Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 614
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
BIOGRAPHI GAL SKET.CHES. 46 1 No. cccxxv. MR. ROBERT NACGACHEK, ACCOUNTANT OF EXCISE. HOWth is gentleman should have been designated ‘‘ The Knowing One ” we are at a loss to conjecture. Kay states that the likeness was taken at the request of a person who suggested the title. He was known to be remarkably expert in the use of figures, and it is probable that to his talent for calculation the allusion refers. MR. MACGACHEwNa s born at Gibraltar, where the 21st regiment, or Royal Scots Fusileers, in which his father held a commission, was stationed at the time. Captain Macgachen, of Dalwhat and Marwhirns, in the vicinity of Dumfries, was the representative of a family that had been in possession of these estates for niore than four hundred years ; and his ancestors had long manifested an attachment for the military service of their country. His son, the subject of our notice, was at an early period presented with an ensigncy in the same regiment, but the Captain, having resolved upon devoting him to a mercantile life, would not permit him to accept of it. The latter had previously parted with his estates, and his resolution was probably a good one; but he erred in the mode by which he sought to subvert the family bias for the profession of arms. Instead of being brought up to those habits more essential to the successful prosecution of commercia1 enterprise, young Macgachen was educated at a fashionable boarding-school in the neighbourhood of London, and instructed in all the accomplishments fitted for a nobleman. The consequences of such an oversight soon became apparent in the subsequent career of Mr. Macgachen. Entering into business, he lost, in the course of a few years of fruitless exertion, about ten or twelve thousand pounds which had been left him by his father ; and was eventually compelled to abandon pursuits which he never relished, and for which he was completely disqualified. He was subsequently appointed one of the Accountants of Excise, a situation which he filled with much ability till the period of his death, which took place on the 19th January 1807. Mr. Macgachen married his cousin-german, Miss Nercer, daughter of Archibald Mercer, Esq., wine-merchant, Leith, whose father was one of the Commissaries of Edinburgh. Eg this marriage he had a number of children, of whom only a very few survived. The eldest was a Captain in the 22d Regiment, and George, a member of the Faculty of Advocates.’ A third son, John, was the ’ George so much resembled this etching of his father, that it might serve for a portraiture of both.
Volume 9 Page 615
  Enlarge Enlarge