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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


106 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Glton Hill. money appropriated for the work was totally exhausted, and the luckless observatory was once more left to its fate, and when thus abandoned, was the scene of a singular disturbance in 1788. It was assailed by ten armed persons, who severely wounded a gentleman who endeavoured to oppose them ?in capturing the place, which was next literally stormed by the City Guard, ?without any killed or wounded,? says Kincaid, ?but in the hurry of conducting their prisoners to the guard-house, they omitted to take a list of the stores and ammunition found there.? On the 26th February, 1789, there were arraigned by the Procurator Fiscal these ten persons, among whom were Jacobina, relict of Thomas Short, optician in Edinburgh, John McFadzean, medical student, for forcibly entering, on the 7th November, ?the observatory formerly possessed by Thomas Short, optician, in order to dispossess therefrom James Douglas, grandson of the said Thomas Short, with pistols, naked swords, cutlasses, and other lethal weapons, attacking and wounding Robert Maclean, accountant of Excise,? &c. For this, eight were dismissed from the bar, and two were imprisoned .and fined 500 merks each. (Edin. Advert., 1789.) In 1792 the observatory was completed by the magistrates, but in a style far inferior to what the utility of such an institution deserved ; and being without proper instruments, or a fund for procuring them, it remained in this condition till 1812, when a more fortunate attempt was made to establish an observatory on a proper footing by the formation in Edinburgh of an Astronomical Institution, and the old edifice is how used for a self-registering anemometer, or rain-gauge, in connection with the new edifice. The latter had its origin in a few public-spirited individuals, who, in 1812, formed themselves into the Astronomical Institution, and circulated an address, written by their President, Professor Playfair, urging the necessity for its existence and progress. ? He used to state,? says Lord Cockburn, ? in order to show its necessity, that a foreign vessel had been lately compelled to take refuge in Leith, and that before setting sail again, the master wished to adjust his timepiece, but found that he had come to a large and learned metropolis, where nobody could tell him what o?clock it was.? A little to the east of the old institution, the new observatory was founded on the 25th April, I 8 I 8, by Sir George Mackenzie, Vice-President, from a Grecian design by W. H. Playfair, after the model of the Temple of the Winds, and consists of a central cross of sixty-two feet, with four projecting pedimentssupported bysix columns fronting the four points of the compass. The central dome, thirteen feet in diameter, contains a solid cone or pillar nineteen feet high, for the astronomical circle. To the east are piers for the transit instrument and astronomical clock; in the west end are others for the mural circle and clock. ? The original Lancastrian School,? says Lord Cockburn, ?? was a long wood and brick erection, stretched on the very top of the Calton Hill, where it was then the fashion to stow away anything that was too abominable to be tolerated elsewhere.?? , The great prison buildings of the city occupy the summit of the Doiv Craig, to which we have referred more than once. The first of these, the ? Bridewell,? was founded 30th November, 179r, by the Earl of Morton, Grand Master of Scotland, heading a procession which must have ascended the hill by the tortuous old street at the back of the present Convening Rooms. The usual coins and papers were enclosed in two bottles blown at the glass-house in Leith, and deposited in the stone, with a copper plate containing a long Latin inscription. The architect was Robert Adam. Prior to this the city had an institution of a similar kind, named the House of Correction, f a the reception of strolling poor and loose characters. It had been projected as far back as 1632, and the buildings therefor had been situated near Paul?s Work. Afterwards a building near the Charity Workhouse was used for the purpose, but being found too small, after a proposal to establish a new one at the foot of Forrester?s Wynd, the idea was abandoned, the present new one projected and camed out. It was finished in ~796, at the expense of the city and county, aided by a petty grant from Government. In front of it, shielded by a high wall and ponderous gate, on the street line, is the house for the governor. Semicircular in form, the main edifice has five floors, the highest being for stores and the hospital. All round on each floor, at the middle of the breadth, is a comdor, with cells on each side, lighted respectively from the interior and exterior of the curvature. Those on the inner are chiefly used as workshops, and can all be surveyed from a dark apartment in the house of the governor without the observer being visible. On the low floor is a treadmill, originally constructed for the manufacture of corks, but now mounted and moved only in cure of idleness or the punishnient of delinquency. The area within the circle is a small court, glazed overhead, The house is under good
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Calton Hi1I.l THE BURYING-GROUND. I07 regulations, and is made as much as possible the scene rather of the reclamation and the comfortable industry of its unhappy inmates than of the punishment of their offences. At one time a number of French prisoners of war were confined here. At the east end of Waterloo Place, and adjoining Bridewell, is the town and county gaol. It was founded in 1815 and finished in 1817, when the old Heart of Midlothian? was taken down. In a Saxon style of architecture, it is an extensive building, and somewhat castellated-in short, the whole masses of these buildings, with their towers and turrets overhanging the steep rocks, resemble a feudal fortress of romance, and present a striking and interesting aspect. Along the street line are apartments for the turnkeys. Behind these, with an area intervening, is the gaol, 194 feet long by 40 wide, four storeys high, with small grated windows. In the centre is a chapel, with long, ungrated windows. Along the interior run corridors, opening into forty-eight cells, each 8 feet by 6, besides other apartments of larger dimensions. From the lower flat behind a number of small airing yards, separated by high walls, radiate to a point, where they are all overlooked and commanded by a lofty octagonal watch-tower, occupied by the deputy governor. Farther back, and perched on the sheer verge of the precipice which overhangs the railway, is the castellated tower, occupied by the governor. The whole gaol is classified into wards, is clean and well managed, and possesses facilities for the practice of approved prison discipline, but is seriously damaged in some of its capacities by being a gaol for both criminals and debtors, thus lacking the proper accommodation for each alike. From the Calton Hill the view is so vast, so grand, and replete with everything that in either city, sea, or landscape can thrill or delight, that it has been said he is a bold artist who attempts to depict it with either pen or pencil ; for far around the city, old and new, there stretches a panorama which combines in its magnificent expanse the richest elements of the sublime and beautiful, while the city itself is opulent, beyond all parallel, in the attractions of the picturesque. Prior to the erection of the Regent Bridge, Princes Street, says Lord Cockburn, was closed at its east end ??by a mean line of houses running north and south. All to the east of these was a burial-ground, of which the southern portion still remains ; and the way of reaching the Calton Hill was to go by Leith Street to its base (as may yet be done), and then up a narrow, steep street, which still remains, and was then the only approach, Scarcely any sacrifice could be too great that removed the houses from the end of Princes Street and made a level to the hill, or, in other words, produced the Waterloo Bridge.? On the south side of the narrow street referred to is the old entrance to the burying-ground, which Lord Balmerino gifted to his vassals, and through which the remains of David Hume must have been borne to their last resting-place, in what is now the southern portion of the cemetery, and in the round tower of Roman design at the south-eastern corner thereot Near it is the great obelisk, called the Martyrs? Monument, erected to the memory of those who were tried and banished from Scotland in 1793 for advocating parliamentary reform. It is inscribed, in large Roman letters :-?TO THE MEMORY OF THOMAS MUIR, THOMAS FYSSHE PALMER, WILLIAM SKIRVING, MAURICE MARGAROT AND JOSEPH GEKALD. ERECTED BY THE FRIENDS OF PARLIAMENTARY REFORM IN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND, 1844.? In this burying-ground lie the remains of Professor George Wilson and many other eminent citizens. On the northern slope of the hill is a species of cavern or arched vault in the rock, closed by a gate, and known as the Jews? burial-place. It is the property of the small Jewish community, but when or how acquired, the Rabbi and other officials, from their migratory nature, are quite unable to state, and only know that two individuals, a man aml his wife, lie in that solitary spot, Concerning this place, a rare work by Viscount DArlincourt, a French writer, has the following anecdote, which may be taken for what it is worth. ?A Jew, named Jacob Isaac, many years ago asked leave to lay his bones in a little corner of this rock. As it was at that time bare of monuments, he thought that in such a place his remains ran no risk of being disturbed by the neighbourhood of Christian graves. His request was granted for the sum of 700 guineas. Jxob paid the money without hesitation, and has long been at rest in a corner of the Calton. But, alas ! he is now surrounded on all sides by the tombs of the Nazarenes.? Though not correct at its close, this paragraph evidently points.to the cave in the rock where one Jew lies. On the very apex of the hill stands the monument to Lord Viscount Nelson, an edifice in such doubtful taste that its demolition has been more than once advocated. Begun shortly after the battle of Trafalgar, it was not finished till 1816. A conspicuous object from every point of view, by
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