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drove before them the outposts and videttes of the
CHAPTER VII. roters; but when they approached the line of guard which the mob, or rather, we should say, the conspi- but we will better the instruction.
The evil you teach us, we will execute ; and it shall go hard
Merchant of Venice. rators, had drawn across the street in the front of the Luckenbooths, they were received with an unin- The unhappy object of this remarkable disturbance termitted volley of stones, and, on their nearer ap- had been that day delivered from the apprehension of proach, the pikes, bayonets, and Lochaber-axes, of a public execution, and his joy was the greater, as he which the populace had possessed themselves, were had some reason to question whether government presented against them. One of their ordinary offi- would have run the risk of unpopularity by interfering cers, a strong resolute fellow, went forward, seized a in his favour, after he had been legally convicted by rioter, and took from him a musket; but, being un- the verdict of a jury, of a crime so very obnoxious. supported, he was instantly thrown on his back in Relieved from this doubtful state of mind, his heart the street, and disarmed in his turn. The officer was was merry within him, and he thought, in the emtoo happy to be permitted to rise and run away with phatic words of Scripture on a similar occasion, that out receiving any further injury; which afforded ano- surely the bitterness of death was past. Some of his ther remarkable instance of the mode in which these friends, however, who had watched the manner and men had united a sort of moderation towards all behaviour of the crowd when they were made acothers, with the most inflexible invoteracy against quainted with the reprieve, were of a different opinion. the object of their resentment. The magistrates, after they augurea, from the unusual stermness and silence vain attempts to make themselves heard and obeyed, with which they bore their disappointment, that the possessing no means of enforcing their authority, populace nourished some scheme of sudden and des were constrained to abandon the field to the rioters, perate vengeance; and they advised Porteous to lose and retreat in all speed from the showers of missiles no time in petitioning the proper authorities, that he that whistled around their ears.
might be conveyed to the Castle under a sufficient The passive resistance of the Tolbooth-gate pro- guard, to remain there in security until his ultimate mised to do more to baffle the purpose of the mob fate should be determined. Habituated, however, by than the active interference of the magistrates. The his
office, to overawe the rabble of the city, Porteous heavy sledge-hammers continued to din
against it could not suspect them of an attempt so audacious as without intermission, and with a noise which, echo to storm a strong and defensible prison; and, despied from the lofty buildings around the spot, seemed sing the advice by which he might have been savea, enough to have alarmed the garrison in the Castle. he spent the afternoon of the eventful day in giving an It was circulated among the rioters, that the troops entertainment to some friends who visited him in would march down to disperse them, unless they jail, several of whom, by the indulgence of the Capcould execute their purpose without loss of time; or tain of the Tolbooth, with whom he had an old intithat, even without quiiting the fortress, the garrison macy, arising from their official connexion, were might obtain the same end by throwing a bomb or even permitted to remain to supper with him, though. two upon the street.
contrary to the rules of the jail. Urged by such motives for apprehension, they ea- It was, therefore, in the hour of unalloyed mirth, gerly relieved each other at the labour of assailing when this unfortunate wretch
was “full of bread," the 'Tolbooth door : yet such was its strength, that it hot with wine, and high in mistimed and ill-grounded still defied their efforts. At length, a voice was heard confidence, and alas! with all his sins full blown, to pronounce the words, "Try it with fire." The when the first distant shouts of the rioters mingled rioters, with an unanimous shout, called for combus- with the song of merriment and intemperance. The tibles, and as all their wishes seemed to be instantly hurried call of the jailer to the guests, requiring them supplied, they were soon in possession of two or three instanıly lo depart, and his yet more hasty intimaempty tar-barrels. A huge red glaring bonfire speedi- tion that a dreadful and determined mob had posly arose close to the door of the prison, sending up a sessed themselves of the city gates and guard-house, call colamn of smoke and Aame against its antique were the first explanation of these fearful clamours. turrets and strongly grated windows, and illumina- Porteous might, however, have eluded the fury ting the ferocious and wild gestures of the rioters who from which the force of authority could not protect surrounded the place, as well as the pole and anxious him, had he thought of slipping on some disguise, groups of those, who, from windows in the vicinage, and leaving the prison along with his guests. It is watched the progress of this alarming scene. The probable that the jailor might have connived at his mob fed the fire with whatever they could find fit for escape, or even that, in the hurry of this alarming the purpose. The flames roared and crackled among contingency, he might not have observed it. But the heaps of nourishment piled on the fire, and a ter- Porteous and his friends alike wanted presence of rible shout soon announced that the door had kin-mind to suggest or execute such a plan of escape.. dled, and was in the act of being destroyed. The fire The former hastily fled from a place where their own was suffered to decay, but, long ere it was quite ex- safety seemed compromised, and the latter, in a state tinguished, the most forward of the rioters rụshea, resembling stupefaction, awaited in his apartment in their impatience, one after another, over its yet the termination of the enterprise of the rioters. The smouldering remains. Thick showers of sparkles cessation of the clang of the instruments with which rose high in the air, as man after man bounded over they had at first attempted to force the door, gave the glowing embers, and disturbed them in their pas- him momentary relief. The flattering hopes, that sage. It was now obvious to Butler, and all others the military had marched into the city, either from who were present, that the rioters would be instantly the Castle or from the suburbs, and that the rioters in possession of their victim, and have it in their were intimidated and dispersing, were soon destroyed power to work their pleasure upon him, whatever by the broad and glaring light
of the flames, whích, that might be.*
illuminating through the grated window every cor. • The ancient Tolbooth of Edinburgh, situated and described ner of his apartment, plainly showed that the mob, es in the last chapter, was built by the citizens in 1561, and destined for the accommodation of Parliament, as well as of the base offices may we return." The application of these relics of High Courts of Justice and at the same time for the confine the heart of Mid-Lothian to serve as the postern gate to a court ment of prisoners for debt, or on criminal charges. Since the of modern offices,
may be justly ridiculed as whimsical, but yet year 1640, when the present Parliament House was urected, the it is not without interest, that we see the gateway through Tolbooth was occupied as a prison only. Gloomy and dismal which so much of the stormy politics of a rude age, and the wit was, the situation in the centre of the Higli Sireet rendered vice and anisery of later rimes, has found their passage, now oeIt so particularly well-aired, that when the plague laid waste cupied in the service of rural economy. Last year, to complete the city in 1645, it affected none within these mclancholy pre- the change, 2 tom-tit was pleased to build hier nest within the eincts. The Tolbooth was removed, with the mass of build lock of the Tolbooth,-a strong temptation to have committed ungs in which it was incorporated, in the autumn of the year a sonnet, had the anthor, like Tony Lumpkin, been in a conca. isi7. At that time the kindness of his old schoolfellow and tenation accordingly, friend, Robert Johnstone, Esquire, then Dean of Guild of the It is worth mentioning, that an act of beneficence celebrated eity, with the liberal acorliercence of the persons who had con- the demolition of the Heart of Mid Lothian. A subscription, tracted for the work, propared for the author of Waverley the raised and applied by the worthy Magistrale above-mentioned, stones whicle composed she gateway, together with the door, procured the manuniission of most of the unfortunate debton eod its ponderous fraterne, which he employed in decorating confined in the old jail, so that there were few or son tran Fue entrance of his kitchen coirt at Abbotsford "To such ferred to the new place of connement
determined on theiz tatal purpose; had adopted a the fatal walls, excepting two or three debtors, whu. means of forcing entrance equally desperate and probably saw no advantage in attempting their es. certain.
cape. The persons we have mentioned remained in The sudden glare of light suggested to the stupi- the strong-room of the prison, now deserted by all fied and astonished object of popular hatred the pos- others. One of their late companions in misfortuno sibility of concealment or escape. To rush to the called out to the man to make his escape, in the tone chimney, to ascend it at the risk of suffocation, were of an acquaintance. "Rin for it, Ratcliffe-the road's the only means which seem to have occurred to him; clear." but his progress was speedily stopped by one of those "It may be sae, Willie," answered Ratcliffe, com. iron gratings, which are, for the sake of secu- posedly, "but I have taen a fancy to leave aff trade rity, usually placed across the vents of buildings de- and set up for an honest man." signed for imprisonment. The bars, however, which "Stay there, and be hanged, then, for a donnard impeded his further progress, served to support him auld deevil!" said the other, and ran down the pri. in the situation which he had gained, and he seized son-stair. them with the tenacious grasp of one who esteemed The person in female attire whom we have distin. himself clinging to his last hope of existence. The guished as one of the most active rioters, was about qurid light, which had filled the apartment, lowered the same time at the ear of the young woman. "Flee and died away; the sound of shouts was heard with Effie, flee !" was all he had time to whisper. She in the walls, and on the narrow and winding stair, turned towards him an eye of mingled fear, affection, which, cased within one of the turrets, gave access to and upbraiding, all contending with a sort of stupified the upper apartments
of the prison. The huzza of the surprise. He again repeated, “Flee, Effie, flee, for rioters was answered by a shout wild and desperate the sake of all that's good and dear to you!" Again as their own, the cry, namely, of the imprisoned she gazed on him, but was unable to answer. A loud felons, who, expecting to be liberated in the general noise was now heard, and the name of Madge Wild confusion, welcomed the mob as their deliverers. By fire was repeatedly called from the bottom of the some of these the apartment of Porteous was pointed staircase. out to his enemies. The obstacle of the lock and "I am coming, -I am coming," said the person bolts was soon overcome, and from his hiding-plaut who answered to that appellative; and then reiterathe unfortunate man heard his enemies search every ung hastily, "For God's sake--for your own sake corner of the apartment, with oaths and maledictions, for my sake, fee, or they'll take your life !" he left which would but shock the reader if we recorded them, the strong-room. but which served to prove, could it have admitted of "The girl gazed after him for a moment, and then, doubt, the settled purpose of soul with which they faintly muttering, "Better tyne life, since tint is gude sought his destruction.
fame," she sụnk her head upon her hand, and reA place of concealment so obvious to suspicion and mained, seemingly, unconscious as a statue, of the scrutiny as that which Porteous had chosen, could noise and tumult which passed around her. not long screen him from detection. He was dragged That tumult was now transferred from the inside from his lurking-place, with a violence which seemed to the outside of the Tolbooth. The mob had brought to argue an intention to put him to death on the spot. their destined victim forth, and were about to con.. More than one weapon was directed towards him, duct him to the common place of execution, which when one of the rioters, the same whose female dis- they had fixed as the scene of his death. The leader, guise had been particularly noticed by Butler, inter- whom they distinguished by the name of Madge fered in an authoritative tone. "Are ye mad ?". he Wildfire, had been summoned to assist at the prosaid, " or would ye execute an act of justice as if it cession by the impatient shouts of his confederates. were a crime and a cruelty ? This sacrifice will lose "I will ensure you five hundred pounds," said tho half its savour if we do not offer it at the very horns unhappy man, grasping Wildfire's hand, five hun of the altar. We will have him die where a murderer dred pounds for to save my life." should die, on the common gibbet-We will have him The other answered in the same under-tone, and die where he spilled the blood of so many inno- returning his grasp, with one equally convulsive, cents!"
"Five hundred-weight of coined gold should not save A lond shont of applause followed the proposal, and you. --Remember Wilson ! the cry, "To the gallows with the murderer!- To the A deep pause of a minute ensued, when Wildfire Grass-market with him!" echoed on all hands. added, in a more composed tone, "Make your peace
"Let no man hurt him," continued the speaker ; with Heaven.-- Where is the clergyman ?" "let him make his peace with God, if he can; we Butler, who, in great terror and anxiety, had been will not kill both his soul and body."
detained within a few yards of the Tolbooth door, to: "What time did he give better folk for preparing wait the event of the search after Porteous, was now their account ?" answered several voices. 'Let us brought forward, and commanded to walk by the mete to him with the same measure he measured to prisoner's side, and to prepare him for immediate them."
death. His answer was a supplication that the riotBut the opinion of the spokesman better suited the ters would consider what they did. "You are nei. lemper of those he addressed, a temper rather stub-ther judges nor jury,” said he. "You cannot have, born than impetuous, sedate though ferocious, and by the laws of God or man, power to take away the desirous of colouring their cruel and revengeful action life of a human creature, however deserving he may with a show of justice and moderation.
be of death. If it is murder even in a lawful magisFor an instant this man quitted the prisoner, whom trate to execute an offender otherwise than in the he consigned to a selected guard, with instructions to place, time, and manner which the judges' sentence permit him to give his money and property to whom- prescribes, what must it be in you, who have no warsoever he pleased. A person confined in the jail for rant for interference but your own wills? In the debt received this last deposit from the trembling name of Him who is all
mercy, show mercy to this hand of the victim, who was at the same time permit- unhappy man, and do not dip your hands in his blood, ted to make some other brief arrangements to meet nor rush into the very crime which you are desirous his approaching fate. The felons, and all others who of avenging!" wished to leave the jail, were now at full liberty to do Cut your sermon short--you are not in your pulB0; not that their liberation made any part of the set- pit," answered one of the rioters.
'If we hear more of your clayers," said another necessary consequence of forcing the jail
doors. With “we are like to hang you up beside him." wild cries of jubilee they joined the mob, or disappear- "Peace--hush !" said Wildfire. “Do the good man ed among the narrow lanes to seek out the hidden no harm-he discharges his conscience, and I like receptacles of vice and infamy, where they were him the better." accustomed to lurk and conceal themselves from He then addressed Butler. “Now, sir, we have justice.
patiently heard you, and we just wish you in under. Two persons, a man about fifty years old, and a stand, in the way of answer, that you'may as well rirl about eighteen, were all who continued within argue to the ashler-work and iron-stanchels of in
Tolbooth as think to change our purpose-Blood must not rather be described as conspirators, endeavoured lave blood. We have sworn to each other by the to remove the stone which filled up the socket in deepest oaths ever were pledged, that Porteous shall which the end of the fatal tree was sunk when it was de the death he deserves so richly; therefore, speak erected for its fatal purpose; others sought for the llo more to us, but prepare him for death as well as means of constructing a temporary gibbet, the place The briefness of his change will permit."
in which the gallows itself was deposited being reThey had suffered the unfortunate Porteous to put ported too secure to be forced, without mich loss of im his night-gown and slippers, as he had thrown off time. Butler endeavoured to avail himself of the deluis coat and shoes, in order to facilitate his attempt lay afforded by these circumstances, to turn the people ed escape up the chimney. In this garb he was now from their desperate design. "For God's sake," he inounted on the hands of two of the rioters, clasped exclaimed, "remember it is the image of your Créator Iogether, so as to form what is called in Scotland, which you are about to deface in the person of this
The King's Cushion,” Butler was placed close to unfortunate man! Wretched as he is, and wicked a his side, and repeatedly urged to perform a duty al- he may be, he has a share in every promise of Scrip. ways the most painful which can be imposed on a ture, and you cannot destroy him in impenitence clergyman deserving of the name, and now rendered without blotting his name from the Book of Lifeinore so by the peculiar and horrid circumstances of Do not destroy soul and body; give time for prepathe criminal's case. Porteous at first uttered some ration." supplications for mercy, but when he found that there "What time had they," returned a stern voice, was no chance that these would be attended to, his" whom he murdered on this very, spot ?-The laws ntilitary education, and the natural stubbornness of both of God and man call for his death." his disposition, combined to support his spirits. "But what, my friends," insisted Butler, with a ge
"Are you prepared for this dreadful end ?" said nerous disregard to his own safety-" what hath con Butler, in a faltering voice. “O turn to him, in whose stituted you his
judges ?" eves time and space have no existence, and to whom * We are not his judges," replied the same person; a few minutes are as a lifetime, and a lifetime as a he has been already judged and condemned by lawiuinute."
ful authority. We are those whom Heaven, and our "I believe I know what you would say," answered righteous anger, have stirred up to execute judgment, Corteous sullenly. "I was bred a soldier; if they when a corrupt government would have protected a will murder me without time, let my sins as well as murderer." my blood lie at their door."
"I am none," said the unfortunate Porteous; "that Who was it," said the stern voice of Wildfire, which you charge upon me fell out in self-defence, in " that said to Wilson at this very spot, when he could the lawful exercise
of my duty." not pray, owing to the galling agony of his fetters, " Away with him-away with him!" was the gethat his pains would soon be over?-I say to you to neral cry. "Why do you trifle away time in making take your own tale home; and if you cannot profit a gallows ?--that dyester's pole is good enough for by the good man's lessons, blame not them that are the homicide." still more merciful to you than you were to others." The anhappy man was forced to his fate with re
The procession now moved forward with a slow morseless rapidity. Butler, separated from him by and determined pace. It was enlightened by many the press, escaped the last horrors of his struggles, blazing links and torches; for the actors of this work Unnoticed by those who had hitherto detained him were so far from affecting any secrecy on the occa- as a prisoner, he Acd from the fatal spot, witnout sion, that they seemed even to court observation. much caring in what direction his course lay. A loud T'heir principal leaders kept close to the person of the shout proclaimed the stern delight with which the prisoner, whose pallid yet stubborn features were agents of this deed regarded its completion. Butler scen distinctly by the torch-light, as his person was then, at the opening into the low street called the raised considerably above the concourse which throng- Cowgate, cast back a terrified glance, and, by the red el around him. Those who bore swords, muskets, and dusky light of the torches, he could discern a and battle-axes, marched on each side, as if forming figure wavering and struggling as it hung suspended a regular guard to the procession. The windows, as above the heads of the multitude, and could even obdiey went along, were filled with the inhabitants, serve men striking at it with their Lochaber-axes and whose slumbers had been broken by this unusual partisans. The sight was of a nature to double his disturbance. Some of the spectators muttered accents horror, and to add wings to his flight. of encouragement; but in general they were so much The street down which the fugitive ran opens to appalled by a sight so strange and audacious, that one of the eastern ports or gates of the city. Butler they looked on with a sort of stupified astonishment. did not stop till he reached it, but found it still
shut. No one offered, by act or word, the slightest interrup- He waited nearly an hour, walking up and down in
inexpressible perturbation of mind. At length he venThe rioters, on their part, continued to act with tured to call
out, and rouse the attention of the terride same air of deliberate confidence and security fied keepers of the gate, who now found themselves which had marked all their proceedings. When the at liberty to resume their office without interruption. object of their resentment dropped one of his slippers, Butler requested them
to open the gate. They hesidey stopped, sought for it, and replaced it upon his tated. He told them his name and occupation, foot with great deliberation. As they descended the "He is a preacher," said one ; "I have heard him Baw towards the fatal spot where they designed to preach in Haddo's-hole." Complete their purpose, it was suggested that there A fine preaching has he been at the night," said sltould be a rope kept in readiness. For this purpose another; "but maybe least said is sunest mended." the booth of a man who dealt in cordage was forced Opening then the wicket of the main-gate, the Quen, a coil of rope fit for their purpose was selected keepers suffered Buller to depart, who hastened to to serve as a halter, and the dealer next morning carry his horror and fear beyond the walls of Edinfrand that a guinea had been left on his counter in burgh. His first purpose was, instantly to take the exchange; so anxious were the perpetrators of this road homeward; but other fears and cares, connected diring action to show that they meditated not the with the news he had learned in that remarkable day, slightest wrong or infraction of law, excepting so far induced him to linger in the neighbourhood of Edina Porteous was himself concerned.
burgh until daybreak. More than one group of perLeading, or carrying along with them, in this de- sons passed him as he was whileing away the hours urmined and regular manner, the object of their ven- of darkness that yet remained,
whom, from the stic gance, they at length reached the place of common Aed tones of their discourse, the unwonted hour when erecution, the scene of his crime, and destined spot they travelled, and the hasty pace at which they of his sufferings. Several of the
rioters (if they
to have been engaged in the
late fatal transaction. This little incident, characteristic of the extreme compo tue of this extraordinary mob, was witnessed by a lady, who,
Certain it was that the sudden and total dispersion disturbed, like others, from her slumbers, had gone to the win of the riolers, when their vindictive purpose yas ac b. It was told to the author by the lady's daughter. complished, seemed nor the last remarkable teatus
of th's sular aflair. In general, whatever may be magistrates worth mentioning, but called witness after witnom the impelling motive by which a mob is at first raised in the privatost
manner, before himself in his own house, and the attainment of their object has usually been only enquiry without taking the least diversion, or turving his found to lead the way to further excesses. But not thoughts to any other business. so in the present case. They seemed completely sa
"He tried at first what he could do by declarations, by engag tiated with the vengeance they had prosecuted with discovered made
use of no clerk, but wrote all the declara
ing secrecy, so that those who told the truth should never be such stanch and sagacious activityWhen they were tions with his own hand, to encourage them to speak out fully satisfied that life had abandoned their victim, After all, for
some time, he could get nothing but ends of stothey dispersed in every direction, throwing down the rios, which, when pursued, broke off ; and those who appeared weapons which they had only assumed to enable lest it should take air that they had mentioned any one man as them to carry through their purpose. At daybreak guilty. there remained not the least token of the events of "During the course of the enquiry, the run of the town, which the night, excepting the corpse of Porteous, which was strong for the villanous actors, begun to alter a little, and
when they saw the King's servants in earnest to do their best, still hung suspended in the place where he had suf
the generality, who before had spoke very warmly in defence of fered, and the arms of various kinds which the riot- the wickedness, begun to be silent, and at that period more of ers had taken from the city guard-house, which were found scattered about the streets as they had thrown tor was under some difficulty how to proceed. He very well saw
** At length the enquiry began to open a little, and the Sollicithem from their hands, when the purpose for which that the first warrand that was issued out would start the whole they had seized them was accomplished.
gang; and as he had not come at any one of the most notorious The ordinary magistrates of the city resumed their offenders, he was unwilling, upon the slight evidence he had, power, not without trembling at the late experience that one King, a butcher in the Canongate, had boasted in preof the fragility of its tenure. To march troops into sence of Bridget Knell, a soldier's wife, the morning after Capthe city, and commence a severe inquiry into the tain Porteus was hanged that he had a very active hand in the transactions of the preceding night, were the first mobwarrand was issued out, and King was apprehended and marks of returning energy which they displayed. But "This obliged the Sollicitor immediately to proceed to take these events had been conducted on so secure and up those against whom he had any information. By a signed well-calculated a plan of safety and secrecy, that there declaration, William Stirling, apprentice to James Stirling, was little or nothing learned to throw light upon the merchant in Edinburgh, was charged as having been at the authors or principal actors in a scheme so audacious. halbert in his hand towards the Guard.
and haveing begun a huzza, marched upopAn express was dispatched to London with the ti- the head of the dings, where they excited great indignation and sur: sigr.ed declaration, charged as liaveing been at the Tolbooth
son to a candlemaker in town, was, by a prise in the council of regency, and particularly in door, giveing directions to the mob about setting fire to the the bosom of Queen Caroline, who considered 'her door, and that the mob named him by his name, and asked his own authority as exposed to contempt by the success
advice. of this singular conspiracy. Nothing was spoke of was charged of haveing boasted
publicly, in a smith's shop al
By another declaration, one Stoddart, a journeyman smith, for some time save the measure of vengeance which Leith, that he had assisted in breaking open the Tolbooth door. should be taken, not only on the actors of this tra- “Peter Traill, a journeyman wright, by one of the declaragedy, so soon as they should be discovered, but
upon tions, was also accused of haveing lockt the Nether-Bow Port the magistrates who had suffered it to take place, and when it was shutt by the mob.
"His Majesties Sollicitor having these informations, imupon the city which had been the scene where it was ployed privately such persons as he could best rely on, and the exhibited. On this occasion, it is still recorded in po- truth was, there were very few in whom he could repore confian pular tradition, that her Majesty, in the height of her dence: But he was, indeed, faithfully served by one Webster displeasure, told the celebrated John, Duke of Argyle, tenant Alshton, who, with very great address, informed himself, that, sooner than submit to such an insult, she would and really run some risque in getting his information, concern make Scotland a hunting-field. "In that case, Ma- ing the places where the persons informed against used to dam," answered that high-spirited nobleman, with a
haunt, and how they might be seized. In consequence of which,
a party of the Guard from the Canongate was agreed on to march profound bow, "I will take leave of your Majesty, and up at a certain hour, when a message should be sent. The Solgo down to my own country to get my hounds ready." licitor wrote a letter and gave it to one of the town officers, orThe import of the reply had more than met the
ear; promoted to that command since the unhappy accident, who
dered to attend Captain Maitland, one of the town Captains, and as most of the Scottish nobility and gentry seem- indeed, was extremely diligent and active throughout the ed actuated by the same national spirit, the royal dis, whole and haveing got
Stirling and Braid wood apprehended, pleasure was necessarlıy checked in mid-volley, and dispatched the officer with the letter to the military in the milder courses were recommended and adopted, to Canongate, who immediately begun their march, and by the some of which we may hereafter have occasion to the Burrow-room, where the magistrates were present, a party advert.
of fifty men, drums beating, marched into the Parliament close NOTE TO CHAPTER VII.
and drew up, which was the first thing that struck à terror,
And from that time forward, the insolence was succeeded by MEMORIAL CONCERNING THE MURDER OF CAPTAIN PORTEOUS. rear.
The following interesting and authentic account of the in- "Stirling and Braidwood were immediately sent to the Castle, quiries made by Crown Counsel into the affair of the Porteous and imprisoned. That same night, Stoddart the .smith was Mob, seems to have been drawn up by the Solicitor-General. seized,
and he was committed to the Castle also; as was likeThe office was held in 1737 by Charles Erskine, Esq.
wise Traill the journeyman wright, who were all severally ex I owe this curious illustration to the kindness of a profes-amined, and denied the least accession. sional friend. It throws, indeed, little light on the origin of the " In the meantime, the enquiry was going on, and it haveing tumult; but shows how profound the darkness must have cast up in one of the declarations, that a hump'd-backed creapeen, which so much investigation could not dispcl.
ture marched with a gun as one of the guards to Porteus when "Upon the 7th of September last, when the unhappy wicked he went up the Lawn Market, the person who emitted this demurder of Captain Porteus was committed, His Majesty's Advo-claration, was employed to walk the streets to see if he could cate and Sollicitor were out of town: the first beyond Inverness, I find him out; at last he came to the Sollicitor and told him he and the other in Annandale, not far from Carlyle; neither of had found him, and that he was in a certain house. Whereupon them knew any thing of the reprieve, nor did they in the least a warrand was issued out against him, and he was apprehended suspect that any disorder was to happen.
and sent to the Castle, and he proved to be one Birnie, a lielper " When the disorder happened, the magistrates and other to the Countess of Weemys's coachman. persons concerned in the management of the town, seemed to "Thereafter, ane information was given in against William be all struck of a heap; and whether from the great terror that M'Lauchlan, fTootman to the said Countess, he haveing
been had seized all the inhabitants, they thought ane immediate en- very active in the mob : ffor sometime he kept himself out of quiry would be fruitless, or whether being a direct insult upon the way, but at last he was apprehended and likewise committhe prerogative of the crown, they did not care rashly to inter-ted to the Castle. meddle; but no proceedings was had by them. Only, soon after, "And these were all the prisoners who were putt under con ane express was sent to his Majesties Sollicitor, who came to finement in that place. town as soon as was possible for him; but, in the meantime, ** There were other persons imprisoned in the Tolbooth of the persons who had been must guilty, had either run off, or, at Edinburgh, and severalls against whom warrands were issued, lcast, kept themselves upon the wing until they should see what but could not be apprehended, whose names and cases shall arsteps were taken by the Government.
terwards be more particularly taken notice of When the sollicitor arrived he perceived the whole inhabit- " The friends of Stirling made an application to the Earl of ants under a consternation. He had no materials furnished him: Islay, Lord Justice-Generall, setting furth, that he was seized nay, the inhabitants were so much afraid of being reputed inform with a bloody flux; that his life was in danger ; and that upon
ts, that very few people had so much as the courage to speak ane examination of witnesses whose names were given in, it with him on tho streets. However, having received her Ma- would appear to conviction, that he had not the least access jesties orders, by a letter from the Duke of Newcastle, he reto
any of the riotous proceedings of that wicked mob. solved to sett about the matter in earnest, and entered upou ane " This petition was by his Lordship putt in the hands of hu aques, gropeing in the dark. He had no assistance from the I Majesties soll cita" who examined the witnesses; and by then
testimonies it appeared, that the young man, who was not above * What is above is all thnt relates to persons in custody. But eighteen years of age, was that night in company with about there are warrands out against a grent many other persons who har a dozen companions, in a public house in Stephen Law's had fled, particularly against one William White, a journeyman closs, near the back of the Guard, where they all remained un baxter, who, by the evidence, appears to have been at the beginbill the noise came to the house, that the mob had shut the gates ning of the mob, and to have
gone along with the drum, from and seized the Guurd, upon which the company broke up, and the West-Port to the Nether-Bow, and is said
to have been one ke, and one of his companions, went towards his master's house of those who attacked the guard, and probably was as deep as And, in the course of the after examination, there was a witness any one thero. who declared, nay, indeed swore, (for the Sollicitor, by this time, Information was given that he was lurking at Falkirk, kaw it necessary to put those he examined upon oath,) that he where he was born. Whereupon directions were sent to the met him Stirling) after he entered into the alley where his mas- Sheriff of the County, and a warrand from his Excellency Geter lives, going towards his house; and another witness, follow: nerall Wade, to the commanding officers at Stirling and Linlithprentice with
Stirling, declares, that after the mob had seizedgow, to assist, and all possible endeavours were used to catch the Guard, he went home, where he found Stirling before him ; hold of him, and 'tis said he escaped very narrowly, having been and that his master lockt the door, and kept them both at home concealed in some outhouse; and the misfortune was, that till after twelve at mght: upon weighing of which testimonies, those who were employ in the search did not know him perand upon consideration had, That he was charged by the de- sonally. Nor, indeed, was it easy to trust any of the acquainclaration only of one person, and that his life was in danger | rand to be putt in execution.
who really did not appear to be a tances of so low obscure a fellow with the secret of the war witness of the greatest from the imprisonment, he was admitted to baill by the Lord * There was also strong evidence found against Robert TayJustice Generall, by whose warrant he was committed.
lor, servant to William and Charles Thomsons, periwig-mnkers "Braidwood's friends applyed in the same manner; but as he that he acted as ane otticer among the mob, and he was traced stood charged by more than one witness, he was not released from the guard to the well at the head of Forrester's Wynd, tho", indeed, the witnesses adduced for him say somewhat in where he stood and had the appellation of Captain from the kis exculpation--that he does not seem to have been upon any mob, and from that walking down the Bow before Captain Por original concert: and one of the witnesses says he was along teus, with his Lochaber-axe; and by the description given of with him at the Tolbooth door, and refuses what is said against one who hawl'd the rope by which Captain Porteus was pulled him, with regard to his having advised the burning of the 'Tolup, 'tis believed Taylor was the person; and 'tis further probabooth door. But he remains still in prison.
ble, that the witness who delated Stirling
lad mistaken Taylor * As to Traill, the journeyman wright, he is charged by the for him, their stature and age (so far as can be gathered from same witness who declared against Stirling, and there is none the description) being much the same. concurrs with him; and to say the truth concerning him, he A great deal of pains were taken, and no charge was saved, seemed to be the most ingenuous of any of them whom the Sol- in order to have catched hold of this Taylor, and warrands were hcitor examined, and pointed out a witness by whom one of the sent to the country where he was born; but it appears he had first accomplices was discovered, and who escaped when the shipt himself off for Holland, where it is said he now is. warrand was to be put in execution against them. He positive- "There is strong evidence also against Thomas Burns, butcher, ly denys his having shutt the gate, and 'lis thought Traill ought that he was ane active person from the beginning of the mob to to be admitted to baill,
the end of it. He lurkt for some time amongst those of his *As to Birnie, he is charged only by one witness, who had trade ; and artfully enough a train was laid to catch him, under never seen him before, nor knew his name; so, tho' I dare say pretence of message that had come from his father in Ireland, the witness honestly mentioned him, 'tis possible he may be mis- so that he came to a blind alehouse in the Flesh-market eloss, taken ; and in the examination of above 200 witnesses, there
is and a party being rendy, was by Webster the soldier, who was bo body concurts with him, and he is nine insignificant little upon his exploit, advertised to come down. However, Burns creature.
escaped out at a back window, and hid himself in some of the "With regard to M'Lauchlan, the proof is strong against him houses which are heaped together upon one another in that by one witness, that he acted as a serjeant or sort of commander, place, so that it was not possible to catch him. 'Tis now said for some time, of a Guard, that stood cross between the upper he is gone to Ireland to his father, who lives there. and of the Luckenbooths and the north side of the street, to stop ***There is evidence also against one Robert Anderson, jour all but friends from going towards the Tolbooth; and by other neyman and servant to Colin Alison, wright; and agninst rho. witnesses, that he was at the Tolbooth door with a link in his mas Linnen and James Maxwell, both servants also to the said nand, while the operation of beating and burning it was going Colin
Alison, who all seem to have been deeply concerned in 00: Urat he went along with the mob with a halbert in his hand, the matter. Anderson is one of those who putt the rope upon until he came to the gallows stone in the Grass-market, and that Captain Porteus's peck. Linnen seems also to have been very he stuck the halbert into the hole of the gallows stone : that active ; and Maxwell (which is pretty remarkable) is proven to afterwards he went in amongst the mob when Captain Porteus have come to a shop upon the Friday before, and charged the was carried to the dyer's tree, so that the proof seems very journeymen and prentices there to attend in the Parliament heavy against him.
close on Tuesday night, to assist to hang Captain Porteus. * To sum up this matter with regard to the prisoners in the These three did early abscond, and though warrands had been Castle, 'tis believed there is strong proof against M'Lauchlan, issued out against them, and all
endeavours used to apprehend there is also proof against Braidwood. But as it consists
only them, could
not be found. la emission of words said to have been had by him while at the "One Waldie, a servant to George Campbell, wright, has also Tolbooth door, and that he is ane insignificant pitiful creature, absconded, and many others, and 'tis informed that mumbers of and will find people to swear heartily in his favours, 'tis at best them have shipt themselves off ffor the Plantations ; and upon doubtful whether a jury will be got to condemn him.
an information that a ship was going off ffrom Glasgow, in As to those in the 'Tolbooth of Edinburgh, John Crawford, which severall of the rogues were to transport themselves by who had for some time been employed to ring the bells in the yond seas, proper warrands were obtained, and persons dis rteeple of the new Church of Edinburgh, being in company patched to search the said ship, and seize any that can be found. with a soldier accidentally, the discourse falling in concerning "The like warrars had bern issued with regard to ships from Captain Porteus and his murdur, as he appears to be a light- Leith. But whether they had been scared, or whether the inbeaded fellow, he said, that he knew people that were more formation had been groundless, they had no effect. quilty than any that were putt in prison. Upon this informa- "This is a summary of the enquiry, ffrom which it appears lon, Crawford was seized, and being examined, it appeared. there is no prooff
on which one can rely, but against M.Lauch that when the mob begun, as he was comeing down from the lan. There is a proofr also against Braidwood, but more exsteeple, the mob took the keys from him; that he was that ceptionable. His Majesties Advocate, since he came to town, night in several corners, and did indeed delate severall persous has join'd with the Sollicitor, and has done his utmost to gett whom he saw there, and immediately warrands were dispatch at the bottom of this matter, but hitherto it stands, as is above ed, and it was found they had absconded and fled. But there represented. They are resolved to have their eyes and their cars was no evidence against him of any kind Nay, on the con open, and to do what they can. But they labour'd exceedingly trary, it appeared, that he had been with the Magistrates in against the stream; and it may truly be said, that nothing was Clerk's the vintner's, relating
to them what he had seen in the wanting on their part. Nor have they declined any labour ty streets. Therefore, after haveing detained him in prison for a answer the commands loid upon them to search the matter m Fery considerable time, his Majesties Advocate and Sollicitor the bottom." signed a warrand for his liberation,
THE PORTEOUS MOB. There was also one James Wilson incarcerated in the said Tolbooth, upon the declaration of one witness, who said he In the preceding chapters, the circumstances of that extraor maw him on the streets with a gun; and there he remained dinary riot and conspiracy, called the Porteous Mob, are give for some time, in order to try if a concurring witness could be with as much accuracy as the author was able to collect them fuand, or that he acted any part in the tragedy and wicked. The order, regularity, and determined resolution with which hens Bat nothing further appeared against him and being such a violent action was devised and executed, were only equal weized with a severe sickness, he is, by a warrand signed by his led by the secrecy which was observed concerning the principal Majesties Advocate and Sollicitor, liberated upon giving suffi. actors. cient baill.
Although the fact was performed by torch-light, and in pro "As to King, enquiry was made, and the ffact comes out be. sence of a great multitude, to some of whom, at least, the indirond all exception, that he was in the lodge at the Nether-Bow vidual actors must have been known, yet no discovery was ever with Lindsay the waiter, and several other people, not at all made concerning any of the perpetrators of the slaughter. concerned in the mob. But after the affair was over, he went Two men only were brought to trial for an offence which the
towards the guard, and having met with Sandie the Turk government were so anxious to detect and punish. William und his wife, who escaped out of prison, they returned to his M'Lauchlan, footman to the Countess of Wemyss, who is men house at the Abbey, and then 'tis very possible he may have tioned in the report of the Solicitor-General, (pnge 24.) against thought fitt in his beer to boast of villany, in which he could whom strong evidence had been obtained, was brought to triche not possibly have any share ; for that reason he was desired to in March, 1737, charged as having been accessary to the riol, Ead baill and he should be ant at liberty. But he is a stranger armed with a Lochaber-axe. But this man (who was at al od a fellow of very inditforent character, and 'tis believed it times a silly creature) proved, that he was in a state of mortal Fon't be easy for him to find baill. Wherefore, it's thought he intoxication during the time he was present with the rabblo. must be sett at liberty without it. Because he is a burden upon incapable of giving them either advice or assistance, or, indeed, tha Government while kept in confinement, not being able to of knowing what he or they were doing. He was also able to maintain himself.
prove, that he was forced into the riot, and upheld while thwn VOL. IIL