The Select Society, established in 1754 as The St. Giles Society but soon renamed, was an intellectual society in 18th century Edinburgh.The society was first a discussion club then shortly thereafter a debating club for the intellectual elite of Edinburgh.
The Select Society initially had fifteen members who included:
By the end of its first year, The Select Society had eighty three members.Some years later, some of the members established The Poker Club.
Their mission was articulated in The Scots Magazine in 1755: "The intention of these gentlemen was, by practice to improve themselves in reasoning and eloquence, and by the freedom of debate, to discover the most effectual methods of promoting the good of the country."
A member would pose a question for debate during the following meeting. Meetings were held on Wednesday nights from 6 PM to 9 PM 12 November – 12 August.[ citation needed ]
To become a member, one needed to be recommended in writing by two current members. If more than one name was up for consideration, members voted and the majority name made it to the following meeting at which a vote of three-fourths was needed to confirm the membership.
In 1755 the Select Society founded a subsidiary body: the Edinburgh Society for Encouraging Arts, Sciences, Manufactures, and Agriculture in Scotland.[ citation needed ]
The society was not the only one of its kind in Edinburgh, with The Speculative Society performing a similar role.
Members of the society would go on to be involved with Edinburgh's convivial societies, such as The Poker Club.
Henry Home, Lord Kames was a Scottish writer, philosopher, advocate, judge, and agricultural improver. A central figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, a founding member of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, and active in the Select Society, he acted as patron to some of the most influential thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, including the philosopher David Hume, the economist Adam Smith, the writer James Boswell, the chemical philosopher William Cullen, and the naturalist John Walker.
The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on the pursuit of happiness, sovereignty of reason, and the evidence of the senses as the primary sources of knowledge and advanced ideals such as liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.
The Scottish Enlightenment was the period in 18th- and early-19th-century Scotland characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By the eighteenth century, Scotland had a network of parish schools in the Lowlands and four universities. The Enlightenment culture was based on close readings of new books, and intense discussions took place daily at such intellectual gathering places in Edinburgh as The Select Society and, later, The Poker Club, as well as within Scotland's ancient universities.
Adam Ferguson, FRSE, also known as Ferguson of Raith, was a Scottish philosopher and historian of the Scottish Enlightenment.
William Robertson FRSE FSA Scot was a Scottish historian, minister in the Church of Scotland, and Principal of the University of Edinburgh. "The thirty years during which [he] presided over the University perhaps represent the highest point in its history." He made significant contributions to the writing of Scottish history and the history of Spain and Spanish America.
George Dempster of Dunnichen and Skibo FRSE FSA (Scot) (1732–1818) was a Scottish advocate, landowner, agricultural improver and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1761 and 1790. Dempster founded the bank George Dempster & Co. in 1763, was a Director of the East India Company from 1769, and served as Provost of St Andrews (1780) and a Director of the Highland Society of Scotland (1789).
Alexander Monroprimus was a Scottish surgeon and anatomist. His father, the surgeon John Monro, had been a prime mover in the foundation of the Edinburgh Medical School and had arranged Alexander's education in the hope that his son might become the first Professor of Anatomy in the new university medical school. After medical studies in Edinburgh, London, Paris and Leiden, Alexander Monro returned to Edinburgh, and pursued a career as a surgeon and anatomy teacher. With the support of his father and the patronage of the Edinburgh Lord Provost George Drummond, Alexander Monro was appointed foundation Professor of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh. His lectures, delivered in English, rather than the conventional Latin, proved popular with students and his qualities as a teacher contributed to the success and reputation of the Edinburgh medical school. He is known as Alexander Monro primus to distinguish him from his son Alexander Monro secundus and his grandson Alexander Monro tertius, who both followed him in the chair of anatomy. These three Monros between them held the Edinburgh University Chair of Anatomy for 126 years.
John Millar of Glasgow was a Scottish philosopher, historian and Regius Professor of Civil Law at the University of Glasgow from 1761 to 1800.
The Poker Club was one of several clubs at the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment where many associated with that movement met and exchanged views in a convivial atmosphere.
The Speculative Society is a Scottish Enlightenment society dedicated to public speaking and literary composition, founded in 1764. It was mainly, but not exclusively, an Edinburgh University student organisation. The formal purpose of the Society is as a place for social interchange and for practising of professional competency in rhetoric, argument, and the presentation of papers among fellow members. While continuing to meet in its rooms in the University's Old College, it has no formal links to the University.
The Edinburgh Cape Society is a convivial Edinburgh tavern-based society which was first established in the 18th century. It is one of many Convivial Edinburgh Societies which were extant in the 18th century, but the only (known) one which survives to the present day.
The history of education in Scotland in its modern sense of organised and institutional learning, began in the Middle Ages, when Church choir schools and grammar schools began educating boys. By the end of the 15th century schools were also being organised for girls and universities were founded at St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Education was encouraged by the Education Act 1496, which made it compulsory for the sons of barons and freeholders of substance to attend the grammar schools, which in turn helped increase literacy among the upper classes.
The Midlands Enlightenment, also known as the West Midlands Enlightenment or the Birmingham Enlightenment, was a scientific, economic, political, cultural and legal manifestation of the Age of Enlightenment that developed in Birmingham and the wider English Midlands during the second half of the eighteenth century.
George Young (1692–1757) was an Edinburgh surgeon, physician, philosopher and empiric. As a young man he was a member of the Rankenian Club, a group of intellectuals who were to go on to become some of the most influential figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. Young's lecture notes (1730–31) give a clear account of contemporary medical and surgical practice and are characterised by the empirical approach to the advancement of medical knowledge, especially in the evolving understanding of nerve and muscle function. His Treatise on Opium (1753) was a practical guide for physicians in the use of the drug which emphasises its complications. It was the longest, most balanced and most comprehensive English language account yet written. Young's legacy is also apparent in the work of his pupil Robert Whytt (1714–1766) and his surgical apprentice James Hill (1703–1776). Young had taught both the value of repeated observation and a sceptical approach to prevailing dogma. Whytt was to advance knowledge of nerve and muscle function while Hill went on to make important contributions to the understanding and management of head injury.
Scottish art in the eighteenth century is the body of visual art made in Scotland, by Scots, or about Scottish subjects, in the eighteenth century. This period saw development of professionalisation, with art academies were established in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Art was increasingly influenced by Neoclassicism, the Enlightenment and towards the end of the century by Romanticism, with Italy becoming a major centre of Scottish art.
Scots-language literature is literature, including poetry, prose and drama, written in the Scots language in its many forms and derivatives. Middle Scots became the dominant language of Scotland in the late Middle Ages. The first surviving major text in Scots literature is John Barbour's Brus (1375). Some ballads may date back to the thirteenth century, but were not recorded until the eighteenth century. In the early fifteenth century Scots historical works included Andrew of Wyntoun's verse Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland and Blind Harry's The Wallace. Much Middle Scots literature was produced by makars, poets with links to the royal court, which included James I, who wrote the extended poem The Kingis Quair. Writers such as William Dunbar, Robert Henryson, Walter Kennedy and Gavin Douglas have been seen as creating a golden age in Scottish poetry. In the late fifteenth century, Scots prose also began to develop as a genre. The first complete surviving work is John Ireland's The Meroure of Wyssdome (1490). There were also prose translations of French books of chivalry that survive from the 1450s. The landmark work in the reign of James IV was Gavin Douglas's version of Virgil's Aeneid.
Scottish education in the eighteenth century concerns all forms of education, including schools, universities and informal instruction, in Scotland in the eighteenth century.
Events from the year 1754 in Scotland.
Panmure House is a 17th-century townhouse located in Edinburgh's Canongate, just off the Royal Mile. It is the only surviving residence of renowned Scottish economist Adam Smith, who lived there between 1778 and 1790. Situated close to the Scottish Parliament, in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the House is an important monument of Scottish intellectual history. During his time living at Panmure House, Smith continued to study and write, producing four new editions of his magnum opus The Wealth of Nations between 1778 and 1789. He was still at work on the final edition of his 1759 master work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, when he died in Panmure House in 1790 and is buried in the nearby Canongate Kirkyard.
Adam Drummond of Binend (1679-1758) was a Scottish surgeon-apothecary who was appointed, jointly, as the first Professor of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh.
[p. 3] A convivial bachelor, he [Hume] required company, preferably a dinner party at home (he prided himself on his "cookery") or a debate at the Select Society, a group of fifty of Edinburgh’s most clubbable and erudite minds.Review of James Buchan's Crowded With Genius (Capital of the Mind in the UK)