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Thomas Muir of Huntershill: Essays for the Twenty First Century
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Edited by Gerard Carruthers and Don Martin
ISBN 9781846220517
paperback  364 pages
Published 15 December 2016
UK Price £19.95   
US Price $25.00   

Those researching the history of political democracy in Scotland will inevitably find that one name stands out from the crowd, namely that of Thomas Muir of Huntershill (1765-1799). He was one of several people tried in Scottish courts during the 1790s for the alleged crime of ‘Sedition’, and four of the others (Thomas Fyshe Palmer, William Skirving, Maurice Margarot and Joseph Gerrald) share commemoration with him on a large monument in Edinburgh; but somehow Muir seems special. The way he used his trial as a platform to promote the logic of ‘an equal representation of the People in the House of the People’ was extremely dramatic and was fully reported at the time both in newspapers and in several published editions of the trial proceedings. Yet historians have never been fully convinced about Muir’s claim to recognition. For some he represents a sour note in the triumphant story of the Scottish Enlightenment, while others have dismissed him as a failure in his own time, conceding little consequence to the example he set for future generations. Over the years there have been attempts to right what many people regard as a grievous wrong, in this respect. This substantial and insightful edited volume adds to the debate the views of Rhona Brown, Gerard Carruthers, Tom Devine, Tom Dowds, Satinder Kaur, Thomas Lemoine, David McVey, Don Martin, Gordon Pentland, Alex Salmond, Beverley Sherry, Alex Watson, Jimmy Watson, and Ronnie Young..

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