Thomas Blacklock

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Thomas Blacklock
ThomasBlacklock (cropped).jpg
Born10 November 1721
Annan, Dumfries and Galloway
Died7 July 1791(1791-07-07) (aged 69)
Edinburgh, Scotland
The grave of Rev Thomas Blacklock, Buccleuch Street

Rev Thomas Blacklock DD (10 November 1721 – 7 July 1791) was a Scottish poet.


He was born near Annan, Dumfriesshire (now Dumfries and Galloway), of humble parentage, and lost his sight as a result of smallpox when six months old. He began to write poetry at the age of 12, and studied for the Church. He was appointed minister of Kirkcudbright, but was objected to by the parishioners on account of his blindness, and gave up the presentation on receiving an annuity.

During the 1750s he was sponsored by the empiricist philosopher David Hume.[1]

He then retired to Edinburgh, where he became a tutor. He studied divinity and was made D.D. in 1767 from the Marischal College (later part of the University of Aberdeen).

He published some miscellaneous poems, which are now forgotten, and is chiefly remembered for having written a letter in 1789 to Robert Burns, which had the effect of dissuading him from going to the West Indies, indirectly saving his life since the ship sank on the voyage.

He died at his home in Crichton Street[2] (off Chapel Street), Edinburgh, and was buried in the adjacent churchyard of St Cuthbert's Chapel of Ease on Buccleuch Street. The grave lies on the west wall slightly to the north-west of the church.

The building in which he lived (at the corner Chapel Street and West Nicolson) now contains two pubs: Peartree House and The Blind Poet (the walls of which are decorated with a number of Blacklock's poems).


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource 

  1. ^ "David Hume (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Stanford University. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  2. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1773

Julian, John (June 1907). A Dictionary of Hymnology. London: John Murray. p. 144.

Electronic Scotland. "Significant Scots - Thomas Blacklock". Retrieved 30 January 2007.

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