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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 223 This municipal squabble was of come too good a subject for the genius of Kay to overlook; accordingly we are presented, in the foregoing print, with a group of the persons most zealous and interested in this bone of contention The figure on the left represents MR. ORLANDO HART, who carried on business as a shoemaker in the High Street, opposite the Old City Guard- House, and was considered one of the most fortunate of the city politicians. For a series of twenty or twenty-five years he was almost constantly a member of the Town Council, or a Deacon, or a Trades Councillor,-having been first elected Deacon of the Cordwainers in 1766, and thereafter Convener of the Trades in 1771. He possessed a happy knack of suiting himself to circumstances, and was.peculiarly sagacious in keeping steady by the leading men in the magistracy j the consequence of which was, in addition to extensive patronage in the way o€ his calling, the enjoyment of the pretty lucrative situation of Keeper of the Town’s Water Works, etc. He was of course favourable to the Lord Provost’s, plan of levelling the street. The popularity of Mr. Hart among the jolly sons of St. Crispin appears to have been of very early growth. In 1757 he was the victorious candidate for the honour of monarchy, in the spectacle of King Crispin, in opposition to Deacon Malcolm, whose party, determining not to be thrown into the shade, crowned him king also ; so that, what was perhaps unprecedented’ in the annals of Christendom, two rival kings and their subjects actually walked in the same procession, without producing a single “ broken bane or bluidy head.” Mr. Hart, though never famed among his friends for the depth of his understanding, appears, nevertheless, to have had a pretty good opinion of himself. On one occasion Mr. (afterwards Provost) Creech happened to put the question to Daft Davie Erskine-“ Who is the wisest man in the city P ” He received for reply, “Mr. Hart.” The next time Mr. Creech met the Deacon, he told him the story j upon which the latter modestly replied, “ Davie is no sic a fool as ye tak’ him for.” The Deacon and Provost Dalrymple resembled each other extremely in personal appearance ; so much so, that a gentleman meeting the Provost one day challenged him’ for not sending home his boots. The Provost, comprehending the mistake, which doubtless bad occurred on other occasions, good-humouredly replied, “ I will attend to it to-morrow.” Mr. Hart built the front, or centre house, on the north side of Charlotte Square, which we have been informed, cost Sl0,OOO. He died on the 9th September 179 1 ; and was followed to the grave, in seven days afterwards, by his widow, His son, Macduff Hart, whom he had assumed as a partner, under the firm of Orlando Hart and Son, continued to carry on the business, and was elected Deacon of the craft in 1782. He was particularly celebrated for his vocal powers. ’ No parallel can be found, excepting in the instance of the two kings of Brentford, whose exploits are recorded in “The Rehearsal.”
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224 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. The next figure, in the centre, represents MR. WILLIAM JAMIESON, mason and architect, whose father, Mr. Patrick Jamieson, built the Royal Exchange,’ which was begun in 1753. He was elected one of the Deacons of Mary’s Chapel in 1767 j and, like his friend Mr. Orlando Hart, was very successful in avoiding those political quicksands which, in the good old days of corporate omnipotence, were so dangerous to individual prosperity. As a reward for his steadily having “shoulder kept to shoulder,” he possessed for many years the sinecure office of Engraver to the Mint in Scotland, with a salary of $50 a year,-in which appointment he succeeded Convener Simpson. This sinecure is now abolished ; and no wonder, when the duties of the office could be sufficiently performed by a stone-mason. The most memorable public performance of Mr. Jamieson was the renovation of the Tron Kirk, which he accomplished much to the satisfaction of the public. The steeple was built principally of wood, and existed until the great fire in November 1824, when some of the embers from $he burning houses having lodged in it, and the wind blowing hard, the steeple was set on fire and destroyed, along with the bell, which had been hung in 1673, and cost 1490 merks. The steeple was rebuilt in 1828, and the bell recast and placed in its old situation, where it now again performs its usual functions. Mr. Jamieson was also contractor for making the public drains of the city, at an estimate of no less than 3100,00O,-the rubbish from the excavations of which was to be carted to Portobello, without being subject to the dues leviable at the toll of Jock‘s Lodge, the bar being partly under the management of the Town Council. The toll-keeper, however, having taken it into his head that he ought to be paid the regular dues, on one occasion closed the gate against the carts ‘of the contractor. The circumstance being made known to Mr. Jamieson, “ Weel, weel,” said he to the carters, “just coup the carts at the toll-bar ;” which was accordingly done, to the grievous annoyance of the toll-keeper, who never afterwards refused the right of egress and ingress. The greater part of Portobello was the Deacon’s property at one period, and feued out by him. He himself latterly resided there, although, when this print was done, his house was in Turk’s Close. Mr. Jamieson married, about the year 1759, Miss Christian Nicholson, sister of the late Sir William Nicholson of Jarvieswood, by whom he had six sons and six daughters. The eldest daughter married James Cargyll, Esq., W. S. ; The parties in the agreement for erecting this building wer+the Right Honourable William Alexander, Lord Provost ; David Inglis, John Carmichael, Andrew Simpson, and John Walker, Bailies ; David Inglis, Dean of Guild ; Adam Fairholm, Treasurer, etc., on the part of the City,- and Patrick Jamieson, mason ; Alexander Peter, George Stevenson, and John Moubray, wrights ; John Fergus, architect-all burgesses, freemen, members of Mary’s Chapel of Edinbnrgh-undertakers. In the contract, the sum to be laid out in purchasing houses and grounds whereon to erect the Exchange is stated at f11,749 : 6 : 8, and the cost of erection at f19,707 : 16 : 4,-amounting, in all, to 231,457 : 3s. sterling. The first stone was laid in 1753, by George Drnmmond, Esq., at that time Grand Master of the Freemasons. A triumphal arch, and theatres for the Magistrates, and galleries for the spectators, were erected on the occasion. The work, however, was not fully entered upon till the year following, and WBS Wished in 1761.
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