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I have in my possession a copy of the Caledonian Mercury, published September 23rd, 1745 —a rare curiosity, the gift to me of a lady in Edinburgh—one, too, which looks as though it had been well thumbed and carefully perused. It is not only interesting from its age, but also from the nature of its contents. Prince Charlie approached the city of Edinburgh and encamped near the walls on the evening of the 17th September, 1745. The magistrates of the town waited on his Royal Highness, to demand time for drawing up a capitulation. "The Prince's answer," says the Mercury, "was that he thought his manifesto was sufficient for all his subjects to accept with joy, and that they had no other to expect. To consider of this, he gave them four hours, and required a positive answer by two o'clock in the morning; but no such answer coming, and only a further delay being asked, his Royal Highness refused to hearken to anything farther, and ordered a detachment of nine hundred men, under cloud of night, to storm the town, and accordingly early in the morning they rushed in at the Netherbow gate and took possession of the town. The Prince marched to Holy rood, and encamped his army in the King's Park, where he was met by 20,000 citizens of Edinburgh, huzzaing and welcoming his Highness. The crowd was so throng, that he that got an opportunity of kissing his foot thought himself very happy." This paper, which seems rabidly Jacobite, and which was published just at the climax of their short-lived triumph, goes on with the following eloquent, though ridiculous peroration. "When we sec a Prince born to rule, and endowed with every quality that can fit him for it—a Prince of whom it may be said more truly than of Titus Vespasian, that he is the delight of mankind, whom to see is to love; his presence and manner commanding reverence, softening hearts, subduing prejudices, and turning the spite of his enemies into respect and the warmest affection—a Prince of our own blood, being the direct lineal descendant of the ancient race of our Scotch Kings, which for 2000 years or more had governed a free and happy people— a prince who might have lived in ease and splendor abroad—thus listening to the groans of an oppressed and unhappy people, and exposing his sacred person for their relief, animated more by zeal to rescue his country from ruin, than to recover the just rights of his family—when we see him through so many difficulties, landing in a remote corner of his country, ill furnished with accommodations — when we see this banished, proscribed, darling Prince march on foot above one hundred and fifty miles, from a distant part of his dominions to the capital of his ancient kingdom, without effusion of blood, without striking a blow, or any ill accident happening, and in six weeks after his landing safely lodged in the palace of his ancestors, where none of his family had been for sixty-three years before ;—what can we conclude, but that this Prince is the care of Heaven, as well as the darling of his people?" In another column it says, "On Saturday last, there was a message sent by the Prince to the ministers of the gospel of this city, desiring them to continue to preach as usual, only that they should forbear names if they should pray for the King or Royal Family; which accordingly was notified to them that evening, at their respective dwelling houses ; and in consequence thereof the bells were ordered and did ring yesterday for both forenoon and afternoon sermons, but none of the ministers appeared at either diets, so we had no preaching in the churches yesterday." It seems then that there was one class and that the most learned and well-informed one, which did not join in the general joy at the Pretender's success—for well they knew that if he succeeded to the throne, Popery would be once more forced upon them— and though he, like all the other Stuarts, might be fair in his professions to the contrary, like the rest, he would prove the bitter enemy of protestant Presbyterianism.
This ancient sheet is 12 by 18 inches, about one quarter the size of its representative of the present day, for the "Caledonia Mercury" is still in existence, and' I dare say is as loyal to her Majesty the Queen, as was its ancestor to Prince Charlie.
"There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold
One fine morning, my antiquarian friend mentioned in a former chapter, and myself, found ourselves seated on the top of a coach, on our way to visit the beautiful and romantic localities of Roslin and Hawthornden. The driver cracked his whip, and we dashed down Minto street, on our way out of the city. This street is lined on both sides with neat houses, having court-yards or gardens in front, which are the residences of wealthy merchants doing business in the city. The distance we were to go with the coach was five miles, and we had accomplished about one-half, when, as we were ascending a slight inclination, the coach gave a tremendous lurch to one side, which almost overset us. Leaping off to see what was wrong, we found one of the axletrees broken. Being impatient of delay, we pushed forward on foot,