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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 207 Golf was a farourite amusement of the citizens of Perth during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; so much so, that the younger portion of the community could not withstand its fascination even on the Sabbath day. In the kirk-session records is an entry-2d January 1604-in which the “visitors report, that good order was keeped the last Sabbath, except that .they found some young boys playing at the gowf, in the North Inch, in the time of preaching, afternoon, who were warned then by the officiars to compear before the session this day.” They accordingly appeared ; and the ringleader, Robert Robertson, was sentenced (‘to pay ane merk to the poor;” and ordained, with his companions, ‘( to compear the next Sabbath, into the place of public repentance, in presence of the whole congregation.” ‘ Early in the reign of James VI, the business of club-making had becpme one of some importance. By “ane letter” of his Majesty, dated Holyrood House, 4th April 1603, “William Mayne, bower, burgess of Edinburgh,” is made and constituted, (( during all the days of his lyf-time, master fledger, bower, ebbmaker, and speir-maker to his Hieness, alsweill for game as weir ;” and in 1618 the game of golf appears to have been so generally in practice, that the manufacturing of balls was deemed worthy of special protection. In “ane” other letter of James VI., dated Salisburyl 5th August of the above year, it is stated that there being (( no small quantity of gold and silver transported zeirly out of his Hieness’ kingdom of Scotland for bying of gof balls,” James Melvill and others are granted the sole right of supplying that article within the kingdom, prohibiting all others from making or selling them for the ‘( space of twenty-one zeirs.” The price of a ball was fixed at (‘ four schillings money of this realm ;” and for the better tryell heiroff, his Majestie ordanes the said James Melville to have ane particular stamp of his awin, and to cause mark and stamp all suche ballis maid be him and his foirsaidis thairwith;’ and that all ballis maid within the kingdome found to be otherwayis stamped sal1 be escheated.” From this period the game of golf took firm hold as one of the national pastimes-practised by all ranks of the people, and occasionally countenanced by royalty itself. (‘ Even kings themselves,” says a writer in the Scots Magazinc tfohre 1S7o9c2ie,t y“ doifd Endoitn dbeucrlginhe Gthoel fperrsin tcoel yb es pionfrot;r maendd tith awt iltlh neo tt wboe dlaisspt lecarsoiwngn e1 heads that ever visited this country used to practise thb golf in the Links of Leith, now occupied by the Society for the same purpose. King Charles I. waa extremely fond of this exercise ; and it is said that, when he was engaged in a party at golf on the Links of Leith, a letter was delivered into his hands, which gave him the first account of the insurrection and rebellion in Ireland. On reading which he suddenly called for his coach ; Chronicle of Perth, privately printed for the Maitland Club, 1831, Ito, p. 69. From the lame curions record we learn that foot-ball was also a favourita amusement of the Perth Citieens ’ This practice is still continued.
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208 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. and leaning on one of his attendants, and in great agitation, drove to the Palace of Holyrood House, from whence next day he set out for London.”’ “ The Duke of York, afterwards James IL, was not less attached to this elegant diversion. In the year 1681 and 1683, being then Commissioner from the King to Parliament, while the Duke resided at Edinburgh, with his Duchess, and his daughter the Princess Anne (afterwards Queen), a splendid Court was kept at the Palace of Holyrood House, to which the principal nobility and gentry resorted. The Duke, though a bigot in his principles, was no cynic in his manners and pleasures. At that time he seemed to have studied to make himself popular among all ranks of men, Balls, plays, masquerades, etc., were introduced for the entertainment of both sexes; and tea, for the first time heard of in Scotland, was given as a treat by the Princesses to the. Scottish ladies who visited at the Abbey. The Duke, however, did not confine himself merely to diversions within doors. He was frequently seen in a party at golf on the Links of Leith with some of the nobility and gentry. ‘I remember,’ says Mr. Tytler of Woodhouselee, ‘in my youth to have often conversed with an old man, named Andrew Dickson, a golf club-maker, who said that, when a boy, he used to carry the Duke’s golf-clubs, and to run before him and announce where the balls fell.’ Dickson was then performing the duty of what is now commonly called a fore-cad~ie.’” In the “ Rules of the Thistle Golf Club, with Historical Notices relative to the Progress of the Game of Golf in Scotland”-a thin octavo-by Mr. John Cundell, privately printed at Edinburgh in 1824, the author observes, in a note, that there is an evident mistake in eaying that Charles set off the next day after he had received news of the Rebellion ; as, in point of fact, he stayed in Scotland till the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament. This mistake does not, however, affect the truth of Charles’s partiality for golf. Connected with a house of some antiquity in the Canongate of Edinburgh-said to have been built by one John Patersone, an excellent golf player-the following tradition is preserved :- “During the residence of the Duke of York in Edinburgh, that Prince frequently resorted to Leith Links, in order to enjoy the sport of golfing, of which he was very fond. Two English noblemen who followed his Court, and who boasted of their expertness in golfing, were one day debating the question with his Royal Highness, whether that amusement were peculicr to Scotland or England ; and having some difficulty in coming to an issue on the snbject, it was proposed to decide the question by an appeal to the game itself; the Englishmen agreeing to rest the legitimacy of their national pretensions as golfers, together with a large sum of money, on the result of a match, to be played with his Royal Highness and any Scotsman he could bring forward. The Duke, whose great aim at that time was popularity, thinking this no bad opportunity both for asserting his claims to the character of a Scotsman, and for flattering a national prejndice, immediately accepted the challenge; and, in the meantime, caused diligent inquiry to be made, as to where the most efficient partner could be found, The person reconiniended to him for this purpose was a poor man named John Patersone, a shoemaker, who was not only the best golf-player of his day, but whose ancestors had been equally celebrated from time immemorial. On the matter being explained to him, Patewone expressed great nnwillingness to enter into a match of such consequence ; but, on the Duke encouraging him, he proniised to do his best. The match was played, in which the Duke and his humble partner were of course victorious, and the latter was dismissed with a reward corresponding to the importance of his service--being an equal share of the stake played for. With this money he immediately built a conitortable house in the Canongate, in the wall of which the Duke caused a stone to be placed, bearing the arnis of the family of Patersone, surmounted by a crest and motto, appropriate to the distinction which its owner had acquired 84 8 golfer.” Patersone’s house is No. 81, on the north side of the Canongate. The armorial bearing is placed near
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