Lectures and Letters of Dugald Stewart (1753-1828)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-505
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      circa 21 manuscript volumes (3 in case or bound box), circa 12 letters or fragments Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      Dc.1.100/2, ff.5-8; Dc.3.99/13,f.6; Dc.3.105-107; Dc.4.97; Dc.4.101-103; Dc.6.111, ff.113-115; Dc.8. 143, 177-178; Df.4.48-52; Gen. 1382-1385; Gen. 1732 Stewart; Gen. 1987-1989; Gen. 2023; MS 2686; E90.49; E91.27; E94.16; E 97.47

Scope and Content

The collection of material includes: Conjectures concerning the origin of the Sanskrit, 1824-1825; diary of journeys in England and Scotland, 1797-1803; lectures on moral philosophy delivered by Stewart, 1778-1779; lectures on moral philosophy, 1789-1790, 1793-1794, 1797, 1806-1807, 1808-1809; notes from lectures on moral philosophy, 1801-1802; letter to the Earl of Buchan, 1802; undated letter to Dr. Gregory; letter to Lord Craig, 1794; letter to James Walker, 1797; letter to Dr. W. Drennan, c. 1808; letters to John Stark and draft of dedication of Philosophical Essays, 1810-1820; letter to M. le Chevalier Bibliothecaire de Ste. Genevieve, Paris, 1814; letter to Sir William (probably Hamilton), c. 1820; and, letter to 'My dear friend'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dugald Stewart was born in Edinburgh on 22 November 1753. He was the son of Matthew Stewart (1715-1785), Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University. He was educated at the city's Royal High School where he became interested in the classics, and in session 1765-1766 entered Edinburgh University attending Greek, logic, and natural philosophy, and warming to mathematics and moral philosophy. In session 1771-1772 he attended Glasgow University. In 1772 he returned to Edinburgh to conduct mathematics classes at Edinburgh University and from 1775 he held the mathematics professorship jointly with his father. In 1778-1779 he lectured for Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) who had gone to America temporarily, and in 1783 he visited Paris. On the resignation of Ferguson in 1785, Stewart became Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University. After the death of his first wife, Helen Bannatyne, in 1787 he spent the summers of 1788 and 1789 in France and became sympathetic to the revolutionary cause. On 26 July 1790 he married Helen D'Arcy Cranstoun. They had one son, Matthew who died a Colonel in 1851. Stewart's published work includes the three volume Elements of the philosophy of the human mind (1792-1817), and Outlines of moral philosophy (1793). Professor Dugald Stewart died on 11 June 1828.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Letter to Hamilton acquired 1964, Accession no. E64.63. Borthwick lectures purchased 1966, Accession no. E66.18. Letter to Earl of Buchan purchased 1967, Accession no. E67.27. Letter to 'My dear friend' purchased October 1968, Accession no. E68.31. Lectures 1808-1809 acquired 1968, Accession no. E68.33. Letter to Paris purchased 1974, Accession no. E74.12. Letter to James Walker purchased April 1975, Accession no. E75.18. Walker's lectures purchased 1977, Accession no. E77.32. Letter to Sir W. Hamilton purchased May 1990, Accession no. E90.49. Letter purchased March 1991, Accession no. E91.27. Letter to Parry purchased March 1994, Accession no. E94.16. Letter fragment purchased July 1997, Accession no. E 97.47.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 18. Shearman-Stovin. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1909. (2) Keay, John. and Keay, Julia (eds.). Collins encyclopaedia of Scotland. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994.

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.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various other references to Dugald Stewart related material in the Laing Collection and elsewhere (check the Indexes for more details), including: attendance certificate for class of Moral Philosophy, 1808; certificate awarded to J. Lee, 1797, at Dc.4.95/2, f.2; notes from lectures, 1802-1803, on microfilm, at Mic.M.136; Xeroxed letter from Francis Horner, 1805, at Phot. 1717; ode by A. Campbell, 1806, Dc.6.111, ff.1-2; ode, 1812, at Dc.6.111, f.3-5; letter from Guyot, at Dc.6.111, ff.6-7; sonnets perhaps by Guyot, Dc.6.111, ff.8-9; poem by Lord John Russell, at Dc.6.111, f.11; memorandum of a visit to Lord Lauderdale, 1784, at Dc.6.111, ff.17-21; poem May Day addressed to Stewart, at Dc.6.111, f.67-70; note from Duc de la Rochefoucauld, 1789, at Dc.111, f.97; letter of Thomas Jefferson, 1803, Dc.6.111, ff.83-84; note to Stewart from Francis Burney, 1806, at Dc.6.111, ff.98-99; letters from Wirgman, in JY 1135/2, 3, 5; mention in a letter of Adam Ferguson, 1783, at Gen.1733/93; mention in letters of Professor J. Black, Gen. 874/IV/23, 31-33; letter to Mr. Bell, Bookseller, 1795, at La.II.583/18, and letter from Mrs. Dugald Stewart, at La.II.583/13.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of Dugald Stewart related material.


Corporate Names