Charles Mackie (1688-1770)

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(1688-1772) Professor of History, University of Edinburgh

Appointed to the University's first Professor of History in 1719, which he held until he was succeeded by William Wallace in 1753, the advocate Charles Mackie associated it with the field of constitutional law. Mackie had been born in Limekilns, Fife and orphaned early. His father's second wife Margaret being the sister of Principal William Carstares, he was brought up by his uncle, the bookseller John Mackie who bound many books for the College Library. Charles graduated from the College in 1705 before continuing his education at Gröningen (1707-1708) and later completing it at Leyden. As Professor of Constitutional History he taught the young William Robertson who was later to become Principal of the University. Mackie realised the need for a good library as a laboratory for his subject, but had not enough influence in the University to affect the Library. He did, however, bequeath his private collection of 151 historical works by European writers of the 16th to the 18th centuries, which gave Robertson a better base on which to build the Library's collections in history.