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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


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.
Volume 10 Page 55
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