The character of this
remarkable man has been much misunderstood and misrepresented, and we
recommend all who wish information on the subject, to study Mr. Millar’s
history for themselves, as it is founded on authentic documents. With
all Rob’s lawless actions he invariably showed more true nobility of
character than the three eminent noblemen who drove him to desperation
and violence, by deeds of gross treachery and cruelty, of which Rob
himself was incapable.
The Duke of Montrose had
collected 250 soldiers, and after pillaging Rob’s house, burnt it, and
carried off all the gear they could lay hands on. Graeme of Killearn the
duke’s factor took an active part in these proceedings, and Rob, like a
true Highlander, watched his opportunity of retaliation.
Learning that Graeme was
to collect the Duke’s Martinmas rents at the inn of Chapelarroch,
between Buchanan House and Drymen, he went there with a sufficient force
on the appointed day, and remained concealed till all the tenants had
paid their rents, and were carousing with the factor in the large room
of the inn. Rob stalked in fully armed, and requested the tenants to
leave, which they were glad to do. He then obliged Graeme to shew his
books and papers, which he took possession of, along with the money
collected, which amounted to ^3,227 2s. 8d. Scots. Rob determined not
only to keep this money as part payment of the damages he had received
at the duke’s hands, but he resolved to carry off the factor and hold
him to ransom, and so obtain another instalment of his debt. He first
obliged Graeme to write to the duke demanding 3,400 merks as payment of
the balance due by the duke “ for loss and damages sustained.” Graeme
was then forced to accompany Rob and his band wherever they went, and as
they were obliged for their own safety to be continually on the move,
the poor factor had a sorry time of it.
They travelled first to
the shores of Loch Katrine, and then throughout the district which lies
between that loch and the Lake of Menteith, during six weary days.
As soon as the duke
received his factor’s letter he conceived that Buchanan House was no
safe dwelling against Rob Roy, and he accordingly fled to Glasgow, and
wrote three letters—one to Lord Townsend, another to General Carpenter,
and a third to the Under-Secretary of State— detailing the outrage.
As the factor received no
answer to his letter from the duke, Rob began to think there was no
utility in keeping him longer in custody, and he accordingly carried him
rapidly through Stirlingshire to Kirkintilloch, and left him there with
his books and papers to find his way to his patron’s house at Glasgow as
he best could.
As Graeme had embittered
Rob’s life, and rendered him a homeless outcast, Rob deserves credit for
his forbearance towards him.
We wish much that we
could have recorded whether Rob himself actually entered Kirkintilloch
or not, on this occasion; and it would have been interesting had we been
able to say that he refreshed himself and his followers at the "Black
We have given all the
information we possess however, and we fear that taking all the
circumstances into account, Rob is likely to have come over the hills
with his prisoner, and allowed him his freedom as soon as they came in
sight of the town.