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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


202 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Moray Pkn. criticsas, ?beautifully monotonous, andmagnificently dull;? and by others as the beau-ideal of a fashionable west-end quarter ; but whatever may be their intrinsic elegance, they have the serious and incurable fault of turning their frontages inwards, and shutting out completely, save from their irregular rows of back windows, the magnificent prospect over the valley of the Water of Leith and away to the Forth Moray Place, which reaches to within seventy yards of the north-west quarter of Queen Street, is a pentagon on a diameter of 325 yards, with an ornate and central enclosed pleasure ground. It displays a series of symmetrical, confronting fapdes, adorned at regular intervals with massive, quartersunk Doric columns, crowned by a bold entablature. No 28, on the west side, divided afterwards, was reserved as the residence of Francis tenth Earl of Moray, who married Lucy, second daughter of General John Scott, of Balcomie and Bellevue. For years the Right Hon. Charles Hope, of Granton, Lord President of the Court of Session, and his son, John Hope, Solicitor-General for Scotland in 182 2, ?and afterwards Lord Justice Clerk in 1841, lived in Moray Place, No. 12. The former, long a distinguished senator and citizen, was born in 1763. His fathty, an eminent Loiidon merchant, and cadet of the house of Hopetoun, had been M.P. for West Lothian. Charles Hope was educated at the High School, where he attained distinction as dux of the highest class, and from the University he passed to the bar in 1784, and two years afterwards was Judge- Advocate of Scotland. In 1791 he was Steward of the Orkney and Shetland Isles, and in the first year of the century was Lord Advocate, and as such drew out and aided the magistrates in obtaining a Poor?s Bill for the city, on which occasion he was presented with a piece of plate valued at a hundred guineas. When the warlike Spirit of the country became roused at that time by the menacing aspect of France, none was more active among the volunteer force than Charles Hope. He enrolled as a private in the First Edinburgh Regident, and was eventually appointed Lieut.-Colonel, and from 1801, with the exception of one year when the the corps was disbanded at the Peace of Amiens, he continued to command till its final dissolution in 1814 Kay gives us an equestrian portrait of him in 1812, clad in the now-apparently grotesque uniform of the corps, a swallow-tailed red coat, faced with blue and turned up with white ; brass wings, and a beaver-covered helmethat with a side hackle, jack boots, and white breeches, with a leopard-skin saddle-cloth and crooked sabre. The corps presented him with a superb sword in 1807. He personally set an example of unwearied exertion ; his speeches on several occasions, and his correspondence with the commander-in-chief, breathed a Scottish patriotism not less pure than hearty in the common cause. ?We did not take up arms to please any Minister or set of Ministers,? he declared on one occasion, ?but to defend our native land from foreign and domestic enemies.? After being M.P. for Dumfries, on the elevation of Mr. Dundas to the peerage in 1802, he was unanimously chosen a member for the city of Edinburgh, and during the few years he continued in Parliament, acted as few Lords Advocate have ever done, and notwithstanding the pressure of imperial matters and the threatening aspect of the times, brought forward several measures of importance to Scotland; but his parliamentary career was rendered somewhat memorable by an accusation of abuse of power as Lord Advocate, brought against him by Mr. Whitbread, resulting in a vast amount of correspondence and deiating in 1803- The circumstances are curious, as stated by the latter :- ?Mr. Momson, a farmer in Banffshire, had a servant of the name of Garrow, wllo entered a volunteer corps, and attended drills contrary to his master?s pleasure; and on the 13th of October last, upon the occasion of an inspection of the company by the Marquis of Huntly, he absented himself entirely from his master?s work, in conse quence of which he discharged him The servant transmitted a memorial to the Lord Advocate, stating his case, and begging to know what compensation he could by law claim from his late master for the injury he had suffered His lordship gave it as his opinion that the memorialist had no claim for wages after the time he was dismissed, thereby acknowledging that he had done nothing contrary to law; but he had not given a bare legal opinion, he had prefaced it by representing Mr. Morrison?s act as unprincipled and oppressive, and that without proof or inquiry. Not satisfied with this, he next day addressed a letter to the Sheriff-substitute of Banffshire, attributing Mr. Morrison?s conduct to disafection and disZoyaZby.? The letter referred to described Momson?s conduct as ? atrocious,? and such as could only have arisen from a spirit of treason, adding, ?it is my order to you as Sheriff-substitute of the county, that on the first Frenchman landing in Scotland. you do immediately apprehend and secure
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Moray Place.] LORD JEFFREY. 203 Morrison as a suspected person, and you will not liberate him without a communication with me ; and you may inform him of these, my orders. And further, I shall do all I can to prevent him from receiving any compensation from any part of his property which may either be destroyed by the euemy or the King?s troops to prevent it falling into their hands.? In the debate that ensued, Fox and Pitt took animated parts, and Charles Hope ably defended himself, saying that had Mr. Whitbread made such an accusation against him in Edinburgh, ?there would be IOO,OOO tongues ready to repel the charge, and probably several arms raised against him who made it.? He described the defenceless state of the country, and the anomalous duties thrown upon the Lord Advocate since the Union, after which the Privy Council, Lord Chancellor, and Secretary of hate, were illegally abolished, adding that Momson was influenced by the Chairman of the ? Society of Friends of Universal Liberty,? in Portsoy, one of whose favourite measures was to obstruct and discourage the formation of volunteer corps to repel the expected invasion. Pitt spoke eloquently in his defence, contending that ?great allowances were to be made for an active and ardent mind placed in the situation of Advocate-General.? He voted for the order of the day, and against the original motion. When the House divided, 82 were for the latter, and 159 against it ; majority, 77. On the death of Sir David Rae of Eskgrove, in 1804, he was appointed Lord Justice Clerk, and ou taking his seat addressed the Bench in a concise and eloquent speech, which was long one of the traditions of the Court. During seven years that he administered justice in the Criminal Court, his office was conducted with ability, dignity, and solemnity. On the death of the Lord President Blair, in 1811, Charles Hope was promoted in his place, and when taking his seat, made 9 warm and pathetic panegyric on his gifted predecessor, and the ability with which he filled his station for a period of thirty years is still remembered in the College of Justice. He presided, in 1820, at the special commission for the trial of the high treason cases in Glasgow and the West; and sixteen years afterwards, on the death of James Duke of Montrose, K.G., by virtue of an act of parliament, he was ap pointed Lord Justice-General of Scotland, and as such, having to preside in the Justiciary Court, he went back there after an absence of twenty-five years. At the proclamation of Queen Vi<toria he wore the robes of Lord Justice-General. He died and was succeeded in office, in 1841, by the Right Hon. David Boyle of Shewalton; and his son John, who in that year had been appointed Lord Justice Clerk, after being Dean of Faculty, also died at Edinburgh in 1858. No. 24 Moray Place was fie last and long the town residence of Lord Jefiey, to whom we have had often to refer in his early life elsewhere. Here it was, that those evening reunions (Tuesdays and Fridays) which brightened the evening of his life, took place. ?Nothing whatever now exists in Edinburgh that can convey to a younger generation any impression of the charms of that circle. If there happened to be any stranger in Edinburgh worth seeing you were sure to meet him there.? The personal appearance of the first recognised editor of the Edinburgh Review was not remarkable His complexion was very swarthy; his features were good and intellectual in cast and expression ; his forehead high and lips firmly set. He was very diminutive in stature-a circumstance that called forth innumerable jokes from his friend Sydney Smith, who once said, ?? Look at my little friend JefTrey ; he hasn?t body enough to cover his mind decently with ; his intellect is indecently exposed.? On another occasion, Jefiey having arrived unexpectly at Foston when Smith was from home, amused himself by joining the children, who were riding a donkey. After a time, greatly to the delight of the youngsters, he mounted the animal, and Smith returning at the time, sang the following impromptu :- ?Witty as Horatius Flaccus, Great a Jacobin as Gracchus, Short, but not as fat as Bacchq Riding on a little Jackass 1 ? His fondness for children was remarkable. He was never so happy as when in their society, and was a most devoted husband and father. He was Dean of Faculty, and prior to his elevation to the Bench, when he came to 24 Moray Place, had some time previously resided in 92 George Street. Deemed generally only as a crusty and uncompromising critic, he possessed great goodness of heart and domestic amiability. In his latter years, when past the psalmist-appointed term of life, he grew more than ever tendex-hearted and amiable, praised nursery songs, patronised mediocrities, and wrote letters that were childish in their gentleness of expression. ?? It seemed to be the natural strain of his character let loose from some stem responsibility, which made him sharp and critical through all his former life.? In their day his critical writings had a brilliant
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