up in the frozen north, across the heaving Atlantic from ice-bound
Labrador, subject to the long Arctic twilight and lighted by the rays of
the polar star, sit the giant, heather-clad mountains of the Lion of the
North. Around their never-changing buttresses mists gather, storms break
and snows beat, and out of those mists, storms and snows, has come a
race of people to whom the civilized world owes much.
all Europe, in fact in all the world, there is no more extraordinary
anthropological spectacle than that presented by the Gaels of Scotland
who preserve, to the the present time, the manners and customs of their
ancestors from ages the most remote, and use a language once the most
widely diffused and now the oldest extant. Among all the peculiarities
of times past which they preserve there is none more picturesque than
that of the Highland costume, now also the oldest garb in use.
ancient is its origin that its beginning is lost in the mists of
antiquity, yet the Highlanders cling to it with a tenacity which speaks
well for its existence when the Great Trump sounds forth and time shall
be no more. Oriental in its flowing characters it is worn by men with
far more than Oriental bravery.
the Crimean War the Russians said, "The English were bad enough but
their wives were devils"; and Napoleon, after Waterloo, declared, "If
they had only kept those-women devils at home I could have won the
it is with a feeling of pardonable pride because of my Scottish blood
that I take up my pen to indite "Wild Scottish Clans," a book which will
partly show from what scenes Scotia's sons derive their hardihood. It is
also with the just hope of its being acceptable wherever honor, truth,
steadfastness, devotion and bravery are revered that the author affixes
Arthur Llewellyn Griffiths.
Portland, Maine, June I, 1910.
As the spark of life was
slowly diminishing in the immortal Minstrel of the Border, those who
stood beside the bed of his dissolution at Abbotsford, saw his lips
move. Bending low to catch the voice's last utterance they heard the
words of one of his own songs of longing for the heather and bonnie
Alan Stewart, Scottish
hero of Stevenson's "Kidnapped," said of his father, "He left me my
breeks to cover me and little besides. And that was how I came to
enlist, which was a black spot upon my character at the best of times,
and would still be a sore job for me if I fell among the redcoats."
"What," cried David
Balfour, "were you in the English army?"
"That was I," replied
Alan, 44 but I deserted to the right side at Prestonpans and that's
"Dear, dear!" exclaimed
Balfour, "The punishment is death."
"Ay," returned Alan, "if
they got hands on me it would be a short shrift and a lang tow for Alan!
But I have the King of France's commission in my pocket, which would aye
be some protection."
"I misdoubt it much," I
"I have doubts mysel',"
said Alan, drily.
"And, good heaven, man! "
cried I, "you that are a condemned rebel and a deserter, and a man of
the French king's what tempts ye back into this country? It's a
braving of Providence."
"Tut!" answered Alan, "I
have been back every year since "The '45 ' " meaning the year of
"And what brings ye,
man?" I asked.
"Well, ye see, I weary
for my friends and country," he admitted. "France is a braw place, nae
doubt but I weary for the heather and the deer."
Such love for and
devotion to Scotland permeate the high and the lowly. A Scottish lassie
came to this country to earn money to support her aged parents.
Homesickness depleted her health. Consumption seized her in its fell
grasp. Friends of her staunch character gathered around her bedside. She
had but one wish when she finally knew that she must pass beyond.
"Oh, if I could but see
the bonnie hills o' Scotland before I die!" she often sighed. Her
friends collected money to send her home. On the homeward voyage it
became apparent that she could not live to see the "bonnie hills o4
One evening, just as the
sun was setting, they took her on deck to show her the days dying glory.
She gazed at it, enraptured, and then sank back with a sigh, saying,
"Oh, but it's not sae fine as the bonnie hills o4 Scotland."
There was a pause in
which the onlookers stood reverently by. Then the dying girl suddenly
lifted herself on her elbow and exclaimed, excitedly, "Oh, I see them
noo!"then a look of surprise overspread her features, an expression of
ecstasy came "but I didna ken it was the hills o' Scotland where the
horsemen and the chariots were!" and she passed into that Land of Glory,
the hills of which she had seen and had hardly differentiated from "the
bonnie hills o' Scotland!"
Lord Byron, George Gordon
by name, himself of Scottish family, has immortalized his heart
yearnings for his father's land by the passionate lines of Lochnagar
addressed to one of the very grandest of the northern mountains around
the beetling crags of which the eagle, king of birds, soars.
"Away, ye gay landscapes,
ye gardens of roses,
In you let the minions of luxury rove;
Restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposes.
If still they are sacred to freedom and love.
Yet Caledonia, dear are thy mountains,
Round their white summits tho' elements war,
Tho' cataracts foam 'stead of smooth flowing fountains,
I sigh for the valley of dark Lochnagar.
"Ah, there my young
footsteps in infancy wandered,
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid;
On chieftains departed my memory pondered,
As daily I strayed thro' the pine-covered glade.
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star,
For fancy was cheered by traditional story,
Disclosed by the natives of dark Lochnagar.
"Shades of the dead! have
I not heard your voices
Rise on the night rolling breath of the gale?
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices,
And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale.
Round Lochnagar, while the stormy mist gathers.
Winter presides in his cold, icy car;
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers;
They dwell 'mid the tempests of dark Lochnagar.
"Years have rolled on,
Lochnagar, since I left you,
Years must elapse ere I see you again;
Though nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you,
Yet still thou art dearer than Albion's plain.
England, thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roved on the mountains afar;
Oh! for the crags that are wild and majestic,
The steep, frowning glories of dark Lochnagar."
Across the sea I look and
see in a vision that bonnie land where day is long, the lark sings the
song of freedom up the glen, the rays of the cold polar star guard by
"The heath waves wild upon
And foaming frae the fells,
Her fountains sing o' freedom still,
Ať they dance down the dells.
And weel I lo'e the land, my lads,
That's girded by the sea;
Then Scotland's vales, and Scotland's dales
And Scotland's hills for mel
"The thistle wags upon the
Where Wallace bore his blade
That gave her foeman's dearest bluid
To dye her auld grey plaid;
And, looking to the lift, my lads,
I sing this doughty glee:
Aula Scotlanas right, and Scotland's might.
And Scotland's hills for me!
"They tell o' lands with
Where freedom's voice ne'er rang:
Gie me the hills where Ossian dwelt,
And Coila's minstrel sang!
For I've nae skill o' lands, my lads,
That ken na to be free!
Then Scotland's right, and Scotland's might,
And Scotland's hills for me! "
"I will lift up mine eyes
unto the hills, from whence cometh my help," sang the inspired Psalmist,
and from the hills come the greatest fighting men of the world, for
freedom is bred in their very bones. The auld grey plaid of Scotland has
been stained red scores of times when her braw Highlanders have come
down from their mountain fastnesses to revel in the blood of her
enemies. Scotland stands today the only un-conquered land in the world
and the claymore the only unconquered sword on earth. The Highlands of
Scotland stopped the world-conquering Romans' northward advance, and the
wild men of the glens and hills would have exterminated Caesar's legions
had they not hastily constructed a great earthen defence, traces of
which can be seen to this day.
When feudalism rode on
the neck of all Europe in the Dark Ages, it made no encroachments on the
mountains of Scotland and alone in those savage glens was the lamp of
freedom kept from total extinction.
Though Wallace, like the
Saviour, was betrayed for a price and his body dismembered and scattered
to the four corners of the kingdom his soul is marching on. Like the
Saviour, Wallace died of a broken heart, for when the noose was just to
be placed around his neck by his would-be murderers, God instantly
removed him from mortality. Even so the Victim of the cross, weighed
down by the sins of an ungrateful world, gave up the ghost under the
Directly to the south of
Stirling Castle, most sacred in Scottish history, is Scotland's most
glorious field of Bannockburn. Toward the close of the year 1313,
Stirling Castle was closely besieged by Robert Bruce who made a bargain
with its governor that if not relieved by St. John's Day June 24th of
the following year it should be surrendered to the Scots.
This was the last hold of
England on the sacred soil of Scotland after the liberation brought
about by Wallace. Therefore England aroused herself to a supreme effort;
every resource was strained to the utmost, and a mighty host a hundred
thousand is the number given led by Edward II in person, poured
through the Border Country and in June, 1314, encamped to the north of
Tor wood. Robert Bruce had in the meantime been actively preparing his
defences, and after some preliminary skirmishing and feats of arms the
battle so memorable for Scotland was fought on St. John's Day, the
English advancing confidently to the attack at daybreak.
"At Bannockburn the
English lay, The Scots they were not far away, But waited for the
breaking day That glinted in the east. At last the sun broke through the
heath And lighted up that field of death, When Bruce, with
soul-inspiring breath, His heroes thus addressed:
"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace
Scots wham Bruce has aften led!
Welcome to your gory bed, Or to victory!
Now's the day and now's the hour,
See the front of battle lower,
See approach proud Edward's power:
Chains and slavery!
"'Wha sae base as be a
Wha would fill a coward's grave:
Wha would be a traitor knave:
Let him turn and flee!
Wha for Scotland's king and law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand or freeman fa'.
Let him on wi' me!
"'By oppression's woes and
By our sons in servile chains,
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
Lay the proud usurpers low
Tyrants fall in every foe,
Liberty's in every blow:
Let us do or dee!' "
The numbers of the
Scottish army did not exceed thirty thousand men but, according to a
tradition, the sacred corpse of Wallace was there. Bruce led the reserve
and all determined to make this division the stay of their little army
or the last sacrifice for Scottish liberty and its martyred Wallace's
corpse. There stood the sable hearse of Wallace. "By that heaven-sent
palladium of our freedom," cried Bruce, pointing to the hearse, "we must
this day stand or fall. He who deserts it murders William Wallace anew!
The Abbot of Inchaffray
passed along in front of the Scots, barefoot and with the crucifix in
his hand, imploring the favor of heaven on the cause of freedom, and
exhorting the Scots to fight for their rights, their king and the corpse
of William Wallace. The Scots fell on their knees to confirm their
resolution with a vow.
The sudden humiliation of
their posture incited an instant triumph in the mind of Edward; and,
spurring forward, he shouted aloud, "They yield! They cry for mercy!"
"They cry for mercy," returned Lord Percy, "but not from us. On that
ground on which they kneel they will be victorious or find their
Proud Edward had yet to
"No stride was ever bolder
Than his who showed the naked leg
Beneath the plaided shoulder."
The battle was commenced
by rapid discharges of the terrible clothyard arrows by the English
archers. So great was the number discharged that they darkened the air.
Their accuracy and destructive power were formidable. Bruce ordered the
Scottish horse to charge the Southron archers and the latter were swept
from the field. The English horse returned the charge and, ignorant of
the nature of the ground wisely chosen by the Scots, stumbled and sank
to their deaths in the morass.
The spectacle from the
Borestane where King Robert stood was most awful. Among the fighting
thousands on the plain could be made out here and there the figure of
some well-known Scottish leader driving a spattered battleaxe through
iron and bone and brain at every blow.
Above the thunderous
crash of steel on steel, the shrieks of agony and torture, and the yells
of vengeance, there rose from time to time the battle cries of the great
Column after column of
Edward's forces came on to crash, break and disappear beneath the long
Scottish lances and sweeping Lochaber hills.
Before the onslaught of
those wild sons of freedom the hireling host fell in heaps; they wavered
as the heaps of dead rose ever higher before them, and the Scottish
soldiers, perceiving the hesitation, cried, "On them!
On them! They fail! " The
wild yells of the savage Scots terrorized them and there ensued one of
those inexplicable scenes of panic and terror when a vastly superior
force of trained men breaks and flees, as though life at all costs were
the one thing to be considered.
Edward II with five
hundred soldiers all that was left of that great host fled from the
field and got refuge at Dunbar, the scene of the unfortunate battle
which had temporarily given England the supremacy. From Dunbar he went
by boat to Berwick. He looked upon his personal escape as miraculous and
vowed he would build a house for poor Carmelites. This vow he fulfilled
by founding Oriel College, Oxford, which thus remains today a monument
to Bannockburn and the emancipation of Scotland.
Thereafter the victorious
war pipes could be heard wildly skirling in many a savage glen, "The
Cock o* the North," to cheer the Scottish soldier on many a hard-fought
field. Bruce won a crown, welded a heterogeneous people into one, and
exacted a treaty from Edward II insuring what he had won.
The passions of the
Gaelic feudalism of those times could not be restrained from atrocious
acts even in moments of common misfortune. On the fatal field of Flodden
it is related of a Highlander of the Clan Mackenzie that he heard those
near him exclaiming, "Alas, Laird, thou hast fallen!"
"What laird?" shouted the
In the answer, "The Laird
of Buchanan!" he heard a name with which his clan had a feud of blood.
Then and there the "Faithful Highlander," as he is called by the
sympathetic historian, sought out the fallen laird, found that he was
only wounded, and butchered him.
Clan Mackenzie suffered
severely in a long-standing feud with the Macleods of Skye when both
clans were reduced to the verge of ruin and lived on horses, dogs and
cats, as they had no time or men to provide better food. Clan Mackenzie
on one fatal morning packed the Kirk of Gilchrist for worship. It was in
1603, the year of the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English
crown. A prowling band of the Macdonalds of Clanranald discovered them,
set fire to the kirk, guarded the entrance with claymores and burned to
death the entire congregation of Mackenzies. But the Macleods had
something to say to the Macdonalds. The Macdonalds of Eigg were caught
by the Macleods in a cave. There were two hundred Macdonalds within the
cave the entire population of the island. The Macleods barred the
entrance, built a fire and smoked the Macdonalds to death. Sir Walter
Scott visited the cave two hundred and eleven years later and the bones
of the victims still covered the floor.
The Battle of Harlaw in
1411 decided that Gaelic should be supreme over Teutonic in Scotland.
The haughty, contemptuous feeling of the Norman nobility towards the
unmailed Highlanders is well expressed in the Ballad of Harlaw. The
brave appearance of the two hundred mailed knights is spoken of and then
"They had na ridden a
mile, a mile,
A mile, but barely ten,
When Donald came branking down the brae
Wi' twenty thousand men.
Their tartans they were waving wide,
Their glaves were glancing clear,
Their pibrochs rang frae side to side
Would deafen ye to hear."
The Earl of Glenallen,
startled at the unexpected size of the enemy's force, consulted his
squire as to what it were best to do, and the instant reply was,
"If they hae twenty
And we twice ten times ten,
Yet they hae but their tartan plaids
And we are mail-clad men."
But before the battle was
over the haughty ones fled from those tartan plaids.
The Macdonalds got into
still further trouble, this time with the Macleans of Duart. In 1598
Lachlan Maclean from the castle on the coast of Mull fought in the
dreadful clan battle of Lochgruinard against the Macdonalds in Islay,
when he was slain, courageously fighting, with eighty of the principal
men of his kin and two hundred clansmen lying dead about him. This clan
mustered five hundred claymores in "The 45" and they were in the front
line at Culloden. Subsequently the Macleans of Duart and the Maclaines
of Lochbuie fought a pitched battle near Lochbuie. The Macleans of Duart
were defeated. Duart, when returning home after the battle, fell in with
Lochbuie, who was sleeping along with some of his men. Surely here was a
chance for vengeance placed super-naturally in the way. Maclean of Duart
had been defeated by the very men now sleeping before him.
"Nowhere beats the heart
As beneath the tartan plaid."
Maclean of Duart drew his
dagger, twisted it in the hair of his enemy, and then left him. When
Maclaine awoke in the morning and found his hair fastened to the ground,
he recognized the dirk, and the two families were friends ever after.
Nearly one hundred years
later the great battle of Killiekrankie was fought. The object of the
battle was to capture Blair Castle from the Highlanders for it commanded
the pass which is the key to the central Highlands. It was in the early
morning of July 27, 1689 that the mixed army of Lowland Scots, Dutch and
English entered the defile of Killiekrankie. Killiekrankie was deemed
the most perilous of all those dark ravines through which the marauders
of the hills were wont to sally forth. A horse could be led up only with
great difficulty and he who lost his footing had no hope of life.
Through the gorge Mackay led his troops unopposed and then placed them
as best the nature of the ground would permit.
On the north, Graham of
Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, could be seen halting his Highlanders on
the brow of a hill. Two hours went by while the sun was passing out of
the eyes of the Highlanders, then Claver-house ordered the charge and
the dreaded bagpipes rounded the war skirl.
The Highlanders advanced
in their usual fashion divested of their plaids, with bodies bent
forward and nearly covered by their targets. On coming close to the
enemy's front ranks they fired and threw away their pieces, then,
setting up a wild yell, they hurled themselves forward, claymore in
hand. Breaking through the advance guard, they carried terror and panic
into the body of the enemy, and before many minutes the battle was
decided in favor of the defending Highlanders. All was over and a
mingled torrent of redcoats and tartans went raving down the valley to
the Gorge of Killiekrankie.
"Like a tempest down the
Swept the hurricane of steel,
Rose the slogan of Macdonald,
Flashed the broadsword of Lochiel!
Horse and man went down before us,
Living foe there tarried none
On the field of Killiekrankie
When that stubborn fight was done! "
The two Scottish families
of Gordon and Grant had been old-time allies. The Earl of Huntly,
wishing to chastise the Farquharsons for the killing of a Gordon,
arranged with the Laird of Grant that the latter should advance down the
Dee Valley simultaneously with his own approach from the other end, so
as to shut the Farquharsons in between two fires.
The surprise was so
complete that the unfortunate Clan was nearly exterminated and an
enormous number of children made orphans and homeless. These, Huntly
took home where they were treated so much like animals that in time they
grew to be like them. It is alleged that the head of the Grants, about a
year later, was shown for his amusement a long wooden trough outside the
kitchen into which all the cold scraps and odds and ends from the table
had been thrown. At a given signal a door was opened and a troop of
little half naked savages rushed in, and falling on the trough, fought
and tore for the food. Grant was greatly shocked on being told that
those were the orphans he had helped to make. He got Huntly's permission
to take them away with him, saw to their care and training, and
gradually they became absorbed into his clan.
About this time these
victorious Gordons got into difficulties with the Forbes. A meeting
between the two clans took place for the purpose of making an amicable
settlement. The difference being made up, both parties sat down to a
"Now," said Gordon to the
Forbes chief, "as this business has been satisfactorily settled, tell
me, if it had not been so, what was your intention?"
"There would have been
bloody work," returned Forbes, "bloody work; and we should have had the
best of it. I shall tell you. See, we are mixed, one and one, Forbes and
The Gordon chief looked
around the gathering and beheld that it was as his companion had said.
Forbes resumed, "I had
only to give a sign by the stroking down of my beard, and every Forbes
was to draw the dirk from under his left arm and stab to the heart his
As he spoke, Forbes
suited the action to the word and stroked down his flowing beard. In a
moment, a score of dirks were out, in another moment they were buried in
as many Gordon hearts, for the Forbes, mistaking the motion for the
agreed-upon sign of death, struck their weapons into the bodies of the
The two chiefs looked at
each other in silent consternation. At length Forbes said, "This is a
sad tragedy we little expected, but what is done cannot be undone, and
the blood that now flows on the floor will just help to slacken the auld
fire of Corgarf!" He referred to a time when the Gordons burned out the
During the reign of James
I, the Macnabs had suffered from the plunderings of a robber band of the
Macnishes. More than once the old Macnab chief had vowed vengeance but
the Macnishes could not be reached. Their retreat was an island in Loch
Earn and they allowed no boat on that water but their own. One of their
depredations went beyond endurance. They waylaid Macnab's messenger with
dainties for a Christmas feast. Macnab had twelve sons, the weakest of
whom could drive his dirk through a three-inch plank at one blow. One of
them was known ironically as Smooth John Macnab. On the night of the
robbery in question, the twelve were sitting gloomily around their
impoverished board when old Macnab came in.
"The night is the night,"
he said, looking significantly at his sons, "if the lads were the lads."
Without a word Smooth
John got up, followed by all his brothers, and left the castle. They
were gone the greater part of the night but the old chief waited, and at
last they came back. As they filed into the room Smooth John placed the
bearded head of the old Macnish chief on the table with the single
sentence, "The night is the night and the lads are the lads."
The twelve had carried
their own boat all the way over the mountains to Loch Earn and, making
their way to the Macnishes island, had found the robber clan in a
Only old Macnish was
awake; and when he heard a noise he called out, "Who is there?"
"Whom would you be most
afraid to see?" was the reply.
Macnish returned, "There
is no man I would like worse to see than Smooth John Macnab."
At that, Smooth John
drove in the door, and the old bandit had hardly time to shriek before
he met his end. Smooth John seized him by the gray hair and with one
sweep of his dirk cut off his head. Then they proceeded leisurely to
massacre the entire clan. There was no more robbing of the Macnabs.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, there was a Laird of Macnab
who had a high idea of his own feudal dignity. When he retired to his
Highland fastnesses without paying his accounts it was just as well not
to trouble him with reminders.
A messenger from the
Lowlands once coming with such a reminder to the Laird was entertained
lavishly at supper where no mention of his business was allowed. A
sumptuous apartment was given him for the night.
The next morning the
messenger was horrified to see a human body hanging from a tree outside
Asking fearfully what
that meant he was informed by a retainer of the Laird that it was "just
a puir messenger body that had the presumption to come wi4 a paper to
As can be gathered from
what has already been said, clan feuds were common. During the course of
a feud some of the Macdonells of Glengarry crossed the hills to Beauly
and were the means of originating some of the wild Highland music so
often bom amid savage scenes of human terror.
Coming suddenly upon a
congregation of Mackenzies at the kirk of Cill-a-Chriosd, they burnt
building and congregation together. While the fire was raging,
Glengarry's piper, to drown the shrieks of the victims, composed and
played the pibroch still known by the name of Cill-a-Chriosd.
On their way home,
triumphant, the Macdonells found themselves pursued and took to flight.
Their chief, closely followed by a gigantic Mackenzie, came over the
shoulder of the mountain at Beauly and making for the Resting Burn leapt
the yawning chasm at its narrowest part.. The avenger leapt also. He
missed his footing, fell back, and would have been killed but for a
branch of a tree on the edge which he grasped. Macdonell, returning to
the chasm, cut the branch with his knife and watched his enemy crash to
death in the abyss below.
The district of Tulloch
is the scene of the incident which inspired the wildest of the Highland
reels. A Macgregor had wooed, won and carried off Isobel, daughter of
the laird, in spite of her friends who favored a suitor of Clan
Robertson. The disappointed lover gathered a few followers* including
the young lady's brother, and came suddenly upon his successful rival.
Macgregor took refuge in a barn where with dirk and claymore and the
musket which his wife loaded for him he destroyed every one of his
assailants. So greatly was he overjoyed with his victory that on the
spot he composed and danced the 44 Reel o* Tul-loch,44 wildest of the
There is a tragic sequel
to the story. That day's prowess should have earned immunity for the
Highlander and his young bride but their enemies were inexorable. Isobel
was thrown into prison; and presently they barbarously showed her the
head of Macgregor who had been shot. At the sight of this bloody
memorial of the man she had loved she was struck with anguish and
One of the most
celebrated houses of Scotland is that of Douglas. Eight miles up the
Douglas Water is the village of Douglas near which is the site of
Douglas Castle. James Douglas became a page in the household of the
patriotic Bishop of St. Andrews. He joined Bruce. His complexion was
dark and his hair raven black, hence the sobriquet "Black Douglas." He
was of commanding stature, large limbed and broad shouldered, courteous
in manner but retiring in speech. He had a lisp like Hector of Troy.
Douglas Castle was the scene of many of his exploits. While Bruce lay
near-by, Douglas and two others went off to reconnoitre his old
property. In his absence an English garrison had taken possession of
Douglas Castle. A servant gathered a few retainers. The English garrison
were to attend church service and afterwards hold high carnival in the
Disguised as countrymen,
Black Douglas carrying a flail, the Scotsmen attended the service and
suddenly with the shout, "A Douglas! A Douglas!" they threw off their
countrymen's mantles and attacked the unsuspecting soldiers, all of whom
were killed or taken prisoners. Taking his captives with him Black
Douglas went to the castle and, after enjoying the feast prepared for
the English garrison, stove in the wine casks and killed the prisoners.
He then heaped up their bodies with the provisions, set fire to the mass
and burned down the castle. This episode has ever since been known as
the "Douglas Larder."
Douglas retired to
Galloway. He loved better "to hear the lark sing than the mouse squeak,"
he said. Clifford at once rebuilt the castle and put in one Thirlwall to
be governor. Douglas vowed to be-revenged. With a small following he
returned to Douglasdale and perpetrated a stratagem as old as warfare.
Setting an ambush in a place called Sandylands, he disguised some of his
men as herdsmen who drove a herd of cattle along the road in view of the
castle. Thirlwall determined to capture the cattle and issued out with
his garrison to seize them. When sufficiently far from the castle, the
party was surrounded by the ambushed Douglases and Thirlwall, and most
of his men were killed.
Black Douglas then gave
out that he had taken a vow to be revenged on any Englishman who should
dare to hold his father's castle. Douglas Castle was called the Perilous
Castle or the Adventurous Castle and it became a point of honor to hold
A certain English lady
promised to marry an English knight if he would hold the Castle Perilous
for a year and a day. Black Douglas, learning that the castle was short
of provisions, disguised himself and his followers as country farmers
each of whom carried on his horse a great sack of grain or hay. The
garrison, seeing this cavalcade of traders apparently on the way to
market, determined to seize what they so much required and rode out in
pursuit, led by the knight. The disguised Scotsmen threw away their
loads and surrounded the Englishmen. The party was vanquished and the
English knight fell in the skirmish. In his pocket was found the letter
from his lady love. The knightly heart of Douglas was touched. This time
there was no after slaughter. The English survivors were honorably
treated and dismissed in safety to Carlisle. But Douglas Castle was
never again held by the English.
Clan Macdonald, one of
the most powerful in the Highlands, has a varied history. It was said by
the enemies of this powerful race that there were more cattle-lifters
among the Macdonalds than honest men in other clans. They received from
King Robert Bruce at Bannockburn the honor of a place on the right of
the army in battle. In that position they performed prodigies of valor.
They alleged that no engagement could be successful if this privilege
were overlooked, and they adduce the defeats of Harlaw and Culloden as
The Macdonalds of
Clanranald were once attacked by the Frasers and Grants. The Macdonalds
retreated; the enemy, thinking they had dispersed, at once separated.
The Macdonalds came upon them singly and slew all but one man, although
only eight Macdonalds survived.
The weather was so warm
during this battle that the combatants stripped off their clothes and
the fight was called "The Battle of the Shirts."
The Macdonalds of the
Isles were so powerful that they were never in subjection to the
Scottish king and sometimes defeated the royal troops.
Donald Macdonald of the
Isles with ten thousand of his clansmen marched to within one day's
journey of Aberdeen and only the indecisive battle of Harlaw prevented
his subverting the monarchy itself.
During the reign of
William (III) occurred that hideous event known as the Massacre of
Glencoe. A monument now marks the spot. Glencoe is one of the wildest
and most beautiful glens in the Highlands of Scotland and was inhabited
by a branch of the great Clan Macdonald known as the Macdonalds of
Glencoe. Earl Campbell of Breadalbane was given by King William the duty
to receive the signs and bonds of submission of the clans and the money
to pay them upon their submission. He also received orders to proceed
with fire and sword against any refractory clans.
The Campbells and
Macdonalds of Glencoe were neighboring clans and the cattle of the
Macdonalds occasionally wandered onto the Campbell land and fed there.
In consequence, when Chief Alexander Macdonald of Glencoe came in to
render submission, Earl Campbell of Breadalbane proposed to Glencoe that
he, Campbell, should keep Glencoe's submission money in payment for the
alleged damage done to the Campbell lands by the wandering cattle.
Glencoe demurred, whereupon Campbell sent in word to the government that
the Macdonalds of Glencoe were not making submission and that they were
an incorrigibly lawless tribe of thieves and murderers.
The legal time for making
submission expired on January 1, 1692. On the previous day, December 31,
Glencoe appeared at Fort William and offered, a second time, to take the
oath of submission but Colonel Hill declined to receive it, giving him,
however, a letter to Sir Colin Campbell, at Inverary, in which he stated
the case and asked him to receive the oath even though the legal time
had expired. Sir Colin Campbell was sheriff of Argyllshire. Macdonald,
now thoroughly alarmed for the safety of his clansmen, started off at
once on his fifty-mile journey by wild mountain paths, across swollen
streams and through deep snow. So eager was he to reach Inverary at the
earliest possible moment that, although the road led close by his own
house, he would not pause an instant.
Arrived at last he found
Sir Colin absent and was obliged to wait three days of terror for his
kinsmen before Campbell returned. The sheriff read Colonel Hill's note
and agreed with the justice of it and consequently administered the oath
of submission. He also gave Macdonald a certificate stating that he had
rendered submission and wrote the Privy Council of the fact. Macdonald
accordingly felt secure; but the secretary of the Privy Council was a
creature who had a heart that would disgrace an ogre. This wretch
suppressed the letter to the Privy Council and made no record of the
submission. Ten days later an order bearing King William's signature was
issued. It was partly as follows: "As for Macdonald of Glencoe and that
tribe, if they can be distinguished from the rest of the Highlanders, it
will be proper for the vindication of public justice to extirpate that
set of thieves."
Accordingly, in the dead
of winter, Campbell of Glenlyon came with Argyll's regiment to
perpetrate the fiendish act. Macdonald met them and asked their errand
and they told him that they came for a friendly visit. Thereupon, with
Highland generosity, Macdonald opened his homes to the soldiers and for
weeks the murderers-to-be were quartered on their victims-to-be. On the
12th of February the order for the commencement of the butchery arrived.
With this order in his pocket, Glenlyon passed the evening of the 12th
playing cards with Macdonald's two sons and he and his officers accepted
an invitation to dine on the following day with Macdonald himself.
At 4 A. M. the slaughter
began. Macdonald was shot on his bed by one of the officers named
Lindsay who was to have dined with him that day. His wife was stripped
to the skin and died on the following day from horror and exposure. The
infernal wretch, Secretary Stair, had meanwhile issued his orders in
words that would befit the language of the imps of hell.
"In the winter," he
writes, "they cannot carry their wives and children and cattle to the
mountains. This is the proper season to maul them, in the long, dark
Eighty victims were
massacred in cold blood but one hundred and fifty men, women and
children escaped. Secretary Stair, pursued by a never-relenting Nemesis,
Fearing that the Campbell
regiment would return to finish the massacre of the remaining Macdonalds,
the survivors protected themselves in a manner which originated perhaps
the most famous and immortal piece of bagpipe music in all Scotland.
From its original bagpipe setting it has been put into a song none other
than "The Campbells Are Coming/* It was the custom in those times to
cause captured bagpipers to play for the benefit of their captors and
frequently when one clan went to attack another a bagpiper of the
assailed clan would be captured far from his native heath and be
compelled to play for the advance of the attacking party.
So the Macdonalds of
Glencoe who had survived the massacre made an agreement with their
bagpipers that if any of them were caught by the returning Campbells
they should play the piece invented at the time which would tell the
Macdonalds that the Campbells were coming. When the Campbells did return
to finish their horrid work given them to do by the English government
they captured a Macdonald bagpiper, and he, true to his oath to his
fellow-clansmen, lustily struck up "The Campbells Are Coming" and
continued to play the tune until near Glencoe when the alarmed clansmen
took flight. The Campbells never knew, till long after, the reason why
they found no Macdonalds in the glen of blood.
The most famous clan in
all Scotland, and the one which has had more parliamentary acts passed
about it than any other clan or combination of clans famous for its
misfortunes, and, as Sir Walter Scott says, "for the indomitable courage
with which they maintained themselves as a clan" after the British
parliament had determined upon their annihilation, and even the penalty
of death was pronounced against any person bearing the name is that of
Gregor or Macgregor.
Again the Minstrel of the
Border says of the Macgregors: "The energy and spirit which sustained
them in misfortune characterize them still." From their habitat the
Macgregors are called "The Children of the Mist."
The history of this clan,
descended from King Alpin and sometimes called Clan Alpin, is long and
striking. Its length is attested by the Scottish saying "Hills and
streams and Macalpins" putting back their origin to that of the hills
"My race is royal" is
their proud boast. The Macgregors fought with their full force at
Living in the vicinity of
Loch Tay, a particularly sterile section of the always stubborn-soiled
Highlands, only with great difficulty did the Macgregors raise anything
to support themselves. Surrounded by powerful clans who hemmed them in,
their only recourse was to fight for a living and this made them the
greatest fighters in all Scotland.
When their bright red
tartans descended from the Glenarchy hills there were few who cared to
Time and again, century
after century, marauding bands of the Macgregors came down from their
mist enshrouded fastnesses and drove home the cattle of the neighboring
Owing to a desire for the
lands of the hemmed-in Macgregors and also desirous of breaking the
power of so virile a clan, the neighbors of the Macgregors plotted their
destruction. Persecutions they brought them but downfall never.
They were attacked on all
sides. The sanguinary batde of Glenfruin was forced upon the Macgregors.
Sir Humphrey Col-quhoun undertook to coerce the Macgregors with
unsatisfactory results. Alastair Macgregor of Glenstrae, their chief,
went to Luss, Colquhoun's territory, with only two hundred Macgregors
for an amicable setde-ment of the trouble.
The interview was
satisfactory to all appearances and the two hundred Macgregors started
homewards. But Colquhoun treacherously determined to take advantage of
them. Collecting some Buchanans, Graemes and others to the number of
five hundred horsemen and three hundred foot they waylaid the two
hundred homeward-bound Macgregors in the vale of Glenfruin. where there
was no road, and immediately attacked them without any provocation.
It would seem reasonable
to state that such a piece of consummate treachery has rarely been
equalled, but the outcome was not as the perpetrators planned. Many
years later there lived a ploughman poet of Scotland who wisely wrote:
"But, Mousie, thou art no
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
And lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy."
The God of battles
defended the innocent in that bloody transaction and, incredible as it
may seem, the eight hundred enemies of the two hundred Macgregors only
succeeded in killing two Macgregors. Fired by righteous wrath and their
indomitable spirit the Macgregors pressed the uneven fight till there
was hardly a survivor of their enemy.
The district on the west
shore of Loch Lomond is associated with some savage passages in the clan
wars of the Highlands. There, at Bannachra Castle the Macgregors and
Macfarlanes besieged and killed Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss in 1592.
Macgregors and Macfarlanes themselves got into difficulties and the
Macgregors straightened the matter out by completely annihilating the
Macfarlanes who were responsible. About ten years later, the Macgregors
killed a royal deer-keeper named Drummond and, asking at his sister's
house for food, they placed the murdered man's head on the table with
the mouth stuffed with bread and cheese, where she could see it on
entering the room. Other acts of savagery following quickly upon this, a
strong effort to break the strength of the Macgregors was determined
More than a hundred
widows of the members of Clan Colquhoun who had been killed at Glenfruin
by the Macgregors rode through the streets of Stirling, each one dressed
in weeds, mounted upon a white palfry and bearing aloft upon a spear her
husband's blood-stained shirt. Many women waved also the shirts of other
men, and the total was more than two hundred. The aim of this
demonstration was to arouse the government of James VI to take measures
against the Macgregors. James was easy of persuasion, and accordingly,
within a month, the name of Macgregor was abolished by Act of Privy
Council and it was decreed that anyone calling himself Gregor or
Macgregor must take another surname under pain of death.
More than one hundred
years later, David Balfour, hero of Stevenson's novel of that name, met
a lassie of apparent note in the streets of Edinburgh and she befriended
him. She learned that he had come from Balquhidder. He, being moved by a
spirit of gratitude for what she had done for him, said, "I wish that
you would keep my name in mind for the sake of Balquhidder; and I will
yours for the sake of my lucky day."
"My name is not spoken,"
she replied, with a great deal of haughtiness. "More than a hundred
years it has not gone upon men's tongues, save for a blink. I am
nameless like the fairies. Catriona Drummond is the one I use."
"Now," said Balfour, "I
knew where I was standing. In all broad Scotland there was but the one
name proscribed, and that was the name of the Macgregors."
All the Macgregors
connected in any way with the battle at Glenfruin were prohibited from
carrying any weapon other than a pointless knife wherewith to cut up
food. In 1613 this Act was repeated and again four years later and
members of the Clan were forbidden to assemble in numbers exceeding
four. Within a year thereafter Allaster Macgregor of Glenstrae, who had
commanded at Glenfruin, and about thirty-five of the clan had been taken
and hanged. With the Restoration in the reign of Charles II and James II
the Acts against the Clan Macgregor were repealed, but they were
re-enacted during the Revolution.
To these Acts of
oppression the Macgregors responded with unabated fortitude. Their lands
were taken from them by the king and given to powerful neighbors who had
really been the instigators of the oppressions of the Macgregors for the
sake of obtaining their lands. These grantees came to take the lands by
virtue of their parchment rolls and found a battle line of the
Macgregors awaiting to defend their hereditary tide with the naked
claymore. The attitude of the Macgregors is best expressed in the wild
gathering song of the Clan:
"The moon's on the lake,
and the mist's on the brae,
And the clan has a name that is nameless by day.
Our signal for fight, which from monarchs we drew,
Must be heard but by night in our vengeful haloo.
Then haloo, haloo, haloo, Gregalach.
If they rob us of name and pursue us with beagles,
Give their roofs to the flame, and their flesh to the eagles.
Then gather, gather, gather gather, gather, gather.
While there's leaves in
the forest or foam on the river,
Macgregor, despite them, shall flourish forever.
Glenorchy's proud mountain, Colchurn and her towers,
Glenstrae and Glenlyon, no longer are ours;
We're landless, landless, landless, Gregalach,
Landless, landless, landless.
Through the depths of Loch Katrine the steed shall career,
O'er the peak of Ben Lomond the galley shall steer.
And the rocks of Craig
Royston like icicles melt,
Ere our wrongs be forgot or our vengeance unfelt.
Then haloo, haloo, haloo, Gregalach.
If they rob us of name and pursue us with beagles,
Give their roofs to the flame, and their flesh to the eagles.
Then gather, gather, gather, gather, gather, gather,
While there's leaves in the forest, and foam on the river,
Macgregor, despite them, shall flourish forever."
So unmerited were the
wrongs of the Macgregors, so bravely were they borne for two hundred
years, that to this day it is often the custom for clan gatherings to
rise from the food-laden board, lift their glasses and drink heartily to
the toast "Clan Macgregor!"
Finally, about one
hundred years ago, by Act of the British Parliament, the penal statutes
against the Macgregors were forever abolished.
It was during the period
when the use of the name Macgregor was prohibited that the most famous
member of the clan flourished.
Macgregor, commonly called Rob Roy or Robert the Red, was brought up on
a farm in Balquhidder near the head of Loch Earn, previously mentioned
in connection with the adventure of Smooth John Macnab and his eleven
brothers. He was born about the year 1671. His mother was a Campbell
and, as Macgregor was proscribed, with repugnance he assumed his
Previous to the year 1712
he was occupied in a perfectly legitimate manner as a thriving cattle
trader with the Lowlanders of the Scottish Borders and he had the
confidence and protection of the Duke of Montrose. A series of
unfortunate ventures, however, put an end to this period of prosperity,
and Rob Roy found himself indebted in large sums to Montrose and others.
Proceedings were taken against him in the course of which his wife and
children were evicted from their home in midwinter. Deprived of the
ordinary means of livelihood, hunted, anathematized, he began the period
of oudawry with which his name is associated. Proscribed and shut out
from every lawful calling, Rob Roy, who conceived the action of Montrose
as unjust and tyrannical, attached himself to the rival house of Argyll,
whose name he had assumed.
With a band of
disaffected persons belonging mainly to his own clan, Rob Roy set up as
a freebooter and protector of weaker property rights for a stipulated
"His stature," writes Sir
Walter Scott, "was not of the tallest, but his person was uncommonly
strong and compact. The greatest peculiarities of his person were the
breadth of his shoulders and the great and almost disproportioned length
of his arms, so remarkable indeed that it was said that he could,
without stooping, tie the garters of his Highland hose, which are placed
two inches below the knee. His countenance was open, manly, stern at
periods of danger, but frank and cheerful in his hours of festivity. His
hair was dark red, thick and frizzled and curled short around the face.
Though a descendant of the bloodthirsty Ciar Mohr, he inherited none of
his ancestor's ferocity. On the contrary Rob Roy avoided every
appearance of cruelty, and it is not averred that he was ever the means
of unnecessary bloodshed or the actor in any deed which could lead the
way to it. Like Robin Hood of England he was a kind and gentle robber,
and while he took from the rich, was liberal in relieving the poor."
His lawless life went on
from year to year until the English government put a price upon his
head. When this became known to Rob Roy he assembled his clansmen, armed
them fully and marched down into a Lowland city. When arrived, he and
his retainers passed through the streets of the city and waited for
someone to attempt his capture but no hostile hand was raised.
Finally the government
sent a regiment into Rob's territory to capture him. Wolfe, of Quebec
fame, was an officer in that regiment. When the English had arrived
unopposed in Rob's vicinity Rob Roy himself walked into their camp and
said to an officer, "You seek Rob Roy Macgregor. Here I am." Even then
they dared not touch him for they knew his clansmen were behind every
An earthwork was thrown
up by the English and Rob sent in word that he would wait until they
finished it before he captured it. When the fort was completed Rob and
his clansmen stormed it and it fell. The prisoners were sent to the
Lowlands with a note from Rob Roy asking the government to send men, not
women, to capture Rob Roy Macgregor.
Sir Walter Scott gives
the following tradition regarding the manner of Rob Roy's death. When
very near his end, a certain Maclaren, who had been an enemy, came to
"Raise me from my bed,"
said Rob; "throw my plaid around me and bring me my claymore, dirk and
pistols. It shall never be said that a foeman saw Rob Roy Macgregor
defenseless and unarmed."
Rob Roy maintained a
cold, haughty civility during the short conference, and as soon as
Maclaren had left the house he said, "Now, all is over; let the piper
play. We Return No More," and he is said to have expired before the
dirge was finished. He was buried in the kirkyard of Balquhidder where
his tombstone is only distinguished by a rude attempt at a figure of a
At the time of the story
of Stevenson's "Kidnapped," its hero says upon coming to Balquhidder:
"In the braes of Balquhidder were many of that old, proscribed,
nameless, red-handed clan of the Macgregors, Their chief, Macgregor of
Macgregor, was in exile; James More, Rob Roy's eldest son, lay waiting
his trial in Edinburgh Castle; they were in ill blood with Highlander
and Lowlander. Robin Oig, another of Rob Roy's sons, stepped about
Balquhidder like a gentleman in his own walled garden. It was he who had
shot James Maclaren, the clansman who had visited his dying father, yet
he walked into the house of his blood enemies as a commercial traveller
into a public inn. The corrie is still pointed out on Cruachan where the
last Macgregor of the neighborhood to be hunted with a bloodhound like a
wild beast, turned to bay and shot his deep mouthed tracker. The Earl of
Murray transplanted three hundred of the proscribed Macgregors from Men-teith,
and setded them as a barrier against another turbulent clan, the
Mackintoshes, in Aberdeenshire. There, under the name of Gregory, these
descendants of the Clan Alpin gave birth not only to some, but to a
whole galaxy of the most distinguished men that Scodand has produced. In
the church, in the army, in the civil professions, Macgregor has long
been, and is now, a familiar and an honored name."
But to other themes! The
spirit of Mary Stuart hung heavy over the hills of her own bonnie
Scotland. Her untimely death by treachery was not forgotten and the
mutterings to her and to her race in the breasts of the Scots from time
to time grew audible.
On a November day in 1715
there occurred the ill-managed battle of Sheriffmuir on the moor above
Dunblane where the sheriff's weapons chawings were held in old times.
This battle put an end to the first Jacobite rebellion.
The circumstances of the
fight are well known. The Earl of Mar was marching from Perth to
surprise Argyll, the royalist general, who lay in Stirling. Argyll
marched to meet the enemy with a force of only three thousand five
hundred while that of Mar was nine thousand strong. On the night of the
13th, the Highland army, ever true to the Stuarts, came into view around
the shoulder of the Ochils; and the ancient Gathering Stone on the moor
is pointed out as the place where the Highlanders sharpened their
claymores and dirks. The right wings of both armies began the battle and
both right wings were victorious but no further fighting was done and
the armies gradually drew away from each other, leaving one thousand
dead on the field. The battle cannot fairly be regarded as a loss to
either side, and the following rhyme contains a true account of it.
"Some say that we wan,
Some say that they wan,
And some say that nane wan at a', man;
But o' a'e thing I'm sure
That at Sheriffmuir
A battle there was that I saw, man;
And we ran, and they ran,
And they ran, and we ran,
And we ran and they ran awa' man."
Rob Roy Macgregor stood
aloof and watched the proceedings with five hundred Macgregors. When
appealed to by Mar to take part in the action, Rob refused, saying, "No,
no, if it cannot be done without me it cannot be done with me." The
century was not to complete its cycle before these Macgregors were to
cover themselves with immortal glory at the battle of Culloden.
Before that century had
elapsed a period had arrived in Scottish history which has not a
parallel extant a period marked by fortitude, devotion and
self-sacrifice which it may be possible to say has not an equal in
history. It is known in Scotland as "The '45," referring to the year
1745. Around that date cluster more romance and song than around any
Inverness-shire is more
closely associated with the Jacobite rising known as "The '45" than any
other county in Scotland. It was on the island of Eriska that Prince
Charles Edward first set foot on Scottish soil; at Highbridge occurred
the first outbreak of hostilities; at Glenfinnan the standard was
raised; at Invergarry the chiefs signed a bond to stand or fall
together; on Culloden Muir was fought the closing and decisive battle of
the campaign; and, finally, it was the wild mountainous region of
western Inverness-shire, and the desolate islands of the western
Hebrides that received and concealed the Prince during those five
months' wanderings which constitute the most romantic episode in the
history, one might almost say of any country, but most certainly of
Charles Edward Lewis
Casimir was the elder son of James (son of James VII) sometimes called
the Pretender and sometimes the Chevalier de St. George.
His mother was Clementina,
granddaughter of John Sobieski, King of Poland. He was born at Rome on
December 20, 1720, and thus was but twenty-four years old when,
despairing of obtaining that aid from France which had all along been
deemed necessary for the attempt to place his father on the British
thronethen in the possession of his second cousin and her husbandhe
determined to try what daring and his own winning personality could
On June 22, 1745, Prince
Charlie, attended by only seven adherents, embarked at Nantes on board
La T)outelle and twelve days later he was joined by the Elizabeth, a
French ship of war privately fitted out. During the voyage the Elizabeth
attacked a British man-of-war and received such injuries as compelled
her to put back to France. La Doutelle proceeded alone, and on July 23,
a month from the date of embarkation, Prince Charlie landed on the bleak
little island of Eriska, in the Outer Hebrides, and spent his first
night in what he looked upon as his father's rightful kingdom, in the
cottage of a tenant of the Macdonalds of Clanranald.
As that little ship
approached the wild Scottish coast and the Prince gazed on the land of
his royal fathers, wondering what the outcome of his righteous effort
would be, a large Hebridean eagle came and hovered over the vessel. It
was first observed by the
Marquis of Tullibardine,
who did not choose to make any remark upon it at once lest he be deemed
Some hours later, on
returning to the deck after dinner and seeing the eagle still following
their course, the Marquis pointed it out to the Prince, saying, " Sir,
this is a happy omen: the king of birds is come to welcome your royal
highness on your arrival in Scotland."
It would have seemed so
on that memorable day, months later, in Edinburgh when, on the eve of
the Battle of Prestonpans, in the presence of Prince Charles Edward,
James, his exiled father, was proclaimed James VIII, King of Great
Britain and Ireland. That was the occasion of the most ardent enthusiasm
Edinburgh has displayed in all its centuries of existence.
As the Prince rode up the
street dressed in the Highland garb of the royal Stuarts with his own
additional markings, ladies pressed to touch his stirrup and kiss his
hand, rank and beauty crowded the balconies and forestairs, and scarfs,
kerchiefs and banners waved.
As the heralds, in their
antique dress, with blast of trumpet proclaimed the king, the loveliest
of the Jacobite ladies rode through the throng distributing the white
cockade. Wild with delight, at the ball in Holyrood, to see the heir of
the Scottish kings appear once more in the palace of his fathers, the
bravest blood of all Scotland that night crowded the halls.
The daughters of lord and
chief cast J on the Prince looks of undisguised devotion. Never had so
gallant a prince appealed to his subjects in such romantic
circumstances, and never did a people receive their sovereign with so
Here on the following day
he received a bitter disappointment. Alexander Macdonald of Boisdale,
brother of Clanranald, chief of an important branch of the Clan
Macdonald, came to assure the Prince of the hopelessness of the
expedition. Without men, arms and money, he declared, nothing could be
done, nor could the clam be counted upon to rise.
He ended by begging the
Prince to return home, to which the latter made reply, "I am come home,
sir, and can entertain no notion of returning to the place whence I
came. I am persuaded that my faithful Highlanders will stand by me."
Well indeed did the
bonnie Prince know the temper of Highland blood! Boisdale left him
persisting in his refusal to influence his brother to call out his clan.
While the entire party
were still on board La Doutelle and when as yet the foot of Prince
Charles Edward had not been placed on Scottish soil, in spite of the
protestations of Clanranald and others Charles persisted and implored.
During the conversation
the parties were gesticulating on the deck near where a Highlander stood
armed at all points, as was then the custom. He was a younger brother of
Kinlochmoidart and had come off to enquire for news, not knowing who was
When he gathered from the
discourse that the stranger was the heir of Britain, when he heard his
chief and brothers refuse to take up arms for their Prince, his color
went and came, his eyes sparkled, he shifted his place and grasped his
Charles observed his
demeanor, and turning suddenly round, appealed to him: " Will you not
"I will! I will!"
exclaimed Ranald. "Though not another man in the Highlands should draw a
sword, I am ready to die for you!"
The tears of gratitude
came into the eyes of the Prince and the thanks to his lips.
The Prince proceeded to
the mainland, landing at Borradale in the country of Clanranald. Young
Clanranald visited the Prince on the ship and heartily embraced his
cause. At Borradale most disheartening news was received from Macleod of
Macleod and Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleat. The two Skye chiefs
mentioned, upon whose adherence the Prince had confidently relied, not
only refused to join in the expedition but actually gave active aid to
the government. So desperate was the outlook at this juncture that all
those about the Prince joined in endeavoring to persuade him to abandon
the attempt and return to France.
What king has ever shown
better spirit than the Prince in his reply that, if he could find but
six men willing to follow him, he would choose rather to skulk among the
mountains of Scotland than to turn back. In all history what royal scion
has uttered braver words or ones more worthy of laudation.
Lochiel, chief of Clan
Cameron, came to Borradale bent upon persuading the Prince from making
the attempt but the result of the interview was his own promise to join.
Prince Charlie reproachfully announced his purpose to raise the royal
standard with the few friends he had.
"Lochiel," he declared,
"who my father has often told me was our firmest friend, may stay at
home and learn from a distance the fate of his Prince."
Lochiel replied that not
he alone but "every man over whom nature or fortune" had given him power
should share the Prince's fate. Macdonald of Glengarry promised to send
out his clan.
Thus it was decided to
raise the standard of James VIII at Glenfinnan, and messengers were sent
throughout the country calling upon all who favored the cause to meet
the Prince there. At about this time two companies of Royal Scots, a
regiment of regulars, were taken prisoners by a hastily assembled body
of Highlanders on the shores of the now Caledonian Canal.
The Royal Scots were
marching along when the dreaded sound of the bagpipes broke upon their
unaccustomed Lowland ears and they were terror-stricken to see their way
blocked by what appeared to be a considerable body of Highlanders. The
object of their alarm was ten or twelve Macdonalds who, by skipping and
leaping about and by holding out their tartans between each other,
contrived to make a formidable appearance. The outcome was the capture
of the two hundred Lowlanders by the dozen Highlanders.
On August 19 the Prince
reached Glenfinnan, but to his great disappointment none of the clans
had assembled. Only about two hundred of Clanranald's men were present
and the actual raising of the standard was intrusted to the Marquis of
Tullibardine who was in such feeble health that two Highlanders had to
support him to the top of a small elevation, now marked by a monumental
tower, selected for the ceremony of raising the standard of Bonnie
Prince Charlie, relative of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Tullibardine then flung
upon the mountain winds that flag which, shooting like a streamer from
the north, was soon to spread such woe and terror over the peaceful
vales of Britain. A declaration in the name of James VIII to the people
of Great Britain, a commission appointing the Prince to be regent in
place of his absent father, and a manifesto by the Prince were then
read. The loyal clans poured in. A few days later intelligence was
received of the steps the government was taking to suppress the rising.
A reward of $150,000 had
been offered for the Prince who retaliated by offering the same amount
for the apprehension of the so-called Elector of Hanover. Word was also
brought that General Cope, for the government, was marching toward the
mountain pass of Corryarick, about ten miles south of Fort Augustus.
A detachment was sent
forward to seize the pass and the rest of the army followed the next
day. After crossing the Corryarick Pass the Highlanders, now augmented
by various bodies of recruits, found that General Cope had turned aside
to march to Inverness, thus avoiding the battle which the Highlanders
were longing to give. Had the decisive battle been fought then instead
of under the circumstances of semi-starvation and frightful odds of
Culloden, the result would have been vastly different to British
"Cam' ye by Athol, lad
with the philabeg,
Doun by the Tummel or the banks of the Garry?
Saw ye the lads with their bonnets and white cockades
Leaving their mountains to follow Prince Charlie?
"Follow thee, follow thee,
wha wadna follow thee?
Lang thou hast loved and trusted us fairly,
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee?
King o' the Highland hearts, Bonnie Prince Charlie!"
Ravages by night and day,
bribes of unheard-of size, destructions of homes and families, hunger,
thirst, nakedness, peril and sword endured for Charlie's sake,
subsequently proved beyond a peradventure the kingship of Bonnie Prince
Charlie over Highland hearts.
As General Cope had too
much the start of the Highlanders for pursuit it was determined to turn
as once to the Lowlands with a view to the capture of Edinburgh. From
the pass of Corryarick a detachment was sent to make an attempt to
capture the government barracks of Badenoch. They brought back an
important captive Ewan Macpherson of Cluny, captured at Cluny Castle.
Macpherson had left Sir John Cope only the day before to raise his clan
for the government. But he had been contemptuously treated by Cope who,
with extraordinary fatuity, could not see the difference between a
captain of the line and a Highland chief, whose word was law to a whole
clan and who could command the unquestioned service of four hundred
claymores. He was furious at Cope and the persuasions of his Jacobite
friends so acted on him that, after ten days' imprisonment in the
Jacobite camp, he again returned home to raise his clan but now for
Prince Charlie whom he afterwards joined and served to the end. Leaving
Perth, the Highland army marched to Dunblane and to Edinburgh. Then came
the victorious battle of Prestonpans which gave them Edinburgh.
Charles, while in
Edinburgh, learned that General Cope had landed at Dunbar and was at
last marching to give him battle which he had previously avoided.
The brave Prince proposed
to meet him half way and asked the Highland chiefs how the clansmen
would behave toward a general who had already avoided them. The reply
was from Keppoch who was the only one who had seen the Highlanders in
action against regular troops. He said "Your Highness will be pleased
with their conduct."
The Prince, putting
himself at the head of the Highlanders, presented his claymore and spoke
aloud, "My friends, I have thrown away the scabbard! "
When the royal troops
first perceived the army of the Prince they raised a shout, to which the
Highlanders readily replied. As evening drew on, after the cannon had
been ineffectually playing on the Highland ranks, the Scotsmen wrapped
themselves in their tartans and lay down to sleep on the stubble fields.
Prince Charlie slept thus with his true-hearted men.
Oh, that fateful night!
The Southron forces little knew the mettle of the kilted men so near
them. What would the morrow disclose? Who would be first to fall, and
how many would never return to England? But, on the other hand, would
there be a battle? Would not those wild Highlanders be awed by the great
military display before them, and retreat? In the English hearts there
was something which told them that they would not.
At length the first
intimations of approaching day came but the mists of Scotland hung heavy
over the field. In the English camp not a sound could be heard in the
Scottish army. Why that awe-inspiring silence? The sentries peered
fearfully through the fog.
All at once there was a
universal start of fright on the Southron picket line. Here and there in
the clouds of vapor could be seen bodies of men rushing forward in
absolute silence! On this side were men in red tartans, on that in blue;
here was green, and there, yellow. As soundless as the interweavings of
the mist was their running approach!
Nothing is more
terrifying than an enemy in the dark especially when you know that he is
approaching without sound. The English were terror-stricken. They did
not know the efficient method of fighting employed by Scotia's Gaelic
This method caused them
to advance with the utmost rapidity toward the enemy, give fire only
when in actual musket length of the human object of the attack, and
then, throwing down their firearms, draw their claymores and holding a
dirk in the left hand along with the target on the left arm dart with
fury on the enemy through the smoke of their fire.
When within reach of the
enemy's bayonets, bending their left knee, they contrived to receive the
thrust on their targets; then raising their left arm and with it the
enemy's bayonet point, they rushed in upon the soldier, now defenseless,
killed him at one blow, and were in a moment within the lines, pushing
right and left with sword and dagger, often bringing down two men at
once. These tactics won the battle of Prestonpans in just four minutes.
All that followed was carnage.
There is a stirring
picture of the advance of the Highlanders at Prestonpans which is an
inspiration to all who see it. Advancing up the hill, and therefore at a
disadvantage, is the braw double line of laddies from the mountains;
Prince Charlie leads the second line. On each face is pictured a
self-sacrificing purpose willing to forfeit life itself to maintain;
each strong right hand clasps the unconquered claymore of Scodand and
each left arm is bent behind its javelin pointed targe; victory is
spelled on their faces.
The wounded of the royal
army were treated by their conquerers with a degree of humanity which
might well have been imitated by the English on a subsequent occasion.
Prestonpans came the advance of the Highland army into England itself
"England shall many a day
tell of the bloody fray,
When all the blue bonnets came over the Border."
There were many in
Lancashire and Wales ready to join the standard of the Stuart king. The
army had then increased to six thousand men who had left homes and
families and now native country simply to fight for the right and
justice. In all that went before this and all that comes after, it
should be remembered that these devoted men were well aware that no
advantage would accrue to themselves from all that they did or were
going to do. They were animated by pure love and desire to see filial
devotion prevail in the royal as well as in their own families.
Terror unmitigated spread
throughout England, especially in the counties immediately subject to
the Highlanders approach. No one had ever seen any large body of
Highlanders and few knew anything about them. It was commonly reported
that they were pagan savages, cut-throats and des-poilers of all
Contrary to expectation
and greatly to the surprise of the English, the Highlanders neither
attempted to cut the throats nor violate the property of the
inhabitants. Carlisle, England, was captured. It is credibly stated that
women hid their children at the Highlanders approach under the
impression that they were cannibals, fond in particular of the flesh of
Everywhere there was
great surprise that these men, so far from acting like savage robbers,
expressed a polite gratitude for what refreshments were given them.
The great city of
Manchester was entered and recruits obtained. On the first of December,
1745, the army left Manchester with London as their object. On the 4th
the army of the Prince entered Derby. Charles was now within one hundred
and twenty-seven miles of the capital of England. No invading band since
the Saxon kings ever advanced so far into England.
The common expectation
was that the longed-for battle was to take place and there was a general
sharpening of broadswords. Although three separate English armies were
organized against them they did not dare to give the Highlanders battle.
Little did the faithful Highlanders think that at this time when their
quarry was within their grasp they were to be turned back by their
Inasmuch as the three
armies about them numbered thirty thousand to their six thousand, the
chiefs determined upon a retreat to Scotland and the Esk was forded into
that country on December 20th.
The men had been two
months away from their own country. Many were barefooted and barelegged,
their exposed limbs were red with the winter weather and their hair
matted and falling over their eyes.
An eye witness said, "I
saw the clans march through Annandale to Dumfries; Prince Charles walked
at the head of the Clan Macpherson, which defeated the Duke of
Cumberland's horse and gave some check to the advance of the English
troops. He was a tall, well-made young man; his deportment affable and
princely. When the Highland army crossed the Esk River it was flooded
and the Highlanders had to ford it, nearly one hundred packed together
to avoid being carried away by the stream. Prince Charles took one of
them on his own horse and desired the officers to do the same. On
reaching the shore, the dripping and benumbed Highlanders danced a reel
on the frozen ground to restore their circulation and dry their clothes.
One hundred pipers played the reel. The Jacobite song, "The Hundred
Pipers" originated thus.
"Will they all return to
their ain dear glen?
Will they all return, our Highland men?
Second sighted Sandy looked full wae,
And mithers grat when they marched away.
Then it's o'er the Border, awa'! awa'l
It's o'er the Border, awa'! awa'!
We'll on and we'll march to Carlisle ha',
Wi' its yetts its arrows and a', and a'! "
Stirling Castle was
On the 17th of January
the army of the Prince defeated General Hawley at Falkirk against most
desperate odds. A fortnight later, hearing that the Duke of Cumberland
-had joined the government army as commander in chief, the Highland
chief, in spite of their unbroken chain of victories, feeling too weak
to resist him, insisted on the Prince retreating to the Highlands, and
the march north began on February 1. On the 12th of February the Prince
crossed into Inverness-shire and arrived at Moy Hall, the seat of the
chief of Clan Mackintosh. Lord Loudon, commanding the garrison at
Inverness, set out with a body of fifteen hundred troops to surprise the
Prince in the night at Moy Hall. Lady Mackintosh instantly despatched a
boy to give warning. On the road he was overtaken by Loudon's soldiers
but he hid in a ditch until they had passed.
A blacksmith named
Fraser, curious to see the Prince, had come to Moy Hall the evening
before and Lady Mackintosh sent him out with four others to patrol the
Inverness road beyond the line of the guards and sentries. On perceiving
Lord Loudon's force approaching, Fraser stationed his four men at a
little distance the one from the other, and firing his musket at the
advancing body of fifteen hundred ordered the others to do the same.
Fraser's shot killed the Macleod's piper, the most celebrated musician
in the Highlands; the others also took effect, and when Fraser followed
up the attack by calling out valiantly for imaginary regiments of
Camerons and Macdonalds to advance, the soldiers of Loudon were seized
with panic, and, wheeling about in the dark, the whole body fled in the
utmost confusion back to Inverness. This event is called the Rout of
Moy. The bed in which the Prince slept and the Highland bonnet he wore
are still preserved at Moy.
Bonnie Prince Charlie
The Highland army entered
Inverness close upon the heels of Lord Loudon's retreating force and
Inverness Castle was captured. This was followed by the capture of Fort
Augustus held by the government in the very heart of the country loyal
to the Prince and Scotland. In the meantime Lord Loudon was driven out
of Sutherland and his force scattered to the four winds and a brilliant
operation was executed in Perthshire whereby with the aid of Cluny
Macpherson thirty of the government posts were simultaneously captured.
In all the annals of war where can you find the parallel of that feat?
Another success followed,
the skirmish of Keith. The place was garrisoned by thirty dragoons and
seventy Campbells and all who were not killed were captured. To furnish
the thunder cloud to the otherwise clear sky of the Prince's fortunes,
the sloop of war the Prince Charles which was returning from France with
supplies of men and money, closely pursued by English men of war, ran
ashore, landed crew and cargo, which immediately fell into the hands of
the enemies of Prince Charlie. The party sent out by the Prince to
recover the men and treasure were captured at Dunrobin Castle on the
very day preceding the ill-starred slaughter of Culloden.
The eve of one of the
most self-sacrificing battles of history is now recalled where
devotion and loyalty and honor of the highest degree were to be pitted
against mercenaries and men fighting for an usurper in the eyes of the
Land o* Heather. The loss of money before mentioned was a serious blow
to the Jacobites, now much hampered for want of funds. The suffering
arising from faulty administration of the commissariat had resulted in
many of the men going off on their own account in search of food. When a
night attack upon the government troops at Nairn under Cumberland was
resolved upon and messengers were sent out to bring these stragglers in,
some of them declared that they would prefer to be shot on the spot
rather than to be made to endure their hunger any longer. A man,
especially a Scottish Highlander, is on the verge of starvation when he
comes to that situation. The famished condition of the men, the great
darkness of that memorable night and the rough nature of the ground, so
delayed the men that when the army was within three miles of Nairn it
was found to be too close to daylight for any chance of success and the
devoted Highlanders were marched back to Culloden Muir.
Upon one single man, one
recreant, can be put the blame for all that follows of misfortune in the
history of Bonnie Prince Charlie. He was the man in charge of the
Commissary Department of the Highland army. Had he done his plain duty
the night attack at Nairn would have been successfully delivered by a
well-fed army of never conquered men and Culloden Muir would never have
Upon the return of the
devoted Highland army to the Muir of Culloden though unknown to them
the Prince had given orders for bringing meat and drink for them to the
fieldmany through their great want of meat, drink and sleep, even
slipped off to take some refreshment at Inverness, Culloden, and the
neighborhood where they had friends and acquaintances.
The refreshment so lulled
the exhausted men to sleep that many were surprised and murdered in
their beds miles from the battlefield by the Butcher Cumberland's orders
after the Battle of Culloden was all over.
The exhausted condition
of the Highland army is well indicated by this. The Prince went to
Culloden House where his sole refreshment that morning was a bit of
bread and some whisky. At that worst of all hours for the bonnie Prince
and his heroic army who suffered all those miseries rather than be
unfaithful to their country and rightful sovereign, word was brought
that Cumberland was marching from Nairn. The Prince instantly hurried
off to collect his men and prepare to give battle, entirely against the
advice of the chiefs who urged that, in the exhausted and depleted
condition of the army, this should on no account be risked. But finding
the Prince determined, they reluctantly gave in, and the weak and
emaciated army was drawn up in line of batde. Shortly before one o'clock
the Duke of Cumberland drew up his well-groomed legions about five
hundred paces away.
Cumberland went among his
troops before the batde telling them to permit the Highlanders to mingle
with them, to let them feel the force of the bayonet, that they might
know with what men they had to do. Wolfe's regiment was sent forward on
one flank so that when the Highlanders charged, if they could be made
to, that the Southron regiment could come around behind them and thus,
with enemies before and behind, the Highlanders would be enveloped.
The great object of the
battle of Culloden was for each side to try to force the other to
attack. The attacking side would be at a tremendous disadvantage, as was
Pickett, later, at bloody Gettysburg. The possession of many cannon on
the part of the English enabled them to wreak great destruction on the
Scottish army while the Scots could retaliate only by charging.
It then became only a
question of how long the weakened Highlanders would endure being
slaughtered before wreaking hand to hand vengeance.
Right there is where
Prince Charlie seemingly made his fatal mistake. Even though the men
were in rags and half starved they might have won the battle had they
been ordered to charge at the opening of the cannonade. At Prestonpans
they had not feared the cannon, at Culloden they were held in check to
be butchered by them.
It is the Highland custom
to scruge the bonnets before a charge so as not to lose them in the
havoc. An eye-witness at Culloden says that never, perhaps, was that
motion performed with so much emphasis as then when every Scot's
forehead burned with the desire to avenge some dear friend and
fellow-clansman who had fallen a victim to the murderous artillery.
Notwithstanding that the
three files of the front ranks of the English poured forth their
incessant musketry fire, notwithstanding that the cannon now loaded
with grape shot swept the field as with a hail storm, notwithstanding
the flank fire of Wolfe's regiment, onward, onward, onward through shot
and projectiles rushed the headlong, desperate, famished and body-sore,
kilted men, flinging themselves into rather than rushing upon the ranks
of the enemy! It was the claymore hand to hand where every stroke drank
deep of the blood of the usurper's supporters! All that courage, all
that despair, all that devotion could do was done. It was a moment of
dreadful and agonizing suspense but only a moment, for the whirlwind
does not reap the forest with greater rapidity than the Highlanders
slaughtered the English advance line.
Passing through the first
line some survivors reached the British second line but not a single
Highlander lived to press his body against the bayonets of the third
line. Nevertheless, almost every man in the Scottish front rank fell
before the deadly weapons which they had braved; and although what
remained of the English army gave way, it was not until every bayonet
was bloody and bent with the strife.
The persevering valor of
the Highlanders is proved by the circumstance that at one part of the
plain their bodies were found in layers three and four deep, having
mounted over a prostrate friend to share in the same certain fate.
The Argyle militia broke
down a wall which enabled Hawley's dragoons to attack the famished
Highlanders in flank. Major Gillies Macbean, who stood six feet four
inches, stationed himself at the gap and, as the assailants passed
through, he cut them down by the irresistible strokes of his claymore.
No fewer than thirteen, including Lord Robert Ker, were thus slain when
the enraged enemy closed around him in numbers and at last the heroic
Gillies fell, pierced with many bayonet thrusts, his head dreadfully cut
by a sword and his thigh bone broken.
In this charge the
Macdonalds had been much incensed at being put on the left wing.
They had enjoyed a
position on the right in all battles and struggles in behalf of the
royal family of Scotland since Bannockburn. The result was that the
Macdonalds refused to charge. They stood their ground and fired on the
Upon seeing this, Keppoch
exclaimed, "My God, have the children of my tribe forsaken me?" and
rushing forward into the ranks of the enemy he soon met his death.
This action on the part
of the Macdonalds turned the tide of the battle for they were one of the
very strongest clans, and upon whom the bonnie Prince relied much. In a
short time the battle was over, the human blood standing fetlock deep in
the struggling ranks, and the army of the Prince was routed. The Prince
left the field when to have remained would have but added his own
destruction to that of the multitudes of brave men who had already
spilled their hearts blood in his cause.
contradistinction to the Highlanders* mercy in all their battles, began
an awful slaughter. At the Butcher Cumberland's orders his soldiers went
over the moor and bayonetted any of the Scottish wounded who had life
enough remaining to make any motion. The Inverness road was made reeking
with corpses. The soldiers went about in sport dabbling in the blood
until they looked like butchers rather than so-called Christian
Cumberland in person
murdered a young wounded Scot who, on being asked for whom he stood,
replied, " The Prince! " Seventy were carried to a high piece of ground
and deliberately murdered.
The wounded in houses
were dragged out and slain. The Laird of Macleod saw seventy-two killed
in cold blood. A hut containing some wounded men was set fire to by the
English and thirty-two burned alive. And this in the eighteenth century
of our Lord!
Some wounded in the
garden of Culloden House were carried out in carts to a park wall near
by and told to prepare for instant death. Such as were able threw
themselves on their knees to ask for the same mercy they had formerly
given at the only tribunal where they could hope for it. While they were
thus engaged, a platoon of musketry put an end to the lives of nearly
all. The soldiers were ordered to club their muskets and beat out the
brains of such as showed any symptoms of life.
This is the only battle
of the arduous campaign in which Prince Charlie's army was defeated.
On Culloden Muir there
stands today a huge stone cairn bearing the inscription,
"THE BATTLE OF CULLODEN
was fought on this moor 16th. April 1746
The graves of the gallant Highlanders
who fought for Scotland and Prince Charlie are marked by the names of
"The moorland wide and
waste and brown
Heaves far and near and up and down,
Few trenches green the desert crown,
And these are the graves of Culloden!
"Alas! what mournful
thoughts they yield,
Those scars of sorrow yet unhealed.
On Scotland's last ana saddest field
Oh, the desolate moor of Culloden!
"Ah me! what carnage vain
What reckless fury, mad despair,
On this wide moor such odds to dare
Oh, the wasted lives of Culloden! "
Of all the clans which
fought at Culloden none exceeded in ferocity Clan Macgregor. There was
an old score of long duration for the oppressed clan to wipe out. Here
they were against their oppressors of England and able to show their
devotion to Scotland. One fact will show the quality of the fighting of
Clan Macgregor at that hour. Of the hundreds of Macgregors who entered
the action but the merest handful lived through it. They lost most
heavily of all the clans, for they were there to die killing.
"No more we'll see such
Deserted is each Highland glen,
And lonely caims are o'er the men
Who fought and died for Charlie! "
Red-coated soldiers were
sent into the more accessible Highland glens to massacre the defenseless
and many were killed in their beds. The ballad of Baldy Fraser has come
down to us.
"My name is Baldy Fraser,
I'm puir and aula and pale and wan,
I brak my shin, and tint a han*
Upon Culloden lea, man.
"Our Hielan' clans were
bauld and stout,
And thocht to turn their faes about,
But got that day a desperate rout,
And owre the hills did flee, man.
"O Cumberland, what meaned
To ravage ilka Hielan' glen?
Our crime was truth, and love to ane,
We had nae spite at thee, man.
"And you or yours may yet
To trust the honest Hielan' lad;
The bonnet blue and belted plaid
Will stand the last o* three, man."
Yes " will stand the
last o* three, man! " The country of the Butcher Cumberland was only too
glad to call upon the bonnet blue and belted plaid to uphold their
empire in more modern wars, and although
Bonnie Prince Charlie did
not succeed in putting his father on Great Britain's throne, the present
reigning family have Stuart blood in their veins.
And now began those five
months of hardship, of exposure and of repeated hairbreadth escapes
which have thrown a halo of romance over Prince Charlie's memory, and of
undying fame over that of the devoted men and women, who at the imminent
risk of their fortunes and their lives, undertook loyally the desperate
task of supplying him with food and shelter and of guiding him from one
place of safety to another. The devotion of the Highlanders to their
country and their fleeing Prince is not better expressed than in the old
"Come boat me owre, come
row me owre,
Come boat me owre to Charlie.
I'll gie John Ross another bawbee
To ferry me owre to Charlie.
We'll owre the water and owre the sea.
And owre the water to Charlie;
Come weal, come woe, we'll gather and go,
And live and die wi' Charlie!
"It's weel I lo'e my
Though some there be that abhor him;
But O, to see auld Nick gaun hame.
And Charlie's face before him!
I swear by moon and stars sae bricht.
And the sun that glances airily.
If I had twenty thousand lives,
I'd gie them a' for Charlie.
"I ance had sons, I now
I bred them toiling sairly;
And I wad bear them a' again
And lose them a' for Charlie!
We'll owre the water and owre the sea,
We'll owre the water to Charlie:
Come weal, come woe, we'll gather and go,
And live and die wi' Charlie! "
Feasts of celebration for
the expected victory at Culloden were distributed to those who needed
the food, and the women prepared bandages for such of the wounded as
were fortunate enough to escape the Butcher Cumberland.
Donald Macleod, a native
of Skye, met in the forest of Glenbeasdale a stranger walking by himself
who, making up to him, asked if he were Donald Macleod of Skye.
recognizing him notwithstanding his mean attire, said, "I am the same
man, please Your Highness, at your service."
The Prince then confided
himself to his care in such terms that, when Donald was telling the
story a year afterward, the tears were streaming along his cheeks like
Then ensued the dreadful
weeks of hiding, storm, exposure, drenchings, pursuit on land and sea
and deathless devotion of the people too long to fill any tome. Then
came the meeting with Flora Macdonald in a hut on the west coast of one
of the Hebrides. The Highland guide of the Prince, knowing Miss
Macdonald, told her that he had brought a friend to see her. She, with
some emotion, asked if it was the Prince. He answered that it was and
instantly brought him in. It was suggested that Flora Macdonald should
conduct the party to Skye, the home of her mother, and it was done.
The Prince's feast of the
heart, liver and kidneys of a sheep was rudely interrupted by the news
that a party had landed to apprehend them. Then the Prince was compelled
to disguise himself as Betty Burke, a maid-servant, and they set out for
Skye in a row boat and were fired upon by militia when attempting to
land after passing through a tempest.
Going to Kingsburgh,
Kingsburgh himself aroused his wife out of bed to prepare supper for the
friends he had brought, the little daughter running in to say, "O mither,
my faither has brought in a very odd, muckle, ill-shaken-up wife as ever
I saw? I never saw the like of her and he has gone into the hall with
Mrs. Macdonald, obliged
to go to the hall for her keys, was equally struck with the singular
appearance of the guest; nor was she reassured by what followed, for the
stranger immediately arose, went forward and saluted Mrs. Macdonald who,
feeling a long stiff beard, trembled to think that this behooved to be
some distressed nobleman or gentleman in disguise, for she never dreamed
it to be the Prince.
When the poor woman
learned the truth she burst out in despair that they would be surely
"Hout, good wife," was
the husband's reply, "we will die but once; and if we are hanged for
this, I am sure we die in a good cause."
At Portree, Flora
Macdonald parted from the Prince and they never met again.
"Far over yon hills of the
heather so green.
And down by the corrie that sings to the sea,
The bonnie young Flora sat sighing her lane,
The dew on her plaid, and the tear in her e'e.
She looked at a boat with the breezes that swung
Away on the wave, like a bird of the main;
And aye, as it lessened, she sighed and she sung,
'Fareweel to the lad I shall ne'er see again!
Fareweel to my hero, the gallant and young!
Fareweel to the lad I shall ne'er see again!'
"The target is torn from
the arms of the just,
The helmet is cleft on the brow of the brave;
The claymore forever in darkness must rust,
But red is the sword of the stranger and slave.
The hoof of the horse and the foot of the proud
Have trod o'er the plumes on the bonnet of blue.
Why slept the red bolt in the breast of the cloud,
When tyranny revelled in blood of the true?
Fareweel, my young hero, the gallant and goodl
The crown of thy fathers is torn from thy brow."
Then followed more
hairbreadth escapes of which a few will suffice. Going up one side of a
hill the Prince became aware that a searching party was coming up the
other side. The only thing that could be done was to crouch down and
trust to fortune. The searchers passed within a few feet of him.
Stepping out of a path they were once treading they were amazed to see
an officer and soldiers swing right into it behind them. It seemed as
though every foot of the crags of Scotland was searched for the person
of that bonnie one. Pursued by the care of a benign Providence, the
Prince in rags and bare feet escaped all pursuers and, travelling by
night and hiding by day, reached the coast at Borradale where he had
landed and, on September 19th, embarked for France and safely arrived
His miraculous escape,
while it in some instances seemed the result of an astonishing chain of
incidents, was in the main due to the unswerving faithfulness of the
Highlanders who had lost all in his cause. Hundreds, many of whom were
in the humblest walks of life, had been intrusted with his secret or had
become aware of it. Thirty thousand pounds, one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars, had been offered in vain for the life of one human
being, in a country where the sum would have purchased a princely
estate. This loyalty of the Highlanders is without parallel in history,
considering, too, what they had to suffer for the cause.
Behold this instance of
individual suffering for the cause! The two heroes of Stevenson's 44
Kidnapped" were crossing a moor, after Culloden, when they discovered a
body of English dragoons beating it for Scotsmen. On their bellies
through the dust, from heather bush to heather bush they crawled until
one of them afterward said, "The aching faintness of my body, the
labouring of my heart, the soreness of my hands and the smarting of my
throat and eyes in the continual smoke of dust and ashes had grown to be
so unbearable that I would gladly have given up but the fear of Alan
Stewart lent me courage to continue. As for Alan, he had first turned
crimson, but as time went on the redness began to be mixed with patches
of white; his breath cried and whistled as it came; and his voice, when
he whispered to me, sounded like nothing human."
The government did
everything to stamp out what they called "the fires of rebellion," and
forbade the carrying of arms in the Highlands or the wearing of the
oldest and most picturesque dress of history the dress of the Highland
clans. The result of that law was peculiar. Inured to centuries of the
Highland dress, the Highlanders made a sorry shift of the new. Some went
bare, only for a hanging cloak or great coat, and carried their trousers
on their back like a useless burden; some had made an imitation of the
tartan with little party colored stripes patched together like an old
wife's quilt; others, again, still wore the Highland kilt but, by
putting a few stitches between the legs, transformed it into a pair of
trousers like a Dutchman's. Even those makeshifts were condemned and
punished, for the law was harshly applied, in vain hopes to break up the
clan spirit; but in that northern land there were few to make remarks
and fewer to tell tales.
The Highland chiefs were
obliged to flee to France like hunted deer. In "Kidnapped" again we find
the following conversation. Alan Stewart says to Balfour,
And then I have a bit
things to attend to. Whiles, I pick up a few lads to serve the king of
France: and that's aye a little money. But the heart of the matter is
the business of my chief, Ardshiel.'
"'I thought they called
your chief Appin,' said Balfour.
'Ay, but Ardshiel is the
captain of the clan,' said he.
"'Ye see, Balfour, he
that was all his life so great a man, and come of the blood and bearing
the name of kings, is now brought down to live in a French town like a
poor and private person. He that had four hundred claymores at his
whistle, I have seen with these eyes of mine, buying butter in the
market-place, and taking it home in a kale leaf. Now the tenants of
Appin have to pay a rent to King George, but their hearts are staunch,
they are true to their chief and the poor folk scrape up a second rent
for Ardshiel. I'm the hand that carries it.* And he struck the belt
about his body so that the guineas rang.
"' Do they pay both?"
"Ay, David, both" said
"What! two rents?* I
repeated." I call it noble," I cried.
"Alan went on ... When
the men of the clans were broken at Culloden, and the good cause went
down, and the horses rode over the fetlocks in the best blood of the
north, Ardshiel had to flee like a poor deer upon the mountains he and
his lady and his bairns. A sair job we had of it before we got him
shipped; and while he still lay in the heather the English rogues
stripped him of his powers, they stripped him of his lands, they plucked
the weapons from the hands of his clansmen that had borne arms for
thirty centuries; ay, and the very clothes off their backs so that it's
now a sin to wear a tartan plaid and a man may be cast into gaol if he
has but a kilt about his legs. One thing they could nae kill. That was
the love the clansmen bore their chief. These guineas are the proof of
"Bonnie Charlie's noo awa';
Safely owre the friendly main;
Mony a heart will break in twa,
Should he ne'er come back again.
"Will ye no come back
Will ye no come back again?
Better lo'ed ye canna be,
Will ye no come back again?
"e trusted in your Hieland
They trusted you, dear Charlie;
They kent your hiding in the glen,
Death or exile braving.
"Will ye no come back
Will ye no come back again?
Better lo'ed ye canna be,
Will ye no come back again?
"English bribes were a' in
Tho' puir and puirer we maun be:
Siller canna buy the heart
That beats aye for thine and thee.
"Will ye no come back
Will ye no come back again?
Better lo'ed ye canna be,
Will ye no come back again?"
Far across the ocean's
leagues my eyes strain toward the rising sun until I see the Land of
A gigantic human figure
meets my raptured vision, a figure destined to grow more colossal with
the ages. The inspired face is uplifted and on it I see the tenderness
of a woman though the face is that of a man. His entranced look surveys
the muse of Caledonia hovering over him and his right hand grasps a
plough. His lips move and I hear
"The rank is but the
The man's the gowd, for a' that! '
To the last the heart of
gold of Bonnie Prince Charlie was with Scotland and with those who
suffered and perished in that cause which has filled the land with song
and melody. Then the God of battles tenderly, quietly, softly withdrew
him from earthly scenes. Wrapped in the loving arms of the Master of
Nairn, that incomparable Prince answered the kindly summons of the
Omnipotent. It was a gentle falling to sleep. The weary Prince placed
his loved head upon the breast aching to support him. Quietly the
morning sun stole into the chamber of dissolution, but at last there was
another morning for Charlie, glorious, infinite, immortal.
Bonnie Prince Charlie, in
the Land o' the Leal with your Highlanders faithful unto death,. I know
that you, with that immortal ploughman, could fittingly have said:
"When death's dark stream
I ferry o'er
A time that surely shall come
In heaven itself I'll ask no more
Than just a Highland welcome."
A Highland welcome! What
of the Highlanders in these latter years? Has their welcome become less
valuable since the days of the inspired, great-hearted ploughman?
In the middle of the
century just past Great Britain was suddenly confronted with a revolt of
her native Indian trained troops. Rising with great alacrity they
succeeded in surrounding Cawnpore and Lucknow in which cities were
English women and children. General Havelock, the praying general, was
far from Cawnpore when the Sepoy lines closed around it. Havelock's
Highland battalions with grim determination fighting their way through
hordes of the enemy and the horrors of the tropical rainy season, pushed
to the relief of Cawnpore.
Breaking through all
resistance they entered the city, the Sepoys fleeing before them until
the inner compound was reached where the English women and children
were. There was no shout of welcome from the besieged! The compound was
strangely silent. Used to scenes of blood, the brave and trusty Scots
entered the great and echo-giving building. The room where the women had
been was afloat with human blood, women's hair had been torn out and was
strewn about and on the great window sills were rows of infants' shoes
full of bleeding feet! The bodies were found jammed into a huge cistern.
Cannon shot, rifle ball,
saber thrust, disease giving swamps had not unnerved those men of
Caledonia but then they shed manly tears. Raising their blood-stained
hands they swore to "remember Cawnpore!"
In Lucknow, many miles
away was the other struggling garrison with its English women and
children. Havelock's Highlanders were its only hope. Between the kilted
warriors and Lucknow were thousands of determined Sepoys.
The granite battalions
pressed on with "Remember Cawnpore!" on their lips. Oh the terrible
waiting of the English survivors at Lucknow! How they listened for the
sound of the coming of their possible rescuers!
"The treble of the rills!
Not the braes of broom and heather,
Nor the mountains dark with rain,
Nor maiden bower, nor border tower,
Have heard your sweetest strain!
"Dear, to the Lowland
And plaided mountaineer,
To the cottage and the castle
The Scottish pipes are dear.
Sweet sounds tne ancient
O'er mountain, loch and glade;
But the sweetest of all music
The Pipes at Lucknow played.
"Day by day the Indian
Louder yelled, and nearer crept;
Round and round the jungle-serpent
Near and nearer circles swept.
"Pray for rescue, wives
Pray today! the soldier said;
"Tomorrow, death's between us
And the wrong and shame we dread.'
"Oh! they listened, looked
Till their hope became despair;
And the sobs of low bewailing
Filled the pauses of their prayer.
Then up spake a Scottish
With her ear unto the ground;
"Dinna ye hear it? dinna ye hear it?
The pipes o' Havelock sound!'
"Hushed the wounded man
Hushed the wife her little ones;
Alone they heard the drum roll
And the roar of Sepoy guns.
But to sounds of home and
The Highland ear was true;
As her mother's cradle-crooning,
The mountain pipes she knew.
"Like the march of
Through the vision of the seer,
More of feeling than of hearing,
Of the heart than of the ear,
She knew the droning
She knew the Campbell's call;
'Hark! hear ye no' Macgregor's
The grandest o' them all!'
"Oh! they listened, dumb
And they caught the sound at last;
Faint and far beyond the Goomtee
Rose and fell the piper's blast!
Then a burst of wild
Mingled woman's voice and man's;
God be praised! the march of Havelock!
The piping of the clans!'
"Louder, nearer, fierce as
Sharp and shrill as swords at strife.
Came the wild Macgregor's clan-call,
Stinging all the air to life.
But when the far-off
To plaided legions grew,
Full tenderly ana blithesomely
The pipes of rescue blew!
"Round the silver domes of
Moslem mosque and Pagan shrine,
Breathed the air to Britons dearest,
The air of' Auld Lang Syne.
"O'er the cruel roll of
Rose that sweet and homelike strain
And the tartan clove the turban,
As the Goomtee cleaves the plain.
"Dear to the corn-land
And plaided mountaineer,
To the cottage and the castle
The piper's song is dear.
Sweet sounds the Gaelic
O'er mountain, glen, and glade;
But the sweetest of all music
The Pipes at Lucknow played! "
Entering the city,
fighting from street to street and house to house, the Highlanders found
a thousand Sepoys, perpetrators of the massacre at Cawnpore, ensconced
within one stone building only one street removed from the final stand
of the surviving English. With cannon forcing a breech through the stone
wall, they entered the building and for four mortal hours the sounds of
combat to the death were heard within. Cries of "Mercy! Mercy!" arose,
but the grim avengers answered the cries with "Remember Cawnpore!" and
the thrust of merciless steel. Voice after voice was forever silenced
and when the surviving Highlanders emerged not a single Sepoy was left
alive within. Thus did the arm of Scotia revenge Cawnpore. Did Lucknow
find any deterioration in the Highland welcome?
On many a wall there
hangs a certain battle picture. Horsemen are wildly charging and each
stirrup is grasped by a kilted soldier on foot flung along by the
impetus of the determined rush. It is the charge of the Scots Grays and
Gordon Highlanders at Waterloo.
There for the first time
those plaided mountaineers met the Terror of Europe and before that
fierce charge of the 44 women devils," as the Russians and Bonaparte
called them, the collossal power of the "Great Shadow" fell. Scotland
alone spelled his doom.
Onward, over fallen horse
and rider, scorning cannon shot and shell, leaping, yelling, those
protectors and givers of freedom go, and over the awful carnage of
Waterloo there comes to the ears of the doomed Napoleon their shout of