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Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment

Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities

Roger L. Emerson

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This book considers the politics of patronage appointments at the universities in Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews, exploring the ways in which 388 men secured posts in three Scottish universities between 1690 and 1806. Most professors were political appointees vetted and supported by political factions and their leaders. This comprehensive study explores the improving agenda of political patrons and of those they served and relates this to the Scottish Enlightenment. Emerson argues that what was happening in Scotland was also occurring in other parts of Europe where, in relatively autonomous localities, elite patrons also shaped things as they wished them to be. The role of patronage in the Enlightenment is essential to any understanding of its origins and course.

Key Features

  • Based on considerable archival study, this book adds substantially to what is known about the Scottish professoriate during the period.
  • A useful reference work on the universities, enriching our knowledge of them.
  • Uncovers new information about the universities of Scotland during this period and about Scottish local and cultural politics more generally.


A Note on the Text
List of Abbreviations
1 The Glasgow University and College Staffs in 1714
2. Professorial Appointments 1690 -1806
Chapter 1: Introduction
1. Patronage and The Enlightenment
2. Data and the Scope of the Study
3. Politics and University Patronage
4. The Processes of Appointment
5. Other Aims of this Book
Chapter 2: Glasgow university to 1701
1. The Structures of Patronage at Glasgow University
2. The Purge of 1690 and the Revolution Settlement to 1692-3. Appointments 1692-though 1701
Chapter 3: Principal Stirling's Regime: Family and Politics 1701-1725
1. The Political Environment
2. John Stirling and the Expansion of the University, 1701-1714
3. The Decline of Principal Stirling, 1714-1725
Chapter 4: Glasgow under the Campbells 1725-1742
1. Ilay's Visitation and the End of the Stirling Regime 1725-1727
2. The Regime of the Campbells 1727-1742
Chapter 5: Squadrone Glasgow and the Return of the Duke of Argyll,1742-1761
1. Squadrone Glasgow
2. Glasgow after the '45
3. Argyll's Return to Power
4. Argyll, Greatest of Patrons
Chapter 6: The Age of Bute and the Moderates
1. The Age of Merit?
2. Catch as Catch Can
3. Other Glasgow Appointments Made by the Masters
Chapter 7 :Glasgow University in the Age of Dundas
1.'Harry the Ninth'
2. Dundas's Glasgow Before the French Revolution
3. Glasgow Appointments During the French Revolution
4. Conclusion
Chapter 8: Edinburgh University to 1704
1. Introduction
2. The Revolution Settlement
Chapter 9: Edinburgh Appointments in the Faculty of Divinity
1. The Principals
2.. Divinity Professors
3. Ecclesiastical History
4. Oriental Languages
Chapter 10: Chairs of Interest to Lawyers
1. Humanity
2. Universal and Civil History and Roman Antiquities
3. The Law Chairs
4. Public Law
5. Civil Law
6. Scots Law
Chapter 11: Surgical and Medical Chairs
1. Introduction
2. Botany and Materia Medica
3. Anatomy
4. Surgery, Clinical Surgery and Military Surgery
5. Chemistry to 1726
6. The Founding of a Medical School
7. Midwifery
8. Chemistry after 1726
9. The Institutes or Theory of Medicine
10. Theory and Practice of Medicine
11. Natural History
12. The Chair of Agriculture
Chapter 12: The Arts Chairs
1. Mathematics
2. Astronomy
3. Greek
4. The Regents, 1695-1707
5. Logic and Metaphysics
6. Moral Philosophy
7. Natural Philosophy
8. Rhetoric and Belles Lettres
9. Conclusion
Chapter 13: The Arts Chairs 1690-c.1715
1. The Uniqueness of the Place and its Institutions
2..The Purge of 1690 and the Revolution Settlement
3. The First Principals
4. Other Appointments at St Salvator's and St. Leonard's Colleges 1691- C. 1693
5. College Appointments to 1716
6. The Mathematics Professorship 1690-1708
7. So?
Chapter 14: St Mary's College and Other Appointments 1713 -1747
1. St Mary's Appointments 1693-1713
2. The '15 and After
3. Appointments in the Arts Colleges 1716-1739
4. St Mary's College 1720-1747
Chapter 15: The Untold Story
1. Aspirations and Disappointments
2. Signs of Crisis
3. The Union of the Arts Colleges in 1747
Chapter 16: Thomas Tullideph's St Andrews, 1747-1777
1. The Making of a 'usurping tyrant'
2. The Tullideph Regime
Chapter 17: the Dundas Era at St Andrews, 1780-1806
1. Gaining Control
2. Dundas as Patron
3. A Summing Up
Chapter 18: Conclusions
1. Appointments: Politics, Processes and Constraints
2. The Managers
3. The People Appointed by the Patrons.
4. Scotland and Europe
1. Estimated Values of the Chairs in the Scottish Universities for the 1690s, 1725, 1760, 1795.
2. Average Total Incomes of the Professors from All Sources


For three decades Roger Emerson has pursued his subjects in archive after archive to produce this landmark book... A huge accomplishment.
- David B. Wilson, ISIS

'...this is a book rich in archival detail that makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the broader cultural and educational context of the Scottish Enlightenment.'

- Roger A. Mason, University of St Andrews, History of Universities Vol 26/1