|Born||23 November 1779|
|Died||2 May 1859 79) (aged|
|Occupation||Principal of the University of Edinburgh|
Reverend Dr John Lee FRSE (22 November 1779 – 2 May 1859) was a Scottish academic and polymath, the Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1840 to 1859. He was also a Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1844.
Lee House in Pollock Halls of Residence is named after him. 
He was born on 22 November 1729 at Graemeshills, Torwoodlee Mains, a farm in the parish of Stow in the Scottish Borders, the son of James Lee, a weaver, and his wife, Helen Paterson. He attended school at the "luggie" in Clovenfords, his teacher being John Leyden.  
He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1794, studying medicine, supporting himself by teaching. He graduated M.D. in 1801. After serving for a short time as a surgeon/apothecary in an army hospital service he started studying law. But in 1804 he became amanuensis (literary assistant) to the Rev. Alexander Carlyle ("Jupiter Carlyle") in Inveresk (who gave him the manuscript of his autobiography on his death in 1805). 
Lee was licensed by the Presbytery of Dalkeith as a Church of Scotland minister in 1804 but failed to find a patron.  After acting for a few months as pastor of a Presbyterian chapel on Hanover Street in London he was ordained as minister of Peebles Parish church in April 1808. In 1812 he was appointed Professor of Divinity and Ecclesiastical History at St Mary's College, St Andrews, and was there also chosen as Rector of the college. In 1820 he became Professor of Moral Philosophy in King's College, Aberdeen, but his lectures there were mostly delivered by a deputy.  He continued to lecture at St Andrews University, intending to travel regularly between the two, however, he had a change of heart following a near-fatal accident when his coach overturned en route to Aberdeen. 
Therefore, in 1821 Lee resigned both professorships and, aided by the granting of an honorary Doctor of Divinity from St Andrews University, accepted a position as minister of the Canongate Church in Edinburgh. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1822, his proposer being George Forbes. He served the Society as their Literary Councillor 1823-6 and as the Vice-president 1842–1859. 
In 1825 he was translated from the Canongate to Lady Yester's Church in south Edinburgh, and was appointed a chaplain in ordinary to the king in 1830. He was made Principal Clerk of the General Assembly in 1827, but unsuccessfully contested the moderatorship with Thomas Chalmers in 1832. In 1834 he became minister of the Old Kirk, one of the four churches then contained in St. Giles Cathedral, in 1837 Principal of the United College, St Andrews, and in 1840 Dean of the Chapel Royal in Stirling. In 1840, also, he was elected Principal of the University of Edinburgh.  He was then living at 16 Abercromby Place in Edinburgh's second New Town a large Georgian townhouse. 
When the Disruption of 1843 took place, Lee remained in the established Church of Scotland. He undertook to conduct the divinity class, and was shortly afterwards was made Professor of Divinity in succession to Thomas Chalmers, holding this office concurrently with his principalship. He was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1844. 
Lee died in his lodgings at New College at the University of Edinburgh on 2 May 1859.  He is buried in the south-west section of St Cuthberts Churchyard in Edinburgh, next to the Balfour Paul monument.
Lee was married to Rose Masson (1792-1833) daughter of Thomas Masson minister of Dunnichen north of Dundee.
Lee's children included:
In 1841 Lee married Charlotte E. Wright (d.1871).
Lee was accomplished in almost every branch of knowledge,[ citation needed ] and in Scottish literary and ecclesiastical history had very detailed information. He collected a library of twenty thousand volumes. He was caricatured by John Hill Burton in the Book Hunter as Archdeacon Meadows the bibliomaniac, who would buy a book of which he had several copies already, and then, not being able to find any of his copies, would have to borrow the same book from a friend for reference. 
Lee's doctoral thesis was De viribus animi in corpus agentibus. His main works were:
Lee also edited tracts by David Fergusson for the Bannatyne Club in 1860. 
David Mather Masson LLD DLitt, was a Scottish academic, supporter of women's suffrage, literary critic and historian.
Thomas Chalmers, was a Scottish minister, professor of theology, political economist, and a leader of both the Church of Scotland and of the Free Church of Scotland. He has been called "Scotland's greatest nineteenth-century churchman".
Robert Smith Candlish was a Scottish minister who was a leading figure in the Disruption of 1843. He served for many years in both St. George's Church and St George's Free Church on Charlotte Square in Edinburgh's New Town.
William Laurence Brown was a Scottish minister.
St Mary's College, founded as New College or College of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the home of the Faculty and School of Divinity within the University of St Andrews, in Fife, Scotland.
William Milligan was a renowned Scottish theologian. He studied at the University of Halle in Germany, and eventually became a professor at the University of Aberdeen. He is best known for his commentary on the Revelation of St. John. He also wrote two other well-known books that are classics: The Resurrection of our Lord and The Ascension of our Lord.
Ronald William Vernon Selby WrightCVO TD JP FRSE FSAScot was a Church of Scotland minister. He became one of the best known Church of Scotland ministers of his generation and served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1972/73.
Robert Boyd of Trochrig (1578–1627) was a Scottish theological writer, teacher and poet. He studied at the University of Edinburgh and after attending lectures by Robert Rollock, prosecuted his studies in France, and became a minister in the French Church. All accounts represent him as a most accomplished scholar. A friend said of him, with perhaps some exaggeration, that he was more eloquent in French than in his native tongue; and Livingstone tells us that he spoke Latin with perfect fluency, but that he had heard him say, if he had his choice, he would rather express himself in Greek than in any other language. The Church of Boyd's adoption, which had given Andrew Melville a chair in one university, and Sharp a chair in another, was not slow to do honour to their brilliant countryman. He was made a professor in the protestant Academy of Saumur; and there for some years he taught theology. He was persuaded, however, in 1614 to come home and accept the Principalship of the Glasgow University. Though he was far from extreme in his Presbyterianism, he was found to be less tractable than the king and his advisers expected, and was obliged to resign his office. But he was long enough in Glasgow to leave the impress of himself on some of the young men destined to distinction in the Church in after years.
Finlay A. J. Macdonald is a retired minister of the Church of Scotland. He was Principal Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1996 until 2010. In addition to his rapid rise up the ranks of the Church of Scotland, Macdonald is known for fostering co-operation between the various boards and committees which administer the Church and for steering the Church smoothly through its annual business meetings.
Alexander Ferrier Mitchell was a Scottish ecclesiastical historian and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1885.
Robert Arnot (1744–1808) was a Scottish Presbyterian minister and professor of divinity in St Andrews University, who was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1794.
George Hill FRSE was a Minister of St Andrews. He was a joint founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783 and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1789, but an active member for much longer, where he succeeded William Robertson as leader of the Moderates. He was Principal of St Mary's College, St Andrews as well as Dean of the Chapel Royal and Dean of the Order of the Thistle.
David Brown was a son of bookseller who was twice Provost of the city. He was a Free Church of Scotland minister who served as Moderator of the General Assembly 1885/86. He was co-author of the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary on the whole Bible.
William Cunningham was a Scottish theologian and co-founder of the Free Church of Scotland. He was Moderator of the Free Church in 1859.
Alexander Hill (1785–1867) was a Scottish minister of the Church of Scotland who served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1845. He was professor of divinity at the University of Glasgow.
Andrew Ramsay (1574–1659) was a minister of the Church of Scotland, academic at the University of Edinburgh, and writer of Latin poetry.
John Sharp was a theologian and Church of Scotland minister. He achieved notoriety for his presbyterian principles which brought him into conflict with James VI who wished to impose an episcopalian system. Sharp graduated with an M.A. from St Andrews in 1592. He was admitted to Kilmany in 1601. He was one of those who, in opposition to the Royal command, attended the General Assembly of Aberdeen. For this he and five other ministers were committed to the Castle of Blackness on 2 August. He was brought before the Privy Council at Perth on 27 August and interrogated as to the constitution of the Assembly. Not giving satisfactory answers they were tried before the Justiciary Court at Linlithgow on 10 January 1606, on a charge of treason, found guilty, and banished for life. On 23 October Sharp went to Bordeaux and became Professor of Theology in the University of Die, but would probably have returned to Scotland had honourable terms of reconciliation been offered him. In 1630 he was compelled to leave France at the instance of Cardinal Richelieu, the Prime Minister, who had grown jealous of Sharp's reputation as a Protestant teacher. Sharp was appointed Professor of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh on 17 November 1630. He died about 1647, aged 75.
James Wood was a Covenanter and Church of Scotland minister. He was appointed to be Professor of Divinity and Principal of the Old College, St. Andrews by Cromwell's government. He was deposed after the Restoration under the influence of Archbishop Sharp in 1663. He was then holding Presbyterian principles at a time when Charles II was promoting Prelacy. He died in 1664.
John Bruce was a senior Scottish minister in the 19th century who held positions in the Church of Scotland and Free Church of Scotland.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Boase, George Clement (1892). "Lee, John (1779-1859)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . Vol. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
Macphail's Edinburgh ecclesiastical journal and literary review. s.n. 1862. p. 2.