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the same sentence of certain death, they only had the commission. It was only by his military skill

, and advantage of knowing the precise moment at which an alert and resolute character as an officer of police, 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

t 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 per-
which 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 urely received their meaning, or whose thoughts were ehiefly 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 pubi excited neither suspicion nor surprise.

lic order, repressing riots and street robberies, acting, The benediction was pronounced as usual, 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 perder, and who mentions them 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 oubtless by his own experience : when all at once, Wilson, who, as we have already

"Gade folk, as ye come frae 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 sic sa vages elsewhere time to his companion, "Run, Geordie, fun!" 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, wacation, 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 freplayed 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 easily engaged on the side of disinterestedness and

"O soldiers ! for your ain dear sakes,

For Scotland's love, the Land of Cakes, humanity, admired Wilson's behaviour, and rejoiced Gie not her bairns sic deadly paike, in Robertson's escape. This general feeling was so

Nor be sae rude, great, 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 rice 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, dimiwhich 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 aqua-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 ua frae that black banditti,

withered hand an ancient weapon, called a LochaberThe City Guard !

axe; a long pole

, namely, with an axe at the extremi. FERGUSON'S Dahl Days. ty, and a hook at the back of the hatchet. Such a CAPTAIN Joux 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 tradeof 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 housc assigned to them which finally sent him to serve in the corps long main in the Luckenbooths, when their ancient refuge in the Lained in the service of the States of Holland, and called the Scotch Dutch. Here he learned military disci- the corvus, which might be ..creased to three hundred men when

• The Lord Provost was es--thicio commander and colonel of plane; and, returning afterwards, in the course of an the times requirea it. No other drum but theirs was allowed to idle and wandering life, to his native

city, his services sound on the High Street between the Luckenbooths and we were required by the magistrates of Edinburgh in the Notherbow. disturbed year 1715, for disciplining their City Guard, scale a gateway, by grappling the top of the door and swingine

This hook was to enable the bearer of the Lochabor axe w in which he shortly afterwards received a captain's himself

up by the staff of his woa pon.

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forgets the crime of the condemned person, and dwells | condemned to death, chiefly on the evidence of ab
only on his misery. But the act of which the expect accomplice.
ed culprit had been convicted was of a description Many thought, that, in consideration of the men's
calculated nearly and closely to awaken and irritate erroneous opinion of the nature of the action they had
the resentful feelings of the multitude. The tale is committed, justice might have been satisfied with

a well known; yet it is necessary to recapitulate its less forfeiture than that of two lives. On the other leading circumstances, for the better understanding hand, from the audacity of the fact, a severe example what is to follow; and the narrative may prove long, was judged necessary; and such was the opinion of but I trust not uninteresting, even to those who have the government. When it became apparent that the heard its general issue. At any rate, some detail is sentence of death was to be executed, files, and other necessary, in order to render intelligible the subse- implements necessary for their escape, were trans quent events of our narrative.

mitted

secretly to the culprits by a friend from with. Contraband trade, though it strikes at the root of out. By these means they sawed a bar out of one of legitimate government, by encroaching on its reve- the prison-windows, and might have made their esnues, -though it injures the fair trader, and debauches cape, but for the obstinacy of Wilson, who, as he the minds of those engaged in it,-is not usually was daringly resolute, was doggedly pertinacious of looked upon, either by the vulgar or by their betters, his opinion. His comrade, Robertson, a young and in a very heinous point of view. On the contrary, in slender man, proposed to make the experiment of those counties where il prevails, the cleverest, boldest

, passing the foremost through the gap they had made, and most intelligent of the peasantry, are uniformly and enlarging it from the outside, if necessary, to al. engaged in illicit transactions, and very often with low Wilson free passage. Wilson, however, insisted the sanction of the farmers and inferior gentry. on making the first experiment, and being a robust Smuggling was almost universal in Scotland in the and lasty man, he not only found it impossible to get reigns of George I. and 11. ; for the people, unac-through betwixt the bars, but, by his struggles, he customed to imposts, and regarding them as an un- jammed himself so fast, that he was unable to draw just aggression upon their ancient liberties, made no his body back again. In these circumstances discoscruple to elude them whenever it was possible to do so. very became unavoidable, and sufficient precautions

The county of Fife, bounded by two friths on the were taken by the jailer to prevent any repetition of south and north, and by the sea on the east, and the same attempt. Robertson uttered not a word of having a number of small seaports, was long famed reflection on his companion for the consequences of for maintaining successfully a contraband trade; and, his obstinacy; but it appeared from the sequel

, that as there were many seafaring men residing there who Wilson's

mind was deeply impressed with the recolhad been pirates and buccaneers in their youth, there lection, that, but for him, his comrade, over whose were not wanting a sufficient number of daring men mind he exercised considerable influence, would not to carry it on. Among these, a fellow, called Andrew have engaged in the criminal enterprise which had Wilson, originally a baker in the village of Pathhead, terminated thus fatally; and that now he had be was particularly obnoxious to the revenue officers. come his destroyer a second time, since, but for his He was possessed of great personal strength, courage, obstinacy, Robertson might have effected his escape. and cunning,---was perfectly, acquainted with the Minds like Wilson's, even when exercised in evil coast, and capable of conducting the most desperate practices, sometimes retain the power of thinking enterprises. On several occasions he succeeded in and resolving with enthusiastic generosity:... His baffling the pursuit and researches of the king's offi- whole thoughts were now bent on the possibility of cers; but he became so much the object of their sus- saving Robertson's life, without the least respect to picious and watchful attention, that at length he was his own. The resolution which he adopted, and the totally ruined by repeated seizures. The man became manner in which he carried it into effect, were strikdesperate. He considered himself as robbed and ing and unusual. plundered; and took it into his head, that he had a Adjacent to the Tolbooth or city jail of Edinburgh right to make reprisals, as he could find opportunity. is one of three churches into which the cathedral of Where the heart is prepared for evil, opportunity is St. Giles is now divided, called, from its vicinity, the seldom long wanting. This Wilson learned, that Tolbooth Church. It was the custom, that criminals the Collector of the Customs at Kirkaldy had come to under sentence of death were brought to this church, Pittenweem, in the course of his official round of with a sufficient guard, to hear and join in public duty, with a considerable sum of public money in his worship on the Sabbath before execution. It was custody. As the amount was greatly within the supposed that the hearts of these unfortunate persons, value of the goods which had been seized from him, however hardened before against feelings of devotion, Wilson felt no scruple of conscience in resolving, to could not but be accessible to them upon uniting reimburse himself for his losses, at the expense of the their thoughts and voices, for the last time, along Collector and the revenue. He associated with him with their fellow-mortals, in addressing their Creator. self one Robertson, and two other idle young men, And to the rest of the congregation, it was thought whom, having been concerned in the same illicit it could not but be impressive and affecting, to find trade, he persuaded to view the transaction in the their devotions mingling with those, who, sent by the same justifiable light in which he himself considered doom of an earthly tribunal to appear where the it

. They watched the motions of the Collector; they whole earth is judged, might be considered as beings broke forcibly into the house where he lodged, -Wil-trembling on the verge of eternity. The practice, son, with two of his associates, entering the Collect- however edifying, has been discontinued, in conseor's apartment, while Robertson, the fourth, kept quence of the incident we are about to detail. watch at ting door with a drawn cutlass in his hand. The clergyman, whose duty it was to officiate in The officer of the customs, conceiving his life in the Tolbooth Church, had concluded an affecting disdanger, escaped out of his bedroom window, and fled course, part of which was particularly

directed io the in his shirt, so that the plunderers, with much ease, unfortunate men, Wilson and Robertson, who were Dossessed themselves of about two hundred pounds in the pew set apart for the persons in their unhappy of public money. This robbery was committed in a situation, each secured betwixt iwo soldiers of the very, audacious manner, for several persons were city guard. The clergyman had reminded them, that passing in the street at the time. But Robertson, the next congregation they must join would be that representing the noise they heard as a dispute or fray of the just, or of the unjust: that the psalms they now betwixt the Collector and the people of the house, the heard 'must be exchanged, in the space of two brief worthy citizens of Pittenweem felt themselves no days, for eternal hallelujah's, or eternal lamentations; way called on to interfere in behalf of the obnoxious and that this fearful alternative must depend upon the revenue officer; so, satisfying themselves with this state to which they might be able to bring their ainds very superficial account of the matter, like the Levite before the moment of awful preparation: that they 11 the parable, they passed on the opposite side of should not despair on account of the suddenness of the way. An alarni was at length given, military the summons, but rather to feel this comfort in their were calied in the depredators were pursued, the misery, that, though all who now lifted the voice, com booty recovered, and Wilson and Robertson tried and bent the knee in conjunction with them, lay unde

not to engage in hostilities with the misguided mul

CHAPTER IV citude, but to draw off his men as fast as possible.

“Tho hour's come, but not the man."*--Kelple. He sprung from the scaffold, snatched a musket from 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, pected 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 spot. 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 hurt 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 ied as incensed by what had been done. They pur- Templars, and the Knights of St. John, and 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 orders, gave additional effect to a scene in most soldiers turned, and again fired with fatal aim itself so striking. The area of the Grass-market re. and 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 associaarrive at the guard-house, dismissed his soldiers, tions, and the erect beam and empty noose, things so 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 ven the 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 feel. over. 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 proclamorous exullation, and prepared to enjoy the scene duced the fusee which he carried as an ofñcer 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, ihat 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 ordikilled and wounded by the unhappy fire, there were nary occasions, arise from such a concourse ; but if several of better rank; for even ihe 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 flashing eye of almost every one stances fatal to pers' as 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 mighi in the moment of bearing, the jury had the difficult duty of balancing the resentment had been so fiercely heated. It had howpositive 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, op the contrary, averred that dare not. But when the point was further canthe first shot was fired by a soldier who stood close vassed, other opinions were entertained, and various by him. A great part of bis defence was also founded causes of doubi were suggested. Porteous had been on the turbulence of 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 foi 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 perw 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,) ke indignities. The verdict of ihe 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. li was argued, too, ibat 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 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 thern by the multi- might be supposed to have great sympathy. And as tude. Upon his verdict, the Lords of Justiciary these considerations might move ihe 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 into a torreut by recent showers, the discontented voice of the

apged on a gibbet at the common place of execution, Water Spirit was heard to pronounce these words. At the same oa Wednesday, 8th September, 1736, and all his mo- ry, arrived nt a gaflop, and prepared to cross the water. No vable property in de forfeited to the king's use, ac

monstrance from the bystanders was of power to stop hinho ca roing to the Scottish law in cases of wilful murder plunged into tho stroam, and perished. B

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High Street was laid low. But the fate of manured to suffer. Porteouslsisordinary 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 ine preceding generation, when there and confused, and his whole appearance so disorder was a perpetual asarm for the plots and activity of the ed, that maný 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 irresisuble necessity. more effective state ihan 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 general 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 manacled. This might be justifia: high interest and importance. He was exceedingly ble

from the character and bodily strength of tho 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

He was no less indignant al 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 snbject, 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. press popular commotion, he seems, on the other, to It signifies litilė," replied Captain Porteous; have 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 re failed 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 traies confided the command of the soldiers appoint- gree of indignation against Porteous; against whom, ed 10 keep o 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 state of this ancient civic corps, that its officer should spot. But there was no atteindre folence. Wilson

over the space it was. Captain Porteous resented, 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 guards; some mischief emotions

of jealousy and rage wrought a change on was done ; aud the mob continued to press forward the inan's mien and bearing, visible to all who saw with whoops, shrieks, howls, and exclamations. him on the fatal morning when Wilson was appoint- young fellow, with a sailor's cap slouched over his be This ancient corps is now entircly disbanded. "Their last face, sprung on the scatfold, and cut the rope by march to do duty at Hallow-fair, had something in it affecting which the criminal was suspended. Others ap Their drums and tires had been wont on better days to play, on proached to carry off the body, either to secure forit a this joyous occasion, the lively tune of

decent grave, or to try, perhaps, some means of resus"Jockey to the fair;"

citation. Captain Porteous was wrought, by thna ut on this final occasion the afflicted veterans moved slowly appearance of insurrection against his authority, into the trge of

a rage so headlong as made him forget, that, the *** The last time I came over 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.

"'Tho hour': come, but not the man."**-- Kelple. He sprung from the scaffold, snatched a musket from one of his soldiers, commanded the party to give fire, Ox the day when the unhappy Porteous was ex and, as several eye-witnesses concurred in swearing, pected to suffer the sentence of the law, the place of het them the example, by discharging his piece, and execution, extensive as it is, was crowded almost to shooting a man dead on the spot. 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 hurt 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, and 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 mose soldiers turned, 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 lake or sea of human heads, in 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 iakes interest from its uses and associaarrived at the guard-house, dismissed his soldiers, tions, and the erect beam and empty noose, things so 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 enteriain, 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 oscer 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 persons 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. Il tance. The voice of public indignalion 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 mighi 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 ihe difficult duty of balancing the resentment had been so fiercely heated. It had howpositive 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 io 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 canthe first shot was fired by a soldier who stood close vassed, other opinions were entertained, and various by him. A great part of bis defence was also founded causes of doubt were suggested. Porteous had been on the turbulencc fine 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 trifing 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,) kele 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, ilat 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 imprudeni were killed and wounded; but, at the same time, excess of zeal in the execution of his duty, a motiva that the prisoner and his guard had been wounded for which those under whose authority he acted and bearen, by stones thrown at then by the multi- might be supposed to have great sympathy. And as tude. Upon inis verdict, the Lords of Justiciary these considerations might move the magistrates.to passed sentence of death against Captain John Poreous, adjudging him in the common form, to be into a torreut by recent showers, the discontented voice of the

*There is a tradition, that while a little stream was swonen anged on a gibbet at the common place of execution, Water Spirit was hoard to pronounce these words. At the same on Wednesday, 8th September, 1736, and all his mo- rey, arrived ni a gallop, and prepared to cross the water, NON vable property to be forfeited to the king's use, ac- monstrance from the bystanders was of power to stop him-- the co taing to the Scottish law cases of wilful murder plunged into.tho stream, and perished. VOL. HI B

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