MacKay, Mackintosh (DNB00)

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MACKAY, MACKINTOSH (1800–1873), Gaelic scholar, born in 1800, son of Captain Alexander Mackay of Duard Beg in Sutherland, was educated for the ministry, and was presented to the parish of Laggan, Inverness-shire, in 1825. He superintended the printing in 1828 of the Gaelic dictionary of the Highland and Agricultural Society, which is still the standard dictionary of that language. In the following year he published at Inverness the first edition of the 'Poems' of Robert Mackay, Rob Donn [q. v.] In recognition of these services the university of Glasgow gave him the degree of LL.D. In 1832 he was translated to the parish of Dunoon. He left the established church at the disruption, but retained the free church charge of the same parish. He was elected moderator of the free church assembly in 1849. Five years after he emigrated to Australia, became minister of the Gaelic church at Melbourne in 1864 and at Sydney in 1866. Returning to Scotland he became minister of the free church at Tarbert, Harris, and died in 1873. He had the honour of the friendship of Sir Walter Scott, who describes him as 'a simple, learned man and a Highlander, who weighs his own nation justly, a modest and estimable person.' On visiting Abbotsford in May 1831, Mackay drew the attention of Scott and Lockhart to the poems of Rob Donn, and thus led to the review of them by Lockhart in the 'Quarterly,' July 1831, for which he supplied several prose translations. Scott recommended the manse at Laggan as a suitable place, and Mackay as a suitable tutor to his friend, Mr. Skene of Rubislaw, for his son, William Forbes Skene, the historian of Celtic Scotland, then a youth of nineteen, who went to Laggan and studied Gaelic. Mackay thus acted as foster-father to the Gaelic poet of the last and the Celtic historian of tue present century.

[Information from Mr. W. Forbes Skene; Quarterly Review, July 1831.]

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