Monro, Alexander (d.1715?) (DNB00)

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MONRO, ALEXANDER (d. 1715?), principal of Edinburgh University, was the son of Hugh Monro of Fyresh, a branch of the house of Foulis. He appears to have been educated at St. Andrews (Bower). In 1673 he was appointed minister of the second charge of Dunfermline, and was translated to Kinglassie in 1676, and to Wemyss in 1678. In 1682 he was created D.D. by the university of St. Andrews, and in the same year became professor of divinity in St. Mary's College there. In December 1685 he was appointed principal of Edinburgh University and minister of the high church, succeeding Andrew Cant in both offices. Said to have been originally a Roman catholic (Wodrow, Analecta, ii. 49), Monro, though professedly presbyterian, had strong leanings towards episcopacy, and was strongly attached to the cause of James II. Consequently, when the presbyterians came into power at the revolution, he resigned his ministerial charge, and was forced to demit his office of principal. In 1688 he was nominated bishop of Argyle by the influence of Viscount Dundee, but he was neither elected nor consecrated. The commission appointed to see the Privy Council Act of 1690 carried out in the Scottish universities made many charges against Monro, and his replies, given in his anonymously published 'Presbyterian Inquisition' (London, 1691), throw much light on the internal condition of Edinburgh University. It was one of the singular circumstances of the case that the declaration of the Prince of Orange was conveyed to the Edinburgh magistrates by Monro, instead of being sent directly to them by the government (Council Reg. xxxii. 297). His career subsequently to September 1690 cannot be definitely ascertained. According to Bower, after his expulsion from the university he acted as an Episcopal clergyman in Edinburgh, and died in 1715,' but there are doubts as to the correctness of the date (see Scott, Fasti). In 1673 he married Anna Logan, by whom he had two daughters and a son James [q. v.] As principal he proved himself a weak disciplinarian, or else he 'sacrificed discipline to ecclesiastical partiality' (Grant). His published writings, several of which are anonymous, include 'An Apology for the Church of Scotland,' London, 1693; 'Spirit of Calumny,' &c., London, 1693; 'Sermons preached on Several Occasions,' London, 1693; and 'Letter to Sir Robert Howard occasioned by his Twofold Vindication of Bishop Tillotson,' London, 1696.

[Bower's History of the University of Edinburgh, i. 309; Sir Alexander Grant's Story of the University of Edinburgh, ii. 254, 478; Grub's Eccl. Hist. of Scotland, iii. 291, 319; Apology for the Clergy of Scotland; Lawson's Hist. of the Scottish Episcopal Church from the Revolution to the Present Time; Keith's Catalogue of Bishops; Hew Scott's Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ, ii. 547, 562, 571; Fountainhall's Historical Notices (Bannatyne Club); Fernie's and Chalmers's Histories of Dunfermline; Wodrow's Analecta (Maitland Club); Wodrow's Correspondence (Wodrow Soc.).]

J. C. H.