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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Leith.] REPULSE OF THE ENGLISH AND SCOTS. I77 Cornelle, Shelly, Littleton, Southworthe, and nine other officers, with 2,240 men. To keep the. field (i.~., the Reserve), Captain Somerset, and eight other captains, with 2,400 men. ?Item ; it is ordered that the Vyce Admyralle of the Queen?s Majesty?s schippes shall, when a token is given, send Vc. (500) men out of the Navye into the haven of Leythe, to give an assaulte on the side of the towne, at the same instant when the assaulte shal be gevene on the breche.? Captain Vaughan was ordered to assault the town near Mount Pelham, and the Scots on the westward and seaward. The assault was not made until the 7th of May, when it was delivered at seven in the morning on dead they could find, and suspended the corpses along the sloping faces of the ramparts, where they remained for several days. The failure of the attempted storm did not very materially affect the blockade. On the contrary, the besiegers still continued to harass the town by incessant cannonading from the mounds already formed and others they erected One of the former, Mount Falcon, must have been particularly destructive, as its guns swept the most crowded part of Leith called the Shore, along which none could pass but at the greatest hazard of death. Moreover, the English were barbarously and uselessly cruel. Before burning Leith mills they murdered in cold blood every individual found therein. The close siege had now lasted about two months, PROSPECT OF LEITH, 1693. (Reduced Facainrilc aftw Grernvillr Coil us.) four quarters, but, for some reason not given, the fleet failed to act, and by some change in the plans Sir James Crofts was ordered, with what was deemed a sufficient force, to assail the town on the north side, at the place latterly called the Sand Port, where at low water an entrance was deemed easy. For some reason best known to himself Sir James thought proper to remain aloof during the whole uproar of the assault, the ladders provided for which proved too short by half a pike?s length; thus he was loudly accused of treachery-a charge which was deemed sufficiently proved when it was discovered that a few days before he had been seen in conversation with the Queen Regent, who addressed him from the walls of Edinburgh Castle. The whole affair turned out a complete failure, English and Scots were alike repulse2 r%Ah slaughter, ?and singular as it may appear,? says a writer, ? the success of the garrison was not a little aided by the exertionsof certain ladies, whom the French, with their usual gallantry to the fair sex, entertained in their quarters.? To these fair ones Knox applies some pretty rough epithets. The French now made a sally, stripped all the 110 without any prospect of a termination, though Elizabeth continued to send more men and more ships ; but the garrison were reduced to such dire extremities that for food they were compelled to shoot and eat all the horses of the. officers and gens Zurmes. Yet they endured their privations with true French sung froid, vowing never to surrender while a horse was left, <?their officers exhibiting that politeness in the science of gastronomy which is recorded of the Margchal Strozzi, whose maifre de cuisine maintained his master?s table with twelve covers every day, although he had nothing better to set upon it now and then except the quarter of a carrion horse, dressed with the grass and weeds that grew upon the ramparts.? The discovery, a few years ago, of an ancient well filled to its brim with cart-loads of horses? heads, near the head of the Links, was a singular but expressive monument of the resolution with which the town was defended The unfortunate Queen Regent did not live to see the end of these affairs. She was sinking fast. She had contemplated retiring to France, and had a commission executed at Blois by Francis
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OLD AND NEW EDINBUKGH. [I eith. and Mary, constituting their uncle, Rend, Marquis dElbeuf, Regent of Scotland. She tried to arrange a treaty of peace, including Scotland, England, and France, but died ere it could be concluded, on the 10th June, 1560. Fresh forces were now envkoning Leith. Sir James Balfour states that there were among them 4c 12,000 Scots Protestants,? under the Duke of Chatelerault, eleven peers, and 120 lesser barons ; but all their operations at Leith had signally failed ; thus Lethington, in one of his letters, acknowledged that its fortifications were so strong, that if well victualled it might defy an army of zo,ooo men. In these circumstances negotiations for peace began. A commission was granted by Francis and May, joint sovereigns of Scotland, to John de Monluc, Bishop of Valence, Nicholas, Bishop of Amiens, the Sieurs de la Brosse, d?Oisel, and de Raudan, to arrange the conditions of a treaty to include Scotland, France, and England. It was duly signed at Edinburgh, but prior to it the French, says Rapin, offered to restore Calais if Elizabeth would withdraw her troops from before Leith. ?But she answered that she did not value that Fishtown so much as the quiet of Britain.? It was stipulated that the French army should embark for France on board of English ships with bag and baggage, arms and armour, without molestation, and that, on the day they evacuated Leith Lord Grey should begin his homeward march ; but, oddly enough, it was expressly stipulated that an officer with sixty Frenchmen should remain in the castle of Inchkeith It was also arranged that all the artillery in Leith should be collected in the market-place ; that at the same time the artillery of the besiegers, piece for piece, should be ranged in an open place, and that every gun and standard should be conveyed to their respective countries. On the 16th of July, 1560, the French troops, reduced now to 4000 men, under MarCchal Strozzi, marched out of Leith after plundering it of everything they could lay their hands on, and embarked on board Elizabeth?s fleet, thus closiiig a twelve years? campaign inScotland. At the same hour the English began their march for the Borders, and John Knox held a solemn service of thanks giving in St. Giles?s. In addition to the battery mounds which still remain, many relics of this siege have been dis covered from time to time in Leith. In 1853, when some workmen were lowering the head of King Street, they came upon an old wall of great strength (says the Edinburgh Guardian of that year), and near it lay two ancient cannon-balls, respectively 6- and 32-pounders. In the Scotsman for 1857 and 1859 is reported the discovery of several skeletons buried in the vicinity of the batteries ; and many human bones, cannon-balls, old swords, &c., have been found from time to time in the vicinity of Wellington Place. Two of the principal thoroughfares of Leith were said to be long known as Les Deux Bras, being so styled by the garrison of Mary of Lorraine. CHAPTER XIX. LEITH-HISTORICAL SURVEY (c~ntittu~d). f i e Fortifications demolished-Landing of Queen Mary-Leith Mortgaged-Edinburgh takes Military Possession of i t - a Convention-a Plague .-Jams VI. Departs and Returns-WitchesGowrie Conspiracy-The Union Jack-Pirates-Taylor the Water Poet-A Fight in the Harbour-Death of Jams VI. BARELY was the treaty of peace concluded, than it was foolishly resolved by the Scottish government to demolish the fortifications which had been reared with such labour and skill, lest they migh! be the means of future mischief if they fell into the hands of an enemy ; consequently, the following Order of Council was issued at Edinburgh 2nd July, 1560, commanding their destruction :- ?Forsaemeikle as it is naturiie knawyn how hurtful the fortifications of Leith hes been to this haille realme, and in especialle to the townes next adjacent thairunto, and how prejudiciall the same sal1 be to the libertie of this haille countrie, in caiss strangears sal1 at any tyme hereafter intruse thamselfs thairin : For this and syck like considerations the Council has thocht expedient, and chargis Provost, Bailies and Council of Edinburgh to tak order with the town and community of the same? and caus and compel1 thame to appoint a sufficient number to cast doilll and demolish the south part of the said towne, begynand at Sanct Anthones Port, and passing westward to the Water of Leith, making the Blockhouse and curtain equal with the ground.?
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