Scottish Martyrs

Auld Acquaintance

Muir, Thomas
Thomas Muir was the most celebrated of the first political prisoners to be sent to Australia, five men who became known as the ‘Scottish Martyrs’. Campaigning for parliamentary reform, they were sentenced in Scotland for sedition in 1793–94 and transported to Botany Bay in 1794 and 1795

The young activist in Scotland
Thomas Muir was a leader in establishing a reform society in 1792, the Edinburgh Society of the Friends of the People, and he became the most inspiring orator of Scotland’s fledgling reform movement of the 1790s. A gifted barrister and a young man of principle and polished manners, he fought for the rights of the poor, for electoral reform, universal male suffrage, and freedom of speech. Although he was in communication with the United Irishmen and the French, and shared their reforming zeal, he was not a revolutionary but urged reform by constitutional means. However, this…

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