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  You are in: Home > History > Dugald Stewart  

Dugald Stewart
The Pride and Ornament of Scotland

Gordon Macintyre

Author text to follow


This book tells the personal story of Dugald Stewart (1753–1828), whose circular memorial monument on Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh’s best known landmarks. Originally a mathematician like his father, Stewart held the Chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University for 25 years and became the most distinguished philosopher in Britain. He was an outstandingly gifted teacher whose character and eloquence influenced students who were to become famous in many walks of life. Two of them became Prime Minister.

A lifelong Whig, Stewart was in France at the outbreak of the French Revolution, and there knew Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He wrote biographical memoirs of Adam Smith and two other contemporaries. He gave Britain’s first course on economics, attended by all four founder members of the Edinburgh Review, and his political, as well as his philosophical influence extended well into the nineteenth century. His wife was a generous hostess whose lively and amusing letters are quoted extensively in the book, and she and Stewart are shown to have been significant figures in the cultural life of the time.

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements

1 Who was Dugald Stewart?
2 Family Background and Infancy
3 At School and University (1761–1772)
4 The Young Stewart, Mathematician (1772–1780)
5 Boarders, Travels, Marriage and Change (1780–1785)
6 The Young Stewart, Philosopher (1785–1787)
7 Stewart and Robert Burns
8 Revolutionary France and Remarriage (1787–1790)
9 Liberal Philosopher in a Harsh Climate (1790–96)
10 Students and Travels (1796–1800)
11 The Stewarts and the Palmerstons (1800–1803)
12 Social Life and the Leslie and Ashburton Affairs (1803–1805)
13 Towards Retirement (1806–1810)
14 The Teacher and the Man
15 The Early Years of Retirement (1810–1815)
16 Deaths of Friends and the Final Break (1815–1820)
17 The Last Years (1820– 1828)
18 Epilogue

Supplement A: The Writings
Supplement B: Stewart’s Written Words

Notes and Further Reading

“Building on the recent upsurge in interest in Stewart, Macintyre has, through extensive archival research, supplied the where and the when of Stewart’s rather academic life… A carefully constructed portrait of a teacher of genius.” Eighteenth-Century Scotland

“Macintyre has mustered a wealth of documents, particularly correspondence of people acquainted with Stewart, that has never before been readily available and from which future biographers will profit. Another strength is the vibrant picture sketched of the contemporary scene Stewart inhabited. Accounts of his presence in Paris at the Fall of the Bastille and his close friendship with Thomas Jefferson are among those that add real depth to our perspective on his world.” Stewart News: The Newsletter of the Stewart Society

“Gordon Macintyre has produced a book that not only throws light on the domestic life of a Scottish professor but also on the social and academic life of late eighteenth-century Edinburgh. Stewart was so well-connected, indeed, that many other characters appear in the story, including men of letters, such as Robert Burns and Walter Scott, and leading politicians of the day. The work contains supplements on his writings and an account of his thought. I recommend it for all who are interested in Scottish history.” Dr Stuart Brown, Professor of Philosophy at The Open University, and author of British Philosophy in the Age of Enlightenment

“Dugald Stewart made an enormous contribution to the intellectual climate of his age. Gordon Macintyre’s admirable book is long overdue.” Sunday Herald

“Informative and readable… of great interest to the cultural historian.” Philosophical Quarterly

“The philosopher Dugald Stewart was among the most celebrated thinkers of his age. The circular memorial to Stewart on Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh’s most familiar landmarks. This book amply demonstrates why he deserves such a conspicuous honour.” Historic Scotland

“A highly readable and thoroughly researched book.…Macintyre’s engaging account of Stewart’s life will encourage further research into this neglected Scottish philosopher and man of letters.” Eighteenth-Century Thought


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
348 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
September 2003
  Illustrated:   16-page plate section
Hardback Price:
£55.00 / $67.50
Paperback Price:
£17.95 / $29.95

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