From the time of King
Robert Bruce, the Campbells of Argyll built up a considerable power in the
western Highlands as allies of the Crown. Many less favoured clans, most
notably the Macdonalds and Macleans, fell victim to Campbell imperialism,
which always managed to combine personal ambition with public duty.
However, in the late seventeenth century the picture began to change, with
dramatic consequences for the future of the Highlands. The axis with the
ruling house was broken; the house of Argyll, once so formidable, began to
crumble and then collapsed. Lawmen became rebels. In 1685, attempting to
recover from the abyss, Archibald Campbell, the ninth Earl of Argyll,
began a rising intended to overthrow the Stewart monarchy.
In this book-the first full
account of the Argyll Rising - Raymond Campbell Paterson places the events
of 1685 in the context of late Stewart politics, both in Scotland and
Britain as a whole. Long overshadowed by the rebellion of the Duke of
Monmouth in the same year, Argyll’s uprising was potentially the more
formidable. Even its failure is not without significance. It created a
bond between the house of Stewart and the Highland enemies of the
Campbells, later to emerge in the Jacobite movement.