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Edinburgh Observer,




no. 1-11

No. I.



Address to the Public. THE utility of periodical publications, of a miscellaneous | periods, it is hoped, will afford ample gratification to that nature, has been long acknowledged. But on the com- eager spirit of inquiry for wbich our countrymen are mencement of a new work of this description, some ex distinguished, and will be peculiarly adapted to the con, planation of the nature and design of the undertaking is veniency of a numerous class of readers. usually expected.

Considering how rarely it happens that the premature With the return of the arts of Peace, men are naturally promises of excellence which are usually held out in the led into the calmer pursuits of life; and those hours which commencement of a new undertaking are fulfilled, the were daily passed in anxious anticipations on the mighty conductors of the EDINBURGH OBSERVER are desirous events which lately arrested the attention of the world, of appealing to the judgment of the Public, by a reference or in reflections on the triumphs and disappointments of to the work itself, rather than of anticipating confidence military operations, must now be devoted to less splendid, by the display of an elaborate and ingenious plan which but more useful objects. The great number of new pe may never be fully executed; and for the same reason, riodical journals which have been lately instituted in Eu- they have been now more anxious to exhibit, by attempt. rope, is not less a proof of the remarkable change that ing a jødicious variety of selection, an exemplification of has taken place in the condition and feelings of mankind, the plan to be pursued, than by a strained effort to gain than an indication of an increased desire of knowledge, a character by the publication of a single Number. If and a pleasing presage of the progressive improvement of assiduity and industry be essential to success, whatever human society. Single sheets and Magazines, whose pages may be its other merits, the Edinburgh Observer will not : are occupied with matter of a miscellaneous and less fu fail in securing some portion of the countenance and apgitive kind than what generally finds a place in most probation of the public. Newspapers, have now a wide circulation : a publication Politics form no essential part of the plan now pro-once a fortnight has been greatly encouraged in several posed; but it is a subject which will not altogether escape provincial towns of England, and one which is to appear attention. An impartial detail of facts shall be our first at similar intervals has been announced at Rome. object; and our sentiments shall never be concealed un

The plan of the present Journal is to embrace an ex. der the affected guise of impartiality, which is too often a tepsive variety of useful and entertaining topics ;- to dark covering to insidious designs and opinions of which bring together, within narrow limits, the principal infor- prudence forbids the open avowal : we have no hesitation, mation dispersed through other publications of a like na at the commencement, in declaring our attachment to the ture, with the addition of such remarks and discussions constitution of our country, and our dasire to fix on the as may be suggested in the progress of our labours, or minds of our fellow citizens a deep impression of the inmay be derived from the promised aid of occasional estimable blessings which it affords. contributors. The frequency of publication, at stated

Description of the Chain Bridge over the Tweed at Dry. I greatest of any bridge in the kingdom. The following burgh, with un Engraving.

account of it was furnished by the Architect : A CHAIN bridge is just finished at Dryburgh, which has

The extreme length, from the point of suspension, is 261 feet ; been erected at the expense of the Earl of Buchan, for the breadth, at the ends, 64 feet; the centre five feet; the object of the convenience of foot passengers, across the river Tweed. which is to prevent oscillation. The bearing or horizontal chains The appearance of this bridge is uncommonly light and

are made of inch diameter finest low moor iron, in links of about 17 elegant, and, connected with the fine scenery of Dry- square, built in the large stone abutments; these logs are placed

feet long: the chains are secured to four logs of wood 14 inches burgh, it is beautiful and interesting. It consists of a 15 feet distant from each other, in order that the angle stay chains, platform of wood, supported by chains suspended from pil- secured by strong two inch screws, fixed on the top, at the height lars on each side of the river, at the height of eighteen of 35 feet above the horizontal lerel of the bridge, may act, so as feet above low water, and has no support under it. The not only to prevent oscillation, but to suspend the bridge. Over

the horizontal chains, which are screwed up nine inches above the passage is easy and level, and has very little vibration. level in the centre, are placed nine-inch by three planks, set on The span between the two points of suspension is the || edge, grooved in the under edge, to admit the chains : these planks

Walks in Edinburgh and its Vicinity, 8c.

[13th Sept. 1817. are stayed together at proper lengths, by screw bolts across : on only serves for the security of passengers, but contributes to the these planks are laid boards, two inches thick, forming the road-strength of the bridge. way: each board is slifted six inches, so as to form a block cornice The bridge is 18 feet above the level of the water : and as the at the ends, which serves as an ornament; and a small space is left greatest rise of the Tweed at this place was never known to exceed between each board, to allow the rain water to pass through. a 13 feet, it must, exclusive of the advantages of the want of piers, trussed parapet railing, well secured to the planks on each side, not be perfectly secure from the effects of the river.

Chain Bridge over the Tweed at Dryburgh.

well secured to the pla

of the rive


East Elevation.

Plan of Road-way.

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Scale of Feet. 10 5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Walks in Edinburgh and its Vicinity.

ter, so as to form a commodious road, which would at once

be more direct and more level than any other, is a proTO THE EDITOR OF THE EDINBURGH OBSERVER.

ject which must appear altogether visionary to a native, APPROVING, as I most cordially do, of the plan of your wbo, for the first time, bears any thing of the proposal. publication, which I think must be bighly acceptable to a But the enormous sum of £.25,000, which is to be paid numerous class of readers, I shall be glad to contribute for the feu of seven houses in the vicinity of the bridge, occasionally to their amusement or instruction, if, with sufficiently bespeaks the value of the improvement; and this view, my reniarks on the recent improvements, the as these houses are to be finished in about twelve months, antiquities, natural bistory, or other topics, as they sug- I presume it is expected that the entire line of road will gest themselves to my observation, shall be deemed wor- be completed before the expiration of that period. thy of a place in your Miscellany; and with your per The gates of the new prison, I understand, are to be mission they may be introduced under the above title, but, opened on Monday first, for the reception of its unfortuat the same time, I do not promise to observe any strict nate inbabitants. As on every other topic of a public methodical arrangement. As my walks are often of a nature, the situation, design, and other circumstances rambling nature, my reflections will probably appear un connected with this edifice, bave been the subject of great connected and desultory.

diversity of opinion ; but on some points, i tbink, all The view which has lately been opened up, by the re must agree, and particularly with regard to the elegant moval of the houses on the east-side of Shakespeare simplicity of the structure, and the admirable internal arSquare, has attracted very general notice. In place of rangements, so well calculated for the security and comthe abrupt and awkward termination of Princes-street at forts of those whom depravity or misfortune has destined this busy spot, we shall have now a continuation of the to occupy its cells. For all this they are indebted to the same line forming the principal access into the city.- anxious care of Sir William Rae, sheriff of the county, The approach by the great London road is at present by who was at the greatest pains in collecting information the irregular and narrow course of Abbey-hill and Ca. on the subject, and, if I do not mistake, formed the denongate, or by the circuitous route of Leith ; but now a sign from personal inspection of the chief prisons in direct communication is effected between Musselburgh, England. Portobello, and the environs on the east and the centre On approaching the prison at this time, one is struck of the city. I scarcely know which to admire most, the with astonishment at the depth of rock wbich has been original conception of this magnificent design, or the cut through, and at the comparative facility with which promptuess and ability with

which it has been carried in this arduous work has been accomplished. The elevated to execution. To connect Princes-street by means of a part, which was occupied as a burying ground, presented bridge with the Calton-bill, and cut down part of the lat. I the greatest difficulty'; for here the rock is from fifteen


illan Hopic


13th Sept. 1817,]
Letters from Edinburgh on Men and Manners.

3 to twenty feet above the level of the road. On removing Indulging in the reflections which the contemplation the soil, several graves were found sunk down into the of such-scenes naturally inspire, I perceived two of the rock itself, a narrow bed having been excavated by the grave-diggers, who were resting on their spades, as if operation of mining. It is not easy to describe the feel. waiting for orders to proceed in their calling. I observed ings with which an observer must contemplate this scene ; to them, that I supposed this had been a busy season with The mutability of human life is a subject familiar to them : they admitted that it bad been tolerably so, espeevery one, but of all those whose ashes were consigned cially among the young, on account of the prevalence of to this spot, I believe no one could have doubted, that those diseases to which childhood is particularly liable. the asylum which he had found in such a place, would Curiosity led me to make some enquiry about the state have been equally permanent with the world itself:- in which the bodies were found which had been removed. that the foundation of these rocky cells should only give One gentleman, I was informed, who had taken an acway to some grand convulsion of nature, must have been tive part in opposing the line of road, attended one the conviction of every one who had ever seen them laid morning early, to witness the removal of two near rela. open, and had allowed a single reflection on the subject tives to a spot some hundred feet distant; and alto occupy his thoughts. A clergyman, whose remains though the bodies bad been seven years in the grave, are deposited bere, seems to have secured, as far as hu- the coffins were still entire ! On observing that this was man foresight could reach, an undisturbed possession : a circumstance which must bave been very consolatory on a large dat stone is recorded, that the person under to the feelings of the gentleman on such a melancholy neath had left a bursary to the College of Edinburgh, occasion, they emphatically added, and to us too, Sir. burdened with a feu-duty of one penny for his grave, Though it is probable that the warmth of sympathy has and the expence of keeping the stone in repair ! Such is been long extinguished in the breast of the vanity and uncertainty of our best and wisest calcu.

“ Yonder maker of the dead man's bed lations. But while we cannot avoid thinking, with pain

The sexton, hoary-headed chronicle, and regrets on this violation of the sanctuary of the dead,

Of hard, unmeaning faco, down which ne'er stole

A gentle cear ; we must readily admit the expediency and propriety of the measure on the present occasion. The feelings and yet the expression of it could not fail to be gratifying

to those kindred emotions wbich the scenes before me and prejudices of individuals, however honourable and natural they may be, must give way to the accomplishment the events alluded to naturally excited. of plans of general utility. But it will not excite any Sept. 6th. Continued b. 25. surprise to learn, that those whose bosoms cherished the warmth of kindness and affection for relations and . friends while alive, should not be altogether indifferent Letters from Edinburgh on Men and Manners ; written to their memory. Considerable opposition was accord

in 1814. From the North-American Journal. ingly made to the line of road passing through the bury THERE is every circumstance to make the society in ing ground; but the legislature, as might be expected, did Edinburgh interesting. It is not so splendid and so scrunot yield to the natural suggestions of private feelings. pulously free from occasional affectations as that of the

In traversing a spot in which the ashes of the dead bigher classes in London. There is not in Edinburgh repose, nothing serves to make a deeper impression on that assemblage of ancient and opulent families which we the mind of the vanities of life, than the reflection of the find in the west end of London, to give a sort of solid, indiscriminate groups of all ranks, ages, and sexes, which rich, and permanent dignity to society, and to put down lie below, Here we observe the honest heel and last its little eccentricities and absurdities. But the New aaker, and the aged smith, members of the ancient in Town, which contains about 30,000 people, is the winter corporation of Calton, placed beside a gentleman, native residence of a greater part of the rich families in Scotof Belfast, who died after a few days illness wbile on a land. The seat of a university, to which 1800 or 2000 visit to Edinburgh : but nothing can excite a deeper in- students annually resort, many of them young noblemen terest than the numerous instances of a fatal mortality and men of fortune, wbo add something to the gaiety, and which had taken place in particular families. The re little to the industry, of the place. This is also the porcord on one stone, I observe, announces that five chil- tico in which several of the most distinguished literary dren, who died young, occupy the mansion below; the men in Great Britain assemble their disciples. There is inscription on another bears, that six are interred under moreover annually produced here several bulky poems, it; on a third, that seven are deposited in the same grave; besides numerous small effusions, various histories, learned and in two different places, I find the melancholy fact re treatises, lots of books of travels, scores of new plays, peated, that eight children repose, the parents of whom, abundance of journals, reviews, a few novels, editions of in one case, still survive to deplore their loss : an obe black letter and encyclopaedias, besides registers, almalisk, close to the side of the path, informs the passenger, nacks, catechisms, &c. &c. that a youthful mother had been interred, with her two The society is then reckoned very literary-it is no children, at the same time, and in the same grave : pedantry to talk about books—Lord Byron's monthly the death of one a few days before the birth of the other muse makes conversation for the next month's routes-bad probably led to so mournful an event-so overwhelm- the young men walk up and down the stre with an ele. ing a calamity, as the sudden and unexpected decease of gant book under their arm instead of a small stick-the chathree members of one family.

racter of the place betrays itself in various other symp

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