William Guthrie (1708–1770) was a Scottish writer and journalist, now remembered as a historian.


The son of an Episcopalian clergyman, he was born at
Brechin Brechin (; gd, Breichin) is a city and former Royal burgh in Angus, Scotland. Traditionally Brechin was described as a city because of its cathedral and its status as the seat of a pre-Reformation Roman Catholic diocese (which continues today ...
, Forfarshire, in 1708. He was educated at
Aberdeen University , mottoeng = The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom , established = , type = Public research universityAncient university , endowment = £58.4 million (2021) , budget ...
with a view to becoming a parochial schoolmaster, but he settled in London in 1730, and tried literature. He was first engaged on parliamentary debates for the ''
Gentleman's Magazine ''The Gentleman's Magazine'' was a monthly magazine founded in London, England, by Edward Cave in January 1731. It ran uninterrupted for almost 200 years, until 1922. It was the first to use the term '' magazine'' (from the French ''magazine' ...
'', his reports being revised by Samuel Johnson. He gradually made a reputation as a political writer, and in 1745 received a pension of £200 a year from the Pelham administration. He asked for and was granted a renewal of his pension by the Bute government in 1762. Guthrie was referred to by Johnson in terms of some respect. He died on 9 March 1770, and was buried in
Marylebone Marylebone (usually , also , ) is a district in the West End of London, in the City of Westminster. Oxford Street, Europe's busiest shopping street, forms its southern boundary. An ancient parish and latterly a metropolitan borough, it me ...


Guthrie's first scholarly work was a ''History of England from the Invasion of Julius Cæsar to 1688,'' 4 vols., Lond. 1744–51; an attempt to base history on parliamentary records. In 1763 he published a book titled ''Complete List of the English Peerage''. In spite of revision by aristocrats, this work is inaccurate. About 1764–7 he published, along with collaborators, ''A General History of the World, from the Creation to the Present Time'', in twelve volumes; this was favourably noticed in ''
The Critical Review ''The Critical Review'' was a British publication appearing from 1756 to 1817. It was first edited by Tobias Smollett, from 1756 to 1763. Contributors included Samuel Johnson, David Hume, John Hunter, and Oliver Goldsmith. Early years The ...
'', it was said by the author himself. In 1767 appeared ''A General History of Scotland'' in 10 volumes. It is inaccurate, particularly in the early periods. Probably his most noted book was his ''Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar'' (1770), which reached numerous editions, and was translated into French in 1801. Besides translations from Quintilian (1756) and
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during the political crises that led to the esta ...
(1744–54–55–58), he also wrote ''The Friends'', a sentimental novel, in two volumes (1754), and ''Remarks on English Tragedy'' (1757).



* {{DEFAULTSORT:Guthrie, William 1708 births 1770 deaths Scottish journalists 18th-century Scottish historians People from Brechin Alumni of the University of Aberdeen