language.' On his return homeward his father met him in London in November 1831, and introduced him to Brougham, Lockhart, and Coleridge. Six months at home convinced his father that Blackie was not destined for a career in the church. His ambition was to fill a professor's chair. In the spring of 1832 his father offered him 100l. a year for three years to study for the Scottish bar. On 1 July 1834 he was admitted a member of the faculty of advocates, but during the next five years he held only two briefs. He managed to support himself by writing for 'Blackwood' and the 'Foreign Quarterly,' having made himself known by a translation of 'Faust' (1834), which won the commendation of Carlyle.
On 1 May 1839 the government created a chair of humanity (Latin) at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and appointed Blackie as the first regius professor. The appointment was due to the influence of Alexander Bannerman, M.P. for Aberdeen, and was denounced as a 'whig job.' Before Blackie could be installed, it was necessary for him to subscribe the Westminster Confession in presence of the Aberdeen presbytery. This he did on 2 July, but at the same time made, and afterwards published, a declaration that he had signed the document 'not as my private confession of faith,' but 'in reference to university offices and duties merely.' The certificate was granted, but a later meeting of presbytery (12 Aug.) attempted to withdraw it, cited Blackie to a special meeting (3 Sept.), found that he had not signed in conformity with the act, and warned the senatus against admitting him. Blackie raised an action against the senatus, which was changed into an action against the presbytery (at the instance of that body). For two years the matter was before the courts ; in July 1841 Lord Cunninghame gave decision that the function of the presbytery 'in the matter of witnessing a subscription' was 'ministerial only.' Appeal was refused, but both parties had to pay their own costs. On 1 Nov. Blackie was installed in his chair. His opening address was unconventional and florid; but he made it clear that his purpose was (as he afterwards expressed it) 'through Latin to awaken wide human sympathies, and to enlarge the field of vision.'
The eleven years during which he held the Aberdeen chair were years on his part of strenuous but only moderately successful effort to arouse the spirit of Scottish university reform. It must be admitted that Blackie's idiosyncrasies sometimes furnished an excuse for not taking him seriously. His scheme for matriculation examinations was opposed by James Pillans [q. v.], an educational reformer of different temperament. At Aberdeen he instituted (16 March 1850) the 'Hellenic Society,' a meeting of private friends for 'the advancement of Greek literature in Scotland;' and in the same year he published his verse translation of yEschvlus, begun in 1838. The death (1851) of George Dunbar [q.v.] vacated the Greek chair in the Edinburgh University. The appointment was then in the gift of the Edinburgh town council. After a tough contest Blackie was elected (2 March 1852) by the casting vote of the lord provost, Duncan McLaren [q.v.] He thus attained his long-cherished desire 'to exchange Latin for Greek, copper for gold.' His Latin scholarship was, however, excellent ; in some respects stronger than his Greek. Before entering upon his duties he published a lively tract on the 'pronunciation of Greek.' His own practice in his class was always to use the accents, and (with some modification) the modern Greek sounds of the letters; his famous proof that accent might be kept distinct from quantity was the word 'cab-driver.' He did not, however, insist on any uniformity of usage among his students, few of whom followed his lead.His inaugural lecture was on 'Classical Literature in its relation to the Nineteenth Century' (1852, 8vo). He made his first visit to Greece in 1853, reaching Athens on 4 May, and returning to Edinburgh in July. He wished to gain local colour for his translation of the 'Iliad,' already drafted, but not published till 1866, and preceded by his 'Lays and Legends of Ancient Greece,' 1857. The opening lecture of his second session was on 'The Living Language of the Greeks' (1853, 8vo). He succeeded (May 1855) in establishing an entrance examination for the junior Greek class. While Blackie promoted in his class a good deal of enthusiasm of various sorts, and always exerted a sterling moral influence, he was rarely successful in creating an appetite for Greek scholarship. If it existed, he did his best to foster it, and was very kind to struggling students. But his class-work was unmethodical, his lectures galloped away from their theme, and his supervision was negligent. Many odd stories of his encounters with his students were told. One of the best known (to the effect that a notice about not meeting 'his classes' had been improved by removing the 'c,' whereupon Blackie further amended it by deleting the '1') is vouched for by 'an eye-witness' (Kennedy, p. 151) as having occurred in 1879 ; but it was no new story in 1859, and