Extract from "Fifiana or Memorials of the East of Fife"
The following extract was taken from a book with the name "Fifiana or Memorials of the East of Fife" by M.F.Connolly, published in Glasgow in 1869 and kindly sent to me by Virginia Webster Matthews of Virginia USA. The extract refers to the Rev. Dr. Peter Chalmers, minister of Dunfermline Abbey. My thanks to Virginia.
CHALMERS, REV, DR. PETER, Minister of the Abbey Church, Dunfermline, was born in Glasgow, about the year 1790. He was the son of Peter Chalmers, merchant in Glasgow, and received thte rudiments of his education at a public school in that city. He soon began to manifest superior powers, and made rapid progress in those branches of a liberal education, forming a necessary preparation for the ministry.
About the age of sixteen, he entered the University of Glasgow, and passed through the prescribed classical curriculum, taking various prizes all through his course.
Having completed his theological studies, Mr. Chalmers was duly licensed to preach the gospel; nor was he long without an engagement, for his superior powers were soon appreciated. The celebrated Dr. Thomas Chalmers, being then in want of a helper, at once selected the subject of our sketch to be his assistant, and he very efficiently discharged the duties of this office for two years and upwards.
In 1816, the Rev. J. Fernie, minister of the second charge of Dunfermline died, and Mr. Peter Chalmers was appointed to fill his place. In 1817 he was lawfully ordained to that charge, and having entered on his duties, was received with great acceptability by the congregation. His discourses which were carefully prepared, were listened to with deep attention by his hearers, and every seat was occupied.
Mr. Chalmers was not long in Dunfermline, when a stirring among dry leaves was felt, and which soon became more perceptible - men of worth and influence were added to the kirk session - his ministerial duty was exemplary, and his pastoral visitations were well received - accompanied, as they always were, by an expression of great willingness to promote the welfare, temporal and spiritual, of his congregation. Mr. Chalmers always evinced a deep interest in the passing events of the town and district - either to frown upon occurrences of a demoralizing character, or to patronize those of a moral and religious tendency. When Sir Alex. Boswell was shot by Mr. Stuart of Hillside, in a duel, Mr. Chalmers did not fail to improve the unhappy occasion to his parishioners, by preaching twp sermons against duelling.
We pass on to a more pleasing duty, viz., to notice the active part Mr. Chalmers took in the inauguration of the "Mechanics' Institute of Dunfermline," which took place some time soon after, under the presidency of the worthy Earl of Elgin, and vice-presidency of Mr. Hunt of Pittencreiff, and the reverend gentleman himself. The Institute was succeeded by another Society of a kindred nature, namely, "The Scientific Association." This Society also received great assistance from Mr. Chalmers. Its success was promoted both by his counsels and his lectures, one of these in particular, viz., that "on the Dunfermline Table Linen Manufacture," which was illustrated by models and drawings got up at his own expense, was attentively listened to, and highly appreciated.
It would be gratifying to the writer to give here a minute and chronological detail, an account of Mr. Chalmers' proceedings during the period of his incumbency. To do this, however, would require a volume in place of our limited space. His acquirements as a theologian, and his power as a preacher, were of no common order. The University of Glasgow, his alma mater, voluntarily presented him with his degree of D.D., and he was translated to the first charge of the Abbey Church in 1836.
His principles were evangelical, his character was pure and spotless, - his benelovence unbounded, - his manners gentle and preposessing. The following are the principal works published by him: - 1. History of Dunfermline 2 Vols., 8vo. 2. A Treatise on Duelling. 3. Essay on Dunfermline Coal Fields, which had a premium awarded for it. 4. An Article on Dunfermline; and a New Statistical Account of Scotland. 5. Articles read before the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, besides many other productions of an ephemeral character.
See also the reference to the Rev. Chalmers from "Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature"
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This page was updated 28-Jan-2001