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his majesty, that the lord provost, magistrates, town council, burgesses, and others of the city of Edinburgh, from their great loyalty and affection to his person and government, were, at this juncture, willing and ready to raise and maintain at their own proper charge and expense, by voluntary subscription and contribution, one thousand foot for the defence of the said city, and the support of his government; and that they were desirous of obtaining his royal license and authority for the same. His majesty does grant the same accordingly; and does farther ordain and command, that the said one thousand men shall be under the direction of the lord provost, magistrates, and town council of Edinburgh.
This warrant having been read and considered by the magistrates and council, “ they appointed as a committee, the present and old magistrates, convener, deacons Lauder and Porteous, or any five of them, the lord provost being always one, and in case of his absence, any nine of them to be a quorum, to consider what is most proper to be done upon this occasion for levying the said one thousand foot, and particularly to take in the subscriptions of such of the inhabitants as are willing to contribute for levying the said one thousand foot, with their proper officers to be named, for the purposes mentioned in the said sign manuel, for the space of three months after they shall be so enlisted; as also to consider what is proper to be done farther for the safety of the city, and for support of the government; which committee shall meet at the Goldsmiths' hall twice each day, at the hours of eleven in the forenoon, and four in the afternoon; all their proceedings to be engrossed in a book, and reported to the council from time to time.
“And the magistrates and council nominate and appoint the lord provost to be colonel and commander of the said one thousand foot, with power to his lordship to conduct and direct them and the other officers who shall be named to command under him, as the council shall think proper, or as the exigence of matters shall require."
So briskly did the filling up this thousand men go on, that the same day “ a letter was delivered to the lord provost, signed by three old provosts, Drummond, MacAulay, and Osburn, and three old baillies, Nimmo, Blackwood, and Wilson, on be
half of themselves and the other volunteers, praying his lordship to apply to the commander in chief for two hundred stand of arms, and that he would appoint a place where the volunteers might be instructed in the use of the firelock and bayonet.”
On the tenth, a scheme of what was most necessary to be done was drawn up by a volunteer, professor MacLaurin, and shown to general Guest, and at the general's desire, to an old officer of the dragoons, by whom being approved, it was presented to the lord provost. It was particularly insisted on, that a high house, which stood so as to make a part of the wall near the Potter Row Port, should be possessed by a party, and a communication made from the wall to the house, to relieve or bring off the men as occasion might require; but this was not yielded till September sixteenth, after it had been approved of by captain Murray, and then, though it was begun, there was not time to finish it. Unhappily the election of their deacons so completely occupied the trades, “ that few came to work on the wall; and, though complaints were repeatedly made, it never appeared that proper authority was employed to oblige them to work in this time of the greatest danger.”
An order was also this day procured from general Guest, to David Lyon, storekeeper of the castle, to deliver to the order of the lord provost, upon receipt, two hundred muskets, bayonets, and cartouch boxes, and the like number of Aints, with one barrel of powder, and an equal proportion of ball, to be distributed among the gentlemen volunteers. The baillies of Potter Row and Portsburgh, were also authorized to give receipts for sixty stand of arms, to be by them distributed among the inhabitants, on proper receipts.
The committee appointed by the council on the ninth, met for the first time on the eleventh, present the lord provost, when they gave their opinion concerning some things to be done for the reparation of the walls, that the same should be executed forthwith. Some cannon were this day procured from the ships; and, it having been recommended to the lord provost that some hand grenades should be got, and the city guard and volunteers taught to use them, a message demanding some was sent to the general, and by him to the castle; but it was answered, that they had not above two hundred, and
could not spare them. One of the volunteers, surprised that there should be so few in such a garrison, made a visit to the castle, and was told by the storekeeper that he had five times that number, and was desired to tell the lord provost that he had a hundred at his service. The lord provost was informed accordingly, but the grenades never appeared. Twenty were found in the town armoury, that had lien in a chest since 1715, but they were never examined. A ditch that had been ordered at Wallace' Tower, and carried on properly for some time, but afterwards by mistake or bad advice, perhaps by design, cast on the wrong side, was this day stopped, and a remedy proposed, which for want of time was not executed.
The committee appointed by the council met again on the twelfth, and after passing some further resolutions with regard to the fortifying the city walls, recommended to professor MacLaurin to go along with the tradesmen to explain his memorial, in relation to putting the wall at Leith Wynd in a better posture of defence, and, in consequence of the advice of the lord provost, recommended it to the city guard and the volunteers to learn the exercise of the hand grenades. They further resolved, that the council should invite those who have quantities of grain, at Leith or other places adjacent to the town, to bring the same into the city, to be lodged in the city granaries, where they shall be kept rent free, to preserve them from falling into the hands of the enemy.
The thirteenth was the day of electing the deacons of the different trades, and there was little or nothing done on the wall. Some houses in St. Mary's Wynd, that had large windows into the town, were shown to some agistrates, and afterwards to the provost, but no orders were given respecting them. The carriages of the cannon were examined, and the necessary reparations ordered. • On the fourteenth the lord provost reported in the committee that he had the same day signed an order for payment of one thousand pounds sterling to the receiver general, to account of cess due by the city, and it was resolved by the committee, that the cess books, and those by which the annuity and poor's money is collected, be taken from the several collectors' offices to the castle of Edinburgh for preservation. The provost
accordingly wrote a letter to general Preston, the governor
of the castle, praying him to receive the said books, and keep them for the use of the city. On this, as on the preceding day, there was little work on the walls and scaffoldings, but the cannon were all proved, and the shot got ready. On the fifteenth captain Murray was brought into the town by the lord provost to give his advice, and ordered some additional works within the gates, which were begun immediately. More men were employed this day on the walls than on any former occasion, and every body seemed to exert themselves. *
The volunteers were now nine independent companies, but the lord provost had not named the field officers, and upon a motion being made that they should go out and assist colonel Gardiner, they unhappily divided in opinion, which afforded scope for some gasconading on the part of individuals, which though it did not materially affect the defence of the city, must, to the unbiassed observer, have made it pretty evident, that at bottom there was not any serious intention entertained, by those whose proper business it was, of defending it. The difference, indeed, of opinion among the volunteers does not seem to have been great, all of then being willing to defend the town, and some of them, from the state of the preparations for defence, judging it less hazardous to meet the rebels in fair fight in the open field; but unluckily the signal fixed upon for calling them to their posts was the ringing the fire bell, which could not be done without alarming the whole city, and they had just loaded their pieces for the first time, when the fire bell rung as the signal for them to repair to the Lawn Market, which they did in a body. The churches were all assembled at the time, and they were emptied in a moment. The terrified populace rushing into the streets, beheld the volunteers under arms, and were told that they were going out with the dragoons to fight the rebel army, which was said to be just at hand. The dragoons soon made their appearance; the volunteers huzzaed, and the dragoons, poltrons though they were, and the basest that ever dishonoured arms, clashed their swords against one another, and returned their huzzas with an appearance of heroism. An
• Trial of Archibald Stuart, Esq. &c. pp. 40–49.
unaccountable and almost universal consternation, however, seized upon people of every rank, age, sex, and party. The relations and friends of the volunteers crowded around them, using every effort to dissuade them from what their fears suggested was a desperate and a hopeless undertaking. The men reasoned and remonstrated, the women complained and wept, but neither the arguments of the one, nor the tears of the other, had any effect upon those who had agreed to the proposal of captain Drummond of going out with the dragoons to give battle to the rebels. No sooner had the dragoons passed, than captain Drummond, putting himself at the head of his company, marched them up the High Street, and down the Bow to the Grassmarket, attended by a prodigious crowd of people loudly lamenting their fate. Neither officer nor private man of any other company, however, followed them. A halt was ordered, and an inquiry made, which ended in a discovery, that, however much the privates had been in earnest, the officers, not excepting captain Drummond himself, had never intended any thing more than a mere flourish, whereby they might secure a little vulgar applause.*
This was all in very bad style, and gave no favourable presentiment of future success, but the preparations for defence were still continued. Most of the cannons were this day planted in situations where it was supposed they would prove most effective, and about six o'clock, professor MacLaurin, as a volunteer, with the chief of the bombardiers, came to the lord provost to have an order to load them. The provost kept these gentlemen' waiting till eight, and at last desired another to sign the order for him. It was thus rather a late hour, but they began with cheerfulness, determination, and despatch, till they came to Bristo Port, where they were compelled to wait from half past ten till near one, for want of a sentinel to place upon the loaded gun, though they sent repeatedly messages for one both to the guard and council. Notwithstanding of this neglect, there were appointed to be upon duty through this night seven hundred men, consisting of four hundred trainbands,
• Trial of Archibald Stuart, Esq. p. 48. Scots Magazine for September 1745. Home's History of the Rebellion, pp. 56–6).