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'• the royal mind, relapsing into sobriety, turned to the Isles and Donald Gorm Macdonald. This potent Highland chieftain had recently made advances to Elizabeth; and it is not uninteresting to remark the stateliness with which a prince among the Northern Vikingr approached the English Semiramis. He styles himself Lord of the Isles of Scotland, and Chief of the Clan Donnel Irishmen; and after a proud enumeration of the petty island princes and chiefs who were ready to follow him in all his enterprises, he offered, upon certain, 'reasonable motives and considerations,' to embrace the service of the Queen of England, and persuade the Isles to throw off all allegiance to the Scottish Crown. He and his associates were ready, they declared, on a brief warning, to stir up rebellion throughout all the bounds of the mainland, to 'fasche' his Majesty, and weary the whole estates; to create a necessity for new taxation, and thus disgust all classes of his subjects. To induce Elizabeth to embrace these proposals, Donald informed the Queen that he knew the secret history of the Scottish King's intercourse with her arch-rebel Tyrone, and could lay before her the whole intrigues of the Catholic Earls lately reconciled to the kirk, but 'meaning nothing less in their hearts than that which they showed outwardly to the world.' He would disclose also, he said, the secret practices in Scotland; and prove with what activity the Northern Jesuits and seminary priests had been weaving their meshes, and pushing forward 'their diabolical, pestiferous, and anti-Christian courses; which he, Donald Gorm Macdonald, protested before God and his angels he detested with his whole soul. All this he was ready to do upon ' good deservings and honest courtesies,' to be offered him by the Queen of England; to whose presence he promised to repair upon a moment's warning."* The same author continues, ""What answer was given by the English Queen to these generous and disinterested proposals does not appear; although the letter of Donald Gorm, who made it, is marked in many places by Burghley with the trembling hand of sickness and old age. It is probable that under the term 'honest courtesies,' more substantial rewards were found to be meant than Elizabeth was willing to bestow; and that the perpetual feuds, massacres, and conspiracies which occurred amongst these Highland chiefs and their followers disgusted this Princess, and shook her confidence in any treaties or alliances proposed by such savage auxiliaries, "t
In 1599 another commission of lieutenandry over the Isles and West Highlands was granted to the Duke of Lennox, who had meanwhile been under a cloud and again restored into favour. The inhabitants are described as being guilty of the grossest impiety and the most atrocious barbarities. In 1601 another commission was granted to Lennox and Huntly, but they appear to have taken no active steps to bring the Islanders under subjection. In the same year the attention of the Government was, at this time, occupied, apart from the civilization of the Lewis and Kintyre and the general measures proposed for the improvement of the Isles, by a sudden quarrel, followed by much bloodshed and various desolating inroads, between the two great chiefs in the Isle of Skye, Donald Gorm Macdonald of Sleat and Ruairi Macleod of Dunvegan. Donald Gorm had married Macleod's sister; but owing to some
* MS. in the state-paper-office, endorsed by Burghley " Donald Gorm Macdonald, March 1598."
t History of Scotland, vol. iv., p. 267.
jealousy or other cause of displeasure conceive! against her, he repudiated that lady. Macleod being informed of this, was highly offended, and sent a message to Donald Gorm desiring him to take back his wife. This the latter refused; and on the contrary set about procuring a legal divorce, in which he succeeded, and immediately afterwards married a sister of Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail. Macleod, in the first transports of his resentment at this indignity, assembled his clan and carried fire and sword through Macdonald's district of Troternish, in Skye. The Clandonald, in revenge, invaded Harris, which island they laid waste in a similar manner, killing many of the inhabitants and carrying off the cattle. This retaliation roused the Macleods to make a foray upon Macdonald's estate of North Uist, and, accordingly they sailed from Skye towards that island; and, on arriving there, the Chief sent his kinsman, Donald Glas Macleod, with forty men to lay waste the island, and to bring off from the church of Kiltrynad the cattle and effects of the country people, which, on the alarm being given, had been placed there for safety. In the execution of these orders Donald Glas was encountered by a celebrated warrior of the Clandonald, nearly related to their chief, called Donald Maclan Mhic James, who had only twelve men with him. The Macdonalds behaved wilh so much gallantry on this occasion that they routed their opponents and rescued the cattle, Donald Glas and many of his men being killed. The Chief of Dunvegan, seeing the ill success of this detachment, and suspecting that a larger force was at hand, returned home meditating future vengeance. These spoliations and incursions were carried on with so much inveteracy that both clans were carried to the brink of ruin; and many of the natives of the districts thus devastated were forced to sustain themselves by killing and eating their horses, dogs, and cats. At length, in the year 1601, while Ruairi Macleod was absent seeking assistance from the Earl of Argyll against his enemies, the Macdonalds invaded Macleod's land in Skye in considerable numbers, wishing to force on a battle. The Macleods, under Alexander, the brother of their chief, took post on the shoulder of the Coolins (a very high and rugged mountain or ridge of hills in Skye), and did not decline the contest. After a fierce and obstinate combat, in which both parties fought with great bravery, the Macleods were overthrown. Their leader, with thirty of their choicest warriors fell into the hands of the victors; and two of the chief's immediate relations and many others were slain. The Privy Council now interfered to prevent further mischief. The Marquis of Huntly and the Earl of Argyll, and all others, were prohibited from giving assistance to either of the contending parties; whilst the chiefs themselves were ordered to disband their forces and to quit the island in the meantime. Macleod was enjoined to give himself up to the Earl of Argyll, and Macdonald to surrender himself to Huntly, and both were strictly charged, under the penalty of treason, to remain with these noblemen till the controversy between them should be settled by the King and Council. A reconciliation was at length effected between these chiefs by the mediation of Angus Macdonald of Isla, Maclean of Coll. and other friends; after which the prisoners taken at "the battle of Benquhillin" were released; and ever after these clans refrained from open hostility, and submitted their disputes to the decision of the law.*
(To be Continued.)
JOHN MORRISON, OF THE LEWIS.
Many bad and desperate characters infested the "West Highlands, but a man named John Morrison, who dwelt at Habost, in the parish of Ness, Island of Lewis, was accounted to be the most daring and cruel of them all. The Morrisons were at that time very powerful in the Lewis in regard to numbers, while they were at the same time exceedingly cunning. Their chief stronghold was the parish of Ness. John Morrison, bold, daring, and cruel, was the scourge of the Outer Hebrides. He first began his disputes by a quarrel with his neighbours, the Macaulays of Uig and the Macleods of the Lewis, about marches and other comparative trifles, which he invariably finally decided by a bloody battle; but in course of time he became bolder, and proceeded to lay waste the Island of Harris, and even a portion of the mainland, and to butcher defenceless women and children in cold blood, carrying off cattle, horses, and every portable article he could lay his thievish hands on. At last it happened that his brother, Donald Ban Mor, was slain in a battle with the Macaulays. This was the climax. John was so enraged, that he collected around him a considerable body of wild fellows like himself, and, vowing to take a terrible revenge, he marched into Uig, and had not Macaulay called in the assistance of Macleod, nothing would have been left him but smoking villages.
Intoxicated by his success in Uig, Morrison now proceeded to Harris, devastating the land and putting the inhabitants to death. At the Caws of Tarbert, however, he was met by Macleod of Harris, and his band was completely routed, whilst he himself was compelled to seek safety in flight. Macleod made many vain attempts to capture him, but without avail Once, indeed, he nearly had him, but Morrison escaped to the hills of Lewis. This disappointment annoyed Macleod so much that he offered a considerable reward for his apprehension, dead or alive. This incited Morrison to commit greater acts of violence. One winter evening he made an attack upon Marrig house, where young Macleod resided, but although Macleod had no lack of men, he wisely refused John's challenge to come out and fight him. Upon this refusal, Morrison set fire to all the houses in the neighbourhood, and carried off all the cattle that he could seize. The inhabitants, upon his advance, had fled to the hills, so that they escaped with their lives, but their houses were burnt, and their cattle carried away.
Macleod now determined to get hold of Morrison at any price. He therefore levied a large body of men, composed of his own retainers and the Macaulays of Uig, and, having marched to Ness, surrounded Morrison's house. The latter, however, manfully defended the house, having at the time a guard of thirty men, but at length, seeing that half of these had been put hors-de-combat, he made a desperate charge, and attempted to break through his enemies, and his charge was so fierce and so unexpected, that he succeeded, but he was soon caught, and led ofl to Rodel, there to await his fate.
Macleod arrived at Rodel with his prisoner at midnight, and shut him up in the Tigh-Mhail, a strong building near the big house, and consigned him to the care of a strong guard. He then sent messengers through all his territories, ordering all his vassals and tenants to attend on the occasion of Morrison's execution at RodeL At four o'clock next afternoon an immense number of people had assembled at Tom-na-Croich to 'witness his ignominious fate; but on some of the Macleods entering the TighMhail to bring out the prisoner, no prisoner was there. In fact, to use a well-kuown proverb, "The bird had fled." A search was at once instituted, but no trace of the fugitive could be found.
For a while after this the Harris men had peace from the plundering of Morrison, but about a year after his escape he again made his appearance in company with a band of ruffians, when Macleod of Harris was one day feasting with his kinsman, Macleod of Amhuinsuidh, and he attacked the house iu which they were enjoying themselves. Macleod, however, had a large number of men about him at the time, and resisted bravely. But in spite of all his men and his own bravery, Macleod was pressed so hard that he was about to give in, when a circumstance occurred which completely turned the tables. The din of battle had been heard at Hushinish on one side, and at Tolmachan on the other, upon which the inhabitants of these townships, knowing that something was wrong, sent a strong body of men to the assistance of Macleod, and with these reinforcements he soon routed the Morrisons, who retreated with great slaughter, closely followed by the victors. But again Morrison escaped. Soon after, however, he again returned to Harris, and went on plundering as before.
Macleod at last applied to the Privy Council for aid, and soon obtained a warrant against the Lewis riever. But although assisted by Macaulay of Uig, he failed to apprehend him.
Macleod of Luskintyre had an only daughter, an heiress, called Catherine, whom he dearly loved, and having a notion that he should die early, he made an agreement with Donald Macleod of Hushinish, his brother, that if he (Luskintyre) should die ere Catherine married, Hushinish would take charge of her. He died soon after, and Hushinish, faithful to his trust, adopted Catherine, and brought her up in a manner befitting her rank. Catherine had not been long at Hushinish when she fell in love with John Macleod of Borve, a young man well worthy of her hand.
On a certain rent day, John Morrison with his band, suddenly burst into Hushinish. Most of the inhabitants were away cutting peats, so Morrison met no resistance in the execution of his project. He carried off Catherine, and was away with his prize before the alarm could be raised. If they had carried away the whole stock of Hushinish it would not have made Macleod so miserable as he was when he heard how his niece had been kidnapped. He was quite stunned.
Macleod of Harris was at once informed of the affair, and immediately invaded the parish of Ness, but no trace of Morrison or his captive could be found, and the only result of the invasion was the spilling of more blood and the loss of several brave men. Hushinish was now almost mad with grief, but not so much so as Macleod of Borve, who did nothing but wring his hands in lamentation. "Catherine! Catherine! oh, my dear Catherine, what shall I do for thee," he cried aloud. He continued in this state for days. At last, Macleod of Harris sent a messenger to Ness, that unless Catherine was sent back to Hushinish within ten days, he would destroy every Morrison in the land. To this threat the Morrisons answered that no harm was intended to the heiress, and that she should be returned safe and sound as soon as John Morrison obtained a pardon for his past offences, but that if Macleod persisted in his threat, Catherine would be slain. Macleod, at last, finding no other means, fair or foul, of regaining her, agreed to this arrangement, and having obtained a pardon from the Privy Council and sent it to Morrison, Catherine was at once restored to her friends. She had been treated with every respect and kindness while in Morrison's hands, and when the search had been instituted by Macleod, she and her captor were out of harm's way on the island of Bona. When Morrison had received his pardon, and restored Catherine, he settled down in Ness, gave up his raiding life, and ultimately died as Judge of the Island of Lewis.
Shortly after her return Catherine married her lover, Macleod of Borve, and lived long and happily, having many children, many of whose descendants are still in Harris.
FEDERATION OF CELTIC SOCIETIES.—At the last meeting of thin Association the Committee appointed to refute the statements made by Meiers Koas and Syrae, two of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, anent Teaching in Gaelio Schools, in recent re. ports to the Education Department, have, after many months delay, come np without any real report, beyond a simple reproduction of a part of Mr Jolly's report to the Depart ment, published in these pages several months ago. Will not outsiders, though quite erroneously, come to the conclusion that no satisfactory reply could hare been made, simply because the Federation was unable to prepare one? The Inspectors boldly stated, in effect, in official reports, in addition to their objections to Gaelio Teaohing, that Bo Gaelio literature existed worthy of the name. Such a statement as that, coming from two Gaelic-speaking Inspectors, demanded notice, and ought to have been refuted by the Federation ; and the faot of their not doing so will be construed by the enemies of Gaelio as an admission of the charge. The Federation had a splendid opportunity to do some real service, and it is a great pity that they took no advantage of it. We heartily approve of the action taken, at the request of the patiiotio Highlanders of Hebburn, in protesting against a obange in the designation of the Highland Regiments which would simply denationalise them and rob them of a splendid inheritance. We are also in complete sympathy with the following resolutions, passed unanimously, in reference to the cruel proceedings in process of being carried out by the paper laird of Leekmelm :—
(1.) "That this Federation express their deepest sympathy with the people of Leckmelm who are about to be evicted from their lands and tenements by the proprietor, who has recently acquired these lands by purchase.
(2.) "That the Federation are of opinion that this compulsory removal of people, who are innocent of any crime, and have not refused to pay the annual rent demanded of them, is not only unwarrantable in law, but oruel in the extreme, and deserving of the reprobation of all who are interested in the welfare of their fellow countrymen.
(3.) "That this Federation earnestly urge on their constituents to memorialise the Home Secretary on the subject, and where practicable, hold public meetings without delay, to give expression to their views on the question.
(i.) "That the Federation, warmly appreciating the serviocs rendered by the Rev. J. Macsnillan to their countrymen at Leckmelm, as well as to the general question involved in this action by his public advocacy of their cause, hereby tender to him their warmest thanks, and remit to the following committee to prepare an address and forward the same:—Messrs William Sutherland, H, Whyte, H, 0. Gillies, and A, Sutherland."