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valleys, whose verdure and high state of cul. tivation are agreeably opposed to the romantic elevations and crags by which they are enclosed. These hills form a magnificent amphitheatre, in which stands the Scotch capital. I had the curiosity to mount to the highest of the rocks, called “ Arthur's Seat;" from the top of this eminence, the prospect is very interesting. The German Sea, the Firth of Forth, the capital and the romantic scenery on all sides, afford a delightful treat to the eye. That part
of the hill on the west which overlooks the city, presents a semi-circular range of precipitous rocks, which convey the idea of a mural crown.
The appearance which the Old Town presents at a distance, has been compared to the back of a turtle—the castle being considered as the head of the turtle, High street as the ridge of its back, the various wynds and closes which strike off as its ribs, and Holyroodhouse as the tail. When to this peculiar situation we add the singular combination of its various edifices, we are presented with scenes, the effect of which it is impossible to conceive.
The sombre shadows cast by the immense piles of building, the singular windings, and the alleys which admit here and there streams of light through the dark streets, the interminable stairs which lead to the tops of the aerial mansions, the fantastic emblems and endless variety of carved work on the windows and doors, and the hieroglyphics on the shields,
rests and pavilions,--all these singularities roduce a most striking effect, and increase at very step the traveller's astonishment.
The South-Bridge arches over the valley in vhich the Cowgate runs, The existence of his bridge is not apparent at first view, as it s almost blocked up by rows of buildings; but on advancing to the top of the arch, we see that we are raised above the heads of the inhabitants of Cowgate, who appear to live in a different atmosphere. Sometimes, at night, I take a solitary ramble through this singular assemblage of buildings, and, like Geoffrey Crayon, I have often to explore divers little alleys, elbows and dark passages, with which this old city is perforated, like an ancient cheese, or a worm-eaten chest of drawers.
This irregular assemblage offers, by night - especially, says the great unknown Scotch no
velist," a spectacle which, though composed of the most vulgar materials when they are separately considered, has, when they are combined, a striking and powerful effect upon the imagination."
I had once to pay rather dearly for my curiosity; for as I was returning from an evening stroll through Cowgate, I was inundated with a liquid of most villainous-smell,” which was throwa from an upper window. “The Scotch, who certainly learned this most laudable practice from the French, (says the Quarterly Review,) carried it down to a late period; and we are not quite sure if an attentive damsel might
not still, in some parts of the auld toun of Ed. inburgh, hear herself greeted with the once familiar sound of Haud your haunde, lassie!"
There are but few beggars in Edinburgh; employment and food are dealt out to the indigent, and no excuse is left for mendicants. The Scotch are generally industrious, economical and provident; when they cannot find employment in their Land o' Cakes, they know that “ the world is all before them where to choose," and there is hardly a spot of the habitable globe, in which Scotchmen have not tried their fortunes. Societies for the suppression of mendicants, and for the encouragement of industry among the poor, have met with great success in Edinburgh. Indeed this evil can never be rooted out of a large city, until beggars are deprived of all pretext for begging, by the establishment of general workhouses, the gates of which, like the gates of heaven, (says Baretti) should be opened wide to the distressed man, to the helpless babe and orphan, to the repenting prostitute, to every creature that knocks."
DRYDEN's Religio Laici.
Edinburgh, December 17, 1818. I HAVE been reading with great pleasure Laing's History of Scotland. It is a continua
on of Dr. Robertson, and takes the history own to the union of the kingdoms in Queen Anne's reign. It is written with clearness and recision, but neither with the philosophical lepth of Hume, nor with the sprightliness and olish of Robertson. Laing appears to be a ational friend of liberty, and a great enemy
of he whole Stuart race, he has a long dissertaion at the beginning of his work, to prove the articipation of the unfortunate Mary in the nurder of Darnley. He presents a very intructive view of the ecclesiastical government of Scotland, and of the gradations and abolition of episcopal jurisdiction. After the reformacion, preeminence in sacerdotal rank was abol
shed in countries enjoying the blessings of a free government, as incompatible with liberty and the humility of the primitive christians. This ecclesiastical equality was transplanted from Geneva to Scotland, and was productive of a striking alliance between a republican church and a monarchical government. After the death of the bonny earl of Murray, the discipline and forms of the Scotish church were recognized and confirmed by parliament, and “the experience of a century (says Laing) demonstrates that the genius of presbytery can repose in peace under the tranquil shade of a limited monarchy.”
The presbyterians of the early kirk must have been a most unamiable set of mortals, if we may judge from the writings of those
times. Hudibras describes them as a born crew of errant saints,”
- Such as do build their faith upon
We are presented in “ Old Mortality" with a striking picture of the headlong fanaticism of the Cameronians. Mause Headrigg, Poundtext, Mackbriar and Burley are models of manaical devotion to the wild doctrines which then prevailed. Mackbriar's eloquence was free from the grosser and more ludicrous errors of his contemporaries, and the language of Scripture, which in their mouths was sometimes degraded by misapplication, gave, in his exhortation (says the great novelist) a rich and solemn effect, like that which is produced by the beams of the sun streaming through the storied representation of saints and martyrs on the Gothic window of some ancient cathedral. What a horrible picture is drawn of the personal appearance, “wild and glaring visage, and shocking principles of the fanatical Habbakuk! This ghastly apparition, whose voice “ made the very beams of the roof quiver," is described with such frightful truth, that he appears present to the reader's imagination; the daring impiety with which he applies Scriptural phrases to his blood-thirsty purposes, makes one shudder with horror, and exclaim" what black magician conjures up this