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Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie

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Alexander Mackenzie was born in Stornoway, Scotland, in 1764. When he was a young man he joined the Canadian-owned North West Fur Company and in 1778 he established Fort Chipewayan on Lake Athabasca. While working as a fur trapper in Alberta, he heard stories from local Indians that there was a water route to the Pacific ocean.

In 1789 Mackenzie and eight men and four wives set off in three canoes in an attempt to find this route. They paddled up the Slave River to the Great Slave Lake. At the lake they found another broad river (later given the name, the Mackenzie River) that headed north of the Rocky Mountains. They followed the river for forty days until it reached the coast. However, Mackenzie was bitterly disappointed to discover it was the Arctic rather than the Pacific ocean.

On his return to base Mackenzie asked the directors of the North West Fur Company for permission to make a second expedition to discover a water route to the Pacific ocean. The agreed and in May 1793 Mackenzie and a party of nine men in a 25-foot canoe, paddled up the Peace River. When it entered the Rockies the river narrowed into a stream and the men had to carry the canoe as the moved west. Eventually they discovered the Bad River (later called the Fraser River). In the rapids of this river the canoe capsized and the men were lucky not to be drowned.

Mackenzie's party had to abandon the canoe and had to walk over the Coast Mountains. They eventually found another river and with help given by some Bella Coola Indians they were able to get some canoes that enabled them to reach the Pacific Ocean. MacKenzie had discovered a Northwest Passage but it was a useless, unnavigable, route.

The North West Fur Company refused to allow Mackenzie to try again. He resigned in protest and returned home. Mackenzie now tried and failed to persuade the British government to fund an expedition to find a navigable route to the Pacific Ocean. As part of his propaganda campaign he published an account of his two expeditions, Voyages from Montreal.

Thomas Jefferson read Mackenzie's book and was impressed with what he had to say about the possibility of a Northwest Passage. Three years later Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the vast unknown lands to the west of the Mississippi. To help them on their mission Jefferson gave them a copy of Voyages from Montreal.

Alexander Mackenzie died in 1820.

Alexander Mackenzie

One can be forgiven for not recognizing the name of composer Sir Alexander Campbell Mackenzie. He was championed by one of the greatest violin virtuosos (and composers) of the nineteenth century, had…
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Artist Biography by Bruce Eder

One can be forgiven for not recognizing the name of composer Sir Alexander Campbell Mackenzie. He was championed by one of the greatest violin virtuosos (and composers) of the nineteenth century, had commissions from some of the most prestigious festivals in the British Isles, and was a sought after violinist in his own right. But in the twentieth century, the world of serious music became intellectualized, and somewhere amidst that change in taste and outlook, Mackenzie's music passed out of the repertory and memory.

Alexander Campbell Mackenzie was the eldest son of Alexander Mackenzie (1819 - 1857), who was the principal violinist of the orchestra at the Theater Royal in Edinburgh. It was intended that the younger Mackenzie follow his father's career path, and he was given a serious music education, including study in Germany. He played second violin in the ducal orchestra in Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and availed himself of exposure to the most progressive music of his era, including Wagner.

On his return to England, Mackenzie became a student of Prosper Sainton, who had previously taught his father, at the Royal Academy of Music and earned the King's Scholarship. He taught for a time in Edinburgh after graduating from the Academy and played in various chamber groups before becoming a first-chair violinist in orchestras in Glasgow and Edinburgh. He did find time to compose and saw some of his chamber works performed by groups of which he was a member.

Mackenzie also found a favorable reception for three early orchestral pieces, the two Scotch Rhapsodies and a ballad for orchestra entitled La belle dame sans merci, which encouraged him. Good fortune struck Mackenzie the aspiring composer in the form of bad luck for Mackenzie the working musician. While still in his 30s, he was forced to rein in his activities after suffering from exhaustion. A doctor advised him to give up his teaching and performing work, so Mackenzie left Scotland and the British Isles altogether, retreating to Tuscany, where he began pursuing a full-time career as a composer. Mackenzie never returned to performing full-time, preferring instead to create his own works, which ranged from chamber pieces to full orchestral compositions and opera (The Troubadour).

As one would expect, some of the best of Mackenzie's works favored the violin. One of his most enduring works, is the Violin Concerto in C sharp minor, commissioned by the Birmingham Festival in 1885 (written with Joseph Joachim in mind, but ultimately premiered by Pablo de Sarasate). The falling out of favor of Mackenzie's music reflected nothing on the merits of the music itself. A rediscovery of Mackenzie's music began in the closing years of the twentieth century, more than 60 years after his death, as part of a general reassessment of British music and the Romantic repertory. In 1997, violin virtuoso Malcolm Stewart made the first modern recordings of Mackenzie's Violin Concerto in C sharp minor and Pibroch (Suite for Violin and Orchestra) -- both favorites of Sarasate -- for the Hyperion label under conductors Vernon Handley and David Davies. Audience reaction to these works and Mackenzie's Scottish Rhapsody No. 2, among other orchestral pieces recorded for Hyperion, has been very positive.


Sir Alexander Mackenzie was one of the greatest explorers in history. He opened up vast tracts of the Canadian wilderness for trade and settlement. He mapped the Mackenzie River all the way to the Arctic Ocean and seas the first man to travel right across Canada and return. While Cook and Vancouver were sailing the seas and touching on the coast, Mackenzie was slogging through the dense rainforests of the West Coast, over the majestic barrier of the Rockies and across the endless grasslands of the Prairies.

Mackenzie's was born on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland in the little town of Stornaway. His journey as an explorer started when his father brought him from Britain to New York City in 1774 where the revolution was starting to gain momentum. His father joined the King's Royal Regiment of New York and died in NY from unknown causes in 1780. Alexander was taken in by his aunts who moved to Johnstown and then as loyalists they moved to Montreal where Alexander was enrolled in school.

Mackenzie soon left school and joined Gregory, MacLeod ad Company where he thrived as a trader. He succeeded in trade at Detroit and was sent to Minnesota to expand company trade. With the end of the American Revolution and the closing off of territories to the south, Mackenzie's company turned west and traders began expanding into western Canada looking for new sources of furs. By 1783 many of the small trading companies had realized that they needed to pool their resources and formed the Northwest Company. Mackenzie was assigned to a post at Île-à-la-Crosse where he would remain until 1787.

Competition between the Hudson Bay Company and the Northwest Company quickly expanded and Peter Pond, a partner in the NWC, believed that the river he mapped as flowing out from Lake Athabasca flowed west to the Pacific. Mackenzie had become a partner in the company and worked with Pond from whom he learned much about mapping, wilderness exploration and survival in the Northwest. Mackenzie soon succeed Pond in the Northwest and was ordered by the company to follow the large river from Lake Athabasca to the Pacific in order to establish an easier way of getting the furs out of the wilderness and back to Europe. In 1788 he began his journey down what would become know as the Mackenzie River and in 14 days reached the Arctic Ocean. Although disappointed, he had opened up a huge area of the Arctic for trade with the NWC. He returned to Fort Chipewyan on September 12th after travelling more then 3,000 miles. His physical constitution was undoubtedly a tough one, and he did not shy away from long treks, hard travelling conditions and extreme weather conditions. He was always concerned about the welfare of his men and made great efforts to insure that they were in good health and taken care of. In June of 1790 Mackenzie meet a HBC surveyor at Cumberland House in Saskatchewan and he realized that he needed proper equipment and knowledge to determine his location when travelling. During the winter of 1791-92 he acquired these items in London and returned to the Northwest ready to find a real route to the Pacific.

In 1792 he started his second great journey but this time headed west up the Peace River and into the mountains. He had engaged Alexander MacKay as his second in command for this venture and quickly ran into complaints form his men as they found the going into the mountains hard. Mackenzie reached the Fraser River on June 18th and began to travel down stream believing it was the Columbia. He was persuaded by local natives at Alexandria B.C. to go back upstream and try a shorter route to the Pacific along the West Road River. Following the Indian trails he arrived at the Tanya lakes where he turned south through a 6,000 foot pass and began his decent along the Bella Coola River to the Pacific Ocean. He wrote his message of arrival from the east into a rock on July 22, 1793. He had missed Captain George Vancouver who had sailed through the just 6 weeks before.

Mackenzie arrived back at Fort Chipewyan on August 24th after having travelled over 2300 miles at over 36 miles a day without losing any of his group and without hostilities or conflict with any of the natives. The long winter at the Fort took its toll and by 1794 he had resolved to leave the Northwest and return to civilization. Upon arriving back in eastern Canada he appealed to the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Simcoe to help him develop a partnership between the NWC, the HBC and the East India Company. He was not able to arrange for this type of cooperative partnership and by November of 1799 he left his partnership and sailed for England. He began to write his memoirs in December of 1801 published his book - Voyages from Montreal to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans. In February of 1802 Mackenzie was knighted.

Unable to join a developing partnership of fur trading companies he entered politics and was elected to the assembly of Lower Canada as the representative for Huntingdon. He did not take a great interest in his political role and eventually moved to London and only briefly returned to Canada. He continued to try to become involved in the partnership of the HBC and NWC, which had united in 1804 and did encourage Lord Selkirk to back a settlement on the Red River. By 1812 he had given up hope of participating in or influencing the united HBC and retired to Scotland where he married and had several children. By 1820 Mackenzie had become sickly, possibly with Bright's disease and on returning from medical consultation he died at a roadside Inn.

Alexander Mackenzie - History

MACKENZIE , Sir ALEXANDER , fur trader, explorer, and author b. 1764 at Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, third of four children of Kenneth Mackenzie, of Melbost farm (two miles east of Stornoway), and Isabella Maciver, whose family was prominent in the town m. 1812 Geddes Mackenzie, and they had three children d. 12 March 1820 at Mulinearn, near Dunkeld, Scotland.

In the 1770s a severe depression developed on Lewis, and in 1774 Kenneth Mackenzie decided to join his brother John in New York. His wife had died while Alexander was still a child. Kenneth sailed for North America with his two sisters and Alexander, leaving both his daughters behind. (Alexander’s older brother Murdoch studied medicine a terse family record states that he then “followed the sea and was lost on the coast of Halifax.”) Only months after the family’s arrival the American revolution broke out, and Kenneth and John joined the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, raised by Sir John Johnson*. Commissioned lieutenant in 1776, Kenneth served until 1780, when he died suddenly at Carleton Island (N.Y.). Young Alexander had been left in the care of his aunts, who first took him to Johnstown, in the Mohawk valley, where Sir John Johnson had large estates, and in 1778, when conditions in the valley became difficult for loyalists, sent him to Montreal, where he attended school.

His schooling was to be brief. The fur trade promised adventure and a profitable future to a sturdy, high-spirited youth, and in 1779 Mackenzie joined Finlay and Gregory, a partnership formed by James Finlay and John Gregory that had been trading in the west since 1773. The firm was reconstituted as Gregory, MacLeod and Company in 1783, when Finlay, a well-known pioneer among Montreal’s British fur traders, retired and was succeeded by Normand MacLeod*. By 1784, when he had been five years in the Montreal office, Mackenzie was anxious to try his hand at trading. Gregory entrusted him with “a small adventure of goods” which he took to Detroit (Mich.). It is evident that he had very favourably impressed his employers, for some months later MacLeod travelled to Detroit to offer Mackenzie a share in the business. The offer was conditional upon his willingness to go to Grand Portage (near Grand Portage, Minn.) in the spring of 1785 and serve in a post in the far west, a proviso quite acceptable to Mackenzie.

This expansion of the firm was prompted by radical changes taking place in the fur trade. Shortly after Canada was ceded to Great Britain in 1763, British traders from Montreal, like the French before them, ventured into what is now western Canada and began to extend their quest for furs farther and farther west. James Finlay built a post in the Saskatchewan valley in 1767 or 1768, and in 1778 Peter Pond reached the Athabasca River and discovered the richness of the fur resources in the surrounding area. As it happened, this greater interest and activity in the northwest developed at a time when the American revolution was threatening to deprive Montreal of its important stake in the trade in the area south of the Great Lakes. Detroit and Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.), through which much of it had been channelled, would probably be in American territory, and it was certain that an independent United States would soon reserve the country south of the lakes for its own nationals. The Montreal traders who had been active in that area turned therefore to the northwest as an alternative source of furs.

Sharply increased competition in the northwest was the natural result, and it quickly became evident that this could be both costly and hazardous – costly because traders would often be faced with the necessity of outbidding one another, and hazardous because if furs could not be secured by fair methods there was always the temptation, in an unpoliced wilderness, to resort to foul means. Much of the trouble arose because the trade was carried on by individuals or small partnerships. Wider agreements were the obvious solution, and these soon began to come into being. Most notable of them was the pooling of nine partnerships in 1779, a step toward a longer-term agreement and the formal organization of the North West Company in the winter of 1783–84. It was in response to this strong competitor that Gregory, MacLeod expanded its own partnership from two members to five the following winter the company was joined by Peter Pangman and John Ross in addition to Mackenzie. The small supporting staff included Alexander’s cousin Roderick McKenzie*, a few months out from Scotland, who served as an apprentice clerk. When the partners met at Grand Portage in June 1785, Mackenzie himself was assigned to the English (Churchill) River department, with headquarters at Île-à-la-Crosse (Sask.). There he would be stationed until 1787.

The ambitions of the NWC were to play an important part in Mackenzie’s later career. From the very beginning it was anxious to expand the scope of its trading right across the continent. As early as October 1784, in a memorial submitted to Governor Frederick Haldimand of Quebec, the company declared its intention “of exploring at their own Expence, between the latitudes of 55, and 65, all that tract of country extending west of the Hudson’s Bay to the North Pacific Ocean.” Ignoring the monopoly rights of the Hudson’s Bay Company, it went on to suggest “the propriety of granting to the Company an exclusive right . . . of the Trade to the North-West . . . for Ten-Years” in return for opening up new country. Nothing came of this proposal, but the company seized every opportunity to increase its knowledge of western geography. Its immediate source of information was Peter Pond, who had been included in the 1783–84 partnership. By 1785, guided by his own travels and by his questioning of the Indians, Pond had drafted a map that included the country north of Lake Athabasca. Correct in essentials, it showed a river flowing north to Great Slave Lake, from which a second river ran on to the Arctic Ocean. Later, when he had had access to accounts of the third Pacific voyage of James Cook*, and had learned of the inlet in Alaska that Cook had mistaken for an estuary and had named Cook’s River, Pond ignored his native informants, indulged in wishful thinking, and jumped to the conclusion that this was the mouth of the large river that flowed out of Great Slave Lake. In a map drawn in 1787, small streams still lead towards the Arctic, but the major river flows westwards, towards the Pacific. And in a second major miscalculation, which was to be important to Mackenzie, Pond grossly underestimated the distance from Athabasca to the Pacific. No accurate calculations of longitude had yet been made in the area around Lake Athabasca, and he placed the lake some 700 miles west of its true position.

There was a streak of violence and bad temper in Pond’s nature, which was to cut short his career in the fur trade. He was already suspected of having been responsible for the death in 1782 of a rival trader, Jean-Étienne Waddens*, and in 1787 a scuffle resulted in the shooting death of John Ross, whom Gregory, MacLeod had sent to compete with Pond in the Athabasca country. Once again competition had erupted into violence. Some measure to reduce dangerous rivalry was clearly desirable, and the immediate result of Ross’s death was the amalgamation of Gregory, MacLeod and the NWC. The enlarged partnership consisted of 20 shares, and Mackenzie received one of the four assigned to the four surviving partners of Gregory, MacLeod. Pond was not excluded, but it seems to have been agreed that the season of 1787–88 would be the last he would spend in the west. He returned to his post on the Athabasca River, arriving on 21 Oct. 1787, Mackenzie going with him in the dual capacity of second in command and understudy. Although Mackenzie was convinced that Pond was a murderer, the two men managed to agree fairly well. Pond was both an accomplished trader and a born explorer, and Mackenzie was anxious to learn all he could from him.

Pond left Athabasca for good in the spring of 1788 and Mackenzie took charge of the department. He was to succeed Pond as explorer as well as trader, and was soon preparing to descend the large river (now the Mackenzie) that flows out of Great Slave Lake. There is no reason to doubt that when he set out he expected to find the course of the river much as Pond had mapped it in 1787. Pond, for his part, had never deviated from two of his basic but badly mistaken assumptions. In November 1789, before details of Mackenzie’s first expedition had reached the east, Pond had several conversations in Quebec with Isaac Ogden, who described them in a letter to his father. “There can be no doubt,” Ogden wrote, “but the source of Cook’s River is now fully discovered and known.” And Pond’s conviction that the journey from Great Slave Lake to the supposed mouth of Cook’s River would be a short one is reflected in Ogden’s note that “Another man by the name of McKenzie was left by Pond at [Great] Slave Lake with orders to go down the River, and from thence to Unalaska, and so to Kamskatsha, and then to England through Russia, &c.” That Mackenzie was in fact acting on specific instructions is proven by his own account of the journey, which is entitled “Journal of a Voyage performed by Order of the N.W. Company, in a Bark Canoe in search of a Passage by Water through the N.W. Continent of America from Athabasca to the Pacific Ocean in Summer 1789.” But there is no doubt that Mackenzie welcomed the assignment in the preface to the printed account of his travels he described “the practicability of penetrating across the continent of America” as “this favourite project of my own ambition.”

Mackenzie’s headquarters in Athabasca had been at what became known as the “old establishment,” founded by Pond in 1778 some 40 miles up the Athabasca River. In 1788 he sent his cousin Roderick, now serving with him, to build the first Fort Chipewyan, on the south shore of Lake Athabasca, where he joined him shortly before Christmas. It was from this new post that Mackenzie set out on his first voyage of discovery on 3 June 1789. His party consisted of four French Canadian voyageurs, a young German, whose presence is unexplained, a Chipewyan Indian known as English Chief*, and sundry native wives and retainers. Travel was slow and difficult in the upper part of the Slave River, where rapids were frequent, and ice delayed the party in Great Slave Lake, but once they entered the Mackenzie River their progress was rapid. The full length of the river, about 1,075 miles, was covered in only 14 days, at an average speed of more than 75 miles per day. For nearly 300 miles the Mackenzie followed the generally westward course that Pond had predicted, but at what is now known as the Camsell Bend the river swung round to the north and continued on, day after day, in that general direction. It became apparent at last that it could not constitute a route to the Pacific. “I am much at a loss here how to act,” Mackenzie wrote in his journal on 10 July, when only two days distant from the sea, “being certain that my going further in this Direction will not answer the Purpose of which the Voyage was intended, as it is evident these Waters must empty themselves into the Northern Ocean . . . .” But he decided to push on “to the discharge of those Waters, as it would satisfy Peoples Curiosity tho’ not their Intentions.” Misty weather made it uncertain for a time whether or not he had actually reached the Arctic Ocean or merely a large lake, but there is no doubt that he reached the sea. He spent four nights on Whale Island (Garry Island, N.W.T.), off the river’s mouth, which he so named because of the number of white whales seen in its vicinity, and he observed the rise and fall of the tide. The return journey to Fort Chipewyan was begun on 16 July and the party reached the fort on 12 September. They had completed the round trip, totalling over 3,000 miles, in 102 days.

Although he had been the first to explore one of the world’s great rivers, and in later years came to take pride in the fact, Mackenzie’s first reaction was one of frustration. When he attended the annual rendezvous of the Nor’Westers at Grand Portage in 1790 he remarked in a letter to Roderick: “My Expedition is hardly spoken of but this is what I expected.” The reaction of the partners is understandable most of them were accustomed to making long and arduous overland journeys, and Mackenzie’s explorations, having failed to find a route to the Pacific, were of no immediate practical use to the NWC. But it cannot be said that his worth was not appreciated a new North West agreement, which was to come into effect in 1792, gave him two of the 20 shares in the company in place of the one he had held since 1787. He is said to have dubbed the Mackenzie the River Disappointment, but this is doubtful. The original of the letter in which he is alleged to have used the name has disappeared, and it occurs in only one of four surviving transcripts of this letter in the other three the river is referred to as the Grand River.

Mackenzie had great physical strength, determination, and stamina he tells us that he possessed “a constitution and frame of body equal to the most arduous undertakings.” As the speed at which he travelled indicates, he was a hard driver of men. In Joseph Burr Tyrrell*’s view he was “a man of masterful temperament, and those who accompanied him, whether white men or natives, were merely so many instruments to be used in the accomplishment of any purpose which he had in hand.” This judgement is unduly harsh. When there was some doubt whether he would reach the Arctic he noted in his journal: “My Men express much sorrow that they are obliged to return without seeing the Sea, in which I believe them sincere for we marched exceeding hard coming down the River, and I never heard them grumble but on the contrary in good Spirits . . . and declare themselves now and at any time ready to go with me wherever I choose to lead them.” This was no exaggeration, for two of the four voyageurs who had travelled to the Arctic became members of his second expedition. He had watched over the welfare or his men, had made great efforts to protect them from dangers along the way, and had brought all of them home safely.

Mackenzie had a second expedition in mind before the first had ended. He had encountered relatively few Indians and no Inuit, but when returning up the river he had tried to question any natives he met in the hope that they could give him information about rivers west of the mountains, which presumably would lead to the Pacific. Mackenzie had become aware of certain deficiencies in his knowledge and equipment that he was anxious to make good before he explored further. His observations of latitude, usually south of the true position by from 7 to 15 minutes, served well enough, but he had no instruments that would enable him to ascertain longitude. This shortcoming was emphasized, perhaps in a somewhat arrogant and embarrassing way, by Philip Turnor*, a qualified surveyor in the service of the HBC, whom he happened to meet at Cumberland House (Sask.) in June 1790. Turnor noted at the time: “Mr McKensie says he has been at the Sea, but thinks it the Hyperborean Sea but he does not seem acquainted with Observations which makes me think he is not well convinced where he has been.” Mackenzie was in fact perfectly aware of where he had been, but the encounter with Turnor doubtless strengthened his determination to pay a private visit to London in the winter of 1791–92, where he could receive instruction and acquire equipment. He was nevertheless somewhat scantily outfitted when he set out on his second expedition in the autumn of 1792, as he seems to have had only a compass, a sextant, a chronometer, and a large telescope. In spite of the relative lack of equipment, the accuracy with which Mackenzie plotted his position from time to time was remarkable. Fortunately he was now aware of the great distance that would have to be covered to reach the Pacific, for Pond’s mistake in placing Lake Athabasca had been detected: the true longitude of Fort Chipewyan, ascertained by Turnor, could now be compared with Cook’s earlier readings on the coast.

On his second venture, Mackenzie had decided to ascend the Peace River to its source in the mountains, and then cross the divide in the expectation that he would find some river on the western slope that would lead him to the Pacific. On 10 Oct. 1792 he left Fort Chipewyan and started up the Peace with the intention of building an advance base where he could spend the winter. This was Fort Fork (Peace River Landing, Alta), near the junction of the Peace and Smoky rivers. In the spring he had difficulty in mustering a crew, but was able to leave at last on 9 May 1793. His account of the departure from Fort Fork illustrates the astonishing capacity of a fur trader’s birchbark canoe: “Her dimensions were twenty-five feet long within, exclusive of the curves of stem and stern, twenty six inches hold, and four feet nine inches beam. At the same time she was so light, that two men could carry her on a good road three or four miles without resting. In this slender vessel, we shipped provisions, goods for presents, arms, ammunition, and baggage, to the weight of three thousand pounds, and an equipage of ten people.” As second in command Mackenzie had chosen Alexander MacKay two Indians, intended to act as interpreters and hunters, and six voyageurs completed the party. He was unfortunate in a number of the crewmen he had had to accept. Only a few days after the start some of them were so appalled by the portages encountered at the Peace River canyon that they urged Mackenzie to abandon the whole enterprise. Despite this and many later complaints he was able to keep the party moving and to maintain discipline and some semblance of morale.

By the end of May he had reached the point at which the Parsnip and Finlay rivers unite to form the Peace. He chose to ascend the Parsnip, following the advice of an old Indian who told him that a carrying place at its headwaters would lead over a height of land to a large river flowing to the west. This statement proved correct, but travel in the small streams and lakes that linked the larger rivers on either side of the mountains turned out to be laborious, notably in James Creek, to which Mackenzie gave the more appropriate name of Bad River. At last on 18 June he descended the McGregor River and reached the Fraser being unaware of its existence, he jumped to the conclusion that he must have reached the upper waters of the Columbia. Four days later he had travelled down it as far as the future site of Fort Alexandria (Alexandria, B.C.), which was named after him. There he was able to hold discussion with the Indians, who strongly advised him to proceed no farther. They informed him that parts of the river were virtually impassable, and that its mouth was still far to the south. In their view much the best way to reach the ocean was by a considerably shorter route overland. He should go back up the Fraser to the vicinity of its large tributary, the West Road River, and follow its valley westward.

It was not in Mackenzie’s nature to turn back in the face of difficulties, and he feared that such a change of plan might be construed as a retreat and damage the morale of his party. “In a voyage of this kind,” he noted in his journal, “a retrograde motion could not fail to cool the ardour, slacken the zeal, and weaken the confidence of those, who have no greater inducement in the undertaking, than to follow the conductor of it.” Such, he added, were the considerations by which his mind was “distressed and distracted.” He decided nevertheless that the advice of the Indians should be followed, and the trip back to the West Road began on the next day, the 23rd.

By 4 July the canoe and surplus supplies had been cached near the junction of the Fraser and West Road rivers, and the heavily laden party began the trek to the coast. Mackenzie’s own load consisted of pemmican and other provisions weighing about 70 pounds, besides arms, ammunition, and his telescope. He travelled west in or near the valley of the West Road River, following well-beaten Indian trails most of the time. Later he ascended Ulgako Creek, a tributary of the West Road, and after leaving it continued on westward to the Tanya Lakes. Here Indian reports indicated that he could either go north to the Dean River or turn south to the Bella Coola. He chose the latter, and on his way south crossed Mackenzie Pass, at 6,000 feet the highest point reached in any of his travels. On 17 July he descended into the deep gorge of the Bella Coola and was greeted by Bella Coola Indians at a small settlement that he named Friendly Village. Two days later, having travelled down the turbulent river, he came upon six curious Indian houses built on stilts, about 25 feet high. “From these houses,” Mackenzie wrote, “I could perceive the termination of the river, and its discharge into a narrow arm of the sea.” In this singularly undramatic fashion he chronicled the conclusion of the first journey across North America north of Mexico.

Although small alarums had occurred, thus far Mackenzie had succeeded in maintaining good relations with the Indians he had met. By contrast, the Bella Bellas at the mouth of the Bella Coola were anything but friendly, and open clashes were narrowly averted. As a result, little exploring was done after he reached tide-water, but he did secure a canoe and paddle down North Bentinck Arm, into which the Bella Coola flows, and then he proceeded to Dean Channel. There Mackenzie encountered more Bella Bella Indians, who viewed him “with an air of indifference and disdain. One of them in particular made me understand, with an air of insolence, that a large canoe had lately been in this bay, with people in her like me, and that one of them, whom he called Macubah, had fired on him and his friends, and that Bensins had struck him on the back, with the flat part of his sword.” Macubah would seem to refer to George Vancouver*, and it has been suggested that Bensins was Archibald Menzies*, the botanist who accompanied the expedition but he was not with Vancouver when he explored Dean Channel on 2 June. None of the journals of the expedition mentions any difficulties with the Indians. What would have been a historic meeting between Mackenzie and Vancouver was missed by a little more than six weeks.

That night, the 21st, the party slept on a large rock in Dean Channel, and the next morning Mackenzie “mixed up some vermilion in melted grease” and wrote on its southeast face the famous inscription: “Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, by land, the twenty-second of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three.” The rock has been identified and the words reinscribed upon it in permanent form.

Mackenzie began the return journey on 23 July and was back at Fort Chipewyan on 24 August. Once again his speed of travel was phenomenal. Frank C. Swannell, an experienced wilderness explorer, estimates that, when allowance is made for the various delays encountered, Mackenzie’s average day’s travel on the westbound trip, by land and water, was about 20 miles. “The real test of his ability to travel is the return trip over a known route and less heavily burdened, he having left caches behind to secure his return. On foot, from Friendly Village, on the Bella Coola, to the Fraser, he averaged 25 miles a day. The 860 miles by water was made in twenty-four days, including the portages, an average of 36 miles a day.” The total distance covered, outward and homeward, was somewhat more than 2,300 miles. Once again Mackenzie brought his crew home safe and uninjured, and in spite of difficulties with the natives during the second journey, on neither of his great expeditions had he fired a shot in anger.

In one respect Mackenzie’s expedition to the Pacific bore an unfortunate similarity to his journey to the Arctic: the route he had pioneered was of no immediate use to the NWC. He had added a huge tract of new country to the map of the world, but the routes that would be followed in later years by fur brigades would be discovered by Simon Fraser* and David Thompson*.

In semi-solitude at Fort Chipewyan during the winter of 1793–94, restless and highly strung, Mackenzie seems to have come close to a breakdown. In the previous autumn he had intended to make a fair copy of his journal, but, he later informed his cousin Roderick, “the greatest part of my time was taken up in vain Speculations. I got into such a habit of thinking that I was often lost in thoughts nor could I ever write to the purpose.” By January 1794 he had determined to leave the west. “I am fully bent on going down. I am more anxious now than ever. For I think it unpardonable in any man to remain in this country who can afford to leave it.”

But he had no intention of leaving the fur trade. On the contrary, his visit to the Pacific had roused a desire to see the trade organized on far wider and more efficient principles. On his way to Montreal in September 1794, he called on John Graves Simcoe, lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, and outlined the project to him. He proposed that the NWC should participate in a cooperative effort that would involve the HBC and the East India Company. The former would be asked to make available its supply route via Hudson Bay, which could deliver goods cheaply to the heart of the continent the latter would be expected to modify its monopoly rights in the China trade to permit the marketing of furs shipped from the Pacific coast. The idea was not entirely new in 1789 Alexander Dalrymple, hydrographer of the East India Company, had published his Plan for promoting the fur-trade, and securing it to this country, by uniting the operations of the East-India and Hudsons-Bay companys. Dalrymple shared Mackenzie’s interest in both the Pacific coast and the river that flowed out of Great Slave Lake and, partly as a result of his urging, expeditions to explore both were planned by the British government to begin in 1790. Threatened war with Spain delayed the expedition by sea, which sailed eventually in 1791 under Vancouver. Command of the land expedition was to have been given to Captain John Frederick Holland*, who arrived at Quebec in the fall of 1790 only to hear that Mackenzie had anticipated him and had already explored the Mackenzie River.

As long as he was active in the fur trade Mackenzie was to continue to advocate some cooperative plan such as he had outlined to Simcoe, but he was diverted from it for a time by the offer of a partnership in McTavish, Frobisher and Company. A decade earlier, Simon McTavish had perceived that a managing agency in Montreal to purchase supplies and market furs would be essential to the success of the NWC, and he had so contrived matters that his firm not only performed these functions but also controlled a majority of the NWC shares. Mackenzie’s partnership became effective in 1795 and each spring he travelled to Grand Portage to attend the annual rendezvous with the wintering partners. By degrees, however, his restless nature began to assert itself. On many points of internal policy he found himself more in sympathy with the wintering partners than with his fellow agents. His interest in a broader trading strategy revived, and this led to differences with McTavish trade handled through Hudson Bay or the Pacific coast would not benefit Montreal, where McTavish’s interests were centred. By 1799 Mackenzie was again in a highly nervous condition, and about the time his partnership expired on 30 Nov. 1799 he left abruptly for England.

He had long been anxious to publish an account of his travels, and this became his primary objective in London. His Voyages from Montreal . . . to the Frozen and Pacific oceans was published in December 1801 and attracted wide attention. The journals of the voyages are preceded by a valuable general history of the fur trade this may have been written in great part by Roderick McKenzie, who had been collecting materials on fur-trade history. The journals themselves were edited for publication by William Combe, a prolific writer who had previously revised the text of the Voyages of John Meares , published in 1790. On 10 Feb. 1802 Mackenzie was knighted, possibly at the instigation of Edward Augustus , Duke of Kent and Strathearn. The single extant letter from the duke to Mackenzie, dated 1 Nov. 1819, indicates that they were on terms of friendship.

In the last few pages of his Voyages Mackenzie had again outlined his proposal for cooperation between the NWC, the HBC, and the East India Company. In January 1802 he presented the plan to Lord Hobart, the Colonial secretary. It now included the Pacific coast fisheries, and Mackenzie was thinking of a central establishment at Nootka Sound (B.C.) and two outposts, one to the north and the other to the south. Meanwhile, a complication had arisen. In 1798, before Mackenzie had left Canada, the New North West Company, later known as the XY Company, had formed around the powerful trading partnership of Forsyth, Richardson and Company, and it soon offered the old concern spirited competition. Mackenzie had acquired shares in it as early as 1800, and by 1802 it was sometimes known as Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Company. Hobart suggested that the first step toward a wider trading arrangement should be a union of the two companies based on Montreal. Mackenzie returned to Montreal in 1802 to bring this about, but antagonism between Simon McTavish and himself was too great to make union possible. A coalition suddenly became practicable in 1804 when McTavish died. Mackenzie had long been a close friend of McTavish’s nephew and successor, William McGillivray* for several years in Montreal, when both were bachelors, they shared quarters, and their convivial life was the talk of the town. But although he had many friends and was socially popular, in the trade Mackenzie had evidently come to be considered a trouble-maker, and he was excluded from the new united concern.

At a loose end, Mackenzie was persuaded to enter politics. On 16 June 1804 he was elected to represent the county of Huntingdon in the House of Assembly of Lower Canada. Although he continued to be a member until 1808, he attended only the first session by January 1805, as he confessed to his cousin Roderick, he was already “heartily tired of Legislation.” He wished sincerely “that those who thought themselves my friends in being the means of getting me to so honorable a situation had been otherwise employed.” He seems not to have taken his responsibilities as a member very seriously, since he went to London in the autumn of 1805 and made only brief visits to Canada thereafter, the last in 1810.

The description of the Red River country in Mackenzie’s Voyages is said to have been the first to arouse the interest of Lord Selkirk [ Douglas ] in the region, and this circumstance may have led to their meeting. In 1808 both men, anxious to influence the HBC but for quite different reasons, began buying the company’s stock. Mackenzie was hoping to exert pressure to secure the use of the Hudson Bay supply route for the Montreal traders Selkirk was interested in a land grant in the Red River country on which to found a colony. At first relations were cordial, for Mackenzie, it seems, was under the impression that the grant Selkirk was seeking would be modest and would not interfere with the fur trade. When the huge dimensions of the scheme became apparent he and representatives of the NWC did their utmost to prevent the grant’s being made, but it was approved by the HBC’s General Court at the end of May 1811. Three months later Mackenzie learned of the failure of another of his efforts to secure official backing for his plan to reorganize the fur trade: a memorandum he had submitted to Viscount Castlereagh, then Colonial secretary, in March 1808 was at last considered by the Privy Council committee for trade in August 1811, and the board declined to take any action.

By this time Mackenzie had decided to retire to Scotland. On 12 April 1812 in a letter to Roderick McKenzie he announced his marriage to Geddes Mackenzie, one of the twin daughters of George Mackenzie, a Scot who had prospered in London and had died in 1809. The bride was 14 years of age Mackenzie was 48. Geddes and her sister had inherited the estate of Avoch, and about the time of his marriage Mackenzie purchased it for £20,000. He and Lady Mackenzie usually spent the season in London and lived the rest of the year at Avoch, where Mackenzie took an interest in local activities and improvements. A daughter was born in 1816, and two sons followed in 1818 and 1819. By the time the sons were born Mackenzie’s health was failing Bright’s disease appears to have been the most likely cause. In January 1820 he went to Edinburgh to seek medical advice in March, on the return journey to Avoch, he died unexpectedly in a wayside inn near Dunkeld.

Mackenzie’s fame is based solidly upon his two remarkable expeditions, both of which penetrated far into huge areas hitherto unexplored. He was only 29 when he returned from the Pacific in 1793, and the relative ineffectiveness of his activities thereafter made his later career somewhat of an anticlimax. The union of the New North West Company with the NWC in 1804 excluded him from the fur trade in Canada, and Selkirk defeated his attempt to gain control of the HBC in 1811. Only after his death did the newly reconstituted HBC adopt many aspects of his scheme for a continent-wide fur trade.

[Mackenzie’s home at Avoch was burned in 1833 and his papers were lost in the fire. He had presented a fair copy of his original journal of the expedition to the Arctic to the Marquess of Buckingham this is now in BL, Stowe mss 793, ff.1–81. The journal of the second expedition exists only in the version edited by William Combe in the published accounts of Mackenzie’s voyages. The most important surviving item in Mackenzie’s own handwriting is a letterbook copy of 11 letters written from New York in 1798 (PAM, HBCA, F.3/1). Roderick McKenzie received a considerable number of letters from his cousin, but he appears to have destroyed the originals and they now exist only in transcripts (PAC, MG 19, C1), the accuracy of which is frequently doubtful. Copies of other letters are scattered through the collections relating to the fur trade in PAC, MG 19, and AUM, P 58, G1.

Fortunately the fine portrait of Mackenzie by Sir Thomas Lawrence was saved from the fire at Avoch it is now in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. A second portrait is known to have been painted by James Sharples in New York in 1798 presumably it was lost in the fire.

Mackenzie’s Voyages from Montreal, on the river St. Laurence, through the continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacific oceans in the years, 1789 and 1793 with a preliminary account of the rise, progress, and present state of the fur trade of that country, [ed. William Combe], was published in London in 1801 a two-volume second edition was published in 1802. Editions were published in New York and Philadelphia the same year a French translation and two editions in German also appeared in 1802. An abridged translation in Russian was published in 1808. Of the many later complete and partial editions the most useful follow. Exploring the northwest territory: Sir Alexander Mackenzies journal of a voyage by bark canoe from Lake Athabasca to the Pacific Ocean in the summer of 1789, ed. T. H. McDonald (Norman, Okla., 1966). This was the first publication of Mackenzie’s own text of the journal of his first voyage. First man west: Alexander Mackenzies journal of his voyage to the Pacific coast of Canada in 1793, ed. Walter Sheppe (Berkeley, Calif., and Los Angeles, 1962). The journals and letters of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, ed. and intro. W. K. Lamb (Cambridge, Eng., 1970). This work, no.41 in the Hakluyt Society’s extra series, includes Mackenzie’s text of the journal of the first expedition, the journal of the second expedition as published in 1801, and all known letters and fragments of letters. It has an extensive bibliography. Volume 1 of Les bourgeois de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest (Masson) contains “‘Reminiscences’ by the Honorable Roderic McKenzie being chiefly a synopsis of letters from Sir Alexander Mackenzie.”

Biographies include the following: Roy Daniells, Alexander Mackenzie and the north west (London, 1969) J. K. Smith, Alexander Mackenzie, explorer: the hero who failed (Toronto and New York, [1973]), a highly critical appraisal M. S. Wade, Mackenzie of Canada: the life and adventures of Alexander Mackenzie, discoverer (Edinburgh and London, 1927) and [H.] H. Wrong, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, explorer and fur trader (Toronto, 1927).

History Of The Mackenzies by Alexander Mackenzie

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1. Thomas, his heir and successor.

2. Elizabeth, who succeeded to Applecross John Alexander and
Frederick, all died young.

Thomas made a new disposition of the estates by which, in consequence
of a family quarrel, he cut out his only surviving brother,
Captain Donald and his daughters - two sons having previously died
unmarried - from the succession. The property, under this new
settlement, went, first, to his son and heir, Thomas, and his issue
secondly, failing these, to his daughter Elizabeth and thirdly,
failing her and her issue, to Thomas, the eldest son of his
sister Anne, who, as already stated, married Kenneth Mackenzie
of Inverinate, W.S. and failing him and his issue, to the other
children of the same sister.

Thomas was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son,

VIII. THOMAS MACKENZIE, eighth of Applecross, who was for
many years, and until his death in 1827, Member of Parliament for
the County of Ross. He died, unmarried, and was, in terms of the
abovenamed settlement, succeeded by his sister,

IX. ELIZABETH MACKENZIE, ninth of Applecross. She was in
delicate health when her brother died, and continued so until her
death two years after him, in 1829. She was never served heir,
and, dying unmarried, she was in terms of her brother's settlement
succeeded by her cousin-german,

X. THOMAS MACKENZIE of Inverinate, W.S., Edinburgh, tenth of
Applecross, who represented the County of Ross in Parliament from
1837 to 1847. He married Mary, daughter of George Mackenzie of
Avoch, with issue -

1. Kenneth John, his heir and successor.

2. George Alexander, a merchant in Liverpool, who married
Elizabeth, daughter of John Cay of Charlton, with issue - an only
daughter, Mabel Georgina. He died in 1874.

3. Thomas, W.S., Edinburgh, who died unmarried.

4. Francis James, who died, unmarried, in 1875.

5. Duncan Davidson, who died, unmarried, in 1863.

8. Geddes Elizabeth, who married John Cay, W.S., Edinburgh.

Thomas sold the estate of Applecross in 1857 to the Duke of Leeds,
and Inverinate to the late Sir Alexander Matheson of Ardross and
Lochalsh. On his death in 1857, he was succeeded as representative
of the family by his eldest son,

XI. KENNETH JOHN MACKENZIE, who was born in 1819 and died
unmarried in 1868, when he was succeeded as representative of the
family by his next brother,

XII. GEORGE ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, who died in 1874, without male
issue. He was succeeded as representative of the family by his
next brother,

XIII. THOMAS MACKENZIE, Edinburgh, who died unmarried a few
years ago, the last male of the Highfield Applecrosses, failing
the descendants of Captain Donald, who was disinherited.

ALEXANDER MACKENZIE of Coul and Applecross, son of Colin Cam,
XIth Baron of Kintail, by Mary of Davochmaluag, had, among others,
whose names are given under APPLECROSS,

I. SIR KENNETH MACKENZIE, first designated of Assynt, but in
1649 he has a sasine of Coul. He was a "man of parts," and in
great favour with Charles II., who made him a Baronet by Royal
patent with remainder to the heirs male of his body, dated on the
16th of October, 1673. He was also appointed Sheriff-Principal
of Ross and Inverness, these counties being then one under the
jurisdiction of one Sheriff.

He married, first, Jean, eldest daughter of Alexander Chisholm,
XIX. of Chisholm, with issue -

1. Alexander, his heir and successor.

2. Simon, I. of Torridon and Lentran, of whom presently.

3. John, I. of Delvine, of whom after Torridon.

4. Roderick, who married a daughter of Kenneth Mackenzie, VI. of

5. A daughter, who married Colin Mackenzie, IV. of Redcastle,
with issue.

6. Agnes, married Sir John Munro of Fowlis, with issue.

7. Jane, who married Alexander Baillie, IX. of Dunain.

8. Christian, who married John Dunbar, Younger of Bennetsfield.

9. Lilias, married John Munro of Inverawe, with issue.

10. Mary, who as his first wife married Kenneth Mackenzie, VI.
of Davochmaluag, with issue.

11. Another, who married Gordon of Cluny.

He married, secondly, a daughter of Thomas Mackenzie of Inverlael,
with issue - two sons, who died young.

12. Catharine, who married Alexander Mackenzie, II. of Belmaduthy,
with issue.

13. A daughter, who married Ross of Aldie.

14. A daughter, who married Evander Maciver of Tour-naig, with

15. Another, married MacIver of Tournaig's brother.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

II. SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, second of Coul, who married
first, Jean, daughter of Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonston, Tutor
of Sutherland, with issue -

1. John, his heir and successor.

2. Colin, who succeeded as IV. of Coul.

3. Lucy, who married Angus Mackintosh, X. of Kyllachy.

4. Janet, who in 1695 married Alexander Mackenzie, VII. of Davochmaluag,
with issue - an only daughter, Janet, who in 1715 married Aeneas
Macleod, of Camuscurry, with issue - an only daughter, Mary,
who married John Urquhart of Mount Eagle.

Sir Alexander married secondly, Janet Johnstone of Warriston, with issue
- William, Simon, and James and a daughter, Margaret, who married
Andrew Brown of Dolphinton, with issue.

He had a charter under the Great Seal, in 1681, by which his lands
of Coul and others were, upon his own resignation, erected into one
free barony in favour of himself and his heirs male, holding of
the Crown. He afterwards, in 1702, made a deed of entail by which
all his estates were settled upon heirs male of his own body. He
died shortly after, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

III. SIR JOHN MACKENZIE, third of Coul, who married first,
Margaret, daughter of Hugh Rose of Kilravock, with issue - an only
daughter, who married Bayne of Delny. He married, secondly, in
1703, Helen, daughter of Patrick Lord Elibank, with issue - two
daughters, one of whom married Sir George Hope of Kirkliston,
Baronet. The other died unmarried. He joined the Earl of Mar
in 1715, was attainted for high treason, and dying without issue
male the titles and estates were assumed by his next brother,

IV. SIR COLIN MACKENZIE, fourth of Coul, who was Clerk to the
Pipe in the Exchequer, an office which he held during his life.
He married Henrietta, daughter of Sir Patrick Houston of Houston,
with issue -

1. Alexander, his heir and successor.

2. William of Achilty and Kinnahaird, who married Mary, daughter
of Alexander, VII. of Davochmaluag, with issue - extinct in the male
line. John, the last male representative of the family sailed for
Melbourne in 1850, in the "Owen Glendower," which has never since
been heard of.

3. Anne, who married John Mackenzie, V. of Applecross, without

Sir Colin died in 1740, in the 67th year of his age, and was
succeeded by his eldest son,

V. SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, fifth of Coul. He had a charter,
under the Great Seal, to himself and his heirs male, as heir to
his grandfather, of the whole estate of Coul, in 1742. He married
Janet, daughter of Sir James Macdonald, XIII. of Sleat, Baronet,
with issue -

1. Alexander, his heir and successor.

2. James, who died unmarried.

3. Henrietta, married Thomas Wharton, without issue.

4. Margaret, who married William Mackenzie, IV. and last of Suddie,
with issue.

5. Stewart, who married William Dallas of Cantray, with issue.

Sir Alexander died in 1792, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

Coul. He was provincial Commander-in-Chief of Bengal, 1790-1792,
and married in 1778, Catherine, daughter of Robert Ramsay,
with issue - one son, who on his death in 1795, succeeded him as

He was born on the 22nd of June, 1780, and married, first, on the
8th of June, 1802, Mary, daughter of Donald Macleod of Geanies,
with issue -

1. Alexander, his heir and successor.

2. William, who succeeded as IX. of Coul.

3. George, who died unmarried in 1839.

4. Robert-Ramsay, who succeeded as X. of Coul.

5. The Rev. John, Free Church minister of Ratho. He was born
in 1813, and married, in 1839, Eliza, daughter of the celebrated
Thomas Chalmers, D.D., without issue. He died in London in 1878.
She died in 1892.

6. Donald Macleod, Rear Admiral, R.N. He was born in 1815 and
married, in 1865, Dorothea, daughter of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour,
G.C.B., without issue.

7. The Rev. James, who in 1847 married Philadelphia, daughter of
Sir Percival Hart Dyke of Lullingstone, Kent, Baronet, and died
without issue in 1857.

8. Margaret. 9. Catherine. 10. Mary. All died unmarried.

Sir George married, secondly, on the 27th of October, 1836,
Catherine, daughter of Sir Henry Jardine of Harwood, with issue -

11. Henry Augustin Ornano, who, born on the 24th of April, 1839,
married Mary Ann, daughter of Louis Botte, with issue - four sons
and a daughter.

He died in 1848, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

VIII. SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, eighth of Coul, an officer in
the Bengal army. He died unmarried on the 3rd of January, 1856,
and was succeeded by his next brother,

IX. SIR WILLIAM MACKENZIE, ninth of Coul. He was born on the
20th of May, 1806, and on the 16th of August, 1858, married Agnes,
daughter of Ross Thomson, of Ardmore, Derry, and died without
issue on the 21st of December, 1868, when he was succeeded by his
next surviving brother,

X. SIR ROBERT RAMSAY-MACKENZIE, tenth of Coul, who, born on the
21st of July, 1811, married in September, 1846, Louisa Alexandrina,
daughter of Richard Jones, member of the Legislative Assembly of
Sydney, New South Wales, with issue -

1. Arthur George Ramsay, his heir and successor.

2. Mary Louisa, who on the 9th of May, 1871, married Alexander
Archer, of Brisbane, Queensland, without issue. They both perished
in the wreck of the "Quetta" on her way home from Australia.

4. Louisa Stewart, who on the 26th of February, 1885, married
James G. L. Archer, of Gracemere, Queensland, and Laurvig, Norway.

In 1867 Sir Robert was appointed Premier of the Executive Council
and Colonial Treasurer of Queensland, having previously held the
offices of Colonial Secretary and Treasurer. He died on the 19th
of September, 1873, when he was succeeded by his only son,

Baronet of Coul. He was born on the 2nd of May, 1866, and is
still unmarried.


I. SIMON MACKENZIE, first of Torridon and Lentran, was second
son of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, first Baronet of Coul, by his first
wife, Jean, daughter of Alexander Chisholm, XIX. of Chisholm. He
has a sasine of the half of Arcan on disposition in 1697. He
married Catharine, daughter of John Mackenzie, II. of Applecross.
She has a sasine in 1672 and another in 1694. By her he had
issue -

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor.

2. Alexander, I. of Lentran, Tarradale, and Rhindoun, who married,
first, Anne, daughter of Roderick Mackenzie, IV. of Applecross (sasine
1745), with issue - (l) Alexander, who died young (2) Roderick of
Tarradale, a Captain in Marjoribanks' Regiments, killed in America,
without issue (3) John Mackenzie of Arcan, secretary to the Highland
Society of London, so well known as "John Mackenzie of the Temple,"
and intimately connected with the editing and publication of
Macpherson's Gaelic Ossian. He succeeded to the property, but
afterwards sold or alienated it - Rhindoun to the Chisholm Tarradale
to his nephew, Dr Murchison and Arcan to his sister, Elizabeth,
widow of John Mackenzie of Sanachan. He died unmarried in 1803,
the last male representative of the Lentran Mackenzies. Alexander's
daughters were - (1) Anne, who married Donald Macrae, Camusluinie,
Kintail, with issue (2) another, who married Alexander Murchison
of Achtertyre, with issue (3) Janet, who married William Mackenzie of
Strathgarve, with issue (4) Catharine, who married Colin Green,
Scatwell, without issue (5) Isabella, who married, first, Colonel
Mackay of Bighouse, Sutherlandshire, without issue and secondly,
her cousin, John Mackenzie, I. of Delvine, with issue and (6)
Elizabeth, who married Captain John Mackenzie, III. of Sanachan and
Tullich, Lochcarron, who in right of his wife succeeded to Arcan.
She died without issue. Alexander married secondly Abigail,
daughter of Charles Mackenze of Cullen. She has a sasine in 1715.

3. A daughter, who married Archibald Macdonald of Barisdale, with

4. Anne, who in 1694 married Farquhar Macrae of Inverinate, with

5. Catherine, married Roderick Mackenzie of Aulduinny.

6. Florence, who married Colin Mackenzie, II. of Cleanwaters,
with issue - Alexander. Simon was succeeded by his eldest son,

II. KENNETH MACKENZIE, second of Torridon, who in 1703 married
Ann, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, VII. of Gairloch, with issue -

1. John, his heir and successor.

2. Mary, who married Colin Mackenzie, a Bailie of Dingwall, with
issue - (1) Kenneth, who married Margaret Macdonald, Skye, with
issue - Alexander, who died young in Jamaica John, Lieutenant 78th
Regiment, who died in India, without issue and Donald, who died
young. Kenneth had also several daughters - Janet, who married
John Chisholm, Dingwall, where she died, without issue, in 1870,
aged 95 Mary, and Margaret Anne, both of whom died unmarried
and Alexanderina, who married Captain Munro, 42nd Highlanders.
(2) John, a merchant in Bishopsgate Street, London, who married a
daughter of his partner, Alexander Mackenzie of the Coul family,
with issue - Colin Alexander, known as "the Ambassador," who
died unmarried in 1851 Kenneth, who died young John, a Colonel
H.E.I.C.S. Alexander, of Christ Church, Oxford, who died unmarried
and Caroline, who married Dr William Wald, without issue. (3)
Alexander, who died young. (4) Mary, who married Murdoch Mackenzie,
Bailie of Dingwall, without issue. (5) Anne, who married Andrew
Robertson, Provost of Dingwall and Sheriff-Substitute of Ross,
grandson of Colin Robertson of Kindeace, with issue - Anne, who
as his second wife married Sir John Gladstone, Baronet of Fasque,
with issue, among others - the great statesman, the Right Hon.
William Ewart Gladstone of Hawarden, M.P., who as we write is,
in his eighty fifth year for the fourth time Prime Minister of
Great Britain. (6) Fanny, who married John Mackenzie of Kinellan,
with issue - Colin, who died young Alexander, who married Mary
Macdonald Margaret, who married Farquhar Matheson and Mary,
Christy, and Janet, all of whom died unmarried. (7) Betsy, who
married a Mr Simpson and (8) Elizabeth.

Kenneth died before 1738 and was succeeded by his eldest son,

III. JOHN MACKENZIE, third of Torridon. He fought at Culloden,
and is said to have been "one of the prettiest men in Scotland."

The following is from a letter by his grandson, the late Bishop
Mackenzie of Nottingham, dated the 10th of September, 1878, in
answer to a request by the author that he should kindly communicate
anything he knew about his more immediate ancestors:

He led into action the few Mackenzies who fought in that battle.
He was a nephew of Macdonald of Keppoch, one of the seven men of
Moidart, and was personally requested by Lady Seaforth to take up
arms for the Prince, and he attached himself, with the personal
following who attended him, to his uncle's standard. The Macdonalds,
in Strong resentment for having been placed on the left instead
of the right of Charles Edward, refused to charge when ordered
by their commander. Keppoch, uttering the touching exclamation,
"My God! that I should live to be deserted by my own children then
charged, accompanied by my grandfather and his small following.
He soon fell pierced by balls and then, while my grandfather wept
over him, exhorted him to leave the field as the brief action
was already over, and the dragoons were already scattering over
the field in pursuit.

Some of the Macdonalds placed themselves under their Chief's
favourite nephew, as he is called in Scott's account of the battle.
Tradition says that some of them were disposed to run when they
saw parties of the dragoons approaching them, but that Torridon,
spoke briefly, "Keep together men. If we stand shoulder to
shoulder these men will be far more frightened at us than we can
be of them. But remember, if you scatter, they have four legs
to each of your two, and you will stand singly but small chance
against them." They took his advice, and he led them in fair
order off the field. It is further reported that he was proscribed
after the battle, and that his life was saved by Sir Alexander
Macdonald of Sleat, ancestor of the present Lord Macdonald, who
was one of the Royal Commissioners. Sir Alexander urged that
Torridon was a young and inexperienced man, and not likely to
be dangerous to the Government, on account of the distance and
comparative smallness of his wild Highland estate however, it
is said that he added - "Torridon is a great favourite with the
ladies, and if you "hang Torridon" it is certain that half the
ladies of the country will "hang themselves."" This reasoning is
said to have prevailed and it is certain that the estate descended
to my eldest brother in right of inheritance, without having been

John, who entertained Prince Charles in 1745, married Isobel,
daughter of Kenneth Mackenzie, II. of Dundonnel (sasine in 1741),
with issue -

1. Kenneth, his heir and successor.

2. John, who succeeded as V. of Torridon.

3. Janet, who married, as his second wife, Captain Alexander,
second son of Sir Roderick Mackenzie, second Baronet and V. of
Scatwell, with issue. She died in 1808.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

IV. KENNETH MACKENZIE, fourth of Torridon. He sold the estate
to his brother John. He married Miss Cockerell, daughter of a
solicitor, in London, with issue -

1. Kenneth Cockerell, who married, with issue - (1) Kenneth
Cockerell, who died without issue (2) John Scott, of the Manchester
and Liverpool Railway Company, who married and in 1859 died,
leaving issue - an only son, who since died without issue.

2. Isabella, who died without issue.

Kenneth was succeeded by his next brother,

V. JOHN MACKENZIE, fifth of Torridon, who had previously
purchased the estate from him, and whose descendants became the
heirs male of his predecessors, Kenneth's descendants having, as
already shown, become extinct. He married Anne Isabella, daughter
of Isaac Van Dam, West Indies, with issue -

1. John, his heir and successor.

2. Anthony Van Dam, who died unmarried in 1824.

3. Rev. Charles, Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral.

4. Rev. Henry, consecrated Bishop Suffragan of Nottingham in 1870.
He resigned his Episcopal duties in 1877, but retained the title
of Bishop, and the offices of Arch-dean of Nottingham, and Canon
and Sub-Dean of the Cathedral of Lincoln. He married, first,
Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Ridley, of Demerara, with issue - an
only daughter, Edith, who married the Rev. H. Fellowes. He
married, secondly, Antoinette, daughter of Sir James Henry Turing
of Foveran, Baronet, with issue - a large family of whom 11 survived.
He died in 1878.

John died in 1820, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

VI. JOHN MACKENZIE, sixth of Torridon, who married Katharine
Yallop, and died without issue in 1852. He sold the estate to
James Alexander Stewart-Mackenzie of Seaforth, and was succeeded
as representative of the family by his eldest surviving brother,

VII. THE REV. CHARLES MACKENZIE, Prebendary of St. Paul's
Cathedral, who married Henrietta, daughter of Henry Simonds, of
Reading, Berkshire, with issue -

1. Henry Douglas, who married Miss Suttar, Bathurst, N.S.W., with
issue - Dudley B. Douglas, and two daughters.

The Rev. Charles had also four daughters.


I. JOHN MACKENZIE, first of this family, was third son of Sir
Kenneth Mackenzie, first Baronet of Coul, by his first wife, Jean
Chisholm of Chisholm. He married first, his cousin Isabella,
daughter of Alexander Mackenzie, I. of Lentran, with issue - one
son, George, who married, and died before his father, without
issue in 1772. He married, secondly, a daughter of Sir Robert
Gordon of Gordonston, with issue - William, who married, and died
in England before his father, without issue. He married, thirdly,
Margaret, daughter of Hay of Alderston, with issue -

1. Alexander, who on the death of his half-brother George, became
his father's heir.

2. Kenneth (who died in 1756), Professor of Law in the University
of Edinburgh. He married Grizel Hume, daughter of Browne, I. of
Dolphinton, with issue - two sons and two daughters. The second
son, Andrew, was a W.S., and married a daughter of Campbell of
Achlyne, with issue. The daughters died unmarried. The eldest
son, John, succeeded his father-in-law, and became JOHN MACKENZIE,
II. of DOLPHINTON. He in 1773 married Alice, daughter of Robert
Ord, Lord Chief-Justice of the Exchequer, with issue - five sons,
four of whom - Robert, Kenneth, John, and George, died unmarried.
The second son, Andrew, had a son (with three daughters - Mary,
Grace, and Anne) Kenneth, a Major in the 4th Regiment, who married
a Miss Solomon in America, with issue - four sons and three daughters.
The only surviving son of John succeeded him as RICHARD MACKENZIE,
III. OF DOLPHINTON, who died in 1850. He married Jane, daughter
of Captain Hamilton, 73rd Regiment, with issue - JOHN ORD MACKENZIE,
IV. of Dolphinton, W.S., who married Margaret, daughter of Sir
Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, with issue. Richard had also
three other sons, Kenneth, Richard James, and George.

4. John, Chief Clerk of Session, who married Miss Renton of
Lamerton, without issue.

5. Donald, a Surgeon in the Army, who died unmarried in 1741.

6. Anne, who married Alexander Robertson of Faskally, with issue,
and died in 1772.

7. Helen, who married Crawford Balfour of Bingry.

8. Rebecca, who married John Mackenzie, IV. of Belmaduthy, with
issue and five other daughters, Janet, Catharine, Mary, Christina,
and Jane, all of whom died unmarried.

John Mackenzie, I. of Delvine, died in 1731, when he was succeeded
by his second and eldest surviving son,

II. ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, second of Delvine, who married, with
issue - an only daughter,

III. MARGARET MACKENZIE, third of Delvine, who married George
Muir of Cassencarie, with issue - an only son. She died in 1767,
and was succeeded by her son,

IV. SIR ALEXANDER MUIR-MACKENZIE, created first Baronet of
Delvine on the 9th of November, 1805. He married in September,
1787, Jane, daughter of Sir Robert Murray of Hillhead and Clermont,
Baronet, with issue - one son, and eight daughters, seven of whom
died unmarried. The eldest, Susan, married in 1817 Robert Smythe
of Methven. He died in 1832, when he was succeeded by his only

fifth of Delvine. He married Sophia Matilda, fifth daughter of
James Raymond Johnstone of Alva, County Clackmannan, with issue -

1. Alexander, his heir and successor.

2. Robert-Smythe, late Lieutenant-Colonel, R.A. He was born on
the 27th of November, 1842, and married on the 17th of October,
1872, Anne-Elizabeth-Augusta, daughter of Captain Charles Kinnaird
Johnstone Gordon of Craig, Aberdeenshire, with issue - Robert
Cecil, born in 1876, and Georgina Sophia.

3. Cecil Cholmeley, Lieutenant Royal Engineers. He was born in
1843 and died on the 2nd of November, 1863, unmarried.

4. Kenneth Augustus, M.A., C.B., bencher of Lincoln's Inn, Q.C.,
barrister-at-law. He was born in 1845, Permanent Secretary to the
Lord Chancellor since 1880, and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery
since 1884. He married in 1874 Amy, daughter of William Graham,
M.P., for Glasgow, with issue - William Montague, and three daughters.

5. Montague Johnstone, barrister, late Fellow of Hertford College,
Oxford, Recorder of Sandwich. He was born in 1847, and married
in 1888, the Hon. Sarah Napier Bruce, daughter of Lord Aberdare,
with issue - a daughter, Enid.

6. John William Pitt, Magistrate Indian Civil Service. He was
born in 1855, and married on the 2nd of August, 1876, Fanny Louisa,
second daughter of Lieutenant-General Montague Cholmeley Johnstone,
with issue - two sons and two daughters.

7. Georgina Mary, who on the 24th of November, 1871, married Sir
Charles Sebright, K.C.M.G., and died on the 24th of January, 1874.

8. Lucy Jane Eleanora, who on the 20th of October, 1859, married
Bentley, youngest son of William Murray of Monkland, with issue.
She died in 1874.

9. Susan Anne Eliza, unmarried.

Sir John died on the 1st of February, 1855, when he was succeeded
by his eldest son,

VI. SIR ALEXANDER MUIR-MACKENZIE, third and present Baronet of
Delvine. He was Captain in the 78th Highlanders and subsequently
Major in the Highland Borderers Infantry Militia. He was born on
the 26th of July, 1840, and on the 21st of February, 1871, married
Frances Rose, sixth daughter of Sir Thomas Moncrieffe, Seventh
Baronet of Moncrieffe, without issue.


I. JOHN MACKENZIE, first of this family, was a natural son
of George, second Earl of Seaforth. He has a charter of Little
Gruinard and other lands in 1669, in which he is described as then
"of Meikle Gruinard." He married before 1655, Christian, daughter
of Donald Mackenzie, III. of Loggie (sasine in that year as his
wife), with issue -

1. George, his heir, whom his mother describes in a sasine, dated
10th August, 1685, as "George Mackenzie, my eldest lawful son."

2. Kenneth, who married Frances Herbert, daughter of William,
Marquis of Powis, and widow of Kenneth, fourth Earl of Seaforth,
without issue.

3. John, a doctor in Inverness five other sons and eight daughters,
all married, several of them with issue.

John was succeeded by his eldest son,

II. GEORGE MACKENZIE, second of Gruinard, who has a sasine in
1696, married, first, Margaret, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie,
II. of Ballone (marriage contract 1696) with issue -

1. George, his heir and successor.

2. Kenneth, who married a daughter of Kenneth Mackenzie, III. of
Suddie, with issue.

3. Colin, a goldsmith in Inverness, who married Anne, daughter of
Alexander Mackenzie, III. of Applecross, with issue - two daughters.

4. Simon, who married Mary, daughter of John Mackenzie, II. of
Ardloch, with issue.

5. Captain Donald of Woodlands, who married Janet daughter of
Sir Alexander Mackenzie, third Baronet and X. of Gairloch, without

6. Roderick, who married Barbara, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie,
I. of Ardloch, widow of John, third son of Kenneth Mackenzie, II.
of Dundonnel, with issue - four daughters.

9. William, Lieutenant R.N., who married Ann, daughter of
Alexander Mackenzie, I. of Ardloch, with issue - an only daughter,
Mary Howard, who married Dr Grant, Inverness, with issue - four
sons and seven daughters.

11. Captain John of Castle Leod, who married Geddes, daughter
of his uncle, Simon Mackenzie. He bought the estate of Avoch with
money left him by Admiral George Geddes Mackenzie, his wife's brother.
By this marriage he had issue - George of Avoch, a merchant in London
(with several other sons and daughters), who married Margaret,
daughter of the Rev. William Mackenzie, minister of Glenmuick, with
issue - (1) Geddes, who in 1812, married Sir Alexander Mackenzie,
the celebrated North American explorer, and discoverer of the
Mackenzie River, with issue - Alexander George of Avoch George
Alexander and Geddes Margaret (2) Margaret, who married Thomas
Mackenzie, X. of Applecross, with issue.

George had three other sons and nine daughters by this marriage,
making twenty-three in all. He married, secondly, Elizabeth,
natural daughter of President Forbes of Culloden, who has a sasine
of Meikle Gruinard in 1729 "to Elizabeth Forbes, his spouse,"
with issue - four sons and six daughters, making the extraordinary
total of thirty-three children, nineteen of whom are known to have
married, many of them into the best families in the north.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

III. JOHN MACKENZIE, third of Gruinard, who married first in
1713 Catherine, daughter of George Mackenzie, I. of Culbo, third
son of Alexander Mackenzie, II of Belmaduthy, with issue -

1. William, his heir and successor.

2. John, of whom nothing is known.

3. Annabella, who married the Rev. Murdo Morrison, Stornoway,
with issue.

4. Lilias, who married Rev. James Macaulay, Gairloch.

5. Isabella, who married Alexander Mackenzie, Little Gruinard,
with issue.

John married secondly, a daughter of Mackenzie of Sand.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

IV. WILLIAM MACKENZIE, fourth or Gruinard, who married Lilias,
daughter or John Mackenzie, I. of Lochend, with issue -

1. Simon, Captain 78th Regiment, who died before his father,
returning from India, unmarried.

2. George, who was killed by a fall before his father's death, in
Jamaica, unmarried.

3. John, who became his father's heir and successor.

4. Alexander, Colonel in the army, "a most distinguished soldier."
He served with the 36th Regiment throughout the Peninsular War,
and in the course of his service was dangerously wounded in the
neck, lost an eye, and had two horses killed under him. He was
a gallant and distinguished officer, in every sense a thorough
Highlander. He married first, Eliza, daughter of Colonel George
Mackenzie, son of John Mackenzie, I. of Lochend, with issue - (1)
George, a Captain in the 36th (his father's) Regiment, killed while
leading an escalading party at the assault of Burgos, unmarried
(2) Alexanderina, who married Alexander Grove, M.D., R.N., at
Greenwich Hospital, with issue - three daughters. Colonel Alexander
married, secondly, Eliza, daughter of Captain James Graeme, R.N.,
with issue - (3) George, who died unmarried in 1842 (4) Major-General
Alexander Mackay Mackenzie, who became the representative of the
family (5) William, who died young (6) Eliza (7) Lilias, who
married Sir John W. Fisher, M.D., without issue and (8) Janet,
who married W. F. B. Staples, barrister, with issue.

5. Catherine, who married the Rev. Donald Mackintosh, Gairloch,
with issue - five daughters, one of whom, Annabella, married Murdo
Macrae, with issue.

6. Margaret, who died unmarried.

William, IV. of Gruinard, raised a Company of Highlanders in
1778 for Lord Seaforth's Regiment. Simon, his eldest son, went
to India in command of it, and, as already stated, died on his
return voyage, from the accidental bite of a favourite Arab horse
which he brought along with him when lock-jaw supervened and
caused his death.

William was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

V. JOHN MACKENZIE, fifth of Gruinard, Captain 73rd Regiment, who
married Margaret, daughter of Gun Munro of Braemore, Caithness,
with issue -

1. William, his heir and successor.

2. Christina, who married John Campbell, Poolewe, with issue - several
sons and daughters.

In 1795 he sold the property - which in his time comprised Meikle
Gruinard, Udrigle, and Sand, "with the pendicle thereof called
Little Gruinard" - to Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, whose son re-sold
it to the late Meyrick Bankes of Letterewe. He was succeeded as
representative of the family by his only son,

VI. WILLIAM MACKENZIE, Captain 72nd Regiment, said to have
been the handsomest man in his day in the Highlands. In 1829 he
unsuccessfully claimed the Chiefship of the clan. (See pp. 351-355).
He married Margaret, daughter of Wilson of Wilsonton, with issue -

1. John, who died young and three daughters, two of whom, both
named Mary, died young. The third, Margaret Innes, married Lachlan
Maclachlan, Killinochannich, Argyleshire, without issue.

Captain William having died without male issue, was succeeded as
representative of the family by his cousin,

son of the distinguished Colonel Alexander Mackenzie, fourth son
of William Mackenzie, IV., and brother of Captain John, V. of

He married Marion, daughter of the Rev. William Colville of Newton,
Cambridgeshire, with issue -

He died in London on the 21st of May, 1879, when a sketch of his
career by the present writer, appeared in "Celtic Magazine," vol.
IV., pp. 321-327.


I. ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, the first of this remarkable family prominently
known in the engineering world, was born at Wester Fairburn, in
the county of Ross, on the 5th of June, 1769, and educated at the
Grammar School, Inverness. He joined an old school-fellow, David
Mackintosh, a native of Cawdor, Nairnshire, as a firm of contractors
and engineers. They constructed several canals in England, and
were very successful. He married Mary, daughter of William Austin,
from her great beauty known as one of the "Lancashire Witches,"
with issue -

1. William, of whom presently.

2. Alexander, C.E., who was born at Hollinwood, Lancashire, in
1796. He married, with issue - (1) William Seager, who married,
first, a daughter of Thomas Woodhouse, C.E., with issue and secondly,
a daughter of George Woodhouse, C.E. William was for many years
a civil engineer in the employment of the Russian Government,
and lived for some time at Nyksa in that country. He afterwards
went to Canada, and died in London on the 26th of February, 1887
(2) Kenneth, C.E., killed in a railway accident near Bordeaux,
in France, unmarried (3) Richard, C.E., who married his cousin,
Eliza, daughter of John Griffith, and died at Montreal on the
16th of February, 1887 (4) Alexander, CE., who was killed in a
railway accident in Canada, without issue (5) Mary, who married
Mr Scott, in Canada.

3. Daniel, who was born in 1799, and died in 1802.

4. John, who was born on the 1st of November, 1804 went to Virginia
as a planter, and died there, unmarried.

5. David, born in 1807, and died in 1811.

6. Thomas, who was born in 1808, and died in 1811, the same day
as his brother, both being buried in the same grave.

7. Edward, from whom the Mackenzies of Fawley Court, Farr, etc.

8. Sarah, born in 1797, and died unmarried.

9. Margaret, who married John Griffith, with issue - (1) Edward
Mackenzie, who settled in the United States, and married a
daughter of Colonel Campbell (2) William Alexander, who settled
in Canada and married a daughter of Mr Baldwin, Baldwin House,
Boston, United States, without issue. He lives in Quebec. (3)
Mary, who married Slack Davis, MA., of Oxford, barrister-at-law,
a well-known writer and poet in America, where he died on the
31st of March, 1889 (4) Alice, who married Thomas Musgrave, with
issue (5) Emily Mackenzie, who married Joseph William Painter,
barrister, deceased, with issue - several sons, ranching near Denver,
Colorado (6) Harriet, who married William Johnson Shaw, of Buenos
Ayres, with issue and (7) Eliza Ann, who married her cousin,
Richard Mackenzie, C.E., Montreal, above mentioned.

10. Mary, born in 1814, and married James Barnard, shipowner,
Greenock, without issue. She died in 1875.

11. Eliza, who married Alexander Duckworth, with issue.

Alexander died on the 23rd of February, 1836, aged 66 years,
his wife having predeceased him on the 8th of June, 1828. They
were both buried at Blackburn, Lancashire. He was succeeded as
representative of the family by his eldest son,

II. WILLIAM MACKENZIE, afterwards of Newbie, Dumfries-shire,
and of Auchenskeoch, County of Kirkcud-bright, who was born at
Marsden Chapel on the 20th of March, 1794. He was a celebrated
engineer, first beginning his career under David Mackintosh, his
father's partner. He subsequently practised his profession under
Telford. He made his way very rapidly, taking part in most of the
great engineering works - railways, canals, and bridges - of his
time and in the Shannon improvements, in connection with which the
Secretary for Ireland complimented him in the highest terms in the
House of Commons. After the introduction of railways he constructed
the great Lime Street tunnel under Liverpool. He afterwards
contracted for and engineered many railways - in some of which
be was partner with John Stephenson and others - in Scotland and
England, including the Glasgow and Greenock line, the London and
Birmingham, the Trent Valley, the Lancaster and Carlisle, the
North Union, the Ormskirk, and the Caledonian railway. He and
Brassey finding they were tendering against one another, in 1841
joined forces for French railways, and constructed under the
firm name of Mackenzie & Brassey (which consisted of himself, his
brother Edward, and Brassey) the Paris and Rouen and Paris and
Boulogne and Amiens, and several other railways in France, Belgium,
and Spain, notably the Barcelona and Seville, and the Paris and
Bourdeaux lines. Both King Louis Philippe and his successor
Prince Louis Napoleon, then President of the French Republic
and afterwards Emperor, showed him many marks of friendship and
esteem, the latter having decided to make him a Chevalier of the
Legion of Honour just before he died. In 1851, at Tours, at the
opening of the Paris and Orleans Railway, Napoleon, grasping him
by the band, thus addressed him - "I am happy to see you again
so well. I am still happier to have the opportunity of thanking
you, as President, for the great and useful works you have executed
in France. I shall be glad to confer on you the decoration of the
Legion of Honour, and I trust your Government will permit you to
wear a distinction so well-merited." On the same occasion Napoleon
exchanged portraits with him. Mackenzie, however, died very
soon after, before the honour offered him by the President of the
French Republic could be formally conferred upon him. In 1844 he
was a claimant to the Muirton of Fairburn estate, but he does not
seem to have followed it up.

He married, first, on the 9th of November, 1819, Mary, daughter
of James Dalziel, Glasgow, a native of Rothesay, county of Bute,
without issue. She died on the 19th of December, 1838, aged
49 years. He married secondly, on the 31st of December, 1839,
Sarah, daughter of William Dewhurst of Chorley, Lancashire (she
died in 1866), also without issue. He died on the 20th of October,
1851, when he was succeeded in his estates, and as representative
of the family in this country, by his youngest brother,

III. EDWARD MACKENZIE, who was born at Witton, Lancashire, on
the 1st of May, 1811, and who, as has been already seen, was one
of the partners of Mackenzie & Brassey. Shortly after the death
of his brother William, from whom he inherited Newbie and other
estates in the county of Dumfries, and Auchenskeoch in the Stewartry
of Kirkcudbright, Edward retired, and in 1853 purchased the Manor
and estate of Fawley, in the counties of Buckingham and Oxford, the
noble mansion-house of which was rebuilt by Christopher Wren in
1684. He was a J.P., D.L., and in 1862, High Sheriff of Oxfordshire
and J.P. for the counties of Buckingham, Dumfries, and Kirkcudbright.
He married first, on the 29th of January, 1839, Mary, daughter
of William Dalziel of the Craigs, Dumfries-shire, a descendant of
the first Earl of Carnwarth, with issue -

1. William Dalziel, his heir and successor.

2. Edward Philippe of Auchenskeoch, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
the Craigs, Dumfries-shire, and Downham Hall, Suffolk, educated
at Harrow and Oxford. He was formerly a Lieutenant in the 9th
Lancers, and Colonel of the Loyal Suffolk Yeomanry Hussars. In
1882 he was High Sheriff of Suffolk, of which county he is a J.P.
and D.L., as also J.P. for Norfolk and Dumfries. He was born
on the 14th of March, 1849, and married, in October, 1865, Helen
Jane, third daughter of Henry Baskerville, J.P. and D.L., of
Crowsley Park, Oxfordshire, with issue - a daughter, Beryl Marie
Baskerville, who on the 30th of August, 1890, married Colonel
Geoffry Barton, C.B., of the 7th Royal Fusiliers, with issue - Philip
Geoffry, born in 1891.

3. Austin, educated at Eton, late of Warmanbie, Dumfries-shire,
formerly Lieutenant 3rd Battalion Scots Fusiliers, present Master
of the Woodland Pytchley Hounds, and J.P for Dumfries-shire and
North Hants. He was born on the 10th of October, 1856, and on the
31st of January, 1878, married Lucy, daughter of Major Gustavus
Tuite Dalton of Kell, County Meath, half brother of the third
Marquis of Headfort, without issue.

4. Keith Ronald, of Gillott's Oxon, who was born on the 17th of
May, 1861, educated at Clifton, and is still unmarried.

5. Marie Ada, who in 1869 married John William Rhodes of Hennerton,
Berks, formerly Lieutenant 60th Rifles, with issue--John Edward,
Lieutenant 60th Rifles Breda Victor Wilfrid and Violet.

6. Claire Evelyn, who in 1866 married Francis Henry of Elmestree,
late 9th Lancers, and now Lieutenant-Colonel Gloucestershire
Yeomanry Hussars, with issue - Gilbert Francis, Lieutenant 9th Lancers
Vivian, Lieutenant Royal Fusiliers Edward Mary Maud and Olive.

7. Sarah Rosa, who married John Edward Cooke, with issue--Bertram
Hunter Montague Edward aud Mignon.

8. Alice Edith, who in 1881 married Major Walter Partridge, late
of the 61st Regiment, with issue - two daughters, Edith St. Ives
and Maud.

9. Aimee Gertrude, who on the 22nd of October, 1872, married Sir
William Robert Clayton, sixth Baronet of Marden Park, without issue.

10. Mary Maude Janetta, unmarried.

Edward Mackenzie married, secondly, in 1864, Ellen daughter of
James Mullett, of Tours, France, who survives him, without issue.
He died on the 27th of September, 1880, and was succeeded by his
eldest son,

IV. WILLIAM DALZIEL MACKENZIE, M.A., Oxford, educated at Harrow,
now of Fawley Court, Bucks Thetford, Norfolk Farr, Inverness
and Newbie, Dumfries-shire. He was born on the 31st of March,
1840, at Eastbank, Renfrewshire, and is a barrister-at-law of
the Inner Temple, and Hon. Major of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire
Hussars. He was High Sheriff of that county in 1873, is a D.L. of
Inverness-shire, and a J.P. of the counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright,
Bucks, and Oxford, and was for some time a director of the London and
North Western Railway Company. He married on the 1st of December,
1863, Mary Anna, eldest daughter of the late Henry Baskerville, J.P.,
D.L., of Crowsley Park, Oxfordshire, by Mary Anna, daughter of
John Standfast Burton, father of Lieutenant-Colonel John Edward
Burton-Mackenzie, late 91st Highlanders, now of Kilcoy, with
issue -

1. William Roderick Dalziel, who was born on the 2nd of September,
1864. He is Captain in the 2nd Battalion (Inverness Militia)
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, and on the 21st of November,
1888, married Maud Evelyn, eldest daughter of General Sir George
Wentworth Higginson, K.C.B., by Florence Virginia Fox, daughter
of the first Baron Castletown, with issue - Douglas William Alexander
Dalzell, born on the 2nd of October, 1889 Kenneth Fitzpatrick,
born on the 13th of June, 1891 and Archibald Edward, who was born
in July 1892 and died in March, 1893.

2. Edward Baskerville, Second Lieutenant 2nd Battalion Queen's
Own Cameron Highlanders (Inverness Militia), who was born on the
11th of December, 1874.

3. Mary Gwendoline, who, on the 15th of November, 1887, married
Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, eldest son of the late Duncan Caithness
Reay Davidson, by his wife Georgina Elizabeth, daughter of the late
Dr John Mackenzie of Eileanach, fourth son of Sir Hector Mackenzie,
fourth Baronet and XI. of Gairloch.

4. Isla Jessie, who on the 23rd of February, 1892, married Harry
Officer Blackwood, Captain 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, and
son of the late Richard Blackwood of Hartwood, New South Wales,
by a daughter of Sir Robert Officer, K.C.M.G.

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The History of the Highland Clearances

The author: Alexander Mackenzie, FSA Scot (1838 - 22 January 1898) was a Scottish historian, author, magazine editor and politician. He was born on a croft, in Gairloch. In 1869 he settled in Inverness, where he later became an editor and publisher of the Celtic Magazine, and the Scottish Highlander. Mackenzie wrote numerous clan histories. He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. In 1894, the Gaelic Society of Inverness elected Mackenzie as an &aposHonorary

The author: Alexander Mackenzie, FSA Scot (1838 - 22 January 1898) was a Scottish historian, author, magazine editor and politician. He was born on a croft, in Gairloch. In 1869 he settled in Inverness, where he later became an editor and publisher of the Celtic Magazine, and the Scottish Highlander. Mackenzie wrote numerous clan histories. He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. In 1894, the Gaelic Society of Inverness elected Mackenzie as an 'Honorary Chieftain'.

Opening: Donald Macleod's "Gloomy Memories," originally appeared as a series of letters in the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle.

"'The clergy also, whose duty it is to denounce the oppressors and aid the oppressed, have all, the whole seventeen parish ministers in Sutherlandshire, with one exception, found their account abetting the wrong-doers, exhorting the people to quiet submission. ' Excerpt taken from Letter II"

Excellent additional resource for serious investigation of the subject. . more

This is one of very few written accounts of the Highland Clearances. It&aposs out of copyright and can be downloaded free and legally here: https://archive.org/details/historyof.

For further reading, another great book about the Clearances is "The Highland Clearances" by John Prebble. It&aposs available at Amazon, the Book Depository and others. This is one of very few written accounts of the Highland Clearances. It's out of copyright and can be downloaded free and legally here: https://archive.org/details/historyof.

For further reading, another great book about the Clearances is "The Highland Clearances" by John Prebble. It's available at Amazon, the Book Depository and others. . more



Glengarry was peopled down to the end of last century with a fine race of men. In 1745, six hundred stalwart [171] vassals followed the chief of Glengarry to the battle of Culloden. Some few years later they became so disgusted with the return made by their chief that many of them emigrated to the United States, though they were almost all in comfortable, some indeed, in affluent circumstances. Notwithstanding this semi-voluntary exodus, Major John Macdonell of Lochgarry, was able in 1777, to raise a fine regiment&mdashthe 76th or Macdonald Highlanders&mdashnumbering 1086 men, 750 of whom were Highlanders mainly from the Glengarry property. In 1794, Alexander Macdonnell of Glengarry, raised a Fencible regiment, described as “a handsome body of men,” of whom one-half were enlisted on the same estate. On being disbanded in 1802, these men were again so shabbily treated, that they followed the example of the men of the “Forty-five,” and emigrated in a body, with their families, to Canada, taking two Gaelic-speaking ministers along with them to their new home. They afterwards distinguished themselves as part of the “Glengarry Fencibles” of Canada, in defence of their adopted country, and called their settlement there after their native glen in Scotland. The chiefs of Glengarry drove away their people, only, as in most other cases in the Highlands, to be themselves ousted soon after them.

The Glengarry property at one time covered an area of nearly 200 square miles, and to-day, while many of their expatriated vassals are landed proprietors and in affluent circumstances in Canada, not an inch of the old possessions of the ancient and powerful family of Glengarry remains to the descendants of those who caused the banishment of a people who, on many a well-fought field, shed their blood for their chief and country. In 1853, every inch of the ancient heritage was possessed by the stranger, except Knoydart in the west, and this has long ago become the property of one of the Bairds. In the year named, young Glengarry was a minor, his mother, the widow of the late chief, being one of his trustees. She does not appear to have learned any lesson of wisdom from the past misfortunes of her house. Indeed, considering her limited power and [172] possessions, she was comparatively the worst of them all.

The tenants of Knoydart, like all other Highlanders, had suffered severely during and after the potato famine in 1846 and 1847, and some of them got into arrear with a year and some with two years’ rent, but they were fast clearing it off. Mrs. Macdonell and her factor determined to evict every crofter on her property, to make room for sheep. In the spring of 1853, they were all served with summonses of removal, accompanied by a message that Sir John Macneil, chairman of the Board of Supervision, had agreed to convey them to Australia. Their feelings were not considered worthy of the slightest consideration. They were not even asked whether they would prefer to follow their countrymen to America and Canada. They were to be treated as if they were nothing better than Africans, and the laws of their country on a level with those which regulated South American slavery. The people, however, had no alternative but to accept any offer made to them. They could not get an inch of land on any of the neighbouring estates, and any one who would give them a night’s shelter was threatened with eviction.

It was afterwards found not convenient to transport them to Australia, and it was then intimated to the poor creatures, as if they were nothing but common slaves to be disposed of at will, that they would be taken to North America, and that a ship would be at Isle Ornsay, in the Isle of Skye, in a few days, to receive them, and that they must go on board. The Sillery soon arrived. Mrs. Macdonell and her factor came all the way from Edinburgh to see the people hounded across in boats, and put on board this ship whether they would or not. An eye-witness who described the proceeding at the time, in a now rare pamphlet, and whom we met a few years ago in Nova Scotia, characterises the scene as heart-rending. “The wail of the poor women and children as they were torn away from their homes would have melted a heart of stone.” Some few families, principally cottars, refused to go, in spite of every influence brought to bear upon them and the treatment they afterwards received was [173] cruel beyond belief. The houses, not only of those who went, but of those who remained, were burnt and levelled to the ground. The Strath was dotted all over with black spots, showing where yesterday stood the habitations of men. The scarred half-burned wood&mdashcouples, rafters, cabars&mdashwere strewn about in every direction. Stooks of corn and plots of unlifted potatoes could be seen on all sides, but man was gone. No voice could be heard. Those who refused to go aboard the Sillery were in hiding among the rocks and the caves, while their friends were packed off like so many African slaves to the Cuban market.

No mercy was shown to those who refused to emigrate their few articles of furniture were thrown out of their houses after them&mdashbeds, chairs, tables, pots, stoneware, clothing, in many cases, rolling down the hill. What took years to erect and collect were destroyed and scattered in a few minutes. “From house to house, from hut to hut, and from barn to barn, the factor and his menials proceeded, carrying on the work of demolition, until there was scarcely a human habitation left standing in the district. Able-bodied men who, if the matter would rest with a mere trial of physical force, would have bound the factor and his party hand and foot, and sent them out of the district, stood aside as dumb spectators. Women wrung their hands and cried aloud, children ran to and fro dreadfully frightened and while all this work of demolition and destruction was going on no opposition was offered by the inhabitants, no hand was lifted, no stone cast, no angry word was spoken.” The few huts left undemolished were occupied by the paupers, but before the factor left for the south even they were warned not to give any shelter to the evicted, or their huts would assuredly meet with the same fate. Eleven families, numbering in all over sixty persons, mostly old and decrepit men and women, and helpless children, were exposed that night, and many of them long afterwards, to the cold air, without shelter of any description beyond what little they were able to save out of the wreck of their burnt dwellings.

We feel unwilling to inflict pain on the reader by the recitation of the untold cruelties perpetrated on the poor Highlanders of Knoydart, but doing so may, perhaps, serve a good purpose. It may convince the evil-doer that his work shall not be forgotten, and any who may be disposed to follow the example of past evictors may hesitate before they proceed to immortalise themselves in such a hateful manner. We shall, therefore, quote a few cases from the pamphlet already referred to:&mdash

John Macdugald, aged about 50, with a wife and family, was a cottar, and earned his subsistence chiefly by fishing. He was in bad health, and had two of his sons in the hospital, at Elgin, ill of smallpox, when the Sillery was sent to convey the Knoydart people to Canada. He refused to go on that occasion owing to the state of his health, and his boys being at a distance under medical treatment. The factor and the officers, however, arrived, turned Macdugald and his family adrift, put their bits of furniture out on the field, and in a few minutes levelled their house to the ground. The whole family had now no shelter but the broad canopy of heaven. The mother and the youngest of the children could not sleep owing to the cold, and the father, on account of his sickness, kept wandering about all night near where his helpless family lay down to repose. After the factor and the officers left the district Macdugald and his wife went back to the ruins of their house, collected some of the stones and turf into something like walls, threw a few cabars across, covered them over with blankets, old sails, and turf, and then, with their children, crept underneath, trusting that they would be allowed, at least for a time, to take shelter under this temporary covering. But, alas! they were doomed to bitter disappointment. A week had not elapsed when the local manager, accompanied by a posse of officers and menials, traversed the country and levelled to the ground every hut or shelter erected by the evicted peasantry. Macdugald was at this time away from Knoydart his wife was at Inverie, distant about six miles, seeing a sick relative the oldest children were working at the shore and in the hut, when the [175] manager came with the “levellers,” he found none of the family except Lucy and Jane, the two youngest. The moment they saw the officers they screamed and fled for their lives. The demolition of the shelter was easily accomplished&mdashit was but the work of two or three minutes and, this over, the officers and menials of the manager amused themselves by seizing hold of chairs, stools, tables, spinning-wheels, or any other light articles, by throwing them a considerable distance from the hut. The mother, as I said, was at Inverie, distant about six or seven miles, and Lucy and Jane proceeded in that direction hoping to meet her. They had not gone far, however, when they missed the footpath and wandered far out of the way. In the interval the mother returned from Inverie and found the hut razed to the ground, her furniture scattered far and near, her bedclothes lying under turf, clay, and debris, and her children gone! Just imagine the feelings of this poor Highland mother on the occasion! But, to proceed, the other children returned from the shore, and they too stood aside, amazed and grieved at the sudden destruction of their humble refuge, and at the absence of their two little sisters. At first they thought they were under the ruins, and creeping down on their knees they carefully removed every turf and stone, but found nothing except a few broken dishes. A consultation was now held and a search resolved upon. The mother, brother and sisters set off in opposite directions, among the rocks, over hills, through moor and moss, searching every place, and calling aloud for them by name, but they could discover no trace of them. Night was now approaching and with it all hopes of finding them, till next day, were fast dying away. The mother was now returning “home” (alas! to what a home), the shades of night closed in, and still she had about three miles to travel. She made for the footpath, scrutinized every bush, and looked round every rock and hillock, hoping to find them. Sometimes she imagined that she saw her two lasses walking before her at some short distance, but it was an illusion caused by bushes just about their size. The moon now emerged from behind a cloud [176] and spread its light on the path and surrounding district. A sharp frost set in, and ice began to form on the little pools. Passing near a rock and some bushes, where the children of the tenants used to meet when herding the cattle, she felt as if something beckoned her to search there this she did, and found her two little children fast asleep, beside a favourite bush, the youngest with her head resting on the breast of the eldest! Their own version of their mishap is this: that when they saw the officers they crept out and ran in the direction of Inverie to tell their mother that they missed the footpath, then wandered about crying, and finally returned, they knew not how, to their favourite herding ground, and being completely exhausted, fell asleep. The mother took the young one on her back, sent the other on before her, and soon joined her other children near the ruins of their old dwelling. They put a few sticks up to an old fence, placed a blanket over it, and slept on the bare ground that night. Macdugald soon returned from his distant journey, found his family shelterless, and again set about erecting some refuge for them from the wreck of the old buildings. Again, however, the local manager appeared with levellers, turned them all adrift, and in a few moments pulled down and destroyed all that he had built up. Matters continued in this way for a week or two until Macdugald’s health became serious, and then a neighbouring farmer gave him and his family temporary shelter in an out-house and for this act of disinterested humanity he has already received some most improper and threatening letters from the managers on the estate of Knoydart. It is very likely that in consequence of this interference Macdugald is again taking shelter among the rocks or amid the wreck of his former residence.

John Mackinnon, a cottar, aged 44, with a wife and six children, had his house pulled down, and had no place to put his head in, consequently he and his family, for the first night or two, had to burrow among the rocks near the shore! When he thought that the factor and his party had left the district, he emerged from the rocks, surveyed the ruins of his former dwelling, saw his furni [177] ture and other effects exposed to the elements, and now scarcely worth the lifting. The demolition was so complete that he considered it utterly impossible to make any use of the ruins of the old house. The ruins of an old chapel, however, were near at hand, and parts of the walls were still standing thither Mackinnon proceeded with his family, and having swept away some rubbish and removed some grass and nettles, they placed a few cabars up to one of the walls, spread some sails and blankets across, brought in some meadow hay, and laid it in a corner for a bed, stuck a piece of iron into the wall in another corner, on which they placed a crook, then kindled a fire, washed some potatoes, and put a pot on the fire, and boiled them, and when these and a few fish roasted on the embers were ready, Mackinnon and his family had one good diet, being the first regular meal they tasted since the destruction of their house!

Mackinnon is a tall man, but poor and unhealthy-looking. His wife is a poor weak women, evidently struggling with a diseased constitution and dreadful trials. The boys, Ronald and Archibald, were lying in “bed”&mdash(may I call a “pickle” hay on the bare ground a bed?)&mdashsuffering from rheumatism and cholic. The other children are apparently healthy enough as yet, but very ragged. There is no door to their wretched abode, consequently every breeze and gust that blow have free ingress to the inmates. A savage from Terra-del-Fuego, or a Red Indian from beyond the Rocky Mountains, would not exchange huts with these victims, nor humanity with their persecutors. Mackinnon’s wife was pregnant when she was turned out of her house among the rocks. In about four days after she had a premature birth and this and her exposure to the elements, and the want of proper shelter and nutritious diet, has brought on consumption from which there is no chance whatever of her recovery.

There was something very solemn indeed in this scene. Here, amid the ruins of the old sanctuary, where the swallows fluttered, where the ivy tried to screen the grey moss-covered stones, where nettles and grass grew up [178] luxuriously, where the floor was damp, the walls sombre and uninviting, where there were no doors nor windows, nor roof, and where the owl, the bat, and the fox used to take refuge, a Christian family was obliged to take shelter! One would think that as Mackinnon took refuge amid the ruins of this most singular place, that he would be let alone, that he would not any longer be molested by man. But, alas! that was not to be. The manager of Knoydart and his minions appeared, and invaded this helpless family, even within the walls of the sanctuary. They pulled down the sticks and sails he set up within its ruins&mdashput his wife and children out on the cold shore&mdashthrew his tables, stools, chairs, etc., over the walls&mdashburnt up the hay on which they slept&mdashput out the fire, and then left the district. Four times have these officers broken in upon poor Mackinnon in this way, destroying his place of shelter, and sent him and his family adrift on the cold coast of Knoydart. When I looked in upon these creatures last week I found them in utter consternation, having just learned that the officers would appear next day, and would again destroy the huts. The children looked at me as if I had been a wolf they crept behind their father, and stared wildly, dreading I was a law officer. The sight was most painful. The very idea that, in Christian Scotland, and in the nineteenth century, these tender infants should be subjected to such gross treatment reflects strongly upon our humanity and civilization. Had they been suffering from the ravages of famine, or pestilence, or war, I could understand it and account for it, but suffering to gratify the ambition of some unfeeling spectator in brute beasts, I think it most unwarranted, and deserving the emphatic condemnation of every Christian man. Had Mackinnon been in arrears of rent, which he was not, even this would not justify the harsh, cruel, and inhuman conduct pursued towards himself and his family. No language of mine can describe the condition of this poor family, exaggeration is impossible. The ruins of an old chapel is the last place in the world to which a poor Highlander would resort with his wife [179] and children, unless he was driven to it by dire necessity. Take another case, that of

Elizabeth Gillies, a widow, aged 60 years. This is a most lamentable case. Neither age, sex, nor circumstance saved this poor creature from the most wanton and cruel aggression. Her house was on the brow of a hill, near a stream that formed the boundary between a large sheep farm and the lands of the tenants of Knoydart. Widow Gillies was warned to quit like the rest of the tenants, and was offered a passage first to Australia and then to Canada, but she refused to go, saying she could do nothing in Canada. The widow, however, made no promises, and the factor went away. She had then a nice young daughter staying with her, but ere the vessel that was to convey the Knoydart people away arrived at Isle Ornsay, this young girl died, and poor Widow Gillies was left alone. When the time for pulling down the houses arrived, it was hoped that some mercy would have been shown to this poor, bereaved widow, but there was none. Widow Gillies was sitting inside her house when the factor and officers arrived. They ordered her to remove herself and effects instantly, as they were, they said, to pull down the house! She asked them where she would remove to the factor would give no answer, but continued insisting on her leaving the house. This she at last positively refused. Two men then took hold of her, and tried to pull her out by force, but she sat down beside the fire, and would not move an inch. One of the assistants threw water on the fire and extinguished it, and then joined the other two in forcibly removing the poor widow from the house. At first she struggled hard, seized hold of every post or stone within her reach, taking a death grasp of each to keep possession. But the officers were too many and too cruel for her. They struck her over the fingers, and compelled her to let go her hold, and then all she could do was to greet and cry out murder! She was ultimately thrust out at the door, from where she crept on her hands and feet to a dyke side, being quite exhausted and panting for breath, owing to her hard struggle with three powerful men. Whenever they got [180] her outside, the work of destruction immediately commenced. Stools, chairs, tables, cupboard, spinning-wheel, bed, blankets, straw, dishes, pots, and chest, were thrown out in the gutter. They broke down the partitions, took down the crook from over the fire-place, destroyed the hen roosts, and then beat the hens out through the broad vent in the roof of the house. This done, they set to work on the walls outside with picks and iron levers. They pulled down the thatch, cut the couples, and in a few minutes the walls fell out, while the roof fell in with a dismal crash!

When the factor and his party were done with this house, they proceeded to another district, pulling down and destroying dwelling-places as they went along. The shades of night at last closed in, and here was the poor helpless widow sitting like a pelican, alone and cheerless. Allan Macdonald, a cottar, whose house was also pulled down, ran across the hill to see how the poor widow had been treated, and found her moaning beside the dyke. He led her to where his own children had taken shelter, treated her kindly, and did all he could to comfort her under the circumstances.

When I visited Knoydart I found the poor widow at work, repairing her shed, and such a shed, and such a dwelling, I never before witnessed. The poor creature spoke remarkably well, and appeared to me to be a very sensible woman. I expressed my sympathy for her, and my disapprobation of the conduct of those who so unmercifully treated her. She said it was indeed most ungrateful on the part of the representatives of Glengarry to have treated her so cruelly&mdashthat her predecessors were, from time immemorial, on the Glengarry estates&mdashthat many of them died in defence of, or fighting for, the old chieftains&mdashand that they had always been true and faithful subjects. I asked why she refused to go to Canada?

“For a very good reason,” she said, “I am now old, and not able to clear a way in the forests of Canada and, besides, I am unfit for service and, further, I am averse to leave my native country, and rather [181] than leave it, I would much prefer that my grave was opened beside my dear daughter, although I should be buried alive!”

I do think she was sincere in what she said. Despair and anguish were marked in her countenance, and her attachment to her old habitation and its associations were so strong that I believe they can only be cut asunder by death! I left her in this miserable shed which she occupied, and I question much if there is another human residence like it in Europe. The wig-wam of the wild Indian, or the cave of the Greenlander, are palaces in comparison with it and even the meanest dog-kennel in England would be a thousand times more preferable as a place of residence. If this poor Highland woman will stand it out all winter in this abode it will be indeed a great wonder. The factor has issued an ukase, which aggravates all these cases of eviction with peculiar hardship he has warned all and sundry on the Knoydart estates from receiving or entertaining the evicted peasantry into their houses under pain of removal.

Allan Macdonald, aged 54, a widower, with four children, was similarly treated. Our informant says of him:&mdash“When his late Majesty George IV. visited Scotland in 1823, and when Highland lairds sent up to Edinburgh specimens of the bone and sinew&mdashhuman produce&mdashof their properties, old Glengarry took care to give Allan Macdonald a polite invitation to this ‘Royal exhibition.’ Alas! how matters have so sadly changed. Within the last 30 years man has fallen off dreadfully in the estimation of Highland proprietors. Commercially speaking, Allan Macdonald has now no value at all. Had he been a roe, a deer, a sheep, or a bullock, a Highland laird in speculating could estimate his ‘real’ worth to within a few shillings, but Allan is only a man. Then his children they are of no value, nor taken into account in the calculations of the sportsman. They cannot be shot at like hares, blackcocks, or grouse, nor yet can they be sent south as game to feed the London market.”

Another case is that of Archibald Macisaac, crofter, aged 66 wife 54, with a family of ten children. [182] Archibald’s house, byre, barn, and stable were levelled to the ground. The furniture of the house was thrown down the hill, and a general destruction then commenced. The roof, fixtures, and woodwork were smashed to pieces, the walls razed to the very foundation, and all that was left for poor Archibald to look upon was a black dismal wreck. Twelve human beings were thus deprived of their home in less than half-an-hour. It was grossly illegal to have destroyed the barn, for, according even to the law of Scotland, the outgoing or removing tenant is entitled to the use of the barn until his crops are disposed of. But, of course, in a remote district, and among simple and primitive people like the inhabitants of Knoydart, the laws that concern them and define their rights are unknown to them.

Archibald had now to make the best shift he could. No mercy or favour could be expected from the factor. Having convened his children beside an old fence where he sat looking on when the destruction of his home was accomplished, he addressed them on the peculiar nature of the position in which they were placed, and the necessity of asking for wisdom from above to guide them in any future action. His wife and children wept, but the old man said, “Neither weeping nor reflection will now avail we must prepare some shelter.” The children collected some cabars and turf, and in the hollow between two ditches, the old man constructed a rude shelter for the night, and having kindled a fire and gathered in his family, they all engaged in family worship and sung psalms as usual. Next morning they examined the ruins, picked up some broken pieces of furniture, dishes, etc., and then made another addition to their shelter in the ditch. Matters went on this way for about a week, when the local manager and his men came down upon them, and after much abuse for daring to take shelters on the lands of Knoydart, they destroyed the shelter and put old Archy and his people again out on the hill.

I found Archibald and his numerous family still at Knoydart and in a shelter beside the old ditch. Any [183] residence more wretched or more truly melancholy, I have never witnessed. A feal, or turf erection, about 3 feet high, 4 feet broad, and about 5 feet long, was at the end of the shelter, and this formed the sleeping place of the mother and her five daughters! They creep in and out on their knees, and their bed is just a layer of hay on the cold earth of the ditch! There is surely monstrous cruelty in this treatment of British females, and the laws that sanction or tolerate such flagrant and gross abuses are a disgrace to the Statute book and to the country that permits it. Macisaac and his family are, so far as I could learn, very decent, respectable, and well-behaved people, and can we not perceive a monstrous injustice in treating them worse than slaves because they refuse to allow themselves to be packed off to the Colonies just like so many bales of manufactured goods?

Donald Maceachan, a cottar at Arar, married, with a wife, and five children. This poor man, his wife, and children were fully twenty-three nights without any shelter but the broad and blue heavens. They kindled a fire, and prepared their food beside a rock, and then slept in the open air. Just imagine the condition of this poor mother, Donald’s wife, nursing a delicate child, and subjected to merciless storms of wind and rain during a long October night. One of these melancholy nights the blankets that covered them were frozen and white with frost.

The next case is as follows&mdash

Charles Macdonald, aged 70 years, a widower, having no family. This poor man was also “keeled” for the Colonies, and, as he refused to go, his house or cabin was levelled to the ground. What on earth could old Charles do in America? Was there any mercy or humanity in offering him a free passage across the Atlantic? In England, Charles would have been considered a proper object of parochial protection and relief, but in Scotland no such relief is afforded except to “sick folks” and tender infants. There can be no question, however, that the factor looked forward to the period when Charles [184] would become chargeable as a pauper, and, acting as a “prudent man,” he resolved to get quit of him at once. Three or four pounds would send the old man across the Atlantic, but if he remained in Knoydart, it would likely take four or five pounds to keep him each year that he lived. When the factor and his party arrived at Charles’s door, they knocked and demanded admission the factor intimated his object, and ordered the old man to quit. “As soon as I can,” said Charles, and, taking up his plaid and staff and adjusting his blue bonnet, he walked out, merely remarking to the factor that the man who could turn out an old, inoffensive Highlander of seventy, from such a place, and at such a season, could do a great deal more if the laws of the country permitted him. Charles took to the rocks, and from that day to this he has never gone near his old habitation. He has neither house nor home, but receives occasional supplies of food from his evicted neighbours, and he sleeps on the hill! Poor old man, who would not pity him&mdashwho would not share with him a crust or a covering&mdashwho?

Alexander Macdonald, aged 40 years, with a wife and family of four children, had his house pulled down. His wife was pregnant still the levellers thrust her out, and then put the children out after her. The husband argued, remonstrated, and protested, but it was all in vain for in a few minutes all he had for his (to him once comfortable) home was a lot of rubbish, blackened rafters, and heaps of stones. The levellers laughed at him and at his protests, and when their work was over, moved away, leaving him to find refuge the best way he could. Alexander had, like the rest of his evicted brethren, to burrow among the rocks and in caves until he put up a temporary shelter amid the wreck of his old habitation, but from which he was repeatedly driven away. For three days Alexander Macdonald’s wife lay sick beside a bush, where, owing to terror and exposure to cold, she had a miscarriage. She was then removed to the shelter of the walls of her former house, and for three days she lay so ill that her life was despaired of. These are facts as to which I challenge contradiction. I have not inserted them [185] without the most satisfactory evidence of their accuracy.

Catherine Mackinnon, aged about 50 years, unmarried Peggy Mackinnon, aged about 48 years, unmarried and Catherine Macphee (a half-sister of the two Mackinnons), also unmarried occupied one house. Catherine Mackinnon was for a long time sick, and she was confined to bed when the factor and his party came to beat down the house. At first they requested her to get up and walk out, but her sisters said she could not, as she was so unwell. They answered, “Oh, she is scheming” the sisters said she was not, that she had been ill for a considerable time, and the sick woman herself, who then feebly spoke, said she was quite unfit to be removed, but if God spared her and bestowed upon her better health that she would remove of her own accord. This would not suffice they forced her out of bed, sick as she was, and left her beside a ditch from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when, afraid that she would die, as she was seriously unwell, they removed her to a house and provided her with cordials and warm clothing. Let the reader imagine the sufferings of this poor female, so ruthlessly torn from a bed of sickness and laid down beside a cold ditch and there left exposed for seven long hours, and then say if such conduct does not loudly call for the condemnation of every lover of human liberty and humanity. Peggy and her half-sister Macphee are still burrowing among the ruins of their old home. When I left Knoydart last week there were no hope whatever of Catherine Mackinnon’s recovery.

I challenge the factor to contradict one sentence in this short narrative of the poor females. The melancholy truth of it is too palpable, too well-known in the district to admit of even a tenable explanation. Nothing can palliate or excuse such gross inhumanity, and it is but right and proper that British Christians should be made aware of such unchristian conduct&mdashsuch cruelty towards helpless fellow-creatures in sickness and distress.

The last case, at present, is that of

Duncan Robertson, aged 35 years, with wife aged 32 years, and a family of three children. Very poor the [186] oldest boy is deformed and weak in mind and body, requiring almost the constant care of one of his parents. Robertson was warned out like the rest of the tenants, and decree of removal was obtained against him. At the levelling time the factor came up with his men before Robertson’s door, and ordered the inmates out. Robertson pleaded for mercy on account of his sick and imbecile boy, but the factor appeared at first inexorable at last he sent in one of the officers to see the boy, who, on his return, said that the boy was really and truly an object of pity. The factor said he could not help it, that he must pull down. Some pieces of furniture were then thrown out, and the picks were fixed in the walls, when Robertson’s wife ran out and implored delay, asking the factor, for heaven’s sake, to come in and see her sick child. He replied, “I am sure I am no doctor.” “I know that,” she said, “but God might have given you Christian feelings and bowels of compassion notwithstanding.” “Bring him out here,” said the factor and the poor mother ran to the bed and brought out her sick boy in her arms. When the factor saw him, he admitted that he was an object of pity, but warned Robertson that he must quit Knoydart as soon as possible, so that his house would be pulled down about his ears. The levellers peep in once a week to see if the boy is getting better, so that the house may be razed.

We could give additional particulars of the cruelties which had to be endured by the poor wretches who remained&mdashcruelties which would never be tolerated in any other civilized country than Britain, and which in Britain would secure instant and severe punishment if inflicted on a dog or a pig, but the record would only inflict further pain, and we have said enough.

Retribution has overtaken the evictors, and is it a wonder that the chiefs of Glengarry are now as little known, and own as little of their ancient domains in the Highlands as their devoted clansmen? There is now scarcely one of the name of Macdonald in the wide district once inhabited by thousands. It is a huge wilderness in which barely anything is met but wild animals and sheep, [187] and the few keepers and shepherds necessary to take care of them.


It has been shown, under “Glengarry,” that a chief’s widow, during her son’s minority, was responsible for the Knoydart evictions in 1853. Another chief’s widow, Marsali Bhinneach&mdashMarjory, daughter of Sir Ludovick Grant of Dalvey, widow of Duncan Macdonnell of Glengarry, who died in 1788&mdashgave the whole of Glencruaich as a sheep farm to one south country shepherd, and to make room for him she evicted over 500 people from their ancient homes. The late Edward Ellice stated before a Committee of the House of Commons, in 1873, that about the time of the rebellion in 1745, the population of Glengarry amounted to between 5000 and 6000. At the same time the glen turned out an able-bodied warrior in support of Prince Charles for every pound of rental paid to the proprietor. To-day it is questionable if the same district could turn out twenty men&mdashcertainly not that number of Macdonalds. The bad example of this heartless woman was unfortunately imitated afterwards by her daughter Elizabeth, who, in 1795, married William Chisholm of Chisholm, and to whose evil influence may be traced the great eviction which, in 1801, cleared Strathglass almost to a man of its ancient inhabitants. The Chisholm was delicate, and often in bad health, so that the management of the estate fell into the hands of his strong-minded and hard-hearted wife. In 1801, no less than 799 took ship at Fort William and Isle Martin from Strathglass, the Aird, Glen Urquhart, and the neighbouring districts, all for Pictou, Nova Scotia while in the following year, 473 from the same district left Fort William, for Upper Canada, and 128 for Pictou. Five hundred and fifty went aboard another ship at Knoydart, many of whom were from Strathglass. In 1803, four different batches of 120 souls each, by four different ships, left [188] Strathglass, also for Pictou while not a few went away with emigrants from other parts of the Highlands. During these three years we find that no less than 5390 were driven out of these Highland glens, and it will be seen that a very large portion of them were evicted from Strathglass by the daughter of the notorious Marsali Bhinneach. From among the living cargo of one of the vessels which sailed from Fort William no less than fifty-three souls died, on the way out, of an epidemic and, on the arrival of the living portion of the cargo at Pictou, they were shut in on a narrow point of land, from whence they were not allowed to communicate with any of their friends who had gone before them, for fear of communicating the contagion. Here they suffered indescribable hardships.

By a peculiar arrangement between the Chisholm who died in 1793, and his wife, a considerable portion of the people were saved for a time from the ruthless conduct of Marsali Bhinneach’s daughter and her co-adjutors. Alexander Chisholm married Elizabeth, daughter of a Dr. Wilson, in Edinburgh. He made provision for his wife in case of her outliving him, by which it was left optional with her to take a stated sum annually, or the rental of certain townships, or club farms. Her husband died in 1793, when the estate reverted to his half-brother, William, and the widow, on the advice of her only child, Mary, who, afterwards became Mrs. James Gooden of London, made choice of the joint farms, instead of the sum of money named in her marriage settlement and though great efforts were made by Marsali Bhinneach’s daughter and her friends, the widow, Mrs. Alexander Chisholm, kept the farms in her own hands, and took great pleasure in seeing a prosperous tenantry in these townships, while all their neighbours were heartlessly driven away. Not one of her tenants were disturbed or interfered with in any way from the death of her husband, in February 1793, until her own death in January, 1826, when, unfortunately for them, their farms all came into the hands of the young heir (whose sickly father died in 1817), and his cruel mother. For a few years the tenants [189] were left in possession, but only waiting an opportunity to make a complete clearance of the whole Strath. Some had a few years of their leases to run on other parts of the property, and could not just then be expelled.

In 1830 every man who held land on the property was requested to meet his chief at the local inn of Cannich. They all obeyed, and were there at the appointed time, but no chief came to meet them. The factor soon turned up, however, and informed them that the laird had determined to enter into no negotiation or any new arrangements with them that day. They were all in good circumstances, without any arrears of rent, but were practically banished from their homes in the most inconsiderate and cruel manner, and it afterwards became known that their farms had been secretly let to sheep farmers from the south, without the knowledge of the native population in possession.

Mr. Colin Chisholm, who was present at the meeting at Cannich, writes:&mdash“I leave you to imagine the bitter grief and disappointment of men who attended with glowing hopes in the morning, but had to tell their families and dependents in the evening that they could see no alternative before them but the emigrant ship, and choose between the scorching prairies of Australia and the icy regions of North America.” It did not, however, come to that. The late Lord Lovat, hearing of the harsh proceedings, proposed to one of the large sheep farmers on his neighbouring property to give up his farm, his lordship offering to give full value for his stock, so that he might divide it among those evicted from the Chisholm estate. This arrangement was amicably carried through, and at the next Whitsunday&mdash1831&mdashthe evicted tenants from Strathglass came into possession of the large sheep farm of Glenstrathfarrar, and paid over to the late tenant of the farm every farthing of the value set upon the stock by two of the leading valuators in the country a fact which conclusively proved that the Strathglass tenants were quite capable of holding their own, and perfectly able to meet all claims that could be made upon them by their old proprietor and unnatural chief. They became very [190] comfortable in their new homes but about fifteen years after their eviction from Strathglass they were again removed to make room for deer. On this occasion the late Lord Lovat gave them similar holdings on other portions of his property, and the sons and grandsons of the evicted tenants of Strathglass are now, on the Lovat property, among the most respectable and comfortable middle-class farmers in the county.

The result of the Strathglass evictions was that only two of the ancient native stock remained in possession of an inch of land on the estate of Chisholm. When the present Chisholm came into possession he found, on his return from Canada, only that small remnant of his own name and clan to receive him. He brought back a few Chisholms from the Lovat property, and re-established on his old farm a tenant who had been evicted nineteen years before from the holding in which his father and grandfather died. The great-grandfather was killed at Culloden, having been shot while carrying his commander, young Chisholm, mortally wounded, from the field. The gratitude of that chief’s successors had been shown by his ruthless eviction from the ancient home of his ancestors but it is gratifying to find the present chief making some reparation by bringing back and liberally supporting the representatives of such a devoted follower of his forbears. The present Chisholm, who has the character of being a good landlord, is descended from a distant collateral branch of the family. The evicting Chisholms, and their offspring have, however, every one of them, disappeared, and Mr. Colin Chisholm informs us that there is not a human being now in Strathglass of the descendants of the chief, or of the south country farmers, who were the chief instruments in evicting the native population.

To give the reader an idea of the class of men who occupied this district, it may be stated that of the descendants of those who lived in Glen Canaich, one of several smaller glens, at one time thickly populated in the Strath, but now a perfect wilderness&mdashthere lived in the present generation, no less than three colonels, one major, [191] three captains, three lieutenants, seven ensigns, one bishop, and fifteen priests.

Earlier in the history of Strathglass and towards the end of last century, an attempt was made by south country sheep farmers to persuade Alexander Chisholm to follow the example of Glengarry, by clearing out the whole native population. Four southerners, among them Gillespie, who took the farm of Glencruaich, cleared by Glengarry, called upon the Chisholm, at Comar, and tried hard to convince him of the many advantages which would accrue to him by the eviction of his tenantry, and turning the largest and best portions of his estate into great sheep walks, for which they offered to pay him large rents. His daughter, Mary, already referred to as Mrs. James Gooden, was then in her teens. She heard the arguments used, and having mildly expressed her objection to the heartless proposal of the greedy southerners, she was ordered out of the room, crying bitterly. She, however, found her way to the kitchen, called all the servants together, and explained the cause of her trouble. The object of the guests at Comar was soon circulated through the Strath, and early the following morning over a thousand men met together in front of Comar House, and demanded an interview with their chief. This was at once granted, and the whole body of the people remonstrated with him for entertaining, even for a moment, the cruel proceedings suggested by the strangers, whose conduct the frightened natives characterised as infinitely worse than that of the freebooting Lochaber men who, centuries before, came with their swords and other instruments of death to rob his ancestors of their patrimony, but who were defeated and driven out of the district by the ancestors of those whom it was now proposed to evict out of their native Strath, to make room for the greedy freebooters of modern times and their sheep. The chief counselled quietness, and suggested that the action they had taken might be construed as an act of inhospitality to his guests, not characteristic, in any circumstances, of a Highland chief.

The sheep farmers who stood inside the open drawing- [192] room window, heard all that had passed, and, seeing the unexpected turn events were taking, and the desperate resolve shown by the objects of their cruel purpose, they adopted the better part of valour, slipped quietly out by the back door, mounted their horses, galloped away as fast as their steeds could carry them, and crossed the river Glass among the hooting and derision of the assembled tenantry, heard until they crossed the hill which separates Strathglass from Corriemony. The result of the interview with their laird was a complete understanding between him and his tenants and the flying horsemen, looking behind them for the first time when they reached the top of the Maol Bhuidhe, saw the assembled tenantry forming a procession in front of Comar House, with pipers at their head, and the Chisholm being carried, mounted shoulder-high, by his stalwart vassals, on their way to Invercannich. The pleasant outcome of the whole was that chief and clan expressed renewed confidence in each other, a determination to continue in future in the same happy relationship, and to maintain, each on his part, all modern and ancient bonds of fealty ever entered into by their respective ancestors.

This, in fact, turned out to be one of the happiest days that ever dawned on the glen. The people were left unmolested so long as this Chisholm survived&mdasha fact which shows the wisdom of chief and people meeting face to face, and refusing to permit others whether greedy outsiders or selfish factors&mdashto come and foment mischief and misunderstanding between parties whose interests are so closely bound together, and who, if they met and discussed their differences, would seldom or ever have any disagreements of a serious character. Worse counsel prevailed after Alexander’s death, and the result under the cruel daughter of the notorious Marsali Bhinneach, has been already described.

Reference has been made to the clearance of Glenstrathfarrar by the late Lord Lovat, but for the people removed from there and other portions of the Lovat property, he allotted lands in various other places on his own estates, so that, although these changes were most [193] injurious to his tenants, his lordship’s proceedings can hardly be called evictions in the ordinary sense of the term. His predecessor, Archibald Fraser of Lovat, however, evicted, like the Chisholms, hundreds from the Lovat estates.


The modern clearances which took place within the last quarter of a century in Guisachan, Strathglass, by Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, have been described in all their phases before a Committee of the House of Commons in 1872. The Inspector of Poor for the parish of Kiltarlity wrote a letter which was brought before the Committee, with a statement from another source that, “in 1855, there were 16 farmers on the estate the number of cows they had was 62, and horses, 24 the principal farmer had 2000 sheep, the next 1000, and the rest between them 1200, giving a total of 4200. Now (1873) there is but one farmer, and he leaves at Whitsunday all these farmers lost the holdings on which they ever lived in competency indeed, it is well known that some of them were able to lay by some money. They have been sent to the four quarters of the globe, or to vegetate in Sir Dudley’s dandy cottages at Tomich, made more for show than convenience, where they have to depend on his employment or charity. To prove that all this is true, take at random, the smith, the shoemaker, or the tailor, and say whether the poverty and starvation were then or now? For instance, under the old régime, the smith farmed a piece of land which supplied the wants of his family with meal and potatoes he had two cows, a horse, and a score or two of sheep on the hill he paid £7 of yearly rent he now has nothing but the bare walls of his cottage and smithy, for which he pays £10. Of course he had his trade then as he has now. Will he live more comfortably now than he did then?” It was stated, at the same time, that, when Sir Dudley Marjoribanks bought [194] the property, there was a population of 255 souls upon it, and Sir Dudley, in his examination, though he threw some doubt upon that statement, was quite unable to refute it. The proprietor, on being asked, said that he did not evict any of the people. But Mr. Macombie having said, “Then the tenants went away of their own free will,” Sir Dudley replied, “I must not say so quite. I told them that when they had found other places to go to, I wished to have their farms.”

They were, in point of fact, evicted as much as any others of the ancient tenantry in the Highlands, though it is but fair to say that the same harsh cruelty was not applied in their case as in many of the others recorded in these pages. Those who had been allowed to remain in the new cottages, are without cow or sheep, or an inch of land, while those alive of those sent off are spread over the wide world, like those sent, as already described, from other places.


In 1849 more than 500 souls left Glenelg. These petitioned the proprietor, Mr. Baillie of Dochfour, to provide means of existence for them at home by means of reclamation and improvements in the district, or, failing this, to help them to emigrate. Mr. Baillie, after repeated communications, made choice of the latter alternative, and suggested that a local committee should be appointed to procure and supply him with information as to the number of families willing to emigrate, their circumstances, and the amount of aid necessary to enable them to do so. This was done, and it was intimated to the proprietor that a sum of £3000 would be required to land those willing to emigrate at Quebec. This sum included passage money, free rations, a month’s sustenance after the arrival of the party in Canada, and some clothing for the more destitute. Ultimately, the proprietor offered the sum of £2000, while the Highland [195] Destitution Committee promised £500. A great deal of misunderstanding occurred before the Liscard finally sailed, in consequence of misrepresentations made as to the food to be supplied on board, while there were loud protests against sending the people away without any medical man in charge. Through the activity and generous sympathy of the late Mr. Stewart of Ensay, then tenant of Ellanreach, on the Glenelg property, who took the side of the people, matters were soon rectified. A doctor was secured, and the people satisfied as to the rations to be served out to them during the passage, though these did not come up to one-half what was originally promised. On the whole, Mr. Baillie behaved liberally, but, considering the suitability of the beautiful valley of Glenelg for arable and food-producing purposes, it is to be regretted that he did not decide upon utilizing the labour of the natives in bringing the district into a state of cultivation, rather than have paid so much to banish them to a foreign land. That they would themselves have preferred this is beyond question.

Mr. Mulock, father of the author of “John Halifax, Gentleman,” an Englishman who could not be charged with any preconceived prejudices or partiality for the Highlanders, travelled at this period through the whole North, and ultimately published an account of what he had seen. Regarding the Glenelg business, he says, as to their willingness to emigrate:&mdash“To suppose that numerous families would as a matter of choice sever themselves from their loved soil, abolish all the associations of local and patriotic sentiment, fling to the winds every endearing recollection connected with the sojourneying spot of vanished generations, and blot themselves, as it were, out of the book of ‘home-born happiness,’ is an hypothesis too unnatural to be encouraged by any sober, well-regulated mind.” To satisfy himself, he called forty to fifty heads of families together at Glenelg, who had signed an agreement to emigrate, but who did not find room in the Liscard, and were left behind, after selling off everything they possessed, and were consequently reduced to a state of starvation. “I asked,” [196] he says, “these poor perfidiously treated creatures if, notwithstanding all their hardships, they were willing emigrants from their native land. With one voice they assured me that nothing short of the impossibility of obtaining land or employment at home could drive them to seek the doubtful benefits of a foreign shore. So far from the emigration being, at Glenelg, or Lochalsh, or South Uist, a spontaneous movement springing out of the wishes of the tenantry, I aver it to be, on the contrary, the product of desperation, the calamitous light of hopeless oppression visiting their sad hearts.” We have no hesitation in saying that this is not only true of those to whom Mr. Mulock specially refers, but to almost every soul who have left the Highlands for the last sixty years. Only those who know the people intimately, and the means adopted by factors, clergy, and others to produce an appearance of spontaneity on the part of the helpless tenantry, can understand the extent to which this statement is true. If a judicious system had been applied of cultivating excellent land, capable of producing food in abundance, in Glenelg, there was not another property in the Highlands on which it was less necessary to send the people away than in that beautiful and fertile valley.


Great numbers were evicted from the Cameron country of Lochaber, especially from Glendesseray and Locharkaig side. Indeed it is said that there were so few Camerons left in the district, that not a single tenant of the name attended the banquet given by the tenantry when the late Lochiel came into possession. The details of Cameron evictions would be found pretty much the same as those in other places, except that an attempt has been made in this case to hold the factor entirely and solely responsible for the removal of this noble people, so renowned in the martial history of the country. That is a question, however, which it is no part of our present purpose to discuss. What we wish to expose is the unrighteous system which allowed such cruel proceedings to take place here and elsewhere, by landlord or factor.

Further Reading

Several editions of Mackenzie's own accounts have been published but W. Kaye Lamb, Dominion Archivist of Canada, is preparing what probably will be the definitive edition of Mackenzie's writings. Of the several good studies of Mackenzie and his travels in the west, the most recent are Phillip Vail (pseudonym for Noel Bertram Gerson), The Magnificent Adventures of Alexander Mackenzie (1964), and Roy Daniells, Alexander Mackenzie and the North West (1969). Older but still useful are M. S. Wade, Mackenzie of Canada, The Life and Adventures of Alexander Mackenzie, Discoverer (1927) Arthur P. Woolacott, Mackenzie and His Voyageurs: By Canoe to the Arctic and the Pacific, 1789-93 (1927) and Hume Wrong, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Explorer and Fur Trader (1927).

Alexander Mackenzie - History

Alexander Mackenzie was a twenty-five-year-old fur trader who had been born in Scotland on the Isle of Lewis. Mackenzie combined ambition, resolve and arrogance and grew bored with life in a North West Company trading post.

He was given the job of finding a route to the Pacific coast, then up to Alaska, across to Russia and on to England. But Mackenzie's first attempt took him up what is now the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean.

For his second voyage he had a compass, a sextant, a chronometer, a telescope and a working knowledge of navigation.

Alexander Mackenzie searched for a river route through the Rocky Mountains but eventually followed the advice of local natives and took an overland passage. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Mackenzie set off with nine men and a dog on May 9, 1793, paddling up the Peace River, looking for the continental divide. Mackenzie managed to cross the Rocky Mountains and reach the Fraser River by June 17. Shuswap Indians advised him that the river was too dangerous to navigate, that he should take the overland route they used to trade with the coastal Indians.

Mackenzie ran the idea past his men. "I stated the difficulties that threatened our continuing to navigate the river, the length of time it would require, and the scanty provisions we had for such a voyage I then proceeded for the foregoing reasons to propose a shorter route, by trying the overland road to the sea. "

Mackenzie's men followed him.

Mackenzie's first trip
The overland journey went smoothly. The native peoples who lived in the mountains had well established trading routes that led west.

A party of Nuxalk Indians guided them along one of the Grease Trails, named for the fish oil that coastal Indians brought inland to trade. It took a month to reach Dean Channel, an arm of the ocean. Tide marks on the rocks proved that it led to the Pacific Ocean. But at his very moment of triumph, Mackenzie faced chaos and near catastrophe.

They encountered hostile Bella Coola Indians. The Indians had already had unfortunate dealings with whites arriving in ships, probably the sternly imperial George Vancouver.
One of the Indians threatened Mackenzie.

His guide begged him to flee."In relating our danger, his agitation was so violent that he foamed at the mouth. My people were panic-struck, and some of them asked if it was my determination to remain there to be sacrificed."

Mackenzie had travelled too far to leave before he could prove that he had made it to salt water. Despite the imminent threat, Mackenzie took the time to fix his location, using his instruments to calculate the position of the sun. "I had now determined my situation," he wrote, "which is the most fortunate circumstance of my long, painful, and perilous journey, as a few cloudy days would have prevented me from ascertaining the final longitude of it."

Mackenzie had reached the salt water of the Pacific Ocean - he was within three hours paddling of the open water, but he never actually saw it.
He was the first European to cross the continent overland.

"I now mixed up some vermillion in melted grease, and inscribed in large characters. This brief memorial: Alexander Mackenzie from Canada, by land. The 22nd of July, one thousand seven hundrd and ninety-three."

Of his voyages, Mackenzie wrote, "Their toils and their dangers, their solicitudes and sufferings, have not been exaggerated in my description. On the contrary, in many instances, language has failed me in the attempt to describe them.
I received, however, the reward for my labours, for they were crowned with success."

MACKENZIE, Alexander (c.1683-1755), of Fraserdale, Inverness.

b. c.1683, o. s. of Roderick Mackenzie, MP [S], of Prestonhall, Fife, Ld. Prestonhall SCJ, ld. justice clerk 1702–4, by his 1st w. Margaret, da. of Alexander Burnet, abp. of St. Andrews 1679–84. m. 1702, Amelia (d. 1763), suo jure Baroness Lovat [S], da. and h. of Hugh Fraser 9th Ld. Lovat [S] (d. 1696), 1s. suc. mother 1699, fa. 1712.1

Offices Held

Commr. justiciary for Highlands [S] 1702.2


Mackenzie’s father, a younger brother of the 1st Earl of Cromarty, followed closely the tortuous path that Cromarty wound through post-Revolution Scottish politics, culminating in a vote for the Treaty of Union against what had previously appeared to be his Cavalier principles. Alexander, either through temperament or circumstances, adopted a course of action in public life that was less inhibited. His marriage in 1702 to the heiress of Lord Lovat (who at about the same time secured judicial confirmation of her own assumption of the barony) marked his career even before he came of age, the seeming comfort of the life-rent of £500 p.a. with which he had thus been invested tempting him into expenditure and indiscretions he could not afford.3

Though he was named a commissioner of supply for Cromartyshire as early as 1704, Mackenzie did not stand for Parliament, so far as we know, until the election of 1710, when he was returned for Inverness-shire. In the meantime he had given some clue to his political opinions by subscribing a clan petition to the Queen to permit the return from exile of the Earl of Seaforth. The label of episcopal Tory, applied to him by the Duchess of Buccleuch’s chaplain, Richard Dongworth, in an analysis of the Scots Members elected to this Parliament, was soon justified as he voted in February 1711 against Mungo Graham* in the disputed election for Kinross-shire. Mackenzie was listed both as a ‘worthy patriot’ who had helped expose the mismanagements of the former ministry, and as a ‘Tory patriot’ who opposed the continuation of the war. Although it is difficult to distinguish his appearances in the Journals from those of his namesake George Mackenzie*, it seems clear that the laird of Fraserdale was by far the less active of the two. Indeed, on 14 Mar. 1711 he had been given six weeks’ leave of absence.4

In the following session Mackenzie voted in favour of the Scottish toleration bill on 7 Feb. 1712, but left London in April to take the waters at Bath for the sake of his health. A call of the House forced his return early the following month, but he secured leave of absence on 14 May. In November 1712 he was supported by one of the leading Scottish Tories, Sir Alexander Areskine, 2nd Bt.*, in recommending a kinsman to a minor customs place and in March 1713 he subscribed the round robin despatched by the Scots episcopalian lobby at Westminster to Lord Dun to urge non-juring ministers in Scotland to take the oaths in order to avail themselves of the benefits of toleration. In the 1713 session he failed to register a vote on the French commerce bill, on either 4 or 18 June. His political conduct may have been affected by anxiety over a current petition to the Treasury for a new warrant to discharge the ‘bygone casualties’ of the lands and lordship of Lovat.5

Re-elected in 1713, Mackenzie was put down as a ‘Jacobite’ in the list of the Scottish Members sent by Lord Polwarth to the Hanoverian court. Although Polwarth probably meant nothing more than that Mackenzie was a Tory, as indeed he was classified on the Worsley list, the description has been taken literally by one modern historian, on the basis of Mackenzie’s episcopalian loyalties and his connexion with Scottish Tories of the hotter variety. For direct evidence of Jacobitism we must wait until the Fifteen, when Mackenzie, forswearing earlier professions of loyalty to King George, brought some 400 men of clan Fraser into the Pretender’s camp, in the train of his own clan chieftain, Lord Seaforth. When he was eventually put on trial at Carlisle in 1716 he argued that he had never willingly borne arms in the Jacobite cause that he had been ‘carried prisoner into Perth’. This could not be believed, and is contradicted by the testimony of his comrades-in-arms. An alternative explanation of his behaviour, put forward by his friends, was that ‘upon a family disgust’ he ‘did freakishly join the rebels at first, but saw his error pretty early and stole off to the Duke of Atholl’. Whether or not he left the Jacobite army, and Atholl does seem to have been able to make a case for him on this basis, the reason given for his taking up arms in the first place has a plausible ring. By early 1715 he had been driven into a corner by an overwhelming accumulation of debts, and by the threat of legal action from a rival claimant to the Lovat title and estates, Simon Fraser of Beaufort, a man who enjoyed far better political connexions with the new regime than Mackenzie himself. Having failed to secure a seat in Parliament at the 1715 election, Mackenzie could have enjoyed little or no leverage with ministers. Even before the rebellion Beaufort was undermining his position as effective chief of the Frasers, and in a short time the clansmen had repudiated his authority and followed his rival over to the Hanoverian side. The defeat of the Pretender completed his destruction. He was not condemned to death, but his life-rent in the Lovat estate was declared forfeit and granted instead to Beaufort.6

For at least the next 30 years Mackenzie continued his feud with Beaufort, created Lord Lovat in his own right in 1740. He recovered his financial position sufficiently to be able to lend money to Beaufort, who was even less competent in money matters than he was himself, and who in a fit of anger once described him as ‘a false, inconstant, greedy fool’. Eventually, in return for a settlement of debts, he dropped his claim to the Lovat lands. He died at Leith on 3 June 1755, aged 72. On the death of his widow their only son assumed the title of Lord Lovat, but died in 1770 without a male heir.7

CANADA HISTORY - Prime Ministers

Born in Highland croft at the Pass Scotland in 1822, Mackenzie became a qualified stonemason and by the age of 20 had left his first home of the Church of Scotland and had become a dedicated Baptist. He was entranced by the promises of a visiting cabinet minister from Upper Canada, concerning the advantages and opportunities which the colonies had to offer those who wished to travel to America and settle for only £3. He also was in love with seventeen year old Helen Neil who was leaving Scotland for Canada with her family. In April, 1842 he made his decision to follow his dreams and his love and sailed with the Neils. He settled in Kingston, married Neil and took up his occupation as a stonemason. Like MacDonald he was to suffer the loss of his first wife from an early death.

Brown moved to Port Sarnia, after 3 years, where he was drawn into politics by his brother Hope but soon become an ardent supporter of George Brown and the reformers. He continued building and studied hard to improve his reading, writing, speech and debating skills. For a period he was even the manager of a local newspaper, the Lambton Shield, which strongly supported George Brown.

When Canadian Confederation was finalized and the first elections held in 1867, Mackenzie ran and was elected to Parliament as a member of the Grits. (present day Liberals) His hero and leader George Brown was defeated in that election and Mackenzie rose swiftly in the Grit ranks under the leadership of Edward Blake, one of the great speakers of the period. Mackenzie had earned a reputation as a solid, honest, hardworking man of integrity and when George Brown decided that he was in fact going to step down as the leader of the Grits, the leaders of Upper Canada, (Ontario) Edward Blake, and Lower Canada, (Quebec), Antoine Aimee Dorion, turned to him to take over the reins of leadership.

The timing of his accession to the leadership of the official opposition was timely in that John A MacDonald and his Conservative Government were soon embroiled in the Pacific Railway scandal which brought about their fall and a general election just seven months later. In 1873 Mackenzie was elected the second Prime Minister of Canada and he immediately faced problems within his own party from Edward Blake who decided that he should have indeed been chosen the leader of the party, not Mackenzie. Blake was eventually convinced to join the Cabinet as the Minister of Justice but the country was sliding into a recession and the cause of the election, the building of the transcontinental railway ground to a halt or at best a snails pace.

Mackenzie was also unable to secure a strong leader from Quebec as a part of his government, which fatally weakened his ability to get things done. His big problem was that as a part of British Columbia entering Confederation, the railroad was to be completed within 10 years and they quickly sent a delegation to Ottawa to threaten to leave Canada if the railway was not completed. Mackenzie threw the threating delegates out and they promptly paid a visit to Lord Dufferin, the Governor General, and appealed to him to take up their case with Mackenzie. Dufferin, who had liked and supported John A MacDonald in his expansionist policies and his railway ambitions promised to take of the cause and bring Mackenzie round. This direct participation in political affairs by the Governor General brought about the first political crisis in Canada' s young history.

Lord Dufferin proposed that the Colonial Secretary in London should act as a mediator to work out a settlement between Ottawa and British Columbia. Mackenzie quickly reminded the Governor General that "we were capable of managing our own affairs . and that no government would survive who would attempt at the insistence of a Colonial Secretary to trifle with Parliamentary decisions." The confrontation finally came to a head when Mackenzie and Blake offered their resignations and Dufferin was forced to accede to the Canadian Government and even went so far as to make a partial apology.

He had remarried and his second wife Jane was his main escape from the day to day infighting which plagued the divided Grits. The U.S. rejected Canada's overtures for opening up trade between the countries and the depression forced Mackenzie to increase the tariff protection.

Mackenzie followed through on MacDonald's intention of forming a government enforcement agency for the newly acquired North West Territories. They would be called the North West Mounted Police, later to evolve into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The timing of the formation of the force could not have been better because of the incursion into the new territory by American whiskey traders in present day Alberta.

In 1875 Mackenzie and Jane departed for Britain where he was quickly disillusioned by English upper class society. They were stuck up and not really interested in anything in Canada. Of the first eight Canadian Prime Ministers, Mackenzie was the only one refused to accept a title. He was also instrumental in confirming that titles did not become a part of the Canadian fabric. His disappointment in English society was quickly forgotten as he made his triumphal return to Scotland where the locals turned out to cheer the local lad who had made good in the new world. He has become the trumpet of Canadian nationalism which had convinced him to travel Canada 33 years before. Although still a loyal Scot - Canada now came first. Upon returning to Canada the Railway debate was once again heating up and the recession had slipped into a minor depression. He spent endless hours in the House of Commons debating with MacDonald and the other skilled Conservative members.

As 1878 drew closer and the probability that another election would be fought, Mackenzie shored up his team by adding a promising young Liberal named Laurier as his Quebec Lieutenant. Blake had left the government which was not entirely regretted by Mackenzie. He was finally starting to feel that he was in control of his party and the depression was ending. He called and entered the 1878 election feeling confident, that his responsible handling of finances, honesty and integrity in governing and his hard work in running the country would pay off with a second term as Prime Minister. He was gravely disappointed when the Liberals were swept out of power and MacDonald and his cronies were returned as the ruling party.

Although he stayed on for two years he was finally persuaded by Laurier to give of the reins of party leadership to a new leader. Blake finally achieved his ambition of becoming the Liberal party leader, but was never destined to be the choice of the Canadian people on polling day for Prime Minister.

Mackenzie died in 1892, managing to outlive MacDonald by just a few months, and as he breathed his last breath he whispered "Oh. take me home". The west block of the Parliament Buildings are home to the Mackenzie Tower where he had a secret stairway build which was later utilized by Pierre Trudeau to avoid the press when slipping out to call an election.