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September 20.

Sts. Eustachius and Companions. St. Agapetus, Pope, A. D. 536.


On the 20th of September, 1753, the foundation stone of the new exchange at Edinburgh was laid by George Drummond, Esq. grand master of the society of freemasons in Scotland. The procession was very grand and regular: each lodge of masons, of which there were twelve or thirteen, walked in procession by themselves, all uncovered, amounting to six hundred and seventy-two, most of whom were operative masons. The military paid proper honours to the company, and escorted the procession. The grand master, supported by a former grand master and the present substitute, was joined in the procession by the lord provost, magistrates, and council, in their robes, with the city sword, mace, &c. carried before them, accompanied with the directors of the scheme, &c. The foundation stone, bearing the Latin inscription, lay all that day on the pavement, to be viewed by the populace.

The freemasons, having caused a magnificent triumphal arch in the true Augustine style to be erected at the entry of the place where the stone was laid, they passed through it, and the magistrates went to a theatre erected for them, covered with tapestry, and decked with flowers, on the west of the place where the stone was to be laid; and directly opposite, to the east, another theatre was erected for the grand master and officers of the grand lodge, and being seated in a chair placed for him, the grand master soon after laid the stone; and put into it, in holes made for that purpose, two medals, one of them being inscribed—


The grand master having applied the square, the plumb, the level, the mallet, &c. to the stone, in order to fix the same in its proper position, gave it three knocks with the mallet, which were followed by three huzzas from the brethren: then the mason's anthem, which was played by the music when the stone was first slung in the tackle, was again repeated, the brethren, &c. joining in the chorus, which being ended, a conucopia, with two silver vessels, were handed to the grand master, filled with corn, wine, and oil; he, according to an ancient ceremony, poured them on the stone, saying,

"May the bountiful hand of heaven supply this city with abundance of corn, wine, oil, and all other necessaries of life."

This being also succeeded by three huzzas, the anthem was again played; and when finished, the grand master repeated these words:

"May the grand architect of the universe, as we have now laid the foundation stone of his kind providence enable us to carry on and finish what we have now begun; and may he be a guard to this place, and the city in general, and preserve it from decay and ruin to the latest posterity."

Having closed the ceremony with a short prayer for the sovereign, the senate of the city, the fraternity of masons, and all the people, and the anthem having been again played, the grand master addressed himself to the lord provost and magistrates, &c. in a polite and learned manner, applauding their noble design, and praying that heaven would crown their endeavours, &c. with the desired success. He also made a speech to the undertakers, admonishing them to observe the instructions of the directors, &c. and to do their duty as artificers, for their own honour, credit, &c. Several medals struck on the occasion, were distributed by the grand master to the magistrates, &c.*[1]


Common Meadow Saffron. Colchicum autumnale.
Dedicated to St. Eustachius.

Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. Gentleman's Magazine. [return]