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3.7. Scott der
For the Scots Mao & Edin! Literary Mhe. Published by A constable & June 1815
EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY,
For MAY 1815.
Description of CESSFORD CASTLE. THE Castle of Cessford is situated
in the county of Roxburgh, about six miles east from the Town of Jedburgh. It was for a long time the principal residence of the Kerrs, ancestors of the present Duke of Roxburghe. The first proprietor of this castle mentioned in history was Andrew Ker, who obtained the title of Baron of Cessford, and got a charter of confirmation from Archibald Earl Doug. lass, afterwards stiled Duke of Turenne, Douglass, and Longueville:
This Castle, together with the vast extent of territory, possessed by the family in this county, descended, in succession, to Robert, first Earl of Roxburghe, who (as tradition relates) situated in the centre of his relations, dependents, and vassals, was enabled, at that turbulent period, to bid defiance, not only to the feeble civil power of the country, but at times even to the sovereign himself. No date is discernible to fix the period of the erection of this building; but from those parts of it yet entire, it appears to have been a place of considerable strength, both from the thickness of the walls (which are 14 feet at an average) the remains of the battlements on the top, the embrasures on the sides, and the vestiges of a surrounding moat, which, in cases of emergency, appears to have been furnished with water from a copious
spring at a short distance. The roof is entirely gone; the area within the walls is 41 feet in length, and 20 in breadth; and according to tradition, there is a subterraneous vault below the Castle, which in times of danger was used for concealing both persons and goods within its walls, as this place, from its vicinity to the English border, was more frequently liable to atS. tack *.
Remarks on the Advantages of the North or Level Line of Canal, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, over the Line of the Union Canal.
TO THE EDITOR,
Edinburgh, April 1815. I AM convinced that your readers
are too generally impressed with a sense of the advantages resulting to all classes in society, from the extension of inland navigation, not to receive with satisfaction some information respecting the comparative merits of the disputed lines of Canal, for connecting our metropolis with Glasgow.
One project has been already rejected by Parliament; but the interest of the country is again excited, by another being set on foot of still greater pretension, which is powerfully
*For additional particulars, see Statistied Account, Vol. VIII.
The former line, many of your readers know, commences at Gilmour Street, on the west of Edinburgh; and after a course, which it is unnecessary to describe, passes through about 6 miles of thin coal, in the vicinity of Falkirk; and, without any more minerals in the whole way to Glasgow, descends by nine locks to the Forth and Clyde Canal, at lock 16. The other line, recommended by Mr Rennie, termed the Level line, proceeds from Bruntsfield Links, in a course for some time nearly similar to the former; but by commencing about 40 feet higher, it not only runs to Falkirk without lockage, and intersects the whole coal and minerals of the other line; but, leaving the Great Canal a great way to the north, it proceeds onward, on one level, to within 2 miles of Glasgow, is the trough of the Monkland ridge of coal; and besides, by means of side railroads or canals, opens up fields still more extensive, which lie on the south.
It is a part of Mr Rennie's plan, ultimately to lock his canal down to Leith, and to the Clyde at Broomielaw; while the other stops at Edinburgh, and Port Dundas, about a mile
from Glasgow. The public advantages to which both canals lay claim, are the supply of Edinburgh with coal, which is at present scarce and dear,— the amelioration of the coal district in return, the diffusion of lime and manure over the whole country,— the transportation of goods and passengers, and other benefits inseparable from water-carriage.
It is proper to mention here, that in the years 1797 and 1798, the Magistrates of Edinburgh, anxious to procure a supply of coal, had employed Mr Rennie to report on four different lines, surveyed by Messrs Ainsley and Whitworth.-That gentleman accordingly did so; and at the same time stated, that he would greatly prefer a fifth route, the present level line, provided minerals were in equal abundance as on the other lines; where surveys by Messrs Taylor and Grieve, in the year 1793, and by Messrs Bushby in 1800, had given very favourable representations. The mineral survey, recommended by Mr Rennie, was not then undertaken,on account of the expences of the war,-the consequent absorption of capital,-the great sums expended at Leith on the harbour, and also the reduction of the price of coal by supplies coast wise :-But with Mr Rennie's high authority, who, having the Great Canal before his eyes, never thought of a junction with it being advisable, and with the mineral survey required by him not completed, we say, that the Magistrates not only acted right in demanding delay, when their sanction was applied for by the Committee of the Union Canal subscribers, but they would have shown
a dereliction of all public duty, if they had at once proceeded in the face of such motives for caution and inquiry.
The effect of this delay, which the Union Canal subscribers found it necessary to submit to, was, that the Union Committee employed mineral surveyors
surveyors to examine the coal near Falkirk, and obtained what they call a favourable report. But it is natural to imagine, that if a large supply of coal had been the principal motive for inducing the prime movers of the Union Canal to institute a subscription, this survey would have been a preliminary step. Its adoption at the particular period, shows it to have been entirely out of view originally, any further than to allure some unwary subscribers, and that the Forth and Clyde profits were the real and sole inducement.
The Magistrates of Edinburgh, on their part, employed themselves in again consulting Mr Rennie, and were enabled to furnish him with a mineral survey of the level, or north line, by Mr Bald, who was employed by a few of the most opulent and respectable citizens of Edinburgh and Leith, at their private expense, that, for their own satisfaction, and the good of the public, a rational determination might be formed as to the most expedient line of inland navigation. The survey of Mr Bald was in the highest degree favourable; and the result of the whole investigation was, a decided opinion of the superior merits of Mr Rennie's plan, and of the propriety of opposing the Union Canal. Wishing, however, to secure a great body of subscribers, to remove a formidable opposition to their own line, and to effect, with as much certainty and speed as possible, some inland navigation, the City of Edinburgh was willing to adopt the plan of Mr Baird, who had surveyed and recommended the line of the Union Canal, modified, so as to suit somewhat the public interest. Their demands were, that the Canal should be locked down to Leith; and that it should be a part of the general plan to permit an extension of the Union Canal to the west, as far as the Monkland ridge of coal on Mr Rennie's line, if supply from that quarter should
become material. This compromise we do not consider so favourable to the public, as the exclusive adoption of the level canal; but it may be here adduced in evidence of the sincerity of the Magistrates. The reasonableness of their proposal, too, may be judged of from this, that the Union Canal Committee, the more moderate part of that association, actually closed with it, and gave it to be understood every where, that all differences were accommodated. After this mutual agreement, one would scarcely expect to hear any imputation of the Magistrates being hostile to all inland navigation, and of the grounds of their opposition being a mere cover of their real design. We should as little expect, that the proposals then accepted should be denied to be beneficial, when actually admitted by the more respectable part of their opponents. But mark the consequence. A crowd of the advocates of the Union Canal from the West flocked in to town,-overset the whole of what the Committee had done, and refused to modify in any article the shape of their scheme. The cause of this proceeding it is not difficult to discover. The lockage to Leith might not pay as a distinct speculation, and it would certainly interfere with the Grangemouth navigation. The wished-for prolongation also of the Union Canal to the Monkland coal would have materially affected the Falkirk field.
When the general meeting of subscribers had thus overturned all that their Committee had agreed to, the opposition of the Magistrates of Edinburgh became avowed: and although we are satisfied, that if the fatal result of their opposition could have been foreseen, the subscribers would have come into the terms which had been settled; yet, confiding in their own strength and numbers, they resolved to proceed on their original views.
The irritation which was the consequence of this, displayed itself in the most unjustifiable measure of addressing the mob of Edinburgh by placards, containing an invitation to petition Parliament, with an energetic persuasion of cheap coal and fuel, an abundant supply of water gratuitously, and employment for thousands.
The placard was affixed to all the streets and public places, at a time when the popular feelings were excited by the corn bill, then in dependence, and when the peace and safety of Edinburgh was considerably endangered..
The placard operated, of course, like a charm. Thousands of gaping mechanics, after standing to misspell the advertisement, flocked to the shops, industriously thrown open for the reception of signatures; but, above all, the grammar school supplied a most invaluable store of auxiliaries, whose love of amusement, in flying from shop to shop, gave names innumerable. To have shown the weight which it was proper to attach to the sanction thus procured, the subscribers to the Union Canal should, in justice, have laid before Parliament, the specimen of logic and eloquence by which they succeeded in influencing the multitude. We are told that this was done with considerable effect by their opponents;-so differently do different persons view the effects of the same measure.-The conclusion, therefore, from surveying the confined interests of the promoters of the Union Canal, its origin and whole conduct, is, that the scheme, whatever it may be in reality, has much the appearance of a cabal combined for private and selfish purposes.
On the other hand, with regard to the supporters of Mr Rennie's canal, a prospectus of which will soon be published, it is not easy to discover what imaginable interest they could have had formerly, or have now, ex• See p. 349.
cept to serve the public most effec tually. It has been thrown out, that they espoused this line, merely in order to defeat the other, from a principle of hostility to any canal whatever. Yet if the tendency of canals be, as is universally acknowledged, to supply coal and other articles,.at a low rate, and to increase trade, it should seem very unaccountable to find the Magistrates of Edinburgh, or other public bodies, opposing what must be decidedly beneficial to them, whether as traders, or masters of families, or heads of the community.
We shall soon have decided proof of the falsehood of this charge of hostility to inland navigation, by the City of Edinburgh and others using every exertion in bringing into Parliament a bill for executing Mr Rennie's line. But if we had not possessed information to this extent,nay, even if we had been alike ignorant of the character and station of Mr Rennie's supporters, and of the recommendation to his line, from his own great experience and acknowledged professional merits, we should have looked only to the personal and municipal interest of the Magistrates and Merchant Company of Edinburgh to decide upon the absurdity of supposing them to throw any ob. stacle in the way of a canal, if no preferable one was practicable. It has been indeed said, that the shoredues at Leith would be hurt, by the Canal diverting the transport of goods from Grangemouth to Leith, into the other track; and that this constituted an interest in the Town-Council adverse to the good of the city. To manifest the absurdity of this supposition, we ask whether the shore-dues, or the personal and municipal advantages of a canal, predominate? In order to determine which question, may inform your readers, that coal, and other rude produce, the staple of the canal, pay no shore-dues, and that all the most bulky goods from Glas