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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Samuel Hunter, the Genial Editor of the "Glasgow Herald"


SAMUEL HUNTER was the real founder of The Glasgow Herald newspaper as a prosperous commercial undertaking. His father was minister of the parish of Stoneykirk, Wigtonshire, and he was born in the manse on 19th March, 1769. He attended the classes in the University of Glasgow, being destined for the medical profession, and at the close of the century he served in Ireland as surgeon, and subsequently as captain in the North Lowland Fensibles, in the campaign for the suppression of the Rebellion of ‘98.

In the beginning of 1803 he became a proprietor, and at the same time editor, of The Glasgow Herald and Advertiser, and from that time to the year 1837 he conducted it with equal ability and success.

He was a man of wit, kindly, genial, moderate, clearsighted, and of firm integrity; qualities which he impressed upon the journal under his charge, and to which it owed its success. His jokes and smart sayings were repeated at every table in Glasgow; and even yet are not quite forgotten.

With the exception of a temporary eclipse during the Reform Bill of 1831-2, when his effigy was several, times burned at the Cross, and a Stop-my-paper crusade commenced, he was always popular with the people. He became a magistrate of the city, discharging his duties with shrewdness, dignity, and uprightness, he also became first major and then colonel of the Glasgow Highland Volunteers. In this capacity Blind Alick, the Glasgow Homer, celebrated him in his improvised verse, thus

"Now Major Hunter cometh next,
In a kilt see he goes
Every inch he is a man,
From the head to the toes."

His broad, jolly face, redolent of sense and humour, looking askance from under his Highland bonnet, with his gawcie, stately, and commanding person, nearly eighteen stone in weight, dressed "in the garb of Old Gaul," must have been a sight, which seen, would ever be remembered. He was subsequently colonel of the Glasgow corps of Gentlemen Sharpshooters, by whom he was beloved; and, mounted on his favourite charger, he often put them through their facing on Glasgow Green. On one of these occasions he was thrown from his horse. He was imniediately surrounded by a crowd of sympathising friends, who eagerly inquired if he had been hurt; but the colonel quickly allayed their anxiety by exclaiming:

"Oh, never mind, I was coming off at anyrate." The following anecdote, illustrative of his racy humour, from the pen of an eminent local antiquary, appeared in The Herald under date 1st January, 1869.

"With regard to The Herald office, I can recollect that about the year 1809 or 1810, their printing offlce was on the north side of Bell Street. Young Dr. William Dunlop was then a partner with Mr. Hunter, and assisted him in the conducting of The Herald. Very well I recollect a fire breaking out in their premises one evening, and I was there to see. We had then prodigious difficulty in obtaining water; but the fire, notwithstanding, was overcome. Dr. Dunlop was very active, and got access to the roof of the house by going into a garret., for the purpose of throwing buckets of water on the fire. Next day he told his friend Samuel, that, while he was on the roof, he lost his hold, and was sliding down, but was fortunately arrested by a rhone, otherwise he must have been killed by the fall.

"‘Ay,’ replied Samuel, ‘I daresay; that rhones kep a heap o’ trash."


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