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The Wicked Clan Gregor
From the Scottish Review (1890)


THERE are some minor episodes in Scottish history that illustrate with singular force the native intensity of character and fervour of attachment to traditional systems, which so often made the nation's progress towards the universal reign of law a blood-stained path. The case of Clan Gregor is perhaps the most typical of these episodes, which marked the transition from the old Celtic system of the military organization of the clans under the chiefs of their names to the territorial system by which the men of the tribes became the men of their feudal landlords. But though its tragic and romantic elements have been often dealt with, the true story of the doings and sufferings of the devoted clan has yet to be dug from the dry-as-dust sources of historical narrative in contemporary records, and the purpose of this paper is merely to show that the records contain materials for such a narrative.

The materials for the history of the Clan Gregor and the genealogies of their principal families are derived chiefly from three sources. The fullest of these, and the most authentic, is 'The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland.' The second is 'The Black Book of Taymouth' (Bannatyne Club), in which, along with the genealogy of the Campbells of Glenurchy compiled after 1598, there is a brief genealogy of the MacGregors, and a chronicle written by a curate of Fortingall, who entered on his duties there in May 1532, and made his last entry on 25th April ,1579. In its earlier portions this chronicle is nearly the same as that of the Dean of Lismore's Book, and they both agree in the special feature that they are largely occupied with incidents and events relating to the history of the MacGregors. This is explained by the fact that the writers of both were MacGregors. The Dean of Lismore's Book also, besides the well-known collection of Gaelic poems, contains a prose genealogy of the MacGregors written by Duncan the Dean's brother in 1512, and among the earlier poems there are several in which the descent of the MacGregor chiefs from Kenneth MacAlpin is celebrated in the high-sounding strains of the Highland seannachies. It is a striking picture which is thus given of the MacGregor of the first half of the fifteenth century—'the Saxon's terror'—surrounded by his fierce men, whose hosting and hunting are varied with the music of the harp and the songs of the bards, and with games of skill and chance, while their chieftain is represented as dispensing hospitality, and bestowing gifts of horses and of gold with more than regal munificence. But it is quite another picture that is presented by the sober light of authentic record. The chronicles before mentioned merely relate the obits, and record the burials of the chiefs who from 1390, to near the time of the Reformation were successively laid in their stone coffins on the north side of the high altar of the church of Dysart, now Dalmally, where the anchorite St. Conan had of old his desertum or eremitical cell. There is no evidence to establish the assertion that the chiefs of MacGregor were originally lords of Glenurchy. Even their own bards seem to claim for them no higher rank than that of Toiseachs. Setting aside the single instance in which the chronicler has styled the first of those whose obits are given, as 'of Glenurchy,' we find them from 1390 to 1554 as vassals of the Earl of Argyle in the twenty merkland of Stronemelochan and Glenstrae, and after that, to 1590, as vassals of the Campbells of Glenurchy.

There is no indication of the reason why the members of the clan when they first appear in record are found scattered over such a wide area of the Perthshire and Argyleshire Highlands, unless it be simply that they had spread themselves over the adjacent lands and baronies as best they could, in consequence of their chiefs holding lands of the Crown. We find them located in Glenurchy and Glenlochy, Strathfillan and Glen-dochart, Breadalbane ancl Balquhidcler, Glenlyon and Rannoch. Although by the immemorial custom of the Highlands, to which they most tenaciously clung, they owed military service to the chief of their own name only, he was not at any time within the ken of record in a position either to provide them with homesteads or protect them in their possessions. While the lands on which they had settled remained in the Crown they might be safe from eviction, but when the Crown lands came to be granted out to local barons, the grantees naturally desired to settle their new estates with their own men, on whom they could depend for thankful service and punctual payment of rents. The MacGregors, on the other hand, in all such cases immediately found themselves in the position of occupants of the lands of owners to whom they were unacceptable as tenants, and who desired nothing better than to be rid of them at any price. The inevitable consequences followed—eviction, resistance and retaliation. The evicted tenants sought shelter among their kinsmen who still possessed lands, as sub-tenants or squatters; or they became ' broken men,' and betook themselves to the hills to live on the plunder of the lands from which they had been ejected. We have incidental notices in the Exchequer Rolls of such spoliation and slaughter by the broken men of Clan Gregor so early as 1453, and ' for the stanching of theft and other enormities in the Highlands' an Act was passed in 1488, under which, among other Lords and Barons, Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy, Neil Stewart of Fothergill, and John Campbell of Glenfalloch, were invested with the powers of King's Lieutenants, to pursue and put to death all such offenders throughout the MacGregor country. This was the first of a long series of similar enactments by which the MacGregors were placed entirely at the mercy of their natural enemies. The chief of the clan at this time was John Dhu MacPatrik, but the active leader of the ' broken men' was Duncan Laideus or Laudosach of Ardchoille Wester. His exact relationship to the House of Glenstrae is not clearly made out, but it was close enough to give colour to his claim to the succession upon the death of John

Dhu MacPatrik, and, this failing, to entitle him to be nominated as tutor.during the pupilage of his successful rival's son and heir. His exploits have been rendered famous by the remarkable poem entitled ' The Testament of Duncan Laideus,' which has been printed in ' The Black Book of Taymouth.' The events narrated in the poem appear to lie with the first fifty years of the 16th century, and so far as the narrative can be tested from extraneous sources it seems to be fairly correct in sequence and incident. It represents the hue and cry raised by the royal proclamation driving Duncan and his followers into Lochaber, whence they are hunted by the Earl of Argyle to fall into the clutches of Glenurchy. It so happens that Glenurchy's men are mustering for the invasion of England by King James IV., and there is no time to 'justify' the prisoner, who is thrust 'into ane dungeon deep'—

'Fast into fetteris fessonit and sair pynit.'

At Flodden, Glenurchy and Argyle ' deit valiantlie together' and together they were buried at Kilmun. There was one man in Scotland to whom the news of the national disaster brought more joy than sorrow. Says Duncan Laudosach :—

'This hard. I all, liand in deep dungeon,
I thocht me then half out of my presoun.'

Persuading his keepers to connive at his escape, he was soon again at the head of a band of outlaws, who ' flew to meet him swift as ony swallows.' Spies were sent out to track them through Lochaber, but the untimely death of King James V. threw the country again into confusion, and Duncan Laudosach took the opportunity to wreak his vengeance on the Clan Lauren in Balquhidder, of whom he slew twenty-seven in one day. On the death of John Dhu MacPatrik in 1519 (whose only son had predeceased him), his second cousin, John MacEwin V'Alaster, became the nominal chief of the clan, partly through the influence of the Campbells of Glenurchy, with whom he was connected by marriage. His son Alaster, born in 1514, was a minor at the time of his father's death in 1528. He was never enfeoffed in Glenstrae, and seems to have made common cause with Duncan Laudosach, who was his tutor. Their scene of action shifts to Rannoch, where a colony of MacGregors had been long settled, who were now maintaining themselves against their feudal overlord, Menzies of Weem, and 'withholding his lands from him masterfullie.' With the assistance of the Earl of Athole, Menzies proceeded in 1531 to drive out the hornets, and the result is thus recorded in the Chronicle of Fortingall:— ' Rannoch wes hareycl the morne eftir Sant Tennennis day in hairst be John Erie of Awthoell, and be Clan Donoquhy, and at the next Belten (May) eftir that the Brae of Rannoch wes hareyd be them, and Alaster Dow Albrych wes heddyt at Kenlochrannoch.'. The Clan Donoquhy (Robertsons) had the tables turned upon them in 1545, when Duncan Laudosach and Alaster MacGregor of Glenstrae burnt the house of Throchcare in Strathbraan, and took the chief of the Robertsons captive. A daring attempt by the MacGregors to capture or destroy the family of Glenurchy when on a visit to Glenlyon, failed of its object, as Duncan's Testament says—

' Quhen we trowit best to cum to our desyre,
The brig brak and we fell in the myre.'

By this time the Earl of Argyle was moving to avenge the slaughter of the Clan Lauren, and the next we hear of Duncan Laudosach is in connection with the deed which brought his career to a close. In July, 1550, Alaster Owir, tacksman of Wester Morinche, near Killin, signed a bond of manrent to Colin Campbell of Glenurchy ' to be ane faithful servant to him all the days of his life, and to ryd and gang on horse and on fut in Hieland and Lawland when required, and not to take part with MacGregor, his chief, against the said Colin, but to be an evinly man for baith the parties,' and made Sir Colin his heir in case of his death without lawful children. This was the beginning of a policy fraught with ruin to the clan, and Duncan Laudosach took such measures as seemed to him calculated to deter other MacGregors from transferring their obedience from the chief of the clan to the feudal overlord. On Sunday, the 22nd November, 1551, he and his son Gregor came to Morinche, took Alaster Owir furth of the house and slew him, and took his purse with forty pounds in it, and passed to Killin to the house of John

M'Bain, and 'brak in the door and took him furth and strak his head from his body.' On the 11th of March thereafter, Glenurchy takes a bond of manrent from James Stewart, Alexander Drummond, and Malcolm Drummond, for all the days of their lifetime, and ' in special with their haill power, with their kin, friends, and part-takers, to pursue to the death Duncan Laudosach and Gregor his son. Nevertheless, in May, 1552, Colin Campbell of Glenurchy subscribes a deed by which he receives Duncan Laudosach and Gregor his son in his maintenance, 1 and the zeal of luf and gude conscience moving him thereto, has forgiven them all maner of actions and faltis provided they fulfil their band and manrent made to him in all points.' It is impossible to determine whether this was a masterstroke of the same policy by which Glenurchy was now detaching so many members of the clan from their allegiance to the chief of their name, or whether it was a deliberate device to tempt the two leaders, whom he could not capture, to place themselves in his power. But the result is not doubtful, for on the 16th of June, the Chronicle of Fortingall records the beheading of Duncan Laudosach and his two sons, Gregor and Malcolm Roy, by Colin Campbell of Glenurchy.

Two years after the execution of Duncan Laudosach, in 1554, Archibald Earl of Argyle sold the superiority of the twenty marklands of Glenstrae to Colin Campbell of Glenurchy, and granted the ward and marriage of Gregor MacGregor, heir of the now deceased Alaster, to Colin Campbell, younger, of Glenurchy. Gregor was married to a daughter of Campbell of Glenlyon, but was never invested in Glenstrae. In 1562 we find him leading the life of an outlaw, and in the following year he appears at the head of a band of 120 broken men ravaging the Crown lands; and Glenurchy has a commission to take him and a gift of his escheat. In 1563 the curate of Fortingall notes in his Chronicle that it had been 4 ane gude symmer and gude hairst, pece and rest, except the laird of Glenurchy wroth aganis Clan Gregor.' In July of this year Queen Mary was at Inveraray, and after conference with Argyle she issued authority to him and Glenurchy for free quarters to their men when out hunting the MacGregors. From another missive issued by the Queen at Glentilt in July, we learn that the pursuit of the MacGregors had caused many of them to flee to Ireland, and that 'now when the nicht grows lang' they intended to return and harry the tenants of the Campbells. But at the same time she reminds Glenurchy, who had been placing men of Clanranald on the MacGregors' lands of Rannoch, 'that it is not right to output the MacGregors and input other broken men,' and commands him to cease therefore the work he had begun of rebuilding the house of strength in the Isle of Loch Rannoch, as well as the mbi'mo-ino- of strangers of other clans. In the same considerate spirit she writes from Drvmen to Menzies of AYeem on behalf of a number of the Clan Gregor who had been ejected from his lands, but were now received to the Queen's peace—'as they cannot live without some routnes we pray yon to permit them to occupy the same lands they had of you before, and mak them reasonable takkis thairupon, upon usual terms, as ye will do us thankful plesour.' In 1564 the first of the intercommuning Acts was passed, imposing heavy penalties on those who gave shelter or supplies to the MacGregors, or had any manner of dealings with them. It narrates that Gregor MacGregor, alias Laird MacGregor, and certain of his kinsmen had been leaders of a band of outlaws for two years, and had committed many heinous crimes. A great foray by the MacGregors on the lands of Menteith followed, and the Earl of Argyle, in virtue of his commission as Queen's Lieutenant, calls out his barons and tenants 'to raise the shout against Clan Gregor and pursue them with fire and sword,' giving full commission to every man within his'bounds ' to tak and apprehend the said Clan Gregor quhair-evir they may be gottin, and the takors thereof to have their escheats '—a bribe not easily resisted.

It was at this time that a tragical affair occurred on Loch Tay side, in which a family of Macgregors to whom the literature of Scotland owes a deep debt of gratitude were involved, and which also led to a romantic incident in the administration of justice at Edinburgh. At Tullichmullin in Glenlyon, close to the Kirk-town of Fortingall there lived a family descended from a vicar of Fortingall, of which Dougal Maol Mac Ane Raoch, or Dougal the Bald (or tonsured) son of John the Grizzled—called shortly Dougal Johnson, was the head. Of his two sons, James and Duncan, we know that the former was Vicar of Fortingall and Dean of Lismore, to whom we owe the collection of Gaelic poetry and the Chronicle that goes by his name, while the latter is the Duncan MacCowle Yoil or son of Bald Dougal, who is author of five of the poems in the Dean's collection, and of the genealogy of the MacGregors. James had two sons, Gregor and Dougal, patronymically styled Deneson, as being sons of the Dean. Dougal subsequently became Chancellor of Lismore, but Gregor, who after his father's death in 1557 had renounced MacGregor his chief and bound himself to Glenurchy, was slain on June 11th 1565, as described in the Chronicle of Fortingall— 'slain were Gregor son of the Dean of Lismore and Robert MacConil V'Gregor on Pentecost Day, after midnight, and the house was burned, and they slain by James MacGestalcar, and buried in the same grave in the choir of Inchadin,'—the old church of Kenmore. An unexampled thing thereupon occurs. Queen Mary directs a missive to the Justice Clerk—understanding that Patrick Duncanson and other MacGregors (of whom ten are named in the document) are under surety, and that Gregor Deneson has been murdered by rebels, for pursuit of whom 'nane are mair meet than the above-named MacGregors having their kinsman slain,' and that in consequence of their being under caution in the books of Court, 'they dare not put on arms and pursue the murderers.' therefore, the Justice Clerk and Clerk of Council are commanded to delete from their books all acts by which they are in any wise restricted.' The result of this license is seen from an entry under July 27th 1565 in the chronicle of Fortino-all—'James MacGestalcar killed with his accomplices by Gregor MacGregor of Stronemelochan, and his followers at Ardowenec.' In 1569 Gregor MacGregor and fifteen of the ClanGregor are forfeited, and their escheats given to Alexander Stewart of Pittarg, for the slaughter of two persons of the name of Stewart in Balquhidder, and a commission is given to Colin Campbell of Glenurchy ' to justifie Gregor MacGregor of Glenstrae.' On the 7th April 1570, is the brief entry in the Chronicle of Fortingall—' Gregor MacGregor of Glenstrae heddyt at Balloch'—now Taymouth. But the

MacGregors had their revenge. On tl^22nd August is another entry in the same Chronicle—1 John MacConil Dow slain besyd Glenfalloch, and thirteen men of the Laird of Glenurchy's men slayn that day be the Clan Gregor.'

Gregor Roy was succeeded in the chieftainship by his son Alaster, who was a mere child at the time of his father's execution. His uncle Ewin was his tutor till 1587. In consequence of the disturbed condition of the Highlands, an Act of Parliament had been passed in 1581, making it lawful for all good subjects who had received skaith from broken men either to apprehend or slay the persons thus offending and arrest their goods, or if the actual delinquents could not be laid hold of to apprehend and slay the bodies and arrest the goods of any others being of the same clan, their servants, dependers, or partakers, wheresoever they might find them, aye, and until the chief or others of the clan should cause the skaith to be redressed to the satisfaction of the sustainers thereof. This iniquitous enactment practically outlawed the whole of the Clan Gregor, and drove many of the better disposed among them to renounce their chief and seek the protection of the Campbells, or other overlords. In August, 1586, letters of horning are recorded at Perth at the instance of John Drummond of Drummondernoch and others, against Alaster MacGregor of Glenstrae, his tutor Ewin, and between 70 and 80 MacGregors mentioned bv name, on the allegation of theft and spulzie of the lands of the complainers. Five days afterwards, the MacGregors so charged are denounced , rebels, and the Earl of Montrose has a gift of their escheats. In 1587. another Act of Parliament was passed declaring that theft bv landed men should be accounted treason, and causing the chiefs of clans to be noted in a roll and obliged under pain of fire and sword to surrender sufficient hostages from among their families and kin, who should be liable to suffer death if redress of injuries were not promptly made by those for whom they were entered as pledges. The immediate consequence was a general effort on the part of all who had members of the Clan Gregor on their lands to get rid of them, and during the next two years the Sheriff Court Books of Perth show many actions of ejectment against the MacGregors. To what straits they were reduced by the operation of these enactJMits the tenor of a tack on the estate of Glenurchy will show. By the terms of this tack, which set to two brothers (Campbells)—called patronymically Donald ancl Dougal MacTarlich—two merklands of land in Glen-nevern and one merkland in Elir in Lome, the said Dougal and Donald bound themselves ' that we, with the haill cumpanie and forces that we can mak, sail enter into deidlie feid with the Clan Gregor, and sail continue in making of slaughter upon them and their adherents, baith privilie and opinlie, and sail be na maner of way or persuasion leave the same or cease therfrae, unto the time the said Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy find himself be our travel and diligence satisfeit with the slauchter we sail do and commit upon them ancl withdraw us thairfra, as also till he find a way to mak an agreement and pacification betwixt us and the Clan Gregor for the slauchter we sail commit upon them.' To understand this, it is necessary to suppose that the MacTarlichs had an old blood feud against the MacGregors, and it is the case that in 1563 Colin Campbell of Glenurchy had a gift of the escheats of the chief of MacGregor and six of his kinsmen for the slaughter of Tarloch Campbell, who may have been the father of these two MacTarlichs. Of course, such an agreement could not have been made with impunity, but for the sanction of the enactments of 1581 and 1587, which made slaughter of this kind a legal resource to those who had wrongs still unredressed by the MacGregors.

The resentment of the clan aroused by the homings and ejectments following on the process against them by Drummond of Drummondernoch was speedily manifested in the dreadful outrage which so fiercely inflamed the anger^of King James VI. against the clan, and was the beginning of the most tragical part of their history. There are three different accounts of the murder of John Drummond of Drummondernoch.by the Clan Gregor. The first is contained in a bond executed at Balloch (Taymouth) in October, 1589, between Lord Drummond, the chief of the name, the Earl of Montrose, the Commendator of Inchaffray, ancl Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy, setting forth that 'because the Clan Gregor in September last slew John Drummond in Glenartney, being under their double assurance (one given on the Monday before the murder), the said John being directit be his chief at His Majesty's command for getting of venison to have been sent to Edinburgh to His Majesty's marriage, the said clan cuttit and aftuik his heid, and thereafter conveening the rest of the clan and setting doun the heid before them, thereby caused them to authorise the murder,' therefore the parties to the bond agree to pursue the Clan Gregor; Lord Drummond undertaking to furnish forty men, the Earl of Montrose thirty, and Sir Duncan Campbell sixty. The second account, In the records of the Privy Council, gives the MacGregors the opprobrious name of ' the wicked Clan Gregor,' by which they are stigmatised in all the public records henceforward. It also supplies such additional particulars as that £ after the murder committit, the authors thereof cut off the said umquhile John Druminond's head, and carried the same to the Laird of MacGregor, who, and the whole surname of MacGregors, purposely convened upon the next Sunday at the Kirk of Balquhidder, where they caused the said John's head to be presented to them, and there avowing the murder to have been committit by their common counsel and determination, laid their hands upon the pow, and in eithnick (heathenish) and barbarous manner swore to defend the authors of the said murder.' The third account is in the Register of Homings at Perth, in a horning at the instance of the wife and children and remanent kin of John Drummond against Alaster MacGregor and upwards of 100 of the clan, mentioned by name, charging them with having come ' to the number of 400 persons, and ' setting upon John Drummond cruellie murdered him, cuttit off his heid [this word is scored out and the word " hand " ' interlined] and carried the same to the Laird MacGregor, quha with the haill persons above-written, purposely conveened upon the next Sunday at the Kirk of Balquhidder, where they caused the said John's hand be presented to them, and allowed that the said murder was clone by their common consent and counsel, laid their hands upon the same and swore to defend the authors thereof against all that would seek the revenge thereof.' The complexion of this heathenish oath is scarcely altered whether it may have been taken upon a dead man's head or upon his dissevered hand, but it is a matter of interest to find the documents at variance as to whether it was the head the hand of the ill-fated forester of Glenartney that was brought to the Kirk of Balquhidder for this dreadful rite. The substitution of the hand for the head would effectually dispose of the still more ghastly legend of the bread and cheese incident, and the melancholy fate of the lady of Ardvoixdieh, so graphically related by Sir Walter Scott.

In July following, on the statement to the Privy Council that the Clan Gregor are roving through the Highlands in great companies, and have burnt houses, and slain and harried, in such sort that many men's lands are altogether laid waste, a commission of fire and sword is given to Glenurchy, not only against the Clan Gregor but against all who reset and harbour them. How he availed himself of the power thus put into his hands may be inferred from the fact that in December the complaints against him compelled the Council to charge him not to invade any of His Majesty's subjects otherwise than by order of law and justice. This did not apply to the MacGregors, who had been denounced rebels, but although licence was shortly afterwards given him to contract bonds of friendship and reconciliation with them, he proceeded to obtain a decree of ejection against Alaster MacGregor, the chief, from his lands of Glenstrae and Strone-melochan in August, 1590. In the course of the next year, King James, on the understanding that all deadly feuds between Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy and Alaster Boy MacGregor of Glenstrae and his elan have been removed, grants special license to Sir Duncan to infeft Alaster Roy in the 20 merklands of Stronemelochan and Glenstrae without being in any way answerable for him or his kinsmen. It does not appear however, that the infeftment ever took place. In January 1592, there is a remission to Alaster MacGregor of Glenstrae, John Dhu his brother, Dougal of the Mist, and all the rest of them for the murder of John Drummond of Drummondernoch, the customary compensation having been no doubt given to the relatives, though there is no direct evidence of this. Yet in the same year the Privy Council understanding that ' the wicked Clan Gregor' and other broken men have continued in slaughter, reiffis and sornings, grant commission to the Earl of Argyle to cause them enter their pledges for obedience to the laws, and to take and execute those that remain disobedient, half of their escheats going to the Earl for his trouble. The temper of the King towards the unhappy clan may be divined from the tone of a letter written from Holyroodhouse in March 1596 to Macintosh of Moy Hall :—

'James r.—Right Trusty Friend, we greet you heartily weill. Having heard by report of the late proof given by you of yonr willing disposition to. our service in prosecuting of that wicked race of MacGregor we have thought meet hereby to signify unto you that we account the same as most acceptable pleasure and service done unto us, and will not omit to regard the same as it deserves, and because we are to give you some further directions thereanent it is our will that upon sight hereof ye repair hither with all speed and at your arriving we shall impart to you our full mind, and herewithal we have thought expedient that ye before your arriving hither shall cause execute to the death Duncan M'Ean Cam lately taken by you in your last [expedition] against the Clan Gregor and cause his head to be transported hither to the effect the same may be affixed in some public place to the terror of other malefactors—and so commit you to God.'

On 17th July of the same year, Alaster MacGregor of Glenstrae appeared at Dunfermline as a suppliant, and in presence of the King and Council, 'in maist humble manner acknowledging his offences and disobedience,' entered himself as pledge and surety for his clan, ancl was forbidden to leave the Court without the King's leave. But the Court was no place for MacGregor, and there can be no doubt that he took the first opportunity of escaping to the mountains. In November of the " same year he felt the grip of the lion's jaws, and realised for the first time the meaning of what he had done at Dunfermline in becoming surety for the good behaviour of his clan. He was proclaimed at the horn and made the King's rebel, because his brother, John Dhu nan Lurag, or Black John of the mail-coat, had committed spulzie on the lands of Graham of Fintrv, and he, as the chief ancl surety for the clan, had failed to present Black John and his accomplices to underlie the law. In 1597 the MacGregors on the lands of Glenfalloch, among whom was Duncan Abrach of Ardchoile Wester, son of Gregor Laudosach, were ejected from their holdings by Robert Campbell, son of Black Duncan of Glenurchy, who had received a charter of these lands formerly belonging to Campbell of Strachur. At this time it may be affirmed that, with the exception of a few who had renounced the chief of their name and come under bonds of manrent to other landlords, there was hardly a holding occupied by a MacGregor unless in defiance of the feudal superior. It seems impossible that they could have maintained themselves for any length of time against the power of the barons, but the story of the Rannoch MacGregors shows that they did so until they were overpowered by a horde of the MacLeans and Clan Cameron directed against them by the Earl of Argyle. Alaster MacGregor in his dying declaration accuses Argyle of this, and the accusation is borne out by the Records of Justiciary, which here exhibit another romantic interposition of the impartial hand of justice in favour of the unruly clan. On the 8th of June, 1598, in the High Court at Edinburgh, ' com-perit William Murray and tuik instruments that he allegit that the Laird of MacGregor and his kyn were the fyrst sen King' James the Fyrst's time that cam and socht justice'—that is, instead of taking the law into their own hands by gathering their forces and promptly avenging the wrong they had suffered. ' It was a new role for the Clan Gregor, but the result of this singular protest is that on the same day there is a decree in favour of MacGregor against MacLean and others for the price of 334 kye, 38 horses, 290 sheep, 93 goats, and the plenishing of houses to the amount of £553 6s. 8d—in all, £5,277 6s. 8d. In the previous February there had been decrees of ejection which the MacGregors had not obeyed, and the MacLeans and Camerons who had been called in to enforce the removals had made a Highland clearance and carried off the stock and plenishing, as above stated. In the same summer there are decrees of ejectment against the MacGregors in Balquhidder, Glenbeich, and Strowan, and the summer following in Breadalbane, Glenlyon, and Weem.

Letters of charge were now issued to all the landlords having MacGregors on their estates to present before the Privy Council each the particular persons of Clan Gregor for whom they as landlords were answerable, and proclamations were made at the market crosses of Perth, Stirling, and Dumbarton, commanding Alaster the chief and the whole persons of that mischievous clan to compear personally by the 3rd day of July 1599, and their chief to enter them before the Kino; and Council for reducing them to obedience. To this unreasonable demand it was submitted on behalf of the chief that because it was impossible for him to find caution in respect of the bypast enormities of his clan, he offered to come in the King's will for offences committed by himself, and to deliver three hostages out of six of his kin to be nominated by his Majesty out of the three houses of Clan Gregor, these to remain as pledges for the obedience of the whole clan. But the King was peremptory, and on the 2nd August 1599 Alaster MacGregor compeiring personally at Falkland took upon him—that is, acknowledged responsibility for— the whole persons of the name of MacGregor, and promised to be answerable for their presentation to justice for all offences, unless in the case of such as he might be able to lay upon other landlords. Inchaffray and Tullibardine became caution for him that he would appear and enter one of his pledges on 4th September at Edinburgh. He failed to appear, and on the application of Tullibardine, who produced John Dhu MacEwin as pledge for Alaster, the time for his personal compearance was extended to the 16th. John Dhu was not warded, but was committed to Tullibardine to be again produced on the day when Alaster was due. The day came, but not Alaster, and on the 29th January, 1600, notwithstanding the plea of his cautioners that he was in heavy sickness and unable to travel, decree was given against them for a fine of 10,000 merks each, and 5000 additional against Tullibardine for not re-entering John Dhu. The King was now thoroughly enraged, and on the 31st January a Proclamation was issued that 'forasmuch as the wicked and unhappy race of Clan Gregor continuing so long in blood, theft, and oppression, and His Majesty finding them always bent to follow the course of their perverse nature after he had travailed by fair and gentle means to bring them under obedience, and Alaster their chief having most dishonestly violated his promise, thereby avowing himself and his unhappy race to be outlaws and fugitives, His Majesty has resolved to pursue them with all rigour and extremity, and therefore it is forbidden to his good subjects to intercommune with the MacGregors, to keep any goods for them, to buy any goods from them, or make any bargains with them, under pain of being held as partakers in their crimes and punished accordingly.' On 17th February, Tullibardine produced Alaster before the Council ancl was relieved of his caution for him. On the 6th of March following, Alaster MacGregor and the landlords of the MacGregors were present at a meeting of the Council at Holyrood, when the Act against intercommun-ing with the MacGregors was approved, and a list having been made of those of them who dwelt under the landlords, as well as of those whom Alaster had taken upon himself, it was seen by His Majesty that there was still a number of the clan who had no fixed residence and could not be laid upon any* landlord, and for these also Alaster was to be responsible, seeing that at Falkland he had taken upon him the whole persons of the name of MacGregor except such as he should lay off himself upon other landlords. A list of twelve names of the principal men of his clan was given him, of which he was to select three to be entered as pledges for the good behaviour of the clan for the first quarter, and these were to be successively relieved by the entry of other three. One of the hostages was to be placed in the custody of Lord Drummond, one in the custody of Glenurchy, and one in the custody of Sir John Murray of Tullibardine, while Alaster himself was to be warded in the castle of Edinburgh until the entry of the first three pledges. On the 16th of April, Patrick Murray, son of Sir John Murray of Tullibardine, appeared at Holyrood ancl presented John MacEan Dhu in Rannoch, and Ewin MacAlaster Pudrach, as two of the hostages, and stated that his father had delivered John MacPhadtik V'Ean to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy, who had him presently in custody. This must have effected the release of Alaster from ward in Edinburgh Castle, and we hear no more of him for nearly a year.

But on 3rd March, 1601, there is a complaint by the Council that all their efforts to reduce the wicked and unhappy race of Clan Gregor to obedience and a peaceable and civil form of living have failed; and Alaster, their chief, has been put to the horn, for not entering his second set of hostages, ancl still continues rebellious. Therefore, a commission is given to Argyle, as His Majesty's Lieutenant, to charge the whole clan to appear before him to give surety for their good behaviour, and to pursue the disobeyers with fire and sword, to burn their houses, and apprehend and try them, and take up the half of their escheats for his own labours. Further, it is ordained that whatever persons shall harbour, or supply, or entertain, or hold intercourse with, any of the MacGregors, their wives, bairns, or gear, shall be held guilty of their whole offences, bygone or future. Still further, His Majesty promises in presence of the Council that the execution of this Commission shall not be frustrated by any favour or pardon to any of the clan hereafter. In submission to this stringent enactment Alaster MacGregor appeared before the King's Lieutenant at Stirling on 22nd April and renewed his former obligations, the bond being signed for him, with his hand led at the pen, because he cannot write. This year, again, there are many decreets of ejectment against MacGregors. In one case, on the estate of Strowan, William MacNeill Y'Gregor pleads that of the lands from which he is charged to remove, he and his predecessors have been in possession for 300 years as native and kindly titulars and possessors thereof. As incidental evidence of the cruel manner in which the Clan Gregor were dealt with by those who received commissions against them, it is sufficient to cite the terms of a remission which was given to Glenurchy at this time for the robbery and burning of the houses of Bar in Glenurchy occupied by MacGregors, which proceeds on the statement that in the course of the enmity subsisting between the laird of Glenurchy and the Clan Gregor, many plunderings, slaughters, and burnings, have been committed by both parties, and that Sir Duncan Campbell, now of Glenurchy, was very often forced to seek remeid by the strong hand. Argyle did not fare so well in his commission against the clan. In 1602, in consequence of the frequency of complaints of theft by landless MacGregors roving athwart the country, he is called upon to give an account of the manner in which he has executed the commission against them, and in three sittings of the Council he is denounced at the horn in seventeen different charges for not producing MacGregors against whom there are accusations of thefts, chiefly of cattle. In September 1602, he is charged to produce before the Council John Gait MacGregor, and all the other MacGregors for whom he has become answerable, on pain of 20,000 merks, ancl in the next month he is actually fined in that sum on the ground that though he had bound over the MacGregors at Stirling, and had them all in his power, and His Majesty had been expecting that his good subjects would be placed in security of their lives ancl goods if the commission granted to Argyle had been properly fulfilled, yet the Clan Gregor were still as wicked and insolent as ever.

In December a complaint is lodged that the Clan Chattan and the MacGregors have made a joint foray on Glenisla in August last, ancl on 7th December there was a raid on Glenfinlas, headed by Duncan MacEwin, afterwards known as Duncan the Tutor, from his being tutor to Alaster Roy, nephew and successor to Gregor, son of John Dhu nan Lurag, or Black John of the Mail-coat. Robert, son of Duncan Abrach, and grandson of Duncan Laudosach, when on a similar expedition in the previous month, had been taken by Colquhoun of Luss, who had received the King's authority to arm his tenants ancl resist the MacGregors if they should return. The number of the band under Duncan MacEwin was about eighty, and the spoil driven from Glenfinlas is stated at 300 cows, 100 horses, 400 sheep, and 400 goats, with the whole plenishing of 45 houses. It was this raid of Glenfinlas, and not the subsequent slaughter of Glenfruin, that, gave occasion to the sensational incident of 'the bloodie shirts,' which was suggested to Colquhoun of Luss in a letter written to him by Thomas Fallasdail, a burgess of Dumbarton, on Sunday, 19th December, 1602. The worthy burgess had been taking counsel with Semple the laird of Fulwood, and William Stewart, the captain of Dumbarton Castle, and they advise the laird of Luss to go to Stirling 'wytli als monv bludie sarks as other ar deid or hurt of your men, togitter wyth als monv wemen' ancl present themselves before His Majesty ' upon Tysday nixt' on the occasion of his reception of the French Ambassador. The commonly received account of this tragic demonstration, in *hich the widows of the slain to the number of eleven score, clad in deep mourning, riding upon white palfreys, and each bearing her husband's bloody shirt upon a spear, are represented as appearing in the streets of Stirling to demand vengeance from a monarch peculiarly accessible to such sights of fear and sorrow, owes all its impressiveness to the picturesque pen of the prince of novelists, Sir Walter Scott. We have no means of knowing how many ' bluidy sarks' were exhibited in this singular procession, but there is no record of more than two deaths from the raid of Glenfinlas. Of course there may well have been a score or more of wounded men, and 'bluidy sarks' would not be difficult to obtain after such an encounter.

The causes of the sanguinary conflict of Glenfruin on the 7th February thereafter are obscure, ancl the chief of the MacGregors in his dying declaration simply attributes his attack on the Colquhouns to the instigation of Argyle, which is scarcely credible. There is an extraordinary discrepancy in the numbers of the slain on the side of the Colquhouns,. as given in the various accounts of the conflict. The .indictment against Alaster MacGregor and his clansmen tried before the High Court of Justiciary, states that they convenit to themselves the Clan Cameron, the Clan Mhuire (MacPhersons) and other broken men to the number of 400 or thereby, and past forward in arrayit battle to the lands of Glenfruin, where the laird of Luss with his friends were convenit be virtue of our soverane Lord's Commission to resist them, ancl barbarously murdered Peter Naper of Kilmahew, John Buchanan of Bncklyvie, Tobias Smollett, Bailie of Dumbarton, David Fallasdail, Burgess there, Thomas and James Fallasdail his sons, Walter Colquhoun of Barnhill,' ancl four other Colquhouns mentioned by name, ' and divers others to the number of seven score persons or thereby, the maist pairt of them being tane captive before they cruelly slew them, took William Sempill ancl other free lieges away captive, and took away 600 ky and oxen, 800 sheep and goats, and 280 horses with the haill plenishing and goods ancl geir of the fourscore pund lands of Luss and burnt the houses ancl barnyards.' On the other hand Birrell in his Diary says that sixty honest men were slain, besides women and children, while Calclerwood says fourscore or thereby. At the lowest estimate the fact was fearful enough, and coming as it did as the climax of a long series of thefts and slaughters committed in various parts of the country by the MacGregors, it filled the cup of their iniquity to overflowing. There is no evidence however to support the traditional atrocity of the murder in cold blood of the schoolboys of Dumbarton, who are supposed to have gone out to see the fight. There is mention in the Acts of the Privy Council of an accusation against one Allan Oig from Glencoe, who, when with the Clan Gregor at Glenfruin, is said to have ' with his awne hand murdered without pity the number of fourtie poor persons, who were naked [defenceless] and without armour,' But this accusation is only brought forward in 1609, six years after Glenfruin, and there is no evidence whatever to support it.

Immediately on the news of Glenfruin reaching Edinburgh the Privy Council issued a proclamation to the Sheriffs of Perth and Stirling, and the Stewart of Menteith, and the Laird of Glenurchy,-to convocate the whole inhabitants in arms, and keep their bounds free from invasion of the MacGregors. Glenurchy, Tullibardine, and Lord Drummond were also warned to present personally a number of MacGregors for whom they were answerable, and proclamation was made at Perth charging Alaster MacGregor and the remanent of his race to compear before the Council on the 29th of March, while the general enactment against resetting or intercommuning with the Clan was renewed with greater stringency. Aulay Macaulay of Ardincaple, Duncan Campbell of Carrick, and Ewen Campbell of Dargache were called to answer for intercommuning with the MacGregors and 'not raising the fray and pursuing them.1' The lieges of Athol and the Braes of Angus were called out to meet at the head of Loch Rannoch to join with the forces appointed to pursue the fugitives. In the end of March King James had taken his departure for London to assume possession of the throne of England, but in committing the Government of Scotland to his Privy Council he had given no doubtful indication of the measures to be adopted to bring the Clan Gregor under the rule of law, and to punish the principal offenders. Accordingly, on 3rd April, 1603, the Council decreed the abolition of the names Gregor and MacGregor, and that the whole members of the clan—they and their Mildren—take some other name ii«ll future time, on pain of death. This curious method of outlawing a clan or family name, and making it infamous, was not without precedent in the history of Scotland. It had been resorted to by James Y. in 1534, in the case of the Clan Chattan and still more recently by King James himself in the case of the Ruthvens after the Gowrie conspiracy. It appears also from the letters of the Council to the King that there was a proposal for the wholesale transportation of the clan beyond seas. On 18th May the Council write that they have already received eight pledges, and that the other four are expected, ancl they remind His Majesty of their former request that a ship might be sent to Leith ' for the transporting of sa mony of that clan that are appointit for banishment, seeing that all those quha are to depairt, in quhilk nowiner the Laird himself is ane, are to be in readiness to imbark here agane Whitsontyde.' But no such kindly fate was in store for Alaster MacGregor and his kinsmen. He managed to elude his pursuers till the 2nd of October, when he was entrapped by Campbell of Ardkinglass, the Sheriff of Argyle, who invited him to a friendly meeting in his house, situated in a small island in the loch, made him prisoner, ancl sent him off in a boat with five men to be conveyed to Argyle. But Alaster, though thus well guarded, watched his opportunity, leapt overboard and escaped. On the 4th of January, Argyle succeeded in inducing him to put himself in his hands, promising to allow him to go to England to solicit the royal pardon, ancl to use his influence with the King in his favour. So he was brought to Edinburgh, and eighteen of his friends with him, on the 9th of January, and as Birrell quaintly puts it,' he was convoyit to Berwick be the gaird, conform to the Earl's promise, for he proniisit to put him out of Scottis ground; so he keipit ane Hielandman's promise in respect he sent the gaird to convoy him out of Scottis ground, but they were directit not to pairt with him but to fetch him back again.' He arrived in Edinburgh from Berwick on the evening of the 18th January, was tried in the High Court of Justiciary on the 20th, and hanged with eleven other MacGregors at the Cross of Edinburgh on.the same day—' himself being chief,' says Birrell, ' he was bandit his awne height above the rest of his friends.'

The heads of Alaster Roy MacGregor of Glenstrae ancl Patrick Aldoch MacGregor were sent to Dumbarton, and there affixed upon the Tolbooth, in terror of others to commit the like. This seems to have drawn the vengeance of the clan upon Dumbarton for in April next, in consequence of the fear of the fyring of the town by the treacherie of the Clan Gregor,' the burgesses were fain to divide themselves into eight wards to watch night about. For his service to his king and country, Argyle received a gift of the lordship of Kintyre.

So far as can be made out from the scattered entries in the Justiciary Records, the number of MacGregors executed between April 1603 and April 1604 comes close on fifty. In July the Privy Council had offered pardon and a reward of 500 merks to any of the unhappy clan who should kill a denounced rebel of their own name or participant in their crimes. The first to claim this reward was John Dhu MacEwin, who received a remission for all his bypast offences and the sum proferred in money, for the slaughter of two Mac Williams. On August 14th, Archibald Dalzell, being himself at the horn, but seeing a prospect of obtaining the King s benevolence, had adventured his person and apprehended Neill MacGregor, one of the denounced principals of the clan, and announced himself ready to deliver him to the Council, and to do further adventures against the name of MacGregor, if he were released from the horn. He is released and disappears from the record. In the following August John Colquhoun, fiar of Camstrodden, considering the sincerity of His Majesty's haste to have these infamous limmers of the Clan Gregor punished, and being moved to give His Highness proof of his affection, had pursued them, and after many skirmishes ancl a long and dangerous onset on Gregor Craginche MacGregor, Duncan MacGille Callum, and certain others of the most notorious of all that name, had apprehended them and put them in ward, where 'the said Duncan barbarouslie stikit himself' and died. Colquhoun, however, brought Duncan's head, with the said Gregor Craginche, to be presented to the Lords at Stirling, where Gregor was executed, and John Colquhoun received the benefit of the Act in a free pardon and 500 merks. This Act was succeeded by another, offering still greater inducements to adventurers to ' enter in blood' with the IMlGregors. On April 19th, 1605, the Council issued proclamation that whoever should present to them at Edinburgh ' any of the MacGregors quick, or failing that his heid,' should have a nineteen years' lease of his lands and possessions or else a compensation for his kindness. But the adventurers were not all equally successful. James Gordon of Lismore had undertaken the capture of John Dhu Maclllchallum and Alaster his brother (both brothers apparently of that Duncan who had stabbed himself when taken by John Colquhoun), and after several skirmishes and the slaughter of some four or five of the band of MacGregors, Alaster was taken, and John escaped in the darkness, although severely wounded. Alaster is laid fast in the irons in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and Gordon recommended to His Majesty's favour by the Council. But John Dhu's wounds are soon healed, and in a few months he ' hes liochit and gored to the Laird of Lismore aucht scoir of nolt.'

The effect of the indiscriminate proscription of innocent and guilty alike was what might have been expected. The clan, driven to desperation, broke loose in a body, and went athwart the country, burning, harrying, and laying waste the lands of their oppressors. The writer of the Black Book of Taymouth states that at this time they burnt to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy the barony of Monzie, the barony of Culdair and Tennaiffs, the lands of Crandich, the barony of Glenfalloch, the lands of Bochastle in Menteith, and the house of Achallader in Glenurchy, the total loss amounting to 100,000 merks. In August, 1604, Robert Campbell, Glenurchy's second son, having gathered a force of 200 men of Clan Cameron, Clan Nab, and Clanranald, pursued them through the country, and overtaking a band of 60 of them at Ranefray in the Brae of Glenurchy, slew Duncan Abrach MacGregor of Ardchoille (grandson of Duncan Laudosach), with his son Gregor, Dougal MacCoulkeir in Glengyle with his son Duncan, and Charles MacGregor MacEan in Brack! j, who were the leaders of the band. Strangely enough, a Dougal MacGregor Clerich was afterwards tried at the High Court of Justiciary and executed for the slaughter in this fray of Gregor, son of Duncan Abrach, by shooting him in the back with an vol. xvi. 2 0 arrow, 'he being a bairn of sevin yeirs.' Besides those executed for complicity in the slaughter of Glenfruin, many were now brought to trial for offences, some of which are specified in the indictments as committed 30 years ago or thereby, and one indictment even runs to the extreme of 46 years ago or thereby. Some of the crimes laid to their charge are heinous enough, such as the slaughter of the fiddler MacKillope within his ain house, and the murder by drowning of MacKillope's wife that dwelt in Glenartney, In the harvest of 1602, the slaughter of John Drummond in Dron of Cowgask in August 1603, the burning of the castle of Achallader and 20 houses in Glenlochie, and the stealing furth of the Laird of Strowan's Crandoch of his haill insicht plenishing worth £1000. A number of the clan not personally chargeable with offences of this kind now made suit to obtain the protection of the law by changing their names and finding caution to abide the law when called on. They usually took the same name as that of their cautioners, and hence many MacGregors now appear as Stewarts, Grants, Cunninghams, Livingstons, Ramsays, ancl even Campbells.

By the end of the year 1606 the hue aud cry against the clan appears to have somewhat abated, if we judge from the tenor of an ordinance of the Privy Council of 23rd December, which sets forth that the course for extermination of the wicked race of MacGregor had been mitigated and permission granted them to live in the country, yet they had returned to their evil courses and committed villages not worthy to be heard of in a country subject to a Prince armed with power sufficient to extirpate such an infamous byke of insolent limmers. The details of the next four years are not known as there is here a hiatus in the Council Record, but in 1610 it is recorded that the Council have resolved to pursue them with fire and sword, and commissions are issued to 29 barons and lairds in the counties of Perth, Stirling, Dumbarton and Argyle, including of course all the old enemies of the clan, with full powers to search, hunt and pursue all and whatsomever persons of the Clan Gregor. This extreme measure was followed by two proclamations—one calling all the lieo-es within the bounds to rise ancl assist the Commissioners named by His Majesty, who has resolved in his wrath ancl justice, by power and force to reduce these rebellious and detestable limmers to obedience and conformity to the laws; the other renewing the penalties against harbouring, dealing with, or in any way assisting the members of the clan, who are denounced as a handful of miserable caitiffs whom it is a discredit to have anv longer within the country. In the month of September 1610 the sum of £1200 was paid to the laird of Lawers for undertaking service against the Clan Gregor, and the castles of Garth, Glenlyon and Balquhidder are ordered to be given up to Locbiel and MacRanald in furtherance of the same service. These chiefs had at first held back, probably because they had not had a retaining fee like Lawers, but in October there is paid to M'Ranald for putting the service in execution £3566. In January 1611 the Commissioners were summoned to Stirling to be dealt with for slackness, and a promise was exacted from them that they would take the field by February next, and enter in action and blood with the Clan Gregor and prosecute the same for a month upon their own charges, and if they did some notable service within the month the King would bear the expense of 100 men to assist them thereafter to finish the service.

It was in these circumstances that the following proclamation was issued in the name of King James:—Forasmuch as the rebellious thieves and limmers of the Clan Gregor have most justly procured His Majesty's heavy wrath and indignation, yet in his accustomed clemencv and mercv he is willing to show favour to such of them as by some notable service shall give proof of their hatred of the wicked doings of that unhappy race, and therefore the Lords of the Privy Council promise that whatever person of the name of MacGregor shall slay any person of the same name, being of as good rank and quality as himself, and shall prove the same before the Council, shall have a free pardon for all his bygone faults; and whatever other person shall slay any of the particular persons afternamed, to wit Duncan MacEwen MacGregor now called the Laird, Robert Abrach MacGregor, John Dhu MacAlaster MacGregor, Callum MacGregor V'Coull, Doulchav MacGregor, (Dougal of the Mist) and MacRobeit MacGregor his brother, or any others of the rest of that race, shall have a reward in money presently paid according to thelqaality of the Hon slain, and the least sum shall be 100 merks, and for the chieftains and ringleaders of the MacGregors a thousand pounds apiece; and those who resett or supply any of the proscribed race are to be pursued with fire and sword as if they were of the race of the MacGregors themselves. In further preparation for the general onset it is announced in another proclamation 'that the Clan Gregor, being now despairing and out of all hope, have amassed themselves together in the Isle of Loch Ketterin (Ilanvernock), which they have fortified, and now there is hope that these wolves and thieves may be pursued within their own den by His Majesty's faithful subjects, for which purpose the haill boats and birlings on Loch Lomond must be transported to Loch Ketterin, which cannot be done but by the presence of a great number of people, and therefor all the lieges between sixteen and sixty years of age in Dumbarton, Menteith, and six parishes in the Lennox, are summoned to meet at Loch Lomond head on 13th February for this service, ancl all the landlords in Argyle, Athole, and Badenoch, are to set out watches on the hills lest the MacGregors escape there.' Meantime, a special Commission of Justiciary is given to the Earl of Dunbar, whose rigorous action in the pacification of the Borders had recommended him to Kins; James as a fit instrument for the extirpation of the MacGregors, but his death following shortly afterwards, the King writes to the Council assuring them that he will ' verie narrowlie examine the particular behaviour of everie man in this service, and accordingly will remember them.' This was no idle threat, as some of them, and even Argyle himself, realised in a very short time.

So impatient was the King that on the 10th February the undertakers of the service were summoned to give an account of their proceedings, ' seeing that the time for them to have entered in blood with the MacGregors was past, and nothing done but the service altogether frustrated, and the Clan Gregor, who were enclosed within an isle, are now escaped, and not so much as ane mint or show of pursuit intended.' We learn from the Black Book of Taymouth that Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy had been most active in organisms; the siege of Ilanvernock I which was hastilv dissolvit through ane vehement storm of snaw,' and Sir Duncan, with the other Commissioners, having been summoned to Edinburgh, the Clan Gregor immediately thereafter burnt all his lands of Glenurchy, Glenfalloch, and Mochaster, in Menteith, the lands of Culdares and Tennaiffs, ancl in the cosche (meadow) of Glenurchy they slew forty great mares ancl their foals, with ane fyne courser, sent to Sir Duncan by the Prince out of London,' and 'burnt also the haill houses on the lands of Aberuchill pertaining to Colin Campbell, brother to the laird of Lawers, where they slew eight persons and burnt three bairns, daughters of John MacKishock.' Robert Campbell, Sir Duncan's son, and .Colin Campbell of Aberuchill, pursued them through Balquhidder, Menteith, and Lennox, ancl drove them to the forest of Benbuie, in Argyle, where they killed some ancl took six prisoners, whom ' they hangit at the cosche of Glenurchy where they slew the mares.' Then they chased the remnant to Rannoch ancl Badenoch and completely scattered them. The number of MacGregors slain in this rout was sixteen. There is also a payment of £66 13s. 4d. to James Campbell of Lawers for the slaughter of Gregor Ammonach MacGregor, and the same sum to a man, Maclldowie, who brought three heads of MacGregors and presented the same to the Council. John Campbell, a brother of the laird of Lawers, slew John Dhu MacAlaster in Stronfernan, for whose head the Council had offered £1000. On the 24th May, the head was forwarded to the Council by Campbell, who claimed as his reward, in terms of another Act of Council, a nineteen years' lease of the deceased's lands, from which his wife ancl children were instantly ejected. On 2nd March, 1611, eight MacGregors were entered at the High Court of Justiciary on various charges, and hanged at the Burgh Muir. Two hundred pounds is paid to Sir Alexander Colquhoun in name of his friends, who slew three MacGregors.

In April the King writes to the Council that as he is now resolved by exemplary punishment of the MacGregors to terrify others, and because they 'receive great comfort by their wyffis,' who supply their wants and furnish them with intelligence to prevent their capture, as likewise their children being many in number are like to be as great a pest to the country in a few years, the Council is to confer with Argyle on the best means of preventing these two evils. The outcome of this conference is a proclamation that the King (has now resolved to lay mercy aside, and by justice and the sword to root out and extirpate all the race of MacGregor remaining rebellious,' and Commission is given to the Earl of Argyle accordingly. But to mitigate the rigour of the Commission the Earl is permitted to receive such of them to obedience as shall humbly sue His Majesty's pardon, c on condition that the MacGregor so suing for pardon shall, before the obtaining thereof, enter in action and blood against the rest of that race, and deliver to the Earl or to the Privy Council the person or the head of a MacGregor of as good rank, quality, and action as himself, and find caution for his future good behaviour.' In April, Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy was ordered to assist Argyle, and in May he burned the houses and lands of Dovvlettir and the house of Glenstrae. To enable Argyle's men to live on the field they are authorised to take cattle and other provisions at fixed prices. As regards the wives and bairns of the Clan Gregor, the landlords on whose lands they live are ordered to deliver them up to Argyle within three days and the wives are to be ' marked with a key upon the face'—burnt on the cheek like thieves. On 25th May, a proposal to deport the wives and children of the MacGregors from the country was 'discussed in the Council. This was no new idea. In ] 583 King James had issued authority to the Earl of Murray to invade the Clan Chattan 'to their utter destruction be slauchter, bryning, drowning, and uthir wayis, and laif na creatur levand of that clan except priests, wemen, and bairnis,' and these to be shipped off to Zealand or Norway, ' because it were inhumanity to put hands in the blude of wemen and bairnis.' But in November, 1611, King James finding that the ' utter extirpation' of all the Clan Gregor would be too troublesome, he is resolved on some to execute justice and the rest to take to mercy, and to transplant them and the wives and children of those that are killed or executed. Accordingly, he submits a series of proposals to the Council, among which are the following:—For those of the MacGregors that have come in will or surrendered themselves, if any of them have killed a MacGregor as good as himself, or two, three, or four of them which in comparison may be equal to him, he shall have a remission if he find surety, but for such as have come in will and done no service by killing of MacGregors, nor cannot find surety, then the law to have its course and no favour at all to be shown. For such as are yet rebels, that there be no pardon or surrender taken unless he present a better head—or one at least as good as his own. or such two or three more as shall be enjoined unto him by the Council. And for Robert Abrach, who is now chief of them that are presently out, that he be not pardoned unless he bring in at least half-a-dozen of their heads. Robert Abrach, a great grandson of the famous Duncan Laudosach, was not slow to take the hint, and in a memoir of the Earl of Perth, written by himself, we have an account of the affair at Tomzarloch in connection .with which he obtained the King's pardon. 'In March, 1612, I came from Edinburgh to Drummond Castle. In the meantime some dozen of the MacGregors came within the low country, Robin Abrach and Gregor Gair being chiefs. Abrach sent for my chamberlain, ancl alledging that his comrades were about to betray him, contrived to let them fall into the hands of justice. The plot was cunningly contrived, ancl six of that number were killed, three were taken, and one escaped, besides Robin and his man.' Here were the half-dozen heads' for which the King had stipulated as the price of Robert Abrach's pardon, but the wily fox instead of carrying them to the Council went direct to the King himself in England, and the first intimation the Council had of the matter was a request from the King to draw out a remission in his favour. It was in vain that Sir Thomas Hamilton, Sir Duncan Campbell, ancl others remonstrated in the strongest terms that ' Robert Abrach was the most bloody and violent murderer of all that damned race'; the King will have his way, and Robert Abrach is commended for good service and fully pardoned.

For some time before this the system of tracking the fugitive MacGregors with dogs, and hunting them like wild beasts, had been in operation, for in July, 1612, we find there is a payment of £100 to a borderer named Archie Armstrong ' for his pains in attending His Majesty's service in the Highlands with lurg doggis against the Clan Gregor.' In 1613 there is a new out-breaMbf the Clan, and a proclamatm that lfle of that wicked and rebellious race shall be allowed hereafter to wear any kind of armour except a pointless knife to cut their meat, under pain of death. This was not a new thing either, for a similar proclamation had been made against the inhabitants of the Lewis in 160B. But it was followed by the absurd restriction upon the liberty of those who had changed their names and found caution to underlie the law. that they were not to meet together in greater numbers than four persons. In the meantime the King, finding the Council less pliable than he wished in the matter of 'taking order with' the wives and bairns of the MacGregors, had got into correspondence with Archibald Campbell, brother of James Campbell of Lawers, who writes to His Majesty on 13th April, 1613, undertaking that the MacGregor bairns shall be put in such obedient subjects' hands as shall be answerable for them, and that he or his brother, on receiving a secret warrant for pursuit of any member of the clan, will bring him in dead or quick, provided the direction be not divulged to the Council or others. A month afterwards he tells the King that his brother Lawers had taken twelve MacGregors, and there are now not above forty left. ' Likewise, as your Majesty commanded, he has made fast the most of the young ones of that unhappy clan, which in good faith is more troublesome to him than all the rest of the service.' At the Council meeting of 22nd June his Majesty's missive 'ahent the boys and young ones' was read, and Lawers confessed that he had in his hands threescore and ten of them, being the sons of those executed and slain, the sustentation of which, with their keepers, which completed the number of a hundred persons, was very chargeable to him. The landlords being called to a conference with the Council most earnestly urged the transplantation of the whole race of the Clan Gregor ' man, wife, and bairn,' but the Council thought it not only a matter of difficulty, but of extreme rigour, to transplant men and "families who had renounced their names and found caution to be answerable subjects. Finally, the bairns, to the number of fourscore or thereby, the oldest of them not past thirteen ancl the most part about eight, six and four years, and some of only two and three years old, are distributed among the landlords, who are made answerable for them. Those escaping under 14 years of ace were to be scourged and burned on the cheek for the first escape, and hanged for the second. The last Act against the bairns was passed in Parliament, June 28th 1633, when the former Acts against the Clan Gregor were ratified and renewed, with the further provision that every one of them, as they come to the age of 16 years, should yearly thereafter appear before the Council on 24th July and give renewed security for their good behaviour. It was also enacted that no minister in the Highland Counties should baptize a child with the name of Gregor or MacGregor under pain of deprivation.

Before this time a number of ' the young ones' had broken loose and found leaders in Robert Abrach and the sons of the late Patrick Aldoch who were again outlawed, and a price set upon their heads. In the month of October 1624, when many of his band had been taken and executed, Robert Abrach came to Perth, on a Sunday after sermon. ' He fell clown upon his knees,' says the Chronicle of Perth,' having a tow about his neck, and offered his sword by the point to the Chancellor of Scotland.' The Chancellor refused to accept it, and commanded the Bailies to ward him, as they instantly did, and put both his feet in the gadd, or long irons, where he remained. He seems to have been brought to Edinburgh, but instead of being summarily 'justified' as was the usual fate of his kinsmen, he was kept prisoner in the Tolbooth till August 1626, when he was delivered to Sir Donald Maclvay who was taken bound to transport him and two other MacGregors out of the kingdom and employ them in the wars in Germany, never to return oil pain of death.

After the deportation of Robert Abrach, the leadership of the outlawed MacGregors fell to Patrick Roy MacGregor, better known as Gilroy or Gilderov, who with John Dhu, his brother, are reported to have broken loose in 1635. In 1636 eight of Gilroy's band, who had been captured by the Stewarts of Athole, were brought to Edinburgh for trial ancl hanged. In retaliation the Gilroys burnt the houses of Athole, and then betook themselves to the wilds of Aberdeenshire, haunting the forests of Culblene and Glentanner, and coming down on Strathdee and Strathdon in the darkness to commit spulzie and levy blackmail.

A price of a thousand pounds was put upon the head of Gilderoy, and we next hear of him and his band making a raid through the Lennox and haunting the Isle of Inchcalzeoch in Loch Lomond. At last, on June 6, 1636, Archibald Lord of Lome exhibits to the Privy Council Patrick MacGregor, called Gilderoy, and two of his followers, whom he had captured. The trial of Gilderoy and nine of his men before the High Court of Justiciary took place on 27th July. They were all convicted and hanged, the heads and right hands of Gilderoy and another being cut off and affixed above the east and west ports of Edinburgh.

After the execution of Gilderoy, John Dhu Gair became leader of the broken men of MacGregor, and on September 10, 1636, commissions were issued to James Stuart of Ardvoirlich, and John Stuart of Drumquhan, to capture John Dhu Gair and John Dhu Roy MacGregor, the brother of Gilderoy, and their accomplices. On 27th October, John Dhu Roy and one Maclnstalker were taken by the Laird of Grant's men, and ordered to be sent from Sheriff to Sheriff to their trial in Edinburgh. On 28th December, King Charles I. sent a special letter of thanks to John Lord Kinpont for his capture of John Dhu Roy. It appears, from a subsequent minute of the Council, that John Stuart of Drumquhan, in execution of his commission against the MacGregors, had attempted to capture John Dhu Gair and his companions in the house of one John Grant or MacJokkie atTullich, in Strathspey, on Christmas Day, but as the band of the MacGregors were twenty-three in number, they overpowered Stuart's company, shot him through the thighs, breaking his thigh bones, and cut off his fingers, and finally cut off his head, dancing and making merry about him for a long time. One of the MacGregors, John MacPatrick, had been taken by the Laird of Grant and hanged because his wounds were such that he could not be transported to Edinburgh alive. For this the Laird of Grant was warded in the .Castle of Edinburgh, but it appears that the Council suspected him of resett of the MacGregors, as there was an old friendship between the two clans. Accordingly, on the 16th February they resolved to put John Dhu Roy and Patrick Maclnstalker to the torture anent their intercommuners; and again on 2nd March a Committee of the Council are called to the Laigh Council House at eight in the morning to examine John Dhu Roy, Patrick Maclnstalker, John Grant or MacJokkie, and his two sons, and the rest of the prisoners, and ' to put them to the torture of the butts.' Again, on the 14th of March, John Dhu Roy and his unfortunate fellow-prisoners are called for examination as to their crimes and their resetters, and for the better discovery of the truth are to be put to the torture of the boots. Two days afterwards John Grant and his younger son are to be put to the torture of the boots, and five days afterwards the torture is renewed; and John Dhu Roy is also to be put to the torture of the boots with a full number of the Council present. Next clay John Grant and his two sons are to be again tortured in the boots in consequence of the depositions of two of their associates, made under threat of torture. The day following John Dhu Roy is to be again put to the torture anent his resetters. On 30th March, John Dhu Roy is tried and sentenced to be hanged at the Cross, and his body hung in chains at the Gallowlie, betwixt Edinburgh and Leith. The rest of the prisoners were executed in June. The object of the prolonged examination under torture was apparently to obtain evidence to incriminate John Gordon of Park and the Laird of Grant as resetters of the outlaws of Clan Gregor. But as the desired evidence was not obtained, Gordon and Grant were liberated from ward, but Grant died on the day of his liberation.

The troubles in the Aberdeen districts arising out of the wars of the Covenant were not unfavourable to the MacGregors. John Dhu Gair was still the leader of the band. In August, 1638, he harried the lands of Corse, ancl ravaged Strathisla, carrying off Corse's chief man and sending word that if Corse did not send him the £1000 he had received for the capture of John Dhu Roy he would ' send him his man's heid.' Corse applied to Huntly, whose message to John Dhu Gair procured the release of the captive. In 1639 John Dhu Gair marched into Aberdeen with his band of MacGregors in the train of Lord Lewis Gordon, but before the winter was well set in he was again an outlaw with a commission of fire and sword issued against him. In November he had settled for his winter quarters on Speyside, and having made a demand for subsistence from the inhabitants of Garmouth, and being pursued by them, he took shelter on an island in the Spey, where he was shot by his pursuers.

John MacPhadrick Gair and Duncan, his brother, now became leaders of the rebels, and a price was set upon their heads by the Committee of Estates. They continued going athwart the wilds of the upcountry till 1642, when a meeting of the Barons of the north was held at Elgin, at which an agreement was made with William Mackintosh, who became bound to raise 600 men to keep the country free of the MacGregors, from Dunottar north to the sea banks. In 1643 Duncan MacGregor, a son of Duncan in Rannoch, was taken and brought to trial at Edinburgh for spulzies committed in Aberdeenshire, and for being a chief leader in the band of the late John Dhu Gair.

But with the rising of Montrose the MacGregors unexpectedly found themselves called to service under the Royal Standard, and until the final defeat at Philiphaugh they had the novel experience of ravaging in proper military fashion the districts from which they had been formerly hunted. His Majesty even condescended to notice their faithfulness and to certify and assure them that whatever lands and possessions belonged justly to the laird of MacGregor and his followers, in Rannoch, Glenlyon, and Glenurchy should be restored to them.' How they exercised their new found 1 icense to plunder and ravage may be inferred from a knowledge of what they had suffered. In 1644 and 1645 Glenurchy's whole lands between the ford.of Lyon and the point of Lismore were burnt and destroyed, the whole cattle of the tenants taken away and their corn, houses and plenishing burnt. Buchanan of that ilk sends up a piteous complaint that the MacGregors have burnt and wasted his haill lands, beggared and murdered his tenants, ' man wyff and child, without respect of age or sex.' In 1650, when the Committee of Estates was again in the ascendant, a commission of fire and sword against the MacGregors is given to Lieut.-General David Leslie, and a band of them under Gregor MacPatrick Aldoch again fortified themselves in an island of Loch Katri ne—this time Eilau Mulloch, now better known as the Ellen's Isle of Scott's Lady of the Lake—and among other misdemeanours had slain James

Campbell of Duncrosk and John his brother. Yet in the course of a few months we find them responding to the call of a Covenanted King, when on the occasion of the abortive attempt of Charles II. to supersede the Commonwealth, he embodied the clans for defence of Religion, King and Kingdoms. The MacGregors were placed under General David Leslie as a guard upon the passes at the heads of Forth. In 1653 Glencairn was at MacGregor's House in the Isle of Loch Rannoch, and Malcolm MacGregor the tutor of James MacGregor the chief, who was then a minor, raised 80 men, his contingent being subsequently augmented to 200. It is noteworthy that the officers of the Commonwealth showed great consideration for the condition of the MacGregors. In March, 1657, Monk wrote to the Laird of Weem desiring him not to interrupt the Lairds of MacGregor in their possessions in Rannoch, as they had been ancient tenants and possessors of these lands and had hitherto paid duty for the same. In May of the same year Captain Daniell urges Weem to allow Clan Gregor to remain on his lands, and points out that his resolution to remove them had turned them desperate, as they knew they would not be received as tenants by other landlords, and that if he should deal rashly with them, he would simply lay his land waste, for he would not find in all Scotland tenantry to remain on the lands from which the MacGregors had been' expelled, and finishes byentreating him to consider the blood and violence that would ensue, and not, by seeking to build his own house, to set his neighbour's house on fire. On his restoration in 1661, King Charles was so sensible of the loyalty of the MacGregors that he rescinded the penal laws against them so far as to allow them to resume their name, but the restoration of their lands was perhaps beyond his power.

The last act of the bloody drama closes in March, 1667, when Patrick Roy MacGregor, apparently a son of Gilderoy, was tried at the High Court of Justiciary for plundering the lands of Belchirrie several times, and because John Lyon of Muiresk had obtained a commission against him he came at midnight, on 7th April, 1666, with a banc! of 20 men to the house of Belchirrie, in which were John Lyon and his son Alexander and their sei-vants, and into wlticji they had taken their Mses and cattle for security. The MacGregors compassed the house with sheaves of corn from the barnyard ancl burned the inmates out and took Mniresk and his son captive, and slew them at a shieling in the braes of Abernethv, and left their dead bodies naked ancl full of wounds in the open field. After this he came to the town of Keith and demanded blackmail, but the inhabitants resisted and there was a hot skirmish on the bridge and by the kirk dyke, in which he was wounded and taken. He was sentenced to be hanged at the Cross of Edinburgh, and his right hand to be first cut off by the executioner, and his body to be hung in chains. Two days after his trial he was tortured in the boots, probably to extort evidence against his resetters. Lord Pitmedden has described Patrick Roy as of low stature but strongly made, with a fierce countenance and a brisk, hawk-like eye. He bore the torture of the boots with great constancy, and was undaunted at his execution, though mangled by the executioner in the cutting off of his hand.

The subsequent history of the Clan Gregor is comparatively barren of interest, for although the fictitious fame of Rob Roy has supplanted the sterner story of his ancestors in popular literature, his reputation has been greatly exaggerated. But a very false impression of the truth would be conveyed to the reader if it were not stated that there is no period of their authentic history in which the whole members of the clan were equally in the position of outlaws and social outcasts. Despite the prejudice against their name and race, they are found occupying positions in life implying a degree of education, ability, and character, which is hardly to be expected of them in the circumstances. In 1454 John MacGregor, son of Patrick MacGregor of Ardinconell, possessed a town house in Dumbarton, and in 1480 Duncan MacGregor held the chaplainry of St. Patrick there. In 1484 Duncan MacGregor was vicar of Drymen. In 1514 James MacGregor was Dean of Lismore, and his brother Duncan was writing his poetical genealogies. Several of the vicars of Fortingall about this time were MacGregors. In 1518 Duncan MacGregor was keeper of the Castle of Glenurchy, and the same office was successively held by his descendants, Neil, John Dhu, and Gregor MacEan, till after 1570. In 1574 Dougal MacGregor was Chancellor of Lismore, and in the same year Duncan MacGregor was reader at Killin and Strathfillan. In 1575 Gregor MacDougal MacGregor was reader at Moulin. In 1594 Patrick MacQuhewin, nephew and heir of Donald Dhu of Duneaves, who was beheaded by Glenurchy twenty years before, was minister of God's Word at Rothesay. These instances may go far to account for the remarkable fact that since the repeal of the penal laws against them, there is no clan name which has earned more honourable distinction than that of MacGregor.

Joseph Anderson.


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