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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


208 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith One of the greatest events of its time in Leith was the landing there of George IV., on the 15th of August, 1822. The king was on board the Royal George, which was towed into the Roads by two steam-packets, followed by the escorting frigates, which fired salutes that were answered by the flagship and Forte frigate; and a salute from the battery announced that all had come to anchor. Among the first to go off to the royal yacht was Sir Walter Scott, to present the king with a famous silver star, the gift of the ladies of Edinburgh. Sir Walter on Scottish ground, save the exiled Charles of France. The cannon of the ships and battery pealed forth their salutes, and the combined cheers of the mighty multitude filled up the pauses. An immense fleet of private boats followed the royal barge, forming an aquatic procession such as Leith had never seen before, and a band of pipers on the pier struck up as it rounded the head of the latter. As the king approached the landing stage three distinct and well-timed cheers came from the manned yards of the shipping, while the magis- LEITH PIER, FROM THE WEST, 1775. (Afler Clerk ofEldif.1 remained in conversation with the king an hour, in the exuberance of his loyalty pocketing as a relic a glass from which His Majesty had drunk wine; but soon after the author of ?r Waverley,? in forgetfulness, sat down on it and crushed it in pieces. Leith was crowded beyond all description on the day of the landing ; every window was filled with faces, if a view could be commanded ; the ships? yards were manned, their rigging swarmed with human figures; and the very roofs of the houses were covered. Guarded by the Royal Archers and Scots Greys, a floating platform was at the foot of Bernard Street, covered with cloth and strewn with flowers; and when a single gun from the royal yacht announced that the king had stepped into his barge, the acclamations of the enthusiastic people, all unused to the presence of royalty, then seemed to rend heaven. Since the time of Charles 11. no king had been trates, deacons, and trades, advanced, the latter with all their standards lowered. So hearty and prolonged were the glad shouts of the people that even George 1V.-the most heartless king that ever wore a crown-was visibly affected. He was clad in the uniform of an admiral, and was received by the magistrates of Leith and Edinburgh and the usual high officials, civil and military ; but the Highland chief Glengarry, bursting through the throng, exclaimed, bonnet in hand, ? Your Majesty is welcome to Scotland ! ?? The procession preceding the royal carriage now set out, ?the Earl of Kinnoul, as Lord Lyon, on a horse capnoling in front of a cloud of heralds and cavaliers-his golden coronet, crimson mantle flowing to the ground, his embroidered boots, and golden spurs, would have been irresistible in the eyes of a dame of the twelfth century.? Sir Alexander Keith, as Knight-Marischal, with his
Volume 6 Page 208
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