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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


406 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. University, and of the Right Hon. Lord Napier, Grand Master Mason of Scotland. Upon the upper side was a Latin inscription of which the following is a translation :- By the blessing of Almighty God, In the Reign of the Most Munificent Prince GEORGE III., The buildings of the University of Edinburgh, Being originally very mean, And now, after two centuries, almost a ruin, The Right Honourable FRANCLIOSR DN APIER, Grand Master of the Fraternity of Free-Masons in Scotland, Amidst the acclamations Of a prodigious concourse of all ranks of people, Laid the FOUNDATION-STONE Of this new fabric, In which a union of elegance with convenience, Suitable to the dignity of such a celebrated seat of learning, Has been studied : On the 16th day of November, : In the year of our Lord 1789, And of the era of Masonry 5789. THOMAS ELDER being the Lord Provost of the City ; WILLIAMR OBERTSONth,e Principal of the Univeisity ; And ROBERTA DAMt, he Architect. May the undertaking prosper, and be crowned with 8uccess I1 1 Among the subscriptions towards the fund for rebuilding the College, that of “a Farmer” was the most singular. His letter to the Lord Provost, accompanying the donation, we shall quote, as aomewhat curious. __ “ MY LORD-In my humble retreat I have heard, and with pleasure, of the various improvements which have been made in our metropolis, and are still going forward-that which claims a preference to all others has been reserved for your administration ; and I congratulate you on the appear‘ance that your well-directed exertions promise to obtain a support equal to the approbation they merit. “ I cannot pretend to emulate the opulent who so liberally have subscribed to rebuild the University; but I am willing to beatow a little of what I can spare, to testify my approbation of a work so commendable ; and hope that the form in which it is offered may not prove offensive, because it is singular-rather hope that a well-meant example may lead others of my fraternity to an imitation of it. “ I have heard that the nation, generally esteemed the most polished in Europe, has stript itself of all objects of vanity and luxury, and made offer of them for the service of the state. May I, then, in imitation of an example so patriotic, presume, without offence, to present my mite for promoting your undertaking, in the shape of Two STOTS1 “In a neighbouring county, not long ago, the carcase of a bullock was sold at Is. Id. per lib., every person being desirous to have a slice of an animal accounted of an extraordinary size. Those I now take the liberty to offer are not possessed of the same merit, but, I believe, they have that of being uncommonly good. As such, I beg to recommend them to lovers of science, and in a special manner to the adepts in the fashionable science of eating, at the approaching season of festivity. “Wishing all sort of success and encouragement to the undertaking-prosperity to the great city over which you preside-and happiness to yourself, I take the liberty to subscribe myself, my Lord, your lordship’s most obedient and most humble servant, “P.8.-The person who will hand you this letter will inform your lordship where the two animals are to be found, which will be delivered to your order.” The stots were disposed of in the Flesharket by Deacon Andrew Wilson. They were soon sold off-a great part of them at Is. Id. per lb. ; such wa the demand by the lovers of science for the classic beef. A F A R ~ R . The whole produce amounted to f34 : 12 : 6.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 407 On the ceremony being finished, three cheers were given, when the procession marched back in reverse order. The number of spectators, it is stated, could not be less than 30,000 ; and, notwithstanding such a vast concourse, the utmost order was observed. In the evening a sumptuous dinner was given in the Assembly Rooms, by the Lord Provost and Magistrates, at which upwards of three hundred noblemen and gentlemen were present. Almost immediately after this auspicious event, Lord Napier was presented with the freedom of the city by the Magistrates ; and had the degree of Doctor of Laws conferred upon him, along with the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, then Treasurer of the Navy, by the University. In 1793, when the Hopetoun Fencibles were embodied, Lord Napier was appointed Lieut.-Colonel of the corps, and continued to hold the commission until the regiment was disbanded in 1799. At the general election in 1796 he was chosen one of the Representative Peers of Scotland ; and, on subsequent occasions, was again repeatedly returned. His lordship. was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Selkirk in 1797; and, in 1802, was nominated Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly. This office he continued annually to hold for nearly twenty years. On the loth of November 1803, Lord Napier was elected a member of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge; and, on the 3d of January 1805, he was unanimously chosen President of that Society, in the room of the Earl of Leven and Melville, whose time for being in office had expired. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Encouragement of Scottish Manufactures and the Fisheries. Lord Napier was not distinguished in Parliament as an orator or statesman’; but there are yet many who remember the uncompromising integrity and dignity with which he supported the representative character of his order. The following correspondence, between the Secretary of State for the Home Department and his lordship, immediately prior to the general election in 1806, affords the most honourable testimony to the independence of his conduct :- U PRIVATE. ‘‘ Whitehall, 18th October 1806. MY DEAR $oxD-Though it is not improbable that the reports of a dissolution of Parliament may have reached your lordship before this letter, I thought it might not be uninteresting to you to learn the truth of them from a more authentic source than the newspapers ; and I therefore trouble you with this, to inform you that Parliament will certainly be dissolved in the course of a few days. I hope I am not taking too great a liberty if, at the same time, I express my earnest wishes that your lordship may be found among the supporters of the friends of Government, on the occasion of the election of Representative Peers for Scotland.-I have the honour to be, with great trnth and regard, your lordship’s very obedient humble servant, SPENCER. “Edinburgh, 2lst October 1806. “LORD NAPIER, etc etc. etc.” “MY DEm LORD-I have this day had the honour of receiving your lordship’s letter of the 18th instant ; and am very sensible of your attention, and the trouble you have had the goodness to take in giving me information of the certainty of an immediate dissolution of Parliament. Having on several occasions experienced the good will of the Peers of Scotland, I feel it my duty again to offer
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