Robert Hall, an English preacher, born at Arnsby, Leicestershire, May 2, 1764, died in Bristol, Feb. 21, 1831. While still a boy his favorite works were Edwards "On the Will" and Butler's "Analogy," which he was able to analyze and intelligently discuss at 9 years of age. When he was 11 years old his master informed his father that he was entirely unable to keep up with his young pupil. At 16 he entered the university of Aberdeen, where he became the friend of Mackintosh, who says that he was "fascinated by the brilliancy and acumen of Hall, in love with his cordiality and ardor, and awe-struck by the transparency of his conduct and the purity of his principles," and that "from his discussions with him he learned more as to principle than from all the books he ever read." In 1783, while still continuing his studies at Aberdeen, he became assistant pastor of Broadmead church in Bristol. In 1790 he removed to Cambridge, where he became pastor of the Baptist church, and rose at once to the highest rank of British preachers.
In Cambridge some of his principal pamphlets were published, including "Christianity consistent with the Love of Freedom" (1791), "Apology for the Freedom of the Press" (1793), his far-famed sermon on "Modern Infidelity" (1800), "Rejections on War" (1802), and "Sentiments suitable to the Present Crisis " (1803). These publications were called forth by the French revolution. In 1804 he became temporarily insane, and was obliged to resign his charge at Cambridge. Upon his recovery he married, and in 1808 was settled at Leicester, and in 182G was recalled to the church in Bristol, the scene of his early labors, where he remained until compelled by disease to relinquish his post. No man in modern times has held a higher rank as a pulpit orator. For nearly all his life he was afflicted with a mysterious disease, from which he suffered so intensely that for more than 20 years he was never able to pass an entire night in bed, and was often obliged in a single night to take 1,000 drops of laudanum. On examination after death it was found that the source of his sufferings was a rough-pointed calculus that entirely filled the right kidney.
His physician said: "Probably no man ever went through more physical suffering than Mr. Hall; he was a fine example of the triumph of the higher powers of mind, enabled by religion, over the infirmities of the body." His works, edited, with a memoir, by Olinthus Gregory, have been published in 6 vols. 8vo (London, 1831-'3; several times reprinted).