Monarch — Victoria
Lord Advocate — William Watson
Solicitor General for Scotland — John Macdonald
Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General — Lord Glencorse
Lord Justice Clerk — Lord Moncreiff
14 January — Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone to Queen Victoria.
15 March — Restoration of the Scottish hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, carried out on the instructions of the newly appointed Pope Leo XIII.
31 May — The North British Railway's first Tay Bridge across the Firth of Tay is ceremonially opened, its engineer, Thomas Bouch, being made a burgess of Dundee. Designed in iron to replace a train ferry, it is the world's longest bridge at this date.
12 December — The iron-hulled full-rigged ship Falls of Clyde is launched at Russell & Company's yard at Port Glasgow for Wright and Breakenridge's Glasgow-based Falls Line. In 1968 she will be laid up as a museum ship in Honolulu.
Sophia Jex-Blake sets up in practice in Edinburgh as the city's first woman doctor.
The hydropathic establishment in Moffat is opened.
Construction of forts on Inchkeith begins.
West coast shipping operator David Hutcheson & Co. passes wholly to control of David MacBrayne.
20 January — Finlay Currie, actor (died 1968 in England)
23 March — Muirhead Bone, graphic artist (died 1953 in England)
12 April — Alex McDonald, footballer (died 1949)
14 December — James Greenlees, rugby union footballer, educationalist and soldier (died 1951)
Robert Freeman, Baptist minister in the United States
George Wittet, architect (died 1926 in Bombay)
26 January — Kirkpatrick Macmillan, inventor of the bicycle (born 1812)
19 February — George Paul Chalmers, painter (born 1833; died as the result of a street attack)
6 June — Robert Stirling, Church of Scotland minister and inventor of the Stirling engine (born 1790)
13 August — George Gilfillan, writer and poet (born 1813)
5 December — George Whyte-Melville, novelist and poet (born 1821)
31 December — James Matheson, Member of Parliament and co-founder of Jardine, Matheson & Co. (born 1796)
July — William McGonagall journeys on foot from Dundee to Balmoral Castle over mountainous terrain and through a violent thunderstorm in a fruitless attempt to perform his verse before Queen Victoria.
1878 in Scotland Wikipedia
Events from the year 1878 in Scotland.