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THE LIFE AND CHARACTER
DR HUGH BLAIR.
DR HUGH BLAIR was born in Edinburgh, on the 7th day of April 1718. His father, John Blair, a respectable merchant in that city, was a descendant of the ancient family of Blair, in Ayrshire, and grandson of the famous Mr Robert Blair, Minister of St Andrew's, Chaplain to Charles I. and one of the most zealous and distinguished clergymen of the period in which he lived. This worthy man, though firmly attached to the cause of freedom, and to the Presbyterian form of church government, and though actively engaged in all the measures adopted for their support; yet, by his steady, temperate conduct, commanded the respect even of his opponents. In preference to all the other ecclesiastical leaders of the covenanting party, he was selected by the King himself to fill an office which, from the circumstances of the time, gave frequent access to the Royal Person: "because," said his Majesty, "that man is pious, prudent, learned, and of a meek
“ and moderate calm temper."—His talents seem to have descended as an inheritance to his posterity. For, of the two sons who survived him, David, the eldest, was a clergyman of eminence in Edinburgh, father to Mr Robert Blair, Minister of Athelstoneford, the celebrated author of the Poem entitled The Grave ; and grandfather to his Majesty's Solicitor-General for Scotland, whose masculine eloquence and profound knowledge of law, have, in the public estimation, .placed him indisputably at the head of the Scottish bar. From his youngest son Hugh, who engaged in business as a merchant, and had the honour to fill a high station in the magistracy of Edinburgh, sprung the learned clergyman, who is the subject of this narrative.
The views of Dr Blair, from his earliest youth, were turned towards the Church, and his educa. tion received a suitable direction. After the usual grammatical course at school, he entered the Humanity Class in the University of Edinburgh, in October 1730, and spent eleven years at that celebrated seminary, assiduously employed in the li. terary and scientific studies prescribed by the Church of Scotland to all who are to become candidates for her license to preach the Gospel. During this important period, he was distinguished among his companions both for diligence and proficiency; and obtained from the Professors under whom he studied, repeated testimonies of approbation. One of them deserves to be mentioned particularly, because, in his own opinion, it determined the bent of his genius towards polite literature. An essay, nisi