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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Canongate1 SIR JOHN WHITEFORD OF THAT ILK 35 but who, after being sentenced to death, escaped to Rome, where he died in 1749, without issue, aceording to Sir Robert Douglas ; and, of course, is :the same house that has been mentioned in history as the Lord Seton?s lodging ?? in the Cannogait,? wherein on his arrival from England, ?.? Henrie Lord Dernlie, eldest son of Matho, erle of Lennox,? re- :sided when, prior to his marriage, he came to Edinburgh on the 13th of February, 1565, as stated in the ?? Diurnal of Occurrents.? In the same house was lodged, in 1582, according to Moyse, Mons. De Menainville, who came as an extra ambassador from France, with instructions to join La Motte Fenelon. He landed at Burntisland on the 18th of January, and came to Edinburgh, where he had an audience with Janies VI. on the 23rd, to the great alarm of the clergy, who dreaded this double attempt to revive French influence in? Scottish affairs. One Mr. James Lawson ?? pointed out the French ambassaye? as the mission of the King of Babylon, and characterised Menainville as the counterpart of the blaspheming Rabshakeh. Upon the 10th February, says Moyse, ?La Motte having received a satisfying answer to his comniission, with a great banquet at Archibald Stewart?s lodgings in Edinburgh, took his journey homeward, and called at Seaton by the way. The said Monsieur Manzeville remained still here, and lodging at my Lord Seaton?s house in the Canongate, had daily access to the king?s majesty, to whom he imparted his negotiations at all times.? In this house died, of hectic fever, in December, 1638, Jane, Countess of Sutherland, grand-daughter af the first Earl of Winton. She ?was interred at the collegiat churche of Setton, without any funeral1 ceremoney, by night.? In front of this once noble mansion, in which Scott lays some of the scenes of the ?Abbot,? there sprang up a kind of humble tavern, built chiefly of lath and plaster, known as ?Jenny Ha?s,? from Mrs. Hall, its landlady, famous for her claret. Herein Gay, the poet, is said to ??have boosed during his short stay in Edinburgh ;? and to this tavern it was customary for gentlemen to adjourn after dinner parties, to indulge in claret from the butt. On the site of the Seton mansion, and surrounded by its fine old gardens, was raised the present edifice known as Whiteford House, the residence of Sir John Whiteford, Bart., of that ilk and Ballochof the early patrons of Burns, who had been htre duced to him by Dr. Mackenzie, and the grateful bard never forgot the kindness he accorded to him. The failure of Douglas, Heron, & Co., in whose bank he had a fatal interest, compelled him to dispose of beautiful Ballochmyle, after which he resided permanently in Whiteford House, where he died in 1803. To the last he retained a military bearing, having served in the army, and been a major in 1762. Latterly, and for many years, Whiteford House was best known as the residence of Sir William Macleod Bannatyne, who was raised to the bench on the death of Lord Swinton, in 1799, and was long remembered as a most pleasing example of the old gentleman of Edinburgh ?before its antique mansions and manners had fallen under the ban of modern fashion.? One of the last survivors of the Mirror Club, in private life his benevolent and amiable qualities of head and heart, with his rich stores of literary and historical anecdote, endeared him to a numerous and highly distinguished circle of friends. Robert Chambers speaks of breakfasting with him in Whiteford House so late as 1832, ?on which occasion the venerable old gentleman talked as familiarly of the levees of the sous-nziniske for Lord Bute in the old villa at the Abbey Hill as I could have talked of the Canning administration, and even recalled, 2.5 a fresh picture of his memory, his father drawing on his boots to go to make interest in London on behalf of some men in trouble for the ?45, particularly his own brother-in-law, the Clanranald of that day.? He died at Whiteford House on the 30th of November, 1833, in the ninety-first year of his age. His mansion was latterly used as a type-foundry. On the south side of the street, nearly opposite the site of the Seton lodging, the residence of the Dukes of Queensberry still towers up, a huge, dark, gloomy, and quadrangular mass, the scene of much stately life, of low corrupt intrigue, and in one instance of a horrible tragedy. It was built by Lord Halton on land belonging to the Lauderdale family; and by a passage in Lord Fountainhall?s folios would seem to have been sold bp him, in June, 1686, to William first Duke of Queensbeny and Marquis of Dumfries-shire, Lord High Treasurer and President of the Council,a noted money-lender and land-acquirer, who built the castle of Drumlanrig, and at the exact hour . niyle, a locality in Ayrshire, on which the muse of whose death, in 1695, it is said, a Scottish of Bums has conferred celebrity, and whose father skipper, being in Sicily, saw one day a coach and is said to have been the prototype of Sir Arthur ,six driving to flaming Mount Etna, while a dia- Wardour in the ?Antiquary.? Sir John was one 1 bolical voice was heard to exclaim, ?Way for the
Volume 3 Page 35
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