A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Mackay, Charles

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Mackay, Charles (1814-1889). -- Poet and journalist, s. of a naval officer, was b. at Perth, and ed. at the Royal Caledonian Asylum, London, and at Brussels, but much of his early life was spent in France. Coming to London in 1834, he engaged in journalism, pub. Songs and Poems (1834), wrote a History of London, Popular Delusions, and a romance, Longbeard. His fame, however, chiefly rests upon his songs, some of which, including Cheer, Boys, Cheer, were in 1846 set to music by Henry Russell, and had an astonishing popularity. In 1852 he became ed. of the Illustrated London News, in the musical supplement to which other songs by him were set to old English music by Sir H.R. Bishop. M. acted as Times correspondent during the American Civil War, and in that capacity discovered and disclosed the Fenian conspiracy. He had the degree of LL.D. from Glasgow in 1846.