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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


354 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [The Meadows ?upwards of eighty years of age, as captain-general, and the Earl of Wemyss as lieutenant-general, marched at the head of the Royal Archers, with colours flying, from the Parliament Square to Holyrood, and thence to Leith, wbere they shot for the Edinburgh Arrow, and returned with similar parade, receiving from all guards and troops the honours that are paid to the regular army ; but in the following year (1715), the Earl of Cromartie being dead, they vere led by the Earl of Wemyss to a similar parade. On the 16th of June a letter addressed to Wodrow says :-? Upon Monday last the Royal Company of Archers, consisting of about zoo, all clad in the old Scottish garb, made their parade through this town and in Leith; they all consist of Jacobites, except five or six At night they came to the playhouse, and betwixt the acts they desired Sir Thomas Dalzell (who is mad) to order the musicians to play that air called ?Let the King enjoy his own again.? After it was over, the whole house clapp?d 3 times lowd, but a few hissed.?? These facts serve to show that what was called the Royal Ccmpany of Archers all through the reigns of Anne and George I. was really a sodality, composed exclusively of the Jacobite aristocracyin short, a marked muster for the House of Stuart. Their leaders were, and have been always, nobles of the highest rank; they had ?their adjutant and other officers, their colours, music, and uniforms, and pretty effective military organisation and appearance.? (? Dom. Ann.?) Their dress was tartan, trimmed with green silk fringe ; their bonnets were trimmed with green and white ribbons, with St. Andrew?s cross in front; their horns and swords were decorated with green and white ribbons, and the dresses of the officers were laid over with rich silver lace. We are told that ?the cavalier spirit of Allan Ramsay glowed at seeing these elegant specimens of the Arisior? of Scotland engaged at butts and rovers, and poured itself forth in verses to their praise.? After the futile insurrection of 1715, the Archers made no parade for nine years; bur on James, Duke of Hamilton, K.T., being chosen captaingeneral, they marched to Musselburgh in 1724, and afterwards occasionally till, the 10th July, 1732, when they had a special parade, in which the Jacobite element greatly predominated. A guard of honour brought the colours from the Duke of Hamilton?s apartments at Holyrood, when the march to the Links began under his Grace as captain-general, preceded by Lord Bruce ? on horseback, with fine Turkish furniture, as majorgeneral, in absence of the Earl of Crawford.? - ?Th?e Lord Provost and magistrates saw the .- . procession from a window, and were saluted by the several officers, as did General Wade from a balcony in the Earl of Murray?s lodgings in the Canongate. The Governor of Damascus came likewise to see the ceremony. Betwixt one and two the company arrived in the Links, whence, after shooting for the arrow (which was won by Balfour of Foret), they marched into Leith in the same order, and after dinner returned to the city, and saw acted the tragedy called Macbeafh.? (Caledonian Mermrj; Including the sovereign?s prize, there are seventeen shot for annually by the archers. Among these are the City of Edinburgh silver arrow, given in 1709, and the Musselburgh silver arrow, which appears to have been shot for so far back as 1603. As in the instance of many of the other prizes, the victor retains it only for a year, and returns it with a medal appended, and engraved with a motto, device, or name. The affairs of the Guard are managed by a preses, six councillors, a secretary, and treasurer. The rules say ?That all persons possessed of Scottish domicile or of landed estate in Scotland, or younger sons, though not domiciled in Scotland, of a Scottish landed proprietor qualified to act as a commissioner of supply, are eligible for admission to the royal company.? After the battle of Culloden and the decay of Jacobitism, the vigour of the Archer Guard declined, till some new life was infused into its ranks by William St. Clair of Roslin, and then it was that the present Archers? Hall, near Hope Park End, was built. There an acre of ground was feued from the city, at a feu of 6 1 2 yearly, with double that sum every twenty-fifth year, and the foundation stone was laid by Mr. St. Clair on August the 15th? 1776. The dining-hall measures 40 feet by 24, and is IS feet in height. There are two other rooms about 18 feet square, with other apartments, kitchen, &c The last most important appearances of the Royal Archers have been on the occasion of George IV.?s visit in 18zzwhen they wore the old tartan costume, which was afterwards replaced by tunics of Lincoln green,-on the visit of Queen Victoria, and the first great volunteer review in the Royal Park. An old gable-ended house, the windows of.which looked westward along the vista of the Meadows, and their Fredecessor, the Burgh Loch, was traditionally said to have been inhabited by George. Heriot, but was removed in 1843, when the Messrs. Nelson built there an establishment, which, for printing, publishing. and bookbinding together, was the most extensive in Scotland. His initials, I734
Volume 4 Page 354
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