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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


278 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street Close was seized, and a battery erected on the summit thereof to assail the King?s men. In the ?Histone of James Sext? we are told that the Regent Earl of Mar brought nine pieces of ordnance up the Canongate to assail the Netherbow Port, but changed their position to a fauxbourg of the town, callit Pleasands, ? from whence to batter the Flodden wall and to oppose a platform of guns erected on the house of Adam Fullerton. When this sharp but brief civil disorder ended, Adam returned to his strong mansion in the Fountain Close once more, and on the 4th of December, 1572, he and Mr. John Paterson appear together as Commissaries for the city of Edinburgh, and the supposition is, that the date, 1573, referred to repairs upon the house, after what it had suffered from the cannon of Mar. Thus, says Wilson, ?the nincit veritu of the brave old burgher acquires a new force, when we consider the circumstznces that dictated its inscription, and the desperate struggle in which he had borne a leading part, before he returned to carve these pious aphorisms over the threshold that had so recently been held by his enemies.? With a view to enlarging the library of the College of Physicians, in 1704, that body purchased from Sir James Mackenzie his house and ground at the foot of the Fountain Close. The price paid was 3,500 rnerks (A194 8s. Iod.). To this, in seven years afterwards, was added an adjoining property, which connected it with the Cowgate, ? then a genteel and busy thoroughfare,?? and for which 2,300 merks (A127 15s. 6d.) were given. From Edgar?s map it appears that the premises thus acquired by the College of Physicians were more extensive than those occupied by any individual or any other public body in the city. The ground was laid out in gardens and shrubbery, and was an object of great admiration and envy to the nobility and gentry, ta several of whom the privilege of using the pleasure grounds was accorded as a favour. Considering the locality now, how strangely does all this read ! The?whole of the buildings must have been in a dilapidated, if not ruinous state, for expensive repairs were found to be necessary on first taking possession, and the same head of expenditure constantly recurs in accounts of the treasurer 01 the College; and so early as 1711 a design was pioposed for the erection of a new hall at the foot of the Fountain Close ; and after nine years? delay, 2,900 merks were borrowed, and a new building erected, but it was sold in 1720 for E%oo, as a site for the new Episcopal Chapel. Till the erection of St. Paul?s in York Place, the Fountain Close formed the only direct communication to this the largest and most fashionable Episcopal church in Edinburgh, that which was built near the Cowgate Port in 1771. Tweeddale?s Close, the next alley on the east,. was the scene of a terrible crime, the memory of which, though enacted so long ago as 1806, is still. fresh in the city. The stately house which gave its name to the Close, and was the town residence of the Marquises of Tweeddale, still remains, though the ? plantation of lime-trees behind it,? mentioned by Defoe in his ? Tour,? and shown in seven great rows on Edgais map, is a thing of the past. Even after the general desertion of Edinburgh by the Scottish noblesse at the Union, this fine old mansion (which, notwithstanding great changes, still retains traces of magniticence) was for a time the constant residence of the Tweeddale family. It was first built and occupied by Dame Margaret Kerr Lady Yester, daughter of Mark first Earl of Lothian. She was born in 1572, and was wife of James the seventh Lord Yester, in whose family there occurred a singular event. His page, Hepburn, accused his Master of the Horse of a design to poison him; the latter denied it; the affair was brought before the Council, who agreed that it should be determined by single combat, in 1595, and this is supposed to have been the last of such judicial trials by battle in Scotland. By Lady Yester, who founded the church that still bears her name in the city, the mansion, with all its furniture, was bestowed upon her grandson, John second Earl of Tweeddale (and ninth Lord Yester), who joined Charles I. when he unfurled his standard at Nottingham in 1642. Six years subsequently, when a Scottish army under the Duke of Hamilton, was raised, to rescue Charles from the English, the Earl, then Lord Yester, commanded the East Lothian regiment of 1,200 men, After the execution of Charles I. he continued with the regal party in Scotland, assisted at the coronation of Charles II., and against Crornwell he defended his castle of Neidpath longer than any place south of the Forth, except Borthwick. With all this loyalty to his native princes, he came early into the Revolution movement, and in 1692 was created, by William III., Marquis of Tweeddale, with the office of Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, and died five years afterwards. The next occupant of the house, John, second Marquis, received LI,OOO for his vote at the Union, and was one of the first set of sixteen representative peers. The last of the family who
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High Street.] THE BRITISH LINEN COMPANY. 279 resided here was John, fourth Marquis, who was Secretary of State for Scotland from 1742 till 1745, when he resigned the office, on which the Government at once availed themselves of the opportunity for leaving it vacant, as it has remained ever since. He died in 1762, and soon after the carriageentrance and the fine old terraced garden of the house, which lay on the slope westward, were removed to make way for the Episcopal church in the Cowgate-doomed in turn to be forsaken by its founders, and even by their successors. From the Tmeeddale family the mansion passed into the hands of the British Linen Company, and became their banking house, until they deserted it for Moray House in the Canongate, from which they ultiniatelymigrated to a statelier edifice inSt. Andrew Square. This company was originally incorpo- Tated by a charter under the Privy Seal granted by George 11. on the 6th of July, 1746, at a time when the mind of the Scottish people was still agitated by the events of the preceding year and the result of the battle of Culloden; and it was deemed an object of the first importance to tranquillise the country and call forth its resources, so that the attention of the nation should be directed to the advantages of trade and manufacture. With this view the Government, as well as many gentlemen of rank and fortune, exerted themselves to promote the linen manufacture, which had been lately introduced, deeming that it would in time become the staple manufacture of Scotland, and provide ample employment for her people, while .extensive markets for the produce of their labour would be found alike at home and in the colonies, then chiefly supplied by the linens of Germany. By the Dukes of Queensberry and Argyle, who became the first governors of the British Linen Company, representations to this effect were made to Government, and by the Earls of Glencairn, Eglinton, Galloway, Panmure, and many other peers, together with the Lord Justice Clerk Fletcher of Saltoun, afterwards Lord Milton, who was the first deputy governor, and whose mother, when an exile in Holland during the troubles, had secretly obtained a knowledge of the art of weaving and of dressidg the fine linen known as ? Holland,? and introduced its manufacture at the village of Saltoun; by the Lord Justice Clerk Alva ; Provost George Drummond ; John Coutts, founder of the famous banking houses of Forbes and Co., and Coutts and Co. in the Strand; by Henry Home, Lord Kames ; and many othqs, all of whom urged the establishment of the company, under royal sanction, and offered to become subscribers to the undertaking. A charter was obtained in accordance with their views and wishes, establishing the British Linen Company as a corporation, and bestowing upon it ample privileges, not only to manufacture and deal in linen fabrics, but also to do all that might conduce to the promotion thereof; and authority was given to raise a capital of ~roo,ooo, to be enlarged by future warrants under the sign manual of his Majesty, his heirs and successors, to such sums as the affairs of the company might .require. After this the company engaged to a considerable extent in the importation of flax and the manufacture of yarns and linens, having warehouses both in Edinburgh and London, and in its affairs none took a more active part than Lord Milton, who was an enthusiast in all that related to the improvement of trade, agriculture, and learning, in his native country; but it soon became apparent that the company ? would be of more utility, and better promote the objects of their institution, by enlarging the issue of their notes to traders, than being traders and manufacturers themselves.? By degrees, therefore, the company withdrew from all manufacturing operations and speculations, and finally closed them in 1763, from which year to the present time their business has been confined to the discount of bills, advances on accounts, and other b.ank transactions, in support of Scottish trade generally, at home and abroad. ?By the extension of their branch agencies to a great number of towns,? to quote their own historical report, ? and the employment in discounts and cash advaqces of their own funds, as well as of that portion of the formerly scanty and inactive money capital of Scotland which has been lodged with the company, they have been the means of contributing very materially to the encouragement of useful industry throughout Scotland, and to her rapid progress in agricultural and mechanical improvements, and in commercial intercourse with foreign countries. As regards the particular object of the institution of the companythe encouragement of the linen manufa.cture-considerably more than half of the flax and hemp imported into the United Kingdom, is now (in 1878) brought to the Scottish ports.? Now the bank has nearly eighty branch or subbranch offices over all Scotland alone. The company?s original capital of AIOO,OOO has been gradually increased under three additional charters, granted at different times, under the Great Seal By Queen Victoria, their fourth charter, dated 19th March, 1849, ratifies and confirms all, their privileges and rights, and power was given to augment their capital to any sum not exceeding A r,5oo,ooo in all, for banking purposes. The amount of new
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