Duff, Alexander, Dd

Duff, Alexander, D.D.

a Scotch clergyman and missionary, was born at Pitlochrie, Perthshire, April 25, 1806. He was carefully educated in the Established Church of Scotland; graduated from the University of St. Andrews, was ordained August 12, 1829, and the same year sailed for India with his wife. The vessel was wrecked on the voyage, and on arriving at Calcutta he was advised by the English residents not to begin operations until an imposing church structure should be reared. Nevertheless, he rented a small house in that city, and commenced a school for the instruction of the natives. In 1832 three Brahmins were baptized, an event which produced a profound impression upon all classes. In 1834 Dr. Duff's health gave way, and he returned home for recuperation. He attended the General Assembly of the Scottish Church, and delivered a powerful address in behalf of the great cause in which he was engaged. He returned to India in 1840, and entered a larger and much mdre suitable building for school purposes, which had been erected in his absence. When the disruption of the Scotch Church took place in 1843, Dr. Duff cast in his lot with the Free Church, though by this act he forfeited the use of all the mission property. He leased a building and continued his labors, the number of his pupils having increased to eight hundred. A church was erected which cost $50,000. Contemplating a visit to his native land in 1853, Dr. Duff made an extensive tour throughout India, that he might by personal observation make himself acquainted with the condition and wants of the people, and lay them before the churches at home. Before his embarkation, the people raised $25,000, and in addition to this $50,000 were subscribed in Great Britain for the erection of buildings for educational and missionary purposes. In 1854 he visited the United States and Canada. Wherever he preached, vast crowds were assembled to listen to his thrilling descriptions of the land of his work and adoption. After his return home he was elected moderator of the General Assembly. His health being feeble, he visited the Mediterranean shores, made a trip to Palestine, and returned to India considerably improved. He was appointed by a member of the British cabinet to draft a constitution for the India University, and was chosen dean of the faculty, and also elected a member of the syndicate. During all this time his own college in Calcutta progressed rabidly. In 1865 there were on the rolls more than eighteen hundred and seventy-four students. Other schools in different places under his supervision contained upwards of three thousand pupils. In consequence of failing health he was obliged to return again to Scotland, not without the same tokens of respect and esteem. He was elected professor of evangelical theology in the new college of the Free Church, Edinburgh, and here his last labors were performed. He died at Sidmouth, Devonshire, England, February 12, 1878. See his Life, by Dr. G. Smith (Edinburgh, 1880). (W.P.S.)

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