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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


I91 OLD AKD NEW EDINBURGH. [IFeriot Row. lady weak poems, which were noticed by Lockhart in the Quarterly Rmim, and to the paper he a p pended in one copy, which was sent to the senator, the following distich, by way of epitaph :- U Here lies the peerless paper lord, Lord Peter, Who broke the laws of God and man and metre.? The joke chiefly lay in Robertson being led to suppose that the lines were in the entire edition, much to his annoyance and indignation ; but Lockhart penned elsewhere the following good wishes concerning him :- ? Oh! Petrus, Pedro, Peter, which you will, Long, long thy radiant destiny fulfil. Bright be thy wit, and bright the golden ore Paid down in fees for thy deep legal lore ; Bright be that claret, brisk be thy champagne, Thy whisky-punch, a vast exhaustless main, With thee disporting on its joyous shore, Of that glad spirit quaffing ever more ; Keen be thy stomach, potent thy digestion, And long thy lectures on ? the general question ;? While young and old swell out the general strain, We ne?er shall look upon his like again.? Lockhart wrote many rhyming epitaphs upon him, and is reported to have written, ? Peter Robertson is ?a man,? to use his own favourite quotation, ?cast in Nature?s amplest mould.? He is admitted to be the greatest corporation lawyer at, the Scotch bar, and he is a vast poet as well as a great lawyer.? Lord Robertson, who lived in No. 32 Drummond Place, died in 1855, in his sixty-second year. No. 38 was for years the abode of Adam Black, more than once referred to elsewhere as publisher, M.P., and Lord Provost of the city, who died on the 24th January, 1874. Forming a species of terrace facing the Queen Street Gardens from the north, are Abercrombie Place and Heriot Row-the first named from the hero of the Egyptian campaign, and the latter from the founder of the famous hospital on ground belonging to which it is erected. The western portion of the Row, after it was built, was long disfigured by the obstinacy of Lord Wemyss, who declined to remove a high stone wall which enclosed on the north and east the garden that lay before his house in Queen Street. Sir John Connel, Advocate and Procurator for the Church, author of a ?Treatise on Parochial Law and Tithes,? apd who figures among Kay?s Portraits as one of the ?Twelve Advocates,? James Pillans, LL.D., Professor of Humanity in the University 1820-63, and Sir James Riddel, Bart., of Ardnaniurchan and Sunart, lived respectively in Nos. 16, 22, and 30, Abercrombie Place; while on the west side of Nelson Street, which opens off it to the north, resided, after 1829, Miss Susan Edmondston Ferrier, authoress of ? Marriage,? ? Inheritance,? and ? Destiny,? one who may with truth be called the Zast of the literary galaxy which adorned Edinburgh when Scott wrote, Jeffrey criticised, and the wit of Wilson flowed into the Nodes. She was the friend and confidant of Scott. She survived him more than twenty years, as she died in 1854. In the house numbered as 6 Heriot Row, Henry Mackenzie, the author. of the 6? Man of Feeling,? spent the last years of his long life, surviving all the intimates of his youth, including Robertson, Hume, Fergusson, and &dam Smith ; and there he died. on the 14th of January, in the year 1831, after having been confined to his room for a considerable period by the general decay attending old age. He was then in his eightysixth year. No. 44 in the same Row is remarkable as having been for some years the residence of the Rev. Archibald Alison, ?to whom we have already referred; in the same house with him lived his sons, Professor Alison, and Archibald the future historian of Europe and first baronet of the name. The latter was born in the year 1792, at the parsonage house of Kenley,in Shropshire. The Rev. Archibald Alison (who was a cadet of the Alisons, of New Hall, in Angus) before becoming incunibent of the Cowgate Chapel, in 1800, had been a prebendary of Sarum, rector of Roddington, and vicar of High Ercal; and his wife was Dorothea Gregory, grand-daughter of the fourteenth Lord Forbes of that ilk, a lady whose family for two centuries has been eminent in mathematics and the exact sciences. His sermons were published by Constable in 1817, twenty-seven years subsequent to his work on ?Taste,? and, according to the Literary Magazine for that year and other critical periodicals, since the first publication of Blair?s discourses there were no sermons so popular in Scotland as those of Mr. Alison. He enforced virtue and piety upon the sanction of the Gospels, without ehtering into those peculiar grounds and conditions of salvation which constitute the sectarian theories of religion, regarding his hearers or readers as having already arrived at that state of knowledge and understanding when, ? having the principles of the doctrine of Christ, they should go on unto perfection.? Great King Street, a broad and stately thoroughfare that extends from Drummond Place to the
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Great King Street1 SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON. 195 Royal Circus, was built in 1820, and in the following year it was proposed to erect at the west end of it an equestrian statue to the memory of George III., for which subscription lists had been opened, but the project was never carried out. In Great King Street have resided, respectively in Nos. 3, 16, and 72, three men who are of mark and fame-Sir Robert Christison, Sir William Hamilton, and Sir William Allan. When the future baronet occupied No. 3, he was Doctor Christison, and Professor of medical jurisprudence. Born in June, 1797, and son of the late Alexander Christison, Professor of Humanity in the University of Edinburgh, he became a student there in 1811, and passed with brilliance through the literary and medical curriculum, and after graduating in 1819, he proceeded to London and Paris, where, under the celebrated M. Orfila, he applied himself to the study of toxicology, the department of medical science in which he became so deservedly famous. Soon after his return home to Scotland he commenced practice in his native capital, and in 1822 was appointed Professor of Medical Jurisprudence in the University, and was promoted in 1832 to the chair of materia medica. He contributed various articles to medical journals on professional subjects, and wrote several books, among others an exhaustive ? Treatise on Poisons,? still recognised as a standard work on that subject, and of more than European reputation. At the famous trial of Palmer, in 1856, Dr. Christison went to London, and gave such valuable evidence that Lord Campbell cornplimented him on the occasion, and the ability he displayed was universally recognised and applauded. He was twice President of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh-the first time being in 1846-and was appointed Ordinary Physician to the Queen for Scotland. He received the degree of D.C.L. from Oxford in 1866, was created a baronet in 1871~ and was made LL.D. of Edinburgh Universityin 1872. He resigned his chair in 18.77, and died in 188% In No. 16 lived and died Sir William Hamilton, Bart., of Preston and Fingalton, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the University of Edinburgh from 1836 to 1856, and Fellow of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries. He had previously resided in Manor Place. He was called to the Scottish bar in 1815, at the same time with Duncan McNeill, the future Sir Archibald Alison, John Wilson, and others, and in 1816 assumed the baronetcy as twenty-fourth male representative of Sir John Fitz- Gilbert de Hamilton, who was the second son of Sir Gilbert, who came into Scotland in the time of Alexander III., and from whom the whole family of Hamilton are descended. The baronetcy is in remainder to heirs male general, but was not assumed from the death of the second baronet in 1701 till 1806. It was a creation of 1673. With his brother Thomas lie became one of the earliest contributors to the columns of Blucku~oad?s MRgazine. Besides ?? Cyril Thornton,? one of the best military novels in the language, Thomas Hamilton was author of ?LAnnals of the Peninsular Campaign? and of ? Men and Manners in America? In ? Peter?s Letters? heis describedas ?afine-looking young officer, whom the peace has left at liberty to amuse himself in a more pleasant way than he was accustomed to, so long as Lord Wellington kept the field. He has a noble, grand, Spaniardlooking head, and a tall giaceful person, which he swings about in a style of knowingness that might pass muster even in the eye of old Potts. The expression of his features is so very sombre that I should never have guessed him to be a playful writer (indeed, how could I have guessed such a person to be a writer at all?). Yet such is the case. Unless I am totally misinformed, he is the author of a thousand beautiful jeux $esprit both in prose and verse, which I shall point out to you more particularly when we meet.? He had served in the 29th Regiment of Foot during the long war with France, and died in his fiftythird year, in 1842, In April, 1820, when the chair of moral philosophy in the University of Edinburgh fell vacant by the death of Dr. Thomas Browne, the successor of Dugald Stewart, Sir William Hamilton became a candidate together with Johr: Wilson. Others were mentioned as possible competitors, among them Sir James Macintosh and Mr. Malthus, but it soon became apparent that the struggle-one which had few parallels even in the past history of that University-lay between the two first-named. ? Sir William was a Whig ; Wilson was a Tory of the most unpardonable description,? says Mrs. Gordon in her ?Memou,? and the Whig side was strenuously supported in the columns of the Srotsnian-?and privately,? she adds, ?in every circle where the name of Blackl~ lood was a name of abomination and of fear.? But eventually, in the year of Dr. Browne?s death, Wilson was appointed to the vacant chair, and among the first to come to hear, and applaud to the echo, his earliest lectures, was Sir William Hamilton. In 1829 t k latter married his cousin, Miss Marshall, daughter of hlr. Hubert Marshall, and
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