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The Lairds of Glenlyon:  Historical Sketches
Chapter 8


ROBERT had disposed of the extensive feus he held in Lorn to the Earl of Breadalbane about 1663. The noble property of Glenlyon fell into the hands of Lord Murray in 1684. The only part of the once large estate remaining in possession of the family at his death were the jointure lands of his wife, and the small property of Kilmorich, which had been so settled that he could not touch it. His extravagance had created many debts, which were pressing with severity upon his family. But notwithstanding the hopelessness of the attempt, the first thought of his son was, how he could recover his father's inheritance. Iain Bitidhe (yellow-haired John) was twenty years of age when his father died in Flanders. The following letter, written immediately on receipt of the news of his father's death, explains his position and views :—

29th October, 1696.

May it please your Lordship—Being in Caithness when I heard of my father Glenlyon's death, I made all the heast I could to returne to wait upon your Lordship, to represent the case of the Earle of Tullibardine's claim upon my father's Estate. But comeing home, I understood that your Lordship was gone to London, qich oblidges me to give you this trouble, humblie begging your Lordship's protectione in that matter, to prevent the ruine of my father's familie, which the best Lawiers in the Kingdome, and particularlie my Lord Advocate, are of opinione may be yet done, if my friends owne me. In regarde that any right of the Earle of Tulliebardine has is but of the nature of a wadsett, redeimable on payment of the soume therein contained, which is farr within the treu value of the Estate. And seeing my own uncles and cusin-germans are able and willing instantly to advance all the money that the Earle of Tullibardine pretends to, for relieving the Estate to my behoof, I humblie entreat your Lordship (seeing you are now on the place) to speak to my Lord Tullibardine in my behalf, to sie if he will accept of his money in a friendly manner without putting me and my relations to any further expenses. Which is well known we are not able to undergoe, being reduced to grate extremities by the wayes and methodes which were takine to turne us out of all we had. Qranent I earnestlie entreat your Lordship may be pleased to gett the Earle of Tullibardine's positive answer imediately. Because the present circumstances of the affaire will not admitt of any delay. In regaird if he refuse, I most prosequtt the legall part before my minority expyre, which is now neir elapst. And besyds I may come to lose the present opportunity that offers, by my uncles and cusin-germans being willing to advance the money, whereby my father's familie may yett be preserved in the name. For they will accept of repayment from me of the prin11. soume in such moyties as I please, and give me a perpetual reversion and present possessione of the superplus more than satisfies their current annualrents. I humbly beg your Lordship's answer, that I may be determined in time how to proceed. The beginning of the winter sessione being that there are processes then, hinc inde, depending. And as your Lordship's appeiring for me will doe me a grate deall of honour, so it will certainly preserve a familie who have been upon all occations servisable to your Lordship's most noble predecessors, whose futt-stapes therein! resolve to follow, and ever to conteinow.—May it please your Lordship, your Lordship's most obedient and most humble servant. John Campbell.

For the Earle of Bieadalbane.

The answer to the foregoing earnest and humble appeal came not from the Earl but from his lawyer, Colin Campbell:

Edin. 2. Feb. 1697.

Sir—You will see by the enclosed what returne the Earl of Tullibardine hath given to your Letter, and of David Campbell, Advocate, yranent who is very friendly. Yr. friends yen cane expect nothing but the rigour of the Law that way, ffor the Earl's Advocates are insisting in ther old process, to have the restitutione made voyd. But I judge their will nott be muche done this sessione. Iff your comeing over be necessary (which I think it will nott this Sessione) I sail accquaint you in dew tyme. My Lord Marquess Advocats are postponeing your Mother's business, with delays as much as they cane. And would faine restrict her joyntur if they cane. They have som pappers, they say, to produce, under her own hand, that will restrict her right upon Killmorich. We cane make nothing till we see you. They are to be produced to-morrow. Ther sail be noe indeavors wanting to bring it to a Decreit this Sessione.—I am, Sir. your Coussen to serve you, C. C.

ffor the Laird of Glenlyon.

The next is from the Earl. It is quite characteristic of the man. The issue, and the person into whose possession these lands ultimately came, throw a doubt upon his professions of friendship, and make it probable that in this, as in every other act of his life, he used double-dealing. We shall hear more about the matter in another paper:—

ffinlarig, 12 Jully. 1697. COSSEN—I have just now red yours of the tenth. I know not how it came to be soe long on the way. Coline Ramsay did last week informe at Edinr> that you were ther, and that all your desyre of recovering your esteat wood doe. I know not who made him soe wise but it oblidged me to send yesterday an expresse to Edinr' to assure them of the contrarie. The same endeavours are used w4- you to persuade you of my remisnes, but I'll put the contrary under my hand. My sone Glenurchay is just now come here, and hes spoake to the E. of T. thoroughly of your affaire, as alsoe w'- the E. of A. & my L. A. C. ; and q*- hes past betwixt them oblidges me to call you & yr. friends here to-morrow morning ; In order to put an end to all thats to be done in your affaire at this time. And that from this ye may goe to Edinr'. Two that effect I have written to Duneaves to advance you money, and I shall reimbruse him, and alsoe to come here w*- you. My sone tells me, that my Lord Tulliebardine says ye agreed w*- him at Hungtingtower, that Duneaves & the rest of the undertakers were to goe w'- you to Edinr- to him, qch I understood not to be soe. However, I shall write for the rest to meet you here to-morrow. I wish ye wold persuade yr cossen to come provided to goe alongst w'- you if found needfull qn we meet. In caise it be not, I shall be als unwilling that any person should goe, as they can be themselves, if it can be done wtout them. Soe expecting you soe early as may be, for I had stopt my jurney for yr coming, I remain, yr affectionate Cossen to serve you, Breadalbane.

ffor the Laird of Glenlyon.

The bearing of the whole question, as well as the upshot, are best learned from a lawyer's opinion obtained by Glenlyon a few years afterwards in reference to the claims of his father's creditors :—" The deceast Marquess of Athole haveing unquestionable rights to the estate of Glenlyon by expyred compreisings in his person : He enters in contract wt the deceast Robert Campbell of Glenlyon in the year 1684, whereby out of love and favour to the present Glenlyon his sone, he restricts the great sums due to his Lops, to the sum of 39,000 lib, and grants the said John Campbell of Glenlyon a Reversion for redeeming the said lands wtin the space of six years thereafter. But on this express condition, that in case the said lands were not redeemed wtin said time, then and in that case the reversion should ipso facto expyre and become extinct, as if the same had never been made nor granted. The Marquess paying to this Glenlyon, in the event of not redemption, ane certain sum." . . . . "Glenlyon haveing failed in useing the ordor of Redemptione wtin the limited time, the Marquess raises a proces of Declarator agt. him, for declare-ing the reversion granted to him, out of love and favour only, extinct and voyd; and accordingly the same was declared, and the present Duke of Athole, as haveing right from his fayr. to the lands of Glenlyon, did pay to the present Glenlyon a certain sum of money upon his granting a Discharge yrof in terms of the forsd reversion." The opinion as to Glenlyon's liability to his father's creditors then follows, but is of no consequence, especially as it was not acted upon.

The next papers contain a list of the most pressing of Robert Campbell's debts at the time of his decease. There were many other and heavy debts due to friends, who gave the ruined family breathing space to recover themselves. These papers afford a good insight into the everyday life of a laird in the seventeenth century, and are interesting for the statistical clues they offer to any person delighting in such researches :—

John, Duke of Atholl, &c, sheriff principal of the sheriffdome of Perth, To mairs, conjunctly & severally, speciallie constitute, Greeting. Forasmuchas It is humbly meaned and shown to us By Master David Ramsay of Lethendie, executor after mentioned, That where umple- Robert Campbell of Glenlyon as principal, and John Campbell younger of Glenorchie as Cautioner, by their bond, subscribed he them of the date the fyth and seventh dayes of June, 1661 years band and oblidged them, conjunctly and severallie, their heirs &c, to have contented and paid to John Ewing, merchant in London, the sum of fourteen pound thertteen shillings three pennies sterling money principal, and at and again the first day of Jully then next, with twentie shillings money foresaid of liquidate expences, in caice of failzie ; and annualrents after the'said dyet of payment dureing the not payment thereof as the said bond in itself more fullie bears. In and To the which bond, sums of money, principal annualrents, and expences adwriten, the said John Ewing, by his assignation, dated the nth of October, anno foresaid, made & constitute James Nickoll, writer in Edinburgh, his cossioner & assigney! Likeas, the said James Nickoll, by his | translation, subd be him of the date the twelveth day of March, 1685, Transferred and disponed his haill right yrof In favour of John Melvill, younger, merchant in Edinburgh : And Sicklike, he by his Disposition, dated the 24th March, 1688 years, conveyed his haill right to the premises in favours of the said Mr. David Ramsay, complainer. As Also, the said umq1 Robert Campbell, by his other bond, subscribed by him of the date the fyfth day of March, 1669 years, band and oblidged him, his heirs, &c. to have contented & payed to Mr. Archibald Campbell, writer at Edinburgh, the sum of fourscore pounds Scots money principal, at and again Lambas then next, with sixteen pounds of liquidat expehces in caice of failzie, and adrent after the date of the said bond, during the not payt as the s<j bond in itself proposes : In and To the which bond, and sums yrin contained, the said Mr. Archibald Campbell, by his letters of assignation, of the date the tenth of September, 1679, made and constitute John Campbell, writter to the Signet, his cossioner & assigney : Likeas, the said John Campbell, by his translation, subscribed by him of the date the fyltf of June, 1682 years, transferred and disponed his haill right qrof in favours of James Nickoll, merchant in Edinr. together with all letters and diligence, raised by him yrupon : And Likeways, the said James Nickoll, by his right and disposition, subed be him of the date the twelveth of March 1685, sold, assigned and disposed the foresd bond last narrated, and haill conveyances thereof, in favours of the said John Melvil, yor merchant in Edinburgh : And Sicklike, the said John Melvill by his right & disposition, subscribed be him of the date the twenty-fourt of December, 1688, assigned and disponed in favours of the sd Mr. David Ramsay, complainer, the foresd last narrated bond assignation. Translation and Disposition, with all that had or might follow yrupon, as the saids haill writts of the respective dates above written, herewith produced, in ymselves at more length is contained : ffor payment and satisfaction of the which sums of money, prin1, adrents, and expences adwritten, contained in the foresds bonds, the said Mr. David Ramsay, as haveing right in manner adwritten, Did, upon the twenty-two day of December, 1696 years, confirm himself executor-dative qua creditor to the said umqle Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, before the Commissar of Dunkeld, and particularly to the moveable goods & gear of the sd defunct contained in the Confirmed Testament, and particularly aftermend :—Towitt, five old plugh horses, all estmat over head to fiftie pound ; Item, eleven great cows with their calves, estimat to twelve pound per piece—Inde, ane hundred and thretty two pound ; Item, five three-year-old cows at eight pound the piece—Inde, fourty pound ; Item, three two-year-old cows at five pound the piece—Inde-fifteen pound ; Item, three ane-year-old stirks at four pound the piece —:Inde, twelve pound; Item thretty-six head of sheep at two marks and ane half the piece—Inde, fiftie pound ; Item, nine ane-year old hogs at twenty shillings the piece—Inde, nine pound; Item, twentie-eight lambs at ten shillings the piece—Inde, fourteen pound; Item, eight bolls of white oats, sown crop 1696 years, estimat to the third corn—Inde, twentie-four bolls at four pound the boll—Inde, ninetie six pound ; Item, twelve bolls of gray oats, sown crop foresaid, estimat to the third corn—Inde, thretty-six bolls at two pound the boll—Inde, seventie-two pound ; Item, of Rye five bolls, sown estimat to the third corn—Inde, fifeteen bolls at five pound the boll—Inde, sixty-five pound; Item, three pecks Rye, sown at the third corn, is nine pecks at half ane mark the peck—Inde, three pound ; Item, ane duzon of old silver spoons at five pound the piece—Inde, sixty pound ; Item, ane silver quaich w' two lugs, estimat to three pound; Item, ane silver cup, wt silver cover, estimat to thretty-six pound; [Item, ane little silver dish, estimat to three pound ; Item, three brass candlesticks, all estimat to eight pound ; Item, eleven old pewter plaits, qrof six large one, estimat to thretty-six shillings the piece, & the other five less ones to twenty shillings the piece—Inde, fifeteen pound sixteen shillings; Item, ane duzon of old pewter trenchers, estimat to eight shillings—Inde, four pound sixteen shillings; Item, ane broken pewter quart stoup, ane pint stoup, ane chopin & ane muskin stoup, all of pewter, all estimat to four pound ; Item, two brass pans, ane 48s. and the other 12s.—Inde, three pound; Item, ane old kettle, cons about ten gallons, estimat to 24 lib. ; Item, ane mashing vatt, estimat to four pound ; Item, ane wort stand, worth half ane crown, ane pound 10s ; Item, three iron pots, qrof two containing a gallon the piece & the other six pints—Inde, five pound; Item, three barrells, qrof two of four gallons the piece, & the oyr ane gallon, ane lead gallon, awori dish and a two-handed tub, all estimat to three pound ; Item, three stands, estimat to four pound 10s ; Item, two washing-tubs worth two pound ; Item, four meathers, three chopin cogs, two timber plaits, a timber ladle, and cheeser and ane * * dish all estimat to sixteen shillings ; Item, two butter cans, worth 5s the piece ; Item, ane speit and ane pair of raxes, worth six pound ; Item, ane crook, and ane pair of tongs, and a brander, all estimat to 2 lib.; Item, ane old girdle, worth 12s. ; Item, ane meal firlot, ane peck, & ane lippy, all worth ane pound; Item, the plough, wt. the plough graith and irons yrt belonging, and horses graith, all worth three pound ; Item, of bedsteads wtin the house of Chestill, four all furnished wl curtains, feather beds, & blanquets & sheets, all estimat to ane hundred pound ; Item, of box beds, three w'- sheets and blanquets, estimat to 20 lib.; Item, two stand of hangers, ane qrof stript, the oyr plain estimat to 20 libs; Item, ane table in the hall worth * * *, a carpet cloath, worth twenty pound; Item, ane old skringe, yr worth ane pound ios.; Item, ane old pair of virginals, twelve pound; Item, of the tables throw the house, four worth four pound; Item, ane old knock, worth ten pound ; Item, ane old meal girnell, estimat to eight pound; Item, three little chists, worth three pound; Item, ane ambrie, worth 3 lib. ; Item, ten old rustic leather chairs, estimat to 10 lib. ; Item, of other chairs throw the house, six estimat to seven pound ; Item, three truncks, three timber chists, and two bigger chists worth 20 lib.; Item, ane large looking-glass, estimatt to five pound ; Item, ane old large Bible, estimat to four pound ; Item, three duzon of dornuck servets, some of ym old, and three table-cloathes and two hand towels, all estimat to twenty pound ; Item, three * * * * of pewter, worth ane pound 16s. ; Item, ane glass case, with eight glasses, estimat to 5 lib. 6s. 8d.; Item, ane pistoll and ane morter of copper, worth four pound; Item, ane smoothing iron worth 20s.; As in the said testament at more length is con^ : And true it is and of veritie (that Helen Lindsay) relict spouse to the said deceast Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, hath intromitted with, used, and disposed upon the goods, gear, and others particularly abovemend contained in the sd confirmed Testament, and als that she is * * Intromissatrix yrwith, and with the other moveable goods and gear that belonged to her sd umqlo husband or at least doth oyrwise passive represent him, and therefore of all law, equitie, and reason, she the sd Helen Lindsay ought & should be decerned and ordained be decreit of Court, order of law & justice either to make pay' and satisfaction to the said Mr. David Ramsay, complr, of the sums of money, princ" adrents, & expences due to him, for himself, and as assigney foresd, by the sd deceast Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, conform to the severall bonds admend or at least to make forthcoming and deliverie to the sd complr the goods, gear, and oy's particularly abovementioned, which belonged to the said defunct, and were intromitted wt by her as said is, and qrunto the said complainer hath right as exer foresd, or else to satisfie and pay the complainer the avails and prices yrof above sett down— Yerefore, &c.


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