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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


YAMES V. TO ABDICATION OF QUEEN MARY. 71 each of them frankly disclosing opinions, involviig the causes ‘of the collision that speedily followed. The Queen soon after made a progress to the north, and on her return to Edinburgh, preparations were made on a most magnificent scale for welcoming her. On the 3d of September, she dined in the Castle, and thereafter made her public entry. Fifty black slaves, magniiicently apparelled, received her at the west gate of the city; twelve of the chief citizens, dressed in black velvet gowns, with coats and doublets of crimson satin, bore a canopy, under which ahe rode in state, and immediately on her entry, a lovely boy descended from a globe, and addressing her in congratulatory verses, at which she was seen to smile, presented her with the keys of t,he city, and a Bible and Psalter. The most costly arrangements were made for her reception ; all the citizens were required to appear in gowns of fine French satin and coats of velvet, and the young men to devise for themselves some befitting habiliments of taffeta, or other silk, to convey the Court in triumph. A public banquet was given to the Queen and the noble strangers by whom she was accompanied ; and most ingenious masks and pageants provided for her entertainment, peculiarly chagacteristic of the times. A mystery was performed, in which Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were destroyed, while offering strange fire upon the altar, as a warning of the vengeance of God upon idolaters. A still more significant interlude had been provided for her Majesty’s benefit, in which a priest was to have been burnt at the altar while elevating the host; but the Earl of Huntly persuaded them, with aome difficulty, to content themselves with the first allegory. All the public way through which the procession had to pass, was adorned with splendid hangings and devices, and the Nether Bow Port, where the Queen bade adieu to her entertainers, was decorated for the occasion in the most costly fashion.‘ The ancient Tolbooth, or “ Pretorium,” as it is styled in the early Acts of the Scottish Parliaments, had fallen, at this time, into a very decayed and ruinous condition. The Queen addressed a letter to the Town Council, bearing date the 6th of February 1561, charging the Provost, Bailies, and Council to take it down with all possible diligence, and provide, meanwhile, sufficient accommodation elsewhere for the Lords of the Session and others ministering justice. The royal letter expresses a most affectionate dread for “ the skayth and great slaughter” that may happen to the lieges by the downfall of the building, if not speedily prevented ; but no apology seems to have been thought necessary for the very arbitrary demand that the city of Edinburgh should erect, at its own charge, parliament and court-houses for the whole kingdom. The proceedings of the Town Council, for many months after this, are replete with allusions to the many difficulties they had to encounter in raising money and providing materials for the new building. The master of’ the works is ordered “gyf the tymmer of the Auld Tolbuith will serve for the wark of the New Tolbuith, to tak the same as ma serve.” In consequence of the proceedings, in obedience to this order, the renters of the neighbouring booths appear with no very gentle remonstrance against him, complaining “ that presentlie the maister of wark was takand away the jeists above their buthis, quhilk jeists had been bocht be thame, and laid thair, and wes thair awin propir guddis.” The magistrates seem to have pacified them with a ’ Council Register, 3d Sept. 1561. Keith, vol. U. p. 81, 82. Kuox’a Hist., p. 269, Herriea’ Mem., p. 56.
Volume 10 Page 77
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