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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


the following day, accompanied by twelve armed ? men, disguised as seamen, with hoods over their helmets, he appeared at the Castle gates, where they contrived to overturn their casks and hampers, so as to prevent the barriers being closed by the guards and warders, who were instantly slain. At a given signal-the shrill blast of a bugle-horn- Douglas and his companions, with their war-cry, rushed from a place of concealment close by. Sir Richard de Limoisin, the governor, made a bitter resistance, but was overpowered in the end, and his garrison became the prisoners of David II., who returned from France in the following month, accompanied by his queen Johanna; and by that time not an Englishman was left in Scotland. But miserable was the fate of Bullock. By order of a Sir David Berkeley he was thrown into the castle of Lochindorb, in Morayshire, and deliberately starved to death. On this a Scottish historian remarks, ? It is an ancient saying, that neither the powekful, nor the valiant, nor the wise, long flourish in Scotland, since envy obtaineth the mastery of them all.? When, a few years afterwards, the unfortunate battle of Durham ended in the defeat of the Scots, and left their king a prisoner of war, we find in the treaty for his ransom, the merchants of Edinburgh, together with those of Perth, Aberdeen, atid Dundee, binding themselves to see it paid. In 1357 a Parliament was held at Edinburgh for its final adjustment, when the Regent Robert (afterwards Robert 11.) presided ; in addition to the clergy and nobles, there were present delegates from seventeen burghs, and among these Edinburgh In 1365 we find a four years? truce with England, signed at London on the 20th May, and in the Castle on the 12th of June; and another for I appeared at the head for thejrst time. fourteen years, dated at the Castle 28th October, 1371- So often had the storm of war desolated its towers, that the Castle of Edinburgh (which became David?s favourite residence after his return from England ?in 1357) was found to require extensive repairs, and to these the king devoted himself. On the cliff to the northward he built ?David?s Tower,? an edifice of great height and strength, and therein he died on the zznd February, 1371, and was buried before the high altar at Holyrood. The last of the direct line of Brucea name inseparably connected with the military glory and independence of Scotland-David was a monarch who, in happier times, would have done much to elevate his people. The years of his captivity in England he beguiled with his pencil, and in a vault of Nottingham Castle ?he left behind hini,? says Abercrornbie, in his ? Martial Achievements,? I? the whole story of our Saviour?s Passion, curiously engraven on the rock with his own hands. For this, says one, that castle became as famous as formerly it had been for Mortimer?s hole.? It was during bis reign that, by the military ingenuity of John Earl of Carrick and four other knights of skill, the Castle was so well fortified, that, with a proper garrison, the Duke of Rothesay was able to resist the utmost efforts of Henry IV., when he besieged it for several weeks in 1400. The Castle had been conferred as a free gift upon Earl John by his father King Robert, and in consequence of the sufferings endured by the inhabitants when the city was burned by the English, under Richard II., he by charter empowered the citizens to build houses within the fortress, free of fees to the constable, on the simple understanding that they were persons of good fame. ? . - CHAPTER IV. CASTLE OF EDINBURGH-(continucd). Progress of the Cuy-Ambassador of Charles VI.- Edinburgh burned-Henry IV. batAed-Albany?s Prophecy-Laws regarding the Building of House-Sumptuary Laws, 1457-Murder of James I.-Coronation of James 11.-Court Intrigues-Lord Chancellor Crichton-Arrogance of the Earl of Douglas-~-Faction Wars-The Castle Besieged-? The Black DinneF?-Edinburgh walled-Its Strength-Bale-fires. THE chief characteristic of the infant city now was that of a frontier town, ever on the watch to take arms against an invader, and resolute to resist him. Walsingham speaks of it as a village ; and in 1385 its population is supposed to have barely exceeded 2,oooj yet Froissart called it the Pans of Scotland, though its central street presented but a meagre line of thatched or stane-dated houses, few of which were more than twenty feet in height. Froissart numbers them at 4,000, which would give a greater population than has been alleged. With the accession of Robert 11.-the first of the
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Stuart monarchs-a new era began in its history, and it took a stahding as the chief burgh in Scotland, the relations of which with England, for generations after, partook rather of a vague prolonged armistice in time of war than a settled peace, and thus all rational progress was arrested or paralysed, and was never likely to be otherwise so long as the kings of England maintained the insane pretensions of Edward I., deduced from Brute the fabulous first king of Albion ! In 1383 Robert 11. was holding his court in the Castle when he received there the ambassador of Charles VI., on the 20th August, renewing the ancient league with France. In the following year a truce ended; the Earls of March and Douglas began the war with spirit, and cut off a rich convoy on its way to Roxburgh. This brought the Duke of Lancaster and the Earl of Buckingham before Edinburgh. Their army was almost innumerable (according to Abercrombie, following Walsingham), but the former spared the city in remembrance of his hospitable treatment by the people when he was among them, an exile from the English court-a kindness for which the Scots cared so little that they followed up his retreat so sharply, that he laid the town and its great church in ashes when he returned in the following year. In 1390 Robert 111. ascended the throne, and ir. that year we find the ambassadors of Charles VI. again witnessing in the Castle the royal seal and signature attached to the treaty for mutual aid and defence against England in all time coming. This brought Henry IV., as we have said, before the Castle in 1400, with a well-appointed and numerous army, in August. From the fortress the young and gallant David Duke of Rothesay sent a herald with a challenge to meet him in mortal combat, where and when he chose, with a hundred men of good blood on each side, and determine the war in that way. " But King Henry was in no humour to forego the advantage he already possessed, at the head of a more numerous army than Scotland could then raise ; and so, contenting himself with a verbal equivocation in reply to this knightly challenge, he sat down with his numerous host before the Castle till (with the usual consequences of the Scottish reception of such'invaders) cold and rain, and - twenty feet in length, with three or four large saws, I for the common use, and six or more " cliekes of castles, resorted to the simple expedient of driving off all the cattle and sheep, provisions and goods, even to the thatch of their houses, and leaving nothing but bare walls for the enemy to wreak their vengeance on; but they never put up their swords till, by a terrible retaliating invasion into the more fertile parts of England, they fully made up for their losses. And this wretched state of affairs, for nearly 500 years, lies at the door of the Plantagenet and Tudor kings. The aged King Robert 111. and his queen, the once beautiful Annabella Drummond, resided in the Castle and in the abbey of Holyrood alternately. We are told that on one occasion, when the Duke of Albany, with several of the courtiers, were conversing one night on the ramparts of the former, a singular light was seen afar off at the horizon, and across the s t a q sky there flashea a bright meteor, carrying behind it a long train of sparks. '' Mark ye, sirs ! " said Albany, " yonder prodigy portends either the ruin of a nation or the downfall of some great prince ;a and an old chronicler omits not to record that the Duke of Rothesay (who, had he ascended the throne, would have been David III.), perished soon after of famine, in the hands of Ramornie, at Falkland. Edinburgh was prosperous enough to be able to contribute 50,000 merks towards the ransom of James I., the gifted author of " The King's Quhair " (or Book), who had been lawlessly captured at sea in his boyhood by the English, and was left in their hands for nineteen years a captive by his designing uncle the Regent Albany ; and though his plans for the pacification of the Highlands kept him much in Perth, yet, in 1430, he was in Edinburgh with Queen Jane and the Court, when he received the surrender of Alexander Earl of ROSS, who had been in rebellion but was defeated by the royal troops in Lochaber. As yet no Scottish noble had built a mansion in Edinburgh, where a great number of the houses were actually constructed of wood from the adjacent forest, thatched with straw, and few were more than two storeys in height ; but in the third Parliament of James I., held at Perth in 1425, to avert the conflagrations to which the Edinbiirghers were so liable, laws were ordained requiring the magistrates to have in readiness seven or eight ladders of his progress or retreat."* When unable to resist, the people of the entire town and country, who were not secured in * Wilson's ''Memorials." . fired ;' and that no fire was to be conveyed from one house to another within the town, unless in a covered vessel or lantern. Another law forbade' people on visits to live with their friends, but to
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