The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 12 (March 1, 1935)
His Professorial Career
His Professorial Career.
Macmillan Brown's early scholastic work was both solid and brilliant. The foundations of his great attainments were laid in his native Scotland, where he studied in Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. Scholarships gave him an entrance into Balliol College, Oxford, where he distinguished himself in English and classics. He came under the splendid influence of Dr. Jowett, the famous Master of Balliol, and he met, through Jowett, such men as Matthew Arnold and Swinburne. He wrote a great deal before he came to New Zealand, and he was offered newspaper editorial work, but an offer of the Professorship of English and Classics in the just-founded Canterbury College brought him to New Zealand in 1874.
It was very strenuous toil; the eager young Scots scholar threw himself into the work with all his heart, and he was working sixteen hours a day, so enthusiastic was he for the advancement of his classes. He had to give up the classical side of his work, but he soon took on the teaching of political economy and history. For twenty years he was the great driving force in the life of the college. He was a member of the New Zealand University Senate since 1877, and for the fourteen years before his death he was Chancellor. His annual addresses were always looked forward to as likely to contain stimulating and discussion-provoking thought; nothing that Macmillan Brown said was perfunctory or lacking in fire and the spirit of leadership. He delighted in shaking up the dry bones of indifference and laissez faire; he was unceasing in his appeals to the country's legislators for greater practical support of the cause of higher education.