Clan MacLennan PeopleJohn Ferguson McLennan (1827 – 1881)
Scottish ethnologist, born at Inverness. He studied at King’s College, Aberdeen, where he graduated with distinction in 1849, thence proceeding to Cambridge, where he remained till 1855. He was called to the Scottish bar in 1857, and in 1871 was appointed parliamentary draughtsman for Scotland.
In 1865 he published Primitive Marriage, in which, arguing from the prevalence of the symbolical form of capture in the marriage ceremonies of primitive races, he developed an intelligible picture of the growth of the marriage relation and of systems of kinship according to natural laws. In 1866 he wrote in the Fortnightly Review an essay on Kinship in Ancient Greece, in which he proposed to test by early Greeli facts the theory of the history of kinship set forth in Primitive Marriage; and three years later appeared a series of essays on Totemism in the same periodical for 1869-1870, which mark the second great step in his systematic study of early society.
A reprint of Primitive Marriage, with Kinship in Ancient Greece and some other essays not previously published, ap peared in 1876, under the title of Studies in Ancient History. The new essays in this volume were mostly critical, but one of them, in which perhaps his guessing talent is seen at its best The Divisions of the Irish Family, is an elaborate discussion of a problem which has long puzzled both Celtic scholars and jurists; and in another, On the Classificatory System of Relationship, he propounded a new explanation of a series of facts which, he thought, might throw light upon the early history of society, at the same time putting to the test of those facts the theories he had set forth in Primitive Marriage. A Paper on The Levirate and Polyandry, following up the line of his previous investigations, were the last work he was able to publish. He died of consumption on the 14th of June 1881 at Hayes Common, Kent.
Besides the works already cited, McLennan wrote a Life of Thomas Drummond. The vast materials which he had accumulated on kinship were edited by his widow and Arthur Platt, under the title Studies in Ancient history: Second Series.
Scottish Liberal Democrat life peer. He was the last leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), serving during the negotiations that led to its merger with the Liberal Party in 1988. He then became joint interim leader of the new party, known as the Social and Liberal Democrats (SLD) before later becoming the Liberal Democrats.
Maclennan was educated at Glasgow Academy, Balliol College, Oxford, Trinity College, Cambridge and Columbia University, New York City. He became Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Caithness and Sutherland in 1966, and serving until 1997; and for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross after boundary changes, from 1997 to 2001.
He was first elected as a member of the Labour Party and served as a junior minister in the Labour government of 1974-1979, but in 1981 defected to become a founder member of the SDP. He was one of the few SDP MPs to keep their seats in the 1983 general election. After his stint as SDP Leader in 1988, he served as a front bench spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, and as their president from 1994 until 1998. He is now the party’s spokesman on Europe in the House of Lords.