The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Chevalier Douglas - a French-Jacobite spy mystery

Chevalier Douglas, Alexandre-Pierre de Mackensie-Douglas, baron de Kildin, was a Scottish Jacobite in French service He was sent on a secret mission to Russia where he was to meet Empress Elizabeth and conspire with the pro-French faction against the Habsburg monarchy.

He was to be accompanied by a young woman, his 'neice', to provide cover for his mission. However, no-one suitable could be found, and so Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d’Éon de Beaumont was enrolled for the mission. His alleged hermaphrodite gender, one of the great curiosities of the eighteenth century fitted him well for the Role. He was disguised as the lady Lea de Beaumont, and served as a maid of honour to the Empress.

d’Éon de Beaumont is usually known as the Chevalier d’Éon, later a French diplomat, who was a spy, Freemason and soldier who fought in the Seven Years’ War.

Alexadre's father, Colin MacKenzie of Kildin, a near relation of the Earl of Seaforth, and a Captain in Fairburn's Regiment at Sheriffmuir in 1715, was himself forced to flee England in February 1747.

Eventually, Chevalier Douglas became French ambassador to Russia.

However, there are mysteries around the story. Activities of spies would not have been accurately recorded, so it is not suprising that there are various versions.

Mystery No: 1 is 'How did a Mackenzie become Chevalier Douglas, and assume the surname Mackenzie-Douglas?

Mystery No: 2 concerns his Jacobite adventures. One version is that he was captured, after Culloden. But this story has similarities with:
• Charles-Joseph Douglas, born in 1720, died without posterity in 1788, and Joseph Douglas, born in 1721, ambassador of France in Russia, died without posterity, attached in their youth to the party of Stuarts, followed in 1745 Prince Edward in Scotland and were taken prisoner at the Battle of Culloden.
• Captain Charles Guillaume Douglas and Captain d'Hortore Douglas, Capitaine dans le regiment de Languedoc and Capitaine dans le regiment de Drummond ou Royal Ecossais (though not necessarily respectively) were prisoners of the '45 at Penrith.

Any clarification would be welcome.

• Spelling 'Alexandre' and 'Mackensie' are taken from a French source.

Views: 252

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of The Douglas Archives to add comments!

Join The Douglas Archives

Comment by William Douglas on September 16, 2020 at 13:59

A couple of follow up points:

• The Douglas of Glenbervie family have McKenzie antecedents

• Bonnie Prince Charlie used Chevalier Douglas as a pseudonym 

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

© 2022   Created by William Douglas.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service