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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


High Street.] THE DEATH OF KNOX. 215 same chamber, was so sodainly amazed that she took sickness and dyed ;I, an absurd fabrication, as in the year after his death a pension was granted to her and her three daughters, and she is known to have been alive till about the end of the sixteenth century. In that old house, the abode of plebeians now, have sat and debated again and again such men as the Regent Murray, the cruel and crafty Morton, the Lords Boyd, Ruthven, Ochiltree, and the half-savage Lindsay- ? He whose iron eye Oft saw fair Mary weep in vain; ? Johnstone of Elphinstone, Fairiie, Campbell of Kinyeoncleugh, Douglas of Drumlanrig, and all who were the intimates of Knox ; and its old walls have witnessed much and heard much that history may never unravel. It was while resident here that Knox?s enemies are said-for there is little proof of the statement -to have put a price upon his head, and that his most faithful friends were under the necessity of keeping watch around it during the night, and of appointing a guard for the protection of his person at times when he went abroad. When under danger of hostility from the queen?s garrison in the Castle, in the spring of 1571, M?Crie tells us that ?one evening a musket-ball was fired in at his window and lodged in the roof of the apartment in which he was sitting. It happened that he sat at the time in a different part of the room from that which he had been accustomed to occupy, otherwise the ball, from the direction it took, must have struck him.? It was probably after this that he retreated for a time to St. Andrews, but he returned to his manse in the end of August, 1572, while Kirkaldy was still vigorously defending the fortress for his exiled queen. His bodily infirmities now increased daily, and on the 11th of November he was attacked with a cough which confined him to bed. Two days before that he had conducted the services at the induction of his colleague, Mr. James Lawson, in St. Giles?s, and though he was greatly debilitated, he performed the important duties that devolved upon him with something of his wonted fire and energy to those who heard him for the last time. He then came down from the pulpit, and leaning on his staff, and supported by his faithful secretary, Richard Bannatyne (one account says by his wife), he walked slowly down the street to his own house, accompanied by the whole congregation, watching, for the last time, his feeble steps. During his last illness, which endured about a fortnight, he was visited by many of the principal nobles and reformed preachers, to all of whom he gave much advice; and on Monday, the 24th of November, 1572, he expired in his sixty-seventh year, having been born in 1505, during the reign of James IV. From this house his body was conveyed to its last resting-place, on the south side of St. Gileo?s, accompanied by a mighty multitude of all ranks, where the newly-appointed Regent Morton pronounced over the closing grave his well-known eulogiuni. That eastern nook of the old city, known as the Nether Eow has many associations connected with it besides the manse of Knox Therein was the abode of Robert Lekprevik, one of the earliest of Scottish printers, to whose business it is supposed Bassandyne succeeded on his removal to St. Andrews in 1570; and there, in 16 13, the authorities discovered that a residenter named James Stewart, ? commonly called James of Jerusalem, a noted Papist, and re-setter of seminary prints,? was wont to have mass celebrated in his house by Robert Philip, a priest returned from Rome. Both men were arrested and tried on this charge, together with a third, John Logan, portioner, of Restalrig, who had formed one of the small and secret congregation in Stewart?s house in the Nether Bow. ?One cannot, in these days of tolerance,? says Dr. Chambers, ? read without a strange sense of uncouthness the solemn expressions of horror employed in the dittays of the king?s advocates against the offenders, being precisely the same expressions that were used against heinous offences of a more tangible nature.? Logan was fined LI,OOO, and compelled to express public penitence; and Philip and Stewart were condemned to banishment from the realm of Scotland. In the Nether Bow was the residence of James Sharp, who had been consecrated with great pomp at Westminster, as Archbishop of St. Andrews, on the 15th of November, 1661-a prelate famous for his unrelenting persecution of the faithful adherents of the Covenant which followed his elevation, and justly increased the general odium of his character, and who perished under the hands of pitiless assassins on Magus Muir, in 1679. Nicoll, the diarist, tells us, that on the 8th of May, 1662, all the newly consecrated bishops were convened in their gowns at the house of the Archbishop, in the Nether Bow, from whence they proceeded in state to the Parliament House, conducted by two peers, the Earl of Kellie (who had been
Volume 2 Page 215
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