James Smith (1680-1736)

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James Smith (1680-1736) was Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1733 to 1736, having previously served as Professor of Divinity (1732-1733).


After graduating from Edinburgh University, Smith became Minister of Dalkeith in 1703, then Minister of Morham in 1706. He eventually became Minister of the much sought after Parish of Cramond in 1709. A year earlier he had married Katharine Oswald (1684-1730).

Smith became a more prominent voice in the Church and was active in much of the Church's debate between the moderates and the evangelicals, siding with the moderates by issuing two pamphlets in 1712 and 1713. His prominence as a church leader, culminated in him becoming Moderator of the General Assembly in 1723. By 1730 he had become Minister of the New North Church, which followed taking up the chair of Divinity at Edinburgh in 1732, and again as Moderator of the General Assembly (1732) then Principal in 1733. He died at Coldstream on 13 August 1736, leaving no progeny.


  • Minister of Dalkeith 1703
  • Minister of Morham by Haddington 1706.
  • Minister of the Parish of Cramond 1709
  • Moderator of the General Assembly in 1723, 1732
  • Professor of Divinity, University of Edinburgh 1732
  • Principal, University of Edinburgh 1733-1736


  • Domestic tutor to the Dalrymples of Cousland, then Dundases of Arniston while studying at Edinburgh University.


  • A dialogue betwixt a minister of the Church of Scotland and two of the elders of his congregation, about the abjuration oath. (Edinburgh, 1712)
  • A second dialogue betwixt a minister of the Church of Scotland, and two of the elders of his congregation, concerning the abjuration-oath: wherein the former dialogue is defended. (Edinburgh : printed by John Moncur, and sold by William Brown, 1713)


Laurence A. B. Whitley, 'Smith, James (1680-1736)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) [[1], accessed 17 Sept 2010]