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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


of an age as different in every respect from tht present as the wilds of North America are differenl from the long-practised lands of Lothian or Devon, shire.? In James?s Court was the residence of Sir Islaj Campbell, Lord President, whose mother was Heler Wallace, a daughter of the house of Ellerslie. Ad. OAK DOOR, FROM THE GUISE PALACE. (From th OrigiMZ in ihe Scoflish Antiquarian Museum.) mitted to the bar in 1757, he was one of thecounsel for the defender in the famous Douglas case, and, on the decision of the House of Lords being given, he posted to Edinburgh ere the mail could arrive, and was the first to announce to the crowds assem. bled at the Cross the great intelligence. ?? Douglas for ever ! ?? he cried, waving his hat in the air. A shout from the people responded, and, untrac. ing the horses from his carnage, they drew it in triumph to his house in James?s Court, probably the same in which his father, who was long one oi the principal clerks of Session, resided. This court is a well-known pile of building which rises to a vast height at the head of the Earthen Mound, and was erected between 172s and 1727 by James Brownhill, a speculative builder, and for years after it was deemed a fashionable quarter, the denizens of which were all persons of good position, though each occupied but a flat or floor ; they clubbed in all public measures, kept a secretary to record their names and proceedings, and had balls and parties among themselves ; but among the many local notables who dwelt here the names of only three, Hume, Boswell, and Dr. Blair, are familiar to us now. Burton, the biographer of the historian of England, thus describes this great fabric, the western portion of which was destroyed by fire in 1858, and has erected on its site, in the old Scottish style, an equally lofty structure for the Savings Bank and Free Church offices; consequently the houses rendered so interesting by the names of Hume, Blair, Johnson, and Boswell, are among the things that were. ?Entering one of the doors opposite to the main entrance, the stranger is sometimes led by a friend, wishing to afford him an agreeable surprise, down flight after flight of the steps of a stone staircase, and when he imagines he is descending so far into the bowels of the earth, he emerges on the edge of a cheerful, crowded thoroughfare, connecting together the old and new town, the latter of which lies spread before him in a contrast to the gloom from which he has emerged. When he looks up $0 the building containing the upnkht street through which he has descended, he sees that vast pile of tall houses standing at the head of the Mound, which creates astonishment in every visitor of Edinburgh. This vast fabric is built on the declivity of a hill, and thus one entering on the level of the Lawnmarket, is at the height of several storeys from the ground on the side next the New Town. I have ascertained that by ascending the western of the two stairs facing the entry of James?s Court to the height of three storeys we arrive at the door of David Hume?s house, which, of the two doors on that landing place, is the one towards the left.? The first fixed residence of David Hume was in Riddell?s Land, Lawnmarket, near the head of the West Bow. From thence he removed to Jack?s Land, in the Canongate, where nearly the whole of his ? History of England ? was written ; and it is somewhat singular that Dr. Smollett, the continuator of that work, lived? some time after in his sister?s house, exactly opposite. The great historian and philosopher dwelt but a short time in James?s Court, when he went to France ag Secretary to the Embassy. During his absence, which lasted some
Volume 1 Page 98
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