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Life Jottings of an Old Edinburgh Citizen
By Sir J. H. A. MacDonald P.C., K.C.B., Lord Justice-Clerk


LET not the reader suppose, as he opens this book, that he is invited to wade through an autobiography. What he will find Is but a quilt made up of patches from the shelf of memory. No diary has ever been kept to supply copious extracts, such as too often give anything but light reading, and too often fail to present true pictures of the diarist s life. 1 he aim has been to fit together presentable patches, giving a blend of natural colouring, as a well-pieced quilt, though made up of shreds, may not offend and possibly may give pleasure, and here and there be informing. If particular patches seem wear'isome, skipping may give relief. The compiler of these jottings would have satisfaction, were it possible for any reader to say that he—and still more were she—had reached the word Finis without having to resist temptation to turn down pages unread.

One earnest request, dear reader. Do not pass by the pages which speak of the conservation of our lovely Edina, in what of beauty is left to her, notwithstanding the evil days of the past. The most eager thought for our "own romantic town" has been to rouse, if possible, the Jotter's fellow-citizens from a passive condition, and to stimulate in them an active interest of love to her of the matchless face—that "Face which is her Fortune." Surely the past honourable disfigurements, of which all who have taste are ashamed, should be a warning. Our civic rulers are no longer vandals. They show earnestness to conserve amenity, and are glad of help from the citizens in considering what is good and what is bad. It will strengthen them greatly if more lively interest ia shown by the public—that active and concentrated interest which has telling influence, but which in the past has, alas, been so sadly wanting.

Of the stories here told many are chestnuts, Experience has proved that what ;s stale to one is fresh to another. Let those of jaded palate be generous, and pass by and pardon the chestnuts in which others may find a toothsome—because to them a novel--flavour.

A meed of hearty thanks ęs due to friends who have assisted to stimulate memory, and especially to a kind friend, Lord Dundas, who has given great aid by his perusal of the MS., leading to Friendly and profitable suggestions.


Chapter One
Early memories—Queen Victoria's visit to Edinburgh—A municipal fiasco —Presentation of city keys—A terrible accident—The illuminations— Early history of railroads—My first long journey—Terror of railways-Early railway plant—Railway boom and slump

Chapter Two
Sedan-chairs—Chairmen—The Noddy and the Minibus—The hansom-cab

Chapter Three
Dress in the Forties—Society fashions of both sexes—Military dress—The universal tailed coat

Chapter Four
Boys' dress—The tall hat—Face fashions—The Sobieski Stuarts

Chapter Five
The Newhaven fishwife—Caller-ow-oo—Their decadence—Hawkers— Penny postage—Much opposed by officials

Chapter Six
The Disruption—Procession to Tanfield—Injustices to children—Inconsistencies of their elders

Chapter Seven
Edinburgh in the Forties—Abominations of the Mound—The discreditable buildings—Earlier proposals to build on Mound, and on south side of Princes Street, and on North Bridge- -The Nor" Loch—Lord Cockburn's description—Turnips growing below Castle—Railway carried along the valley—Valley destroyed- -Bank of Scotland—Cockburn Street—Advertisement scandal—George Street—Extension ol town—Country houses swept away

Chapter Eight
Distinguished citizens -Wilson—Jeffrey -Blackwoods—C'ockburn—Principal Lee—Sir David Brewster—Bain—Gregory—Abercrombv—Davidson —Watson Gordon

Chapter Nine
The Parliament House- -The Law Courts—The judges—My first attendance at a criminal trial—Terribly severe sentences—Many illiterate prisoners- Lord Justice-General Macneill—Ex-Lord Justice-General Hope, a distinguished Volunteer—Baron Hume a Volunteer—Cockburn''s strictures or their serving—Inferior Court rooms--Dining customs in the Forties—Parental inconsistencies

Chapter Ten
Circus Place School-—Our games—Teacher's indiscretion—Injustices to children -Edinburgh sweetmeats—Roland's gymnastic training—Zoological Gardens- Too much apron-string— Teaching the young to take care of themselves—Discriminator in fault-finding—My first soiree

Chapter Eleven
The Edinburgh Academy—Senseless poems of line writing—Our Rectors —Classes toe large—Range of study advanced too rapidly-—False quantities—John Clerk of Edin—Dr. Gloag, best of teachers- Qualifications of teachers- -Our sports- -Sanitary arrangements

Chapter Twelve
Clerk Maxwell—Peter Guthrie Tait—Henry Smith — Cadell—Scott-Moncrieff— Batty Tuke—Balfour—Mackintosh- -Finlay—Luke—Prosperous state of Academy—Splendid gifts by former pupils- -My school confession—My tutor, Alexander Nicolson

Chapter Thirteen
The Lord High Commissioner—Michael Sanderson—Soldiers' dress, head-dress, and equipment—Queen's Birthday fireworks

Chapter Fourteen
Drowning memory—Misjudged parental precaution—Punctuality—Public lighting- -Gas—English ignorance of Scotland—Funerals

Chapter Fifteen
Hustings elections- Open voting—Thomas Babington Macaulay—Cockburn's criticism of him—Chartist Riots

Chapter Sixteen
Calton Hill—Disfigurement—Forrest's Statuary—Short's Observatory— City Chambers -National Gallery—Gasworks chimney—Trinity College Church—St. Giles' Cathedral

Chapter Seventeen
Disfigurement of Edinburgh—Government outrages—Vandalism on ancient buildings- -Queen Margaret's Chapel—Castle Parliament Hall—The "Cotton Mill"--Botanical Gardens buildings—Calton Jail site—Modern public buildings—Improvements

Chapter Eighteen
Edinburgh University—Laughing-gas day—Professors Gregory and Forbes —Study of chemistry—Electricity—Magnetism—Telegraphy—Want of foresight of scientific men- -Choice of profession—Health—Blunders of diagnosis—Study of the Law—Midnight oil—My professors—Edward Prince of Wales in Edinburgh—An accident

Chapter Nineteen
Dress in the Fifties- Etiquette at games—Croquet—The pegtops—Crutch and toothpick crinoline—Present extravagances

Chapter Twenty
Simpson — Christison—Syine- -Goodsir—Lister—Annandale—Watson— Joseph Bell — John Duncan- -Chiene—Maclagan — Gillespie—Turner— Andrew Wilson — Piazzi Smythe—Macnee—Rochefort's critique on Raeburn—Dean Ramsay—Rev. Dr. Macgregor—Thomson—John Hope-Sam Bough

Chapter Twenty-One
Changes in school sports—Football—public interest in local games— Ancient archery butt—Statute against football and golf—Academical cricket club and football club

Chapter Twenty-Two
The Volunteers—Napoleon Third's opinion—The Queen's Brigade— Queen's Review, 1860—Her opinion—Appointment as captain and musketry instructor—Amusing episode at the butts

Chapter Twenty-Three
Bar examinations—Public examination—Sham thesis—Sham ballot—The wig—Lord Colonsay's Highland accent—Lord Deas' Lowland accent— The Speculative Society—Honorary members—Alexander Asher

Chapter Twenty-Four
My first fee—Waiting time for practice- -Attractions of Justiciary and fury Courts—Cross-examination often a pitfall—Walking the Parliament House — Advice to young advocate — Daily study to avoid mental atrophy—Lord Jeffrey to his brother (note, p. 308)—Experience of men— Junes and judges and witnesses—Strain of criminal cases—Strange experiences—Capital cases—Book on Criminal Law

Chapter Twenty-Five
Circuit Courts—Advocates attending—The old complicated indictments — Ceremonial Circuits—Lord Cockburri's view—Shamstate—Circuit dinners —An anachronism—Delay of trials—Iess of this now—Diminution of cases at Circuit—The Bar room—No professional jealousy--Patience needed--Instances of delay in success

Chapter Twenty-Six
Judges in i860—Lord-Advocate Moncreiff— Solicitor-General Maitland- -Deanship and Lord-Advocateship combined—Cockburn deprecated—No such combination now—Solicitor-Genera! Young—A caustic wit—Bar anecdotes—The "Sons of the Manse"—Robert Louis Stevenson—Private theatricals—/8th Highlanders—Arrival home after Indian Mutiny

Chapter Twenty-Seven
Prince Consort's death—Proposals for monument—Too outrageous— Marriage of Prince of Wales—Illuminations—Ill-directed hospitality— Opening of Scottish Museum by Duke of Edinburgh—Fenian plots— Special constables

Chapter Twenty-Eight
Faculty of Advocates not businesslike—Sale of premises to W.S. Society —Sale of Sheriff Court site—Sale of coins and cabinet —Loss of £4300 - -Cabinet unique—Sheriff of Ross and Cromarty—Solicitor-General - City of Glasgow Bank failure—Emoluments of Solicitor-General—Proposal. to reduce number of judges, although Ireland had nearly double, with less business—Appointed Dean of Faculty—Extension of Advocates' Library

Chapter Twenty-Nine
Royal Review, 1881—Torrents of rain—Seas of mud—Terrible return journeys—Many deaths in consequence—Well-borne test of discipline— Restoration of St. Giles' Cathedral—Chapel of Knights of Thistle

Chapter Thirty
Cockburn Association—No aid from body of citizens—Work done—Iron railings round buildings—Portrait Gallery—Tron Church—St. Paul's—St. Giles'—Filthy space behind railings—Royal Institution—St. George's Church- -St. Andrew's Church—National Gallery—Plea for Princes Street —Plea for Calton Hill—National Monument railing—Place for bandstand —Ramsay Garden

Chapter Thirty-One
The New Buildings—A great disfigurement—View to east coast—Princes Street widenings- Trees cut down—A bailie's view of trees—An unfulfilled promise of replanting—Proposed winter garden—The present bandstand —New North Bridge- -North British and Caledonian Station Hotels

Chapter Thirty-Two
Lord Provosts—Black—M'Laren—Lawson—Chambers—Pour publishers as Lord Provosts

Chapter Thirty-Three
Manufactures—Cockburn's protest—Merchant Company's schools—Cheap education—Edinburgh newspapers—Change to daily—North British Advertiser killed—Scotsman's critical time

Chapter Thirty-Four
University Tercentenary—Banquet in Drill Hall—Dreary speeches—New Buildings—University Hall—Sir Alexander Grant—Restoration of City Cross—Royal proclamations

Chapter Thirty-Five
Appointment as Lord-Advocate—Elected to Parliament—Meeting with Chamberlain—A Home Rude episode—John Bright at Home Rule division —Criminal Procedure Amendment Act—Lucky chance to pass it—Saving effected by Act—Both money and time—Major O'Gorman

Chapter Thirty-Six
Queen's Jubilee—Compliment on Queen's Brigade uniform—Faculty Dinner in Parliament House—Insult to Church if Scotland—Put with Nonconformists at ceremony—Westminster Abbey Service

Chapter Thirty-Seven
Appointment as Lord Justice-Clerk—Misgivings—The Monson Trial— Appointed Brigadier-General to Forth Volunteer Brigade—Mobilised at time of Boer War--4000 men—Inaugurated power traction in camp— Hon, Colonel Army Motor Reserve—Infantry drafts sent to war—Doctors differ

Chapter Thirty-Eight
The Diamond Jubilee—Unique experience—Instantaneous message to all her peoples—Unique assemblage of troops—No memorial of her in Edinburgh

Chapter Thirty-Nine
Visit of King Edward and Queen Alexandra—Levee—Drawing-room— Royal Archers' Parade— Review of Territorial's—First military motorist to march past the King—Visit of King George and Queen Mary- Levee-Drawing-room—Attend Queen at Chapel of the Thistle—Attend in command of battalion at review by King of Veterans—National Reserve

Chapter Forty
Illuminated advertisements put down—One left, the property of Town Council—West Princes Street Gardens used as advertising station with consent of Town Council- -Remonstrance against--Public halls—M'Ewan and Usher Halls—Want of dining-hall—Improved sanitation—Sir Henry Littlejohn—Destruction of old buildings- -Restoration of Lady Stair's house

Chapter Forty-One
A keen driver—The mechanical vehicle—The 1000 miles' tour— Opposition —Treated as a fad of the rich— Progress—The aeroplane—The increased importance of the road—Member of H.M. Road Board—Road improvement—War coming unawares—Britain's response to cynical wrong—Once more drilling men in my old age—A hearty farewell

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