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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
Volume 5 Page 191
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