Dedicated to his Mother now
in her ninety-first year, in affectionate remembrance of all that her
children and her children's children owe to her influence.
WHEN asked, two years ago,
to compile a Memoir of my brother, I did not accept the task without
considerable hesitation. Besides the charge of a city parish, heavy
responsibilities of another nature had devolved upon me, so that it seemed
impossible to undertake additional labour. I felt also that, in some
respects, a near relative was not well qualified to fill satisfactorily
the office of biographer. These objections were, however, overruled by
friends on whose judgment I relied.
If affection should have
rendered it difficult to be always impartial, I may be allowed, on the
other hand, to derive some comfort from the reflection that a life-long
intercourse, as frank and confidential as could exist between two
brothers, gave me opportunities for knowing his thoughts and opinions,
which few others, and certainly no stranger, could have possessed.
Dr. Macleod was a man whom
it is almost impossible to portray. His power was in many ways inseparable
from his presence. The sympathy, the humour, the tenderness depended so
much for their full expression on look, voice, and manner, that all who
knew him will recognise the necessary inadequacy of verbal description.
"Quantum mutatus ab illo" must more especially be the verdict upon any
attempt to record instances of his wit or pathos.
I must, however, claim for
this biography the merit of truthfulness. In whatever respects it may
fail, it cannot, I think, be charged with conscious concealment or
exaggeration of fact or sentiment. Faults of another kind will, I trust,
be forgiven for the sake of the great reverence and love I bore him.
I beg gratefully to
acknowledge the aid rendered by many friends. The pages of the Memoir
indicate that my obligations to Principal Shairp, Dr. Watson, and my
brother-in-law, Dr. Clerk, have been great; but there were many others to
whom I am indebted for much assistance, and to whom I tender my best
thanks. Among these I may mention the Dean of Westminster, Mr. Service, J.
A. Campbell, Esq., LL.D., Alex. H. Japp, Esq., A. B. McGrigor, Esq., and
Dr. W. C. Smith. I need scarcely add that Mrs. Norman Macleod, by her
constant advice and her careful arrangement of her husband's papers, gave
me invaluable help.
In conclusion, I must
express regret that the appearance of this book has been delayed so long.
It can be said in apology, that no available time has been lost during the
two years I have been engaged in writing it.
Now that it is completed,
no one can be more sensible than I am of its imperfections. It will,
however, be to me a source of inexpressible gratitude, if, in spite of its
many deficiencies, it should convey to those who did not know Norman
Macleod, some sense, however inadequate, of the depth of his goodness, of
his rich humanity, his childlike faith, catholicity, and devotion.
1, Woodlands Terrace,
Here is a wee book of his
to read called "Wee Davie".