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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


I 26 ? OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [PrinerSSma. The tower, as originally designed, terminated in an open lantern, but this fell during a tempest of wind in January, 1818. In a letter to his friend, Willie Laidlaw, Sir Walter Scott refers to the event thus :-?I had more than an anxious thought about you all during the gale of wind. The Gothic pinnacles were blown from the top of Bishop Sandford?s Episcopal chapel at the end of Princes Street, and broke through the roof and flooring, doing great damage. This was sticking the horns of the mitre into the belly of the church. The devil never so well deserved the title of Prince of Power of the Air since he has blown down this handsome church, and left the ugly mass of new buildings standing on the North Bridge.? The bishop referred to was the Rev. Daniel Sand- ? ford, father of the accomplished Greek scholar, Sir Daniel Keyte Sandford, D.C.L., who was born at Edinburgh in February, 1798, and received all the rudiments of his education under the venerable prelate, who died in 1830. The interior of St. John?s Church is beautiful, and presents an imposing appearance ; it contains a very fine organ, and is adorned with richlycoloured stained-glass windows. The great eastern window, which is thirty feet in height, contains the figures of the twelve apostles, by Eggington of Birmingham, acquired in 1871. There is also a magnificent reredos, designed by Peddie and Kinnear. In this church ministered for years the late Dean Ramsay, the genial-hearted author of ? Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character.? A small cemetery, with two rows of ornamented burial vaults, adjoin the south side of this edifice, the view of which is very striking from the West Churchyard. In these vaults and the little cemetery repose the remains of many persons eminent for rank and talent. Among them are the prince of Scottish portrait painters, Sir Henry Raeburn, the Rev. Archibald Alison, the wellknown essayist on ?? Taste,? Dr. Pultney Alison, his eldest son, and brother of the historian, Sir Archibald. The Doctor was professor successively of the theory and practice of physic in the university, author of several works of great authority in medical science, and was one of the most philanthropic men that ever adorned the medica! profession, even in Edinburgh, where it has ever been pre-eminently noble in all works of charity ; and he was the able antagonist of Dr. Chalmers in advocating the enforcement of a compulsory assessment for the support of the poor in opposition to the Doctor?s voluntary one. There, too, lie James DonaldsoIi, founder of the magnificent hospital which bears his name j the Rev. Andrew Thomson, first minister of St. Geoge?s Church in Charlotte Square, in his day one of the most popular of the city clergy; Sir Williani Hamilton, professor of moral philosophy in the university, and a philosopher of more than European name ; Catherine Sinclair, the novelist j Macvey Napier, who succeeded Lord Jeffrey as editor of the Zdiaburgh Rm2wY and, together with James Browne, LL.D., conducted the seventh edition of the ?? Encyclopaedia Britannica?; Sir William Arbuthnot, who was Lord Provost in 1823; Mrs. Sligo of Inzievar, the sister of Sir James Outram, ? the Bayard of India?; and many more of note. Nearly opposite is a meagre and somewhat obstn,uztive edifice of triangular form, known as the Sinclair Fountain, erected in 1859 at the expense of Miss Catherine Sinclair, the novelist, and daughter of the famous Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, a lady distinguished for her philanthropy, and is one of the memorials?of her benefactions to the city. Among the many interesting features in Princes Street are its monuments, and taken seriatim, according to their dates, the first-and first also is consequence and magnificence-is that of Sir Walter Scott This edifice, the design for which, by G. M. Kemp (who lost his life in the canal by drowning ere its completion), was decided by the committee on the 30th of April, 1840, bears a general resemblance to the most splendid examples of monumental crosses, though it far excels all its predecessors in its beauty and vast proportions, beirig 180 feet in height, and occupying a square area of 55 feet at its base. The foundation stone was laid in 1840, and in it was deposited a plate, bearing the following inscription by Lord Jeffrey, remarkable for its tenor :- ?This Graven Plate, deposited in the baseof a votive building on the fifteenth day of August, in the year of Christ 1840, and mcr bRry io see tk I&& apin td2 aZ2 tlu surrounding strucfwu have crumbZrd fo dwt the d.ay 01 time, w by human OY ekmmzal vibZence, may then testify to a distant posterity that his countrymen began on that day to raise an effigy and architectural mohnent, TO THE MEMORY OF SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART., whose admirable writings were then allowed to have given more delight and suggested better feeling to a larger class of readers in every rank of society, than those of any other author, with the exception of Shakespeare alone, and which were therefore thought likely to be remembered long after this act of gratitude on the part of the first generation of his admirers should be forgotten. ?? HE WAS BORN AT EDINBURGH, I5TH AUGUST, 1771, AND DIED AT ABBOTSFORD, ZIST SEPTEMBER, 1832,? Engravings have made us familiar with the
Volume 3 Page 126
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