Adam Gifford was born in Edinburgh on 29 February 1820. Home-schooled until the age of eight, he later studied at the Edinburgh Institute before becoming an apprentice to his uncle, a solicitor in Edinburgh, in 1935. After studying at the university and becoming a member of the Scots Law Debating Society, he became an advocate in 1849. In 1861 Gifford was appointed an advocate-depute and in 1870 he was nominated a judge. On 1 February took his seat as associate judge in the Court of Session as Lord Gifford. He died on 20 January 1887, 17 months after signing his will.  Contained in that will was a provision for a series of lectures to be held at each of the four Universities of Scotland. The topic was to be Natural Theology, or more specifically in the words of Lord Gifford himself ......

"I having been for many years deeply and firmly convinced that the true knowledge of God, that is, of the Being, Nature, and Attributes of the Infinite, of the All, of the First and the Only Cause, that is, the One and Only Substance and Being, and the true and felt knowledge (not mere nominal knowledge) of the relations of man and of the universe to Him, and of the true foundations of all ethics and morals, being, I say, convinced that this knowledge, when really felt and acted on, is the means of man's highest well-being, and the security of his upward progress, I have resolved, from the 'residue' of my estate as aforesaid, to institute and found, in connection, if possible, with the Scottish Universities, lectureships or classes for the promotion of the study of said subjects, and for the teaching and diffusion of sound views regarding them, among the whole population of Scotland. …"

For further information on Adam Lord Gifford, please see http://www.giffordlectures.org/lord-gifford/biography.