Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Marshall, James (1796-1855)

MARSHALL, JAMES (1796–1855), divine, born at Rothesay, Bute, on 23 Feb. 1796, was son of a doctor, on whose death in 1806 the family removed to Paisley. James was educated at Paisley grammar school, and subsequently at the universities of both Glasgow and Edinburgh. On 2 Sept. 1818 he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Glasgow, and after assisting his mother's friend, Dr. Robert Balfour, at the Outer High Church, Glasgow, succeeded to Balfour's charge at his death in 1819. In 1828 he was appointed by the Edinburgh town council to the Tolbooth Church, Edinburgh. Although for some years he generally sympathised with the opponents of the establishment in the controversy which led to the disruption, he disliked the extremities to which his party seemed to be committing itself, and ultimately, embracing episcopacy, which he had convinced himself was the only scriptural form of church government, he severed his connection with the Scottish church. He sent in his resignation to the presbytery of Edinburgh on 29 Sept. 1841, and, after being confirmed by the Bishop of Edinburgh, was ordained by the Bishop of Durham as curate to Canon Gilly at Norham (19 Dec.). He took priest's orders on 6 Feb. 1842, and was appointed to the rectory of St. Mary-le-Port, Bristol. In 1845 Marshall became secretary to the newly founded Lay Readers' Association, which he carried on with great vigour for many years. In May 1847 he was appointed by the Simeon trustees to the living of Christ Church, Clifton, which he held till his death. After three years' ill-health he died on 29 Aug. 1855 at his house, Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton, and was buried on 4 Sept. in the Clifton parish church burial-ground. He married in 1822 Catherine Mary, daughter of Legh Richmond, rector of Turvey, Bedfordshire.

Marshall was an effective preacher, and as a young man he attracted the favourable notice of Dr. Chalmers in that capacity. His calm demeanour in the pulpit strikingly contrasted with the vehemence commonly characteristic of the Scottish clergy.

Marshall published, besides sermons and addresses, ‘Inward Revival, or Motives and Hindrances to Advancement in Holiness,’ 8vo, Edinburgh, 1840, and ‘Early Piety illustrated in the Life and Death of a Young Parishioner,’ 12mo, both of which had a large circulation. He also edited the letters of his aunt, ‘the late Mrs. Isabella Graham of New York,’ London, 1839, 12mo. A copy is in the Edinburgh Advocates' Library.

[Memoir by Marshall's eldest son, the Rev. James Marshall, 1857, with Introduction, Preface, and Appendix, containing letters from the Rev. Dr. Hunter and the Rev. W. Niven, referring to subject of memoir; Bristol Mercury, 1 and 8 Sept. 1855; Clifton Chronicle, 5 Sept. 1855, in which is an elaborate account of Marshall's funeral; Gent. Mag. 1855, pt. ii. p. 551; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. ii. 1226; Brit. Mus. Cat. and Edinb. Advocates' Libr. Cat.; Hew Scott's Fasti, i. 52, iii. 22.]

G. Le G. N.