Mackenzie, Charles Frederick (DNB00)

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MACKENZIE, CHARLES FREDERICK (1825–1862), bishop of Central Africa, born at Portmore on 10 April 1825, was youngest child of Colin Mackenzie of Portmore, Peeblesshire, a clerk of session, and one of Scott's friends and colleagues. His mother was a daughter of Sir William Forbes [q. v.] of Pitsligo. William Forbes Mackenzie [q. v.] was his brother. After his fathers death in 1830 he was brought up by his eldest sister, Elizabeth, going first to a private school and then to the Edinburgh Academy, until in 1840 he was sent to the Grange school, near Sunderland, where he showed himself possessed of a talent for mathematics. He went into residence as a pensioner of St. John's College, Cambridge, in October 1844, but, finding that he would as a Scotsman be disqualified for a fellowship there, migrated the next Easter to Caius College. He read diligently, showing great aptitude for mathematics, and no turn for any other intellectual pursuit, and in January 1848 was placed second wrangler in the mathematical tripos, Isaac Todhunter [q. v.] being senior. He graduated B.A., proceeding M.A. in 1851, was elected fellow of his college, and became a tutor there. Tall, well made, and with much muscular power of endurance, he delighted in athletic exercise, was an oarsman and cricketer, rowed and played cricket with the undergraduates of the college after his election as fellow, and gained a beneficial influence over them. In May 1848 he was appointed one of the secretaries to the Cambridge board of education, and held that office until 1855. He was ordained deacon on Trinity Sunday 1851, and in the following October accepted the curacy of Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire, which he served without discontinuing his college work. In 1852 he was an examiner for mathematical honours, and was moderator in 1853-4, issuing in 1854 with Mr. Walton 'Cambridge Senate-house Problems and Riders with Solutions.'

Although anxious to become a missionary, he yielded to the advice of his friends, and in 1853 refused an invitation to join the Delhi mission, but in December 1854 accepted the offer of John William Colenso [q. v.], bishop of Natal, to take him to Natal as his archdeacon. Accompanied by one of his sisters, he embarked with the bishop on 7 March 1855. For about a year and a naif he acted as parish priest to the English settlers at Durban, meeting with strong opposition from his congregation, who disapproved of his use of the surplice in preaching, and some other changes made in accordance with the bishop's wish. An opposition service was started, and was conducted by a layman. Another sister joined him in 1857, and after taking some part in the Umlazi mission, he was established at a post on the Umhlali river about forty miles north of Durban, where he worked hard ministering to the scattered English settlers, the soldiers quartered in the neighbourhood, over whom he gained much influence, and the Kafirs. He was appointed salaried chaplain to the troops in I808. In the church conference held at Maritzburg in April he advocated the right of the native congregations to an equal voice with the white congregations in the proposed church synod, and being defeated retired from the conference. After a severe attack of illness he returned to England in the summer of 1859. In November he accepted the invitation of the delegates of the new Universities' Mission to Central Africa to take the headship of their mission ; and the upper house of convocation having in June 1860 expressed its approval of the scheme for the appointment of missionary bishops, and its desire that Mackenzie should be ordained bishop by the Bishop of Cape Town and his comprovincials, he sailed from England 6 Oct., arriving at the Cape 12 Nov., and was consecrated bishop of Central Africa in the cathedral of Cape Town on 1 Jan. 1861.

After a visit to Natal he met David Livingstone [q. v.] at Kongone, and was persuaded by him to ascend the Rovuma, in order to reach the Shire district (Livingstone, Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi, p. 348). The attempt failed, and he finally ascended the Shire river, and after marching with Livingstone, who forced some slave merchants to lioerate their slaves, settled at Magomero, in the Manganja country, with the liberated people, whom he began to teach and train in habits of order and discipline. Although he disliked the idea of making good his position by violence, he was persuaded by the friendly Manganja tribe to help them against the Ajawa, believing that the Manganja were simply distressed by a raid of the Ajawa, who were carrying off large numbers as slaves, whereas the war was in reality the result of a tribal movement, and the Ajawa were engaged in displacing their weaker neighbours (ib. pp. 860-3; Goodwin, Memoir of Bishop Mackenzie, pp. 320-2, 338). After binding the Manganja not to enslave any captives they might mate, and to discourage slavery, Mackenzie and his party joined in the war. Their help enabled their allies to win a victory, which raised the number of blacks at the mission settlement to 150. Frequent appeals were made to Mackenzie by the Manganja for further help, and he again enabled them to rout their enemies, and gained fresh additions to his settlement. In October some new missionaries from England arrived, and Mackenzie had an interview with Livingstone, who was passing down the Shire, at a place called Chibisa's. The bishop was then in good health, and 'thought that the future promised fair for peace and usefulness' (Livingstone, Narrative, p. 400) Mackenzie was greatly concerned at an attack made upon three of his party by some natives belonging to Muanaeomba's people, who carried off two men and some spoil in December. He engaged the help of the Makololo people, and set out on the 23rd to punish the aggressors, burnt a village belonging to Muanasomba, and recovered the missing men. He then had to hasten to an island called Malo, at the confluence of the Ruc, and the Shire, where Livingstone had arranged to meet him with stores on 1 Jan. 1862. On their way he and his companion, an ordained missionary, lost their medicines by the upsetting of a boat, and Mackenzie, always imprudent as to health, pushed on without them. He arrived at Malo too late to meet Livingstone, and died there of a fever on 31 Jan. In January 1863 Livingstone visited Mackenzie's grave and erected a cross over it. A fund raised in Mackenzie's memory was applied to the establishment in 1870 of the see of Zululand.

Mackenzie was nearly six feet in height, with a pleasant expression, rather small eyes, and a forehead which, naturally large, appeared larger owing to early baldness. In manner he was winning and gentle, unselfish, full of vigour, and of a manly cost of mind, but his habitual carelessness as to the dangers of climate, his desire to place block and white Christianson an equality in matters of church government, and his participation in a tribal war prove him to have been impulsive and lacking in judgment. The difficulties of his position were great, and his resort to force may be excused, but cannot be admired. His portrait, painted by Richmond, from photographs, is at Caius College, Cambridge, and is engraved in Bishop Goodwin's ' Memoir,' he edited some small books by his sister Alice.

[Bishop Harvey Goodwin's Memoir of Bishop Mackenzie, and Edit. (Cambr. 1885); Livingstone's Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi, pp. 348–54, 400, 410–12; Awdry's Elder Sister, a sketch of Alice Mackenzie; Times, 27 June 1882; Guardian, 2 July 1863.]

W. H.