Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hill, Alexander

HILL, ALEXANDER (1785–1867), professor of divinity in the university of Glasgow, was the son of George Hill, D.D. [q. v.], principal of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, where he was born on 19 July 1785. He studied at the university of his native city, and graduated in 1804. He was licensed as a preacher in 1806; for a number of years afterwards he travelled, and resided in England and abroad as tutor to a relative. During this period he prosecuted his own studies, paying special attention to the classics, and became familiar with men and manners. In 1815 he was ordained and inducted to the pastoral charge of Colmonell in Ayrshire, and in the following year was translated to the neighbouring parish of Dailly, where he remained for upwards of a quarter of a century. He graduated D.D. at St. Andrews in 1828, and in 1840 was appointed professor of divinity in the university of Glasgow, one of the competitors for the chair being Dr. Chalmers. He was moderator of the general assembly in 1845, and for many years took a prominent part in its proceedings. After the secession of 1843 he held a conspicuous place among those leaders of the moderate party whose acknowledged worth regained for the church the confidence of the country. A man of competent ability and scholarship, of sound judgment, courteous manners, and great kindness of heart, he was beloved by his parishioners and students, and was held in universal respect for his catholicity of spirit. He was the founder of the association for increasing the smaller livings of the clergy, and an active promoter of many other schemes of benevolence. When he resigned his chair in 1862 he received tributes of respect from many quarters. He died at Ayr in January 1867, in his eighty-second year. He married Margaret, only daughter of Major Crawford, H.E.I.C., of Newfield, and had nine children, among them being Crawford, an advocate; Alexander, minister at St. Andrews; Henry David, minister of Eaglesham, Renfrewshire; and Harriet, who married the Rev. James Macnair, minister of the Canongate.

Hill edited his father's ‘Lectures in Divinity,’ and published: 1. ‘The Practice in the Judicatories of the Church of Scotland,’ 2nd edit., Edinburgh, 1830; 5th edit., enlarged, London, 1851. 2. ‘A Book of Family Prayers,’ Edinburgh, 1837, 12mo. 3. ‘Christ the Head of the Church, a Sermon,’ Edinburgh, 1846. 4. ‘Practical Hints to a Young Minister.’ 5. ‘Counsels regarding the Pastoral Office.’ 6. ‘Account of the Parish of Dailly’ (New Statistical Account, vol. v.)

[Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot.; Edinburgh Courant, January 1867; Dailly Parish Magazine, July 1885.]

G. W. S.