280 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. Orknay, of the rycht of the Grammar Schole during his lyftyme, in favouris of the baillies and counsall,” who accordingly restored it to him, “ to be haldin of thame, as thai quha hes undoutitt rycht to dispone the samyne.”l At the head of Rae’s Close, a little further to the eastward, another long and interesting inscription of the same period, though earlier in its style, is inscribed over the entrance to the close. It consists of the following prayer :- WSERERE ME1 DOMINE ; A PECATO, PROBRO, DEBITO, ET MORTE SUBITA, ME LIBERA. 1 - 6 - 1 * 8 * This, which is one of the most beautiful inscriptions of the Old Town, has been recently partially concealed by a modern shop front; but the whde is given, with a slight variation, in the Theatmm Mortalium.’ Immediately adjoining this, another stone tenement of similar character presents its antique gabled faqade to the street, adorned with a curious figure of a turbaned Moor occupying a pulpit, projecting from a recess over the second floor. Various romantic stories are told of the Morocco Land, as this ancient tenement is styled. The following is as complete an outline of the most consistent of them as we have been able to gather, though it is scarcely necessary to premise that it rests on very different authority from some of the historical associations previously noticed :- During one of the tumultuous outbreaks for which the mob of Edinburgh has rendered itself noted at all periods, and which occurred soon after the accession of Charles I. to his father’s throne, the provost-who had rendered himself peculiarly obnoxious to the rioters-was assaulted, his house broken into and fired, and mob law completely cstablished in the town. On the restoration of order several of the rioters were seized, and, among others, Andrew Gray, a younger son of the Master of Gray, whose descendants now inherit the ancient honours and title of that family. He was convicted as the ringleader of the mob, and, notwithstanding the exertions of powerful friends, such was the influence of the provostwho was naturally exasperated by the proceedings of the riotersthat young Gray was condemned to be executed within a day or two after his trial. The last day of his doomed life had drawn to a close, and the scaffold was already preparing at the Cross for his ignominious death j but the Old Tolbooth showed, as usual, its proper sense of the privileges of gentle blood. That very night he effected his escape by means of a rope and file conveyed to him by a faithful vassal, who had previously drugged a posset for the sentinel at tAe Purses, and effectually put a stop to his interference. A boat lay at the foot of one of the neighbouring closes, by which he was ferried over the North Loch ; and long before the town gates were opened on the following morning, a lessening Register of the Burgh of the Canongate ; Naitland Club Niscellany, vol. ii. p. 345. Monteith’s Theatrum MwtaZium, p. 248, where the last two words are incorrectly transposed. Rae’s Cloae appears, from repeated references to it in the Register of the Burgh, to have been the only open thoroughfare at that period between Leith Wynd and the Water Gate. e.g., Orders are given, 6th December 1568, “to caus big vpe the fuit of Ra Cloce.” Again, 18th October 1574, “The Bailleis and Couosale ordains thair Thesaurer to big and upput an8 yett upon Rais Cloce, and mak the sarnyn lokfast,” a charge for which afterwards appeara in the Treasurer’s accounts. Mait. f i c . vol. ii pp. 316, 330, 336. Even in 1647, when Gordon’s bird’s-eye view was drawn, only one other thoroughfare appeara, and nearly the whole ground lying behind the row of houses in the main street consists of open gardens, with a wall running along the North Back of the Canongate.
THE CANONGA TE AND ABBE Y SANCTUAR Y. 281 sail near the mouth of the Firth told to the watchful eye of his vassal that Andrew Gray was safe beyond pursuit. Years passed over, and the sack of the obboxious Provost’s house, as well as the escape of the ringleader, had faded from the minds of all save some of his own immediate relatives. It was the terrible year 164’;the last visitation of the pestilence to Edinburgh-when, as tradition tells us, grass grew thickly about the Cross, once as crowded a centre of thoroughfare as Europe had to boast of. Maitland relates that, such was the terror that prevailed at this period, debtors incarcerated in the Tolbooth were set at large ; all who were not freemen were compelled, under heavy penalties, to leave the town; until at length, “by the unparalleled ravages committe’d by the plague, it was spoiled of. its inhabitants to such a degree that there were scarce sixty men left capahle of assisting in defence of the town, in case of an attack.”’ The common council ordered the town walls to be repaired, and a party of the train bands to guard them, an immediate attack being dreaded from the victorious army of Montrose. They strove to provide against the more insidious assaults of their dreadful enemy within, by agreeing with Joannes Paulitius, M.D., to visit the infected, on a salary of eighty pounds Scots per month.’ In the midst of a11 these preparations, a large armed vessel of curious form and rigging was seen to sail up the Firth, and cast anchor in Leith Roads. The vessel was pronounced by experienced seamen to be an Algerine rover, and all was consternation and dismay, both in the seaport and the neighbouring capital. A detachment of the crew landed, and proceeded immediately towards Edinburgh, which they approached by the Water Gate, and passing up the High Street of the Canongate, demanded admission at the Nether Bow Port. The Magistrates entered into parley with their leader, and offered to ransom the city on exorbitant terms, warning them, at the same time, of the dreadful scourge to which they would expose themselves if they entered the plague-stricken city-but all in vain. Sir John Smith, the Provost at the time, withdrew to consult with the most influential citizens in this dilemma, who volunteered large contributions towards the ransom of the town. He returned to the Nether Bow, accompanied by a body of them, among whom was his own brother-in-law, Sir William Gray, one of the wealthiest citizens of the period. A large ransom was agreed to be received, on condition that the son of the Provost should be delivered up to the leader of the pirates. It seems, however, that the Provost’e only child was a daughter, who then lay stricken of the plague, of which her cousin, Egidia Gray, had recently died. This information seemed to work an immediate change on the leader of the Moors. After some conference with his men, he intimated his possession of an elixir of wondrous potency, and demanded that the Provost’s daughter should be entrusted to his skill; engaging, if he did not cure her, immediately to embark with his men, and free the city without ransom. After ‘considerable parley, the Provost proposed that the leader should enter the city, and take up his abode in his house ; but this he peremptorily refiised, rejecting at the same time all offers of still higher ransom, which the distracted father was now prepared to make. % Gloom and terror now pervaded the streets of the capital. Negotiations were resumed, and seemingly with more effect. Maitland, p, 85. ’ Ibid, p. 85. 2 N