John Mackintosh’s oblong memorial has ecclesiastical-style side panels with the Greek text at the west end. The inscription on the top reads:
ERECTED BY HIS COMPANIONS AND FRIENDS TO THE MEMORY OF JOHN MACKINTOSH YOUNGEST SON OF THE LATE WILLIAM MACKINTOSH OF GEDDES BORN 9TH JANUARY 1822 DIED AT CANNSTADT IN GERMANY 11TH MARCH 1851 AND BURIED BY HIS DYING REQUEST NEAR THE GRAVE OF CHALMERS HIS REVERED INSTRUCTOR
“An example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
The west side of the monument records his mother: Jane Jollie Mackintosh, 28 December 1792 – 29 October 1878, and under the Greek on the west side her sister, Christian Jollie, died 30 June 1874.
Τὸ ζῇν Χριστὸς τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος
To zēn Christos to apothanein kerdos
“Living is Christ, dying is gain.”
Source: Apostle Paul in Philippians: I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:20-21)
John Mackintosh was the youngest son of William Mackintosh of Geddes near Elgin, and Jane Jollie, daughter of James Jollie. James Jollie was a well-known Writer to the Signet, whose portrait was sketched by the celebrated artist John Kay, and who was one of three trustees who participated in 1826 in a trust to enable Sir Walter Scott to pay his creditors [John Buchan, Sir Walter Scott (House of Stratus, 2008), p. 288].
John Mackintosh was a brilliant scholar. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy where he was dux of the whole school in 1837. He continued a distinguished academic career studying Latin and Greek at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cambridge universities before enrolling at New College to study for the ministry in the Free Church of Scotland.
He decided, first, to study on the Continent, and spent nine months in Geneva (1848-49) before moving on to Italy (1849-50) and then Germany (1850-51). While walking from Naples to Rome “he ruptured a blood vessel in his lungs”. His doctor advised going to Germany to “escape the hot season”, so he settled to study in Tübingen. He was joined by his mother and sister when they heard he was ill. He moved to nearby Cannstadt near Stuttgart where it was thought that the climate would suit him better. However, he died on 11 March 1851. His last request was to be buried beside Dr Chalmers, under whose guidance he had worked in Edinburgh. He was buried in the Grange Cemetery close to Chalmers on 9 April 1851.
His friend and biographer the Rev. Norman Macleod, produced a 400-page book about Mackintosh’s life, drawing on John’s diary and on numerous letters from John Mackintosh to others, and from others about him. It gives a fascinating variety of detail on religious attitudes, social life, travel and exploration in the 1840s both in Britain and on the continent. [The Earnest Student; being Memorials of John Mackintosh by the Rev Norman Macleod, minister of the Barony Parish Glasgow (Edinburgh, 1854); available free on-line: https://archive.org/details/earneststudent00macl/page/n8]
John Mackintosh’s aim to return to Scotland, well-prepared to serve as a minister in the Free Kirk, was not fulfilled. Ironically, but he would have said providentially, by his early death his planned mission and dedication became more widely known than it might have been had he lived – Norman Macleod’s biography of him ran to at least twenty editions.
(Source – Ian McHaffie, Greek Secrets Revealed – Hidden Scottish History Uncovered – Book 1 – Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 2019, ISBN 978-0-9525026-3-0))