Haldane of Cloan, Richard Burdon Haldane, Viscount, 1856–1928, British statesman. He entered (1885) the House of Commons as a Liberal. As war secretary (1905–12) he effected drastic army reforms, creating a British expeditionary force, an imperial general staff, an officers training corps, and the territorial army. He was created a peer in 1911. On a diplomatic mission to Germany (1912), he rejected a proposal of British neutrality in any war into which Germany might be drawn. His tenure of office as lord chancellor (1912–15) ended after the outbreak of World War I, when popular clamor mistakenly attacked him as pro-German. In Ramsay MacDonald's first short Labour ministry (1924) he was again lord chancellor. He was first chancellor of the Univ. of Bristol and was elected lord rector of Edinburgh. He wrote a number of philosophical works, including Pathway to Reality (1903), Reign of Relativity (1921), The Philosophy of Humanism (1922), and Selected Addresses and Essays (1928, repr. 1970). He also wrote an autobiography (1929).
See study by E. Ashby (1974).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.