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The Scottish Nation

Macleod, the name of one of the most considerable clans of the western isles (badge, the red whortleberry), divided into two tribes independent of each other, the Macleods of Harris and the Macleods of Lewis. To the progenitors of this clan a Norwegian origin has commonly been assigned. They are also supposed to be of the same stock as the Campbells, according to a family history referred to by Mr. Skene, which dates no farther back than the early part of the 16th century.

The genealogy claimed for them asserts (see Douglas' Baronage, page 375) that the ancestor of the chiefs of the clan, and he who gave it its clan name, was Loyd or Leod, eldest son of King Olave the Black, brother of Magnus, the last king of Man and the Isles. This Leod is said to have had two sons : Tormod, progenitor of the Macleods of Harris, hence called the Siol Tormod, or race of Tormod; and Torquil, of those of Lewis, called the Siol Torquil, or race of Torqnil. Although, however, Mr. Skene and others are of opinion that there is no authority whatever for such a descent, and “ The Chronicle of Man” gives no countenance to it, we think the probabilities are in its favour, from the manifestly Norwegian names borne by the founders of the clan, namely, Tormod and Torquil, and from their position in the isles, from the very commencement of their known history. The clan itself, there can be no doubt, are the descendants of the ancient Gaelic inhabitants of the western isles.

Tormod, the son of the first Tormod, sided with Bruce, in the struggle for Scottish independence, and always remained faithful and loyal to him. His son, Malcolm, got a charter from David II., of two-thirds of Glenelg, on the mainland, a portion of the forfeited lands of the Bissets, in consideration for which the reddendum was to provide a galley of 36 oars, for the king’s use whenever required. This is the earliest charter in possession of the Macleods. The same Malcolm obtained the lands in Skye which were long in possession of his descendants, by marriage with a daughter of MacArailt, said to have been one of the Norwegian nobles of the Isles. From the name, however, we would be inclined to take this MacArailt for a Celt. The sennachies sometimes made sad slips.

Macleod of Harris, originally designated “de Glenelg,” that being the first and principal possession of the family, seems to have been the proper chief of the clan Leod. The island or rather peninsula of Harris, which is adjacent to Lewis, belonged, at an early period, to the Macruaries of Garmoran and the North Isles, under whom the chief of the Siol Tormod appears to have possessed it. From this family, the superiority of the North Isles passed to the Macdonalds of Isla by marriage, and thus Harris came to form a part of the lordship of the Isles. In the isle of Skye the Siol Tor-mod possessed the districts of Dunvegan, Duirinisb, Braca-dale, Lyndale, Trouterness, and Minganish, being about two-thirds of the whole island. Their principal seat was Dunvegan, hence the chief was often styled of that place.

The first charter of the Macleods of Lewis, or Siol Torquil, is also one by King David II. It is historically known that in 1369, the year before his death, that monarch proceeded in person, at the head of a formidable expedition, against the rebellious lord of the Isles, and compelled him and his vassal chiefs, at Inverness, to submit to his authority. One of the means employed by him on this occasion to effect that pur pose, and to keep the rude northern chiefs to the obedience of the laws, was the promise of rewards and the bestowal of lands, on some of the principal of them. It is even said, (For dun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 380,) that he used artifice tc divide them and induce them to slay or capture one another. Certain it is, that it was in this reign that the practice of bonds of manrent or friendship among the chiefs and nobles began. The charter referred to contained a royal grant to Torquil Macleod of the barony of Assynt, on the north-western coast of Sutherlandshire. This barony, however, he is said to have obtained by marriage with the heiress, whose name was Macnicol. It was held from the crown. In that charter he has no designation, hence it is thought that he had then no other property. The Lewis Macleods held that island as vassals of the Macdonalds of Isla from 1344, and soon came to rival the Harris branch of the Macleods in power and extent of territory, and even to dispute the chiefship with them. Their armorial bearings, however, were different, the family of Harris having a castle, while that of Lewis had a burning mount. The possessions of the Siol Torquil were very extensive, comprehending the isles of Lewis and Rasav, the district of Watemess in Skye, and those of Assynt, Co-geach, and Gerloch, on the mainland.

To return to the Harris branch. The grandson of the above-mentioned Malcolm, William Macleod, surnamed Ach-lerach, or the clerk, from being in his youth designed for the church, was one of the most daring chiefs of his time. To avenge an insult which he had received, when young, from the Frasers, he had no sooner sncceeded to his patrimony, than he ravaged the estate of Lovat in the Aird. Having afterwards incurred the resentment of his superior, the lord of the Isles, that powerful chief invaded his territory with a large force, but was defeated at a place called Lochsligachan, owing to a stratagem, and the greater military skill of the Macleod chief. His son, John, accompanied Donald of the Isles to the battle of Harlaw in 1411, and died in the beginning of the reign of James II. John’s eldest son, William, in 1640, with Hugh Macdonald of Sleat, and “the young gentlemen of the Isles,” ravaged the Orkneys. He was one of the principal supporters of the last lord of the Isles in his disputes with his turbulent and rebellious son, Angus, and was killed, in 1481, at the battle of the Bloody Bay, where also the eldest son of Roderick Macleod of the Lewis was mortally wounded. The son of William of Harris, Alexander Macleod, called Allaster Crottach, or the Humpbacked, was the head of the Siol Tormod at the time of the forfeiture of the lordship of the Isles in 1493, when Roderick, grandson of the above-named Roderick, was chief of the Siol Torquil. This Roderick’s father, Torquil, the second son of the first Roderick, was the principal supporter of Donald Dubh, when he escaped from prison and raised the banner of insurrection in 1501, for the purpose of regaining the lordship of the Isles, for which be was forfeited. He married Katherine, daughter of the first earl of Argyle, the sister of Donald Dubh’s mother. The forfeited estate of Lewis was restored in 1511 to Malcolm, Torquil’s brother.

Alexander the Humpback got a charter, nnder the great seal, of all his lands in the Isles, from James IV., dated 15th June, 1498, under the condition of keeping in readiness for the king’s use one ship of 26 oars and two of 16, which explains the appearance of the lymphad or oared galley in the armorial bearings of the Macleods and other island families. The right to the eyries or nests of falcons within his bounds was also reserved to the crown. He had also a charter from James V. of the lands of Glenelg, dated 13th February, 1539. The Macleods of Harris and Lewis joined the Macleans in supporting the claims of Sir Donald Macdonald of Lochalsh to the lordship of the Isles, but disgusted with Sir Donald’s proceedings, they soon submitted to the government, and endeavoured to apprehend that chief. Although he escaped from them, his two brothers fell into their hands. With Maclean of Lochbuy, Alexander Macleod of Harris received a remission for himself and his followers, upon giving hostages. This was in 1517. In the following year the Macleods of Lewis and Rasay were with Sir Donald of Locb-alsh when he defeated Macian of Ardnamurchan, at Craigan-airgid, (or the Silver Craig,) in Morvern, the latter, with two of his sons, and a great number of his followers, being slain. With the Macdonalds of Sleat, the Harris Macleods had a feud regarding the lands and office of bailiary of Trouterness, now called Trotternish, in the isle of Skye, held by them under several crown charters. The feud was embittered by Macleod having also obtained a heritable grant of the lands of Sleat and North Uist; and the Siol Torquil, who had also some claim to the Trouterness bailiary and a portion of the lands, siding with the Macdonalds, the two leading branches of the Macleods came to be in opposition to each other. Under Donald Gruamach (that is, grim-looking) aided by the uterine brother of their chief, John MacTorquil Macleod, son of Torquil Macleod of the Lewis, forfeited in 1506, the Macdonalds succeeded in expelling Macleod of Harris or Dunvegan from Trouterness, as well as in preventing him from taking possession of Sleat and North Uist. The death of his uncle, Malcolm Macleod, and the minority of his son, enabled Torquil, with the assistance of Donald Gruamach, in nis turn, to seize the whole barony of Lewis which, with the eaderslnp of the Siol Torquil, he held during his life. His daughter and heiress married Donald Gorme of Sleat, a claimant for the lordship of the Isles, and tne son ana successor of Donald Gruamach. An agreement was entered intr between Donald Gorme and Ruari or Roderick Macleod, sou of Malcolm, the last lawful possessor of the Lewis, whereby Roderick was allowed to enter into possession of that island, and in return Roderick became bound to assist in putting Donald Gorme in possession of Trouterness, against all the efforts of the chief of Harris or Dunvegan, who had again obtained possession of that district. In May 1539, accordingly, Trouterness was invaded and laid waste by Donald Gorme and his allies of the Siol Torquil; bnt the death soon after of Donald Gorme, by an arrow wound in his foot, under the walls of Mackenzie of Kintail’s castle of Ellandonan, put an end to his rebellion and his pretensions together. When the powerful fleet of James V. arrived at the isle of Lewis the to'Iowing year, Roderick Macleod and his principal kinsmen met the king, and were made to accompany him in his farther progress through the Isles. On its reaching Skye, Alexander Macleod of Dunvegan was also constrained to embark in the royal fleet. With the other captive chiefs they were sent to Edinburgh, and only liberated on giving hostages for their obedience to the laws.

Alexander the Humpback, chief of the Harris Macleods, died at an advanced age in the reign of Queen Mary. He had three sons, William, Donald, and Tormod, who all succeeded to the estates and authority of their family. He had also two daughters, the elder of whom was thrice married, and eveiy time to a Macdonald. Her first husband was James, second son of the fourth laird of Sleat. Her second was Alan Macian, captain of the Clanranald, whose bad usage of her was the cause of a long subsisting feud between the Macleods and the Clanranald, which led to a dreadful catastrophe in the island of Eig, as afterwards related; and her third husband was Macdonald of Keppoch. The yonnger daughter became the wife of Maclean of Locbbny.

William Macleod of Harris had a daughter, Mary, who, on his death in 1554, became, under a particular destination, his sole heiress in the estates of Harris, Dunvegan, and Glenelg. His claim to the properties of Sleat, Trouterness, and North Uist, of which he was the nominal proprietor, but which were held by the Clandonald, was inherited by his next brother and successor, Donald. This state of things placed the latter in a very anomalous position, which may be explained in Mr. Gregory’s words: “The Siol Tormod," he says (History of the Highlands and Isles, p. 204), “ was now placed in a position, which, though quite intelligible on the principles of feudal law, was totally opposed to the Celtic customs that still prevailed, to a great extent, throughout the Highlands and Isles. A female and a minor was this legal proprietrix of the ancient possessions of the tribe, which, by her marriage, might be conveyed to another and a hostile family; whilst her uncle, the natural leader of the clan according to ancient custom, was left without any means to keep up the dignity of a chief, or to support the clan against its enemies. His claims on the estates possessed by the Clandonald were worse than nugatory, as they threatened to involve him in a feud with that powerful and warlike tribe, in case he should take any steps to enforce them. In these circumstances, Donald Macleod seized, apparently with the consent of his clan, the estates which legally belonged to his niece, the heiress; and thus, in practice, tne feudal law was made to yield to ancient and inveterate custom. Donald did not enjoy these estates long, being murdered in Trouterness, by a relation of his own, John Oig Macleod, who, failing Tormod, the only remaining brother of Donald, wonld have become the heir male of the family. John Oig next plotted the destruction of Tormod, who was at the time a student in the university of Glasgow; but in this he was foiled by the interposition of the earl of Argyle. He continued, notwithstanding, to retain possession of the estates of the heiress, and of the command of the clan, till his death in 1559.” The heiress of Harris was one of Queen Mary’s maids of honour, and the earl of Argyle, having ultimately become her guardian, she was given by him in marriage to his kinsman, Duncan Campbell, younger of Auchinbreck. Through the previous efforts of the earl, Tormod Macleod, on receiving a legal title to Harris and the other estates, renounced in favour of Argyle all his claims to the lands of the Clandonald, and paid 1,000 marks towards the dowry of his niece. He also gave his bond of service to Argyle for himself and his clan. Mary Macleod, in consequence, made a complete surrender to her uncle of her title to the lands of Hams, Dun-vegan, and Glenelg, and Argyle obtained for him a crown charter of these estates, dated 4th August, 1579. Tormod adhered firmly to the interests of Queen Mary, and died in 1584. He was succeeded by his eldest son, William, under whom the Harris Macleods assisted the Macleans in their feuds with the Macdonalds of Isla and Skye, while the Lewis Macleods supported the latter. On his death in 1590, his brother, Roderick, the Rory Mor of tradition, became chief of the Harris Macleods. In 1595, he went with 500 of his clan to Ulster, to assist Red Hugh O’Donnell, at that time in rebellion against the queen of England, in 1601 he had a quarrel with Macdonald of Sleat, an account of which, with its results, has been already given, (see vol. ii. p. 714).

In December 1597, an act of the Estates had been passed, by which it was made imperative upon all the chieftains and landlords in the Highlands and Isles, to produce their title-deeds before the lords of Exchequer on the 15th of the following May, under the pain of forfeiture. The heads of the two branches of the Macleods disregarded the act, and a gift of their estates was granted to a number of Fife gentlemen, for the purposes of colonization. They first began with the Lewis, in which the experiment failed, as afterwards narrated. Roderick Macleod, on his part, exerted himself to get the forfeiture of his lands of Harris, Dunvegan, and Glenelg, removed, and ultimately succeeded, having obtained a remission from the king, dated 4th May, 1610. He was knighted by King James VI., by whom he was much esteemed, and had several friendly letters from his majesty; also, a particular license, dated 16th June, 1616, to go to London, to the court, at any time he pleased. In the Denmylne MS., in the Advocates’ Library, there are various letters of Sir Roderick, principally concerning the escape of Sir James Macdonald of Isla in 1615. To ensure their obedience to the laws, the privy council had ordered the chiefs to appear before them once a-year, on the 10th July, or oftener if required, on being duly cited; and on the suppression of the rebellion of Sir James Macdonald, the same year, still more stringent regulations were adopted. They were compelled to exhibit each a certain number of their principal kinsmen, and were only to maintain in household certain proportions of gentlemen, according to their rank, Macleod being allowed six; they were also to reside at certain specified places on their estates. Various other conditions were imposed on them, the most important of which was one relating to the education of their children. The chiefs were required to send all their children above nine years of age to school in the Lowlands, to be instructed in reading, writing, and speaking the English language ; and none could be served heirs to their fathers, or received as tenants to the king, until they had received that education. The very quantity of wine they were to use in their houses was regulated, Macleod’s allotment being four tuns, and each chief was bound to take strict order throughout his whole estates that none of his tenants or vassals should buy or drink any wine. This last obligation proceeded on the narrative that “ the great and extraordinary excesse in drinking of wyne, commonlie usit among the com-monis and tenantis of the Yllis, is not only ane occasioun of the beastlie and barbarous cruelties and inhumanities that fallis oute amangis thame, to the offens and displeasour of God, and contempt of law and justice; but with that it drawis nomberis of thame to miserable necessitie and povar-tie, sua that they are constraynit, quhen they want from their awne, to tak from thair nichtbours.” Finding that this regulation, strict as it was, was evaded, the privy council in 1622 passed an act prohibiting masters of vessels, under the penalty of confiscation of the article, from carrying more wine to the Isles than the quantity allowed to the chiefs and gentlemen. In the preamble of this act the reason of this new regulation is thus stated:—“ With the insatiable desyre quhairof the saidis Islanderis ar so far possesst, that, when thair arryvis ony schip or uther veschell there with wines, thay spend both dayes and nights in their excesse of drinking sa lang as thair is anie of the wyne left; sua that, being overcome with drink, thair fallis oute many inconvenientis amangis thame, to the breck of his majesteis peace,” &c. Sir Roderick died in the beginning of 1626. By his wife, a daughter of Macdonald of Glengarry, he had, with six daughters, five sons, viz. John, his heir; Sir Roderick, progenitor of the Macleods of Talisker; Sir Norman, of the Macleods ot Bernera and Muiravonside; William, of the Macleods of Hamer; and Donald, of those of Grisemish.

The history of the Siol Torquil, or Lewis Macleods, as it approached its close, was most disastrous. Roderick, the chief of this branch in 1569, got involved in a deadly feud with the Mackenzies, which ended only with the destruction of his whole family. He had married a daughter of John Mackenzie of Kintail, and a son whom she bore, and who was named Torquil Connanach, from his residence among hia mother’s relations in Strathconnan, was disowned by him, on account of the alleged adultery of his mother with the breve or Celtic judge of the Lewis. She eloped with John Mac-Gillechallum of Rasay, a cousin of Roderick, and was, in consequence, divorced. He took for his second wife, in 1541, Barbara Stewart, daughter of Andrew Lord Avandale, and by this lady had a son, likewise named Torquil, and surnamed Oighre, or the Heir, to distinguish him from the other Torquil. About 1566, the former, with 200 attendants, was drowned in a tempest, when sailing from Lewis to Skye, and Torquil Connanach immediately took up arms to vindicate what he conceived to be his rights. In his pretensions he was supported by the Mackenzies. Roderick was apprehended and detained four years a prisoner in the castle of Stornoway. In his extremity that chief had sought the assistance of Donald Gorme or Macdonald of Sleat, who, with his sanction, took steps to procure his own recognition as heir of the line of Lewis, founding his claim on an alleged confession of Hugh Macleod, the breve of the island, that Torquil Connanach was in reality his son. But the feud between the Macdonalds and Mackenzies was put an end to by the mediation of the Regent Moray. Before being released from his captivity, the old chief was brought before the Regent Mar and his privy council, and compelled to resign his estate into the hands of the crown, taking a new destination of it to himself in liferent, and after his death to Torquil Connanach, as his son and heir apparent. On regaining his liberty, however, he revoked all that he had done when a prisoner, on the ground of coercion. This led to new commotions, and u 1576 both Roderick and Torquil were summoned to Edinburgh, and reconciled in presence of the privy council, when the latter was again acknowledged as heir apparent to the Lewis, and received as such the district of Cogeach and other lands. The old chief some time afterwards took for his third wife, a sister of Lauehlan Maclean of Dowart, and had by her two sons, named Torquil Dubh and Tormod. Having again disinherited Torquil Connanach, that young chief once more took up arms, and was supported by two illegitimate sons of Roderick, named Tormod Uigach and Murdoch, while three others, Donald, Rory Oig, and Neill, joined with their father. Tormod Uigach was slain by Donald Macleod, who was taken prisoner by Torquil Connanach, but he escaped and fled to his father in the Lewis. Donald, on his part, apprehended Murdoch, and delivered him to his father, who imprisoned him in the castle of Stornoway. Torquil Connanach immediately laid siege to it, and having taken it, released Murdoch. He then apprehended the old chief, Roderick Macleod, and killed a number of his men. All the charters and title deeds of the Lewis were carried off by Torquil, and handed over to the Mackenzies. The charge of the castle of Stornoway, with the chief a prisoner in it, was committed to John Macleod, the son of Torquil Connanach, but he was attacked by Rory Oig and killed, when Roderick Macleod was released, and possessed the island in peace during the remainder of his life.

On his death he was succeeded by his son Torquil Dubh, who married a sister of Sir Roderick Macleod of Harris. As Torquil Connanach was excluded, although he possessed the mainland estates and was acknowledged by government as the heir, the Mackenzies formed a design to purchase and conquer the Lewis, and assassinate Torquil Dubh, the chief in possession of it. Torquil Connanach had married his daughter to Roderick Mackenzie, the brother of Kenneth Mackenzie, afterwards Lord Kintail, to whom he had conveyed the Lewis by writing. The lands of Cogeach and Lochbroom were ravaged by Torquil Dubh, and as he could raise 700 or 800 men, he for some time was enabled to set his rival and the Mackenzies at defiance. To effect his ruin they made a complaint against him to the privy council, styling him “the usurper of Lewis," and as he disregarded a summons sent to him to appear and answer it, he was denounced a rebel. The breve of the Lewis having agreed, on the promise of a great reward, to put him to death, lie went, we are told, in a galley, accompanied by the greater part of nis tribe, the clan Mhic-Gille-Moir, toward the isle of Rasay, and in his course fell in with a Dutch ship partly laden with wine, which he compelled to follow him into the Lewis. On his arrival there, he invited Torquil Dubh and a party of his people to a banquet on board the Dutch vesst,, but they had Scarcely seated themselves when they were all apprehended, tied with cords, and carried to the country of the Mackenzies, into the presence of Lord Kintail, who ordered Torquil Dubh and his companions to be beheaded. This took place iu July 1597. At the time of their execution, it is said, an earthquake happened, which struck terror into the minds of the executioners.

Torquil Dubh left three young sons, and their uncle, Neill, a bastard brother of their father, took, in their behalf, the command of the isle of Lewis. Their cause was also supported by the Macleods of Harris and the Macleans. The dissensions in the Lewis, followed by the forfeiture of that island, in consequence of the non-production of the title-deeds, as required by the act of the Estates of 1597, already mentioned afforded the king an opportunity of carrying into effect a project he entertained for the improvement and civilization of that remote portion of his dominions. Accordingly, that island, the largest of the Hebrides, was granted to a company of Lowland adventurers, belonging principally to Fifeshire, who were led to join in the enterprise chiefly with the view to the northern fisheries, a most valuable, though then and long after a neglected branch of Scottish industry In October 1599, with a force of about 600 soldiers, and artificers of all sorts, they landed at Stornoway, and immediately began to build. The men of Lewis, under Neill and Murdoch Macleod, the bastard uncles of the young chief, gave them all the opposition in their power, but unable to withstand the colonists, they at last yielded to them ; and they, with inconsiderate haste, proceeded to expel the Macleods from their possessions. Burning with revenge, Murdoch put to sea with a fleet of small vessels peculiar to those islands, called berlings, and succeeded in intercepting Leirmonth of Balcomy, when on his return from the Lewis to Fife in his own vessel. Macleod immediately hanged all on board, but Leirmonth himself, who for six months was subjected to a very rigorous confinement, but ultimately liberated on promise of ransom, and died in the Orkneys on his way home.

Shortly afterwards, Murdoch Macleod quarrelled with his brother Neill, who betrayed him, for a reward, to the government, and he was, in consequence, hanged at St. Andrews. In the meantime the adventurers in the Lewis were surrounded and harassed by the people of the island, under Tormod Macleod, only surviving legitimate son of Old Roderick Macleod of the Lewis, assisted by Neill Macleod, who had not long continued in alliance with the colonists. At the head of a strong force, Tormod attacked and forced the camp of the adventurers, burnt the fort, killed many of their men, and at length forced the principal gentlemen to capitulate, the latter binding themselves to obtain a remission to the Macleods for all their past offences, and never to return to the Lewis. Two of their number were left as hostages, for the fulfilment of these conditions. This took place in 1601, and the promised remission being granted, the hostages, after being detained about eight months, were liberated. In the summer of 1605, the Lewis adventurers made another attempt to possess the island. On landing, they offered to Tormod Mao-leod, if he would submit, to convey him to London, and obtain his pardon from the king. To these proposals he agreed, bnt after his arrival at court, finding he was making progress in his majesty’s favour, to prevent his procuring the recall of the grant of the Lewis, they obtained an order from the king to send Tormod down to Edinburgh, where lie was imprisoned in the castle for ten years. He was afterwards allowed to go into the service of Maurice, prince of Orange, and he died in Holland. Neill Macleod, however, still held out, and assisted by the Macleods of Harris, the Macneills, and the Clanranald, annoyed the colonists so greatly by his attacks that they were, at length, induced to abandon the enterprise. Two years afterwards, namely, in 1607, the king gave a new grant of the island to Lord Bahnerino, who, however, was soon after forfeited, Sir George Hay of Nethercliff, and Sir James Spens of Wormestoun. The two latter invaded the Lewis with a considerable force, but were soon, from the want of provisions, and the continued opposition of Neill Macleod, compelled to qnit the island and disband their forces. The title to the Lewis having been acquired by Kenneth Mackenzie, Lord Kintail, (see page 19 of thia volume,) he lost no time in taking possession of the island, expelling Neill Macleod, with his nephews, Malcolm, William, and Roderick, sons of Rory Oig, who, with about thirty others, took refuge on Berrisav, an insulated rock on the west coast of Lewis. Here they maintained themselves for nearly three years, but

were at length driven from it by the Mackenzies. Neill surrendered to Roderick Macleod ol Harris, who, on being charged, under pain of treason, to deliver him to the privy council at Edinburgh, gave him up, with his son, Donald. Neill was brought to trial, convicted, and executed, and is said to have died “ very Christianlie,” in April 1613. Donald, his son, was banished from Scotland, and died in Hol-.and. Roderick and William, two of the sons of Rory Oig, "ere seized by the tutor of Kintail, and executed. Mal-u jn, the other son, apprehended at the same time, made his Vocape, and continued to harass the Mackenzies for years. He was prominently engaged in Sir James Macdonald’s rebellion in 1615, and afterwards went to Flanders, but in 1616 was once more in the Lewis, where he killed two gentlemen of the Mackenzies. He subsequently went to Spain, whence he returned with Sir James Macdonald in 1620. In 1622 and 1626, commissions of fire and sword were granted to Lord Kintail and his clan against “ Malcolm MacRuari Macleod.” Nothing more is known of him.

On the extinction of the main line of the Lewis, the representation of the family devolved on the Macleods of Ra-*ay, afterwards referred to. The title of Lord Macleod was the second title of the Mackenzies, earls of Cromarty.

In the civil wars, Sir Roderick Macleod of Harris, son of John, commonly called John Mor, supported the royal cause, and Charles I. was so sensible of his services that he wrote him a kind and friendly letter, dated at Durham, 2d May 1639, promising him his constant favour and protection. His eldest son, also named Roderick, acquired, from his humour, the surname of Roderick the Witty. Being a minor during the usurpation, the whole clan followed his uncles, Sir Roderick Macleod of Talisker and Sir Norman Macleod of Beme-ra. At that time the Macleods could bring into the field 700 men. At the battle of Worcester in 1651, the Macleods fought on the side of Charles IL, and so great was the slaughter amongst them that it was agreed by the other clans that they should not engage in any other conflict until they had recovered their losses. The Harris estates were sequestrated by Cromwell, but the chief of the Macleods was at last, in May 1655, admitted into the protection of the Commonwealth by General Monk, on his finding security for his peaceable behaviour under the penalty of £6,000 sterling, and paying a fine of £2,500. Both his uncles, however, were expressly excepted.

At the Revolution, Macleod of Macleod, which became the designation of the laird of Harris, as chief of the clan, was favourable to the cause of James VII., and a letter written to him by Viscount Dundee, dated Moy, June 23, 1689, giving an account of the preparations of the other chiefs, and of liis own proceedings, and enclosing a letter from the exiled monarch to him, is printed in Browne’s History of the Highlands. In 1715, the effective force of the Macleods was 1,000 men, and in 1745, 900. The chief, by the advice of President Forbes, did not join in the rebellion of that year, and so saved his estates, but many of his clansmen, burning with zeal for the cause of Prince Charles, fought in the ranks of the rebel army.

At page 47 it is mentioned that the bad treatment which a daughter of the chief of the Macleods experienced from her husband, the captain of the Clanranald, had caused them to take the first opportunity of inflicting a signal vengeance on the Macdonalds. The merciless act of Macleod, by which the entire population of an island was cut off at once, is described by Mr. Skene (Hist. of the Highlands, vol. ii. page 277), and is shortly thus. Towards the close of the 16th contnry, a small number of Macleods accidentally landed on the island of Eigg, and were hospitably received by the inhabitants. Offering, however, some incivilities to the young women of the island, they were by the male relatives of the latter bound hand and foot, thrown into a boat, and sent adrift. Being met and rescued by a party of their own clansmen, they were brought to Dunvegan, the residence of their chief, to whom they told their story. Instantly manning his galleys, Macleod hastened to Eigg. On descrying his approach the islanders, with their wives and children, to the number of 200 persons, took refuge in a large cave, situated in a retired and secret place. Here for two days they remained undiscovered, but having unfortunately sent out a scout to see if the Macleods were gone, their retreat was detected, but they refused to surrender. A stream of water fell over the entrance to the cave, and partly concealed it. This Macleod caused to be turned from its course, and then ordered all the wood and other combustibles which could be found to be piled up around its mouth, and set fire to, when all within the cave were suffocated.

The Siol Tormod continued to possess Harris, Dunvegan, and Glenelg till near the close of the 18th century. The former and the latter estates have now passed into other hands. A considerable portion of Harris is the property of the earl of Dunmore, and many of its inhabitants have emigrated to Cape Breton and Canada. The climate of the island is said to be favourable to longevity. Martin, in his account of the Western Isles, says he knew several in Harris of 90 years of age. One Lady Macleod, who passed the most of her time here, lived to 103, had then a comely head of hair and good teeth, and enjoyed a perfect understanding till the week she died. Her son, Sir Norman Macleod, died at 96; and his grandson, Donald Macleod of Bemera, at 91. Glenelg became the property first of Charles Grant, Lord Glenelg, and afterwards of Mr. Baillie. From the family oi Bernera, one of the principal branches of the Harris Macleods, sprung the Macleods of Luskinder, of which Sir William Macleod Bannatyne, a lord of session, was a cadet. For a brief memoir of him, see vol. i. p. 236.

The first of the house of Rasay, the proprietor of which is the representative and heir male of the Lewis branch of the Macleods, was Malcolm Garbh Macleod, the second son ot Malcolm, Sth chief of the Lewis. In the reign of James V. he obtained from his father in patrimony the island of Rasay, which lies between Skye and the Ross-shire district of Applecross. In 1569 the whole of the Rasay family, except one infant, were barbarously massacred by one of their own kinsmen, under the following circumstances. John MacGille-challum Macleod of Rasay, called Ian na Tuaidh, or John with the axe, who had, as stated on p. 48, carried off Janet Mackenzie, the first wife of his chief, Roderick Macleod of the Lewis, married her, after her divorce, and had by her several sons and one daughter. The latter became the wife of Alexander Roy Mackenzie, a grandson oi Hector or Ea-chan Roy, the first of the Mackenzies ot Gerloch, a marriage which gave great offence to his clan, the Siol vic Gillechal-lum, as the latter had long been at fend with that particular branch of the Mackenzies. On Janet Mackenzie’s death, he of the axe married a sister of a kinsman of his own, Ruan Macallan Macleod, who from his venomous disposition was sumamed NiirJineach. The latter, to obtain Rasay for his nephew, his sister’s son, resolved to cut off both his brotherin-law and his sons by the first marriage. He accordingly invited him to a feast in the island of Isay in Skye, and after it was over, he left the apartment. Then, causing them to be sent for one by one, he had each of them assassinated ah

they came out. He was, however, balked in his object, as Rasay became the property of Malcolm or Gillechallum Garbh Macallaster Macleod, then a child, belonging to the direct line of the Rasay branch, who was with his foster-father at the time. (Gregory's Highlands and Isles of Scotland, p. 211.)

The Macleods of Assynt, one of whom betrayed the great Montrose in 1G50, were also a branch of the Macleods of Lewis. That estate, towards the end of the 17th century, became the property of the Mackenzies, and the family is now represented by Macleod of Geanies. The Macleods of Cadboll are cadets of those of Assynt.

There were two Gaelie poetesses of this name, Mary Macleod, born in Harris in 1569', and Flora Macleod, a native of Skye. The former, called Mairi Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh, was the daughter of Alexander Macleod, son of Alasdair Ruadh, a descendant of the chief of the clan. This woman, a nurse in the family of her chief, was totally illiterate, yet she is considered the most original of all the Gaelic poets. She is said to have nursed five lairds of the Macleods, and two of the lairds of Applecross. Her first song was composed to please the children under her charge, and most of her poems are in praise of the Macleods. The chief, however, once banished her to the island of Mull, for giving publicity to one of her songs. In her exile she composed another poem, on which the Macleod sent a boat for her, but she was only allowed to return to Skye on condition that she made no more songs. Soon after, she composed a song on the illness of a son of the chief, which nearly caused her to be sent into exile again; but she saved herself by saying that “it was not a song, it was only a ‘croon.’” The poetess of the Isles, as Mary Macleod was called, died at the advanced age of 105 years, and is buried in Harris. Specimens of her poems are given in Mackenzie’s ‘ Beauties of Gaelic Poetry.’ The Gaelic name of the other poetess, Flora Macleod, was Fionaghal Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh. She lived in Trottemish, and was married. Her only poems appear to be a satire on the clan Macmartin and an elegy on Macleod of Dunvegan.

Hector Macleod, the South Uist bard, lived after 1745, in the districts of Arasaig and Morar.

MACLEOD, John, surgeon of the Alceste, was born about 1782 at Bouliill in Dumbartonshire. He entered the navy as a surgeon, and after several expeditions he accompanied the embassy to China under Lord Amherst. On his return he published, in 1818, an interesting description of the ‘Voyage of the Alceste, along the Coast of the Corea to the Island of Loo Choo; with an Account of her subsequent Shipwreck.’ lie died November 9, 1820.

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