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Archibald Alison

Archibald Alison (13 November 1757, Edinburgh – 17 May 1839) was a Scottish didactic and philosophical writer. He was born to Patrick Alison, Provost of Edinburgh.

After studying at the University of Glasgow 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, youngest daughter of Professor Gregory of Edinburgh.

The next twenty 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 thirty-four 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. His last years were spent at Colinton near Edinburgh.

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". His elder son, Dr William Pulteney Alison (1790–1859), was a distinguished Edinburgh medical professor. His younger son was the historian Sir Archibald Alison, 1st Baronet.


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