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Rev. Robert Jardine


Jardine, Rev. Robert, M.A., B.D., D.Sc., Pastor of the St. John’s Presbyterian church, Brockville, was born in the township of Augusta, County of Grenville, Ontario, on the 19th of June, 1840. He is a son of John Jardiun and Jane McCreath, who were both natives of Girvan, in Ayrshire, Scotland. His father’s family had lived in Ayrshire for three generations, having moved there from Annandale, in Dumfriesshire, the original seat of the Jardine family, where they had lived probably from the time of the Norman conquest. In the family of John Jardine there were one daughter and three sons, the youngest of whom died in youth. The daughter married Rev. Alexander Hunter, a. Presbyterian clergyman (since dead). The eldest son is Alexander Jardine, chief partner in the " Pure Gold Manufacturing Company, Toronto. The first education received by Robert Jardine was on a farm owned by his father, who, in addition to his work as a builder and contractor, cultivated a farm. In the common school, near Algonquin, the son obtained the first rudiments of knowledge, but his chief preparatory education was obtained in the Grammar school of Brockville, under a distinguished teacher, J. J. Dunlop, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. Having come under deep religious convictions about the age of thirteen, the lad became a member of St John’s Presbyterian church, Brockville, and resolved to prepare for the ministry. He matriculated in Queen’s University, Kingston, in October, 1860, and attended classes in arts in the college, taking the degree of BA. in April, 1863. He commenced the study of theology in the autumn of the same year, and continued till the spring of 1866, when he took the degrees of M.A. and B.D. During the two preceding summers, he had laboured as a missionary in Laprairie and Owen Sound. Upon the 18th of June, 1866, be was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Perth, and in the autumn of the same year he went to Scotland to prosecute his studies in the University of Edinburgh, giving attention chiefly to philosophy, in which he was greatly interested when at Queen’s. There he took the degree of Doctor of Science (D. Sc.), in the department of mental philosophy, in the spring of 1867; and he returned to Canada during the summer. In the autumn of 1867, Dr. Jardine was appointed professor of rhetoric and mental and moral philosophy in the University of New Brunswick, which position he held for two years. In the summer of 1869 he went to Scotland for his holidays, and during a walking tour in the Highlands, fell in with the Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod, of Glasgow, who had lately returned from India. By him he was induced to go as a missionary to India, and was appointed principal of the General Assembly's institution in Bombay, with instructions to add a college department if possible. In December, 1869, he proceeded to Scotland, en route for India, and, having received final instructions from the Foreign Mission Committee of the Church of Scotland, he was ordained as a minister by the Presbytery of Glasgow, on the 5th January, 1870, and soon there-after started for India, via Marseilles, Alexandria, and the Red sea, reaching Bombay on the 12th February, 1870. He cornmenced work at once in the missionary institution there, but found that the prospects of organizing a college faculty were not promising. Having remained in Bombay one year, he was ordered to Calcutta, to assume the principalship of the General Assembly's College there, vacated by the death of Rev. Dr. Ogilvie, who had held it for twenty-live years. There he remained for six years. The institution (school and college) grew rapidly, numbering eventually more than one thousand pupils. It was affiliated with the University of Calcutta, and annually passed a considerable number of matriculants, as well as graduates (B.A. and M.A.); and its history is of very considerable interest, having been originally founded by Dr. Duff, who, at the disruption in 1843, vacated it and founded another. It was missionary in character. Christian instruction being given in all the classes, and it, along with other similar institutions, has exercised a wide and powerful influence in revolutionizing Hindu thought and life. In addition to his duties connected with the college, he gave attention to other missionary work, and aided the Bengali Christians connected with the mission in organizing themselves into a congregation, and building a church. He was associated frequently with the other missionaries of Calcutta in friendly conference, and was present at the general missionary conference at Allahabad In the winter of 1872-3, where he read a paper upon the Brahrna Samaj. In the summer of 1876 he wrote a series of letters to English-speaking Hindus upon important religious subjects, which were published. An edition of five thousand copies was issued, and nearly all sold during the course of publication. The letters, bound together in a volume of two hundred and twenty-four pages, entitled, "What to Believe," were very favourably received. His work of a more general educational and literary character, while in Calcutta was of considerable importance. He was a frequent contributor to the Calcutta Review and other local papers; was appointed every year as an examiner for degrees in the University of Calcutta; and had the honour of an appointment by the governor-general as a Fellow of the University, thus having a permanent seat in the University Council. On the 16th February, 1877, he left Calcutta for Scotland, on furlough, where he spent some months, preaching and lecturing occasionally. He was employed lecturing at the four Scottish Universities during the winter of 1877-8, upon "Comparative Theology," from a missionary stand-point. After some time spent in Scotland, where he preached for a few months in Dalbeattie, and took charge of the Park Church, Glasgow, in the absence of the Rev. Dr. Donald Macleod, its pastor, for three months, he returned with his family to Canada. He had been offered special inducements by the Foreign Mission Committee to return to CaIcutta, but, on account of the health of himself and his wife in India, decided not to go. He was called to St. Andrew’s Church, Chatham, Now Brunswick, and settled there in February, 1879, where he remained for two years and four months in charge of that large congregation. He was called, early in 1881, to St. John’s Church, Brockville, whore he settled on the 1st of May of that year. The year following, the church was enlarged to double its former capacity. He has been a member of the Foreign Mission Committee of the Presbyterian church in Canada ever since his return, and has been for two years convener of the Sabbath school committee; and also a member of the board of trustees of Queen's College. Rev Dr. Jardine is a man of marked enthusiasm and force of character. Upon his congregations he has exercised an altogether unusual influence; and some of the sermons that he has preached have been among the most thoughtful and striking ever delivered from a Canadian pulpit. While the soundest of churchmen, his views are remarkable for their liberality, for their independence, and for their enlightenment. Likewise, too, Rev. Dr. Jardine has published works of a high and permanent value, but the most remarkable of his books is, "The Elements of the Psychology of Cognition," brought out by Macmillan & Company, and which has gone through several editions since its first appearance in 1874. This work may be regarded as an elementary text-book, and though the subject on which it treats is seemingly not one to arouse enthusiasm, yet the doctor has made a dry subject readable, and a profound one within the range of general comprehension. The work has been very favourably received by the press, having called forth elaborate criticisms from many of our most capable pens. On October 27th, 1873, Rev. Dr. Jardine married, in Calcutta, Agnes Hunter, eldest daughter of John Hunter, of Glasgow, a retired manufacturer, since deceased. There have been three sons and one daughter by this union.


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