Once more with the cane thrashing

I’ve been on break from university, and while I’d like to say I’ve been very focused and productive, circumstances have not allowed me to take full advantage of the time away. However, I have been trying to get to as many of the museums around the city as I can. Yesterday, Hogmanay here in Edinburgh, I wandered over to the National Museum of Scotland. It’s only a few blocks from my flat and I love it there so end up there unplanned on occasion. I was strolling through the Scottish history section (my absolute favorite part of the museum) and I came across a sedan chair. I was feeling especially like reading all the labels yesterday so I stopped at it longer than I might have otherwise. I almost started laughing out loud when I realized that the chair I was looking at belonged to none other than Dr. James Hamilton, the wounded party in the notorious incident with the cane! There was a man with a camera taking a good long look at the chair and I so wish I had told him the story of the thrashing back in 1793, but I was feeling introspective and kept the information to myself. A shame, that.

Dr. James Hamilton's sedan chair.

Dr. James Hamilton’s sedan chair.

Another amusing thing I learned at the museum yesterday was that in the eighteenth century a “Scots pint” was the equivalent of three imperial pints. Wow.



As I wandered through Canongate Kirkyard today, 3 January, I stumbled upon Dr. Gregory’s tomb. These two are everywhere!

Dr. James Gregory's tomb.

Dr. James Gregory’s tomb.


One comment

  1. And it wasn’t at all unusual, indeed, it was pretty normal, for men to drink a pint or so of claret with their dinner – which they had about 3 in the afternoon – before returning to their professional work and then ‘supping’ with (male) friends in the early evening before playing cards and other less innocent pastimes until late at night! See Boswell’s Edinburgh Diaries for an idea of what a learned Advocate and his noble and professional friends got up to in the Edinburgh of the 1770s and 1780s – amazing and appalling in equal measure!!!

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