Archibald Arthur (1744-1797)

About Arthur

  • Taught by Adam Smith
  • Won prize at Glasgow for essay, ‘On the importance of natural philosophy’
  • Glasgow University Librarian: A Arthur, ed., Catalogus impressorum librorum in bibliotheca Universitatis Glasguensis (1791)


  • Successor of Thomas Reid as Professor of Moral Philosophy (taught TR’s classes from 1780)
  • ‘His public classes, which owed much to Reid and Smith, covered three main areas: natural theology, ethics, and a combination of natural jurisprudence and politics.’ (ODNB*)

Publications, Manuscripts and other Resources

  • A Arthur, Discourses on theological and literary subjects by the late Rev. Archibald Arthur … ; with an account of some particulars in his life and character, by William Richardson (Glasgow 1803)
  • A Arthur, Essays, literary and theological: in fourteen discourses by the late Archibald Arthur, … With a biographical memoir of the author, by William Richardson, new edn (Glasgow 1812; repr 1817)
  • ‘Archibald Arthur’s notes on Thomas Reid’s lectures’ (1765), Glasgow, Mitchell Library MS 891086
  • A Arthur, ‘A discourse on the evidence of wisdom in nature’ [Juvenile composition, possibly a prize essay, not in his Discourses of 1803 or Essays of 1817], University of Glasgow, Special Collections, MS Gen 742
  • W Gossip, ‘Lectures on Moral Philosophy, given in the University of Glasgow, by Archibald Arthur, and taken down by William Gossip, 1787-88’, 4 vols., University of Glasgow, Special Collections, MS Gen 284-87
  • J Wilson, ‘Lectures on Moral Philosophy delivered at the College of Glasgow by Mr Arthur: written by John Wilson, Schoolmaster in Tarbolton (1790), Glasgow, Mitchell Library MS 76281-82
  • J Neilson, ‘Notes, taken by James Neilson from Mr Arthur’s lectures on Natural Jurisprudence, given in the University of Glasgow, from 10 March 1788 to […] 1788’, University of Glasgow, Special Collections, MS Gen 832

*For references, please see the Site Bibliography.