ROBERTSON, ANDREW, lawyer, author and compiler of legal works, governor of McGill University; b. 1815 at or near Stuartfield, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, son of James Robertson; d. 21 March 1880 at Côte-Saint-Antoine, Montreal, Que.
Andrew Robertson was 17 when his father decided to leave Scotland with his family and emigrate to the United States. The Robertsons lived for some time at Derby, in Vermont, before crossing the border and settling at Sherbrooke, where James Robertson acted for more than 25 years as minister of the Congregational Church.
On 28 Sept. 1841 Andrew Robertson was called to the bar at Montreal, after working as a clerk in the office of the future judge Charles Dewey Day*. Two of Andrew’s brothers, George R. and William Wilcox, followed his example and became lawyers; another, Joseph Gibb*, held the post of treasurer of the province of Quebec. Their sister Margaret* followed a literary career.
Andrew Robertson took up residence at Montreal, where, with his brother George and then with his brother William Wilcox, he conducted a prosperous legal practice (A. and W. Robertson), and for a period of nearly 20 years (1852–71) was an active member of the council of the bar. He held in succession the offices of council member, examiner, treasurer, and bâtonnier (1866–67). On 12 Feb. 1864 he was appointed queen’s counsel. From 1856 to 1867 he collaborated with Judge Joseph-Ubalde Beaudry in the compiling of the Lower Canada Reports/Décisions des tribunaux du Bas-Canada. This collection sought to make known to lawyers and to the public the most important rulings in civil matters; it constituted a valuable reference work for members of the bar, who were able to base their cases or judgements on precedents. In 1864 Andrew Robertson brought out an important work entitled A digest of all the reports published in Lower Canada to 1863, which contained a summary of all legal rulings published up to that time.
Andrew Robertson, a governor of McGill University, bequeathed part of his estate to the library of the Faculty of Law, to enrich its collections. After several years of intensive work and research, he gradually lost his sight. He died at Montreal at the age of 65. It is not known whether he married.
Andrew Robertson, A digest of all the reports published in Lower Canada to 1863 (Montreal, 1864). PAC, MG 30, D62 (Audet papers), 26, pp.40–43. Dom. ann. reg., 1880–81, 428. Pierre Beullac et É.-F. Surveyer, Le centenaire du Barreau de Montréal, 1849–1949 (Montréal, 1949), 69–71. Lareau, Hist. de la littérature canadienne, 389–91.