صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

forty of the new regiment, one hundred volunteers, ninety seceders, forty Dalkeith volunteers, and thirty excise officers.

During this busy Sabbath in Edinburgh, the rebels were lying very quietly on the banks of a small rivulet not more than a mile to the eastward of Linlithgow, where they remained till the evening, when they advanced and took post for the night on a rising ground nearly at the place where the twelfth mile stone from Edinburgh now stands. This was on their part the soundest policy. Their emissaries in Edinburgh were all diligent in the highest degree, and faction and fear were doing their work more effectually than even their presence, though it had been much more formidable than it really was, could have done.

On Monday, the sixteenth, they began their march towards Edinburgh, but with the greatest deliberation, giving rumour time to multiply their numbers, and fear to magnify the terrors of their approach. One of their trusty agents, Mr. Andrew Alves, writer to the signet, who had been on a visit to their camp, and no doubt carried them intelligence of all that was going on in the city, hastened before them with a message from Charles to the citizens, acquainting them that he was aware of the preparations they were making to oppose him, but if they kept their arms in their own possession, and allowed him to enter peaceably, they should be civilly dealt with, if not, they must lay their account with military execution. This impudent menace Mr. Alves had the confidence to deliver before the lord provost in a public coffee-house, early in the forenoon, who hastened to communicate it to his coadjutors, leaving Mr. Alves to spread it in the city at his pleasure.

Two hours had scarcely elapsed when the intentions of this traitor were formidably seconded by a petition from a number of the timid and the disaffected citizens, praying the lord provost to call a meeting of the inhabitants, that he might consult with them what was proper to be done. This petition, however much he might be disposed to do so, he could not, it was evident, under all the circumstances of the case, immediately grant. Of course it was refused, and the indefatigable Mr. Alves, after

* Trial of Archibald Stuart, &c. p. 49.

ጊ z

II.

having run round his circle, and come at last with his precious intelligence to the lord advocate, was, by a warrant signed by the lord provost, committed to prison.

In the meantime the works for the defence of the city were going on cheerfully; new intrenchments were thrown up, some gates shut, and more cannon placed on the bastions. At one o'clock, however, only five gunners were at their posts, but it was promised that more should be immediately procured.

Amidst this bustle of preparation great dependance seems to have been placed upon the two regiments of dragoons, who, with the town guard and as many men of the Edinburgh regiment as were fit for service, took post on the preceding day at Corstorphine, where they proposed to make a stand against the rebels. At sunset, however, colonel Gardiner, leaving a party at Corstorphine, retreated with his dragoons to a field between Edinburgh and Leith, while the infantry returned into the city. General Foukes, having in the evening arrived from London, proceeded early this morning to take the command of the two regiments of dragoons, and march them to a field at the east end of the Coltbridge, two miles west from Edinburgh, where, in the forenoon, they were joined by the Edinburgh regiment and the town guard. As the rebels approached Corstorphine, perceiving the party of dragoons stationed there by colonel Gardiner, they sent forward a detachment to take a near view of them, and report their number. This detachment rode directly up to the dragoons and fired their pistols at them, when, without returning a shot, the dragoons wheeled about and fled, carrying their fears into the main body at Coltbridge, which set off immediately, and between three and four o'clock was, by the people of Edinburgh, seen in fair flight passing to the north of the city.

All hope of defending the city was now at an end. The streets were at once filled by clamorous crowds, crying out, that since the dragoons had fled, it was madness to think of resistance. Some of these terrified or designing people meeting the lord provost returning from the West Port, followed him

• Trial of Archibald Stuart, Esq. &c. pp. 114, 115. Second Trial of do.

p. 114.

+ Ibid. pp. 49, 50.

to the Parliament Square, beseeching him not to persist in defending the town, for if he did they should all be murdered. Feeble and indecisive at best, the situation of the lord provost at this crisis may be more easily conceived than described. He hastened into the Goldsmiths' hall, where the magistrates, town council, and a great number of the inhabitants were assembled. A deputation was sent to the lord justice clerk, the lord advocate, and the solicitor, to request their attendance and advice, but all these gentlemen had left the town. He applied himself next to the captains of the volunteers and the trainbands, but they were equally at a loss with himself, and he was in a short time found in the new church aisle, presiding in a meeting of the inhabitants, composed of for the most part nonjurors and other known abettors of the pretender, held for the express purpose of giving up the city, and where, though it was pretended to be a meeting for consultation, only one side of the question was allowed to be spoken to.

Not satisfied with having pushed on this meeting, and, by ringing the fire-bell, withdrawing to their several stations all the volunteers, so that their voices might not be heard, an emissary of Charles, sent, by a caddie or street runner, a letter to the lord provost, magistrates, and town council, which found its way most mysteriously into the meeting, and was handed to the lord provost, nobody seemed to know how. It was signed Charles, P. R., dated from our camp, this sixteenth day of September, and was as follows:-“ Being now in a condition to make our way into the capital of bis majesty's ancient kingdom of Scotland, we hereby summon you to receive us, as you are in duty bound to do, and in order to it we hereby require you, upon receipt of this, to summon the town council, and take proper measures in it for securing the peace and quiet of the city, which we are very desirous to protect. But if you suffer any of the usurper's troops to enter the town, or any of the cannon, arms, or ammunition now in it, whether belonging to the public or to private persons, to be carried off, we shall take it as a breach of your duty, and a heinous offence against the king and us, and shall resent it accordingly. We promise to preserve all the rights and liberties of the city, and the particular

property of every one of his majesty's subjects. But if any

opposition be made to us, we cannot answer for the consequences, being firmly resolved at any rate to enter the city, and, in that case,

if
any

of the inhabitants are found in arms against us, they must not expect to be treated as prisoners of war.”

That the meeting was assembled for this letter, and the letter written for the meeting, will be doubted by few who will take the trouble to compare the circumstances of the one and the sentiments of the other. The contents were no doubt known to a number in the meeting, but its fabricators did not succeed in getting it read, the lord provost, after a great deal of debating whether it should be read or not, rising from his seat and returning to the Goldsmiths' hall, followed by most part of the council.

During the progress of these disloyal and cowardly debates, the alarm being greatest at the West Port, the guns were there loaded, and the works pressed on, so that they were almost finished when an account came that a meeting in the new church had agreed to capitulate, and one of the volunteers called upon the provost to know what was to be done with the cannon, but was told that the provost had not time to speak to him. In the mean time another emissary of rebellion, whom, says Home, “ nobody ever pretended to know,” mounted upon a gray horse, came up from the Bow to the Lawn Market, and galloping along the front of the volunteers, called out that he had seen the Highland army, and that they were sixteen thousand strong, but nobody put any questions to him, and he was soon out of sight.

It was now evident to the most superficial observer that the town was lost, there being but little spirit among the people, and less talent among their leaders; and the volunteers after having been tantalized in the manner we have above stated, and having remained without orders for hours, fearing lest while all this farrago of preparing and deliberating was going through, the rebels might enter the city, and those arms which they had received for the purpose of defending the government fall into their hands and become the means of subverting it, marched to the castle and delivered up their arms to gene

up

Trial of Archibald Stuart, Esq. &c. p. 56.

ral Guest. The trainbands were ordered afterwards to go to their homes, and to leave their arms in the places where they had been assembled, evidently in compliance with the pretender's letter, which had taken such hold of the provost's imagination, that he even refused to give any order respecting the cannon that had so laboriously and so reluctantly been placed on the walls, so that ultimately they fell into the hands of the rebels.

The lord provost, with the members of council, having returned to the council chamber, the letter signed Charles, P. R., which had occasioned so much debate, was read, and it was moved and agreed to, that an answer should be sent to it. Four members of council, baillie Hamilton, baillie Inglis, baillie Yets, and conveener Norie were accordingly despatched to request that hostilities might not be commenced till the citizens had deliberated and resolved what answer should be made to the letter.

Scarcely were the messengers gone when notice was brought to the lord provost and the others assembled with him in the council chamber, that Sir John Cope, with the troops under his command, was arrived off Dunbar. This produced a reacting of part of the farce that had already been enacted, a messenger was sent after the four deputies, to bring them back; general Guest was again applied to for arms, for dragoons, &c. But the fire-bell being the only way they could devise for bringing the volunteers again together, and as the four deputies had not been overtaken, and were now in the power of the rebels, who, it was suggested, in case of hearing the alarm bell, might possibly hang them, all thoughts of resistance were once more laid aside. About ten o'clock the deputies returned with the following answer:-“ His royal highness the prince regent thinks his manifesto, and the king his father's declaration already published, a sufficient capitulation for all his majesty's subjects to accept of with joy. His present demands are, to be received into the city as the son and representative of the king his father, and to be obeyed as such while there. His royal highness supposes

that since the receipt of his letter to the provost, no arms nor ammunition have been suffered to be carried off or concealed, and will expect a particular account of all things of that nature.

« السابقةمتابعة »