Born: Ap­ril 7, 1718, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land.

Died: De­cem­ber 27, 1800, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land.

Buried: Grey­fri­ars Kirk­yard, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land.


Hugh was the son of John Blair and Mar­tha Og­ston.

In 1730, he en­tered the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ed­in­burgh, where he gra­du­at­ed M.A. in 1739.

In 1742 he was or­dained par­ish min­is­ter of Col­les­sie, in Fife, be­came, in 1743, se­cond min­is­ter of the Can­on­gate, Ed­in­burgh, in 1754 min­is­ter of Lady Yes­ter’s, and in 1758 joint min­is­ter of the High Church (now styled St. Giles’s Ca­thed­ral).

In 1762, while still re­tain­ing his pas­tor­al charge, he was ap­point­ed the first Pro­fess­or of Rhe­tor­ic in the Un­i­ver­sity of Ed­in­burgh—a chair found­ed for him. He re­ceived the de­gree of D.D. from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of St. An­drews, in 1757…

In 1744 Dr. Blair was ap­point­ed a mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee of As­semb­ly which com­piled the Trans­la­tions and Par­a­phras­es of 1745, and in 1775 of that which re­vised and en­larged them. To him are as­cribed by the Rev. W. Thom­son and the Rev. Dr. Hew Scott, Nos. 4, 33, 34, 44, of the 1781 Col­lec­tion. He is al­so cred­it­ed with the al­ter­a­tions made on Par­a­phras­es 32 and 57, in 1745–51, and on Par­a­phrase 20, in 1781.

The Rev. J. W. Mac­meek­en would as­cribe these 4 Par­a­phras­es to his se­cond cou­sin, the Rev. Ro­bert Blair, au­thor of The Grave

Dr. C. Ro­gers, in his Ly­ra Bri­tan­ni­ca (pp. 66 & 664, ed. 1867) holds that, though Dr. Hugh Blair may have al­tered Par­a­phras­es 44 and 57, nei­ther he, nor Ro­bert Blair, wrote any orig­in­al hymns. While the weight of opin­ion and of prob­a­bil­i­ty is in fa­vour of Dr. Hugh Blair, no ve­ry de­fin­ite ev­i­dence is pre­sent­ed on ei­ther side, though the re­cords of the Pres­by­te­ry of Ed­in­burgh in 1748 show Dr. Hugh Blair as se­lect­ed to re­vise Nos. 18 (7 in 1781), 21 (46 in 1781), and prob­ab­ly oth­ers.

[Rev. James Mears, M.A.]
Julian, pp. 144–45