William Stewart Ross

On this date in 1844, William Stewart Ross ("Saladin") was born in Scotland. While preparing for the ministry at Glasgow University, Ross became a rationalist and gave up the church. Ross set up his own publishing company, W. Stewart & Co., in London. By 1880 he was co-editor of the Secular Review. Later becoming its sole editor and owner, he changed the name to The Agnostic Journal and Secular Review in 1889. Ross was not an admirer of the famous British atheist Charles Bradlaugh, and his journal and essays represented an alternative style. He wrote under the nom de plume of "Saladin" (the Muslim fighter who halted the Third Crusade). His books include God and His Book (1887) and Woman: Her Glory and Her Shame (2 vol., 1894). In 1879, he won a gold medal for writing the best poem to memorialize the unveiling of a statue of Robert Burns. D. 1906.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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