Adam Smith (1723-1790)

NB: This page is under construction (Sept 2013)

About Smith

  • Taught by Francis Hutcheson
  • Used Hutchson’s Philosophiae moralis institutio compendiara, ethicis & jurisprudentiae naturalis elementa continuen as his textbook when covering for the ill Thomas Craigie in 1751 (Ross, Life of Adam Smith 112*)
  • Professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow, 1752-1764


  • Letter from A Smith, Edinburgh, 5 Sept 1751, to Dr William Cullen: ‘You mention natural jurisprudence & politics as parts of his lecture which it would be most agreeable for me to take upon…’ University of Glagsow, Special Collections MS Cullen 1157
  • Followed Hutcheson‘s curriculum (Cairns, ‘Ethics’ 166*)
  • Ethics course published as The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) (Cairns, ‘Ethics’ 166*)
  • Course on political regulation published as The Wealth of Nations (1776) (Cairns, ‘Ethics’ 166*)

Publications, Manuscripts and other Resources

  • ‘Juris Prudence or Notes from the Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms delivered in the University of Glasgow by Adam Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy. MDCCLXVI [1766]'(Manuscript fair copy of notes taken by an unidentified student in 1763) University of Glasgow, Special Collections MS Gen 109
  • A Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (London and Edinburgh, 1759).
  • A Smith, Lectures On Jurisprudence, ed RL Meek, DD Raphael and PG Stein, vol. V of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982). [contains two reports dated 1762-63 and 1766 of Smith’s lectures on jurisprudence at Glasgow University].


Brief Adam Smith biography at Northern Lights: The Scottish Enlightenment.

NPG D16843; Adam Smith by John Kay

Adam Smith
by John Kay
etching, 1790
NPG D16843
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Creative Commons Licence

*For references, see the Site Bibliography.

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.

James Dunbar (d. 1798)

About Dunbar

  • At King’s College, Aberdeen 1765-1795


  • ‘Dunbar’s lectures comprised three principal elements: the philosophy of mind, in which he was greatly influenced by Thomas Reid; ethics, which saw him draw on Francis Hutcheson‘s idea of innate human sociability and a universal moral code based on natural benevolence; and political economy, a new subject at King’s and one influenced by Adam Smith‘s Wealth of Nations (1776).’ [ODNB*]

Publications, Manuscript, and other Resources

  • J Dunbar, ‘Institutes of moral philosophy’ [1789-1794], University of Aberdeen, Special Collections MS 3107/5/2/6

*For references, 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.