HALDANE, ROBERT (1764-1842), Scottish divine, elder brother of J. A. Haldane (<?..), was born in London on the 28th of February 1764. After attending classes in the Dundee grammar school and in the high school and university of Edinburgh in 1780, he joined H.M.S. " Monarch," of which his uncle Lord Duncan was at that time in command, and in the following year was transferred to the " Foudroyant," on board of which, during the night engagement with the " Pegase," he greatly distinguished himself. Haldane was afterwards present at the relief of Gibraltar, but at the peace of 1783 he finally left the navy, and soon afterwards settled on his estate of Airthrey, near Stirling. He put himself under the tuition of David Bogue of Gosport and carried away deep impressions from his academy. The earlier phases of the French Revolution excited his deepest sympathy, a sympathy which induced him to avow his strong disapproval of the war with France. As his over-sanguine visions of a new order of things to be ushered in by political change disappeared, he began to direct his thoughts to religious subjects. Resolving to devote himself and his means wholly to the advancement of Christianity, his first proposal for that end, made in 1796, was to organize a vast mission to Bengal, of which he was to provide the entire expense; with this view the greater part of his estate was sold, but the East India Company refused to sanction the scheme, which therefore had to be abandoned. In December 1797 he joined his brother and some others in the formation of the " Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at Home," in building chapels or " tabernacles " for congregations, in supporting missionaries, and in maintaining institutions for the education of young men to carry on the work of evangelization. He is said to have spent more than 70,000 in the course of the following twelve years (1798-1810). He also initiated a plan for evangelizing Africa by bringing over native children to be trained as Christian teachers to their own countrymen. In 1816 he visited the continent, and first at Geneva and afterwards in Montauban (1817) he lectured and interviewed large numbers of theological students with remarkable effect; among them were Malan, Monod and Merle d'Aubigne. Returning to Scotland in 1819, he lived partly on his estate of Auchengray and partly in Edinburgh, and like his brother took an active part, chiefly through the press, in many of the religious controversies of the time. He died on the 12th of December 1842.
In 1816 he published a work on the Evidences and Authority of Divine Revelation, and in 1819 the substance of his theological prelections in a Commentaire sur I'Epitre aux Remains. Among his later writings, besides numerous pamphlets on what was known as " the Apocrypha controversy," are a treatise On the Inspiration of Scripture (1828), which has passed through many editions, and a later Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans (1835), which has been frequently reprinted, and has been translated into French and German.
See Memoirs of R. and J. A. Haldane, by Alexander Haldane (1852).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)