Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

feet high. This tower contains the principal entrance and staircase leading to the Great Hall, the Library, and the Museum. The old Keith motto, taken from the walls of the original building, is preserved in the vestibule, " Thay haif said; Quhat say thay; Lat them say." The hall contains some interesting portraits by Jamesone and others. In the centre of the quadrangle is an obelisk of polished Peterhead red granite, 70 feet in height, erected to the memory of Sir James Macgregor, late director-general of the Army Medical Department, who was educated at Marischal College, and became a benefactor to it. Marischal College and University is now united to King's College, Old Aberdeen, under the style of the University of Aberdeen. The medical classes are taught at Marischal College, and thd Arts, Divinity, etc., at King's.

The old Grammar School, at which Byron was educated, stood not far off in the Schoolhill. The classes have been removed to the new buildings in Carden Place or Skene Street West, but the old building still remains. An attempt was lately made to get it converted into a picture gallery and museum, but it has not been carried out as yet.

The Royal Infirmary in Woolmanhill; the Lunatic Asylum on the north-west of the town; Gordon's Hospital in the Schoolhill; Mrs. Emslie's Orphan Hospital in Albyn Place ; the Boys' and Girls' Hospital in King Street; the Industrial Schools at Oakbank; and the Old Mill Reformatory, are among the other chief public buildings. There are a number of churches of very handsome and imposing character. In Union Street, besides the East and West Parish Churches already mentioned, there are the Free West on the left, and Free Gilcomston on the right, both fine buildings, with lofty and graceful spires.

Aberdeen has given birth to many men eminent in literature, science, and art . Among artists the most celebrated is Jamesone, some account of whom may not be unacceptable. George Jamesone, we quote from the book of Bon Accord, who has merited the title of "The Vandyke of Scotland," was a native of Aberdeen. His parents were Andrew Jamesone, who on no good grounds is said to have been an architect, and Marjorie Anderson. By the lovers of the marvellous it is related that he was born on the day which saw Queen Mary perish on the scaffold at Fotheringham: but authentic records disprove this pleasing fiction. The precise date of his birth has not been ascertained, but it cannot be placed earlier than the year 1587. He was educated in the schools and college of his native city, and at Antwerp, along with Vandyke, studied painting under Rubens. About 1620 he returned to Scotland, and four years thereafter married a lady of considerable charms named Issobel Tosche, who bore to him many children, of whom only three daughters outlived their father. He prosecuted his art in Aberdeen, living in intimacy with the many eminent men who then adorned its churches and universities, and numberfng among his friends Arthur Johnstone, David Wedderburn, William Forbes, first (so-called) Bishop of Edinburgh, Robert Baron, Bishop Patrick Forbes, Sir Paul Menzies, Patrick Dun, afterwards Principal of Marischal College, Alexander Jaffray, Andrew Cant, and others. In 1633 he repaired to the Scottish Metropolis to witness the splendid festivities which welcomed the visit of Charles I., when that monarch sat to him for his portrait, and rewarded him with a ring from his own finger. In the same season he proceeded to London, perhaps with the view of cultivating the royal favour, and on this occasion it is probable that he painted the Queen Henrietta. In his latter years he is said to have removed his abode to Edinburgh, but it is more likely that his sojourn there was only temporary; his profession required a migratory life ; and we know that his family resided in Aberdeen till within three years of his death. That event occurred at the Scottish capital in 1644. He was buried in the Greyfriars' Kirkyard, and his loss was deplored by his friend Wedderburn in a Latin elegy, but no monument marks his grave. Even in that troubled and narrow-minded age his talents were able to secure wealth, and he bequeathed no inconsiderable property to his daughters. His works are numerous ; many of them axe preserved in King's and Marischal Colleges; one of the most singular is in Cullen House ; not a few are in the possession of private individuals in the city and county; but the greatest collection is that at Taymouth Castle. He painted many of the most eminent individuals of his time, such as, The Marquis of Montrose; David Leslie, Earl of Leven; John, Duke of Rothes ; Sir Thomas Hope ; William Forbes, Bishop of Edinburgh; Gibson, Lord Durie; Gordon of^traloch; Sir Thomas Nicholson; George Heriot; Arthur Johnston ; his brother William; Lord Chancellor Loudoun; Urquhart of Cromarty (Sir Thomas ?); Andrew Cant; Bishop Patrick Forbes; James, Marquis of Hamilton; The Marquis and Marchioness of Huntly. "His excellence," says Walpole, "consists in delicacy and softness, with a clear and beautiful colouring, his shades not charged but helped by varnish, with little appearance of the pencil. He had much of Vandyke's second manner; and to Sir Anthony some of his works have been occasionally imputed." This high praise is ratified by Allan Cunningham, who adds: "His outlines are correct, his colouring lucid, and his proportions just; and he was the first native of our island who refused to limit himself to miniatures, and transferred life of the natural dimensions to his canvas. That he stands at the head of the British school of portrait-painting there can therefore be no question ; nor had England an artist of her own worthy of being named above him in his own walk before the days of Reynolds." It is related that Jamesone executed a portrait of Charles I., in the expectation that the magistrates of Aberdeen would purchase it for the Town-Hall, but that they offered him a price so unworthy, that he indignantly disposed of it to a stranger. For this story tradition is the only authority, and there is all reason to believe that it is false. The corporation in that day was no niggard patron of learning or of the arts; the average remuneration which Jamesone received for his portraits was no more than twenty pounds Scots; and will it be believed that they would higgle about a sum lite this who rewarded an author for inscribing to them a Hebrew Grammar with the sum of four hundred merks 1 Jamesone was in intimacy and friendship with the members of the council; he himself speaks of the affection which he cherishes for his native city ; and his works on more than one occasion bore witness to the truth of his words. He built at his own expense a vault of hewn stone over the Well of Spa ; he contributed liberally to the endowment of a clergyman at Footdee; and he laid out at his own expense a garden thus alluded to by Gordon of Rothiemay, "Hard by it (the Well of Spa) there is a four squair feild, which of old served for a theater, since made a gardyne for pleasur by the industrie and expense of George Jamesone, ane ingenious paynter, quho did sett up therin ane timber hous paynted all over with his own hand." Later this spot was known by the title of The Four Nukit Garden. The ground is now covered with mean houses; and the only memorial of its original destination exists in the name of The Garden-nook Well The well may still be seen in Woolmanhill, to the west of the Infirmary.

One of the edible characteristics of Aberdeen, and a considerable industry there, are Finnan Haddocks. Finnan is a fishing village a few miles south of Aberdeen. "About a mile beyond Cove," says Bon Accord, "is situated Finnan, magnum et venerabile nomen !' To abstract the mind from all local emotions,' says the Moralist, ' would be impossible if it were endeavoured, and would be foolish if it were possible. Far from me, and from my friends, be such frigid philosophy. That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plains of Marathon,' or whose appetite would not grow keener among the huts of Finnan. Its unlettered sages will impart wisdom which will be vainly sought in elaborate dissertations on culinary science. 'Finnan haddocks,' says a lady who cooks upon principles of economy,'are served at breakfast in Scotland, to eat with bread and butter, either cold or just warmed through, and moistened with one or two drops of sweet oil!' This nauseous and abominable libel may be forgiven in an author born on the wrong side of the Tweed; but it is not easy so leniently to overlook the blunders of Mrs. Margaret Dods, of St. Ronans, whose recommendation is that'Finnans may be taken from the gridiron when just done, and dipped in hot water if dry or hard, and wrapped in a cloth to swell or soften them.' With becoming diffidence it is surmised that mine hostess of the Cleikum knows as much about Finnans as a barelegged Nereid of Port Lethen knows of Parisian entremets, or of the Chinese luxury of edible birds'-nests. Before your Finnan becometh dry or hard, or needeth to be recovered by blankets and hot-baths, you shall nose him as you go upstairs, and may rely that a certain convocation of political worms are e'en at him. Worthy Mrs. Margaret must have mistaken him for a Pin-the-Widdy, or other member of the same desiccated family. A similar mistake has led Sir Walter Scott to protest, in the name of his country, against Dr. Johnson's tastes, but the philosopher's 'disgust' was virtuous, for it was expressed against'Bwihie haddocks.'"

Of late years Aberdeen has become established as a port for the herring-fishing, competing in this with the long-frequented ports of Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

The Harbour is worthy of special notice. It has of late years undergone great improvements, and now affords the following accommodation. The wet dock, constructed under the Act 1843, has an area of 29 acres; its lineal quay space is 2150 yards, and it cost with relative works about £145,000. The tidal harbour and basins cover 60 acres, and their lineal quay space is 1133 yards. Around these quays there are 3833 yards of rails.

During the 70 years ending in 1880, under various Acts of Parliament passed at different times, upwards of £875,000 has been expended on these works, including cost of the Acts and purchase-money of the lands and fishings. These works embrace, among others, The North Pier at the harbour entrance, designed and begun in last century by Smeaton; an extension at a cost of about £66,000 finished in 1876, and a further extension, recently completed under the Act of 1868, costing ,£46,500, make the pier, as now standing, 2680 feet in length. The South Breakwater, constructed under the Act 1868, was completed in 1874, and cost £77,500. It is 1050 feet in length.

The Breakwater, as also the recent extension of the North Pier and various works in the interior of the harbour, are built of concrete.

The tonnage of traffic at the port of Aberdeen, exclusive of live stock and imports of fresh fish (of fresh herrings there were in 1880 about 14,600 tons landed), were—

Imports. Exports. Total Tons.

In 1870 . . . 378,333 115,113 493,446

,, 1875 . . . 415,332 135,590 550,922

,, 1880 . . . 507,416 149,500 656,916

The number and tonnage of vessels belonging to the port in various decades are as follows :—

[merged small][table]

The rates collected were—

In 1840 £1399

1850 4220

1860 5084

1870 5922

1880 9422

The neighbourhood of the city is pretty, and a few short excursions in various directions will well repay the visitor. The banks of the Dee and of the Don are picturesque and lovely, and the drives out the Culter, the Rubislaw, the Stocket, and other roads present much interesting variety of scenery.

« AnteriorContinuar »