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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


146 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [George Smn could be done.? On leaving the church, the protestors proceeded to Tanfield Hall, Canonmills, where they formed themselves into ?The General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland,? and chose Thomas Chalmers, D.D., as their moderator; so ?? the bush burned, but was not consumed.? It was a remarkable instance of the emphatic assertion of religious principle in an age of material things of which St. Andrew?s church was the scene on the 18th of May. It was no sacrifice of blood or life or limb that was exacted, or rendered, as in the days of ?a broken covenant ;? but it was one well calculated to excite the keenest emotions of the people-for all these clergymen, with their families, cast their bread upon the waters, and those who witnessed the dark procession that descended the long steep street towards Tanfield Hall never forgot it. Opposite this church there was built the old Physicians? Hall-the successor of the still more ancient one near the Cowgate Port. The members of that college feued from the city a large area, extending between the south side of George Street and Rose Street, on which they erected a very handsome hall, with rooms and offices, from a design by Mr. Craig, the architect of the new city itself. The foundation stone was laid by Professor Cullen, long a distinguished ornament of the Edinburgh University, on the 27th November, I 775, after a long discussion concerning two other sites offered by the city, one in George Square, the other where now the Scott monument stands. In the stone was placed a parchment containing the names of the then fellows, several coins of 1771, md a large silver medal. There was also another silver medal, with the arms of the city, and an inscription bearing that it had been presented by the city to Mr. Craig, in compliment to his professional talents in 1767, as follows :- JACOBO CRAIG, AHCHITECTO, PROPTER OPT1 IM U M, EDINBURGI NOVI ICHNOGRAPHIUM, D.D. SENATUS, EDINBURGENSIS, MDCCLXVII. This building, now numbered among the things that were, had a frontage of eighty-four feet, and had a portico of four very fine Corinthian columns, standing six feet from the wall upon a flight of steps seven feet above the pavement. The sunk floor, which was all vaulted, contained rooms for the librarian and other officials ; the entrance floor consisted of four great apartments opening frcm a noble vestibule, with a centre of thirty-five feet : one was for the ordinary meetings of the college, and another was an ante-chamber; but the principal apartment was the library-a room upwards of fifty feet long by thirty broad, lighted by two rows of windows, five in each row, facing Rose Street, and having a gilded gallery on three sides. On this edifice A4,800 was spent. In 1781, the library, which had been stored up in the Royal Infirmary, was removed to the hall, when the collection, which now greatly exceeds 6,000 volumes, was still comparatively in its infancy. Dr. Archibald Stevenson was the first librarian, and was appointed in 1683 ; in 1696 a law was enacted that every entrant should contribute at least one book to the library, which was increased in 1705 ? by the purchase of the books of the deceased Laird of Livingstone for about 300 merks Scots;? and the records show how year by year the collection has gone on increasing in extent, and in literary and scientific value. The two oldest names on the list of Fellows admitted are Peter Kello, date December IIth, 1682, and John Abernethy, whose diploma is dated June gth, 1683, granted at Orange, and admitted December qth, 1684, and a wonderful roll follows of names renowned in tke annals of medicine. The attempt to incorporate the practitioners of medicine in Scotland, for the purpose of raising alike the standard of their character and acquirements, originated in 1617, when James VI. issued an order in Parliament for the establishnient of a College of Physicians in Edinburgh-an order which recites the evils suffered by the community from the intrusion of uhqualified practitioners. He further suggested that three members of the proposed college should yearly visit the apothecaries? shops, and destroy all bad or insufficient drugs found therein ; but the year 1630 came, and found only a renewal of the proposal for a college, referred to the Privy Council by Charles I. But the civil war followed, and nothing more was done till 1656, when Cromwell issued a patent, still extant, initiating a college of physicians in Scotland, with the powers proposed by James VI. Years passed on, and by the opposition principally of the College of Surgeons, the universities, the municipality, and even the clergy, the charter of incorporation was not obtained until 1681, when the great seal of Scotland was appended to it on St, Andrew?s day. Among other clauses therein was one to enforce penalties on the unqualified who practised medicine; another for the punishment of all licentiates who might violate the laws
Volume 3 Page 146
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