The focus of this paper is Lecture 34 of Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, the last of ten lectures Blair devoted to classical rhetoric and a most interesting instance of the challenges of historical appropriation. Blair is deeply committed to classical rhetoric and, therefore, to the formative ideal inherent in civic republicanism. But the ethos of civic republicanism, with its emphasis on public, political, aristocratic virtues, is not particularly applicable to Blair's polite, Christian, Scottish, commercial context. Yet Blair is unwilling to abandon the civic republicanism of the rhetorical tradition. This paper examines the tensions in Blair's Lecture 34 as he seeks to reconcile the conflicting ideals of civic republicanism, politeness, and Christianity.