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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


cantoned with other four in the angles. The tiar, or bonnet, was of purple velvet; but, in 1685, it got a .cap of crimson velvet, adorned with four plates of gold, on each of them a great pearl, and the bonnet -is trimmed up with ermine. Upon the lowest circle there are eight small holes, two and two, on the -four quarters of the crown, which mere for lacing -or tying thereto diamonds or precious stones. The crown is g inches in diameter, 27 inches about, and in height from the under circle to the top of the cross patee 6; inches. The sceptre : its stem or stalk, which is of silver double overgilt, is two feet long, of a hexagon form, with three buttons or knobs; betwixt the first button and the second is the handle of a hexagon form, furling in the middle and plain. Betwixt the second button and the third are three sides engraven. From the third button to the capital the three sides under the statues are plain, and on the other three are antique engravings. Upon the top of the stalk is an antique capital of leaves embossed, the abacus whereof arises round the prolonged stem, surrounded with three little statues; between every two statues arises a rullion in the form of a dolphin ; above the rullions and statues stands another hexagon button, with oak leaves under every corner, and down it a crystjl (beryl?) globe. The whole sceptre is in length 34 inches.? The statues are those of the Virgin, St. Andrew, and St. James. The royal initials, J. R. V. are engraved under them. If James V. had this sceptre made, the metallic settings of the great beryl belong to some sceptre long anterior to his time. The sword is in length 5 feet ; the handle and pommel are of silver overgilt, in length 15 inches. The pommel is round and somewhat flat on the two sides. The traverse or cross OF the sword, which is of silver overgilt, is in length 17h inches; its form is like two dolphins with their heads joining and their tails ending in acorns; the shell is hanging down towards the point of the sword, formed like an escalop flourished, or rather like a green oak-leaf. On the blade of the sword are indented with gold these letters-JuLIus 11. P. The scabbard is of crimson velvet, covered with silver wrought in philagram-work into branches oj the oak-tree leaves and acorns.?? Such are the Scottish regalia, which, since the destruction 01 those of England by Cromwell, are the only ancien! regal emblems in Great Britain. The sword of state is of an earlier date than the rod of the sceptre, being presented by the rvarlikr Pope Julius to James IV. with a consecrated hai in 1507. The keys of St. Peter figure promhentlj among the filagree work. After the fall of the Castle of Dunottar, in 1651, the belt of the sword became an heirloom in the family of Ogilvie of Barras. The great pearl in the apex of the crown is alleged to be the same which in 1620 was found in the burn of Kellie, a tributary of the Ythanz in Aberdeenshire, and was so large and beautiful that it was esteemed the best that had at any time been found in Scotland.? Sir Thomas Menzies, Provost of Aberdeen, obtaining this precious jewel, presented it to James VI., who in requital gave him twelve or fourteen chaldron of victuals about Dunfermline, and the custom of certain merchant goods during his life.? * Before quitting the Castle of Edinburgh, it is impossible to omit some special reference to Mons Meg-that mighty bombard which is thirteen feet long and two feet three and a half inches within the bore, and which was long deemed by the Scots a species of palladium, the most ancient cannon in Europe, except one in Lisbon, and a year older than those which were made for Mahomet 11. Not a vestige of proof can be shown for the popular error that this gun was forged at Mons, while unvarying tradition, supported by very strong carroborative evidence, proves that she was formed by Scottish artisans, by order of James II., when he besieged the rebellious Douglases in the castle of Thrieve, in Galloway, during 1455. He posted his artillery at the Three Thorns of the Carlinwark, one of which is still surviving ; but their fire proving ineffective, a smith named M?Kim, and his sons, offered to construct a more efficient piece of ordnance. Towards this the inhabitants of the vicinity contributed each a ,rrczud, or iron bar. Tradition, which never varied, indicated the place where it was forged, a mound near the Three Thorns, .and when the road was formed there, that mound was discovered to be a mass of cinders and the iron dCbris of a great forge. To this hour the place where the great gun was posted is named Knock-cannon. Only fwo of Meg?s bullets were discharged before Thrieve surrendered, and it is remarkable that both have been found there. ?The first,? says the New Statistical Accowif, <?was, towards the end of thk last century, picked out of the well and delivered to Gordon of Greenlam. The second was discovered in 1841, by the tenant of Thrieve, when removing an accumulation of rubbish.? It lay in a line direct from Knock-cannon to the breach in the wall. To reward M?Kim Jarnes bestowed upon him the forfeited lands of MolIFnce. The smith is said to have nanied the gun after his wife ; and the con-
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traction of the name from Mollance to Mince, or Mons Meg, was quite natural to the Scots, who sink tlie l?s in all similar words. The balls still preserved in the Castle of Edinburgh, piled on each side of the gun, are exactly similar to those found in Thrieve, and are of Galloway granite, from tlie summit of the Binnan Hill, near the Carlinwark.+ Andrew Symson, whose description of Galloway was written 180 years ago, records ?that in the isle of Thrieve, the great gun, called Nounts Meg, was wrought and made.? This, though slightly incorrect as to actual spot, being written so long since, goes to prove the Scottish origin of the gun, which bears a conspicuous place in all the treasurer?s accounts ; and of this pedigree of the gun Sir Walter Scott was so convinced that, as he wrote, ? henceforth all conjecture must be set aside.? In 1489 the gun was employed at the siege of Dumbarton, then held for Janies 111. by his adherents. In 1497, when James IV. invaded England in the cause of Perkin Warbeck, he con- . veyed it with his other artillery on a new stock made at St. Leonard?s Craig; and the public accounts mention tlie sum paid to those who brought ?hame Monse and the other artailzerie froiii Dalkeith.? It was frequently used during the civil war in 157r, and two men died of their exertion in dragging it from the Blackfriars Yard to the Castle. On that occasion payment was made to a person through whose roof one of the bullets had fallen in mistake. In Cromwell?s list of captured guns, in 1650, mention is made of ?the great iron murderer, Meg ;n and Ray, in his ? Observations ? on Scotland eleven years after, mentions the ?great old iron gun which they call Mounts Mq, and some ? Meg of Berwick.?? A demi-bastion near the Scottish gate there bears, or bore, the name of &legs Momt, which in those days was the term for a battery. Another, in Stirling, bore the same name ; hence we may infer that the gun has been in both places. It was stupidly removed in mistake, among unserviceable guns, to the Tower of London ~II 1758, where it was shown till 1829, when, by the patriotic exertions of Sir Walter Scott, it was sent home to Edinburgh, and escorted from Leith back to its old place in the Castle by three troops of cavalry and the 73rd or Perthshire regiment, with a band of pipers playing at the head of the procession. We are now in a position to take a brief but comprehensive view of the whole Castle, of which we have hitherto dealt in detail, and though we must go over the same ground, we shall do so at * ?? History of Woway.? so rapid a rate that such repetition as is unavoidable will be overlooked. In the present day the Castle is entered by a barrier of palisades, beyond which are a deep ditch and drawbridge protected by a ttte-de$onf, flanked out and defended by cannon. Within are two guardhouses, the barrier and the main, the former a mean-looking edifice near which once stood a grand old entrance-gate, having many rich sculptures, an entablature, 2nd a pediment rising from pilasters. Above the bridge rises the great halfmoon? battery of 1573, and the eastern curtain wal1,Vhich includes an ancient peel with a corbelled rampart. The path, which millions of armed men must have trod, winds round the northern side of the rock, passing three gateways, the inner of which is a deep-mouthed archway wherein two iron portcullises once hung. This building once terminated in a crenelated square tower, but was some years ago converted into a species of state prison, and black-hole for the garrison; and therein, in 1792, Robert Watt and David Downie, who were sentenced to death for treason, were confined; and therein, in times long past and previous to these, pined both the Marquis and Earl of Argyle, and many of high rank but of less note, down to 1747. Above the arch are two sculptured hounds, the supporters of the Duke of Gordon, governor in 1688, and between these is the empty panel from which Cromwell cast down the royal arms in 1650. Above it is a pediment and little cornice between the triglyphs of which may be traced alternately the star and crowned heart of the Regent Morton. Beyond this arch, on the left, are the steps ascending to the citadel, the approaches to which are defended by loopholes for cannon and musketry. On the right hand is a gun battery, named from John Duke of Argyle, comrnanderinchef in Scotland in 1715 ; below it is Robert Mylne?s battery, built in 1689 ; and on the acclivity of the steep hill are a bombproof powder magazine, erected in 1746, the ordnance office, and the house of the governor and storekeeper, an edifice erected apparently in the reign of Queen Anne, having massive walls and wainscoted apartments. In the former is a valuable collection of fire-arms of every pattern, from the wheel-lock petronel of the fifteenth century down to the latest rifled arms of precision. There, also, is the armoury, formed for the reception of 30,000 rifle muskets, several ancient brass howitzers, several hundred coats of black mail (most of which ar6 from tlie arsenal of the knights of Malta), some forty stand of colours, belonging
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