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Robert Hall

1764-1831. English Baptist minister. Born in Arnesby, Leicestershire, where his father was a Baptist pastor, he was a precocious boy, writing hymns before he was nine and preaching his first sermon at eleven. He was educated at the famous Nonconformist academy run by John Ryland, baptized in 1778, studied at the Baptist Academy, and graduated in 1785 from Aberdeen University. Hall began his ministry as an assistant in Bristol and very quickly established a reputation as an eloquent preacher and a shrewd apologist for Christianity. Theologically he moved his position from an early Calvinism to a basically Arminian system. He was deeply interested in the rapid progress of scientific research and was friendly with [[Joseph Priestley]], the leading Unitarian. In 1791 he moved to Cambridge, where he succeeded Robert Robinson in the pastorate, and continued to cultivate his scientific acquaintances. A period of ill health included two periods of mental breakdown, and at this time, like many