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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 167 retail trade should have remained entirely in the hands of females. The saltwives. were nearly as numerous at one time as the fish-wives. Margaret, however, did not live to witness the-change.l She died about the year 1810. No. CCXXX. ARCHIBALD HAMILTON ROWAN, ESQ., OF KILLILEAGH, IN IRELAND, AND THE HON. SIMON BUTLER. THIS Etching represents these gentlemen as they appeared on the streets of Edinburgh in 179 3. The portraitures are extremely characteristic, particul& that of Rowan. His figure is tall, robust, and erect, with much of that air bf nonchalance for which he was remarkable. In his hand is a huge club, bearing the significant inscription-'' A Pill for a Puppy." In the course of the trial of Muir of Huntershill, the then Lord Advocate of Scotland, Dundas of Arniston, alluding to the leaders of the United Irishmen of Dublin, spoke of them as " wretches who had fled from punishment." Dr. Drennan being then president, and Mr. Rowan secretary, the latter, on the 20th October 1793, addressed a letter to Dundas, demanding instant explanation and recantation of the false and injurious epithets ; with an assurance, that unless a satisfactory answer was returned in course of post, Mr. Rowan would pay him a personal visit before the expiry of the month. No reply was made ; and in the meantime measures were taken by the Procurator Fiscal (Mr. Wm. Scott) to insure the apprehension of Mr. Rowan on his arrival. A petition was presented to the Sheriff, stating "that A. H. Rowan, Esq., of the kingdom of Ireland, designing himself Secretary to the Society of United Irishmen in Dublin, with a wicked and malicious intent, and for other seditious and dangerous purposes, is just now COTW to this country, and is within ymr Lord&p's jurisdiction." This petition was presented on the 28th October, and a warrant of the same date was immediately granted ; although, so far from being within the Sheriff's jurisdiction, the party to be apprehended had not then left Dublin.' Prior to the reduction of the duty, the more economical portion of the working community were in the habit of laying in a small store of salt about the Martinmas t i e , sufficient to serve throughout the winter. To a managing housewife the profit of the hawker was of considerable moment ; and many a denizen of Edinburgh, looking back to his boyish days, must recollect how oft he has joyfully trudged to the Pans of Joppa for his " peck 0' 88'"'' A copy of the petition and warrant appeared in the Mming (;'hroniCle and Cowrier newspapers, xj a specimen of Scottish criminal procedure.
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168 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Mr. Rowan, attended by his friend, the Honourable Simon Butler, anived in Edinburgh on the’4th November, about mid-day, at Dumbreck‘s Hotel, when the latter lost no time in waiting on the Lord Advocate, at his house in George Square. He was received in a polite manner by his lordship, who said, that although not bound to give any explanation of what he might consider proper to state in his official capacity, yet he would return an answer to Mr. Rowan’s note without delay. Mr. William Moffat, solicitor, the agent and friend of Muir, who had been sent for by Mr. Rowan, immediately on his arrival, was present in Dumbreck’s when Mr, Butler returned from George Square. “his gentleman had hardly finished an account of his interview, when George Williamson, King’s Messenger, accompanied by two sheriff-officers, made their appearance with the Lord Advocate’s answer ; and, without much ceremony, intimated the Sheriff‘s warrant for the apprehension of Mr. Rowan. There was no charge or warrant against Mr. Butler ; but he accompanied his friend in a coach to the Sheriffs Office, attended by the messenger and his assistants. Acting by the advice of Mr. Moffat, who protested against the legality of the charges on which the warrant proceeded, Mr. Rowan indignantly refused to answer the interrogatories of the Sheriff. In consequence, a warrant was issued for his incarceration until liberated in due course of law. Colonel Norman Macleod, M.P. for Inverness-shire, who happened to be in town, and was by this time in attendance at the Office, immediately became surety. Mr. Rowan and his friends then adjourned to Hunter’s tavern, Royal Exchange, where they were hospitably regaled by the gallant Colonel. On the following morning Rowan and Butler visited Mr. Muir in the Tolbooth, where, accompanied by Colonel Macleod, Captain Johnston, and Mr. Moffat, they dined with him next day. On this occasion, Hamilton Rowan gave Muir a pair of elegant pistols, of the finest cut steel, remarkably small, and of curious workmanship, to be kept in remembrance of the donor, and as a safeguard, in case of need, during the perils he was destined to encounter.’ Mr. Rowan and his friend Mr. Butler remained in Edinburgh for the space of eight days. Previous to their departure, they were entertained at a public dinner in Hunter’s tavern, Royal Exchange, given by a select number of the Friends of the People ; among whom were Mr. Moffat, Colonel Macleod, and about sixty other friends. The entrance-to the tavern w;t9 carefully watched by a party of sheriff and town-officers, for the purpose of noting the names of all who attended the banquet. But the greatest harmony prevailed ; and thus terminated the frightful vision of treason and sedition created in the minds of the authorities by the visit of Mr. Rowan and his friend. Although held to bail, The pistols were afterwards taken from Muir while on board the revenue cutter in Leith Roads. He made no secret of the presentifrequently showing them, on account of their curiourr workmanship, not ody to his friends, but to the officers of the cutter ; and no doubt from information commnnicated to the Sheriff, a warrant was granted to enforce their delivery. Repeated applications, in which Muir’a father concurred, were afterwards made for the restoration of the pistols, but without effect.
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