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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


406 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Erskine, and the renowned Mr. Hutton, on whose left may be recognised Mr. Skinner, the landlord of the inn. In the lobby, at the foot of the stair, the combat was valiantly sustained by a postillion of the name of Bruce. He was a noted pugilist and cudgel-player, and on this occasion fully supported his reputation. Armed with the spoke of a carriage wheel, he coolly posted himself at the back door, and, with great deliberation, dealt his favours on all who approached, till- __‘-‘ Sp rawling on the ground, With many a gash and bloody wound,”- the number of the vanquished su5ciently indicated who were the victors. Fortunately, none of the warriors were actually slain ; but, among those whose fate it was to “lie on honour’s truckle-bed,” Neil M‘Millan,’ a chairman from Edinburgh, was perhaps the most severely wounded, his nose having been completely demolished by a blow from the heroic Bruce. Another individual is said to have had his neck deeply cut by a broken bottle thrown during the fight. Though a successful resistance had thus been made to Colonel Erskine and his party, an attack from the whole body of invaders was still to be dreaded ; and a general call ‘‘ to arms ” resounded through the burgh. This was, however, only partially obeyed ; for many of the inhabitants were personally hostile to the town-clerk, as well as politically opposed to the interest which he espoused. In this dilemma one course only remained to be adopted by the electors and their friends, and that was the bold alternative of cutting their way through the line of the besieging forces. To effect this against such mighty odds, more deadly weapons than shilelahs were deemed necessary. A levy of fire-arms was accordingly resorted to ; but, though such a display had not been witnessed since the weapon-schaws of former days, most of the arms available-save two pistols supplied by a tailor of the name of George Damey-were as likely to prove destructive to the possessor as the enemy. Maugre all disadvantages, however, a formidable band was ultimately marshalled-those who had firearms forming the advanced guard, and the cudgel-division bringing up the rear. In this way the sortie was made good in defiance of all opposition, and the electors were safely escorted to Dunfermline, which was still in a state of great excitement. Next morning-16th of June-the day fixed upon for choosing a commissioner for the burgh, the councillors in the interest of Colonel Johnstone assembled early in the Council-Room, and were “ waiting with patience,” as they expressed it, till the hour appointed for proceeding with the election, when, to their astonishment, William Wemyss, Esq., of Cuttlehill, followed by Alexander Law, messenger-at-arms, and assistants, entered with a warrant to apprehend the councillors who had been at Kinghorn, on the ground that several individuals engaged in the late affray were not expected to recover from their injuries. Six M‘Millan was a native of Atholl, and had been a serjeant in the 77th Regiment, or Atholl High- landers. He was for many years a chair-master in Edinburgh, and left considerable property at his death.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 407 members of Council, including Mr. Hutton, were accordingly hurried away to Inverkeithing, and there committed to durance in the common jail.’ The rest of the councillors having assembled at the hour of meeting, it was proposed by Mr. John Wilson, that before proceeding to business Mr. James Gibson, W.S. (afterwards Sir James Gibson-Craig, Bart. of Riccarton), should be “brought in to assist the Council with his advice at this election, in order that it may be conducted in a regular manner, and all the necessary forms be observed.” This motion was seconded by Bailie James Hunt, and carried by a majority of nine to six. Mr. Andrew Adie then moved “ that no election of a delegate for the burgh can take place, on account of Provost Moodie and other five of the Council having been carried off by an illegal and improper warrant; and therefore insisted that Mr. James Horne, W.S., be brought into Council to take a protest on that head ; and that no procedure w-hatever can take place until these councillors are returned to Council.” This was seconded by Mr. James Cowper, but negatived by nine votes to six. Mr. Adie and five other members’ now left the Council-Room, and the remaining nine unanimously elected Mr. Wemyss of Cuttlehill as their commissioner, to vote at the ensuing election. A desperate effort, however, was made by his opponents to regain the fortunes of the day. Proceeding on foot (for want of a conveyance) to Cramond Bridge, Mr. Williamson, advocate (afterwards Lord Balgray), drove from thence to Edinburgh, where he obtained an order, on lodging the requisite security, for the release of the imprisoned electors ; and, on the return of the party from Inverkeithing, late at night, the Provost immediately summoned a second meeting of the Council, which of course was attended only by those in the interest of Colonel Johnstone. The following are the minutes ; and we quote them nearly verbatim, as highly curious, as well as illustrative of the events we have been recording :- Thus Sir John Henderson’s party were triumphant. “The Magistrates and Council of the burgh of Dunfermline having assembled betwixt the hours of ten and eleven o’clock at night, of the 16th June 1796, in respect they were prevented from proceeding to the election of their delegate at the hour fixed by their minute of sederunt of 30th May last, being twelve o’clock of this forenoon. “ Mr. John Black, clerk of the burgh, having declined, though required, to officiate &s clerk to this meeting, the Council did thereby unanimously appoint Mr. John Black, junior, Writer in Dmnfermline, to be their clerk. ‘‘ The Council consider it necessary to state on their record why this meeting comes to be held at so late an hour, viz.- “ The whole twelve members now present observing yery strong symptoms of tumult and disorder to have been excited in this burgh for some days put, and that some of themselves Sir John Hendemon’s party prevailed on Dr. Davidson (Professor of Civil and Natural History in Marischal College, Aberdeen), then residing in Dunfermline, to go to Kinghorn and examine M ‘Millan’s hurt ; and it was in consequence of his certiieate, stating the man’s life to be in danger, that a warrant was obtained from the Crown Agent. An action was afterwards raised by the parties imprisoned, before the Court of Session, against Sir John Henderson, in which they were successful. The Pmvost obtained 6200, and the other councillors X100 each, of damages. 9 Measrs. James CowperlJaniea Lowson, David Beveridge, John Smith, and George Swan.
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