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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


LddI.1 JOHN coat in which he rode, Dr. Carlyle turned a little out of the road to procure from a clergyman of their acquaintance the loan of a pair of saddlebags, in which to deposit the MS.? The latter was also rejected by Garrick, ?with the mortifying declaration that it was totally unfit for the stage.? Yet it was brought out at Edinburgh by Digges, on the 14th December, 1756, and produced that storm of fanaticism to which we have referred in a former part of this work. It had a run then unprecedented, and though a rather dull work, has maintained a certain popularity almost to the present day. To escape the censiires of the kirk, he resigned HOME. 241 his living, and published several other tragedies; and after the accession of George 111. to the throne he received a pension of A300 per annum. In 1763 he obtained the then sinecure appointment of Conservator of Scottish Privileges at Campvere (in succession to George Lind, Provost of Edinburgh)] and also the office of Commissioner for Sick and Wounded Seamen. In 1779 he removed to Edinburgh, where he spent the latter years of his life, and married a lady of his own name, by whom he had no children. Home?s ?? Douglas? is now no longer regarded as the marvel of genius it once was ; but the author was acknowledged in his lifetime to be vain of it, ST. JAMES?S EPISCOPALIAN CHURCH, 1882. (Affta a Pho#ogm#h by Nr.1. Clrapman.)
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242 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith. up to the full average of poets, yet his vanity was of a very inoffensive kind. Mrs. Sarah Siddons, when visiting the Edinburgh Theatre, always spent an occasional afternoon with Mr. and Mrs. Home, at their neat little house in North Hanover Street, and of one of these visits Sir Adam Fergusson was wont (we have the authority of Robert Chambers for it) to relate the following anecdote :-They were seated at early dinner, attended by Home?s old man-servant John, when the host asked Mrs. Siddons what liqueur or wine she preferred to drink. A.little porter,? replied the tragedy queen, in her usually impressive voice; and Johs was despatched to procure what he thought was required, But a considerable time elapsed, to the surprise of those at table, before steps were heard in the outer lobby, and John re-appeared, panting and flushed, exclaiming, ?I?ve found ane, mem t he?s the least I could get !? and with these words he pushed in a short, thickset Highlander, whose leaden badge and coil of ropes betokened his profession, ? but who seemed greatly bewildered on finding himself in a gentleman?s dining-room, surveyed by the curious eyes of one of the grandest women that ever walked the earth. The truth flashed first upon Mrs. Siddons, who, unwonted to laugh, was for once overcome by a sense of the ludicrous, and broke forth into something like shouts of mirth;? but Mrs. Home, we are told, had not the least chance of ever understanding i t Home accepted a captain?s commission in the Duke of Buccleuch?s Fencibles, which he held till that corps was disbanded, His last tragedy was ?Alfred,? represented in 1778, when it proved an utter failure. In 1776 he accompanied his friend Ilavid Hume, in his last illness, from Morpeth to Bath. He never recovered the shock of a fall from his horse when on parade with the Buccleuch Fencibles ; and his ? History of the Rebellion,? perhaps his best work in some respects (though it disappointed the public), and the task of his declining years, was published at London in 1802. He died at Edinburgh, in his eightyfourth par, and was buried in South Leith churchyard, where a tablet on the west side of the church marks the spot. It is inscribed :--?In niemory of John Home, author of \the tragedy of ?Douglas,? &c. Born 13th September, 1724. Died 4th September, 1808.? Before recurring to general history, we may here refer to another distinguished native of Leith, Robert Jamieson, Professor of Natural History, who was born in 1779 in Leith, where his father was a merchant, and perhaps the most extensive manufacturer of soap in Scotland. He was appointed Regius Professor and Keeper of the Museum, or *? Repository of Natural Curiosities in the University of Edinburgh,? on the death of Dr. Walker, in 1804; but he had previously distinguisbed himself by the publication of three valuable works connected with the natural history of the? Scottish Isles, after studying for two years at Freyberg, under the famous Werner, He was author of ten separate works, all contributing to the advancement of natural history, but more especially of geology, and his whole life was devoted to study and investigation. Whether in the class-room or by his writings, he was always alike entitled to and received the gratitude and esteem of the students. In 1808 he founded the Wernerian Natural History Society of Edinburgh, and besides the numerous separate works referred to, the world is indebted to him for the Edinburgh PhiZosophicaZ Journal, which he started in 1819, and which maintained a reputhion deservedly high as a repository of science. The editorial duties connected with it he performed for nearly twenty years (for the first ten volumes in conjunction with Sir David Brewster), adding many brilliant articles from his own pen, and, notwithstanding the varied demands upon his timq was a contributor to the ?? Edinburgh Encyclopzdia,? the ?? Encyclopzdia Britannia,? the Annals of Philosophy,? the U Edinburgh Cabinet Library,? and many other standard works. He was for half a century a professor, and had the pleasure of sending forth from his class-room in the University of Edinburgh many pupils who have since won honour and renown in the seminaries and scientific institutions of Europe. He was a fellow of many learned and Royal Societies, and was succeeded in the Chair of Natural History in 1854 by Edward Forbes.
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