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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


190 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Hart Street York Place he officiated there, until a severe illness in 1831 compelled him to relinquish all public duties, In ?Peter?s Letters? we are told that he possessed all the qualifications of a popular orator. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in the first year of its formation, and was the intimate friend of many of its most distinguished members, as he was of most of the men of genius and learning of his time in Scotland. His ?Essays on Taste? appeared first in 1790, since when it has passed through several editions, and has been translated into French. His theory of taste has met the approval of men of the highest genius in poetry, criticism, and art. He died, universally respected, on the 17th of May, 1839. St. George?s Episcopal chapel, built in 1794, stands on the south side of York Place. It was designed by Robert Adam, and is of no known style of architecture, and is every way hideous in conception and in detail. This dingy edifice cost North of the two streets we have described, and erected coeval with them, are Forth and Albany Streets. In No. 10 of the former street lived for years, , and died on the 27th of August, 1837, in his seventy-first year, George Watson, first president and founder of the Royal Scottish Academy, of whom an account has already been given in connection with that institution, as one of the most eminent artists of his time. In the same house also lived and died his third son, Smellie George Watson, RSA, a distinguished portrait painter, named from the family of his mother, who was Rebecca, eldest daughter of William Smellie, the learned and ingenious paintef and natural philosopher. In the little and obscure thoroughfare named Hart Street lived long one who enjoyed considerable reputation in his day, though well-nig; forgotten now: William Douglas, an eminent miniature painter, and the lineal descendant of the ancient line of Glenbervie. ? He received a useful education,? says his biographer, ?and was well acquainted with the dead and living languages From his infancy he displayed a taste for the fine arts. While yet a mere child he would leave his playfellows to their sports, to watch the effects of light and shade, and, creeping along the furrows of the fields, study the perspective of the ridges. This enabled him to excel as a landscape painter, and gave great beauty to his miniatures.? As aminiature painter he was liberally patronised by the upper ranks in Scotland and England, and his works are to be found in some of the finest L3,ooo. collections of both countries. In particular he was employed by the family of Buccleuch, and in 1817 was appointed Miniature Painter for Scotland to the Princess Charlotte, and Prince Leopold afterwards King of the Belgians. Prior to his removal to Hart Street he lived in No. 17 St. James?s Square, a common stair. He possessed genius, fancy, taste, and delicacy,, with a true enthusiasm for his art; and his social worth and private virtues were acknowledged by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. He had a vast fund of anecdote, and in his domestic relations was an affectionate husband, good father, and faithful friend. His constant engagements precluded his contributing to the exhibitions in Edinburgh, but his works frequently graced the walls of the Royal Academy at Somerset House. In a note attached to David Malloch?s ? Immortality of the Soul,? he says :-?? The author would take this opportunity of stating that if he has been at all successful in depicting any of the bolder features of Nature, this he in a great measure owes to the conversation of his respected friend, William Douglas, Esq., Edinburgh, who was no less a true poet than an eminent artist.? He died at his house in Hart Street on the 20th of January, 1832, leaving a daughter, Miss Ranisay Douglas, also an artist, and the inheritor of his peculiar grace and delicacy of touch. York Place being called from the king?s second son by his English title, Albany Street, by a natural sequence, was ndmed from the title of the second son of the king of Scotland. Albany Row it was called in the feuing advertisements in 1800, and for some twenty years after. In No. 2, which is now broken up and subdivided, lived John Playfau, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University, z man of whom it has been said that he was cast in nature?s happiest mould, acute, clear, comprehensive, and having all the higher qualities of intellect combined and regulated by the most perfect good taste, being not less perfect in his moral than in his intellectual nature. He was a man every?way distinguished, respected, and beloved. When only eighteen years old he became a candidate in 1766 for the chair of mathematics in the Marischal College, Aberdeen, where, after a lengthened and very strict examination, only two out of six nval competitors were judged to have excelled him-these were, Dr. Trill, who was appointed to the chair, and Dr. Hamilton, who subsequently succeeded to it. He was the son of?the Rev. James Playfair, minister of Liff and Benvie, and upon the representation of Lord . .
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Albany Street.] GENERAL SCOTT. 19= Gray was ordained his successor to that charge in 1773, but he resigned it ten years afterwards. In 1785 he was appointed joint Professor of Mathematics in the University of Edinburgh with the celebrated Adam Ferguson, LL.D., and discharged the duties of that chair till the death of his friend Professor Robinson, in 1805, when he was appointed his successor. Among his works are ? Elements of Geometry ? published in I 796 ; ?Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth ? in 1804; ?? Outlines of Natural Philosophy;? besides many papers to the scientific department of the Edinburgh &view and to various other periodicals. He died at No. 2, Albany Street, in his seventieth year, on the 20th of July, 1819. An unfinished ?? Memoir of John Clerk of Eldin,? the inventor of naval tactics, left by him in manuscript, was published after his death in the ninth volume of the ? Edinburgh Transactions.? An interesting account of the character and merits of this illustrious mathematician, from the pen of Lord Jeffrey, was inserted in the ?? Encyclopzdia Britannica ? and in the memoir prefixed to his works by his nephew, and a noble monument to his memory is erected on the Calton Hill. Northwards of the old village of Broughton, in the beginning of the present century, the land was partly covered with trees ; a road led fkom it to Canonmills by Bellevue to Newhaven, while another road, by the water of Leith, led westward. In the centre of what are now the Drummond Place Gardens stood a country house belonging to the Lord Provost Drummond, and long inhabited by him ; he feued seven acres from the Governors of Heriot?s Hospital. The approach to this house was by an avenue, now covered by West London Street, and which entered from the north road to Canonmills. On the site of that house General Scott of Balcolnie subsequently built the large square threestoreyed mansion of Bellevue, afterwards converted into the Excise Office, and removed when the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee Railway Company constructed the now disused tunnel from Princes Street to the foot of Scotland Street. In 1802 the l a d s of Bellevue were advertised to be sold ?by roup within the Justiciary Court Roomy for feuing purposes, but years elapsed before anything was done in the way of building. In 1823 the papers announce that ?? preparations are making for levelling Bellevue Gardens and filling up the sand-pits in that neighbourhood, with a view to finishing Bellevue Crescent, which will connect the New Town with Canonmills on one side, as it is already connected with Stockbridge on the other.? By that year Drummond Place was nearly completed, and the south half of Bellevue Crescent was finished and occupied; St. Mary?s parish church was founded and finished in 1824 from designs b j Mr. Thomas Brown, at the cost of A13,ooo for 1,800 hearers. It has a spire of considerable elegance, 168 feet in height. General Scott, the proprietor of Bellevue, was one of the most noted gamblers of his time. It is related of him that being one night at Stapleton?s, when a messenger brought him tidings that Mrs. Scott had been delivered of a daughter, he turned laughingly to the company, and said, ?You see, gentlemen, I must be under the necessity of doubling my stakes, in order to make a fortune for this little girl.? He accordingly played rather deeper than usual, in consequence of which, after a fiw hours? play, he found himself a loser by A8,ooo. This gave occasion for some of the company to rally him on his ?? daughter?s fortune,? but the general had an equanimity of temper that nothing could ruffle, and a judgment in play superior to most gamesters. He replied that he had still a perfect dependence on the luck of the night, and to make his words good he played steadily on, and about seven in the morning, besides clearing his .&8,000, he brought home A15,ooo. His eldest daughter, Henrietta, became Duchess of Portland. Drummond Place was named after the eminent George Drummond, son of the Laird of Newton, a branch of the Perth family, who was no less than six times Lord Provost of the city, and who died in 1776, in the eightieth year of his age. The two most remarkable denizens of this quarter were Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe of Hoddam (previously of 93, Princes Street) and Lord Robertson. Among the attractions of Edinburgh during the bygone half of the present century, and accessible only to a privileged few, were the residence and society of the former gentleman. Born of an ancient Scottish family, and connected in many ways with the historical associations of his country, by his reputation as a literary man no less than by his high Cavalier and Jacobite tenets, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe was long looked up to as one of the chief authorities on all questions connected with Scottish antiquities. No. 93, Princes Street, the house of Mrs. Sharpe of Hoddam, was the home of her son till the time of her death, and there he was visited by Scotc Thomas Thomson, and those of the next genera
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