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Battle of Falkirk

ARREST AND ESCAPE OF LORD LOVAT


As the future progress of the insurrection in the Highlands depended much upon the Frasers, Lord Loudon, in conjunction with Lord President Forbes, resolved to march to Castle Downie, the seat of Lord Lovat, and to obtain the best satisfaction that could be got for the peaceable behaviour of that powerful clan. For this purpose, two companies of the Mackenzies, which had been posted near Brahan, were called into Inverness on the 9th of December, and after allowing the detachment, which had been at Fort Augustus, one day's rest, his lordship left Inverness on the 10th, taking along with him that detachment and the two companies, amounting together to 800 men, and proceeded to Castle Downie.

The earl prevailed upon Lord Lovat to go with him to Inverness, and to live there under his own eye, until all the arms of which the clan were possessed, (and of which he promised to obtain the delivery,) were brought in. But instead of delivering the arms on the day fixed, being the 14th of December, he made excuses and fresh promises from the day to day till the 21st, when Lord Loudon, thinking that he was deceived, placed sentries at the door of the house where Lord Lovat resided,intending to commit him to the castle of Inverness next morning; but his lordship contrived to escape during the night through a back passage, and, being very infirm, was supposed to have been carried off on men's shoulders.

Next in importance to the keeping down of the Frasers, was the relief of the shires of Banff and Aberdeen from the sway of Lord Lewis Gordon. To put an end to the recruiting and exactions of this nobleman, the laird of Macleod was sent the same day that Lord Loudon proceeded to the seat of Lord Lovat with a body of 500 men, composed of 400 of his own kindred, and 100 of the Macleods of Assint, towards Elgin and these were to be followed by as many men as could be spared from Inverness, after adjusting matters with Lord Lovat. Accordingly, on the 13th, 200 men were detached under Captain Munro of Culcairn, to follow Macleod to Elgin and Aberdeen, and these were again to be followed by other small bodies, and by Lord Loudon himself, as soon as matters were finally settles with Lovat. The escape of that wily old chief, however, put an end to this part of the plan, as it was considered dangerous to reduce the force near Inverness any further, while Lord Lovat was at large.


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