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The Scottish Nation

MILLAR, JAMES, M.D., a learned and industrious compiler, was educated chiefly at the university of Glasgow, where he acquired an extensive and accurate knowledge of the classics, and early evinced a taste for the varied departments of natural history. He took his medical degree at Edinburgh, where he settled. In 1807 he published, in connection with William Vazie, Esq., an 8vo pamphlet, entitled ‘Observations on the Advantages and Practicability of making Tunnels under Navigable Rivers, particularly applicable to the proposed Tunnel under the Forth.’ He was the original projector and editor of the ‘Encyclopaedia Edinensis, or Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature.’ He was also chosen to superintend the fourth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, to the improvement and interests of which he devoted a large portion of his time. Some of his essays and larger treatises written for these works, when published separately, were very favourably received by the public. He likewise contributed largely to several of the periodical journals both of London and Edinburgh. In 1819 he published, in 12mo, with coloured engravings, ‘A Guide to Botany, or a Familiar Illustration of the Linnaean Classification of Plants.’ Dr. Millar was one of the physicians to the Dispensary at Edinburgh, and in that capacity, while attending to the usual duties, he caught a fever, of which he died in July 1827.

MILLAR, JOHN, an eminent lecturer on law, was born June 22, 1735, at the manse of Shotts, Lanarkshire, of which parish his father, who was afterwards translated to Hamilton, was minister. He studied at the university of Glasgow, and was at first intended for the church, but subsequently preferred the bar. On leaving college he was for two years tutor to the eldest son of Lord Kames, during which time he became acquainted with David Hume, whose metaphysical opinions he adopted. He was admitted advocate in 1760, and, in the following year, was appointed to the chair of civil law in the university of Glasgow, which he filled for nearly forty years with signal success. His lectures on the different branches of jurisprudence, and on the general principles of government, excited much interest at the period; they were attended by many who afterwards distinguished themselves in public life, and from him Lord Brougham, Lord Jeffrey, Lord Chief Commissioner Adam, the earl of Lauderdale, and some other eminent Whigs, received their first lessons in political science. In 1771 he published ‘Observations concerning the Distinction of Ranks on Society,’ which passed through several editions, and was translated into French. In 1787 he published ‘Elements of the Law relating to Insurances.’ The same year appeared his more elaborate work, entitle, ‘An Historical View of the English Government, from the Settlement of the Saxons in Britain to the Accession of the House of Stuart,’ in which he follows the path of philosophical speculation, as to the origin of the laws and institutions of nations, which had been previously traced out by Lord Kames and Dr. Adam Smith. He afterwards brought down the History of the Constitution to the Revolution, and the work, with this addition, was published in 4 vols. 8vo in 1803. Professor Millar died May 30, 1801, leaving four sons and six daughters. A fourth edition of his ‘Origin of the distinction of Ranks’ appeared in 1808, with a memoir of his life, by his nephew, Mr. John Craig.

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