Scotland. Sir John McNeill, born 1795, died 1883, was a Scottish surgeon and diplomat. John was born at Oronsay House, Argyll. He was the third of the six sons of John McNeill, laird of Colonsay and Oronsay, born 1767, died 1846, and his wife, Hester née McNeill, and the younger brother of the judge Duncan McNeill, 1st Baron Of Colonsay and Oronsay. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in 1814, at the age of nineteen. In 1845, McNeill was appointed chairman of the Board of Supervision, entrusted with the working of the new Poor Law Scotland Act 1845, a post he occupied for twenty three years. During the Highland Potato Famine, nearly as disastrous as the Irish Potato Famine, he conducted a special inquiry into the condition of the western Scottish Highlands and Western Isles, during which he personally inspected twenty seven of the most distressed parishes. He was co-founder in 1851, with Sir Charles Trevelyan, of the Highland and Island Emigration Society which during the Highland Clearances supported an exodus of nearly 5,000 people to Australia between 1851 and 1856. McNeill married, first, in 1814, Innes, fourth daughter of George Robinson of Clermiston, Midlothian, she died in 1816; second, in 1823, Eliza, third daughter of John Wilson, she died in 1868; third, in 1871, Lady Emma Augusta Campbell, daughter of John Campbell, 7th Duke of Argyll. McNeill was the brother in law, by his 2nd marriage, of the author John Wilson, and, by his 3rd marriage, of George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll. McNeill died at Poralto, Cannes, France, on 17 May 1883. A memorial to his memory lies on the south-east wall of Liberton Cemetery in Edinburgh, at the grave of his third wife, Emma Augusta.
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