Maconochie, Allan (DNB00)

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MACONOCHIE, ALLAN, Lord Meadowbank (1748–1816), Scottish judge, only son of Alexander Maconochie of Meadowbank, Midlothian, by his wife Isabella, daughter of the Rev. Walter Allan, minister of Colin ton in the same county, was born on 26 Jan. 1748. He was educated privately by Dr. Alexander Adam [q. v.], afterwards rector of the high school of Edinburgh. He subsequently entered the university of Edinburgh, where he attended the law classes, and was apprenticed to Thomas Tod, a well-known writer to the signet. In 1764 Maconochie, with William Creech [q.v.1, John Bruce (1745-1826) [q. v.], Henry Mackenzie, and two other fellow-students, founded the Speculative Society, 'an institution which has trained more young men to public speaking, talent, and liberal thought than all the other private institutions in Scotland' (Cockburn, Memorials of his Time, 1856, pp. 73-4). Having completed his university course in 1768, Maconochie went to reside at Paris for a short time. He passed advocate on 8 Dec. 1770, and was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn (16 April 1771), but was never called to the English bar. He subsequently returned to France, where he remained till 1773. In 1774 he was elected to the general assembly as lay representative of the burgh of Dunfermline. Maconochie was appointed professor of public law and law of nature and nations in the university of Edinburgh on 16 July 1779 (Laing, Catalogue of Edinburgh Graduates, 1858, p. xix), and on 18 Dec. following was elected treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates. In 1788 he became sheriff-depute of Renfrewshire. He was one of the eight advocates who took an active part in procuring the rejection of Henry Erskine (1746-1817) [q. v.] as dean of the faculty in January 1796 (Omond, Lord Advocates, ii. 168). tie succeeded Alexander Abercromby [q. v.] as an ordinary lord of session, and took his seat on the bench as Lord Meadowbank on 11 March 1796. In the same year he resigned his professorship. Maconochie was appointed a lord of justiciary in the place of David Smy the of Methven on 4 Sept. 1804, and was constituted one of the three lords commissioners of the newly appointed jury court on 9 May 1815. His health, however, had already begun to fail, and he took little part in the proceedings of the new court, which was opened for the first time on 22 Jan. 1816. lie died at Coates House, near Edinburgh, on 14 June 1816, aged 68, and was buried in the private burial-ground on the Meadowbank estate, in the parish of Kirknewton, where there is a monument to his memory.

Maconochie was a very able judge, of singular ingenuity and much eccentricity. Brougham, m the case of Inglis v. Mansfield, referred to him as i one of the best lawyers — one of the most acute men — a man of large general capacity and of great experience and, with hardly any exception, certainly with very few exceptions, the most diligent and attentive judge one can remember in the practice of the Scotch law' (Shaw and {sc|Maclean}}, Cases decided in the House of Lords, 1836, i. 325). Jeffrey, too, had a very high opinion of him, and 'the prospect of meeting with this powerful and entertaining intellect was always a temptation to Jeffrey to take a case on the criminal circuit' (Cockburn, Life of Lord Jeffrey, 1852, i. 178-9). According to Cockbum, Maconochie ' took great pleasure in exercising his mind, and in making people wonder at the singularity of his views, into which, as into his language, he never failed to infuse as much metaphysical phraseology and argument as he could' (Memorials of his Time, p. 141). His learning was so varied and considerable that he seemed 'to be equally at home in divinity, agriculture, and geology, in examining mountains, demonstrating his errors to a former, and refuting the dogmas of the clergyman, though of all his occupations the last perhaps gave him the greatest pleasure. . . . He questioned everything, he demonstrated everything, his whole life was a discussion. . . . He had more pleasure in inventing ingenious reasons for being wrong than in being quietly right' (ib. pp. 142-143). His predilection for Latin quotation is happily caricatured in the 'Diamond Beetle Case,' attributed to George Cranstoun, lord Corehouse (Kay, Original Portraits, ii. 386). He married, on 11 Nov. 1774, Elizabeth, third daughter of Robert Welwood of Garvock and Pitliver, Fifeshire, the granddaughter of Sir George Preston, bart., of Valleyfield. He left four sons, viz. (1) Alexander [q. v.]; (2) Robert, who became mint master at Madras, and died in Devonshire Place, London, on 19 Feb. 1858; (3) James Allan, sheriff of Orkney and Shetland, who died unmarried in 1846; and (4) Thomas Tod, who died unmarried in 1847.

Maconochie was a keen agriculturist. He was the anonymous author of 'Directions for preparing Manure from Peat, and Instruction for Foresters,' which was reprinted in 1816, Edinburgh, 8vo, and again in 1842, Edinburgh, 8vo. His 'Considerations on the Introduction of Jury Trial in Civil Causes into Scotland' was published anonymously in 1814, Edinburgh, 8vo; 2nd edit. Edinburgh, 1815, 8vo. On the flyleaf of the copy of the first edition in the British Museum Lord Cockburn has written: 'It is a very intelligent, and was at the time a very useful, exposition of some of the practical principles of jury trial which were least understood, and most necessary to be understood here,' &c. His 'Essay on the Origin and Structure of the European Legislatures' appeared in two parts in the first volume of 'The Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh,' Edinburgh, 1788, 4to, of which he was a vice-president. A number of his manuscripts are in the possession of Mr. J. A. Maconochie-Welwood at Meadowbank House.

A portrait of Maconochie, painted by Sir Henry Raeburn in 1814, was exhibited at the Raeburn Exhibition in Edinburgh in 1876 (Catalogue, No. 77). Three etchings of him will be found in the second volume of Kay's 'Series of Original Portraits' (Nos. 177, 800, 312). There is a medallion of Maconochie by James Tassie in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Catalogue, 1889, No. 219).

[Lord Brougham's Memoir of Allan, Lord Meadowbank, Law Review, ii. 72-80; Brunton and Haig's Senators of the Coll. of Justice, 1832. pp. 542-3; Anderson's Scottish Nation, 1863, lii. 60, 634; Grant's Old and New Edinburgh, ii. 162, 163, 292-3; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1886, ii. 1203; Rogers's Monuments and Monumental Inscriptions in Scotland, 1871, i. 170; Scots Mag. 1774 p. 622, 1816 p. 559; Ann. Reg. 1816, Chron. p. 216; Gent. Mag. 1816 pt. i. p. 573, 1858 pt.i. p.450; Lincoln's Inn Registers.]

G. F. R. B.