The Lord Macmillan
Macmillan in 1924
|Lord of Appeal in Ordinary|
|Minister of Information|
Hugh Pattison Macmillan, Baron Macmillan, (20 February 1873 – 5 September 1952) was a Scottish advocate, judge, Parliamentarian and civil servant.
He was born in Glasgow, the son of the Rev Hugh Macmillan DD FRSE (1833-1903) and Jane Patison (1833-1922). His father was minister of St Peter's Free Church in Glasgow. The family moved to 70 Union Street in Greenock in 1878.
Hugh was educated at Collegiate School, Greenock from 1878, then studied at the University of Edinburgh (M.A. 1st class honours in philosophy, 1893 Bruce of Grangehill and Falkland Scholarship) and the University of Glasgow (LLB). He was indentured for three years to the firm Cowan, Fraser and Clapperton while he studied the Law, in which he distinguished himself by winning the Cunningham Scholarship for Conveyancing in the year 1896. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1897 with a public defence of an assigned Thesis De diversis regulis juris antiqui, and later became King's Counsel in 1912. For a time he wrote articles on conveyancing for Green's Encyclopedia of Scots Law, and was Editor of the quarterly Juridical Review between 1900 and 1907.
Macmillan suffered an illness, and surgery thereon, in 1917, at which time he decided to cease his nascent political career (then in abeyance for the duration of the Great War). In October 1922, he was asked by Bonar Law to become the Solicitor-General for Scotland, which he declined because of his political stripe.
In 1923 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Edward Theodore Salvesen (Lord Salvesen), William Archer Tait, Robert Blyth Greig and Sir Edmund Taylor Whittaker. He resigned from the Society in 1931.
When the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald was elected in 1924 - the first time the Labour Party had taken power - it had no KCs in Scotland amongst its Parliamentary representation. Macdonald therefore turned to Macmillan, whose reputation at the Bar was considerable, to take the job of Lord Advocate, even though he was a Conservative. He served as Lord Advocate from February to November 1924, and was sworn of the Privy Council on 16 April that year.
Macmillan was standing counsel for a vast array of clients, that included the Dominion of Canada from 1928, and for the Commonwealth of Australia from 1929. He chaired in 1924 the Royal Commission on Lunacy and Mental Health, in 1929 the Committee on Finance and Industry, and in 1932 the Committee on Income Tax Codification.
On 3 February 1930, he was appointed to replace Lord Sumner as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, and was simultaneously created a life peer as Baron Macmillan of Aberfeldy in the County of Perthshire, one of few men to have been appointed a judge in the House of Lords straight from the Bar. Macmillan sat as a Law Lord until 1947 except for a brief period at the outbreak of World War II when he was Minister of Information. However he came in for much criticism in this role and was soon replaced. The Ministry of Information was located in the Senate House, University of London, and the Macmillan Hall there is named after him.
He held a number of chairmanships, including the Committee on Finance and Industry in 1929-31, the Canadian Royal Commission on Banking and Currency in 1933, the Pilgrim Trust from 1935-52, the Political Honours Committee from 1935-52, the Court of the University of London from 1929-43, and the BBC Advisory Council from 1936-46. He was a member of the Wytham Abbey Trust, founded by Colonel Raymond ffennell. He was elected Trustee of the British Museum, and was in 1934 principal proponent and founder of the Stair Society, which was designed "to encourage the study and advance the knowledge of the history of Scots Law by the publication of original documents and by the reprinting and editing of works of sufficient rarity or importance."
Macmillan led, over the course of a decade to 7 August 1925, the effort to create the National Library of Scotland; the Committee which he chaired was noticed by Alexander Grant, head of McVitie and Price biscuit makers, who donated the bulk of the endowment  This happy event culminated with the passage at Westminster of the National Library of Scotland Act 1925.
He provided the 1934 Rede Lecture at Cambridge, the 1934 Maudsley Lecture, the 1935 Henry Sidgwick Memrial Lecture, and in 1936 a Broadcast National Lecture. These were bound as Law and Other Things. He was appointed in 1941 to the Professorship of Law at the Royal Academy of Arts, and was chosen an Honorary Member by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1948 he became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He delivered the Andrew Lang Memorial Lecture, and the Commemorative Oration at the University of Glasgow's 500th anniversary in 1951.
He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1924 and was awarded the GCVO in 1937. He would earn the distinction of LLD from his two alma matres, Edinburgh on 17 July 1924., again in 1931 at the University of London, and again in 1932 at the University of St. Andrews. In North America, he was awarded LLDs from McGill University, Queen's University at Kingston, Dalhousie University and Columbia University, and a DCL from Case Western Reserve University, as well as being inducted into the Order of the Coif.
He was unanimously elected 13 May 1924 the first Honorary Bencher of Inner Temple. He was elected honorary member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers, and of the Institution of Municipal and County Engineers.
His autobiography, A Man of Law's Tale, was published in 1952.