This post examines the reception of Hegel in 19th century Britain, leading up to The Secret of Hegel (1865) by James Hutchison Stirling, the "father of British Hegelianism". I trace the striking Scottish receptiveness to Hegelian ideas back to James Mylne's rationalist critique of the "moral sense" and "common sense" schools of philosophy in Glasgow.
Relation of Mylne to the Idealist Movement
In passing, we may note that Hegel was familiar with British political literature, including the Whig Edinburgh Review and the Morning Chronicle newspaper.  He also mentions Scottish philosophy in his lectures.  A visitor in 1826 recorded discussing British politics with him and “Scotch metaphysics, the leading principles of which he knew, but apparently not from the originals and not very profoundly”. 
The Early Reception of German Literature in the West of Scotland
Dr Willich (a medical gentleman) read with them Gessner’s sentimental “Death of Abel”. At length, in the midst of much laughing and little study, most of us acquired some knowledge, more or less extensive, of the German language, and selected for ourselves, some in the philosophy of Kant, some in the more animated works of the German dramatists, specimens more to our taste than the “Death of Abel”. 
This imperfect account will, at least, serve the purpose of shewing, how this system, on the one hand, sets limits to the Scepticism of Hume, while it refutes and overturns Materialism, Fatalism, Atheism, as well as Fanaticism and Infidelity. 
Turning finally to political theory, at this time of revolutionary wars with France, Willich refers to an English translation of his Perpetual Peace that appears not to have reached Glasgow.  Writing from an associationist standpoint, Thomas Belsham rejected Willich’s book explicitly,  whilst a review in 1803 by Thomas Brown on the émigré Villers’ book Philosophie de Kant (1801) in the Edinburgh Review  (to which Mylne subscribed) was negative.
he was not much versed in the poetry of metaphysics; his views seldom tapered away into the subtle, or broadened into the sublime; but he was the ideal of a clear, ingenious intellectualist. 
Mylne’s students travel to Germany
However, Hamilton was not the only conduit of ideas on German philosophy. One merchant close to Mylne, Walter Buchanan (1797-1883) had lived in Hamburg and was familiar with German language and literature.  The authority on German thought in Mylne’s immediate circle was fellow liberal, John Strang, whose impression of German literature in 1831 was:
Without some acquaintanceship also, with the religious reveries of Jacobi, the dogmas of Kant, the lifeless, godless Egoismus of Fichte, and the transcendent Idealismus of Schelling, German literature, especially the mighty contributions which Göthe has made to it, will, in many instances, remain an absolute riddle; 
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