Dr. Robertson, the celebrated 
historian, was born. 

Returning to the immediate vicinity of 
Edinburgh, the traveller will not fail to explore 
all the winding paths of Arthur's Seat and the 
Salisbury Crags, the banks of the lovely little 
loch, and the picturesque village of Dudding- 
ston, where prince Charles rested the night 
before he entered Edinburgh in triumph. The 
old church still retains traces of the decorations 
of more than one early age. Its chancel arch 
and south doorway are romanesque work of 
the eleventh century, and its north transept is 
in the style of the fifteenth century. At the 
gateway of the churchyard may also still be 
seen hanging the iron chain and collar, styled 
the joitgs, which formed in Scotland the com- 
mon substitute for the English stocks. 

On the height immediately to the south of 
Duddingston Loch, rises the fine, picturesque 
ruin of Craigmillar Castle, forming a remark- 
ably striking feature in the landscape. This 
ancient ruin is well deserving of a visit on 
many accounts. The great hall of the castle, 
where the Scottish kings and queens must 
often have feasted and entertained their noble 
guests, is still so perfect, that the frescoed 
decorations on its walls have not been effaced 



by the waste of centuries. The old castle- 
chapel also remains ; and the view from the 
summit commands a panorama, which includes 
in its foreground the adjacent loch and fine 
hills, and beyond these the city and castle, 
with all the noble landscape of Forth, and 
wooded parks, and distant hills, terminated in 
the far distance by the Highland mountains — 
not always deprived of their snowy covering 
even in the leafy month of June. 

The eminence on which Craigmillar Castle 
stands is surrounded by some fine old trees, as 
well as by woods of more recent planting. The 
original builder of the castle is unknown, and 
the fine structure, as it now stands, evidently 
includes the work of many different periods. 
The rampart which surrounds the keep and 
forms the outworks of the castle, appears from 
the date upon it to have been erected in 
1427. This, however, is evidently one of the 
most recent additions to the fortalice ; though 
very extensive repairs must have been made 
subsequently to the burning of the castle in 
1555; and still more recently a mansion-house 
in the picturesque Scottish style of the seven- 
teenth century has been added to the original 
structure. The castle of Craigmillar was ac- 
quired by sir Simon Preston, in 1374, from 
John de Capella, an old baron of Norman 
descent ; and a curious rebus, in the fashion 
prevalent in the fifteenth century, is sculptured 
over the principal gateway in commemoration 
of the Preston family. This quaint device 


consists of a, screw-j^ress, and a toJi or barrel, 
thereby indicating, in the simple hieroglyphics 
of the age, the name of Preston to all who 
should pass beneath the guarded arch, however 
destitute they might be of the then rare gift of 
a knowledge of letters. The castle and estate 
are now possessed by Walter Little Gilmour, 
esq., the lineal descendant of William Little 
and sir John Gilmour, both citizens of Edin- 
burgh, distinguished among the old members 
of the Scottish bar ; and whose descendants, 
united by the marriage of the heirs of the two 
families, now bear the names of both. Of the 
former of these, Dr. Wilson remarks, in his 
Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time, 
" William Little and his brother Clement may 
justly be considered, along with James Lawson, 
the colleague and successor of John Knox, the 
true founders of * king James's College,' that 
royal pedant having in reality bestowed little 
more on the University of Edinburgh than a 
charter and his name. In 1580, Clement 
Little dedicated all his books, consisting of 
three hundred volumes, 'for the heginning of 
cme librari/' — the undoubted foundation of that 
magnificent collection which the collep;e nov/ 
possesses. This generous gift was bestoAved 
during his lifetime, and the volumes ' were f>ut 
up in Mr. James Lawson's gallery,' " a part of 
the lodgings appointed for the ministers of 
Edinburgh, situated on the site of the Scottish 
Parliament House and modern courts of law, 
but which had originally formed the collegiate 


buildings for the residence of the provost or 
dean, and the prebends and chaplains of St. 
Giles's Church ; including its celebrated provost, 
Gawin Douglas the poet, afterwards bishop of 

The other ancestor of the modern proprietors 
of Craigmillar Castle was sir John Gilmour, 
who, as lord president of the court of session, 
assumed the judicial title of lord Craigmillar. 
Sir John Gilmour was nominated lord presi- 
dent, on the restoration of the Court of Session 
after the return of Charles ii., and he is worthy 
of remembrance for the honourable, though 
ineffectual efforts he made in the Scottish 
parliament, to s>ive the marquis of Argyle, 
whom Middleton, and others of the Scottish 
privy council, had fixed upon as their victim, 
" to make an example of." He also distin- 
guished himself at a subsequent period by his 
endeavours to moderate the violence of the 
persecutions carried on against the Scottish 
Presbyterians ; and his name still occupies a 
prominent place among the older legal authori- 
ties of the Scottish bar, as the author of the 
Keports of the Decisions of the Court of Ses- 
sion, from 1661 to 1666. The family noAv 
occupies the more modern mansion of the Inch, 
which stands on the low ground to the west of 
Craigmillar Castle, and includes work of 
various periods from the seventeenth century, 
when the principal part of the house appears 
to have been built, in the ornate and picturesque 
style prevalent at the period. The house 


Includes among its attractions some fine paint- 
ings, and highly interesting family portraits of 
the old proprietors of the ruined castle, where 
John, earl of Mar, the younger brother of 
James iir., was imprisoned in 1477 ; where 
James v. often resided in his minority ; and 
where his unfortunate daughter, queen Mary, 
frequently sought a brief escape from the 
turmoil and dangers of the court of Holy- 

In a dungeon of the old castle, a ring and 
staple are still shown, let into the rock, and to 
which was attached the limb bone which served, 
when it was discovered only a few years since, 
on the opening of the vault, to prove that some 
Avretched victim of lawless power, whose bones 
then lay on its floor, had perished there in 
hopeless misery. In 1813, another human 
skeleton was found enclosed, in an upright 
position, in a part of the castle wall, removed 
in the course of some repairs. 

In other directions around Edinburgh, the 
tourist finds attractions equally interesting. 
On the west side of the city, the richly wooded 
hill of Corstorphine rises, with its variegated 
slopes spotted over with elegant suburban 
villas. At its base on the north side, and 
embosomed in trees, lies the fine old semi- 
castellated mansion of Craigcrook, celebrated 
as the dwelling of the late lord Jeffrey. 

This, indeed, is a spot which, like Abbots- 
ford and other homes of departed genius, will 
long be invested with classic associations. 


The tourist will, therefore, probably not regret 
a short pause in his journey, while we linger 
for a little, and listen to the description of 
Jeffrey's mode of life at this spot, as given by 
one who kneAV and loved him well. 

" Jeffrey," says lord Cockburn, whose words 
we quote, " had left Hatton in the autumn of 
1814, and in the spring of 1815 had trans- 
ferred his residence to Craigcrook, where he 
passed all his future summers. It is on the 
eastern slope of Corstorphine Hill, about three 
miles to the north-west of Edinburgh. When 
he first became the tenant, the house was only 
an old keep, respectable from age, but incon- 
venient for a family ; and the ground was 
merely a bad kitchen-garden, of about an acre, 
all in paltry disorder. He immediately set 
about reforming. Some ill-placed walls were 
removed, while others, left for shelter, were 
in due time loaded with gorgeous ivy, and both 
protected and adorned the garden. A useful, 
though humble addition was made to the house; 
and by the help of neatness, sense, evergreens, 
and flowers, it was soon converted into a sweet 
and comfortable retreat. The house received a 
more important addition many years after- 
wards, but it was sufficient without this for all 
that his family and his hospitalities at first 
required. But, by degrees, that earth hunger 
which the Scotch ascribe to the possession of 
any portion of the soil, came upon him, and 
he enlarged and improved all his appurtenances. 
Two sides of the mansion were flanked by 


handsome bits of evergreened lawn. Two or 
three western fields had their stone fences 
removed, and were thrown into one which 
sloped upwards from the house to the hill, and 
was croAvned by a beautiful bank of wood ; and 
the whole place, which noAv extended to thirty 
or forty acres, was always in excellent keeping. 
Its two defects were, that it had no stream, and 
that the hill robbed the house of much of the 
sunset. Notwithstanding this, it was a most 
delightful spot ; the best for his purpose that 
he could have found. The low ground, con- 
sisting of the house and its precincts, contained 
all that he could desire for secluded quiet and 
for reasonable luxury. The high commanded 
magnificent and beautiful views, embracing 
some of the distant mountains in the shires 
of Perth and Stirling, the near inland sea of 
the Frith of Forth, Edinburgh and its associated 
heights, and the green and peaceful nest of 
Craigcrook itself. 

" During the thirty-four seasons that he 
passed there, what a scene of happiness was 
that spot. To his own household it was all 
that their hearts desired. Mrs. Jeffrey knew 
their genealogy and the personal history and 
character of every shrub and flower it con- 
tained. It was the favourite resort of his 
friends, who knew no such enjoyment as 
Jeffrey at that place. And, with the exception 
of Abbotsford, there were more interesting 
strangers there than in any house in Scotland. 
Saturday, during the summer session of the 


court?, was always a day of festivity ; chief!}', 
but by no means exclusively, for his friends at 
the bar, many of whom were under general 
invitations. Unlike some barbarous tribunals, 
which feel no difference between the last and 
other days of the week, but moil on with the 
same stupidity through them all, and would 
include Sunday if they could — our legal practi- 
tioners, like most of the other sons of bondage in 
Scotland, are liberated earlier on Saturday; and 
the Craigcrook party began to assemble about 
three, each taking to his own enjoyment. The 
bowling-green was sure to have its matches, in 
which the host joined Avith skill and keenness ; 
the garden had its loiterers ; the flowers, not 
forgetting the wall of glorious yellow roses, their 
worshippers; the hill, its prospect seekers. The 
banquet that followed was generous ; the wines 
never spared, but rather too various ; mirth 
imrcstrained, except by propriety ; the talk 
always good, but never ambitious ; and mere 
listeners in no dispute. What can efface these 
days, or, indeed, any Craigcrook day, from the 
recollection of those who had the happiness of 
enjoying them ?" 

Such was Craigcrook in the palmy days of 
its intellectual owner. Interesting as is the 
picture in many respects, the sic transit gloria 
is too strongly impressed upo^ it for the mind 
to regard it with unmingled satisfaction ; and as 
we reflect on that brilliant circle, now for ever 
dispersed, its festivities silenced, while he who 
^■'ave life to all has passed into the eternal world— 


an impressive sense of the evanescence of 
human enjoyments, even when of the highest 
literary order, steals across the spirit. 

On the otlier side of the hill is the viUage 
of Corstorphine, with its fine rural parish 
church, a work of the fourteenth century, and 
still retaining, amidst the modern accompani- 
ments of simple Presbyterian worship, tlie 
strongly contrasting traces of the ancient 
Eomish ritual ; while beneath the sculptured 
recesses in its chancel and aisles repose the 
recumbent effigies of the old lord Forresters of 
Corstorphine, an ancient line of barons, who 
once played a prominent part in Scottish 
history, and who long bore an active share in 
the burghal duties of the neighbouring town. 
Forrester's-wynd, an ancient nook of the old 
town, in which the mansion of the lord 
Forresters stood, was demolished to make way 
for some of the modern structures appended to 
the courts of law, and the legal libraries 
attached to them. Hare Castle, also, which 
stood near the old church, where successive 
generations of its owners are laid to rest, has 
been demolished, and only a small fragment of 
its walls remains to indicate its site. 

Still further beyond this, the Edinburgh and 
Glasgow Hail way, the first station of which is 
at Corstorphine, conducts the tourist to the 
ancient royal town of Linlithgow, the capital 
of West Lothian. There the man of taste, the 
student of history, or the mere lover of the 
F 2 


ancient and the picturesque, will find abundant 
gratification for the longest summer day. Its 
ancient castellated palace, still beautiful in its 
ruins, crowns the heights of a gentle eminence, 
washed at its base by a small, but extremely 
beautiful lake, with an island in it, on which, 
according to the ancient traditions of the burgh, 
a greyhound of more than mortal mould was 
discovered tied to a tree. Hence this device of 
a black greyhound tied to a tree forms the 
armorial bearings of Linlithgow, and Celtic 
scholars derive its name from the Gaelic Lin- 
leath-ces, the Lake of the Greyhound. 

" The situation of Linlithgow," says the 
author of the ' Border Antiquities,' " is emi- 
nently beautiful. It stands on a promontory 
of some elevation, which advances almost into 
the midst of the lake. The form is that of a 
square court, composed of buildings of four 
stories high, with towers at the angles. The 
fronts within the square, and the windows are 
highly ornamented, and the size of the rooms, 
as well as the width and character of the 
staircases, are upon a magnificent scale. One 
banquet room is ninety-ibur feet long, thirty 
feet wide, and thirty-three feet high, with a 
gallery for music. The king's wardrobe, or 
dressing-room, looking to the west, projects 
over the walls, so as to have a delicious prospect 
on three sides, and is one of the most enviable 
boudoirs we have ever seen. 

" There Avere two main entrances to Linlith- 
gow Palace. That from the south ascends rather 


steeply from the tower, and passes through a 
striking Gothic archway, flanked b}'- two round 
towers. The portal has been richly adorned 
by sculpture, in Avhich can be traced the arms 
of Scotland, with the collars of the Thistle, the 
Garter, and St. Michael. 

" The other grand entrance is from the east- 
ward. The gateway is at some height from 
the foundation of the wall, and there are oppo- 
site to it the remains of a iKvron, or ramp of 
mason-work, which those who desired to enter 
must have ascended by steps. A drawbridge, 
which could be raised at pleasure, united, when 
it was lowered, the ramp with the threshold of 
the gateway, and when raised, left a gap 
between them, which answered the purpose of 
a moat. On the inside of the eastern gateway 
is a figure, much mutilated, said to have been 
that of pope Julius ii., the same pontiff who 
sent James iv. the beautiful sword Avhich makes 
part of the Scottish regalia." 

The church of Linlithgow is no less attractive 
than its castle. It is a work, chiefly of the 
early part of the fifteenth century, of great 
beauty, and unusually large dimensions. In 
coming to Linlithgow from Edinburgh, the two 
buildings are seen grouped together, and the 
towers and pinnacles of both rise out of the 
encircling clusters of trees, so as to form 
altogether a most impressive scene, full of 
dignity and fine poetic grandeur, 

Edinburgh, indeed, is surrounded by similar 
remains of ancient feudal magnificence and 


ecclesiastical power. To the west, and near 
the shores of the Forth, is the beautiful littlo 
•village of Dalmeny, with its Norman church, 
one of the choicest specimens of ecclesiastical 
architecture of so early a date to be found in 
the kingdom. It lies in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of Queensferry, an ancient, but 
decayed Scottish borough. 

The old church of Dalmeny is an especial 
object of attraction to students of mediEeval 
architecture. It has this further attraction to 
the tourist, that it lies in a district surrounded 
by objects abundantly calculated to gratify every 
taste. From the old Roman site, now occupied 
by the village of Cramond, the noble park of 
the earls of Roseberry stretches all the way 
along the banks of the Forth to Queensferry, 
enclosing in its varied scenery the fine old castle 
of Barnbougle, as well as the modern Tudor 
mansion of the earls. Beyond Dalmeny lies 
the old castle, and the fine park of Dundas, one 
of the oldest families in Scotland. Queensferry 
itself has the picturesque ruins of a monastery 
of the Carmelites, to attract the lovers of such 
hoary remains of the past ; while beyond this 
is the magnificent modern mansion of the earls 
of Hopetoun, with its surrounding park and 
pleasure-grounds — scarcely surpassed in beauty 
of situation, or fine variety of art and nature 
combined, by any ground of equal extent in 
the kingdom. Amid such varied scenes of 
interest and beauty, many a bright and happy 
day is passed by the citizens of Edinburgh ; 


and the stranger, -whose more limited time must 
compel him to select, while he may regret that 
he should have to leave any of them unseen, will* 
find that in choosing from among them he can 
scarcely err, where all are worthy of a visit. 

The increased facilities supplied by the 
numerous railways recently constructed, have 
of course greatly extended the opportunities 
for visiting the surrounding country. In 
London, not only Dulwich, and Hampstead, and 
Greenwich are now regarded among the places 
of its near neighbourhood, but Woolwich, and 
Richmond, Hampton Court, and even Windsor, 
form the objects of a morning's excursion ; so 
also Edinburgh has become the centre of 
widely extended environe. The North British 
railway enables its citizens to embrace within 
the easy compass of a summer's day the beauti- 
ful ruins of Dirleton Castle, with its village, 
not unjustly regarded as one of the neatest 
and most tasteful of model Scottish villages, and 
the ruins of North Berwick Abbey, and of Tan- 
tallon Castle, perched on its lofty promontory, 
near the entrance of the Firth of Forth. 
Beyond it, amidst the ever-sounding waves, 
stands the singular detached stronghold of the 
Bass, an ancient castle, celebrated in later 
days as the prison of the persecuted Cove- 
nanters, during " the persecution times," — as 
the last bitter years of Stuart rule in Scotland 
are still commonly styled. 

The Bass Rock has peculiar attractions for 
the naturalist, as one of the very few breeding 


places of the solan goose, which is here found 
as wild, and yet seemingly as fearless of man. 
'as the feathered tribes met with by some of 
the first visitors to strange and uninhabited 

Such are some of the far-famed beauties 
which the environs of the Scottish capita] pre- 
sent, to lure its citizens forth from the busy 
mart, and to tempt the traveller to bend his 
steps towards Edinburgh, as the centre of so 
many attractions. Tastes the most varied may 
all find an abundant gratification amidst the 
diversified features of town and country which 
have been glanced at in the preceding pages. 
The explorer of its memorials of the past ; its 
quaint, old-fashioned wynds and closes ; the 
decayed grandeur of its old town thoroughfares ; 
its grim fortress, and the ivied ruins of its 
royal abbey — may richly enjoy the relics of 
other days. Admirers of another class have 
no less abundant sources of interest in the new 
town ; while the lover of nature has on every 
hand a rich choice of her most varied charms, 
diversified, without being injured, by their 
alliance with the creations of modern art, and 
of ancient historical associations. Edinburgh, 
indeed, owes not a few of its attractions to its 
singular and commanding site ; and the tra- 
veller who fiiils to explore its environs, leaves 
undiscovered the larger half of those singular 
characteristics, by which the Scottish capital 
continues to retain its hold on the fancy 
and the affections of all who have dwelt 


within the charmed circle of its associations, 
even after they have seen the beauties of 
Genoa, Naples, and Constantinople shining 
and glittering under the brighter sunshine 
of their more genial climates, and pure, cloud- 
less skies. 




In the preceding chapters, the rise and progress 
of modern Edinburgh, and the peculiar charac- 
teristics of her legal, literary, scientific, and 
religious institutions, have been traced with 
some minuteness and care. When it is con- 
sidered that even now aged citizens still 
live, who can recal to their remembrance the 
time when the site of the modern city was a 
verdant slope, and the lines of its busy 
thoroughfares were marked only by hedge- 
rows, and the furrows of the plough, Ave can 
be at no loss to appreciate the energy and 
public spirit by which so great a change was 
elFected by a single generation. We are accus- 
tomed to marvel at the rapid rise of cities among 
the clearings of American forests, where only 
a few years before the Ked Indian savage 
roamed free and undisturbed beneath the leafy 
shade ; but there is in reality something far 
more marvellous in a city such as modern Edin- 
burgh rising up in a single generation, un- 
deterred by the impediments of ancient habits 


and customs, the feudal tenures of land, the 
vested interests and conflicting prejudices, and 
all tlie difficulties which a long-established 
civilization interposes in the way of great or 
sudden change. The wonder is not diminished 
■when we come to inspect the modern town, and 
explore its varied details, as we have done in 
the preceding chapters. Its public edifices and 
private structures betray no traces of the haste 
with which this new city has arisen alongside 
of the ancient Scottish capital ; but, on the 
contrary, the buildings exhibit substantial 
characteristics altogether unknown in the 
British metropolis. Their builders have reared 
for posterity, and have adorned many of them 
with architectural features well calculated to 
charm their future inheritors, and arrest the 
arm of destruction, which, guided by the inno- 
vating spirit of local improvement, has swept 
so ruthlessly through much that w-as pictu- 
resque and venerable among the ancient build- 
ings of Edinburgh. 

In many respects the Scottish capital is 
remarkable for peculiarities altogether sin- 
gular, and these have not been diminished by 
its modern transformers. The first and most 
prominent source of its peculiarities is its 
remarkable site ; perched upon a group of 
hills, and occupying the intervening valley, 
while bridges spun these lower grounds, with 
arches laved only by the thronging floods of 
wayfarers beneath. Around the city, reared on 
so singular a site, stretches a noble panorama 


of hill, and dale, and sea, bounded at length 
in the far distance bj the mountain peaks of 
the Highlands, or by the blue line of the far 
horizon on the German ocean. 

It is to some of the most striking features ot 
art and njiture, blended together in the remark- 
able landscape thus described, that Edinburgh 
owes its later title of modern Athens. This 
comparison is thus referred to by Mr. Kobert 
Chambers : — " That Edinburgh resembles 
Athens, was first pointed out by the Athenian 
Stuart, whose opinion has been confirmed by 
various succeeding travellers. Dr. Clarke speaks 
decidedly to the same effect, and finely adds, 
that the neighbourhood of Athens is just the 
Highlands of Scotland, enriched with the splen- 
did remains of art. One of the later travellers, 
Mr. H. W. Williams, whose beautiful drawings 
of the scenery and ruins of Attica have lately 
furnished by far the most exquisite specimen 
of the arts ever produced in Scotland, in 
various parts of his travels, confirms the state- 
ments of his predecessors, and says, moreover, 
that " suppose the lakes of Scotland were 
plains, he knows no country so like illustrious 
Greece." This Avriter has also said, " The dis- 
tant view of Athens from the ^gean Sea is 
extremely like that of Edinburgh from the 
Eirth of Forth, though certainly the latter is 
considerably superior." 

It is not, however, mere local prejudices and 
provincial vanity which have led writers such 
as those referred to, after drawing a comparison 


between ancient Athens and Edinburgh, to give 
the preference to the latter. The climate, 
indeed, must always be excepted in any such 
preference, for the refined Greek would have 
viewed with dismay the dark fogs and chill 
east winds which deform so large a portion of 
the year to its modern rival. In the year 1829, 
the eminent Scottish artist, sir David Wilkie, 
was entertained at a public dinner by the 
magistrates of Edinburgh, and in the speech 
which he then made, he remarked : — " What 
the tour of Europe was necessary to see else- 
where I now find congregated in this one city. 
Here are alike the beauties of Prague and 
of Salzburgh ; here are the romantic sites of 
Orvietto and Tivoli ; and here is all the magni- 
ficence of the admired bays of Genoa and 
Naples ; here, indeed, to the poetic fancy, may 
be found realized the Roman Capitol and the 
Grecian Acropolis." 

The ruins of Athens revealed to us, indeed, 
wondrous evidences of the beauty and magni- 
ficence of her temples ; but they tell us little 
of the private dwellings of her citizens, or how 
far private comforts, and the true interests of 
the people, were sacrificed for the objects 
deemed of chief public importance. In her 
private edifices, and all the structures devoted 
to commerce and trade, to private hospitality 
and beneficent charity, there can be little doubt 
that modern Athens outrivals her ancient proto- 
type. On this subject Mr. Chambers remarks, 
in his "Walks in Edinburgh :"—" When 


distance lends enchantment to the view, even 
the mud walls of Athens assume features of im- 
portance, and the modern city appears almost 
worthy of the Acropolis which ornaments it. 
It is when seen under this advantage, that the 
likeness of Edinburgh to Athens is most strik- 
ingly apparent. 

*' There are several points of view on the 
elevated grounds near Edinburgh, from which 
this resemblance is almost complete. From 
Torphin in pai-ticular, one of the low heads of 
the Pentlands, immediately above the village 
of Colinton, the landscape is exactly that of 
the vicinity of Athens as viewed from the 
bottom of Mount Anchesmus. Close upon the 
right, Brilessus is represented by the mound of 
Braid ; before us, in the abrupt and dark mass 
of the castle, rises the Acropolis ; the hill 
Lycabetus, joined to that of the Areopagus, 
appears in the Calton ; in the Firth of Forth, 
we behold the iEgean sea ; in Inch Keith, 
^gina; and the hills of the Peloponnesus are 
precisely those of the opposite coast of Fife. 
Nor is the resemblance less striking in the 
general characteristics of the scene ; for akhough 
we cannot exclaim, ' These are the Groves of 
the Academy, and that the Sacred Way ! ' yet, 
as on the Attic shore, we certainly here 
behold — 

*A country rich and gay, 
Broke into hills with balmy odours crown'd, 
And joyous oaks and groves, mountains and streams, 
And clustering towns, and monuments of fame, 
And scenes of glorious deeds, in little bounds.' 


" It is, iiideecl, most remarkable and astonish- 
ing, that two cities, placed so differently in every 
political and artificial circumstance, should 
naturally be so alike. Were the national 
monument to be erected upon the site of the 
present barracks in the Castle, an important 
additional feature of resemblance would be 
conferred upon the landscape, that being the 
corresponding position of the Parthenon in the 

It would, indeed, have added largely to the 
picturesque beauties of the ancient fortress of 
Scotland, had the space occupied by the bar- 
racks just named been appropriated to a 
structure of a more tasteful character. The 
old castle, however, notwithstanding the 
incongruity of this portion of it with its 
other parts, must be acknowledged to be one 
of the most romantic objects that can be 
found among the capitals of Europe. To use 
the language of one writer : " From what- 
ever side you approach the city — whether by- 
water or by land — whether your foreground 
consist of height or of plain, of heath, of trees, 
or of the buildings of the city itself — this 
gigantic rock lifts itself high above all that 
surrounds it, and breaks upon the sky with the 
same commanding blackness of mingled crags, 
cliffs, buttresses, and battlements. These, in- 
deed, shift and vary their outlines at every 
step, but everywhere there is the same un- 
moved effect of general expression — the same 
lofty and imposing image, to which the eye 


Kirns with the same unquestioning worship. 
Whether you pass on the southern side, close 
under the bare and shattered blocks of granite, 
where the crumbling turrets on the summit 
seem as if they had shot out of- the kindred 
rock in some fantastic freak of nature — and 
where, amidst the overhanging mass of dark- 
ness, you vainly endeavour to descry the 
track by which Wallace scaled — or whether 
you look from the north, where the rugged 
cliffs find room for some scanty patches of 
moss and broom, to diversify their barren grey 
— wherever you are placed, and however it 
is viewed, you feel at once that here is the 
eye of the landscape, and the essence of the 

'' Neither is it possible to say under what sky 
or atmosphere all this appears to the greatest 
advantage. The heavens may i>ut on what 
aspect they choose, they never fail to adorn it. 
Changes that elsewhere deform the face of 
nature, and rob her of half her beauty, seem 
to pass over this majestic surface only to dress 
out its majesty in some new appai'el of mag- 
nificence. If the air is cloudless and serene, 
what can be finer than the calm reposing 
dignity of those old towers — every delicate 
angle of the fissured rock, every loop-hole and 
every lineament seen clearly and distinctly in 
all their minuteness ? or, if the mist be 
wreathed around the base of the rock, and 
frowning fragments of the citadel emerge only 
here and there from out the racking clouds 


that envelope tliem, the mystery and the gloom 
only rivet the eye the faster, and the half-baffled 
imagination does more than the work of sight. 
At times, the -whole detail is lost to the eye — 
one murky tinge of impenetrable brown wraps 
rock and fortress from the root to the summit 
• — all is lost but the outline ; but the outline 
makes up abundantly for all that is lost. — The 
cold glare of the sun, plunging slowly down 
into a melancholy west beyond them, makes 
all the broken labyrinth of towers, battericv*, 
and house-tops paint their heavy breadth in 
tenfold sable magnitude upon that lurid 
canvass. — At break of day, how beautiful is 
the freshness with which the venerable pile 
ap[)ears to rouse itself from its sleep, and look 
up once more vv'ith a bright eye into the sharp 
and dewy air ! — At the " grim and sultry hour " 
of noon, with A\diat languid grandeur the broad 
flag seems to flap its long weight of folds above 
the glowing battlements ! When the daylight 
goes down in purple glory, what lines of gold 
creep along the hoary brow of its antique 
strength ! When the whole heaven is deluged, 
and the winds are roaring fiercely, and ' snow 
and hail, and stormy vapour,' are let loose to 
make war upon lus front, with what an air of 
pride does the veteran citadel brave all their 
well-known wrath, ' cased in the unfeeling 
armour of old time ! ' The Capitol itself is but 
a pigmy to this giant. 

" But here, as everywhere, moonlight is the 
best. Along all the spacious line of Prince's- 


street, the micliiight sliadows of the castle rock 
for ever spread themselves forth, and Avrap the 
ground in their broad repose of blackness. Ifc 
is not possible to imagine a more majestic 
accompaniment for the deep pause of that 
hour. The uniform splendour of the habita- 
tions on the left opening every now and then 
broken glimpses up into the very heart of the 
modern city — the magnificent terrace itself, 
with its staple breadth of surface— ^the fcAV 
dying lamps that here and there glimmer 
faintly — and no sound, but the heavy tread of 
some far-off watchman of the night — this alone 
might be enough, and it is more than almost 
any other city could afford. But turn to the 
right, and see what a glorious contrast is there. 
The rock sleeping in the stillness of nature — 
its cliffs of granite — its tufts of verdure — all 
alike steeped in the same unvarying hue of 
mystery — its towers and pinnacles rising like a 
grove of quiet poplars on its crest — the Avhole 
as colourless as if the sun had never shone 
there, as silent as if no voice of man had ever 
disturbed the echoes of the solemn scene. 
Overhead, the sky is all one breathless canopy 
of lucid crystal blue — here and there a small 
bright star twinkling in the depth of ajther — 
and full in the midst the moon Avalking in her 
vestal glory, pursuing her calm and destined 
Avay — and pouring down the silver of her 
smiles upon all of lovely and sublime that 
nature and art could heap together, to do 
homage to her radiance." 


The peculiarities of Edinburgh, apart from 
its romantic beauties, arise from the almost 
total absence of any of the characteristics of a 
commercial or manufacturing town ; while it 
derives a singular aspect from the predomi- 
nance of the legal profession, owing to its being 
the seat of legal administration both in civil 
and criminal cases of importance for the whole 
of Scotland. Added to this, its university, 
medical schools, and scholastic institutions, con- 
fer on it an academic air, not to be met with 
elsewhere beyond the Avails of Oxford and 
Cambridge. 13ut besides these sources of pecu- 
liarity, Edinburgh is the central heart of Pres- 
byterian Scotland. Thither, in the month of 
May, flock hundreds of clerical and lay repre- 
sentatives from every Scottish hill and dale to 
the great annual gatherings of the church, 
while thousands of interested and anxious 
auditors follow in their footsteps. The General 
Assembly of the Established Church of Scot- 
land meets amidst the pomp of representative 
royalty, and all the dignity which gathers 
around the state church. The Free Church 
Assembly, with numbers fully equal to the 
other, adds the attractions derived from the 
presence of many distinguished men who have 
borne a prominent part in her recent struggles 
and sacrifices for independence. The United 
Presbyterian church has her large annual 
assenibly also ; and bodies inferior in numbers, 
but animated by the same spirit, choose the sea- 
son of IMay for their yearly reumons. Amidst 


the bustle of formal business, and the pomp of 
royal state, the zeal of Christian emulation is 
also apparent. The missionaries of the gospel 
send their representatives from the east and 
the west, to tell to those at home what has 
been doing for the Redeemer's kingdom since 
last these assemblies met in the Scottish metro- 
polis. The friends of Christian missions, too, 
are not unfrequently gladdened by the sight of 
some native convert, come from afar to tell 
them what Jesus has done for his soul, and to 
^'enew the cry which rang not unavailingly in 
the ear of the great apostle of the Gentiles, 
" Come over, and help us." 

At this season, when the summer months 
are thus inaugurated by services not unfitted 
to recal to "the thoughtful mind the great 
gatherings to the feast, which annually brought 
the tribes of ancient Israel up to Jerusalem, all 
the most important questions of Christian phi- 
lanthropy are brought under review, and a 
fresh stimulus is given to the efforts for re- 
deeming the wretched outcasts of poverty and 
vice from the fearful destruction which has so 
long hovered over these pariahs of our great 
cities. The subject of education, in all its 
bearings, most frequently engages a large share 
of attention ; and the claims of charity and 
benevolence are not overlooked amidst the re- 
joicings of the season. 

The great assemblies of the Scottish churches 
having thus fulfilled their several duties, and 
borne their share in the auxiliary services 


which the muster of their members and friends 
give occasion to, the latter return to their 
homes; and it may be readily conceived how 
important must be the influence exerted by 
such a state of things, which thus concentrates 
for a time the leaders of Scottish society in the 
capital, to co-operate in duties such as we have 
described, and then disperses them over the 
country, to bear back to their homes the spirit 
thus awakened or reinvigorated, " Commis- 
sions," as they are styled, or smaller bodies 
deputed by these annual church courts, hold 
periodical and extraordinary meetings at other 
periods of the year in Edinburgh. 

In a previous portion of this chapter an 
allusion was made to those features of 
resemblance in architectural and other respects 
between the capitals of Scotland and Attica, 
which have given to the former the title of 
"Modern Athens." This appellation has been, 
however at times claimed for Edinburgh upon 
other grounds — as aptly designating the ckissic 
character of a city within which so many 
individuals of distinguished literary attainments 
have resided at various periods. Without 
pausing to discuss whether this epithet is of too 
ambitious a nature, we may fairly claim for the 
Scottish capital a high reputation, as having 
comprised within her circle a galaxy of 
literary and scientific men of European cele- 
brity. During the early part of the reign 
of George in., she was particularly rich in 
genius, and even towards the connnencement 


of the present century, the following pictuiti 
drawn by lord Cockbiirn, could not be con- 
sidered overcharged: — " There was diffused the 
influence of a greater number of persons at- 
tached to literature and science, some as their 
calling and some for pleasure, than could be 
found, in proportion to the population, in any 
other city in the empire. Within a few years, 
including the period I am speaking of, the 
college contained principal Robertson, Joseph 
Black, his successor Hope, the second Munro, 
James Gregory, John Kobison, John Playfair, 
and Dugald Stewart ; none of them confined 
monastically to their books, but all — except 
Kobison, who was in bad health — partaking 
of enjoyment. Episcopacy gave us the rev. 
Archibald Alison ; and in Blair, Henry, John 
Home, sir Harry MoncriefF, and others, Pres- 
bytery made an excellent contribution, the 
more to be admired that it came from a church 
which eschews rank and boasts of poverty. The 
law^ — to which Edinburgh has always been so 
largely indebted — sent its copious supplies ; 
who, instead of disturbing good company by 
professional matter — an offence with which the 
lawyers of every place are charged — were 
remarkably free from this vulgarity ; and being 
trained to take difference of opinion easily, and 
to conduct discussions with forbearance, Avere, 
without undue obtrusion, the most cheerful 
people that were to be met with. Lords Mon- 
boddo, Hailes, Glenlee, Meadowbank, and 
Woodhouselee, all literary judges, and Kobert 

CONCLrsTOl?. 1 89 

Blair, Henry Erskino, and Henry jNIackenzie, 
senior, were at the earlier end of this file ; 
Scott and Jeffrey at. the later ; but including a 
variety of valuable persons between these 
extremities. Sir William Forbes, sir James 
Hall, and Mr. Clerk, of Eldin, represented a 
class of country gentlemen cultivating learning 
on its own account. And there were several 
who, like the founder of the Huttonian theory, 
selected this city for their residence solely from 
the consideration in which science and letters 
were here held, and the facilities, or rather the 
temptations, presented for their prosecution. 
Philosophy had become indigenous in the place, 
and all classes, even in their gayest hours, were 
proud of the presence of its cultivators. Thus 
learning was improved by society, and society 
by learning. And, unless when party spirit 
interfered, which at one time, however, it did 
frequently and bitterly, perfect harmony and 
lively cordiality prevailed. 

*' And all this was still a Scotch scene. The 
whole country had not begun to be absorbed in 
the ocean of London. There w^ere still little 
great places — places with attractions quite suf- 
ficient to retain men of talent or learning in 
their comfortable and respectable provincial 
positions ; and which were dignified by the 
tastes and institutions which learning and talent 
naturally rear." 

Such was Edinburgh about the year 1800. 
The author of the passage just quoted seems, 
however, to lament that ihe glory of the scene 


lias been dimmed, und dreads apparently tlie 
influence of the English capital upon her 
northern sister. "At the period 1 am referring 
to," he observes, " the combination of quiet 
with aristocracy made Edinburgh the resort, 
to a far greater extent than it is now, of the 
iixmilies of the gentry, who used to leave their 
country residences and enjoy the pleasures 
which their presence tended to promote. Many 
of the curious characters and habits of the 
preceding age, the last purely Scotch age 
that Scotland was destined to see, still lingered 
among us. Several were then to be met Avith 
who had seen the Pretender, with his court 
and his wild followers, in the palace of Holyrood. 
Almost the whole official state, as settled at 
the Union, survived; and all graced the capital, 
imconscious of the economical scythe which 
has since mowed it down. All our nobility had 
not then fled. A few had sense not to feel 
degraded by being happy at home. The old 
town was not quite deserted. Many of our 
principal people still dignified its picturesque 
recesses and historical mansions, and were dig- 
nified by them. The closing of the continent 
sent many excellent English families and youth 
among us, for education and for pleasure. The 
war brightened us with uniforms, and strangers, 
and shows. According to the modern rate of 
travelling, the capitals of Scotland and of 
England were then about 2,400 miles asunder. 
Edinburgh was still more distant in its style 
and habits. It hud its own independent tastes, 


and ideas, and pursuits. Enough of tlie gene- 
ration that was retiring survived to cast an 
antiquarian air over the city ; and the genera- 
tion that was advancing was still a Scotch pro- 
duction. Its character may be estimated by 
the names I have mentioned ; and by the fact 
that the genius of Scott and of Jeffrey had 
made it the seat at once of the most popular 
poetry and the most brilliant criticism that 
then existed. The city has advantages — in- 
cluding its being the capital of Scotland, its old 
reputation, and its external beauties — which 
have enabled it, in a certain degree, to resist 
the centralizing tendency, and have hitherto 
always supplied it with a succession of eminent 
men. But now that London is at our door, 
how precarious is our hold of them, and how 
many have we lost ! " 

^Ye would be sIoav, however, to acquiesce in 
these forebodings, and would rather cherish the 
hope that Edinburgh may long possess increas- 
ing attractions, and advancing prosperity. 
Certain it is that she still numbers among her 
citizens a large and influential class, distin- 
guished for literary and scientific attainments, 
whose names, at the close of another half- 
century, will doubtless, in the retrospect of 
some future chronicler, be mentioned with a 
respect akin to that with which we now review 
the brilliant list enumerated by lord Cockburn. 

Literature, art, and science must, however, 
when beheld through a Christian medium, be 
regarded as only secondary objects in our 


estimate of the condition either of individuals 
or communities. When the apostle of old trod 
the streets of the capital of Attica, amidst her 
rows of stately temples, her breathing statues, 
and scenery of surpassing loveliness, his spirit 
was grieved because " he saw the city wholly 
given to idolatry." The altar erected to " the 
unknown God" proclaimed that the Greek, 
v/ith all his acquirements, was ignorant of that 
knowledge, without which all other is unavail- 
ing. Here, happily, any parallel between the 
ancient and modern Athens fails. 

That God, who was in the one city " igno- 
rantly worshipped," has been in the other, 
through the medium of his word, made known 
in all his great and glorious attributes. The 
solemn message of his word, that all have 
sinned and come short of his glory, has been 
there announced; while the tidings of his grace, 
that he has so loved us as to give his Son as 
a propitiation for sin through faith in his blood ; 
that he is just, and yet the justifier of him 
who believeth in Jesus, have been with equal ,J 
fulness announced. 

That Modern Edinburgh may long continue '^ 
a centre of evangelical light and truth, in- I 
creasingly diffusing blessings upon the com- i 
munity of which she is the capital, is the fervent 
aspiration with which we close these pages. 

"ct-ackbvkx and bu:^t, rRixTEiis, nOLBORK ittr.t, lontos. 

University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 

1 mii 

B 000 002 845 6