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ON THE PROPOSED MONUMENT FOR LORD MELVILLE.
We observe, with sincere pleasure, fore their eyes in a place of common that the foundation stone of Lord resort: And if this applies to other Melville's Monument is to be laid edifices, most of all is it deserving of early in the following month; and consideration in a monument to deit is generally understood, that the parted greatness, the very purpose of PILLAR of TRAJAN is to be the mo- which is, not merely to testify our del of the structure. Before these gratitude to the dead, but to serve as pages issue from the Press, its site an incentive to the rising generation, will probably be chosen : and perhaps, to emulate the deeds by which their therefore, the remarks which they con- country has been ennobled. If such tain, may be either unnecessary or a building is buried in some obscure too late to attain the object for which situation, its peculiar and distinctive they are intended. Yet, as it is pos- objects are entirely sacrificed ;--for it sible that these matters may not be neither testifies to the world in genefinally decided on for some little time, ral, the gratitude of those who raised and as it is at any rate of importance, it, nor is it likely to stimulate the unthat the principles which should regu- thinking multitude to acts of patriotic late the choice of the situation of pub- virtue. It is when it is placed in the lic edifices, should be generally un- public eye alone, and proudly brought derstood, we shall make no apology forward, in the centre of common refor entering on the subject.
sort, that it becomes the worthy depoA more splendid and unexceptiona- sitory of a nation's gratitude, and the ble structure than the pillar of Trajan, means of awakening the latent desire could not be desired for any monu
of distinction in the breast of some of ment. It is its situATION which those whom nature has gifted with alone remains an object of doubt. the means of obtaining it.
We have heard, that it is proposed Every nation, accordingly, has felt by the Committee to erect it in the the truth of this observation. It was centre of Melville-street, at the point in the Roman Forum, and in the very where it joins the street which runs centre of common resort, that that northward from the middle of the magnanimous people raised the temples Coat's Crescent;—and we know that which were to testify their gratitude ground for the purpose has been of- to the gods, and the monuments fered, with his wonted liberality, by which were to be the emblem of their the proprietor, Sir Patrick Walker. admiration of man. When Titus reBeing confident that the motives which turned from the conquest of Jerusaled this gentleman to make this offer, lem, it was at the entrance of the were of the most disinterested kind; Forum that his triumphal arch was and that if it can be shewn, that the raised: when Trajan brought the capproposed edifice, as an object of pub- tives of Scythia and India to the Rolic ornament, would be thrown away man capital, it was in the centre of in that situation, he would be the first the adjoining Forum, which bears his to relinquish the plan,-we address name, that his glorious column was these observations as much to him as constructed : and even in the decay of to the other distinguished persons who the empire, when. Constantine medicompose the Committee.
tated the removal of the capital to the When an edifice, destined for pub- shores of the Euxine, he still placed lic ornament, is to be erected, it is of his arch in the same vicinity, and the last importance that the situation gloried in covering with the monushould be in a prominent one, and as ment of his trophies, part of that near as possible to the centre of the me- sacred way, where the triumphs of a tropolis. Every body must be conscious thousand years had passed. It was that unless this is done, its beauty is round the Forum of Venice, and in in a great measure lost. Thousands, the centre of universal gayety and who never can be induced to go out concourse, that the Lion of St Mark of their way in search of what is ad- . was placed, and that the trophies mirable, are nevertheless impressed of Constantinople, of Athens, and with its effect when it is brought be of Jerusalem, were accumulated by
the prowess of the Imperial Repub- It is a matter, too, of the greatest lic. No one understood better the moment, in arranging edifices for the influence of such monuments on the present or future ornament of a city, public mind, than Bonaparte ; and ac- to have them so combined as to form, cordingly, all his meditated triumphal if possible, some one splendid whole ; edifices were assembled within a nar- the attractions of which may withrow space, in the most ornamental draw the attention from objects of part of the city.
subordinate or minor interest, and the Nor is it less essential as a matter magnificence of which may produce of mere beauty, and as conducive to an indelible impression on the mind public ornament alone, that ornamental of the spectator. If any one be asked if edifices, of whatever description, should Paris, or Venice, or Rome, be splendid be brought as nearly as possible to- cities, he will immediately answer in gether, and placed in the most conspi- the affirmative; but if the recollection cuous place of the metropolis. In na- of these different capitals be more mitural scenery, indeed, the eye of taste nutely examined, it will be found that is delighted by the discovery of beau- it is the recollection of some one gloties lurking in some unseen spot; and rious scene in them which has fixed frequently an impression is produced itself in the mind, and, by its brilby such sequestered charms, which liancy, communicated a splendid cothe same objects, placed in a conspi- louring to the whole city of which it cuous eminence, would be inca ble forms a part. It is the place Louis of effecting. But this is wholly inap- XV. at Paris which recurs to the plicable to works of architectural ornaa mind of the traveller when he thinks ment. Such edifices, when placed in of that celebrated capital; it is the a city at least, are felt to be unsuit- beauty of the gardens of the Thuilable but for places of public resort.- leries, of the bridges of the Seine, of Being the work of man, and the great- the matchless colonnade, and other est triumph of human art, they are edifices, which are there assembled, fitly placed in the scene of business, which imprints so fine a character of festivity, and amusement. A feel- on the whole metropolis. It is the ing of disappointment is experienced Piazza St Marco, which identifies itwhen we find some beautiful edifice self with the recollection of the capital buried in an obscure situation, si- of Venice; and the mind, forgetting milar to what would be felt if a the narrow lanes and muddy canals of brilliant jewel, instead of adorning that singular.city, dwells only on the the brow of grace and beauty, were gorgeous magnificence of its pillared to be buried under the folds, or con- scenery, and sees, even after the lapse cealed by the least ornamental part of of years, with all the intenseness of her drapery.
present enjoyment, the Moorish domes, Not only, too, are such ornamental and granite columns, and marble paedifices wholly lost, as a means of laces, which give the air of enchantpublic ornament, when their situation ment to that unrivalled spot. It is is unhappily chosen, but their indivi- the Roman forum which has imprintdual beauty is destroyed by the same ed itself on the memory of all who circumstance. No one can have visi- have visited that ancient capital ; ted the various beautiful buildings it is the venerable sight of the Capitol which are buried in the smoke, or lost and the Colysium, the arch of Severus among the narrow streets of London, and the temple of Antonine, the pawithout having felt the force of this lace of the Cæsars and the pillars of observation. Were these edifices the senate-house, combined in one brought into public view, and forced landscape, which banishes the recolon the public eye as in the place lection of all the deformities with Louis XV. of Paris, they would be which the modern city is filled. The esteemed not uuworthy of the metro- magnificence of Genoa has, for cenpolis of England. And if we require turies, been matter of proves bial rea confirmation of so obvious a truth, mark; but those who are acquainted we have only to go to the High Street with that city know, that it is to the of Edinburgh, where even the beauti- splendour of a few streets alone, where ful pillars of Athenian Doric lose their all the grandeur of the city is comeffect under the chilling influence of bined, that its proud appellation of the surrounding buildings.
Genova la superba has been owing, The Irish justly pride themselves on ed to the purpose of pure ornament the beauty of their metropolis ; but should, as much as possible, be brought it is, perhaps, as much to the fortu- together. And if this be true in genate combination of circumstances neral, of none may it so truly be said which have brought the Bank, the as of the proposed Monument to Lord University, the Post-Office, the pillar Melville, which is of a kind to form of Nelson, and the Custom-House, so one of the most splendid objects in any near to each other in the centre of combination of architectural scenery. this city, as to the elegance of these Now the proposed situation of this edifices themselves, that this effect is Monument, in the centre of Melvilleowing. No one has visited Athens street, though doubtless striking with without feeling the imposing effect reference to that single street, appears which the combination of ruined mag- to be eminently defective with a view nificence on the Acropolis produces; to the general embellishment of the an effect greater than any single edi- city. It can never be seen from any fice, however perfect, could possibly of the principal streets in the New occasion; and, notwithstanding the town, on account of the vast mass of stately buildings which adorn our own St George's, which lies so directly in metropolis, it is certainly more to the its front. Its summit will merely be happy nature of their situation, which discernible at a great distance, from bring them all into view at once from the Calton hill. A few outside passthe Calton Hill, than to their intrin- engers, in the Mail coach going to sic excellence, that its well known ce- Glasgow or Aberdeen, may get lebrity is to be ascribed.
glimpse of it as they drive past MelProceeding, therefore, on the prin- ville-street or the Coats Crescent, but ciples which experience has proved to the inhabitants in general will have no be well founded in other cities, it is opportunity of enjoying its beauties ; of the utmost moment to combine, as and the strangers who visit our metromuch as possible, the ornamental édi- polis will, not improbably, in many infices of Edinburgh into one centre; stances at least, take their departure and to aid the natural effect of its si- without knowing even of its existence. tuation, by assembling, into one view, And thus, while the level and monoall that the public spirit of its citizens tonous streets of the New Town are can produce of the beautiful in archi- universally observed to require some tectural design. This object, momen- elevated buildings to vary their outtous in every city, is more especially line, will one of the noblest pillars in 50 in this, from the straggling form the world be thrown away in a situawhich the town is every day assuming, tion, where it is incapable of affording and the great width of all the new that relief, which, in its immediate streets, which threatens, in a short neighbourhood, is so grievously retime, to deprive it of the character of quired. a populous and great metropolis.- This is on the supposition that the There is no man of taste, who has proposed streets round Melville-street ever seen the view from the Calton are all completed, and the town, in Hill, who has not lamented the wide that quarter, entirely finished: but gap which lies between the Old and every body knows that this is very far New Town. And it is on this account from being likely; that the tendency that the new buildings on the North of the city to extend in the direction Bridge, though by no means unexcep- of Leith Walk, has been long observtionable in themselves, have been so ed; and the proposed edifices on the often considered by men of the most Calton Hill, with the matchless advanapproved judgment, as a decided im- tages which the houses on its northern provement to the picturesque effect of side will possess, must, in all probathe city. For the same reason, the bility, determine the propensity. If proposed structure on the Mound, if this be the case, the ultimate comdone with taste, and not suffered to pletion of Melville-street must be rise too high, will add greatly to its postponed, in the most favourable beauty. But with a view to correct view, for a very long period. How this obvious defect, and concentrate, unfortunate, then, would it be, if this as much as possible, the effect of our noble Monument were to be placed ornamental edifices, it is absolutely in a situation where, during a great necessary that those which are destin, many years at least, it will be
surrounded only with rubbish, and severed parts. To a stranger entering mason's sheds, and stone quarries, either from the east or the west, it amongst half-finished streets and emp- would form the first object which ty houses ? And yet, that such will would strike the eye, and in both be the case, is rendered highly pro- would possess the inestimable adbable by the difficulty which several vantage of having its whole outline proprietors in Melville-street, who displayed on the sky. It might be wish to dispose of their houses, have, combined in the most beautiful manfor many years past, experienced in ner with the edifices which are now finding purchasers.
in contemplation for that central siThe subscribers to this splendid un- tuation. These edifices must consist dertaking will doubtless be anxious of low buildings of one or two stories, that the work, which they have pro- with colonnades along their sides; moted with such praise-worthy spirit, and it is with buildings of precisely should be placed in some central and the same description that the column conspicuous spot, where it may testify, of Trajan was surrounded in that in a public manner, the gratitude and splendid forum, whose ruins still expatriotic feeling of those who raised it. ist, to justify the admiration of anThe friends of the eminent States, cient times. Whoever has visited this man, whose departed worth it is in- spot since the form of the forum was tended to commemorate, and whose laid open by the excavations of the invaluable services in the navy have French, must have perceived, that the so long and universally been acknow- colonnades which surround the pillar ledged, will look, with anxious hope, bear a very close resemblance to those to the choice of a site where his mo- which it is proposed to construct on nument is to be raised. How griev. the Mound. It is no inconsiderable ously will both be disappointed, if, in advantage, therefore, that by placing place of finding it in a proud and con- the Monument in this situation, it spicuous situation, in the centre of will not only be fixed in one of the that metropolis which gave him birth, most central points of the city, but they find it buried behind St George's inay be combined with the very church, and raising its graceful form same edifices which the taste of anin a situation where no eye of taste tiquity had selected to enhance its can see it, and no patriotic heart be beauties. warmed by the recollections which it In the second place, a very fine sia should awaken !
tuation might be obtained at the head These considerations are so obvious, of Leith Walk, at the junction of that that they must have forced themselves street and Picardy Place. This situon every one's thoughts who has at- ation combines the advantage of being tended for a moment to the subject; conspicuous from Leith Walk, York. and they would, we are persuaded, Place, and the New London Road, have led to the instant change of the with that of being placed in one of proposed site, were it not that a diffi- the most striking points and most freculty is imagined to exist in finding a quented thoroughfares of the city. better. That this, however, is not the And the great width of the streets, in case, and that many situations, infin- that vicinity, removes the danger of itely preferable to that we have men- its being objected to, on account of tioned, might be obtained, seems too the obstruction which it might afford obvious to admit of a doubt.
to the passage of carriages. In the first place, a most noble In the third place, it might be and conspicuous situation might placed at the eastern side of Charlotte be obtained at the northern extre- Square, near the door leading into the mity of the Mound, on the spot garden from George Street. No one where the. Peristrephic Panorama now surely can doubt, that this splendid stands. The advantages of this spot column, placed in that situation, are obvious.
Placed in the very would be a great addition to the magcentre of the metropolis, between the nificence of the square ; and certainly Old and New Town, in front of the in no other point could the subscribers most frequented terrace in the city, hope to have it surrounded with so it combines the advantage of being elegant and ornamental a pile of proudly conspicuous, with that of buildings. From George Street it forming a link between its almost-dis- would form an object worthy of its
great dimensions and princely air ; neither could form an ornament to any while, from every point round Edin- approach of the city, nor combine with burgh, it would afford an inestimable any of its finest features, or most strivariety to the level surface of the New king scenes. And we most earnestly Town. And if it be objected, that request the attention of the very disthe column would be sunk into insig, tinguished gentlemen who. compose nificance by the mass of St George's the committee to this subject; and rising immediately behind, the recol- from the knowledge which we have of lection of the obelisk in front of St the taste and judgment of many of Peter's, which preserves its altitude them, we are sure that if they take notwithstanding the colossal dome be- it up with a right feeling and in good fore which it stands, will immediately earnest, they will come to a determioccur to the travelled observer. nation, certainly satisfactory to their
In the fourth place, we understand fellow-citizens. that the governors of Heriot's Hospi- Since the preceding pages were writtal have, with their usual liberality, ten, we have heard with mingled grief offered ground for the site of this and astonishment, that the committee monument, immediately in front of have, by a meeting on the 9th current, the New Terrace, about to be .con- resolved on erecting the Monument at structed on the northern side of the the end of Melville-street; and that Calton Hill. This situation certainly this was done both after the whole obhas many advantages. Independently jections to its being placed in St Anof being placed in front of what will be drews-square were withdrawn by those by far the handsomest terrace in Edin- who had formerly made them, and in burgh, and of being surrounded by spite of a most vigorous and public beautiful public gardens, it will form spirited resistance on the part of many a most prominent object on the great of the leading characters in our city. London road, which is forming on the That the centre of St Andrew-square northern side of the hill, and become is out of all doubt the most eligible a central point in the New Town, situation that could be obtained, is too which is projected in that quarter. obvious for illustration; and we have Nor is it perhaps to be entirely forgot- mentioned the preceding ones on the ten, that on this point, it would not supposition of its being irretrievably only be conspicuous from the whole lost. In common with all persons northern side of the town, but would interested in the improvement of the form a leading object from the sea, metropolis, we deplored the narrow where the sailors who have so liberally motives or utter want of taste which contributed to this work of art, may prompted the resistance which was have an opportunity of contemplating formerly made to its being put in that the monument which their exertions admirable situation, and in proporhave raised.
tion to our former indignation, is our If none of these situations be select- gratitude to the individuals who have ed, we conceive the pillar might be now, from a sense of their error, come placed with great effect in the point forward and abandoned it. It is a strong where Frederick Street intersects indication of the force of public senGeorge Street; and perhaps there timent, and of the progress which good is no situation in which its effect could feeling and right views have made be more admirable. To those who re- amongst us; for it is not to be forgota collect how great an improvement the ten, that to retract an error is a nobler portico of the Assembly Rooms made measure than to abstain from it; and on the uniform line of this street, that many men who would never have it is unnecessary to dwell on the ad- opposed a public improvement, have vantages which this superb column not sufficient magnanimity, when that would confer.
opposition has been begun, to abanThese are a few situations which don it. have occurred to ourselves, as well But in proportion to our gratitude fitted for the proposed edifice; and we for this public-spirited amende honourhave no doubt, that on some of them able on the part of the St Andrewthe committee would have no dificulty square proprietors, is our grief for the in placing it. Any of them appears to want of taste or momentary predomibe preferable to that which has been nance of splenetic feeling, with which proposed in Melville Street, where it this offer has now been refused. That