Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Volume 3 Page 32
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
33 Canongate.] THE EARL OF SEAFIELD-AND THE UNION. matures were affixed to the Act of Union, while the cries of the exasperated mob rang in the streets without the barred gates. When James VII. so rashly urged those measures in 1686 which were believed to be a prelude to the re-establishment of the Catholic hierarchy, under the guise of toleration, a new Scottish ministry was formed, but chiefly consisting of members of the king?s own faith. Among these w i s the proprietor of this old house, Alexander Earl of Moray, a recent convert from Protestantism, then Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament, and as such the representative of royalty in festive hall as well as the Senate j and his mansion, being Lord Lorne?s marriage-that Lorne better known .as the luckless Earl of Argyle-with Lady Mary Stuart, of the House of Moray. In the highest terrace of the old garden an ancient thorn-tree was pointed out as having been planted by Queen Mary-a popular delusion, born of the story that the house had belonged to her hother, the subtle Regent ; but there.long remained ahe old stone summer-house, surmounted by two foul and degrading bribery connected with that event took place within its walls, may safely be inferred from the fact that it was the residence of the Earl of Seafield,.then Lord High Chancellor, and one of the commissioners for the negotiation of the treaty, by which he pocketed j64g0, paid by the Earl of Godolphin: and he it was who, on giving the royal assent by touching the Act of Union with I the sceptre, said, with a brutal laugh, ?? There?s an ? end of an auld sang.? From those days Moray House ceased, like many others, to be the scene of state pageantries. For a time it became the ofice of the British Linen Company?s Bank. Then the entail was broken in the very centre of what was then the most aristocratic quarter of the city, was admirably suited for his courtly receptions, all the more so that about that period the spacious gardens on the south were, like those of Heriot?s Hospital, a kind of public promenade or lounging place, as would appear chiefly from a play called ? The Assembly,? written by the witty Dr. Pitcairn in 1692. The union of the kingdoms is the next historical
Volume 3 Page 33
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures