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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Salisbury Road.] THE HOSPITAL FOR INCURABLES. 5< three plain shields under a moulding, with the date 1741- Though disputed by some, Sciennes Hill House once the residence of Professor Adam Fergusson author of the (? History of the Roman Republic,? is said to have been the place where Sir Waltei Scott was introduced to Robert Burns in 1786 when that interesting incident occurred which ir related by Sir Walter himself in the following letter which occurs in Lockhart?s Life of him :--?As foi Rums, I may truly say, 1GYgiZimn vidi tantum. I was a lad of fifteen in 1786-7, when he first cam? to Edinburgh, but had sense and feeling enough to he much interested in his poetry, and would have given the world to know him; but I had very little acquaintance with any literary people, and less with the gentry of the West County, the two sets he most frequented. I saw him one day at the venerable Professor Fergusson?s, where there were several gentlemen of literary reputation, among whom I remember the celebrated Dugald Stewart. ? Ofcourse, we youngsters sat silent, and listened. The only thing I remember which was remarkable in Burns?s manner was the effect produced upon him by a print of Bunbury?s, representing a soldier lying dead on the snow, his dog sitting in misery on one side ; on the other his widow, with a child in her arms. These lines were written underneath :- ? ? Cold on Canadian hills, or Minden?s plain, Perhaps that parent wept her soldier slain- Bent o?er her babe, her eyes dissolved in dew, The big drops mingling with the drops he drew, Gave the sad presage of his future years, The child of misery baptised in tears.? ?? Burns seemed much affected by the print, or Tather, the ideas which it suggested to his mind. He actually shed tears. He asked whose the lines were, and it chanced that nobody but myself remembered that they occur in a half-forgotten poem of Langhorne?s, called by the unpromising title of ? The Justice of the Peace.? I whispered my information to a friend present, who mentioned it to Burns, who rewarded me with a look and a word, which, though of mere civility, I then received, and still recollect, with very great pkasuye.? Westward of Sciennes Hill is the new Trades Maiden. Hospital, in the midst of a fine grassy park, called Rillbank. The history of this charitable foundation, till its transference here, we have already given elsewhere fully. Within its walls is preserved the ancient ?( Blue Blanket,? or banner of the city, of which there will be found an engraving on page 36 of Volume I. In Salisbury Road, which opens eastward off Minto Street, is the Edinburgh Hospital for Incurables, founded in 1874; and through the chanty of the late Mr. J. A. Longmore, in voting a grant of &IO,OOO for that purpose, provided the institution ?? should supply accommodation for incurable patients of all classes, and at the same time commemorate Mr. Longmore?s munificent bequest for the relief of such sufferers,? the directors were enabled,in 1877, to secure Nos. g and 10 in this thoroughfare. The building has a frontage of 160 feet by 180 feet deep. It consists of a central block and two wings, the former three storeys high, and the latter two. The wards for female patients measure about 34 feet by 25 feet, affording accommodation for about ten beds. Fronting the entrance door to the corridors are SEAL OA THE CONVENT OF ST. KATHARINE. (After H. Laing.) ieparate staircases, one leading to the female iepartment, the other to the male. On each floor .he bath, nurses? rooms, gic., are arranged similarly. [n the central block are rooms for ?paying patients.?? The wards are heated with Manchester open fire- )laces, while the corridors are fitted up with hot Mater-pipes. The wards afford about 1,100 cubic ?eet of space for each patient. Externally the edifice is treated in the Classic ;tyle. In rear of it a considerable area of ground ias been acquired, and suitably laid out. The site :ost A4,000, and the hospital LIO,OOO. Since it Nas opened there have been on an average one hunlred patients in it, forty of whom were natives of Edinburgh, and some twenty or so from England md Ireland. The funds contributed for its support ire raised entirely in the city. It was formally 3pened in December, 1880. A little way south from this edifice, in South
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56 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Przstonfield. Cunninghams, baronets of 1677, according to Burke. Prior to coming into possession of the present family, the estate belonged of old to the Hamiltons, one of whom, Thomas, fell at Flodden in ?513. In 1607 Thomas Hamilton of Prestonfield became a Lord of Session, and on assuming his seat, took an oath ?that neither directly nor indirectly he had procured the place by gold or silver.? The property seems to have been sometimes =!led Priestfield. Thus Balfour records that ? Sr* Alexander Hamilton, brother to Thomas, first Earle Elacket Place, is Newington House, the residence of Duncan McLaren, Esq., long one of the city members, and who, beyond all other Scottish representatives, has been a champion for Scottish interests. He ?was born in 1800, and was Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1851 to 1854, and is the father of John McLaren, who was made a Lord of Session in 1881. It is the largest and principal mansion in this part of the town. Opposite the west end of the Mayfield Loan is Duddingston, had to fly to Paris, where he became chaplain to Cardinal de Retz ; and in after years it passed into possession of the present family, when ? James Dick, a merchant of great eminence and wealth, having purchased the lands of Priestfield, or Prestonfield,? was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 2nd March, 1677. Four years afterwards, on the morning of the I Ith January, his house, ?( under the south front of Arthur?s Seat,? was burnt down. Political circumstances, according to Chambers, gave importance to ~ this, which would otherwise have been a trivial land, a man of rare spirit and a very valiant souldiour, departed this lyffe at Priestfield, neire Edinburghe, 26th November, 1649.? He had served with distinction under Gustavus Adolphus, and was familiarly known among the soldiers as ? dear Sandy,? and as the constructor of certain field-pieces for the Covenanters, who stigmatised them as ? stoups.? It was for an alleged intrigue with Anne Hepburn, the lady of Sir James Hamilton of Preston- PRESTONFIELD HOUSE.
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