Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/212

This page has been validated.

died, likewise unmarried, on 25 Oct. 1814. Seaforth himself died, heartbroken and paralysed in mind and body, near Edinburgh, 11 Jan. 1815. His widow died in Edinburgh 7 Feb. 1829. The Seaforth title became extinct; the chieftainship passed to Mackenzie of Allengrange; the estates went by act of entail to Seaforth's eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Frederica Mackenzie (1783-1862), who married, first, Admiral Sir Samuel Hood [q. v.]; secondly, the Right Hon. J. Stewart Mackenzie, M.P.,sometime governor of Ceylon, and lord high commissioner of the Ionian Islands. The lady lost her second husband in 1845; but she welcomed to the old home of the Seaforths her father's regiment, the 78th Ross-shire Buffs, on their return from the Indian mutiny, and died at Brahan Castle 28 Nov. 1862.

The history of the last Seaforth was believed to fulfil a prophecy that in the days of a deaf and dumb 'Caber Feidh' the 'giftland' of the house should be sold, and the male line of Seaforth come to an end. The prophecy, dating from the time of Charles II, was said to have been uttered by one Coinneach Odhar, a famous Brahan seer, who was reported to have been put to a cruel death by the Lady Seaforth of the time (Lockhart, Life of Scott, iii. 318-19).

[Taylor's Great Scottish Historic Families, i. 192-9; A. Mackenzie's Hist. of the Clan Mackenzie (Inverness, 1879); Anderson's Scottish Nation, iii. 428-9; Seaforth Papers in North British Rev. lxxviii (1863); Stewart's Scottish Highlanders, vol. ii. under '78th Rossshire Buffs;' Keltie's Hist. Scottish Highlands, ii. 617-18, 687 (with vignette portrait); Schomburgk's Hist. of Barbadoes (London, 1848); Thomas Southey's Chron. Hist. of the WestIndies (London, 1827), vol. iii.;A. Mackenzie's Prophecies of the Brahan Seer (Inverness, 1878), pp. 72-94, `Doom of Seaforth;' Burke's Vicissitudes of Families, i. 169-84, `Fate of Seaforth.']

H. M. C.

HUMBERSTON, THOMAS FREDERICK MACKENZIE (1753?–1783), lieutenant-colonel commandant 78th highland foot, a lineal descendant of the old Scottish earls of Seaforth, whose estates were forfeited in 1715, was eldest son of Major William Mackenzie, who died 12 March 1770, and his wife Mary, who was daughter of Matthew Humberston of Lincolnshire, and died at Hartley, Hertfordshire, 19 Feb. 1813. He was born before 1754. In June 1771 he was gazetted cornet, in the name of Mackenzie, in the 1st king's dragoon guards, in which he became lieutenant in 1775 and captain in 1777. He appears to have assumed his mother's maiden name of Humberston on coming of age. He helped his chief and kinsman, Kenneth Mackenzie, who held the recovered Seaforth estates, and had been created Lord Ardlive, Viscount Fortress, and Earl of Seaforth in the peerage of Ireland, to raise a corps of highlanders, which was brought into the line as the 78th foot, being the second of three highland regiments which successively have borne that number. In after years the regiment was renumbered the 72nd, and is now the 1st Seaforth highlanders. It was officered chiefly from the Caber Feidh or clan Mackenzie, the men being rude clansmen from the western highlands and isles, among whom a wild sept of Macraes was prominent. Humberston was transferred to the regiment as captain in January 1778, and became major in it the year after. He was present with five companies at the repulse of an attempted French landing in St. Ouen's Bay, Jersey, 1 May 1779. In the same year Lord Seaforth, being greatly embarrassed, made over the Seaforth estates to Humberston for a sum of 100,000l. On 5 Aug. 1780 Humberston was appointed lieutenant-colonel commandant of the new 100th foot (the second of six regiments which have borne that number in succession), and on 13 March 1781 embarked with it as part of an expedition under General Medows and Commodore Johnstone, destined for the Cape. While watering in Porto Praya Bay, Cape Verdes, the expedition was attacked by a French naval squadron, which was beaten off after a sharp fight. Humberston, who was on shore, swam off under fire to regain his ship. On reaching the Cape of Good Hope, the garrison was found to have been reinforced, but some Dutch East Indiamen were captured in Saldanha Bay, with which the commodore returned home, leaving the troops to proceed to India under convoy. They touched at the Comoro islands for the sake of their many sick, and thence were carried by the shifting of the monsoon to the coast of Arabia. Thence General Medows, Colonel Fullarton, and the main body of the troops sailed in the direction of Madras. Humberston, with part of two regiments, reached Bombay on 22 Jan. 1782, and six days afterwards likewise sailed for Madras. On the voyage tidings of Hyder Ali's successes caused him to summon a council of war, which decided in favour of making a diversion on the Malabar side of Hyder's dominions. Humberston landed at Calicut with a thousand men, 13 Feb. 1782, and, joining Major Abingdon's sepoys, assumed command as senior officer, and captured several of Hyder's forts. On the approach of the monsoon he returned to Calicut, and concluded a treaty with the rajah of Travancore, who reinforced him with twelve hundred men. In