MACKENZIE, Thomas (1789-1822), of Applecross, Ross.
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Family and Educationb. 28 May 1789,1 o. surv. s. of John Mackenzie, adv., of Applecross and Locharron and Jean, da. of Alexander Elphinstone of Glack, Aberdeen. unm. suc. fa. 1820. d. 19 Oct. 1822.
When Mackenzie was first returned for Ross-shire in 1818 the Liverpool ministry, who remained neutral in the contest, considered him ‘a very uncertain card’; but he made a good impression as a conscientious Member and a ‘steady’ but ‘independent’ supporter of the government, which earned him a promise of their full backing for his re-election.2 Moving the loyal address to the regent at the county meeting, 12 Nov. 1819, he condemned the ‘pernicious doctrines’ being disseminated by radicals in the Lowlands and England, as a result of which ‘people were incited to demand, under the name of reform ... such alterations as would totally change the constitution’.3 At the general election four months later, when a threatened opposition petered out, he made no reported reference to national politics.4
He presented a Ross-shire petition against the additional malt duty, 2 June 1820.5 On the 26th he secured a month’s leave of absence on account of his father’s death, which took him to Scotland for the funeral.6 He was prevented by ‘a sudden attack of illness’ from attending the Ross-shire loyal meeting, 4 Jan. 1821.7 He brought up a petition from Dingwall praying for the restoration of Queen Caroline to all her rights, 26 Jan. 1821,8 but he divided with ministers in defence of their conduct towards her, 6 Feb. He voted for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821. A member of the select committee of inquiry into petitions for Scottish burgh reform appointed on 4 May 1820 and renewed on 16 Feb. 1821, he took ‘a very active part’ in their deliberations;9 and on 12 Mar. 1821 he criticized the Whig Sir Ronald Ferguson for asking to be removed from it because he could make no impression with his reforming views, arguing that he ought to remain and promote his case.10 He showed his independence by seconding and voting for the successful motion for the repeal of the additional malt duty, 21 Mar. 1821, when he maintained that it offered no increase in revenue to counterbalance its bad effects, which in Scotland included the encouragement of smuggling. He stood firm when ministers, threatening resignation, mustered support to defeat the repeal bill, 3 Apr.; but he denied Ferguson’s allegation that the select committee appointed to consider Scottish petitions against the duty, 12 Apr., was only offered as an inducement to Scottish Members to vote with government. He was a member of the committee. On 4 May 1821 he complained of a report of a speech by Henry Grey Bennet which had offended his ‘near relation’ Charles Hope†, lord president of the court of session, but was satisfied with Grey Bennet’s explanation;11 and on 8 May he endorsed Bennet’s charge of breach of privilege over subsequent comments on their exchange in John Bull. Mackenzie led the opposition to Hamilton’s proposals for reform of the Scottish county representation, 10 May:
He could not consent to vote for any abstract proposition, or even for the matter of fact stated in the resolution ... knowing that it was to be followed by others intended to form the basis of practical measures.
He argued that these would not significantly increase the number of freeholders and would be ‘a direct viola