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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


222 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street On becoming provost, he was easily led by his religious persuasion to become a sort of voluntary exchequer for the friends of the National Covenant, and in 1641 he advanced to them IOO,OOO merks to save them from the necessity of disbanding their army; and when the Scottish Parliament in the same year levied 10,000 men for the protection of their colony in Ulster, they could not have embarked had they not been provisioned at the expense of Sir William Dick. Scott, in the ? Heart of Midlothian,? alludes to the loans of the Scottish Crcesus thus, when he makes Davie Deans say, ?My father saw them toom the sacks of dollars out 0? Provost Dick?s window intil the carts that carried them to the army at Dunse Law; and if ye winna believe his testimony, there is the window itself still standing in the Luckenbooths, five doors aboon the Advocates? Close-I think it is a claithmerchant?s the day.? And singular to say, a cloth merchant?s ?booth ? it continued long to be. ? In 1642 the Customs were let to Sir William Dick for zoz,ooo merks, and 5,000 merks of gassum, or ? entrense siller;? but, as he had a horror of Cromwell and the Independents, he advanced ~20,000 for the service of King Charlesa step by which he kindled the wrath of the prevailing party; and, after squandering his treasure in a failing cause, he was so heavily.mulcted by extortion of L65,ooo and other merciless penalties, that his vast fortune passed speedily away, and he died in 1655, a prisoner of Cromwell?s, in a gaol at Westminster, under something painfully like a want of the common necessaries of life. He and Sir William Gray were the first men of Edinburgh who really won the position of merchant princes. The changeful fortunes of the former are commemorated in a scarce folio pamphlet, entitled ?The Lamentable State of the Deceased Sir William Dick,? and containing .several engravings. One represents him on horseback, escorted by halberdiers, as Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and superintending the unloading of a great vessel at Leith ; a second represents him in the hands of bailiffs; and a third lying dead in prison. ?The tract is highly esteemed by collectors of prints,? says Sir Walter Scott, in a note to the ?Heart of Midlothian.? ?The only copy I ever saw upon sale was rated at L30.? Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees (a place now called Moredun, in the parish of Liberton) who was Lord Advocate of Scotland from 1692 until his death in 1713, a few months only excepted, gave a name to the next narrow and gloomy alley, Advocates? Close, which bounded on the east the venerable mansion of the Lords Holyroodhouse. His father was provost of the city when Cromwell paid his first peaceful visit thereto in 1648-9, and again in 1658-9, at the close of the Protectorate, The house in which he lived and died was at the foot of the close, on the west side, before descending a flight of steps that served te ; lessen the abruptness of the descent. He had returned from exile on the landing of the Prince of , Orange, and, as an active revolutionist, was detested by the Jacobites, who ridiculed him as /amc Wyhe in many a bitter pasquil. He died in 1713, and Wodrow records that ? so great was the crowd (at his funeral) that the magistrates were at the grave in the Greyfriars? Churchyard before the corpse was taken out of the house at the foot of the Advocates? Close.? In 1769 his grandson sold the house to David Dalrymple, afterwards Lord Westhall, who resided in it till nearly the time of his death in 1784. This close was a very fashionable one in the days of Queen Anne, and was ever a favourite locality with members of the bar. Among many others, there resided Andrew Crosbie, the famous original of Scott?s ?Counsellor Pleydell,? an old lawyer who was one of the few that was able to stand his. ground in any argument or war of words with Dr. Johnson during that visit when he made himself so obnoxious in Edinburgh. From this dark and steep alley, with its picturesque overhanging gables and timber projections, Mr. Crosbie afterwards removed to a handsome house erected by him in St. Andrew?s Square, ornamented with lofty, half-sunk Ionic columns and a most ornate attic storey (on the north side of the present Royal Bank), afterwards a fashionable hotel, long known as Douglas?s and then as Slaney?s, where even royalty has more than once found quarters. By the failure of the Ayr Bank he was compelled to leave his new habitation, and?died in 1784 in such poverty that his widow owed her whole support to a pension of A50 granted to her by the Faculty of Advocates. The house lowest down the close, and immediately opposite that of Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, was the residence of an artist of some note in his time, John Scougal, who painted the well-known portrait of George Heriot, which hangs in the council room of the hospital. He was a cousin of that eminent divine Patrick Scougal, parson of Saltoun in East Lothian and Bishop of Aberdeen in 1664. John Scougall added an upper storey to the old land in the Advocates? Close, and fitted up one of
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High Street.] U?ARRISTON?S CLOSE. 223 the floors as a picture gallery or exhibition, a new leature in the Edinburgh of the seventeenth century, and long before any such idea had been conceived in France, England, or any other country. Some of his best works were in possession of the late Andrew Bell, engraver, the originator of the ?? Encyclopzdia Britannica,? who married his granddaughter. ?For some years after the Revolution,? says Pinkerton, ? he was the only painter in Scotland, and had a very great run of business. This brought him into a hasty and .incorrect manner.? So here, in the Advocates? -* ~ Close, in the dull and anorose Edinburgh of the seventeenth cendury, was the fashionable lounge of the dilettanti, .the resort of rank and beauty-a quarter from which the haut ton of the ,present day would shrink with aversion. He died at Prestonpans in the year 1730, in his eighty-fifth year, after having witnessed as startling a series of political changes as ever occurred in a long lifetime. Taking the ancient .alleys seriatim, Roxburghe Close comes next, numbered as 341, High Street, and. so - -_ -- = --_= -- -+- next we come to in descending the north side of the street, remains only in name, the houses on both sides being entirely new, and its old steep descent broken at intervals by convenient flights of steps; but until r868 it was nearly unchanged froin its ancient state, some relics of which still remain. It had handsome fronts of carefully-polished ashlar, with richly-decorated doorways with pious legends on their lintels, to exclude witches, fairies, and all manner of evil ; there were ornate dormer named, it may COnfi- HOUSE OF LORD ADVOCATE STEWART, AT THE FOOT dently be supposed OF ADVOCATES? CLOSE, w e s ~ SIDE. (though it cannot be proved as a fact) from having contained the town residence of some ancient Earl of Roxburghe. All its ancient features have disappeared, save a door built up with a handsome cut legend in raised Roman letters :-?WHATEVER ME BEFALL I THANK THE LORD OF ALL. J. M., 1586.? This is said to have been the dwelling-place of the Roxburghe family, but by tradition only. If true, it takes the antiquary back to the year in which .Sir Walter Kerr of Cessford (ancestor of the Dukes .of Roxburghe), ? baron of Auld-Roxburghe, the .castle thereof and the lands of Auldtonbum, &c.,? died at a great age, the last survivor, perhaps, of the affray in which Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch gerished at Edinburgh. Warriston?s Close (anciently called Bruce?s), the windows on the roofs with steep crow-stepped gables, black with the smoke and storms of centuries. MIHI . SEMPER. DEUS. 1583,? was the legend which first caught the eye above a door of a tenement on the west ? side, long occupied bj James Murray, Lord Philiphaugh, raised to the bench November Ist, 1689, without having any predecessor, being 0n.e of the set of judges nominated after the Re- , volution. After being chosen member of Parliament for Selkirk in 1681, he had become an object of special jealousy to the Scottish Cavalier Government. He was imprisoned in 1684, and under terror ? QUI . ERrr . ILLE . of being tortured in the iron boots, before the Privy Council in the high Chamber below the Parliament House, he gave evidence against those who were concerned in the Rye House Plot. Lord Philiphaugh had the character of being an upright judge, but the men of his time never forgot or forgave the weakness that made him stoop to save his life, though many of them might no doubt have acted in the same way, the Scottish Privy Council of that time being a species of Star Chamber that did not stand on trifles. Farther down the close was another edifice, the lintel of which like some others that were in the same locality, has been with great good taste rebuilt, as a lintel, into the extensive printing and publishing premises of the Messrs. Chambers, a
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