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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


20 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Canangate. ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~~~ ~ house of the burgh. It was established by subscription, and opened for the reception of the poor in 1761, the expense being defrayed by collections at the church doors and voluntary contributions, without any assessment whatever ; and in those days the managers were chosen annually from the public ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ at the foot of Monroe?s Close, and bore, till within the last few years, the appearance of those partly quadrangular manor-houses so common in Scotland during the seventeenth century. It became greatly altered after being brought into juxtaposition with the prosaic details of the Panmure Iron TOLBOOTH WND. societies of the Canongate. The city plan of 1647 shows but seven houses within the gate, on the west side of the Wynd, and open gardens on the other, eastward nearly to the Water Gate. Panmure Close, the third alley to the eastwxd- I one with a good entrance, and generally more I pleasant than most of those narrow old streets-is so named from its having been the access to Panmure House, an ancient mansion, which still remains ; I Foundry, but it formed the town residence of the Earls of Panmure, the fourth of whom, James, who distinguished himself as a volunteer at the siege of Luxemburg, and was Privy Councillor to James VII., a bitter opponent of the Union, lost his title and estates aRer the battle of Sheriffmuir, and died, an exile, in Paris. His nephew, William Maule, who served in the Scots Guards at Dettingen and Fontenoy, obtained an Irish peerage in 1743 as Earl
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cyloagate.1 HANNAH ROBERTSON. 21 of stone with a Panmure of Forth, and was the last who possessed this house, in which he was resident in the middle of the last century, and was succeeded in it by the Countess of Aberdeen. From 1778 till his death, in 1790, it formed the residence of Adam Smith, author of ? The Wealth of Nations,? after he came to Edinburgh as Commissioner of the Customs, an appointment obtained by the friendship of the Duke of Buccleuch. A few days before his death, at Panmure House, he gave orders to destroy all his mandscripts except some detached essays, which were afterwards published by his executors, Drs. Joseph Black and Janies Hutton, and his library, a valuable one, he left to his nephew, Lord Reston. From that old mansion the philosopher was borne to his grave in an obscure nook of the Canongate churchyard. During the - last years of his blameless life his bachelor household had been managed by a female cousin, Miss Jeanie Douglas, who acquired a great control ? had attained her From her published memoir-which, after its first appearance in 1792, reached a tenth edition in 1806, and was printed by James Tod in Forrester?s Wynd-and from other sources, we learn that she was the widow of Robert Robertson, a merchant in Perth, and was the daughter of a burgess named George Swan, son of Charles 11. and Dorothea Helena, daughter of John Kirkhoven, Dutch baron of Ruppa, the beautiful Countess of Derby, who had an intrigue with the king during the protracted absence of her husband in Holland, Charles, eighth earl, who died in 1672 without heirs. According to her narrative, the child was given to nurse to the wife of Swan, a gunner at Windsor, a woman whose brother, Bartholomew Gibson, was the king?s farrier at Edinburgh; and it would further appear that the latter obtained on trust for George Swan, from Charles 11. or his brother the Duke of York, a grant of lands in New Jersey, where Gibson?s son died about 1750, as would over him. At the end of Panmure Close was the mansion of John Hunter, a wealthy burgess, who was Treasurer of the Canongate in 1568, and who built it in 1565, when Mary was on the throne. Wilson refers to it as the earliest private edifice in the burgh, and says ?it consists, like other buildings of the period, of a lower erection forestair leading to the first floor, and an ornamental turnpike within, affording access to the upper chambers. At the top of a very steep wooden stair, constructed alongside of the latter, a very rich specimen of carved oak panelling remains in good preservation, adorned with the Scottish lion, displayed within a broad wreath and surrounded by a variety of ornaments. The doorway of the inner turnpike bears on the sculptured lintel the initials I. H., a shield charged with a chevron, and a hunting horn in base, and the date 1565.? It bore also a comb with six teeth. It was demolished in August, 1853. A little lower down are Big and Little Lochend Closes, which join each other near the bottom and TU into the north back of the Canongate. In the former are some good houses, but of no great antiquity. One of these was occupied by Mr. Gordon of Carlton in 1784; and in the other, during the close of the last and first years of the present century, there resided a remarkable old lady, named Mrs Hannah Robertson, who was well known in her time as a reputed grand-daughter of Charles 11. appear from a notice in the Lndon ChronicZe for 1771. Be all this as it may, the old lady referred to was a great favourite with all those of Jacobite proclivities, and at the dinners of the Jacobite Club always sat on the right hand of the president, till her death, which occurred in Little Lochend Close in 1808, when she eighty-fourth year, and a vast - . . . concourse attended her funeral, which took place in the Friends? burial-place at the Pleasance. Unusually tall in stature, and beautiful even in old age, her figure, with black velvet capuchin and cane, was long familiar in the streets of Edinburgh. From a passage in the ?Edinburgh Historical Register? for 1791-2, she would appear to have been a futile applicant for a pension to the Lords of the Treasury, though she had many powerful friends, including the Duchess of Gordon and the Countess of Northesk, to whom she dedicated a book named ?? The Lady?s School of Arts.? One of the most picturesque and interesting houses in the Canongate is one situated in what was called Davidson?s Close, the old ?White Horse Hostel,? on a dormer window of which is the date 1603. It was known as the ?White Horse? a century and more before the accession of the House of Hanover, and is traditionally said to have taken its name from a favourite white palfrey when the range of stables that form its basement had been occupied as the royal mews. The adjacent Water Gate took its name from a great
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