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The Scottish Nation

MACKENZIE, the surname of a clan, (badge, deer grass,) which has long cherished a traditionary belief in its descent from the Norman family of Fitzgerald settled in Ireland. Its pretensions to such an origin are founded upon a fragment of the records of Icolmkill, and a charter of the lands of Kintail in Wester Ross, said to have been granted by Alexander III., to Colin Fitzgerald, their supposed progenitor. According to the Icolmkill fragment, a personage described as “Peregrinus et Hibernus nobilis ex familia Geraldinorum,” that is, “a noble stranger and Hibernian, of the family of the Geraldines,” being driven from Ireland, with a considerable number of followers, about 1261, was received graciously by the king, and remained thenceforward at the court. Having given powerful aid to the Scots at the battle of Largs two years afterwards, he was rewarded by a grant of Kintail, erected into a free barony by charter dated 9th January, 1266. No such document, however, as this pretended fragment of Icolmkill is known to be in existence, at least, as Mr. Skene says, nobody has ever seen it, and as for King Alexander’s charter, he declares (Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 235) that “it bears the most palpable marks of having been a forgery of later date, and one by no means happy in the execution.” Besides, the words “Colino Hiberno,” contained in it, do not prove the said Colin to have been an Irishman, as Hiberni was at that period a common appellation of the Gael of Scotland.

      The ancestor of the clan Kenzie was Gilleon-og, or Colin the younger, a son of Gilleon na hair’de, that is, Colin of the Aird, progenitor of the earls of Ross, and from the MS. of 1450 their Gaelic descent may be considered established. Colin of Kintail is said to have married a daughter of Walter, lord high steward of Scotland. He died in 1278, and his son, Kenneth, being, in 1304, succeeded by his son, also called Kenneth, with the addition of Mackenneth, the latter, softened into Mackenny or Mackenzie, became the name of the whole clan. Murdoch, or Murcha, the son of Kenneth, received from David II. a charter of the lands of Kintail as early as 1362. At the beginning of the 15th century, the clan Kenzie appears to have been both numerous and powerful, for its chief, Kenneth More, when arrested, in 1427, with his son-in-law, Angus of Moray, and Macnathan, by James I. in his parliament at Inverness, was said to be able to muster 2,000 men.

      In 1463, Alexander Mackenzie of Kintail received Strathgarve and many other lands from John, earl of Ross, the same who was forfeited in 1476. The Mackenzie chiefs were originally vassals of the earls of Ross, but after their forfeiture, they became independent of any superior but the crown. They strenuously opposed the Macdonalds in every attempt which they made to regain possession of the earldom. Alexander was succeeded by his son, Kenneth, who had taken for his first wife Lady Margaret Macdonald, daughter of the forfeited earl, John lord of the Isles, and having, about 1480, divorced his wife, he brought upon himself the resentment of her family. Her brother, Angus, invaded Ross, with a body of his island vassals, and encountering the Mackenzies at a place called Lagebread, defeated them with considerable loss. In 1491, Alexander of Lochalsh, called Alaster Macgillespoc, nephew of the lord of the Isles, made his appearance, at the head of a large body of the Islanders, in Wester Ross, and proceeded to Strathconnan, for the purpose of ravaging the lands of the Mackenzies. The latter, however, under the above-named Kenneth, assembled in great force, and after a fierce and obstinate battle, the Macdonalds were defeated with much slaughter, and expelled from Ross. This engagement was called the battle of Blair-na-Park. The Mackenzies then proceeded to ravage the lands of Ardmanach and Foulis, and committed so many excesses that the earl of Huntly, lieutenant of the north, was compelled to act against them as rebels and oppressors of the lieges. Kenneth died soon after. Kenneth Oig, his son by the divorced wife, was chief in 1493. Two years afterwards, he and Farquhar Macintosh were imprisoned by James V. in the castle of Edinburgh. In 1497, the Macdonalds again invaded Ross, but were encountered by the Mackenzies and Munroes, at a place called Drumchatt, and after a sharp skirmish, were routed and driven out of Ross. The same year he and Macintosh made their escape from the castle of Edinburgh, but on their way to the Highlands, they were treacherously seized at the Torwood, by the laird of Buchanan. Kenneth Oig resisted and was slain, and his head presented to the king by Buchanan. His death was avenged by his foster-brother at Flodden. This was a man of the district of Kenlochar, named Donald dubh Mac Gillechrist Vic Gillereoch. In the retreat of the Scots army he heard some one near him say, “Alas! Laird, thou hast fallen.” On inquiry he was told that it was the laird of Buchanan, who had sunk from wounds or exhaustion. Rushing forward, he shouted out. “If he hath not fallen, he shall fall,” and slew Buchanan on the spot.

      Kenneth Oig, having no issue, was succeeded by his brother, John, whose mother, Agnes Fraser, was a daughter of Lord Lovat. She had other sons, from whom sprung numerous branches of this wide-spread family. As he was very young, his kinsman, Hector Roy Mackenzie, progenitor of the house of Gerloch, assumed the command of the clan, as guardian of the young chief. “Under his rule,” says Mr. Gregory, (Highlands and Isles of Scotland, p. 111,) “the clan Kenzie because involved in feuds with the Munroes and other clans; and Hector Roy himself became obnoxious to government, as a disturber of the public peace. His intentions towards the young lord of Kintail were considered very dubious; and the apprehensions of the latter and his friends having been roused, Hector was compelled by law to yield up the estate and the command of the tribe to the proper heir.” John, at the call of James IV., marched with his clan to the fatal field of Flodden, where he was taken prisoner by the English.

      Among the measures adopted by government for the suppression of the rebellion of Sir Donald Macdonald of Lochalsh, who had got himself proclaimed lord of the Isles, was the appointment, by an act of council, of certain individuals of local influences as temporary lieutenants of particular divisions of the northern shires. Among others, the chief of the Mackenzies and Munro of Foulis were constituted guardians of Wester Ross. The following year (1515) Mackenzie, without legal warrant, seized the royal castle of Dingwall, but professed his readiness to deliver it up to any one appointed by the regent, John, Duke of Albany. It was in attempting, in the Mackenzie chief’s absence, to take his castle of Elandonan, in 1539, that Donald Gorme, the claimant of the lordship of the Isles, lost his life, having been wounded in the foot by a barbed arrow.

      On King James the Fifth’s expedition to the Isles in 1540, he was joined at Kintail by John, chief of the Mackenzies, who accompanied him throughout his voyage. He fought at the battle of Pinkie at the head of his clan in 1547. On his death in 1556, he was succeeded by his son, Kenneth, who, by a daughter of the earl of Athol, had Colin and Roderick, the latter ancestor of the Mackenzies of Redcastle, Kincraig, Rosend, and other branches.

      Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, had, by accident, obtained the custody of Mary Macleod, the heiress of Harris and Dunvegan, and refusing to give her up to her lawful guardian, James Macdonald of Dunyveg and the Glens, was compelled to resign her into the hands of Queen Mary, with whom she remained for some years as a maid of honour. In the Collectanea de rebus Albanicis, (p. 143) is the act of privy council which bears that he had delivered up the said heiress to the queen. It is dated “at Edinburgh, the 21st May 1562.” He died in 1568.

      Colin, eleventh chief, son of Kenneth, fought on the side of Queen Mary at the battle of Langside, for which he obtained a remission. In August 1569 he and Donald Gormeson Macdonald of Skye were forced, in presence of the Regent Moray and privy council at Perth, to settle the feuds in which they had been for some time involved. On this occasion Moray acted as mediator between them. Colin Mackenzie, chief of the clan Kenzie, was a privy councillor to James VI., and died 14th June 1594. He was twice married. By his first wife, Barbara, a daughter of Grant of Grant, he had, with three daughters, four sons, namely, Kenneth, his successor; sir Roderick Mackenzie of Tarbat, ancestor of the earls of Cromarty; Colin, ancestor of the Mackenzies of Kennock and Pitlundie; and Alexander, of the Mackenzies of Kilcoy, and other families of the name. by a second wife, Mary, eldest daughter of Roderick Mackenzie of Davochmalunk, he had a son, Alexander, from whom the Mackenzies of Applecross, Coul, Delvin, Assint, and other families are sprung.

      Kenneth, the eldest son, twelfth chief of the Mackenzies, was also a member of the privy council of James Vi. Soon after succeeding his father, he was engaged in supporting the claims of Torquil Macleod, surnamed Connanach, the disinherited son of Macleod of Lewis, whose mother was the sister of John Mackenzie of Kintail, and whose daughter had married Roderick Mackenzie, Kenneth’s brother. The barony of Lewis he conveyed by writings to the Mackenzie chief, who caused the usurper thereof and some of his followers to be beheaded in July 1597 (See MACLEOD). In the following year he joined Macleod of Harris and Macdonald of Sleat in opposing the project of James VI. for the colonization of the Lewis, by some Lowland gentlemen, chiefly belonging to Fife. As he claimed a property in that island, though, so far as he was concerned, it was but nominal, it is not surprising that he did all he could to frustrate the expedition. He incited against the colonists Neill and Murdoch, two bastard sons of Ruari Macleod, the last undisputed lord of Lewis. After some successes the two brothers quarrelled. For a reward from government Neill delivered up Murdoch, in 1600, to the colonists, and he was hanged at St. Andrews. In consequence of some confessions by him and of complaints by the colonists, Mackenzie was apprehended and committed prisoner to Edinburgh castle. Through the assistance, however, of his friend, the lord-chancellor, he escaped without a trial.

      In 1601, Neill Macleod deserted the cause of the colonists, and Mackenzie, who had detained in captivity for several years Tormod, the only surviving legitimate son of Ruari Macleod of the Lewis, set him at liberty, and sent him into that island to assist Neill in opposing the settlers. In 1602, the feud between the Mackenzies and the Glengarry Macdonalds, regarding their lands in Wester Ross, was renewed with great violence (See MACDONNELL of Glengarry). Ultimately, after much bloodshed on both sides, an agreement was entered into, by which Glengarry renounced in favour of Mackenzie the castle of Strone, with the lands of Lochalsh, Lochcarron, and others, so long the subject of dispute between them. A crown charter of these lands was granted to Kenneth Mackenzie in 1607. The territories of the clan Kenzie at this time were very extensive. “All the Highlands and Isles, from Ardnamurchan to Strathnaver, were either the Mackenzies’ property, or under their vassalage, some few excepted,” and all about them were bound to them “by very strict bonds of friendship.” The same year, Kenneth Mackenzie obtained, through the influence of the lord-chancellor, a gift, under the great seal, of the Lewis to himself, in virtue of the resignation formerly made in his favour by Torquil Macleod, but on the complaint to the king of those of the colonists who survived, he was forced to resign it. He was created a peer, by the title of Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, by patent, dated 19th November 1609. On the abandonment of the scheme for colonizing the Lewis, the remaining adventurers, Sir George Hay and Sir James Spens, were easily prevailed upon to sell their title to Lord Kintail, who likewise succeeded in obtaining from the king a grant of the share in the island forfeited by Lord Balmerino, another of the grantees. Having thus at length acquired a legal right to the Lewis, he procured from the government a commission of fire and sword against the Islanders, and landing there with a large force, he speedily reduced them to obedience, with the exception of Neil Macleod and a few others, his kinsmen and followers. The struggle for the Lewis between the Mackenzies and the Macleods, continued some time longer, but for an account of it the reader is referred to the article MACLEOD. The Mackenzies ultimately succeeded in obtaining possession of the island.

      Lord Kintail died in March 1611. He had married, first, Anne, daughter of George Ross of Balnagowan, and had, with two daughters, two sons, Colin, second Lord Kintail, and first earl of Seaforth, and the Hon. John Mackenzie of Lochslin. His second wife was Isabel, daughter of Sir Alexander Ogilvie of Powrie, by whom, with a daughter, Sybilla, Mrs. Macleod of Macleod, he had four sons, viz., Alexander; George, second earl of Seaforth; Thomas, of Pluscardine; and Simon of Lochslin, whose eldest son was the celebrated Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, lord advocate in the reigns of Charles II. and James VII., of whom a memoir is subsequently given below.

      Colin, second Lord Kintail, was created earl of Seaforth, by patent dated at Theobald’s, 3d December 1623, to him and his heirs male. (See SEAFORTH, earl of).

      The great-grandson of the third earl of Seaforth, and male heir of the family, was Colonel Thomas Frederick Humberston Mackenzie, who fell at Gherish in India in 1783, and of whom a memoir is given under the head of SEAFORTH, earl of. His brother, Francis Humberston Mackenzie, obtained the Seaforth estates, and was created Baron Seaforth in the peerage of the United Kingdom in 1796. Dying without surviving male issue his title became extinct, and his eldest daughter, the Hon. Mary Frederica Elizabeth, having taken for her second husband J. A. Stewart of Glasserton, a cadet of the house of Galloway, that gentleman assumed the name of Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth.

      The clan Kenzie from small beginnings had increased in territory and influence till they became, next to the Campbells, the greatest clan in the West Highlands. They remained loyal to the Stuarts, but the forfeiture of the earl of Seaforth in 1715, and of the earl of Cromarty in 1745, weakened their power greatly. They are still, however, one of the most numerous tribes in the Highlands. In 1745 their effective strength was calculated at 2,500. No fewer than seven families of the name possess baronetcies.

      The armorial bearings of the Mackenzies are a stag’s head and horns. It is said that they were assumed in consequence of Kenneth, the ancestor of the family, having rescued the king of Scotland from an infuriated stag, which he had wounded. “In gratitude for his assistance,” says Stewart of Garth, “the king gave him a grant of the castle and lands of Castle Donnan, and thus laid the foundation of the family and clan Mackenneth or Mackenzie.” From the stag’s head in their arms the term Caberfae was applied to the chiefs.


      The progenitor of the Gerloch or Gairloch branch of the Mackenzies was, as above shown, Hector, the elder of the two sons of Alexander, 7th chief, by his 2d wife, Margaret Macdowall, daughter of John, lord of lorn. He lived in the reigns of Kings James III. and IV., and was by the Highlanders called “Eachin Roy,” or Red Hector, from the colour of his hair. To the assistance of the former of these monarchs, when the confederated nobles collected in arms against him, he raised a considerable body of the clan Kenzie, and fought at their head at the battle of Sauchieburn. After the defeat of his party, he retreated to the north, and, taking possession of Redcastle, put a garrison in it. Thereafter he joined the earl of Huntly, and from James IV. he obtained in 1494 a grant of the lands and barony of Gerloch, or Gairloch, in Ross-shire. These lands originally belonged to the Siol-Vic-Gilliechallum, or Macleods of Rasay, a branch of the family of Lewis, but Hector, by means of a mortgage or wadset, had acquired a small portion of them, and in 1508 he got Brachan, the lands of Moy, the royal forest of Glassiter, and other lands, united to them. In process of time, his successors came to possess the whole district, but not till after a long and bloody feud with the Siol-Vic-Gilliechallum, which lasted till 1611, when it was brought to a sudden close by a skirmish, in which Gillechallum Oig, laird of Rasay, and Murdoch Mackenzie, a younger son of the laird of Gerloch, were slain. From that time the Mackenzies possessed Gerloch without interruption from the Macleods.

      Hector, the first of the house of Gerloch, was with the clan at Flodden, where most of them were killed; and he and his nephew, John, the chief, to whom he was tutor, narrowly escaped. By a daughter of the laird of Grant, to whom he was betrothed, but who died before the marriage was celebrated, he had a son, Hector, who got the name of Came, or one-eyed. He afterwards married a daughter of Ranald Macdonald of Moydart, and, with two daughters, he had four sons.

      John, the eldest of these, called by the Highlanders, John Glesich, married Agnes, only daughter of James Fraser of Foinich, brother of Hugh, Lord Lovat, and died in 1556. He had three sons; Hector, his heir; John, who succeeded Hector, and carried on the line of the family; and Alexander, from whom descended Murdoch Mackenzie, bishop of Moray and afterwards of Caithness, in the reigns of Charles I. and II. Of this branch, also, was Dr. James Mackenzie, as eminent physician, author of the ‘History of Health.’

      Kenneth Mackenzie, eighth baron of Gerloch, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1700. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Findon, and was succeeded, in 1704, by his son, Sir Alexander, second baronet, who married Janet, daughter of Sir Roy Mackenzie of Scatwell, and with three daughters had six sons, must of whom died young. He himself died in 1766. His eldest son, Sir Alexander, 3d baronet, married, 1st, Margaret, eldest daughter of Roderick Mackenzie of Redcastle, issue one son, Hector; 2dly, Jean, only daughter of John Gorrie, Esq., commissary of Ross, issue 2 sons, John, a general officer, and Kenneth, an officer in India, and 3 daughters. He died 13th April 1770.

      Sir Hector Mackenzie, his eldest son, 4th baronet of the Gerloch branch, died in April 1826. His son, Sir Francis Alexander, 5th baronet, born in 1798, died June 2, 1843. The eldest son of Sir Francis, Sir Kenneth Smith Mackenzie, 6th baronet, born 1832, married in 1860 the 2d daughter of Walter Frederick Campbell of Islay.


      The Mackenzies of Portmore, county Peebles, are a branch of the Gerloch family. Colin Mackenzie of Portmore, great-grandson of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, baronet of Gerloch, married in 1803, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, and died in September 1830. He had three brothers, William Mackenzie of Muirtown, Ross-shire; Sutherland Mackenzie of Edinburgh, and John, banker in Inverness. His son, William Forbes Mackenzie, M.P. for Peebles-shire, born in April 1807, and appointed in 1831 deputy lieutenant for that county, was the introducer of the act of parliament passed in 1854, for the regulation of public houses in Scotland, commonly called “Forbes Mackenzie’s Act.”


      The first of the Mackenzies of Tarbet and Royston, in the county of Cromarty, was Sir Roderick Mackenzie, second son of Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, brother of the first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail. Having married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Torquil Macleod of the Lewis, he added the armorial bearings of the Macleods to his own. His son, John Mackenzie of Tarbet, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 21st May 1628. He had four sons. The third son, Roderick Mackenzie, was on 1st December 1762, appointed justice clerk, and an ordinary lord of session 12th January 1703, when he took his seat as Lord Prestonhall. He was superseded as justice clerk in October 1704, and resigned his seat as one of the judges, in favour of his nephew, Sir James Mackenzie of Royston, in June 1710. In September of the same year he was appointed sheriff of Ross-shire. He died Feb. 4. 1712. His son, Sir Alexander, married Amelia, daughter and heiress of Hugh, 10th Lord Lovat, and changing his name to Fraser, was designated of Fraserdale. Engaging in the rebellion of 1715 he was attainted as Lord Prestonhall.

      The eldest son, Sir George Mackenzie, second baronet, was the first earl of Cromarty.

      The Hon. Kenneth Mackenzie, the second son of the first Lord Cromarty, obtained from his father the extensive estate of Cromarty, and was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 29th April 1704, with the precedency of his father’s patent of baronetcy, 21st May, 1628. He was commissioner to the Scottish estates for the county of Cromarty, in the reigns of King William and Queen Anne, and sat in the first British parliament. He died in 1729. His eldest son, Sir George, third baronet, was M.P. for the county of Cromarty. Becoming a bankrupt, his estate of Cromarty was sold in 1741 to William Urquhart of Meldrum. He was succeeded by his brother, Sir Kenneth, fourth baronet, at whose death, without issue, in 1763, the baronetcy lay dormant until revived in favour of Sir Alexander Mackenzie of Tarbet, elder son of Robert Mackenzie, lieutenant-colonel in the East India Company’s service, great-great-grandson of the first baronet. colonel Mackenzie’s father was Alexander Mackenzie of Ardlock, and his mother the daughter of Robert Sutherland, Esq. of Langwell, Caithness, 12th in descent from William de Sutherland, 5th earl of Sutherland, and the princess Margaret Bruce, sister and heiress of David II. Sir Alexander, 5th baronet, was in the military service of the East India Company. On his death, April 28, 1841, he was succeeded by his brother, Sir James Sutherland Mackenzie, 6th baronet, of Tarbet and Royston. The latter died Nov. 24, 1858.


      The first of the family of Coul, Ross-shire, was Alexander Mackenzie, brother of Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, who, before his death, made him a present of his own sword, as a testimony of his particular esteem and affection. His son, Kenneth Mackenzie of Coul, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, Oct. 16, 1673. His eldest son, Sir Alexander, 2d baronet, died in 1702. His son, Sir John Mackenzie, 3rd baronet, for being concerned in the rebellion of 1715, was forfeited. He died without male issue, and the attainder not extending to collateral branches of the family, the title and estates devolved upon his brother, Sir Colin, 4th baronet, clerk to the pipe in the exchequer. He died in 1740. His eldest son, Sir Alexander, 5th baronet, died in 1792. His son, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, 6th baronet, a major-general in the Bengal army, and provincial commander-in-chief in Bengal, 1790-1792, died in 1796. His son, Sir George Steuart Mackenzie, 7th baronet, F.R.S., vice-president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, born 22d June 1790, was the author of An Agricultural and Political Survey of Ross and Cromarty shires, of a Treatise on the Diseases of Sheep, and of several scientific papers on useful branches of domestic economy. He was general in the Royal Scottish archers, the queen’s body-guard in Scotland, and a deputy-lieutenant of Ross-shire. He was twice married; first, to Mary, fifth daughter of Donald Macleod, Esq. of Geanies, sheriff of Ross-shire, by whom he had 7 sons and 3 daughters. The Rev. John Mackenzie, his 5th son, married Eliza, daughter of the celebrated Dr. Chalmers. Sir George died Oct. 26, 1648. His eldest son, Sir Alexander, 8th baronet, served for 26 years in the Bengal army. He was present at the siege and capture of Bhurtpore, 1825-6, for which he received a medal. He was deputy judge advocate general with the army of Gwalior, and had a horse killed under him at the battle of Maharajpore, Dec. 29, 1843. He was engaged also in the first campaign on the Sutlej, 1845. He died Jan. 3, 1856, and was succeeded by his brother, Sir William Mackenzie, 9th baronet, born in 1806, married in 1858, Agnes, 2d daughter of R. T. Smyth, Esq. of Ardmore, Ireland.


      The Mackenzies of Scatwell, Ross-shire, who also possess a baronetcy, are descended from Sir Roderick Mackenzie, knight, of Tarbet and Cogeach, second son of Colin, 11th feudal baron of Kintail, father of Sir John Mackenzie, ancestor of the earls of Cromarty, and Kenneth Mackenzie of Scatwell, whose son, Kenneth, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, Feb. 22, 1703. By his marriage with Lilias, daughter and heiress of Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Findon, that branch of the Mackenzie family merged in that of Scatwell. He married a 2d time, Christian, eldest daughter of Roderick Mackenzie, Esq. of Avoch, and 3dly, Abigail, daughter of John Urquhart, Esq. of Newhall. Of the first marriage there were 3 sons and 3 daughters, and of the last, one son, Kenneth, captain East India Company’s service. Sir James Wemyss Mackenzie, 5th baronet, lord-lieutenant, and some time M.P. for Ross-shire, married Henrietta, only surviving daughter of William Mackenzie of Suddy, and sister and sole heiress of Major-general John Randoll Mackenzie of Suddy, who fell at the battle of Talavera, in August 1809. His only son, Sir James John Randoll, 6th baronet, born in 1814, succeeded his father in 1843. He married a daughter of 5th Earl Fitzwilliam.


      The Mackenzies of Kilcoy, Ross-shire, are descended from Alexander, 4th son of Colin, 11th baron of Kintail, who in 1618 acquired the lands of Kilcoy. A baronetcy of the United Kingdom was conferred in 1836 on Sir Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy, who died in 1845. He was succeeded by his 2d son, Sir Evan Mackenzie, born in 1816; married, with issue.


      The family of Mackenzie of Delvine in Perthshire, whose name originally was Muir, also possess a baronetcy, conferred in 1805 on Alexander Muir of Delvine, who assumed the name of Mackenzie, on succeeding to the estates of his great uncle, John Mackenzie, Esq. of Delvine. On his death in 1835, he was succeeded by his son, Sir John William Pitt Muir Mackenzie, advocate (admitted 1830), born in 1806, married in 1832, 6th daughter of the late James Raymond Johnstone, Esq. of Alva, Clackmannanshire, issue 6 sons and 3 daughters. He died Feb. 1, 1855. His eldest son, Sir Alexander Muir Mackenzie, born in 1840, became 3d baronet.


      A baronetcy was also held by Mackenzie of Fairburn, also in Ross-shire, conferred in 1819, on Sir Ewen Baillie, some time provisional commander-in-chief of the forces in Bengal, with remainder to the issue of his half sister, who married Roderick Mackenzie, Esq. Their eldest son, General Sir Alexander Mackenzie, G.D.H., succeeded as 2d baronet, on the death of his maternal uncle, in 1820. Entering young into the army, he served at the relief of Ostend in 1793, and was 2d in command at the capture of the Cape of Good Hope in 1795. He also commanded the army in Calabria. Sir Alexander died without issue, Oct. 17, 1853, when the title became extinct.


      The other principal families of the name are Mackenzie of Allangrange, heir male of the earls of Seaforth, of Applecross, also a branch of the house of Seaforth, of Ord, of Gruinard and of Hilton, all in Ross-shire.

MACKENZIE, GEORGE, first earl of Cromarty, an eminent statesman (See CROMARTY).

MACKENZIE, SIR GEORGE, of Rosehaugh, a celebrated lawyer, was born at Dundee in 1636. He was the eldest of five sons of Simon Mackenzie of Lochslin, brother of the earl of Seaforth, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Bruce, D.D., principal of St. Leonard’s College, St. Andrews. He studied Greek and philosophy in the university of St. Andrews and Aberdeen, and civil law in that of Bourges in France, where he remained three years. On his return to Scotland he was admitted, in January 1659, an advocate before the supreme courts. In 1660 he published his ‘Aretina, or Serious Romance,’ in which, according to Ruddiman, he gives “a very bright specimen of his gay and exuberant genius.” Having soon gained a high reputation as a pleader, he was in 1661 selected as one of the counsel of the marquis of Argyle at his trial for treason before a commission of the Estates. Soon after he was appointed a justice-depute, or judge of the criminal court. In 1669 he represented in the estates the county of Ross, and during the same year he opposed the proposition contained in a letter from the king for an incorporating union of England and Scotland. At this period he signalized himself by the support which he gave to popular measures. In 1674 he was knighted, for services rendered to the court, and August 23, 1677, on the dismissal of Sir John Nisbet, he was appointed king’s advocate, when, to force submission to the government, he put the laws in execution with the utmost strictness and severity. On the trial of the earl of Argyle in December 1681, he exerted all his energies to obtain a conviction; and in June 1685, when that nobleman was apprehended after his unfortunate expedition to the Highlands, Mackenzie objected to a new trial, and he was put to death on his former iniquitous sentence. The state prosecutions, conducted by Sir George Mackenzie, in some of which he notoriously stretched the laws to answer the purposes of the government, were so numerous, that he obtained the unenviable title of “The blood-thirsty advocate,” and “Bloody Mackenzie.” After the Revolution, in justification of his acts, he published ‘A Vindication of the Government of Charles II.’ (1691), which, to those who know anything of the scenes of persecution and oppression which were enacted in Scotland at that period, appears the very reverse of satisfactory. His portrait, taken by Sir Godfrey Kneller, was engraved by Beugo, and is subjoined;

[portrait of Sir George Mackenzie]

      Notwithstanding his severity, however, Sir George was the means of introducing various practical improvements into the criminal jurisprudence of his country; and in 1686, upon the abrogation of the penal laws against the Papists by James VII., he deemed it incumbent on him to retire from his post of lord advocate. In 1688, however, he was restored to that office, which he held till the Revolution, when he relinquished all his employments. In 1689 he founded the Advocates’ Library at Edinburgh, and the Latin inaugural oration pronounced on the occasion is recorded in his works. In September of that year he retired to England, resolving to spend the remainder of his days in study at Oxford. In June 1690 he was admitted a student of that university, and subsequently published an Essay on Reason in 1690, and ‘The Moral History of Frugality, and its Opposite Vices,’ in 1691. He died at London, May 2, 1692, and was burned in the Greyfriars’ Churchyard, Edinburgh, where his monument remains to this day.

      His works are:

      Aretina; or, the serious Romance. London, 1661, 8vo.

      Religio Stoica; the virtuoso, or Stoick. Edinburgh, 1663, 8vo.

      A Moral Essay, preferring solitude to public Employment. Edin., 1665, 8vo. London, 1685, 8vo. 1693, 12mo. Answered by Evelyn, in a Panegyric on Active Life.

      Moral Gallantry; a Discourse, proving that the Point of Honour obliges man to be virtuous. Edin., 1667, 8vo.

      A Moral Paradox, maintaining that it is much easier to be virtuous than vicious, and a consolation against Calumnies. Edinburgh, 1667, 1669, 8vo. London, 1685, 8vo. Edinburgh, 1669, fol.

      Pleadings on some Remarkable Cases before the Supreme Courts of Scotland, since the year 1661. To which the Decisions are subjoined. Edin., 1672, 4to.

      A Discourse upon the Laws and Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal. Edin., 1674, 1678, 4to. 1699, fol.

      Observations upon the xxviii. Act 23d Parl. King James VI. against Bankrupts, &c. Edin., 1675, 8vo.

      Observations upon the Laws and Customs of Nations as to Precedency. With the Science of Heraldry, treated as a part of the Civil Law of Nations. Edin., 1680, fol.

      Idea Eloquentia forensis Hodierna, una cum Actione Forensi ex unaquaque Juris parte. Edin., 1681, 12mo. In English. 1701, 1704, 12mo. The same; translated into English by R. Hepburn. Edin., 1711, 8vo.

      Institutions of the Laws of Scotland. Edin., 1684, 12mo. London, 1694, 8vo. Edin. 1706, 12mo. With Notes, explaining different places, and showing in what points the Law has been altered; by John Spottiswood. Edin., 1723, 8vo. The same, revised and corrected by Alexander Bayne. 1730, 8vo. 1758, 12mo.

      Jus Reginum; or, the first and solid foundation of Monarchy in general, and more particularly of the Monarchy of Scotland; against Buchanan, Naphtali, Doleman, Milton, &c. London, 1684, 8vo. 1685, 12mo.

      Discovery of the Fanatic Plot. Edin., 1684, fol.

      A Defence of the Antiquity of the Royal Line of Scotland, in Answer to William Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph; with a true Account when the Scots were governed by the Kings in the Isle of Britain. London, 1686, 4to.

      Observations on the Acts of Parliament made by King James I. and his successors, to the end of the reign of Charles II. Edin., 1686, fol.

      The antiquity of the Royal Line of Scotland further cleared and Defended, against the Exceptions lately offered by Dr. Stillingfleet, in his Vindication of the Bishop of St. Asaph. London, 1686, 8vo. In Lat. entitled, Defensio Antiquitatis Regium Scotorum prosapiae, contra Episcopum Asaphenseum et Stillingfletum, Lat. versa, à P. Sinclaro, Trajecti, ad Rhenum. 1689, 12mo.

      Oratio Inauguralis habita Edinburgi de Structura Bibliothecae, Juridicae, &c. London, 1689, 8vo.

      De Humanae Rationis Imbecillitate, ea unde proveniat et illi quomodo possimus mederi, liber singularis editus á Jo. Geo. Graevio, Traj. ad Rh. 1690, 8vo.

      Reason, an Essay. London, 1690, 8vo. 1695, 12mo.

      Caelia’s Country-house and closet; a Poem. Imitated by Pope, in his “Essay on Criticism.”

      The Moral History of Frugality, and its opposite Vices. London, 1691, 8vo.

      A Vindication of the Government in Scotland, during the reign of King Charles II.; with several other Treatises relating to the Affairs of Scotland. London, 1691, 4to.

      Method of Proceeding against Criminals and Fanatical Covenanters. 1691, 4to.

      Vindication of the Presbyterians of Scotland, from the malicious Aspersions cast upon them. 1692, 4to.

      On a Storm, and some Lakes in Scotland. Phil. Trans. Abr. ii. 210, 1679.

      Some Observations made in Scotland. Ib. 226.

      Essays upon several Moral subjects. London, 1713, 8vo.

      Works, with his Life. Edin., 1716-22, 2 vols, fol.

MACKENZIE, GEORGE, author of ‘The Lives and characters of the most Eminent Writers of the Scots nation,’ son of the Hon Colin Mackenzie, second son of the second earl of Seaforth, was born 10th December 1669, and practised as a physician in Edinburgh at the beginning of the 18th century. His well-known work, which is one of great research, is in 3 vols. folio. The first volume, dedicated to the earl of Seaforth, appeared in 1708; the second, inscribed to the earl of Mar, in 1711; and the third, dedicated to the celebrated financier, John Law of Lauriston, in 1722.

MACKENZIE, HENRY, author of ‘The Man of Feeling,’ son of Dr. Joshua Mackenzie, an eminent physician in Edinburgh, by his wife Margaret, eldest daughter of Mr. Rose of Kilravock, in Nairnshire, was born in that city, in August 1745. He was educated at the High School and university of Edinburgh, and was afterwards articled to Mr. Inglis of Redhall, in order to acquire a knowledge of the business of the Exchequer. In 1765 he went to London, to study the modes of English Exchequer practice, which, as well as the constitution of the courts, are similar in both countries. While residing there, he was advised by a friend to qualify himself for the English bar; but he preferred returning to Edinburgh, where he became, first the partner, and afterwards the successor, of Mr. Inglis, in the office of attorney for the crown.

      He very early displayed a strong attachment to literary pursuits, and during his stay in London, he sketched part of his first work, ‘The Man of Feeling,’ which was published in 1771, without his name, and at once became a favourite with the public. A few years afterwards the great popularity of the work induced a Mr. Eccles of Bath to claim the authorship. He was at pains to transcribe the whole in his own hand, with a plentiful introduction of blottings, interlineations, and corrections, and he maintained his pretensions with so much plausibility and pertinacity, that Messrs, Cadell and Strahan, the publishers, at last found it necessary to undeceive the public by a formal contradiction. In 1773 Mr. Mackenzie published his ‘Man of the World,’ which displayed the same tone of exquisite moral delicacy and elegance of style as his former work. In 1777 he produced ‘Julia de Roubigné,’ a beautiful and tragic tale, in a series of letters, exhibiting the refined sensibility and the delicate perception of human character and manners which distinguished all his writings.

      Mr. Mackenzie was one of the principal members of the “Mirror Club,” and edited the well-known periodical of that name. Most of the other gentlemen connected with it were afterwards judges in the Court of Session – namely, Lord Cullen, Lord Abercromby, Lord Craig, and Lord Bannatyne. ‘The Mirror’ was commenced January 23, 1779, and ended May 27, 1780, having latterly been issued twice a-week. Of the 110 papers to which it extended, forty-two were contributed by Mr. Mackenzie, including La Roche. The sale never at any time exceeded four hundred copies, but when afterwards republished in duodecimo volumes, with the names of the authors, a considerable sum was obtained for the copyright, out of which the proprietors presented £100 to the Orphan Hospital, and purchased a hogshead of claret for the use of the club. ‘The Lounger,’ a publication of a similar character, also conducted by Mr. Mackenzie, was commenced by the same parties, February 6, 1785, and was continued weekly till January 6, 1787. Of the 101 papers which it includes, fifty-seven were written by Mr. Mackenzie, who, in one of the latter numbers, reviewed for the first time the Poems of Burns, which were just then published.

      On the institution of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Mr. Mackenzie became one of its members; and among the papers with which he enriched its Transactions are an elegant tribute to the memory of his friend Lord Abercromby, and a Memoir on German Tragedy, in the latter of which he bestows high praise on the ‘Emilia Galotti’ of Lessing, and ‘The Robbers’ of Schiller. He took lessons in German from a Dr. Okely, at that time studying medicine in Edinburgh; and in 1791 he published a small volume, containing translations of ‘The Set of Horses,’ by Lessing, and of two or three other German dramatic pieces. He was also an original member of the Highland Society, and by him were published the volumes of their Transactions, to which he prefixed an account of the institution, and the principal proceedings of the Society. In these Transactions is also to be found his view of the controversy respecting Ossian’s Poems, containing an interesting account of Gaelic poetry.

      At the time of the French revolution he published various political pamphlets, with the view of counteracting the progress of democratic principles in this country. One of these, entitled ‘An Account of the Proceedings of the Parliament of 1784,’ introduced him to the notice of Mr. Pitt; and in 1804, on the recommendation of Lord Melville and Mr. George Rose, he was appointed to the lucrative office of comptroller of taxes for Scotland, which he held till his death.

      In 1793 he wrote the Life of Dr. Blacklock, prefixed to a quarto edition of the blind poet’s works, published for the benefit of his widow. In 1808 he brought out a complete edition of his own works, in eight volumes 8vo. In 1812 he read to the Royal Society his ‘Life of John Home;’ and as a sort of supplement to it, he then added some Critical Essays, chiefly on dramatic poetry, which have not been published, but the Life itself appeared in 1822. Mr. Mackenzie himself attempted dramatic writing, but without success. A tragedy, composed in his early youth, entitled ‘The Spanish Father,’ was rejected by Garrick, and never represented. In 1773 another tragedy of his, styled ‘The Prince of Tunis,’ was performed with applause for six nights at the Edinburgh theatre. A third tragedy, founded on Lilly’s ‘Fatal Curiosity,’ called ‘The Shipwreck,’ and two comedies, ‘The Force of Fashion,’ and ‘The White Hypocrite,’ were produced at Covent Garden successively, but they proved complete failures. His portrait, from a painting by Sir Henry Raeburn, will be found below;

[portrait of Henry Mackenzie]

      Mr. Mackenzie was the last of those eminent men who shed such a lustre upon the literature of their country in the latter part of the eighteenth century. In his youth he enjoyed the intimacy of Robertson and Hume, and Fergusson and Adam Smith, all of whom he long survived. He died January 14, 1831, after having been confined to his room for a considerable period by the general decay attending old age. In 1776 he married Penuel, daughter of Sir Ludovick Grant of Grant, baronet, and Lady Margaret Ogilvy, by whom he had eleven children.

      His eldest son, Joshua Henry Mackenzie, an eminent judge under the title of Lord Mackenzie, was born in 1777; admitted advocate in 1799; appointed sheriff of Linlithgowshire in 1811, and a lord of session in 1822. In 1824 he was constituted a judge in the high court of justiciary, and in 1825 a commissioner of the jury court. He married in 1821, the fifth daughter of the first Lord Seaforth, a title now extinct, and died 17th November 1851, aged 74 years. He was interred in the Greyfriars burying-ground, Edinburgh, where a monument is erected to his memory.

      The youngest son of ‘The Man of Feeling,’ the Right Hon. Holt Mackenzie, fellow of the Asiatic society, was for twenty-four years in the civil service of the East India company. He left India in 1831, and retired on the annuity fund in October 1833. In 1832 he became one of the commissioners of the board of control, on his appointment to which office he was sworn a privy councillor.

MACKENZIE, SIR ALEXANDER, an enterprising traveller, was a native of Inverness, and when a young man, emigrated to Canada. About 1781 he obtained a situation in the counting-house of the North-West Fur Company, at Fort chippewyan, at the head of the Athabasca Lake, in the country to the west of Hudson’s Bay. On June 3, 1789, he was sent by his employers on an exploring expedition through the regions lying to the north-west of that station, conjectured to be bounded by the Arctic Ocean. Embarking on the Slave River, on the 9th he reached the Slave Lake, with which it communicates by a course of 170 miles, where the party rested for six days. On the 15th they again launched their canoes, and, skirting the margin of the lake, reached the entrance of the river, which flows from its western extremity, and is now called the Mackenzie River, on the 29th. Pursuing the north-westward course, they arrived, July 15, at the great Northern Ocean; and returning by the same route, regained Fort Chippewyan, Sept. 12. On Oct. 12, 1792, Mackenzie undertook another adventurous journey, the object of which was to penetrate to the North Pacific. In this attempt, the first made in North America, he was also successful. On his return to England, he published in 1801 his ‘Voyages from Montreal on the river St. Lawrence, through the Continent of North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans, in 1792 and 1793,’ preceded by a General History of the Fur Trade, and embellished with a portrait of the author. In 1802, he received the honour of knighthood. The year of his death has not been ascertained. He was alive in 1816.

MACKENZIE, DONALD an enterprising merchant. See SUPPLEMENT.

Ancient Deeds and Other Writs in the MacKenzie-Wharncliffe Charter Chest
With Short Notices of Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh; The First Earls of Cromarty; The Right Honourable James Stewart MacKenzie, Lord Privy Seal of Scotland; and Others prepared on the Imdtuctions of te Right Hon. Francis John, Earl of Wharncliffe by J. W. Barty, LL.D. (1906)

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