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Archibald Alison

(b. 1757, Edinburgh, Scotland – d. 17 May 1839, Edinburgh, Scotland )

Gender: M

Archibald Alison (1757-1839) was the son of Patrick Alison, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. He studied at the University of Glasgow and at Balliol College, Oxford, and took orders in the Church of England. In 1778 he was appointed to the curacy of Brancepeth in Durham. In April 1784 he married Dorothea Gregory, much to the annoyance of Elizabeth Montagu, who had intended that she should marry her nephew, Matthew Robinson Montagu. Elizabeth Montagu was not reconciled to the match until September 1785, but their other friends were sympathetic, and the couple received some financial support from William Pulteney (Johnstone) and Frances Pulteney, heirs to the Earl of Bath (one of their sons was named William Pulteney Alison in their honour). Alison held several livings in Shropshire, and in 1800 returned to Edinburgh, to St Paul’s Chapel in the Cowgate, where he stayed for 34 years. He was renowned for his eloquent sermons. In 1790, Alison published Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste, which Elizabeth Montagu admired. He and his wife had four daughters, and two sons who were distinguished in their professions: Archibald was an advocate who became a baronet and William was professor of medicine in Edinburgh.