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The Scottish Nation
MacKinnon


MACKINNON, the surname of a minor clan, (badge, the pine,) a branch of the siol Alpin, sprung from Fingon, brother of Anrias or Andrew, ancestor of the Macgregors. This Fingon, or Finguin, is mentioned in the MS. of 1450 as the founder of the clan Finguin, that is, the Mackinnons. Their seat was in the islands of Skye and Mull, and they formed one of the vassal tribes of the lords of the Isles. The first authentic notice of them is to be found in an indenture (printed in the Appendix to the second edition of Hailes’ Annals of Scotland) between the lords of the Isles and the lord of Lorn. The latter stipulates, in surrendering to the lord of the Isles the island of Mull and other lands, that the keeping of the castle of Kerneburg, in the Treshinish Isles, is not to be given to any of the race of clan Finnon. “This,” says Mr. Gregory, “proves that the Mackinnons were then connected with Mull. They originally possessed the district of Griban in that island, but exchanged it for the district of Mishnish, being that part of Mull immediately to the north and west of Tobermory. They, likewise, possessed the lands of Strathordell in Skye, from which the chiefs usually took their style. Lauchlan Macfingon, or Mackinnon, chief of his clan, witnessed a charter by Donald, lord of the Isles, in 1409. The name of the chief in 1493 is uncertain; but Neil Mackinnon of Mishnish was at the head of the tribe in 1515.” (Highlands and Isles of Scotland, p. 80.) Two years afterwards this Neil and several others, described as “kin, men, servants, and part-takers” of Lauchlan Maclean of Dowart, were included in a remission which that chief obtained for their share in the rebellion of Sir Donald Macdonald of Lochalsh. In 1545 the chief’s name was Ewin. He was one of the barons and council of the Isles who, in that year, swore allegiance to the king of England at Knockfergus in Ireland.

      “In consequence,” says Mr. Skene, “of their connexion with the Macdonalds, the Mackinnons have no history independent of that clan; and the internal state of these tribes during the government of the lords of the Isles is so obscure that little can be learned regarding them, until the forfeiture of the last of these lords. During their dependence upon the Macdonalds there is but one event of any importance in which we find the Mackinnons taking a share, for it would appear that on the death of John of the Isles, in the fourteenth century, Mackinnon, with what object it is impossible now to ascertain, stirred up his second son, John Mor, to rebel against his eldest brother, apparently with a view to the chiefship, and his faction was joined by the Macleans and the Macleods. But Donald, the elder brother, was supported by so great a proportion of the tribe, that he drove John Mor and his party out of the Isles, and pursued him to Galloway, and from thence to Ireland. The rebellion being thus put down, John Mor threw himself upon his brother’s mercy, and received his pardon, but Mackinnon was taken and hanged, as having been the instigator of the disturbance.” (Skene’s Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 259.) This appears to have taken place after 1380, as John, Lord of the Isles, died that year. In the disturbances in the Isles, during the 16th century, Sir Lauchlan Mackinnon bore an active part.

      As a proof of the common descent of the Mackinnons, the Macgregors, and the Macnabs, although their territories were far distant from each other, two bonds of friendship exist, which are curious specimens of the manners of the times. The one dated 12th July, 1606, was entered into between Lauchlan Mackinnon of Strathordell and Finlay Macnab of Bowaine, who, as its tenor runs, happened “to forgether togedder, with certain of the said Finlay’s friends, in their rooms, in the laird of Glenurchy’s country, and the said Lauchlan and Finlay, being come of ane house, and being of one surname and lineage, notwithstanding the said Lauchlan and Finlay this long time bygane oversaw their awn dueties till udderis, in respect of the long distance betwixt their dwelling places,” agreed, with the consent of their kin and friends, to give all assistance and service to each other. And are “content to subscribe to the same with their hands led to the pen.” Mackinnon’s signature is characteristic. It is “Lauchland, mise (i.e., myself) Mac Fingon.” The other bond of manrent, dated at Kilmorie in 1671, was between Lauchlan Mackinnon of Strathordell and James Macgregor of Macgregor, and it is therein stated that “for the special love and amitie between these persons, and condescending that they are descended lawfully fra two breethren of auld descent, wherefore and for certain onerous causes moving, we witt ye we to be bound and obleisit, likeas by the tenor hereof we faithfully bind and obleise us and our successors, our kin, friends and followers, faithfully to serve ane anither in all causes with our men and servants, against all who live or die.”

      During the civil wars the Mackinnons joined the standard of the marquis of Montrose, and formed part of his force at the battle of Inverlochy, Feb. 2, 1645. In 1650, Lauchlan Mackinnon, the chief, raised a regiment of his clan for the service of Charles II., and at the battle of Worcester, in 1646, he was made a knight banneret. His son, Daniel Mohr, had 2 sons, John, whose great-grandson died in India, unmarried, in 1808, and Daniel, who emigrated to Antigua, and died in 1720. His eldest son and heir, William Mackinnon of Antigua, an eminent member of the legislature of that island died at Bath in 1767. The son of the latter, William Mackinnon of Antigua and Binfield, Berkshire, died in 1809. The youngest of his four sons, Henry, Major-general Mackinnon, a distinguished officer, was killed by the explosion of a magazine, while leading on the main storming party, at Ciudad Rodrigo, Feb. 29, 1822. A tablet was erected to his memory in St. Paul’s cathedral.

      The eldest son, William Mackinnon, died young, leaving, with 2 daughters, 2 sons, William Alexander Mackinnon, who succeeded his grandfather, and Daniel, colonel of the Coldstream guards, of whom a memoir follows below.

      William Alexander Mackinnon of Mackinnon, M.P., the chief magistrate and deputy lieutenant for the counties of Middlesex, Hampshire, and Essex, and author of ‘The History of Civilization,’ and other publications (‘Public Opinion,’ ‘Thoughts on the Currency Question,’ &c.) Born in 1789, succeeded in 1809. He married Emma, daughter of Joseph Palmer, Esq. of Rush House, County Dublin, with issue, 3 sons and 3 daughters. The eldest son, William Alexander, also M.P., born in 1813, married daughter of F. Willes, Esq.

      Lauchlan Mackinnon of Letterfearn also claims to be the heir-male of the family. Although there are many gentlemen of the name still resident in Skye, there is no Mackinnon proprietor of lands now either in that island or in Mull.

      The Mackinnons engaged on both rebellions in favour of the Stuarts. In 1715, 150 of them fought with the Macdonalds of Sleat at the battle of Sheriffmuir, for which the chief was forfeited, but received a pardon, 4th January, 1727. In 1745, Mackinnon, though then old and infirm, joined Prince Charles with a battalion of his clan. President Forbes estimates their effective force at that period at 200 men. After the battle of Culloden, the prince, in his wanderings, took refuge in the country of the Mackinnons, when travelling in disguise through Skye, and was concealed by the chief in a cave, where Lady Mackinnon brought him a refreshment of cold meat and wine. Afterwards the chief and one of his clansmen, John Mackinnon, residing at Ellagol, conducted the royal fugitive in his own boat to the mainland, to the country of Macdonald of Morar. Not meeting with that assistance from the latter which he expected, the prince, in great distress, turned round to Mackinnon, and said, “I hope, Mr. Mackinnon, you will not desert me too, and leave me in the lurch; but that you will do all for my preservation you can.” The old chief, thinking that these words were meant for him, said, with tears in his eyes, “I never will leave your royal highness in the day of danger; but will, under God, do all I can for you, and go with you wherever you order me.” “O, no,” rejoined Charles, “that is too much for one of your advanced years, Sir; I heartily thank you for your readiness to take care of me, as I am well satisfied of your zeal for me and my cause; but one of your age cannot well hold out with the fatigues and dangers I must undergo. It was to your friend John here, a stout young man, I was addressing myself.” “Well, then,” said John, “with the help of God, I will go through the wide world with your royal highness, if you desire me.” The chief returned home, and was soon followed by John Mackinnon, after he had conducted the prince safely to Borrodale, and placed him under the charge of Æneas Macdonald, the laird thereof. The chief and his faithful kinsman were soon after captured by a party of militia, and carried to London, where they were kept in confinement till July 1747.

MACKINNON, DANIEL, a gallant officer, was born in 1791. He was the younger son of William Mackinnon, eldest son of the chief of the clan of that name in the western Highlands, and the nephew of General Mackinnon, who was killed at the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo. At the age of fourteen he entered the army as ensign in the Coldstream guards, and shortly after accompanied his regiment to Bremen. In 1807 the battalion to which he belonged sailed for Copenhagen, and after the capture of that place it returned to England. In 1809 the Coldstream guards embarked for the Peninsula, and was present in all the great battles, beginning with Talavera and ending with Toulouse. Young Mackinnon, who had attained the rank of lieutenant, was appointed aide-de-camp to General Stopford, and distinguished himself throughout the campaign by his cool daring, and extraordinary activity. It is related of him, that on one occasion, when the army was passing a defile, and part of our troops, on debouching from it, were exposed to a destructive fire, they found Captain Mackinnon coolly shaving himself in a spot where the danger was the greatest. Encouraged at the sight, the men rushed forward and drove the French before them.

      On the conclusion of peace in 1814 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Early in June 1815, anxious to join his regiment, then quartered near Brussels, Colonel Mackinnon embarked at Ramsgate with a brother officer in an open boat, and next morning reached Ostend. He was present at the engagements of the 16th and 17th, and at Waterloo on the 18th of June. In the latter memorable battle he had three horses shot under him. In advancing to charge the French, leading on a portion of his regiment, he received a shot in his knee which killed his horse, and in falling he lost his sword. He fell close beside a French officer who was still more severely wounded, and in taking the latter’s sword, he gently told him he hoped they might sup together that night. On recovering his legs he again mounted, and cheering on his men, advanced at their head.

      In the latter part of the day colonel Mackinnon was ordered to occupy the farm of Hougoumont, where he was placed with about 250 of the Coldstream and the first regiment of the Grenadier guards. Aware of the great importance of this position, which flanked our army, the duke of Wellington sent orders to defend it to the last extremity. On this point Napoleon directed his great efforts, ordering battalion after battalion to the assault, and the carnage was terrific. Notwithstanding the pain of his wound, and his being disabled in one leg. Colonel Mackinnon continued to defend that perilous post till the advance of the whole British line, and the subsequent rout of the French army, put an end to the struggle of the day. When the action was over he became delirious from loss of blood and fatigue, and was sent on a litter to Brussels, where he received every attention, and soon recovered his health.

      After the peace he married the eldest daughter of John Dent, Esq., M.P. for Pool. In 1826 he purchased the majority in the Coldstream guards, which gave him the rank of full colonel in the army, and the command of the regiment to which he had been attached all his military life. In consequence of his majesty William IV. having expressed a desire that every officer in command of a regiment should furnish the Horse Guards with some account of it, Colonel Mackinnon wrote his well known work, ‘The Origin and Services of the Coldstream Guards,’ which was published in 1833. He died June 22, 1836, aged 46.


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