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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


JAMES V. TO ABDICA TION OF QUEEN MAR Y. 53 promptitude and success ; she summoned the nobility to Stirling, and urged on them the immediate assembly of another army. It was determined to despatch ambassadors to France with a request for instant aid; and at a council held there shortly after, it was resolved to Bend the young queen, then a beautiful child, in her sixth year, to the French Court, where she could pursue her education free from the dangers to which she was exposed in a country divided by rival factions, and exposed to almost constant war. By their victory at the battle of Ancrum, the Scots in some degree retrieved their ground, and they were shortly afterwards gratiiied by the opportune arrival of Monsieur D'Esse' in the Firth of Forth, as ambassador from the French Monarch, with a fleet of six score sail, bringing a reiuforcement of eight thousand French and one thousand Dutch troops, which were disembarked at Leith on the 16th of June 1548, along with a numerous train of artillery.' Monsieur D'EssB was the bearer of the warmest assurance of further aid in troops, money, and arms, from the French King, and a proposal that the ancient amity of the two nations should now be confirmed by a.marriage between his son, the Dauphin, and the Scottish Queen, whose education meanwhile he offered to superintend with the utmost care and affection. It need not be wondered at, that an alliance proposed in so very different a manner from the last, was properly acceded to by the Scottish Parliament. The Earl of Huntly, it is said, when desired to use his influence in favour of the marriage with Edward VI., after he had been taken prisoner, replied, that however he might like the match, he liked not the manner of wooing! ' Shortly after, Monsieur Villegagnon, set sail with four galleys from Leith, and passing round the north of Scotland, received the youthful Queen on board at Dumbarton. She was accompanied by her governors, the Lords Erskine and Livingston, and her natural brother, the Lord James, afterwards the famous Regent Murray, then in his seventeenth year. Along with her also embarked the Queen's four Maries, famous in Scottish song, selected as her playmates from the families of Livingston, Fleming, Seaton, and Beaton. What bruit," says Knox, in referring to them, '( the Maries, and the rest of the dancers of the Court had, the ballads of that age doe witness. " ' The English Government, on learning of this design, fitted out a fleet to intercept the Queen, but the squadron fortunately escaped every danger, and cast anchor in the harbour of Brest on the 13th of August 1548. The slow recovery even of the chief towns of the kingdom from such repeated ravages, i s apparent from the fact that Monsieur D'EssB, the French commander, on returning from the south, undertook the fortification of Leith, but such was its ruinous state from its frequent burnings, that no lodging could be found there for his men, and they were forced to seek accommodation in the neighbouring villages.' The fortification of Leith, however, exercised a most important influence upon it; people crowded from all parts to shelter themselves under the protection of its garrison ; and it speedily thereafter, as we shall find, became a place of great importance, when the conclusion of peace with England permitted the rival factions, into which the kingdom was already divided, to gain head and assume form and consistency. Maitland furnishes a detailed account of these fortihations, which had five ports, only . 1 Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 46. Tgtler, vol. vi. p. 51. Keith's History, Note, vol. i p. 133. Knox'a History of the Reformation, p. 373-4.-See Minstrehy of the Scottish Border for the old bsllad-''The Queen's Harie." ' Bishop Lealie, p. 216.
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54 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. one of which, called St Anthony's Gate, he was able to trace with certainty.' This port st&d at the north-west corner of St Anthony's Wynd, and some remains of the ancient bastion by which it was protected may still be seen 'in a neighbouring garden. This gate, as well as the street that now occupies its site, were so named from their picinity to the preceptory of St Anthony--a detailed account of which, as well as its aneient dependency on Arthur's Seat, will be found in a later part of the work. We have introduced here the view of a very curious house, the date of erection of which may be referred to this period. It stood on the west side of the Kirkgate, and wa8 only taken down in 1845. It had an inscription over the doorway, boldly cut --____~ _~ ~ --._-~ -- __~-_ __- ~~ _-_ =-- -_---__ -.__ \\ in old English letters- '4 ' 3Ebems flaria, Q and a niche above it, in which there had doubtless been a statue of the virgin and child. Local tradition pointed it out as a chapel founded by Mary of Guise, but apparently without any sufficient evidence. The English, before their last departure from Leith, had erected fortifications on the neighbouring island of Inchkeith, and left there a strong garrison, composed in part of a troop of Italian mercenaries in their pay, by whom it was held to the great detriment of vessels navigating the Firth. But now, as soon as Monsieur D'EssB had got the fortifications of Leith in a state of forwardness, a general attack was made upon Inchkeith, on Corpus Christi day, 1549,' by a combined force of Scotch and French troops, who embarked at break of day, in presence of the Queen Dowager ; when, after a fierce contest, the enemy were expelled from their stronghold, and .compelled to rjurrender at discretion, with the loss of their leader, and above 300 slain.' The island continued from that time to be held by a French garrison, on behalf of the Queen Dowager, until her death in 1560, and the remains of their fortifications are still visible there. But the Scottish nation were not long in experiencing the usual evils consequent on the employment of foreign troops. We have already, in an earlier part of the work,' given an illustration of the popular eatminxationo f such allies, and the gratitude of the common people on the present occasion does not seem to have been in any degree more sincere. Heartburnings and animosities had already been manifested during the campaign, and they at last broke out into open and fatal tumult in the capital. Maitland, p. 486. Bishop Lealie, p. 228. 8 Diurnal of OccurrentR, p. 48. * Chap. ii. p. 12.
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