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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.?
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124 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. : [Convivialia In 1783, ? a chapter of the order? was adver tised ?to be held at their chamber in Anetruther Dinner at half-past two.? The LAWNMARKET CLUB, with its so-callec ?gazettes,? has been referred to in our first volume The CAPILLAIRE CLUB was one famous in thq annals of Edinburgh convivalia and for it fashionable gatherings. The Wee24 Xagaziz for I 7 74 records that ?? last Friday night,?the gentle men of the Capillaire Club gave their annual ball The company consisted of nearly two hundrec ladies and gentlemen of the first distinction. Thei dresses were extremely rich and elegant. He Grace the Duchess of D- and Mrs. Gen S- made a most brilliant appearance. Mrs S.?s jewels alone, it is said, were above ;C;30,00c in value. ?The ball was opened about seven, anc ended about twelve o?clock, when a most elegan entertainment was served up.? The ladies whose initials are given were evidentlj the last Duchess of Douglas and Mrs. Scott, wift of General John Scott of Balcomie and Bellevue mother of the Duchess of Portland. She survivec him, and died at Bellevue House, latterly the Ex cise Office, Drummond Place, on the 23rd August 1797, after which the house was occupied by the Duke of Argyle. The next notice we have of the club in the same year is a donation of twenty guineas by the mem bers to the Charity Workhouse. ?? The Capillaire Club,? says a writer in the ?Scottish Journal o Antiquities,? ?was composed of all who were in. clined to be witty and joyous.? There was a JACOBITE CLUB, presided over a1 one time by tine Earl of Buchan, but of which nothing now survives but the name. The INDUSTRIOUS COMPANY was a club composed oddly enough of porter-drinkers, very. numerous, and formed as a species of joint-stock company, for the double purpose of retailing their liquor for profit, and for fun and amusement while drinking it, They met at their rooms, or cellars rather, every night, in the Royal Bank Close. There each member paid at his entry As, and took his monthly turn of superintending the general business of the club; but negligence on the part of some of the managers led to its dissolution. In the Advertiser for 1783 it is announced as a standing order of the WIG CLUB, ?that the members in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh should attend the meetings of the club, or if they find that inconvenient, to send in their resignation; it is requested that the members will be pleased to attend to this regulation, otherwise their places will be supplied by others who wish to be of the club.-Fortune?s Tavern, February 4th, 1783.?? In the preceding January a meeting of the club is summoned at that date, ? as St. P-?s day.:? Mr. Hay of Drumelzier in the chair. As? there is no saint for the 4th February whose initial is P, this must have been some joke known only to the club. Charles, Earl of Haddington, presided on the 2nd December, 1783. From the former notice we may gather that there was a decay of this curious club, the president of which wore a wig of extraordinary materials, which had belonged to the Moray faniily,for three generations, and each new entrant?s powers were tested, by compelling him to drink ? to the fraternity in a quart of claret, without pulling bit-i.e., pausing.? The members generally drank twopenny ale, on which it was possible to get intoxicated for the value of a groat, and ate a coarse kind of loaf, called Soutar?s clod, which, with penny pies of high reputation in those days, were furnished by a shop near Forrester?s Wynd, and known as the [email protected] HoZe. There was an BSCULAPIAN CLUB, a relic of which survives in the Greyfriars Churchyard, where a stone records that in 1785 the members repaired the tomb of ?(John Barnett, student of phisick (sic) who was born 15th March, 1733, and departed this life 1st April, 1755.? The BOAR CLUB was chiefly composed, eventually, of wild waggish spirits and fashionable young men, who held their meetings in Daniel Hogg?s tavern, in Shakespeare Square, close by the Theatre RoyaL ? The joke of this club,? to quote ? Chambers?s Traditio? s,? ? consisted in the supposition that all the members were boars, that their room was a dy, that their talk was grunting, and in the dozcbZeentendre of the small piece of stoneware which served as a repository for the fines, being a &. Upon this they lived twenty years. I have at some expense of eyesight and with no small exertion of patience,? continues Chambers, ?? perused the soiled and blotted records of the club, which, in 1824, were preserved by an old vintner whose house was their last place of meeting, and the result has been the following memorabilia. The Boar Club commenced its meetings in 1787, and the original members were J. G. C. Schetky, a German nusician ; David Shaw, Archibald Crawford, Patrick Robertson, Robert Aldrige, a famous pantonimist and dancing-master ; Jarnes Nelson, and Luke Cross. . , , Their laws were first written iown in due form in 1790. They were to meet :very evening at seven o?clock ; each boar on his :ntry contributed a halfpenny to the pig. A fine if a halfpenny was imposed upon any person who
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