Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


308 OLD AKD NEW EDINBURGH. [Arthur's Scat. sey, and a deep excitement prevailed, when it was whispered-none knew how-that they were under secret orders for the distant East Indies-in other words, that they had been SOU to the East India Company by the Government, and that, worse than the authorities basely having an idea that the poor clansmen of Kintail "were ignorant, unable to comprehend the nature of their stipulations, and incapable of demanding redress for any breach of trust." But the Seaforth men were neither so ignorant all, they had been sold by their officers and by the chief, whom they had looked upon as a father and leader. All their native jealousy and distrust of the Saxon was now kindled and strengthened by their love of home. General David Stewart, in his '' Sketches of the Highlanders," boldly asserts that the regiment was secretly under orders for India, nor so confiding as the Government supposed, and they were determined at all hazards not to submit to the least infraction of the terms on which they were enlisted as Fencible Infantry-limited service and within the British Isles ; and when the day for embarkation came, the zznd September, their longsmothered wrath could no longer be hidden. " The regiment paraded on the Castle hill, and
Volume 4 Page 308
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
310 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Arthur?s L t . General Robert Skene, the Adjutant-General there, summoned all the troops they could collect to attack ? the wild Macraas,? and next day the I Ith Dragoons, under Colonel Ralph Dundas, zoo of the Fencible Regiment ofHenry Duke of Buccleuch, and 400 of the Royal Glasgow Regiment of Volunteers, or old 83rC Foot, commanded by Colonel Alexander Fotheringham Ogilvie, all marched into Edinburgh, and were deemed sufficient to storm Arthur?s Seat. On that day the Earl of Dunmore, Duncan Lord Macdonald and General Oughton, visited the revolters, who received them with military honours, while they ceased not to inveigh against their officers, whom they accused of peculation, and of having basely sold them to the India Company. In their ranks at this time there was an unfortunate fellow named Charles Salmon, who had been born in Edinburgh about 1745, and had filled a subordinate position in the Canongate theatre, after being in the service of Ruddiman the printer. He was a companion of the poet Fergusson, and became a local poet of some note himself, He was laureate of the Jacobite Club, and author of many Jacobite songs; but his irregular habits led to his enlistment in the Seaforth Highland Regiment. His superior education and address now pointed him out as a fit person to manage for his comrades the negotiations which ultimately led to a peaceful sequel to the dispute ; but after the corps went to India poor Stmayf Salmon, as he called himself, was heard of no more. On the 29th of September this revolt, which promised to have so tragic an end, was satisfactorily adjusted by the temperate prudence of the Duke of Buccleuch and others. The Earl of Dunmore again visited the revolters, presented them with a bond containing a pardon, and promise of all arrears of pay. They then formed in column by sections of threes, and with the Earl and the pipers at their head,they descended by the Hunter?s Bog to the Palace Yard, where they gave Sir Adolphus Oughton three cheers, and threw all their bonnets in the air. He then formed them in hollow square, and addressed them briefly, but earnestly exhorting them to behave well and obediently. On that night they all sailed from Leith to Guernsey, from whence they were soon aftei despatched toIndia-a fatal voyage to the poor 78th, for Lord Seaforth died ere St. Helena was in sight, then a great grief, with the maC du pays, fell upon his clansmen, and of 1,100 who sailed from Ports. mouth, 230 perished at sea, and only 390 were able to any arms, when, in April 1782, they began the march for Chingleput. In 1783 an eccentric named Dr. James Graham, then lecturing in Edinburgh, in Carrubbeis Close chiefly, the projector of a Temple of Health, and a man who made some noise in his time as a species of talented quack, who asserted that our diseases were chiefly caused by too much heat, and who wore no woollen clothes, and slept on a bare mattress with all his windows open, was actually in terms with the tacksman of the King?s Park for liberty to build a huge house on the summit of Arthur?s Seat, in order to try how far the utmost degree of cold in the locality of Edinburgh could be borne ; but, fortunately, he was not permitted to test his cool regimen to such an extent. Two localities near Arthur?s Seat, invariably pointed out to tourists, are Muschat?s Cairn, and the supposed site of Davie Deans? cottage, where an old one answering the description of Scott still overlooks the deep grassy and long sequestered dell, where gallants of past times were wont to discuss points of honour with the sword, and where Butler, on his way to visit Jeanie, encounters Effie?s lover, and receives the message to convey to the former to meet him at Muschat?s Cairn ? when the moon rises.? Muschat?s Cairn, a pile of stones adjacent to the Duke?s Walk, long marked the spot where Nicol Muschat of Boghall, a surgeon, a debauched and profligate wretch, murdered his wife in 1720. On arraignment he pled guilty, and his declaration is one of the most horrible tissues of crime imaginable. He mamed his wife, whose name was Hall, after an acquaintance of three weeks, and, soon tiring of her, he with three other miscreants, his aiders and abettors in schemes which we cannot record, resolved to get rid of her. At one time it was proposed to murder the hapless young woman as she was going down Dickson?s Close, for which the perpetrators were to have twenty guineas. Through Campbell of Burnbank, then storekeeper in Edinburgh Castle, one of his profligate friends, Muschat hoped to free himself of his wife by a divorce, and an obligation was passed between them in November, 1719, whereby a claim of Burnbank, for an old debt of go0 merks, was to be paid by Muschat, as soon as the former should be able to furnish evidence to criminate the wife. This scheme failing, Burnbank then suggested poison, which James Muschat and his wife, a couple in poor circumstances undertook to administer, and several doses were given, but in vain. The project for criminating the victim was revived again, but also without effect. Then it was that James undertook to kill her in nickson?s Close, but this plan too failed. These
Volume 4 Page 309
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures