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the same sentence of certain death, they only had the commission. It was only by his milnary skill, and advantage of knowing the precise moment at which an alert and resolute character as an officer of
polico it should be executed upon them. Therefore," urged that he merited this promotion,
for he is said to have the good man, his voice trembling with emotion, been a man of profligate habits, an unnatural son, and ** redeem the time, my unhappy brethren, which is a brutal husband. He was, however, useful in his
st left; and remember, that, with the grace of Him station, and his harsh and fierce habits rendered him to whom space and time are but as nothing, salva- formidable to rioters or disturbers of the public
peace, tion may yet be assured, even in the pittance of delay. The corps in which he held his command is, or perwhich the laws of your country afford you." haps we should rather say was, a body of about one hạn Robertson was observed to weep at these words; dred and twenty soldiers, divided
into three companies but Wilson seemed as one whose brain had not en and regularly armed,clothed, and embodied. They were tirely received their meaning, or whose thoughts were chiefly veterans who enlisted in this corps, having the deeply impressed with some different subject; --an ex- benefit of working at their trades when they were off pression so natural to a person in his situation, that duty. These men had the charge of preserving pub. it excited neither suspicion nor surprise.
lic order, repressing riots and street robberies, acting, The benediction was pronounced as asual, and the in short, as an armed police, and attending on all congregation was dismissed, many lingering to in- public occasions where confusion or popular disturbdulge their curiosity with a more fixed look at the ance might be expected.* Poor Ferguson, whose irtwo criminals, who now, as well as their guards, rose regularities sometimes led him into unpleasant ren. up, as if to depart when the crowd should permit contres with these military conservators of public or them. A murmur of compassion was heard to per- der, and who mentions thém so often that he may be vade the spectators, the more general, perhaps, on termed their poet laureate, thus admonishes his readaccount of the alleviating circumstances of the case; ers, warned. Subtless by his own experience : when all at once, Wilson, who, as we have already "Gade folk, as ye come trae the fair, noticed, was a very strong man, seized two of the sol.
Bide yont frae this black squad; diers, one with each hand, and calling at the same
There's nae sie sa vages elsewhere time to his companion,"Run, Geordie, run!" threw
Allow'd to wear cockad." himself on a third, and fastened his teeth on the col. In fact, the soldiers of the City Guard, being, as lar of his coat. Robertson stood for a second as if we have said. in general discharged veterans, who thunderstruck, and unable to avail himself of the op- had strength enough remaining for this municipal portunity of escape; but the cry of "Run, run!" be duty, and being, moreover, for the greater part, Highing echoed from many around, whose feelings sur landers, were neither by birth, kication, or former prised them into a very natural interest in his behalf, habits, trained to endure with much patience the in he shook off the grasp of the remaining soldier, threw sults of the rabble, or the provoking petulance of tru himself over the pew, mixed with the dispersing con- ant schoolboys, and idle debauchees of all descripgregation, none of whom felt inclined to stop a poor tions, with whom their occupation brought them into wretch taking this last chance for his life, gained the contact. On the contrary, the tempers of the poor old door of the church, and was lost to all pursuit. fellowe were soured by the indignities with which the
The generous intrepidity which Wilson had dis- mob distinguished them on many occasions, and fre: played on this occasion augmented the feeling, of quently might have required the soothing strains of compassion which attended his fate. The public, the poet we have just quoted where their own prejudices are not concerned, are
O soldiers ! for your ain dear sakes, easily engaged on the side of disinterestedness and
For Scotland's love, the Land o' Cakes, humanity, admired Wilson's behaviour, and rejoiced Gie not her bairns sic deadly paiks, in Robertson's escape. This general feeling was so
Nor be sae rude, greah, that it excited a vague report that Wilson
Wi' firelock or Lochaber-axe,
As spill their bluid !" would be rescued at the place of execution, either by the mob or by some of his old associates, or by On all occasions when a holyday licensed some rici some second extraordinary and unexpected exertion and irregularity, a skirmish with these veterans was of strength and courage on his own part. The ma- a favourite recreation with the rabble of Edinburgh, gistrates thought it their duty to provide against the These pages may perhaps see the light when many possibility of disturbance. They ordered out, for pro- have in fresh recollection such onsets as we allude to. tection of the execution of the sentence, the greater But the venerable corps, with whom the contention part of their own City Guard, under the command of was held, may now be considered as totally extinct. Captain Porteous, a man whose name became too Of late the gradual diminution of these civic soldiers, memorable from the melancholy circumstances of reminds one of the abatement of King Lear's hundred the day, and subsequent events. It may be neces- knights. The edicts of each succeeding set of magis sary to say a word about this person, and the corps trates have, like those of Goneril and Regan, dimi. which he commanded. But the subject is of import- nished this venerable band with the similar question, ance sufficient to deserve another chapter.
"What need we five-and-twenty?-ten ?-or five ?! And it is now nearly come to, "What need one ?" A spectre may indeed here and there still be seen, of an
old gray-headed and gray-bearded Highlander, with CHAPTER III.
war-worn features, but bent double by age; dressed in And thou, great god of aqun-vitæ ?
an old-fashioned cocked hat, bound with white tape Wha sways the empire of this city,
instead of silver lace;' and in coat, waistcoat, and (When fou we're sometimes capernoity,)
breeches of a muddy-coloured' red, bearing in his To save us frae that black banditti,
withered hand an ancient weapon, called a Lochaber. The City Guard!
axe; a long pole, namely, with an axe at the extremi.
FERGUSON's Dan Days. ty, and a hook at the back of the hatchet. Such a CAPTAIN JOHN PORTEOUS, "a name memorable in phantom of former days still creeps, I have been in. the traditions of Edinburgh, as well as in the records formed, round the statue of Charles the Second, in of criminal jurisprudence, was the son of a citizen of the Parliament Square, as if the image of a Stewart Edinburgh, who endeavoured to breed him up to his were the last refuge for any memorial of our ancient own mechanical trade of a tailor. The
youth, however, manners; and one or two others are supposed to glide had a wild and irreclaimable propensity to dissipation, around the door of the guard house assigned to them which finally sent him to serve in the corps long main in the Luckenbooths, when their ancient refuge in the tained in the service of the States of Holland, and called the Scotch Dutch. Here he learned military disci- the corps, which might be ..creased to three hundred men when
* The Lord Provost was ex-officio commander and colonel of dle and wandering life, to his native city, his services sound on the High Street between the Luckenbooths and so were required by the magistrates of Edinburgh in the Netherbow. disturbed year 1715, for disciplining their City Guard, scale a gateway,
by crappling the top of the door and swingine
This hook was to enable the bearer of the Lochaber are w in which he shortly afterwards received a captain's himseil
up by the son or his weapon.
High Street was laid low. But the fate of manu, led to suffer. Porteous's pordinary appearance was scripts bequeathed to friends and executors is so un- rather favourable. He was about the middle size, certain, that the narrative containing these frail stout, and well made, having a military air, and yet memorials of the old Town-Guard of Edinburgh, rather a gentle and mild countenance. His com who, with their grim and valiant corporal, John Dhu, plexion was brown, his face somewhat fretted with (the fiercest-looking fellow I ever saw) were, in my the scars of the small-pox, his eyes rather languia boyhood, the alternate terror and derision of the petu than keen or fierce. On the present occasion, how tant brood of the High-school, may, perhaps, only ever, it seemed to those who saw him as if he were come to light when all memory of the institution has agitated by some evil demon. His
step was irregufaded away, and then serve as an illustration of Kay's lar, his voice hollow and broken, his countenance caricatures, who nas preserved the features of some of pale, his eyes staring and wild, his speech imperfect their heroes. In the preceding generation, when there and confused, and his whole appearance so disorder was a perpetual alarm for the plots and activity of the ed, that many remarked he seemed to be fey, a Scot Jacobites, some pains were taken by the magistrates tish expression, meaning the state of those who are of Edinburgh to keep this corps, though composed driven on to their impending fate by the strong im. always of such materials as we have noticed, in a pulse of some irresistible necessity.
T. more effective state than was afterwards judged ne- One part of his conduct was truly diabolical, if cessary, when their most dangerous service was to indeed, it has not been exaggerated by the generad skirmish with the rabble on the king's birth-day prejudice entertained against his memory. When They were, therefore, more the objects of hatred, Wilson, the unhappy criminal, was delivered to him and less that of scorn, than they were afterwards by the keeper of the prison, in order that he might be accounted.
conducted to the place of execution, Porteous, not To Captain John Porteous, the honour of his com- satisfied with the usual precautions to prevent escape, mand and of his corps seems to have been a matter of ordered him to be mariacled. This might be justifiahigh interest and importance. He was exceedingly ble from the character and bodily strength of the incensed against Wilson for the affront which he malefactor, as well as from the apprehensions so construed him to have put upon his soldiers, in the generally entertained of an expected rescue. But the effort he made for the liberation of his companion, handcuffs which were produced being found 100 and expressed himself most ardently on the subject. small for the wrists of a man so big-boned as Wilson, He was no less indignant at the report that there Porteous proceeded with his own hands, and by great was an intention to rescue Wilson himself from the exertion of strength, to force them till they clasped gallows, and uttered many threats and imprecations together, to the exquisite torture of the unhappy upon that subject, which were afterwards remember criminal. Wilson remonstrated against such bar ed to his disadvantage. In fact, if a good deal of de- barous usage, declaring
that the pain distracted his termination and promptitude, rendered Porteous, in thoughts from the subjects of meditation proper to one respect, fit to command guards designed to sup- his unhappy. condition. heves on
"It signifies little," replied Captain Porteous; been disqualified for a charge so delicate, by a your pain will be soon at an end." hot and surly temper, always too ready to come to "Your cruelty is great," answered the sufferer. blows and violence; a character void of principle; "You know not how soon. you yourself may have and a disposition to regard the rabble, who seldom occasion to ask the mercy, which you are now refailed to regale him and his soldiers with some marks fusing to a fellow.creature. May God forgive you !" of their displeasure, as declared enemies, upon whom These words, long afterwards quoted and remem it was natural and justifiable that he should seek op- bered, were all that passed between Porteous and his portunities of vengeance. Being, however, the most prisoner but as they took air, and became known to active and trust-worthy among the captains of the the people, they greatly increased the popular com. City Guard, he was the person to whom the magis- passion for Wilson, and excited a proportionate de trates confided the command of the soldiers appoint-gree of indignation against Porteous; against whom, ed to keep the peace
at the time of Wilson's execu- as strict, and even violent in the discharge of his tion. He was ordered to guard the gallows and scaf- unpopular office, the common people had some real, fold, with about eighty men, all the disposable force and many imaginary causes of complaint. that could be spared for that duty.
When the painful procession was completed, and But the magistrales took further precautions Wilson, with the escort, had arrived at the scaffold which affected
Porteous's pride very deeply. They in the Grass-market, there appeared no signs of that requested the assistance of part of a regular infantry attempt to rescue him which had occasioned such regiment, not to attend upon the execution, but to re- precautions. The multitude, in general, looked on main drawn up on the principal street of the city, with deeper interest than at ordinary executions, and during the time that it went forward, in order to in there might be seen, on the countenances of many a timidate the multitude, in case they should be dis. stern and indignant expression, like that with which posed to be unruly, with a display of force which the ancient Cameronians might be supposed to witcould not be resisted without desperation. It may ness the execution of their brethren, who glorified sound ridiculous in our ears, considering the fallen the Covenant on the same occasion, and at the same have felt punctiliously jealous of its honour. Yet so himself seemed disposed to
violence, he specie
the space it was. Captain Porteous résented, as an indignity, that divided time from eternity. The devotions prothe introducing the Welsh Fusileers within the city, per and usual on such occasions were no sooner and drawing them up in the street where no drums finished than'he submitted to his fate, and the senbut his own were allowed to be sounded, without the tence of the law was fulfilled. special command or permission of the magistrates. He had been suspended on the gibbet so long as to As he could not show
his ill-humour to his patrons be totally deprived of life, when at once, as if occca. the magistrates, it increased his indignation and his sioned by some newly received impulse, there arose desire to be revenged on the unfortunate criminal a tumult among the multitude Many stones were Wilson, and all who favoured him. These internal thrown at Porteous and his ards; some mischiet emotions of jealousy
, and rage wrought a change on was done ; and the mob continued to press forward the inan's mien and bearing, visible to all who saw with whoops, shrieks, howls, and exclamations. A him on the fatal morning when Wilson was appoint, young, sellow, with a sailor's cap slouched over his
This ancient corps is now entircly disbanded. "Their last face sprung on the scaffold, and cut the rope by Their drums and files had been wont on better days to play, on proached to carry off the
body, either to secure for it a this joyous occasion, the lively lune of
decent grave, or to try, perhaps, some means of resus. "Jockey 20 the fair ;"
citation. Captain Porteous was wrought, by thrs on this final occasion the afflicted veterans moved slowly appearance of insurrection against his authority, into the
a rage so, headlong as made him forget, that, the 1. The last time I came ower the muir."
sentence having been fully executed, it was his duty
not to engage in hostilities with the misguided mul
CHAPTER IV titude, but to draw off his men as fast as possible. He sprung from the scaffold, snatched a musket from
** The hour's come, but not the man."-Kelple. one of his soldiers, commanded the party to give fire, On the day when the unhappy Porteous was ex and, as several eye-witnesses concurred in swearing, peeted to suffer the sentence of the law, the place of set them the example, by discharging his piece, and execution, extensive as it is, was crowded almost to shooting a man dead on the spol., Several soldiers suffocation. There was not a window in all the lofty obeyed his command or followed his example ; six tenements around it, or in the steep and crooked or seven persons were slain, and a great many were street called the Bow, by which the fatal procession hort and wounded.
was to descend from the High Street, that was not After this act of violence, the Captain proceeded to absolutely filled with spectators. The uncommon withdraw his men towards their guard-house in the height and antique appearance of these houses, some High Street. The mob were not so much intimida- of which were formerly the property of the Knights ted as incensed by what had been done. They pur- Templars, and the Knights of St. John, an still sued the soldiers with execrations, accompanied by exhibit on their fronts
and gables the iron cross of volleys of stones. As they pressed on them, the rear- these ofders, gave additional effect to a scene in most soldiers turnel, and again fired with fatal aim itself so striking. The area of the Grass-market reand execution. It is not accurately known whether sembled a huge dark lako or sea of human heads, în Porteous commanded this second act of violence; the centre of which arose the fatal tree, tall, black, but of course the odium of the whole transactions of and ominous, from which dangled the deadly halter. the fatal day attached to him, and to him alone. He Every object takes interest from its uses and associaarrived at the guard-house, dismissed his soldiers, tions, and the erect beam and empty noose, things 80 and went to make his report to the magistrates con- simple in themselves, became on such an occasion, cerning the unfortunate events of the day.
objects of terror and of solemn interest. Apparently by this time Captain Porteous had be- Amid so numerous an assembly there was scarcely gun to doubt the propriety of his own conduct, and a word spoken, save in whispers. The thirst of venthe reception he met with from the magistrates was geance was in some degree allayed by its supposed such as to make him still more anxious to gloss it certainty ; and even the populace, with deeper feelover. He denied that he had given orders to fire; he ing than they are wont to entertain, suppressed all denied he had fired with his own hand; he even pro clamorous exultation, and prepared to enjoy the scene duced the fusee which he carried as an officer for of retaliation in triumph, silent and decent, though examination; it was found still loaded. Of three stern and relentless. It seemed as if the depth of cartridges which he was seen to put in his pouch that their hatred to the unfortunate criminal scorned to morning, two were still there; a white handkerchief display itself in any thing resembling the more noisy was thrust into the muzzle of the piece, and returned current of their ordinary feelings. Had a stranger unsoiled or blackened. To the defence founded on consulted only the evidence of his ears, he might have these circumstances it was answered, that Porteous supposed that so vast a multitude were assembled for had not used his own piece, but had been seen to take some purpose which affected them with the deepest one from a soldier. Among the many who had been sorrow, and stilled those noises which, on all ordi. killed and wounded by the unhappy fire, there were nary occasions, arise from such a concourse ; but if several of better rank; for even the humanity of he gazed upon their faces he would have been insuch soldiers as fired over the heads of the mere stantly undeceived. The compressed lip, the bent rabble around the scaffold, proved in some in-brow, the stern and Aashing eye of almost every one stances fatal to pers' ns who were stationed in win- on whom he looked, conveyed the expression of men dows, or observed the melancholy scene from a dis- come to glut their sight with triumphant revenge. It tance. The voice of public indignation was loud and is probable that the appearance of the criminal might general; and, ere men's tempers had time to cool, have somewhat changed the temper of the populace the trial of Captain Porteous took place before the in his favour, and that they might in the moment of High Court of Justiciary: After a long and patient death have forgiven the man against whom their hearing, the jury had the difficult duty of balancing the resentment had been so fiercely heated. It had howDositive evidence of many persons, and those of re- ever, been destined, that the mutability of their sen. spectability, who deposed positively to the prisoner's timents was not to be exposed to this trial. commanding his soldiers to fire, and himself firing The usual hour for producing the criminal had been bis piece, of which some swore that they saw the past for many minutes, yet the spectators observed no smoke and flash, and beheld a man drop at whom it symptom of his appearance. "Would they venture to was pointed, with the negative testimony of others, defraud public justice ?" was the question which men who, though well stationed for seeing what had pass- began anxiously to ask at each other. The first ed, neither heard Porteous give orders to fire, nor saw answer in every case was bold and positive, -"They him fire himself; but, on the contrary, averred that dare not." But when the point was further çanthe first shot was fired by a soldier who stood close vassed, other
opinions were entertained, and various by him. A great part of his defence was also founded causes of doubt were suggested. Porteous, had been on the turbulenet f the mob, which witnesses, ac- a favourite officer of the magistracy of the city, which, cording to their feelings, their predilections, and their being a numerous and fluctuating body, requires for opportunities of observation, represented differently; its support a degree of energy in its functionaries, some describing as a formidable riot, what others re- which the individuals who compose it cannot at all presented as a trifling disturbance, such as always used times alike be supposed to possess in their own perto take place on the like occasions, when the execu- sons. It was remembered, that in the Information tioner of the law, and the men commissioned to pro- for Porteous, (the paper, namely, in which his case tect him in his task, were generally exposed to some was stated to the Judges of the criminal court,) live indignities. The verdict of the jury sufficiently shows had been described by his counsel as the person on how the evidence preponderated in their minds. It whom the magistrates chiefly, relied in all emergencies declared that John Porteous fired a gun among the of uncommon difficulty. It was argued, too, that his people assembled at the execution; that he gave or conduct on the unhappy occasion of Wilson's execuders to his soldiers to fire, by which many persons tion, was capable of being attributed to an imprudent were killed and wounded; but, at the same time, excess of zeal in the execution of his duty, a motivo that the prisoner and his guard had been wounded for which those under whose authority he acted and beaten, by stones thrown at them by the multi-might be supposed to have great sympathy. And as tude. Upon this verdict, the Lords of Justiciary these considerations might move the magistrates.to passed sentence of death against Captain John Por
* There is a tradition, that while a little stream was swonen eous, adjudging him in the common form, to be inlo a torrent by recent showers, the discontented voice of the
anged on a gibbet at the common place of execution, Water Spirit was heard to pronounce these words. At the same on
Wednesday, 8th September, 1736, and all his mo-moinent a man, urged on by his fate, or, in Souttish langunga, vable property to be forfeited to the king's use, ac- monstrance from the bystanders was of power to stop himcotaing to the Scottish law in cases of wilful murder. I plunged into tho stream, and perished. VOL. III
make a favourable representation of Porteous's case,' such had been expected by the magistrates, and the there were not wanting others, in the higher depart- necessary measures had been aken to repress it. ments of government, which would make such sug. But the shout was not repeated, nor did any sudden gestions favourably listened to.
tumult ensue, such as it appeared to announce. The The mob of Edinburgh, when thoroughly excited, populace seemed to be ashamed of having expressed had
been at all times one of the fiercest which could their disappointment in a vain clamour, and the sound be found in Europe ; and of late years they had risen changed, not into the silence which had preceded the repeatedly against the government, and sometimes arrival of these stunning news, but into stifled mutnot without temporary success. They were con- terings, which each group maintained among them scious, therefore, that they were no favourites with selves, and which were blended into one deep and the rulers of the period, and that, if Captain Porteous's hoarse murmur which floated above the
assembly. violence was not altogether regarded as good service, Yet still, though all expectation of the execution it might certainly be thought, that to visit it with a was over, the mob remained assembled, stationary, capital punishment would render it both delicate and as it were, through very resentment, gazing on the dangerous for future officers, in the same circumstan- preparations for death, which had now been made 'ces, to act with effect in repressing tumults. There in vain, and stimulating their feelings, by recalling is also a natural feeling, on the part of all members the various claims which Wilson might have had on of government, for the general maintenance of au- royal mercy, from the mistaken motives on which he ahority; and it seemed not unlikely, that what to the acted, as well as from the generosity he had displayrelatives of the sufferers appeared a wanton and un- ed towards his accomplice. " This man," they said provoked massacre, should be otherwise viewed in the brave, the resolute, the generous, was executthe cabinet of St. James's. It might be there sup-ed to death without mercy for stealing a purse of posed, that, upon the whole matter, Captain Porteous gold, which in some sense he might consider as a was in the exercise of a trust delegated to him by the fair reprisal ; while the profligate satellite, who took lawful civil authority; that he had been assaulted by advantage of a trifling tumult, inseparable from such the populace, and several of his men hurt; and that, occasions, to shed the blood of twenty of his fellowin finally repelling force by force, his conduct could citizens, is deemed a fitting object for the exercise of be fairly imputed io no other motive thari self-defence the royal prerogative of mercy. Is this to be borne? in the discharge of his duty.
-would our fathers have borne it? Are not we, like These considerations, of themselves very powerful, them, Scotsmen and burghers of Edinburgh ?" induced the spectators to apprehend the possibility of The officers of justice began now to remove tne a reprieve; and to the various causes which might scaffold, and other preparations which had been made interest the rulers in his favour, the lower part of the for the execution, in hopes, by doing so, to accelerate rabble added one which was peculiarly well adapted the dispersion of the multitude. The measure had to their comprehension. It was averred, in order to the desired effect; for no sooner had the fatal tree increase the odium against Porteous, that while he been unfixed from the large stone pedestal or socket repressed with the utmost severity the slightest ex- in which it was secured, and sunk slowly down upon cesses of the poor, he not only overlooked the license the wain intended to remove it to the place where it of the young nobles and gentry, but was very willing was usually deposited, than the populace, after giving to lend them the countenance of his official autho- vent to their feelings in a second shout of rage and rity, in execution of such loose pranks as it was mortification, began slowly to disperse to their usual chiefly his duty to have restrained. This suspicion, abodes and occupations. which was perhaps much exaggerated, made a deep The windows were in like manner gradually desertimpression on the minds of the populace; and when ed, and groups of the more decent class of citizens several of the higier rank joined in a petition, recom- formed themselves, as if waiting to return homewards mending Porteous to the mercy of the crown, it was when the streets should be cleared of the rabble. generally supposed he owed their favour not to any Contrary to what is frequently the case, this descripconviction of the hardship of his case, but to the fear, tion of persons agreed in general with the seniiof losing a convenient accomplice in their debauche- ments of their inferiors, and considered the cause as ries. It is scarcely necessary to say how much this common to all ranks.' Indeed, as we have already suspieson auginented the people's detestation of this noticed, it was by no means amongst the lowest class obnoxious criminal, as well as their fear of his escap- of the spectators, or those most likely to be engaged ing the sentence pronounced against him.
in the riot at Wilson's execution, that the fatal fire While these arguments were stated and replied to, of Porteous's soldiers had taken effect. Severa, and canvassed and supported, the hitherto silent ex- persons were killed who were looking out at winpectation of the people became changed into that dows at the scene, who could not of course belong deep and agitating murmur, which is sent forth
by to the rioters, and were persons of decent rank and the ocean before the tempest begins to howl. The condition. The burghers, therefore, resenting the crowded populace, as if their motions had correspond- loss which had fallen on their own bode and prond ed with the unsettled state of their minds, fluctuated and tenacious of their rights, as the citizens of Ed. to and fro without any visible cause of impulse, like inburgh have at all times been, were greatly exaspe the agitation of the waters, called by sailors the rated at the unexpected respite of Captain Porteous. ground-swell. The news, which the magistrates had It was noticed at the time, and afterwards more almost hesitated to communicate to them, were at particularly
remembered, that, while the mob were length announced, and spread among the spectators in the act of dispersing, several individuals were seene with a rapidity like lightning. A reprieve from the busily passing from one place and one group of peoSecretary of State's office, under the hand of his ple to another, remaining long with none, but whisGrace the Duke of Neweastle, had arrived, intimat- pering for a little time with those who appeared to be ing the pleasure of Queen Caroline, (regent of the declaiming most violently against the conduct of gokingdom during the absence of George II. on the vernment. These active agents had the appearance Continent,) that the execution of the sentence of of men from the country, and were generally sup death pronounced against John Porteous, late Cap- posed to be old friends and confederates of Wilson tain-Lieutenant of the City-Guard of Edinburgh, pre- whose minds were of course highly excited against sent prisoner in the tolbooth of that city, be respited Porteous. for six weeks from the time appointed for his execu- If, however, it was the intention of these men to tion.
stir the multitude to any sudden act of mutiny, it The assembled spectators of almost all degrees, seemed for the time to be fruitless. The rabble, as whose minds had been wound up to the pitch which well as the more decent part of the assembly, disse have described, uttered a groan, or rather a roar persed, and went home peaceably; and it was only ai indignation and disappointed revenge, similar to by observing the moody discontent on their brows, that of a tiger from whom his mea! has been rent by or catching the tenor of the conversation they held his keeper when
he was just about to devour it. This with each other, that a stranger could estimate the force exclamation seemed to forebode some imme- state of their minds. We will give the reader this giate explosion of popular resentment, and, in fact, I advantage. by associating ourselves with one of the numerous groups who were painfully ascending the turn of mind was, on the whole, lucky for him; since steep declivity of the West Bow, to return to their his substance was increased without any trouble on dwellings in the Lawn-market.
his part, or any interruption of his favourite studies "An unco thing this, Mrs. Howden,” said old Per This word in explanation has been thrown in to ter P!umdamas to his neighbour the rouping-wife, or the reader, while Saddletree was laying down, with saleswoman, as he offered her his arm to assist her great precision, the law upon Porteous's case, oy in the toilsome ascent, " to see the grit folk at Lun- which he arrived at this conclusion, that, if Porteous non set their face against law and gospel, and let had fired five minutes sooner, before Wilsor was cut loose sic a reprobate as Porteous upon a peaceable down, he would have been versans in licito ; entown!
gaged, that is, in a lawful act, and only liable to be " And to thmk o' the weary walk they hae gien us,” punished propter excessum, or for lack of discretion, answered Mrs. Howden, with a groan; "and sic a which might have mitigated the punishment to pæna comfortable window as I had gotten, too, just within ordinaria. a penny-stane-cast of the scaffold--I could hae heard "Discretion !" echoed Mrs Howden, on whom, it every word the minister said--and to pay twalpennies may well be supposed, the fine less of this distinction for my stand, and a' for naething!!
was entirely thrown away," whan had Joek Porte"I am judging," said Mr. Plumdamas, that this ous either grace, discretion, or gude manners?-1 reprieve wadna stand gude in the auld'Scots law, mind when his
father" when the kingdom was a kingdom.".
But, Mrs. Howden," said Saddletree“I dinna ken muckle about the law," answered "And I," said Miss Damahoy, "mind when his Mrs. Howden; but I ken, when we had a king, and mother" a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could "Miss Daniahoy,” entreated the interrupted oraaye peeble them wi' stanes when they werena gude torbairns-But naebody's nails can reach the length o' " And I," said Plumdamas,"mind when his Lunnon.".
wife" "Weary on Lunnon, and a' that e'er came out o't!" "Mr. Plumdamas--Mrs. Howden-Miss Dama. said Miss Grizel Damahoy, an ancient seamstress; hoy," again implored the orator,"mind the dis" they hae taen awa our parliament, and they hae tinction, as Counsellor Crossmyloof says, 'I,' says oppressed our trade. Our gentles will hardly allow he, take a distinction. Now, the body of the crimihat a Scots needle can sew ruffles on a sark, or lace nal being cut down, and the execution ended, Por on an owerlay."
teous was no longer official; the act which he came "Ye may say that, Miss Damahoy, and I ken o' to protect and guard, being done and ended, he was hem that hae gotten raisins frae Lunnon by forpits no better than cuivis ex populo." at ance, responded Plumdamas," and then sican host "Quivis quivis, Mr. Saddletree, craving your of idle English gaugers and excisemen as hae come pardon," said (with a prolonged emphasis on the down to vex and torment us, that an honest man can- first syllable) Mr. Butler, the deputy schoolmaster of na fetch sae muckle as a bit anker o' brandy frae Leith a parish near Edinburgh, who at that moment came to the Lawn-market, but he's like to be rubbit o' the up behind them as the false Latin was uttered. very, gudes he's bought and paid for.--Weel, I winna "What signifies interrupting me, Mr. Butler ?-but justify Andrew Wilson for pitting hands on wha: I am glad to see ye notwithstanding-I speak after wasna his; but if he took nae mair than his ain, Counsellor Crossmyloof, and he said cuivis." there's an awfu' difference between that and the fact "If Counsellor Crossmyloof used the dative for the this man stands for."
nominative, I would have crossed his loof with a “If ye speak about the law," said Mrs. Howden, tight leather strap, Mr. Saddletree; there is not a "Here comes Mr. Saddletree, that can settle it as boy on the booby form but should have been scourged weel as ony on the bench."
for such a solecism in grammar." The party she mentioned, a grave elderly person, "I speak Latin like a lawyer, Mr. Butler, and not with a superb periwig, dressed in a decent suit of sad- like a schoolmaster," retorted Saddletree. coloured clothes, came up as she spoke, and cour- "Scarce like a schoolboy, I think,” rejoined Butler. teously gave his arm to Miss Grizel Damahoy. "It matters little," said Bartoline;" all I mean to
It may be necessary to mention, that Mr. Bartoline say is, that Porteous has become liable to the pena Saddletree kept an excellent and highly-esteemed extra ordinem, or capital punishment, which is to shop for harness, saddles, &c. &c. at the sign of the say, in plain Scotch, the gallows, simply because he Golden Nag, at the head of Bess Wynd. His genius, did not fire, when he was in office, but waited till the however, (as he himself and most of his neighbours body was cut down, the execution whilk he had in conceived,) lay towards the weightier matters of the charge to guard implemented, and he himself exlaw, and he failed not to give frequent attendance onered of the public trust imposed on him." upon the pleadings and arguments of the lawyers and "But, Mr. Saddletree," said Plumdamas, "do ye judges in the neighbouring square, where, to say the really
think John Porteous's case wad hae been bettruth, he was oftener to be found than would have ter if he had begun firing before ony stanes were consisted with his own emolument; but that his wife, Aung at a ?!! un active pains-taking person, could, in his absence "Indeed do I, neighbour Plumdamas," replied Barmake an admirable shift to please the customers and coline, confidently, "he being then n point of trust scold the journeymen.
This good lady was in the and in point of power, the execution being, but inhabit of letting her husband take his way, and go on choat, or, at least, not implemented, or finally ended; improving his stock of legal knowledge without in- but after Wilson was cut down, it was
a' ower-he terruption; but, as if in requital, she insisted upon was clean exauctorate, and had nae mair ado but to having her own will in the domestic and commercial get awa wi' his guard up this West Bow as fast as if departments which he abandoned to her. Now, as there had been a caption after him-And this is law, Bartoline Saddletree had a considerable gift of words, for I heard it laid down by Lord Vincovincentem." which he mistook for eloquence, and conferred more "Vincovincentem ?-Is he a lord of state, or a lord liberally upon the society in which he lived than was of seat ?" inquired Mrs. Howden.* at all tmes gracious and acceptable, there went forth A lord of seat--a lord of session.-I fash mysel! a saying, with which wags used sometimes to inter- little wi' lords of state; they vex me wi' a wheen cupt his
rhetoric, that, as he had a golden nag at his idle questions about their saddles, and curpels, and door, so he had a gray mare in his shop. This reproach holsters, and horse-furniture, and what they'll cos', induced Mr. Saddletree, on all occasions, to assume and whan they'll be ready-a wheen galloping geese rather a haughty and stately tone towards his good my wife may serve the like o' them." woman, a circumstance by which she seemed very And so might she, in her day, hae served the best little affected, unless he attempted to exercise any lord in the land, for as little as ye think o' her, Mr. real authority, when she never failed to fly into open Saddletree," said Mrs. Howden, somewhat indignant rebellion. But such extremes Bartoline seldom pro- at the contemptuous way in which her gossip was voked; for, like the gentle King Jamie, he was fonder * A nobleman was called a Lord of State. The Senators of tho of talking of authority than really exercising it. This College of Justice were tormed Lords of Seat, or of the Soveton.