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Gazetteer of Scotland > Volume 1

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was arranged on liberal principles, as to the re-
ligious qualifications of the professors, and
unless placed under the authoritative cu-
ratory of a body of lay gentlemen. The
court-house of Dumfries is a commodious
structure, comprising a large court-room and
other offices. On the opposite side of the
street stands the jail, between which and the
court-house there is a subterraneous communi-
cation. The Infirmary is a building of the last
century. It was founded in 1776, and has
been of incalculable benefit to the district. It
is the only institution of the kind to be found
in Scotland south of Edinburgh. The first
bridge erected across the Nith was, as already
mentioned, built in the thirteenth century, by
Lady Devorgilla, who established the monas-
tery of Grey Friars. The structure originally
consisted of thirteen arches, instead of the pre-
sent seven, and was considered the next best
bridge in the two kingdoms, to that of Lon-
don. The New Bridge is a handsome fabric,
erected in the year 1794. The two edifices
connect this part of Dumfries-shire with the
district of Galloway, and may therefore be con-
sidered public works of primary importance.
In the centre of a square, about the middle of
the town, is a Doric column of handsome archi-
tecture, erected by the county gentlemen, to the
memory of Charles, Duke of Queensberry, who
died 1 778, and was, as has been seen, a beneficent
patron of the shire. The town has a variety
of very useful charitable institutions. Besides
the Infirmary, which has a lunatic asylum at-
tached to it, there is a Poor's Hospital, for
giving support to aged and indigent persons,
and destitute children, who are taught to read
and write. There is a free school for adults
and children, which is attended during the year
by upwards of three hundred scholars ; it is well
endowed, and partly supported by subscriptions.
There are also a number of societies for en-
couraging and promoting education and a
knowledge of religion in the Highlands and
foreign countries ; Bible societies, &c. Within
Jhese few years, great improvements have been
instituted in the erection of new buildings, and
in the mode of lighting the town, which is now
effected by means of gas. One great improve-
ment is still wanting, that of supplying the
town with water by means of pipes. This
improvement has often been projected, and
there can be no doubt that if a company were
established, the concern would pay as well as
the gas, the shares of which, from the com-
mencement, have yielded six per cent, interest.
There are excellent springs on the Galloway
side of the river ; but if this plan were found
too expensive, the water of the Nith might
easily be pumped and filtered by a wheel or
steam engine, as is done at Glasgow. The
power, too, that pumped water at night, might,
as has often been proposed by Mr. Menteath
of Closeburn, saw timber during the day ;
by which the expense would be much reduc-
ed. Nothing adds so much to the comfort
of a town as water cisterns, at any eleva-
vation ; and so generally is water now intro-
troduced into Scottish provincial towns by
means of pipes, that the want of such a tran-
scendent convenience in the city-like town of
Dumfries, must astonish all visitants. The
town possesses three large and commodious
inns, besides other houses for the reception of
strangers. The Commercial Inn is particu-
larly deserving of the attention of the curious
traveller, from the circumstance of its having
been the head quarters of Prince Charles
Stuart, in December 1745, when on his retreat
northwards. Dumfries supports two weekly
newspapers, the Courier and Journal, both of
which are published on Tuesday, and have a
well-merited circulation. The Courier has
been some years under the editorial manage-
ment of John M'Diarmid, Esq. whose work
is quoted above. There are several booksel-
lers and printers in the town, and more than
one good circulating library. In recent years,
the navigation of the Nith has been much im-
proved, by embankments, jetties, &c. whereby
vessels can now approach to deliver their car-
goes close to the town, instead of being obliged,
as formerly, to unload at a considerable dis-
tance down the river. The burden of the
vessels belonging to the port is now upwards
of 4000 tons. The principal imports are tim-
ber, hemp, tallow, slate, iron, coal, and wine j
the exports consist of wheat, barley, oats, po-
tatoes, wool, and free-stone. Considerable
business is done in the manufacture of hosiery,
principally of lamb's wool ; hats are also manu-
factured, and there are extensive breweries,
tan-yards, and a distillery. The trade of the
town and district is assisted by branches of the
Bank of Scotland, the British Linen Com-
pany, and the Commercial and National
Banks. Of agents for fire and insurance offi ces,
there is a great number. The market days of

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