L UCKENBOOTUS AND PARLIAMENT CLOSE. I95 we are indebted for other curious traditions, that his great-grandfather, Lord Alva, had often assured his grandfather of this, and stated, in corroboration, that Lord Haddington was known to have taken a prominent share in the proceedings, dis,pised in his own cook-maid's dress. There is little reason to anticipate that the mystery in which this deed of popular justice is involved will ever be further cleared up, now that nearly a century and a half has elapsed since its occurrence. The absence, however, of all acts of violence or private injury, seems rather to prove the unanimity of feeling that prevailed on the occasion, than the presence of actors from the upper ranks of society ; since, however much the latter might desire to accomplish their purpose with the calm severity of a judicial act, their inclinations could have had little effect in securing the moderation of the rabble, to whom, on any other occasion, such an event would have proved so favourable an opportunity for excess. We shall conclude our notice of this memorable deed, with the very circumstantial narrative furnished in the evidence of George Wilson, a workman in Edinburgh, as confirmed and extended by other witnesses examined on the trial of Willitlm Maclauchlane, already alluded to. Their account is divested oc the usual legal formality, and otherwise somewhat abridged, but the substance ie as follows :-Wileon stated that he arrived about eleven o'clock at night at the Tolbooth, where he saw faggots of broom brought by some of the mob, with which they set fire to the door. He waited till he saw Captain Porteous brought down ; and after that the mob carried him up the Lawnmarket until they came to Stewart's sign-post, near the Bow head, over which some of them proposed to hang him, but others were against it. He was stopped a second time at the Weigh-house. By this time Wilson contrived to get near Porteous, and heard some of the rioters propose to hang him over the Weigh-house stair, but here the witness was recognised as an intruder, and knocked down by one of the ringleaders in female attire. After being run over by a number of the mob, Wilson recovered himself, and followed them to the Grassmarket, where he saw Porteous dragged to the dyer's tree, whereon he was hanged. There he saw the wretched captive give his purse to a wealthy citizen who waa near, to be delivered to his brother, a fact afterwards confirmed by the evidence of the citizen himself. "he account this witness gives of the mode in whiih the final object of all this procedure was accomplished, fully confirms the resolute composure with which the rioters are said to have acted throughout. He saw the rope put about Porteous's neck, but he was not drawn up until it was reported that the military were coming from the Canongate by the Hospital port, at the foot of Leith Wynd. The first time the rope was not right about his neck ; and when he had been a second time drawn up he was again let down, and his shirt drawn over his face. Others of the mob, however, were more violent in their proceedings, striking him on the face with their Lochaberaxes, and shouting to cut off hie ears, and ot,herwise to wreak their vengeance on him. William Turner, another witness, mentions having observed Porteous, after he was hung up, struggling to take hold of the rope, but the rioters struck at him with their weapom, and compelled him to quit his hold. When they were satisfied that their object was accomplished, they nailed the end of the rope to the pole, flung away their weapons, and rapidly dispersed. Such is the narrative, as related by eye-witnesses, immediately after the occurrence of Even after Porteous was hung up, he was twice let down again.
I 96 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH, this memorable event. The newspapers for some time afterwards abound with notices of the precautions taken, when too late, to prevent the recurrence of an act, the idea of which can hardly have appeared otherwise than ridiculous even at the time. The gates of the Nether Bow Port were fastened back to preserve the free access of the military to the city; guards were established there ; the trained bands were called out ; grenadier companies quartered in the town and suburbs ; and most effectual means taken to prevent the hanging of a second Porteous, if any such had existed.’ On the second day after his execution, the body of Porteous was interred in the Greyfriars Churchyard,’ but the exact spot has long since ceased to be remembered.’ The Tolbooth of Edinburgh was visited by Howard in the year 1782, and again in 1787, and on the last occasion he strongly expressed his dissatisfaction, declaring that he had expected to have found a new one in its stead.‘ It was not, however, till the year 1817 that the huge pile of antique masonry was doomed to destruction. Its materiale were sold in the month of September, and its demolition took place almost immediately afterwards. The following extract from a periodical of that period, while it shows with how little grief the demolition of the ancient fabric was witnessed, also points out the GRAVE OF THE OLD TOLBOOTH. It seems to have been buried with a sort of pauper’s funeral, on the extreme outskirts of the new city that was rising up beyond those ancient boundaries of which it had so long formed the heart. Now,” says the writer, (( that the Luckenbooths have been safely carted to Leith Wynd (would that it had been done some dozen years ago ! ) and the Tolbooth,-to the unutterable delight of the inhabitants,-is journeying quickly to Fettes Row, there to be transferred into common sewers and drains, the irregular and grim visage of the Cathedral has been in a great measure unveiled.” The unveiling of the Cathedral had formed the grand object of all civic committees of taste for well-nigh half a century before ; the renovation of the ancient fabric thereby exposed to vulgar gaze became the next subject of discussion, until this also was at length accomplished in 1829, at the cost not only of much money, but of nearly all its ancient and characteristic features. Added to all these radical changes, the assistance rendered by the Great Fire of 1824, unexpectedly removed a whole range of eyesores to such reformers, in the destruction of the ancient tenements between St Gilea’s and tb,e Tron Church. As the only means of giving width and uniformity to the street, all this comes fairly within the category of civic improvements ; how far it tended to increase the picturesque beauty of the old thoroughfare is a very different question. Taylor, the Water Poet, in the amusing narrative of his Pennylesse Pilgrimage ” from London to Edinburgh, published in 1618, describes the High Street as “the fairest and goodliest street that ever mine eyes’ beheld, for I did never see or hear of a street of that length, which is half an English mile from the Castle to a faire port, which they calle the Neather 1 Caledonian Mwmy, September 23, 1736. a ‘‘ No less than seventeen criminals escaped from the city jail on this occasion, among whom are the dragoon who waa indicted for the murder of the butcher’s wife in Dunse, the two Newhaven men lately brought in from Blacknesa Castle for smuggling, seven sentinele of the city guard, &e.”-Ibid, September 9th. ‘ knot, who never minces matten when disposed to censure, furnishes 8 very graphic picture of the horrors of the old jail of Edinburgh.-Hit. of Edinburgh, p. 298. ’ Ibid, September 9. Edin. Mag. Nov. 1817, p. 322.