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Notes on Old Edinburgh   By: (1831-1904)

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WORKS BY DR. JOHN BROWN.

Horæ Subsecivæ. Sixth Edition. 1 Volume, Extra Foolscap 8vo, Price 7s. 6d.

Locke and Sydenham. New Edition. Extra Foolscap 8vo, Price 7s. 6d.

Letter to the Rev. John Cairns, D.D. Second Edition. Crown 8vo, Sewed, Price 2s.

Arthur H. Hallam; Extracted from 'Horæ Subsecivæ.' Foolscap, Sewed, Price 2s.; Cloth, Price 2s. 6d.

Rab and his Friends; Extracted from 'Horæ Subsecivæ.' Forty fifth Thousand. Foolscap, Sewed, Price 6d.

Marjorie Fleming: A Sketch. Fifteenth Thousand. Foolscap, Sewed, Price 6d.

Our Dogs; Extracted from 'Horæ Subsecivæ.' Nineteenth Thousand. Foolscap, Sewed, Price 6d.

Rab and his Friends. With Illustrations by Sir GEORGE HARVEY, R.S.A., Sir J. NOEL PATON, R.S.A., and J. B. Cheap Edition. In One Volume, Cloth, Price 3s. 6d.

'With Brains, Sir;' Extracted from 'Horæ Subsecivæ.' Foolscap, Sewed, Price 6d.

Minchmoor. Price 6d.

Jeems the Door keeper. A Lay Sermon. Price 6d.

EDINBURGH: EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS.

NOTES ON OLD EDINBURGH

BY THE AUTHOR OF 'THE ENGLISHWOMAN IN AMERICA.'

[Illustration: INSCRIPTION OVER DOORWAY IN BLACKFRIARS WYND.

English Visitor. 'So this is Blackfriars Wynd!'

Woman. 'No, it's hell's mouth.']

EDINBURGH EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS 1869.

PREFATORY NOTE BY THE REV. DR. HANNA.

Was ever a more vivid picture of more revolting scenes offered to the reader's eye than that which the following pages present? If any doubt creep into his mind as to the accuracy of its details, he has but to read the reports of Dr. LITTLEJOHN and Dr. ALEXANDER WOOD, in which everything here stated, not vouched for by the writer herself, is authenticated. Can nothing be done, shall nothing be done, to wipe out such foul blots from the face of our fair city? One effort among others is being made in this direction by the Association recently organized for improving the condition of the poor. It is in the hope of winning for this Association the support of all the humane among us that these "Notes" are published. It would be a happy, and not surely hopeless issue, if, by the combined and concentrated endeavours of all interested in the welfare of the poor, such a change were effected that, fifty years hence, it were doubted or denied that ever such a state of things existed as is here so graphically portrayed.

W. H.

6, CASTLE TERRACE, Jan. 20, 1869 .

NOTES ON OLD EDINBURGH.

CHAPTER I.

It has been my fortune to see the worst slums of the Thames district of London, of Birmingham, and other English and foreign cities, the "water side" of Quebec, and the Five Points and mud huts of New York, and a short time ago a motive stronger than curiosity induced me to explore some of the worst parts of Edinburgh not the very worst, however. Honest men can have no desire to blink facts, and no apology is necessary for stating the plain truth, as it appears to me, that there are strata of misery and moral degradation under the shadow of St. Giles's crown and within sight of Knox's house, more concentrated and unbroken than are to be met with elsewhere, even in a huge city which, by reason of a district often supposed to have no match for vice and abjectness, is continually held up to public reprobation. The Rev. R. Maguire, rector of St. James's, Clerkenwell, accompanied me through a portion only of the district visited, and he expressed his opinion then, and since more formally in print, that more dirt, degradation, overcrowding, and consequent shamelessness and unutterable wretchedness, exist in Edinburgh than in any town of twice its size, or in any area of similar extent to the one explored, taken from the worst part of London. With this opinion my own convictions cordially concur. We have plenty of awful guilt centres in London as, for instance, the alleys leading out of Liquorpond Street and the New Cut, but even the worst are broken in upon by healthy neighbourhoods. Here there is a loathsome infectious sore, occupying a larger area than anywhere else a district given up in great measure to moral degradation, which extends from the Lawnmarket to Holyrood, from Holyrood along the parallel streets of the Cowgate, the Grassmarket, and the West Port, including most of the adjacent wynds and closes, and only terminating with Cowfeeder Row... Continue reading book >>




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