Robert MacKintosh

Extract from Clan Chattan website, MacKintosh, History

The Rev. Lachlan (MacKintosh)'s second marriage took place at Edinburgh 21 [ ] 1736 to Margaret Anderson, widow of the Rev. Laurence Watson of St. Andrews, who survived him for twenty-six years.

Robert, the second surviving son, born in 1727, after studying at the University of Leyden was called to the Scottish Bar in 1751, and almost immediately achieved distinction by his services as junior counsel for the defence in the famous trial, immortalised by R. L. Stevenson in " Catriona ", of James Stewart of Acharn for being accessory to the supposed ! murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure (The Red Fox), the Government factor on the forfeited estate of Ardshiel.

! According to an interesting manuscript by Robert's nephew, more particularly referred to hereafter, Allan Breac Stewart, the supposed murderer, afterwards made a statement showing that the shooting of Glenure was accidental, having taken place in a scuffle between him and Allan for the possession of the latter's gun.

The trial, which took place at Inverary in September 1752 before a violently prejudiced judge, the Lord Justice General Argyll himself, and a packed jury of whom eleven (out of a total of fifteen) were Campbells, is historic and is mentioned here only on account of the part taken in it by Robert Mackintosh, whose speech, full of eloquence and ability, though perhaps not without a tincture of bitterness and severity from the speaker's belief in the unfairness and prejudice of the court, was the means of bringing him at once into considerable practice as an advocate as well as into the knowledge of some of the leading men of his time.

Before long he was in a fair way towards achieving a name and position in politics as well as in the law; but unfortunately his splendid abilities were nullified by his peculiar temperament. Tenacious of his own opinions and methods, impatient of control or opposition, ever prone to attack what seemed to him to savour of injustice or incompetence, he made enemies of some of the most powerful men in his own profession, while his impulsive and quixotic disposition led him to undertake the most herculean tasks, usually without any regard to his own advantage or even convenience.

One of these undertakings was the refloating of the unfortunate York Buildings Company, then sunk in a sea of debt. Of this Company he was made Governor, but although his scheme for saving it seems to have been eminently practicable, circumstances proved too strong for him, and he had to suffer not only the failure of his hopes but also the loss of his fortune as well as the spectacle of the financial ruin of his brother and others who had been sharers in his optimism. From this loss he never fully recover but in spite of the troubles and difficulties which attend the rest of his life be found means to repurchase the anc estral estate on its compulsory alienation by his brother, and to retain it intact until his death. Shortly, before that event took place be provided for the retention of the property the family by a deed of settlement, dated 20 Dec. 1804, entailing it first on the heirs male of his brother John's eldest son and next on those of his own father, the Rev. Lachlan and ultimately on his own nearest heirs or assignees whatsoever.

During his palmy period he became a considerable land-owner in Strathardle and Glenshee, and was known as Mackintosh of Ashintully. In 1767 he acquired the feu-righ of the extensive and important property which had belonged to the Spaldings of Ashintully, comprising (1) the barony Ashintully, (nominally a third part of Strathardle), Weirie, Soilzarie, Tomnamoan, Tonifin, Ballachraggan, Pitvirran Easter Downie, " the town and lands of Kirktown commonly called Kirkhillock alias Toinaeblaclian "otherwise Kirkmichael with fortalices, manor places, &c., tenandries and services of free tenants, two free fairs yearly on 29 September and 1 March, and the patronage and teinds of the parish and kirk of Kirkmicliael, all as granted to Andrew Spalding by charter under the Great Seal dated 1 July 1677; (2) the lands and barony of Balmacruchie; and (3) the town an lands of Morcloich or Whitefield, Borland, Dunydea, Wester and Middle Downie, and Glentatnich.

In his last letter to his nephew. dated 18 June 1804, he says " I can not look to be long an inhabitant of this world, and relating to it I have no other desire than this, that if God will be pleased to favour my most anxious wish upon earth, it is that the Family be kept up and may retain the character it has uniformly preserved for some centuries.

The rights to these lands &c. had been acquired by General David Graham of Gorthie at the judicial sale of the Spalding property in 1766, being confirmed by Crown charter of 23 Feb. 1767, and were disponed by him, with a reservation of part of Balmacruchie-on 30 March following to Robert Mackintosh for $8900 sterling , a large sum in those days. Sasine was given on this disposition 13 March 1770. Perth Sas. xxxiii. 259. Robert also obtained the lands of Meikle Binzean in Glenshee, on disposition by John Robertson of Cray dated 4 Dec. 1769, and the lands in Glenbeg belonging to Colin Mackenzie younger of Finegand, on disposition of 9 Oct. 1770. Do. 147, 479. His hold on these properties was not of long duration, however, for in little more than a decade commenced the financial difficulties which beset him during the remainder of his life, and in 1780-2 the lands were judicially sold for the benefit of his creditors.

Robert died at Edinburgh, unmarried, in 1805, in his 78th year, and was buried in Calton Hill Cemetery.

His nephew, Richard Duncan Mackintosh, left a long MS. account of his life' written in 1840 including a copy of his speech at the trial of James Stewart in 1752 and copies of some of his letters which has afforded much help in the foregoing brief sketch of his career and character, and which is well worthy of a place in printed literature. The MS. writer succinctly sums up the character of his subject in a well known line of Horace (Carm. iii. 3) on his title page, and in his dedication to his own only remaining brother, John, of " this memorial of a Relative remarkable for his superior talents and his unfruitful application of them."

" Some Passages in the Life of my Uncle. Robert Mackintosh, Esq., Advocate, Governor of the York Buildings Company, &c., by his nephew, Richard Duncan Mackintosh. Justum, et tenacem propositi virum, &c.' 1840. "

A somewhat scathing description of Robert's career and character in the Ochtertyre Papers, as quoted in The Appin murder, by David N. Mackay (1911), concludes with the admission that "he was always regarded as a man of good morals and a sincere Christian."

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