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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


202 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street. his history, that Andrew Murray, an aged Presbyterian minister, when he beheld the ferocious Sir Thomas Dalzell of Binns in his rusted headpiece, with his long white vow-beard which had never been profaned by steel since the execution of Charles I., riding at the head of his cavalier squadrons, who, flushed with recent victory, surrounded the prisoners with drawn rapiers and matches lighted; and when he heard the shouts of acclamation from the changeful mob, became so overpowered with grief at what he deemed the downfall for ever of ?the covenanted Kirk ol God,? that he became ill, and expired. In 1678 we find a glimpse of modern civilisation, when it was ordained that a passenger stage between Leith and Edinburgh should have a fixed place for receiving complaints, and for departure, between the heads of Niddry?s and the Blackfriars Wynds, in the High Street. The fare to Leith for two or three persons, in summer, was to be IS. sterling, or four persons IS. qd., the fare to the Palace gd., and the same returning. Carriages had been proposed for this route as early as 1610, when Henry Anderson, a Pomeranian, contracted to run them at the charge of 2s. a head; but they seem to have been abandoned soon after. Hackney camages, which had been adopted in London in the time of Charles I., did not become common in Scotland till after the Restoration,and almost the first use we hear of one being put to was when a duel took place, in 1667, between William Douglas of Whittingham and Sir John Home of Eccles, who was killed. With their seconds they proceeded in a hackney coach from the city to a lonely spot on the shore near Leith, where, after a few passes, Home was run through the body by Douglas, who was beheaded therefor. The year 1678 saw the first attempt to start a .stage from the High Street to Glasgow, when on the 6th of August a contract was entered into between the magistrates of that city and a merchant of Edinburgh, by which it was agreed that ?the said William Hume shall have in readiness one sufficient strong coach, to run betwixt Edinburgh and Glasgow, to be drawn by six able horses ; to leave Edinburgh ilk Monday morning, and return again-God willing-ilk Saturday night ; the burgesses of Glasgow always to have a preference in the coach.? As the undertaking was deemed arduous, and not to be accomplished without assistance, the said magistrates agreed to give Hume two hundred merks yearly for five years, whether passengers went or not, in consideration of his having actually received two years? premium in advance. Even with this pecuniary aid the speculation proved unprofitable, and was abandoned, so little was the intercourse between place and place in those days. In the end of the 17th century-and for long after-it was necessary for persons desirous of proceeding from.Edinburgh to London by land, to club for the use of a conveyance; and about the year 1686, Sir Robert Sibbald, His Majesty?s physician, relates, that ?? he was forced to come by sea, for he could not ride, by reason that the fluxion had fallen on his arme, and that he could not get companie to come in a coach.? And people, before their departure, always made their wills,? took solemn farewell of their friends, and asked to be prayed for in the churches. The Edinburgh of 1687, the year before the Revolution, actually witnessed the sale of a dancinggirl, a transaction which ended in a debate before the Lords of the Privy Council. On the 13th of January, in that year, as reported by Lord Fountainhall, Reid, a mountebank prosecuted Scott of Harden and his lady, ?for stealing away from him a little girl called The TumbZing Lam+ that danced upon a stage, and produced a contract by which he had bought her from her mother for thirty pounds Scots (about Az 10s. sterling). But we have no slaves in Scotland,? adds his lordship, ?and mothers cannot sell their bairns; and physicians attested that the employment of tumbling would kill her, her joints were even now growing stiff, and she declined to return, though she was an apprentice, and could not run away from her master.? Then some of the Privy Council in the canting spirit of the age, ?? quoted Moses? Law, that if a servant shelter himself with thee, against his master?s cruelty, thou shalt not deliver him up.? The Lords therefore assoilzied (i.e., acquitted) Harden, who had doubtless been moved only by humanity and compassion. By the year 1700 the use of privatecarriages in the streets had increased so much that when the principal citizens went forth to meet the King?s Commissioner, there were forty coaches, with 1,200 gentlemen on horseback, with their mounted lackeys. In 1702, at 10 o?clock on the evening of the I zth March, Colonel Archibald Row of the Royal Scots Fusileers (now zIst Foot), arrived express in Edinburgh, to announce the death of William of Orange, at Kensington Palace, on the 8th of the same month. It consequently took three days and a half for this express to reach the Scottish capital, a day more than that required by Robert Cary, to bring intelligence of the death of Elizabeth, ninetynine years before. Monteith in his ?Theatre of
Volume 2 Page 202
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