Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

at this period that neither Donald Gorm nor any of the other leading Island chiefs could be depended upon to proceed against their clansmen of Isla and the South Isles, had they been requested to do so. Indeed several of their leading vassals were in the ranks of the rebellious Chief of Isla. This rebellion was, however, after considerable difficulty crushed, and in 1616 the leading Island chiefs had again to appear in Edinburgh and bind themselves mutually, as securities for each other, to the observance of very severe and humiliating conditions, one of these being that they would appear annually before the Privy Council on the 10th of July and oftener if required, and another, that they should exhibit annually a certain number of their kinsmen out of a larger list named by the Council. Their households were to be reduced to a small number of gentlemen followers. They were not allowed to carry pistols or hackbuts except on the King's service, and none but the chiefs and the gentlemen of their households were to wear swords or armour, or any weapons whatever. They were bound to reside at certain stated places, and had to build without delay "civil and comlie" houses, or repair their decayed residences, and to have "policie and planting" about them; and to take mains or home-farms into their own hands, which they were to cultivate "to the effect they might be thereby exercised and eschew idleness." The rest of their lands they must let to tenants at fixed rents. No single chief was to have more than one birlinn or galley of sixteen or eighteen oars, and, after providing for the education of their children in the Lowlands, the quantity of wine to be used in their houses was declared and very much restricted from what they had been in the habit of using, and none of their tenants were to be permitted by them to buy or drink any wine. Immediately after and in support of these conditions the Privy Council passed a very strict general Act against excessive drinking, because, as it was declared in the preamble, " the great and extraordinary excesse in drinking of wyne, commonlie usit among the commonis and tenantis of the Ylis, is not only ane occasioun of the beastlie and barbarous cruelties and inhumanities that fallis oute amongis thame, to the offens and displeasour of God, and contempt of law and justice; but with that it drawis nomberi8 of thame to miserable necessitie and povartie, sua that they are constraynit quhen thay want from awne, to tak from thair nichtbours."

Donald Gorm was very unwell and unable to accompany the other Island lords to Edinburgh, but he ratified all their proceedings, agreed to the conditions, and furnished the necessary securities by a bond dated in August 1616. He named Duntulm as his residence, where he was allowed six household gentlemen and an annual consumption of four tuns of wine, while he had to exhibit three of his principal kinsmen annually to the Privy Conncil. The haughty Lords were afterwards, having petitioned the King, with some of their nearest relations, allowed by license to use fire-arms, for their own sport, within a mile of their residences.

Donald Gorm Mor Macdonald married, first, Margaret, daughter of Tormod Macleod of Harris and Dunvegan, and Xlllth Baron of that Hk, from whom he was afterwards divorced as already described. He married, secondly, Mary, daughter of Colin Cam Mackenzie, Xlth Baron, and sister of Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail; but dying without issue in December 1616 he was succeeded by his nephew, the son of his brother Archibald, by his marriage with Margaret, daughter of Angus Macdonald of Isla and the Glynns in Ireland, and ancestor of the Earls of Antrim,

XVII. Sir Donald Macdonald, eighth Baron and first Baronet of Sleat. On the 6th of May 1G17 he was served heir to his uncle, Donald Gorni Og, in the lands of Sleat, North Uist, Skerdhoug, Benbecula, Gergriminish, Skolpick, Griuiinish, Tallow-Martin, Orrousay, Mainlies, and the Island of Gilligarry, all in the Lordship of the Isles. In July of the same year he, with Sir Donald Mac Allan Mhic Ian, Captain of Clanranald, and other chiefs, appeared before the Privy Council, and he continued to do so regularly, in terms of his engagement, for some time thereafter. In 1622 Donald Macdonald of Sleat, Sir Roderick Macleod of Harris, John Macdonald, Captain of Clanranald, and son of Sir Donald MacAllan, among others, appeared as usual before the Privy Council, on which occasion several Acts of importance to the Isles were enacted. They became bound "to buildo and repaire thair Paroche Kirkis at the Sicht of the Bishope of the Ilis."* Masters of ships were prohibited from importing more wine into the Isles than the quantity allowed to the Chiefs and their leading vassals by the Act of 1617, already described. The reason given in the preamble for this protective measure is, that one of the causes which retarded the civilization of the Isles was the great quantity of wine imported yearly, "with the insatiable desyre quhairof the said Islanders are so far possest, that, when thair arryvis any schip or other veschell there with wines, they spend both dayes and nights in their excesse of drinking sa lang as thair is anie of the wyne left; sua that, being overcome with drink, thair fallis oute many inconvenientis amangis thame, to the breck of his Majesty's peace." By the same Act Donald Gorm, Clanranald, and Mackicnon, were prohibited, under heavy penalties, from interfering, or in any way molesting, those engaged in the fishings throughout the Isles.

Donald Gonn Og was a steady loyalist, and, according to Douglas's Baronage, "was a man of singular integrity and merit, a firm and steady friend of that unfortunate prince," King Charles the First, by whom he was highly favoured and esteemed.

In 1625 he was, by that monarch, created a Baronet of Nova Scotia, by patent, dated 14th of July, which contained a clause "that he and his heirs male and assigns should have precedency before Sir William Douglas of Glenbervy, Sir Alexander Strachan of Thorntown, and Sir David Livingstone of Dunipace, by which he became the next baronet to Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, and the second of that order in the kingdom of Scotland." When the civil war broke out in Scotland, in 1639, Charles was so anxious to secure the assistance and influence of the Chief of Sleat, that he wrote him a letter from his camp at Berwick, dated the 11th of June in that year, wherein he promised him "the lands of Ponard, Ardnamurchan, and Strathardill, the Islands of Roume, Muck, and Cannay, which were to accrue to him by the forfeiture of the Earl of Argyll, Sir Dugald Campbell, and Mackinnon, seeing that Sir Donald at this time stood out for the good of his Majesty's service, and was resolved to undergo the hazard of his person and his estate for the same;

* This document, bearing date 23d July 1622, is given at p. 122 Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis,

all of which he promises on the word of a king, to ratify to Sir Donald and his heirs, in any manner they shall think proper, provided that he use his best endeavours in his service at this time, according to his Majesty's commission."* He was able to communicate many of the designs and plans of the Covenanters in the North which proved of great service to the King, and he negotiated with the Marquis of Antrim, Chief of the Macdonells of Ireland, for a body of troops, who were to cross into Scotland and serve on the King's side, against the Covenanters, but he died before they had arrived, and ere an opportunity presented itself to him to give his active services in the field.

He married Janet, daughter of Kenneth, first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, sister of Colin Ruadh and of George, first and second Earls of Seaforth, and by her had issue—

1. Sir James, who succeeded.

2. Donald of Castletown, who distinguished himself afterwards in the civil wars, and of whom hereafter.

3. Archibald, "An Ciaran Mabach."

4. Angus.

5. Alexander.

6. Margaret, who married ^Eneas Macdonell of Glengarry, afterwards raised to the Peerage by the title of Lord Macdonell and Aros, without issue.

7. Katharine, who married Kenneth Mackenzie, VI. of Gairloch, without issue. Contract dated 5th of September 1635, in which the marriage portion is declared to be 6000 merks, with an endowment of 1000 libs, Scots yearly.t

8. Janet, who married Donald Macdonald of Moidart, Captain of Clanranald, with issue, and

9. Mary, who married, as his first wife, Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, without issue.

Sir Donald died in October 1643, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

XVIII. Sir James Macdonald, ninth Baron and second Baronet of Bleat. He was served heir to his father on the 20th of February 1644. In 1646, after the battle of Auldearn, he was prevailed upon by the Earl of Seaforth to join Montrose, who soon after retired with his supporters to the west, through the valley of Strathglass, where, on receipt of a communication from the King, Montrose disbanded his followers, left the country shortly after, and Sir James and Seaforth made the best of their way to their respective home&J When Charles II. marched into England in 1651, Sir James sent several of his vassals to his assistance. The King and his followers being defeated at the battle of Worcester in that year, the Royal cause was for the time ruined, and Sir James retired to his residence in the Isle of Skye, where "he lived with great circumspection." He was a man of great intelligence and ability, highly esteemed and trusted by his dependants, and, according to Douglas, "of fine accomplishments, untainted virtue and honour." The share he took in bringing the Keppoch murderers to justice is already known to the readers of

* Wood's Douglas' Peerage of Scotland.

f History and Genealogies of the Clan Mackenzie, by the same author, p. 332.

j For more detailed particulars see The History of the Mackenzie*?, p. 196-198.

the Celtic Magazine.* In answer to the appeal of Ian Lom he brought the matter before the Government, and finally obtained a commission of fire and sword against the assassins, with the result already so well known. The following account of the affair may however be given here, from Douglas' Baronage :—"In his time there was a parcel of barbarous Highlanders who greatly infested the northern parts, committed vast outrages, robberies, and even murders. They attacked Alexander Macdonald of Keppoch, with a considerable force in his own house, and most cruelly put him to death, anno 1663. The Government used all manner of means to bring them to justice, but that was found impracticable in a legal way; they therefore sent a most ample commission of fire and sword (as it was then called) to Sir James Macdonald, &c, signed by the Duke of Hamilton, Marquis of Montrose, Earl of Eglinton, and other six of the privy council, with orders and full power to him to pursue, apprehend, and bring in, dead or alive, all these lawless robbers, &c. This, in a very short time, he effectually performed; some of them he put to death, and entirely dispersed the rest, to the (satisfaction of the whole court, which contributed greatly to the civilizing of those parts.

"Immediately thereafter, by order of the Ministry, he got a letter of thanks from the Earl of Eothea, then lord high treasurer and keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, full of acknowledgments of the singular service he had done the country, and assuring him that it should not pass unrewarded, with many other clauses very much to Sir James's honour, &c. This letter is dated the 15th day of December 1665, signed Rothes,"

At the Restoration he was fined to a large amount at the instigation of Middleton, who is said to have received a grant of the fine for himself. From this it would appear that the loyalty of Sir James to the King did not continue so steadfast during the Commonwealth as others of the Highland chiefs, and to the extent which would naturally be expected from the representative of ancestors who had invariably been loyal to the Stewarts.

The general history of the Highlands during this eventful period has been given so fully in earlier volumes of this Magazine, in the History of the Mackenzies, that repetition here would be out of place, and it is only necessary to point out the part taken by the Macdonalds of Sleat in the leading events, connected with the Revolution Settlement and the Risings of 1715 and 1745; especially as the Macdonalds of Glengarry, Moidart, and Keppoch had risen comparatively during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to greater prominence in the History of the Highlands, and have taken in later times more leading positions in the annals of the country than the hitherto more distinguished family of Sleat. The general history of the Highlands during these centuries will therefore fall more appropriately to be given in greater detail when we come to deal with the other great houses of Macdonald, and still more so in the History of the Macdonalds when published separately in book form.

Sir James married Margaret, only daughter of the famous Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Coigeach, better known as the "Tutor of Kintail," and ancestor of the Eails.of Cromarty. By this lady Sir James had issue—

* See article on "Ian Lom, the Lochaber bard," by the Rev. Allan Sinclair, pp. 65-104, vol. IV.

1. Donald, his heir and successor.

2. Roderick, who married Janet Richie, with issue, two sons, James and Donald, twins, born on the 10th of June 1G79.

3. Hugh, afterwards of Glenmore.

4. Somerled of Sortie.

5. Catherine, who married Sir Norman Macleod of Bern era, with issue.

6. Florence, who married John Macleod, XVI Ith of Harris and Dunvegan, with issue, three sons and three daughters.

He married, secondly, Mary, eldest daughter of John Macleod, XVth of Harris and Dunvegan, with issue—

7. John of Backney.

He died on the 8th of December 1678, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

(lo be Continued.)

MARVELLOUS ESCAPE OF LORD SALTOUN IN 1815.—During the Whole of his long and dangerous service Lord Saltoun was so fortunate as to be only once wounded, and then not very seriously, although the particulars are somewhat strange. He gives the following account of the circumstances in a letter to his wife, dated 27th June 1815 :—" I am now, my dear love, quite out of the blue devils; for yesterday, on the march from Serain to Caulaincourt, we were halted at Vermaud, and our brigade sent to the right to attack Peronne, which we stormed yesterday evening with very little loss. I have heard an old saying that everything is made for Borne purpose; but I do not suppose you had the least idea, when you made my little purse, that it would ever be put to the use it was. Yesterday, during the storm of Peronne, a grape shot hit me full in the thigh. Fortunately, I had the little purse in that pocket, full of small gold pieces called ducats, which so stopped the ball, that, although it knocked me down, it lodged in the purse, and has given me a slight bruise, not half so bad as a blow from a stick. Had it not been for the purse it would have been very near a finish. So you see, my dear Kate, I owe you something. The purse is cut right open by the ball, but I shall not have it mended until it comes into your hands. What is rather odd, the little heart I had in it is the only thing not hurt, for all the gold pieces are bent and twisted about properly. I write this, first, because I promised to write exactly what happened; and next, because they are so fond of killing people in reports, especially if they have been hit in the slightest manner possible."

Although he had many narrow escapes, this was the only occasion upon which Lord Saltoun was hit during his long service. He made light of the matter to his wife, describing the bruise as slight, and, doubtless to remove all apprehension, said that he told her exactly what happened; but the blow was, in reality, much more severe. The purse and its contents were driven into the groin, from which the surgeon, having cut the pocket away from the trousers, and gathering its edges together, pulled out the whole mass, when a pledget and some plaister put all to rights.

The purse, the gold coins, and heart were long preserved by Lady Saltoun, and after her death by himself. At his decease they were given to Mrs Brown, wife of General Samuel Brown, and Lady Saltoun's Bidter, who had expressed a wish to have them. They were kept by her, together with Lord Saltoun's letter of the 27th June, and Lady Saulton's reply of the 3d July, relating to the affair, from which the above extracts have been made. When Mrs Brown died, the purse and the letters were missed, probably stolen by some unprincipled person for the sake of the gold. The letters were picked up on the high road near Ipswich, during the time of some races near that town, and were forwarded to the writer of this narrative by the finder j but the purse and gold pieces have never been recovered.—The Frattrt of Philorth, by Lord Saltoun.

« AnteriorContinuar »