SON of Findlay Caldwell, a working man, the Liberal member
for Mid-Lanarkshire owes his honourable position entirely to his own energy and
ability. He was born at Kilmarnock, 15th October, 1839, but removed to
Pollokshaws nine years later, and he received his early education successively
at Osborne's Academy, Kilmarnock, at Eastwood Parish School, and at the Southern
Collegiate School, Glasgow. Entering a writer's office, he attended law classes
at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, paying his way out of his own earnings,
and attaining no little distinction in his studies. After serving several of the
best legal firms in Glasgow, he practised for some time as a lawyer on his own
account, but presently gave up the profession to become a partner with his
father in the business of Caldwell & Ritchie, calico printers, at Campsie. By
seventeen years of steady work there, twelve hours a day, he amassed a
competency, and retired with the object of devoting himself to political life.
He had long been president of Campsie Liberal Association. Following Mr.
Gladstone's introduction of his Home Rule Bill, Mr. Caldwell contested St.
Rollox Division of Glasgow, in 1886, as a Unionist; but on the declaration of
the veteran leader that he intended to introduce a Bill which would retain the
Irish members in the Imperial Parliament, he threw in his lot, in 1892, with the
Gladstonian party. At the General election in that year he was defeated in
Tradeston but was elected as a Liberal by the constituency of Mid-Lanark in
1894, as successor to Mr. J.W. Philipps, and has since remained in possession
of the seat.
In the House of Commons Mr. Caldwell is noted as the most regular of all attenders in his place, and as a past master of the procedure of that assembly. The interests of working men are made by him a matter of special care.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)