Open main menu

Green, William Kirby Mackenzie (DNB01)

GREEN, Sir WILLIAM KIRBY MACKENZIE (1836–1891), diplomatist, born in 1836 at Nauplia in Greece, was the son of Sir John Green (d. 18 Sept. 1877), consul-general at Bucharest from 1867 to 1874, by his wife Margaret, daughter of George Suter. He was educated abroad and entered the consular service at the age of seventeen. In 1856 he became private secretary to the consul-general for Egypt, and in 1859 became secretary to (Sir) John Drummond Hay [q. v. Suppl.], remaining in the public service in Morocco for several years. He was vice-consul at Tetuan and acting consul at Tangier, and was engaged upon special missions in the court of Morocco at various times during the next ten years. In 1869 he was transferred to Tunis as acting agent and consul-general, and thence was moved to Damascus in 1871 and to Bairfit in 1873. In 1876 he was promoted to be consul at Scutari, and on 6 Jan. 1879 he became consul-general for Montenegro and the vilayet of Scutari. Here during three eventful years he did work which made his name familiar to the public. He consistently maintained the view that the Turkish government, though in urgent need of reform, was not beyond hope, and that the Christian subjects of the Porte were not faultless. He was frequently consulted by government, his opinions appeared in many blue-books, and he was freely attacked by the anti-Turkish party in England. In 1881 he was created C.M.G. in recognition of his services, and on 1 July 1886 he succeeded Sir John Drummond Hay as envoy to Morocco and consul-general at Tangier.

In Tangier Green's knowledge of oriental languages in which he was second only to Sir Richard Burton [q. v. Suppl.] together with his diplomatic ability, gave him great influence with the sultan. He obtained several important concessions from Muley Hassan, among others the establishment of telegraphic communication between Tangier and Gibraltar, which the sultan had refused for the space of twelve years. On 10 Dec. 1890 he started on a special mission to Morocco to obtain from the sultan compensation for the destruction of the factories of the North-West Africa Company by a party of Bedouin Arabs. He was successful in his mission, but died suddenly at Morocco on 25 Feb. 1891. He was buried at Tangier on 8 March. On 21 June 1887 he was created K.C.M.G. He married in 1863 Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Reade. By her he had issue.

[Times, 3, 4, 9, 10, and 14 March 1891 ; Burke's Peerage, 1891.]

E. I. C.