Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol III (1901).djvu/138
thither and contest Ayr, his native city, but he declined. In March 1891 he represented Queensland at the federation convention held at Sydney. In November 1892 he took another voyage for his health, this time to Northern India, returning in March 1893 to find that the premier had resigned and the ministry was in a manner in commission. On 27 March he was called upon to form a ministry. A general election soon followed, and he came in again with a larger working majority than any administration Queensland had ever had before. The difficulty which faced him at that time was the attitude of the so-called labour party. On 27 Oct. he resigned the position of premier owing to the failure of his health, but nominally remained in the ministry; on 15 Jan. 1893 he came to England for medical advice; and in a short time his illness became so pronounced that he could not return to Queensland. For six years following he was in the hands of specialists and confined to the house. In 1895 he was offered but declined the position of agent-general. He died on 17 July 1900 at 208 Cromwell Road, London, and was buried at Ayr.
Mcllwraith's reputation was not confined to his own colony, where his influence was commanding. But his connection with the Queensland Investment and Land Mortgage Company involved him in a series of legal actions which came to an end in 1892. Subsequently he was severely criticised over the conduct of business by the Queensland National bank, of which he was a director. He was an associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers and was made K.C.M.G. in 1882.
Mcllwraith married, on 14 June 1879, Harriette Ann, daughter of Hugh Mosman of Armidale, New South Wales, who with four daughters survived him.[Innes Addison's Graduates of Glasgow, p. 376; Mennell's Dict. of Australasian Biogr.; British Australasian, 19 July 1900; The Queenslander, 21 July 1900; Queensland Blue Books and Parliamentary Debates.]
MACKAY, ALEXANDER (1815-1895), educational writer, born in Thurso on 15 Nov. 1815, was the youngest of the eight children of Murdoch Mackay, farmer, of Latheron, Caithness. On his father's second marriage young Mackay went to Aberdeen, where he studied at King's College, and graduated M.A. in 1840. In 1844 he became the first Free church minister of Rhynie in Aberdeenshire, the established minister of which had been one of the seven clergymen of Strathbogie deposed by the evangelical majority of the church of Scotland. Here his geological studies, chiefly in connection with rare fossils found in the old red sandstone in a quarry near Rhynie, brought him into communication with Hugh Miller, Sir A. Ramsay, of the Geological Survey, Sir Roderick I. Murchison, and Dr. A. Keith Johnston, who recommended him as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1859.
In 1861 Mackay published a 'Manual of Modern Geography, Mathematical, Physical, and Political,' which attracted much attention, and has since proved a mine of wealth to other writers on geography. In 1866 the degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by King's College, Aberdeen.
In 1867, finding the charge of a congregation less congenial than literary work, he resigned his pastorate at Rhynie and went to Edinburgh, from which he removed to Ventnor in 1878. During this period he devoted himself entirely to works on geography and kindred subjects. He had just completed the rewriting and revision of proofs of his work on physiography and physical geography, when he died suddenly at Ventnor on 31 Jan. 1895. Mackay married in November 1846 Margaret Lillie, daughter of Alexander Lillie of Banff. By her he had five sons, all of whom he survived. One of them was the well-known missionary of Uganda, Alexander Murdoch Mackay [q. v.]
Mackay s works have had a very large circulation, and are characterised by the best qualities of the old school of geographical text-books, being full of facts systematically arranged, scrupulously verified, and illustrated by brief notes of general interest. In one instance he made an attempt to fasten the elementary facts on the minds of young scholars by producing a 'Rhyming Geography' (1873; new edit. 1876), some of the stanzas of which, once read, are difficult to forget. His most arduous piece of work was an ingenious mnemonic system for remembering numbers, which he developed in a book entitled 'Facts and Dates' (1869; 3rd edit. 1879).Mackay was also the author of the following works: 1. 'Elements of Modern Geography,' 1864; 12th edit. 1872. 2. 'Outlines of Modern Geography,' 1865. 3. 'First Steps in Geography,' 1869. 4. 'Geography of the British Empire,' 1869. 5. 'The Intermediate Geography,' 1874; 10th edit. 1885. 6. 'Life and Times of the late Rev. George Davidson, Latheron,' 1875. 7. 'Handbook to the Seat of War in Turkey,' 1877. 8. ' Physiography and Physical Geography,' 1877. He also edited and revised Reid's 'Elements of Astronomy,' 1874.