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TITLE
Petition presented by Murdoch MacKenzie, p2
EXTERNAL ID
Z_GB232_L_INV_HC_9_16I_02
DATE OF IMAGE
1764
PERIOD
1760s
SOURCE
Highland Archive Centre
ASSET ID
5751
KEYWORDS
court papers
court records
children
Petition presented by Murdoch MacKenzie, p2

This is a page from a petition presented by Mr Murdoch MacKenzie, minister and Moderator of the Kirk Session of Inverness, and Warrant of Imprisonment for Archibald MacPhail, Elspeth MacKay, Alexander Gavin and Anne MacGlashan, servants to Alexander Clark, Tacksman, of Geddes in the County of Nairn granted by Right Honourable Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, one of the Lords Commissioners of Justiciary; dated 26 May 1764 at Inverness.

The alleged crime is that the four defendants brought a baby boy to the house of Phineas Mackintosh, merchant and Dean of Guild in Inverness, and abandoned him there at 2 am on a very frosty night in January. The language emphasises the risk they were taking with the boy's life - "in all humane possibility the child must have died in a very short time" (because of the extreme cold), and then the care taken of him after his discovery - "they directed the Child to be given to a nurse to be cared for and nursed".

The petitioner is described as a minister and Moderator of the Kirk Session of Inverness. "Kirk" is the Scots word for church, but here, with a capital letter, it refers specifically to the Church of Scotland. The Session is the church's governing body. It is responsible for the day-to-day running of the church and for the spiritual well-being of the members. In the 18th century this would have extended to the community at large.
An abandoned child would be a matter for the Kirk Session, partly on the humanitarian grounds that the child had no-one taking responsibility for him, and partly because of the implication that the child is probably illegitimate. The Kirk had a very clear role as a moral guardian


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Petition presented by Murdoch MacKenzie, p2

1760s

court papers; court records; children

Highland Archive Centre

Inverness County Sheriff Court Records

This is a page from a petition presented by Mr Murdoch MacKenzie, minister and Moderator of the Kirk Session of Inverness, and Warrant of Imprisonment for Archibald MacPhail, Elspeth MacKay, Alexander Gavin and Anne MacGlashan, servants to Alexander Clark, Tacksman, of Geddes in the County of Nairn granted by Right Honourable Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, one of the Lords Commissioners of Justiciary; dated 26 May 1764 at Inverness.<br /> <br /> The alleged crime is that the four defendants brought a baby boy to the house of Phineas Mackintosh, merchant and Dean of Guild in Inverness, and abandoned him there at 2 am on a very frosty night in January. The language emphasises the risk they were taking with the boy's life - "in all humane possibility the child must have died in a very short time" (because of the extreme cold), and then the care taken of him after his discovery - "they directed the Child to be given to a nurse to be cared for and nursed".<br /> <br /> The petitioner is described as a minister and Moderator of the Kirk Session of Inverness. "Kirk" is the Scots word for church, but here, with a capital letter, it refers specifically to the Church of Scotland. The Session is the church's governing body. It is responsible for the day-to-day running of the church and for the spiritual well-being of the members. In the 18th century this would have extended to the community at large. <br /> An abandoned child would be a matter for the Kirk Session, partly on the humanitarian grounds that the child had no-one taking responsibility for him, and partly because of the implication that the child is probably illegitimate. The Kirk had a very clear role as a moral guardian <br /> <br /> <br /> For further information about this item and the collection to which it belongs, please <a href="mailto: archives@highlifehighland.com">email</a> the Highland Archive Service