MACKAY, Hon. George (c.1715-82), of Skibo, Sutherland.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1747 - 1761

Family and Education

b. c.1715, 3rd s. of George Mackay, 3rd Lord Reay [S], by his 3rd w. Mary, da. of John Doull (or Dowell) of Thuster, Caithness. educ. ?Aberdeen Univ. M.A. 1730; adv. 1737. m. 13 Dec. 1766, Anne, da. of Eric Sutherland, o.s. of the attainted 3rd Lord Duffus [S], 5s. 4da. (his 2nd and 3rd sons suc. as 7th and 8th Lord Reay[S]).

Offices Held

Capt. independent co. of Ft. 1745; capt. Lord Loudoun’s Ft. 1746; ret. 1748.

Master of the mint [S] 1756.


In 1741 Mackay stood unsuccessfully for Sutherland against General James St. Clair, who was supported by his nephew, the Earl of Sutherland. In 1745, under the threat of rebellion, his father made proposals to the Earl of Sutherland for a bond of friendship. In formal documents signed at Tongue and Dunrobin in July 1745 they pledged themselves to bury all differences ‘in everlasting oblivion’, to unite in the King’s cause, and to act ‘in mutual concert’ in all future parliamentary elections.1

During the rebellion Mackay, as captain of an independent company raised by his father, distinguished himself in March 1746 in the action near Tongue, resulting in the capture of recently landed French money, for which he obtained a regular commission2 with Pelham’s assistance. In 1747, prompted by his father, he obtained ‘the ministry’s approbation’ of his candidature for Sutherland. St. Clair agreed to withdraw, but subsequently, joined by Sir John Gordon and supported by the Sutherland interest, ‘contrary to concert’ stood against Mackay, who complained to Pelham: ‘I submit to you if it was fair’. When, however, Mackay was returned, Argyll wrote to Pelham: ‘I fear in point of right he has the wrong end of the string’.3 In Newcastle’s secret service accounts for 1754-6 he is shown as receiving a secret service pension of £300 a year which may have been a continuation of his father’s pension.4

He died 25 June 1782.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Angus Mackay, Bk. of Mackay, 186-7, 450-3.
  • 2. More Culloden Pprs. iv. 66, 91; Bk. of Mackay, 190; Reay to Pelham, 1 Aug. 1747, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 3. Reay to Pelham, 17 June, 1 Aug. 1747; Argyll to Pelham, 23 July, 6 Aug. 1747; G. Mackay to Pelham, 31 July 1747, ibid.
  • 4. Namier, Structure, 217, 220; HMC Polwarth, v. 110-12.