A small bust, well executed and lifelike, is in the Arundel Club, with him at one time a favourite haunt.
[Principal Dramatic Works of Thomas William Robertson, with Memoir by his Son, 2 vols. 1889 (with portrait); Life and Writings of T. W. Robertson, by T. Edgar Pemberton, 1893; Era Almanack, various years; Era newspaper, 29 June 1879; Athenæum, 14 Oct. 1871; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Lacy's Acting Plays; Men of the Time, 1868; Men of the Reign; Dutton Cook's Nights at the Play; Howard and Scott's Blanchard; personal knowledge.]
ROBERTSON, WILLIAM (d. 1686?), lexicographer, was a graduate of Edinburgh, and is probably the William Robertson who was laureated by Duncan Forester in April 1645 (Edin. Graduates, Bann. Club, p. 62). From 1653 to 1680 he lived in the city of London and taught Hebrew. In 1680 he was appointed university teacher of Hebrew at Cambridge at a salary of 20l. a year.
His principal works are: 1. ‘A Gate or Door to the Holy Tongue opened in English,’ London, 1653, 8vo; this reappeared with a few changes in 1654, as ‘The First Gate or Outward Door to the Holy Tongue,’ and was followed in 1655 by ‘The Second Gate or the Inner Door.’ 2. ‘Compendious Hebrew Lexicon,’ London, 1654; this was very favourably received, and was edited by Nahum Joseph in 1814. 3. ‘An Admonitory Epistle unto Mr. Richard Baxter [q. v.] and Mr. Thomas Hotchkiss, about their applications, or misapplications, rather, of several texts of Scripture, tending chiefly to prove that the afflictions of the godly are proper punishments;’ in the second of two appended dissertations he defends ‘great Dr. Twisse's definition of Pardon,’ London, 1655. 4. ‘The Hebrew Text of the Psalms and Lamentations, with text in Roman letters parallel,’ London, 1656; dedicated to the Hon. John Sadler, his ‘worthy Mæcenas and patron.’ 5. ‘Novum Testamentum lingua Hebræa,’ London, 1661. 6. ‘The Hebrew portion of Gouldman's Copious Dictionary,’ Cambridge, 1674. 7. ‘Schrevelii Lexicon Manuale Græco-Latinum, with many additions,’ Cambridge, 1676. 8. ‘Thesaurus linguæ sanctæ,’ London, 1680; this was used largely by Chr. Stock and J. Fischer in their ‘Clavis linguæ sanctæ,’ Leipzig, 1753. 9. ‘A Dictionary of Latin Phrases,’ Cambridge, 1681; re-edited in 1824. 10. ‘Index alphabeticus hebræo-biblicus,’ Cambridge, 1683; Leusden translated it into Latin and published it at Utrecht in 1687 as ‘Lexicon novum hebræo-latinum.’ 11. ‘Manipulus linguæ sanctæ,’ Cambridge, 1683. 12. ‘Liber Psalmorum et Threni Jeremiæ,’ in Hebrew, Cambridge, 1685.
[British Museum Catalogue; Biographie Universelle.]
ROBERTSON, WILLIAM, D.D. (1705–1783), theological writer, was born in Dublin on 16 Oct. 1705. His father was a linen manufacturer, of Scottish birth, who had married in England Diana Allen, ‘descended from a very reputable family in the diocese of Durham.’ In 1717 he went to school at Dublin under Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746) [q. v.], the philosopher, whom he describes as his ‘ever honoured master.’ On 4 March 1723 he matriculated at Glasgow University, graduated M.A. on 29 April 1724, and studied divinity under John Simson [q. v.]
In 1725 came a crisis in a long-standing dispute between the Glasgow students and John Stirling [q. v.], the principal. Stirling had appointed Hugh Montgomery of Hartfield as rector, ignoring the students' right to elect. Robertson and William Campbell of Mamore (younger brother of John Campbell, afterwards fourth duke of Argyll) presented to Stirling a petition signed by some sixty students, demanding a university meeting for 1 March to elect a rector according to the statute. On its rejection, the petitioners went in a body on 1 March to Montgomery's house, when Robertson read a protest against his authority. He was cited before the senatus, and after some days' trial was expelled from the university on 4 March. He at once went to London for redress, applying himself to John Campbell, second duke of Argyll [q. v.], who referred him to his younger brother, Archibald, afterwards third duke [q. v.], then earl of Islay. Islay obtained a royal commission (appointed 31 Aug. 1726), which visited the university of Glasgow, rescinded (4 Oct. 1726) the act expelling Robertson, restored the students' right of electing the rector, and recovered the right of the university to nominate the Snell exhibitioners at Balliol College, Oxford. The commission concluded its work by issuing (19 Sept. 1727) an act for the regulation of the university.
Islay introduced Robertson to Benjamin Hoadly (1676–1761) [q. v.], and Hoadly introduced him to Wake, archbishop of Canterbury, and to Josiah Hort [q. v.], then bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, who introduced him to the lord chancellor, Peter King, first lord King [q. v.] Under these influences he forsook presbyterianism, and prepared to take Anglican orders. He attended some of the Gresham lectures, and made good use of public libraries. Towards the end of 1727 he went