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Chalmers


CHALMERS - There was a family of the name of Chalmers settled in France, who were barons of Tartas in Normandy. They are said to have been descended from the ancient family of Chalbers in Scotland by means of Job Chalmers who, leaving that country, married in France Martha de Cuiglosse, heiress at Tartas, in the year 1440. The reason of his leaving Scotland was that seven brethren of the family of Chalmers, of which this Job Chalmers was supposed to be one, had murdered the baron of Balgonie, and in consequence were banished the kingdom and their estates confiscated. In a letter written at Paris the 26th October 1644, by the Abbe Chalmers, a Scotsman, nominated bishop of Vance in Provence, in answer to one from Mons. Chalmers, counsellor to the king and Lieutenant-general Tartas at Tartas, whom he styles his cousin, he says that the decay of their ancient family in Scotland was “by reason of the unhappiness of the times, and chiefly by means of the heresy whereof his great grandfather and grandfather were such furious protectors that they were known to have ransacked the churches at Aberdeen, whereof their ancestors were as perpetual governors for five hundred years,” as, he adds, “may be seen at this day by their magnificent tombs in the said city.” He also says that the baron of Balgonie was killed by the seven brethren, “for ane abuse done to their father.” A memorandum sent to Blaise Chalmers, lieutenant-general of Tartas, by David Chalmers, lord of Dormont (Ormond), a judge of the court of session, (of whom a notice follows,) about a hundred years before, states that the baron of Gadgirth was the chief of the name of Chalmers. The father of this David Chalmers, as we learn from that document, was Andrew Chalmers of Strequelin (Strichen), in the county of Aberdeen. Mention is also made of Peter Chalmers, councillor to the king (of France) and lieutenant-general of the jurisdiction of Tartas. Of all these parties the arms were stated to be the same as those of the family of Gadgirth. Notwithstanding their thus connecting themselves with the Ayrshire family, we rather think that the branch in France belonged to the house of Chalmers of Aberdeenshire, which was altogether of distinct origin.

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      The Family of Chalmers of Balnacraig, in Aberdeenshire, is considered by all Scottish genealogists as springing from the clan Cameron, and a totally different family from that of Gadgirth, although of the same surname. This is instructed by the difference in their coats of arms, for there is not one figure in the arms of the one that corresponds with those of the other; and antiquaries generally allow that the origin and ancient descent of families are better ascertained by armorial bearings than by surnames, arms being of greater antiquity. It is supposed that the ancestors of the family of Balnecraig were settled at an early period in the north of Scotland, but the first that can be fixed upon with any certainty was Robert Chalmers of Kintore, who married Helen Garviehaugh or Garioch, sister of Sir James Garviehaugh, knight, a gentleman of good descent, who had from Sir Thomas Randolph, the great earl of Moray, tenant of Duncan earl of Fife in the estate of Lumphanan, a charter of the lands of Balnacraig, Belode (Beltie), Claychock (Cloak), and Talanschyn (Tillyching), with their patents, &c. This Robert Chalmers of Kintore received, jointly with his wife, from her nephew, Andrew Garviehaugh of Caskieben, the son of the above knight, a charter of the lands named, dated at Aberdeen, 8th August, 1357, to be holden of the earl of Moray and his heirs for a pair of white gloves rendered yearly at the manor of Caskieben if asked for, and became the founder of a house which flourished for more than four hundred years. This charter was confirmed by Isabel Randolph, daughter and heiress of the said earl of Moray, lord of Annandale and Man. Robert and Helen Chalmers left a son, William Chalmers or de Camera, as the name was then spelled, who was several times provost of Aberdeen from 1392 until 1404. He seems to have had a son, or brother, Thomas Chalmers, who was also provost of that city in 1412. Alexander Chalmers probably his son, was provost in 1443, and for several different years thereafter, down to 1495, when he is designed of Murthill. In the public registers is a charter granted by Alexander Chalmers of Balnacraig to Henry Forbes, of the lands of Thomaston and Fullarton, with an annual rent of five shillings out of the king’s lands of Kinkell and Dyce, in the thanage of Kintore and shire of Aberdeen, dated 7th April, and confirmed at St. Andrews 1st March, 1535. In the eighteenth century the estate of Balnacraig passed into the possession of the Farquharsons of Finzean, and Patrick Chalmers, Esq. of Auldbar in Forfarshire, is believed to be the representative of the Balnacraig family.

      IN 1746, while a party of military were preparing to burn the old mansion-house of Balnacraig, in the parish of Aboyne, one of the soldiers thrust his head into a jar of honey, and could only be extricated by a portion of the mouth of the jar being broken off, which was done amid the jeers of his comrades. During this scene a counter order to save the house arrived. The honey-jar, with its broken lip, was in consequence preserved at the house as the cause of its preservation.

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      The family of Chalmers of Cults, in the parish of Tarland, was an early cadet of that of Balnacraig. Alexander Chalmers, the first of Cults, is supposed to have been a grandson of the William Chalmers above-named. He married Lady Agnes Hay, daughter of the earl of Errol. Alexander Chalmers of Cults, the fifth in descent from the above-named Alexander, the first of Cults, was provost of Aberdeen in 1567. By his wife, Janet, daughter of Lumsden of Cushnie, he had two sons, Gilbert his successor, and William, minister of Boyndie, of whose descendants afterwards. His elder son. Gilbert Chalmers of Cults, received a charter of confirmation of part of his paternal estates in November 1601. He seems also to have sold the greater portion of them to Sir James Gordon of Lesmoir in 1612, among which were the lands of Cults, which now belong to the duke of Richmond. By his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Frazer of Dores, he had a son, Alexander Chalmers, who appears nevertheless to have been designated of Cults. He married Janet, daughter of James Irvine of Drum, and had a son, Alexander Chalmers of Cults, who married Marjory, daughter of Robert Lumsden of Cushnie, advocate, by whom he had an only daughter, Marjory, the wife of John Urie, of Pitfichy, and their son was Sir John Urie or Urrie, lieutenant-general in 1643, under the great marquis of Montrose. In this Alexander Chalmers ended the elder male branch of the family of Cults.

      William, second son of Alexander Chalmers of Cults, the provost of Aberdeen, above referred to, was the first protestant minister at the kirk of Boyndie, in Banffshire, and was planted there in the early part of the reign of Charles the First. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Chalmers of the same family of Cults, minister of Skene, and had four sons, who were all episcopal clergymen, namely, 1st, William Chalmers, minister at Fettercarn. After the revolution he was sent to London by the episcopal clergy of the north of Scotland, to attend to their affairs at court; and soon after the accession of Queen Anne, he presented to her an address from his brethren, when her majesty conferred a pension of a hundred pounds a-year on him. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Barclay of Towie, and had two sons, William, minister at Glammis, and James, minister at cullen. 2d, James, parson of Paisley. He was first one of the professors of philosophy in Marischal college, Aberdeen, which office he held in 1650, when Charles the Second was in Scotland; and while at Aberdeen his majesty distinguished him with particular marks of favour. On one occasion, especially, when he waited on the king, Charles, in the hearing of all present, saluted him with these words, “God save you, Mr. Chalmers!” Having entered into holy orders, he was presented to New Machar, withhin seven miles of Aberdeen, but soon after was translated to the kirk of Cullen, of which his nephew James was afterwards incumbent. During his ministry here, preaching once on Jotham’s parable (Judges, chap. ix.) In the time of Cromwell’s usurpation, he gave so great offence to a company of soldiers, then quartered there, that they carried him prisoner to Elgin, where he was confined for some time. After the establishment of episcopacy in Scotland in 1662, he was promoted to the kirk of Dumfries, and there is an act of the lords of secret council in his favour, dated 11th December that year, registered in the council books, allowing him to draw the year’s stipend due to the late minister of Dumfries, as well as his own due from Cullen. It was after this that he became parson of Paisley. He was nominated by Charles the Second to the bishopric of Orkney, but died at Edinburgh before he could be consecrated, and was buried in the Chalmers’ tomb in Greyfriars churchyard of that city. He married, first, a daughter of William Scroggie, bishop of Argyle, and, secondly, Elizabeth, sister of Robert Petrie of Portlethen, provost of Aberdeen from 1664 to 1671, and had two sons, James, minister of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, and Charles, who was admitted writer to the signet, 16th October 1704, but afterwards entered the army, and was for some time a captain in the Scots guards, but sold his commission in 1714. He was killed at the battle of Sheriffmuir, on the side of the Pretender, in 1715. He was twice married, and had two sons, Roderick, Ross herald and herald painter in Edinburgh, and James, who was also an artist. 3d, John, minister of Peterhead, and chaplain to John earl of Middleton, commissioner to the first Scots parliament after the restoration. He married Mary, daughter of Keith of Whiteriggs, sheriff of Mearns. 4th, Patrick, succeeded his father as minister of Boyndie. By his wife, Anne, daughter of James Ogilvie of Raggel in that parish, he had two sons and a daughter. The elder son was a clergyman of the Church of England in the county of Essex. The younger died a youth at Marischal college, Aberdeen. The daughter married George Ogilvy of New Rayne.

      A baronetcy was conferred in 1664 on a member of the younger branch of the Cults family, but the name of the grantee is not known/

      Although the title is of Cults, the family had ceased to possess that property, and gradually fell into decay. About the middle of the last century the grandson of the first baronet was Sir Charles Chalmers, captain in the royal regiment of artillery, who died at Pondicherry in the East Indies, in November 1760, and was succeeded by his brother Sir George Chalmers of Cults, baronet, who was long resident in India. He died in 1764, and is supposed to have left a son, Sir George Chalmers, nominally of Cults, an eminent painter. He was a native of Edinburgh, and the scholar of Ramsay, but he afterwards studied at Rome. The honours of his family descended to him without fortune, their estates having been previously sold, as already related. Sir George was in consequence obliged to make art his profession. He resided a few years at Hull, where he painted several portraits, and frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy. He died in London about the early part of 1791. There is a mezzotinto print of General Lord Blakeney, after a painting by Chalmers, done in 1755, at Minorca, when his lordship, who was his particular friend, was governor of that island. In Bromley’s Catalogue of engraved portraits, mention is made of a portrait of his relation Roderick Chalmers, Rose Herald and Painter of Edinburgh, in his Herald’s coat, which was engraved by G. Chalmers, j. He married at Edinburgh, 4th June 1768, Isabella, daughter of John Alexander, Esq., historical and portrait painter in that city, and had a son, Sir Robert Chalmers, baronet, commander of the Alexander Lazaretto, stationed at the Motherbank. He died at Portsea in 1807. His son, Sir Charles W. Chalmers, an officer in the royal navy, was the last baronet of whom there is any account.

      In the last century the office of principal of King’s college Old Aberdeen, was held for nearly sixty years by Dr. John Chalmers, who died 7th May 1800. There was also a William Chalmers, professor of medicine. The first newspaper begun in the north of Scotland, the Aberdeen Journal, was originated in 1746 by Mr. James Chalmers, printer in that city; and his son in 1771 established the Aberdeen Almanack.

      A distinguished person of this name is Major-general Sir William Chalmers, knight and C.B., eldest son of William Chalmers, Esq. of Glenricht, Perthshire, and nephew of Sir Kenneth douglas, baronet, of Glenbervie. He was born in 1787, and entered the army in 1803. He served in the whole campaigns of the war with France, chiefly as a staff officer, in Portugal, in Spain, at Walcheren, in Belgium and France. He was severely wounded in the assault of the entrenchments at Sarre, and had nine horses killed or wounded under him in action, three of them at the battle of Waterloo, where he commanded a wing of the 52d foot; he received the brevet of major for his services at the Pyrenees, and that of lieutenant-colonel for Waterloo. He was created a military companion of the Bath in 1838, a knight commander of the order of Guelphs of Hanover in 1837, and a knight bachelor by letters patent in 1844. He was made a major-general in the army in 1846, and a lieutenant-general in 1854. Colonel of 78th foot. He married in 1826 the daughter of Thomas Page, Esq.

CHALMERS, DAVID, judicially styled Lord Ormond, an historian, priest, and lawyer, was born in the county of Ross, about 1530, and educated in the university of Aberdeen. In some biographies his name is erroneously spelled Chambers, but according to the continuator of Nisbet he belonged to the family of Chalmers of Strichen, in Aberdeenshire, and his father’s name was Andrew Chalmers. After taking orders, he proceeded to France and Italy, where he studied theology and the canon and civil laws, as was customary in those days. In 1556 he was a pupil of Marianus Sozenus, at Bologna. On his return to Scotland, he became successively parson of Suddy, provost of Creichton, and chancellor of the diocese of Ross. On 26th January 1565, he was appointed by Queen Mary one of the lords of Session on the spiritual side, when he assumed the title of Lord Ormond. In the letter of presentation he was styled the queen’s “weil beluffit clerk and familiar servitor,” and he was also named a privy councillor. In 1566, he was employed, with other legal functionaries, in compiling and publishing the Acts of the Scottish parliament. The volume in which these are contained is known by the name of the “Black Acts,” from being printed in black letter. The same year, Buchanan says, Queen Mary lived in the Exchequer, “quod in propinquo diversabatur David Camerius, Bothueli cliens, cujus posticum erat hortis Reginae vicinum, qua Bothuelius, quoties lubitum esset commearet.” A curious tale as to the use made of these apartments may be found in Buchanan’s ‘Detection,’ p. 6. In December of that year, he obtained a charter of the lands of Castleton and others in the earldom of Ross, “hir majestie havand respect to the gud, trew, and obedient service done in all tymes past to hir Majesties honour, will, and comtentment, not only in this realme, bot in sic foreyn cuntries as it plesit hir hieness to command him, and that, therethrow, baith he put his persoun in perill and danger, but alsue gretlie superexpendit himself;’ and this grant was ratified by parliament, 19th April 1567.

      Lord Ormond engaged in the conspiracy for murdering the queen’s husband, the ill-fated Darnley, and in a placard affixed to the door of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, on the night of the 16th February, he, with the earl of Bothwell, Mr. James Balfour, parson of Flisk, and ‘black Mr. John Spence,’ were publicly denounced as the principal devisers thereof. Mr. Tytler, however, is mistaken in supposing that his lordship took guilt to himself by a precipitate flight to France [Tytler’s Craig, p 95], as he was in the following year, namely on 19th August 1568, forfeited for his assistance to queen Mary after her escape from Lochleven, and particularly for being at the field of Langside on the side of her majesty. When the misfortunes of Queen Mary forced her to quit the kingdom, Lord Ormond, who continued faithful to her, was compelled to fly to Spain, where he experienced a gracious reception from King Philip the Second. He subsequently took refuge in France, and in 1572 he published at Paris ‘Historie Abregé de tons les Roys de France, Angleterre, et Ecosse;’ which work he afterwards enlarged with a history of the popes and emperors, and dedicated to the french king, Henry the Third. In 1579, he published other two works in the French language (see following list). Sometime afterwards he returned to Scotland, and on 4th September 1583, received at Falkland his “hieness’ pacification,” restoring him to all the lands and offices, benefices, dignities, honours and privileges, which had formerly pertained to him. Against this measure the General Assembly of the church strenuously remonstrated with the king, as Lord Ormond still lay under the suspicion of having been accessary to the death of his majesty’s father; in consequence of which, although the remission was ratified in parliament, 22d May 1584, it was clogged with a proviso that it should not extend to the “Odious murthers of our soverane Lordis darrest fader and two Regentis.” He was, however, never brought to trial for this or any other crime; and on the 21st of June 1586, he was restored to his seat on the bench. He died in November 1592. His works are:

      Historie Abregé de tons les Roys de France, Angleterre, et Ecosse, mise en ordre par forme d’harmonie; contenant aussi un brief discours de l’ancienne alliance et mutuel secours entre la France et l’Ecosse: plus, l’Epitome de l’Historie Romaine des Papes et Empereurs. Paris. 1579, 8vo.

      La recherche des Singularités les plus remarkables concernant l’Etat d’Ecosse. Paris, 1579, 8vo.

      Discours de la legitime Succession des Femmes aux Possessions de leurs Parens, et du Gouvernment des Princesses aux Empires et Royaumes. Paris, 1579, 8vo.

CHALMERS, GEORGE, a distinguished historical, political, and antiquarian writer, descended from the family of Chalmers of Pittensear, in the county of Moray, was born at Fochabers in the end of the year 1742. He received the early part of his education at the grammar school of his native town, and afterwards removed to King’s college, Old Aberdeen, where he had as one of his preceptors the celebrated Dr. Reid, then professor of moral philosophy. From thence he went to Edinburgh, where he studied law for several years. In 1763 he sailed to America with an uncle, to assist him in the recovery of a tract of land of considerable extent in Maryland. He subsequently settled at Baltimore, where he practised as a lawyer till the breaking out of the revolutionary war. On his return to Britain in 1775 he settled in London, where he applied to literary pursuits, and in 1780 produced his ‘Political Annals of the United Colonies;’ and in 1782 his ‘Estimate of the Comparative Strength of Great Britain during the Present and four Preceding Reigns.’ These works are said to have recommended him to the notice of government, and in August 1786 he was appointed chief clerk of the Committee of Privy Council, for the consideration of all matters relating to trade and foreign plantations. He also acted as colonial agent for the Bahama islands. A list of the various works of Mr. Chalmers, who was a member both of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, as well as an honorary member of the Antiquaries of Scotland, and of other learned bodies, is subjoined. His greatest production is his ‘Caledonia,’ the first volume of which appeared in 1807, and which he himself styled his “standing work.” This truly national publication was intended to illustrate the antiquities, the language the history, civil and ecclesiastical, and the agricultural and commercial state of Scotland from the earliest period, and displays a vast amount of research and erudition. It was left unfinished, only three out of four volumes having appeared. He had for many years been engaged in collecting materials for a ‘History of Scottish Poetry,’ and ‘A History of Printing in Scotland.’ Under the name of Oldys he published a Life of Thomas Paine. His Life of Ruddiman the grammarian, throws much light on the state of literature in Scotland during the earlier part of the eighteenth century, and his Life of Mary, Queen of Scots, is a work of great labour and research, but it is understood not to have been entirely original. Mr. Chalmers published various pamphlets, apologising for those who, like himself, believed in the authenticity of the Shakspeare manuscripts of Voltigern and Rowena, forged by Mr. Ireland. He died May 31, 1825, aged 82 years. His publications are:

      An Answer from the Electors of Bristol to the letter of Edmund Burke, Esq., on the affairs of America. London, 1777, 8vo.

      The Propriety of allowing a qualified Export of Wool discussed historically. London, 1782, 8vo.

      An Introduction to the History of the Revolt of the Colonies, vol. i. only printed, which was cancelled. London, 1782.

      Three Tracts on the Irish Arrangements. Lond. 1785, 8vo.

      A Collection of Treaties between Great Britain and other Powers. Lond; 1790, 2 vols. 8vo.

      Political Annals of the present United Colonies, from the Settlement to the Peace of 1763. Compiled chiefly from Records. Ending at the Revolution, 1688. Lond. 1780, 4to.

      An Estimate of the comparative strength of Great Britain during the present and four preceding reigns, and of the Losses of her Trade from every War since the Revolution. To which is added, An Essay on Population, by Judge Hale. Lond. 1782, 4to. 1786, 8vo. 1794, 8vo. A new edition corrected, and continued to 1812, 8vo.

      Opinions on interesting subjects of Public Laws and Commercial Policy, arising from American Independence. Lond. 1784, 8vo.

      Historical Tracts, by Sir John Davies, with a Life of the Author. 1786, 8vo.

      Life of Daniel De Foe. Lond. 1786, 1790, 8vo.

      Life of Thomas Paine, the author of the seditious work entitled Rights of Man (Tenth edition.) London, 1793, 8vo, published under the assumed name of Francis Oldys, A.M., of the University of Pennsylvania.

      Prefatory Introduction to Dr. Johnson’s Debates in Parliament. London, 1794, 8vo.

      Life of Thomas Ruddiman, M.A. to which are subjoined, new Anecdotes of Buchanan. Lond. 1794, 8vo.

      Vindication of the Privilege of the People in respect to the Constitutional Right of Free Discussion; with a Retrospect of various proceedings relative to the violations of that right. London, 1796, 8vo. (Anonymous.)

      Apology for the Believers in the Shakspeare Papers which were exhibited in Norfolk Street. London, 1796, 8vo.

      A Supplemental Apology for the Believers of the Shakspeare Papers, being a Reply to Mr. Malone’s Answer, which was early announced, but never published, with a Dedication to George Steevens, and a Postscript to T.J. Mathias. London, 1799, 8vo.

      Appendix to the Supplemental Apology; being the Documents for the Opinion that Hugh Boyd wrote Junius’ Letters. 1800. 8vo.

      The Poems of Allan Ramsay, with a life of the Author. Lond. 1800, 2 vols, 8vo.

      Observations on the State of England, in 1696, by Gregory King; with a Life of the Author, 1804, 8vo.

      Life of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, Lyon King at Arms under James V. with Prefatory Dissertations, and a Glossary of his Poetical works. Lond. 1806, 3 vols. 8vo.

      Caledonia; or an Account, Historical and Topographical, of North Britain, from the most ancient to the present times, with a Dictionary of Places Chorographical and Philological. Vol. i. Lond. 1807, 4to. Vol. ii. 1810, 4to. Vol. iii. 1824, 4to.

      A Chronological Account of Commerce and Coinage in Great Britain, from the Restoration till 1810. 1810, 8vo.

      Considerations on Commerce, Bullion and Coin, Circulation and Exchanges. 1811, 8vo.

      An Historical View of the Domestic Economy of Great Britain and Ireland, frm the earliest to the present times. New edition of “The Comparative Estimate,’ corrected and enlarged. Edin. 1812, 8vo.

      Opinions of Eminent Lawyers on various points of English Jurisprudence, chiefly concerning the Colonies, Fisheries, and Commerce of Great Britain. London, 1814, 2 vols. 8vo.

      A Tract, privately printed, in answer to Malone’s account of Shakspear’s Tempest. London, 1815, 8vo.

      Comparative Views of the State of Great Britain and Ireland before and since the war. London, 1817, 8vo.

      The Author of Junius ascertained, from a concatenation of circumstances, amounting to moral demonstration. 1817.

      Churchyard’s Chips concerning Scotland; being a Collection of his Pieces relative to that Country; with Historical Notices, and a Life of the Author. London, 1817, 8vo.

      Life of Mary Queen of Scots, drawn from the State Papers, with six subsidiary Memoirs. London, 1818, 2 vols. 4to. Reprinted in 3 vols. 8vo. From the preface of this work we learn that the Rev. John Whitaker, the Historian of Manchester, and the vindicator of the Scottish queen, had left at his death an unfinished life of Mary. His papers were put into Mr. Chalmer’s hands by his widow and daughters for publication, but his avocations, and some years of ill health, had prevented him from executing their desires, and he had found it necessary ‘to re-write the whole.’

      The Poetical Remains of some of the Scottish Kings, now first collected. London, 1824, 8vo.

      Robene and Makyne, and the Testament of Cresseid, by Robert Henryson, edited and presented by Mr. Chalmers as his contribution to the Bannatyne Club. Edin., 1824, 4to.

      A Detection of the Love Letters lately attributed in Hugh Campbell’s work to Mary Queen of Scots. London, 1825, 8vo. These fictitious letters purported to be ‘originals’ of love letters from Queen Mary to the earl of Bothwell.

      Besides these works he had prepared for the press an elaborate History of the Life and Reign of David I.

      In 1812, on the murder of Mr. Perceval, Chancellor of the Exchequer, a pamphlet appeared entitled “An Appeal to the generosity of the British nation on behalf of the family of the unfortunate Bellingham,” with Mr. Chalmers’ name as the author; but is was an impudent forgery, as he knew nothing of it till it was published. Nevertheless, in Watt’s Bibliotheca Britannica, it is mentioned among his works.

CHALMERS, ALEXANDER, M.A., F.S.A., a biographical and miscellaneous writer, the youngest son of James Chalmers and Susanna Trail, daughter of the Rev. James Trail, minister at Montrose, was born at Aberdeen, March 29, 1759. His father was a printer at Aberdeen, of great classical attainments, who established the Aberdeen Journal, the first newspaper published in that city. Having received a classical and medical education, about 1777 he left his native city, and never returned to it. He had obtained the situation of surgeon in the West Indies, and had arrived at Portsmouth to join his ship, when he suddenly changed his mind, and proceeded to the metropolis, where he soon became connected with the periodical press. His literary career commenced as editor of the Public Ledger and London Packet. He also contributed to the other popular journals of the day. In the ‘Morning Chronicle,’ the property of his friend, Mr. Perry, he for some years contributed paragraphs, epigrams, and satirical poems. He was also at one time editor of the ‘Morning Herald.’ Being early connected in business with Mr. George Robinson, the celebrated publisher in Peternoster-Row, he assisted him in judging of manuscripts offered for sale, as well as occasionally fitting the same for publication. He was also a contributor to the ‘Critical Review,’ then published by Mr. Robinson, and to the ‘Analytical Review,’ published by Mr. Johnson.

      In 1793 he published a continuation of the ‘History of England,’ in letters, 2 vols., which reached four editions, the fourth being published in 1821. His publications after this were numerous, and followed each other in constant succession. A list of them is subjoined. In 1805 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Besides other works edited by him in previous years, in 1809 he edited Bolingbroke’s Works, 8 vols. 8vo, and in this and subsequent years he contributed many of the lives to the magnificent volumes of the ‘British Gallery of Contemporary Portraits,’ published by Cadell and Davies. In 1811 he revised through the press Bishop Hurd’s edition of Addison’s Works, 6 vols. 8vo, and an edition of Pope’s Works, 8vols, 18mo. In the same year he republished, with corrections and alterations, a periodical paper, entitled ‘The Projector,’ 3 vols. 8vo, the essays contained in which were originally printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine. He had previously written a periodical paper, called ‘The Triffler,’ in the Aberdeen Magazine; but the essays under that head were never separately printed. The work on which Mr. Chalmers’ fame as an author chiefly rests is ‘The General Biographical Dictionary.’ The first four volumes of this work were published monthly, commencing May 1812, and then a volume every alternate month, to the thirty-second and last volume in March 1817, a period of four years and ten months of incessant labour, and of many personal privations, as is too commonly the fate of professional authors. In November 1816 he republished ‘The Lives of Dr. Edward Pocock, the celebrated orientalist, by Dr. Twells; of Dr. Zachary Pearce, Bishop of Rochester; and of Dr. Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, by themselves; and of the Rev. Philip Skelton, by Mr. Burday,’ in 2 vols. 8vo.

      Mr. Chalmers was a valuable contributor to the Gentleman’s Magazine, to which he was very partial, finding it of the greatest use in the compilation of his biographical works. During the last few years of his life, he suffered much from illness. He died at London, December 10, 1834. He belonged to various literary clubs of the old school, of which he was nearly the last surviving member.

      His works and editions are:

      Continuation of the ‘History of England,’ in letters. 2 vols. London, 1793, 4th edition, 1821.

      Glossary to Shakspeare. London, 1979.

      A sketch of the Isle of Wight. London, 1798.

      An edition of the rev. James Barclay’s complete and Universal English Dictionary. London, 1798.

      The British Essayists, with Prefaces, Historical and Biographical, and a general Index. 45 vols. London, 1803. This series begins with the Tatler and ends with the Observer.

      An edition of Shakspeare, 9 vols. 8vo, with an abridgment of the more copious notes of Steevens, and a life of the great dramatist. London, 1803. Reprinted in 1812, illustrated by plates from designs by Fuseli.

      A Life of Burns, prefixed to his works. London, 1805.

      A Life of Beattie, prefixed to his works. London, 1805.

      In 1806 he edited the following works, namely,

      Editions of Fielding’s works, 10 vols. 8vo; Dr. Johnson’s works, 12 vols. 8vo; Warton’s Essays; Bolingbroke’s works, 8 vols. 8vo; The Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, 14 vols. 8vo; and in 1807 he assisted the Rev. W. Lisle Bowles in the publication of Pope’s works, 10 vols. 8vo.

      An edition of Gibbon’s History, with a Life of the Author, 12 vols. 8vo. London, 1807.

      Walker’s Classics (so called from the name of the publisher), a collection, selected by Mr. Chalmers, with prefaces, 45 vols. London, 1808, and following years.

      The works of the English poets from Chaucer to Cowper, an enlarged edition, including the series edited, with prefaces, biographical and critical, by Dr. Johnson, and the most approved translations; the additional lives by Mr. Chalmers, 21 vols. royal 8vo. London, 1810.

      A History of the Colleges, Halls, and Public Buildings attached to the University of Oxford, including the Lives of the Founders. London, 1810, 2 vols. 8vo.

      A Life of Alexander Cruden, prefixed to the 6th edition of his concordance. London, 1812.

      General Biographical Dictionary, containing an Historical and Critical Account of the Lives and Writings of the most eminent Persons in every nation, particularly the British and Irish, from the earliest accounts to the present time. A new edition revised and enlarged, 32 vols. London, 1812-1817.

      County Biography, 4 numbers. London, 1819.

      A Life of Dr. Paley, prefixed to his works. London, 1819.

      Dictionary of the English Language abridged from the Rev. H.H. Todd’s enlarged edition of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary. 1 vol. 8vo. London, 1820.

      Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ninth edition, edited by Mr. Chalmers. London, 1822.

      A new edition of Shakspeare; also, another edition of Dr. Johnson’s works, London, 1823.

      Two papers in the Looker-on, by Mr. Alexander Chalmers, have erroneously been ascribed to his namesake Mr. George Chalmers, author of ‘Caledonia.’

CHALMERS, THOMAS, D.D., LL.D., a distinguished divine and theological writer, was born on the 17th March 1780, at Austruther, a small seaport town on the east coast of Fife. His father was a dyer, shipowner, and general merchant, descended from a family long connected with that part of the country. His great-grandfather, Mr. James Chalmers, son of John Chalmers, laird of Pitmedden, was ordained minister of Elie in 1701. In the year after his ordination he married the daughter of an episcopal clergyman, who, by the savings of economy, purchased the estate of Radernie, which is still held by her descendants. Her eldest daughter was married to Mr. T. Kay, minister of Kilrenny, and it was to Mrs. Kay’s son-in-law, Dr. Adamson of St. Andrews, that Dr. Chalmers was indebted for the presentation to Kilmany parish. The eldest son (the eldest brother of Dr. Chalmers’ grandfather) succeeded his father as minister of Elie, and was afterwards translated to Kilconauhar. Mr. Chalmers’ second son (Dr. Chalmers’ grandfather) married Barbara Anderson, Easter Anstruther, and settled in that town as a merchant. He was succeeded in business by his second son, Mr. John Chalmers (Dr. Chalmers’ father), who married Elizabeth Hall, daughter of a wine merchant at Crail. They had a numerous family – consisting of nine sons and five daughters. Dr. Chalmers was the sixth child, and fourth son. When yet almost an infant, he was committed to the care of a nurse, “whose cruelty and deceitfulness haunted his memory through life.” To escape this woman he went to school when only three years old, but here he was tormented by a pedantic and irritable schoolmaster, named Bryce, “a sightless tyrant,” who used to steal behind upon his victims, like a tiger, guided by the sound of their voices. This man had an assistant named Daniel Ramsay, who was as easy as his principal was severe, and both were equally inefficient. In his old age Ramsay fell into a state of destitution, and was often relived by his old pupil, Dr. Chalmers, who gave him many a pound note.

      The stories and precepts of the Bible, at a very early period, made an impression on his mind. When only about three years of age, he was one evening found pacing up and down the nursery alone, in the dark, excited and absorbed, repeating “O, my son, Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” It would appear that as soon as he could form or announce a wish, he declared that he would be a minister; and the sister of one of his schoolfellows relates that breaking in one day on her brother and young Chalmers, she found the future divine standing on a chair, and preaching vigorously to his single auditor on the text, “Let brotherly love continue!”

      In November 1791, whilst not yet twelve years of age. accompanied by his eldest brother William, he entered as a student the united college of St. Andrews, and among his fellow students was John Campbell, the son of the minister of Cupar, who afterwards became Lord Campbell, lord chief justice of the queen’s bench. At that time he could not write at all correctly; his letters were full of bad grammar and words mis-spelled. As in the case of many other great men, his talents did not develope themselves early. He was volatile and idle in his habits, and paid little attention to his classes during the first two years of his college course. He excelled at football, but still more at handball, owing to his being left handed. His third session at college was his intellectual birthtime. His physical powers had now been matured, and science awoke the mental activity and force of will, which never afterward slumbered. Dr. James Brown, the assistant mathematical professor, was the means of kindling young Chalmers’ enthusiasm, and a friendship commenced between the pupil and teacher, which lasted for many years. In November 1795, when fifteen years old, he was enrolled a student of divinity. His attainments in theology did not at first attract much notice, indeed his biographer tells us that theology occupied very little of his thoughts, but he early discovered a predilection for mathematics and chemistry. Towards the close of the session, however, he turned his attention to Edwards on Free Will, and studied that author so intensely that some were afraid his mind would lose its balance. At that time the members of the university assembled daily in the public hall for prayer, which was performed by the theological students in rotation. When it came to Chalmers to officiate fo the first time, his prayer was an amplification of the Lord’s Prayer, so eloquently expressed as to excite wonder; and when the people of St. Andrews knew it to be his turn to lead the devotions, they flocked to the hall, which was open to the public.

      For the cultivation of his talent for composition, he was largely indebted to debating societies formed among the students. In session 1798-9, he took as a subject for the debating society connected with the college, “Is man a free agent?” and defended the negative side. Even then, though but eighteen years of age, he was a formidable antagonist in debate. It was about this time that he penned a college essay on religious enthusiasm, which is said to have been the groundwork of the splendid speech delivered by him forth years afterwards, in a solemn convocation of four hundred evangelical ministers, when in November 1842, they met to decide upon separating from the Church of Scotland, and produced an effect as overwhelming as anything he ever uttered.

      After his college course was finished, he became tutor in a family who treated him with great superciliousness. From his private letters at this time it would appear that he was sadly mortified at the conduct of this family – even the very servants treating him with marked disrespect. “The whole combined household,” says his son-in-law and biographer, Dr. Hanna, “were at war with him. The undaunted tutor resolved nevertheless to act his part with dignity and effect. Remonstrances were vain. To the wrong they did him in dismissing him, when company came, to his own room, they would apply no remedy. He devised therefore a remedy of his own. – He was living near a town in which, through means of introductions given him by Fifeshire friends, he had already formed some acquaintances. Whenever he knew that there was to be a supper from which he would be excluded, he ordered one in a neighbouring inn, to which he invited one or more of his own friends. To make his purpose all the more manifest, he waited till the servant entered with his solitary repast, when he ordered it away, saying, ‘I sup elsewhere to-night.’ – Such curiously-timed tutorship suppers were not very likely to be relished by Mr. — , who charged him with unseemly and unseasonable pride. ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘the very servants are complaining of your haughtiness. You have far too much pride, sir,’ – ‘There are two kinds of price, sir,’ was the reply. ‘There is that kind of pride which lords it over inferiors; and there is that pride which rejoices in repressing the insolence of superiors. The first I have none of – the second I glory in.’”

      When but nineteen years of age, he applied for license as a preacher; which was granted on the plea that he was “a lad o’pregnant pairts.” He was licensed 31st July 1799, and preached his first sermon in Chapel-lane Chapel, in Wigan, on 25th August. On the following Sabbath he preached in Liverpool. His brother James, who heard him preach, wrote to his father that he thought Thomas more occupied with his mathematical studies than with his religious, and referred in proof, to some documents in Thomas’ handwriting, adding, “if you can read them,” – for even then his handwriting was so bad that his father is said to have laid aside his letters till he returned home to read them himself. He subsequently attended for two sessions the classes of chemistry and natural philosophy at Edinburgh, under Dr. Hope and Professor Robison. He had also a ticket to Dr. Brown’s class of moral philosophy. About this period, he became an admirer of the works of Godwin, and thenceforth the philosophical scepticism which for a time characterised him commenced. In a letter to his father, he mentioned that he was getting into a stock of sermons, which would render “the business abundantly easy,” when he got a church, which he was at that time expecting.

      In 1`801 he became assistant minister of the parish of Cavers, near Hawick, in Roxburghshire. At this period of his life he evinced nothing, either in his mode of preaching or in general ability, to distinguish him from the ordinary run of young probationers, except perhaps in the positive character of his habits, and a somewhat self-willed and independent spirit of abstraction. In 1803, when little more than twenty-two years of age he was appointed assistant to Professor Vilant, the professor of mathematics in the university of St. Andrews. This situation was quite to his taste. “His thirst for literary distinction was intense; to fill the mathematical chair in one of the universities, the high object of his ambition; to this the assistantship at St. Andrews might prove a stepping-stone.” This prospect influenced his literary ardour to the utmost. His lectures were eloquent, and unusually brilliant, and his students regarded him with admiration. The old professors, in the true spirit of all mediocrity, were envious, and tried to disparage him. He repelled their attempts to injure him with indignation, and maintained his independence as a man of science. “Under his extraordinary management,” writes one of his pupils, “the study of mathematics was felt to be hardly less a play of the fancy, than a labour of the intellect; the lessons of the day being continually interspersed with applications and illustrations of the most lively nature, so that he received, in a singular manner, the confidence and attachment of his pupils.”

      In 1803, through the influence of his relative, Dr. Adamson, professor of civil history at St. Andrews, as already stated, he was presented by his university to the living of Kilmany, a small scattered village in the county of Fife, situated about midway between Cupar and Dundee, to which charge he was ordained on the 12th of May in that year. Soon after this envy deprived him of his assistant professorship. His father, also, who wished him to attend exclusively to his ministerial duties, did not approve of his teaching in the university. During the first session differences arose between him and the professor, so that he was told that his services would not be required. He resolved to vindicate his injured honour by opening classes of his own at the very door of the university, which he did in the session of 1804. His class was most numerously attended. He also lectured upon chemistry as well as mathematics. The opening of this private class, in apparent opposition to the university professor, brought upon him, as well as upon the students who attended him, the full indignation of the United college. His presbytery also interfered with him, because he gave so much of his time to these lectures. But he met them in the same spirit of defiance, and as they could not being against him any charge of neglect of duty, he told them that he had as good a right to indulge in this “amusement” as they had to enjoy themselves in their own favourite pastimes.

      So far from being deterred by the opposition of the professors, on a vacancy occurring, in 1804, he became a candidate for the natural philosophy chair in the university of St. Andrews, but was unsuccessful. Finding the manse of Kilmany old and in wretched repair, he made many efforts to get it rendered habitable for himself and his two sisters who were to reside with him. Not content with his labours at St. Andrews, he gave courses of lectures on chemistry, &c., in various of the neighbouring towns. It is related that having, by his chemical acquirements, lighted up his manse of Kilmany with gas, his parishioners were hugely astonished thereat, as at that period this new lighting power, now become so common, was almost unknown in this country. Their feelings on the subject, however, need not be considered matter of surprise, when it is stated that even Sir Walter Scott at one period scoffed at the idea of light from gas, and yet lived to introduce it into his house at Abbotsford, and afterwards became chairman of the Edinburgh Gas Company.

      At the time of the threatened invasion of Great Britain by the French, when the volunteers were organised, Mr. Chalmers showed his patriotic feelings by enrolling himself in the St. Andrews corps, holding a double commission as chaplain and lieutenant. In 1805 he joined the corps at Kirkaldy, where it was then on permanent duty.

      When the chair of mathematics in the university of Edinburgh became vacant in that year (1805) by the translation of Professor Playfair to the chair of natural philosophy, in the same university, Mr. Chalmers was one of the many candidates, who competed with the late Sir John Leslie for the vacant professorship. He withdrew, however, at an early period of the protracted contest which ensued, and in the end Sir John was elected. It is understood to have been in compliance with the wishes of his father and nearest relatives, who were anxious that he should remain a minister, that he retired from the competition, and for a time sat down quietly in his charge. Nothing but a strong sense of filial obligation could have induced him thus reluctantly to forego the prospect of realizing his heart’s warmest desire, and continue to perform in his village charge the somewhat monotonous though highly honourable and responsible duties of a country minister. It was on occasion of this contest that his first publication was called forth. Mr. Playfair, in his letter to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, from the number of clergymen who had come forward as candidates, was led to observe that there were very few Scottish clergymen eminent in mathematics or natural philosophy, and that the vigorous and successful pursuit of these sciences was incompatible with clerical duties and habits. Mr. Chalmers immediately took up his pen, and under the title of ‘Observations on a Passage in Mr. Playfair’s Letter to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, relative to the mathematical pretensions of the Scottish Clergy,’ he published a tract vindicating the character of his brethren, and asserting that they had sufficient leisure for literary pursuits. In that pamphlet he alleged that one weekday was quite enough for the duties of the parish, and the rest was leisure time. After he changed his views of the nature of the work of the ministry, he endeavoured to recall this unfortunate pamphlet.

      At the beginning of 1808, he first commenced authorship in that department in which he afterwards excelled, namely, political economy. His volume was entitled ‘An Inquiry into the Extent and Stability of National Resources,’ and he found some difficulty at first in obtaining a publisher. The object of this work was chiefly to show that if our native resources were properly cultivated, and our means duly economised, there would be no necessity for depending on foreign trade, – a theory which he was subsequently convinced was not altogether a correct one. Amidst much that was questionable, the volume inculcated some sound views in political science; but its vehemence of tone, although at times lofty and eloquent, prevented it from making any great impression, and it was in some instances very severely assailed by the Reviewers.

      At this period the mind of this extraordinary man seems to have been more occupied with subjects of a political and scientific than of a religious nature. For some years after his settlement at Kilmany, he attracted very little attention as a preacher beyond the limits of his own parish. Indeed, for a number of years, from his violent and excited mode of delivery, he was rather unpopular in the pulpit.

      In May, 1809, he made his maiden speech in the General Assembly, on a question of augmentation of stipends, and that speech caused a great sensation, and was published by request. He used to say that ‘Butler’s Analogy,’ which he commenced to study at an early period, “made him a Christian.” The deaths of his sister and his uncle, and a long illness which followed, led him about this time to serious thought, and to a complete change in his religious views. On 17th March, 1810, he says he had completed his thirtieth year, and lamented that on a review of the last fifteen years of his life, at least two-thirds of that time had been uselessly spent. He became, about this time, greatly fortified in his belief of Christianity. One day he called on a friend, and said, “Tell me all you ever heard against Christianity from its enemies – I am more than able to refute them all. The evidences of our religion are overwhelming.” He at this time reviewed Dr. Charteris’ Sermons, and intended the criticism for the Edinburgh Review, but sent it to the Rev. A. Thomson for the ‘Christian Instructor.’ The latter demurred to it as a review, but inserted it among the miscellaneous contributions. In a note Mr. Thomson regretted the absence of the peculiar doctrines of the cross in the volume under review. About the beginning of 1811 Mr. Chalmers took up Wilberforce’s ‘Practical View of Christianity,’ and he got on in reading it till he felt himself on the eve of a great revolution in all his opinions about the gospel. He wrote his mother that he had reached the conclusion that his profession required all his talents and energy – a change of views, certainly, on this point. So great an improvement was now observable in his mode of preaching, that his congregation was equally surprised and delighted; and from this important era in his life may be dated the commencement of that distinction to which he was soon after to advance. He had become intimately acquainted with Dr. (afterwards Sir David) Brewster, and was engaged by him to write several articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia conducted by him, and amongst others the paper on ‘Christianity.’ In the course of the research and investigation into which he was led while preparing this celebrated article, which he afterwards expanded into his well-known Treatise on the Evidences, he became deeply impressed with far more serious and heartfelt views of the great truths of the Gospel, than he had ever previously entertained; and the result was soon apparent. From a mere formal preacher, he became a bold, eloquent, and earnest pulpit orator, upon whose discourses hung enchained thousands of admiring hearers. He broke through all at once, like the sun from behind a cloud, and his parishioners were filled with amazement at the sudden transformation. “It was not long,” says his biographer, “till the whole aspect of the Sabbath congregations in Kilmany church was changed. The stupid wonder which used to sit on the countenances of the villagers or farm servants who attended divine service, was turned into a fixed, intelligent and devour attention. It was not easy for the dullest to remain uninformed; for if the preacher sometimes soared too high for the best trained of his people to follow him, at other times, and much oftener, he put the matter of his message so as to force for it an entrance into the most sluggish understanding.” So remarkable, indeed, was the change that the parish church of Kilmany, which had till then been attended by a thin and listless auditory, was now thronged, not only by the inhabitants of the parish, but by crowds of strangers from the surrounding towns and villages, thousands flocking from St. Andrews, and even from Dundee, to hear him.

      His fame, as a preacher, soon reached Edinburgh, the capital; where he preached on several occasions, with great acceptance, and henceforward he was universally acknowledged to be the most powerful and popular preacher in the Scottish Church.

      In November 1814 he was elected by the Town Council of Glasgow minister of the Tron church in that city, and was admitted to that charge on the 21st of the following July. Here he preached those eloquent discourses which soon raised him to the rank of one of the first preachers in Europe. The characteristics of his eloquence have often been described. The provincial Scotch accent, the guttural voice, the heavy blue eye kindling into fury and the uncouth gestures which distinguished him, were all forgotten when he spoke. His amazing powers of oratory, and great command of language, enabled him to triumph over all these apparent defects. Before leaving Kilmany, he published ‘The Duty of Giving an Immediate Diligence to the Business of the Christian Life,’ being an address to the inhabitants of that parish. In his farewell sermon preached July 9, 1815, he affectingly alludes to the change which had taken place in his views of religious truth since coming among them. For the greater part of twelve years, he says, his preaching was attended with little reformation of heart or conduct; and he adds – “Out of your humble cottages have I gathered a lesson, which, I pray God, I may be enabled to carry with all its simplicity into a wider theatre, and to bring with all the power of its subduing efficacy upon the vices of a more crowded population.”

      On the 21st of February, 1816, the degree of D.D. was conferred on Mr. Chalmers by the Senatus Academicus of the university of Glasgow. In May 1817 Dr. Chalmers appeared for the first time in a London pulpit, having on the 14th of that month preached in Surrey chapel, the anniversary sermon for the London Missionary Society. His reputation had preceded him, and although the service did not commence till eleven o’clock, “at seven in the morning the chapel was crowded to excess, and many thousands went off for want of room.” On the following Thursday he preached again in the same place on behalf of the Scottish Hospital, and on the succeeding Sunday in the Scotch church, London Wall, and in the Scotch church, Swallow Street. Many of the clergy of the Church of England, peers, and members of parliament, flocked to hear him. Among the latter were Huskisson, Wilberforce, and Canning, and the latter, on one occasion, when the preacher paused to take breath, after one of his electrifying bursts of oratory, was overheard to whisper to a gentleman beside him: “this is indeed true eloquence. The tartan beats us all.”

      The amount of misery and wretchedness which he found existing among the poorer classes of Glasgow, filled his heart with sorrow; and to the work of the pastor was soon added that of the philanthropist. He now devoted much of his attention to the Christian and civic economy of towns, and laboured anxiously to introduce an improvement in the mode of maintaining the poor, with the design of ameliorating their condition, as well as doing away with compulsory assessment. His sagacity foresaw that our poor-laws would pauperise Scotland, and that the more given by legal sanction the more would pauperism be created. Having explained his views to the magistrates of Glasgow, they were favourably entertained; and he was translated to the parish of St. John’s, in that city, that he might be the better enabled to develop his plans. For this purpose, on the 18th of August 1819, the Town Council unanimously resolved that “Dr. Chalmers should have a separate, independent, and exclusive management and distribution of the funds which may be raised by voluntary or charitable collections at the doors of St. John’s church, for the relief of the poor resident in said parish.”

      In St. John’s, then containing a population of nearly 12,000 souls, who had been, till then, much neglected, he laboured with great zeal and success in the moral and religious education of the poor. In carrying out his great design of ‘excavating the heathen” – one of his own happy and significant phrases – he went boldly to the lanes and alleys of his parish, to compel them “to come in.” His aptitude for familiarising himself with those he visited, and disarming prejudice and opposition, is well illustrated by the following incident: – Going the round of his visitations, he called one day upon a poor cobbler, who was industriously engaged with awl and ends, fastening sole and upper. The cobbler kept fast hold of the shoe between his knees, perforating the stubborn bend, and passing through the bristled ends right and left, scarcely noticing his clerical visitor; but the glance that he gave showed evident recognition; then rosining the fibrous lines, he made them whisk out on either side with increased energy, showing a disinclination to hold any parley. “I am,” said the Doctor, “visiting my parishioners at present, and am to have a meeting of those resident in this locality, in the vestry of St. John’s (on a day which he named) when I shall be happy to have your presence along with your neighbours.” The shoemaker kept his spine at the sutor’s angle, and, making the thread rasp with the force of the pull, coolly remarked, “Ay step your wa’s ben to the wife and the weans; as for me, I’m a wee in the deistical line, Doctor.” With that intuitive perception of character and tact in addressing himself to the variety of dispositions and characters in society, which distinguished him, he entered into conversation with the cobbler, asking questions about his profession, and the weekly amount of his earnings, sympathising with him on the exceedingly limited amount of his income, compared with the outlay necessary for food, clothing, house rent, &c. Then taking up one tool after another, he asked and obtained explanations of their different uses, and, following up the conversation by a chain of moral reasoning, from cause to effect, led the cobbler away from his last, and obtained a patient hearing, which ended in the latter becoming a steady church-goer.

      The church of St. John’s was soon found to be far too small for the eager crowds anxious to hear him. He not only preached twice every Sunday, but once on the week-days. His splendid ‘Astronomical Discourses,’ perhaps the most fascinating of all his works, were part of the fruits of his week-day preachings. though week-day sermons were by no means popular, he was attended by crowds of all ranks and classes; and noblemen jostled with humble tradesmen in the great desire to hear Dr. Chalmers. The same continued till his last pulpit appearance, wherever and whenever it was known that he was to preach.

      Among the works published by Dr. Chalmers during his residence in Glasgow, were the following: ‘Thoughts on Universal Peace, a Thanksgiving Sermon,’ 1816; ‘The Utility of Missions, a Sermon,’ 1816; ‘A Series of Discourses on the Christian Revelation, viewed in connection with the Modern Astronomy,’ 1817; ‘A Sermon delivered at Glasgow, on November 19, 1817, the day of the Funeral of the Princess Charlotte;’ ‘Sermons Preached in the Tron church, Glasgow,’ 1819-20; ‘The Importance of Civil Government to Society; A Sermon,’ 1820; ‘The application of Christianity to the Common and Ordinary affairs of Life, in a Series of Discourses,’ 1820; ‘The Christian and Civic Economy of Large Towns,’ 2 vols, 1821-1823; ‘Sermons Preached on Public Occasions,’ 1823, and ‘The Evidences of Christian Revelation,’ 1824. His works became very popular and sold rapidly; but he preferred devoting himself to his parochial duties, at a time when his writings would have brought him large remunerating prices from the publishers.

      At the commencement of his ministry at St. John’s, that he might not be impeded in his philanthropic schemes in that parish, the whole parochial arrangements being on his shoulders, and guided and impelled by him by almost superhuman energy, he had secured the services of the Rev. Edward Irving, then a licentiate of the church, as an assistant. Mr. Irving also assisted him in household visitation.

      In 1822, he started on a tour through England, in search of information as to the state and prospects of its poor-law administration; on which occasion he again visited London, and had intercourse with Lord Calthorpe, Lord Teignmouth, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Clarkson, Mr. Malthus, and others.

      In 1823, he was elected professor of moral philosophy in the university of St. Andrews. Attached to a college life, and believing that his greater usefulness consisted in teaching, he now saw his wishes in this respect accomplished, and that in his own alma mater. He accepted the chair in preference to a pastoral charge in Edinburgh, to several of which he had been invited. He demitted his charge of St. John’s on the 5th November, and was installed and delivered his introductory lecture at St. Andrews, on the 17th of the same month.

      His professional labours at St. Andrews gave an impulse to that ancient seminary which, in some measure, tended, for the time, to restore it to some portion of its former fame, and while he continued there he also delivered a separate course of lectures on political economy as connected with the moral philosophy class. But it was a sphere too limited for his usefulness, and by far too narrow for his genius; and a larger field, and higher office soon opened to him in the Scottish metropolis itself, which was destined to become the scene of his greatest triumphs.

      In 1828, on the divinity chair in the university of Edinburgh becoming vacant, Dr. Chalmers was unanimously elected to the professorship, by the magistrates and town council of that city, and he at once accepted the appointment. He entered on the duties of his new chair by pronouncing an address of surpassing eloquence and splendour; and, during the fifteen years that he held it, he was eminently successful in his lectures, and has left the impress of his original genius, and vast stores of theological instruction, on the minds of many of the students, who afterwards became ministers of the gospel.

      Although the theological chair in the university of Edinburgh is considered the highest academical professorship in Scotland, that chair is but poorly endowed in comparison to the corresponding chair in the university of Glasgow, and the latter, in consequence of its being richer, is of more consideration to a man, who like Dr. Chalmers, had a family, whose disposition was generous in the extreme, and whose benevolence was unbounded. On the professorship of theology, therefore, becoming vacant in the university of Glasgow, he offered himself as a candidate, but the election was vested in the college; and as Chalmers was a leader among the non-intrusionists – that is, those who were opposed to the exercise of patronage in appointments to livings in the church, and an anti-pluralist to boot – he had become obnoxious to the university authorities, and was rejected.

      In 1829 Dr. Chalmers took an active part in favour of the emancipation of the Roman Catholics – a concession which, there is reason to believe, he lived to regret. In 1832 appeared the evidence given by him and the Right Rev. J. Doyle, before a Select Committee of the House of Commons, on the State of Ireland. In that year were also published two of his works, namely, ‘On Political Economy in connection with the Moral state and Moral prospects of Society.’ and ‘The Supreme Importance of a right Moral to a right Economical State of the Community.’

      His treatise on ‘The Power and Wisdom and Goodness of God, as manifested in the adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man,’ appeared in 1833. This was one of the celebrated Bridgewater Treatises. The Right Hon. and Rev. Earl of Bridgewater, who died in 1829, left the sum of £8,000, at the disposal of the president of the Royal Society, as a reward to the author of the best treatise on the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as illustrated in Creation, &c. That gentleman took the opinions of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, as well as of a nobleman, a friend of the deceased earl, on the best means of carrying out the bequest; and it was very judiciously resolved that instead of being given to one man, for one work, the money should be allotted to eight different persons for eight separate treatises on separate subjects, though all connected with the same primary theme. Dr. Chalmers was selected as one of the writers, and in 1833, accordingly, appeared from his pen, in two volumes, the work already mentioned. His collected works revised by himself, were published in 1836, in 25 duodecimo volumes. His valuable Lectures on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, were published in 1837.

      During what was called the great voluntary controversy, Dr. Chalmers took a very active and influential part in support of the obligation of civil rulers to provide for the religious instruction of the people, and for the maintenance of a national religion. He delivered a series of valuable lectures on the Importance of Church Establishments, which made a great impression at the time. He was also the chief promoter of church extension in Scotland. For his successful labours in this cause he repeatedly received the thanks of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In 1838, he was invited to London to deliver a course of lectures on the Establishment and Extension of National Churches, which he did in the Hanover Square rooms, to overflowing audiences. Amongst his hearers on this occasion were the Duchess of Kent, the Duke of Cambridge, many of the prelates and clergy of the Church of England, and the most distinguished members of both houses of parliament. These lectures were said to be got up at the expense of a nobleman, who desired to strengthen the existing institutions of the country, and were designed principally for the higher classes of society.

      When he preached in London, the duke of Wellington, the late Earl of Eldon, the Duke of Sussex, with several other members of the royal family, and many among the higher ranks, whom the journalists of the day remarked “they were not accustomed to elbow at a place of public worship,” were found among the crowded congregations assembled from all parts to hear him. None, indeed, ever enjoyed a larger share of popularity – “that thing,” as he expressed it in his own graphic language, “of stare, and pressure, and animal heat.”

      Dr. Chalmers continued to occupy the chair of divinity in the university of Edinburgh, till the disruption took place in the Established Church of Scotland, in May 1843, when, at the head of more than four hundred ministers, he quitted the Establishment, and immediately founded the Free Protesting Church of Scotland. As a matter of course, he resigned his chair in the university, and was elected principal and primarius professor of theology to the seceding body. Driven by conscience from the walls of the Establishment, he did not relinquish one jot of his Establishment principles; and, indeed, what is called the voluntary doctrine forms no part or portion of the free Church creed. The fundamental doctrine of the Free Church, as distinguished from the Established Church, is that the State, while bound to provide for the interests of religion, and to protect and defend the church, has no right whatever to interfere, and ought not to be allowed to interfere, in things pertaining to the spiritual province of the church; that patronage is a sin and crying grievance, and that no minister should be “intruded” on any parish or congregation contrary to the will of the people. Hence the distinctive name, before the disruption, of Intrusionists and Non-Intrusionists. These principles are very plain and simple; and yet Dr. Chalmers used to complain that he could never get an Englishman to understand them.

      In the proceedings of the new church, Dr. Chalmers took a leading part, and was the principal framer of the scheme of the Sustentation Fund for the support of the clergy. In 1845, he retired from the management of the more weighty and important business of the Free Church, and confined his attention almost entirely to what belonged to the new college. In his address on the occasion he stated that he had “neither the vigour nor the alertness of former days;” that he found his strength sufficient neither for the debates of the Assembly nor the details of committees or of correspondence; and he therefore resigned “a general care of the church for a more special and intense care of those students who are to the church her future guides and guardians.” He planted a church on the territorial system, in the West Port of Edinburgh, in one of the poorest and most destitute localities of Scotland’s capital, and in the near vicinity of the spot where Burke and hare committed their wholesale murders in 1827; and one of his last appearances in an Edinburgh pulpit was on opening that humble and obscure place of worship. Three weeks before his death, he was called to London, to give evidence before the committee of the House of Commons on the refusal of certain landholders in Scotland to allow sites for churches on their properties to adherents of the Free church. While in the metropolis on this his last visit, he preached three times to crowded congregations, among whom, as usual, were many of the great and noble of the land; and having finished his testimony, he returned from London on Friday the 28th of May, to his own house at Morningside, about two miles from Edinburgh. On the succeeding Sunday he attended public worship, along with the Rev. Dr. Cunningham, in Morningside Free Church, and at an early hour that evening, he retired to rest in his usual health. Next morning, the 31st of May, 1847, he was found dead in his bed. “It appeared,’ says the ‘Witness’ newspaper, “that he had been sitting erect when overtaken by the stroke of death, and he still retained in part that position. The massy head gently reclined on the pillow; The arms were folded peacefully on the breast. There was a slight air of oppression and heaviness on the brow, but not a wrinkle or a trace of sorrow or pain disturbed its smoothness. The countenance wore an attitude of deep repose; No conflict had preceded dissolution.”

      The union in one person of such zeal and eloquence as Dr. Chalmers displayed, is exceedingly rare. As a preacher the grandeur of his conceptions, the novelty and amplitude of his illustrations, and the graphic force and significancy of his diction, with the irresistible earnestness of his manner, altogether formed such a combination of qualities as is seldom found in modern oratory. The celebrated Robert Hall said that Dr. Chalmers’ preaching “stopped people’s breath.” The effect he produced, it has been remarked, was like that of the sage in Rasselas – “when he spoke, attention watched his lips; when he reasoned, conviction closed his periods.”

      His accent and his appearance were both against him. The former was broad provincial Scotch; the latter was dull and heavy, and by no means conveyed any idea of the wonderful fertility and energy of his mind. In stature he was about the middle height, stout, large-boned, and muscular, but not at all approaching to corpulency. His grey eye, which in his ordinary moods had a placid expression, when excited shone with intense brilliancy; his forehead was broad and massy, but not particularly lofty; his step was quick and eager, his accents fast and hurrying, his gesture awkward, and his delivery monotonous; but yet, when roused from his lethargy, when fairly within his subject, these drawbacks were all forgotten in the powerful and rapid stream of his eloquence. He usually commenced speaking in an undertone; and it was not until he had gone on for some time that feelings of admiration began to be kindled, at the exhibition of those wondrous powers which made him the first pulpit orator of the age. His eloquence, it may be said, did not flow on in a continuous strain. He allowed himself and his hearers intervals of repose, during which he uttered nothing very striking. But these pauses, like the breathings which ever and anon the wind takes in a tempest, or like the temporary cessation of the thunder when it appears to be collecting all its force for a new explosion, were succeeded by bursts of the most electrifying nature, which perfectly enthralled his hearers. Those who never heard him preach can collect from his published discourses no adequate conception of the effect which his pulpit addresses produced on his audiences. “His earnest and massive eloquence,” says one of his newspaper biographers, “bore down all before it. His accents might at first appear uncouth; but all this impression speedily disappeared before a torrent of rapid and brilliant thoughts. He seized on his text, turned it over and over in a thousand shapes, showed it in a thousand lights, and never left it till it was written on the hearts of his hearers. Even the cool and critical Jeffrey said that there was something remarkable about that man; he reminded him more of what he had read of Cicero and Demosthenes than any orator he had ever heard.”

      Although a thorough Calvinist, deeply imbued with the theology of the great man whose system he had imbibed, he carefully and faithfully divided the word of truth. While he was anxious to point out the only ground of a sinner’s acceptance, no one ever urged so earnestly and eloquently the “duties and decencies, and respectabilities and charities of life.” Besides the degree of D.D. which, as already mentioned, he obtained from the university of Glasgow, he received that of LL.D. from the university of Oxford. He was also a corresponding member of the Royal Institute of France, and a fellow of the Royal Society of London. He married in 1812, Grace, second daughter of Captain Pratt of the 1st royal veteran battalion. This lady survived him. He also left six daughters, two of whom were married to Free Church ministers; the one to the Rev. Mr. Mackenzie of Ratho, and the other to the Rev. Dr. Hanna, formerly of Skirling, now Edinburgh, at one time editor of the North British Review, to the pages of which Dr. Chalmers himself regularly contributed, and author of the Memoirs of Dr. Chalmers, published after his death. His third daughter was married in November 1852, to William Wood, Esq., accountant, Edinburgh, son of the late John Philip Wood, Esq., auditor of excise and editor of Douglas’ Peerage. – His works are:

      Observations relative to the mathematical pretensions of the Scottish Clergy. Edin. 1805.

      Scripture References; designed for the use of parents, teachers, and private Christians, 3d ed. 8vo.

      A Sermon, preached before the Society for the Relief of the Destitute Sick. Edin. 2d ed. 8vo.

      The Utility of Missions, ascertained from Experience; a Sermon, preached before the Society in Scotland for propagating Christian Knowledge, 2d ed. 8vo.

      The Two Great Instruments appointed for the Propagation of the Gospel; a Sermon, preached before the Dundee Missionary Society. 3d ed. 8vo.

      An Enquiry into the Extent and Stability of national Revenues. Lond. 1808, 8vo.

      Speech delivered in the General Assembly, respecting the bill for augmenting the Stipends of the Clergy of Scotland, 1809, 8vo.

      A Sermon, 1813, 8vo.

      The Influence of Bible Societies on the Temporal Necessities of the Poor, 1814, 8vo.

      The Evidences and Authority of the Christian Revelation. Glasgow, 1814, 8vo. 6th edit. 1818.

      An Address to the inhabitants of the parish of Kilmany, on the duty of giving an immediate diligence to the business of the Christian Life. Edin. 1815. 2d edit. 8vo. 1817.

      Thoughts on Universal Peace, a Sermon delivered on Thursday, January 18, 1816, the day of National Thanksgiving. Glasgow, 1816, 8vo, 2d edit.

      A Series of Discourses on the Christian Revelation, viewed in connexion with the Modern Astronomy. Glasgow, 1817, 8vo. 9th edit. Edin. 1818, 8vo. Numerous editions.

      The Doctrine of Christian Charity applied to the cause of religious differences; a Sermon, preached before the Auxiliary society, Glasgow, to the Hibernian Society for establishing Schools and circulating the Holy Scriptures in Ireland. Glasgow, 1818, 8vo.

      A Sermon delivered in the Tron Church, Glasgow, on Wednesday, Nov. 19th, 1817, the day of the Funeral of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales. Glasgow, 1818, 8vo.

      Sermons and Tracts. New edition, 8vo.

      Sermons preached in the Tron Church, Glasgow. Glasg. 1819, 8vo.

      Discourses on the application of Christianity to the Commercial and Ordinary Affairs of Life. 8vo., Glasgow, 1820.

      Sermon on the Importance of Civil Government. Edin. 1820.

      The Christian and Civic Economy of Large Towns. 3 vols. 8vo. Glasgow, 1821-6.

      A Speech before the General Assembly Explanatory of the measures which have been successfully pursued in St. John’s parish, Glasgow, for the extinction of its compulsory pauperism. Glasgow, 1822, 8vo.

      Sermons preached in St. John’s, Glasgow. Glasgow, 1823.

      On the Use and Abuse of Ecclesiastical and Literary Endowments. Glasgow, 1827, 8vo.

      Political Economy. Glasgow, 1832, 8vo.

The Supreme Importance of a right Moral to a right Economical State of the Community. Edin. 1832.

      Letter to the Royal Commissioners for the visitation of Colleges in Scotland. Glasgow, 1832.

      On the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as manifested in the adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man. 2 vols. 8vo. Bridgewater Treatise, London, 1833.

      The Right Ecclesiastical Economy of Large Towns. Edin. 1835, pamphlet.

      An Argument on Chapel Bonds. Edin. 1835, pamphlet.

      On the Evils which the Established church in Edinburgh has suffered, and still suffers, from the Seat-letting being in the hands of the Magistrates. Edin. 1835, pamphlet. An answer to the same by Adam Black immediately appeared.

      Re-assertion of the Evils of the Edinburgh System of Seat-letting. Edin. 1835, pamphlet.

      Speech on the Proceedings of the Church Deputation in London, delivered in the Commission of the General Assembly. Edin. 1835, pamphlet.

      The Cause of Church Extension. Edin. 1835, pamphlet.

      Report of the committee of the General Assembly on Church Extension. Edin., 1835, pamphlet.

      Reports to General Assembly on Church Extension for 1837, 1838, and 1839. Pamphlet.

      Lectures on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Glasgow, 1837-43, 4 vols. 8vo.

      The Cause of Church Extension, and the Question shortly stated between Churchmen and Dissenters, in regard to it. Edin., 1835, 16mo.

      Sermon on Cruelty to Animals. Edin. 1826.

      Five Lectures on Predestination. London, 1837.

      A Conference with certain Ministers and Elders on the Subject of the Moderatorship. Glasgow, 1837, pamphlet.

      Supplement to his late Pamphlet on the Moderatorship. Glasgow, 1837, pamphlet.

      Lectures on the Establishment and Extension of National Churches. Glasgow, 1838, pamphlet.

      Substance of a Speech delivered in the General Assembly respecting the Decision of the House of Lords on the Auchterarder case. Glasgow, 1839, pamphlet.

      On the present position of the Church of Scotland, occasioned by the Dean of Faculty’s letter. Glasgow, 1839.

      What ought the church and the People of Scotland to do now? Glasgow, 1840, pamphlet.

      Course of Lectures on Butler’s ‘Analogy of Religion,’ delivered in the University of Edinburgh. London, 1841, 8vo.

      Sufficiency of the Parochial System without a Poor Rate. Glasg. 1841, 12mo.

      Earnest Appeal to the Free Church on the subject of its Economics. Edin; 1846, pamphlet.

      Introductory Essay on Christian Union. 1846.

      Pamphlet on the Evangelical Alliance. 1846.

      His original works as republished by himself, consisting of his Natural Theology, Evidence of Christianity, Moral and Mental Philosophy, Commercial Discourses, Astronomical Discourses, Congregational Sermons, Sermons on Public Occasions, Tracts and Essays, Introductory Essays to Select Christian Authors, Christian and Economic Polity of a Nation, church and College Establishments, Church Extension, Political Economy, Sufficiency of a parochial System, and Lectures on the Romans, &c., have been re-issued in 25 volumes 12 mo, and his Posthumous Works, in 9 vols. 8vo. as under. The Memoirs of Dr. Chalmers by his son-in-law Dr. Hanna, are in four large thick volumes, and include Dr. Chalmers’ diaries.

      Posthumous Works, edited by Dr. Hanna:

   Daily Scripture Readings, 3 vols.

   Sabbath Scripture Readings, 2 vols.

  Sermons, 1798 to 1847, 2 vol.

  Institutes of Theology, 2 vols.

Lectures on Butler, Paley, Hill, &c. 1 vol.


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