MACKYE, John (1707-97), of Palgowan, Kirkcudbright Stewartry.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



25 Jan. 1742 - 1747

Family and Education

b. 23 Apr. 1707, o.s. of Alexander Mackye or McKie, M.P. [S], of Palgowan by Christian, da. of Sir James Dunbar, 1st Bt., of Mochrum, wid. of Maj. Thomas Young of Leny, Wigtown.  educ. ?Edin. Univ.; Leyden 1728; adv. Jan. 1731.  m. 28 July 1755, Jane, da. of George, 13th Lord Ross [S], sis, and h. of William, 14th Lord Ross; assumed name of Ross before Mackye 1755.  suc. fa. 22 Feb. 1735.

Offices Held

Treasurer of Ordnance 1763-80; receiver gen. of stamp duties 1780-94.


Mackye was a personal friend of the Duke of Queensberry and Lord Bute, and in opposition to the Pelhams; and in Dupplin’s list of 1754 was the only Scot classed as a Tory—a nonsensical classification. Entirely directed by Bute, Mackye supported the Pitt-Devonshire Administration, and voted, 2 May 1757, against Newcastle and Fox on the Minorca inquiry.1 Under the Newcastle—Pitt Administration he continued to act as Bute’s confidential agent, and also won the goodwill of Argyll who promised him his interest at the next election. He was a member of the committee appointed to prepare the Scottish militia bill. After Argyll’s death Mackye advised Bute on the selection of candidates for Ayr Burghs, Glasgow Burghs, and Dunbartonshire, the constituencies affected by the succession of the new Duke.2 Wraxall’s story that Mackye distributed bribes to secure the passing of the Peace of Paris is false.3 Appointed a guardian of the young Duke of Hamilton, he took a leading part in the Douglas Cause, in opposition to Bute and Queensberry.

Mackye supported the Grenville Administration and voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766. He supported the Chatham Administration, and voted with them on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767. At the general election of 1768 he was opposed by James Murray of Broughton. Strongly opposed to the creation of fictitious votes, he decided in the autumn of 1767 to abandon the contest.4

He died in October 1797.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Add. 33034, f. 232.
  • 2. John Campbell of Stonefield to Bute, 23 Apr. 1761; W. Mure to Bute, 26 Nov. 1761, Bute mss.
  • 3. Wraxall, iii. 240-2; Namier, Structure, 184 & n.
  • 4. Mackye to Loudoun, 23 Sept. 1767, Loudoun mss.