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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Leith.] AN ANCIENT BEACH. 2 49 and here, too, stands South Leith Poor-house, with the parochial offices facing Junction Road. When the foundations of the hospital here were dug in 1850, indications were discovered of how of the ocean, at some time posterior to Noah, ebbed and flowed over the ground on which these buildings are at present erected.? As the place was in the line of the fortifications, relics ANCIENT PARLIAMENT HOUSE, PARLIAMENT SQUARE. purpura, buccinum, ostrea, myths, and balanus, were found (Robertson). These were seen in extensive layers under marine sand, twelve and fifteen feet below the surface, and twenty-five above high water. ?Being marine shells of existing species, the great mass not edible, and so densely compacted in layers from the hospital to the Junction Road-nearly an acre of land-it may rationally be concluded that the green waters 12 8 as a forty-eight pound ball of a cannon-royale, some antique harness, a large fore!ock, and the wheelcap or stock-point of a piece of artillery. To the Humane Society we have referred, in its cradle at the Burgess Wynd. It would appear that soon after its formation a complete set of apparatus for recovering the drowned was presented to it, and , to the town of Leith, by the Humane Society of
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250 OLD AND NEW EDINBVRGH. [Leith. London, at the request of Lord Balgonie, afterwards Earl of Leven. People of Leith are not likely to forget that the vicinity of the Sheriff Brae is a district inseparably connected with the name of Gladstone, and readers of Hugh Miller?s interesting ?? Schools and Schoolmasters ? will scarcely require to be reminded of the experiences of the stone-mason of Cromarty, in his visit to this quarter of Leith. In Peter Williamson?s Directory for Edinburgh and Leith, 1786-8, we find--? James Gladstones, schoolmaster, No; 4 Leith,? and ? Thomas Gladstones, flour and barley merchant, Coal Hill.? His shop, long since removed, stood where a wood-yard is now. James was uncle, and Thomas the father, of Sir John Gladstone of Fasque, who built the church and almshouses SO near where his thrifty forefathers earned their bread. The Gladstones, says a, local writer, were of Clydesdale origin, and were land-owners there and on the Border. ?I Claiming descent from this ancient and not undistinguished stock, Mr. John Gladstones of Toftcombes, near Biggar, in the Upper Ward of Clydesdale, had, by his wife, Janet Aitken, a son, Thomas, a prosperous trader in Leith, who mamed Helen, daughter of Mr. Walter Neilson of Springfield, and died in the year 1809 ; of this marriage, the deceased baronet (Sir John) was the eldest son.? He was born in Leith on the I Ith December, in the year 1764 and commenced business there at an early age, but soon removed to the more ample field of Liverpool, where, for more than half a century, he took rank with the most successful traders of that opulent seaport, where he amassed great wealth by his industry, enterprise, and skill, and he proved in after life munificent in its disposal. The names of Thomas and Hugh Gladstones, merchants in North Leith, appear in the Directory for 1811, and the marriage of Marion (a daughter of the former) to the Rev. John Watson, Minister of the Relief Congregation at Dunse, in 1799, is recorded in the HeraZd of that year. While carrying on business in Liverpool, John Gladstones was a liberal donor to the Church of England, and after he retired in 1843, and returned to Scotland, he became a not less liberal benefactor to the Episcopal Church there. His gifts to Trinity College, Glenalmond, were very noble, and he contributed largely to the endowment of the Bishopric of Brechin, and he? also built and endowed a church at Fasque, in the Howe of the Mearns, near the beautiful seat he had acquired there. In February, 1835, he had obtained the (Edhburgh Mag., 1788.) royal license to drop the final ? s? with which his father and grandfather had written the name, and t6 restore it to what he deemed the more ancient form of Gladstone, though it is distinctly spelt ?Gladstanes? in the royal charters of King David IL (Robertson?s ?? Index.?) The eminent position occupied by this distinguished native of Leith, as well as his talents and experience, gave his opinions much weight in commercial matters, According to one authority, ?he was frequently consulted on such subjects by ministers of the day, and took many opportunities of making his sentiments known by pamphlets and letters to the newspapers. He was to the last a strenuous supporter of that Protective policy which reigned supreme and almost unquestioned during his youth, and his pen was wielded against the repeal of the Corn and Navigation Laws. He was a fluent, but neither a graceful nor a forcible writer, placing less trust apparently in his style than in the substantial merits of his ample information and ingenious argument.? Desire was more than once expressed to see him in Parliament, and he contested the representation of various places on those Conservative principles to which he adhered through life. Whether taking a prominent part in the strife of politics had excited in him an ambition for Parliamentary life, or, whether it was due, says Mr. George Barnett Smith, in his wellknown ?? Life ? of Sir John Gladstone?s illustrious son, the great Liberal Prime Minister, ?to the influence of Mr. Canning-who early perceived the many sterling qualities of his influential sup porter-matters little; but he at length came forward for Lancaster, for which place he was returned to the Parliament elected in 1819. We next find him member for Woodstock, 1821-6; and in the year 1827 he represented Berwick. Altogether he was a member of the House of Commons for nine years.? In 1846 he was created a baronet, an honour which must have been all the more gratifying that it sprang from the spontaneous suggestion of the late Sir Robert Peel, and was one of the very few baronetcies conferred by a minister who was ?? more than commonly frugal in the grant of titles.? Sir John was twice mamed, and had several children by his second wife, Anne Robertson, daughter of Andrew Robertson, Provost of Dingwall. His youngest son, the Right Hon. William Ewart Gladstone, M.P., born in 1809, has a name that belongs to the common history of Europe. The venerable baronet, who first saw the light in the rather gloomy Coal Hill of Leith, died at his seat of Fasque on the 7th of December, 1851,
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