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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


160 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. 1st. Andrew Street, rewarded by the freedom of the city, which was conferred on him by the magistrates. The house he occupied in St. Andrew?s Lane was a small one, and he had an old and very particular lady as a neighbour on the upper floor. She was frequently disturbed by the hasty and impetuous way in which he rang his bell, and often remonstrated with him thereon, but without avail, which led to much ill-feeling between them. At length, on receiving a very imperative and them by example in buckling on his sword again, as in his youth he had been a lieutenant in the army. In 1787 he retired on account of his health to Dryburgh Abbey, but returning to Edinburgh again, occupied the house 131 George Street, and died in 1829. In St. Andrew Street lived, and died in 1809, in his sixty-eighth year, Major-General Alexander Mackay, who in 1803 commanded the forces in Scotland, and was thirty years upon the staff there. He was QUEEN STREET. petulant message one day, insisting that he should summon his servants in a different manner, great was the old lady?s alarm to hear the loud explosion of a heavy pistol in Arnot?s house ! But he was simply -as he said-complying with her request by firing instead of ringing for his shaving water. In 1784 St. Andrew Street was the residence of David, Earl of Buchan, who in 1766 had been Secretary to the British Embassy in Spain, and who formed the Scottish Society of Antiquaries in 1780. Though much engaged in literary and antiquarian pursuits, he was not an indifferent spectator of the stirring events of the time, and when invasion was threatened, he not only used his pen to create uniqn among his countrymen, bct essayed to rouse I usually named ? Old Buckram,? from the stiffness of his gait, for he ? walked as if he had swallowed a halbert, and his long queue, powdered hair, and cocked hat, were characteristic of a thoroughbred soldier of the olden time.? Sir James Gibson Craig, W.S., of Riccarton, occupied No. 8 North St. Andrew Street in 1830. Proceeding westward, at the north-west corner of South St. David Street we find the house of David Hume, whither he came after quitting his old favourite abode in Janies?s Court. The supenntendence of the erection of this house, in 1770, was a source of great amusement to the historian and philosopher, and, says Chambers, a story is related in more than one way regarding the manner ?4
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St. Cavid Street.] DAVID HUME. 161 which a denomination was conferred upon the street in which his house is situated. ?Perhaps, if it be premised that a corresponding street at the other angle of St. Andrew Square is called St. Andrew Street-a natural enough circumstance with reference to the square, whose title was determined on the plan-it will appear likely that the choosing of ? St. David Street ? for that in which Hume?s house stood was not originally designed as a jest at his expense, though a second thought and whim of his friends might quickly give it that application? Burton, in his ?? Life of Hume,? relates that when the house was first inhabited by him, and when the street was as yet without a name-a very dubious story, as every street was named on the On Sunday the 25th of August, 1776, Hume died in his new house. On the manner of his death, after the beautiful picture which has been drawn of it by his friend, Adam?Smith, we need not enlarge. The coolness of his last moments, unexpected by many, was universally remarked at the time, and is still well known. He was buried in the place selected by himself, in the old burial-ground on the western slope of the Calton HilL A conflict between vague horror of his imputed opinions and respect for the individual who had passed a life so pure and irreproachable, created a great sensation among the populace of Edinburgh, and a vast concourse attended the body to the grave, which for some time was an object of curiosity to many Edinburgh. Adam Smith, Blair, and Ferguson, were within easy reach, and what remains of Hume?s correspondence with Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, Colonel Edmonstone, and Mrs. Cockburn, gives pleasant glimpses of his social surroundings, and enables us to understand his contentment with his absence from the more perturbed, if more brilliant, worlds of Paris and London. In 1775 his health began to fail, and it was evident that he would not long enjoy his new residence. In the spring of the following year his disorder, which appears to have been a hzniorrhage of the bowels, attained such a height that he knew it must be fatal, so he made his will, and wrote ? My Own Life,? the conclusion of which is one of the most cheerful and dignified leave-takings of life and all its concerns. wilderness, and may meditate undisturbedly upon the epitome of nature and man-the kingdoms of this world-spread out before him. Surely there is a fitness in the choice of this last resting-place by the philosopher and historian who saw so clearly that these two kingdoms form but one realm, governed by uniform laws, and based alike on impenetrable darkness and eternal silence; and faithful to the last to that profound veracity which was the secret of his philosophic greatness, he ordered that the simple Roman tomb which marks his grave should bear no inscription but, ?DAVID HUME. Born, 1711. Died, 1776.? Leavhg it to posterity to add the rest.? It is a curious fact, sometimes adverted to in Edinburgh, but which cannot be authenticated, according to the Book of Days, that in the room
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