John Millar (1735-1801)

About Millar

  • Regius Professor of Civil Law at Glasgow, 1761-1801


  • ‘By the time of the creation of the regius chair [1713], natural law had come into prominence as an integral part of legal education…’ (Cairns, ‘Famous’ 135*)
  • ‘In 1765 Millar turned the second of the annual courses on the Institutes into a presentation of natural jurisprudence modelled on the theory of his mentor, Adam Smith, who had resigned in 1764.’ (ODNB*)
  • ‘…did not teach from Grotius’ work or a compend of it, but unfolded his own Smithian account of the nature of law and its progress that followed the structure of Justinian’s Institutes’. (Cairns, ‘First’ 47*)
  • Recommended Cocceji and Heineccius (Cairns, ‘Historical Introduction’ 165*)

Publications, Manuscripts and Other Resources

  • MS 3930, ‘Lectures on law delivered by John Millar (1779-81)’ [Civil Law] (NLS, Edinburgh)
  • MS 3931, ‘Lectures on law delivered by John Millar (1779-81) – with printed title page ‘A course of lectures on Government’ (1778)’ (NLS, Edinburgh)
  • MS Gen 179, ‘Lectures on government, delivered in the University of Glasgow, by John Millar, written from notes taken by Alexander Campbell, 1783’, 4to (Mitchell Library, Glasgow)
  • MS 289-291, ‘Lectures on government, given in the University of Glasgow, by John Millar, 1787-88. A fair copy in the hand of his son, James Millar. With a letter from James Millar, son of the professor, transmitting the volumes to the duke of Hamilton. 1833.’ 4to, 3 vols. (Mitchell Library, Glasgow)
  • MS Gen 180, ‘Lectures on government, delivered in the University of Glasgow, by John Millar, and taken down by William Rae, 1789’ 4to, 3 vols., bound with printed syllabus, dated 1787 (Mitchell Library, Glasgow)
  • MS Hamilton 117, ‘John Millar: Course of lectures upon jurisprudence [Student’s notes.] 1793’ 4to (Mitchell Library, Glasgow)
  • MS Murray 77, ‘John Millar. Notes on the Institutes of Heneccius [sic], taken by David Boyle. These are copies of Boyle’s notes, done by Alexander Boswell, Dec. 9th 1794.’ (Mitchell Library, Glasgow)
  • MS Gen 203, ‘John Millar: Lectures on the Publick Law of Great Britain’ (n.d.) (Mitchell Library, Glasgow)

*For references, see the Site Bibliography.