Francis Anderson and James Hunter

12] Francis Anderson is the tall figure in the illustration.  He is shown inviting his friend James Hunter to dinner, but being very deaf he had to lean forward to hear the reply.  He held an appointment of Deputy-Auditor in the Exchequer and became factor to the Earl of Wemyss.  He married, late in life, the daughter of the gate-keeper of Lord Melville’s estate. When asked by the Earl of Wemyss how he had come to marry a person of such low rank Anderson replied ‘I couldna be fashed [bothered] courting a lady; for weel did I ken nae lady would tak’ a lang-leggit, deaf, thick shankit – like me; besides, I liked the lassie, and the lassie liked me; an’ that’s the way I took her’.[i]  They had five children.

13] James Hunter, the centre figure, was a hardware merchant who occupied one of the booths in the north side of Parliament Hall – perhaps the one from which Henry Cockburn bought his pair of skates.  He is said to have contrived, by the exercise of great caution and economy, not only to rear a large family, but to realize a considerable fortune.  His son George Hunter deserves mention for he became a very successful retailer of military clothing and accoutrements, cutlery and jewellery from his shop in Princes Street.  During the visit of George IV to Edinburgh in 1822, he made a fortune of £30,000 (about £1½ million today) by supplying the gentry with clothing, arms, and ornaments appropriate for the occasion.  He provided foreign Princes, including the Emperor Alexander of Russia with splendid Scottish garbs and fitted the King with the Highland dress which came in for much ribald comment. 

Cartoon of George IV artist unknown

[i] Kay’s Portraits 2 p242