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ing a total force of eight thousand men now in arms, under the command of a leader who had passed most of his life in prison, deprived of all power and influence. It cannot be doubted that many of the Islanders acted on this occasion from a fouling of attachment to the representative of the family of the Isles, as well as from a deep-rooted hostility to the house of Argyle. But it is equally clear—and unfortunately harmonises too well with the venil conduct of many of the Scottish nobility of the period to admit of question—that English gold must have had a great eflect in producing unanimity among tribes so many of which were at deadly feud.*
"From Knockfei'gus the plenipotentiaries of the Island Lord proceeded to the English Court, bearing letters of recommendation from their master, both to the King and Privy Council. By the last of these letters it appears that the Lord of the Isles (Donald Dubh) had already received from Henry the sum of one thousand crowns, and the promise of an annual pension of two thousand. After certain articles proposed by the Islesmen, together with their oatli of allegiance, had been given in by the Commissioners to the Privy Council, and the opinion of the Earl of Lennox had been taken as to the best mode of proceeding, the following conditions were agreed to on the 4th of September :—The pension of the two thousand crowns was confirmed to the Lord of the Isles by letters patent, and Henry engaged that that nobleman and his followers should be included in any treaty made between England and Scotland. On the other hand, the Lord of the Isles became bound, with all his adherents, to serve the King of England truly and faithfully, to the annoyance of the Regent of Scotland and his partisans. Ho engaged to make no agreement with the Earls of Huntly or Argyle, or with any of the Scots, to the prejudice of tho King of England; but, on the contrary, to continue steadfast in his opposition to them and in his allegiance to Henry. It was arranged that the Earl of Lennox, with a body of two thousand Irish, under the Earl of Ormond and Ossory, should lead an expedition against Scotland from the west, in which he was to be assisted by the Lord of the Isles with eight thousand men. As long as Lennox should remain in the country of the Earl of Argyle, the whole eight thousand men were to be placed at his disposal; but, in the event of his proceeding to another part of Scotland—and a march to Stirling was seriously contemplated—it was provided that only six thousand of the Islanders should follow him, while the remaining two thousand should be employed in occupying the attention of the Earl of Argyla Lastly, three thousand of the Islesmen were to receive pay from the King of England for two months.
"In conformity with these arrangements, instructions were given to the Earl of Ormond to levy two thousand Irish foot for the expedition against Scotland, and the other necessary preparations for an armament of such importance were actively carried on by the Irish Privy Council. But at this moment the Earl of Hertford, who was about to invade Scotland from the Border, required the presence of Lennox in his camp; and
* Anderson in his MS. History of Scotland, says that the Islesmen elected Donald for their Lord, as being the chiefest and nearest of blood; and adds, that, besides a pension from the King of England, he was to receive "certaine rich apparel of cloth of gold and silver from the said Earl" of Lennox.—II., p. 47.
the •western invasion was necessarily postponed till the termination of the campaign. This delay caused, in the end, the total failure of tho expedition. The Lord of the Isles, after waiting for some time in vain, expecting the arrival of Lennox, and naturally anxious about the safety of the vassels he had left behind, returned with his forces to Scotland. Meantime, dissensions had arisen among his barons as to the division of the English pay received for three thousand of their men, and their quarrels ran so high that the army seems to have be broken up, whilst the chiefs retired each to his own castle."*
Donald Dubh again returned to Ireland with Lennox, where, according to the Macvurich MS., he went "to raise men; but he died on his way to Dublin, at Drogheda, of a fever, without issue, either sons or daughters." Documents in the State Paper Office prove, however, that he left " one bastard son," whom, Gregory informs us, Donald Dubh "in his dying moments commended to the care of the King of England; but it does not appear that any claim was made on behalf of this individual to the succession." Thus ended the unfortunate career of this remarkable Island Lord, who, whether legitimate by birth or not, was recognised by all the vassals of the Lordship of the Isles as their natural and legitimate leader.
On the death of Donald Dubh in 1545 no other possible claimant (except his own bastard son), legitimate or illegitimate, remained to come between the Macdonalds of Sleat and the representation of tho last line of the Earls of Ross and Lords of the Isles; but they were, at the time, "almost deprived of power." It has been already seen that their chief was at this period a minor, while "the title of the family to their estates was disputed by the Macleods of Harris," who did not fail to revive their claims at a period when they thought their chance of success in enforcing it had materially improved. The comparatively humble position of the house of Sleat at this period may be inferred from the fact that the Islanders, after the death of Donald Dubh, made choice of James Macdonald .of Isla as their leader, a chief whose pretentions to the Lordship of the Isles were certainly far inferior to those of Donald Gorm of Sleat; but his greater power as an individual soon outweighed the higher and more legitimate claims of tho Chief of Sleat. He was, however, opposed by many of those who were the stoutest supporters of Donald Dubh—such as the Macleans (with the exception of Allan Maclean of Gigha and Torloisk, better known as "Alein na'n Sop ") the Macleods, the Macneills of Barra, the Mackinnons, and the Macquavries; all of whom acted independently, and sought with success to effect their own reconciliation with the Regent. It is certainly curious to find this chief, James Macdonald of Isla, who had hitherto opposed all the other Island Lords in their opposition to the Scottish Regent, now becoming their leader and placing himself at their head against tho Government which he had all through, single-handed, among the chiefs, continued to support. Gregory, however, naively suggests that his patriotism "evaporated on his nerceiving a possibility of obtaining the pension of two thousand crowns promised to his predecessor," Donald Dubh, by the English; while tho author of "The Macdonnells of Antrim" says that the choice "was indeed remarkable, as
* Highlands and Isles, p. 170-174.
he had strenuously opposed the whole movement of his brother chieftains in favour of Donald Dhu. They, nevertheless, elected him Lord of the Isles, which may have heen done, principally, to detach him from the Eegent's service; and it seems to have had that effect, at least for a time." The same authority proceeds to say that "on the 10th of February 1546, a messenger appeared in Dublin, bringing a letter from James Macdonnell, which announced his appointment, and contained proposals for the consideration of the Privy Council." The document, which, under the circumstances, must be regarded as a curious and somewhat extraordinary communication, is (modernised in spelling) as follows:—
"At Ardnamurchan, the 24th day of January, the year of God, one thousand five hundred and forty-six. "We, James Macdonald of Dunyveg and the Glens, and apparent heir of the Isles, grants us to send a special letter directed from your Lordship to our kinsmen and allies, thinking the effect and form of their promises to the King of the Inlands' Majesty, to fortify and supply our noble cousin, Matthew, Earl of Lennox. Wherefore we exhort and press your Lordship, my Lord-Depute of Ireland, with the well advised Council of Dublin, to show in our behalf, and explain to the King's Majesty, that we are ready, after our extreme power, our kinsmen and allies—namely, our cousin, Allan Maclean of Gigha, Clanranald, Clanchameron, Clanian, and our own surnamo, both north and south, to take part with the Earl of Lennox, or any whomsoever the King's Majesty pleases, to have authorised or constituted by his grace, in Scotland; loyally and truly the foresaid King's Majesty sending part of power to us, in company with the said Earl of Lennox, in one honest army to the Isle of Sanda, beside Kintyre, on Saint Patrick's Day next to come, or thereby, 'athowe' the said most excellent Prince giveth to us his Majesty's reward and succour, bond conforming and equivalent to his Grace's bond made to our 'cheyf maister, Donald Lord Yllis, qhowm God asolzeit,' who died in his Grace's service; this being accepted, promised, and admitted, we require two or three ships to be sent to us, to be at an 'expremit' place, with this bearer, Hector Donaldsone. being pilot to the same, twenty days' (notice) before the army comes, that we might be 'fornest' and gathered against the coming of the said army, to whom please your Lordship will give firm credence in our behalf. And for keeping and observing of these present promises, desiring suchlike to be sent to us with the said ships, we have affixed our proper seal to the same, with our subscription manual, the day, year, and place above 'expremit.'
(Signed) "james Mcconil of Dunnewaik and Glenis."
To this document the English King made no reply, his attention being now, no doubt, taken up with the events which led up the Eeformation in Scotland, and the plots for getting rid of Cardinal Beaton, who opposed it as well as the English attempt to force on a marriage between Prince Edward, son of Henry VIII., and the young Queen of Scots, and who soon fell a victim to his efforts, for he was assassinated on the 28th of May 1546 in the Castle of St Andrews. James Macdonald soon dropped his newly assumed title of Lord of the Isles, became once more a patriotic Scot, finally got into favour with the Eegent, and remained a loyal subject of the Scottish Crown as long as he lived.
Various feuds continued among the Islandera during the next forty years, but we find little or no notice of the doings of the Macdonalds of Sleat and their chief. In June 1554, the Earls of Huntly and Argyll were ordered to proceed, by land and sea, "to the utter extermination of the Clanranald, of Donald Gormeson (the heir of Sleat), and of Macleod of Lewis, and their associates, who had failed to present hostages for their good conduct."* They, however, met with little success. In 1565 the Earl of Argyll took part in the rebellion of the Duke of Chatelherault and the Earl of Murray, which took its rise in the opposition to the marriage of Queen Mary with Lord Darnley. Among the western chiefs who were summoned to meet the Earl of Athole in Lorn, on the 20th of September of that year, commanding the royal army against the rebels, we find Ruari Macleod of Lewis, Tormod Macleod of Harris, Donald Gormeson of Sleat, and Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail. The rebels, however, took flight to the Lowlands and their leaders to England, so that it was found unnecessary to lead Athole's followers to the district of Lorn. The grasping Argyll, who had shortly after been pardoned, soon found means to extend his influence again over the Macdonalds of Skye and North Uist, in the crafty manner so characteristic of his house. At present, however, wo must refer the reader for more detailed particulars to Grogory.t
Those who have perused the past volumes of the Celtic Magazine and "The History of the Mackenzies," need not here be told of the terrible feuds and carnage which took place between the Macleods of Lewis and the Mackenzies of Kintail from this period until the former were finally almost exterminated, and their island principality acquired by the Mackenzies. In these struggles the Macdonalds of Sleat at first took part with the Macleods of Lewis, the result being that their territories in Skye were often ravaged and plundered by the Mackenzies. The violent proceedings of the two clans attained to such a pitch that they commanded the attention of the Government, and on the 1st of August 15C9, a Decree-Arbitral by the Regent, Earl of Murray, was entered into at Perth, between Donald Gormeson Macdonald of Sleat and Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, which is couched, after the usual preamble, in the following terms, the spelling being here modernised:—
"The variances, controversies, debates, depradations, incursions, slaughters, herschips, and all others committed, and standing in question betwixt DonaldGormesoun of Skye, his friends, servants, tenants, and dependants, on the one part; and Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, .John Mackenzie of Gairloch, and the remanent, his kin, friends, servants, and dependants, on the other part; being referred and compromised in the person of the noble and mighty Lord, James Earl of Murray, Lord Abernethy, Regent to our Sovereign Lord, his realm, and lieges, personally accepting the same in presence of the said parties, his Grace having certain of the Secret Council present with him, and at length advising and consulting about the enormities and offences committed by either of them, and willing to reduce the said parties to their pristine amity, friendship and kindness, both for their own weal and the common weal and public 'commoditie' of the country and our Sovereign Lord's lieges thereabout, evil-handled and
* Gregory, p. 183. Rwj. of Privy Seal, xxvi., fo. 57. t Highlands and Isles, pp. 203-207.
oppressed. Decerns, decrees, delivers, and for final sentence and bond arbitral pronounces: That either of the said parties, taking the burden upon them for their kin, friends, servants, and partakers, shall forgive, bury, extinguish, and forget all manner of slaughters, herschips, spuilzies, depredations, lire-raisings, damages, injuries, and destructions committed by them or any of their causing and command in any times bygone before the date hereof: Like as either of the said parties by these presents consents thereto, allows and confirms the same, and shall enter' into reconciliation, friendship, and amity each one with the other, remain and abide therein in all time coming, according to the duty of God's servants and their Prince's dutiful subjects, laws of God and man: And in special decerns and ordains the said Donald to cause Rortj Mac Allan, alias Nimhneaeh, and all others, the said Donald's kin, &c, to desist and cease from all troubling, molesting, harming, or invasion, of the said Laird of Gairloch's lands, 'rowmes,' possessions, tenants, servants, and goods, in any time coming, and suffer him and them peaceably to 'brouke' and enjoy the same in all time coming, as their heritage at their pleasure, and upon the same part in case the said Rory Nimhneaeh will not obey, stand, and abide by this decreet, the said Donald shall, like as, in that case he by these presents discharges himself of the said Rory, and (will) neither support, aid, nor give him any manner of maintenance, nor suffer any of his friends, servants, tenants, lands or bounds, receive or give him help or residence of any sort, but expel and hold him off the same, and invade and pursue him to the uttermost, as they shall answer to my Lord Regent's grace, upon their duty and obedience: And, on the other part, decerns and ordains Colin Mackenzie of Kintail to cause Torquil Macleod, alias Connanach, and all others, his friends, servants, and part-takers, to desist and cease from troubling, harming, molesting, or invasion of the said Donald Gormesoun, his lands, &c, in any time coming, and suffer him peaceably to 'brouke,' enjoy, and use the same in all times coming, as his heritage and kindly 'rowmes,' conform to his rights and titles thereof; and in case the said Torquil Macleod refuse [obligation by Mackenzie the same, mutatis mutandis, as that given by Donald Gormesoun regarding Rory Nimhneaeh]. And Attour in case any slaughters, murders, or herschips, be committed by any of the said parties' friends, tenants, and dependants, without the said parties'own advice or command, in that case the party aggrieved shall complain to the other, and desire reformation, assessment, and amends, and if ho refuses, shall not seek satisfaction by his own force and power, but seek the same by the ordinary course of justice and law of this realm: "Whereunto either paHy by these presents, as they are in duty obliged, restricts them, excluding and discharging all other means and ways of revenge and amends-taking: And in case, as God forbid, any of the said parties, their friends, servants, tenants, and dependants fail therein, or does anything contrary hereof; in that case my Lord Regent's Grace wills and pronounces him to be a plain and open enomy to the party failing, and will defend, assist, and maintain the party aggrieved to his uttermost: And also declares in that case, all herschips, crimes, slaughters, fire-raisings, and other offences above discharged and taken away by this present compromise, shall be again wakened and restored in the same place they were before the making hereof, to be pursued and followed by the party offended, such like, and in the same manner and conditions, in