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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


59 -- Edinburgh Castle. THE EARL OF ARGYLE which he received the sentence of death. His guards in the Castle were doubled, while additional troops were marched into the city to enforce order. He despatched a messenger to Charles 11. seeking mercy, but the warrant had been hastened. At six in the evening of the 20th December he was informed that next day at noon he would be conveyed to the city prison ; but by seven o?clock he had conceived-like his father-a plan to escape. . Lady Sophia Lindsay (of Balcarres), wife of his son Charles, had come to bid him a last farewell ; on her departure he assumed the disguise and office of her lackey, and came forth from his prism at eight, bearing up her long train. A thick fall of snow and the gloom of the December evening rendered the attempt successful ; but at the outer gate the sentinel roughly grasped his arm. In agitation the earl dropped the train of Lady Sophia, who, with singular presence of mind, fairly slapped his face with it, and thereby smearing his features with half-frozen mud, exclaimed, ?Thou careless loon ! ?? Laughing at this, the soldier permitted them to pass. Lady Sophia entered her coach; the earl sprang on the footboard behind, and was rapidly driven from the fatal gate. Disguising himself completely, he left Edinburgh, and reached Holland, then the focus for all the discontented spirits in Britaia. Lady Sophia was committed to the Tolbooth, but was not otherwise punished. After remaining four years in Holland, he returned, and attempted a3 insurrection in the. west against King Jarnes, in unison with that of Monmouth in England, but was irretrievably defeated at Mu&- dykes. Attired like a peasant, disguised by a long beard, he was discovered and overpowered by three militiamen, near Paisley. ? Alas, alas, unfortunate Argyle ! he exclaimed, as they struck him down j then an officer, Lieutenant Shaw (of the house 01 Greenock), ordered him to be bound hand and fool and sent to Edinburgh, where, by order of the Secret Council, he was ignominiously conducted through the streets with his hands corded behind him, bareheaded, escorted by the horse guards, and preceded by the hangman to the Castle, where, foi a third time, he was thrust into his old chamber. On the day he was to die he despatched the fol. lowing note to his son. It is preserved in the Salton Charter chest :- ? Edr. Castle, 30th June, ?85. ? DEARE JAMES,-hrn to fear God ; it k the only wag Love and respecl I am to make you happie here and herealter. my wife, and hearken to her advice. your loving father, ABGY LE The Lord bless The last day of his life this unfortunate noble passed pleasantly and sweetly ; he dined heartily, and, retiring to a closet, lay down to sleep ere the fatal hour came. At this time one of the Privy Council arrived, and insisted on entering. The door was gently opened, and there lay the great Argyle in his heavy irons, sleeping the placid sleep of infancy. The conscience of the aenegade smote him,? says Macaulay; ??he turnea kck at heart, ran out of the Castle, and took tefuge in the dwelling of a lady who lived hard by. There he flung himself on a couch, and gave himself up to an agony of renwrse and shame. His kinswoman, alarmed by his looks and groans, thought he had been taken with sudden illness, and begged him to drink a cup of sack. ?Na, no,? said he, ?it will do me no good? Sheprayed him to tell what had disturbed him ? I have been,? he said, ? in hgyle?s prison 1 have seen him within an hour of eternity sleeping as sweetlyas ever man did. But as for m-1,- At noon on the 30th June, 1685, he was escorted to the market aoss to be ?beheaded and have his head affixed to the Tolbooth on a high pin of iron.? When he saw the old Scottish guillo- . tine, under the terrible square knife of which his father, and so many since the days d Morton, had perished, he saluted it with his lips, saying, ?( It is the sweetest maiden I have ever kissed.? ?My lord dies a Protestant !? cried a clergyman aloud to the assembled t!iousands. Yes,? said the. Earl, stepping forward, ? and not only a Protestant, but with a heart-hatred of Popery, Prelacy, and all superstition.? k e made a brief address to the people, laid his head between the grooves of the guillotine, and died with equal courage and composure. His head was placed on the Tolbooth gable, and his body was ultimately sent to the burial-place of his family, Kilmun, on the shore of the Holy Loch in Argyle. While this mournful tragedy was being enacted his countess and family were detained prisoners in the Castle, wherein daily were placed fresh victims who were captured in the West. Among these were Richard Rumbold, a gentleman of Hertfordshire, who bore a colonel?s commission under Argyle (and had planted the standard of revolt on the Castle of Ardkinglass), and Mr. William Spence, styled his ? servitour.? Both were treated with temble seventy, especially Rumbold. In a cart, bareheaded, and heavily manacled, he was conveyed from the Water Gate to the Castle, escorted by Graham?s City Guard, with drums beating, and on the 28th of June he
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