Allan Maconochie (bap. 1748, d. 1816)

About Maconochie

  • Student at Edinburgh in the 1760s where he took classes of Adam Ferguson (ODNB*)
  • Founding member, along with John Bruce, of the Speculative Society (ODNB*)
  • Admitted advocate 1770 (ODNB*)
  • Bought the Regius Chair from James Balfour for £1522:18:2  (Grant, Story 316*)
  • Regius Professor of the Law of Nature and Nations at Edinburgh, 1779-1796; advertised classes each year (ODNB*)
  • Resigned his professorship when he was called to the Bench as Lord Meadowbank in 1796 (ODNB*)


  • General class concluded with ‘the general principles of municipal law, political oeconomy, and the law of nations’ (Arnot quoted in Cairns, ‘First’ 32*)
  • ‘It is evident that by now the nature of what was taught from the chair had changed from the rational type of natural law associated with the Dutch author and his immediate successors. Instead, Maconochie started with examination of human nature, a natural history of man’. (Cairns, ‘First’ 33-34*)
  • For his teaching see Cairns, ‘First’ 30-38*

Publications, Manuscripts and other Resources

  • Advertisement: Mr Maconochie advocate, professor of public law, proposes to open his class next winter. The intended course will treat the history and principles of universal and political law, according to the following arrangement. (Edinburgh, 1780) ESTC N61378

NPG D31949; Allan Maconochie, Lord Meadowbank by John Kay

Allan Maconochie, Lord Meadowbank
by John Kay
etching, 1799
NPG D31949
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Creative Commons Licence

*For references, see the Site Bibliography.