To explain certain references in this and
other poems, some notes on the first three earls of Breadalbane may be
conveniently given here.
John Campbell, younger of Glenorchy, born
in 1635, was known in the Highlands as Iain Glas. As a youth of 22
years, this masterful man descended on London, and against all
opposition married the
beautiful and wealthy daughter of the Earl of Holland. In 1669 we find
him in command of an expedition sent by the Privy Council to punish
William Sinclair of Dunbeath for his forays into Sutherland. In addition
to his own clansmen, Campbell had some Government troops and the
assistance of George, sixth Earl of Caithness. He seems to have carried
out his task to the satisfaction of the Council.
This Earl of Caithness
was heavily in debt, and, having received large sums from lain Glas from
time to time, he ultimately conveyed to him, in settlement, not only his
estates but his titles. Both were duly claimed on the death of the Earl
in 1676, and next year Campbell actually became Earl of Caithness,
Viscount of Breadalbane, Lord St Clair of Berridale and Glenorchy. But
the rightful heir, George Sinclair of Keiss, had no difficulty in
establishing his claim to the title, and the patent granted in error to
lain Glas was annulled. As compensation he received a new patent in
1681, whereby he was created Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, Viscount
of Tay and Paintland, Lord Glenorchy, Benderaloch, Ormelie and Weick. An
unusual provision was inserted at his request, giving him power to
nominate any one of his sons as his successor.
To enforce his claim to
the Caithness estates, lain Glas marched north with 700 men and defeated
the Sinclairs at Allt nam Mčirileach, having previously arranged
that a quantity of whisky should be captured by the enemy. In the
version of the story given by Pennant, a ship laden with whisky was
deliberately stranded on the coast of Caithness (Tour, p. 183).
Only one other incident
in the Caithness drama need be recorded here. lain Glas married the
widow of the Earl of Caithness in 1678, his first wife having died in
1666. Of this marriage there was one son, Colin, styled of Ardmadie, who
died unmarried in 1708, reputed to be the father of John Campbell
"of the Bank," the subject of the next poem.
There were two sons of
the first marriage, viz. Duncan, styled Lord Ormelie, born about 1660,
and John, Lord Glenorchy, born in 1662. The former was excluded from the
succession because he was alleged to be, on his own confession,
simpleminded and easily imposed upon; but there was a persistent
tradition in the Highlands that the real reason was the Earls fear
that his estates would be confiscated if he were to designate Duncan, a
strong Jacobite, as his successor. The latter with his two sons, Patrick
and John, fought valiantly at Sheriffmuir and afterwards
lived at Achinnischalain at the head of Glen Orchy. On the strength of
this tradition Donald Campbell, Fort William, grandson of Patrick,
unsuccessfully claimed the Breadalbane estates and titles in 1863.
It should be noted that
lain Glas evidently thought it desirable in 1681 that he should not be
succeeded by his eldest son, and it would thus appear that his reasons
were personal rather than political. Further, when the Earl was confined
in Edinburgh Castle for alleged treason in 1695 it was not Lord Ormelie
but Lord Glenorchy who journeyed to London and thence to Flanders to
plead for his father. He saw King William at Namur, and soon afterwards
the Earl was released. Lastly, it was Lord Glenorchy who was imprisoned
in 1716 because of the part played by the Earl in the
"Fifteen" rebellion, while the Earl himself was allowed, by
reason of his age, to remain at Balloch.
The first Earl of
Breadalbane died in 1717 and was duly succeeded by his second son. The
second Earl was elected a Scottish representative peer in 1721, though
not without protests by some of his fellow peers, who averred that he
had no right to the Breadalbane title while his elder brother was still
alive. He had a family of one son and two daughters. The son, John, Lord
Glenorchy, born in 1695, succeeded his father in 1752.
This Lord Glenorchy had a
noteworthy career. He entered Christs College, Oxford, in 1710 and
had a distinguished record; he was a friend of Walpole, and in 1718 he
was appointed Master of the Horse to the Princess Royal. In 1720 he was
British Minister in Copenhagen and in 1731 Ambassador to the Russian
Court; from 1727 to 1741 he was Member of Parliament for Saltash and a
Lord of the Admiralty in 1741.
After the Battle of
Prestonpans in 1745 Lord Glenorchy came north to Taymouth to take over
the management of the estates, as his father was now too infirm to
supervise his extensive territories. By his great influence and ability
he succeeded in restricting the area of the rebellion.
Lord Glenorchy married in
1718 Amabel Gray, daughter of the Duke of Kent, with issue one son, who
died at the age of 6 years, and one daughter. Lady Glenorchy died in
1727, and in 1730 Lord Glenorchy married Arabella, daughter of Sir John
Pershall. There were two sons of this marriage, George and John; the
former died in 1744, and the latter, born in 1738, was styled Lord
Glenorchy. He married in 1761 and bought the property of Barnton, near
Edinburgh, where he was well known as a young man about town.
Contemporary references to him are not flattering. He died without issue
in 1771, and the first Earls line failed. (See Famed Breadalbane, pp.
15789; F, pp. 4899 r.)
The subject of this poem
is either the Lord Glenorchy who became the third Earl of Breadalbane or
his son. Dr Calder (F, p. 486) says it was the latter, and attributes an
error to the poet in the third stanza, where he describes the first Earl
as Glenorchys grandfather. It is most improbable that Macintyre could
have made such a mistake; nor can the poem, which describes a man of
great charm and ability, who had played an important part in affairs and
was already settled in Taymouth, be said to suit the younger man. In
particular, lines 47383 and 55763 are quite inappropriate. It
must, therefore, be concluded that the subject of this panegyric was the
third Earl, and that the poem was written between 1746 and 1752, while
he was still Lord Glenorchy, heir to the Breadalbane peerage and in
residence at Taymouth. His record of achievement and public service made
him a worthy subject of bardic praises.
An account I rejoice to recite
of the spirited, splendid scion,
gallant, blithesome, beloved,
kind, modest, urbane
who had made every royalist move
with justice and honesty,
from the start of this strife that hath come,
from the start, etc.
In many a place thou art famous
outwith the domain of thy clansmen;
thou hast stood, bold and fearless,
without weakness or yielding,
with unflinching devotion,
in thy chosen position,
where from the first thou pledgedst thy friendship,
where from the first, etc
In time of disturbance or conflict,
thou wast intrepid and manly
a trait thou didst derive from thy grandsire,
who won the victory in Caithness,
at the time he acquired the estate;
the men of the north gave up the ghost,
after being routed and cut up in the battle,
after being routed, etc.
They were able, dauntless warriors,
who greatly availed in the conflict,
and would not surrender in panic;
they secured accord by destruction,
and twas no unjust course they pursued:
thou hast much need to be competent,
for thou holdest the post of heroes,
for thou holdest, etc.
Thou art a prince of clan captains,
an excellent master of henchmen;
in the forefront of strife or contending
thou art the dauntless commander
who wilt make no request for parley;
with thy keen, pointed blades,
loss and rout would be suffered by foemen,
loss and rout, etc.
Thine own great clan will be with thee,
in every peril thou incurrest;
men of bloodshed they are, and efficient
in dealing of blows and trouncings;
theres many a warrior in his armour,
who would be ready to rise
when thou wouldst proclaim a fiery cross,
when thou wouldst, etc.
Theres many a friend round thee
between Taymouth and Cruachan,
who would wish thee to triumph
by power of fire and of bullet,
and of thin, sharp, hard blades,
and would go with thee to wield them,
when thou wouldst raise ensign aloft,
when thou wouldst, etc.
And when, over men in the field,
thy banner would be unfurled,
against a slender, straight, dressed pole,
then the clanking of riders was heard,
all in the gayest commotion
the chieftains and the doughty men,
by whose onset the day would be gained,
by whose onset, etc.
Puissant, haughty, high-minded,
manly, masterful, clever,
thou art a proud rider of tall steeds,
of mighty snort and good training;
Lowland style thou dost amply display:
on clustering locks, the prettiest in Gaeldom,
a hat of gold-braided brim suiteth thee well,
a hat of gold-braided, etc.
With a countenance meek and kindly,
serene and tender as maidens,
thou art bold, imperious like a soldier;
thy heart is transparent and guileless,
in a bosom purer than diamond;
thy whole spirit is radiant,
like a kind sun gleaming over horizon,
like a kind sun, etc.
Thou art affable, courteous, manly,
with a full, blue, charming eye,
and slender, delicate eyebrow,
a ruddy and pretty cheek,
demure and fine-lipped mouth,
skin soft-white, like mountain down:
there is none hath surpassed thee in beauty,
there is none, etc.
In every affair thou hast won
for thou wast fit to sustain it;
what time the Court held a session,
at which numerous dukes were present,
thine was the magnificent office
of placing the crown on the king,
who had right of inheritance there,
who had right, etc.
True courtier of comely presence
who wast famous in every sphere,
who hast acquired in England
a knowledge of matters of pleading;
tis thy intellect was discerning;
the country is full of rejoicing
since thou hast come home amid greetings,
since thou hast, etc.
Hard drinker of wine thou art,
thou wouldst quaff and settle the score;
thou wast taught the lore of each kingdom,
thine the fingers that write the fairest;
a hunter of game wast thou,
with thy slim, straight gun, when thou
didst chance to be in the forest of high peaks,
didst chance, etc.
What time thou didst make an excursion
to the ben on which there is hunting,
thou didst love the jovial party;
the tinkle of measure on horn,
the fusil, gun of thy choice,
the baying cry of the deerhound,
as he went a-chasing the antlered one
as he went, etc.
When thou didst set fire to the powder,
with the gun that never misfired,
then would the dark-blue bullets,
driven by fire in their course,
bear on the hind of the crag top,
and maimed her quarters would be;
and thy lads from the moor would carry her,
and thy lads, etc.
When the descent to thy homestead
was made at nightfall with clatter,
there was revelry in the hall
that festive Tower of Taymouth;
thou wast bent on great entertainment,
expert would be minstrels performance
as they sang all thy favourite melodies,
as they sang, etc.
As the sun was declining,
when the skies became dusky,
cheer and joy would be found
in the bright house of bounty,
and diverse music, the sweetest to list to,
each in tune with the other
the fiddle, the strings, and the harp,
the fiddle, etc.
On rising of a bright morning,
one received a similar favour;
the pipe is on view being goaded,
bare chanters in process of tuning,
brown drones playing bass for them
exquisite music most rhythmic,
ever speeding the feast in thy mansion,
ever speeding, etc.
Tis the trumpet and organ
had the clear undertones and rumble;
when each taper finger was bared,
and its touch on the key was not heavy,
note-perfect the murmurous music,
so tuneful and stately,
in his lordships household at pastime,
in his lordships, etc.
A princely, palatial hall
in which there was bounty with good-will:
guests would be found there a-thronging,
drawn from the elite of the kingdom;
consumption of wine in progress,
whisky in silver goblets,
while they constantly gulp down the toasts,
while they, etc.
On this wise thou didst love to see it:
to be lavish, as was thy practice,
worthy, loveable, stintless;
gentility, splendour and style;
gold in profusion being scattered;
strenuous gaming proceeding,
at dice, at cards and backgammon,
at dice, etc.
Twas a custom not strange to thy household
to be mirthful and festive,
with music and gaiety nightly,
and chamber blazing with candles;
thou art styled of Glenorchy,
and thou art the heir to Taymouth:
joyous be thy tenure thereof,
joyous be, etc.
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