Edinburgh was the place to be in the second half of the 18th century. From this highly literate centre emanated an outpouring of scientific and intellectual activity that has been termed the Scottish Enlightenment.
Important, far-reaching advances were made in disciplines such as philosophy, political economy, engineering, architecture, medicine, and geology. Indeed, one English visitor to Edinburgh remarked during this period:
‘Here I stand at what is called the Cross of Edinburgh, and can, in a few minutes, take 50 men of genius and learning by the hand.’
Some of those geniuses included Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, John Playfair, and James Hutton. George Scott-Moncrieff gives a detailed account of the city and its people in Edinburgh, which is greatly enhanced by photographs, prints, and paintings. This is the second edition.
George Scott-Moncrieff, Edinburgh. 2nd ed. London: Batsford, 1948.