Biography of Sir James Graham 2nd Baronet
Sir James Graham, 2nd Baronet (1792-1861) was Rector of the University from 1838 to 1840.
Born near Carlisle, Graham was a leading Whig politician. However, he parted company with the Whigs in the mid-1830s and subsequently became a friend and political ally of the Tory leader Sir Robert Peel, his predecessor as Rector.
Graham defeated Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex and the poet William Wordsworth in the 1838 Rectorial election. However, he outraged many who attended his installation in December that year by criticising those who sought greater spiritual independence for the church in Scotland.
Graham's controversial views on the relations between church and state in Scotland (an issue which resulted in the Disruption in 1843), and what some believed to be his haughty and sarcastic manner, resulted in a challenge to his Rectorship in 1839. He promptly defeated the rival candidate, the astronomer Sir John Herschel, and served for a second year.