William Robertson (historian)


William Robertson (historian)

William Robertson (September 19, 1721June 11, 1793) was a Scottish historian and Principal of the University of Edinburgh. ("The thirty years during which (he) presided over the University perhaps represent the highest point in its history" according to D.B.Horn's (1967, p.76) "A Short History of the University of Edinburgh:1556-1889".)

He was born at Borthwick, Midlothian and educated in Dalkeith and at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied divinity. He became minister at Gladsmuir (East Lothian) in 1743 and later at Lady Yester's Kirk and Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. A staunch Presbyterian and Whig, he volunteered to defend the city against the Jacobites led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745.

He became Royal Chaplain to George III (1761), Principal of the University of Edinburgh (1762), Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1763, and Royal Historiographer in 1764. Member of the Poker Club. [http://www.jamesboswell.info/Misc/The_Poker_Club.php] His most notable work was perhaps his "History of Scotland 1542 - 1603" which was first published in 1759. He was a significant figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and also of the "moderates" in the Church of Scotland.

He is buried at Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh and he now gives his name to the nearby William Robertson Building of the University of Edinburgh on George Square.

Books by William Robertson

* "The situation of the world at the time of Christ's appearance" (1791)
* "The history of the reign of Charles V" (1792) 4 volumes
* "The history of America Books 1-8" (1792) 3 volumes
* [http://socserv2.mcmaster.ca/~econ/ugcm/3ll3/robertson/HistoryScotland.pdf "The history of Scotland"] (1794) 2 volumes
* "An historical disquisition concerning the knowledge which the ancients had of India" (1794)
* "The history of America Books 9-10" (1796)

External links

* [http://www.jamesboswell.info/People/biography-151.php William Robertson] at James Boswell - a Guide


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