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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 57
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BI 0 GRAPH I C AL SKETCH E S. 43 Walter Hamilton, Esq., was elected Lord Provost. This office he filled, as usual, for two years. The copartnery with Mr. Allan’ having been dissolved, Provost Steuart commenced business on his own account in Leith, as a general merchant. At a later date he became a wine-merchant in Edinburgh, but was far from successful in his commercial speculations. In his early years, with the view of following a mercantile profession, he resided for some time on the Continent, where he acquired an intimate knowledge of modern languages. He was a man of excellent taste, and passionately fond of literature. He was a great book-collector, and his library, for its size, was one of the finest in Scotland. His residence abroad had given him great facilities for collecting rare and curious works. In May 1801, when he exposed a part of his library to sale by auction, it was described as “ a small, but select collection of books, in which is to be found some of the finest specimens of typography extant, from the first attempt on wooden blocks until the present time.” But the prices offered not coming up to Mr. Steuart’s expectations, the greater part were bought in, either by himself or his friends. Two of the finest specimens of early printing which now enrich the Library of the Faculty of Advocates were formerly in his possession, viz.-lst, The first edition of the Latin Bible, and one of the earliest books executed with movable types, in two large volumes folio, supposed to have been printed by Gutternbeg and Faust in the year 1450. The other is the Breviary of the .Roman Church, beautifully printed on the finest vellum at Venice by Nicholas Jenson in 1478, and finely illuminated. Provost Steuart married Miss Ann Fordyce, an Aberdeenshire lady, by whom he had sixteen children, five of whom, two sons and three daughters, are presently alive. In’ the latter part of life he suffered much as a martyr to the gout; and finally left Edinburgh about the year 1815. From that time he continued to reside with his son-in-law, Mr. Mair,” at Gretna Hall, near Annan, where he died on the 17th May 1824. MR. JOHN LOTHIAN was a cloth-merchant in that shop, No. 313 High Street., in the west wing of the front of the Royal Exchange. He was elected one of the Merchants’ Councillors, in 1762 ; and in 1768, upon the death of Bailie William Callender, was appointed third bailie in his stead ; in 1769, he was one of the old bailies; in 1774, second bailie; in 1775, old bailie. He died unmarried, at Edinburgh, suddenly, on the 12th August 1790. He was second son of Richard Lothian, writer in Edinburgh, the eldest son of George Lothian, Esq., of Belsis, near Ormiston, in East Lothian, and cousin- 1 Robert Allan was father of the late Thorn= Allan, Esq., who bought the estate of Lauriston, in the county of Edinburgh, which had for nearly a century and a half been the property of the representatives of the celebrated John Law of Lauriston, who was born there. a hLrs. Mair was remarkable for the beauty of her face and the graceful elegance of her figure, but the sweetness of her manner was stii more remarkable than either.
Volume 8 Page 58
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