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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


162 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Parliament HOUSC to the High Street scarcely one stone was left upon another. ?( The Parliament House very hardly escapt,? he continues, ? all registers confounded ; clerks, chambers, and processes, in such a confusion, that the lords and officers of state are just now met in Rosse?s taverne in order to adjourning of the sessione by reason of the disorder. Few people are lost, if any at all ; but there was neither heart nor hand left amongst them for saveing from the fyre, nor a drop of water in the cisterns; 20,ooo hands flitting their trash they knew not wher, and hardly 20 at work; these babells of ten and fourteen story high, are down to the ground, and their fall very terrible. Many rueful spectacles, such as Crossrig, naked, with a child under his oxter, hopping for his lyffe; the Fish Mercate, and all from the Cowgate to Pett-streets Close, burnt ; the Exchange, vaults and coal-cellars under the Parliament Close, are still burning.? Many of the houses that were burned on this occasion were fourteen storeys in height, seven of which were below the level of the Close on the south side. These Souses had been built about twenty years before, by Thomas Robertson, brewer, a thriving citizen, whose tomb in the Greyfriars? Churchyard had an inscription, given. in Monteith?s Theatre of Mortality, describing him as ?remarkable for piety towards God, loyalty to his king, and love to his country.? He had given the Covenant out of his hand to be burned at the Cross in 1661 on the Restoration ; and now it was remembered exultingly ? that God in his providence had sent a burning among his lands.? But Robertson was beyond the rexh of earthly retribution, as his tomb bears that he died on the zIst of September, r686, in the 63rd year of his age, with the addendum, Yivit postfunera virtus- (? Virtue survives the grave.? Before we come to record the great national tragedy which the Parliament House witnessed in 1707-for a tragedy it w3s then deemed by the Scottish people-it may be interesting to describe the yearly ceremony, called the Riding of the Parliament,? in state, from the Palace to the Hall, as described by Arnot and others, on the 6th of May, 1703. The central streets of the city and Canongate, being cleared of all vehicles, and a lane formed by their being inrailed on both sides, none were permitted to enter but those who formed the procession, or were officers of the Scottish regulars, and the trained bands in full uniform. Outside these rails the streets were lined by the porch westwards ; next in order stood the Scottish Foot Guards (two battalions, then as now), under Zeneral Sir George Ramsay, up to the Netherbow Port ; from thence to the Parliament House, and :o the bar thereof, the street was lined by the :rained bands of the city, the Lord High Constable?s Guards, and those of the Earl Marischal. rhe former official being seated in an arm-chair, at :he door of the House, received the officers, while :he members being assembled at the Palace of Holyrood, were then summoned by name, by the Lord Clerk Registrar, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, and the heralds, with trumpets sounding, ifter which the procession began, thus :- Two mounted trumpeters, with coats and banners, bareheaded. Two pursuivants in coats and foot mantles, ditto. Sixty-three Commissioners for burghs on horseback, two ind two, each having a lackey on foot j the odd number Nalking alone. Seventy-seven Commissioners for shires, mounted and :overed, each having two lackeys on foot. Fifty-one Lord Barons in their robes, riding two and two, :ach having a gentleman to support his train, and three ackeys on foot, wearing above their liveries velvet coats with the arms of their respective Lords on the breast and lack embossed on plate, or embroidered in gold or silver. Nineteen Viscounts ils the former. Sixty Earls as the former. Four trumpeters, two and two. Four pursuivants, two and two. The heralds, Islay, Ross, Rothesay, Albany, Snowdon, md Marchmont, in their tabards, two and two, bareheaded. The Lord Lyon King at Arms, in his tabard, with chain, obe, bfiton, and foot mantle. The Sword of State, born by the Earl of Mar. +I The Sceptre, borne by the Earl of Crawford. 8 Borne by the Earl of Forfar. b The purse and commission, borne by the Earl of g 0 Morton. 6 d THE CROWN, THE DUKE OF QUEENSBERRY, LORD HIGH $ s COMMISSIONER, With his servants, pages, and footmen. Four Dukes, two and two. Gentlemen bearing their trains, and each having eight Six Marquises, each having six lackeys. The Duke of Argyle, Colonel of the Horse Guards. A squadron of Horse Guards. The Lord High Commissioner was received ;here, at the door of the House, by the Lord High Constable and the Earl Marischal, between whom he was led to the throne, followed by the Usher of the White Rod, while, amid the blowing 3f trumpets, the regalia were laid upon the table before it. The year I 706, before the assembling of the last Parliament. in the old hall, was peculiarly favourable lackeys. Scottish Hcrrse Gremdier Guards, from the Palace to any attempt for the then exiled House of Stuart
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Parliament House.] TREATY OF UNION. 163 to regain the throne; for the proposed union with England had inflamed to a perilous degree the passions and the patriotism of the nation. In August the equivalent money sent to Scotland as a blind to the people for their full participation in the taxes and old national debt of England, was pompously brought to Edinburgh m twelve great waggons, and conveyed to the Castle, escorted by a regiment of Scottish cavalry, as Defoe tells us, amid the railing, the reproaches, and the deep curses of the people, who then thought of nothing but war, and viewed the so-called equivalent as the price of their Scottish fame, liberty, and honour. In their anathemas, we are told that they spared not the very horses which drew the waggons, and on the return of the latter from the fortress their fury could no longer be restrained, and, unopposed by the sympathising troops, they dashed the vehicles to pieces, and assailed the drivers with volleys of stones, by which many of them were severely injured. ?It was soon discovered, after all,? says Dr. Chambers, ? that only LIOO,OOO of the money was specie, the rest being iu Exchequer bills, which the Bank of England had ignorantly supposed to be welcome in all parts of Her Majesty?s dominions. This gave rise to new clamours. It was said the English had tricked them by sending paper instead of money. Bills, payable 400 miles of, and which if lost or burned would be irrecoverable, were a pretty price for the obligation Scotland had come under to pay English taxes.?? In the following year, during the sitting of the Union Parliament, a terrible tumult arose in the west, led by two men named Montgomery and Finlay. The latter had been a sergeant in the Royal Scots, and this enthusiastic veteran burned the articles of Union at the Cross of Glasgow, and with the little sum he had received on his discharge, enlisted men to march to Edinburgh, avowing his intention of dispersing the Union Parliament, sacking the House, and storming the Castle. I n the latter the troops were on the alert, and the guns and beacons were in readiness. The mob readily enough took the veteran?s money, but melted away on the march ; thus, he was captured and brought in a prisoner to the Castle, escorted by 250 dragoons, and the Parliament continued its sitting without much interruption. The Articles of Union were framed by thirty commissioners acting for England and thirty acting for Scotland ; and though the troops of both COUTI? tries were then fighting side by side on the Continent, such were their mutual relations on each side of the Tweed, that, as Macaulay says, they could not possibly have continued for one year more ?? on the terms on which they had been during the preceding century, and that there must have been between them either absolute union or deadly enmity; and their enmity would bring frightful calamities, not on themselves alone, but on all the civilised world Their union would be the best security for the prosperity of both, for the internal tranquillity of the island, for the just balance of power among European states, and for the immunities of all Protestant countries.? As the Union debates went on, in vain did the eloquent Belhaven, on his knees and in tears, beseech the House to save Scotland from extinction and degradation; in vain did the nervous Fletcher, the astute and wary Lockhart, plead for the fame of their forefathers, and denounce the measure which was to close the legislative hall for ever. ? Many a patriotic heart,? says Wilson, ? throbbed amid the dense crowd that daily assembled in the Parliament Close, to watch the decision of the Scottish Estates oa the detestable scheme of a union with England. Again and again its fatetrembled in the balance, but happily for Scotland, English bribes outweighed the mistaken qeal ot Scottish patriotism and Jacobitism, united against the measure.? On the 25th of March, 1707, the treaty or union was ratified by the Estates, and on the zznd of April the ancient Parliament of Scotland adjourned, to assemble no more. On that occasion the Chancellor Seafield made use of a brutal jest, for which, says Sir Walter Scott, his countrymen should have destroyed him on the spot. It is, of course, a matter of common history, that the legislative union between Scotland and England was carried by the grossest bribery and corruption; but the sum actually paid to members who sat in that last Parliament are not perhaps so well known, and may be curious to the reader. During some financial investigations which were in progress in 1711 Lockhart discovered and made public that the sum of Lzo,540 17s. 7d. had been secretly distributed by Lord Godolphin, the Treasurer of England, among the baser members ot the Scottish Parliament, for the purpose of inducing them to vote for the extinction of thek country, and in his Memoirs of Scotland from the Accession of Queen Anne,? he gives us the following list of the receivers, with the actual sum which was paid to each, and this list was confirmed on oath hy David Earl of Glasgow, the Treasurer Deputy of Scotland . I .
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