Person: Mackenzie, Charles
Charles MacKenzie was a Scottish mathematican who left his Cambridge fellowship to become a bishop in Africa.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Colin MacKenzie was a clerk of session and one of Walter Scott's friends.
- MacKenzie attended a private school before studying at the Edinburgh Academy.
- Its first rector was John Williams (1792-1858) who, after leaving to take the position as Professor of Roman Language and Literature at the University of London in 1828-29, returned as rector of the Edinburgh Academy, having that position when MacKenzie studied there.
- The mathematics master James Gloag (1795-1870) was appointed when the Academy was founded and served for forty years, teaching MacKenzie mathematics.
- He began teaching James Clerk Maxwell and Peter Guthrie Tait the year after MacKenzie left.
- Indeed the Grange fostered MacKenzie's love of mathematics, already flowering though Gloag's teaching at the Edinburgh Academy, and prepared him to study the mathematical tripos at the University of Cambridge.
- Isaac Todhunter was admitted to St John's College at the same time but he was five years older than MacKenzie having already obtained a B.A. from University College London in 1842 and then an M.A. in 1844.
- MacKenzie changed colleges after a year, moving to Gonville and Caius College on 1 May 1845.
- Certainly MacKenzie moved to Gonville and Caius College and in January 1848 graduated as second wrangler in the mathematical tripos, Isaac Todhunter being the senior wrangler.
- MacKenzie was made a fellow of Gonville and Caius College in 1848.
- Mackenzie spoke to him, and took him out, made him swallow some soup, and brought him back to pass his examination.
- The book "Solutions of the Problems and Riders Proposed in the Senate-House Examination for" 1854, was published by W Walton, M.A. of Trinity College, and C F MacKenzie, M.A. of Caius College in 1854.
- We have followed MacKenzie's mathematical career which continued at Cambridge until 1862.
- Haslingfield is a village about 10 km south west of Cambridge so it was not difficult for MacKenzie to carry out his duties as curate at All Saints church in Haslingfield and at the same time act as tutor, examiner and moderator for mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
- In April 1853 Jackson tried to persuade MacKenzie to go to Delhi with him.
- This first desire for missionary work did not lead to his joining Jackson's Delhi Mission, however, but a second request in the following year saw MacKenzie decide on missionary work in Africa.
- When MacKenzie had matriculated at St John's College in 1844, one of the mathematics fellows at the College was John Colenso.
- Colenso asked MacKenzie to become his Archdeacon and, in November of 1854, he offered Colenso his services.
- Arriving in Durban, MacKenzie was the parish priest for the British living there for around eighteen months.
- This was not the only problem, for MacKenzie followed the wishes of Colenso who stressed that God loved every race on earth, and that His aim was to defeat sin rather than to punish those who sinned.
- MacKenzie worked hard in ministering to various settlers and soldiers in a broad area around Durban.
- While MacKenzie had been in South Africa, the Oxford and Cambridge Mission to Central Africa (the Universities Mission) had been set up in England which aimed to provide funds to send six missionaries to Central Africa led by a Bishop.
- At this time MacKenzie was back in Cambridge with over four years of African missionary experience.
- MacKenzie organised the team to contain not only church people but also medical men and agricultural and industrial experts.
- These experts were added to the team since MacKenzie aimed to made every possible effort to stop the slave trade.
- On 1 January 1861 MacKenzie was consecrated as the first Bishop of the Universities Mission in St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa.
- Cape Town had a separate coloured congregation (St Paul's), many of whom were liberated slaves, and MacKenzie preached there and asked for volunteers to join his party.
- MacKenzie had not wanted to try the Rovuma River but Livingstone was keen to explore it.
- MacKenzie felt they wasted time with this failed route and he narrowly escaped being eaten by a crocodile on that river.
- MacKenzie became ill with fever and, with no quinine and Burrup too ill to help him, he died on 31 January 1862 after being unconscious for a week.
- Although MacKenzie died on the Isle of Malo, he was buried on the mainland.
- Burrup, who left a letter giving details of the site of MacKenzie's grave, died on 22 February, three weeks after MacKenzie.
- Charles Mackenzie is commemorated in the Calendar of the Scottish Episcopal Church on 31 January.
Born 10 April 1825, Portmore, Peeblesshire, Scotland. Died 31 January 1862, Malo Island, Shire River, Malawi.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive