Haldane ,.I. Robert, a Scottish philanthropist, born in 1764, died Dec. 12, 1842. Though heir to a large property, he had a passion for a seafaring life, and in 1780 entered the royal navy, in which he served with honor under Capt. Jervis, afterward Earl St. Vincent. He retired from the navy in 1783, and in 1785 married and settled upon his estate of Airthrey. He welcomed the advent of the French revolution, and was consequently exposed to much obloquy; but, disappointed by the revolutionary excesses, and convinced of the divine origin of Christianity, he resolved to devote his life to its advancement. He conceived the idea of organizing a vast scheme of missionary labor in India, including the establishment of schools and a printing press, all the expenses to be borne by himself. The East India company, suspecting some hidden design, refused to sanction the scheme, and Haldane was forced to abandon it. He then selected Scotland as his field of work, sold his estate, and devoted his means to hiring and erecting places for worship, and to educating young men for the ministry. His efforts were highly successful in this respect.
Afterward he formed a plan for the evangelization of Africa, and imported 30 children from Sierra Leone to receive Christian education, giving his bond for £7,000 to pay the expenses. At the commencement of his revival labors in Scotland he seceded from the established church and adopted many of the tenets of Sandeman, with some rigid forms of discipline; and he afterward joined the Baptists, but gave no prominence to peculiar sectarian views. He published a work on the "Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation" (Edinburgh, 1816), an "Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans" (London, 1835), and several minor writings. II. James Alexander, brother of the preceding, born in Dundee, July 14,1768, died in Edinburgh, Feb. 8, 1851. In 1785 he went to sea in the service of the East India company, and in 1793 was appointed captain of a ship. But while the vessel was detained he experienced a religious change like that of his brother. He sold his commission and his share of the ship's property for £15,000, retired to Scotland, and devoted himself to religious labors.
He made journeys through the country, gathering large congregations, for which churches were immediately built by his brother Robert. In 1799 he became pastor of the Tabernacle in Leith walk, Edinburgh, in which office he continued without emolument for more than 50 years. His life, with that of his brother, was written by Alexander Haldane (London, 1852).