1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Macleod, Norman

MACLEOD, NORMAN (1812–1872), Scottish divine, son of Rev. Norman Macleod (1783–1862), and grandson of Rev. Norman Macleod, minister of Morven, Argyllshire, was born at Campbeltown on the 3rd of June 1812. In 1827 he became a student at Glasgow University, and in 1831 went to Edinburgh to study divinity under Dr Thomas Chalmers. On the 18th of March 1838 he became parish minister at Loudoun, Ayrshire. At this time the troubles in the Scottish Church were already gathering to a head (see Free Church of Scotland). Macleod, although he had no love for lay patronage, and wished the Church to be free to do its proper work, clung firmly to the idea of a national Established Church, and therefore remained in the Establishment when the disruption took place. He was one of those who took a middle course in the non-intrusion controversy, holding that the fitness of those who were presented to parishes should be judged by the presbyteries—the principle of Lord Aberdeen’s Bill. On the secession of 1843 he was offered many different parishes, and having finally settled at Dalkeith, devoted himself to parish work and to questions affecting the Church as a whole. He was largely instrumental in the work of strengthening the Church. In 1847 he became one of the founders of the Evangelical Alliance, and from 1849 edited the Christian Instructor (Edinburgh). In 1851 he was called to the Barony church, Glasgow, in which city the rest of his days were passed. There the more liberal theology rapidly made way among a people who judged it more by its fruits than its arguments, and Macleod won many adherents by his practical schemes for the social improvement of the people. He instituted temperance refreshment rooms, a congregational penny savings bank, and held services specially for the poor. In 1860 Macleod was appointed editor of the new monthly magazine Good Words. Under his control the magazine, which was mainly of a religious character, became widely popular. His own literary work, nearly all of which originally appeared in its pages—sermons, stories, travels, poems—was only a by-product of a busy life. By far his best work was the spontaneous and delightful Reminiscences of a Highland Parish (1867). While Good Words made his name known, and helped the cause he had so deeply at heart, his relations with the queen and the royal family strengthened yet further his position in the country. Never since Principal Carstairs had any Scottish clergyman been on such terms with his sovereign. In 1865 he risked an encounter with Scottish Sabbatarian ideas. The presbytery of Glasgow issued a pastoral letter on the subject of Sunday trains and other infringements of the Sabbath. Macleod protested against the grounds on which its strictures were based. For a time, owing partly to a misleading report of his statement, he became “the man in all Scotland most profoundly distrusted.” But four years later the Church accorded him the highest honour in her power by choosing him as moderator of her general assembly. In 1867, along with Dr Archibald Watson, he was sent to India, to inquire into the state of the missions. He undertook the journey in spite of failing health, and seems never to have recovered from its effects. He returned resolved to devote the rest of his days to rousing the Church to her duty in the sphere of foreign missions, but his health was now broken, and his old energy flagged. He died on the 16th of June 1872, and was buried at Campsie. He was one of the greatest of Scottish religious leaders, a man of wide sympathy and high ideals. His Glasgow church was named after him the “Macleod Parish Church,” and the “Macleod Missionary Institute” was erected by the Barony church in Glasgow. Queen Victoria gave two memorial windows to Crathie church as a testimony of her admiration for his work.

See Memoir of Norman Macleod, by his brother, Donald Macleod (1876).