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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 555
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 399 It is entreated that every honest person will give the Magistrates of Edinburgh, or Johnston and Smith, notice of any circumstances that may fall under their observation for discovering the offenders ; and farther, the said Johnston and Smith will give the informer a reward of Five Pounds sterling for every hundred pounds sterling that shall be recovered in consequence of such information. Aa some smith may very innocently have made a key from an impression of clay or wax, such smith giving information, BS above, so as the person who got the key may be discovered, shall be handsomely rewarded.” “BY ORDER OF THE HONOWABLE THE XAGIBTRATE¶ OF EDINBURGH. “Whereas, on Sunday night last, the 14th inst, there was laid down or dropped at the door of the Council Chamber of this City, the sum of two hundred and twenty-five pounds sterling, in bank notes, wrapped in a piece of grey paper, which was found by Rubert Burton, a porter, and immerliately after delivered by him to one of the Magistrates : This is to give notice, that the above sum is now sealed up, and in the hands of the City Clerks, and will be delivered to any person who shall prove the property thereof, with deduction of a reasonable allowance to the porter who found it.” “he notes were proved to be the property of Messrs. Johnston and Smith. In addition to the reward, a proclamation was issued by the King, promising a free pardon to any one, except the principal, concerned in the robbery, who should make a disclosure ; and, as a farther inducement, fifty guineas additional were offered by Johnston and Smith to the informer. These measures were ineffectual ; and no traces of the delinquent could be found, till the apprehension of Deacon Brodie, twenty years afterwards, induced strong suspicion that he was concerned in it.’ Not long after this affair, the firm experienced some severe reverses, arising from a sudden depression in trade, besides losing a box containing one thousand guineas, which fell into the sea at Leith, while being handed from a boat to the ship in which it was to be forwarded to London. Immediately after this accident the firm stopped payment, and compounded with their creditors at the rate of fifteen shillings in the pound. Various attempts were made to recover the box. Among others who dived for the treasure was a tailor in Leith, somewhat famous for his aquatic dexterity. All his exertions, however, although repeated with great perseverance for some time, proved unsuccessful. The copartnery was now broken up ; after which I&. Smith commenced business on his own account, as a private banker ; and, during the remainder of a long life, was highly successful and respected, and filled the office of Lord Provost in the years 1807 and 1808.’ Mr. Johnston also continued, for several years, to discount bills in a small way, until a Mr. John Alston, hardware and It was then recollected that, prior to the robbery, the Deacon had been employed in making various repairs on the premises of Johnston and Smith, and had occasion to be frequently in the bank. The key of the outer door, from which it WBS ascertained he had taken an impression in putty, usually hung in the passage, which was rather dark and narrow. The premises were afterwards occupied by E. Adam Luke, draper, and treasurer to Heriot’s Hospital. 3 Mr. Smith married Miss Palmer, daughter of an eminent cabinet-maker in Chapel Street, by whom he obtained considerable property. He died at his home in West Nicolson Street, in 1814, aged seventy-five. His son, the late Alexander Smith, Eqq., who carried on the banking business, met with a tngical fate, having been killed in the spring of 1833, by the falling in of the floor of a house in Picardy Place, during the sale of the collection of pictures belonging to the late John Clerk of Eldin, Esq., one of the Senators of the College of Justice.
Volume 8 Page 556
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