Robert Baird, D. D. (1798-1863)

Robert Baird, D.D., was born October 6th, 1798, in the neighborhood of Uniontown, Fayette County, Pa.; graduated at Jefferson College, with high honor, in 1818, and studied theology at Princeton Seminary. During the third year of his theological course he was Tutor in Nassau Hall. In 1822 he took charge of the Academy which had just been established at Princeton, and retained his connection with it between five and six years. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, in 1822, and ordained by the same body in 1828, as an Evangelist. For a time he engaged in missionary work, as General Agent of the New Jersey Missionary Society, and in this capacity did effective service. In 1829 he accepted the office of General Agent of the American Sunday School Union, which he filled with great acceptance for six years. In 1835 he entered upon a sphere of labor which occupied all the energies of the remaining years of his life; the promotion of the interests of evangelical religion in the various countries of Continental Europe; a course of philanthropic labor which it has been justly said has not been excelled in its aims and usefulness by that of any man of our times. He died March 15th, 1863.

Dr. Baird was the author of a number of valuable works, some of which have obtained a very wide circulation, both in this country and in Europe. He was highly cultivated and dignified in manner. In the sphere in which he moved he always showed himself possessed of a clear discernment of the character and motives of men, and of a calm and solid judgment, whose decisions rarely had to be reversed. He was eminently characterized by gentleness and loveliness of temper, by industry and perseverance, and by large-hearted catholicism. Though a decided Presbyterian, his Presbyterianism was, to a great extent, merged in the common Christianity. He was greatly beloved, and extensively useful. To him, to live was Christ, and to die was gain.