Hugh Blair

Hugh Blair

Hugh Blair

Hugh Blair

Excerpt

In his enthusiasm over the preaching of the Reverend Dr. Hugh Blair, Boswell set down one of the most curious remarks ever offered to the greater glory of the Scottish pulpit. "Blair," he wrote, "would stop hounds by his eloquence." At another time, when Boswell heard Blair preach upon the text of Vanitas vanitatum, he noted how "prettily" the doctor "smoothed it over." In fact Boswell and many others both in and out of Scotland--King George III and Samuel Johnson among them--were pretty well agreed that Blair's sermons "lighted things up so finely, and you get from them such comfortable answers." A kind of eloquent gentleness--in all its senses of mild, moderate, amiable, well-born, refined--was, in fact, his chief character. It was the basic temperament behind his unruffled friendships, behind his thornless literary criticism, and behind the sentimental preaching which left no stings behind.

Vanity was also strong in him. At a dinner one evening Sir Gilbert Elliot, who sat next Dr. Blair, was so sensible of Blair's vanity that he laid on the compliments with a lavish hand, and afterwards reported to his wife that the reverend gentleman had "stood the trowel with fortitude and resignation." Blair was especially vain of his reputation as a pulpit orator, and his pleasure in the praise of any man upon that point could be surpassed only by his pleasure when the praise came from a woman. "He seemed," said Alexander Carlyle . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.