Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


108 OLD -4ND NEW EDINBURGH. [Calton Hill. ~~~~ sea or land, with all its defects it makes a magnificent termination to the vista along Princes Street from the west. The base is a battlemented edifice, divided into small apartments and occupied as a restaurant Above its entrance is the crest of Nelson, with a sculpture representing the stern of the Son ?jGosep/l, and underneath an inscription, ~- of which the monument rises possesses an outline which, by a curious coincidence, presents a profile of Nelson, when viewed from Holyrood. The time-ball, which is in electric communication with the time-gun at the Castle, falls every day at one o?clock simultaneously with the discharge of THE CALTON BURYING-GROUND : HUME?S GRAVE. recording that the grateful citizens of Edinburgh ?- have erected this monument, not to express their unavailing sorrow for his death, nor yet to celebrate the matchless glories of his life, but by his noble example to teach their sons to emulate what they admire, and like him, when duty requires it, to die for their country.? From this pentangular base rises, to the height of more than IOO feet, a circular tower, battlemented at the top, surmounted by the time-ball and a flagstaff, where a standard is always hoisted on the anniversary of Trafalgar, and used also to be run up on the 1st of August in memory of the battle of Abouku. Around the edifice are a garden and plots of shrubbery, from amid ,which, peeping grimly foith, are three Russian trophies-two cannon from Sebastopol and one from Bomarsund, placed r?nere in 1857. The precipice from the edge the gun which is fired from Greenwich. A common joke of the High School boys is that the Duke of Wellington gets off his horse in front of the Register House 7uhen he hears the gun, lunches, and re-mounts his statuesque steed at two o?clock ! A little to the north of it, on a flat portion ot the hill, stand twelve magnificent Grecian Doric columns, the fragment of the projected national monument to the memory of all Scottish soldiers and sailors who fell by land and sex in the long war with France ; and, with a splendour of design corresponding to the grandeur of the object, it was meant to be a literal restoration of the Parthenon at Athens. The contributors were incorporated by Act of Parliament. The foundation stone was laid on the 27th August, 1822, the day on which George IV. visited Melville Castle. Under the Duke of Hamilton,
Volume 3 Page 108
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
Calton HilL] THE NATIONAL MONUMENT. 109 ~ Grand Master of Scotland, the various loQges proceeded in procession from the Parliament Square, accompanied by the commissioners for the King, and a brilliant concourse. The foundation-stone of the edifice (which was to be 228 feet long, by IOZ broad) weighed six tons, and amid salutes of cannon from the Castle, Salisbury Craigs, Leith Majesty, the patron of the undertaking. The celebrated Parthenon of Athens being model of the edifice.? The Scots Greys and 3rd Dragoons formed the escorts. Notwithstanding the enthusiasm displayed when the undertaking was originated, and though a vast amount of money was subscribed, the former subsided, and the western peristyle alone THE NATICNAL MORUMEST, CALTON HILL. Fort, and the royal squadron in the roads, the inscription plates were deposited therein, One is inscribed thus, and somewhat fulsomely :- ?? To the glory of God, in honour of the King, for the good of the people, this monument, the tribute of a gratefur country to her gallant and illustrious sms, as a memorial of the past and incentive to the future heroism of the men of Scotland, was founded on the 27th day of August in the year of our Lord 1822, and in the third year of the glorious reign of George IV., under his immediate auspices, and in commemoration of his most gracious and welcome visit to his ancient capital, and the palace of his royal ancestors; John Duke of Atholl, James Duke of Montrose, Archibald Earl of Rosebery, John Earl of Hopetoun, Robert Viscount Melville, and Thomas Lord Lynedoch, officiating as commissioners, by the special appointment of his august was partially erected. In consequence of this *emarkable end to an entefprise that was begun mder the most favourable auspices, the national monument is often referred to as ?Scotland?s pride and poverty.? The pillars are of gigantic proportions, formed of beautiful Craigleith stone ; each block weighed from ten to fifteen tons, and each column as it stands, with the base and frieze, cost upwards of LI,OOO. As a ruin it gives a classic aspect to the whole city. According to the original idea, part of the edifice was to be used as a Scottish Valhalla On the face of the hill overlooking Waterloo Place is the monument of one of Scotland?s gredtest philosophers. It is simply inscribed :- DUGALD STEWART. BORN NOVEMBER 22ND, 1753; DIED JUKE KITH, 1828.
Volume 3 Page 109
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures