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Graham, William (1737-1801) (DNB00)

GRAHAM, WILLIAM (1737–1801), minister in the united secession church, was born 16 March 1737 at Carriden in Linlithgowshire, where his father was steward to the Earl of Hopetoun. He was educated at Borrowstounness grammar school, and was afterwards for three years with a writer to the signet at Edinburgh. Eventually he decided to enter the ministry, studied under Alexander Moncrieff at Abernethy, and when only eighteen was appointed to take charge of the philosophical class in the seminary of the secession church. In 1758 he was licensed to preach. In 1759 he became first seceding minister at Whitehaven. He was minister of the Close meeting-house at Newcastle from 1770 till his death, 29 Jan. 1801. He married in 1759 Mary, daughter of George Johnstone of Whiteknow in Dumfriesshire. Graham was a man of liberal sentiments, and is said to have been an excellent scholar. He made a special study of mathematics in the hope of discovering a method for finding the longitude at sea, but his machinery proved a failure.

Graham wrote: 1. ‘The Worth of the Soul,’ Newcastle, 1772. 2. ‘Four Discourses on Public Vows,’ Glasgow, 1778. 3. ‘A Candid Vindication of the Secession Church,’ Newcastle, 1790. 4. ‘A Review of Ecclesiastical Establishments in Europe,’ Glasgow, 1792; 2nd edit., with alterations and amendments, London, 1796. An abridged edition was twice published, Exeter, 1816, and London, 1821. 5. ‘An Essay … to remove certain Scruples respecting … Missionary Societies, especially that of London,’ Newcastle, 1797. He also edited ‘The Holy Bible with short Illustrations,’ 1802. Three sermons of his were printed 1780, 1796, 1820. His friend, the Rev. John Baillie, wrote an elegy on him appended to a ‘Funeral Sermon,’ &c., Newcastle, 1802.

[E. Mackenzie's Newcastle, i. 393; M'Kerrow's Hist. of the Secession Church, pp. 899–901; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

C. L. K.