Robert Called Barclay Of Ury (Barclay), a distinguished member of the society of Friends, born at Gordonstown, Scotland, Dec. 23, 1648, died at Ury, Oct. 13, 1690. He was sent for his education to the Scotch college at Paris, of which one of his uncles was rector; but efforts having been made to convert him to Catholicism, he returned home about 1664. In 1667 he embraced the principles of the society of Friends, and in 1670 vindicated them from charges which had been brought against them in a publication entitled "Truth cleared of Calumnies." He published in 1676 in Latin, and in 1678 in English, "An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, as the same is held forth and preached by the People called in scorn Quakers." Its dedication to King Charles II. is a model of frankness and independence. It was the ablest defence that had been made at that time of the doctrines of the Friends, and is perhaps the ablest that has ever been made. It materially affected public sentiment in regard to the Friends. His "Treatise on Universal Love" (1677) was the first of the remonstrances which have been made by the Friends against the criminality of war.
He made various journeys in England, Holland, and Germany, generally in company with William Penn, for the propagation of his doctrines, and was several times imprisoned on account of them; but the English government upon the whole was indulgent toward him. Charles II. was his friend, and in 1679 made his estate of Ury a free barony with the privilege of criminal jurisdiction. He was appointed in 1682 by the proprietors of East Jersey in America governor of that province, but he only exercised the office by deputy.