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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


242 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Cowgate. mentioned as residents in it in 1501. He was Provost in 1425, and was succeeded in 1434 by Sir Henry Preston of Craigmillar. Other alleys are mentioned as having existed in the sixteenth century : Swift?s Wynd, Aikman?s Close, and ?the Eirle of Irgyllis Close,? in the Dean of Guild?s Accounts in 1554, and Blacklock?s Close, where the unfortunate Earl of Northumberland was lodged in the house of Alexander Clarke, when he was betrayed into the hands of the Regent Moray in December, 1569. ,In a list of citizens, adherents of Queen Mary, in ?1571, are two glassier-wnghts, one of them named Steven Loch, probably the person commemorated in Stevenlaw?s Close, in the High Street. From Palfrey?s bustling inrrj at the Cowgate-head, the Dunse fly was wont to take its departure twice weekly at 8 a.m in the beginning of the century; and in 1780 some thirty carriers? wains arrived there and departed weekly. Wilson says that ?Palfrey?s, or the King?s Head Inn, is a fine antique stone land of the time of Charles I. An inner court is enclosed by the buildings behind, and it long remained one of the best frequented inns in old Edinburgh, being situated at the junktion of two of the principal approaches to the town from the south and west.? In this quarter MacLellan?s Land, No. 8, a lofty tenement which forms the last in the range of houses on the north side of the street, has peculiar interest from its several associations. Towards the middle of the last century this edifice-the windows of which look straight up the Candlemaker-rowhad as the occupant of its third floor Mrs. Syme, a clergyman?s widow, with whom the father of Lord Brougham came to lodge, and whose daughter became his wife and the lady of Brougham Hall. He died in 1810, and is buried in Restalrig churchyard. Mrs. Broughain?s maiden aunt continued to reside in this house at the Cowgate-head till a period subsequent to 1794. In his father?s house, one of the flats in Mac- Lellan?s Land, Henry Mackenzie, ?the Man of Feeling,? resided at one time with his Wife and family. In the flat immediately below Mrs. Syme dwelt Bailie John Kyd, a wealthy wine merchant, who made no small noise in the city, and who figures among Kay?s etchings. He was a Bailie of 1769, and Dean of Guild in 1774. So lately as 1824 the principal apartments in No. 8 were occupied by an aged journeyman printer, the father of John Nimmo, who became conspicuous as the nominal editor of the Beacon, as his name appeared to many of the obnoxious articles therein. This paper soon made itself notorious by its unscrupulous and scurrilous nature, and its attacks on the private character of the leading Whig nobles and gentlemen in Scotland, which ended in Stuart of Dunearn horsewhipping Mr. Stevenson in the Parliament Square. The paper was eventually suppressed, and John Nimmo, hearing of the issue of a Speaker?s warrant against him, after appearing openly at the printing office near the old back stairs to the Parliament House, fled the same day from Leith in a smack, and did not revisit Edinburgh for thirty-one years. He worked long as a journeyman printer in the service of the great Parisian house of M. Didot, and for forty years he formed one of the staff of Ga&- nanr?s Messenger, from which he retired with a pension to Asni?eres, where he died in his eightysixth year in February, 1879. In this quarter of the Cowgate was born, in 1745, Dr. James Graham (the son of a saddler), who was a man of some note in his time as a lecturer and writer on medical subjects, and whose brother William married Catharine Macaulay, authoress of a ?? History of England? and other works forgotten now. In London Dr. Graham started an extraordinary establishment, known as the Temple of Health, in Pall Mall, where he delivered what were termed Hyineneal Lectures, which in 1783 he redelivered in st. Andrew?s Chapel, in Carrubber?s Close. In his latter years he became seized with a species of religious frenzy, and died suddenly in his house, opposite the Archer?s Hall, in 1794. In Bailie?s Court, in this quarter, lived Robert Bruce, Lord Kennet, 4th July, 1764, successor on the bench to Lord Prestongrange, and who died in 1786. This court-latterly a broker?s yard for burning bones-and Allison?s Close, which adjoins it-a damp and inconveniently filthy place, though but a few years ago one of the most picturesque alleys in the Cowgate-are decorated at their entrances with passages from the Psalms, a custom that superseded the Latin and older legends towards the end of the seventeenth century. In Allison?s Close a door-head bears, but sorely defaced, in Roman letters, the lines from the 120th Psalm :-?? In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, 0 Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.? In Fisher?s Close, which led directly up to the Lawnmarket, there is a well of considerable antiquity, more than seventy feet deep, in which a man was nearly drowned in 1823 by the flagstone that covered it suddenly giving way. The fragment of a house, abutting close to the northern pier of the centre arch of George IV. .
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Cowgate-l CAPTAIN CAYLEY. 243 Bridge, with a boldly moulded doorway, inscribed, TECUM HABITA, 1616, (i.e., ? keep at home ? or ? mind your own affairs ?) indicates the once extensive tenement occupied by the celebrated Sir Thomas Hope, King?s Advocate of Charles I. in 1626, and one of the foremost men .in Scotland, and who organised that resolute opposition to the king?s unwise interference with the Scottish Church, which ultimately led to the great civil war, the ruin of Charles and his English councillors. This mansion was one of the finest and most spacious of its day, and possessed a grand oak staircase. ?AT HOSPES HUMO? was carved upon one of the lintels, an anagram on the name of the sturdy old Scottish statesman. In the Coltness Collections, published by the Maitland Club, is the following remark :-?? If the house near Cowgeat- head, north syde that street, was built by Sir Thomas Hope, the inscription on one of the lintall-stones supports this etymologie-(viz., that the Hopes derive their name from Houblon, the Hopplant, and not from Zq%rance, the virtue of the mind), for the anagram is At hs&s humo, and has all the letters of Thomas Houpe.? But Hope is a common name, and the termination of many localities in Scotland. In the tapestried chambers of this old Cowgate mansion were held many of the Councils that led to the formation of the noble army of the Covenant, the camp of Dunselaw, and the total rout of the English troops at Newburnford. Hope was held by the Cavaliers in special abhorrence. ?Had the d-d old rogue survived the Restohtion he would certainly have been hanged,? wrote C. Kirkpatrick Sharpe. ?My grandfather?s grandfather, Sir Charles Erskine of Alva, disgraced himself by marrying his daughter, an ugly slut.? Honours accorded to him by Charles failed to detach him from the national cause; in 1638 he was one of the framers of the Covenant, and in 1645 was a Commissioner of Exchequer. Two of his sons being raised to the bench while he was yet Lord Advocate, he was allowed to wear his hat when pleading before them, a privilege which the Ring?s Advocate has ever since enjoyed. He died in 1646, but must have quitted his Cowgate mansion some time before that, as it became the residence of Mary, Countess of John, seventh Earl of Mar, guardian of Henry Duke of Rothesay (afterwards Prince of Wales). She was the daughter of Esme Stuart, Lord D?Aubigne and Duke of Lennox, and she died in Hope?s house on the 11th May, 1644. These and the adjacent tenements, removed to make way for the new bridge, were all of varied character and of high antiquity, displaying in some instances timber fronts and shot windows. A little farther eastward were the old Back Stairs, great flights of stone steps that led through what was once the Kirkheugh, to the Parliament Close. Here resided the young English officer, Captain Cayley, whose death at the hands of the beautiful Mrs. Macfarlane, on the 2nd October, 1716, made much noise in its time, and was referred to by Pope in one of his letters to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Captain John Cayley, Commissioner of Customs, was a conspicuous member of a little knot of unwelcome and obnoxious English officials, whom new arrangements subsequent to the Union had brought into Edinburgh. He seems to have been a vain . and handsome fellow, whose irregular passions left him little prudence or discretion. Among his new acquaintances in the Scottish capital was a young married woman of uncommon beauty, the daughter of Colonel Charles Straitona well-known adherent of James VII1.-and wife of John Macfarlane, Writer to the Signet, at one time agent to Simon Lord Lovat. By her mother?s side she was the grand-daughter of Sir Andrew Forester. One Saturday forenoon Mrs. Macfarlane, then only in her twentieth year, and some months enceinte, was exposed by the treachery of Captain Cayley?s landlady to an insult of the most atrocious kind on his part, in his house adjacent to the Back Stairs-one account says opposite to them. On the Tuesday following he visited Mrs. Macfarlane at her own house, and was shown into the drawingroom, anxious-his friends alleged--to apologise for his recent rudeness. Other accounts say that he had meanly and revengefully circulated reports derogatory to her honour, and that she was resolved to punish him. Entering the room with a brace of pistols in her hand, she ordered him to leave the house instantly. . ?What, madam,? said he, ? d?ye design to act a comedy?? ?If you do not retire instantly you will find it a tragedy!? she replied, sternly. As he declined to obey her command, she fired one of the pistols-cayley?s own pair, borrowed but a few days before by her husband-and wounded his left wrist With what object-unless selfpreservation- it is impossible to say, Cayley drew his sword, and the moment he did so, she shot him through the heart So close were they together that Cayley?s shirt was burned at the left sleeve by one pistol, and at the breast by the other,
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