Archibald Alison (author)

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Archibald Alison
Archibald Alison
Archibald Alison
Born (1757-11-13)13 November 1757
Died 17 May 1839(1839-05-17) (aged 81)
Colinton, Edinburgh
Occupation Minister of religion
Nationality Scottish
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Balliol College, Oxford
Subject didactic and philosophical topics
Literary movement Scottish enlightenment
Notable works Essay on the Nature and Principles of Taste (1790)
Spouse Dorothea Gregory (m. 1784) (d. 1830)
Children William Pulteney Alison, physician
Sir Archibald Alison, advocate
Relatives Brother-in-law of the physician James Gregory
44 Heriot Row, Edinburgh, home of Rev Archibald Alison

Archibald Alison FRS FRSE (13 November 1757 – 17 May 1839) was a Scottish episcopalian priest and essayist.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Edinburgh, to Patrick Alison[1] the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, himself a younger son of an Alison of Newhall, near Coupar Angus.

After studying at the University of Glasgow, where he established his lifelong friendship with Dugald Stewart, and at Balliol College, Oxford, he took orders in the Church of England, and was appointed in 1778 to the curacy of Brancepeth, near Durham. In 1784 he married Dorothea Gregory, youngest daughter of Professor Gregory of Edinburgh.[2]


The next 20 years of his life were spent in Shropshire, where he held in succession the livings of High Ercall, Roddington and Kenley. In 1800 he moved back to Edinburgh, having been appointed senior incumbent of St Paul's Chapel in the Cowgate. For 34 years he filled this position with much ability; his sermons were characterised by quiet beauty of thought and grace of composition. His preaching attracted so many hearers that a new and larger church was built for him.[2]

From 1791 until death he held the title of Prebendary to Salisbury Cathedral.

In 1832 he was living at 44 Heriot Row in Edinburgh's city centre.[3] His last years were spent at Colinton near Edinburgh, where he died on 17 May 1839.[2] He was interred at St John's Episcopal Churchyard in Edinburgh.


He married Dorothea Gregory, the sister of James Gregory in 1784. She died in 1830. Their sons included Sir Archibald Alison, 1st Baronet and William Pulteney Alison.[4]


Alison published, besides a Life of Lord Woodhouselee, a volume of sermons, which passed through several editions, and a work entitled Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste (1790), based on the principle of "association".[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alison, Archibald". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 672.
  3. ^ "Edinburgh Post Office annual directory, 1832-1833". National Library of Scotland. p. 4. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  4. ^