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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


70 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Edinburgh Castle. ?? by a net tied to an iron ring ; he fell and fractured by Miss Balrnain, who remained in her stead, and who was afterwards allowed to go free. , In 1752 the Castle received a remarkable prisoner, in the person of James Mhor Macgregor of Bohaldie, the eldest of the four sons of,Rob Roy, who had lost his estate for the part he had taken in the recent civil strife, ?and holding a major?s commission under the old Pretender.? Robin Oig Macgregor, his younger brother, having conceived that he would make his fortune by at his captious employers. ~ ?An old and tattered great-coat enveloped him ; he had donned a leather apron, a pair of old shoes, and ribbed stockings. A red night-cap was drawn to his ears, and a. broad hat slouched over his eyes.? He quitted the Castle undiscovered, and left the city without delay; but his flight was soon known, the city gates were shut, the fortress searched, and every man who had been on duty was made a prisoner. A court-martial, consisting of thirteen officers, sat - considered as the chief instigator of this outrage, thus the vengeance of the Crown was directed against him rather than Robin, ?who was considered but a half-wild Highlandman ; ? and in virtue of a warrant of fugitation issued, he was arrested and tried. The Lords of Justiciary found him guilty, but in consequence of some doubts, or informality, sentence of death was delayed until the 20th of November, 1752. In consequence of an expected rescue-meditated by Highlanders who served in the city as caddies, chairmen, and city guards, among whom Macgregor? s bravery at Prestonpans, seven years before, made him popular-he was removed by a warrant from the Lord Justice Clerk, addressed to General Churchill, from the Tolbooth to the Castle, there to be kept in close confinement till his fatal day amved. But it came to pass, that on the 16th of November, one of his daughters-a tall and very handsome girl-had the skill and courage to disguise herself as a lame old cobbler, and was ushered into his prison, bearing a pair of newlysoled shoes in furtherance of her scheme. The sentinels in the adjacent corridors heard Lady Bohaldie scolding the supposed cobbler with considerable asperity for some time, with reference to the indifferent manner in which his work had been his- skull,? on tlie rock facing Livingstone?s Yards, -the old tilting ground, oin the south side of the Castle? rock. This was a singularly unfortunate man in his domestic relations. His eldest son was taken prisoner at Carlisle, and executed there with the barbarity then usual. His next son, Thomas, was poisoned by his wife, the famous and beautiful Katherine Nairne (who escaped), but whose paramour, the third son, Lieutenant Patrick Ogilvie of the 89th or old Gordon Highlanders (disbanded in 1765), was publicly hanged in the Grassmarket. In July, 1753, the last of those who were tried for loyalty to the House of Stuart was placed in the Castle-Archibald Macdonald, son of the aged Cole Macdonald of Barrisdale, who died a captive there in 1750. Arraigned as a traitor, this unfor. tunate gentleman behaved with great dignity before the court; he admitted that he was the person accused, but boldly denied the treason, and asserted his loyalty to his lawful king. ?On the 30th March he was condemned to die; but the vengeance of the Government had already been glutted, and after receiving various successive reprieves, young Barrisdale was released, and permitted to return to the Western Isles.? From this period till nearly the days of Waterloo the Castle vaults were invariably used in every war
Volume 1 Page 70
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