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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


ran?s family were too rich to be bribed, and clamoured that they would have blood for blood. On the other hand, ?friends threatened death to a l l the people of Edinburgh if they did.the child any harm, saying they were not wise who meddled with scholars, especially gentlemen?s sons,? and Lord Sinclair, as chief of the family to which the young culprit belonged, moved boldly in his behalf, and procured the intercession of King James with the magistrates, and in the end all the accused got free, including the slayer of the Bailie, who lived to become Sir William Sinclair of hfey, in 1631, and the husband of Catharine ROSS, of Balnagowan, and from them the present Earls of Caithness are descended. When the brother of the Queen Consort, the Duke of Holstein, visited Edinburgh in March, t593, and as Moyse tells us, ?was received and welcomed very gladly by Her Majesty, and used every way like a prince,? after sundry entertainments at Holyrood, Ravensheugh, and elsewhere, a grand banquet was given him in the house of the late Bailie Macmorran by the city of Edmburgh. The King and Queen were present, ? with great solemnity and merriness,? according to Birrel. On the 3rd of June the Duke embarked at Leith, under a salute of sixty pieces of cannon from the bulwarks, and departed with his gifts, to Wit-1,ooo five-pound pieces and 1,000 crowns, a hat and string valued at IZ,OOO pounds (Scots?), and many rich chains and jewels. The Bailie?s initials, I. M., are on the pediments that ornament his house, which after passing through several generations of his surname, became the residence of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik. ?By him,? says Wilson, ?it was sold to Sir Roderick Mackenzie, of Preston Hall, appointed tr senator of the College of Justice in 1702, who resided in the upper part of the house at the same time that Sir John Mackenzie Lord Royston, third son of the celebrated Earl of Cromarty, one of the wittiest and most gifted men of his time, occupied the low flat. Here, in all probability, his witty and eccentric daughter Anne was born and brought up. This lady, who married Sir William Dick of Prestonfield, carried her humorous pranks to an excess scarcely conceivable in our decorous days j sallying out occasionally in search of adventures, like some of the maids of honour of Charles II.?s Court, dressed in male attire, with. her maid for a squire. She seems to have possessed more wit than discretion.? Riddell?s Close was of old an eminently aristocratic quarter. Lower down the street Fisher?s Close adjoined it, and therein stood, till 1835, the residence of the ducal house of Buccleuch, which was demolished in that year to make way for Victoria Terrace. On the east side of an open court, beyond the Roman Eagle Hall-a beautiful specimen of an ancient saloon-stood the mansion of William Little of Craigmillar (bearing the date 1570)~ whose brother Clement was the founder of the university library, for in 1580, when commissary of the city, he bequeathed ?to Edinburgh and the Kirk of God,? all his books, 300 volumes in number. These were chiefly theologicaL works, and were transferred by the town council td the university. Clement Little was not without having a share in the troubles of those days, and on the 28th of April, 1572, with others, he was proclaimed at the market cross, and deprived of his office, for rebellion against Queen Mary ; but the proclamation failed to be put in force. His son was Provost of the city in 1591. Clement and William Little were buried in the Greyfriars? churchyard, where a great-grandson of the latter erected a tomb to their memory in 1683.~ Little?s Close appears as Lord Cullen?s in Edgar?s map of 1742, so there had also resided that famous lawyer and judge, Sir Francis Grant of Cullen, who joined the Revolution party in 1688, who distinguished himself in the Convention of 1689 by his speech in favour of confemng the cram of Scotland on William and Mary of Orange, and thus swayed the destinies of the nation. He was raised to the bench in 1709. His friend Wodrow has recorded the closing scene of his active life in this old alley, on the 16th of March, 1726. ?Brother,? said the old revolutionist, to one who informed him that his illness was mortal, ?you have brought me the best news ever I heard ! ? ?? And,? adds old Robert Wodrow, ?that day when he died was without a czoud.? _- Menteth?s ??Iheatrc of Mortality.?? Eh, 1704.
Volume 1 Page 111
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