Chalmers, Thomas

Biography: Presbyterian minister and social reformer. Born Anstruther, Fife 1780, matriculated St Andrews Univ. 1791 (aged 11), entered the Divinity Hall, licensed as a probationer minister 1799. Not enthusiastic about theology, more interested in maths, natural philopsophy and politics. Studied natural philosophy at Edinburgh Univ. 1799-1801. Presented to the parish of Kilmany, Fife 1802 but was more interested in obtaining a professorship at St Andrews. Visited London 1807 and returned to Kilmany to write his first book. Fell ill with consumption Winter 1809-10, but returned to duties 1811 with more zeal and was very successful. Presented to the parish of Tron, Glasgow in the hope that his preaching would fill the church, 1814. Awarded D.D. from Univ. of Glasgow 1816. Preaching brought him national fame. Conducted an experiment in St Johns, Glasgow, to try and restore communal spirit and alleviate the need for poor relief, 1819. Chair of Moral Philosophy, St Andrews 1823. Chair of Theology, Edinburgh Univ. 1828. Chaplain-in-ordinary of the Scottish Chapel Royal 1830. Moderator of the General Assembly 1832. Church extension campaign 1834-41. Led 470 ministers to form the Free Church of Scotland, 1843, after disputes with the establishment. First moderator of the Free Church general assembly.

Biography Date: 1780-1847

Biography References: LOC; CERL; DNB


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