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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


bosom of Belhaven, the Earl Marischal, after having opposed the Union in all its stages, refused to be present at this degrading ceremony, and was represented by his proxy, Wilson, the Clerk of Session, who took a long protest descriptive of the regalia, and declaring that they should remain within the said crown-room, and -never be removed from it without due intimation being made to the Earl Marischal. A copy of this protest, beautifully illuminated, was then deposited with the regalia, a linen cloth was spread over the whole, and the great oak chest was secured by three ponderous locks; and there for a hundred and ten years, amid silence, obscurity, and dust, lay the crown that had sparkled on the brows of Bruce, on those of the gallant Jameses, and on Mary?s auburn hair -the symbols of Scotland?s elder days, for which so many myriads of the loyal, the brave, and the noble, had laid down their lives on the battle-field -neglected and forgotten.? Just four months after this obnoxious ceremony, and while the spirit of antagonism to it rose high in the land, a gentleman, with only thirty men, undertook to surprise the fortress, which had in it now a party of but thirty-five British soldiers, to guard the equivalent money, ~400,000, and a great quantity of Scottish specie, which had been called in to be coined anew. In the memoirs of Kerr of Kerrsland we are told that the leader of this projected surprise was to appear with his thirty followers, all well armed, at noon, on the esplanade, which at that hour was the chief lounge of gay and fashionable people. Among these they were to mingle, but drawing as near to the barrier gate as possible. While affecting to inquire for a friend in the Castle, the leader was to shoot the sentinel ; the report of his pistol was to he the signal on which his men were to draw their swords, and secure the bridge, when a hundred men who were to be concealed in a cellar near were to join them, tear down the Union Jack, and hoist the Colours of James VIII. in its place. The originator of this daring scheme -whose name never transpired-having commu. nicated it to the well-known intriguer, Kerr of Kerrsland, while advising him to defer it till the chevalier, then expected, was off the coast, he secretly gave information to the Government, which, Burnbank was a very debauched character, who is frequently mentioned in Penicuick?s satirical poems, to put it in a state of defence ; but the great magazine of arms, the cannon, stores, and 495 barrels of powder, which had been placed there in 1706, had all been removed to England. ?But,? says a writer, this was only in the spirit of centralisation, which has since been brought to such perfection.? In 1708, before the departure of the fleet of Admiral de Fourbin with that expedition which the appearance of Byng?s squadron caused to fail, a plan of the Castle had been laid, at Versailles, before a board of experienced engineer officers, who unanimously concluded that, with his troops, cannon, and mortars, M. de Gace would carry the place in a few hours. A false attack was to be made on the westward, while three battalions were to storm the outworks on the east, work their way under the half-moon, and carry the citadel. Two Protestant bishops were then to have crowned the prince in St. Giles?s church as James VIII. ?I The equivalent from England being there,? says an officer of the expedition, ?would have been a great supply to us for raising men (having about 400 officers with us who had served in the wars in Italy), and above 100 chests in money.? Had M. de Gace actually appeared before the fortress, its capture would not have cost him much trouble, as Kerrsland tells us that there were not then four rounds of powder in it for the batteries ! On the 14th of December, 1714 the Castle was: by a decree of the Court of Session, deprived of its ancient ecclesiastical right of sanctuary, derived from and retained since the monastic institution of David I., in I 128. Campbell of Burnbank, the storekeeper, being under caption at the instance of a creditor, was arrested by a messenger-at-arms, on which Colonel Stuart, the governor, remembering the right of sanctuary, released Campbell, expelled the official, and closed the barriers. Upon this the creditor petitioned the court, asserting that the right of sanctuary was lost. In reply it was asserted that the Castle was not disfranchised, and that the Castle of Edinburgh, having anciently been rmtrurn pueZZarum, kas originally a religious house, as well as the abbey of Holyrood.? But the Court decided that it had no privilege of sanctuary ?to hinder the king?s letters, and ordained Colonel Stuart to deliver Burnbank to a messenger.? organised among the Hays, Keiths, and Murrays, and was employed by ?Nicoll Muschat of ill On tidings of this, the Earl of Leven, governor When the seventies exercised by George I. upon
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