Robert Baillie

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Robert Baillie
Born 1602
Glasgow, Scotland
Died August 1662
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Known for Presbyterian leader and author
Notable work Letters

Robert Baillie (30 April 1602 – 1662) was a Scottish divine and historical writer.[1]


Baillie was born at Glasgow, the son of Baillie of Jerviston. Having graduated there in 1620, he gave himself to the study of divinity. In 1631, after Baillie was ordained into the Church of Scotland, acting for some years as regent in the university, he was appointed to the living of Kilwinning in Ayrshire. His abilities soon made him a leading man. In 1638 he was a member of the Glasgow Assembly, when Presbyterianism was re-established in Scotland, and soon after he accompanied Leslie and the Scottish army as chaplain or preacher. In 1642, Baillie was made Professor of Divinity, Glasgow, and in the following year was selected as one of the five Scottish clergymen who were sent to the Westminster Assembly.

In 1649, he was one of the commissioners sent to Holland for the purpose of inviting Charles II to Scotland, and of settling the terms of his admission to the government. He continued to take an active part in all the minor disputes of the church. In 1651, he was made professor of divinity in Glasgow University, and in 1661 was made principal. He died in August of the following year, his death likely hastened by his mortification at the apparently firm establishment of episcopacy in Scotland.[2]


Baillie was a man of learning and ability; his views were wise and temperate rather than extreme, and he played but a secondary part in the stirring events of the time. His Letters, by which he is now chiefly remembered, are of first-rate historical importance, and give a very lively picture of a period of great importance in Scottish history.

A complete memoir and a full notice of his writings can be found in David Laing's edition of the Letters and Journals of Robert Baillie (1637–1662), Bannatyne Club, 3 vols. (Edinburgh, 1841–1842). Among his works are Ladensium αὐτοκατάκρισις, an answer to Lysimachus Nicanor by John Corbet in the form of an attack on Laud and his system, in reply to a publication which charged the Covenanters with Jesuitry; Anabaptism, the true Fountain of Independency, Brownisme, Antinomy, Familisme, etc., a sermon [in which he criticises the rise of the early Baptist churches in England such as those led by Thomas Lambe]; An Historical Vindication of the Government of the Church of Scotland; The Life of William (Laud) now Lord Archbishop of Canterbury Examined (London, 1643); A Parallel of the Liturgy with the Mass Book, the Breviary, the Ceremonial and other Romish Rituals (London, 1661).[2]

  • La densivm AUTOKATAKRISIS : the Canterburians self-conviction ... : with a postscript for the personat Jesuite Lysimachus Nicanor (1641)
  • A dissuasive from the errours of the time : wherein the tenets of the principall sects, especially of the Independents, are drawn together in one map, for the most part in the words of their own authours and their maine principles are examined by the touch-stone of the Holy Scrptures [sic] (1645)
  • Errours and induration are the great sins and the great judgements of the time : preached in a sermon before the Right Honourable House of Peers, in the Abbey-Church at Westminster, 30 July 1645, the day of the monethly fast (1645)
  • Operis historici et chronologici libri duo : in quibus historia sacra & profana compendiosè deducitur ex ipsis fontibus, a creatione mundi ad Constantinum Magnum, & quaestiones ac dubia chronologica, quae ex V. & N. Testamento moveri solent, breviter & perspicuè explicantur & vindicantur. Una cum tribus diatribis ... (MDCLXVIII [1668])
  • The letters and journals of Robert Baillie ... M.DC.XXXVII.-M.DC.LXII (Volume 1) (1841)
    • (University of California Libraries)
  • The letters and journals of Robert Baillie ... M.DC.XXXVII.-M.DC.LXII (Volume 2) (1841)
    • (University of California Libraries)
  • The letters and journals of Robert Baillie ... M.DC.XXXVII.-M.DC.LXII (Volume 3) (1841)
    • (University of California Libraries)
  • Letters and journals (volume 1) (1775)
  • Letters and journals (volume 2) (1775)
  • Letters and journals (volume 3) (1775)
  • The letters and journals of Robert Baillie ... M.DC.XXXVII.-M.DC.LXII (1841)


Baillie was twice married, firstly to Lilias Fleming, of the family of Cardarroch, by whom he had a large number of children, but only five survived him; she died in June 1653. His second wife was Mrs. Wilkie, widow, daughter of a former principal of the university, John Strang; by her he had a daughter, Margaret, who became wife of Walkinshaw of Barrowfield, and grandmother of Henry Home, Lord Kames. Another descendant was Clementina Walkinshaw, mistress of Charles Edward Stuart.


  1. ^ Robert Baillie. University of Glasgow (multitab page)
  2. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Baillie, Robert". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 220.


Further reading

  • Stevenson, David (2004). "Baillie, Robert (1602–1662)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 16 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  • Chambers, Robert & Thomson, Thomas Napier (1857). Baillie, Robert. A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen. 1. Glasgow: Blackie and son. pp. 86–88.
  • Campbell, Alexander D. (2017). The Life and Works of Robert Baillie (1602-1662): Politics, Religion and Record-Keeping in the British Civil Wars. Boydell & Brewer.

External links

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