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Papers of James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714-1799) and his family.

Identifier: MSS.24501-24629

Scope and Contents

James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, was appointed a Senator of the College of Justice in 1767. A large part of the papers consist of his essays, drafts and notes, many of which were used in his books.


  • Creation: 1526-1936, undated.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


129 Volumes ; Unless otherwise stated, the papers are folio and under.

Language of Materials



The papers are arranged as follows. MSS.24501-24504. Correspondence MSS.24505-24537. Literary and philosophical papers MSS.24538-24589. Notebooks MSS.24590-24592. Legal papers MSS.24593-24595. Miscellaneous papers MSS.24596-24628. Burnett family papers MS.24629. Concordance

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought, 1973; MS.24523, folios 3-137 presented, 1960, by H S Annandale, Auchinblae.

Separated Materials

For formal documents from the collection, see Ch.17388-17406. For additional papers, see MSS.25253-25257.


James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, was the author of two substantial works. ‘Of the origin and progress of language’ (Edinburgh, 1773-1792), 6 volumes, and ‘Antient metaphysics’ (Edinburgh, 1779-1799), 6 volumes.

The collection is described in the Appendices to the 'Fourth Report of the Royal Commission on historical manuscripts’ (London, 1874), pages 518-521, and the 'Sixth Report of the Royal Commission on historical manuscripts' (London, 1877), pages 673-681, but some of the material listed in the Reports is missing.

A catalogue of the papers was drawn up in 1794 and was published in the Appendix to the ‘Sixth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts’, pages 678-681. For a concordance of the published catalogue numbers with their present MS. numbers, see MS.24629.

The papers were used by E L Cloyd in, ‘James Burnett, Lord Monboddo’ (Oxford, 1972).
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
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