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William Fullarton Lindsay Carnegie

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Captain William Fullarton Lindsay Carnegie (1788-1860)

1837 Lindsay Carnegie, patentee and owner of the stone dressing machine, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]


1861 Obituary [2]

CAPTAIN WILLIAM FULLARTON LINDSAY CARNEGIE, R.A., of Spynie and Boysack, was the second Son of Mr. James Lindsay Carnegie, of Boysack, in Forfarshire, and the representative of an ancient Scotch family.

The subject of this Memoir was born in Edinburgh, on the 13th of May, 1788.

His education was conducted at home, by a private tutor, until his thirteenth year, when he attended public classes in the University of St. Andrews.

Having made choice of the army for his future profession, he was placed in a preparatory military academy at Shooter’s Hill, near London, whence he proceeded to Woolwich, where, in 1804, he received his commission in the Royal Artillery, after the unusually short probation of six months. He was immediately sent on detachment to the Island of Jamaica, where he remained for three years, and then returned home invalided.

After being some time at head-quarters, at Woolwich, he was ordered on active service, and was sent, in 1808, to join the British army in the Peninsula, where he served under the future Duke of Wellington, during the ensuing campaigns, both in Spain and in Portugal. The War Office regulations precluded him from accepting an appointment on the staff of his relative Sir Thomas Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, and being again ordered to the West Indies, he was despatched to Santa Cruz about the year 1811. He had by this time attained the rank of Captain in the Royal Artillery ; and in the year 1814, by the death of his elder Brother, Captain James Lindsay Carnegie, &N., he succeeded to the family estates, when he assumed the surname of Carnegie, under the tenure by which he inherited the estate of Boysack, he having hitherto been known as Captain Lindsay.

In the following year, he returned home, and soon afterwards he left the army, spending several of the succeeding years in foreign travel.

In December, 1820, he married Lady Jane Christian Carnegie, daughter of the late Earl of Northesk, and settled on his estates in Forfarshire, where he continued to reside, without any lengthened absence, during the remainder of his long and most useful life.

Captain Carnegie was a man of a vigorous and enlightened mind, and was remarkable alike for his talents and his acquirements. He delighted in scientific pursuits, and he was an energetic promoter of all works of public utility. At the time he settled in the country, he was at an age and in a situation peculiarly favourable for the exercise of his talents, and the manifestation of his public spirit ; and the impulses of his example and his energy soon became widely felt. He entered with ardour into agricultural pursuits, devoting his attention to improvements in every branch of farming. He opened pavement quarries on his property of Leysmill and Border, which, by the application of machinery and mechanical contrivances, were worked by him on a considerable scale. It was in the course of these experiments, that a stone-planing machine was invented by Mr. James Hunter, the superintending manager of the quarries, and Captain Carnegie is entitled to the praise of having mainly contributed to bring it into its present perfect state.

Captain Carnegie devoted much time to geological researches, and for many years he annually gave a number of prizes to be competed for by the men employed in his quarries, for specimens of petrifactions and remains discovered in the workings, by which means he was enabled to present to the public collections, many rare specimens illustrative of the geology of the district. He became an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1837 ; he was also a Member of other scientific bodies, and he was an occasional contributor to their Transactions. He had always taken great interest in the inventions of Mr. George Stephenson, and he had carefully watched the progress of the improvements in the locomotive engine.

He was present at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and returning home thoroughly impressed, by what he then witnessed, with the vast importance of the new means of transit, he strenuously exerted himself to introduce it into his own county.

He employed, on his own responsibility, the late [Thomas Grainger|Mr. Thomas Grainger]], to survey a line of railway from the harbour of Arbroath, through the valleys of the Brothock and the Lunan to the county town of Forfar; and ultimately, by his perseverance and influence, a company was formed, and an Act of Parliament was obtained, for the construction of the Arbroath and Forfar Railway. He also took a leading part in promoting the Dundee and Arbroath Railway, to connect those manufacturing and populous towns. These two railways, which were sanctioned by Parliament in 1836, were the first locomotive lines for public traffic north of the Tweed. Captain Carnegie was an active Director of both Companies, and he was the first, Chairman of the Arbroath and Forfar Railway Company, which office he continued to hold to the close of his life.

He was a Liberal in politics, and an advocate of the principles of free trade, having in early life devoted much time to the study of the works of Adam Smith, and become impressed with his doctrines upon political economy. In these views, Captain Carnegie stood, for a long series of years, almost alone amongst the landed proprietors in his district, but he lived to see them adopted and carried out by his former opponents. He naturally took an active part in the great anti-corn-law movement, and in the discussions and agitation that preceded the settlement of the question.

There have been few men in a private station, who have more completely identified themselves with the discoveries and inventions that have made the last half-century so remarkable in the history of the world. In his own locality, every work of public utility, or that was calculated to promote the local industry and welfare of the population within the sphere of his influence, had his support and encouragement. One of his cherished schemes was the improvement of the sea fishing on the coast, near his residence. He tried anxiously to rouse the hardy race who inhabit the neighbouring fishing villages, to take advantage of the use of trawl boats and nets, a mode of fishing which they never practised, and the neglect of which prevented them, except on rare occasions, from catching turbot and other valuable fish. Although he himself set them an example, his efforts were not followed by the success they deserved. He was so earnest in his purpose, that when on a visit to Kent, in 1846, he endeavoured to prevail upon some of the fishermen at Folkestone, to settle on the Forfarshire coast, and to introduce their mode of trawling.

Captain Carnegie was, for several years, Convener of the County of Forfar, but he retired from that office, when he found his health failing. He was afterwards appointed Vice-Lieutenant for Forfarshire, an office which he held till his death, which took place at his seat of Kinblethmont, on the 13th of March, 1860. A long life, devoted to what he conceived to be the best interests of all with whom he was connected, had insured for him universal esteem and respect.


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