Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


I 68 OLD. AND NEW EDINBURGH. [St. Andrew Square. Natural Phenomena,? and many other scientific and geographical works that have won the firm more than European reputation, including the ? Royal Atlas of General Geography,? dedicated tc her Majesty, the only atlas for which a prize medal was awarded at the International Exhibition oi London, 1862. Alexander Keith Johnston, LL.D., F.R.S., died on the 9th of July, 1877; but the firm still exists, though removed to more extensive premises elsewhere. No less than twenty-three Societies and Associa. tions of various kinds have chambers in No. 5, including the Obstetrical, Botanical, Arboricultural, and Geological Societies, together with the Scottish branch of the Army Scripture Readers and Soldiers Friend Society, the mere description of which would require a volume to themselves. In the entire square there are above twenty insurance societies or their branches, and several banks, and now it is one of the greatest business centres in the city. No. 6 was till 1879 the Scottish Provident In. stitution, established in I 838, and incorporated ten years subsequently. It is a mutual assurance society, in which consequently the whole profits belong to the assured, the policy-holders at the same time, by the terms of? the policies and by the deed of constitution, being specially exempt from personal liability. No. 9 was in 1784 the house of Sir Michael Bruce, Bart., of Stenhouse, in Stirlingshire. He married a daughter of General Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw, heritable sheriff of Galloway, and died in 1795. The whole site is now covered by the Scottish Widows? Fund ofice. No 12, once the residence of Campbell of Shawfield, is now the office of the London Accident Company; and No. 14, ?which no longer exists, was in 1810 the office of the Adjutant-General for Scotland. In No. 19 (now offices) according to one authority, in No. 21 (now also offices) according to Daniel Wilson, was born on the 19th of September, 1779, Henry, Lord Brougham and Vaux, the future Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, son of Henry Brougham .of Scalis Hall, Cumberland, and Brougham Hall, Westmoreland, by Eleanor, daughter of the Rev. James Syrne, and maternal niece of Robertson the Scottish historian. A. and C Black?s ?? Guide ? assigns the third floor of No. ZI as the place where Brougham was born. The birth and existence of this illustrious statesman depended upon a mere chance circumstance, which has in it much that is remarkable. His father was about to be married to a young lady resident near ~ ~ ~ his family seat, to whoni he was passionately attached, and every preparation had been made for their nuptials, when the lady died. To beguile his sorrow young Brougham came to Edinburgh, where, when idling on the Castie Hill, he chanced to inquire of a person where he could find a suitable lodging. By this person he was not directed to any fashionable hotel, for at that time scarcely such a thing was known in Edinburgh, but to Mrs. Syme, sister of Principal Robertson, widow of the Rev. Mr. Syrne, yhilom minister of Alloa, who then kept one of the largest boarding-houses in the city, in the second flat of MacLellan?s Land, at the Cowgate Head, the windows of which looked up Candlemaker Row. There he found quarters, and though it does not appear that he intended to reside permanently in Edinburgh, he soon found occasion to change that resolution by falling in love with Miss Syme, and forgetting his recent sorrow. He married her, and after living for a little space with Mrs. Syme, removed to st. Andrew Square.* The future Lord Brougham received the first seeds of his education at the High School, under Mr. Luke Fraser, and afterwards under Dr. Adam, author of the ?Roman Antiquities;? and from there he passed to the University, to become the pupil of Dugald Stewart, Black, Robertson, and other well-known professors, prior to his admission to the Scottish bar in 1800. No. 22, now the office of the Scottish National Fire and Life Assurance Company, was for years the residence of Dr. James Hamilton, who died in 1835, and whose figure was long remarkable in the streets from his adherence to the three-cornered hat, the collarless coat, ruffles, and knee-breeches, of a past age, with hair queued and powdered; foryears too he was in every way one of the ornaments of the metropolis. His grandfather, the Rev. William Hamilton (a branch of the house of PreSton) was Principal of the University in 1730, and his father, Dr. Robert Hamilton, was a distinguished Professor of theology in I 754.. At an early age the Doctor was appointed one of the physicians to the infirmary, to Heriot?s, the Merchant-maiden and Trades-maiden Hospitals, and he was author of one or two of the most elegant professional works that have been issued by the press. The extreme kindliness of his disposition won him the love of all, particularly of the poor, With the costume he retained much of the gentle courtesy and manly hardihood of the In one of his earlier publications, Robert Chambm states that Brougham was born at No. 8 Cowgate, and that his father afterwards moved to No. 7 George Street.
Volume 3 Page 167
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