Francis Horner (1778-1817)

About Horner

  • Educated at Edinburgh High School (For Horner and his legal contemporaries there see Old and New Edinburgh)
  • Matriculated University of Edinburgh, 1792
  • Studied law in England but corresponded with friends in Scotland about intellectual interests including natural law (Horner, Memoirs 16-18*)
  • Advocate, 1800
  • One of the founders of the Edinburgh Review
  • MP

Natural Law in Horner’s Memoirs

  • ‘Next to law, political philosophy, history and natural jurisprudence are to be my principal objects of pursuit. To these I shall give most of my evenings for six months to come….[T]he last branch is that of natural jurisprudence, where I shall have rather to think for myself than derive much light from books. I understand from Reddie that the best he has met with is a treatise by Cocceius, published in his edition of Grotius. This I shall read, and just as I have time, the work of Grotius himself…’ (Horner, Memoirs 53*)
  • ‘When Grotius, and of course his followers, talk of the law of nature, it is evident that they stagger beween the Roman law, which they knew too familiarly, and the institutions of savage life, which they had not philosophy enough to understand. Who had that was born before Montesquieu?’ (Horner, Memoirs 65*)

NPG 485; Francis Horner by Sir Henry Raeburn

Francis Horner
by Sir Henry Raeburn
oil on canvas, 1812
NPG 485
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Creative Commons Licence

*For references, please see the Site Bibliography.

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.