BLACKLOCK, THOMAS (1721-1791), Scottish poet, the son of a bricklayer, was born at Annan, Dumfriesshire, on Nov. Io, 1721, and died at Edinburgh on July 7, When not quite six months old he lost his sight by smallpox, and his career is largely interesting as that of one who achieved what he did in spite of blindness. About 174o, some of Blacklock's poems began to be handed about among his acquaintances and friends, who arranged for his education at the grammar-school, and subse quently at the University of Edinburgh, where he was a student of divinity. His first volume of Poems was published in 1746. In '754 he became deputy librarian for the Faculty of Advocates, by the kindness of Hume. He was eventually estranged from Hume, and defended James Beattie's attack on that philosopher. Blacklock was among the first friends of Burns in Edinburgh, being one of the earliest to recognize his genius. In 1762 he was ordained minister of the church of Kirkcudbright, a position which he soon resigned.
An edition of his poems in 1793 contains a life by Henry Mackenzie. BLACK MAGIC: see CONJURING.