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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 219 at that period as they are now ; and on the return of any of his domestics from the city, which one or other of them daily visited, he listened with great attention to “the news,” and enjoyed with much zest the narration of any jocular incident that had occurred. Of the younger portion of his dependants he took a fatherly charge, instilling into their minds the most wholesome advice, and to all recommending habits of sobriety and industry. “Waste not, want not,” was a favourite maxim in his household economy ; yet the utmost abundance of every necessary, of the best quality, and at the command of all the inmates, was unscrupulously provided. Neither was his generosity confined to objects of his own species. It extended alike to every living creature about his est,ablishment. From his horses to his poultry, all experienced the bounty of his hand; and wherever he went, in the fields, or about his own doors, he had difficulty in escaping from their affectionate ganibols and joyous clamour, The almost companionable fondness, reciprocal betwixt the laird and his riding-horse was altogether amusing. Well fed, and in excellent spirit and condition, it frequently indulged in a little restive curvetting with its master, especially when the latter was about to get into the saddle. “ Come, come,” he would say on such occasions, addressing the animal in his usual quiet way, “ hae dune noo, for ye’ll no like if I come across your lugs (ears) wi’ the stick.” This “terror to evildoers ” he sometimes brandished, but was never known to “ come across the lugs ’’ of anyone. On his property were numerous occupiers of small cottages and portions of ground. From these he collected his rents just as they found it convenient to pay, and he scrupled not to accept the most trifling instalment. Andrew,’ his apprentice in the mill, was frequently despatched in the capacity of collector of arrears. On his return the old man would inquire-“ Weel, laddie, hae ye gotten onything 1” Andrew’s reply frequently intimated the amazing receipt of one shilling ! “ Weel, weel, it’s aye better than naething ; but it’s weel seen they’re the lairds and no me.” To legal measures he never resorted. Even to extreme old age Mr. Gillespie continued to maintain the industrious habits he had pursued through life. With an old blanket around him and a night-cap on, covered over with snuff, he attended regularly in the mill, superintending the operations of his man, Andrew. He kept a carriage, for which the Hon. Henry Erskine facetiously suggested as a motto- “ Wha wad hae thocht it, As a landlord Mr. Gillespie was peculiarly indulgent. That noses had bocht it.” Andrew Fraser served his apprenticeship with the Messrs. Gillespie, and was in all eight yeam with them. When he began hia term of service, Mr. James Gillespie might be in his seventieth year. For Andrew, the old man entertained a great regard ; frequently telling him, that if he remained in his employ he would “make 8 man of him.” Andrew, unluckily for himself, was prevailed on by bad advice to leave his employer, after 8 life of hard, but for himself unprofitable labour, he found at last 8 comfortable home in the sanctuary provided by his first master. He was employed almost constantly at Spylaw.
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230 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. The carriage, however, the plainest imaginable, contained no other inscription than the initials ‘( J. G.” Until within a year or two of his death, when no longer able to walk any distance, he almost never made use of it-not even on Sabbath, for the church of Colinton is not above five or ten minutes’ walk from Spylaw. He, notwithstanding, held Cameronian principles, and regularly attended the annual tent-meetings of that body at Rullion Green. Mr. James Gillespie survived his brother John about two years, and carried on the business till his death, which occurred at Spylaw on the 8th of April 1797, in the seventy-first year of his age. He was buried in the churchyard of Colinton, in the same vault with his brother John. By his will, executed in 1796, Mr. Gillespie bequeathed his estate, together with %12,000 sterling (exclusive of 52700, for the purpose of building and endowing a School), ‘‘ for the special intent and purpose of founding and endowing an Hospital, or charitable institution, within the city of Edinburgh, or suburbs, for the aliment and maintenance of old men and women.” In 1801, the Governors, on application to his Majesty, obtained a charter, erecting them into a body politic and corporate, by the name and style of “ The Governors of James Gillespie’s Hospital and Free School.” ‘The persons entitled to be admitted into, and maintained in the Hospital, are-“ lst, Mr. Gillespie’s old servants, of whatever rank they may be. 2d, Persons of the name of Gillespie, fifty-five years of age and upwards, whatever part of Scotland they may come from. 3d, Persons belonging to Edinburgh, and its suburbs, aged fifty-five years and upwards. 4th, Failing applications from persons belonging to Edinburgh and its suburbs, persons belonging to Leith, Newhaven, and other parts in the county of Mid-Lothian. 5th, Failing applications from all these places, persons fifty-five years, of age, coming from all parts of Scotland.” It is further provided, “That none shall be admitted who are pensioners, or have an allowance from any other charity. And seeing the intention of Mr. Gillespie, in founding the Hospital, was to relieve the poor, none are to be admitted until they shall produce satisfactory evidence to the Governors of their indigent circumstances ; and the Governors are required to admit none but such as are truly objects of this charity; and it is hereby ordained and appointed, that none but decent, godly, and well-behaved men and women (whatever in other respects may be their claims) shall be admitted into the Hospital ; and the number of persons to be constantly entertained shall be so many as the revenue of the Hospital can conveniently maintain, after deducting the charge of management, and of maintaining the fabric, and keeping up the clothing and furniture of the house.” The Board of Management consists of the Master, Treasurer, and twelve assistants of the Merchant Company ; five members of the Town Council, who are elected by that body ; and the ministers of the Tolbooth and St. Stephen’s Churches, The Hospital, a commodious and not inelegant structure, designed by the late Mr. Burn, is built on the site of a property called Wrytes House, an ancient
Volume 9 Page 293
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