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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


282 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Lord PmYoss. tion of five new professorships. A few years after his death a bust of him by Nollekens was erected in their public hall by the managers of the Royal Infirmary. In 1754 the Lord Provost, dean of guild, bailies, and city treasurer, appeared in November, for the first time, with gold chains and medals, in lieu of the black velvet coats, which were laid aside by all save the provost, and which had been first ordered to be worn by an Act of the Council in I 7 I 8. In 1753, on the 17th February, died Patrick Lindsay, Esq., late Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and Governor of the Isle of Man. In 1768 the Lord Provost was James Stuart. In the following year, during spring, the great Benjamin Franklin and his son spent six weeks in Scotland, and the University of St. Andrews conferred upon him the honorary title of Doctor, by which he has since been generally known. On his coming to Edinburgh, Provost Stuart and the Corporation bestowed upon him the freedom of the city, when every house was thrown open to him, and the most distinguished men of letters crowded round him. Hume, Robertson, and Lord Kames, became his intimate friends ; but Franklin was not unduly elated, ?? On the whole,? he wrote, U I must say the time I spent there (in Scotland) was six weeks of the dearest happiness I have met with in any part of my life.? Stuart?s successor in ofice was John Dalrymple, whose eldest son succeeded to the baronetcy of Hailes (which is now extinct) on the death of Lord Hailes, the distinguished judge and writer. In the year 1774 there was considerable political strife in the city, originating in the general parliamentary election, when exertions were made to wrest the representation from Sir Lawrence Dundas, who unexpectedly found as opponents Loch of Carnbie, and Captain James Francis Erskine of Forrest. A charge of bribery being preferred against Sir Lawrence, some delay occurred in the election, and the then Lord Provost Stoddart came forward as a candidate. The votes of the Council were-for Sir Lawrence, twenty-three ; for Provost Stoddart, six; and for Captain Erskine, three. One of the Council, Gilbert Laurie (who had been provost in 1766) was absent. Messrs. Stoddart and Loch protested that the election had been brought about by undue influence. The opposition to Sir Lawrence became still greater, and a keen trial of strength took place when the election of deacons and councillors came in 1776, and many bitter letters appeared in the public prints ; but the friends of the Dundas family proved again triumphant, and united in the choice of Alexander Kincaid, as Lord Provost, His Majesty?s Printer for Scotland. He died in office in 1777, in a house situated in the Cowgate, in a small court westward of the Horse Wynd, and known as Kincaid?s Land, and was succeeded by Provost Dalrymple. Two years afterwards the city was assessed in the sum of iC;1,500 to repay damage done by a mob to the Roman Catholic place of worship, fo; the destruction of furniture, ornaments, books, and altar vessels. In this year, I 779, there were 188 hackney sedan chairs in the city, but very few hackney coaches; and the umbrella first appeared in the streets. By 1783 there were 1,268 four-wheeled carriages entered to pay duty, and 338 two-wheeled. At Michaelmas, 1784, Sir James Hunter Blair, Bart., was elected Lord Provost, in succession to David Stuart, who resided in Queen Street, and who was a younger son of Stuart of Dalguise. The second son of Mr. John Hunter of Ayr, Sir James, commenced life as an apprentice with Coutts and Co., the Edinburgh bankers, in 1756, when Sir William Forbes was then a clerk, and both became ultimately the principal partners. He married the eldest daughter of Blair of Dunskey, who left no less than six sons at the time of this event, all of whom died, and on her succession to the estates, Sir James assumed the name and arms .of Blair. As Lord Provost he was indefatigable in the activity of his public spirit, and set afoot the great operations for the improvement of Edinburgh, and one object he had specially in view when founding the South Bridge was the rebuilding of the University. Sir James lived only to see the commencement of the great works he had projected in Edinburgh, as he died of fever at Harrogate in July, 1787, and was honoured with a public funeral in the Greyfriars? churchyard. In private life he was affable and cheerful, attached to his friends and anxious for their success. In business and in his public exertions he was upright, liberal, and, as a Scotsman, patriotic; he possessed in no small degree those talents which are requisite for rendering benevolence effectual, uniting great knowledge of the world with sagacity and sound understanding. Sir James Stirling, Bart., elected Lord Provost, after Elder of Forneth, had a stormy time when in office. He was the son of a fishmonger at the head of Marlin?s Wynd, where his sign was a wooden Black BUZZ, now in the Antiquarian Museum. Stirling, after being secretary to Sir Charles Dalling, Governor of Jamaica, became a partner in the bank of Mansfield, Ramsay, and Co. in Cantore?s Close, Luckenbooths, and manied the
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