Congratulations Professor Roger Emerson

The History Department would like to congratulate Professor Emeritus Roger Emerson in receiving the Saltire Society's Award!

It was announced in Glasgow on 14 November 2013 that Roger L. Emerson, Emeritus Professor of History, had won the Saltire Society’s award for the best book on Scottish history published in the past year. The Society is dedicated to the preservation and furtherance of Scottish culture. Its prestigious award carries a cash prize of  £1,500.

Emerson’s book, An Enlightened Duke: The Life of Archibald Campbell (1682-1761), Earl of Ilay and 3rd Duke of Argyll  (humming earth press, Glasgow, 2013) is the first biography to be written on one of the great 18th century British politicians who has been neglected because of the disappearance of his personal papers. Emerson over many years has collected materials to paint a picture of a very private but important man. Argyll is usually remembered as a patronage politician who ran Scottish affairs for ministries in London from 1725-1742 and again from 1747-1761. His official and other patronage changed the nature of the Scottish  universities, Kirk, and administration, and pushed forward the Scottish Enlightenment (1700-1820) for which Scotland is now known because of the contributions of men like Francis Hutcheson, William Cullen, Adam Smith, Joseph Black, Lord Kames, and William Robertson –all of who got patronage from him. In addition to that, Argyll was the founder and first Governor of the Royal Bank of Scotland (1727-), the first Governor of the British Linen Bank (1745-2000), the originator of the first Scottish development agency, The Board of Trustees for the Fisheries and Manufactures (1728-1850s) and a notable improver of estates in Scotland and in England. On the latter, he maintained as good a botanical garden as the country had, a precursor of Kew Gardens to which some of his plants went after his death. In his gardens, he acclimatized 24 new species of plants to the British climate and introduced other plants which changed British gardens and the landscape by introducing more colour and more evergreens. As an amateur scientist, he collected and used astronomical instruments, chemical apparatus. Indeed, he became something of a universal man who functioned as a skilled lawyer and made medicines for his servants. He put together a remarkable library and was a patron of notable architects and painters. Emerson’s book restores him to the place in British and Scottish history which he merits.