the name of a family possessing a baronetcy of the United Kingdom,
conferred 25th June, 1852, on Sir Archibald Alison, LL.D., D.C.L., and
F.RS., born at Kinley, Salop, 29th December, 1792. His father, the Rev.
Archibald Alison, author of ‘Essays on Taste,’ of whom a memoir follows,
was a scion of the family of Alison of Newhall, parish of Kettins,
Forfarshire. By the mother’s side he is descended lineally from Edward I.
and Robert the Bruce. Sir Archibald was educated at the university of
Edinburgh, and admitted advocate in 1814; advocate depute from 1828 to
1830; sheriff of Lanarkshire, 1835, author of ‘Principles of the Criminal
Law of Scotland,’ Edinburgh, 1832; ‘Practice of the Criminal Law;’
‘History of Europe,’ 20 vols. 8vo, the first published in 1833; ‘Essays,’
contributed to Blackwood’s Magazine; ‘Principles of Population,’ 1845;
‘England in 1815 and 1845, or a Sufficient and Contracted Currency;’ ‘Life
of the Duke of Marlborough,’ 1847; married, 21st March 1825, Elizabeth
Glencairn, youngest daughter of Lieutenant-colonel Patrick Tytler, second
son of William Tytler, Esq. of Woodhouselee; issue, Archibald, born 21st
January 1826, lieutenant—colonel in the army, military secretary to Lord
Clyde when commander-in-chief in India, lost an arm at Lucknow, and has a
medal and clasps for his services in the Crimea; Frederick Montagu, born
11th May 1835, a captain in the army, aid-de-camp to the same commander;
and one daughter, Ellen Frances Catherine, Mrs. Cutlar Fergusson of
Craigdarroch. Sir Archibald’s brother, William Pulteney Alison, M.D.,
LL.D., F.R.S., professor of practice of physic, university of Edinburgh,
and first physician to the Queen in Scotland, retired from his chair in
1855, and died in 1859.
ALISON, ARCHIBALD, The
author of ‘Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste,’ was the second
son of a magistrate of Edinburgh, and some time lord provost of that city,
where he was born in 1757. In 1772 he went to the university of Glasgow,
and afterwards became an exhibitioner at Baliol college, Oxford, where he
took the degrees of A.M. and LL.B. Entering into holy orders he obtained
the curacy of Brancepeth, county of Durham, and was subsequently made
prebetidary of Sarum. Having acquired the friendship of the late Sir
William Pulteney, he was indebted to him for preferment in the church. In
1784 he married at Edinburgh the eldest daughter of the celebrated Dr.
John Gregory, by whom he had six children. In 1800, on the invitation of
Sir William Forbes, baronet, and the vestry of the Episcopal chapel,
Cowgate, Edinburgh, he became senior minister of that place of worship.
The congregation having removed to St. Paul’s church, York Place, in the
same city, he continued to officiate there until a severe illness, in
1831, compelled him to relinquish all public duties. He was one of the
early fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the intimate friend
of many of its most distinguished members. He was also a fellow of the
Royal Society of London. His principal work, the ‘Essays on the Nature and
Principles of Taste,’ published in 1790, has passed through several
editions, and was translated into French. He died 17th May, 1839. His
Essay on the Nature
and principles of Taste. Edin. 1790, 4to. 3d. edit. 1815, 2 vols. 8vo. 4th
edit. 1816, 2 vols. 8vo.
A Discourse on the
Fast Day, 1809, 8vo.
A Thanksgiving Sermon,
Sermons, chiefly on
particular occasions. Edin. 1814, 8vo. Vol. ii. 1815, 8vo. 5th edit. 1815,
Life and Writings of
the Hon. Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee. Trans. Ed. B. Soc.
viii. 515. 1818.
Entries for this name in the Dictionary of National Biography
Account of my Life and Writings
An Autobiography by the Late Sir Archibald Alison in two volumes