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Antiquarian Notes, Historical, Genealogical and Social
(Second Series) Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish
Chapter XIII. Sleat


THE MACDONALDS.

SIR ALEXANDER MACDONALD, though he died a comparatively young man, was held in high estimation as a man of prudence and wisdom. As will be seen by the description o his estate, he possessed great wealth. Some allowance must be made for his behaviour in the 'Forty-five. He had everything to lose by the failure of the insurrection, and except a mere title, it is difficult to see what he could have gained by joining in it. His sympathies may be presumed from hereditary associations and otherwise, and it is more than likely that he would have joined, had Prince Charles been backed up at his landing with sufficient men and money. Even Lochiel declined to move until he was taunted by the Prince in person, and had the estates, or an equivalent guaranteed to him. The elder Clanranald and Glengarry also kept at home, perhaps no great matter, seeing how well their forces were commanded by young Clanranald and Lochgarry.

By nomination, dated the 22nd of July, 1742, registered in the books of Council and Session on the 8th of July, 1747, Sir Alexander Macdonald appointed as tutors and curators to his son James—the Right Hon. Alexander, Earl of Eglingtoune; Lady Margaret Montgomery or Macdonald, his wife; James Moray of Abercairnie; Kenneth Mackenzie, advocate; Mr Alexander Munro, Professor of Anatomy in Edinburgh; John Mackenzie of Delvin, Writer to the Signet; and Alexander Macdonald of Kingsburgh, who, in terms of the statute, lodged a tutorial inventory of the pupil's estate at Inverness on the 12th of July, 1748. From an old duplicate of this document, I make some extracts, and observe that while his rights over Barra are carefully limited to the superiority, I think that Sir Alexander's rights to the 30 merks land of Skirrieheugh and the 12 merks land of Benbecula, etc., although stated with other lands, likewise did not go beyond the superiority thereof.

PROPERTY LEFT BY SIR ALEXANDER MACDONALD.

"All and whole the twenty pound lands of old extent of Slate; the forty pound land of old extent of North Uist; the thirty merks land of Skirrieheugh the twelve merks land of Benbecula the one merK land of Gergriminish; the two penny land of Tallamartine; and the sixpenny land of Orinsaig; the halfpenny lands of Bainliodrieforth the half of the lands of Hegliegeng, with castles, towers, fortalices, houses, milns, woods, fishings, parts pendicles and pertinents— together with all and sundry privileges, liberties, and immunities as well by sea as by land used and wont lying within the Lordship of the Isles and Sheriffdom of Inverness. Also all and whole the nir.e penny lands and island of Ilcisker in North Uist; the twelve penny lands of Unguab; the twopenny lands of Torrdounise; the three penny lands of Kirkibost; the one merk land of Tootertown in Illearie, in North Uist; the two merk lands of Ardinillo in Slate and the ten penny lands of Killievaxter in Trotternish, with parts, pendicles, and pertirients. All and whole the eighty merks lands of Trotternish, with castles, towers, and fortalices, manor places, milns, multures, woods, fishings, as well of salmon as of other fishes, and as well in salt water as fresh water, hills, plains, muirs, marshes, cornmonties, privileges, pasturages, parts pendicles, annexis, connexis, dependencies, and servants of free tenants, lying within the island of Skye, Lordship of the Isles, and Sheriffdom of Inverness. And sick- like these two unciates of land extending to an eight merk land of the foresaid lands of Trotternish, with houses, higgings, yards, hills, muirs, commonties, pasturages, privileges, tofts, crofts, annexis, connexis, outsetts, mills, woods, fishings, as well of salmon as of other fishes, and as well in salt water, as in fresh water, parts, pendicles, and pertinents of the same.

"Together with the feu farm duty of forty pounds belonging in property to Macneill of Barra, with the right of superiority of the said lands out of which the said feu duty is paid, together with all right, title, and interest the deceased Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat had or could pretend to the teinds, parsonage, and vicarage of the lands above written; in which lands and estate above mentioned the said deceased Sir Alexander Macdonald stood duly infeft conform to Charter of Resignation in his favour under the Great Seal, bearing date, 13th February, 1727, whereby it is expressly declared that the foresaid haill lands and estate shall in all time coming be called the Barony of Macdonald, and that one sasine taken at the Manor place of Duntulm, as the messuage of the said Barony, should be suffiient sasine for the said whole lands and estate, notwithstanding their discontiguity.

"Item. That great lodging or tenement of land, with the yard and area belonging thereto, and pertinents thereof, lying in the Canongate, disponed by Isabella and Ann Setons, and William Dick of Grange, conform to disposition by them in favour of John Mackenzie of Delvin, dated 26th March, 1743, and which was granted to the said John Mackenzie for behoof of Sir Alexander Macdonald, and which lodging was let to the Earl of Glencairn for five months, from November 1746, at ten pound sterling per month.

"Item. Two hundred pounds of principal with the interest thereof from 25th March, 1734, decerned to be paid by John Macdonald of Glengarry, conform to the decreet arbitral dated said day, pronounced by John Macleod of Muiravonside, and Kenneth Mackenzie, both advocates, in the submission to them by Glengarry and Sir Alexander Macdonald, dated 30th November, 1733, for which debt, then amounting to 342 14s, Sir Alexander had obtained on 3rd July, 1745, decree of adjudication of the lands of Knoydart and others.

"Item. Evan Murray, brother to Robert Murray of Glencarnoch, 200 sterling, conform to bill dated 3rd June, 1745, drawn by Kings- burgh for Sir Alexander's behoof upon and accepted by Evan Murray, and was guaranteed by Robert Murray, conform to his holograph missive letters.

Item. The said Evan Murray, the sum of 40 sterling, also dated 3rd June, 1745, guaranteed as foresaid.

"Item. The said Robert Murray personally, 39 12s 6d sterling, conform to bill dated 20th, payable 29th August, 1745.

"Item by Allan Macdonald of Knock, the sum of 700 Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by the said Allan Macdonald, dated 5th July, 1743, and payable at Whitsunday, 1744.

"Item by Macleod, Younger of Raasay, the sum of 315 12s 0d Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by the said Younger Macleod, dated 8th September, 1746, and payable at Whitsunday, 1747.

"Item by John Chisholm, wright in Ostaigmore, the sum of 34 5s 2d Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by the said John Chisholm, dated 20th September, 1746, and payable on demand.

"Item by Donald Macleod in Unish, the sum of 468 13s 4d Scots, conform to an obligation granted by him to the said Sir Alexander Macdonald for the value of cattle, dated 5th January, 1746.

"Item by the said Donald Macleod, the sum of 60 Scots as the price of ten boils of Borreray's farm bear, at nine merks per boll, conform to an obligation granted by the said Donald Macleod to the said Sir Alexander Macdonald, dated -----

"Item by Roderick Macdonald of Bornaskittag, the sum of sixty- six pounds thirteen shillings four pennies Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by the said Roderick Macdonald, dated the 21st of November, 1745, and payable the 29th September, 1748.

"Item by Archibald Macdonald of Tarskavaig, the sum of 42 13s 4d Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by the said Archibald Macdonald, dated the 16th of August, 1745, and payable the 29th of September, 1745.

"Item by the said Archibald Macdonald, the sum of 252 Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by him, dated the 6th of September, 1746, and payable the 15th of May, 1747.

"Item by Mr John Macpherson, minister of Slate, the sum of 333 6s 8d Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by the said John Macpherson, payable at Martinmas, 1746.

"Item by James Macdonald of Dalviell, the sum of 90 15s Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald when and accepted by the said James Macdonald, payable 15th November, 1746.

"Item by John Macdonald of Kinlochdale, the sum of 25 13 4d Scots, conform to a bill drawn by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald upon and accepted by the said John Macdonald, payable 12th September, 1745.

"Item by Ronald Macalister, factor to the said Sir Alexander Macdonald, the sum of 1689 15s 0d Scots, being arrears of rent due to the said Sir Alexander by severals of his tenants who granted bills therefor, which bills were put into the hands of the said Ronald Macalister, who is to recover and account for the same conform to an obligation granted by him thereanent dated -----

"Item by Donald Macdonald of Castletown, the sum of 924 merks Scots, conform to a bill drawn upon and accepted by the said Donald Macdonald, dated 2nd December, 1743, and payable at Whitsunday
1744.

"Item by Ronald Macdonald of Clanronald, the sum of 4800 merks Scots of principal, 960 merks of liquidated expenses and interest of the said principal sum since 17th June, 1741, and in time coming during the not payment contained in a bond of corroboration granted by the said Ronald Macdonald relative to the grounds of debt therein recited and bearing date 30th July, 1741.

Item by Duncan Campbell, drover in Ardkinlass, the sum of 250 sterling, yet resting of the sum of 450 sterling contained in a bill drawn by, and payable to Ranald Macalister, in the Isle of Skye, dated 3rd October, 1746, upon and accepted by the said Duncan Campbell, payable 1st or 2nd December, then next, endorsed by said Ranald Macalister to the said John Mackenzie and which indorsation was really a trust for behoof of the said deceast Sir Alex. Macdonald and which bill is protested on the 20th and the Instrument of Protest registrate in the books of Session, both in the month of January, 1747, with the Lords of Session, dated 2nd July, 1747, at the instance of the said John Mackenzie against Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn, in whose hands arrestments were used as debtor to the said Duncan Campbell.

"Item by Donald Macdonald of Castletone, factor for the said defunct upon the lands of Slate, the sum of 1697 0s 8d Scots, as the balance of his intrornissions; Crops 1744-5 conform to an account of charge and discharge filed betwixt them, dated 8th November, 1746.

"Item. There was an open account depending betwixt the defunct and the said Alex. Macdonald of Kingsburgh, upon which there was a balance of 126 17s 10d Scots, due to the defunct.

"Item. The deceast John Macdonald of Kirkibost, the sum of L30 14s 11d sterling, per bill dated 2nd October, 1746.

"Item by ditto, the sum of 10 3s 10 3/4d for his other bill dated 26th of the said month and year.

"item by ditto, the sum of 6 7s 2d, his third bill, dated the 30th of the same month and year. But from these three bills there falls to be 20 sterling discompted, contained in the defunct's promissory note to the said John Macdonald, dated 11th November, 1746.

Item by Evan Macdonald of Vallay, the sum of 334 19s 10d Scots as the ballance of his intromissions as factor for the defunct over his estate of Uist for cropt 1745, conform to account filed betwixt them, dated 4th November, 1746.

"Item at the time of the defunct's death the account of the said Evan Macdonald's intromissions, cropt 1746 was depending, but by an account of charge and discharge thereof, drawn up since signed, and wherein the said former ballance is charged against the factor. It appears that the ballance due by the said Evan Macdonald amounts to 436 3s 10d Scots, besides an article of 195 6s 0d about kelp which is disputable. Ronald Macalister at Kingsburgh was factor on the lands of Trotterness, cropt 1746, and Archibald Macdonald of Tarskavaig was factor on the lands of Slate for that cropt, and the accounts of both these factors are still depending uncleared.

Item by the said John Mackenzie, the sum of 154 12s 0 1/4d sterling as the ballance of account current betwixt the defunct and him at the period of the defunct's death, and which was soon thereafter applied by him in the defunct's affairs.

The sum of 300 sterling, part of the money which was found about the defunct at the time of his death, and which was soon thereafter remitted to the said John Mackenzie.

"Item, the further sum of 222 9s 0d sterling, the remainder of the money which was found about the defunct at the time of his death, and was lodged in the hands of the said Ronald Macalister, for defraying the expense of the defunct's funerals, and which ready money lying by the defunct is instructed by a declaration signed by some of Sir Alexander's friends bearing date the 3rd and 12th December, 1746. And at the same time that the said 300 was remitted to the said John Mackenzie he was advised that 20 sterling belonged to Clanranald, 50 to Clanranald's brother, and 15 to the Laird of Barra, who were at that time all prisoners at London, and for whose use the defunct received those sums from their friends to be delivered to them at London, as appears by several missive letters adrest to the said John Mackenzie thereanent. In consequence whereof he did accordingly remit the said sums to the persons above named.

Item, the defunct's silver plate at Edinburgh, consisting of 332oz. 12 drops, conform to an inventory of all particulars subscribed by Dougall Gedd, goldsmith in Edinburgh.

Item, the furniture of the defunct's house in the Cannongate, conform to an inventory thereof subscribed by Mary Smith, spouse to James Runcyman, Wright in Edinburgh, to whose care the same was intrusted.

"Item, the number of 107 black cattle, young and old, on the defunct's farm at Mugstot.

"Item, the horses and other stocking on the defunct's said farm at Mugstot, which is to be accounted for by the servants who had the charge thereof."

An additional inventory in form of "Eik" was added in the year 1752, and is as follows :-

"The sum of 1574 17s 2d Scots of principal with the interest thereof from the month of October, 1734, as the balance of 2711 1s 1d Scots of principal contained in a bond granted to him by John Mackinnons elder and younger of that ilk, and Mr Neil Mackinnon, son to the deceased Lachlan Mackinnon of Corrychatachan, dated 26th February and 18th March, 1729.

"Item by the said John Mackinnon, younger of that Ilk, the sum of 2000 merks Scots, money and interest thereof from Martinmas, 1736, contained in a bond granted by him to Archibald Macdonald of Ostabeg, dated 22nd September, 1736, bearing interest from Martinmas 1736, and 400 merks of penalty, to which the said Sir Alexander Macdonald acquired right by assignation from the said Archibald Macdonald, dated 15th February, 1742.

"Item by the said John Mackinnon, younger of that Ilk, the principal sum of 1000 Scots with the interest thereof from the 17th July, 1733, contained in bond granted by him to Roderick Macleod of Ullinish, bearing interest from the date, and 100 merks of penalty, and dated 17th July, 1733, to which the said Sir Alexander Macdonald had right from the said Roderick Macleod by assignation, dated the 12th September, 1741.

"Item by the said John Mackinnon, younger of that Ilk, the sum of 1000 merks Scots money of principal, 200 merks of penalty and interest from Martinmas, 1736, contained in a bond granted by him to Mr Alexander Nicolson, minister of the gospel, dated 7th December, 1736, to which the said Sir Alexander Macdonald acquired right from the said Mr Alexander Nicolson by assignation, dated 15th September, 1741, registrate in the books of session, 14th July, 1744.

"Item by the said John Mackinnon, younger of that Ilk, and the said Neill Mackinnon, son to Corrychattachan, the like sum of 1000 merks and interest, from Whitsunday, 1744, contained in another bond by them to the said Mr Alexander Nicolson, dated the 12th of August, 1729, bearing 200 merks of penalty and registrate in the Sheriff Court Books of Inverness, the 8th of November, 1737, to which the said Sir Alexander Macdonald had also right from the said Mr Alexander Nicolson, by assignation dated the 10th of December, 1744.

"Item by the said John Mackinnon, younger of that Ilk, the sum of 5000 merks of principal, 1000 merks of penalty and interest from Whitsunday, 1733, contained in an heritable bond affecting the lands of Strathardil or Mackinnon, granted by the said John Mackinnon, younger, to the said Mr Alexander Nicolson, dated the 25th of September, 1733, and registrate in the Sheriff Court Books of Inverness, the 8th of November, 1737, bearing an obligment to infeft, with procuratory of resignation and precept of sasine for that effect, upon which precept of sasine, the said Mr Alexander Nicolson, was infeft in an annual rent of 250 merks, out of the barony of Mackinnon, conform to his instrument of sasine, under the hand of Roderick Macdonald, notar, dated the 15th of April, and registrate at Fortrose, 23rd of May, both in the year 1740, and to which heritable debt and interest thereof, from Martinmas 1744, the said Sir Alexander Macdonald had right from the said Alexander Nicolson, by assignation and disposition, dated the 12th of May, 1744.

"Item by the said John Mackinnon, younger of that Ilk, the sum of 44 sterling of principal, with the interest thereof, from the 1st October, 1741, contained in the said John Mackinnon's accepted bill, to John Macleod, dated the 5th of August, 1741, indorsed by him, to the said Sir Alexander Macdonald."

"N.B.—There was also an accepted bill due by the said John Mackinnon, Younger of that Ilk, dated the 28th of December, 1735, payable the 15th of May thereafter, to Martin Macdonald, late servant to the said Sir Alexander, and endorsed by him to the said Sir Alexander, but it consisting with the knowledge of the said Lady Margaret Montgomery and appearing from several other circumstances that the indorsation was only a trust in Sir Alexander's person, the said bill was returned to the said Martin Macdonald."

"Item —There being a tack of the five penny land of Kinlochnadale, part of the barony of Mackinnon, entered intar betwixt the said John Mackinnon, Younger, and the said Mr Alexander Nicolson for 38 years' continuance from Whitsunday. 1734, for payment of 300 merks of yearly tack-duty and dated the 9th of August, 1733, the benefit of the said tack with the burden of the tack-duty was assigned by the said Mr Alexander Nicolson to the said Sir Alexander Macdonald by assignation dated the 5th of June, 1745. And there was another disposition made by the said Mr Alexander Nicolson to the said Sir Alexander Macdonald, dated the 10th of December, 1744, of a house built upon the same possession."

"N.B.—All these writs and documents of debt were in the year 1745 lodged by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald in the hands of Mr Macdonald of Glengarry, who had been casually in the Isle of Skye and was then intending a journey to Edinburgh to be delivered to the said John Mackenzie, but the rebellion and confusions coming on stopt Glengarry's journey, who being soon thereafter made prisoner himself, these writs were only lately recovered out of his possession and it is informed by the said Sir Alexander Macdonald's factors that the tack duty of Kinlochnadale has been resting and no part thereof paid by Sir Alexander to Mackinnon since the date of the assignation in his favour."

"Item—There was due by Malcolm Macleod of Raasay to the said Sir Alexander Macdonald the sums of money aftermentioned by the following bills, viz., one bill dated the 21st of September, 1742, payable three months after date, 64 sterling. Item by another bill dated the 21st of September, 1742, payable at Martinmas thereafter, 8 6s 8d sterling. Item by a third bill dated the 11th of January, 1744, payable at Whitsunday thereafter, originally due by John Macleod and endorsed by him to the said Sir Alexander, one pound six shillings one penny one third sterling. Item by another bill or note dated the 13th of April, 1745, payable the 1st of June thereafter to Roderick Macdonald and endorsed by him to the said Sir Alexander, 18 sterling. Item by another bill or note, dated the 24th of June, 1745, payable the 1st of August thereafter also to the said Roderick Macdonald; indorsed by him to the said Sir Alexander, 2 15s 0d sterling, and the interest it's believed is resting on the said several bills since the terms of payment."

"N.B.—Sir Alexander had put these several bills some short time before his death in the hands of his factor, who had been treating with Macleod of Raasay about the payment, so that it's only of late that these bills came to the hands of the Tutors."

"Item—There was resting to the said Sir Alexander by Sir Patrick Murray of Ochertyre, the sum of 11 sterling, conform to a bill dated 19th October, 1744, drawn by John Macdonald upon and accepted by the said Sir Patrick for that sum, payable 20th December thereafter, and which bill is indorsed by the said John Macdonald to the said Sir Alexander and was protested at Sir Alexander's instance for not payment, and the protest registrate in the books of Session the 5th April, 1745."

"N.B.—This debt was lookt on as desperate, Sir Patrick's affairs having gone into confusion. But a small part of it has been lately paid, and there is some hopes that the rest may also be recovered."

"Item—Some considerable time after the death of the said Sir Alexander Macdonald, the Tutors finding that a considerable sum had been allowed by the Government to the captains of Independent Companies which had been raised for suppressing the Rebellion, 1745, for arrears, clothing, accoutrements, etc. But a part of this money was given and meant to reimburse the charge of levying these companies, and as two of these companies, of which James Macdonald of Aird and John Macdonald of Kirkibost were captains, had been raised at the expense of the said Sir Alexander Macdonald, who had been instrumental in procuring the command of them to the said two persons. The Tutors, therefore, made a claim upon them for reimbursing Sir Alexander's expense in levying these companies and the same was transacted at 150 sterling for each of the two companies, making in all 300 sterling, which sum was by them paid in to the said John Mackenzie as Sir James's cashier, and he has been accordingly charged therewith. But the same not having been received till after the Tutorial inventories were made up, and there being no written document to instruct the same therefor, the Tutors could not enter that sum in their former inventory, which they now elk to the same by this, that it may appear hereafter that they fairly intend to hold compt for all the minor effects which should or shall come to their hands."

This concludes the Inventory of Sir Alexander Macdonald's immense estate at his death on the 23rd of November, 1746. His hand fell heavily on the Mackinnon and Raasav estates, and the numerous business transactions in which he was engaged, may account for his hesitation in 1745 to follow the hereditary Jacobite bent of his family. Since his time the House of Sleat has undergone many vicissitudes, but they still have a good hold, and almost without exception, it may be said, every Highlander and Islander wishes the prosperity and standing of the grand old house of "Mac Domhnuil nan Eilean."

RODERICK MACDONALD, CAMUSCROSS, AND HIS SON JAMES.

Notwithstanding the position taken up in 1745 by Macleod of Macleod and Macdonald of Sleat, many of the Skye people joined in the insurrection, and none were more active and zealous than a tacksman of good descent, Roderick, commonly called Rory Macdonald, of Camuscross, parish of Sleat. He was not only well known in the field, but also, at a later period, in the law courts.

He was held in high estimation by Sir Alexander Macdonald and his son, Sir James, but fared very differently at the hands of their successor, Sir Alexander the first Lord. It did not matter where—whether in the old Macdonald possessions, the lands acquired from Mackinnon, or in North Uist, his Lordship's hand, I observe, fell heavily everywhere. I will confine myself at present to the case of Camuscross. Roderick Macdonald took a nineteen years' lease of Camuscross, Tortamanach, Oransay, Barsavaig, with the grazings of Aslaig and Teangour, in the year 1774, from Lord Macdonald, at what the tenant considered, after experience, the extravagant rent of 72, but it was the place of his birth and upbringing. He found it difficult in course of time to pay the rent, and in consequence of a conversation with Lord Macdonald, which led him to suppose a deduction would be made, Roderick went to his Lordship, with the lease, in order, he hoped, to have a deduction marked upon the back. Lord Macdonald, he alleged, "declined to give any deduction, and, by some mistake or other, took up the missive and carefully laid the same among his other papers," and Roderick thought it best to leave it in case Lord Macdonald thought better of the application, but upon a subsequent application Macdonald got neither reduction nor the restoration of his lease. Some time after, in 1789, he was served with a summons of removal to appear before Mr Sheriff-Substitute Macdonald, at the Change-House of Dunvegan, in a Court there to be holden on the 31st of March. The service copy summoned the defender, not in terms of the specific date in the libel, the sheriff-officer, having of his own will, made the date of compearance the 3rd of April.

Roderick Macdonald appeared in the Change-House of Dunvegan, stating that he had several defences, dilatory and peremptory, but confined himself to one, which was to decline the Sheriff-Substitute's jurisdiction, he, the Sheriff being his own nephew, and thereby falling within the Act of 1681, which prohibits in certain degrees all judges from adjudicating upon the affairs of their relatives. Lord Macdonald said it was a singular and ill-conceived objection to be taken by the defender to his own nephew, though it might have been different had the pursuer been the person to raise it. Rory, however, stuck to his objection, and Sheriff-Substitute John Macdonald, on the 5th of May, 1789, sustained his objection "in respect that the Act of 1681 was absolute," adding rather inconsequently to his interlocutor, it to Lord Macdonald to insist before the Sheriff-Depute of the County or a Supreme Court."

Lord Macdonald acted upon the first suggestion, and got Sheriff Fraser of Farraline, not unwilling to befriend a brother landlord, to entertain the process and order pleadings. This was strenuously opposed by Roderick Macdonald, who pled with great ingenuity that as the initiatory procedure occurred in Skye it could not be removed except by way of appeal, and that not a step could be taken except at the place to which he was first summoned, the Change-House of Dunvegan. That if a man was summoned to appear at Inverness for instance, the process cannot be transferred to Aberdeen ; and in explanation of the number and variety of the defender's objections, he added that "in determining the exercise of the rights of property, especially towards the depopulation of a country by removing its inhabitants, every defence was bound to be stated and to be listened to, and have as full weight as if a person were being tried for getting him banished."

The Sheriff was in a dilemma, but he assoilzied Macdonald on the ground of the alteration in the summons of the date of compearance.

Next year a determined effort was again made to remove Macdonald. His various objections were repelled; he could not get back his missive of tack, and had only some loose acknowledgments of payments of rent. Decree was passed against him in the Sheriff Court of Inverness, and an advocation followed. Mr Fraser of Gortuleg was agent for Rory and fought well, but the Justice-Clerk refused the bill. Upon 10th June, 1790, Gortuleg writes—"This morning the Court ordered a very able petition for Rory Camuscross to be answered, but those that are deemed the greatest lawyers were for refusing, viz., the President, Gardenstone, Eskgrove, and Swinton, and probably if he was present, the Justice-Clerk would be for his own interlocuter, but he was in the Outer House, and Lord Monboddo was likewise for refusing." Upon the 1st of July, 1790, Gortuleg again writes—"The majority of the Court passed the Bill of Advocation, not without struggle, for there was much weight of metal on the other side, particulatly the President and Justice-Clerk, but Lords Eskgrove and Dreghorn with others made a majority." After this Rory was left in peace. One of his sons was the well-known James Macdonald, commonly called "Knock," who carried on an extensive business as a general merchant for many years, but his affairs became embarrassed, and many in the Highlands suffered heavily. Business was carried on in those days with a high hand. Norman Macleod of Eileanreach and Coll Macdonald of Barisdale, great allies, fell out grievously from having been mixed up with Knock, and some of the creditors helped themselves. Eileanreach, on the 14th of March, 1795, says—" The Macraes did on the fourth of this month,

carry thirty cows from Knock in the night time, as I am informed. Certain it is that Knock himself pursued them next day, with thirty men in three boats, but did not overtake them till they ferried the cattle across Loch Duich, where, it is said, he was opposed by such formidable numbers that he sounded a retreat. Are these not pretty doings?" Eileanreach was of opinion that Barisdale either knew of or was at the bottom of this extensive lifting.

As Knock fell behind in his circumstances, his father, old Rory Camuscross was not left alone. James, on the 24th of March, 1786, says of his father, "that from old age and lingering ailment he has lost his faculties," but two years later, he writes enclosing two six hundred pounds bonds got from his father under these conditions—

"It cost me some time to get my sister decoyed from her father, in case she might be a bar in the way of his signing the bonds. At last I got her to the Minister's house, when I immediately went to Camuscross, and got my father to sign the bonds there, upon Tuesday the 17th instant, before Malcolm Macaskill, residenter in Knock, and Farquhar Martin, change-keeper in Camuscross, both in the parish of Sleat. The bonds were read to him before signing, which was not the case with regard to my sister's bond. I am informed by one of the witnesses that it was never read to him, and that he did not know what paper he was signing. My father was so poorly the night he signed the bonds that he could not sit to sign bills. There is no settled money. All that was made in my mother's time was run through in time of his last wife. Nothing now remains but his stock of cattle, which will not be worth half the sums mentioned in the three bonds."

James of Knock is also anxious to defeat some supposed schemes of a Dr Macleod to the prejudice of his and of Tanera's children.


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