Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 October 2017
This is the second of two volumes of selected essays on Scottish legal history. It focuses on the eighteenth century and explores themes relating to the Scottish Enlightenment. As with the first volume, what are gathered together are essays, some difficult to access, with others that are easier to obtain, but which are collected together to ensure a thematic coherence to the collection.
I wish here to restate the debts, expressed in the Preface to Volume I, owed to Professors Elspeth Reid, Kenneth Reid and Hector MacQueen for their encouragement to gather these essays together, as well as to the Editorial Board of Edinburgh Studies in Law. Elspeth Reid's support and trust has been admirable. Once more I am grateful to Dr Karen Baston for her assistance. If there is no need to repeat at length what I said in the preface to the first volume, my intellectual debts, particularly to Professor Alan Watson, Hector MacQueen and Dr Paul du Plessis among others, remain; likewise the assistance from the libraries and archives named there should also be acknowledged here.
The period over which I published these essays – 1988 to 2005 – is not as wide as that in the first volume. But, at over a quarter of a century, it is still considerable. Like most legal historians in Scotland I have benefited from attending the British Legal History Conference and the Scottish Legal History Group, where I have learned a lot from the scholarship of others and gained valuable criticism of my own.
Given the focus of this volume, it is necessary, however, to single out the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society, and the individuals I have met through it. The first conference of the Society I ever attended was in Glasgow in 1990. I presented there a paper which is now the seventh chapter of this volume. It was a memorable conference. Glasgow was that year's European City of Culture, and a highlight was dinner in the wonderful City Chambers, with a recital from members of Scottish Opera. I also remember that a particularly good claret from the City's cellars was drunk with the meal: and, like all Scots who specialise in study of the eighteenth century, I know that the red wine of Bordeaux is our true national drink.