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EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY,
FOR DECEMBER 1808.
Description of CAStle-Craig. CA ASTLE-CRAIG, the seat of Sir Thos, Gibson Carmichael, Bart. lies in the county of Peebles, and parish of Kirkurd. It is beautifully situated on an eminence, which, in former times, was a Roman station. It commands a view of the vale of the river Tearth, and has, in the distance, the ruins of Drochil Castle, formerly one of the principal residences of Regent Morton, now the property of the Duke of Queensberry.
Castle Craig was formerly called Kirkurd; the modern name was adopted by the late proprietor, out of respect for the memory of his granduncle, Dr William Carmichael, Bishop of Meath, in Ireland, whose residence in that kingdom was so called.
The present proprietor is the representative of the family of Gibson of Durie. He adopted the name of Carmichael, in consequence of succeeding to the estate of the late John, Earl of Hyndford, his maternal granduncle.
Proceedings of the Wernerian Natural History Society.
AT T the meeting of this Society, 10th Dec. the Secretary read a communication from the Rev. Mr Fleming of Bressay, describing a Narwhal, or Sea-Unicorn, (of the sort denominated by La Cepède, Le Nar
wal microcephale,) which had been lately cast ashore at Weisdale Sound in Zetland. The description was accompanied with a correct drawing of the animal, which is to be engra ved.
At the same meeting, Dr Ogilby of Dublin read a paper on the Transition Greenstone of Fassnet in East Lothian, which, besides much valuable mineralogical information, contained a satisfactory answer to the query proposed some time ago by professor Jameson in regard to the geognostic relations of the rocks of this tract of country. The descriptions of the individual rocks, and their general and particular geognostic relations, were detailed with ability; and the interest of the whole was increased by acute observations on the mode of examining and discriminating rocks-a subject of high value, particularly to those who may be employed in examining the mineralogy of a country.
The following gentlemen have been elected office-bearers of this Society for 1809.
President. Robert, Jameson, Esq. F.R.S. Prof. Nat. Hist.
Vice-Presidents. Dr Wm. Wright, F.R.S.; Rev. Dr Macknight, F.R.S.; Dr John Barclay, F.R.S. Dr Thomson, F.R.S.
Of the Council. Brig. Gen. Dirom; Lieut. Col. Fullerton; C. S. Menteith, Esq. Dr James Home, F.R.S.; Dr John Yule; James Russel, Esq. F.R.S.
F.R.S. Charles Anderson, Esq.; and Charles Stewart, Esq.
Treasurer. Patrick Walker, Esq. Secretary. Patrick Neill, Esq.
Monthly Memoranda in Natural History.
Dec. 4. A Remarkable variety of
1808. the Muirfowl has, with in these few days, been received from the Highlands. It seems to be a hybrid bird, between the black-cock and the red-grous. The specimen has been carefully preserved by Mr Douglas of Orchardton.
10. A very large Rock-crystal, from Braemar in Aberdeenshire, may at present be seen in the jewellery shop of Messrs Marshall and Co. High Street. It consists properly of two six-sided prisms united longitudinally. The substance of the planes which form the acuminated end of the specimen, is much lighter in colour than the body of the crystals; the former being of a pale yellow, while the latter is of a clove brown. The whole weighs no less than 19 lbs. 5 oz. It cost the present owners above 40 guineas!—a signal proof of the great demand for ornaments of Scotch topaz, as our smoke-coloured rock-crystals are generally called. 17. Hitherto the winter has, contrary to early indications, been rather open and mild. Till this date, several of the late-flowering asters, antirrhinums, stocks, &c. have continued in bloom in the borders. But, this day, it became intensely cold, so that, at night, Fahrenheit's thermometer in dicated 19°.
18. In little more than 24 hours from the commencement of the frost, the skaters began to occupy the lakes of Duddingstone and Lochend. The severity of the cold has already cut off all remains of vegetation in the flower gardens.
Dec. 23, 24. A very heavy fall of snow has succeeded, with the wind
from N. E. The snow lies nearly a foot deep all around Edinburgh. This fall has been accompanied with a considerable relaxation of the intensity of the cold.
P.S.-UNIVERSITY MUSEUM. Among the memoranda in Scottish natural history, the great improvements which have lately been effected on this museum, deserve a distinguished place. The room has been rendered spacious, by removing the partition walls, and making it extend the whole length of the large building in which it is situated. The plan of the interior is judicious, and at the same time very elegant; reflecting equal credit on the judgement and taste of the Professor of Natural History, and on the liberality of the Magistrates of Edinburgh. A large stove, having tinned-iron tubes attached to it, conveys heated air to different parts of the room. The side walls are covered with handsome glass-cases, inclosing specimens of quadrupeds, birds, fishes, serpents, shells, corals, &c. The collection of these is, it must be confessed, not yet so ample as could be wished; but, now that a suitable repository is prepared, and an active and zealous keeper appointed, there is every reason to hope that the public spirit of our countrymen will induce many, both at home and abroad, to increase the collection, by presenting such rare or curious specimens as may fall within their reach. The name of the donor, it may not be improper to add, is always affixed to the label on which the Linnean denomination of the specimen is written; and it is probable that, in a very few years, a catalogue raisonné may be published, in which such donations will, of course, be recorded. Below the glass-cases, and in every recess, are numerous drawers, (capable of containing ten thousand specimens), for the reception of minerals. In this department, the museum is now peculiarly rich; baving,
having, besides the curious and interesting Huttonian collection, lately received in addition the extensive and valuable mineralogical stores of the late Dr William Thompson of Naples. These, with Professor Jameson's own mineral cabinet, illustrated by his lectures, must render Edinburgh by far the most eminent school for mineralogy in this country.
Since last month, some fragments of the Great Sea Snake formerly mentioned, have been received at the University Museum. These have been transmitted from Orkney by Mr Urquhart of Elsness. The other parts which have been saved of this wonderful animal are daily expected:
Account of Receipt and Expenditure of EDINBURGH Charity Work-house, with
grandeur hear with a disdainful smile "The short and simple annals of the poor."
To balance due last year L.94 3
Church collections 1777 13 2
1265 14 5
296 7 2
Mr Richardson - 150 00
House in Henderson's
stairs Mr Nielson, kirk-treasu
Mr Wilson, church-yard
Two per cent.
To the Editor.
LA AST year, I gratified myself by sending to you a statement of the affairs of the Charity Work-house in this city, as inserted in Vol. LXIX. P. 809. et seq. and I now desire leave to subjoin a view of the receipt and expenditure of the same establishment, in continuation: viz. from 1st July 1807 to 1st July 1808.
15 00 - 10 0 0 687 12 2 200 0 0
these having also, with much liberality and great propriety, been presented to the Museum by Gilbert Laing Meason, Esq. on whose property, in the island of Stronsa, the animal was cast ashore. We are happy to understand that a great part of the head has been recovered; so that a pretty correct generic character may probably yet be formed. From all that we have learned, this curious creature will form a new genus among the Amphibia Nantes of Linnæus, and it must certainly be considered as the largest of fishes, properly so called.
4 0 0
Edinburgh, 26th Dec. 1808. J
122 2 9
70 5 3
L.5049 19 61
Clothing, bedding, and
L.2046 19 7
176 15 10
520 9 0
246 19 7
152 14 1
Buildings, repairs, and fu-
712 11 2
REMARKS.-In the course of this year, 621 have fesided in the house; 68 children have been paid for at nurse; and 311 families and individuals have been regularly supplied; being in all 1000. Nota. The children of the present, and late kirk-treasurer, are not included.
The numbers stood in July 1805, at 500. 1806, at 712. 1807 at 782. Average charge of those maintained, covering every article of expenditure, six pounds per annum, each individual.
Sixty-five have died in the house this year, whereof only 2 were children; although 23 of them, at one time, were laid down in measles.
The numbers that have depended upon the establishment this year, are double what were at 1st July 1805; and although the comforts are so complete in every department of the fami ly, that it would be improper, in such an institution, to increase them, yet, besides having THE HOUSE FREE OF DEBT, there has been paid since July 1805,
Of debt at that period,
Repairs in house, in
L.1600 0 0
500 0 0
When the enormous poor rates the southern part of the island are taken into consideration, I hold this to be a subject deeply interesting, and worthy the notice of every fellow-citi zen. The prosperity of the funds under various disadvantages, pronounces the best eulogium on the attention of the managers; whilst the discretion of the present treasurer, (a quality the most necessary for the execution of any useful enterprize) enables him to weigh each circumstance of the business he has undertaken, and to employ the surest, and safest means for the attainment of the object in view. "Honesty and fidelity are praised for "their immediate tendency to pro"mote the interests of society; but "after those virtues are once estab"lished upon this foundation, they are "also considered as advantageous to “the person himself, and as the source "of that trust and confidence which
can alone give a man any consider"ation in life." This opinion, I have the pleasure to observe, has been corroborated by the directors of this institution, as will be learned by the following advertisement, copied from
the Courant of 29th Oct. last.
"At a general meeting of the managers of the Edinburgh Charity Work500 0 0 House, held on the 26th of October 1808. The meeting having considered the state of the funds, of which the preceding is an abstract, and having also considered the great and successful exertion which Mr Spankie, the treasurer, has made to bring the affairs of this house into proper order, the uniform diligence and fidelity with which he has discharged the duties of his office, and the important advantages which the institution has de
L.3400 0 0
* In the year 1803, the average of the rate per pound in England and Wales, was 4s. 54d. In Sussex, the assessment was 8s. 74d, and in Carmarthen, 125, 9d. in the pound!!
At same time, it is proper to observe,
that the whole of the money collected as poor rates, does not go exclusively to the support of the poor-part is applied towards paying for raising the militia; maintaining militiamen's families, and other parochial expences.