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Autograph letters signed by John Stuart Blackie

Identifier: Coll-1514

Scope and Contents

The first letter on University of Edinburgh embossed notepaper, dated 3 February 1865, begins 'My Dear Sir' and sends his 'sincere thanks for the present' of a book. Blackie is sorry that he is 'too much occupied at present to allow [...] the p[leasure of reading it; but the subject is so interesting and important' that hw ill make time soon.

The second letter on notepaper headed 24 Hill Street, Edinburgh, is dated 25 November [no year], and begins 'My Dear Moir'. It is a letter discussing a speaking engagement and for which he has been 'advertised [...] as a chief speaker'. He presumes 'it is merely a convivial affair - so there is nothing serious to be apprehended'. Even so, 'in case of blunders' perhaps Moir 'will be so kind as write to me, intimating what the nature of your society is', and what he is 'expected to do or to say'. He goes on to say that the 'more quietly I can escape the better' I hate these exhibitions'. While in London he will be staying in Kensington, at Phillimore Gardens. It is possible that the Moir in question is George Moir (1800-1870), a lawyer and translator of Schiller, and Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at Edinburgh University,1835-1840.

The third letter on notepaper headed 24 Hill Street, Edinburgh, is dated 29 November [no year], and also begins 'My Dear Moir'. He writes, 'Do not on any account suppose that I am a man to make complimentary speeches to men of whom I know nothing. Of Dukes generally I know nothing: the Duke of Argyle excepted from whose golden plates I have dined, and from whose sensible and thoughtful pages I have feasted my reason'. If he is to speak, 'give me something to speak of that I understand, and that has bones in it: but I had rather not speak at all'.


  • Creation: 1864-1866


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit.

Biographical / Historical

John Stuart Blackie was born in Glasgow in 1809. He was educated at Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities and also in Göttingen, Berlin and Rome, studying first Arts and then Divinity. He then turned towards the study of Law and was called to the Scottish Bar in 1834. An interest in the classics and literature brought about another change in direction and in 1841 Blackie became Professor of Humanity at Marischall College (Aberdeen University). He held this post until 1852 when he was appointed Professor of Greek at Edinburgh University. Blackie published a lot of material on philosophy, history and legal subjects and he translated Faust in 1834. He wrote much on Hellenic subjects too. He was interested in the reform of Scottish universities and he was a keen promoter of Scottish nationality raising funds for the establishment of a Chair in Celtic. Professor John Stuart Blackie resigned his Professorship at Edinburgh in 1882, and died in 1895.


3 letters

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession no: E2014.02.

Related Materials

Also within Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, are 'Papers of John Stuart Blackie', Coll-305.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 21 March 2014

Letters from John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895) to 'My Dear Sir' and 'My Dear Moir'
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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