‘The Thousandth Man’: A Biography of James McGregor Stewart

by Barry Cahill, Independent Scholar. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2000.

Barry Cahill’s study of the life of James McGregor Stewart adds an exciting new dimension to Canadian legal biography. James McGregor Stewart (1889-1955) was a towering figure in Canada’s inter-war legal and business establishments. The foremost Canadian corporation lawyer of his day, head of an elite Halifax law firm, President of the Canadian Bar Association, and a dollar-a-year man in wartime Ottawa, he was both an intimate adviser to some of Canada’s most important corporate leaders and himself one of our most illustrious businessmen. No lawyer, before or since, has enjoyed such prestige or exercised more behind-the-scenes power both within and outside the Atlantic region; in his time he was the only Maritime lawyer fully accepted by every branch of the Canadian establishment. In the absence of very many personal or legal records, Barry Cahill has carried out imaginative and comprehensive research in a wide range of existing sources. Demonstrating exemplary scholarship, good literary sense and sound judgment, he has brought to life the remarkable story of a man who overcame many challenges to become one of the leading Canadian lawyers of his day. This is compelling reading. We are grateful to Barry Cahill for his sustained efforts and dedication in probing the often obscure depths of a corporate law practice to bring to life the story of a fascinating Canadian lawyer.

Reviews of ‘The Thousandth Man’: A Biography of James McGregor Stewart

The reader...is rewarded with an...interesting biography, a persuasive analysis of the role of the corporation lawyer in Canadian industrial organization and a fresh and provocative look at several themes in the history of the Maritime region. Ernie Forbes, Canadian Historical Review, vol. 82, 2001
[Cahill] has successfully portrayed the human being behind the legend.... Although this is an academic, as opposed to a popular, biography, it never fails to fascinate, and the face of the narrative makes it an enjoyable reading experience. Tim Mathews, Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol 23, 2000

Reviews have also appeared in the following publications:

  • Walter Thompson, “Stewart bio deserves intense inspection,” The Sunday Herald, October 15, 2000