The Times/1941/Obituary/Thomas Barclay

Obituary: Sir Thomas Barclay  (1941) 

Source: The Times, Thursday, Feb 06, 1941; pg. 7; Issue 48843. — Sir Thomas Barclay, Law and International Relations

Sir Thomas Barclay

Law and International Relations

Sir Thomas Barclay, LL.D., Ph.D., a distinguished authority on International Law and a writer on economic subjects died at Versailles on January 20, according to a statement issued from Vichy.

Born at Dunfermline in 1853 he was the eldest son of the late George Barclay, LL.D., of Bonvil, Cupar. He was educated at Dunfermline, at Cupar Academy, at the College of Dunkirk, at the Johanneum Classical School, Hamburg, at University College, London, and at the Universities of Paris and Jena. His father was on the editorial staff of The Times, and in 1876 young Barclay, who had already been contributing to The Times, the Manchester Guardian, and the Spectator, was appointed an assistant of Blowitz in our Paris office. He was called to the Bar in 1881, and soon afterwards retired from his post on the staff of The Times in order to devote himself exclusively to legal practice in Paris. His writings on international law caused him to be elected as member of both the Institute of International Law, of which he became acting president in 1914, and of the International Law Association, of which he became vice-president. He wrote the articles on the subject in the “Encyclopaedia of the Laws of England” and in the supplement of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" of 1911.

In 1881 he became hon. Secretary of the British Chamber of Commerce in Paris of which he was president in 1899-1900. This position enabled him to do good work towards the bringing about of a better understanding between France and Great Britain. By personally guaranteeing all the expenditure involved he succeeded in 1900, in persuading the Association of Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom to hold, for the first time, a meeting in Paris. The cordial attitude of the French Government led him to propose at a meeting of the French International Arbitration Society, the the friendly relations should be consolidated by a Treaty of Arbitration. And on October 14, 1903, the Treaty was signed. He was knighted in 1904, the year of the Entente Cordiale. In 1895 he founded the Franco-Scottish Society, which celebrated its creation by banquets at the Sorbonne and in Edinburgh Castle.

Barclay had unsuccessfully contested Kirkcaldy Burghs in 1886 as a Unionist. Afterwards he became a Liberal and as such was elected for Blackburn in January, 1910, but he did not stand at the next election.

In 1903, as a member of the Moseley Commission, appointed to study education methods in the United States, he visited that country and Canada, taking advantage of the opportunity to preach the cause of international arbitration.

In 1900 he became examiner in Jurisprudence and International Public and Private law at the University of Oxford. Among his many publications may be mentioned "Problems of International Practice and Diplomacy" (1907), "Thirty Years Anglo-French Reminiscences" (1914), "Law and Usage of War" (1914), "New Methods for Adjustment of International Disputes" (1918), "Collapse and Reconstruction" (1919), and "Wisdom of Lang-Sin" (1927).

He married Marie Thérèse, daughter of R. Teuscher, M.D., of Rio de Janeiro and Jena. She is the translator into English of Villiers de l'Isle Adam's "La Révolte" and of other books. They had two daughters and a son who was killed in action in 1918.

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