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The Scottish Nation

BAYNE, ALEXANDER, of Rires, first professor of the municipal law of Scotland, was the son of John Bayne of Logie, Fife, descended from the old Fifeshire family of Tulloch, to whom he was served heir in general, October 8, 1700. He was the representative of an old family in the parish of Kilconquhar, and his estate of Rires is now possessed by his descendant Robert Bayne Dalgleish, Esq, of Dura. Mr. Bayne, on the 10th of July 1714 was admitted advocate. In January 1722 the Faculty appointed him senior curator of the Advocate’s Library, and, on 28th November succeeding, he was elected by the town council to the chair of Scots law, which in that year was first instituted in the university of Edinburgh. In the council register of that date there is the following entry: “Mr. Alexander Bayne having represented how much it would be for the interest of the nation and of this city, to have a professor of the law of Scotland placed in the university of this city, not only for teaching the Scots law, but also for qualifying of writers to his Majesty’s Signet; and being fully apprised of the fitness and qualifications of Mr. Alexander Bayne of Rires, advocate, to discharge such a province; therefore, the council elect him to be professor of the law of Scotland in the university of this city.” Although the Faculty of Advocates at first looked coldly upon the erection of the chair of Scots law, they soon began to be convinced that it was calculated to work a beneficial change on the course of examination for the bar, and on the system of legal study. In January 1724 the Dean of Faculty, Mr. Robert Dundas of Arniston, afterwards Lord President of the court of session, proposed to the Faculty, that all entrants should, previous to their admission, undergo a trial, not only in the civil law, as heretofore, but also in the municipal law of Scotland; and though this was long resisted, it was at length determined, by act of sederunt, February 28, 1750. In the beginning of 1726, Bayne retired from the office of senior curator of the library, and the same year he published the first edition of Sir Thomas Hope’s Minor Practicks, a work of great legal learning, which had lain nearly a century in manuscript, to which was added by Professor Bayne, ‘A Discourse on the Rise and Progress of the Law of Scotland, and the Method of Studying it.’ In 1731 he published a small volume of ‘Notes’ for the use of the students attending his chair, formed out of his lectures, and which prove that he was thoroughly acquainted not only with the Roman jurisprudence, but also with the ancient common law. About the same time, he published another small volume, entitled ‘Institutions of the Criminal Law of Scotland,’ also for the use of his students. He died in June 1737, when Mr. Erskine of Carnock was appointed his successor. He had married Mary, a younger daughter of Anne, only surviving child of Sir William Bruce of Kinross, by her second husband, Sir John Carstairs of Kilconquhar, and by her he had three sons and two daughters. One of his daughters was the first wife of Allan Ramsay the painter, son of the author of the Gentle Shepherd. Professor Bayne’s works are:

Institutions of the Criminal Law of Scotland, Ed. 1747, 12mo.

Notes on the Criminal Law. 1748, 12mo.

Notes for the Use of the Students of the Municipal Law. Edin. 1749, 12mo.

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