Wallace, Robert

Biography: Church of Scotland minister and writer on population. Born Kincardine, Perthshire, the son of a Church of Scotland minister. Attended Stirling Grammar School, then matriculated University of Edinburgh 1711, where he studied divinity and mathematics. Licensed to preach 1722, and assigned to the parish of Moffat 1723. Moderator of the synod of Dumfries, 1729, and his sermon was well received by Queen Caroline. Translated to New Greyfriars, Edinburgh 1733, then the New North Church in 1738. In the 1730s he became identified with opposition politics, opposing Walpole's plans to implement a system of church patronage and the Porteous Act of 1736. In 1739 he was appointed chaplain in Scotland to Frederick, Prince of Wales, then a magnate for the opposition, and preached against the government in 1740. In 1742 he was chosen to manage the crown's patronage of kirk benefices, and elected moderator of the general assembly in 1743. In 1744, he was appointed royal chaplain for Scotland and dean of the Chapel Royal. His formal leadership in the Church ended in 1746, and he turned to his scholarly interests, dissociating himself from church politics in the 1750s. While leading the Kirk he established the widow's fund, an insurance scheme for the widows and orphans of ministers. He was also a trustee of George Heriot's Hospital, and opposed plans by the town provost to appropriate hospital land to build the new town. Wallace also contributed to the intellectual life in Edinburgh, being a member of the Philosophical and Select Societies, and a founding member of the Rankenian Club while at university. Wallace wrote on population growth, which he discussed with David Hume, constitutional politics, and agrarian reform. There is a large collection of his unpublished works in the Laing Collection, Edinburgh University Library.

Biography Date: 1697-1771

Biography References: LOC; CERL; DNB;


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