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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Convivialia.1 ASSEMBLY presiding officials, male and female, with the names they adopted, such as Elisha the Prophet, King of Hell, Old Pluto, the Old Dragon, Lady Envy, and so forth. ? The Hell-fire Club,? says Chambers in his ? Domestic Annals,? ?? seems to have projected itself strongly on the popular imagination in Scotland, for the peasantry still occasionally speak of it with bated breath and whispering horror. Many wicked lairds are talked of who belonged to the Hell-fire Club, and who came to bad ends, as might have been expected on grounds involving no reference to miracle.? The ASSEMBLY OF BIRDS is the next periodical gathering, but for ostensibly social purposes, and to it we find a reference in the Caledonian Mermry of October, 1733. This journal records that yesternight there came on at the ?Parrot?s Nest? in this city the annual election of oficebearers in the ancient and venerable Assem60 of Birds, when the Game Cock was elected preses; the Buck Bird, treasurer; the GZedc, principal clerk ; the Crow, his depute; the Duck, officer ; all birds duly qualified to our happy establishment, and no less enemies to the excise scheme. After which an elegant entertainment was served up, all the royal and loyal healths were plentifully drunk in the richest wines, ?The GZorious 20s? ; ?AZZ Bonny Birds,? &c. On this joyful occasion nothing was heard but harmonious music, each bird striving to excel in chanting and warbling their respective melodious notes.? We may imagine the medley of sounds in which these humorous fellows indulged ; the glorious 205,? towhom reference was made, were those members of the House of Commons who had recently opposed a fresh imposition upon the tobacco tax. Somewhere about the year 1750 a society called the SWEATING CLUB made its appearance. The members resembled the Mohocks and Bullies of London. After intoxicating themselves in taverns and cellars in certain obscure closes, they would sally at midnight into the wynds and large thoroughfares, and attack whomsoever they met, snatching off wigs and tearing up roqaelaures. Many a luckless citizen who fell into their hands was chased, jostled, and pinched, till he not only perspired with exertion and agony, but was ready to drop down and die of sheer exhaustion. In those days, when most men went armed, always with a sword and a few with pocket-pistols, such work often proved perilous ; but we are told that ?even so late as the early years of this century it was unsafe to walk the streets of Edinburgh at night, on account of the numerous drunken parties of young men who reeled about, bent on mischief OF BIRDS. 123 at all hours, and from whom the Town Guard were unable to protect the sober citizens.? In Vol. I. of this work (p. 63) will be found a facsimile of the medal of the Edinburgh REVOLUTION CLUB, struck in 1753, ?in commemoration of the recovery of religion and liberty by William and Mary in 1688.? It bears the motto, Meminis seJmabif. ?? On Thursday next,? announces the Advcrtiser for November, 1764, the 15th current, the RmoZution CZu6 is to meet in the Assembly Hall at six o?clock in the evening, in commemoration of our happy deliverance from Popery and slavery by King William of glorious and immortal memory ; and of the further security of our religion and liberties by the settlement of the crown upon the illustrious house of Hanover, when it is expected all the members of that society, in or near the city, will give attendance.? The next issue records the meeting but gives no account thereof. Under its auspices a meeting was held to erect a monument to King William 111. in 1788, attended by the Earls of Glencairn, Buchan, Dumfries, and others j but a suggestion in the Edinburgh magazines of that year, that it should be erected in the valley of Glencoe with the King?s warrant for the massacre carved on the pedestal, caused it to be abandoned, and so this club was eventually relegated to ? the lumber-room of time,? like the UNION and four others, thus ranked briefly by the industrious Chambers :- No gentleman to appear in . I clean linen. THEDIRTYCLUB . . THE BLACK WIGS . . . Members wore black wigs. THE ODD FELLOWS . . THE BONNET LAIRDS . . Members wore bonnets. Members wrote their namea ?{ upside down. Members regarded as Physicians, and so styled, wearing gowns and wigs. THE DOCTORS OF FACULTY CLUB . . . . . . . In Volume 11. of the ? Mirror Club Papers ? we find six others enumerated:-5?? Whin Bush, Knz$ts of the Cap andFeather (meeting in the close of that name), The Tdemade, The Stoic, Th Hum-drum, and the Antemanurn. In 1765 the institution of another club is thus noticed in the. Advertiser of January 29th :- ? We are informed that there was a very numerous meeting of the Knights Companions of the Ancient Order of the BEGGARS? BENISON, with their sovereign on Friday last, at Mr. Walker?s tavern, when the band of music belonging to the Edinburgh Regiment (25th Foot) attended. Everything was conducted with the greatest harmony and cheerfulness, and all the knights appeared with the medal of the order.?
Volume 5 Page 123
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