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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of George I: 1714 - 1727 Part 8


1726
The Tennis Court theatricals of spring 1715 probably did not long hold their ground. Thereafter,
we hear of no further amusement of the kind being in any fashion attempted in Edinburgh till 1719, when ‘some young gentlemen’ performed The Orphan and the Gheats of Scapin, but most probably in a very private manner, though Allan Ramsay consented to introduce the performance with a prologue. Among the Wodrow pamphlets preserved in the Advocates’ Library, is a broadside containing ‘Verses spoken after the performance of Otwav’s tragedy, called The Orphan, at a private meeting in Edinburgh, December 9, 1719, by a boy in the University (added in manuscript, “Mr Mitchell”). He ends with a threat to meet adverse critics in the King’s Park. Edin­burgh was about the same time occasionally regaled with the visits of a certain Signora Violante, who trooped about the three kingdoms for the exhibition of feats in tumbling and posture-making.

It would appear that the first Scottish theatricals not quite insignificant were presented in the winter 1725—26, when Anthony Aston, a performer not without his fame, came to Edinburgh with a company of comedians, and was so far favourably received that he ventured to return in the ensuing year. On that occa­sion, Allan Ramsay composed for him the following prologue, conveying to us some notion of the feelings with which the venture was regarded:

‘Tis I, dear Caledonians, blythesome Tony,
That oft, last winter, pleased the brave and bonny,
With medley, merry song, and comic scene:
Your kindness then has brought me here again,
After a circuit round the Queen of Isles,
To gain your friendship and approving smiles.
Experience bids me hope—though, south the Tweed,
The dastards said: "He never will succeed
What such a country look for any good in,
That does not relish plays, nor pork, nor pudding !”
Thus great Columbus, by an idiot crew,
Was ridiculed at first for his just view;
Yet his undaunted spirit ne’er gave ground,
Till he a new and better world had found.
So I—laugh on—the simile is bold;
But, faith ! ‘tis just : for till this body’s cold,
Columbus-like, I’ll push for fame and gold.’

The prevalent feeling on the subject in authoritative circles may be inferred from the conduct of the magistracy and clergy. An act of council being passed, prohibiting Mr Aston from acting within the limits of their jurisdiction, the presbytery met, and appointed a deputation to wait upon the magistrates, and thank them ‘for the just zeal they had shewn in the matter.’ A committee was at the same time appointed to draw up an act and exhortation against the frequenting of stage-plays, which, by their order, was read from all the pulpits in the district.

Wodrow talks of Aston’s proceedings as ‘filling up our cup of sin.’ ‘Three or four noblemen—some of them ruling elders— combined to favour the comedians, giving them such a warrant as they thought their peerage entitled them to give. Three or four of the Lords of Session were favourable to them, and yet no direct interlocutor was given them, empowering them to set up. The matter took several different shapes, and many different decisions were given by the Lords, which concerned circumstances rather than the direct lawfulness of their plays.’ Wodrow speaks of a large attendance, especially at their tragedies, the Mourning Bride having had a run of three nights. ‘A vast deal of money, In this time of scarcity, is spent this way most sinfully. They even ‘talk of building a public playhouse at Edinburgh.’

To the great vexation of the ecclesiastical authorities, the decree of the magistrates was appealed against in the Court of Session, with what were believed to be good hopes of suc­cess. Just at that crisis, we find Mr Wodrow writing in great concern on the subject, from his Renfrewshire manse, to Mr George Drummond, commissioner of customs in Edinburgh (November 27, 1727). He states that his parishioner, Lord Pollock, one of the judges, was unfortunately detained at home, being ‘considerably failed, and very crazy;’ so he could not attend the court to give his vote. ‘I pray God may order matters so as to prevent my fears in this matter…. I desire to have it on my heart, and shall stir up some who, I hope, are praying persons, to be concerned in it. However it go, I think the magistrates of Edinburgh may have peace in the honest appearance they have made against those seminaries of idleness, looseness, and sin.’

There was, however, no legal means of putting down Mr Aston. The magistrates’ interdict was suspended, and from that time the players had only to contend with public opinion.

Feb 12
Serious onlookers are eager to note other symptoms of the alarming progress of levity. A private letter-writer remarks, under our marginal date, that, ‘notwithstanding the general com­plaint of scarcity of money, there were never so many diversions in one winter. There is scarce one night passes without either medley, concert, or assembly, and these entertainments generally conclude with some private marriage, of which we have a vast number
. . . . such as Sir Edward Gibson and Mrs Maitland, a cousin of the Earl of Lauderdale; M’Dowal and a daughter of Dr Stirling; a son of Bailie Hay with Regent Scott’s daughter; and my Lord Bruce is to be married regularly to Mrs Robertson, who has above £3000, this very night.’

A few days after, the same writer reports a private marriage as discovered between the son of Sir John Dalrymple and ‘Matthew Crawford’s daughter.’ ‘Sir John seems pretty much disobliged that his son should not have asked his consent, though it ‘s thought he will soon get over all difficulties.’ The eccentric Earl of Rosebery ‘has been for a considerable time in prison, where it‘s believed he will spend the remainder of his days with his good friend Burnbank.’

A few weeks later, an abduction in the old style was perpe­trated by a Highlander upon ‘a niece of Mr Moubray the wright,’ not above twelve years of age, whose gouvernante had betrayed her upon a promise of a thousand merks, the young lady having £3000 of fortune. Mr Moubray ‘luckily catched them near to Queensferry, as they were coming to town to be married.’ ‘The gouvernante is committed to prison, as is also the gentleman.’

In May, Mr Wodrow adverts to a rumour that there were some clubs in Edinburgh, very secretly conducted, composed of gentlemen of atheistical opinions. They were understood to be offshoots of a similar fraternity in London, rejoicing in the name of the Hell-fire Club, as signifying the disregard of the members for the thing referred to. Wodrow whispers with horror, that the secretary of the Hell-fire Club, a Scotsman, was reported to have come to Edinburgh to plant these affiliated societies. ‘He fell into melancholy, as it was called, but probably horror of con­science and despair, and at length turned mad. Nobody was allowed to see him, and physicians prescribed bathing for him, and he died mad at the first bathing. The Lord pity us,’ concludes Mr Wodrow; ‘wickedness is come to a terrible height!’

There is among the Wodrow pamphlets a broadside giving an account of the Hell-fire Clubs, Sulphur Societies, and Demirep Dragons then in vogue. It includes a list of persons of quality engaged in these fraternities, and the various names they bore—as Elisha the Prophet, the King of Hell, Old Pluto, the Old Dragon, Lady Envy, the Lady Gomorrah, &c. An edict had been issued against them by the government, reciting that there was reason to suspect that, in the cities of London and West­minster, there were scandalous clubs or societies of young persons, who meet together, and in blasphemous language insult God and his holy religion, and corrupt the morals of one another. The Justices of the peace were enjoined to be diligent in rooting out such schools of profanity.

The Hell-fire Club seems to have projected itself strongly on the popular imagination in Scotland, for the peasantry still occa­sionally speak of it with bated breath and whispering horror. Many wicked lairds are talked of; who belonged to the hell-fire Club, and who came to bad ends, as might have been expected on grounds involving no reference to miracle.

Public combats with sword and rapier were among the amuse­ments of the age. They took place regularly in London, at a place called the Bear Garden, and at an amphitheatre in the Oxford Road; likewise at Hockley. It seems scarcely credible that not only was this practice permitted, but it was customary far the men who were to cut and slash at each other in the evening, to parade through the streets in the forenoon, in fancy dresses, with drums beating and colours flying, as an advertisement of the performance.

Sometimes, when one of these modern gladiators attained to fame, he would go to a provincial city, and announce himself as willing to fight all-comers on a public stage for any sum that might be agreed upon. Such persons seem most frequently to have been natives of the sister-island. One Andrew Bryan, an Irishman, described as ‘a clean young man‘—that is, a well-made, nimble person—came to Edinburgh, in June 1726, as a gladiatorial star, and challenged any who might choose to take him up. For days he paraded the streets with his drum, without meeting a combatant, and several gentlemen of the city began to feel annoyed at his vapourings, when at length the challenger was answered. There had at this time retired to Edinburgh an old Killiecrankie soldier, named Donald Bane—a man who had attained the distinction of a sergeantcy, who had taught the broad-sword exercise, who had fought creditably in all the wars of William and Anne in succession, hut was withal much of a scape— grace, though a good-humoured one, as fully appears from a little autobiography which he published, along with the rules of the art of defence. Though now sixty-two, and inclined to repent of much of his earlier career, Donald retained enough of his original spirit to he disposed to try a turn at sharps with Bryan; so, meeting him in the street one day, he sent his foot through the drum, as an indication that he accepted the challenge. Gentle-folks were interested when they heard of it, and one learned person thought proper to compose for Bane a regular answer to the challenge in Latin verse—

Ipso ego, Ponaldus Banus, forma arms et altus,
Nunc huie Andrere thrasoni oecurrere deero,’ &c.

The combat took Place at the date noted, (June 23) on a stage erected for the purpose behind Holyrood Palace, in the presence of a great number of noblemen, gentlemen, military officers, and others. It was conducted with much formality, and lasted several hours, with a variety of weapons; and not till Bryan had received seven wounds from his unscathed antagonist, did he feel the necessity of giving in. The victory of the Highland veteran seems to have given rise to great exultation, and he was crowned with praises in both prose and rhyme. He was compared to Ajax overcoming Thersites; and one Latin wit remarked in a quatrain, that the stains of the two former Donald Banes of Scottish history were wiped off by the third. A more fortunate result for us was the publication of Bane’s autobiography, containing a number of characteristic anecdotes.

Little more than two years after the combat of Bane and Bryan, a similar encounter is noted in the Edinburgh Courant as taking place in the Tennis Court at Holyrood, between ‘Campbell the Scots, and Clerk the Irish gladiator,’ when the former received a wound in the face, and the second sustained seven in the body.

Aug 8
At an election for the county of Roxburgh at Jedburgh, a quarrel arose between Sir Gilbert Elliot of Stobbs, a candidate, and Colonel Stewart of Stewartfield, who opposed him. Colonel Stewart, who was ‘a huffing, hectoring person,’ is said to have given great provocation, and gentlemen afterwards admitted that Stobbs was called upon by the laws of honour to take notice of the offence. According to a petition to the Court of Session from the son of Stewart, Elliot stabbed him as he sat in his chair on the opposite side of a table, with his sword in his side.

The homicide took refuge in Holland, but was soon enabled by a pardon to return to his own country.

Aug 9
The correspondence of General Wade with the Secretary of State Townsend, makes
us aware that at this time several of the attainted gentlemen of 1715 had returned to Scotland, in the hope of obtaining a pardon, or at least of being permitted to remain undisturbed. The general humanely pleads for their being pardoned on a formal submission. Amongst them was Alexander Robertson of Struan, chief of the clan Robertson, a gentleman who had fought for the Stuarts both at Killiecrankie and Sheriffmuir, and who is further memorable for his convivial habits and his gifts in the writing of pure, but somewhat dull English poetry.

In the year of the Revolution, being a youth of twenty at the university of St Andrews, Struan accepted a commission in some forces then hastily proposed to he raised for James VII.; and, keeping up this military connection, he joined the highland army of Lord Dundee, but was taken prisoner by the enemy, September 1689, and thrown into the Edinburgh Tolbooth. Here a piece of Highland gratitude served him a good turn. Four years before, when the Perthshire loyalists were hounded out to ravage the lands of the unfortunate Argyle, the late Laird of Struan had, for humane reasons, pleaded for leave to stay at home and take care of the country. The now restored Earl of Argyle, remembering this kindness to his family, interceded for young Robertson, and procured his liberation in exchange for Sir Robert Maxwell of Pollock, who was in the hands of the Highlanders. Struan then passed into France, and joined the exiled king, hoping ere long to return and see the old regime restored; and in his absence, the Scottish parliament declared him forfaulted. He spent many years of melancholy exile in France, enduring the greatest hardships that a gentleman could be subjected to, having no dependence but upon occasional remittances from his mother. Being at length enabled to return to Perthshire, he once more forfeited all but life by joining in the insurrection of 1715. For nine years more he underwent a new exile in the greatest poverty and hard­ship, while, to add to his mortifications, a disloyal sister, hight ‘Mrs Margaret,’ contrived to worm herself into the possession of his forfeited estates.

In France, Struan had for a fellow in misfortune a certain Professor John Menzies, under whom he had studied at St Andrews, and who seems to have been an old gentleman of some humour. There is extant a letter of Menzies to Struau, giving him advice about his health, and which seems worthy of preservation for the hints it gives as to the habits of these expatriated Scotch Jacobites. It bears to have been written in answer to one in which Struan had spoken of being ill:

‘PARIS, March 20.

‘D. S.—I have been out of town a little for my own health, which has kept me some days from receiving or answering your last, in which you speak of some indisposition of yours. I hope that before now it is over of itself by a little quiet and temperance, and that thereby nature has done its own business, which it rarely fails to do when one gives it elbow-room, and when it is not quite spent. When that comes, the house soon comes down altogether. This I have always found in my own case. Whenever I was jaded by ill hours and company, and the con­sequences of that, I have still retired a little to some convenient hermitage in the country, with two or three doses of rhubarb, and as many of salts. That washes the Augean stable, and for the rest I drink milk and whey, and sometimes a very little wine and water. No company but Horace and Homer, and such old gentlemen that drink no more now. I walk much, eat little, and sleep a great deal. And by this cool and sober and innocent diet, nature gets up its head again, and the horse that was jaded and worn out grows strong again, so that he can jog on some stages of the farce of life without stumbling or breaking his neck. This is a consultation I give you gratis from my own practice and never-failing experience, which is always the best physician. And I am satisfied it would do in your ease, where I reckon nature is haill at the heart still, after all your cruel usage of it.

‘As to all those pricklings and startings of the nerves, they come from the ill habit of the blood and body, brought on by ill diet and sharp or earthy wine, as your Orleans wine is reckoned to be—for there are crab-grapes as there are crab-apples, and sloes as well as muscadines.

‘There are great differences of constitutions. Those of a san­guine can drink your champagne or cyder all their life, and old Davy Flood has drunk punch these fifty years daily. Whereas a short time of the lemons that‘s in punch would eat out the bottom of my stomach, or make me a cripple. Much champagne, too, would destroy my nerves, though I like its spirit and taste dearly. But it will not do, that is, it never did well with me when I was young and strong; now much less. My meaning in this dissertation about wine and constitutions is plainly this, first, to recommend to you frequent retraites, in order to be absolutely cool, quiet, and sober, with a little gentle physic now and then, in order to give time and help to nature to recover. And when you will needs drink wine—that it be of the haill and old south-country wines, Hermitage, Coté Rotis, Cahors, &c., with a little water still, since there is a heat in them.

‘As to any external tremblings or ailings of the nerves, pray make constant usage of Hungary - water to your head and nosethrills, and behind your cars—of which 1 have found an infinite effect and advantage of a long time, for I have been very often in the very same ease you describe, and these have always been my certain cures. Repetatur ejuantum sufficit, and I will warrant you.

‘Write again, and God bless you.’

Struan was now successful in obtaining a pardon, and for the remainder of his days he lived in the cultivation of the bottle and the muse at his estate in Rannoch. Only prevented by old age from risking all once again in the adventure of Prince Charlie, he died quietly in 1749, having reached his eighty-first year. So venerable a chief, who had used both the sword of Mars and the lyre of Apollo in the cause of the Stuarts, could not pass from the world notelessly. His funeral was of a character to be described as a great provincial fete. It was computed that two thousand persons, including the noblemen and gentlemen of the district, assembled at his house to carry him to his last resting-place, which was distant eighteen English miles; and for all of these there was entertainment provided according to their different ranks.

Having taken personal surveys of the Highlands in the two preceding years, General Wade was prepared, in this, to com­mence the making of those roads which he reported to be so necessary for the reduction of the country to obedience, peace, and civilisation. He contemplated that, after the example set by the Romans sixteen hundred years before, the work might be done by the soldiers, on an allowance of extra pay; and five hundred were selected as sufficient for the purpose. Engineers and sur­veyors he brought down from England, one being the Edmund Burt to whom we have been indebted for so much information regarding the Highlands at this period, through the medium of the letters he wrote during his long residence in this country.

‘In the summer seasons (during eleven years), five hundred of the soldiers from the barracks and other quarters about the High­lands were employed in those works in different stations. The private men were allowed sixpence a day, over and above their pay as soldiers. A corporal had eightpence, and a sergeant a shilling. But this extra pay was only for working-days, which were often interrupted by violent storms of wind and rain. These parties of men were under the command of proper officers, who were all subalterns, and received two shillings and sixpence per diem, to defray their extraordinary expense in building huts, making necessary provision for their tables from distant parts (unavoidable, though unwelcome visits), and other incidents arising from their wild situation.

A Scottish gentleman, who visited the Highlands in 1737, discovered the roads completed, and was surprised by the improve­ments which he found to have arisen from them, amongst which he gratefully notes the existence of civilised places for the enter­tainment of travellers. It pleased him to put his observations into verse—rather dull and prosaic verse it is, one must admit—yet on that very account the more useful now-a-days, by reason of the clearness of the information it gives. After speaking of Wade’s success in carrying out the Disarming Act, and his suppression of disorders by the garrisons and Highland companies, he proceeds to treat of the roads, which had impressed him as a work of great merit. It seemed to him as an under­taking in no slight degree arduous, considering the limited means and art which then existed, to extend firm roads across Highland morasses, to cut out paths along rough hillsides, and to protect the way when it was formed from the subsequent violent action of Highland torrents and inundations. One of the most difficult parts of the first road was that traversing the broad, lofty moun­tain called Corryarrack, near to Fort Augustus. It is ascended on the south side by a series of zigzags, no less than thirteen in number. The general expended great care and diligence in the work, even to the invention of a balsam for healing the wounds and hurts inflicted on the men by accident.

In the forming of the numerous bridges required upon the roads, there was one natural difficulty, in addition to all others, in the want of easily hewn stone. The bridge of five arches across the Tay at Weem was considered as a marvellous work at the time. In another part of the country, an unusually rugged river gave Wade and his people a great deal of trouble. The men, oppressed with heat during the day, and chilled with frosts as they bivouacked on the ground at night, were getting dispirited, when the general bethought him of a happy expedient.

‘A fatted ox he ordered to be bought,
The best through all the country could be sought.
His horns well polished and with ribbons graced,
A piper likewise played before the beast.
Such were in days of yore for victims led,
And on the sacrifice a feast was made.
The ox for slaughter he devotes, and then
Gives for a gratis feast unto his men.
Quick and with joy a bonfire they prepare,
Of turf and heath, and brushwood fagots, where
The fatted ox is roasted all together;
Next of the hide they make a pot of leather,
In which the lungs and tripe cut down they boil,
With flour and tallow mixed in lieu of oil.
Then beef and pudding plentifully eat,
With store of cheering Husque to their meat.
Their spir’ts thus raised, their work becomes a play,
New vigour drives all former stops away.
The place from that received another name,
And Ox-BRIDGE rises to all future fame.’

We derive some interesting facts about Wade’s proceedings at this time from his correspondence, still in manuscript.

Writing to the Secretary of State, Lord Townsend, Edinburgh, 9th August 1726, he says: ‘I can with satisfaction assure your lordship that the Disarming Act has fully answered all that was proposed by it, there being no arms carried in the Highlands but by those who are legally qualified; depredations are effectually prevented by the Highland companies; and the Pretender’s iaterest is so low, that I think it can hope for no effectual assistance from that quarter.’

Dating from Killiwhimmen (Fort Augustus] on the 16th of the ensuing mouth, he tells his lordship:

‘I have inspected the new roads between this place and Fort William, and ordered it to be enlarged and carried on for wheel-carriage over the mountains on the south side of Loch Ness, as far as the town of Inverness, so that before midsummer next there will be a good coach-road from that place, which before was not passable on horseback in many places. This work is carried on by the military with less expense and difficulty than I at first imagined it could be performed, and the Highlanders, from the ease and convenience of transporting their merchandise, begin to approve and applaud what they at first repined at and submitted to with reluctancy.’

Writing, in September 1727, to Lord Townsend, he states that he had lately found the Highlands in perfect tranquillity, ‘and the great road of communication so far advanced, that I travelled to Fort William in my coach-and-six, to the great wonder of the country people, who had never seen such a machine in those parts. I have likewise given directions for carrying on another great road southward through the Highlands from Inverness to Perth, which will open a communication with the low country, and facilitate the march of a body of troops when his majesty’s service may require it.’

The general’s coach-and-six had been brought to Inverness by the coast-road from the south, and Burt assures us that ‘an elephant exposed in one of the streets of London could not have excited greater admiration. One asked what the chariot was. Another, who had seen the gentleman alight, told the first, with a sneer at his ignorance, it was a great cart to carry people in, and such like. But since the making of some of the roads, I have passed through them with a friend, and was greatly delighted to see the Highlanders run from their huts close to the chariot, and, looking up, how with their bonnets to the coachman, little regarding us that were within. It is not unlikely that they looked upon him as a kind of prime minister, that guided so important a machine.’

Wade writing to Mr Pelham from Blair, 20th July 1728, says:

‘I am now with all possible diligence carrying on the new road for wheel-carriage between Dunkeld and Inverness, of about eighty measured English miles in length; and that no time may he lost in a work so necessary for his majesty’s service, I have employed 300 men on different parts of this road, that the work may be done during this favourable season of the year, and hope, by the progress they have already made, to have forty miles of it completed before the end of October, at which time the heavy rains make it impracticable to proceed in the work till the summer following.

‘There is so great a scarcity of provisions in this barren country, that I am obliged to bring my biscuit, cheese, &c., for the support of the workmen, from Edinburgh by land-carriage, which, though expensive, is of absolute necessity. There is about fifteen miles of this road completely finished, and, I may venture to assure you, it is as good and as practicable for wheel-carriage as any in England. There are two stone-bridges building on the road that was finished last year between Inverness and Fort William, and two more are begun on this road, all which will, I hope, be completed by the middle of October. The rest that will be wanting will be eight or tea in number to complete the commu­nication, which must be deferred to the next year.’

July
The Society of Improvers at this date made a suggestion to the governors of George Heriot’s hospital (magistrates and clergy of Edinburgh) which marks a degree of liberality and judgment far beyond what was to be expected of the age. They recommended that the boys of that institution, all being children of persons in reduced circumstances, should have instruction in useful arts imparted to them along with the ordinary elements of learning. Such a practice had already been introduced in Holland and France, and even in England (in workhouses), with the best effects. They at the same time recommended that the girls in the Merchant Maiden Hospital should be taught the spinning of flax and worsted, and be put in twos and threes weekly into the kitchen to learn house affairs. A committee was appointed to confer with the magistrates upon this plan; but the matter was afterwards put into the hands of the Trustees for the Encourage­ment of Manufactures.’

It would appear as if some practical result had followed, at least for a time, as in December 1730, the Edinburgh newspapers advert in terms of admiration to two girls of the Merchant Maiden Hospital, who, ‘upon being only three weeks tanght the French method of spinning, have spun exceeding fine yarn at the rate of twelve and a half spindle to the pound avoirdupois, which is thought to be the best and finest that ever was done in this country.’

Sep 10
Inoculation, or, as it was at first called, engrafting for the small­pox, was reported from the East to British physicians as early as 1 714, bnt neglected. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, visiting Turkey with her husband, the British ambassador, found it in full vogue there, and reported it at once so safe and so effectual, that people came together as to a party of pleasure to have it performed upon them by old women. It was in March 1718 that her ladyship, viewing the matter in entire independence of all silly fears, submitted her infant son to the process. Finding it successful, she exerted herself, on her return to England, to have the practice introduced there, and, by favour of Caroline, Princess of Wales, gained her point against the usual host of objectors. Her own daughter was the first person inoculated in Great Britain. It was then tried on four criminals, reprieved for the purpose, and found successful. Two of the princess’s children followed, in April 1722. The process was simultaneously introduced into Boston, in Massachusetts.

Lady Mary tells us next year, that inoculation was beginning to be a good deal practised. ‘I am,’ says she, ‘so much pulled about and solicited to visit people, that I am forced to run into the country to hide myself.’’ Yet the fact is, that it made its way very slowly, having to encounter both the prejudices of medical men, who misapprehended its scientific nature, and the objections of certain serious people, who denounced it as ‘taking the Almighty’s work out of his hands.’ 2 Just as the two young princesses were recovering, appeared a pamphlet, in which the author argued that this new invention is utterly unlawful, an audacious presumption, and a thing forbid in Scripture, in that express command: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” It would appear as if there never yet was any valuable discovery made for the alleviation of misery, or the conferring of positive benefits on mankind, but there are some persons who find it irreligious, and would be rejoiced in seeing it fail. It must have been under such a spirit that some one inserted in the prints of the day a notice desiring ‘oil persons who know anything of the ill success of inoculation, to send a particular account thereof to Mr Roberts, printer in Warwickshire.’ Only 897 persons (of whom seventeen died) were inoculated during the first eight years.’

The operation appears not to have been introduced in Scotland till upwards of five years after its introduction in London. A letter of the date noted, from Mr R. Boyd in Edinburgh to the Rev. Mr Wodrow at Eastwood, gives the following among other matters of familiar intelligence: ‘The story of Abercromby of Glassaugh’s child being inoculated in this country, and recovered of the small-pox, is in the written letter and some of the prints.’’ From the reference to a written letter—namely, a periodical holo­graph sheet of news from London—we may infer that the infant in question was inoculated there, and that the practice was as yet unknown in our country.

Oct 19
An interesting and singular scene was this day presented in the streets of Edinburgh. Five men, named Garnock, Foreman, Stewart, Ferrie, and Russell, were executed at the Gallowlee on the 10th of October 1681, and their heads put up at the Cowgate Port, while their bodies were interred under the gallows. Some of their friends lifted and re-interred the bodies in the West Churchyard, and also took down the heads for a similar purpose; but, being scared, were obliged to inhume these relics, enclosed in a box, in a garden at Lauriston, on the south side of the city. On the 7th October of this year, the heads were discovered as they had been laid there forty-five years before, the box only being consumed. Mr Shaw, the owner of the garden, had them lifted and laid out in a summer-house, where the friends of the old cause had access to see them. Patrick Walker relates what followed. ‘I rejoiced,’ he says, 'to see so many concerned grave men and women favouring the dust of our martyrs. There were six of us concluded to bury them upon the nineteenth day of October 1726, and every one of us to acquaint friends of the day and hour, being Wednesday, the day of the week upon which most of them were executed, and at 4 of the clock at night, being the hour that most of them went to their resting graves. We caused make a compleat coffin for them in black, with four yards of fine linen, the way that our martyrs’ corps were man aged; and, having the happiness of friendly magistrates at the time, we went to the present Provost Drummond, and Baillie Nimmo, and acquainted them with our conclusions anent them; with which they were pleased, and said, if we were sure that they were our martyrs’ heads, we might bury them decently and orderly.

Accordingly, we kept the foresaid day and hour, and doubled the linen, and laid the half of it below them, their nether jaws being parted from their heads; but being young men, their teeth remained. All were witness to the holes in each of their heads, which the hangman broke with his hammer; and, according to the bigness of their skulls, we laid their jaws to them, and drew the other half of the linen above them, and stufft the coffin with shavings. Some pressed hard to go thorow the chief parts of the city, as was done at the Revolution; but this we refused, consider­ing that it looked airy and frothy, to make such show of them, and inconsistent with the solid serious observing of such an affecting, surprising, unheard-of dispensation: but took the ordi­nary way of other burials from that place—to wit, we went east the back of the wall, and in at Bristo Port, and down the way to the head of the Cowgate, and turned up to the churchyard, where they were interred doss to the Martyrs’ Tomb, with the greatest multitude of people, old and young, men and women, ministers and others, that ever I saw together.’

A citizen of Edinburgh heard from a lady born in 1736 an account, at second-hand, of this remarkable solemnity—with one fact additional to what is stated by Walker. ‘In the procession was a number of genteel females, all arrayed in white satin, as emblematical of innocence.’

A proceeding in which the same spirit was evinced is noted in the Edinburgh Courant of November 4, 1728. ‘We hear that the separatists about Dumfries, who retain the title of Cameronians, have despatched three of their number to Magus Muir, in Fife, to find out the burial-place of Thomas Brown, Andrew. . . . , James Wood, John Clyde, and John Weddell, who were there execute during the Caroline persecution for being in arms at Bothwell Bridge, and have marked the ground, in order to erect a monument with an inscription like that of the Martyrs’ Tomb in Greyfriars’ Churchyard, to perpetuate the zeal and sufferings of these men.’

A few months later, we learn from the same sententious chronicler: ‘The Martyrs’ Tomb in the Greyfriars’ Churchyard is repaired, and there is added to it a compartment, on which is cut a head and a hand on pikes, as emblems of their sufferings, betwixt which is to be engraved a motto alluding to both.’

1727, Mar 20
Died Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Forglen, Baronet, a judge of the Court of Session under the designation of Lord Forglen. There is no particular reason for chronicling the demise of a respectable but noteless senator of the College of Justice, beyond the eccentric and characteristic circumstances attending it. According to a note in the unpublished diary of James Boswell, the biographer of Dr Johnson—when Lord Forglen was approaching the end of his life, lie received a visit from his friend Mr James Boswell, advocate, the grandfather of the narrator of the anecdote. The old judge was quite cheerful, and said to his visitor: ‘Come awa, Mr Boswell, and learn to dee: I ‘m gaun awa to see your auld freend Cullen and mine. (This was Lord Cullen, another judge, who had died exactly a year before.) He was a guid honest man; but his walk and yours was nae very steady when you used to come in frae Maggy Johnston’s upon the Saturday afternoons.’ That the reader may understand the force of this address, it is necessary to explain that Mrs Johnston kept a little inn near Bruntsfield Links, which she contrived to make attractive to men of every grade in life by her home-brewed ale. It here appears that among her customers were Mr Boswell, a well-employed advocate, and Lord Cullen, a judge—one, it may be observed, of good reputation, a writer on moral themes, and with whose religious practice even Mr Wodrow was not dissatisfied.

Dr Clerk, who attended Lord Forglen at the last, told James Boswell’s father, Lord Auchinleck, that, calling on his patient the day his lordship died, he was let in by his clerk, David Reid. How does my lord do?’ inquired Dr Clerk. ‘I houp he‘s weel,’ answered David with a solemnity that told what he meant. He then conducted the doctor into a room, and shewed him two dozen of wine under a table. Other doctors presently came in, and David, making them all sit down, proceeded to tell them his deceased master’s last words, at the same time pushing the bottle about briskly. After the company had taken a glass or two, they rose to depart; but David detained them. ‘No, no, gentlemen; not so. It was the express will o’ the dead that I should fill ye a’ fou, and I maun fulfil the will o’ the dead. All the time, the tears were streaming down his cheeks. ‘And, indeed,’ said the doctor afterwards in telling the story, ‘he did fulfil the will o’ the dead, for before the end o’ ‘t there was na ane o’ us able to bite his ain thoomb.’


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