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The Scottish Nation
MacQueen


MACQUEEN, the surname of one of the subordinate tribes of the clan Chattan, the head of which is Macqueen of Corrybrough, Inverness-shire. The founder of this tribe is said to have been Roderick Dhu Revan MacSweyn or MacQueen, who, about the beginning of the 15th century, received a grant of territory in the county of Inverness. He belonged to the family of the lord of the Isles, and his descendants from him were called the clan Revan.

      The Macqueens fought, under the standard of Macintosh, captain of the clan Chattan, at the battle of Harlaw in 1411. On 4th April 1609, Donald Macqueen of Corrybrough signed the bond of manrent, with the chiefs of the other tribes composing the clan Chattan, whereby they bound themselves to support Angus Macintosh of that ilk as their captain and leader. At this period, we are told, the tribe of Macqueen comprehended twelve distinct families, all landowners in the counties of Inverness and Nairne.

      In 1778, Lord Macdonald of Sleat, who had been created an Irish peer by that title two years before, having raised a Highland regiment, conferred a lieutenancy in it on a son of Donald Macqueen, then of Corrybrough, and in the letter, dated 26th January of that year, in which he intimated the appointment, he says, “It does me great honour to have the sons of chieftains in the regiment, and as the Macqueens have been invariably attached to our family, to whom we believe we owe our existence, I am proud of the nomination.” Thus were the Macqueens acknowledged to have been of Macdonald origin, although they ranged themselves among the tribes of the clan Chattan.

MACQUEEN, ROBERT, of Braxfield, an eminent lawyer and judge, was born May 4, 1722. He was the eldest son of John Macqueen, Esq. of Braxfield, Lanarkshire, for some time sheriff substitute of the upper ward of that county. After receiving the rudiments of education at the grammar school of Lanark, he was sent to the university of Edinburgh, and apprenticed to a writer to the signet in that city. In 1744 he was admitted advocate. The many intricate and important feudal questions arising out of the rebellion of 1745, respecting the forfeited estates, in which he had the good fortune to be appointed counsel for the crown, first brought him into notice, and for many years he had a larger practice than any other member of the bar at that period. As a feudal lawyer he was considered the first in Scotland in his time, and he has been known to plead from fifteen to twenty causes in one day.

      In November 1776, he was appointed a judge of the court of session, when he assumed the title of Lord Braxfield. In February 1780 he was appointed a lord of justiciary, and in December 1787 was promoted to be lord-justice-clerk. This last office he held during a most interesting and critical period – that between 1793 and 1795.He presided at the memorable political trials of Muir, Palmer, Skirving, Margarot, &c., in 1793-4, conducting himself with great firmness and intrepidity, but is considered to have treated the prisoners with unnecessary harshness. He failed, however, in all his attempts to intimidate them. “It is altogether unavailing,” said Skirving to him, “for your lordship to menace me; for I have long learned to fear not the face of man.” Even on the bench he spoke the broadest Scottish dialect. “Hae ye ony counsel, man?” he said to Maurice Margarot, when placed at the bar on a charge of sedition. “No,” was the answer. “Do you want to hae ony appointit?” “No,” replied Margarot, “I only want an interpreter to make me understand what your lordship says!”

      Lord Braxfield died May 30th, 1799, in his 78th year. He was twice married, first to Mary Agnew, niece of Sir Andrew Agnew, baronet, by whom he had two sons and two daughters; and secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter of the lord chief baron Ord, without issue. The elder son, Robert Dundas Macqueen, inherited the estate of Braxfield, and married Lady Lilias Montgomery, daughter of the earl of Eglinton. The second entered the army. The elder daughter, Mary, became the wife of William Honyman, Esq., advocate, afterwards Lord Armadale, a lord of session, created a baronet in 1804. The younger married John Macdonald of Clanranald.


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