William Alexander Mackinnon (1784–1870)

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For other people named William Mackinnon, see William Mackinnon (disambiguation).
William Alexander Mackinnon

William Alexander Mackinnon (2 August 1789 – 30 April 1870) was a British politician.


He was born in Broadstairs, Kent in 1789 and educated at St John's College, Cambridge.[1][2]

A Whig, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Dunwich from 1819 to 1820, for Lymington from 1831 to 1832 and from 1835 to 1852, and for Rye from 1853 to 1865.[3]

At the 1852 general election he was defeated in Lymington,[4] but his son William had been elected in Rye. However, a petition was lodged against the younger Mackinnon's election, and in May 1853 it was declared void. The elder Mackinnon successfully contested the resulting by-election on 23 May 1853.[5][6]

He was a J.P. and Deputy Lieutenant of Middlesex.[7] Some of his parliamentary work concerned animal welfare and in 1858 he chaired the AGM of the RSPCA,[8] having been appointed vice chair in 1837.[9]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1827, submitting a paper on the absorption of atmospheric moisture by the state of chalk and limestone. [1] He was also invested as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was a director of the Elan Valley Railway[10] He wrote three books, "Thoughts on the currency question", Public Opinion" and "The history of civilisation"[11]

He succeeded in 1809 as the 33rd Chief of the Clan Mackinnon.[7]

He married Emma, daughter of Joseph Palmer, of county Dublin; they had three sons and three daughters. The marriage settlement included the estates of Greenscoe and Greenhaume near Dalton in Furness.[12] The eldest son, William Alexander, was also an M.P.,[13] while the daughter Louisa Harriet married Thomas Cochrane, 11th Earl of Dundonald.


  1. ^ a b "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Mackinnon, William Alexander (MKNN799WA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ Liverpool Mercury 6 September 1864
  4. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 196. ISBN 0-900178-26-4. 
  5. ^ Craig, op cit., page 260
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 6285. p. 417. 27 May 1853. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b "The Peerage". Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Morning Post 27 May 1858
  9. ^ Stamford Mercury – Friday 5 May 1837
  10. ^ Morning Post 29 May 1868
  11. ^ Obituary in The Examiner 7 May 1870
  12. ^ Cumbria Records office, Barrow Box BDKF7
  13. ^ "Clan Mackinnon". Retrieved 2 August 2011. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Barne
The Lord Huntingfield
Member of Parliament for Dunwich
With: Michael Barne
Succeeded by
Michael Barne
George Henry Cherry
Preceded by
George Burrard
William Egerton
Member of Parliament for Lymington
With: George Burrard
Succeeded by
Sir Harry Burrard-Neale
John Stewart
Preceded by
Sir Harry Burrard-Neale
John Stewart
Member of Parliament for Lymington
With: John Stewart 1835–1847
Hon. George Keppel 1847–1850
Edward John Hutchins 1850–1857
Succeeded by
Edward John Hutchins
Sir John Rivett-Carnac
Preceded by
William Alexander Mackinnon (younger)
Member of Parliament for Rye
Succeeded by
Lauchlan Mackinnon