Henry Mackenzie

(1745-1831)

The Scottish Man of Feeling


"I sometimes visit his grave; I sit in the hollow of the tree. It is worth a thousand homilies: every noble feeling rises within me! every beat of my heart awakens a virtue!--but it will make you hate the world--No! there is such an air of gentleness around, that I can hate nothing; but as to the world--I pity the men of it." (The Ghost, narrator of The Man of Feeling, 1771)


Table of Contents

More Mackenzie-Related Quotes

An Index of Tears
"Harley kissed off her tears as they flowed, and wept between every kiss."
"There was a tear in her eye,--the sick man kissed it off in its bud, smiling through the dimness of its own."
"In Edwards's eyes was a beamy moisure."
"He dropped one tear and no more."
Mackenzie on Thomas Paine:
"He possesses that vulgar eloquence which a vigorous mind untutored by classical education, and unrestrained by delicacy or taste, has an advantage in exhibiting; and he derives credit from the very want of qualities which finer minds are at pains to cultivate . . ."
Mackenzie on The People:
"The people, though always right in sentiment, are not always right in opinion."
Mackenzie on Abolition, many years after his abolitionist sentimental novel, Julia de Roubigne:
". . . the momentary ebullition of romantic humanity"
The Ghost, narrator of The Man of Feeling, on narrativity:
"We would attempt to describe the joy which Harley felt on this occasion, did it not occur to us, that one half of the world could not understand it though we did; and the other half will, by this time, have understood it without any description at all."
A professor on my committee on the protagonist of The Man of Feeling
"This is a Harley without a crotch rocket."


Chronology

1745
Henry Mackenzie born August 6 (n.s.) in Edinburgh, son of a prominent physician.
1751
Entered Edinburgh High School.
1758
Entered Edinburgh University.
1759
Death of mother, Margaret Rose of Kuravock.
1761
Articled as clerk for five years to George Inglis, King's Attorney in Exchequer.
1763
"Happiness," first published poem, in the Scots Magazine.
1764
Ballad of "Duncan" published in the Scots Magazine
1765
Ballad of "Kenneth" published in the Scots Magazine. Admitted attorney in Court of Exchequer of Scotland; went to London to study English law.
1768
Returned to Edinburgh. Became partner of George Inglis.
1769
Virginia; or The Roman Father, unpublished tragedy, completed.
1771
April, The Man of Feeling published. May, The Pursuits of Happiness, a semi-satirical poem, published.
1773
February, The Man of the World, novel, published. March 8, first performance of The Prince of Tunis, tragedy, in Edinburgh. Purchased Crown practice in Court of Exchequer from his partner, George Inglis.
1776
January 6, married Penuel Grant; has fourteen children [not all in this year].
1777
April, Julia de Roubigne, epistolary novel, published.
1779
January 23, Mirror began publication.
1780
May 27, Mirror ceased publication.
1784
February 10, The Shipwreck, adaptation of Lillo's Fatal Curiosity; one performance at Covent Garden.
1785
February 5, Lounger began publication.
1787
January 6, Lounger ceased publication.
April 21, "Account of the German Theatre" read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
1789
December 5, The Force of Fashion, comedy; one performance at Covent Garden.
1790
April, Letters of Brutus began to be published in the Edinburgh Herald.
1791
Letters of Brutus to Certain Celebrated Political Characters, first series, published in collected form.
1792
Publication of Review of the Principal Proceedings of the Parliament of 1784.
1793
Letters of Brutus, second series, published in collected form. "Some Account of the Life and Writings of Dr. Blacklock" prefixed to a new edition of Blacklock's works.
1798
December 7, death of John Mackenzie, his youngest son, at age of six.
1799
Appointed Comptroller of Taxes for Scotland.
1800
February 18, death of Dr. Joshua Mackenzie, his father, at age of eighty-six.
1805
Publication of Report of the Committee of the Highland Society of Scotland, appointed to inquire into the nature and authenticity of the poems of Ossian. Drawn up by Henry Mackenzie, Esq., its convener or chairman.
1808
Authorized edition of Works published.
1814
Sir Walter Scott dedicated Waverley to Mackenzie, "Our Scottish Addison."
1822
Account of the Life and Writings of John Home published.
1824
Began to write his Anecdotes and Egotisms, reminiscences first published in 1927.
1831
Died on January 14. Buried in old Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh.


Selected Bibliography of Mackenzie-related works

Barker, Gerard A. Henry Mackenzie. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1975.
The second-best biography, to my knowledge.
Benedict, Barbara. Framing Feeling: Sentiment and Style in English Prose Fiction, 1745-1800.New York: AMS Press, 1994.
An excellent rhetorical study of sentiment, with a few chapters on Mackenzie.
Brissenden, P.F. Virtue in Distress. Bristol: Macmillan, 1974.
Very fine work on sentiment with political analysis and wide scope.
Dwyer, John. Virtuous Discourse: Sensibility and Community in Late Eighteenth-Century Scotland. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1987.
Introduction promises a Foucauldian take but doesn't quite follow through. Good historicizing nonetheless.
Harkin, Maureen. "Mackenzie's Man of Feeling: Embalming Sensibility." ELH 61 (1994): 317-340.
Very smart but unfocused article. Argues cogently that the novel is ironic.
Jones, Chris. "Radical Sensibility in the 1790s." Reflections of Revolution: Images of Romanticism. Eds. Alison Yarrington and Kelvin Everest. London: Routledge, 1993.
Persuasively classifies Mackenzie as an ironic conservative.
Mullan, John. Sentiment and Sociabilty. [pub info].
An important book on sentiment with much material on Mack.
Sheriff, John K. The Good-Natured Man: The Evolution of a Moral Ideal, 1660-1800. University, Alabama: U of Alabama P, 1982.
Early recognition of irony in Mack.
Thompson, Harold William. A Scottish Man of Feeling: Some Account of Henry Mackenzie, Esq. of Edinburgh and of the Golden Age of Burns and Scott. London: Oxford UP, 1931.
Very rich and very troubling biography.

Page under development--more to come.