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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


274 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street. THE mansion of the Earls of Iiyndford immediately adjoined that of the Earls of Selkirk, and the two edifices were thrown into one to form a Catholic chopel house, but the former gave its name to Hyndford's Close. " This was a Scottish peergallant Lieutenant-Colonel John Campbell, of the Black Watch, whose memorable defence of Mangalore from May, 1783, to January, 1784, arrested the terrible career of Tippoo Sahib, and shed a glory over the British campaign in Mysore. The colonel died of exhaustion at Bombay soon after. Upon leaving Elphinstone Court, his father resided latterly in George Square, where he died in June, 1801. Midway up South Gray's Close, a tall turreted mansion, with a tolerably good garden long attached to it, and having an entrance from Hyndford's Close, was the town residence of the Earls of Selkirkthere, at least in 1742, resided Dunbar, fourth Earl (eldest son of Basil Hamilton, of Baldoon), who resumed the name of Douglas on his succeeding to the honours of Selkirk. He married a grand-daughter of Thomas, Earl of Haddington, and had ten children, one of whom, Lord Daer, on attaining manhood, became, at the commencement of the French Revolution, an adherent of that movement and a "Friend of the People;" and deeming the article of the Union with England, on which was founded the exclusion of the eldest sons of Scottish peers from representing their native country in Parlianient, and from voting at elections there, injurious, insulting, and incorrectly interpreted, he determined to try the question; but decisions were given against him in the Court of Session and House of Lords. He pre-deceased his father, who died in 1799. The next occupant of that old house was Dr. Daniel Rutherford, professor of botany, and said to be the first discoverer or inventor of gas. For his thesis, on taking his degreesf M.D. at the university of Edinburgh in 1772, he 'chose a chemical subject, De Aere Mihifim, which, from the originality of its views, obtained the highest encomiums from Dr. Black. In this dissertation he demonstrated, though without explaining its properties, " the existence of a peculiar air, or new age:" says Robert Chambers, " not without its glories-witness particularly the third earl, who acted as ambassador in succession to Prussia, to Russia, and to Vienna. It is now extinct ; its byoutme, its pictures, including portraits of Maria gaseous fluid, to wliich some eminent modern philosophers have given the name of azote, and others of nitrogen." That Dr. Rutherford first discovered this gas is now generally admitted; ahd, as Bower remarks in his " History of the University of Edinburgh," the reputation of his discovery being speedily spread through Europe, his character as a chemist of the first eminence was firmly established. He died suddenly. on the 15th of December, 1819, in his seventy-first year, and it was soniewhat remarkable that one of his sisters died two days after him, on the 17th, and another, the excellent mother of Sir Walter Scott, within seven days of the latter, viz., on the 24th of the same month, and that none of the three knew of the death of the other, so cumbrous were the postal arrangements of those days. " Sir Walter Scott, who," says Robert Chambers, '*being a nephew of that gentleman, was often in the house in his young days, communicated to me a curious circumstance connected with it. It appears that the house immediately adjacent was not furnished with a stair wide enough to allow ot a coffin being camed down in decent fashion. It had, therefore, what the Scottish law calls a servitude upon Dr. Rutherford's house, conferring the perpetual liberty of bringing the deceased inmates through a passage into that house, and down ifs stair into the lane," thus affording another curious example of how confined and narrow were the abodes of the ancient citizens. It was latterly the priest's house of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic church, and was beautifully restored by the late Dr. Marshall, but is now demolished. In Edgar's 'map of Edinburgh in 1765 the whole space between the Earl of Selkirk's house on the west and St. hfary's Wynd on the east, and between the Marquis of Tweeddale's house on the north,'nearly to the Cowgate Port on the south, is shown as a fine open space, pleasantly 'planted with rows of trees and shrubbery.
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High Street.] THE MAXWELLS OF MONREITH. 275 Theresa, and other royal and imperial personages, which had been presented as friendly memorials to the ambassador, have all been dispersed by the salesman?s hammer, and Hyndford?s Close, on my trying to get into it lately in 186P, was inaccessible (literally) from filth.? Another writer, in 1856, says in his report to the magistrates, ?that, with proper drainage, causeway, and cleanliness, it might be made quite respectable.? Prior to the Carmichaels of Hyndford it had been, for a time, the residence of the Earls of Stirling, the first of whom ruined himself in tEx colonisation of Nova Scotia, for which place he set sail with fourteen ships filled with emigrants and cattle in 1630. Here then, in this now humble but once most picturesque locality-for the house was singularly so, with its overhanging timber gables, its small court and garden sloping to the south-lived John third Earl of Hyndford, the living representative of a long line of warlike ancestors, including Sir John Carmichael of that ilk, who broke a spear with the Duke of Clarence at the battle of Bauge-en-Anjou, when the Scots routed the English, the Duke was slain, and Carmichael had added to his paternal arms a dexter hand and arm, holding a broken spear, In 1732 he was Lieutenant-Colonel of a company in the Scots Foot Guards, and was twice Commissioner to the General Assembly before 1740, and was Lord of Police in Scotland. In the following year, when Frederick the Great invaded Silesia, he was sent as plenipotentiary extraordinary to adjust the differences that occasioned the war, and at the conclusion of the Treaty of Breslau had the Order of the Thistle conferred upon him by George II., receiving at the same time a grant from Frederick, dated at Berlin, 30th September, 1742, for adding the eagle of Silesia to his paternal arms of Xyndford, with the motto Ex bene merifo. He was six years an ambassador at the Russian Court, and it wasbyhis able negociations that 30,000 Muscovite troops contributed to accelerate the peace which was concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle. These stimng events over, the year 1752 saw him leave his old abode in that narrow close off the High Street, to undertake a mission of the greatest importance to the Court of Vienna. On the death of Andrew Earl of Hyndford and Viscount Inglisberry, in r817, the title became extinct, but is claimed by a baronet of the name 01 Carmichael. The entry and stair on the west side of Hyndford?s Close was always a favourite residence, in consequence of the ready access to it from the High Street. In the beginning of the reign of George 111. here lived Lady Maxwell of Monreith, d e Magdalene Blair of that ilk, and there she educated and reared her three beautiful daughters-Catharine, Jane, and Eglantine (or Eglintoun, so named after the stately Countess Susanna who !ived in the Old Stamp Office Close), the first of whom became the wife of Fordyce of Aytoune, the second in 1767, Duchess of Gordon, and the third, Lady Wallace of Craigie. Their house had a dark passage, and in going to the dining-room the kitchen door was passed, according to an architectural custom, common in old Scottish and French houses; and such was the thrift and so cramped the accommodation in those times, that in this passage the laces and fineries of the three young beauties were hung to dry, while coarser garments were displayed from a window pole, in the fashion common to this day in the same localities for the convenience of the poor. ? So easy and familiar were the manners of the great, fabled to be so stiff and decorous,? says the author of ?Traditions of Edinburgh,? who must vouch for the story, ? that Mis,s Eglantine, afterwards Lady Wallace, used to be sent across the street to the Fountain Well for water to make tea. Lady Maxwell?s daughters were the wildest romps imaginable. An old gentleman who was their relation, told me that the first time he saw these beautiful girls was in the High Street, where Miss Jane, afterwards Duchess of Gordon, was riding upon a sow, which Miss Eglantine thumped lustily behind with a stick. It must be understood that in the middle of the eighteenth century vagrant swine went as commonly about the streets of Edinburgh a?s dogs do in our own day, and were more generally followed as pets by the children of the last generation. It may, however, be remarked, that the sows upon which the Duchess of Gordon and her witty sister rode when children, were not the common va,mnts of the High Street, but belonged to Peter Ramsay, of the inn in St. Mary?s Wynd, and were among the last that were permitted to roam abroad. The romps used to watch the animals as they were let loose in the forenoon in the stable yard (where they lived among the horse litter) and got upon their backs the moment they issued from the close.? Their eldest brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell, of the 74th Highlanders, commanded the grenadier companies of the army under Cornwallis in the war against Tippoo, and died in India in 1800. In the same stair with Lady Maxwell lived Anne Dalrymple, Countess of James firth Earl of Bal
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