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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


306 QLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Arthur?s Seat. name of Arthur?s Seat were anciently covered with wood. The other eminences in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh had similar appellations. Calton, or Culdoun, is admitted to be the hill covered with trees.? But there is another hill named thus- ChoiZZedm, near the Loch of Monteith. The rough wild path round the base of the Salisbury Craigs, long before the present road was formed, was much frequented for purpose of reverie by David Hume and Sir Walter Scott Thither Scott represents Reuben Butler as resorting on the morning after the Porteous mob :-?? If I were to choose a spot from which the rising or setting sun could be seen to the greatest possible advantage, it would be that wild path winding round the foot of the high belt of semicircular rocks, called Salisbury Craigs, and marking the verge of the steep descent which slopes down into the glen on the southeastern side of the city of Edinburgh. The prospect in its general outline commands a close-built high-piled city, stretching itself out beneath in a form, which to a romantic imagination may be supposed to represent that of a dragon; now a noble ?arm of the sea, with its rocks, isles, distant shores, and boundary of mountains; and now a fine and fertile champaign country varied with hill and dale. . . . . This path used to be my favourite evening and morning resort, when engaged with a favourite author or a new subject of study.? The highest portion of these rocks near the Catnick, is 500 feet above the level of the Forth; and here is found a vein of rock different in texture from the rest ?This vein,? says a writer, ?has been found to pierce the sandstone below the footpath, and no doubt fills the vent of an outflow of volcanic matter from beneath. A vein of the same nature has probably fed the stream of lava, which forced its way between the strata of sandstone, and formed the Craigs.? A picturesque incident, which associates the unfortunate Mary with her turbulent subjects, occurred zt the foot of Arthur?s Seat, in 1564. In the romantic valley between it and Salisbury Craigs there is still traceable a dam, by which the natural drainage had been confined to form an artificial lake ; at the end of which, in that year, ere her wedded sorrows began, the beautiful young queen, in the sweet season, when the soft breeze came laden witb the perfume of the golden whin flowers from the adjacent Whinny Hill, had an open-air banquet set forth in honour of the nuptials of John, fifth Lord Fleming, Lord High Chamberlain, and Elizabeth the only daughter and heiress of Robert Master of Ross. In 1645, when the dreaded pestilence reached ? Edinburgh, we find that in the month of April the rown Council agreed with Dr. Joannes Paulitius that for a salary of A80 Scots per month he should visit the infected, a vast number of whom had been borne forth from the city and hutted in the King?s Park, at the foot of Arthur?s Seat; and on the 27th of June the Kirk Session of Holyrood ordered, that to avoid further infection, all who died in the Park should be buried there, and not within any churchyard, ? except they mor4 tified (being able to do so) somewhat, adpios usus, for the relief of other poor, being in extreme indigence.? (? Dom. Ann.,? Vol. 11.) In November, 1667, we find Robert Whitehead, laud of Park, pursuing at law John Straiton, tacksman of the Royal Park, for the value of a horse, which had been placed there to graze at 4d per night, but which had disappeared-no uncommon event in those days ; but it was ulged by Straiton that he had a placard on the gate intimating that he would not be answerable either for horses that were stolen, or that might break their necks by falling over the rocks. Four years afterwards we read of a curious duel taking place in the Park, when the Duke?s Walk, so called from its being the favourite promenade of James Duke of Albany, was the common scene of combats with sword and pistol in those days, and for long after. In the case referred to the duellists were men in humble life. On the 17th June, 1670, William Mackay, a tailor, being in the Castle of Edinburgh, had a quarrel with a soldier with whom he was drinking, and blows were exchanged. Mackay told the soldier that he dared not use him so if they were without the gates of the fortress, on which they deliberately passed out together, procured a couple of sharp swords in the city, and proceeded to a part of the King?s Park, when after a fair combat, the soldier was run through the body, and slain. Mackay was brought to trial ; he denied having given the challenge, and accused the soldier of being the aggressor ; but the public prosecutor proved the reverse, so the luckless tailor-not being a gentleman-was convicted, and condemned to die. A beacon would seem to have been erected on the cone of Arthur?s Seat in 1688 to communicate with Fifeshire and the north (in succession from Garleton Hill, North Berwick, and St. Abb?s Head) on the expected landing of the Prince of Orange. On one occasion the appearance of a large fleet of Dutch fishing vessels off the mouth of the Firth excited the greatest alarm, being taken for-a hostile armament. --
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Arthut?s Seat] ? THE WILD MACRAAS.? 307 The Edinburgh Evening Courant of the 29th of October, 1728, contains the following reference to the Craigs, or the chasm, there named the Catnick :-? A person who frequents the (King?s) Park, having noticed a man come from a cleft towards the north-west of Salisbury Rocks, had the curiosity to climb the precipice, if possibly he might discover something that could invite him there, He found a shallow pit, which delivered him into a little snug room or vault hung with dressed leather, lighted from the roof, the window covered with a bladder. It is thought to have been the cave of a hermit of ancient times, though now the hiding-place of a gang of thieves.? The long, deep, and tremendous rift in the wes t e n slope of Arthur?s Seat (locally known as the Gutiit Haddie) was caused by a mighty waterspout, on the 13th of September, 1744. ?Dividing its force ?-says the ? Old Statistical -4ccount ?-?? it discharged one part upon the western side, and tore up a channel or chasm, which still remains a monument of its violence ; the other division took its direction towards the village of Duddingston, carried away the gable .of the most westerly cottage, and flooded the loch over the adjacent meadows.? On the steep sloping shoulder of Arthur?s Seat, south-westward, under the Rock of Dunsappie, the Highland army encamped in September before the battle of Prestonpans, and from thence it was -after the Prince had held a council of his chief5 and nobles-the march began at daybreak on the morning of the 20th through the old hedgerow: and woods of Duddingston, with pipes playing and colours flying, after Charles, in front of thc he, had significantly drawn his claymore and flung away the scabbard. From a letter which appears in the Advertiser foi the 15th of January, 1765, the entrance to tne Park from St. Anne?s Yard to the Duke?s Walk having become impassable, was privately repaired at tht expense of a couple of classical wits, whose name: were unknown, but who placed upon the entrance the following inscription :- Ite nunc faciles per gaudia uestra, 3 Cpuepecun sua [email protected]&durn cur. CaLIan. MD.C.CLXl? rJ*i faciant ut haec smpiusjunf. QUIRITES Mungo Campbell (formerly officer of Excise ai Saltcoats), who shot Archibald, tenth Earl oj Eglinton, committed suicide in the Tolbooth ic 1770, on the day after he had been sentenced to death, when the judge also directed that hi2 body should be given to the professor of anatomy, His counsel having interposed on the plea that dip section was not a legal penalty for self-murder, it was privately interred at the foot of Salisbury Craigs. But the Edinburgh mob, who were exasperated by the manner in which he had shot the earl in a poaching affray, took the .body out of the grave, tossed it about till they were tired, and eventually flung it over the cliffs. After this, to prevent further indecency and outrage, Campbell?s friends caused the body to be conveyed in a boat from Leith and sank it in the Firth of Forth. (Caldwell Papers ; S o t s Mug., Vol. XXXII.) Southward of the coue of Arthur?s Seat are the Raven?s Craig and the Nether Hill, or Lion?s Haunch ; between the latter and the cone can still be traced the trench and breastwork formed by the Seaforth Highlanders when they revolted in 1778- an event which created a profound sensation in Scotland. In the July of that year they had marched into the Castle, replacing the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, or 80th Regiment of the Line, a corps which was raised by General Sir William Erskme in 1777, and was disbanded in 1783-5. Kenneth Mackenzie, Earl of Seaforth, had recently raised his noble regiment, which was then numbered as the 78th (but is now known as the Duke of Albany?s Own Highlanders), among his clansmen in the district of Kintail and Applecross, Kilcoy, and Redcastle ; of these Soawere from his own estate; the rest were all from the others named, and the corps mustered 1,130 bayonets at its first parade in Elgin in the May of 1778 ; but from a great number of another sept who were in its ranks, the subsequent mutiny was known at first as the afair of the WiZd Mwaas. The latter was an ancient but subordinate tribe of the west, who had followed the ? Caber Feigh,? or banner of Seaforth, since the days when Black Murdoch of Kintail carried it in the wars of Robert I., and now many of its best men were enrolled in Earl Kenneth?s new Fencible regiment, perfect subordination in the ranks of which was maintained in the Castle until the 5th of August, when an order was issued for marching at an hour?s notice. A landing of a French force being expected near Greenock, zoo of them, with seven 9-pounders, marched there with the greatest enthusiasm to meet the foe, who never appeared; but by the time these two companies returned, transports to convey the whole for foreign service had come to anchor in Leith Roads. Where the scene of that service lay the men knew not. It was kept a mystery from them and their officers. The former would not believe a rumour spread that it was to be tine Isle of Guern
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