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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


156 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. . [Queen Street, always washed and carefully put away by her own delicate hands, and thus breakage was evaded. Marketing was then done in the early morning; and many a time was the stately figure of old Mrs. Wilson, ? in her elegantly-fitting black satin dress, Seen to pass to and fro from the old market place of Edinburgh, followed by some favourite caddie peace and harmony reigned supreme, and there are now not a few of her grandchildren who remember this fine old Scottish matron with affection and gratitude. In 1815 John Wilson had been called to the bar, at the same time with his firm friend Patrick Robertson, Sir William Hamilton, Andrew Rutherford, SIR JAMES WUNG SIMPSON. (or street porter), bearing the well-chosen meats and vegetables that no skill but her own was permitted to, select? She was a high Tory of the old school ; and it is told of her that on hearing it said that her, son was contributing to the Edinburgh Revim, she exclaimed, ?John, if you turn Whig this house is no longer big enough for us both ! ?? In No. 53 she had under her roof for several years two married sons, with their wives, children, . Archibald Alison, and others ; and in 1819, he, with his wife and children, then five in number, removed from his mother?s house in Queen Street to No. 20 Anne Street, Stockbridge. It was in No. 53, however, that the famous ? Chaldee Manuscript ? was written, amid such shouts of laughter, says Mrs. Gordon, ? that the ladies in the room above, sent to inquire in wonder what the gentlemen below were about. I am informed that among those who were met together on that memorable occasion
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Queen Street.] SIR JAMES GRANT OF GRANT. I57 own performance that he tumbled off his chair in a fit of laughter.? No. 62 Queen Street was inhabited by Lord Jeffrey from 1802 till 1810. In the following year it became the residence of Sir John Leslie, K.H., Professor of Mathematics in the University of Edinburgh, who in 1800 invented the differential thermometer, one of the most beautiful and delicate instruments that inductive genius? ever contrived as a help to experimental research ; and the results of his inquiries concerning the nature and laws of heat, in which he was so much aided by this exquisite instrument, were published in 1804, in his celebrated ?Essay on the Nature and Propagation of Heat.? Sir John Leslie was one of those many self-made men who are peculiarly the glory of Scotland, for he was the son of a poor joiner in Largo, yet he attained to the highest honours a university can bestow. In 1832, along with Herschel, Brewster, Hams, Nichols, and others, on the recommendation of Lord Brougham, he was created a Knight of the Guelphic Order, but died in the November of that year from an attack of erysipelas. No. 64 was, and is still, the town residence of the Earls of Weniyss, but has had many other tenants. Among others here resided ?? Lang Sandy Gordon? as he was named in those days of simple and unassuming familiarity, the son of William, second Earl of Aberdeen, who was admitted an advocate in 1759, and became Stewart-depute of Kirkcudbright in 1764. Twenty years afterwards he was raised to the bench as Lord Rockville, and resided long in the close which bore .that name on the Castle Hill, and afterwards in Queen Street He was remarkable for his manly beauty and handsome figure. He was a member of the Crochallan Club, and a great convivialist. Walking down the High Street one day, when the pavement was unsafe by ice, he fell, and broke his arm. He was conveyed to Provost Elder?s shop, opposite the Tron church, where surgical aid was procured and his arm dressed ; but, unfortunately, when his friends were conveying him to his new home at No. 64, one of the chairmen fell and overturned the sedan in the street, which unsettled the splinting of his lordship?s arm, and ultimately brought on afever, of which he died on the 13th of March, ?792. No. 64 was afterwards occupied by Sir James Grant, Bart., of Grant, usually known as ?the good Sir James.? His town house, with extensive stable-offices, had previously been at the ,foot of the Canongate, where it was advertised for sale in 1797, as ? presently possessed by Professor Stewart.? At a period when the extensive Highland proprietors were driving whole colonies of people from the abodes of their forefathers, and compelling them to seek on distant shores that shelter which was denied them on their own, and ?when absenteeism and the vices of courtly intrigue and fashionable dissipation had sapped the morality of too many of our landholders, Sir James Grant escaped the contagion, and during a long life was distingifished for the possession of those virtues which are the surest bulwarks of the peace, happiness, and strength of a country. Possessed of extensive estates, and surrounded by a numerous tenantry, his exertions seemed to be equally devoted to the progressive improvement of the one and the present comfort and enjoyment of the other.? ? Among his clau he raised two regiments of Highland Fencibles within a few months of each other. One was numbered as the 97th, or Strathspey Regiment, 1,800 strong, and a portion of it joined the 4nnd for service in the West Indies. Sir James died at Castle Grant in 181 I. No. 66, now offices, was occupied by Stewart of Castle Stewart ; and in No. 68 lived George Joseph Bell, Advocate, Professor of Law, and author of ? Principles of the Law of Scotland.? No. 7 I, in 181 I, was the residence of Francis, Lord Napier, who served in the American war under General. Burgoyne, but left the army in 1789. He took a leading part in many local affiirs, was Grand Master Mason of Scotland, Colonel of the Hopetoun Fencibles in 1793, Commissioner to the General Assembly in 1802, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Encouragement of Scottish Manufactures and Fisheries. His prominently aquiline face and figure were long remarkable in Edinburgh ; though, at a time when gentlemen usually wore gaudy coloursfrequently a crimson or purple coat, a green plush vest, black breeches, and white stockings-when not in uniform, he always dressed plainly, and with the nicest attention to propriety. An anecdote of his finical taste is thus given in Lockhart?s ?Life of Scott ? :- ?Lord and Lady Napier arrived at Castlemilk (in Lanarkshire), with the intention of staying a week, but next morning it was announced that a circumstance had occurred which rendered it indispensable for them to return without delay to their own seat in Selkirkshire. It was impossible for Lady Stewart to extract any further explanation at the moment, but it afterwards turned out that Lord Napier?s valet had committed the grievous mistake of packing up a set of neckcloths which
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