David Hume's Failed Application for Chair of Moral Philosophy, 1745

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In 1744, Sir John Pringle (1707-1782), Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University was expected to resign his Chair due to his long-standing absence on war duty. He was finally induced to resign the chair in 1745. The Town Council was keen to raise the standing of the vacant post and initially offered it to Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746), Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow University and founder of the Scottish school of philosophy. Hutcheson declined, and David Hume (1711-1776), now widely regarded as Scotland's greatest philosopher, applied in his place. His candidature was controversially blocked by the clergy of Edinburgh who suspected Hume of being both an atheist and sympathetic to Jacobitism. Cleghorn,a committed Whig and staunch Presbyterian, proved a more acceptable choice.