He was educated at Glasgow university, where he had a brilliant academic career; and having entered the ministry of the Presbyterian Church, he returned to Canada and obtained a pastoral charge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which he held from 1863 to 1877.
When Canada was confederated in 1867 Nova Scotia was the province most strongly opposed to federal union.
Under Pierre de Guast, sieur de Monts, Huguenots settled in Nova Scotia in 1604 but did not remain after 1607.
The appliances in the Poldhu station were subsequently enlarged and improved by Marconi, and corresponding power stations erected at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S.A., and at Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.
In the same year numerous experiments were tried with the assistance of an Italian battleship, the " Carlo Alberto," lent by the Italian government, and messages were transmitted from Poldhu to Kronstadt, to Spezia, and also to Sydney in Nova Scotia.