Robert Baillie

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Robert Baillie (1602 – 1662) was a Scottish divine and historical writer.



Baillie was born at Glasgow, the son of Baillie of Jerviston. Having graduated there in 1620, he gave himself to the study of divinity.

In 1631, after Baillie had been ordained into the Church of Scotland and had acted for some years as regent in the university, he was appointed to the living of Kilwinning in Ayrshire. His abilities soon made him a leading man. In 1638 he was a member of the Glasgow Assembly, when Presbyterianism was re-established in Scotland, and soon after he accompanied Leslie and the Scottish army as chaplain or preacher. In 1642, Baillie was made Professor of Divinity, Glasgow, and in the following year was selected as one of the five Scottish clergymen who were sent to the Westminster Assembly.

In 1649, he was one of the commissioners sent to Holland for the purpose of inviting Charles II to Scotland, and of settling the terms of his admission to the government. He continued to take an active part in all the minor disputes of the church. In 1651, he was made Professor of Divinity in Glasgow University, and in 1661 was made principal. He died in August of the following year, his death being probably hastened by his mortification at the apparently firm establishment of episcopacy in Scotland.


Baillie was a man of learning and ability; his views were not extreme, and he played but a secondary part in the stirring events of the time. His Letters, by which he is now chiefly remembered, are of first-rate historical importance, and give a very lively picture of a period of great importance in Scottish history.

A complete memoir and a full notice of all his writings will be found in David Laing's edition of the Letters and Journals of Robert Baillie (1637–1662), Bannatyne Club, 3 vols. (Edinburgh, 1841–1842). Among his works are Ladensium Aὐτοκατάκρισις, an answer to Lysimachus Nicanor by John Corbet in the form of an attack on Laud and his system, in reply to a publication which charged the Covenanters with Jesuitry; Anabaptism, the true Fountain of Independency, Brownisme, Antinomy, Familisme, etc., a sermon; An Historical Vindication of the Government of the Church of Scotland; The Life of William (Laud) now Lord Archbishop of Canterbury Examined (London, 1643); A Parallel of the Liturgy with the Mass Book, the Breviary, the Ceremonial and other Romish Rituals (London, 1661).


Baillie was twice married, firstly to Lilias Fleming, of the family of Cardarroch, by whom he had a large number of children, but only five survived him; she died in June 1653. His second wife was Mrs. Wilkie, widow, daughter of a former principal of the university, John Strang; by her he had a daughter, Margaret, who became wife of Walkinshaw of Barrowfield, and grandmother of Henry Home, Lord Kames. Another descendant was Clementina Walkinshaw, mistress of Charles Edward Stuart.

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