6th October 1742

Royal Society of Edinburgh founder is born

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland’s National Academy, with an interest in science, technology, humanities, business and the arts. It was founded in 1783 by, among others, Linlithgow-born Andrew Dalzell.

The Society is an important supporter of research and, according to its Royal Charter, “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge”. Although it now has its own premises, its first meetings were held in a building of the University of Edinburgh.

Laws laid down

One of the earliest mentions of the Society appeared in the Newcastle Chronicle of 28 June 1783, after it “met on Monday last in the Library of the University… and formed a body of laws for regulating their future proceedings. They then assumed into their number the members of the University of Edinburgh, and of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, elected several new members, and appointed the next general meeting to be held on Monday the 4th of August next, when the presidencies, council, and other officers of the Society are to be filled up.”

Dalzell was not appointed one of the presidents but, as reported in the Caledonian Mercury of 22 November 1783, he was elected one of several secretaries.

Religious connections

At the time, Dalzell was professor of Greek at the University of Edinburgh, having for many years been a teacher despite initially training for the priesthood. Later in life, he would be appointed principal clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

On 1 December 1806, the Scots Magazine announced his death in Edinburgh, aged 63, “after a long illness”. His remains were buried in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard.



Other events that occured in October

FREE Scotland history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Scotland's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.