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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


collected ; the City Guard came promptiy on the spot, and when the prisoner recovered from his swoon he was safe in his old quarters, which did not hold him long, however, as it would appear from the old folio of Douglas. Peerage that he escaped in his sister?s clothes. Yet as Lord Burleigh died in 1713, Douglas in this matter seems to confound him with his son, the Master. Of all the thousands who must have been prisoners there, recorded and unrecorded, on every conceiv- The malt-tax, the dismissal of the Duke of Roxburgh from his ofice as Scottish Secretary of State, and the imposition of an intolerable taxation, the first result of the Union, and the endeavours of the revenue officers to repress smuggling, all embittered the blood of the people. The latter officials were either all Englishmen, ?? or Scotsmen, chosen, as was alleged, on account of their treachery to Scottish interests, and received but little support even from local authorities. If in their occasional INTERIOR OF THE SIGNET LIBRARY. (FWUI a Vinujublidud in 1829) able charge, the stories of none have created more excitement than those of Captain Porteom, of Ratharine Nairne, and another prisoner named Hay; and singular to say, the names of none of them appear in the mutilated record just quoted. Porteous has been called the real hero of the Tolbooth. ?The mob that thundered at its ancient portals on the eventfd night of the 7th of September, 1736, and dashed through its blazing embers to drag forth the victim of their indignant revenge, has cast into shade all former acts of Lynch h w , for which the Edinburgh populace were once so notorious.? But the real secret and mainspring of the whole kagedy was jealousy of the treatment of Scotland by the ministry in Lcndon collisions with smugglers they shed blood, hey were at once prosecuted, and an outcry was raised that Englishmen should not be allowed to slaughter Scotsmen with impunity.? At length these quarrels led to and culminated in the Porteous mob. The seaport towns with which the coast of Fife is so thickly studded were at this time much infested by Scottish bands of daring smuggiers, many of whom had been buccaneers in the Antilles and Gulf of Florida, and thus were constantly at war with the revenue officials. One of these contrabandistas, named Wilson, in revenge for various seizures and fines, determined to rob the collector of Customs at Pittenweem, and in this, with the aid of a lad named Robertson and two others, he fully succeeded They were all apprehended, and tried ;
Volume 1 Page 128
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