Robert was born in Queen Ann Street, London on February 28th 1764. His parents were both of the same ancient family line, as they were first cousins. He had one sister who died in childhood and a brother, James Alexander Haldane. His father James, was a sea captain who had a reputation for enforcing moral discipline on his ships. He was about to be elected an East India Company director when in 1768 he got a sore throat, which was incorrectly treated, and died. He died a professing Christian. Robert’s mother was shocked by events, giving birth two months early to her son James, just two weeks after her husband’s death. Mrs Haldane was from a decidedly Christian family. The two brothers were blessed in having a mother who was gentle, maternal and, an ardent Christian, who prayed fervently for her children, often at their bedside while they were sleeping, and who taught them the ways of God. Unfortunately, she died when Robert was only ten. Both her sons were conscious of her part in their walking in the ways of God. She died from something like flu, and her Christian doctor was so affected by how she behaved during her last days, that he said that it was enough to make one in love with death.