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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


YAMES V. TO ABDICA TION OF QUEEN MAR Y. 49 he had great store of all kind of silver wark, yet nottheless, for the greater maa,,anificence, he set forth ane cupboard furnished with all sorts of glasses of the finest chrystal that could be made ; and to make the said patriarch understand that there was great abundance thereof in Scotland, he caused one of his servants, as it had been by aloth and negligence, pull down the cupboard cloth, so that all the whole christellings suddenly were cast down to the earth and broken ; wherewith the patriarch was very sorry, but the Earl suddeuly caused bring another cupboard, better furnished with fine chrystal nor that was; which the patriarch praised, as well for the magnscence of the Earl, as for the fineness of the clirystal, affirming that he never did see better in Venice, where he himself was born.” The legate exercised considerable influence over the Queen Dowager, and on his departure, transferred his legatine power to Cardinal Beaton. Meanwhile, the people were filled with the utmost joy at the prospect of a peace, the uncertainty which had prevailed for SO many years having nearly destroyed trade. The merchants bestirred themselves immediately with the liveliest zeal, every seaport of the kingdom exhibited the most active symptoms of preparation for renewing the commercial intercourse, so long interrupted with England, and Edinburgh alone fitted out twelve large vessels, and despatched them laden with the moat valuable merchandise. But the Cardinal soon regained his liberty; and, aided by the co-operation of the Queen Dowager and the contributions of the clergy, who at a convocation‘ held at St Andrews, in May of the Eame year, not only voted him money, but even the silver vessels of their churches, he speedily overturned all the amichle arrangements with the English Monarch, and the numerous fleets of merchantmen, that had so recently sailed for the English seaports, were there seized, their merchandise confiscated, and the crews declared prisoners of war. The fist use the Cardinal made of this fund, was to turn his arms against his rivals at home. The Earl of Lennox having appropriated the larger portion of thirty thousand crowns sent by the King of France to aid the efforts of the Catholic party, the Cardinal persuaded the facile Regent to raise an army to proceed against him to Glasgow, where he then lay in the Bishop’s Castle there; but Lennox immediately summoning his own friends and vassals *to his otandard, marched to Leith at the head of an army of ten thousand men, from whence he sent a message to the Cardinal at Edinburgh, intimating that he desired to save him such a journey, and would be ready to meet him any day he chose, in the fields between Edinburgh and Leith. Thus were the nobles of Scotland divided into rival factions, and bent only on each others, overthrow, when, on the 1st of May 1544, an armament, consisting of two hundred sail, commanded by Dudley Lord l’Isle, then High Admiral of England, which had been prepared by Henry to send against the French coast, made its appearance in the Firth of Forth j and so negligent had the Cardinal proved in providing against the enemy, whom he excited to this attack, that the first notice he had of their intentions, was the disembarkation of the English forces, under the command of the Earl of Hertford, at Newhaven, and the seizure of the town of Leith.’ The Cardinal immediately deserted the capital and fled in the greatest dismay to Stirling. The Earl of Hertford demanded the unconditional surrender of the infant Queen, and being informed that the Scottish capital Bishop Lealie’a History of Scotland, Ban. Club, p. 179. ’ Ibid, p. 180. Q
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MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. and nation would suffer every disaster before they would submit to his ignominious terms, he marched immediately with his whole forces upon Edinburgh. The citizens, being taken by surprise, and altogether unprepared for resisting so formidable a force, sent out a deputation, with Sir Adam Otterburn, the Provost, at its head, offering to evacuate the town and deliver up the keys to the commander of the English army, on condition that they should be permitted to carry off their effects, and that the city should be saved from fire. But nothing would satisfy the English general but an unconditional surrender of life and property. He made answer-That his commission extended to the burning and laying waste the country, unless the governor would deliver the young Queen to his master. The Provost replied-;; Then it were t5etter the city should stand on its defence.’’ The English army entered by the Watergate without opposition, and assaulted the Nether Bow Port, and beat it open on the second day, with a terrible slaughter of the citizens. They immediately attempted to lay siege to the Castle. ‘‘ Seeing no resistance, they hauled their cannons up the High Street, by force of men, to the Butter-Trone, and above, and hazarded a shot against the fore entrie of the Castle. But the wheel and axle-tree of one of the English cannons was broken, and some of their men slaine by a shot of ordnance out of the Castle ; so they left that rash enterprise.” ’ Ba%led in their attempts on the fortress, they immediately proceeded to wreak their vengeance on the city. They set it on fire in numerous quarters, and continued the work of devastation and plunder till compelled to abandon it by the smoke and flames, as weli as the continual firing from the Castle. They renewed the work of destruction on the following day ; and for three successive days they returned with unabated fury to the smoking ruins, till they had completely effected their purpose. The Earl of Hertford then proceeded to lay waste the surrounding country with fire and sword. Craigmillar Castle, which was surrendered on the promise of being preserved scatheless,’ was immediately devoted to the flames. Roslyn Castle shared the same fate. Part of the army then proceeded southward by land, burning and destroying every abbey, town, and village, between the capital and Dunbar. The remainder of the army returned to Leith, which they plundered and set fire to ip many places ; and then embarking their whole force, they set sail for England. . This disastrous event forms an important era in the history of Edinburgh ; if we except a portion of the Castle, the churches, and the north-west wing of Holyrood Palace, no building, anterior to this date, now exists in Edinburgh. One other building, Trinity Hospital, the oldest part of which bore the date 1462, has been swept away by the operations of the North British Railway, during the past year (1845), unquestionably, with the exception of the Castle aud churches, at once the most ancient and perhaps interesting building that Edinburgh possessed8 Such was the means adopted by Henry VIIL to secure the hand of the Scottish Queen for his son, a method somewhat analogous to the system of wooing he practised with such An immediate attack was thereupon made. 8 Cdderwood’s History, Wod. Soc. vol. i p, 177. ’ Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 32. A remarkably interesting view of Edinburgh, previous to ita destruction at this period, is still preserved in the British Museum ; a careful fac-simile of this is given in a volume of the Bannatyne Club’s Miscellany, some sccount of which win be found in a later part of this work.
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