228 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. worthy, faithfu’ Provost Dick,”-than ever was either the Bishop of Orkney, or my Lord Holyroodhouse. Sir William Dick of Braid, an eminent merchant of Edinburgh, and proyost of the city in the years 1638 and 1639, presents, in his strangely chequered history, one of the most striking examples of the instability of fortune on record. He was reputed the wealthiest man of his time in Scotland, and was generally believed by his contemporaries to have discovered the philosophers’ stone I Being a zealous Covenanter, he advanced at one time to the Scottish Convention of Estates, in the memorable year 1641, the sum of one hundred thousand merks, to save them from the necessity of disbanding their army ; and, in the following year, the customs were sett to him, “ for 202,000 merks, and 5000 merka of girsoum.’’e On the triumph of Cromwell and the Independents, however, his horror of the Sectaries ” was greater even than his opposition to the Stuarts, and he advanced %20,000 for the service of King Charles. By this step he provoked the wrath of the successful party, while squandering his treasures on a failing cause. He wm unsparingly subjected to the heaviest penalties, until his vast resources dwindled away in vain attempts to satisfy the rapacity of legal extortion, and he died miserably in prison, at Westminster, during the Protectorate, in want, it is said, of even the common necessaries of life.a This romance of real life, was familiar to all during Sir Walter Scott’s early years, and he has represented David Deans exultingly exclaiming :-“ Then folk might see men deliver up their silver to the State’s use, as if it had been as muckle sclate stanes. My father saw them toom the sacks of dollars out 0’ Provost Dick’s window, intill the carts that carried them to the army at Dunse Law ; and if ye winna believe his testimony, there is the window itsell still standing in the Luckenbooths,-at the airn stanchells, five doors abune Advocate’s Close,”’ The old timber gable and the shnchelled window of this Scottish Crcesus, have vanished, like his own dollars, beyond recall, but there is no doubt that the modern and unattractive stone front, extending between Byres’ and Advocate’s Closes only disguises the remarkable building to which such striking historical associations belong. The titles include not only a disposition of the property to Sir William Dick of Braid, but the appraising and disposition of it by his creditors after his death ; and its situation is casually confirmed by a contemporary notice that indicates its importance at the period. In the classification of the city into companies, by order of Charles I., the third division extends “from Gladstone’s Land, down the northern side of the High Street, to Sir William Dick’s Land.”6 The house was afterwards occupied by the Earl of Kintore, an early patron of Allan Ramsay, whose name was given to a small court still ~ remaining behind the front building, although the public mode of access to it has disappeared since the remodelling of the old timber land. Archaeologia Scottica, vol. i. p. 336. Sir Thomas Hope’s Diary, Bano. Club, p. 158. These changes of fortune are commemorated in a folio pamphlet, entitled “ The lamentable state of the deceased It contains several copperplates, one representing Sir William on horseback, and attended with A second The tract is greatly Sir Walter Scott mentions, in a note to the Heart of Midlothian, that the only copy he ever eaw Scott says Gosfwd’s Close, but it is obviously a mistake, as, independent of the direct evidence we have of the true Gersome, or elzheam siller, now pronounced Grassurn. Sir William Dick” guards, aa Lord Provost of Edinburgh, superintending the unloading of one of his rich argosies at Leith. exhibits him ea arrested, and in the hands of the bailiffs, and a third presents him dead in prison. valued by collectors. for d e was valued at 230. site of Sir WiUiam Dick’# house, that close W~JJn ot in the Luckenbooths, the locality he correctly mentions. . Maitland, p. 285.
THE HIGH STREET. 229 Advocate’s Close, which bounds the ancient tenement we have been describing on the east, derives its name from Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees,’ who returned from exile on the landing of the Prince of Orange, and took an active part in the Revolution. He was an object of extreme dislike to the Jacobite party, who vented their spleen against him in their bitterest lampoons, some of which are preserved in the Scottish Pasquils; and to them he was indebted for the sobriquet of Jamie Wylie. Sir James filled the oEce of Lord Advocate from 1692 until his death in 1713, one year excepted, and had a prominent share in all the public transactions of that important period. Being go long in the enjoyment of his official title, the close in which he resided received the name of “ the Advocate’s Close.” The house in which he lived and died is at the foot of the Close, on the west side, immediately before descending a flight of steps that somewhat lessen the abruptness of the steep descent.” In 1769, Sir James Stewart, grandson of the Lord Advocate, sold the house to David Dalrymple of Westhall, Esq., who, when afterwards raised to the Bench, assumed the title of Lord Westhall, and continued to reside in this old mansion till his death.3 This ancient alley retains, nearly unaltered, the same picturesque overhanging gables and timber projections which have, without doubt, characterised it for centuries, and may be taken as a very good sample of a fashionable close in the paluy days of Queen Anne. It continued till a comparatively recent period to be a favourite locality for gentlemen of the law, and has been pointed out to us, by an old citizen, as the early residence of Andrew Crosbie, the celebrated original of ‘‘ Councillor Pleydell,” who forms so prominent a character among the dramatis person@ of The same house already mentioned as that of Sir James Stewart, would answer in most points to the description of the novelist, entering as it does, from a dark and steep alley, and commanding a magnificent prospect towards the north, though now partially obstructed by the buildings of the New Town. It is no mean praise to the old lawyer that he was almost the only one who had the courage to stand his ground against Dr Johnson, during his visit to Edinburgh. Mr Crosbie afterwards removed to the splendid mansion erected by him in St Andrew Square, ornamented with engaged pillars and a highly decorated attic story, which stands to the north of the Royal Bank ; ‘ but he was involved, with many others, in the failure of the Ayr Bank, and died in such poverty, in 1785, that his widow owed her Bole support to an annuity of 350 granted by the Faculty of Advocates. The lowest house on the east side, directly opposite to that of the Lord Advocate, was the residence of an artist of some note in the seventeenth century. It has been pointed out to as by an old citizen recently dead ’ as the house of his (‘ grandmother’s grandfather,” the celebrated John Scougal,‘ painter of the portrait of George Heriot which now hangs in Guy Mannering.” 1 Now called “Moredun” in the parish of Lihberton. The house was built by Sir James SOOU after the Revolution. Sir James Stewart, Provost of Edinburgh in 1648-9, when Cromwell paid his first visit to Edinburgh, and again in 1658-9, at the close of the Protectorate,-purchased the ancient tenement which occupied this site, and after the Revolution, his son, the Lord Advocate, rebuilt it, and died there in 1713, when, “so great was the crowd,” 88 Wodrow tells in his Analecta, “that the magistrates were at the grave in the Greyfriam’ Churchyard before the corpse waa taken out of the house at the foot of the Advocate’a Close.”-Coltnew Collectiona, Maitlaud Club, p. 17. a The house appears from the titles to have been sold by Lord Westhall, in 1784, within a few weeks of hia death. ‘ Now occupied aa Douglas’s Hotel. a John Scougal, younger of that name, was a cousin of Patrick Scougal, consecrated Bishop of Aberdeen in 1664. He added the upper story to the old land in Advccate’e Cloae, and fitted up one of the floors as a picture gallery; iome Mr Andrew Greig, carpet manufacturer.