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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


North Bridge.7 . JAMES SUTHERLAND. 363 # 4 I say nothing of the cost of new plants, so difficult to procure in those non-travelling times. In the spring of 1689, during the siege of the Castle, a woeful mishap befell him. For certain strategic reasons it had been thought necessary by Sir John Lanier and other leaders to drain the North Loch, and, as the water thereof ran through the Botanic Gardens, as it had done of old through that of the Hospital, it came to pass that for several days the place was completely inundated, and when left dry was found to be covered with mud, and the rubbish of the city drains, so that nearly all the delicate and costly plants collected by Balfour, by Sibbald, and by Sutherland, were destroyed ; and it cost the latter and his assistants nearly a whole season to clear the ground, and in his distress he appealed to the Privy Council. That body considered his memorial, and the good services he was rendering, ?whereby not only the young physicians, apothecaries, and chirurgeons, but also the nobility and gentry, are taught the knowledge of herbs, and also a multitude of plants, shrubs, and trees, are cultivated, which were never known in this nation before, and .more numerous,? continues the Privy Council Record, ?than in any other garden in Britain, as wee1 for the?honour of the place as for the advantage -of the people.? They ?therefore awarded him a pension of 650 yearly out of the fines accruing to them. Encouraged by this, and further aided by the Lords of the Scottish Treasury, James Sutherland, in 1695, extended his operations to a piece of ground lying between the porch of Holyrood palace and the old road to Restalrig, near where the great dial stands now, where in that year he raised ?a good crop of melons,? and many ? other curious annuals, fine flowers, and other plants not ordinary in this country.? In a few years he hoped to rival London, if supplied with means to procure ?reed hedges to divide, shelter, and lay the ground ?lown,? and warm, and a greenhouse and store to preserve oranges, myrtles, and lemons, with other tender plants and fine exotics in winter.? He entreated the Lords of Council to further aid him, ?? without which the work must cease, and the petitioner suffer in reputation and interest, what he is doing being more for the honour of the nation, and the ornament and use of his majesty?s palace, than his own private behoof.? This place remained still garden ground till about the time of Queen Victoria?s first visit, when the new north approach to the palace was run through it. James Sutherland is supposed to have died about 1705, when his collection of Greek, Roman, Scottish, Saxon, and English coins and medals, was purchased by the Faculty of Advocates, and is still preserved in their library. The old Physic Garden, which had been his own, eastward of the bridge, continued to be used as such till the time when the chair of botany was? occupied by Dr. John Hope, who was born at Edinburgh in 1725, and was the grandson of Sir Alexander Hope, Lord Rankeillor. On the 13th April, 1761, he was appointed king?s botanist for Scotland, and elected a few days after, by the town council, Professor of materia medica, and of botany, He was the first who introduced into Scotland the Linnean system; and in 1768 he resigned the professorship of materia medica, that, in the end, he might devote himself exclusively to botany, and his exertions in promoting the study of it in Edinburgh were attended with the most beneficial results. His immediate predecessor, Dr. Alston, was violently opposed to the Linnean system, against which he published an essay in ?751. It was in the humble garden near the Trinity College that he taught his students, and, for the. purpose of exciting emulation among them, he annually, towards the close of the session, gave a beautiful medal to the student who had displayed most diligence and zeal in his studies. It was inscribed-? A cedro hyysopum usque. J. HOPE, Bot. Pro$, dal . . . ?I In Kay?s portraits we have a clever etching of the Professor superintending hisgardeners, in a roquelaure and cocked hat. Besides some useful manuals for facilitating the acquisition of botany by his students, two valuable dissertations by him, the one on the ??Rhtzun Palmaturn,? and the other on the ?? Fer& AssafkMu,? were published by him in the ?Philosophical Transactions.? Finding that the ancient garden was unsuited to advancing science, he used every exertion to have it removed to a more favourable situation, To further his objects the Lords of the Treasury granted him, says Arnot, ??;GI,~~o IS. z+d. to make it, and for its annual support the sum of A69 3s. At the same time the magistrates and town council granted the sum of A25 annually for paying the rent of the ground.? The place chosen was on the west side of Leith Walk. It was laid out under the eye of Professor Hope, who died in November, 1786. After the formation of the new garden, the old one was completely abandoned about 1770, and continued. to be a species of desolate waste ground, enclosed by a rusty iron railing, with here and there an old tree dying of neglect and decay, till at length innovations swept it away.
Volume 2 Page 363
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