Counsel and the Crown: History, law and politics in the thought of David Chalmers of Ormond

Andrew R. C. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In 1579, the Scottish jurist David Chalmers argued that remedies for the contemporary political troubles of his native country could be found in the study of law and history. His thinking in this regard was indebted to the French writer Jean Bodin. And yet while Chalmers was evidently familiar with Bodin's Les Six Livres de la Republique, he did not endorse all of the latter's more radical claims. In particular, he does not seem to have accepted that all law-making was dependent upon an exercise of sovereign will. In 1566 Chalmers had already argued that in Scotland the binding force of law could be attributed to that which local legal experts recognized to be just and rational on the basis of their learning. He developed this idea in 1579 to create an intriguing account of how both legal and historical learning could be used to shape Scottish laws and government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-42
Number of pages40
JournalThe Journal of Legal History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • David Chalmers of Ormond
  • hiistory
  • law
  • politics


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