Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Porteous Riots

Porteous Riots took place in Edinburgh in' 1736. They had their origin in the trial of three smugglers who robbed an exciseman. They were condemned to death, and during their presence at the condemned sermon the Sunday before execution, one of them, Wilson, seized the guards and enabled his comrade Robertson to escape. Wilson, who was the innocent cause of Robertson's failing to escape on a previous occasion, was hanged, and his execution was the occasion of a riot, during which Captain Porteous of the City Guard ordered his men to fire upon the mob, some of whom were killed.

Porteous was found guilty of murder and condemned to death, but was respited by Queen Caroline. On the 9th September a well-organised body of persons seized him and hanged him. None of the ringleaders were caught, but the Government was alarmed, and at first decreed heavy punishment to the city. This was afterwards reduced to depriving the Lord Provost of future capability of serving and making the city pay £1,500 to the widow of Porteous. Scott has utilised the incident in his Heart of Midlothian.