Born into a genteel Scottish family, Hector Macneill was educated at Bristol before working in a commercial firm in the West Indies (1761-1776) and as a naval secretary (1780-86). He attracted much attention with his poems protesting the the closing of the Scottish distilleries in 1795; MacNeill later corresponded with the Gentleman's Magazine defending the institution of slavery (he had spent several years in Jamaica) and published a pamphlet on the subject. He was for a time editor of the Scots Magazine.
The harp: a legendary tale in two parts. 1789.
The links o'Forth: or a parting peep at the Carse of Stirling. 1795.
Scotland's skaith or the history o' Will and Jean. 1795.
The waes o' war: or the upshot o' the history o' Will and Jean. 1796.
Politics, or the history of Will and Jane: a tale for the times. 1796.
An advice from an old lover to a young wife. 1798.
Donald and Flora. 1798.
Come under my plaidie. 1798.
The lammy. 1798.
The links o' forth. 1799.
Memoirs of the life and travels of the late Charles Macpherson. 1800.
Observations on the treatment of the negroes in the Island of Jamaica. 1800.
Poetical works. 2 vols, 1801.
The pastoral or lyric muse of Scotland in three cantos. 1808.
Town fashions: or modern manners delineated; with James and Mary: a rural tale. 1810.
Bygane times and late come changes. 1811.
The Scottish adventures: or the way to rise, an historic tale. 2 vols, 1812.
Select poems, ed. E. Sanford. In British poets, vol. 39. 1819.
Poetical works. 1856.