THE HIGH STREET AND NETHER BO W. 251 so near their ancient burgh. The port was accordingly shut up, and the sluices of the North Loch closed, so as to flood a small mound that had afforded a footpath to the port for the freetraders of this obnoxious village. The battle was stoutly maintained for a time, but the magistrates finding the law somewhat rigid in its investigation of their right over the city ports, and the election most probably being satisfactorily settled meanwhile, they opened the port of their own accord, and allowed the sluices of the North Loch again to run. twenb years, a very handsome and substantial old stone land, with large and neatly moulded windows, and abounding with curious irregular projections, adapting it to its straitened site. Over the main entrance was a finely carved lintel, having the Williamson arms boldly cut in high relief, with the initials I - W - accompanied by a singular device of the moss of passion springing from the centre of a saltier, and the inscription and date in large Roman letters, FEIR - GOD * IN * LUIF * 1595. The ancient timber-fronted land which faces the street at the head of this close is one possessing peculiar claims to our interest, as the scene of Allan Ramsay’s earlier labours, where, “ at the sign of the Mercury, opposite to Niddry’s Wynd,” he prosecuted his latter business as author, editor, and bookseller. From thence issued his poems printed in single sheets, or half sheets, as they were written, in which Fhape they ‘are reported to have found a ready sale; the citizens being in the habit of sending their children with a penny for ‘‘ Allan Ramsay’s last piece.”’ Encouraged by the favourable reception of his poetic labours, he at length published proposals for a re-issue of his works in a collected form, and, accordingly, in 1721, they appeared .in one handsome quarto volume, with a portrait of the author from the pencil of his friend Smibert. Ramsay continued to carry on business at the sign of the Mercury till the year 1725, so that nearly all his original publications issued from this ancient fabric. In that year he removed to the famous land in the Luckenbooths, which has been already minutely described. The accompanying vignette represents the former building as it existed previous to 1845, when a portion of the timber front was removed, and the picturesque character of the old land somewhat marred by modern alterations. Immediately to the east of Ramsay’s old shop, a plain and narrow pend gives access to Carrubber’s Close, the retreat of the faithful remnant of the Jacobites of 1688. Here, about half way down the close, on the east side, St Paul’s Chapel still stands, a plain and unpretending edifice, erected immediately after the Revolution. Thither the persecuted In Kinloch’s Close, immediately adjoining this wpd, there stood, till within the last- - l Scottish Biographical Dictionary, Aficle Ramsay. VIGNETT6Ah.U Ramaay’s shop, opposite Niddry’s Wynd.
252 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. Bishop and his stanch non-jurant followers repaired on the downfall of the national establishment of Episcopacy, and there they continued to worship within its narrow bounds amid frequent interruptions, particularly after the rising of 1745, resolutely persisting for nearly a century in excluding the name of the ‘( Eanoverian usurpers ” from their devotions. The chapel is fitill occupied by a congregation of Scottish Episcopalians, but the homely worshippers of modern times form a striking contrast to the stately squires and dames who once were wont to frequent the unpretending fane that sufficed to accommodate the whole disestablished Episcopacy of the capital. Immediately below the chapel, a huge escalop shell, expanding over the porch of the main entrance to an old tenement, marks the clam-shell land. Here was the house of Ainslie’s master, during Burns’s visit to Edinburgh, at whose table the poet was a frequent guest, while on another floor of the same land, the elder Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, another of the poet’s early friends, resided, until his removal to one of the first erections in the New Town. The whoIe locality, indeed, is in some degree associated with the poet’s friends and favourite haunts in the capita1 ; for on the second floor of the ancient stone land which faces the High Street, at the head of the close, was the abode of Captain Mathew Henderson, &‘a gentleman who held the patent for his honours . immediately from Almighty God,” on whom the poet wrote the exquisite elegy preserved among his works, to the very characteristic motto from Hamlet, “ Should the poor be flattered ? ” This old close was the scene of the only unsuccessful speculation of another poet, whose prudent self-control enabled him through life to avoid the sorrows that so often beset the poet’s path, and to find in the Muse the handmaid of wealth. Allan Ramsay was strongly attached to the drama, and in his desire for its encouragement, he built a play-house at the foot of Carrubber’s Close, about the year 1736, which involved him in very considerable expense. It was closed immediately after by the act for licensing the stage, which was passed in the following year, and the poet’s sole resource was in writing a rhyming complaint to the Court of Session, which appeared soon after in the Gentleman’s Magazine. The abortive play-house has since served many singular and diverse purposes. It is the same building, we believe, which bore the name of St Andrew’s Chapel, bestowed on it soon after the failure of the poet’s dramatic speculation. In 1773 it formed the arena for the debates of the Pantheon, a famous speculative club. In 1788, Dr Moyea, the ingenious lecturer on Natural Philosophy, discoursed there to select and fashionable audiences Qn optics, the property of light, and other branches of science, in regard to which his most popular qualification was, that he had been blind almost from his birth. Since then the pulpit of St Andrew’a Chapel has been filled by Mr John Barclay, the founder of the sect of modern Bereans; by the Rev. Mr Tait, and other founders of the Rowites, during whose occupancy the celebrated Edward Trving frequently officiated. The chapel has also been engaged by Relief and Secession congregations, by the Roman Catholics as a preaching station and schoolroom, and more recently as a hall for lectures and debates of all kinds ;-a8 strange and varied a medley of actors as even the fertile fancy of the poet could have foreshadowed for his projected play-house.‘ l It: was latterly called Whitefield Chapel, used for meetings of the Carrubber’s Close Mdiasion. It haa now been demolished in the conatruction of Jeffrey Street.