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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Le:th.] LANDING OF QUEEN MARY. 179 Thus the whole line of fortifications facing the city were levelled, but those on the east remained long entire; and considerable traces of them were only removed about the beginning of the eighteenth century. On the 20th of August, 1560, Queen Mary landed at the town to take possession of the throne of her ancestors. The time was about eight in the morning, and Leith must have presented a different aspect than in the preceding year, when the cannon of the besiegers thundered against its walls. No vestige now remains of the pier which received her, though it must have been constructed subsequent to the destruction of the older one by the savage Earl of Hertford-the pier at which Magdalene of France, the queen of twenty summer days, had landed so joyously in the May of 1537. The keys of St. Anthony?s Port were delivered to Mary, who was accompanied by her three uncles- Claude of Lorraine, Duc d?Aumale, who was killed at the siege of Rochelle thirteen years after; Francis, Grand Prior of Malta, general of the galleys of France, who died of fatigue after the battle of Dreux; and Rend, Marquisd?Elbeuff, who succeeded Francis as general of the galleys. She was attended also by her ?? four Maries,? whose names, as given by Bishop Leslie, were Fleming, Beaton, Livingstone, and Seaton, who had been all along with her in France. Buchanan in 1565 mentions five Maries, and the treasurer?s account at the same date mentions si;., including two whose names were Simparten and Wardlaw. The cheers of the people mingled with the boom of cannon, and, says Buchansn, ?the dangers she had undergone, the excellence of her mien, the delicacy of her beauty, the vigour of her blooming years, and the elegance of her wit, all joined in her recommendation.? As the genial Ettrick Shepherd wrote :- ?? After a youth by woes o?ercast, After a thousand sorrows past, The lovely Mary once again Set foot upon her native plain ; Kneeled on the pier with modest grace, And turned to heaven her beauteous face . . . I . There rode the lords of France and Spain, Of England, Flanders, and Lorraine ; While semed thousands round them stood, From shore of Leith to Holyrood.? But Knox?s thunder was growling in the distance, as he records that ?? the very face of heaven did manifestlie speak what comfort was brought to this country with hir-to wit, sorrow, dolour, darkness, and all impiety; for in the memory of man never was seyn a more dolorous face of the heaven than was at her arryvall . . . . . the myst was so thick that skairse mycht onie man espy another ; .and the sun was not seyn to shyne two days befoir nor two days after !IJ Four years after this the poor young queen, among other shifts to raise money in her difficulties, mortgaged the superiority of Leith to the city of Edinburgh, redeemable for 1,000 merks ; and in 1566 she requested the Town Council by a letter to delay the assumption of that superiority ; but she could only obtain a short indulgence to prevent the consequence of her hasty act falling on the devoted seaport. In 1567, taking advantage of the general confusion of the queen?s affairs, on the 4th of July the Provost, bailies, deacons, and the whole craftsmen of the city, armed and equipped in warlike array, with pikes, swords, and arquebuses, marched to Leith, and went through some evolutions, meant to represent or constitute the capture and conquest of the town, and formally trampled its independence in the dust. From the Links the magistrates finally marched to the Tolbooth, in the wynd which still bears its name, and on the stair thereof held a court, creating bailies, sergeants, clerks, and deemsters, in virtue of the infeftment made to them by the queen ; and the superiority thus established was maintained, too often with despotic rigour, till Leith attained its independence after the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832. During the contention between Morton and the queen?s party, when the former was compelled with his followers to take shelter in Leith, where thq Regent Mar had established his headquarters on the 12th of January, 1571, a convention, usually but erroneously called a General Assembly of the Kirk, was convened there, and sat till the 1st of February, and in it David Lindsay, minister of Leith, took a prominent part. The opening sermon on this occasion was lately reprinted by Principal Lee. It is now extremely scarce, and is entitled ? Ane sermon preichit befoir the Regent and nobilitie, in the Kirk of Leith, 1571, by David Fergussone, minister of the Evangell at Dunfermlyne. The sermon approvit by John Knox, with my dead hand but glaid heart, praising God that of His mercy He lenis such light to His Kirk in this desolation.? M?Crie says that the last public service of Knox was the examination and approval of this sermon. During the minority of James VI. Leith figured in many transactions which belong strictly to the general history of the realm ; thus from November, 1571, till the August of the following year, it was the seat of the Court of Justiciary, and again in thus :-
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180 OLD AKD NEW EDINBURGH, [Leith. 1596-7. In 1578 an Act of Parliament was passed to prevent ? the taking away of great quantities of victual and flesh from Leith, under the pretence of victualling ships.?. In the same year a reconciliation having been effected between the Earl of Morton and the nobles opposed to him, the Earls of Argyle, Montrose, Athole, and Buchan, Lord Boyd, and many other persons of distinction, dined with him jovially at an hostelry in Leith, kept by William Cant. There was considerable alarm excited in Edinburgh, Leith, and along the east coast generally, by a plague which, as Moyes records, was brought from Dantzig by John Downy?s ship, the WiZZiam of ~ 5 t h . By command of the Privy Council, the ship was ordered, with her ailing and dead, to anchor off Inchcolm, to which place all afflicted by the plague were to confine themselves. The crew consisted of forty men, of whom the majority died. Proclamation had been made at the market-cross of every east coast town against permitting this fated crew to land. By petitions before the Council it appeared that William Downie, skipper in Leith, left a widow and eleven children; Scott, a mariner, seven. The survivors were afterwards re- Trades of Leith were declared independent of those of Edinburgh by a decree of the Court of Session. In October, 1589, James VI. embarked at Leith for Norway, impatient to meet his bride, Anne of Denmark, to whom he had been married by proxy. She had embarked in August, but her fleet had been detained by westerly gales, and there seemed little prospect of her reaching Scotland before the following spring. Though in that age a voyage to the Baltic was a serious matter in the fall of the year, James, undaunted, put to sea, and met his queen in Norway, where the marriage ceremony was performed again by the Rev. David Lindsay, of Leith, in the cathedral of St. Halvard at Christiania, and not at Upsala. THE ARMS moved to Inchkeith and the Castle of Inchgarvie, and the ship, which by leaks seemed likely to sink at her anchors, was emptied of her goods, which were stored in the VOW~S,? or vaults, of St. Colm. In 1584 Leith was appointed the principal market for herrings and other fish in the Firth of Forth. Five years subsequent to this we find that the despotic magistrates of Edinburgh summoned nearly one half of their Leith vassals to hear themselves prohibited from the exercise of their various trades and from choosing their deacons in all time coming. They had previously thrust two unfortunate shoemakers into prison, one forprefending that he was elected deacon of the Leith Incorporation of the craft, and the other for acting as his officer; and we are told that, notwithstanding the remon- *strances of the operatives, no attention was paid to their statements, and ? they were proceeded against as a parcel of insolent and contumacious rascals ;? and it was not until 1734 that the Incorporated OF LEIlH. - , as some assert. After remaining for some months in Denmark, the royal pair on the 6th of May, landed at the pier of Leith (where the King?s Work had been prepared for their reception), amid the booming of cannon, and the discharge of a mighty Latin oration from Mr. James Elphinstone. It is remarkable that James, whose squadron came to anchor in the roads on the 1st of May, did not land at once, as he had been sorely beset by the incantations of witches during his voyage ; and it is alleged that the latter had declared ? he would never have come safely from the sea had not his faith prevailed over their cantrips.? They were more successful, however, with a large boat coming from Burntisland to Leith, containing a number of gifts for the young queen, and which they contrived to sink amid a storm, raised by the remarkable agency of a chrisfened cat, when all on board perished. In 1595 James wrote a letter at Holyrood, addressed to ? the Bailyies of Lethe,? at the instance of William Henryson, Constable Depute of Scotland, interdicting them from holding courts to consider actions of slaughter, mulctation, drawing blood, or turbulence. (Spald. Club Miscell.) In the following year, by a letter of gift under the Privy Seal, .he empowered the Corporation of Edinburgh to levy a certain tax during a certain period towards supporting and repairing the bulwark pier and port of Leith ; and in a charter of Niladamus,
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