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Letter signed by Hugh Blair, March 1763, referring to Macpherson

Identifier: Coll-1405

Scope and Contents

The letter signed by Hugh Blair to 'Dear Sir' (which may be his publisher, Becket, or De Hondt) expresses delight at the newly-published Temora which he thinks should boost sales of his own dissertation on Ossian. He writes that he has 'now Read Temora, from which I expect Ossian will reap additional Honour and You some profit. It is in Several respects Superior to Fingal; it is more full and particular, it is a more Complete Story'. he has learned too that 'the Sale of my dissertation has been quicken'd by Temora'.

There is a transcript of the 2pp letter. The leaves of the original are detached, one supported on board. Dated Edinburgh 17 March 1763.


  • Creation: 1763


Language of Materials


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

Biographical / Historical

Hugh Blair FRSE (7 April 1718–27 December 1800) was a Scottish minister of religion, author and rhetorician, considered one of the first great theorists of written discourse. As a minister of the Church of Scotland, and occupant of the Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at the University of Edinburgh, Blair's teachings had a great impact in both the spiritual and the secular realms. Best known for Sermons, a five volume endorsement of practical Christian morality, and Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, a prescriptive guide on composition, Blair was a valuable part of the Scottish Enlightenment

Blair's publishers were Thomas Becket or Beckett and Peter Abraham De Hondt

James Macpherson was a Scottish writer, poet, literary collector and politician, known as the 'translator' of the Ossian cycle of poems. He was born on 27 October 1736. Blair had arranged the publication of Macpherson's Fragments of ancient poetry, collected in the Highlands of Scotland in 1760, and it was Macpherson's Fingal of 1761 that prompted Blair to deliver the lectures that he expanded into A critical dissertation on the poems of Ossian, the son of Fingal published by Becket and De Hondt in London. The same publisher brought out Macpherson's second and final Ossianic epic Temora.

James Macpherson died 17 February 1796.


1 folder

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material acquired May 2012. Accession no: E2012.35.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 16 January 2013

Letter of Hugh Blair, 1763, regarding James Macpherson's 'Temora'
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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University of Edinburgh Main Library
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