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The time that has intervened has not the mouths of a dozen importunate yet obliterated the remembrance of urchins, with cap in hand, on the early pleasures; and I recur to the approach of any person near the halrecollections of the past with the gra- lowed fire; and I have oftentimes titude of one who enjoys with relish been fairly obliged to give a penny, the beauty of the flowerets which Be- though predetermined not to give any neficence has strewed along the path thing, to get rid of the obstinate suite of life.
ors, who would follow one the length Among the higher rank of boys, of a street, -Johnny Wilkes at the bonfires, and the firing of cannon, same time, in grotesque habiliments, squibs and crackers, formed the morni- stuffed with straw, and with hat in ing's amusement; and rockets and hand, looking down from his station fire-wheels were exhibited at night; on the wall above the fire, so beseechwhile, among their inferiors in point ingly, that, in nine cases out of ten, of wealth, the funds to procure powder one felt that it was necessary to keep were chiefly solicited from the passers- up the spirit of nationality, which still by. Eh, mind the banefire -Mind continues to revenge itself upon the Johnny Wilkes !” was echoed from author of the North Briton.*
* John Wilkes, whom his violent opposition to the ministry of the Earl of Bute, and his illiberal attacks upon the country of the premier, in a paper called the “ North Briton," have “ damnd to everlasting fame” in Scotland, was, for the libels of which this paper was the vehicle, dismissed from his command of the Buckinghamshire Militia, committed to the Tower, and No. 45 of this obnoxious publication, containing severe remarks upon the King's speech, was ordered by both Houses of Parliament to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman, at the Royal Exchange in London, on the 3d of December 1763. Previous to this, Mr Wilkes being in Paris in August of the same year, was recognized by Captain Forbes, an officer in the French service, from his having seen a likeness of Wilkes in a print by Hogarth, when Captain Forbes, after getting his acknowledgment that he was the person he supposed, challenged him, as the author of the reflections upon his country. Mr Wilkes, however, after a number of evasions, contrived to escape fighting, by putting himself under the protection of the police.
It is curious, at this distance of time, to read the attacks upon the Scottish people which gave rise to the burning in effigy of their author, which has continued to the present day; and I quote two paragraphs from the Scots Magazine of June 1763, to sħew that Mr Wilkes at different times entertained very opposite opinions of Scotland and its inhabitants. The first is an extract of a letter to a friend in England, dated in 1758, which runs thus : “ I shall certainly do myself the pleasure of spending great part of this summer in Scotland. I love the people for their hospitality and friendship, as much as I admire them for their strong manly sense, erudition, and excellent taste. I never was happier than when in Scotland last ; and I shall never be so deficient in gratitude, not to have the greatest respect for the people and country.”
The second is from the North Briton, No. 50, June 1763 : “ When we speak of national prejudices, we never confine our ideas to place, or have any further objects in our view than people. Hence, though in the whole circuit of creation, no country, so desperately wild, or inconceivably miserable as Scotland, can be discovered, yet I will suppose, what never was supposed before, that it contains every thing the Mahometan paradise can produce, and that, in the language of Mr Pope,
• Descending gods could find Elysium there.' For which reason my arguments shall have no relation to the wretched spot itself; the propriety of my prejudice being sufficiently supported in the slightest consideration of the inhabitants."-" If any man can shew me a Scot who was not always the most insolent being in office, or the most scandalously cringing of reptiles out of place, I shall readily retract my assertions, and set him down the rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno.”
Black swans, I am happy to remark, are discovered to be quite common, (where indeed one should have naturally looked for them) at Botany Bay, in New Holland, and the thousands of Englishmen who annually visit our romantic country can attest, that, even in the wildest Highland glens, something better can be found for their roast beef stomachs, than sheep's-heads, haggises, and oat-meal cakes. I do not doubt, notwithstanding, that there may yet exist some Cockneys, who think our country more barbarous than their own ; and from the tirades of Wilkes, and the poetry of Churchill, draw their conclusions regarding Scottish worth and genius :
“ How can the rogues pretend to sense ?
But let the little fellows fire away army and navy, to celebrate the day by with their cannon, and set off trains drinking his Majesty's health. The and pioies as much as they please, area of the fine hall called the Outerwhile we, gentle reader, take a walk House, was laid out with tables, on along the streets, and see what is go- which were displayed a profusion of ing on among the elder children. Al sweetmeats, decorated, at intervals
, the horses, on this happy day, were with exotic plants in pots, from the decorated with bunches of flowers, or Botanic Garden. The Lord Provost branches of trees, and the poor ani- presided, a band of music attended, mals seemed to pace the ground more and the worthy town-rots (soldiers of lightly, and with an air of satisfaction, the City-Guard) attended outside the which lightened their load. Most of door, and at every toast fired a volthe tradesmen also displayed their loy- ley, which was re-echoed by the huzalty by sprigs in their hats. At an zas of the crowd in the Square. This early hour in the morning, the eques- manner of celebrating the King's trian statue of King Charles II. in the Birth-day, by pouring out libations to Parliament Close, (almost the only sta- his health, was discontinued during tue we then had,) was fancifully decora- the lamented illness of his late Majested with flowers, and the railing which ty, and has not, since been revived. surrounds it interwoven with birks Though I like to see old customs kept and laurels. The Parliament House up, yet this one in particular, from likewise partook in the general jollity, the almost indiscriminate admission of and forgot for a season legal wrang- all classes to the entertainment, and ling, in the arches of evergreens, and other circumstances, I feel no regret in flowery emblems of kingly dignity, consigning to desuetude: and national distinction, which now
“ For to my mind, though I am native decorated its ample hall. The guns
here, the Castle were fired at twelve, and at And to the manner born,-it is a custom the same hour, there was a parade of More honour'd in the breach than the oball the troops in the vicinity, and the volunteers, when they were embodied, The Parliament Square, at this time, who, after firing a feu-de-joie, were congregated the chief part of the idle marched through the principal streets. apprentices and boys, who amused The Battery at Newhaven, and the themselves without in vulgar merriWar-ships in the Roads, fired a salute ment, while their superiors were amuat one o'clock, and all the ships in the sing themselves with wine and sweeties harbour were decorated with colours. within the house. In the Square, at this Little or no work was done among the period, stood a box, which covered the tradesmen ; for in Scotland, shows are opening of a water-pipe, to be used so rare, that a very slender apology for in cases of fire; and, on the top of this keeping a holiday is necessary. The box, it was the strange pleasure of the Town-Guard also, (a small body of crowd in those days to burgher every veterans, which does not now exist,) decently-dressed person of whom they in their new uniforms, were placed at could lay hold. This burghering, or the door of the Parliament-House, the admitting to the freedom of the Square
, decorations of which, and the display consisted in placing the individual on of the tables and refection, were open- his bottom on the top of the box, ed to the view of all who desired it, which rose like the ridge of a house, during the forenoon.
and then lifting him up by the arms The Blue-gowns, a set of privileged and legs, and bringing him down three beggars, of whom Edie Ochiltree is times, with more or less severity, as the type, assembled on this day at the caprice of the exhibitors, or the una the Canongate Church, for the pur- willingness of the party suggested. In pose of receiving from his Majesty's general, it went off with good humour; almoner their annual gratuity in mo- but in some cases, where the person ney, and a new gown. A sermon was resisted the rude attack, and was caralso delivered on the occasion, and a ried to the machine by force, serious dinner was provided.
accidents happened, and the boxes of The Parliament-House was the place this description throughout the city to which the magistrates invited the were very properly removed. most respectable citizens, the nobility The company in the Parliament and gentry, and the officers of the House met at six; generally separated
by eight o'clock; and their departure singed whiskers. But the seeds sown was the signal for the mob" which by the worthies who thus styled themoccupied the Parliament Square to selves, have since rendered the King's move to the High Street, where, and Birth-day, and every other assemblage on the Bridges, they continued to throw of the idle, a scene of turbulence and squibs, and crackers, fire off pistols, &c. mischief. If the Town Guard were till eleyen or twelve o'clock.
then a little roughly handled, it was One of the chief amusements of the all in vulgar humour and rude merrivulgar assemblage, at this time, was ment; and though these singularly the throwing of dead cats, fish heads, useful animals were pelted with mud and every sort of garbage that could be and garbage, it never changed the improcured, at one another, or among perturbable expression of their weathe crowd. Every well-dressed pero ther-beaten countenances. A good
son was sure to have some of those dirty natured threat, or a friendly admonii zoological specimens levelled at him tion, was all their revenge. The seizure
as he passed through the multitude; of a Lochaber axe would scarcely have and I myself, when serving the office · produced more than a tam her of high constable, well recollect, af- shoul.” Then Jamie Laing, worth ter having been greeted with a slimy a whole host of modern policemen, cod's head, and turning round to see held the few vagabonds we possessed who had destroyed my hat and coat by in awe; and the Council Chamber, its administration, felt my neck em- as then condueted, preserved the unbraced by the claws of a half-dead grey manageably-disposed from becoming eat, which was following its friend the more unmanageable.--Now the concod's head in its aërial excursion. Every trast is most striking. One cannot projecting stair and close-head was fill- walk at night without his pocketed by females of the lower ranks, who handkerchief pinned to his pocket, posted themselves in these situations and his watch hung in chains round
to see the fun 5, and to those receptacles his neck; and should things go on is of feminine delicacy were the squibs much farther at this rate, one will re
oftenest directed, for the purpose of quire to go hand-cuffed to preserve producing a rush and a squall, or singe- their coat, and have their shoes pad
ing a few mutches, not to mention more locked to their legs to ensure them 1 serious accidents which sometimes oc- against being run away with.
curred. The ringing of all the bells The use of gunpowder in crackers in all the steeples increased the noisy has now given way to the contrivances demonstrations of loyalty in the streets of modern chemistry. I almost leapalmost to stunning, while the consta- ed over a table lately, at the detonation bles of those days (constables were occasioned by pulling a fold of paper,
then gentlemen) walked among the including fulminating powder, from ? crowd to preserve the peace from being the hand of my youngest boy, and
broken by any very flagrant disturb- broke a china jug in alarm at a crack
ance, till the hour of ten or eleven er or bomb, which went off on being Les called the crowd to their beds, and the thrown forcibly on the ground. I do Then you said constạbles to a supper, partly fur- hope that the discoveries of science nished from the city funds.
may stop before going much farther; I do not know how it has happened, as in a short time, in place of a dinbut till the French Revolution, and ner of three courses, and a comfortable
the appearance of the friends of the crack over a bottle of wine for an af. is people in Edinburgh, this noisy cele- ternoon, we may soon be taught to sup#bration of regal birth generally went ply the stomach with beef gas in a se
off in good humour, without farther cond, and get hearty over a single ini harm to the liegès than-a dirty coat or spiration of concentrated claret.*
* The ancient mode of celebrating a sovereign's birth-day in Edinburgh, seems to have differed but little from that of modern times.-" Edinburgh, May 29, 1665, being his Majesty's birth-day and restauration day, was most solemnly kept by people of all ranks in this city. My Lord Commissioner, in his state, accompanied with his life guard on horseback, and Sir Andrew Ramsay, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Bailies and Council in their robes, accompanied with all the trained-bands and arms, went to church
and heard the Bishop of Edinburgh upon a text as fit, as well applied for the work of in the day. Thereafter, thirty-five aged men, in blew gowns, each having got thirty-five VOL. X
CHAPTER XIY. Christopher Columbus mistaken for a Highwayman. “ I am a rogue if I were not at half-sword with a dozen of them two hours together, I have escaped by miracle. I am eight times thrust through the doublet, four through the hose, my buckler cut through and through, my sword hacked like a hand-saw, ecce signum. I never dealt better since I was a man. AU would not do. -A plague on all cowards !”
SHAKESPEARE, Henry IV.1. The late Sir Joseph Banks, accord- pitchy dark when I sallied forth, and ing to a book of poems set forth by a the removal of the candle at parting, person named Peter Pindar, was once tended to make it appear to me still seized in a ditch where he was herbomore so. The geography of the farmrizing, on suspicion of his being a mur- yard being but partially sketched in derer, concealing himself from the my remembrance, I had not gone
be fangs of justice. That Sir Joseph was yond a few yards, before I got above not singular in the accident which be- mid-leg in a cundy* which divided the te fel him, and that the best of men are middent from the cow-houses or byres. subject to be misrepresented in their An angler does not mind wet feet; and persons
and callings, the following re- at one bound I cleared the receptacle le lation of what happened to myself will of fluid manure, and made a lodgment afford a melancholy proof.
upon the shelving edge of the hillock Angling at some distance from the of stable-cleanings. city one fine day, the hours of which Pursuing my course round the base flew so swiftly by, that I really thought of the fermenting knoll for an outlet, honest old Time had been more than my progress was stopt by what my usually quick in his paces, I was shins told me were the trams of a cart caught at dusk, hungry and tired, by or carts, and I was forced to return, the side of the Water of Leith, a good groping my way with the fishing-rod distance beyond the village of Colinton. extended before me. Arriving again Unscrewing my rod, I left the trouts at the margin of the cundy, and feel to their own meditations, and hasten- ing no particular desire to have my legs ed to my friend Mr Alexander South- wet over again, I coursed along its side, down's, at Woodhall; where a good and finding nothing to interrupt my fire, and good cheer, assisted the pass- progress, I went fearlessly on for a few ing of an hour or two more, ere I steps, till I heard, or fancied I heard, thought of returning home. At last the plashing of water under my feet. the hour of nine struck in Mr Alexan- In a second more, O reader, I was up der's eight-day clock, and I started up to the knees in that necessary receptaGood Alexander, indeed, would have cle of water, called a duke-dub.ll This had me to stay all night; but as I was bad enough, but I consoled myself had an engagement for next morning, with the reflection that it might have which could not be conveniently put been much worseta mill-pond; and as off, I resolved to adventure forth, in I was not quite certain of my being spite of the dangers of robbery, and the amphibious, I retreated as fast as posterror of apparitions. The night was sible in the opposite direction.
shillings in a purse, came up from the Abbey to the great church, praying all along for his Majesty. Sermon being ended, his Grace entertained all the nobles and gentlemen with a magnificent feast, and open table. After dinner, the Lord Provost and Council went to the Cross of Edinburgh, where was planted a green arbour, loadned with oranges and lemons, wine liberally running for divers hours at eight several conduits, to the great solace of the indigent commons there. Having drank all the royal healths, which were seconded by the great guns from the Castle, sound of trumpets and drums, vollies from the trained bands, and joyful acclammations from the people, they plentifully entertained the multitude. After which, my Lord Commissioner, Provost and Bailies, went
up the Castle, where they were entertained with all sorts of wine and sweetmeats; and returning, the Lord Provost counteñancing all the neighbours of the city that had put up bonfires, by appearing at their fires, being in great numbers ; which jovialness continued with ringing of bells, and shooting of great guns, till twelve o'clock at night.”_AR. NOT's History of Edinburgh, as quoted from Intelligencer of June, 1665. • Consult Di Jamieson's Dictionary.
I had now every wish to call out for with a dung-fork. With a présence assistance ; and but for affording a joke of mind for which our family has been at my expence to Mr Southdown and long famous, or with an instinct which his servants, I should certainly have leads man to value his own life more
I done so. Resolved to persevere, howa than that of a quadruped, I snatched ever, I again, after stamping the water up one of my little fellow companions out of my shoes as well as I could, in both hands, and held him in the proceeded to feel my way as before, till direction of the blow, which fell of
came to what seemed a little railing course on his unoffending head. A He or paling; from the inside of which pro- squeak and a groan testified, as plainly
ceeded something like the tones of a as an unlearned pig could testify, that
human voice. Thinking this to be one he bade adieu for ever to all sublunary All of the cottar-houses which surrounded objects. Geordy fortunately did not
the farm-steading, and that the paling repeat the blow ; for Kirsty had folenclosed a little fower-plot before the lowed him at a distance with the can. door, I ventured to knock with my rod dle, and with that humanity which
for admittance bending forward my characterizes, and which, I trust, will el body over the railing, to catch the first ever characterize the fair sex in our die sound or sight of the inmates. But I unrivalled country, cried out when she
had not stood half a minute in this si- saw the uplifted weapon ready for a Prele tuation, ere I felt a blow on my body second stroke, “ Lordsake, Geordy, them from behind, which pitched me fairly man, dinna strike ; it's maybe for want de les over the enclosure, and laid me unce that the poor man's stealin' --it's maybe will remóniously on a bed of dirty straw, out o' perfect needcessity.'
occupied by half a dozen pigs. Read Tam now made his appearance bare melt ter
, I was tumbled by an invisible power headed, and without his stockings; Mr into Mr Southdown's hog-stye.
Southdown himself hastened to the Thegentle animals, whether disturb- spot ; half-a-dozen lights peeped from edin their sweet slumbers, or interrupt- the doors of the different cottages; ed in their dreams by apparitions of the and a yelping of dogs shewed that it butcher's knife and scalding tub, by my was no light matter to attempt the
unexpected intrusion, set up a cry in theft of a pig from the farm-yard at test chorus, which, I must do them the Woodhall. I was recognized by my
justice to say, seemed “ more in sor« creel and fishing-rod; Geordy stood row than in anger.". The noise soon gaping, at the blood on my face and brought some of my own species to my hands, unwitting if he had committed assistance, and I had not recovered my the crime of murder or manslaughter ; feet after my unlooked for somerset, but a smile which he detected on my ere I heard a voice bawl out, " De'il's countenance, amidst the soil of the in't
, if that's no somebody stealing the stye which disfigured my physiognopigs. Kirsty, bring a light and cry my, and the dead pig, which I still for Tam. They'll no get them sae easy held in my hand, soon let him underas they got my dukes.A candle im- stand that banishment or hanging mediately appeared in the hand of a would not follow his present advenmiddle-aged country damsel, who start- ture. I was forthwith taken to the ed out from a door on my right; and house to explain the mystery of my Geordy Mowdiewart the ploughman, situation, and the poor pig, whose re who was the
person who spoke, seized covery seemed hopeless, was ordered & grape, (dung-fork,) and came up to have its throat cut, “ that the blood
to my entrenchment, calling out as mightna spoil the flesh.” is loud as he could bellow, « Tam! Mr In spite of the premature death of
Southdown! here's a thief stealing the the pig, my kind host could not help pigs !”
laughing at my stupid blundering, nor All this was transacted so quickly, could I myself finish my narrative with that I had scarcely time to recover my any thing like decent composure. The
legs, and none assuredly to make any only circumstance which I could not y explanation ; and Geordy, raising his account for, was my being so suddenly
dung-fork to give a blow, came down whisked over the paling of the stye by with it in the direction in which I was, an incontrollable force, which luckily, crying, “ Tak that, ye scoundrel, for however, was applied to a part of the a mark.” Self-preservation is the first body where the bones were well prow law of nature, and nobody would will tected, and I only felt the sensation
ingly be killed at night by a clown of a slight contusion. It seemed in