The Very Rev Dr Thomas Smith DD LLD (8 July 1817–26 May 1906) was a 19th-century Scottish missionary and mathematician who was instrumental in establishing India's zenana missions in 1854. He served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland 1891/92.
Smith was born in the manse at Symington, Lanarkshire, on 8 July 1817, the eighth of ten children on Jean Stodard and Rev John Smith.He was educated at the local parish school in Symington and then studied mathematics and physics at the University of Edinburgh, matriculating in 1830 aged 13 (this was normal at that time). In 1834 he studied theology at Divinity Hall in Edinburgh under Rev Dr Thomas Chalmers.
In 1839, under the influence of Rev Alexander Duff, Smith was ordained by the Church of Scotland and travelled to Calcutta in India, as a missionary, teaching mathematics and physics in the schools. From 1840 he suggested the use of female missionaries as male missionaries were not permitted to speak to the Indian females.
At the Disruption of 1843 Smith left the established church and joined the Free Church of Scotland. The Free Church set up its own mission in Calcutta and Smith transferred to this new building.
From 1851 to 1857 he was editor of the Calcutta Review and Calcutta Christian Observer. In 1840 he proposed the establishment of what would become known as the zenana missions, and his scheme was later implemented in the 1850s by John Fordyce.
When the Indian Mutiny broke out in 1857, Smith acted as the chaplain of the 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) at Calcutta, accompanying the regiment when it was on active service.
Smith resigned his post in Calcutta in 1858 due to ill-health (claims of cholera are perhaps exaggerated). He returned to Scotland in 1859 when he was recovered enough to travel and settled in Edinburgh to do mission work in the poorest parishes. The following year he became minister of the Free Cowgatehead Mission Church.[ citation needed ] He then lived in a modest flat at 4 Keir Street, south of the Grassmarket.
In 1880 he was appointed Professor of Evangelistic Theology at New College, Edinburgh, a role in which he continued until 1893.His new-found wealth allowed him to purchase a large villa in the Grange district at 10 Mansionhouse Road.
In 1891 he succeeded Rev Thomas Brown as Moderator of the General Assembly, the highest position in the Free Church.
He received two honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, a Doctor of Divinity (DD) in 1867 and a Doctor of Laws (LLD) in 1900.
He died at home 28 Hatton Place in Edinburgh on 26 May 1906.He is buried in the Grange Cemetery.
Smith wrote on both mathematical and religious subjects:
In 1839, before his departure to India, he married Grace Whyte (d.1886), the daughter of D. K. Whyte, a Royal Navy paymaster and sometime bookseller of 10 Scotland Street in Edinburgh.Their five children included Rev William Whyte Smith, minister of Newington, Edinburgh and David Whyte Ewart Smith, Sheriff Substitute for Haddingtonshire.
His portrait by John Henry Lorimer RSA hangs in New College, Edinburgh.
The Dean Cemetery is a historically important Victorian cemetery north of the Dean Village, west of Edinburgh city centre, in Scotland. It lies between Queensferry Road and the Water of Leith, bounded on its east side by Dean Path and on its west by the Dean Gallery. A 20th-century extension lies detached from the main cemetery to the north of Ravelston Terrace. The main cemetery is accessible through the main gate on its east side, through a "grace and favour" access door from the grounds of Dean Gallery and from Ravelston Terrace. The modern extension is only accessible at the junction of Dean Path and Queensferry Road.
The Free Church of Scotland was a Scottish denomination which was formed in 1843 by a large withdrawal from the established Church of Scotland in a schism or division known as the Disruption of 1843. In 1900 the vast majority of the Free Church of Scotland joined with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland to form the United Free Church of Scotland. The House of Lords judged that the minority continuing after the 1900 union were entitled to all the assets. While the denomination clearly had a starting date, in their own eyes their leaders had a legitimate claim to an unbroken succession of leaders going all the way back to the Apostles.
For the British colonial administrator, see Alexander Frederick Whyte
Robert Rainy, was a Scottish Presbyterian divine. Rainy Hall in New College, Edinburgh is named after him.
Very Rev Dr Alexander Duff, was a Christian missionary in India; where he played a large part in the development of higher education. He was a Moderator and Convenor of the Church of Scotland and an unashamed scientific liberal reformer of anglicized evangelism across the Empire. He was the first overseas missionary of the Church of Scotland to India. On 13 July 1830 he founded the General Assembly's Institution in Calcutta, now known as the Scottish Church College. He also played a part in establishing the University of Calcutta. He was twice Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland in 1851 and 1873, the only person to serve the role twice.
The Very Rev Dr James Begg DD was a Free Church of Scotland minister who served as Moderator of the General Assembly 1865/66.
Alexander Murdoch Mackay was a Scottish Presbyterian missionary to Uganda known as Mackay of Uganda.
The Grange is a suburb of Edinburgh, about one and a half miles south of the city centre, with Morningside and Greenhill to the west, Newington to the east, and Marchmont to the north. It is a conservation area characterised by large late Victorian stone-built villas, often with very large gardens. Many have now been sub-divided into flats, with further flats often being built on the grounds.
Alexander Taylor Innes FRSE LLD (1833–1912), was a lawyer, writer, biographer and church historian. In authorship he is usually abbreviated as A.T.I.
Stephen Hislop was a Scottish missionary who worked with the Free Church in India, an educationist and a keen geologist. Hislop College, Nagpur is named after him, as is the green mineral Hislopite. Among his geological discoveries is the fossil reptile, Brachyops laticeps which he found in his geological explorations of the Nagpur region.
Robert Clark (1825–1900), and his colleague Thomas Henry Fitzpatrick, were the first English Church Mission Society (CMS) missionaries in the Punjab. Clark was the first missionary to the Afghans, and was the first agent of the Church to enter the city of Leh.
The zenana missions were outreach programmes established in British India with the aim of converting women to Christianity. From the mid 19th century, they sent female missionaries into the homes of Indian women, including the private areas of houses - known as zenana - that male visitors were not allowed to see. Gradually these missions expanded from purely evangelical work to providing medical and education services. Hospitals and schools established by these missions are still active, making the zenana missions an important part of the history of Christianity in India.
Ann Small or Ann Hunter "Annie" Small was a Scottish missionary to India and a Scottish educationist who trained women to work in Christian missions.
Very Rev Prof Paton James Gloag DD LLD (1823–1906) was a Scottish minister and theological author. He was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1889.
George Smith CIE FRGS LLD was a 19th century Scottish historian and geographer who spent his working life in India. He was father to a family of eminent figures.
The Rev Dr John Murray Mitchell LLD, often referred to as Murray Mitchell, was a Scottish missionary and orientalist who worked in his country of birth, India and France.
John Fordyce (1819–1902) was a Christian missionary, evangelical minister and administrator who launched the female education initiative in India known as the Zenana Missions. He has been credited with introducing the rickshaw to India.
Very Rev Thomas McLauchlan LLD (1815–1886) was a 19th-century Scottish minister and theological author who served as Moderator of the General Assembly for the Free Church of Scotland 1876/77.
The Very Rev Dr John Roxburgh DD (1806–1880) was a 19th-century Scottish minister of the Free Church of Scotland who served as Moderator of the General Assembly 1866/67.