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Clan Donnachaidh Annual
Highland Curse


'The belief the the punishment of the cruelty, oppression, or misconduct of an individual descended as a curse on his children, to the third and fourth generation, was not confined to the common people. All ranks were influenced by it; and many believed, that if the curse did not fall upon the first or second generation, it would inevitably descend upon the succeeding. The late Colonel Campbell of Glenlyon retained this belief through thirty years' intercourse with the world, as an officer of the 42nd regiment, and of Marines. He was grandson of the Laird of Glenlyon, who commander the milyary at the massacre of Glenco, and who lived in the Laird of Glenco's house, where he and his men were hospitably entertained during a fortnight prior to the execution of his orders. Colonel Campbell was an additional captain in the 42nd regiment in 1748, and was put on half pay. He then entered the Marines, and in 1762 was Major, with the brevet rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and commanded 800 of his corps at Havannah. In 1771, he was ordered to superintend the execution of the sentence of a court-marshall on a soldier of marines, condemned to be shot. A reprieve was sent; but the whole ceremony of execution was ordered to proceed until the criminal should be on his knees, with a cap over his eyes, prepared to receive the volley. It was then that he was to have been informed of his pardon. No person was to be told previously, and Colonel Campbell was directed not to inform even the firing party, who were warned that the signal to fire would be the waving of a white handkerchief by the commanding officer. When all was prepared, the clergyman having left the prisoner on his knees, in momentary expectation of his fate, and the firing party looking with intense attention for the signal, Colonel Campbell put his hand into his pocket for the reprieve; but in pulling out the packet, the white handkerchief accompanied it, and catching the eye of the party, they fired, and the unfortunate prisoner was shot dead.

     The paper dropped through Colonel Campbell's fingers, and, clapping his hand to his forehead, he exclaimed, "The curse of God and Glenco is here; I am an unfortunate ruined man." He desired the soldiers to be sent to the barracks, instantly quitting the parade, and soon afterwards retied from the service. The retirement was not the result of any reflection, or reprimand on account of this unfortunate affair, as it was known to be entirely accidental.' - Sketches of the Highlanders by David Stewart of Garth. 1822.


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