Mackay, Charles

BORN 27 Mar 1814, Perth - DIED 24 Dec 1889, London
BIRTH NAME Mackay, Charles Bruce
GRAVE LOCATION London: Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green (132/PS (15647))

Charles Mackay was the son of a lieutenant in the navy. After his mother Amelia Cargill died shortly after his birth he was raised by foster parents. When he was sixteen years old he became private secretary to the ironmaster William Cockerill (1759-1832) in Belgium. During his period he started writing for newspapers. In 1830 he visited Paris and in 1831 he went to Aix-la-Chapelle with Cockerill. In 1832 he returned to England, where he taught Benjamin Lumley Italian. He married Rose Henrietta Vale in 1832 and they had three sons and a daughter. In 1835 he became sub-editor at the "Morning Chronicle", assisting George Hogarth. His competitor for that position was W.M. Thackeray. In 1840 the family moved to 30 Burton Street near Tavistock Square.

In 1841 his "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" became a success. This remarkable book is still in print. In 1844 he left his position at the Morning Chronicle and moved to Scotland, where he became the editor of the "Glasgow Argus". During this time he also contributed to Dickens' "Daily News". In 1846 he published "Voices from the Crowd", a volume of poetry. Some of the poems were set to music by Henry Russel. After the "Glasgow Argus" became involved in political controversy he was dismissed in 1847 and he returned to London. In 1848 he started working for the "London Illustrated News" as political and literary editor and he became its editor in 1852. He visited the USA in the 1850s and during the civil war he worked as a correspondent for "The Times".

In 1853 he separated from his wife, possibly because he was having an affair with their servant Elizabeth Mary Mills. It is possible that she was the mother of his illegitimate daughter, the author Marie Corelli, who was born in 1855. Another possibility is that Marie Corelli was his granddaughter. Mackay wrote that his daughter Rosa died in Italy from a fever at the age of seventeen, but she may have died in childbirth and Marie claimed in later years that she had an Italian father and a Scottish mother. After the death of his first wife in 1859 Mackay married Elizabeth on 27 February 1881. His son Charles (1833-1907) was also an author and his son Erik Mackay (1835-1898) was a poet.

Later in life Charles Mackay published two autobiographical volumes, "Forty Years' Recollections of Life, Literature, and Public Affairs. From 1830 to 1870 " (1877) and "Through the Long Day".

Related persons
• has a connection with Thackeray, William Makepeace


The grave of Charles Mackay at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Jun 2009)


The grave of Charles Mackay at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Jun 2009)


Paths of Glory, The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, London, 1997
Charles Mackay - Wikipedia

Mackay, Fulton

Published: 17 Jul 2009
Last update: 20 Feb 2022