James Alexander Haldane
The Life of James A. Haldane
HALDANE, JAMES ALEXANDER.—It seldom happens that when a great work is to be accomplished, in which co-operated effort is required, the same family which produced the originator should also furnish the effectual seconder of the movement. From this general rule the family of Haldane of Airthrey is an honoured exception; for while Robert was building churches over the whole extent of Scotland, his younger brother, James, was ably preparing the way by preaching in its most destitute localities, and reviving that religious spirit which had sunk for years into cold apathy and indifference.
James Alexander Haldane was born at Dundee, on the 14th of July, 1768, within a fortnight after the death of his father. He also lost his mother when he had only reached his sixth year. After attending the High School of Edinburgh with his brother, and distinguishing himself not only by holding a high place in the class, but being foremost in every school-boy frolic and adventure, he went to the university, which he attended for three years, until he had completed his studies in Latin and Greek, and gone through the curriculum of logic, metaphysics, mathematics, and natural philosophy. Having thus established sufficient groundwork for future self-improvement, and made a tour through the north of England, he joined, at the age of seventeen, the service for which he had been early destined, by entering as midshipman the Duke of Montrose, East Indiaman, bound to Bombay and China. This department of naval life ranked high at a period when the monopoly of the East India Company, and the risks of war, made their ships be manned and armed on a scale approaching that of the royal navy. By the family compact it had also been agreed, that as soon as he was qualified by age and service, he should succeed to the command of the Melville Castle, which had been provided with aninterim captain, under the prospect of this succession. This was a most unhopeful commencement of the course that afterwards awaited him, but the alternatives that were proposed against his going to sea were equally so. His female relatives wished that he should complete his studies, and take orders in the Church of England, in the hope of attaining a bishopric; while the great Croesus of the day, Mr. Coutts, the warm friend of Haldane’s father, to whom he had been greatly indebted, offered to take the youth into his own counting-house as a partner, and make him a thriving banker. Who would have thought that a youth with so many tempting offers at the outset of life, would finally prefer to them all the lowly office of an itinerant preacher!
On embarking upon his new profession, James Haldane devoted himself earnestly to his duties, ambitious to become an active seaman and skilful navigator. Besides this, his love of general literature, which his previous education had imparted, made him spend all his leisure time in the study of the best authors, of which he carried with him a well-stored sea-chest, and in this way he was unconsciously training himself to become an able theological writer and eloquent preacher. He made in all four voyages to India and China; and during the long period over which these extended, he saw much of the variety of life, as well as experienced the usual amount of hair’s-breadth escapes so incidental to his profession. During his third voyage, in which he was third officer of the Hillsborough, and while returning from India, he encountered one of those dangers so frequently attendant upon the naval and military service, and so unreasonable and contemptible in services so full of perils of their own, because so utterly gratuitous. One of the passengers, a cavalry officer, notorious as a quarrelsome bully and a good shot, picked a quarrel with James Haldane, and at the mess-table threw a glass of wine in his face, which the other retorted by throwing a decanter at the captain’s head. A challenge was inevitable, and Haldane was the more ready to receive it, as, from his antagonist’s reputation as a duelist, a refusal might have looked like cowardice. Such was that law of honour, now so generally abjured, which in a few years more will evaporate amidst the general derision. No opportunity occurred of a hostile meeting until the ship arrived at St. Helena, where the parties went ashore early in the morning, to settle their quarrel by mortal arbitrament. James Haldane who, the night before, had made his will, and written a farewell letter to his brother, to be delivered in the event of his death, raised his pistol at the signal, and inwardly ejaculating, with fearful inconsistency, the solemn prayer, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," he drew the trigger. The pistol burst, and one of the splinters wounded him in the face, while his opponent, whose weapon at the same instant missed fire, declared himself fully satisfied. Thus terminated the first and last affair of the kind in which he ever was engaged. His amiable disposition, as well as his acknowledged courage and spirit, alike prevented him afterwards from giving or receiving injury.
After his fourth voyage was completed, James Haldane, now at the age of twenty-five, was found fully competent to assume the command of the Melville Castle; and on passing his examinations he was promoted to that office in 1793. After his appointment, he married Miss Joass, only child of Major Joass, fort-major of Stirling Castle, and niece of Sir Ralph Abercromby. As his fortune was still to seek, while his bride was a young lady of great attractions and high prospects, some demur was made by her relatives to her marriage with a younger brother; but the mutual affection of the pair at last reconciled all parties to the measure. At the end of the year, the Melville Castle was at Portsmouth ready for an Indian voyage, in company with a large fleet of Indiamen lying at the same port, and Haldane, having parted with his wife at London, had already joined his vessel, when delays occurred that prevented its sailing till some months afterwards. While the fleet was thus lying at anchor, a mutiny broke out in the Dutton, which grew to such a height that the chief officers were obliged in terror to abandon the ship; and the crew, arming themselves with what weapons came to hand, threatened to sink every boat that came alongside to board them, or at the worst to blow up the ship, or carry it into a French port. In this state of wild uproar, Captain Haldane threw himself into one of the boats of the Melville Castle, and approached the Dutton, amidst the cries of "Keep off, or we’ll sink you!" Undeterred by these threats, he boarded the hostile deck, cutlass in hand, relieved the remaining officers, who were about to be overpowered on the quarter-deck, and by his prompt decided measures so appalled the mutineers, that they were soon brought to a surrender. But while this was going on upon deck, a noise was heard below, and on learning the cause, he rushed to the powder magazine, which two men were about to enter, with a shovel-full of live coals, after having wrenched off the doors, swearing that they would blow the ship to heaven or hell, no matter which. He clapped a pistol to the breast of the most forward, and compelled him to stand; and ordered the crew to put the two offenders instantly in irons, which was done almost as rapidly as it had been commanded. The daring demeanour and prompt decision of the young captain of the Melville Castle so completely quelled the ship’s company, and recalled their habits of obedience, that the chief mutineers submitted, and order was restored.
By this time Haldane had acquired a high character in his profession. His skill as a sailor, and his excellent qualities as an officer, had endeared him to seamen and passengers alike; his courage in trying emergencies had been well proved; while the political influence by which he was supported, not only through his friends at home, but in India, where his wife’s uncle, Sir Ralph Abercromby, was commander-in-chief of the British army, insured him the speedy attainment both of rank and fortune. Such a consummation was also expected of him as a duty, both on the part of his wife’s relatives and his own, who saw no reason why he should sink, with all his prospects and attainments, into the rank of an obscure bonnet laird, or idle country gentleman. And yet he had even already resolved to abandon the sea, and all its alluring advantages! The cause of this is to be traced to his early religious education, which had more or less clung to him in his after-career, so that in all he had undergone and enjoyed, as well as all that he hoped or feared, he had felt the contention of two hostile elements within him—he had been a man divided against himself. With an earnest longing that the spiritual should prevail, so that he might be renewed and sanctified, he felt withal as if such an end could not be attained in his present pursuits and occupations. But as this constituted the great turning-point of his life, it is right that we should hear his own account, which he has given in his manuscript memoranda in the following words:—"Some circumstances which took place tended, before I left the sea, to render me more circumspect; yet was my heart still unchanged. I lived on board ship nearly four months at Portsmouth, and having much spare time, and being always fond of reading, I was employed in this way, and began, more from a conviction of its propriety than any real concern about eternity, to read the Bible and religious books, not only on the Sabbath, but a portion of Scripture every day. I also began to pray to God, although almost entirely about the concerns of a present world. During all this time I did not go on shore to public worship above once or twice, though I could have done so, and heard the gospel with the same form of worship (at Dr. Bogue’s) as in Scotland. At length some impressions seemed to be made on my mind that all was not right; and knowing that the Lord’s supper was to be dispensed, I was desirous of being admitted, and went and spoke with Dr. Bogue on the subject. He put some books into my hand on the nature of the ordinance, which I read, and was more regular in prayer and attending public worship. An idea of quitting the sea at this time was suggested, apparently by accident, and literally so, except in so far as ordered of God. The thought sunk into my mind, and although there were many obstacles, my inclination rather increased than abated. Being now in the habit of prayer, I asked of God to order matters so that it might be brought about, and formed resolutions of amendment, in case my prayer should be heard. Several circumstances occurred which seemed to cut off every hope of my being able to get away before the fleet sailed; yet the Lord overruled all to further the business about two days before it left England. A concern about my soul had very little influence in this step; yet I was now determined to begin to make religion a matter of serious consideration. I was sure I was not right. I had never joined at the Lord’s supper, being formerly restrained partly by conscience, while living in open sin, and partly by want of convenient opportunities, and I had been prevented by my engagements in the week of quitting the sea from joining at Gosport, as I had proposed. However dark my mind still was, I have no doubt but that God began a work of grace on my soul while living on board the Melville Castle. His voice was indeed still and small, but I would not despise the day of small things, nor undervalue the least of His gracious dealings towards me. There is no doubt that I had sinned against more light than many of my companions who have been cut off in their iniquities, and that I might justly have been made a monument of his wrath."
The result of these reasons may be easily surmised, enforced as they were by the earnest entreaties of his brother Robert, who had also quitted the navy, and was about to devote himself to that career of religious usefulness by which his whole life was afterwards distinguished. James Haldane accordingly sold his interest in the Melville Castle for a sum that insured him a decent independence for life, bade adieu to the sea for ever, and, on rejoining his wife in Scotland, and establishing a peaceful home in Edinburgh, he became a diligent student in theology in the best sense of the term. It was in this way that both the brothers qualified themselves for their appointed work. In their case it was from no sudden fit of enthusiasm that they devoted themselves to a career which excited the wonderment of society, and that had to be persevered in through much scorn and opposition for years; on the contrary, they were led to the faith upon which they acted through a long course of inquiry; and this being attained, they were able deliberately to count the cost, and prepare themselves for the sacrifice. In this spirit, while Robert was earnestly straining every nerve to obtain the privilege of deportation and exile as a missionary, James was qualifying himself for the equally humble and self-denying duties of an itinerant preacher. Had such instances occurred in the Romish Church, they would have been emblazoned as choice episodes in the Acta Sanctorum, if not exalted into full claims for canonization. The steps by which James Haldane was conducted to the "highways and hedges," he has thus detailed in language of straight-forward simplicity:—" For some time after I knew the truth I had no thoughts towards the ministry. My attention was directed to the study of the Scriptures and other religious books, for my own improvement, and because I found much pleasure in them. When I first lived in my own house, I began family worship on Sabbath evenings. I was unwilling to have it more frequently, lest I should meet with ridicule from my acquaintance. A conviction of duty at length determined me to begin to have it every morning; but I assembled the family in a back room for some time, lest any one should come in. I gradually got over this fear of man; and being desirous to instruct those who lived in my family, I began to expound the Scriptures. I found this pleasant and edifying to myself, and it has been one chief means by which the Lord prepared me for speaking in public. About this time some of my friends remarked that I would by and by become a preacher. A person asked me whether I did not regret that I had not been a minister? which made a considerable impression on my mind. I began secretly to desire to be allowed to preach the gospel, which I considered as the most important, as well as honourable employment. I began to ask of God to send me into his vineyard, and to qualify me for the work."—While these wishes were thus forming and growing within his heart, events were occurring to draw them into action. He first confined himself to the silent distribution of tracts, and afterwards advanced to the visitation and establishment of Sabbath-schools, where a "word of exhortation" was expected as a matter of course; and, finally, having accompanied John Campbell (his brother’s friend) and another preacher to the large collier village of Gilmerton, where a preaching station had been established, he found himself drawn, in the course of necessity, to take his turn in that apostolic labour which he had already thus far countenanced and commended. He preached his first sermon on the 6th of May, 1797, and by that decisive act committed himself to the vocation in which he persevered to the end of his long-extended life.
After having continued to preach for a short time at Gilmerton, James Haldane’s views extended over Scotland at large, so that he resolved to commence the work of an itinerant preacher in good earnest. But an ambulatory ministry and lay preaching—these are irregularities which only a very urgent emergency can justify; and yet, perhaps, Scotland at this time needed them as much as England did the labours of her Wesleys and Whitefield. James Haldane also went forth, not as a minister, to dispense the higher ordinances of religion, but simply as an evangelist, to call men to repentance. This his first tour, in 1797, extended through the northern counties of Scotland and the Orkney Islands, and was made in company with Mr. Aikman, originally settled in a prosperous business in Jamaica, but now a student in theology, with the view of becoming a minister. They preached wherever they could find a place to assemble men together—in school-rooms and hospitals, at market-crosses, and in church-yards, and upon stair-heads—and assembled their auditories by announcing their purpose through the town-drummer or bellman. In this way they itinerated through Perth, Scone, Cupar, Glammis, Kerrymuir, Montrose, and Aberdeen. At the last-mentioned place Haldane had hearers in thousands, who were attracted by the novelty of a captain of an East Indiaman turning preacher. The tourists then proceeded to Banff, Elgin, Forres, Nairn, and Inverness; and having learned that a great fair was soon to be held at Kirkwall, to which people were wont to assemble from every island of the Orkneys, they resolved to comprise this Ultima Thule of the modern as well as the ancient world—this remote nook, which even steam has as yet failed wholly to conquer—within the sphere of their operations. And miserable indeed was the spiritual state of the Orkneys at this time, where the ministers were so far removed beyond the ken of the General Assembly, that they might live as they listed; while the difficulties of navigation in the performance of their duties were so numerous, that they might leave as much undone as they pleased. Here, then, was the field for a devoted Christian, earnest in his sacred work, and fearless of wind and weather; and from Kirkwall, as his head-quarters, the bold sailor was ready to scud before the wind in an open boat, to preach the gospel at whatever island might most require his services. In some of these desolate places there had been no religious ordinances for several years; while in Kirkwall, where he and his fellow-traveller preached daily during the fair, they had congregations by the thousand. It was the old Scottish spirit of the days of Knox and the Covenant revived among a people who had long and most unjustly been neglected. After having thus visited the twenty-nine inhabited islands of Orkney, and sometimes preached three times a-day in their several places of labour, the tourists, in their return, crossed over to Caithness, and began to preach in its principal town of Thurso. On this occasion Mr. Haldane laboured alone, his companion having been disabled by an accident during six weeks of their stay in Caithness, and there his usual auditory numbered from 800 to 3000 persons. The next scene of his labours was the town of Wick, and here his auditories were equally large, and his labours as abundant. A note from his journal of proceedings in this place is applicable to many others which he visited in the course of his tour, and shows the necessity that was laid upon him to labour as he did. It is as follows:—"Lord’s-day, October 1.—Preached in the morning to about 2500 people. Heard the minister, in the forenoon, preach from Matt. xxii. 5: ‘And they made light of it.’ He represented that men, in becoming Christians, first began to work out their own salvation, and that when God wrought in them, &c. He spoke much of the criminality of such as found fault with ministers, ‘who were,’ he said, ‘the successors of the apostles—the ambassadors appointed to carry on the treaty of peace between God and man!’ In the afternoon preached to about 4000 people, and took notice of what appeared contrary to the gospel in the minister’s sermon, himself being present."
On the 11th of October, 1797, Mr. James Haldane left Wick, the very day on which his uncle, Admiral Duncan, gained the celebrated naval victory off Camperdown, and the firing of the guns was heard upon the coast of Caithness, while the nephew of the conqueror was preaching his farewell discourse in the market town. On his return from this evangelistic tour, Mr. Haldane preached at the different towns of his long route until he reached Airthrey, on the 7th November, having been employed nearly four months in this important mission, and undergone an amount of labour which only an iron constitution, animated by the highest sense of duty, could have endured. Although he preached almost daily two, and sometimes three times, he was no mere rhapsodist or declaimer, but a studious, painstaking preacher, anxious to instruct as well as persuade, and careful that the style of his message should correspond with its dignity and importance. "I and several other ministers," thus writes the Rev. Mr. Cowie, of Huntly, the Whitefield of the north, "heard Mr. Haldane on his late tour; and I confess, though I have been little short of thirty years a minister, have heard many excellent preachers, and laid my hand on many heads, I have very seldom heard anything so much to my satisfaction, and nothing that could exceed Mr. Haldane’s discourses. I could even say more, but I forbear. He carries his credentials with him, and needs not recommendatory letters."
This was but the first of a series of tours of a similar character, which were continued at intervals for years, not only in the north, south, and west of Scotland, but in England and Ireland, and which only ceased when the increase of a faithful ministry, and the general revival of a religious spirit, superseded the necessity of such itinerancy. They also abounded in striking incident, not only of bold adventure and fierce hostility, but of wonderful conversions from darkness and guilt to the light and holiness of a renewed life—cases by which the heart of Haldane was animated in a career otherwise so thankless and profitless. But these were only incidental advantages, compared with the influence of his labours upon the general change that was now at hand. The public attention was awakened to those great principles of religion which had been rapidly passing away, and the progress of that apathetic Socinianism arrested, which, in course of time, would have converted Scotland into a wholesale Geneva of religious doubt and indifference. Hume was already taking the place of Knox, while the theology of the pulpit was little more than the morality of Seneca without its depth, or the vague aspirations of Plato without their earnest, heart-stirring eloquence. And was it a small matter that Haldane should have been so influential in checking that downward progress which would have terminated in national degradation and destruction, and bringing back the spirit of the land to that Rock of strength from which it had so mournfully wandered?
While Mr. James Haldane was thus pursuing his course as an itinerating and lay preacher, events soon occurred by which the office of an ordained minister, and the superintendence of a regular congregation, were added to his employments. His brother Robert, after having failed in his attempt to establish a great Indian mission, was now employed in the opening of tabernacles and the extension of evangelical religion at home. It was natural that in such a work he should seek the able co-operation of his brother, and that, too, at Edinburgh, the metropolis and head-quarters of the new movement. The circus or tabernacle, a large place of worship capable of holding 2500 hearers, had been opened for this purpose, and on the 3d of February, 1799, Mr. James Haldane was ordained as its minister. It was opened upon those eclectic principles which Independency has constantly advocated; and the following extract from the account of Mr. J. Haldane’s ordination will fully explain his views and purposes on entering into the solemn office. He "expressed his intention of endeavouring to procure a regular rotation of ministers to assist him in supplying the tabernacle. He declared his willingness to open his pulpit for the occasional labours of every faithful preacher of the gospel, of whatever denomination or country he might be. He signified his approbation of the plan of the church which had chosen him for their pastor, as being simple and scriptural, but disavowed any confidence in it as a perfect model of a church of Christ, to the exclusion of all others. He wished to remember himself, and ever to remind his hearers, that the kingdom of heaven was not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Finally, he declared that he meant not to confine his exertions to that church, but to devote a portion of his time every year to the labours of itinerancy, to which he conceived himself, in the providence of God, to be especially called." He thus became the first minister of the first church formed among the new Congregationalist churches of Scotland—which, however needed at the time of their appointment, are now passing, and will soon pass away. A firmer Presbyterianism than before seems the inevitable result of every Scottish religious revival.
According to the promise made at his ordination, Mr. J. Haldane devoted a large portion of every summer to an extensive missionary tour. This continued till 1805, when the increase of his congregation in Edinburgh, as well as the renewed spirit of the public mind over the country, made such arduous exertions the less imperative. He still continued afterwards, however, to make short trips to those portions of the Highlands, and the north and west of Scotland, that were as yet the least accessible to the change; and wherever he came, his stirring eloquence was calculated to rouse the attention and win the hearts of those who listened. Few, indeed, were so well qualified to redeem the office of an itinerant preacher from the obloquy and contempt into which it had fallen; for, independently of his stalwart figure, and bold, dignified, gentlemanly bearing, that commanded the respect of every class, his station in society gave him weight among a people where the old feudal feelings were still a part of the national characteristics. What but love for their souls could induce such a one to undergo labours and hardships which even the love of gain could scarcely inspire among the poorest, and from which the stoutest would have recoiled? And was this worthy descendant of the good old barons of Scotland to be treated like a gaberlunzie preaching for pence, and looking to his hat or plate more carefully than to his text? "Captain Haldane is to preach"—"the son of the Laird of Airthrey is to give a sermon"—and the stair-head or hillock upon which the sermon was delivered, instead of lowering, only aggrandized the discourse. But who in Scotland so circumstanced, except himself and his brother, would have submitted to such a trying experiment?
The rest of the life of James Haldane, as an Edinburgh Dissenting minister, although it passed over such a course of years, may be briefly summed up. It was an occupation with which, however important in its bearing upon national character and events, the trumpet of fame or the pen of the historian is seldom troubled. When the whole world rings with some heroic and virtuous achievement, by which a Christian nation creates an important epoch, how seldom is it traced to that lowly and silent ministry in which it truly originated!
The first important event that occurred in Mr. Haldane’s life as the minister of a settled charge, arose from the divisions in that party of which he was so important a member. While a religious body is small, with the whole world arrayed against it, there is neither time for discord nor motive for division; and in this very feebleness its strength mainly consists. But with its expansion grows security, which promotes dissension, until it falls asunder by its own weight. This dissension had now commenced among the Independent congregations of Scotland, and it was based upon the trying questions of ecclesiastical polity and discipline. It was agreed on all hands that the apostolic model was the only authoritative rule: but what was that model? Here every one had his own theory or interpretation. The frequency with which the Lord’s supper should be administered, the mode of conducting their weekly fellowship meetings for social worship, and the amount of pastoral duty that might be conceded to gifted lay members in exhorting the church and conducting the public devotions, were all severally and keenly contested as matters of religious, and therefore of infinite importance. To these, also, was added the question of Paedobaptism, in which Mr. James Haldane himself was personally and deeply interested. He had been anxiously studying the subject for several years, and after some time he announced to his flock, that "although his mind was not made up to become himself a Baptist, yet that at present he could not conscientiously baptize children." His mind was made up at last: he was baptized; but still his wish was that the difference of opinion should be no ground of disunion between Baptists and Paedobaptists. This, however, was too much to expect from any sect or class of Christians in the present state of human nature, and accordingly a disruption ensued in his congregation, of whom nearly two-thirds went away, some to the Establishment, and others to the two tabernacles in College Street and Niddry Street. By this change, also, the two Haldanes ceased to be the leaders of a sect which their labours had originated in Scotland, and their resources hitherto supported. As for James, he now ministered to a very limited congregation, and with diminished popularity, but his elevated generous heart could endure the change as far as it only affected himself. He saw that the good which he had sought to accomplish was in progress under other agencies; and he was content to be nothing, and less than nothing, if the gospel itself should become all in all.
In this way the days and years of James Haldane’s life went onward. He regularly officiated to his own Edinburgh congregation, preached occasionally in the open air in its neighbourhood, and diversified his duties by journeys of similar usefulness to greater distances. He published several tracts upon the most important religious doctrines, which were widely circulated, and attended, it is believed, with much usefulness. He was also engaged as a controversialist, in which capacity he published a "Refutation of the Heretical Doctrine promulgated by the Rev. Edward Irving, respecting the Person and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ;" and when Mr. H. Drummond came to the rescue of his pastor, with his "Candid Examination of the Controversy between Messrs. Irving, Andrew Thomson, and James Haldane," the last replied with a volume of 277 pages. But controversy was not his congenial element, and Dr. Johnson would have rejected him because he was not a good hater. "I see many evils," he thus writes in a letter, "both at home and abroad, which I hope the Lord will correct; but I do not see anything which I can do, unless it be to live near to God, and to preach his gospel where I am placed in the course of his providence." In 1881 he published "Observations on Universal Pardon, the Extent of the Atonement, and Personal Assurance of Salvation." The next important event that occurred in his course was the decease of his brother Robert, whose death-bed he attended, and whose triumphant end he witnessed; and it was during the closing hours of his life that the dying man spoke affectionately to his wife of the great benefit he had derived from the sermons and publications of his brother James, from which, he said, he had derived more solid edification than from any others. He also spoke with fond affection of the complete harmony of mind and purpose that had subsisted between them from the beginning. It seemed as if, in the course of nature, the death of James Haldane must speedily follow, for he was now seventy-four years old, and had already outlived many of his early associates. But his term was extended eight years longer, and they were years not of inert senility, but active diligent exertion. In 1842 he published a treatise entitled "Man’s Responsibility; the Nature and Extent of the Atonement, and the work of the Holy Spirit; in reply to Mr. Howard Hinton and the Baptist Midland Association." In 1848 he reappeared as an author, by publishing an "Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians." Between these he also published two tracts on the important subject of the Atonement. Until he had nearly reached the age of fourscore, he was wont also, in addition to these labours, to conduct three public services every Sabbath. In 1849, having completed the fiftieth year of his ministery, his flock and the Congregationalists of Edinburgh agreed to celebrate the event by a jubilee, which they did on the 12th of April; and the meeting was attended by ministers of all denominations, who were thus eager to testify their love for such a venerable father in Israel. After this his life and labours were continued till 1851, when both were terminated on the 8th of February, in the eighty-third year of his age. His last illness was gentle and brief, and his death the death of the righteous.
-Source: Significant Scots
Directions To The Family Plot of James Alexander Haldane
The J.A. Haldane family plot lies in St. Cuthbert's burial ground in Edinburgh, Scotland.
NOTE: Robert Haldane is NOT buried here, those part of his family is. There is an inscription below, revealing that it is his plot, however he is buried in the Glasgow Cathedral, in Glasgow, Scotland. See his plot here.
The location of the family plot is as follows:
In Edinburgh, go to the area of the city center, to the corner of Lothian Road and Princes Street. There are two churches there. The first is St. Johns. It has a Catholic cemetery. Up Lothian Street slightly is The Parish Church of St. Cuthbert. The cemetery surrounding it is where you will find the Haldane family plot.
Lothian Road Entrance: Entering the cemetery from Lothian street, walk down the steps. The front of the church building will be straight ahead. Make your way to the right side of the building, and down through the parking area. There is a stairwell going down behind the building. Go down the stairwell, and look straight ahead. You will see the Haldane family plot.
Princes Street Entrance: Walk down the stairs into the cemetery. Continue down behind the church building until you come to a stairwell on your right leading up to the far side of the building. When you get to the stairwell, look to your left. You will see the Haldane family plot.
NOTE: The Greville Ewing Family Plot is located in this cemetery as well.
or D.d. 55.949719,-3.204518
Saint Cuthbert's Burial Ground
The Gravesite of James A. Haldane
St. Cuthbert's Church
(Far Left) Second Tablet to left of the Robert Haldane Tablet. In memory of Eliza Joanna, eldest daughter of Robert Haldane of Cloanden, born 3rd May 1842, died 1st May 1909.
(Second to Far Left) First Tablet 1st left of R. Haldane Tablet. In memory of the infant son of Robert Haldane and Mary Elizabeth Burdon Sanderson, his second wife, born 21st, and died 24th March 1855; also of George Abercrombie Haldane, their second surviving son, born 27th May 1858, and died 10th March 1875.
Robert Haldane of Cloanden, born 27th January 1805, died 12th June 1877.
Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind
is as loved on Thee because he trusteth in Thee"
His second wife
Daughter of Richard Burden Sanderson
Of Otterburn Dene, Northumberland,
Born 9th April, 1825
Died at Clone, Perthshire, 20th May 1925
"I rest in God"
Note: This is the son of James Haldane and Mary Joass.
Jane Makgill, the beloved wife of Robert Haldane, Writer to the Signet, born at Kemback 15th December 18 13, died at Edinburgh 24th February 1851; Jane Jemima, their daughter, born 9th, and died 10th February 185 1.
Margaret Rutherford, his second wife, born 13th November 1788, died at Edinburgh 9th January 1867; also George Oswald, second son of James Alexander Haldane and Margaret Rutherford, died 4th March 1831, aged 19 months. On Pediment, Left Side. The burial place of Robert Haldane of Cloanden, Writer to the Signet.
Henrietta, third daughter of James Alexander Haldane and Mary Joass, born 6th May 1797, died at Edinburgh 1st july 1885, for more than half a century at Greenside Place School and elsewhere she devoted herself to the spiritual and moral welfare of the young.
Alexander Joass, of Culleinwart, born 10th March 1732, died at Stirling 30th November 1794 ; Elizabeth Abercromby, his wife, born 1st February 1738, died 19th December 1814; Elizabeth, eldest daughter of J.A. Haldane and Mary Joass, born at Stirling Castle 6th October 1794, died at Edinburgh 20th December 1843.
To the memory of
Mary Joass, wife of
James Alexander Haldane,
born at Stirling Castle,
27th October 1771,
died at Edinburgh 27th February 1819;
and Catherine, their daughter,
born 3rd December 1795, died 5th June 1802.
Also James, their eldest son,
born 14th March 1799, and died at Edinburgh 24th January 1831.
James Alexander Haldane
born 14th July 1768, died at Edinburgh 8th February 1851.
In early life
he commanded the Melville Castle, East Indiaman.
His last 54 years were gratuitously dedicated
to the cause of Christ
by his preaching, his itineracies and his writings:
along with his brother, Robert Haldane of Airthrey,
he was instrumental in promoting
a remarkable revival of religion in Scotland;
for 52 years he was the devoted pastor
of the Tabernacle Church, Edinburgh,
and was honoured to win many souls to Christ.
I shall be satified when I unite ????
Photos Taken January, 2012
Courtesy of Scott Harp
On January 2, 2012 your web editor and his son, Richard Harp, missionary in East Kilbride, Scotland, took a trip to Edinburgh, and found the graves of James A. Haldane and family members of Robert Haldane. Also buried in the St. Cuthbert's cemetery at the foot of the Edinburgh Castle is the family of Greville Ewing
NOTE: Greville Ewing and Robert Haldane are not buried here.