Charles Erskine 1680-1763

From Book Owners Online

Charles ERSKINE or ARESKINE, Lord Tinwald, 1680-1763

Biographical Note

Charles Erskine was the third son of Sir Charles Erskine (1643–1690), 1st Bt., of Alva, Stirling (now in Clackmannan) and was the brother of Sir John Erskine. He was educated at St Andrew's University and was appointed to a teaching post at the University of Edinburgh in 1701, specialising in mathematics and physics. In 1707 he was appointed to the regius chair of public law and the law of nature and nations at Edinburgh. He then had leave of absence for two years to study law at Leiden and on his return to Edinburgh was admitted as an advocate in 1711. He then pursued a career at the bar, not resigning his university chair until 1734.

He was a member of parliament for Dumfriesshire from 1722 to 1741. He was solicitor-general from 1725 to 1737 and was appointed to the bench at the Court of Session as Lord Tinwald in 1744.


Used two engraved bookplates, one of which is Franks 679: Charles Areskine, of Alva, Esqr. Ld. Justice Clerk (reproduced on the Faculty of Advocates website, see below).

Erskine was known as a collector of books, amassing a great library. A manuscript catalogue of his library, consisting of 1290 titles, is dated 1731 and is held at the National Library of Scotland.

Some of his books entered the library of the Faculty of Advocates with the family collections as the Alva Collection in 1927. Most of the books in the collection are law books of the 16th and the 17th century, and are predominantly continental imprints. The non-legal part of the collection is held by the National Library of Scotland.