This chapter will deal primarily with Kames’s activities and endeavors as a member of two national planning and promotional boards which played a most important role in the economic transformation of Scotland that occurred during the middle and latter part of the eighteenth century.


Public Service Eighteenth Century Survey Journey Planning Board Agricultural Improvement 
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  1. 1.
    The authority for otherwise undocumented statements on economic conditions in Scotland at this time will be found chiefly in the histories previously cited (see also infra, Bibliography, Sec. II-B), though other sources were also consulted. Historians who have addressed themselves to this subject at all are agreed on the backwardness and, in many places at least, extreme poverty of Scottish country life at this time, though some remind us of the danger of exaggerating this for some parts of Scotland. Beside the general references in Hamilton’s Economic History of Scotland, the reader will do well to consult on this matter Pryde’s Scotland: from 1603 to the Present, pp. 67f.; Ferguson’s Scotland: 1689 to the Present, Ch. 6, esp. pp. 166ff.; and Henry G. Graham’s The Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1928 ed.), Chs. V and V I.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    On these two national planning boards, see for a general account and statement of objectives, Tytler, I, 202–206, including footnotes, and II, 60ff. and 67ff. See also Hamilton, op. cit., passim. Hamilton does not mention Kames; his interest is not biographical. Most important are the records of both boards preserved in the massive leather-bound manuscript volumes located in the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh. For the Board of Trustees, the minutes, letter-books, etc. are listed under NG: with many individual numbers; for the Board of Commissioners, the designation is E: A somewhat comparable organization, the “Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland,” had already been organized in 1723, and there were other organizations of this kind. Kames himself worked long for the organization of a national board of agriculture, a dream realized only after his death. See Tytler, II, 173–80.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Tytler states that Kames was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in or soon after 1755. Dr. Ross, who has also examined the records of these boards, observes that he found no mention of Kames in the records of the Commissioners until several years later, and so doubts the accuracy of Tytler’s statement. For the Board of Trustees, Kames’s name first appears in the records for October, 1755. (See SRO, NG1/3, vols. 6–7.)Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Among the items covered under the nine heads making up the instructions for this survey are: inclusion or listing of every farm on the estate; accurate and careful notation of the boundaries of the estate and of each farm within the estate; the nature of the ground, whether and how much under plough or potentially arable; woodland; actual and potential drainage; possibility of improvement for pasturage; clearance of morasses, bogs, etc.; notation of rivers and rivulets; state of the roads, possibility of fords, ferries, bridges; survey of glens, hills and width of valley bottoms; location of villages and/ or assemblages of cott-houses; enclosures if any; boundaries of counties and parishes; distance of the most remote parts of each parish from the church; the names of villages, farms, hills, rivers, etc. to be inserted. An intensive local survey indeed! Source: SRO, E-726, Letter Books, vol. I, pp. 1–8.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    A. C. O’Dell and K. Watson tell us in The Highlands and Islands of Scotland (London, 1962; pp. 119f.) that “The Board of Trustees about 1777 handed over to the Commissioners of the Annexed Estates much of their task of establishing industry in the Highlands, and the Commissioners subsidized merchants to ensure marketing of the produce.” This is in line with observations made elsewhere.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    The list of appointees to the Board of Trustees by His Majesty the King, as of July 25, 1761 (SRO, NG/1/3/8, p. 83) — most of them re-appointments — is worth noting, as an indication of the high standing of its membership. An * after a name indicates also membership on the Board of Commissioners, though there may also be others serving on both boards. The list is as follows: Charles Lord Cathcart; James Lord Sommerville*; John Lord Belhaven*; James Ogilvie, Esq., commonly called Lord Deskford*• Charles Hope Weir, Esq.; Robert Dundas, President of the Court of Session; Charles Areskine, Esq., the Lord Justice Clerk; Robert Ord, Esq., Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer; Andrew Fletcher, Esq., one of the Senators of the College of Justice; Sir Gilbert Elliot, Bart., (ditto); Alex. Fraser, Esq., (ditto); John Maule, Esq., Baron of the Court of Exchequer; Henry Home* (i.e. Kames), Esq., another of the Senators of the College of Justice; William Grant, Esq., (ditto); William Mure, Esq., Baron of the Court of Exchequer; Thos. Millar, Esq., Advocate for Scotland*; David Kinloch, Esq.; George Clerk Maxwell, Esq.; George Drummond* (erstwhile Provost of Edinburgh); John Mackenzie, Esq.*, Clerk to the Signet; and John Coutts, Esq. Of these twenty-one members, it will be noted that at least eleven were Lords of Session, several of these also Lords of Justiciary, and three were Barons of the Court of Exchequer. At least seven of them were also members of the Board of Commissioners.Google Scholar
  7. 17.
    John Walker, An Economical History of the Hebrides and the Highlands (Edinburgh, 1808). A second edition was published in 1812. See the Preface to this work for an account of the 1771 survey journey. The Dictionary of National Biography is in error on some of the details of these journeys and of the reports thereon in its article, s.v., “Walker, John.”Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Wight, op. cit., vol. IV, pp. 612–14.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Ibid., vol. I, p. 187, and generally pp. 183–202. See also Kames’s pamphlet on Flax Husbandry.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    Forfeited Estates letter, 8 July, 1772, S.R.O., E 726, vol. 3, p. 26.Google Scholar
  11. 29.
    S.R.O., E-730/15 (16 Mar., 1767 ). Permission, Keeper of the Records of Scotland.Google Scholar
  12. 30.
    S.R.O., E-725/1/35, and Wight, op. cit., vol. I, p. 391.Google Scholar
  13. 33.
    Sir John Sinclair, Analysis of Statistical Account of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1825), p. 237, and Tytler I, 206.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1971

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  • William C. Lehmann

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