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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Mackinlay, The Reverend Dr James (1756-1841)

He was inducted to the second charge of Kilmarnock, that of the Laigh Kirk, on the death of the Rev.John Mutrie in 1785. The living belonged to the Earl of Glencairn. Mackinlay was one of the Auld Licht ministers, and the disappointment of the moderates at his being given the charge was considerable. The earl, himself a moderate, appointed Mackinlay, because he believed the majority of the parishioners wanted an Auld Licht man. Mackinlay's induction inspired 'The Ordination'. It sets forth the vigorous treatment that Mackinlay and his colleagues would mete out to 'Curst 'Common-Sense'':
'This day M'Kinlay takes the flail,
An' he's the boy will blaud her! [slap
He'll clap a shangan on her tail, [stick put on the tail of a dog
An' set the bairns to daud her [bespatter
Wi' dirt this day.'

Burns sent out a number of manuscript copies of this poem, not all of them in his own name, but some of them signed 'Rob Rhymer'.

Mackinlay became a favourite preacher because of his 'fine manner', and received the degree of D.D. from Glasgow University. He was given a dinner, presided over by the Provost of Kilmarnock, on the fiftieth anniversary of his ministry.

According to a newspaper obituary notice, he was a native of Douglas in Lanarkshire. He tutored the family of Sir William Cunningham of Windyhill, through whose influence with the Earl of Glencairn, he ultimately obtained his Kilmarnock charge.

Writing to James Dalrymple of Orangefield from Edinburgh in February 1787, Burns compared the virtues of Glencairn with '... the Wp.full Squire Hugh Logan, or Mass James M'Kindlay'. Said

Burnt:

'At best they are but ill-digested lumps of chaos, only one of them strongly tinged with bituminous particles and sulphureous effluvia.' Fairly obviously, the chemical attributes were meant to refer to the Reverend Mackinlay!

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


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Burns Chess Sets

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