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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Craiglockhart.1 THE CRAIG HOUSE. ? 43 at Marischal College, Mr. Burton was apprenticed to a legal practitioner in the Granite City, after which he became, in 1831, an advocate at the Scottish Bar. Among the young men who crowd the Parliament House from year to year he found little or no practice, and he began to devote his time to the study of law, history, and political economy, on all of which subjects he wrote several papers in the Edinburgh Review and also in the Westminster Rmiew. He was author of the ?Lives? of David Hume, Lord Lovat, and Duncan Forbes of Culloden, ?Narratives of the Criminal Law of Scotland,? a ?History of Scotland from Agricola to the Revolution of 1688,? and another history from that period to the extinction of the last Jacobite insurrection. ? The Scot Abroad ? he published in 1864, and ?The Book Hunter.? In 1854 he was appointed secretary to the Scottish Prison Board, and on its abolition, in 1860, he was corhnued as manager and secretary in connection with the Home Office. Soon after the publication of the first four volumes of his early ?History of Scotland,? the old office in the Queen?s Scottish Household, Historiographer Royal, being vacant, it was conferred upon him. At the quaint old Craig House, which is said to be haunted by the spectre known as ?The Green Lady,? he frequently had small gatherings of literary visitors to the Scottish capital, which dwell pleasantly in the memory of .those who took part in them. He was hospitably inclined, kind of heart, and full of anecdote. ? His library was a source of never-failing delight,? says a writer in the Scotsman in 1881 ; ?but his library did not mean a particular room. At Craig House the principal rooms are e?z suite, and they were all filled or covered with books. The shelves were put up by Mr. Burton?s own hands, and the books were arranged by himself, so that he knew where to find any one, even in the dark; and one of the greatest griefs of his life was the necessity, some time ago, to disperse this library, which he had spent his life in collecting. In politics Mr. Burton was a strong Liberal He took an active part in the repeal of the Corn Laws, and was brought into close friendship with Richard Cobden.? The work by which his name will be chiefly remembered is, no doubt, his ?History of Scotland,? though its literary style has not many charms ; but it is very truthful, if destitute of the brilliant wordpainting peculiar to Mawulay. ?? It is something for a man,? says the writer above quoted, to have identified himself with such a piece of work as the history of his native country, and that has been done as completely by John Hill Burton in connection with the ? History of Scotland? as by any historiar of any country.? Immediately under the brow of Craiglockhart, on its western side, there are-half hidden among trees and the buildings of a farm-steading-the curious remains of a very ancient little fortalice, which seems to be totally without a history, as no notice of it has appeared in any statistical account, nor does it seem to be referred to in the ?Retours.? It is a tower, nearly square, measuring twentyeight feet six inches by twenty-four feet eight inches externally, with walls six feet three inches thick, built massively, as the Scots built of old, for eternity rather than for time, to all appearance. A narrow arched doorway, three feet wide, gives access to the arched entrance of the lower vault and a little stair in the wall that ascended to the upper storey. Though without a history, this sturdy little fortlet must have existed probably centuries before a stone of the old Craig House was built. A little way northward of this tower, on what must have been the western skirt of the Burghmuir, stood the ancient mansion of Meggetland, of which not a vestige now remains but a solitary gate-pillar, standing in a field near the canal. In the early part of the eighteenth century it was occupied by a family named Sievewright ; and Robert Gordon, a well-known goldsmith in Edinburgh, died there in A little way westward of Craiglockhart is the old manor-house of Redhall, which was the property of Sir Adam Otterburn, Lord Advocate in the time of James V. ; but the name is older than that age, as Edward I. of England is said to have been at Redhall in the August of I 298. In the records of the Coldstream Guards it is mentioned that in August 18th and ~ 4 t h ~ before the battle of Dunbar, in 1650, ten companies of that regiment, then known as General Monk?s, were engaged at the siege of Redhall, which was carried by storm. This was after Cromwell had been foiled in his attempt to break the Scottish lines before Edinburgh, and had marched westward from his camp near the Braid Hills to cut off the supplies of Leslie from the westward. but was foiled again, and had to fall back on hnbar, intending to retreat to England. Apathway that strikes off across the Links of Bruntsfield, in a south-easterly direction, leads to the old and tree-bordered White House Loan, which takes its name from the mansion on the east side thereof, to which a curious classical interest attaches, and which seems to have existed before the Revolution, as in 1671, James Chrystie, of 1767-
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