Sir James Mackintosh (24 October 1765 – 30 May 1832) was a Scottish jurist, Whig politician and historian. His studies and sympathies embraced many interests. He was trained as a doctor and barrister, and worked also as a journalist, judge, administrator, professor, philosopher and politician.
Mackintosh was born at Aldourie, 7 miles from Inverness. Both his parents were from old Highland families. His mother died while he was a child, and his father was frequently abroad, so he was brought up by his grandmother, and then schooled at Fortrose Seminary academy. At age thirteen he proclaimed himself a Whig, and during playtime he persuaded his friends to join him in debates modelled on those of the House of Commons.
He went in 1780 to King's College, University of Aberdeen, where he made a lifelong friend of Robert Hall, later a famous preacher. In 1784 he began to study medicine at Edinburgh University. He participated to the full in the intellectual ferment, became friendly with Benjamin Constant, but did not quite neglect his medical studies, and took his degree in 1787.
In 1788 Mackintosh moved to London, then agitated by the trial of Warren Hastings and the first lapse into insanity of George III. He was much more interested in these and other political events than in his professional prospects...
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