Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mackenzie, Thomas

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MACKENZIE, THOMAS, Lord Mackenzie (1807–1869), Scottish judge, son of George Mackenzie, a tradesman of Perth, was born on 16 May 1807. He received his early education at the Perth academy, and after studying two years at the university of St. Andrews, went to Edinburgh, where, while following the occupation of clerk, he succeeded in qualifying himself for the Scottish bar, to which he was called in 1832. He owed his success at the bar chiefly to the patronage of Lord-advocate Rutherford, to whom he acted as junior, and who highly valued his careful attention to details. In 1851 he was appointed sheriff of Ross and Cromarty, and solicitor-general, and in December 1854 was raised to the bench in the court of session, with the title Lord Mackenzie. He is credited with drafting the Bankruptcy Act of Scotland in 1856. He retired from the bench in 1864, and died on 26 Sept. 1869. 'No warm friendships,' said a writer in the 'Scotsman,' 'had he, no wife, no public explosions of benevolence, no quarrels. He toiled on to the end like a machine. Labour of the brain had become to him a sort of second nature, and in it he found the chief and almost only pleasure in life,' Mackenzie was the author of 'Studies in Roman Law, with Comparative Views of the Laws of France, England, and Scotland,' 1862, a clear and well-arranged text-book, which has passed into several editions.

[Scotsman, 29 Sept. 1869; Men of the Time; Men of the Reign.]