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THE IMPERIAL MAGAZINE.
CITY OF EDINBURGH.
(With an Engraviog of HIIGII STREET, in the Old Town.)
This Capital of Scotland, which is ancient, large, and populous, is situated in the northern part of the county of Mid Lothian, or Edinburghshire, about two miles south of the estuary of the river, or Frith of Forth—three hundred fand eighty miles north-west of London and two hundred and twenty-five north-east of Dublin.
The origin of Edinburgh, both as to its name and history, is involved in much obscurity.
The former has been variously spelt, and several sources have been assigned to furnish its derivation. Of these, the most probable is from the Gaelic, Edin, “the steep face of a rock," a compound, which occurs in Edenbelly, Edinmore, and other local appellations. When the Saxons obtained possession, Dun Edin became Edinburgh, and the former name is still retained by the Highlanders.
In the days of Agricola, the part of Scotland in which Edinburgh stands, formed the province of Valentia. On the departure of the Romans, this province fell into the hands of the Saxon invaders, and continued in their possession till the defeat of Egfrid, king of Northumberland, by the Picts, in the year 685.
To David I. Edinburgh must have been indebted for the distinction of being a royal borough, as by this monarch royal boroughs were first established in Scotland; and, in his charter of foundation of the Abbey of Holyrood-house, it appears under this distinguishing appellation.
During the reign of Alexander II. in 1215, the first parliament was held in Edinburgh; but it was not until after the year 1456, when parliaments continued to be held regularly in this city, that it was considered as the capital of Scotland.
The oldest charter in the archives of the town, is one granted by Robert I. in 1329, in which he bestows upon Edinburgh the town of Leith, with its harbour and mills. In a subsequent year, his grandson, who ascended the throne under the name of Robert III., conferred on its burgesses the privileges of erecting houses in the Castle, provided they were persons of good fame.
When James III. was at variance with his nobles, in 1482, the inhabitants so distinguished themselves in his behalf, that he granted them two charters, in which, among various other privileges, the provost was made high sheriff within the city, an office which is still enjoyed by the chief magistrate. The town council was also invested with the power of making statutes for the government of the city; and the corporate trades were presented with a banner, known by the name of the “ Blue Blanket.” This still exists, and is always confided to the convener of the trades. 2D. SERIES, NO. 9.-VOL. I.
In the year 1504, the tract of land to the south of the city, called the Burrough Muir, or Borough Moor, being covered with wood, the town council enacted, that whoever should purchase a sufficiency of wood to make a new front to his house, should be at liberty to extend it seven feet into the street. This act of legislative folly was too tempting to be resisted; and Edinburgh, in consequence, was filled in a short time with houses of wood instead of stone ; and the principal street was reduced fourteen feet in breadth.
Edinburgh is on all sides surrounded by lofty hills, except to the northward, where the ground gently declines to the Frith of Forth. Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Craigs, and Calton Hill, bound it, on the east; the hills of Braid, and the extensive Pentland ridge on the south; and the beautiful Corstorphine Hill, on the west. The principal part of the Old Town is built upon a hill of singular form, which, rising gradually from east to west, is terminated towards the west by a precipice three hundred feet in height. On the rock forming this extremity of the hill, stands the Castle; and, along the summit of the ridge is carried the street represented in the Engraving, which, under the several denominations of Lawn-market, Highstreet, and Cannon-gate, extends from the Castle to the place where the elevation of the hill commences, a distance of somewhat more than a mile. This street, at its eastern extremity, is terminated by the palace of Holyrood House, of which an Engraving was published in our Number for March.
On each side of the hill, which thus forms the central part of the city, is another ridge of ground, inferior, however, in elevation, and terminating much less abruptly. The southern hill is covered with what might be termed the new part of the Old Town; which, though it contains many good streets and buildings, is laid out without much regard to that regularity and order by which the New Town is distinguished. It is connected with the central ridge by a bridge of nineteen arches. The intervening valley is occupied by a long narrow street, called Cow-gate, from which numerous streets and alleys run up the sides of the hill to High-street.
The New Town is the peculiar pride of Edinburgh; and, so far as regularity of design, beauty of situation, and architectural excellence, are concerned, it may be considered as the most splendid assemblage of buildings in the kingdom. It stands on a ridge at the north of the Old Town, from which it is separated by a deep valley, formerly a morass, called the North Loch. Its plan is exceedingly simple. Three principal streets, extending nearly a mile in parallel lines from east to west, are intersected at right angles, and at equal distances by cross streets, about a quarter of a mile in length.
Across the valley, which separates the Old from the New Town, a bridge was erected and finished in 1772 ; and farther west, across the same valley, is an earthen mound, chiefly formed of the rubbish removed in digging the foundations of the newly erected houses, which was begun in 1783. The South Bridge, the chief communication with the southern part of the town, runs in a line with the North Bridge; this was finished in 1788. A third bridge, named “King George the Fourth's Bridge,” is now erecting, nearly on a line with Bank-street, to connect the western part of the New Town with the southern district. Prior to the erection of these bridges, the only communication to the south and north was by those steep and narrow lanes, called closes and wynds, which descend from both sides of the High-street. The North Bridge is remarkable for the lightness and elegance of its structure, and for the singularity of the views which it commands.
The most prominent objects in the Old Town, connected with Highstreet, are, Holyrood Palace at one extremity, and the venerable Castle at the other. Of the former, an account has already been published in connexion with the Engraving, but the latter is of too much importance to be passed over in silence.
This prominent object, which may be seen from many miles distant, is separated from the buildings of the street by an esplanade of about three hundred and fifty feet in length, and three hundred in breadth. The area of the rock on which the Castle stands measures about seven English acres. The rock itself is elevated three hundred and eighty-three feet above the level of the sea, and is accessible only on the eastern side, all the others being nearly perpendicular. The Castle, which is of great antiquity; has been held as a fortress from the earliest times. The buildings within are generally occupied as a station for soldiers. Here the Scottish regalia are kept, and strangers are shewn these and other relics of antiquity; also the room in which Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only son, afterwards James I., king of England.
Near the centre of High-street, on the south side, stands the Church of St. Giles. This is an old irregular gothic building, forming the north side of a small square, called the Parliament Square, from the buildings erected in it, where the Scottish Parliament formerly met. This church appears in the form of a cross, with an elevation of one hundred and sixtyone feet. It is rendered remarkable by its square tower, from which a turret ascends composed of four arches intersecting each other in the form of an imperial crown. The date of the foundation is uncertain, but it was erected into a collegiate church by James II., and, after the Reformation, was divided into four places of worship. In this church, the Regent Murray, who so zealously promoted the Reformation, and Napier of Merchiston, the inventor of the logarithms, lie interred. One of its aisles is appropriated to the annual meetings of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
The original building, which still retains the name of Parliament House, was commenced in 1632, and was completed in 1640, at an expense of £11,000 sterling. The whole of its front was, however, faced up and covered, in 1807, by an open arcade in the Grecian style. The great Hall, one hundred and twenty-two feet in length by 40 in breadth, where the Parliament met, still remains; and its noble roof, which is of oak, and finished in the Norman style is much admired. In this Hall is a colossal statue of the late Lord Melville. In the adjoining chamber of the first division of the court, there is a statue of Lord President Blair, and in the other, a statue of Lord President Forbes. Another portion of the building contains the court-room, and apartments for the business of the Exchequer, and additional buildings have been recently erected for the accommodation of the supreme courts.
In front of the building was an equestrian statue of Charles II; and, connected with the Parliament House is a modern erection, containing the splendid and valuable libraries of the faculty of advocates and writers to the signet. These libraries are well deserving the attention of every stranger visiting this northern metropolis.
The County Hall, built on the model of the temple of Erechtheus in the Acropolis of Athens, stands a little to the westward of St. Giles's Church. The Royal Exchange buildings, where the city courts are held, appear on the north side of High-street, not far from St. Giles's.
The buildings in general, throughout the Old Town, are of an extraor
dinary height, many rising to an elevation of twelve or thirteen stories. The houses in High-street, though of many stories in front, as may be seen in the Engraving, are much higher in the rear, from being erected upon the sides of the hill on which they stand. This street, in the sixteenth century, commanded the admiration of foreigners, its houses having been compared to palaces; and although it may not now be regarded with the same degree of enthusiasm, owing to the great improvements which since that period have taken place in every considerable city in Europe, it still maintains its pre-eminence over every other, upon which the refinements of modern art have not been lavished.
ON THE ABUSE, AND THE PROPER USE, OF THE WORLD.
To know how to “use the world, so as not disgust. They enervate the mind, and to abuse it,” is the grand secret of terres induce a profound stupor to the sober trial felicity, which the hoary sages of the enjoyments and decent comforts of ordiheathen world, in the brightest era of Athe- nary life, for want of adequate stimulants nian learning, and the proudest period of to arouse its powers from stagnating into Roman glory, but dimly descried. To this passive indifference, or indolent apathy. also, the grave moralists of later days have The conduct of those who abuse the directed their attention, and all have left to blessings of existence, those rich blessings future generations the accumulated wisdom that are so profusely scattered around the of years of laborious study and extensive path of man's brief pilgrimage, besides research. The greatest ethical writers, being highly pernicious to the interests of whose names are inscribed in the temple society, is equally injurious to individual of fame, have always aimed at enforcing a comfort and personal welfare; as it unsystematic prosecution of conduct so laud- questionably entails distress, misery, and able, and practice so beneficial, by argu- disease in all their forms, and under ments at once persuasive and popular, by all their varied aspects. By their pronemotives the most pressing, and incitements ness to profligacy, they cause disaffection the most awful. But, above all other autho- in the humbler part of mankind, who paturities, the whole scope and tendency of the rally look up to their superiors as examples. didactic morality of the Bible is, to urge These, when they see wealth squandered and inculcate this paramount duty and in pompous magnificence, and dissipated essential truth.
in luxurious indulgence, soon learn to conPleasure intemperately pursued, as well trast their own hard fare and mean abode, as mirth unduly prolonged, disturbs that with what they discover, till at length displacid enjoyment which moderation en respect ripens into revenge, and thus presures, and facilitates the approach of sor pares the way for tumult and sedition. row and sadness. Those who have wealth There are barriers which propriety and and luxury at command, think they may duty, virtue and religion, erect, restraints revel with propriety in unbounded riot, and which good sense suggests and experience pursue a course of unrestrained indulgence. confirms, beyond which, they who transAll the energies of their souls are absorbed gress, incur the loss of reputation and innoin the hopes of obtaining some novel gra- cence, and forfeit the esteem of the wise tification for each succeeding day, until the and the good. whole round of stated amusements has been Independent of all future considerations, repeatedly visited, till their whole resources to sip of every cup of pleasure, and regale are exhausted, and nothing sufficiently attic at every feast where invitation is proffered, remains to awaken curiosity, or kindle regardless whether there is a poisonous desire. They devote their time, with a zest infusion in the one, or a contaminating worthy of a better cause, to keep excite- influence at the other-certainly displays ment from languishing, and ardour from the height of madness, and reaches to the cooling. But a repetition of the same very meridian of folly. For all kinds of gratifications soon satiates, and a constant excess, it is well known, debilitates the succession of the same amusements will human body, and transforms the bounties "tend in time to produce dissatisfaction and of nature, which were intended for our
good, into a prolific source of unspeakable dependants, they shall earn the paltry disevils. A great part of the miseries which tinction of being more conspicuously the afflict, and the troubles which disquiet, of terror of those who are placed near enough the pains endured, and the hardships sus to feel the effects of their supercilious betained, arise from this, as the procuring haviour. They unceremoniously encroach cause. To this unhallowed shrine, health on the just rights of the poor, and unheis daily sacrificed; here youth is enfeebled, sitatingly debar them of their scanty dignity of character despised, and peace of pittance. But it is generally the case, that mind heedlessly disturbed. All that makes of those who abuse their superiority of stalife agreeable, and joy exhilarating, lies tion, the triumph is but of short duration, within the bounds of sobriety and mode- retribution overtakes them even in this life; ration, at an equal remove from the un and a voice is heard to issue from the social gloom of the anchorite's retreat, sacred page, declaring, in tremendous and the hurtful glare of the voluptuary's accents," He that oppresseth the poor, abode.
reproacheth his Maker;" and “the Lord Men of avaricious dispositions, who will plead their cause, and spoil the soul make gain the paramount object of their of those that spoiled them.” endeavours, are in an equal degree abusers He who “uses this world as not abusing of the world, with the men who make it," is the best capable of extracting its pleasure the sole end and ultimate aim of sweets, and avoiding its bitter, dregs ; of their solicitude. He who has ample pos- deriving happiness refined from all sordid sessions at command, and is sordidly adhesions, and of partaking intellectual attached to the mere accumulation of gain, delights of the highest order, unknown to who deprives himself of accessible com- those who mingle indiscriminately in its forts, and denies the means of innocent polluted streams, and whirl heedlessly in gratification to others; relieves not the its destructive eddies. He lives in an wants of the indigent, offers no succour to elevated region, above the stormy atmosthe widow and the orphan, repairs not to phere of vindictive minds, maintaining the bed of sickness, nor lightens the burden an habitual serenity of temper, and a of decrepitude; who has no other pleasure fixed equanimity of spirit. He regards than that of “ adding house to house, and human life as a mixed state, where hapfield to field;" who is neither the dispenser piness and misery are somewhat propornor the participator of the bounties com- tionably weighed and distributed, where mitted to his care—is a despicable wretch, the wheel of vicissitude is constantly revolva proper object of detestation and scorn, ing, elevating some to bask in the genial the votary of mammon, and the slave of rays of prosperity, and carrying others covetousness. The commerce of the world down the vale of adversity, where the frost is not a forbidden, but a lawful object of of veglect is destined to cover them. He pursuit to the Christian, where he may has learned to be moderate in his expecobtain both profit and delight, where he tations, and not to hold the goods of formay find fresh materials for gratitude and tune with too tenacious a grasp ; and to submission, and frequent opportunities leave the operation of events to the disarising from its casualties, for meditation posal of Him who has the control of the and prayer. It is not its right and legi- universe, and governs the whole complitimate use, but its abuse, that constitutes cated system of being. So that merely its bane.
adventitious distinctions, and fortuitous Another class of abusers are those who occurrences, neither elate him with unwarmay be denominated haughty in their rantable expectations of success, nor dedemeanour, and tyrannical in their com- press him with undefinable emotions of mands. These treat their fellow.creatures dread, if adverse circumstances arise, to as beings of an inferior race, forgetting blast his prospects, and oppose bis endeathat the lowest menial can boast of the vours to advance his family, or benefit the same origin with his liege lord, that “ of general community of mankind. the earth, earthy;" that “God is no In the world in which we dwell, there respecter of persons," and therefore the are various duties incumbent on us to perservant sta on'a natural equality with form, some of a subordinate class, and his master, though the present artificial dis- others of a more important range. There tinctions of society may at first sight seem is a thick phalanx of dangers to be to contradict the existence of such a close shunned, and a formidable array of trials alliance. They think that, by oppressing to be encountered and subdued. These the weak, abashing the timorous, and are the opportunities which he has afforded swelling with inflated arrogance over their him, to bring his principles to the test, and