Muir, William (1787-1869) (DNB00)

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MUIR, WILLIAM (1787–1869), divine, son of William Muir, merchant, of Glasgow, was born at Glasgow on 11 Oct. 1787, and was educated there and at the divinity hall of Edinburgh. He matriculated at Glasgow University in 1800, receiving the degree of LL.D. on 1 May 1812, and subsequently that of D.D. He was licensed to preach on 7 Nov. 1810, presented to St. George's Church, Glasgow, on 9 June, and ordained on 27 Aug. 1812. In 1822 he was transferred to the New Grey Friars, Edinburgh, and thence in 1829 to St. Stephen's, Edinburgh. On 17 May 1838 he was elected moderator of the general assembly, and began to take a prominent part in the non-intrusion controversy. On 16 May 1839, in the debate on the Auchterarder case, he moved a series of abortive resolutions endeavouring to reconcile the opposing views of Cook and Chalmers; he also adopted a similar position with regard to the Strathbogie case, throughout following a middle course, which ultimately led to the passing of Lord Aberdeen's Act. At the disruption Muir threw in his lot with the established church, and, being frequently consulted by the government, is said to have exercised an unprecedented influence in the disposal of patronage. In 1845 he was appointed dean of the order of the Thistle, and chaplain in ordinary to the queen. In 1858 he was admitted a member of the university council of Glasgow. He was compelled by blindness to retire from active duties in 1867, and died at Ormelie, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, on 23 June 1869. Muir married, first, on 22 June 1813, Hannah, eldest daughter of James Black, provost of Glasgow; secondly, he married on 3 Oct. 1844 Anne, daughter of Lieutenant-general Dirom, of Mount Annan. Besides single sermons, pamphlets, and published speeches, Muir wrote: 1. ‘Discourses on the Epistle of St. Jude,’ London, 1822. 2. ‘Discourses on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia.’ 3. ‘Practical Sermons on the Holy Spirit,’ Edinburgh, 1842. 4. ‘Metrical Meditations,’ Edinburgh, 1870.

[Works in Brit. Mus. Library; Hew Scott's Fasti, i. 72, 76, ii. 28, &c.; Scotsman and Edinburgh Courant, 24 June 1869; Church of Scotland Home and Foreign Missionary Record, 2 Aug. 1869, pp. 448–9; Memorial Sermon by J. C. Herdman; Bryce's Ten Years of the Church of Scotland, i. 91–2, 128, 157; Autobiography of Thomas Guthrie, pp. 166–71, 384; Memorials of R. S. Candlish; Buchanan's Ten Years' Conflict, ii. 16–19, 48–52, 126; A Letter to the Lord Chancellor by John Hope, Edinburgh, 1839; information kindly supplied by Professor Dickson, D.D., and the Rev. Robert Muir.]

A. F. P.