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John Stuart BlackieScottish Scholar and Patriot$
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Stuart Wallace

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748611850

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748611850.001.0001

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‘Friend of the Crofter’

‘Friend of the Crofter’

(p.264) 10 ‘Friend of the Crofter’
John Stuart Blackie

Wallace Stuart

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter talks about John Stuart Blackie with regard to the crofters of the Highlands. Blackie made his first Highland tour in August and September of 1847, travelling from Inverness through the Great Glen to Fort William and Ballachulish. These were the years of the potato famine in the Highlands, but Blackie was not yet interested in the condition of the crofters. On the basis of comparison of etymology and form, Blackie rejected the old idea of affinity between Gaelic and Hebrew in favour of one between Gaelic and Latin. Though his philology was weak, there was no doubting the passion of his conclusion. Blackie was neither an outright sceptic, nor a believer in their absolute authenticity, but clearly hoped that Gaelic too had its own Homeric epic-poet — perhaps a little too fervently. His image as friend of the crofter was added to the folklore of the Scottish diaspora, his use of Isaiah much quoted by New Zealand land reformers.

Keywords:   John Stuart Blackie, crofters, Highlands, potato famine, Gaelic, Hebrew, Latin, Homeric epic-poet, New Zealand

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