THE following Historical Sketches were first
published in the form of articles contributed to the "Perthshire
Advertiser" at various dates between August, 1855, and June, 1858. Their
Author, Mr. Duncan Campbell, now of Inverness, was at that time Parish
Schoolmaster of Fortingall, Glenlyon; he was thoroughly conversant with
the topography, antiquities, and legends of the districts of Appin,
Glenlyon, and Breadalbane, and had access to the family records
preserved in Glenlyon House. The Sketches have been collected by Sir
Donald Currie of Garth and Glenlyon, and carefully revised for him by
the Author, with a view to their reproduction in the present volume.
INVERNESS, July 4th, 1885.
DEAR SIR DONALD CURRIE, "The Lairds of Glenlyon"
which you are republishing for private circulation from the old files of
the Perthshire Advertiser; were written by me in weekly or fortnightly
instalments, long, long ago, when I was schoolmaster of Fortingall, and
as yet quite a young man. I was full of traditional stories I had heard
in my boyhood from my grandmother, from Archibald M'Arthur, miller of
St. Eonan's Mill, and many other aged persons. I possessed papers left
by my grandfather, and had access to papers then at Glenlyon House,
which, at a time when repairs were going on, I had the good fortune to
save from being burned. Very few of the papers went further back than
1670, and the few that dated from 1620 did not tell much about Glenlyon.
I had therefore at first to rely upon tradition alone in respect to the
earlier history, and I found that while agreeing in the main my chief
informants, who were John M'Arthur alias "Iain Mor Mac Rob," my
grand-uncle, Donald M'Naughton alias "Domhnull Ciotach," Archibald
M'Diarmid alias "Gilleasbuig Mor Scoileir," and the Kirkton of
Fortingall veteran soldier, John Campbell alias "Iain Caimbeul a
Chlaoidh," differed in details and modes of telling their stories.
Before the series of papers was concluded, The Black Book of Taymouth
came out; and that gave me an opportunity of supplementing and
correcting traditions. The reprint will therefore
contain within itself recorded history, along with traditions.
The proofs of this reprint now
before me contain all the purely traditional part, and what
strikes me most is its general faithfulness to recorded history, and the
elucidatory light it throws thereon. But on the other hand traditions
always confuse chronology and obliterate or expand periods of time
without remorse. I have much pleasure in sending
you for an appendix to the reprint a few notes which will, I hope, help
to give the book a decent historical backbone, and to atone for the
defects of tradition.
SIR DONALD CURRIE, K.C.M.G., M.P.
of Garth and Glenlyon,