Lectures of John Allen M.D. (1771-1843)

Scope and Content

The collection consists of lectures on the animal economy, 1796-1797. The Lectures on the animal oeconomy are divided into three sections and are bound together.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Allen, the political and historical writer, was born in Colinton, Edinburgh, on 3 February 1771. After his schooling, Allen was apprenticed to an Edinburgh surgeon and in 1791 he became M.D. at Edinburgh University where he lectured on medical topics. He was also very interested in the cause of political reform in Scotland and wrote several pieces for the newly founded Edinburgh review. Allen translated Introduction to the study of the animal economy (1801) earlier written by Georges, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832), but his best known work was an Inquiry into the rise and growth of the Royal Prerogative in England (1830). He also published Vindication of the ancient independence of Scotland (1833). Allen became Warden of Dulwich College in 1811, and Master from 1820. John Allen M.D. died on 10 April 1843.

Access Information

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


The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) Leslie, Stephen. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.1. Abbadie-Beadon. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division

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 references to Allen related material in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details): a mention in a letter, at La.II.646/250; and, Ode to chemistry by A. Campbell, inscribed to John Allen, at La.II.51.