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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


34= OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [G-ge Sqmm over the head with sufficient strength to cut him down. When this was seen, the casualty was so far beyond what had ever taken place before that both parties fled different ways, leaving poor Green Breeks, with his bright hair plentifully dabbled in ._? blood, to the care of the watchman, who (honest ? man) took care not to know who had done the mischief. The bloody hanger was flung into one of the meadow ditches, and solemn secrecy sworn on all hands j but the remorse and terror of the actor were beyond all bounds, and his apprehensions of the most dreadful character. The wounded hero was for a few days in the infirmary, the case being only a trifling one; but though inquiry was strongly pressed on him, uo argument could make him indicate the person from whom he had received the wound, though he must have been perfectly well known to him. When he recovered, the author and his brother opened a communication with him, through the medium of a popular gingerbread baker, with whom both parties were customers, in order to tender a subsidy in the name of smart-money. The sum would excite ridicule were I to name it ; but I am sure that the pockets of the noted Green Breeks never held so much money of his own. He declined the remittance, saying he would not sell his blood ; but at the same t h e repudiated the idea of being an informer, which he said was clam-that is, base or mean With much urgency he accepted a pound of snuff for the use of some old woman-aunt, grandmother, or the like-with whom he lived. We did not become friends, for the bickers were more agreeable to both parties than any other pacific amusement; but we conducted them ever after under mutual assurances of the highest consideration for each other.?? Lockhart tells us that it was in No. 25 that, at a later period, an acquaintance took place which by degrees ripened into friendship with Francis Jeffrey, born, as we have said, at No. 7, Charles Street, about 150 yards distant from Scott?s house. Here one evening Jeffrey found him in a small den on the sunk floor, surrounded by dingy books, and from thence they adjourned to a tavern and supped together. In that den ? he was collecting ?? the germ of the magnificent library and museum of Abbotsford.? Since those days,? says Lockhart, ? the habits of life in Edinburgh have undergone many changes ; and ? the convenient parlour ? in which Scott first showed Jeffrey his collection of minstrelsy is now, in all probability, thought hardly good enough for a tnenial?s sleeping-room.? There it was, however, that his first assay-piece a~ a poet-his bold rendering of Burger?s weird hre-was produced ; and there it was, too, that by his energy his corps of Volunteer Horse. was developed. The Ediiiburg4 Herald and Chronicle for 20th February, I 7 9 7, announced the formation of the corps thus :- LrAn offer of service, subscribed hy sixty gentlemen and upwards of this city and neighbourhood, engaging to serve as a Corps of Volunteer Lqht Dragoons during the present war, has been presented to His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Lieutenant of the county, who has expressed his high approbation of the pIan. Regular drilb have in consequence been established. ? Such gentlemen as wish to become members of this corps will make their application through &fr. Wulfer Scott, Advacuft-, Gmrge Square, secretary to the committee of management. ?The service is limited to Midlothian, unless in case of actual invasion or the imminent hazard, when it extends to all Scotland. No member of the corps can be required to join unless during his residence within the county.? Of this corps Scott was the quartermaster. In one of his notes to ?Wilson?s Memorials,? the cynical C. K. Sharpe says :-?? My grand-aunt, hfrs. Campbell of Monzie, had the house in George Square that now belongs to Mr. Borthwick (of Crookston). I remember seeing from the window Walter limping home in a cavalry uniform, the most grotesque spectacle that can be conceived. NoSody then cared much about his two German balIads. This was long before I personally knew him.? In 1797 Scott ceased to reside in No. 25 on his marriage, and carried his bride to a lodging in the second floor of No. 108, George Street ; however, the last rod he was under in his ?own romantic town? was that of the Douglas Hotel, St. Andrew Square, where, on his return from Italy, on the 9th of July, 1832, he was brought from Newhave4 in a state of unconsciousness, and after remaining there two nights, was taken home to Abbotsford to die. His signature, in a boyish hand, written with a diamond, still remains on a pane in one of the windows in 25, George Square, or did so till a recent date. On the 19th of June, 1795, Lord Adam Gordon, Commander of the Forces in Scotland, had the honour of presenting, in George Square, a new set of British colours to the ancient Scots Brigade of immortal memory, which, after being two hundred years in the Dutch service, had-save some fifty who declined to leave Holland-joined the British army as the 94th Regiment, on the 9th October in the preceding year, under Francis Dundas. Lord Adam, who was then a very old man, having entered the 18th Royal Irish in 1746, said, with some emotion:--? General Dundas and officers *
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343 - George Square.] LORD DUNCAN. of the Scots Brigade, I have the honour to present these colours to you, and I am very happy in having this opportunity of expressing my wishes that the brigade may continue by good conduct to merit the approbation of our gracious sovereign, and to ?maintain that high reputation which all Europe knows that ancient and respectable corps has most deservedly enjoyed.? His address was received with great applause, - and many of the veterans who had served since their boyhood in Holland were visibly affected. We have already referred to the tragic results of the Dundas riots in this square during 1792, when the mob broke the windows of the Lord Advocate?s house, and those of Lady Arniston and Admiral Duncan, who, with a Colonel Dundas, came forth and assailed the rabble with their sticks, but were pelted with stones, and compelled to fly for she1 t er. The admiral?s house was KO. 5, on the north side of the square, and it was there his family resided while he hoisted his flag on board his ship the Yenwable, and blockaded the Texel, till the mutiny at the Nore and elsewhere compelled him to bear up for the Yarmouth Roads; and in the October of that year (1797) he won the great battle of Camperdown, and with it a British peerage. The great ensign and sword of the Dutch admiral he brought home with him, and instead of presenting them to Government, retained them in his own house in George Square j and there, if we rernember rightly, they were shown by him to Sir James Hall of Dunglass, and his son, the future Captain Basil Hall, then an aspirant for the navy, to whom the admiral said, with honest pride, as he led him into the room where the Dutch ensign hung- ?Come, my lad, and 1?11 show you something worth looking at.? The great admiral died at Kelso in 1804, but for inany years after that period Lady Duncan resided in No. 5. It was while the Lord Advocate Dundas was resident in the square that, at the trial of Muir and the other ?political martyrs,?? he spoke of the leaders of the United Irishmen as ?? wretches who had fled from punishment.? On this, Dr. Drennan, as president, and Archibald Hamilton Rowan of Killileagh, demanded, in 1793, a recantation of this and other injurious epithets. No reply was accorded, and as Mr. Rowan threatened a hostile visit to Edinburgh, measures for his apprehension were taken by the Procurator Fiscal. Accompanied by the Hon. Simon Butler, Mr. Rowan .arrived at Dumbreck?s Hotel, St. Andrew Square, when the former, as second, lost no time in visiting the Lord Advocate in George Square, where he was politely received by his lordship, who said that, ?although not bound to give any explanation of what he might consider proper tu state in his official capacity, yet he would answer Mr. Rowan?s note without delay.? But Mr. Butler had barely returned to Mr. Rowan when they were both arrested on a sheriff?s warrant, but were liberated on Colonel Norman Macleod, M.P., becoming surety for them, and they left Edinburgh, after being entertained at a public dinner by a select number of the Friends of the People in Hunter?s Tavern, Royal Exchange. In No. 30 dwelt Lord Balgray for about thirty years, during the whole time he was on the bench, me of the last specimens of the old race of Scottish judges ; and there he died in 1837. In No. 32 lived for many years Francis Grant of Kilgraston, whose fourth son, also Francis, became President of the Royal Academy, and was knighted [or great skill as an artist, and whose fifth son, General Sir James Hope Grant, G.C.B., served with such distinction under Lord Saltoun in China, and subsequently in India, where he led the 9th Lancers at Sobraon, and who further fought with such distinction in the Punjaub war, and throughout the subsequent mutiny, under Lord Clyde, and whose grave in the adjacent Grange Cemeteryis now so near the scenes of his boyhood. In No. 36 lived Admiral Maitland of Dundrennan, and in No. 53 Lady Don, who is said to have been the last to use a private sedan chair. No. 57 was the residence of the Lord Chief Baron Dundas, and therein, on the 29th of May, 181 I, died, very unexpectedly, his uncle, the celebrated Lord Melville, who had come to Edinburgh to attend the funeral of his old friend the Lord President Blair, who had died a few days before, and was at that time lying dead in No. 56, the house adjoining that in which Melville expired. No. 58 was the house of Dr, Charles Stuart 01 Duneam in the first years of the present century. His father, James Stuart of Dunearn, was a greatgrandson of the Earl of Moray, and was Lord Provost of the city in 1764 and 1768. The doctor?s eldest son, James Stuart of Dunearn, W.S., a well-known citizen of Edinburgh, died in 1849. The private sedan, so long a common feature in the areas or lobbies of George Square, is no longer to be seen there now. In the Edinburgh of the eighteenth century there were fir more sedans than coaches in use. The sedan was better suited for the narrow wynds and narrower closes of the city, and better fitted, under all the circmtances,
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