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Thomas Muir:

Martyr of Democracy

THERE are people in Scotland have still never heard of Thomas Muir. This is astonishing, given that in 2015, the 250th anniversary of his birth, Muir was being celebrated as ‘The Father of Scottish Democracy’. Now, as a new book of essays about Muir hits the bookshops, here’s what you need to know

Muir was born in 1765. His father was a shopkeeper in Glasgow’s High Street, styling himself both as general grocer and as ‘hop merchant’ - he had connection with Kent hop growers. Muir began studying at Glasgow University aged just 12, at a time when the campus was just along the High Street. He studied Divinity, but later switched to Law. This wasn’t a loss of faith; rather, Muir decided that a career in law offered an opportunity to defend poor people and promote social justice, as Christians were supposed to. In 1782 his father acquired the estate of Huntershill in what is now Bishopbriggs; Thomas was now Muir the Younger of Huntershill.

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