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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


356 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. officers were admitted to such meetings, a very select and comfortable party was generally formed. On these occasions, “when smoking viands crowned the festive board,” none maintained the characteristics of a genuine denizen of “Auld Reekie” with greater ability than Mr. Blair ; and whether it might be in the demolition of a sirloin, or in the dissection of a capon, his power in the one, and his science in the other, were equally apparent. At such jovial meetings the Deputy seldom failed to be very merry ; and there was no small degree of wit beneath his elastic wig. He had always some extraordinary incident to narrate ; and he generally was himself the hero of the tale. It would be as endless as unprofitable to draw upon the stores of the wonderful which have been preserved by tradition. One specimen may suffice. Among other qualifications he used to descant largely on the extent and retentive power of his memory--“ Bless me,” he would say, in reply to some incredulous 710% mi reeordo; ‘‘I mind the very hour of my birth, and perfectly recollect of my good old mother bidding the midwife close the shutters lest my eyes should be hurt with the light !” Mr. Rlair resided, according to the Veritable Peter Williamson, in Buccleuch Street, so late as 1792. He afterwards occupied a house at Hope Park End, and latterly in Rose Street, where he died on the 2d September 1800. He lefb a daughter, who became the wife of the minister of the parish of Moreham. No. CXLIII. REV. WILLIAM MOODIE, D.D., PROFESSOR OF ORIENTAL LANGUAGES, AND MINISTER OF ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH, EDINBLTRGH. THE scene represented in the etching took place in 1799, during the French Republican War, when political feelings ran high, and when the essays of Paine, and similar writers, were believed to have gained many proselytes to the cause of democracy.’ At that time the benevolent plan of Sabbath School teaching, which had been recently introduced, was viewed by many in a very different light from that in which it is happily now considered. Having been first espoused and organised by sectarians, and its operations principally confined to the lower orders, the system was not only in some degree obnoxious to those The trials of George Mealmaker and others, for illegal combination and sedition, occurred about thia period.
Volume 8 Page 497
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Volume 8 Page 498
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