RAMSAY, ROBERT (1842–1882), Australian politician, son of A. M. Ramsay, a minister of the united presbyterian church, was born at Hawick in Roxburghshire in February 1842. His father emigrated in 1847 to Melbourne, and Robert was educated first at a private school, and then at the Scottish college in that city. Having studied law at Melbourne University and served his articles, he was admitted a solicitor in 1862, when he began practice on his own account. In January 1866 Macgregor, his former master, took him into partnership, and the firm was known as Macgregor, Ramsay, & Brahe of Melbourne.
Ramsay seems to have begun his political career by becoming secretary to a committee for abolishing state aid to religion, in which his father also took an active part. On 27 Oct. 1870 he took his seat in the legislative assembly as member for East Bourke, and, as the youngest member, moved the address; his speech gave prominence to the question of state education, which soon absorbed his attention. Sir James McCulloch [q. v.] was in power, and Ramsay, as a moderate protectionist, generally supported him. Sir Gavan Duffy succeeded McCulloch in June 1871, and in June 1872 Ramsay took a leading part in displacing his ministry. James Goodall Francis came in, and Ramsay joined his ministry without portfolio. He carried the bill which made a jury's decision depend on the vote of a three-fourths majority, and in the same session introduced a new education act. When, on 31 July 1874, the ministry was reconstructed, Ramsay became postmaster-general, and, by introducing the system of long terms of contract for the mail service, saved the colony considerable sums of money. In October 1875, in McCulloch's third ministry, he became minister of public instruction and also postmaster-general, and, vigorously administering the education act, he in two years opened more schools in country districts than any predecessor. His tenure of office came to an end on 11 May 1877, but in 1878 he represented the colony at the telegraphic conference at Melbourne. In October 1878 he led the attack upon O'Shanassy's education bill, and it was defeated [see O'Shanassy, Sir John]. On 5 March 1880 he joined James Service's ministry as chief secretary and minister of public instruction. In June his promptitude contributed to the capture of the Kelly gang of bushrangers [see Kelly, Edward], but he and his colleagues resigned in August on the question of reforming the council; this question was at last decided by a compromise between the two houses, which Ramsay actively helped to arrange. He was not again in office, but in 1881 he took an active part in promoting the bill abolishing all future pensions to servants of the government.
Ramsay died suddenly at his residence in Gipps Street, Melbourne, on 23 May 1882. He married, in 1868, Isabella Catherine, daughter of Roderick Urquhart of Yangery Park, Victoria, who, with four children, survived him.
[Melbourne Argus, 24 May 1882; Victorian Hansard and Official Year Book.]
RAMSAY or RAMSEY, THOMAS (fl. 1653), Roman catholic agent, son of Alexander Ramsey, a Scottish physician, born in St. Dunstan's parish, near Temple Bar, about 1631, was sent by his father, at the age of sixteen, to Holland to his uncle, Alexander Petree, that he might study at Leyden. His uncle, however, disapproved of this plan, and on his advice he was removed to Glasgow, where he studied philosophy and Greek for a twelvemonth, and graduated M.A. Driven to Edinburgh by a visitation of the plague, he devoted himself to philosophy for another year, and graduated M.A. there also. Being advised to perfect himself abroad, he sailed to Bremen and thence proceeded to Würzburg, and eventually reached Rome. His actions there are not very clear. He himself asserts that he abode with the Dominicans a year and then entered the jesuit college. But there is no mention of him in the register of the college, and another account makes him an officer of the inquisition. After two years in Rome, he was sent to Hildesheim, whence he was ordered to England. Taking the name of Thomas Horsley, he made his way to Hamburg, stayed with Dr. Elborough, the English minister, and took a passage in the Elizabeth for Newcastle, where he had formerly made a stay with his father. Having landed early in 1653, he called himself Joseph Ben Israel, and described himself as a Jew from Mantua, who was convinced of the doctrine of the Trinity from the study of Plato, and was seeking the worthiest exponents of truth. Disappointed in the hospitality of the Newcastle ministers, he went into Durham to Lieutenant-colonel Paul Hobson, concerning whom he had made inquiries abroad. After a month's stay, Hobson sent him to Thomas Tillam, baptist minister at Hexham, by whom he was baptised. The presbyterian and independent ministers were not, however, well disposed towards a baptist convert, and measures were taken to test his story. Certain admissions which he had made in the throes of sea-sickness to Christopher Shadforth, master of the Elizabeth, were alleged against