Thomas Blacklock

1721 (Annan, Scotland) – 1791 (Edinburgh)

Hume made over his librarian’s salary to the blind Blacklock, describing him however, after a later falling-out, as “bigoted.” Blacklock was among the first to acknowledge Burns’ genius, and in a famous letter halted the disappointed Burns as he was about to emigrate to Jamaica. He offered the young Walter Scott the free run of his library, and called Smellie his “good old friend”. Johnson breakfasted with him on his return from the Western Isles, held his hand, and is said to have drunk 19 cups of tea while talking reverently with him. Few online resources do justice to Blacklock.