Lectures of David Hume (1757-1838), Baron of the Scots Exchequer

Scope and Content

Notes of lectures on the law of Scotland, delivered by David Hume, 1788, at Dc.5.37-38; Notes of lectures on Scots law, circa 1790, at Dc.6.122-124; Lectures on Scots law, circa 1795, at Dc.4.18-19; Lectures on Scots law, 1808-1809, at Gen. 860-861; Lectures on Scots law, 1810-1811, at Gen. 862 and Gen. 1391-1397. Lectures on the law of Scotland, 1810-1812, at Dc.10.42/1-3; Notes from lectures on Scots law, 1815-1816, at MSS 2673-2677 and Dc.3.8-10; Notes of lectures on Scots law probably delivered by Hume, 1817-1818, at Dc.4.61-64; Notes of Hume's lectures on Scots law, 1820-1821, Dc.5.2-4.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Hume was born on 27 February 1757. His parents were from Berwickshire and Roxburghshire, and he was the nephew of the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776). Hume became an Advocate in 1779 and a Sheriff in Berwickshire in 1784, then afterwards in West Lothian. In 1786, he became Professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University. Sir Walter Scott attended Hume's classes when a student at the University, in his early years. In 1811, Hume was appointed Principal Clerk to the Court of Session, and in 1822 Baron of the Scots Exchequer, a post which he held until the abolition of the body. He had also been a curator of the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh. Hume's publications include Commentaries on the law of Scotland: respecting the description and punishment of crimes (1797), and Commentaries on the law of Scotland respecting trial for crimes (1800). David Hume died at his house in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town on 30 August 1838.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Lectures received from Mr. Justice Laskin through Professor T. B. Smith, October 1966, Accession no. E66.36. Notes of lectures received October 1966, Accession no. E66.37. Notes taken by George Sligo purchased 1983, Accession no. E83.15.


The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.10. Howard-Kenneth. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1908.

Description based on ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition), 2000.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Related Material

The local Indexes show other material related to David Hume1757-1838 (check the Indexes for more details): notes, signature, letters, corrections in a letter, mentioned in letters, extract from minutes, in either the Laing Collection (La.III., La.II.) or at Dc.6.111 f.118v and 124-125 ., Dc.4.103, Dc.1.100/8 f.8, Dc.6.111 f.47 etc. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: