The character of the archival material that survives from Macintosh’s life, being primarily concerned with business and politics, means that his family—brothers, parents, wife, and children—are something of an absent presence: glimpsed from time to time, but rarely occupying centre stage. The nature of Macintosh’s marriage is long something I have wondered about. It was touched by tragedy, including the death of children, and defined by alternating periods of separation and reconciliation. It was not, however, until this weekend—more than eight years after setting out on the archival trail—that I finally learned the name of Macintosh’s wife: Ann Montague. Having a name means that I have some hope of filling in the details that Macintosh’s correspondence omits.
Although they were never divorced (as far as I can tell), it is evident that William and Ann lived separately for a number of years, both voluntarily and involuntarily. When Ann died, at Francis Street (now Torrington Place) in Bloomsbury, in 1806, Macintosh was in exile in Eisenach and would not have been able to return to London for the funeral. Ann’s death was, however, noted in The Monthly Magazine as one of London’s “distinguished Characters recently deceased”.