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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES and on the 1st day of August 1785, the work was begun by laying the foundation- stone of the South Bridge which now connects, by an easy and spacious communication, the suburbs on the south with the rest of the city. The foundation of the new bridge was laid with great solemnity by the Right Hon. Lord Haddo, Grand Master Mason of Scotland, in presence of the Lord Provost and Magistrates, a number of the nobility and gentry, and the master, officers, and brethren of all the Lodges of Freemasons in the city and neighbourhood. In the foundation-stone were cut five holes, wherein the Substitute Grand- Master put some coins of his Majesty Qeorge III., and covered them with a plate, on which was engraven an inscription in Latin, the translation of which is as follows :- ‘‘ By the blessing of Almighty God, in the reign of George III., the father of his country, the Right Hon. George Lord Haddo, Grand-Master of the most ancient fraternity of Freemasons in Scotland, amidst the acclamations of a Grand Assembly of the Brethren, and of a vast concourse of people, laid the first stone of this bridge, intended to form a convenient communication between the city of Edinburgh and its suburbs and an access not unworthy of such a city. “This work, so useful to the inhabitants, so pleasing and convenient to strangers, so ornamental to the city, so creditable to the country, so long and much wanted and wished for, was at last begun with the sanction of the King and Parliament of Great Britain, and with universal approbation, in the Provostship of James Hunter Blair, the author and indefatigable promoter of the undertaking, August the first, in the year of our Lord 1785, and of the era of Masonry 5785, which may God prosper.” Sir James lived only to see the commencement of the great works which he had projected. In spring 1787, he went to Harrogate for the recovery of his health, but without the appearance of any alarming complaint. The waters had not the success which he expected. In the month of June his indisposition was much increased, and terminated in a fever. He died on the first day of July 1787, in the forty-seventh year of his age. His remains were conveyed to Edinburgh and deposited in the Greyfriars’ churchyard. In private life Sir James was affable and cheerful, warmly attached to his friends, and anxious for their success. As a magistrate, he was upright, liberal, and disinterested, His talents were of the highest order-to an unwearied application, he united great knowledge of the world, sagacity in business, and soundness of understanding ; and he died unusually respected. Hunter Square and Blair Street, where the King’s Printing Office was situated, were named after Sir James, whose estate and titles were inherited by the respected Sir David Hunter Blair, Bart., who also held the appointment of Printer to his Majesty,
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