Sir James Mackintosh

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Mackintosh, Sir James (1765–1832). Scottish philosopher, historian, lawyer, and politician. A man of many talents, Mackintosh read philosophy at Aberdeen University, qualified in medicine at Edinburgh in 1787, and was called to the bar in London in 1795. He contributed to literary journals, and wrote a celebrated critique of Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, entitled Vindiciae Gallicae (1791)—which however he subsequently regretted. Mackintosh became recorder of Bombay in 1804, a post which carried a knighthood, and he returned to England to take up a parliamentary seat in 1813, speaking in defence of civil liberty against the authoritarian policies introduced by the post-war Tory administration. He also became professor of law and general politics at Haileybury (1818–24). His main writings were Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy and History of England from Earliest Times, both published in 1830.

Tim S. Gray