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LEITH. 99 an outrage he was particularly commanded to commit. And so, having accomplished the object of the invasion, he re-embarked with his victorious forces, proud of their success and laden with spoil, committing, however, on leaving, the port and its shipping to the flames. Leith, only three years afterwards, was again visited by the same scourge, now Duke of Somerset, and again suffered by fire at his hand, although not to the same extent. Not that he on that occasion was less relentless, or not so much bent on damaging and destroying Scottish property; but simply because he then met with a stouter resistance, and had less opportunity. Still he left his mark on this, as on the former occasion, and Leith has no reason to remember with gratitude the visits, or presence among them, of this fierce and pitiless firebrand of war. A few years subsequent to this, and Leith again comes prominently to the front. Hardly any event indeed of any great national importance occurred without the port being in some way, less or more, closely connected with it. Now were the days of the Reformation struggle, when Popery and Protestantism fought a fierce hand-to-hand battle with varying fortune. Mary of Lorraine was then Regent, and did her best to crush the rising spirit of rebellion as directed against prelacy and despotism ; the reformers, on the other hand, brave-hearted and fearless men, dared to despise the decrees and enactments of royalty, and bade defiance to the uplifted arm, though sceptred with the golden rod of sovereignty. For a good wide the battle went on with little advantage to either side; neither party inclined to sheathe the sword, each being eagerly bent upon victory, and determined to put down and trample out the other. The right, however, ultimately prevailed. Popery went to the wall, and Protestantism triumphed, but it was at a fearful cost of life and treasure. Mary of Lorraine, when the palace was no longer safe for her, retired thither and fortified it, garrisoning it with a body of French troops. The wall which was then thrown up was, as it appears, of an octangular form with eight bastions at so many angles ; and following the line of the present Bernard and Constitution Streets, from nearly the west end of the latter, it pursued a northerly direction towards the river. Here a wooden bridge, about 115 yards below the present erection at the west end of Great Junction Street, connected the continuation of the wall which reached to the citadel, and then taking an easterly course terminated at Sandport Street. The bastions were of great strength, and the wall was entirely built of stone. It had several ports or gates, the chief of which was ' Leith figures very largely in this struggle.
Volume 11 Page 152
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