- Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane
The Right Honourable
name =Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane
predecessor =Liberal MP for Haddingtonshire
birth_date =birth date|1856|7|30|df=y
death_date =death date and age|1928|08|19|1856|7|30|df=y
Childhood and Family Background
Lord Haldane was born in
Edinburgh, the son of Robert Haldane and his wife Mary Elizabeth Burdon-Sanderson. He was the grandson of the Scottish evangelist James Alexander Haldane. His brother was respiratory physiologist John Scott Haldane, his nephew was JBS Haldaneand his sister was the author Elizabeth Haldane.
Haldane received his first education at the
Edinburgh Academyand at the Göttingen University and University of Edinburghwhere he received first-class honors in Philosophy and as Gray scholar and Ferguson scholar in philosophy of the four Scottish Universities. After studying law in London, he was called to the bar in 1879 and was a very successful lawyer. Haldane remained a lifelong bachelor after his fiancée broke off their engagement.
In 1885 he was elected a Liberal member of Parliament for Haddingtonshire. In 1895, he helped found the
London School of Economics. He was also a member of the Coefficients dining club of social reformers set up in 1902 by the Fabian campaigners Sidney and Beatrice Webb. In 1904 he was President of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club and gave the Toast to Sir Walter at the clubs annual dinner. In 1905, he was appointed Secretary of State for Warin Henry Campbell Bannerman's administration. Haldane, a prominent Liberal Imperialist and close associate of Herbert Henry Asquith, was a strong advocate of British commitments on the continent, and took great steps in preparing the army for participation in a possible European war by establishing the British Expeditionary Force. His tenure also saw the creation of the Imperial General Staff, the Territorial Army, the Officer Training Corps, and the Special Reserve. He was given a peeragein 1911, becoming the Viscount Haldane. Upon Lord Loreburn's retirement in 1912, Haldane succeeded him as Lord Chancellor, but was forced to resign in 1915, after being falsely accused of pro-German sympathies. The accusations were widely believed, even being echoed in a popular music hall song ("All dressed up and nowhere to go") in the revue "Mr Manhattan".
As the war progressed, Haldane moved increasingly close to the Labour Party but he was held back by his ties to the Liberal Party and to Asquith. It was not until the general election of 1923 when Haldane made several speeches for Labour candidates. When the Labour government was formed by
Ramsay MacDonald, Haldane was recruited to serve once again as Lord Chancellor. He was also joint Leader of the Labour Peers with Lord Parmoor. Haldane was a vital member of the Cabinet as he was one of only three members who had sat in a cabinet before; the other two had sat only briefly and for junior posts.
Haldane also served as second
Chancellorof the University of Bristol, and was elected Chancellor of the University of St Andrewsshortly before his death. He died on 19 August 1928. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Ex-War Secretary and Lord Chancellor Succumbs Suddenly to Heart Disease. Charges of Pro-Germanism Made Him Unpopular in 1914. Was Labor Cabinet Minister. Haldane Active in Many Fields. Became an M.P. in 1885. |url=http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50913FA3458167A93C2AB1783D85F4C8285F9 |quote=Lord Haldane, veteran statesman and philosopher, who will be remembered as one of the greatest of British War Ministers and who was twice Lord Chancellor of England, died suddenly today of heart disease at his home in Auchterarder, Scotland. |work= New York Times|date= 20 August 1928|accessdate=2008-08-15 ]
He co-translated the first English edition of Schopenhauer's "
The World as Will and Representation", published between 1883 and 1886. He wrote several philosophical works, the best known of which is "The Reign of Relativity" (1921), which dealt with the philosophical implications of the theory of relativity.
He was president of the
Aristotelian Societyfrom 1907 to 1908.
* [http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/portrait.asp?search=ss&sText=haldane&LinkID=mp01966&rNo=3&role=sit#med Painting of Sir Richard Haldane by Philip Alexius de László. Oil on millboard, 1928.]
Oxford Dictionary of National Biographyarticle by H. C. G. Matthew, "Haldane, Richard Burdon, Viscount Haldane (1856–1928)", online edn, May 2006 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33643] , accessed 28 Feb 2007.
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