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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


306 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CXXV. THOMAS MUIR, ESQ. YOUNGER OF HUNTERSHILL. THE foregoing Print is allowed to be an excellent likeness of this “ Political Martyr of 1793.” The facts and circumstances of his brief but eventful life have of late been so prominently brought forward,’ that a mere recapitulation is only necessary. MFL THOMAMSU IR, whose father was a wealthy merchant in Glasgow, and proprietor of the small estate of Huntershill, in the parish of Calder, was born in 1765. He studied at the University of his native city, where, it is said, he was distinguished not less for talent than gentleness of disposition. He chose the law as a profession ; and was admitted to the bar, where he practised, with every appearance of ultimate success, for a few years, till the well-known events in France gave a new impulse to the democratic spirit of this, as well as of almost every other country in Europe. Muir, whose principles had always been of a liberal cast, now stepped publicly forward j and, ranging himself among (‘ The Friends of the People,” at once embarked in the cause with all the characteristic zeal of youth. The conduct of Muir having rendered him obnoxious to the existing authorities, he was apprehended in the beginning of January 1793, while on his way to Edinburgh, to be present at the trial of Mr. James Tytler.2 On alighting from the coach at Holytown, he was taken prisoner by Mr. Williamson, King’s Messenger, in whose custody he finished the remainder of the journey. About an hour after his arrival in Edinburgh, he was brought before Mr. Sheriff Pringle and Mr. Honeyman (afterwards Lord Armadale), Sheriff of Lanarkshire. These gentlemen were proceeding to interrogate him in the usual manner, but Muir declared that in that place he would not answer any question whatever. ‘( He considered such examinations as utterly inconsistent with the rights of British subjects-instruments of oppression, and pregnant with mischief.” Mr. Muir was liberated on finding bail to appear in February following. Immediately after this occurrence he proceeded to London, and from thence to Paris, commissioned, as reported at the time, to intercede in behalf of the French king. Be that as it may, he was detained in France beyond the possibility of returning in time to stand his trial, and was in consequence outlawed Under the guidance of Mr. Joseph Hume, strong efforts have of late been made to do honour Mr. James Tytler, as we have already mentioned in the biographical sketch of that gentleman, His trial to the memory of Muir and the other individuals who suffered at the same period. was indicted for publishing a seditious hand-bill. was to have taken place on the 7th of January. He was fugitated for non-appearance.
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