During the reign of Charles II and his brother, writes Tresham Lever, Mackenzie as judge and Lord Advocate at Edinburgh was involved in some highly contentious trials.
'Lift the sneck and draw the bar,
Bluidy Mackenzie, come oot if ye daur.'
So the urchins of Edinburgh used to chant down the vast tomb built for himself by Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh in Grey-friars Kirkyard. George Mackenzie was a member of the ancient Highland House of Mackenzie of Kintail. His grandfather, raised in 1609 to the Scottish peerage of Mackenzie of Kintail, was succeeded by his eldest son who later became first Earl of Seaforth.
By his second wife he had four sons, the youngest of whom married Elizabeth, daughter of Dr Peter Bruce, Principal of St Leonard’s College, St Andrews, and they became the parents of George Mackenzie. The young man was educated at St Andrews and Aberdeen Universities, whence he went to France to study civil law at the University of Bourges.
In due course, he returned to Scotland and in January 1659 was called to the Bar in Edinburgh. After the Restoration, he was readmitted in March 1661. So rapid was his progress that in the same year he was chosen as an advocate for Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll, accused of High Treason.