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LEITH. "5 very massiveness, adorned in front with a tetrastyle Ionic portico, surmounted by a tower of three stages with columns at the angles,-the first Doric, the second Ionic, and the third Corinthian-with a fluted octangular spire of a light graceful formation, lend it an air of great and solemn impressiveness. Its origin is somewhat interesting. At first merely a chapel, erected by Robert Bellenden, Abbot of Holyrood, in the fifteenth century, endowed with certain revenues and dedicated to St. Ninian, it was erected in the year 1606 into a parish, the inhabitants at the time purchasing the chaplain's house, the tithes, and other pertinents from the then Commendator of Holyrood. The old church still stands in a by-street near the upper drawbridge, but is now converted into the secular use of corn-lofts or grain-stores ; the only thing remaining characteristic of the original fabric being the ancient tower with its slated spire and gilded vane. Such was the humble or unassuming foundation upon which this now stately and imposing edifice has been reared. Of the docks as public buildings not much need be said here. The first, it would seem, was formed in 1718, when a stone pier was built Since then Leith has largely increased her shipping accommodation, the number of her docks, both wet and dry, keeping pace with her requirements. These docks, and especially the latest formed of them, are of the roomiest and most convenient description, having all the most modern and improved appliances for loading and -unloading. There is another, to the east of the Albert Dock, now in the course of erection, which in extent and other marine advantages will greatly outstrip all the others, and which is expected to be opened in a year or two. Leith as a commercial centre is rapidly extending, and the tonnage of her shipping annually increasing. The following statistics, as illustrative of the fact, may be interesting : 4 n the year 1650, three vessels of 271 tons belonged to the port; in 1692, vessels to the extent of 1702 tons; in 1740, 2628 tons; in 1787, 14,150 tons; in 1808, 20,022 tons; in 1849, 22,499 tons; in 1864, 56,215 tons; and in the present year 1876, it may be found that the tonnage will not be much under 80,ooo.' Nor is Leith quite destitute of all literary repute, although in this respect she may not compare favourably with many other towns of much less importance. John Home, the author of ' Douglas, a Tragedy,' was a native of the place. His father was the town-clerk, and lived in a house at the east corner of Quality Street, which was taken down some forty years ago to make room I would here thankfully acknowledge my indebtedness to D. W. Henderson, Esq., corn- These facts tell their own tale. broker, Leith, for these statistics and other informatory helps.
Volume 11 Page 168
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I 16 QUEENSFERRY TO MUSSELBURGH. for other erections. The drama is an excellent piece of poetical composition, finely conceived and interestingly wrought out, and gives unmistakeable evidence that the writer was possessed, in no mean degree, of the higher developments of the tragic Muse. The town can boast, too, of the Rev. John Logan, one of the ministerial incumbents of South Leith, ‘author of a popular volume of sermons, some of the Paraphrases, and one or two productions of a dramatic.kind. Logan had a gift Muse-ward certainly, and did now and again emit a few sweet notes ; but the very best of the things which he had the audacity to publish as his own were not his own. Poor, shrinking, simple-headed, consumptive Bruce was cruelly treated by this friend of his ! To pilfer from him those fine, plaintive, bird-like lays, ‘ Few are thy days, and full of woe,’ ‘ Behold my servant, see him rise,’ and especially that inimitably simple and beautifully tender effusion, his ‘ Ode to the Cuckoo,’ and claim them as his, thus robbing a friend, and a friend departed, of his just meed of praise-0 the heartlessness of the man I Strange too that a native of Leith should have been the righter of the bitter wrong thus done Bruce. Dr. Mackelvie, who with a brave heart and a fearless hand stript this literary jackdaw of his borrowed plumage, and reduced him to his own honest coat of decen t black, was the son of humble parents, and if not born, at least was brought up, in the Kirkgate, and to him in this, as in other respects, literature owes its heartiest thanks. The Rev. Dr. Michael Russel, of the Episcopal Chapel here, likewise distinguished himself in the world of letters ; besides several works of great culture and elegance of composition which he wrote, he was also the accomplished author of the ‘ Connection of Sacred and Profane History, in continuation of Prideaux,’ a work of great learning and research, and which entitles him to rank very high both as a scholar and a writer. In like manner Mr. Cuthbertson, of the Secession body, and one of the ministers of Leith, is not unknown as an author: he wrote a very able, temperate and well received exposition of the Book of Revelation, published in three quarto volumes, one of the best popular interpretations perhaps of this wonderful Scripture which has been written. Mr. Cuthbertson, again, was the immediate predecessor of the late Dr. Smart, of whose sermons a neat quarto volume has been issued since his death, with a very excellently written memoir of the good man by his life-long and highly esteemed friend and brother, the Rev. Principal Harper, D.D. The Rev. Dr. Colquhoun also published several popular books of a pious nature, and the Rev. Principal Harper has been long favourably known as a gentleman of literary distinction and eminent erudition.
Volume 11 Page 169
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