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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


X PREFACE. “Traditions.” The author has there struck out an entirely new path, and with the happiest results. The humour and the pathos of the old-world stories of Edinburgh in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ere New Town and Old Town improvements were more substantial than the dreams of future reformers, are secured-not without occasional heightening touches from the delineator’s own lively fancy. It is only surprising that the ‘‘ Traditions of Edinburgh ” have not diffused an antiquarian taste far more widely than is yet to be found among the modern dekizens of -the Scottish capital, The following Memorials of Old Edinburgh differ perhaps as much from the picturesque traditions of the latter writer, as from the statelr historic quarto of Amot, or from Maitland’s ponderous folio. They are pen and pencil sketches, professing, in general, considerable minuteness of outline, though with it rapid touch that precludes very elaborate finish. Accuracy has been aimed at throughout, not without knowingly incurring the risk of occasionally being somewhat dry. I am well aware, however, of having fallen short of what was-desired in this’ all-important point, notwithstanding an amount of labour and research in the progress of the work, .only 8 very small portioa of which appears in its contents. Some hundreds of old charters, title-deeds, and records of various sorts; ‘in all varieties of unreadable manuscript, have been ransacked ‘in its progress ; and had it been possible to devote more time to such research, I have no doubt that,many curious and, interesting notices, referring to our local antiquities, would have amply repaid the labour. Of the somewhat inore accessible materials furnished in the valuable publicatbns of our. antiquarian . book;clnba, abundant use has been made ; and personal observation . hw. supplied a good deal more that will probably be appreciated by the very few who find any attraction in stich researches. In the Appendix some curious matter has been accumulated which readers-of moderate antiquarian appetites will probably avoid--to their own loss. I amnot altogether withbut hope, however, that should such readers be induced to wade through. the work, they.may find antiquarian researches not quite SO dull as they are affirmed, on common 1 report, to- be ; s h e , in seeking to .embody the Memorials of my native city, I am fortunate in the possession of a subject; commanding. associations with nearly all the most picturesque legends and incidents of our national annals. ‘-L :In selecting the accompanying illustratfona, .the, chief aim .has been -to furnish .and example ofallfhe varieties ofstyle and character that were: to be found in the wynds and qloses of OldEdinburgh., .The majority bf them have some curious or valuable associations? to add to tbeir’.interest, .but some.Fexe:.chosen for ,no..other reison than .to illushat&
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PREFA CE. xi ancient manners, a71 records of which are 'rapidly disappearing. Their accuracy is their chief recommendation. It would have been easy fo have embellished them with spurious additions, such as are of frequent occurrence in the illustrated candidates for the drawihgroom table. Their claim to any value, however, rests solely on their being true Memoriald of Old Edinburgh, as it has come down to us from former generations. If they should appear somewhat plain, and sparingly furnished with ornaments, the' best apology is, that our old Scottish style of architecture, apart from ecclesiastical edzces, partook of the national character ; it was solid, massive, and enriched with little display of ornament, yet exhibiting, as a whole, an accidental, but striking, picturesqueness altogether beyond the reach of elaborate art. In the progress of the work I have been indebted for much kind and valuable assistance to some of the most zealous students of Scottish literary and topographical antiquities. To. Charles Eirkpatrick Sharpe, Esq., I am under special obligations for many curious reminiscences of the olden time ; for free access to his valuable museum of antiquities, which rivals the more famed collection of Abbotsford; €or the use of some of the rare treasures of $is library ; and, indeed, for Rn amount of courtesy and kindness for which any acknowledgment I can offer is a very inadequate return. To David Laing, Esq., I owe the use of a book of pencil sketches, drawn by Mr Daniel Somerville in 1817 and 1818, which has enabled me to recover views of several ancient localities demo: lished before my own sketching days. The use which has been made of these sketches is acknowledged on the several plates. To Mr Laing's well-known courtesy I have been still more indebted for access to rare books, and other curious Bources of information, which were otherwise beyond my reach. To 3I.r William-Rowan, af New College. Library, I have also to express my obligations for valuable material8 derived from original 6ources, and still more from the stores of his singularly retentive memory. From W. B. D. D, Turnbull, Esq., I have received, in addition to much friendly assistance, free access to his extensive library, well known as probably the mosf perfect collection in the kingdom ou his own favourite studies of Topopaphy and Heraldry. To Robert Chambers, Esq., Alexander Smellie, Esq., and the Rev. Principal Lee, as well as to others,-I have to return thanks for much kind and nnexpected aid. To John Sinclair, Esq., City Clerk, and to James Laurie, Esq., of the Sasine Office, my thanks axe due for facilitating my researches among the city charter3 and 4
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