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


LAGGAN, the largest of the Badenoch parishes, made, probably, from its altitude, until within the last 25 years, less progress perhaps than any other parish in the county. This was further to he expected, considering who were the former leading owners. These, fortunately for the prosperity, of the district, have disappeared, unhonoured and unlamented.

The Comyns, the oldest possessors of whom there is authentic note, grudged even the trifling portion assigned to the Church.

In 1260, however, a compromise is finally made whereby Walter Comyn grants to the Bishop of Moray a davoch of land, thus described—" One davoch of the land of Logy Kenny, to wit Edenlogyn, and also both Abyrcarden and the land on which is situated the Church of Logy Kenny, which land lies between two streams, to wit Kyllene and Petenachy." These lands were afterwards known as the four ploughs or davoch of Aberarder, and continued with the Bishops until shortly before the Reformation, when acquired by the Grants, who had an eye far and near for any Church lands going. The boundaries of the Church lands can only be arrived at through the adjacent properties, viz., Kyleross to the south-west, and MacCoul to the north-east. The streams Kyllene and Petenachy are not now known as such, but there are several falling into Loch Laggan on the west side.

The subsequent ownership of Aberarder, in Laggan, may be given in brief. After remaining with the Grants for about 150 years, the three wester ploughs were feued in or about 1698 to Macdonald of Achnacoichan, with a feu of £3 15s to the laird of Grant.

Shortly after, they were acquired by Lachlan Mackintosh of Mackintosh, proprietor of MacCoul to the north-east, also of the whole lands south of Loch Laggan facing Aberarder, and were inter a/ia gifted by Mackintosh to the Macphersons, under return, in the event of failure in certain acknowledgments and services which, by the forfeiture of Cluny after the 'Forty-five, were swept away by the House of Lords reversing the Court of Session as inconsistent with the times. Restored in 1788, the lands of Aberarder still remain part of the Cluny estate, but the Mackintoshes received neither pecuniary price for them nor the equivalent stipulated. Such was the act of the Hanoverian Government. The person who continued loyal was deprived of his property, while the attainted's descendants got an ordinary unrestricted right in place of one burdened, restricted, and qualied.

The other quarter of Aberarder was also feucd by the Grants to the Macdonalds of Gellovie, and afterwards acquired by Cluny, who possesses the whole four ploughs of Aberarder, a very beautiful estate, though narrow, with the great natural curiosities of the Loch, the Posts, and the Window of Corrarder.

While under the Forfeited Estate Commissioners there occurred that frightful depopulation of Aberarder, the full particulars of which I detailed in the Celtic Magazine, No. XXXIII., Vol. II., P. 418, many years ago. All I then wrote I now re-affirm, merely adding that the several scattered green oases of former cultivation so striking amid the vast extent of heather, as seen from Ardverikie, are still prominent, and remain a standing protest against the infamous removal of the people.

The name of Ardverikie has been prominent in Laggan for the last fifty years, but originally it was a pendicle of the great davoch of Gellovie, which davoch, including MacCoul and Inverwidden, stretched along the whole east side of Loch Laggan, from the Gulbin to the Pattaig, and on the vest side from the Pattaig to Camuskillen, or rather the stream which falls into the lake at the inn of Loch Laggan.

By planting, building, and draining, this davoch of Gellovie has been immensely improved, beautified, and increased in value since it came into the possession of Sir John Ramsden in 1870.

Lachlan Mackintosh, younger son of Malcolm the tenth Mackintosh, commonly called Lachlan Badenoch, acquired the lands of Gellovie in the latter part of the fifteenth century, and his son Malcolm received a precept from Alexander, second Earl of Huntly, as son of Lachlan Mackintosh, in the following terms :-

George Gordoune, Earl of Huntlie, and Lord of Baidzenach, To our well beloved Alexander Gordon of Muldare, Alexander Mackintosh of Rothiemurchus, John, Donald Mackintosh's son, Donald, Angus Mackintosh's son, and Alexander, John Reid's son, and either of them conjointly and severally our baillies in that Part irrevocably constituted. Greeting—We command and charge you that on sight hereof ye immediately give and deliver state and heritable sitsine of all and sundry the lands ot Gallovie with the pertinents to Malcolm Mackintosh, as son of the late Lachlan Mackintosh, according to the tenor of his charter, by delivery of earth and stone as use is. For the doing whereof to you and either of you conjointly and severally by the tenor hereof, we commit our irrevocable and full power, saving the rights of everyone. And in token of such sasine delivered by you, append your seal to these presents in the second tail after our seal. Given under seal at Newark upon Spey, on the twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand four hundred and ninety-two."

Malcolm Mackintosh was infeft on the 28th of September, the same year, by William de Duffus, Presbyter of the Diocese of Moray, Notary Public, by Imperial authority— Finlay vic Keir, William Charteris, Gillechrist vic Aonas, John Duff, John, Alexander's son, Donald, Angus' son, Farquhard, William's son, Donald vie William, John Iacleari's son, and Patrick, William's son, Mair, with others being witnesses. Dying without issue, Malcolm was succeeded by his brother William, afterwards of Mackintosh, the superiority of the lands remaining with the family of Mackintosh to this day, and now the oldest possession for which there is an unbroken series of title in Badenoch.

The names of some of the possessors of Gallovie nearly 300 years ago may be given and, perhaps later on, those of the whole heads of families, lairds, tenants, cottars, and dependants in Badenoch generally. At the period in question, surnames were not generally used—Lachlan Mackintosh of Borlum, principal tenant of Benchar, Clune, and Gallovie; Ewen Vie Allan Roy there, Neil vic Robert there, Dugald vic Neill vic Coil there, Dugald vic Neill in Kinloch, William Dhu vic Coil there, Donald Our vic Coil there, Duncan vic Ewen there, John Vic Coil Roy there, John vic Conchie vic William, in MacCoul; Allan vic Conchie vie William there, Angus vic William vic Coil there, and John Macphail there.

For a very long period there were no people living towards the head of the Spey beyond Garvamore. By the authority after quoted it would, however, appear that there were in 1637 at least one family living at Mealgarbh, at the foot of Corryaraick, who carried on business as wood merchants in the Brae of Lochaber. It is understood that Braeroy is well adapted for planting, but Sir John Ramsden's attempts above Garvabeg and elsewhere in Glenshiero have not hitherto been entirely satisfactory. Want of drainage and sheep grubbing have well nigh deprived the lands of profitable use:-

"We, George Marquis of Huntlie, Earle of Enzie, Lord Gordoun, and Badenoch, gives our full power and Commission to our lovite William Mackintosh of Torcastell, to attach, take and apprehend all and whatsomever tymber of whatsomever kynd, sort, or qualitie, cuttit in my wood of Lochaber, or in any part thereof; found with whatsomever person or persons dwelling upon any part of our land, within the Lordship of Lochaber or any part of the same, carrying and transporting the same, either by water, or land, to brugh or mercat (excepting such as he's found with our men of Sliesgarve, called Donald, John, and Allan vic Aonas Vors, who has our warrant already for cutting of wood, and carrying off the same, to burgh or market upon their own proper horses and no otherwise), In witness whereof we have subscribed these presents with our hand at Huntlie the twenty-six day of September, 1637. (Signed) "HUNTLYE."

From this it would appear that there was considerable wood on the Gordon Lochaber estates and a market therefor in Badenoch and elsewhere.

In the parish of Laggan there is a good deal of the highest land in Scotland, some peaks rising over 3700 feet in height, while its waters flow east, west, and south, finding their way into the sea at Speymouth, Fort-William, and Dundee. The office of forester was at one time much appreciated, and, like that of bailie, often led to better things. Questions of great hardship arose in Atholl and Aboyne in especial, in connection with rights of forestry, as is well known to the readers of old legal Court decisions.

Ben Alder was a very ancient forest and, not thriving under sheep, has reverted to its former occupancy. The east portion of Gallovie, known as Garryvounuck, adjoining as it did the old Ben Alder forest, naturally fell into similar use.

As I have not observed the original sasine to Macpherson of Cluny, I do not know its date, but have concluded that the original grant, certainly after 1600, of the three ploughs of Cluny also included the extensive grazings on Ericht side, extending from Dalinlongart to the Perthshire march.

Cluny having these grazings would naturally wish to extend his borders and rights. Though Ben Alder forest, properly so called, lay adjoining, and did not belong to Cluny till 1791, yet some right or interest in Garryvounuck was highly desirable, even though of a temporary nature. So Cluny was glad to accept the dignified office of forester to Mackintosh by a written grant, as may he seen by a perusal of the following attested document, dated 31st of May, 1678. Allan Macdonald, sometime possessor or wadsetter of Gallovie, apparently wished to include Garryvounuck, which lay immediately to the east, within his possession, and the matter was referred by Mackintosh and Gallovie, to William Mackintosh in Blargie, Lachlan Mackintosh of Balnespick, John Macpherson of Shirrobeg, and John Macpherson, in Kinloch, as arbiters. The arbiters, with the exception of Macpherson, Kinlochlaggan, met at Dunachton on the 31st of May, 1678, and these notes were taken by a Notary Public:-

"At Dunachton, the last day of May, 1678, anent the reference referred by the Right Honourable Lauchiane Mackintoshie of Torchastell, and Allan Macdonald, sometime of Gallovie, on the one and other parts, of the date the day of 1678 years, to William Mackintosh in Blairagie, Lachlan Mackintosh of Baluespick, John Macpherson in Shirobeg, and John Macpherson in Keanloich to declare what sheillings and grazings did belong to the tenants, residenters, and inhabitants and residenters of the half davoch of Galiovie, sometime possessed by said Allan Macdonald, who had passed minute of the wadset right of Gallovie with the said Lachlan there- anent, as at length specified in the said minute.

"Compeared the said William Mackintosh in Blairagie, Lachlan Mackintosh of Balnespick, and the said John Macpherson in Shiro. The said John Macpherson in Shiro deponed on solemn oath, as he who bath passed three score ten years, that he did never see a tenant or possessor of the half davoch land of Gallovie, sometime possessed by the said Allan, to have sheilled on the sheilling called Loupvain since his memory, neither heard formerly any in Gallovie claini right thereto but the said Allan ; and that he remembered above 40 years since that William Mackintosh of Strone and Angus, his brother, who lived in Gaskinloan, to have sheilled on the said sheilling called Loupvain, and that by the permission of the deceased Andrew Macpherson of Clownie, as he who had power of Frosterrie (sic) from the laird of Mackintosh to be froster (sic) of the forest of Gairvouneig, and thereafter did see Donald MacAonas, vic lain Dhu, who possessed Inverwidden, sheal on the said sheilling, and that he also heard that the sheilling of Ailtan I)hu-na-Creallein did belong to the forest foresaid.

"William Mackintosh of Blaragie compearing thereafter, being sworn, deponed that since he had memory, remembered his father and uncle to have shemlied on the said Loupvain, as also heard that others was by the permission of the said deceased Andrew Macpherson of Clunie, as being froster to the Laird Mackintosh of the forest of Gairvouneig, to which forest Ailtean Dhuna-CreaUein did belong.

"Lachian Mackintosh of Balnespick being interrogate, answered that he was not old, nor nothing known to him of the said sheillings as to his own knowledge, but depones that lie heard from this present Duncan Macpherson of Clunie that lie had as yet in his custody a power of frosterie, which was granted by one of the Lairds Mackintosh to his Guidshir Andrew, as a forester of Gairvouneig, and that he heard the like report from others.

"This deponed day, month, and place foresaid in presence of John Macpherson of Dalraddie, Thomas Macpherson of Killyhuntly, and me 'David Cumming, writer hereof and several others that were present who could not write. (Signed) L. MCKINTOSHE.

"John Macpherson in Shiro, and William Mackintosh in margie with our hands at the pen led by the Notar under written. ha est David Cumming, Notarius Publicus mandatis scribere nescien teste manu propria sub." (Signed) "D. CUMMING, Notarius Publicus ut Asserunt."

By the marriage of William, son of Lachlan Mackintosh of Gallovie, commonly called "Lach]an Badcnoch," with Isabella Macniven, the heiress of Dunachton, the possessions of the Mackintoshes were much enlarged. Later on, through the murder of William Mackintosh at Strathbogie, Lachlan Mor, his son and successor, received a great increase of estate from the Earl of Huntly in form of assythment.

This occurred in 1568, and thereafter Mackintosh was owner of Gallovie, Dunachton, Kincraig, South Kinrara, Dalnavert, part of Glenfeshie, Benchar, Clune, etc. Another Mackintosh, ancestor of the Balnespicks, possessed the three Gasks in Laggan, being the only heritors, besides the Gordons and Bishops of Moray, in all Laggan prior to 1600.

Lachlan Mor Mackintosh, assisted by his clever and energetic spouse, Agnes Mackenzie of Kintail, raised the family of Mackintosh to great power and influence, all of their seven sons being provided in landed estate, and each of the five daughters making good marriages.

The Gordon family could not endure to see the rising power of the Mackintoshes, neither, it may be well supposed, did the Mackintoshes bear any good feelings to Huntly.

In 1572, the Gordons were again forfeited, and their opponents were glad of the opportunity of crippling their power. Lachlan Mackintosh, after the death of the Earl of Huntly, from whom he had received the assythment lands, and to whom he had to give his bond, saw his opportunity, and made a bold stroke for supremacy in Badenoch. He had powerful friends and succeeded in obtaining from the Regent Morton a gift of the 60 davochs of Badenoch, which unfortunately, did not pass the Seals, and fell to the ground. After this the Mackintoshes and Gordons were, with rare intervals, bitter and hereditary opponents, In fairness it must be admitted that in the view of the Gordons the Regent Morton gift was a deep offence, and the present Lord Huntly is really to be admired when, considering that his own family was passed over in favour of an heir female, he in his book of Aboyne criticises Mackintosh in this business.

Modernizing the old spelling, the gift, which is endorsed by the single word " Macyntoshie," is in these words—

Our Sovereign Lord, with advice, consent, and authority of his right trusty cousin, James, Earl of Mortoun, Lord of Dalkeith, etc., Regent to his Majestic, his realm and leiges, ordains a charter to be inide under his Great Seal in clue form ; To his loved Lachlan Mackintoshie of Dunachton, his heirs and assignees, of the heritable gift in feu farm of all and sundry the lands underwritten. That is to say, (;arvttmore, Garvabeg, Killarchill, Crathiecroy, Crathiemor, Shirrornore, Shirrobeg, Tirfadoun, The Ord and Strathinashie, Blargiebeg, Blargiemor, Gaskione, Gaskbeg, Gaskmor, Catciack, Breackachie, Pitgoun, Clony, Owie, Covothilly, Nessintullie, Croubinbeg, Croubinmore, Daleanach, Pressmtickerach, Ettridge, Invernahaven, Foyness, Noidmore, Noidbeg, Biillidbeg, Biallidinor, Ye Strone, Ballach roan, Pitmain, Kingussie, Ardbrylach, Ruthven, Killyhuntly, Invertromie. Corrarnstilbeg, Corrarnstilmor, Countellaive, Farletter, Invereshie, Inverinarkie, Raitbeg, Raitmor, Raitmeanach, the two parts of Pittourie, Pitchern, l)alraddie, Kinraramor, Gortan na Creich, Lynvuilg, Garlinmor, Dellifour, Lynvuilgmor. Rewymor, and the two Tullochs, with the milns, multures, woods, fishings, towns, fortalices, manor paces, outsetts, parts, pendicles, tenants, tenandries, and service of free tenants of all and sundry the said lands, and all the pertinents lying within the Lordship of Badenoch and Sheriffdom of Inverness. Which all and sundry lands above written, with the milns, multures, woods, fishings, towns, fortalices, manor places, outsetts, parts, pendicles, tenants, tenandries, and service of free tenants thereof, and all the pertinents, pertained to George, some time Earl of Huntlie, Lord Gordon, and Badenoch, heritable of before, holden by him immediately of our Sovereign Lord, and now pertains to HisMajesty, and are vacant in his hands by reason of escheat, through process and doom of forfeiture orderly led against the said George, some time Earl of Huntlie, for certain crimes of treason and leze-majestie committed by him of the which he was convicted in Parliament, as in the process and doom of forfeiture orderly led and deduced against him thereupon at more length is contained - To be holden and To Hold all and sundry the lands above specified, at length to be mentioned and engrossed in the precepts and charter to pass hereupon, with all and sundry milns, multures, woods, fishings, towns, fortalices, manor-places, outsetts, parts, pendicles, tenants, tenandries and services of free tenants thereof, and all the pertinents, to the said Lachlan Mackintosh, his heirs, and assignees, of our sovereign lord and his successors, in feu farm and heritage for ever.

By all rights meiths and divisions as the same lie in length and breadth in woods, plains, etc., mills, inultures, etc., balking hunting, fishing, with Court plaint, herezeld, bluidvitt, and mei-clie/a muilerum, unlaws, amerciaments, and escheats of said Courts, with common pasture, free ish and entry ; and with all and sundry other commodities f eedoms, etc., freely, quietly, etc . without any revocation etc., Payand therefor yearly the said Lachlan Mackintosh, his heirs and assignees, to our Sovereign Lord and his successors, the sum of two hundred pounds usual money of this realm, at two terms in the year Whitsunday and Martinmas in winter by equal portions, and also the heirs of the said Lachltn Mackintosh doubling the said feu farm, the first year of their entry to the lands above written with the pertinents as use is, of feu farm allenarlie ; and that precepts be directed orderly hereupon. Subscribed by the said Lord Regent at Edinburgh ye 18th day of December, the year of God 1572 years.'

(Signed) ". JAMES, REGENT, GRANTS."

On the same day, Mackintosh's lands of Benchar, Clune, Kincraig, Dunachton's Kinrara-na-choille, Dalnavert, Coignafearn, Essich, Dunteichaigs, Tordarroch, and Bochrubin, formerly held of the Earl of Huntly, are by a warrant from the Regent Morton to be held in future direct of the Crown.

The Gordon rental in the parish in 1677, amounted, as hereafter detailed, to 2675 merks, or under £150 sterling. This may be contrasted with the rental when these lands were offered for sale in 1829.

By 1677, some of the lands had been feued on a money payment, attour services. The Chamberlain then was Duncan Macpherson of Cluny, who had succeeded Coil Patrick Grant, tutor of Grant. There were two mills in Kingussie Parish, at Kingussie and at Nuide, one in the parish of Alvie, at Dairaddy, but none in the parish of Laggan. There was a mill at Gallovie at an early date, and after 1677 mills at Strathmashie, Crathy, Cluny, and Aberarder.

The following significant docquet to the rental may be given:-

"It is to be remembered that there is noted that Cluny possesses the half davoch of Kylarchill which ought to pay four score merks yearly which sum is included in the total of the above specified rental, yet Cluny never paid the said four score merks to Arradoull, or me the said Lieutenant-Colonel Grant while I was Chamberlain, which the entering Chamberlain is in like manner to consider."

(Signed) " PK. GRANT., "D. McPHRSON."

By this date the Macphersons began to show up. Cluny will pay nothing for Kylarchill, and Ovie, apparently with justice, complains of being over-rented.

The following is the rental in 1829 when the Gordon estates in Badenoch came into the market:-

Thus the rental had increased twenty fold since 1677, but what did that matter? At Duke Alexander's death, he owed one creditor, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the enormous sum of £450,000.

I now give a list of the heads of families in Laggan in 1679, and perhaps some of the few Macphersons now in Laggan may discover therein traces of their ancestors:-

Cluny.—Duncan Macpherson of Cluny, James Macpherson there, William vic lain vic Andrew there, Dougal Oig there, John Macgillivray there, Donald Mac Coil Oig there, John Miller there, John Miller his son there, Allister Macgillivray there, Kenneth Mor there, Angus Mac Ian Mor there, William Mac Ian vic William there, William Mac David, tailor there, Allister Maclennan there, Duncan Mac Coil Oig there, Donald Mac Ewen I)hu vic Keir there.

Ovie.—Ewen Macpherson of Ovie, Malcolm Macpherson there, William Mac Coil there, Allister Mac Harnish vic Lachlan there, Allister Mac Coil Kier there, John Mac Coil Oig there.

Druminord.—Angus Macpherson in Druminord, Angus Bain MacLachlan there, Duncan Mac-a-Gowin there.

Strathmashie. -- Donald Macpherson in Strathmashie, John barn Mac Hamish vic lain Ban there, Donald Mac Coil Oig in Heave (?), William Macpherson there, Allister reoch vic lain ban vic Allister reoch there, Finlay vac lain vic Mhurich theie, Finlay Macpherson in Strathmashie, Donald Macpherson there, Murri;Leb Macpherson there, John Macpherson there, Donald ban Mae Sonic vic Quian there Allister Gow there.

Tirfadoun.—Malcolm Mac Ewen in Tirfadoun, John Mac Gillechallum there, Duncan ban Mac Soirle there, Donald Mac Finlay vic Homas there, John Mac Coinneach Roy there, Duncan Mac Coinneach his son there, Allister dhu Mac Phail there.

Shirrobeg.—Join Macpherson in Shirrobeg, Finlay ban Mac Aonash vic Gilliephatrick there, Allister ban Mac lain there, Ewen Mac Rorie vie William there, John Roy Mac lain vic Gilliephatrick there.

Shirromore.--John Roy Mac Vurrich in Shirramore, Paul Macpherson his son there, Murroch Macpherson his son there, l)ougall Mac Gilliechallum there.

Gaskinloan.—Thomas Macpherson in Gaskinloan, Donald dhu vie Coinneach there, John dhu Mac Homash, Mac un taillor there, 1)ugald Mac Homas Roy there, William Mackintosh there, Finlay Mor Mac Coil vie Finlay there, Duncan Mac Ewen vie Hoinas there, Donald Mac Ewen vie Finlay there.

Catlodge or Cattilleck.—Donald Mac Eachen vie lain Roy there.

Breakachie.—Malcolm Macpherson of Breackachie, Iver Mae Finlay vic Phail there, Donald Mac Ferquhar vic Phail there, William Macpherson there, Allister Mac lain there, John Mor Mac lain reoch there, Ewen Cattanach there, Thomas Mac an Taggart there, John Mor Mac Coil vic Soirle there, Paul Moukiter there, Donald Roy Mac a Greasieh Vor there.

Garvabeg.—Malcolm Mac Soirle in Garvabeg, Ewen Mae Soirle vie Ewen there, John Mac Soirle vie Ewen there.

Garvamore.—AlIan Mae lain Gromaeh in Garvamore, John Mac lain Gromaeh there, Ewen Roy vic Wirrich there, John Mac Coil vic Ruarie there, John Mac William vic Phaill there, Duncan Mac lain vic William vic Phaill there, Ewen Mac lain vic Coinneach there, Angus Mac Gillespie there, Donald Mac Gilliephatrick there, John dhu Mac (illegible) there, John dhu Mac Finlay oig there, Ewen Mac Aonas vic Ewen there.

Kylarchill.—Duncan Mac lain dhu in Kylarchill, Duncan Mac Ewen Roy there, Duncan ban Mac Soirle there, John Mac Ewen vic lain there, John Mac Ewen vic Finlay there, Donald dhu Mac Eeen vic Kenneth there.

Crathiecroy. —John Macpherson in Crathiecroy, Paul Macpherson there, linen Gow there, John Fraser there, John dhu vic Coil vic Allan there, John ban Mac Aonas vic Coil ban there, Angus Mac Bean dim vic Aonas there.

Crathiemor.—Angiis Mackintosh in Crathiemor, Alexander Mckintosh there, John Mac Aonas mor there, John Mac lain reoch dhu there, William Mac lain reoch dhu there, John Mac lain reoch dhu there, Even Mac Coil vic lain dhu there, James Dearg there, Arthur Forbes there, Donald Forbes his son, Rorie Charles there, John Mac Ian dhu vic Aonas there, John ban Mac Even-a-Gowin there, Alexander Mac lain dhu vic Aonas there, Angus Mackintosh there, Allister Allan Mac Allister vic Allan there, Angus ban Mac Soirle there.

Blargymor.—Angns Mackintosh in Blargymore, John Mac Raild vic Allan there, Ferquhar Mac Ferquhar vic lain there, Allister Mac a Greasich there, Donald Mac Finlay oig there.

Geask.—Robert Mackintosh in Gergask, Donald dhu Mac a Greasich there, Angus Mac Coil oig there, Duncan Mac Gillie Glass there.

Gaskmore.—James Mackintosh in Gaskmore, John Mackintosh the'é, James Mackintosh there, Allan Mackintosh there, Finlay Mac Gill Andreis there, John Mac lain ban there, Donald Macpherson there.

Pitgoun.—William Fraser in Pitgoun, Donald Mac Cill Andrish there, William Mac Coil ban there, Aonas Mac Gill Andrish there.

The name of Macpherson, so common in Laggan, is not to be found among its landowners until about the middle of the seventeenth century. Andrew Macpherson, who fought at Glenlivat, and was alive in 1648, sometimes styled "of Cluny," was latterly designed "of Grange" in Banffshire, and is so described in his son Ewen's contract of marriage with Anna, daughter of the first Duncan Forbes of Culloden, dated the 16th of November, and the 2nd of December, 1641. In this contract Ewen is designed of Cluny, and as only son of Andrew Macpherson of Grange.

The bride's tocher was 5000 merks, the cautioners for Cluny's obligations being John Macpherson of Nuide, Donald Macpherson, his eldest lawful son and apparent heir, Ewen Macpherson of Brin, Paul Macpherson of Dairaddie, Dougal Macpherson of Ballachroan, and Alexander Macpherson of Essich, the principals at the time of the name.

By a document dated at Inverness, the 26th day of May, 1643, Cluny discharges all Culloden's obligations, having received full payment. in presence of David Paton, burgess of Inverness, Ewen Macpherson in Gaskinloan, and others.

For assisting Montrose Ewen and his father Andrew are prosecuted by the clergy. E'.ven makes apology at Elgin, the value of which may be estimated by his having asserted, according to the latest clan historian, that he was in command of the Clan Chattan, a statement confuted at the moment by several Mackintoshes who declare that they were in arms under "the guid man of Stron," and Angus Mackintosh, portioner of Benchar, second son of Borlum. Andrew Macpherson's personal presence was dispensed with on account of his age and feebleness. Ewen Macpherson and Anna Forbes had at least two sons, Andrew and Duncan.

Andrew Macpherson succeeded, a youth of metal and courage. His portrait has been preserved and is now at Cluny. He was contracted in marriage with one of the Calder ladies in 1665, but died suddenly before the marriage.

An elegy composed on the occasion has been preserved, and though of no poetic value, is yet an interesting memorial, and will, I hope, gratify such Macphersons as may read it.


Duncan Macpherson succeeded his brother Andrew, and reigned about 6o years. He had an only daughter, Anna, and at her marriage with Archibald Campbell, son of Sir Hugh Campbell of Calder, the Macphersons, fearing that the estate and representation would be tailled away to a stranger, met and subscribed the patriotic protest in favour of Macpherson of Nuide, the heir-male, which is recorded at page 377 of the Book of the Thanes of Cawdor, published by the old Spalding Club, and printed in 1859. This protest, which was signed at Benchar on the 14th of March, 1689, by sixteen Macphersons of standing, is too well known to require any particular description. The only point worth consideration is, were the circumstances such as to justify or cause general alarm to the Macphersons? No doubt the story of alienation was current, and from the known hereditary character of the Camp-)ells the Macphersons were wise to be on the alert. That the parties to the contract got alarmed and modified its terms is probable, but the finale as embodied in the contract, dated at Cluny, the 15th day of March, 1689, a day after the protest, leaves the matter in obscurity. The contract is signed by Sir Hugh Campbell and his son, by Cluny and his daughter, before these witnesses—John Macpherson of Dalraddie, John Macpherson, younger thereof; Malcolm Macpherson of Breakachy, Cohn Campbell, son to Calder; Lachlan Campbell, Chamberlain of Ila; Mr Thomas Macpherson, minister of Alvie; Lachlan Macpherson of Dellifour, and John Campbell, servitor to Calder.

Upon a perusal of the contract as signed, the only clause which bears on the point is in these terms, and readers can determine for themselves whether the words in italics justified the energetic protest by and in favour of Nuide, the heir-male-

Duncan Macpherson steered his way carefully through the Revolution troubles. He is very intimate with Lord Dundee, and has the good opinion of Mackay; signs the address to George I.; and in his latter years is only known by his hostility to the heir-male; and neither going out himself in 1715, perhaps incapacitated by age, nor suffering Nuide to do so.

After the death of William Mackintosh of Borlum in 1717, long the Gordon Chamberlain of Badenoch, the Gordons resolved to appoint a stranger and one of their own name as most likely to be depended on. Accordingly that gallant warrior John Gordon of Glenbucket, born in 1672, was appointed, and getting a wadset of Strone, made it his residence. This step greatly increased the irritation of th Macphersons, who had chafed under the rule of the Borlums. Steps were taken to poison the Duke of Gordon's ears, but being ineffective, bolder courses were resolved upon—nothing less than slaying Glenbucket. The circumstances are narrated by Burt; always on the alert to pick up anything unpleasant about Highlanders of note ; by the Lord Advocate on the trial of Stuart of Acharn; and by the Dowager Lady Mackintosh in her very curious memoirs of events in her life.

Burt's account briefly is in these terms—

Whereupon the tenants came to a resolution to put an end to his suit and new settlement in the manner following. Five or six of them, young fellows, the sons of gentlemen, entered the door of his hut; and in fawning words told him they were sorry any dispute had happened. That they were then resolved to acknowledge him as their immediate landlord, and would regularly pay him their rent. At the same time they begged he would withdraw his process, and they hoped they should be agreeable to him for the future. All this while they were almost imperceptibly drawing nearer and nearer to his bedside, on which he was sitting, in order to prevent his defending himself (as they knew him to be a man of distinguished courage), and then fell suddenly on him ; some cutting him with their dirks, and others plunging them into his body. This was perpetrated within sight of the Barrack of Ruthven. I can't forbear to tell you how this butchery ended, with respect both to him and those treacherous villains.

"He with a multitude of wounds upon him, made shift in the bustle to reach down his broad sword from the tester of his bed, which was very low, and with it he drove all the assassins before him. And afterwards, from the Duke's abhorrence of so vile a fact, and with the assistance of the troops, they were driven out of the country and forced to flee to foreign parts."

Old Glenbucket, born as just stated in 1672, had been out in 1715, took part in the Rising of 1745, and his appearance, from the effects of the savage attack nearly 30 years before, is described as incapacitating him to sit erect on horseback. The gallant veteran escaped, first to Norway, then to France, and lived comfortably, until June, 1750, on a pension of 1200 livres. I possess certain papers signed by him while Chamberlain of Badenoch, and also some relative to his posterity, the latest referring to John Charles Gordon, residing at Tomintoul in 1812.

As the Glenbuckets intermarried with the Glengarrys, I may publish these papers some day, including the appearance made, early in the 'Forty-five, by the people of Badenoch at the request of Lord Lewis Gordon.

The Duke of Gordon was naturally furious at the attack on his chamberlain, and not only threatened vengeance and extirpation on the Macphersons, who held their whole lands of him, but took some active steps in the matter. In their distress, the Macphersons, under their new chief, Lachlan, whose mother was daughter of Lachlan Mackintosh of Kinrara, bethought themselves of a reconciliation with Mackintosh, and becoming independent to a certain degree of the Gordons. Mackintosh fell into the snare, foolishly thinking that the Macphersons, who had deceived his predecessors so often, had changed their skin and spots, while his wife in her memoirs appears to have seen clearly the folly of having any dealings with them. Mackintosh's desires for the consolidation and unification of Clan Chattan were highly praiseworthy. To make the Macphersons quasi independent, and particularly of the Gordons, Mackintosh granted them Gallovie and Aberarder, upwards of 40,000 acres, under certain conditions, of which the forfeiture of Evan Macpherson of Cluny and the passing of the Jurisdiction Acts deprived him, and of the equivalents stipulated.

In the whole deplorable record of Crown robberies arising out of the forfeitures of 1715 and 1745 there is perhaps no greater wrong than that inflicted on the Mackintosh family in connection with those lands in Laggan. The loyal subject was punished, while the insurgent family benefited.

As I have not the slightest desire to be enrolled among the Stevenson-Lang ghouls, the sordid detractors of prominent Highland gentlemen of the past, I will say but little more at present upon this very tempting subject.

The Cluny rental was so beggarly that Evan Macpherson, a man of great strength and activity, was in his father's time obliged to become a Captain of the Watch, a business not taken up except by those in a secondary position. Sir Walter Scott in depicting Fergus Macivor (the prototype of old Glengarry, a chief of the first rank) makes a ridiculous blunder in assigning to him the office of Captain of Thieves.

The following docquetted "Discharge of Watch money payable to Clunie, 11th June, 1745," shows that he was still engaged in the business very shortly before the landing of Prince Charles-

Forres, June, 15, 1745.

"Received from Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun the sum of four pounds 16s 3d sterling, as his whole proportion of the Watch money payable to Evan Macpherson of Cluny, at the rate of half a crown out of the hundred pound of his valued rent p. me.

(Signed) "JOHN DUFF, Junr."

A month later Lord Advocate Craigie writes to Lord Tweeddale, whereby it would seem Government relied on Cluny as its supporter—

"Edinburgh, 11th June, 1745.

"My Lord,—I have the honour of yours of the 6th July, and you may believe the particulars you mention of the situation of our affairs in Flanders, tho' not altogether such as could have been wished yet being much better than was believed from the former accounts gave me a sensible pleasure, and as I thought it was of service to the Government to encourage his Majesty's real friends and to discountenance disaffection I hope you'll approve of my not keeping your intelligence a secret and even the mentioning your authority, which I don't choose to do upon other occasions.

"We have all got up our spirits here with an exception of those who are in anxiety about their friends who were engaged in the late action near Ghent, and this anxiety will continue until we have the particulars of those that perished and escaped in the action.

"Sir John Cope communicated to me the copy of the letter you sent him touching Cluny's management with respect to the shire of Banff. I am persuaded from all I have heard of Cluny's conduct from people of all sides that the insinuations made against him will be found to be groundless. His character is to be a perfect enemy to thieves and thieving. Last year he protected the adjacent country at a very small expense in spite of the opposition that was made to him by those from whom it would not have been expected. Your Lordship knows he wished to have been employed by the Government, but that he did not succeed in his application. That the character he acquired last year procured him more numerous applications this season, and it is not to be wondered at, because though commissions were issued for these companies some time ago, yet they are but now raised, and it's very lately that two of them got their arms, and the third is still without arms, and none of them are as yet stationed for the protection of the country, and at the time referred to in the letter transmitted to you, Cluny had no notice of his commission. This is what occurs to me and I have no doubt that Cluny will be able fully to justify himself.

"Sir John Cope sends you by this post Inveraw's opinion with respect to the French recruiting in the Highlands. I own I believe he speaks what he knows, but I think he is too lately come from Argyllshire to be able to discover what is passing in the recruiting countries.

The Duke of Atholl is in town and intends to wait for the Duke of Argyll's arrival. He is expected here Monday next. I have the honour to be with great truth and respect, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient, and most faithful humble servant.

(Signed) "Ron. CRAIGIE."

Further to support him, Mackintosh allowed young Cluny as he did Keppoch, an annual present, or "gratuity" as it is termed, of one hundred merks, as may be seen by the following document, which is holograph of Cluny:-

"I, Evan McPherson, younger of Cluny, grant me to have received from Angus Shaw, factor to the Laird of Mackintosh, the sum of one hundred merks, and that as the Laird of Mackintosh's gratuity to me payable Martinmas last, seventeen hundred and thirty-six years. In witness whereof I have written and subscribed their presents at Cluny the twentie-second day of January, one thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven years. (Signed) "Ev. MCPHERSON."

Conceive a "Chief" of the great Confederation of Clan Chattan granting such an acknowledgment.

This same "Chief" appears to have by himself or his men lifted and eaten poor William Robertson's cow-

"William Robertson in Badenoch, declares young Cluny came to his house and ordered 20 cows and 6 horses to be taken from him, and otherwise threatened him, and upon consenting to go, they were all restored except one cow which was killed.

"WM. (his X mark) ROBERTSON.

A great deal is made of Evan Macpherson's son, Duncan Macpherson. I have met with several people who knew him well, and the concurring report was that he was an insignificant looking little man, entirely ruled by his clever wife, Catherine Cameron of Fassifern.

Lord Adam Gordon thus writes of him in 1769 to the Marquis of Granby-

Prestonhall, 25th December, 1769.

As to some promotions I hope I may name to you for a company Captain Macpherson on the half-pay, who has undertaken to find forty recruits provided he gets on full pay. I thought it a handsome offer and am certain he can make it good. lie is a very pretty young man and who, for reasons of policy, should be kept in the service. He is a nephew of Colonel Fraser's and has been educated under the eye of Dr Robertson, the historian, who does him great justice."

The italics are mine.

The following most interesting letter of General Simon Fraser's should be perused with care, showing as it does, how Duncan Macpherson was brought up, and how his surrounding Macphersons behaved :-

"Oporto, 16th August, 1770.

It happens luckily that your letter of 12th July found me here and more so that there is a ship just ready to sail for London by which I send this, for I am uneasy every moment that I lie under the least suspicion with my worthy friends the Laird and Lady Mackintosh, and as 1 am allowed now no more time than is necessary for this letter, I desire you may immediately, upon receipt of it, send to Lady Mackintosh a copy of what relates to this business to clear me in the meantime till I have an opportunity of writing her, which I am told I shall have in a week's time by another ship from this place.

"In the first place it hurts me not a little that the words of any man or set of men should be taken by Lady Mackintosh against me without some proof. She has known me about 20 years and I flatter myself in all that time has had no instance of any unfair or underhand dealing in me. When my prospect in life was at the worst I defy the world to tax me with unfairness or ingratitude. It's not then likely that I should begin now to expose myself and that for another to an imputation that I never would put to the least hazard to promote my own affairs. I should think myself so much obliged to the Laird and Lady Mackintosh that I would sooner cut my tongue out than I would speak, or my hand off than I would write, anything directly or indirectly to their prejudice. If I could to-morrow get these lands for the asking to myself, I protest to God I would not ask them nor any other, that they had any pretentions to, far less for my nephew. Since the world began there never was an imputation so void of foundation. What I thought myself to blame for, turns Out to be lucky—that is that from my leaving England in 1766 I never wrote a syllable to my nephew or any of the name of Macpherson except an answer to a letter from Breackachy's son informing me of his intention of marrying my niece and my letter to him was simply upon that matter of his marriage, without a syllable on any other business whatever. Judge then how I could have been consulted or advised upon the application in question. My nephew's coming to Portugal was not only not at my desire but it was without my knowledge, the first notice that I had of it was from Simon Fraser, Borlum, telling me of his being embarked. I have still the letter wrote by James Macpherson and some others of his friends in which they mention the purpose of his coming being to show himself to me, and to have my advice for his future plan of life, which they proposed to begin by purchasing a company, and the real view was clearly pointed out to be their expectations that I would advance the money for that purchase, but they did not mention any other business, far less drop a hint of any intention of an application for the lands.

"When he came I found him a fine looking boy, but not enough broke to start in the world, and therefore I thought it would be of great use to him to spend some months in France, which I proposed to him and agreed to be at the expense of a couple of hundred pounds for that purpose, and after staying about three months with rue at Lisbon he set sail for Rheims, where he has been since the beginning of June. As I was myself upon the wing I had very little time to speak to him about business while at Lisbon, and I found that he knew very little of his own affairs. He told me that Mr James Macpherson had said to him that he meant to make an application for him to the Treasury, but he could not give me an account about what, and as you wrote me of the application for Killihuntly's debt I took for granted it was that and altho' he is a clever lad it's surprising how little he attended to or knew of his own affairs his friends, I should rather say his relations, kept him supplied with money and in such ignorance that it looked as if done on purpose. He referred me for every thing of that sort to letters they were to write me and which I have never received, and I sincerely believe he knew nothing of the application for the gift when he left Lisbon, which was in the month of May, and as to myself I solemnly declare before God and by all that's sacred that I never directly or indirectly advised, encouraged, or consented to any such application being made and knew no more of it than the Great Mogul till I received your letter, and that what I have here set forth 5 all I know of my nephew's affairs except some letters that I have received within this month about their absurd disputes for the Tack of Cluny, to which I made no answer. As he had accounts of his uncle's death at Lisbon, I foresaw those disputes, and proposed to him to leave me a Procuration to act for him, which he did, but I have never made the least use of it, nor even mentioned it to any body till now, and as to my corresponding with those people I might have done it, and it was natural I should on my nephew's account, but I am happy to be able to say that I not only never exchanged word or wrote on the subject of the lands, but that except the letter upon his marriage to young Breakachy, I have not put pen to paper to anyone of the name of Macpherson these 4 years. If all this is not enough, I don't know what will be enough to satisfy Mackintosh, but let the Lady herself say what she will have me to do to satisfie her and the world of my affection and gratitude towards her and her family, and I will do it ; and if it will be of the least use I am ready to write to the Lord Privy Seal my total ignorance of my nephew's application, and that my wishes are for Mackintosh in preference even to my nephew. She must allow that this is a proposal inconsistent with any consciousness of guilt of the imputation laid to my charge, and I hope will immediately restore me to that share of her esteem which I have all my life put such a value upon, and will rest assured that it is only with my life that my attachment and gratitude to her and Mackintosh will end."

From whence did the surrounding Macphersons get the cash which seemed so abundant ? I have an idea which wild horses will not drag from me. The pleasant tradition that young Cluny got his Commission so early, that he was a Major while still eating his matutinal porridge, is contradicted by Lord Adam Gordon's letter showing that he was only a Captain on half-pay about the time he arrived at full age.

After the restoration of the Cluny estates, these were well administered by Lachlan Macpherson at Ralia, afterwards in Breackachie, predecessor of the present Glentruim. His services to the family were truly great, having circumvented the clever William Tod, Gordon Chamberlain, very handsomely in a great adjustment of marches about 1791, and getting nearly 20,000 acres in the heart of the forest of Benalder in exchange for a plough of Kylarchill and certain grazing rights in the Braes of Spey. His family certainly did not deserve to be treated in the contemptuous way Mrs Macpherson of Cluny expressed herself when it was rumoured that one of Ralia's sons was likely to become purchaser of the estate of Glentruim. She would not give him a capital letter. No; the poor man in the numerous letters I
have of hers is always "ralia." The same depreciatory spirit is shown by her horror on hearing that one Allan Macpherson in the east end of Kingussie, by the assistance of a relative in the West Indies, was to purchase a good slice of Gordon land then in the market, the feeling towards Allan being instantly changed on hearing that the purchase was intended for Ewen, her own son. She also fought very shy of the shrewd George Macpherson-Grant, rapidly building up that position in Badenoch which placed his
family territorially at the head of the Macphersons. She cannot understand him or his designs, but fears,

"Why it is, I cannot tell,
Thee I like not, Doctor Fell"

The Macphersons did not fare well at her hands after she had the control on her husband's death. The bitter persecution begun in his time of Colonel Duncan Macpherson's son, Cluny's near relative, continued briskly after his death, but young Barclay Macpherson was vigorously and successfully defended by his other near relatives, Mrs Mackintosh of Borlum and her only daughter, Margaret Mackintosh. By the marriage of the latter with Mr John Macpherson, latterly at Gallovie, a doughty foe of the Clunys came to the rescue, who for years when at Cluny Mains was a thorn to the Cluny family. Colonel Duncan Macpherson of Bleaton and his son, afterwards General Barclay Macpherson; John Macpherson, Cluny Mains; Ewen Macpherson, MacCoul; and other Macphersons of note, were in turn forced into litigation and another serious burden fell upon the tenants more exacting and severe than I have noticed on any other estate. This was, on getting a new lease, the giving of a present to the lady. In the case of Cluny, large sums frequently exceeding £100, were given, and taken by the lady, during her active management, which, notwithstanding the son's affection for his mother, he felt compelled when settling up with her, to call in question. She did not deny these presents but pleaded a "voluntary custom " in regard to them.

Such estates as fell under the control of the lady's brother suffered, and in several cases sunk. When Colonel Duncan Macpherson of Cluny married Miss Catharine Cameron of Fassifern, the estates were held in fee simple, and destined by the contract to the eldest son of the marriage. This did not suit or satisfy the lady's friends and advisers, and in defiance of the contract of marriage, which by the Scots law over-rides all obligations, an entail was made out which cost Ewen Macpherson of Cluny a deal of money to set aside, and apparently was one of the leading causes which piled up the debt on the property, necessitating ultimately a sale of some fifty thousand acres of the Cluny estates.

There is perhaps no place in Badenoch at the present day better known, or rather more frequently referred to, than "Cluny Castle." It is a modern assumption, having no basis of time in its support. Colonel Duncan Macpherson, it is only right to say, did not call his house a castle, and never ! assumed the title of Chief or Captain of Clan Chattan. He knew better, and those about him at his death did not I understand (for I have not been within the grounds) place this baseless designation on his tombstone. Those who succeeded Colonel Duncan Macpherson made their first step of assumption in the month of June or July, 1828. Lady Cluny's letters prior to the 12th of June are all dated "Cluny House." By the 5th July, 1828, they bear to be from "Cluny Castle," the good lady on one or two subsequent occasions seeming to have overlooked the newly- fledged dignity by dating from "Cluny House," as was her wont.

I must now allude in brief to another modern assumption, viz., that of "Craigdhu" as the war cry of the Macphersons. The two things which appear to throw simple Macphersons into a state of ecstatic adoration are the contemplation of Ewen of the 'Forty-five and the hill of Craigdhu. A certain native of Scandinavian Scotland, where there is no Gaelic, is particularly possessed. What does all this mean? The war cry of historic clans, when a locality, indicated that it was centrical and the sole undoubted possession of the clan, such as "Tullochard," "Craigellachie," "Loch Moy," "Loch Sloy," etc., etc. Let this rule be applied to Craigdhu. It is very true that the whole mountain since about 1830 belongs exclusively to Cluny. But did it when c]anship was active and gatherings common?

Craigdhu lies in the Parishes of Laggan and Kingussie, having several distinctive and nominative summits, whereof the waters of the western portion slope to and run into the Calder, and on the east to the Spey. The three ploughs of Cluny, the first heritable property of the Macphersons of Cluny, do not nearly extend to the higher summit. The highest summit from the south was part of the Duke of Gordon's Ovie and Achmore, which remained with them until the final dispersion sixty years ago. The only part to the east of the Cluny property which approached, if at all, to the summit, was the hill of Biallid Beg; then came Biallid Mor and Coronach, all facing the Spey, feued to Borlum in 1637, and latterly again the Gordon property.

The whole of the west side of the mountain sloping to the Calder belonged to the Borlums, being that part of the hill grazings of Benchar called Tullichero. Thus at the most, while clanship and clan cries were in vogue, the Macphersons could only claim, if even to that extent, a third of Craigdhu, or so much as followed Biallid Beg.

When Mr John Macpherson was tenant of the mains of Cluny the shootings were let apparently for the first time on rent, to the Peel family. In 1816 Mr William Peel and his nephew, afterwards the distinguished statesman, came north. Being on bad terms with the estate authorities John Macpherson took steps to interdict the sportsmen and all others. The petition is well drawn, and proceeds upon the allegation that he, Macpherson, had the lands let to him exclusively, that the reports of shots and roaming of dogs disturbed his sheep, preventing them from pasturing quietly, and was likely to lead if not to their loss, at least to their harm. I am not sure whether any decision was pronounced by the Sheriff, as the Peels compromised matters so well that Mr Macpherson speaks highly of their behaviour. After this landlords took good care in their leases of sheep and arable farms to reserve game and power to lease it separately. In time this reservation was in many cases pushed to extremities, but public sentiment having been aroused better feeling prevailed, and the grievance of two rents from the same subject, and in especial that of fostering rabbits where hill grounds for grouse are scarce, is now much modified.

THE MACPHERSONS OF BREACKACHIE.

The Breackachie family long held a good position in Badenoch, but latterly they unfortunately incurred the deep-seated hostility not only of their own Chief, but also that of Mr Tod, the well-known Gordon factor.

Mr Donald Macpherson of Breackachie, himself closely connected with Cluny, and whose son, Colonel Duncan, had married Margaret, one of Evan Macpherson of Cluny's daughters, was with his son evicted from Breackachie, in 1773, to be succeeded by another Macpherson—Lachlan of Ralia. The removal was defended vigorously, but the defences failing, it was effected, breaking the heart of old Donald Macpherson, who had possessed under leases granted in 1735 and 1752. His latter years were spent with his daughter, Mrs Mackintosh of Borlum, and the last letter I have of his dated, Raits, the 24th of July, 1777, in a tremulous hand, is a strong appeal to William Mackintosh of Balnespick to cease persecuting "the poor remnant of the Borlums and their estate," represented by his daughter.

Donald Macpherson was succeeded as representative of the family by his son, Colonel Duncan Macpherson, who at one time was very well 'off; being owner of Wester Gask in Strathnairn, and Bleaton at the foot of Glenshee. Colonel Duncan, who had seen a good deal of service, must, judging by his letters, have been an accomplished gentleman, but unhappily getting mixed up with the notorious "Black Captain," John Macpherson of Ballachroan, lost both his estates and died in comparative poverty. He is said to have built the first house in Kingussie towards the east end on the upper side of the road, I believe still standing.

Colonel Macpherson was also proprietor of Callag Etterish, or Catlodge, which had to be sold, and was purchased by Cluny. The place occupied by several sub-tenants was given by him for 29 years from 1787. He died early in the century, and was succeeded by his son Barclay, afterwards General Barclay Macpherson, in the lease of Catlodge and the house in Kingussie.

At Whitsunday, 1816, the lease of Catlodge fell out, and for some reasons which I have not been able to ascertain, Colonel Duncan Macpherson of Cluny, uncle of Barclay, then Colonel, and abroad with his regiment, commenced certain vindictive and outrageous legal proceedings connected with the outgoing from Catlodge.

In Colonel Barclay's absence, his paternal aunt, Mrs Mackintosh of Borlum, and her daughter, Mrs MacEdward, looked after his affairs, but without any written authority. The rent of Catlodge was only £18, and it had 8 sub-tenants. Cluny's first step was, before Whitsunday, to present a petition to have the biggings valued to ascertain the pejoration. An exparte report was got fixing them at over £200, a monstrous sum, seeing that the meliorations payable by Cluny were not to exceed £30. The proceedings were directed against Colonel Barclay, then abroad, but he was neither served personally nor summoned edictally, and it was by accident that Mrs Mackintosh heard of them. The next step on the part of Cluny was to raise a summons for £2000 in name of damages, before any damages had either been ascertained or legally fixed, while arrcstments were laid in the hands of all the sub-tenants. Whitsunday had now arrived when the rent had to be paid, and Mrs Mackintosh, on applying to the sub-tenants to put her in funds, was for the first time informed of the arrestments, and of all these outrageous proceedings. But Cluny, or those advising him, were not yet satisfied, for no sooner was the rent unpaid, really in consequence of the arrestments used by himself, than sequestration was applied for. Mrs Mackintosh and her daughter bestirred themselves vigorously for their relative, and got one of the ablest lawyers in Inverness to appear. Some of his allegations for Colonel Barclay are scathing even in legal warfare, while Mr Alexander Shepherd, who appeared for Cluny, after doing his best, had to yield, and finally Cluny got nothing but his rent, which had always been at his disposal.

Colonel Barclay Macpherson, the last of the Breakachies, an honourabic and high-spirited man, took no legal steps for redress, but took such a dislike to Badenoch that after his retirement he ceased almost all connection with it, dying in Stirling. He left 100, the interest to be allotted for keeping up the burial place in St. Columba's Churchyard, and being satisfied that Ewen Macpherson of Cluny, a child at the time of these proceedings, had no concern in them, and indeed had afterwards expressed his regret that such had taken place in his name, nominated him one of the Trustees to administer the above fund, and if I mistake not substituted one or two of the Cluny family to succeed to the house in Kingussie, failing the institute. So much regarding the three last Macphersons of the good old family of Breackachie, one of whom, John, is mentioned in 1609 as concurring in the Bond of Union among the Clan Chattan.

The Breackachies were not the only Macphersons of standing who incurred the hostility of the restored owners. Ewen Macpherson, tacksman of MacCoul, had, through Ballachroan, got rather behind, and in 1811 was sequestrated at the instance of Colonel Duncan Macpherson of Cluny. Ewen's rent was £100, and his subject was worth £700. The rent due was forehand, yet a sequestration was applied for and granted on the 25th of January, 1811, and a warrant of sale for ready money applied for and obtained on the 6th of February, the sale to take place at Kingussie, 20 miles distant, on the 16th of February. To carry out a sale at that period of the year, the weather being very inclement, when there was no demand for cattle because no keep, and for a forehand rent, was so oppressive that MacCoul and his trustee, for he was sequestrated as a bankrupt by the Court of Session, came forward and obtained an interdict. Bad as the factors of the forfeited estates were, I fancy the tenants in Badenoch or some of them would, I should say, have been glad to see them back.

THE MACPHERSONS OF OVIE AND MACCOUL, ETC.

Another respectable family in Laggan was also oppressed and dispossessed about the same time, namely, the Macphersons of Ovie. Hugh Macpherson had the temerity to cross Factor Tod, and was ejected neck and heel, to make way for James Shaw, from the parish of Alvie. Shaw was foolish enough to offer a rent of £42 instead of the former rent of £27, and not getting possession for months, in consequence of the outgoing tenants retaining violent possession, his plans fell through ; he could not pay his rent, and was in turn ejected like Ovie.

No more interesting place exists in Laggan than Crathy, where there is at this day the only cluster of small tenants in all Badenoch. Long may they hold their place, and send out strong men and strapping lasses to supply those services so much needed in the parish.

Crathy was threatened with extinction in 1806, but it has happily survived while the extirpators have themselves been long since extirpated. The following were in that year summoned to remove but maintained their place, viz.

James Mackintosh, Donald Macdonald alias Macgillivantich, John Mackintosh, Alexander Kennedy, Donald Mackillop, Angus Cattanach, Alexander Macpherson, Angus Macdonald, and Alexander Macdonald. I hope to see the day when the lands from Crathy Mor and Crathy Croy to Gaskmore and Gaskbeg will be peopled as of old by Mackintoshes, that the ancient burial place of Kylarchill will be enclosed and beautified, and the Brae of Spey and of Roy opened up by railway.

THE "GENTLEMEN" OF BADENOCH.

The "Gentlemen" of Badenoch was the honoured designation of many of the larger farmers, particularly in Laggan. In the palmy days of sheep farming there flocked down to the Inverness Wool Fair, where they kept "the crown of the causeway," Garvamore and Garvabeg; Shirramore and Shirrabeg; Tullochcrom and Aberarder; Gallovie and Kinlochlaggan; MacCoul and Brae Laggan; Druminord and losal an Ord  Daichully and Strathmashie ; Crathiemor and Crathiecroy; Gaskmore and Gaskbeg, and several others, fine seasoned vessels, who never shirked their glass, and could well hold their own with the choicest stalwarts of Lochaber.

The family of MacNab, terminating in the last Dalchully, were long influential in Laggan, and to them chiefly falls the credit of erecting on Tirfadoun, the pretty Roman Catholic Chapel so picturesquely situated, guarding the pass into the Brae of Spey and the famous Corryaraick. The natural beauty of the locality has been much enhanced by Sir John Ramsden's plantation of the Dun.

The Macdonalds, long wadsetters of Gallovie, nourished by the Mackintoshes, were dispossessed by the Macphersons, who in 1790 got possession of the lands of Innisnagaul on Loch Laggan side. The last of the Gallovie Macdonalds who had any hold in Laggan was Ranald Macdonald, tenant in Strathmashie. Judging from the paper after quoted, Ranald inherited the pugnacious instincts of his predecessors without the opportunities which they possessed of indulging in them. By i8ro the King's writ ran, even in Laggan, though the relaxations of the "Gentlemen" were rather startling.

Counsel did not see his way to recommend any legal steps in the case to which the document refers, the evidence being too scrimp, and Dalchu]ly had to put up with the assault, which must have been particularly galling to him when it is recollected that according to the veracious Aytoun, with four exceptions, "Of all the Highland clans, MacNab is the most ferocious." The document is entitled—

"Memorial for Donald MacNab, Esq., at Daichully, in the District of Badenoch and County of Inverness," dated the 2nd of November, 1810.

"The memorialist feels it to be a duty which he owes to himself as at the head of a family as well as for the sake of public example not to pass in silence an atrocious attack lately made upon his person by a neighbour, who has been hitherto held in the estimation of a gentleman, and is a Justice of Peace in the county; but before proceeding to any legal measures, he is desirous of having the best advice, how far, from the occult nature of the assault, and the deficiency of evidence consequently attending it, he will be able to establish a claim of reparation in a court of law, on account of the injuries he has already suffered; and what steps he ought to adopt for the safety and security of his person and property in the future. With this view the consideration of the learned counsel is requested to the following statement.

"The memorialist holds, as sub-tenant, the farm of Dalchully, and Mr Ranald Macdonald rents that of Strathmashie, both in the close vicinity of each other, and separated by the water of Mashie, which forms the march between them. About three months ago, the memorialist was informed from good authority that Macdonald was making application to the Duke of Gordon, the proprietor of both farms, for part of the farm of Dalchully to be attached to that of Strathmashie at the next sett. As the memorialist was a good deal interested in a measure of this kind, and being on a perfectly good footing at that time with Macdonald, he enquired of him if the report was true, which after some evasion he admitted, and added that right or wrong he would persist in his application. This produced some hasty words between the parties, which ended in a formal challenge to fight by Macdonald to the memorialist—but the quarrel was amicably settled by the interposition of friends, and the memorialist thought no more about it; tho' he at the same time made a counter application to the proprietor and principal tacksman respecting Dalchully, and received every assurance that Macdonald's views would be disappointed, and so the matter rested.

"An application had also been made some time before by Macdonald to the memorialist for payment of certain mill dues or multures which he said were due to him, in answer to which the memorialist addressed a letter to Macdonald, alleging that the demand was unjust to the extent called for, and that it would not be paid. In short, the terms of the memorialist's letter were perhaps in some degree harsh and unpalatable to Macdonald. But whether (as Macdonald afterwards alleged) that the origin of their recontre was the view he had of asking an explanation of this letter, or, whether some grudge rankled in Macdonald's mind respecting the proposal about Daichully, or, if both circumstances gave rise to a determined hostility on the part of Macdonald towards the memorialist, cannot be ascertained, but so it is that for some time he had meditated revenge against the memorialist. Accordingly on Tuesday, the 16th ultimo, Macdonald resolved on carrying his plan into effect. The memorialist had after breakfast taken a walk to that part of his farm opposite the house of Strathmashie, where he has some hay stacks. He had not been long there when he saw Macdonald (who had been out of doors and must have seen the memorialist) suddenly enter his house, and with equal haste come out carrying something in his hand like a bludgeon, and then walk away in the direction likely to be taken by the memorialist on his return home. The memorialist after remaining some time where he was, proceeded homeward, and when he had advanced a considerable way (at least a mile's distance), and was in a private part of the road, Macdonald crossed the water, and commenced his attack by knocking down the memorialist with a large bludgeon. The memorialist received no less than eleven cuts and blows on the head and face, which must have appeared sufficient to extinguish life. After some time, however, the memorialist recovering his senses a little, saw Macdonald, and two men along with him at some distance. The memorialist from his situation only knew one of these men, to whom he called aloud, with the little exertion of which he was capable, to keep in memory what he had observed, when both the men immediately sneaked away. It has been since understood that they were father and son. While the memorialist lay on the ground, he recovered his senses so far as to ask Macdonald if he intended to murder him, whose answer was, "I do, by God, you scoundrel," which words were accompanied by another dreadful blow a little above the temple, which again deprived the memorialist of motion and sense—and there the bloody scene ended. The memorialist having been conveyed home, a medical man was sent for, who found him in a state of the most imminent danger, and declared that if some of the blows had been an inch and a half lower they must have killed a much stronger man instantly. The same medical man continued to attend the memorialist constantly, and reside in his house for several days—so late as the 20th ulto. the memorialist was so ill as to be pronounced by no means out of danger. The only evidence which can be adduced to prove this assault is the statement given by Macdonald himself, in a letter to the Rev. i\Ir Macintyre (a copy of which is herewith laid before counsel), and the depositions of the two men who were in company with Macdonald, whose depositions, however, cannot be relied upon, as it seems they are poor dependents and cottars of Macdonald's and will swear to whatever suits his purpose. Two circumstances operate strongly against Macdonald, namely, that the attack was made in a private and unfrequented path, after having crossed the water purposely to get at the memorialist, and that Macdonald himself holds the situation of a Magistrate, being a Justice of Peace for the county. It is alleged by Macdonald, in his statement, that the memorialist was the aggressor. If so, it appears extraordinary that Macdonald should carry no marks of injury on his person, as the memorialist had a stick in his possession, which he certainly would, in this case, have used—but the assertion is totally false, and to account for the appearance of blows about him, Macdonald pretends that the memorialist pulled him to the ground and commenced the assault by seizing his neck-cloth. Upon the whole, counsel will be pleased to give his opinion what proceedings it would be proper in the memorialist to follow forth with the view of protecting himself, his family and property from the future violence of this outrageous man, and also in obtaining reparation for the injuries which he has already sustained ; counsel will further say, whether the circumstances, and the evidence are such as would justify the memorialist in endeavouring to make the case the subject of a public prosecution, and what steps he is to adopt for that purpose."


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