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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


THE OLD TOWN GUARD. I35 The Tolbooth.] impartial rule of the Cromwellian period, formed the scene of many an act of stern discipline, when drunkards were compelled to ride the wooden horse, with muskets tied to their feet, and ? a drinking cup,? as Nicoll names it, on their head. ?? The chronicles of this place of petty durance, could they now be recovered, would furnish many an amusing scrap of antiquated scandal, interspersed at rare intervals with the graver deeds of such disciplinarians as the Protector, or the famous sack of the Porteous mob. There such fair offenders as the witty 2nd eccentric Miss Mackenzie, daughter of Lord Royston, found at times a night?s lodging, when she and her maid sallied out aspreux chma- Ciers in search of adventures. Occasionally even grave jidge or learned lawyer, surprised out of his official decorum by the temptation of a jovial club, was astonished, oh awaking, tu find himself within its impartial walls, among such strange bedfellows as the chances of the night had offered to its vigilant guardians.?? A slated building of one storey in height, it consisted of four apartments. In the western end was the captain?s room; there was also a ? Burghers? room,? for special prisoners ; in the centre was a common hall ; and at the east end was an apartment devoted to the use of the Tron-men, or city sweeps. Under the captain?s room was the black-hole, in which coals and refractory prisoners were kept. In I 785 this unsightly edifice was razed to the ground, an3 the soldiers of the Guard, after occupying the new Assembly Rooms, had their head-quarters finally assigned them on the ground floor of the old Tolbooth. It is impossible to quit our memorials of the latter without a special reference to the famous old City Guard, with which it was inseparably connected. In the alarm caused by the defeat at Flodden, all male inhabitants of the? city were required to be in arms and readiness, while twenty-four men were selected as a permanent or standing watch, and in them originated the City Guard, which, however, was not completely constituted until 1648, when the Town Council appointed a body of sixty men to be raised, whereof the captain was, says Amot, ?to have the monthly pay of LII 2s. 3d. sterling, two lieutenants of E2 each, two sergeants of AI 5s., three corporals of AI, and the private men 15s. each per month.? No regular fund being provided to defray this expense, after a time the old method of ?watching and warding,? every fourth citizen to be on duty in arms each night, was resumed; but those, he adds, on whom this service was incumbent, became so re- , - laxed in discipline, that the Privy Council informed the magistrates that if they did not provide an efficient guard to preserve order in the city, the regular troops of the Scottish army would be quartered in it Upon this threat forty armed men were raised as. a guard in 1679, and in consequence of an event which occurred in 1682, this number was increased to 108 men. The event referred to was a riot, caused by an attempt to carry off a number of lads who had been placed in the Tolbooth for trivial offences, to serve the Prince of Orange as. soldiers. As they were being marched to Leith, under escort, a crowd led by women attacked the latter. By order of Major Keith, commanding, the soldiers fired upon the people ; seven men and two women were shot, and twenty-two fell wounded. One of the women being with child, it was cut from her and baptised in the street. The excitement of this affair caused the augmentation of the guard, for whose maintenance a regular tax was levied, while Patrick Grahame, a younger son of Inchbraikiethe same officer whom Macaulay so persistently confounds with Claverhouse-was appointed captain, with the concurrence of the Duke of York and Albany. Their pay was 6d. daily, the drummers? IS., and the sergeants? IS. 6d. In 1685 Patnck Grahame, ? captain of His Majesty?s company of Foot, within the town of Edinburgh (the City Guard), was empowered to import 300 ells of English cloth of a scarlet colour, with wrappings and other necessaries, for the clothing of the corps, this being in regard that the manufactories are not able to furnish His Majesty?s (Scottish) forces with cloth and other necessaries.? After the time of the Revolution the number of the corps was very fluctuating, and for a period, after 1750, it consisted usually of only seventy-five men, a force most unequal to the duty to be done. ?The Lord Provost is commander of this useful corps,? wrote Amot, in 1779. ? The men are properly disciplined, and fire remarkably well. Within these two years some disorderly soldiers in one of the marching regiments, having conceived an umbrage at tha Town Guard, attacked them. They were double in number to the party of the Town Guard, who, in the scuffle, severely wounded some of their assailants, and made the whole prisoners.? By day they were armed with muskets and bayonets ; at night with Lochaber axes. They were mostly Highlanders, all old soldiers, many of whom had served in the Scots brigades in Holland. In the city they took precedence of all troops of the line. At a monthly inspection of the corps in 1789 the Lord Provost found a soldier in the ranks who had
Volume 1 Page 135
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