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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Prince Street.] CRAIG OF RICCARTON. ?23 brother of Sir William Jenner, Bart., the eminent physician. Princes Street contains most of the best-stocked, highest-rented, and most handsome business premises and shops in the city. From its magnificent situation it is now, par exceZZence, the street for hotels; and as a proof of the value of property there, two houses, Nos. 49 and 62, were publicly sold on the 12th of February, 1879, for cf26,ooo and Lz4,soo respectively. No. 53 at an early perid became the Royal Hotel. In December, 1817, when it was possessed bya Mr. Macculloch, the Grand Duke Nicholas, brother of Alexander I., Emperor of Russia, resided there with a brilliant suite, including Baron Nicolai, Sir Wilhm Congreve, Count Kutusoff, and Dr. Crichton-the latter a native of the city, who died so lately as 1856. He was a member of the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg and that of Natural History at Moscow, K.G.C, of St. Anne and St. Vladimir. He was a grandson of Crichton of Woodhouselee and Newington. A guard of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders was mounted on the hotel, and the Grand Duke having expressed a wish to see the regiment-the costume of which had greatly impressed him-it was paraded before him for that purpose on the zznd of December, on which occasion he expressed his high admiration of the corps. No. 64 is now the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company, established in I 809, and incorporated by royal charter, with the Duke of Roxburgh for its present president, and tht Dukes of Sutherland and Abercorn, as vice-presi, dents. A handsome statue of St. Andrew, tht patron of Scotland, on his peculiar cross, adorn5 the front of the building, and is a conspicuou: object from the street and opposite gardens. The Life Association of Scotland, founded in 1839, occupies No. 82. It is a magnificent palatial edifice, erected in 1855-8, after designs by Sir Charles Barry and Mr. David Rhind, and consists of three double storeys in florid Koman style, the first being rusticated Uoric, the second Ionic, and the third Corinthian. Over its whole front it exhibits a great profusion of ornament-sa great, indeed, as to make its appearance somewhat heavy. In 1811, and before that period, the Tax Office occupied No. 84 The Comptroller in those days was Henry Mackenzie, author of the ?Man of Feeling,? who obtained that lucrative appoint. ment from Mr. Pitt, on the recommendation 01 Lord Melvilla and Mr. George Rose, in 1804. With No. 85, it now forms the site of the New Club, a large and elegant edifice, with a handsome Tuscan doorway and projecting windows, erected by an association of Scottish nobles and gentlenien for purposes similar to those of the clubs at the west end of London. No. 91, which is now occupied as an hotel, was the residence of the aged Robert Craig, Esq., of Riccarton, of whom Kay gives us a portrait, seated at the door thereof, with his long staff and broadbrimmed, low-crowned hat, while his faithful attendant, William Scott, is seen behind, carefully taking ?tent ?? of his old master from the diningroom window. Mr. Craig had been in early life a great pedestrian, but as age came upon him his walks were limited to the mile of Princes Street, and after a time he would but sit at his door and enjoy the summer breeze. He wore a plain coat without any collar, a stock in lieu of a neckcloth, knee-breeches, rough stockings, and enormous brass shoe-buckles. He persisted in wearing a hat with a narrow brim when cocked-hats were the fashion in Edinburgh, until he was so annoyed by boys that he adopted the head-dress in which he is drawn by Kay. He always used a whistle in the ancient manner, and not a bell, to sumnion his servant. He died on the 13th of March, 1823. Pursuant to a deed of entail, Mr. James Gibson, W.S. (afterwards Sir James Gibson-Craig, Bart., of Riccarton and Ingliston), succeeded to the estate, and assumed the name and arms of Craig ; but the house, No. 91, went to Colonel Gibson. The record of his demise in the papers of the time is not without interest :-? Died at his house in Princes Street (No. gi), on the r3th March, in the 93rd year of his age, Robert Craig, Esq., of Riccarton, the last male heir of Sir Thomas Craig of Riccarton, the great feudal lawyer of Scotland. Mr. Craig was admitted advocate in 1754, and was one of the Commissaries of Edinburgh, the duties of which situation he executed to the entire satisfaction of every one connected with it. He resigned the office many years ago, and has long been the senior member of the Faculty of Advocates. It is a remarkable circumstance that his father?s elder brother succeeded to the estate of Riccarton in January, 1681, so that there has been only one descent in the family for 142 years.? No. 100, now occupied as an hotel, was for many years the house of Lady Mary Clerk of Pennicuick, known as ?The White Rose of Scotland .? This lady, whose maiden name was Ilacre, was the daughter of a gentleman in Cumberland, and came into the world in that memorable year when the Highland army was in possession of Carlisle, .
Volume 3 Page 123
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