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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


I 0 6 . MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. their will. The magnificent carved stalls, which had just been completed, and all the costly fittings of the Chapel were devoted to destruction, and the fine old fabric only abandoned when its newly-completed decorations had been reduced to an unsightly heap of ruins. Other acts of violence were perpetrated by the rioters; and the students again testified their zeal, by marching in triumphal procession to the Cross, with banda of music, and the College mace borne before them, and there again burning the effigy of the Pope. On the assembly of the Parliament, the Bishop of Edinburgh prayed for the welfare and restoration of King James, and the Episcopal body generally maintained their fidelity to the exiled Prince, the well-known consequence of which was the restoration of Presbytery as the national religion, and the expulsion of the recently-created Bishops from their sees. On the 11th of April 1688, William and Mary were proclaimed at the Cross, King and Queen of Scotland. The Castle was still held by the Duke of Clordon for King James, while Viscount Dundee, after a brief conference with its commander, in which he endeavoured to induce the Duke to accompany him to the Highlands, engaged him to hold out that fortification, while he went north to raise the friends of the King. The citizens were filled with the utmost alarm at the news of this interview. The drums beat to arms, and a body of troops, which the Duke of Hamilton had quartered in the city, was called out to pursue Dundee, but no serious consequences resulted; and the Duke of Gordon, being almost destitute of provisions, at length yielded up the Castle on the 13th of June 1689, the last considerable place of strength that had remained in the interest of the exiled Monarch. In 1695, the grand national project of the Darien expedition was set on foot, and a company formed for establishing a settlement on the Isthmus of Darien, and fitting out ships to trade with Africa and the Indies. The highest anticipations were excited by this project. The sum of 2,400,000 sterling waa speedily subscribed, and a numerous body embarked for the new settlement. When intelligence reached Edinburgh of the company having effected a landing at Darien, and successfully repelled the attacks of the Spaniards, thanksgivings were offered up in all the churches, and a general illumination made throughout the city. The mob further testified their joy, by securing the city ports ; and then setting fire to the Old Tolbooth door, they liberated the prisoners incarcerated for printing seditious publications. The indignation of the populace was no less vehement on the failure of this national project than their joy at its first success. The prison was again forcibly opened, the windows of all obnoxious citizens were broken ; and such violence was shown, that the Commissioner and officers of state were compelled to leave the city for some days, to escape the vengeance of the infuriated multitude. The Old Darien House still stands' within the extended line of the city wall, near the Bristo Port, a melancholy and desolate looking memorial of that unfortunate enterprise. It is a substantial and somewhat handsome structure, in the French style, and with the curious high-pitched roof which prevailed in the reign of William 111. It has more recently been abandoned to the purposes of a pauper lunatic asylum, and is popularly known by the name of Redlam. A melancholy association attaches to a more modern portion of it towards the 1 The Darien House was entirely demolished in 1871 ; and its site ia now occupied by several bloclw of buildings, on the walla of one of which is B tablet indicating where it stood.
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HISTORICAL INCIDENTS AFTER THE RESTORATION. 107 south, as having been the scene where poor Ferguson, that unhappy child of genius, so wretchedly terminated his brief career. The building bears, on an ornamented tablet above the main entrance, the date 1698, surmounted by a sun-dial. The only relic of its original grandeur that has survived its adaptation to later purposes, is a handsome and very substantial stone balustrade, which guardtl the broad flight of steps leading to the first floor. A remarkable course of events followed on the failure of the Darien scheme, attended with riots of the same desperate character as those commonly perpetrated by the populace of Edinburgh when under the influence of unusual excitement. In 1702, a vessel belonging to the East India Company, which entered the Frith of Forth, waB seized by the Scottish Government, by way of reprisal, for the unjust detention in the Thames of one belonging to the Scottish African Company. In the course of a full and legal trial, the captain and crew were convicted, in a very singular manner, of piracy and murder committed on the mate and crew of a Scottish vessel in the East Indies. The evidence, however, appeared to some influential parties insuEcient to justify their condemnation, and the utmost excitement was created by attempts to procure a pardon for them. The report having been circulated that a reprieve had been granted, the mob assaulted the Lord Chancellor while passing the Tron Church in his carriage, on his return from the Privy Council. The windows were immediately smashed, the Chancellor dragged out, and thrown upon the street ; and he was rescued with great difficulty from the infuriated multitude by an armed body of his friends. The tumult was only appeased at last by the public execution of the seamen. In the Parliament which assembled in June 1705, the first steps were taken in Scotland with a, view to the Union between the two kingdoms. The period was peculiarly unfavourable for the accomplishment of a project against which so many prejudices were arrayed. The popular mind was already embittered by antipathies and jealousies excited by the recent failure of the favourite scheme of colonisation, and the plan for a Union was almost universally regarded as an attempt to sacrifice their independence, and establish VIGNETTE-The Darien Eouae.
Volume 10 Page 117
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