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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Leith] MACKINTOSH OF BORLUM. 191 the further strengthened by the fact that the Speedy Return, a Scottish ship, had been absent unusually long, and the rumours regarding her fate were very much akin to the confessions of the crew of the Worcester. A report of these circumstances having reached the Privy Council, the arrest was ordered of Captain Green and thirteen of his crew on charges of piracy and murder. The evidence produced against them would scarcely be held sufficient by a jury of the present day to warrant a conviction; but the Scots, in their justly inflamed and insulted spirit, viewed the matter otherwise, and a sentence of death was passed. This judgment rendered many uneasy, as it might be an insuperable bar to the union, and even lead to open strife, as the relations in which the two countries stood to each other were always precarious ; and even Macaulay admits ?that the two kingdoms could not possibly have continued another year on the terms on which they had been during the preceding century.? The Privy Council were thus reluctant to put the sentence into execution, and respited the fourteen Englishmen ; but there arose from the people a cry for vengeance which it was impossible to resist. On the day appointed for the execution, the 11th of April, the populace gathered h vast numbers at the. Cross and in the Parliament Square ; they menaced the Lords?of the Council, from which the Lord Chancellor chanced to pass in his coach. Some one cried aloud that ? the prisoners had been reprieved.? On this the fury of the people became boundless ; they stopped at the Tron church the coach of the Chancellor-the pitiful Far1 of Seafield-and dragged him out of it, and had he not been rescued and conveyed into Mylne Square by some friends, would have slain him ; so, continues Arnot, it became absolutely necessary to appease the enraged multitude by the blood of the criminals. This was but the fruit of the affairs of Darien and Glencoe. Now the people for miles around were pouring into the city, and it was known that beyond doubt the luckless Englishmen would be tom from the Tolbooth and put to a sudden death. Thus the Council was compelled to yield, and did so only in time, as thousands who had gathered at Leith to see the execution were now adding to those who filled the streets of the city, and at eleven in the forenoon word came forth that three would be hanged-namely, Captain Green, the first mate Madder, and Simpson, the gunner. According to Analecfu Scofica they were brought forth into the seething masses, amid shouts and execrations, under an escort of the Town Guard, and marched on foot through the Canongate to the Water Port of Leith, where a battalion of the Foot Guards and a body of the Horse Guards were drawn up. ? There was the greatest confluence of people there that I ever saw in my life,? says Wodrow; ?for they cared not how far they were off so be it they saw.? The three were hanged upon a gibbet erected within high-water mark, and the rest of the crew, after being detained in prison till autumn, were set at liberty; and it is said that there were afterwards good reasons to believe that Captain Drummond, whom they were accused of slaying on the high seas, was alive in India after the fate of Green and his two brother officers had been sealed. (Burton?s ?? Crim. Trials.?) On the site of the present Custom House was built the Fury (a line-of-battle ship, according tb Lawson?s ?Gazetteer?) and the first of that rate built in Scotland after the Union. In I 7 I 2 the first census of Edinburgh and Leith was taken, and both towns contained only about 48,000 souls. The insurrection of 1715, under the Earl of Mar, made Leith the arena of some exciting scenes. The Earl declined to leave the vicinity of Perth with his army, and could not co-operate with the petty insurrection under Forster in the north of England, as a fleet under Sir John Jennings, Admiral of the White, including the RqaC Anm, Pew4 Phnix, Dover Custk, and other frigates, held the Firth of Forth, and the King?s troops under Argyle were gathering in the southern Lowlands. But, as it was essential that a detachment from Mar?s army should join General Forster, it was arranged that 2,500 Highlanders, under old Brigadier Mackintosh of Borlum-one of the most gallant and resolute spirits of the age-should attempt to elude the fleet and reach the Lothians. The brigadier took possession of all the boats belonging to the numerous fisher villages on the Fife coast, and as the gathering of such a fleet as these, with the bustle of mooring and provisioning them, was sure to reveal the object in view, a clever trick was adopted to put all scouts on a false scent. All the boats not required by the brigadier he sent to the neighbourhood of Burntisland, as if he only waited to cross the Firth there, on which the fleet left its anchorage and rather wantonly began to cannonade the fort and craft in the harbour. While the ships were thus fully occupied, Mackintosh, dividing his troops in two columns, crossed the water from Elie, Pittenweem, and Crail, twenty miles eastward, on the nights of the 12th and 13thOctober, without the loss of a single boat, and lwded
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192 OLD AND PEW EDINBUKGH. [Leith. on the coast of East Lothian, from whence the way to England was open and free. But the daring Mackintosh suddenly conceived a very different enterprise. The troops under him were all picked men, drawn from the regiments of the Earls of Mar and Strathmore, of Lord Nairn, Lord Charles Murray, and Logie-Drummond, with his own clan the Mackintoshes. With these he conceived the idea of capturing Edinburgh, then only seventeen miles distant, and storming the Castle. But the Provost mustered the citizens, placed the City Guard, the Trained Bands, and the Volunteers, at all vulnerable points, and sent to Argyle, then at Stirling, on the 14th October, for aid. At ten that night the Duke, at the head of only 300 dragoons mounted on farm horses, and 200 infantry, passed through the city just as the Highlanders, then well-nigh worn out, halted at Jock?s Lodge. Hearing of the Duke?s arrival, and ignorant of what his forces might be, the brigadier wheeled off to Leith, where his approach excited the most ludicrous consternation, as it had done in Edinburgh, where, Campbell says in his History, ?? the approach of 50,000 cannibals? could not have discomposed the burgesses more. Mackintosh entered Leith late at night, released forty Jacobite prisoners from the Tolbooth, and took possession of the citadel, the main fortifications of which were all intact, and now enclosed several commodious dwellings, used as bathing quarters by the citizens of Edinburgh. How Argyle had neglected to garrison this strong post it is impossible to conjecture; but ?Old Borlum ?-as he was always called-as gates were wanting, made barricades in their place, took eight pieces of cannon from ships in the harbour, provisioned himself from the Custom House, and by daybreak next morning was in readiness to receive the Duke of Argyle, commander of all the forces in Scotland. At the head of 1,000 men of all arms the latter approached Leith, losing?on the way many volunteers, who ? silently slipped out of the ranks and returned to their own homes.? He sent a message to the citadel, demanding a surrender on one hand, and threatening no quarter on the other. To answer this, the Laird of Kynachin appeared on the ramparts, and returned a scornful defiance. ?? As to surrendering, they laughed at it ; and as to assaulting them, they were ready for him ; they would neither give nor take quarter; and if he thought he was able to force them, he might try his hand.? Argyle carefully reconnoitred the citadel, and, ? I with the concurrence of his officers, retired with the intention of attacking in strength next day ; but Borlum was too wary to wait for him. Resolving to acquaint Mar with his movements, he sent a boat across the Firth, causing shots to be fired as it left Leith to deceive the Hanoverian fleet, which allowed it to pass in the belief that it contained friends of the Government ; and at nine that night, taking advantage of a cloudy sky, he quitted the citadel with all his troops, and, keeping along the beach, passed round the head of the pier at low water, and set out on his march for England. Yet, though the darkness favoured him, it led to one or two tragic occurrences. Near Musselburgh some mounted gentlemen, having fired upon the Highlanders, led the latter to believe that all horsemen were enemies; thus, when a mounted man approached them alone, on being challenged in Gaelic, and unable to reply in the same language, he was shot dead. The slain man proved to be Alexander Malloch, of Moultray?s Hill, who was coming to join them. ? The brigadier was extremely sorry for what had taken place, but he was unable even to testify the common respect of a friend by burying the deceased. He had only time to possess himself of the money found on the corpse-about sixty guineas-and then leave it to the enemy.?? The advance of Mar rendered Argyle unable to pursue Borlum, who eventually joined Forster, shared in his defeat, and would have been hanged and quartered at Tyburn, had he not broken out of Newgate and escaped to France. A few days after his departure from Leith, the Trained Bands there were ordered to muster on the Links, to attend their colours and mount guard, ?? at tuck of drumme, at what hour their own officers shall appoint, and to bring their best armes along with them.? There is a curious ? dream story,? as Chambers calls it in his ?Book of Days,? connected with Leith in 1731, which Lady Clerk of Penicuik ( d e Mary Dacre, of Kirklinton in Cumberland), to whom we have referred in our first volume, communicated to BZwkwood?s Magazine in 1826. She related that her father was attending classes in Edinburgh in 1731, and was residing under the care of an uncle-Major Griffiths-whose regiment was quartered in the castle. The young man had agreed to join a fishing party, which was to start from .Leith harbour next morning. No objection was made by Major or Mrs. Griffiths, from whom he parted at night. During her sleep the latter suddenly screamed out : ?The boat is sinkingoh, save them !? The major awoke her, and said :
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