Page images


the dancing began at six, and ended stations. Few families had men scrat eleven, by public orders of the vants. The wages were from six manager, which were never trans- pounds to ten pounds per annum. gressed.

A stranger coming to Edinburgh In the year 1763 the accommo was obliged to put up at a dirty undation of the inhabitants of Edin- comfortable inn, or to remove to burgh was mean compared to what private lodgings. There was it now is. The city at that time such place as a hotel; the word, inwas almost confined within the walls, deed, was not known, or was only and the suburbs were of small ex. intelligible to persons acquainted tent. With respect to lodging, the with the French. houses which, in 1763, were possess

The chief characteristic feature of ed by the first families, were twenty the times we are speaking of seems years after inhabited by tradesmen, to have been a formality, which those or by people in humble life. Lord who recollect the period call decorum; justice Clerk's house was possessed an affected gravity, which has been by a French teacher; Jord president called dignity; and a sanctimonious Craigie's house, by a rouping wife preciseness and regularity, the last re(saleswoman of old furniture); and mains of fanaticism, which has been lord Drummore's house was left hy named prudence and propriety. It a chair-man, för want of accommo- is natural for those who spent the dation. In 1763 there were only best part of their life about the time two stage-coaches to the town of we have mentioned to look back Leith; and the only other in the with partiality to that period; and, Scottish capital was one to London, when comparing it with the present, which set off once a month, and was to look with less complacency upon from twelve to sixteen days on the that freedom of manners, unshackled road. The hackney-coaches at this with affected gravity or distant retime were few in number, and, per- serve, which marks the present age; haps, the worst of the kind in Bri- but we do not choose to rank among tain. But the want of these was those common-place declaimers, who less severely felt at this period from think every succeeding age to be the great quantity of sedan-chairs, worse than the former. which were to be had at a very mo The gentleman from whose notes derate price.

In 1763 few coaches we have chiefly extracted the prewere made in Edinburgh, and the coding state of the manners of the nobility and gentry in general brought inhabitants of Edinburgh in 1763, their carriages from London. L'er- has fortunately also given a statefumers' shops were not at this time ment of facts relating to the same known, and there was no such pro- subject in 1783. If this siatement fession as

a haberdasher. Hiir- be correct (which we have no readressers were numerous, but were son to doubt), luxury and licentioushardly permitted to exercise their nos, rapine and robbery, hav, in profession on Sundays, and inany of the short space of twenty years, them voluntarily declined it. There made a remarkable progress indeed. was no such thing known or used as Happily, however, ihe current of an umbrela. The wages to maid- vice has not increased with the same servants at this period were from rapidity since that time, or we should three pounds to four pounds a year. by this time have been totally overThey dressed decently in blue or red whelmed in i;. sloaks, or plaids, suitable to their In 1783, people of fashion and of

middle rank dined at four or sve to do this on five days labour. Visit, o'clock; ng business was done in the ing and catechising by the clergy afternoon, dinner of itself having be. were disused (except by a very few); come a very serious matter. Every and if people do not choose to go to tradesman in decent circumstances church, they may remain as ignorant presented wine after dinner, and as Hottentots, and the ten commany in plenty and variety. At this mandments be as little known as time the drawing-rooms were totally obsolete acts of parliament. At this deserted ; invitations to tea in the time, likewise, although the law afternoon were given up; and the punishing adultery with death was only opportunity gentlemen had of be unrepealed, church censure was dising in the company of the ladies, was used, and separations and divorces when they happened to mess to were become frequent. Even the gether at dinner or supper, and even women who were rendered infamous then an impatience was sometimes by public divorce had been, by some shewn till the ladies retired. Card- people of fashion, again received into parties after a long dinner, and also society. Every quarter of the city after a late supper, were frequent. and suburbs were infested with mul. Attendance on church, too, at this titudes of females abandoned to period, was greatly neglected, and vice; and street-robbery, houseparticularly by the men; Sunday was breaking, and theft, were astonishby many made a day of relaxation; ingly frequent. At one time, at and young people were allowed to this period, there was no less than stroll about at all hours. Families six criminals under sentence of death thought it ungenteel to take their in Edinburgh prison in one week; domestics to church with them ; the and upon the autumn circuit of this streets were far from being void of year (1783), no less than thirty: people in the time of public wor seven capital indictments were is. ship, and in the evenings were fre- sued. quently loose and riotous ; particu In 1793 there were many public larly owing to bands of apprentice cock-fighting matches, or mains, as boys and young lads. Family wor- they are technically termed, and a ship was almost disused.

The regular cock-pit was built for thiş weekly collections at the church school of cruelty. A young man at doors for the poor had greatly de- this time was termed a fine fellow, creased in amount.

who could drink three bottles of In 1783 (says Mr. Creech), few wine; who discharged all debts of masters would receive apprentices honour (game debts and tavern bills), to lodge in their houses. If they' and evaded payment of every other ; attended their hours of business, who swore immoderately, and before masters took no further charge. The ladies, and talked of his word of horest of their time anight be passed, nour; who ridiculed religion and as too frequently happens, in vice morality as folly and hypocrisy (but and debauchery; hence they be. without argument); who was very come idle, in solent, and dishonest. jolly at the table of his friend, and The wages to journeymen in every would lose no opportunity of seducprofession were greatly raised since ing his wife, or of debauching his 1763, and disturbances frequently daughter ; but, on the mention of happened or a still further increase : such a thing being attempted to his yet many of them riot on Sunday, own connections, would have cut are idle' on Monday, and can afford the throat or blown out the brains

of his dearest companion offering gaped, and complained of heado
such an insult; who was forward in achs all the next day.
all the fashionable follies of the time; In 1783 the accommodation of
who disregarded the interests of so- the inhabitants of Edinburgh was
ciety, or the good of mankind, if splendid, and the houses in the New
they interfered with his own vici- Town unrivalled in elegance. The
ous seläish pursuits and pleasures. city had extended so much, that it
At this period, the daugbters of covered twice the extent of groupd
many tradesman consumed their it formerly did. The stage-coaches
mornings at the toilette, or in stroll to Leith and other parts were tripled,
ing from shop, to shọp, &çMany and no less than fifteen every week
of them would have blushed to have set out for. London, and reached it
been seen in a market. The cares in sixty hours. The hackney coaches
of the family were devolved upon a at this time were the handsomest in
housekeeper, and a young lady em Britain. Coaches and chaises were
ployed those heavy hours when she constructed as elegantly in Edin-
was disengaged from public or pri- burgh as any where in Europe ; and
vate amusements in improving her many were annually exported to Sr.
mind from the precious stores of a Petersburgh, and the cities on the
circulating library; and all, whether Baltic. The profession of a haber
they had taste for it or not, were dasher, which was not known in
taught music. Such was the danger 1763, was now nearly the most com.
at this time to which unprotected mor in town. (This profession in-
females were exposed, that the mis- cludes many trades, the mercer, the
tresses of boarding schools found it milliner, the linen-draper, the hatter,
pecessary to advertise that their the hosies, the glover, and many
young ladies were not permitted to others.) Perfumers had now splendid
go abroad without proper attend. shops in every principal street; and

some of them advertised the keeping In 1783 the weekly concert be- of bears, to kill occasionally, for gan at seven o'clock; but it was greasing ladies and gentlemen's hair, not, in general, well attended. The as superior to any other animal fat. morality of stage plays, or their ef. Hair-dressers were more than tripled fects on society, were never thought in number, and their busiest day of, and the most crowded houses was Sunday. An emincat surgeon, were always on Saturday night. The who had occasion to walk a great boxes for the Saturday night plays deal in the course of his business, were generally, taken for the season, first used an umbrella in Edinburgh, and strangers on that night could sela in the year 1780; and in 1783 they dom procure a place. The galleries were much used. Maid-servants never failed to applaud what they for- dresged now as fine as their mismerly would have hissed as improper tresses did in 1763. Almost every in sentiment or decorum. The pub- genteel family had a man-servant; lic assemblies met at eight and nine and the wages were from ten pounds o'clock, and the lady directress some. to twenty pounds a year. In 1783, times did not make her appearance. also, a stranger might have been actill ten, The young masters and commodated not only comfortably, misses, who would have been mor but elegantly, at many public hotels; tified not to have seen out the ball, and the person who, in 1763, was thus returned home at three or four obliged to put up with accommodain the morning and yawned, and tion little better than that of a, waga

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Such are,

goner or carrier, may now be lodged religion. The large building of the like a prince, and command every Circus, which had been erected in Juxury of life.

3788 for equestrian performances, according to Mr. and in 1792 converted into a playCreech,' the features of the times house, was now occupied as in 1783. Less rigid, morose, and place of worship; and considerable affected than those of 1763 ; an ease

sums of money were subscribed for of manner seems to have been by sending missionaries to convert the this time introduced, which charas- heathen in foreign lands. At this terises an improvement in manners. time religious zeal was so universal, Of morals, this period, from the that even some of the serrants of foregoing facts concerning the decay Satan, the players themselves, be of religious principle, the multiplica- came ministers of the gospel*. Suntion of the women of the town, of day, however, was not so rigidly robberies, and the late houts which observed as in 1763, and is still fashion had introduced, presents not continued by many to be held as a such a pleasing picture.

day of relaxation. Whether family. • In no respect,' says Mr. Creech, worship was much attended to in " were the manners of 1703 and the period we are speaking of we *1783 more remarkable, than in have not ascertained, but public the decency, dignity, and deli- prayers were more frequent than cacy of the

one period, com- before. Religious societies were pared with the looseness, dissipation, also formed for propagating the and licentiousness of the other.- gospel at home; places of worship, Many people ceased to blush at called tabernacles, were built; the what would formerly have been Scottish capital was inundated with reckoned a crime.'— The behaviour different preachers from England i of the last age (says Dr. Gregory) and from it, as a centre, missionawas very reserved and stately. It ries were issued to every part of the would now be reckoned still and country. One of the most elegant formal. Whatever it was, it had amusements of the metropolis, the certainly the effect of making them, concerts at St. Cecilia's Hall, was more respected.

at this time given up; and the hall Of ihe leading traits of the man- itself was, and is still, occupied as a Ders since that period, the following place of worship. is a short skerch. The luxury of Visiting and catechising their pathe table, and the late hours of din. rishioners is by the clergy. at this Der and amusements, have much time (1805) almost entirciy given up, increased since 1783. By the more excepting among the dissenters; and opulent tradesmen and merchants these, too, do not otficially visit so business is little attended to in the often as formerly. People of fashion' afternoon; and the variety of delica- do not frequent the church as often cies at their table is, perhaps, equal as a few years ago. The wages of to what the first cities had in journeymen; since 1793, has been 1763. The company of the ladies much increased; and nearly doubled' is also, as in 1783, much neglected; since that time. Housebreakings and the bottle is preferred to the and robberies at present are rare ; amusements of the drawing-room. Attendance at church, however, was in 1796 fashionable, and a universal

Vidé Edinburghi Mission'sy digiinterest was excited with regard to'zine, Vol. I, ·

and the execution of criminals sel- ting) he could argue with a philodom occurs in Edinburgh. If the sopher, and come off victorious, unterror of ecclesiastical punishments, less the philosopher were richer than the repenting stool, and public satis. he. As for the fair sex, the elegant fuction to the kirk, did not preci-, society of the stable is preferable, in pitate unfortunate women into the his estimation, to that of the draw-' unnatural crime of child-murder, ing-room; and the lounge among perhaps a series of years might be brother fine fellows in the coffeementioned in which there was no house, or tavern, is superior to the capital offence committed in Scote company of the ladies, in whose conland,

versation his accomplishments do · Public cock-fighting matches are not enable him to bear a part. He now nearly given up' in the city; pays his debts of honour much in and this barbarous amusement, it is the same manner as the fine fellow hoped, will soon be laid aside for of 1783, can drink 'three bottles of ever. Of the fire felloze of 1805, wine, can kick the waiter, and it is difficult to strike the peculiar knock down watchmen with a good likeness, Less accomplished than grace. In short, the fine fellow of those of 1763, and without many of the present day is neither calculated the vices of those of 1783, the fine to add much to virtue' by his good fellow of the present day is rather qualities, nor to increase vice by his an object of laughter than censure, bad ones. of pity rather than approbation. He Balls and concerts are conducted can drive a coach full of ladies equal much in the same manner as in 1783, to the most experienced coachman, except that, perhaps, later hours bedoes not often overturn the carriage, come more fashionable. In the theatre, and very seldom rides down old peo- though loose expressions may still be ple or children. As a genealogist he applauded by the upper gallery, yet equals the Highlander or Welsh- by the other parts of the audience man; can trace the pedigree of they are always reprobated. Of the Goldfinder through a hundred des present manners of the female sex, scents, and enumerate all the dams, the improvement is certainly strikgrand-dams, and great-graud-dams, ing. Though the young ladies are with the most Huent accuracy. He seldom to be seen at market, or, is a skilful plıysiognomist ; can tell perhaps, do not interest themselves the good or bad qualities of a horse much in the management of houseat first sight; and in the refined hold affairs, yet we may pronounce employments of the stable can vie them superior to those of 1763,' or with the most expert groom or sta- 1783. Music, dancing, and a grama ble-boy: With regard to religion, matical knowledge of their own, and unless he acquires it in the Racers' of the French anii Italian languages, Kalendar, or Taplin's Farriery, he are essential parts of modern female has no opportunity of knowing any education; and though the making thing about it. But in other of pastry, jellies, and gooseberry parts of education he is not deficient: wine, are not held of so much imhe excels in those tropes or figures of portance as they appear to have been speech which the vulgar call swear- in the first of these periods, yet they ing; and his method of arguing is are not even now otally neglected. much more simple and convincing As domestic conveniences, the ladies than the analytic or synthetic modes of 1805 may possibly be inferior to of the schools. By this mode (bet. those of 1703 ; but as accomplished

« PreviousContinue »