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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


330 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. 1174S- . to England or theremote districts of Scotland. The old Chevalier was proclaimed as James VIII., in all large towns where, and particularly in the capital, the concealed friends of his cause avowed their sentiments, and joined the old Jacobites in drinking deep potations to a prince, who, as his organ the Caledonian Mercury, had it, ?? could eat a dry crust, sleep on pease straw, take his dinner in four minutes, and win a battle in five.? The ladies especially, by their enthusiasm, contributed not a little to produce great action in his favour. ?All Jacobites,? wrote President Forbes at this time, to Sir Andrew Mitchell, ? how prudent soever, became mad ; all doubtful people became Jacobites; all bankrupts became heroes, and talked of nothing but hereditary rights and victory. And what was more grievous to men of gallantry-and, if you will believe me, much more mischievous to the public -all the fine ladies, if you will except one or two, became passionately fond of the young adventurer, and used all their arts and industry for him in the most temperate manner.? Meanwhile the gamson in the Castle obtained from certain Whig friends a supply of provisions, which, by ropes, they drew up in barrels and baskets, on the west side of the rock ; but neither the Highlanders nor the citizens suffered any molestation till the night of the 25th September, when the veteran Preston, on going his rounds in a wheelchair, being alarmed by a sound like that of goats scrambling among the rocks, he declared it to be a Highland escalade, and opened a fire of musketry and cannon from Drury?s battery, beating down several houses in the West Port. In consequence of this the prince strengthened his picket at the Weigh-house, to prevent all intercourse with the fortress, upon which Preston wrote to Provost Stewart, intimating that unless free communication was permitted he would open- a heavy cannonade. On this, the town council represented to the prince the danger in which the city stood. ? Gentlemen,? he replied, <?I ani equally concerned and surprised at the barbarity of those who would bring distress upon the city for what its inhabitants have not the powei to prevent; but if, out of compassion, I should Temove my guards from the Castle, you might with equal reason require me to abandon the city.? He also assured them that the injuries of the citizens would be repaid out of the estates of the 0fficers.h the Castle, ?and that reprisals would be made upon all who were known abettors of the German government.? General Preston being further informed that his brother?s house at Valleyfield would be destroyed, he replied that in that case he would cause the war-ships in the Forth to burn down Wemyss Castle, the seat of Lord Elcho?s father; but after some altercation with the council, the grim veteran agreed to suspend hostilities till he received fresh orders from London. Next day, however, owing to some misunderstanding, the Highland picket fired on certain persons who were conveying provisions into the Castle, the guns of which opened on the Weigh-house, killing and wounding several in the streets. Charles retaliated by enforcing a strict blockade ; and, in revenge, Preston?s gamson fired on every Highlander that came in sight. On this, by order of the Adjutant-General, Lord George Murray, the picket was removed to the north side of the High Street ; but, as it was found inconvenient to relieve the post by corps, the gallant Lochiel undertook the entire blockade with his Camerons, who for that purpose were placed in the Parliament House. Several loose characters, among whom was Daddie Ratcliff-who occupies so prominent a post in Scott?s ?Heart of Midlothian ?-dressed as Highlanders, committed some outrages and robberies ; but all were captured and shot, chiefly by Perth?s Regiment, on Leith Links. Charles contemplated the summons of a Scottish Parliament, but contented himself with denouncing, on the 3rd of October, ?? the pretended Parliament summoned by the Elector of Hanover at Westminster,? and declaring it treason for the Scots to attend. On the preceding day the following proclamation was issued from Holyrood. ?CHARLES P. R. being resolved that no communication ?shall be open between the Castle and town of Edinburgh during our residence in the capital, and to prevent the bad effects of reciprocal firing, from thence and from our troops, whereby the houses and inhabitants of our city may innocently suffer, we hereby make public notice, that none shall dare, without a special pass, signed by our secretary, upon pain of death, either resort to, or come from the said Castle, upon any pretence whatsoever ; with certification of any persons convicted of having had such intercourse, after this our proclamation shall immediately be carried to execution. Given at our palace of Holyrood House, 2nd Oct., 1745. Another guard was posted the next day at the West Church, while the Camerons began to form a trench and breastwork below the reservoir across the Castle Hill, but were compelled to retire under a fire of cannon from the Half-moon, and musketry from the [email protected], with the loss of some killed and wounded. Among the former was me officer. Another picket was now placed at (Signed) J. MURRAY.?
Volume 2 Page 330
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