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William Tytler (1711-1792) - Historian

He was born on 12th October 1711 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was educated at the High School Of Edinburgh and the University. He became an accomplished lawyer and was made a writer To The Signet in 1744. He acquired the estates of Woodhouselee to the south of Edinburgh, which were later to become the property of his equally eminent descendants, Alexander Fraser Tytler and Patrick Fraser Tytler. Tytler was a member of the Select Society and through his friendships with that group he became a contributor to The Lounger. But the work that excited the most attention was his spirited defence of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Inquiry, Historical and Critical into the Evidence against Mary Queen of Scots (1759). It was reprinted several times and, with the later publication of a supplement on Mary's marriage to Bothwell, marked Tytler as one of the earliest apologists for Mary's life and career; the works earned him much sympathy and respect. In 1783 he published The Poetical Remains of James I, King of Scotland, and he was the discoverer of James's long poem The Kingis Quair in the Bodleian library, Oxford, although this version was transcribed for him by an Oxford student. Tytler died at the age of 81 and his prescription for longevity has often been quoted: 'short but cheerful meals, music, and a good conscience'.

Works: Inquiry, Historical and Critical into the Evidence against Mary Queen of Scots (1759); The Poetical Remains of James 1, King of Scotland (1783); An Account of the Fashionable Amusements and Entertainments of Edinburgh in the Last Century (1792).

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