Chalmers, Thomas(chä`mərz, chô`–), 1780–1847, Scottish preacher, theologian, and philanthropist, leader of the Free Church of Scotland. His preaching and his interest in philanthropic work during his ministry (1815–23) in Glasgow brought wide recognition. In 1823, Chalmers became professor of moral philosophy at St. Andrews Univ. and in 1828 was made professor of theology at the Univ. of Edinburgh. His Bridgewater treatise (1833) On the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man brought him a number of honors. Chalmers took a leading part (1843) in organizing the Free Church of Scotland, formed when, after much friction between church and state and trouble over patronage, 470 clergymen withdrew from the Established Church. His foresight had planned for the rapid organizing of the Free Church of Scotland, of which he was the first moderator. He was made principal (1843–47) of the New College (Free Church) at Edinburgh. His published works fill 34 volumes.
See biographies by M. O. W. Oliphant (1893), A. Philip (1929), and H. Watt (1943).