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James Anderson (1739–1808) by Samuel Freeman, pubd 1809 (after J. Anderson) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anderson, James (1739–1808), agriculturist and political economist, born at Hermiston, near Edinburgh, inherited the tenancy of a large farm there at the age of fifteen when his parents (whose names are unknown) died. He had already prepared himself for the position by attending ...

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George Chalmers (bap. 1742, d. 1825) by Henry Edridge, 1809 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chalmers, George (bap. 1742, d. 1825), antiquary and political writer, was born in Fochabers, Moray, and baptized there on 26 December 1742, the son of James Chalmers, postmaster at Fochabers, and his wife, Isabella Ruddock. He attended the parish school of Bellie and later appears to have studied at ...

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Elder, John [Jhone Eldar] (fl. 1533–1565), cartographer and propagandist, was a native of Caithness—a ‘redshank’, as he styled himself. He was educated on Skye and Lewis before continuing his studies at the universities of St Andrews (where he matriculated in 1533), Aberdeen...

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Henrisoun, James (d. before 1570), merchant and propagandist, was apparently a native of Edinburgh and by 1527 owned land on the south side of the High Street. He made his living principally by trading to the Low Countries, where he bought military supplies for the crown. In this he co-operated with ...

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Johnston, Gabriel (1698–1752), political writer and colonial governor, was born in Southdean, Roxburghshire, Scotland, where he was baptized on 28 February 1698, the son of the Revd Samuel Johnston and his wife, Isobel Hall. His father, a minister of the Church of Scotland...

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Lauder, Sir John, second baronet, Lord Fountainhall (1646–1722), judge and political commentator, was born at Edinburgh on 2 August 1646, the eldest son of Sir John Lauder (1595–1692), an Edinburgh merchant and bailie who was raised to the Nova Scotia baronetcy in 1688, and his second wife, ...

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Macartney, (William John) Allan (1941–1998), political scientist and politician, was born on 17 February 1941 at the Scottish mission house, Christiansborg, Accra, Gold Coast, the second of three children of the Revd William Macleod Macartney (1912–1999), minister of religion of the Church of Scotland...

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Mackenzie, William James Millar (1909–1996), political scientist, was born in Edinburgh on 8 April 1909, the only child of Laurence Millar Mackenzie (d. 1933), writer to the signet, and his wife, Anna Marion née McClymont (1879–1958). His parents adopted a daughter when he was nineteen. He was educated at ...

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Sir James Mackintosh of Kyllachy (1765–1832) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, exh. RA 1804 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mackintosh, Sir James, of Kyllachy (1765–1832), political writer and politician, was born on 24 October 1765 at Aldourie on the banks of Loch Ness, 7 miles from Inverness, the eldest of the three children of John Mackintosh (d. 1788), army officer, and ...

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James Maitland, eighth earl of Lauderdale (1759–1839) by Thomas Phillips, 1806 Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Maitland, James, eighth earl of Lauderdale (1759–1839), politician and political economist, was born on 26 January 1759 at Hatton House, Ratho, Edinburghshire. He was the eldest surviving son of the six sons and six daughters of James Maitland, seventh earl of Lauderdale (1718–1789)...

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Nichol, John Pringle (1804–1859), astronomer and political economist, was the eldest of seven children of John Nichol, a farmer from Northumberland, and Jane Forbes of Ellon, Aberdeenshire. Born on 13 January 1804 at Huntlyhill, Forfarshire, 4 miles north-east of Brechin, he was educated at ...

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Playfair, William (1759–1823), inventor of statistical graphs and writer on political economy, was born on 22 September 1759 at the manse, Liff, near Dundee, the fifth of eight children of the Revd James Playfair (1712–1772), of the parish of Liff and Benvie, and ...

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Stuart, Gilbert (1743–1786), historian and political writer, was born in the Old College Buildings, Edinburgh, on 9 November 1743, the eldest of six children of George Stuart (bap. 1711, d. 1793), professor of humanity, and Jean Duncanson (b. 1712, d. in or before 1793)...

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Wallace, Robert (1697–1771), Church of Scotland minister and writer on population, was born on 7 January 1697 in Kincardine, Perthshire, the only son of Matthew Wallace (d. 1727), Church of Scotland minister for the parish, and his wife, Margaret Stewart. Robert was educated at ...

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Robert William Seton- Watson (1879–1951) by Vandyk photograph reproduced by courtesy of The British Academy

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Watson, Robert William Seton- (1879–1951), historian and political commentator, was born in London on 20 August 1879, the only child of William Livingstone Watson (d. 1903), a well-to-do Scottish merchant in Calcutta and London and a small landowner in Scotland, and his wife, ...