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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [George Street. I42 ever heard speak on such topics. The shrewdness and decision of the man can, however, stand in need of no testimony beyond what his own conduct has afforded-above all, in the establishment of his Aagazine (the conception of which, I am assured, was entirely his own), and the sub. sequent energy with which he has supported it through every variety of good and evil fortune.? Like other highly successful periodicals, BZackwoodls Magazine has paid the penalty of its greatness, for many serial publications have been pro jected upon its plan and scope, without its in herent originality and vigour. William Blackwood published the principal works of Wilson, Lockhart, Hogg, Galt, Moir, and othei distinguished contributors to the magazine, as we1 as several productions of Sir Walter Scott. Hc was twice a magistrate of his native city, and ir that capacity took a prominent part in its affairs He died on the 16th of September, 1834, in hi: fifty-eighth year. ? Four months of suffering, in part intense,? sayr the Mugazine for October, 1837, ? exhausted bj slow degrees all his physical energies, but left hi: temper calm and unruffled, and his intellect entira and vigorous to the last. He had thus what nc good man will consider as a slight privilege : thai of contemplating the approach of death with tha clearness and full strength of his mind and faculties and of instructing those around him by the solemr precefit and memorable example, by what mean: humanity alone, conscious of its own fnilty, car sustain that prospect with humble serenity.? This is evidently from the pen of John Wilson in whose relations with the magazine this deatk made no change. William Blackwood left a widow, seven sons and two daughters; the former carried on-anc their grandsons still carry on-the business in tha old establishment in George Street, which, sincc Constable passed away, has been the great literarj centre of Edinburgh. No. 49, the house of Wilkie of Foulden, i: now a great music saloon; and No. 75, nog the County Fire and other public offices, has a pe culiar interest, as there lived and died the mothei of Sir Walter Scott-Anne Rutherford, daughter o Dr. John Rutherford, a woman who, the biographei of her illustrious son tells us, was possessed o superior natural talents, with a good taste foi music and poetry and great conversational powers In her youth she is said to have been acquainted with Allan Kamsay, Beattie, Blacklock, and man) other Scottish men of letters in the last century and independently of the influence which her own talents and acquirements may have given her in training the opening mind of the future novelis4 it is obvious that he must have been much indebted to her in early life for the select and intellectual literary society of which her near relations were the ornaments-for she was the daughter of a professor and the sister of a professor, both of the University of Edinburgh. Her demise, on the 24th of December, 1819, is simply recorded thus in the obituary :-? At her house in George Street, Edinburgh, Mrs. Anne Rutherford, widow of the late Walter Scott, Writer to the Signet.? ? She seemed to take a very affectionate farewell of me, which was the day before yesterday,? says Scott, in a letter to his brother, in the 70th regiment, dated nand December; ?and, as she was much agitated Dr. Keith advised I should not see her again, unless she seemed to desire it, which she has not hitherto done. She sleeps constantly, and will probably be so removed. Our family sends love to yours. ? Yours most affectionately, ? WALTER SCOTT.? No. 78 was, in 1811, the house of Sir John Hay of Srnithfield and Hayston, Baronet, banker, who married Mary, daughter of James, sixteenth Lord Forbes. He had succeeded to the title in the preceding year, on the death of his father, Sir James, and is thus referred to in the scarce ? Memoirs of a Banking House,? by Sir William Forbe?s of Pitsligo, Bart. :- ?Three years afterwards we made a further change in the administration by the admission of my brother-in-law, Mr. John Hay, as a partner. In the year 1774, at my request, Sir Rebert Hemes had agreed that he should go to Spain, and serve an apprenticeship in his house at Barcelona, where he continued till spring, 1776, when he returned to London, and was received by Sir Robert into his house in the City-from which, by that time, our separation had taken place-and where, as well as in the banking house in St. James?s Street, he acted as a clerk till summer, 1778, when he came to Edinburgh, and entered our country house also, on the footing of a confidential clerk, during three years. Having thus had an ample experience of his abilities and merit as a man of business, on whom we might repose the most implicit confidence, a new contract ot co-partnery was formed, to commence from the 1st of January, 1782, in which Mr. Hay was assumed as a partner, and the shares stood as follow: Sir William Forbes, nineteen, Mr. Hunter Blair, nine
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Ceorge Street.] MRS. MURRAY OF HENDERLAND. f 43 teen, Mr. Bartlett, six, Mr. Hay, four-in all, fortyeight shares.? From that time he grew in wealth and fame with the establishment, which is now merged in the Joint-stock Union Bank of Scotland. Si John Hay died in 1830, in his seventy-fifth year. No. 86 was the house of his nephew, Sir William Forbes, Bart., who succeeded to the title on the death of the eminent banker in 1806, and who married the sole daughter and heiress of Sir John Stuart of Fettercairn, whose arms were thus quartered with his ovn. In May, 1810, Lord Jeffrey-then at the bar as a practising advocate-took up his dwelling in No. 92, and it was while there resident that, in consequence of some generous and friendly criticism in the Rdinburgh Reviaer, pleasant relations were established between him and Professor Wilson, which, says the daughter of the latter, ?led to a still closer intimacy, and which, though unhappily interrupted by subsequent events, was renewed in after years, when the bitterness of old controversies had yielded to the hallowing influences of time.? Lord Jeffrey resided here for seventeen years. In the second storey of No. 108 Sir Walter Scott dwelt in 1797, when actively engaged in his German translations and forming the Edinburgh Volunteer Light Horse, of which he was in that year, to his great gratification, made quartermaster. Two doors farther on was the house of the Countess of Balcarres, the venerable dowager of Earl Alexander, who died in 1768. She was Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Dalrymple of Castleton. No. 116, now formed into shops, was long the residence of Archibald Colquhoun of Killermont, Lord Advocate of Scotland in 1807. He was Archibald Campbell of Clathick, but assumed the name of Colquhoun on succeeding to the estate of Killermont. He came to the bar in the same year, 1768, or about the same time as his friends Lord Craig and the Hon. Henry Erskine. He succeeded Lord Frederick Campbell as Lord Clerk Register in 1816. His mind and talents were said to have been of a very superior order ; he was a sound lawyer, an eloquent pleader, and his independent fortune and proud reserve induced him to avoid general business, while in his Parliamentary duties as member for Dumbarton he was unremitting and efficient. The Edinburgh Association of Science and Arts now occupies the former residence of the Butters of Pitlochry, No. ?17. It is an institution formed in 1869, and its title is sufficiently explanatory of its objects. An interesting lady of the old school abode long He died in 1820. in No. I 22-Mrs. Murray of Henderland. She was resident there from the early part of the present century. The late Dr. Robert Chambers tells us he was introduced to her by Dr. Chalmers, and found her memories of the past went back to the first years of the reign of George 111. Her husband, Alexander Murray, had been, he states, Lord North?s Solicitor-General for Scotland. His name appears in 1775 on the list, between those of Henry Dundas and Islay Campbell of Succoth. ?? I found the venerable lady seated at a window of her drawing-room in George Street, with her daughter, Miss Murray, taking the care of her which her extreme age required, and with some help from this lady we had a conversation of about an hour.? She was born before the Porteous Mob, and well remembering the ?45, was now close on her hundredth year. She spoke with affection and reverence of her mother?s brother, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield ; ?and when I adverted,? says Chambers, ? to the long pamphlet written against him by Athenian Stuart, at the conclusion of the Douglas cause, she said that, to her knowledge, he neyer read it, such being his practice in respect to ail attacks made upon him, lest they should disturb his equanimity in judgment. As the old lady was on intimate terms with Boswell, and had seen Johnson on his visit to Edinburgh-as she was the sister-in-law of Allan Ramsay, the painter, and had lived in the most cultivated society of Scotland all her life-there were ample materials for conversation with her ; but her small strength made this shorter and slower than I could have wished. When we came upon the poet Ramsay, she seemed to have caught new vigour from the subject ; she spoke with animation of the child-parties she had attended in his house on the Castle Hill during a course of ten years befoie his death-an event which happened in 1757. He was ? charming,? she said ; he entered so heartily into the plays of the children. He, in particular, gained their hearts by making houses for their dolls. How pleasant it was to learn that our great pastoral poet was a man who, in his private capacity, loved to sweeten the daily life of his fellow-creatures, and particularly of the young ! At a warning from Miss Murray I had to tear myself away from this delightful and never-to-be-forgotten interview.? From this we may suppose that the worthy publisher never saw the venerable occupant of No. 123 again. No. 123, on the opposite side, was the residence of the well-known Sir John Watson Gordon, President of the Royal Scottish Academy, who died June Ist, 1863, and to whom reference has
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