Charles Fraser-Mackintosh

Charles Fraser-Mackintosh FSA Scot (Scottish Gaelic: Teàrlach Friseal Mac An Tòisich;[1] 1828 – 25 January 1901) was a Scottish lawyer, land developer, author, and independent Liberal and Crofters Party politician. He was a significant champion of the Scottish Gaelic language in Victorian Britain.

Fraser-Mackintosh was the son of Alexander Fraser, of Dochnalurg, Inverness, and his wife Marjory Mackintosh. He assumed the additional surname of Mackintosh by royal licence 1857.[2] He trained as a lawyer and became a councillor in Inverness. He was heavily involved in land and development in the town and was chairman of the Anglo-American Land Mortgage and Agency Co. Using money he made from the construction of Union Street, he bought and laid out the Drummond estate (1863), which had previously belonged to Fraser-Mackintosh's great-great uncle Provost Phineas Mackintosh[3][4] and Ballifeary estates (1860s).[5][6] Fraser-Mackintosh was also a captain in the Inverness-shire Rifle Volunteers from 1860 and a J.P. for Inverness-shire.[3]

As a lawyer, he had access to many rare manuscripts and documents, and these formed the basis for his own published works on Scottish history.[5] In his historical work, Fraser-Mackintosh admitted to a sympathy for the Jacobite cause of "Bonnie Prince Charlie," due to being indirectly named after the prince via various Jacobite ancestors.[6] He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.[2] In 1875, he was Chief of the Gaelic Society of Inverness.[7] He was the third President of An Comunn Gaidhealach, the national Gaelic Society, serving from 1896 to 1898.[8]

It is thought that Fraser-Mackintosh rendered legal assistance to Mairi Mhòr nan Oran when she was accused of theft from her employer in 1872. He appears to have recruited to her cause by John Murdoch and to have earned her enduring gratitude and affection.[9] He is one of the land rights campaigners mentioned in her celebrated poem Nuair a chaidh na ceithir ùr oirre.[10] Fraser-Mackintosh was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Inverness Burghs in 1874 and held the seat until the 1885 general election.[11] Initially he was opposed to agrarian unrest, arguing that negative consequences would occur if Scottish Gaels adopted the tactics of the Irish Land League and came to be seen as "discontented and disaffected."[12] Later he changed his mind and was returned as the MP for Inverness-shire for the Crofter's Party in 1885.[13] He was returned unopposed in 1886, but opposing home rule for Ireland,[14] he joined the Liberal Unionist Party, and lost the support of the local Highland Land League. The League backed Liberal Party candidate Donald MacGregor at the 1892 election, who unseated Fraser-Mackintosh.[13] He was then the only Gaelic-speaking member of the Commons and became known as the 'Member for the Highlands'.[1] One of five members of the Napier Commission, set up in 1883, to investigate the crofters' situation; he was the driving force behind the establishment of the Crofters' Commission and for promoting the use of Gaelic in Highland schools. His efforts led to the establishment of a Free Library in Inverness in 1883.[5]

Fraser-Mackintosh died at the age of 72.

Fraser-Mackintosh married Eveline May Holland of Brooklands, Streatham in 1876. His widow left his personal library of over 5000 books and journals to Inverness Burgh library in 1921.[5]


  • Dunachton, past and present (1866)
  • Letters of Two Centuries (1890)
  • The Last Macdonalds of Isla (1895)
  • An account of the confederation of clan Chattan (1898)
  • Antiquarian notes (1897)


  1. ^ a b "Search Results". Am Baile. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b Debretts Guide to the House of Commons 1886
  3. ^ a b The Celtic Magazine: A Monthly Periodical Devoted to the Literature, History, Antiquities, Folk-lore, Traditions, and the Social and Material Interests of the Celt at Home and Abroad. A. & W. Mackenzie. 1884. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Drummondville Stratherrick Road Inverness" (PDF). Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Am Baile Highland History and Culture
  6. ^ a b Antiquarian Notes : a Series of Papers Regarding Families and Places in the Highlands. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  7. ^ Gaelic Society of Inverness Archived 6 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Programme,Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail 2017, Loch Abar(Inverness : An Comunn Gáidhealach. 2017) p210
  9. ^ Ewan A. Cameron, The Life and Times of Fraser-Mackintosh Crofter MP,(Aberdeen:University of Aberdeen,2000),50-51.
  10. ^ Dòmhnall Eachan Meek,Mairi Mhòr nan Oran,(Dùn Eideann :Comann Litreachas Gàidhlig na h-Alba, 1998),186-189
  11. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 551. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
  12. ^ Cameron, Ewen A. Poverty, Protest and Politics: Perceptions of the Scottish Highlands in the 1880s (PDF). p. 226. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  13. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 543. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  14. ^ Cameron, Ewen A. Poverty, Protest and Politics: Perceptions of the Scottish Highlands in the 1880s (PDF). p. 235. Retrieved 13 July 2017.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Aeneas William Mackintosh
Member of Parliament for Inverness Burghs
Succeeded by
Robert Finlay
Preceded by
Donald Cameron
Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire
Succeeded by
Donald MacGregor