of the present century, the following picture drawn by lord Cockburn, could not be considered overcharged:“ There was diffused the influence of a greater number of persons attached to literature and science, some as their calling and some for pleasure, than could be found, in proportion to the population, in any other city in the empire. Within a few years, including the period I am speaking of, the college contained principal Robertson, Joseph Black, his successor Hope, the second Munro, James Gregory, John Robison, John Playfair, and Dugald Stewart ; none of them confined monastically to their books, but all-except Robison, who was in bad health — partaking of enjoyment. Episcopacy gave us the rev. Archibald Alison ; and in Blair, Henry, John Home, sir Harry Moncrieff, and others, Presbytery made an excellent contribution, the more to be admired that it came from a church which eschews rank and boasts of poverty. The law—to which Edinburgh has always been so largely indebted-sent its copious supplies ; who, instead of disturbing good company by professional matter-an offence with which the lawyers of every place are charged-were remarkably free from this vulgarity ; and being trained to take difference of opinion easily, and to conduct discussions with forbearance, were, without undue obtrusion, the most cheerful people that were to be met with. Lords Monboddo, Hailes, Glenlee, Meadowbank, and Woodhouselee, all literary judges, and Robert


Blair, Henry Erskine, and Henry Mackenzie, senior, were at the earlier end of this file ; Scott and Jeffrey at the later ; but including a variety of valuable persons between these extremities. Sir William Forbes, sir James Hall, and Mr. Clerk, of Eldin, represented a class of country gentlemen cultivating learning on its own account. And there were several who, like the founder of the Huttonian theory, selected this city for their residence solely from the consideration in which science and letters were here held, and the facilities, or rather the temptations, presented for their prosecution. Philosophy had become indigenous in the place, and all classes, even in their gayest hours, were proud of the presence of its cultivators. Thus learning was improved by society, and society by learning. And, unless when party spirit interfered, which at one time, however, it did frequently and bitterly, perfect harmony and lively cordiality prevailed.

" And all this was still a Scotch scene. The whole country had not begun to be absorbed in the ocean of London. There were still little great places--places with attractions quite sufficient to retain men of talent or learning in their comfortable and respectable provincial positions ; and which were dignified by the tastes and institutions which learning and talent naturally rear.” Such was Edinburgh about the year

1800. The author of the passage just quoted seems, however, to lament that the glory of the scene has been dimmed, and dreads apparently the influence of the English capital upon her northern sister. “At the period I am referring to," he observes, “the combination of quiet with aristocracy made Edinburgh the resort, to a far greater extent than it is now, of the families of the gentry, who used to leave their country residences and enjoy the pleasur which their presence tended to promote. Many of the curious characters and habits of the preceding age, the last purely Scotch age that Scotland was destined to see, still lingered among us. Several were then to be met with who had seen the Pretender, with his court and his wild followers, in the palace of Holyrood. Almost the whole official state, as settled at the Union, survived; and all graced the capital, unconscious of the economical scythe which has since mowed it down. All our nobility had not then fled, A few had sense not to feel degraded by being happy at home. The old town was not quite deserted. Many of our principal people still dignified its picturesque recesses and historical mansions, and were dignified by them. The closing of the continent sent many excellent English families and youth among us, for education and for pleasure. The war brightened us with uniforms, and strangers, and shows. According to the modern rate of travelling, the capitals of Scotland and of England were then about 2,400 miles asunder. Edinburgh was still more distant in its style and habits. It had its own independent tastes,


and ideas, and pursuits. Enough of the generation that was retiring survived to cast an antiquarian air over the city; and the generation that was advancing was still a Scotch production. Its character may be estimated by the names I have mentioned ; and by the fact that the genius of Scott and of Jeffrey had made it the seat at once of the most popular poetry and the most brilliant criticism that then existed. The city has advantages—including its being the capital of Scotland, its old reputation, and its external beauties—which have enabled it, in a certain degree, to resist the centralizing tendency, and have hitherto always supplied it with a succession of eminent

But now that London is at our door, how precarious is our hold of them, and how many have we lost!"

We would be slow, however, to acquiesce in these forebodings, and would rather cherish the hope that Edinburgh may long possess increasing attractions, and advancing prosperity. Certain it is that she still numbers among her citizens a large and influential class, distinguished for literary and scientific attainments, whose names, at the close of another halfcentury, will doubtless, in the retrospect of some future chronicler, be mentioned with a respect akin to that with which we now review the brilliant list enumerated by lord Cockburn.

Literature, art, and science must, however, when beheld through a Christian medium, be regarded as only secondary objects in our


estimate of the condition either of individuals or communities. When the apostle of old trod the streets of the capital of Attica, amidst her rows of stately temples, her breathing statues, and scenery of surpassing loveliness, his spirit was grieved because" he saw the city wholly given to idolatry." The altar erected to " the unknown God” proclaimed that the Greek, with all his acquirements, was ignorant of that knowledge, without which all other is unavailing. Here, happily, any parallel between the ancient and modern Athens fails.

That God, who was in the one city “ignorantly worshipped,” has been in the other, through the medium of his word, made known in all his great and glorious attributes. The solemn message of his word, that all have sinned and come short of his glory, has been there announced; while the tidings of his grace, that he has so loved us as to give his Son as a propitiation for sin through faith in his blood; that he is just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus, have been with equal fulness announced.

That Modern Edinburgh may long continue a centre of evangelical light and truth, increasingly diffusing blessings upon the community of which she is the capital, is the fervent aspiration with which we close these pages.


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