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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


University,] A STUDENTS? RIOT. I1 placed in the city charter room; and this order occurs often afterwards, or is referred to thus :- ?? In 1663 the magistrates came down with their halberts to the college, took away all our charters and papers, declared the Provost perpetual rector, though he was chancellor before, and at the same time discharged university meetings.? During the summer of 1656 some new buildings were in progress on the south side of the old college, as the town council records state that for the better carrying on thereof, ?there is a necessitie to break down and demolishe the hous neirest the Potterrow Port, which now the Court du Guaird possesseth ; thairfoir ordaines the thesaurer with John Milne to visite the place, and doe therin what they find expedient, as weil for demolishing the said hous as for provyding for the Court du Guaird utenvayis.? During the year 1665 some very unpleasant relations ensued between the university and its civic patrons, and these originated in a frivolous cause. It had been the ancient practice of the regents of all European seminaries to chastise with a birch rod such of the students as were unruly or committed a breach of the laws of the college within its bound. Some punishment of this nature had been administered to the son of the then Provost, Sir Andrew Ramsay, Knight, and great offence was taken thereat. In imitation of his colleagues and predecessors, the regent, on this occasion, had used his own entire discretion as to the mode and amount of punishment he should inflict ; but the Lord Provost was highly exasperated, and determining to wreak his vengeance on the whole university, assumed the entire executive authority into his own hands. ?? Having proceeded to the college, and exhibited some very unnecessary symbols of his power within the city-the halberts, we presume-on the tenth of November he repaired to the Council Chamber and procured the following Act- to be passed :- Th CoumiZ agrees fhut fhe Provosf of Edinburgh, present and to come, 6e &ways Rector and Governor uf fhe roZZege in a21 time coming.? The only important effects which this disagreeable business produced were, that it was the cause of corporal punishment being banished from the university, and that no rector has since been elected,? adds Bower, writing in 1817. ?The Senatw Arademiclls have repeatedly made efforts to revive the election of the ofice of rector, and have as often failed of success.? A short time before his death Cromwell made a grant to the college of &zoo per annum, a sum which in those days would greatly have added to the prosperity of the institution ; but he happened to die in the September of the same year in which the grant was dated, and as all his Acts were rescinded at the? Restoration, his intentions towards the university came to nothing. The expense of passing the document at the Exchequer cost about L476 16s. Scots; hence it is extremely doubtful if the smallest benefit ever came of it in any way. The year 1680 saw the students of the university engaged in a serious riot, which created a profound sensation at the time. ?i After the Restoration, the students,? says Amot, ? appear to have been pretty much tainted with the fanatic principles of the Covenanters,? and they resolved, while the Duke of Albany and York was at Holyrood, to manifest their zeal by a solemn procession and burning of the pope in effigy on Christmas Day, and to that end posted up the following :- ??I?HESE are to give notice to all Noblemen, Gentlemen, Citizens, and others, that We, the Students of the Royal College of Edinburgh (to show our detestation and abhorrence of the Romish religion, and our zeal and fervency for the Protestant), do resolve to bum the effigies of Anfi-ch&f, the Pqe of Rome at the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh, the 25th of December instant, at Twelve in the forenoon (being the festival of Our Saviour?s nativity). And as we hate tumnlts as we do superstition, we do hereby (under pain of death) discharge all robbers, thieves, and bawds to come within 40 paces of our company, and such as shall be found disobedient to these our commands, Sibi Caveant. ? By our Special command, ROBERT BROWN, Secretary to all our Theatricals and Extra L i t d Divertisements.? ?AN ADVERTISEMENT. This announcement filled the magistrates with alarm, as such an exhibition was seriously calculated to affront the duke and duchess, and, moreover, to excite a dangerous sedition. According to a history of, this affair, published for Richard Janeway, in Queen?s Head Alley, Paternoster Row, 1681, the students bound themselves by a solemn oath to support each other, under penalty of a fine, and they employed a carver, ?who erected then a wooden Holiness, with clothes, tiiple crown, keys, and other necessary habiliments,? and by Christmas Eve all was in readiness for the display, to prevent which the Lord Provost used every means at his command. He sent for Andrew Cant, the principal, and the regents, whom he enjoined to deter the students ? with menaces that if they would not, he would make it a bloody Christmas to them.? He then went to Holyrood, and had an interview with the duke and the Lord Chancellor, who threatened to march the Scottish troops into the town. Meanwhile, the principal strove to exact oaths and promises from the students that they would re
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I 2 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [University. posts, and make the Grassmarket their headquarters. The City Militia held the High Street, a guard was placed on the college, and the guards at the palace were doubled. Undismayed by all this, the students mustered in the Old High School Yard, with their effigy in pontifical robes, and proceeded without opposition down the High School Wynd, and up Blackfriars Wynd to the lower end of High Street, where, finding there was no time to lose, though unopposed by the militia, they set fire to the figure amid shouts of ?? Pereat Papa f I? but had instantly to fly. Arnot says the burning took place in the Blackfriars Wynd. Grim old Dalyell of Binns came galloping through the Netherbow Port at the head of his linquish their intention, and a few who were English were seized in their beds, and carried by the guard to the Tolbooth. All the forces in Leith and the neighbourhood mere marched into the Canongate, where they remained all night under arms ; and in the morning the Provost allowed the privileges of a fortified city to be violated, it was alleged, by permitting the Foot Guards and Mars Fusiliers (latterly zIst Foot) to enter the gates, seize advantageous of treatment not much more respectful than their own. In the course of this operation the head fell OK,? and was borne in triumph up the Castle Hill by a Dumber of boys. But this trumpery affair did not end here. Seven students were apprehended, and examined before the Privy Council by Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, the King?s Advocate, and after being a few days in custody, were liberated. So little were they gratified by this leniency that many street scuffles took place between them and the troops, whom they alleged to be the aggressors. Violent denunciations of revenge against the magistrates were uttered in the streets ; and upon the 11th of January, 1681, the house of Priestfield grey Dragoons; then came the Fusiliers, under the Earl of Mar; and Lord Linlithgowv, with one battalion of the Scots Foot Guards, in such haste that he fell off his horse. The troops were ordered to extinguish the flames and rescue the image. ? This, however, understanding the combustible state of its interior, they were in no haste to do ; keeping at a cautious distance, they merely belaboured his Holiness with the butt end of their musquets, which the students allege was a mode . THE LIBRARY OF THE OLD UNIVERSITY, AS SEEN FROM THE SOUTH-WESTERN CORNER OF THE QUADRANGLE, LOOKING EAST. (From an EngnauiqQ W. H. Lizursofa Drawing& Playfair).
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